Atheist Kills Wife – Stuffs Her Body In Feezer

Wait, did I say Atheist, I meant evangelical preacher.

Preacher killed wife, stuffed body in freezer, police say

An evangelical preacher killed his wife several years ago and stuffed her body in a freezer after she caught him abusing their daughter, according to police and court documents.

Anthony Hopkins, 37, was arrested Monday night at the Inspirational Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Jackson, Alabama, just after he had delivered a sermon to a congregation that included his seven other children, officials said.

He faces charges including murder, rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and incest.

Hopkins was denied bail Thursday when he appeared before Mobile County District Judge George Hardesty. The case is set for arraignment next week, Hardesty’s clerk said.

The case began Monday, when the daughter, now 19, went to the Mobile Police Department’s Child Advocacy Center and reported that she had been sexually abused by Hopkins since she was 11 years old, according to an affidavit filed in support of a search warrant of the preacher’s home in Mobile.

The affidavit related the daughter’s story as follows:

Her mother, Arletha Hopkins, 36, caught her father abusing her in a bathroom in November 2004. Afterward, her parents argued, and her mother locked her father out of the house. The father came to the daughter’s window and asked her to let him in, and she did so.

The next morning, her father asked her to help him hide her mother’s body in the freezer in the laundry room of the home.

The girl said she moved out of the home about two weeks ago and was living with a neighbor. She told police that her mother’s body was still in the freezer.

When authorities went to the home, no one was there, as Hopkins and the other children were at the church. A body was found in the freezer, the affidavit says.

The point of article? Anyone that claims religious folk are on a higher moral ground than non-believers, are full of shit.

Despite Overwhelming Evidence, Creationists Cling to Unreality

 Despite Overwhelming Evidence, Creationists Cling to Unreality

The great Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once wrote — or, rather, sighed — that “creationism is an American institution.”

As an institution, creationism has crossed social strata as easily as it crosses decades. Despite all that science and secularism can do to explain it away, the crusade against evolution — the foundation of modern biology — is as intransigent, and strangely modern in its anti-modernism, as ever. The actor-author-documentarian-presidential speechwriter Ben Stein, with his movie Expelled, has become only the latest in the long line of its media-savvy critics. Today, around half of all Americans prefer creationism, in some form, to the scientific consensus.

Few know this better than Lauri Lebo, author of The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America. When the trial over intelligent design theory in Dover, Pennsylvania, caught the attention of the world, Lebo was the lead local reporter covering the case. For her, the controversy was personal as well as professional; as the trial unfolded, she struggled to come to terms with the impending death of her Pentacostal father, desperate for assurance that he would see her in the creationist-only hereafter. In The Devil in Dover, Lebo combines the dramas of family and courtroom into an engrossing story, trading illusions of journalistic objectivity for hard-won personal truths.

Rabbi unveils a secret of God

Nothing like using semantics to bring about the revelations of god. This is surely proof of gods existence. Heh.

Rabbi unveils a secret of God

The tradition-bound Western image of a he-man, masculine God may already be thousands of years out of date, says a Westchester rabbi who believes he has unlocked the secret to God’s name and androgynous nature.

Rabbi Mark Sameth contends in a soon-to-be-published article that the four-letter Hebrew name for God – held by Jewish tradition to be unpronounceable since the year 70 – should actually be read in reverse. When the four letters are flipped, he says, the new name makes the sounds of the Hebrew words for “he” and “she.”

God thus becomes a dual-gendered deity, bringing together all the male and female energy in the universe, the yin and the yang that have divided the sexes from Adam and Eve to Homer and Marge.

“This is the kind of God I believe in, the kind of God that makes sense to me, in a language that speaks very, very deeply to human aspirations and striving,” Sameth said. “How could God be male and not female?”

Sameth, 54, the spiritual leader of Pleasantville Community Synagogue, first hit on his theory more than a decade ago when he was a rabbinical student. Since then, he has quietly pieced together clues and supporting evidence from the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament and the vast body of rabbinic literature.

His article “Who is He? He is She: The Secret Four-Letter Name of God” will appear in the summer issue of the CCAR Journal, published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis, an association of Reform rabbis.

Sameth’s theory is not as outlandish as it might seem to the uninitiated. For one thing, Jewish mystical traditions have long found levels of meaning in the Hebrew Bible beyond those that come from a literal or metaphorical reading. For another, there is a deep tradition in Jewish prayer and thinking, particularly among the so-called mystics, of seeking to reconcile the male and female elements in the universe.

Sameth’s article includes this: “What the mystics called ‘the secret of one’ is the inner unification of the sometimes competing, sometimes complementing masculine and feminine energies that reside within each of us, regardless whether we are male or female.”

The notion that God is what Sameth calls a “hermaphroditic deity” could energize the growing movement in many religious traditions to present God in gender-neutral terms, particularly in Scripture.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, a revered scholar among liberal Jews who has written extensively on Jewish mysticism and spirituality, called Sameth’s article “delicious, thought-provoking and wise.” Kushner is among a small group of scholars and friends with whom Sameth has shared his article in recent weeks.

“I think most people assume the God of the Hebrew Bible is masculine, but Mark, through some sound and clever research, suggests that God may have always been androgynous,” Kushner said. “This can affect the way we consider holiness and the divine, and invites us to reconsider our own gender identities, which is kind of a bombshell.”

The Hebrew name of God that is known as the Tetragrammaton – the four letters Yud-Hay-Vov-Hay – appears 6,823 times in the Hebrew Bible. Since early Hebrew script included no vowels, the pronunciation of the name was known by those who heard it.

According to Sameth’s footnotes, the name was said only by priests after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the name was no longer said and the pronunciation lost.

Jewish tradition has long held that the name was too sacred to articulate. Jews have generally used Adonai, “the Lord,” in place of the Tetragrammaton. Various Christian groups have pronounced the name as “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.”

Sameth has no intention of speaking the “reversed” name of God that he has uncovered, preferring to focus on its meaning.

“I still won’t pronounce it, intentionally, as God’s name,” he said. “I’m not suggesting that anyone pronounce the name.”

Sameth became fascinated with Jewish mysticism while a rabbinical student in Jerusalem during the early 1990s. He studied with Moshe Idel, a pre-eminent scholar on mysticism, and learned how medieval Spanish Kabbalists and others uncovered mystical meanings from the Torah that had been shrouded in patterns of words and letters.

Once back in New York, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform seminary, Sameth was studying the biblical story of the prophet Nathan reprimanding King David for murder, which becomes a turning point for David. Sameth realized that the Hebrew forms of both names, Nathan and David, are palindromes, words with spellings that can be reversed.

It was, as they say, a revelation.

“It’s about reversibility,” Sameth said. “King David is changing the direction of his life, and the two key characters, their names are palindromes. What are the chances of that?”

A new zeal for biblical reversibility led Sameth to flip the four Hebrew letters of the unpronounceable Tetragrammaton. In his head, he heard the Hebrew words hu and hi. That’s “he/she” in English.

And he felt connected to a long line of Jewish mystics who have mused about the male and female coming together.

“I really believed that I had found something significant,” Sameth said. “Then I did 10 years of study to see if I could find support for it.”

Much of his article consists of weaving together clues and examples from Jewish Scripture and wisdom that offer historical context for his thesis. For example, Sameth contends that the Zohar – a medieval, mystical Torah commentary – was referring to God’s dual-gender “when it suggested that the sin of Adam was that he ruined the marriage between the feminine and masculine halves of God by divorcing himself from the feminine.”

He also writes: “We realize now that the secret was almost revealed by the 13th-century Torah commentator Rabbeinu Bachya, who makes note of every four-word cluster in the Torah whose rashei teivot, or initial letters, spell out the Tetragrammaton in reverse.”

Rabbi Jonathan Stein, editor of the CCAR Journal, was on vacation and not available for comment.

Sameth has been the only rabbi at the decade-old Pleasantville Community Synagogue, a self-described “trans-denominational” congregation that includes elements of Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism. Congregants come from many backgrounds and communities to the synagogue, which has become known for hearty singing and dancing during services.

Talking recently about his years of study to grasp the meaning of God’s name, Sameth had to stop, swallow hard and take a breath when describing what it’s like to receive sparks of insight from the great Jewish thinkers of long ago.

“It is a form of transcendence to be connected in that way,” he said.

Sameth doesn’t believe that he has stumbled on a previously unknown understanding of God’s name, but that he has been able to connect the dots in a fresh way.

Those who find meaning in his work, he said, may encounter a different understanding of God that is comforting to feminists and those on many spiritual journeys. They may also read the Torah differently.

“If this interpretation is correct, it says that the Torah is a mystical or esoteric text,” he said. “The mystics have been saying all these years that the text conceals more than it reveals. It is structured with different levels of meaning and reveals itself over time. We’re talking about one tradition that goes all the way back.”

Katherine Kurs, a religion scholar who teaches at New School University and is an associate minister at West-Park (Presbyterian) Church in Manhattan, said that the image of God presented by Sameth will have great appeal to many people who are searching for spiritual meaning.

“Mark’s unveiling is part of a mystic lineage that presents a prismatic experience of God, that says there are ways of experiencing God that contain and explode categories simultaneously,” said Kurs, who has known Sameth since they studied together almost 20 years ago. “This God is not a male or even a female but a male-female or female-male, a God that holds tension and paradox, a full-spectrum bandwidth God.”

Sameth has shared his image of a dual-gendered God with the seventh- and eighth-graders he teaches at his synagogue. He said they’ve been very receptive, which isn’t surprising because they are growing up in a post-modern age.

“As post-moderns, we’ve been conditioned to a different relationship with language,” he said. “That’s why there is all this interest now in Jewish mysticism.”

He wonders how, 2,000 years from now, people will understand the final chapter of “Ulysses,” which includes no punctuation. Will they try to add punctuation, believing that it’s been lost? Or will they grasp that James Joyce knew what he was doing?

“Joyce was playing with language, using language to play with the medium,” Sameth said. “And the Torah isn’t just about Noah taking the animals, twosies by twosies. If that’s what the Torah was all about, how could it have captivated Western civilization for 3,000 years? There had to be more.”


France rejects Muslim woman over radical practice of Islam

 Nice to see some courts tearing apart religions for forcing their trash on others. Fuck Sharia Law.

France rejects Muslim woman over radical practice of Islam

France has denied citizenship to a Moroccan woman who wears a burqa on the grounds that her “radical” practice of Islam is incompatible with basic French values such as equality of the sexes.

The case yesterday reopened the debate about Islam in France, and how the secular republic reconciles itself with the freedom of religion guaranteed by the French constitution.

The woman, known as Faiza M, is 32, married to a French national and lives east of Paris. She has lived in France since 2000, speaks good French and has three children born in France. Social services reports said she lived in “total submission” to her husband. Her application for French nationality was rejected in 2005 on the grounds of “insufficient assimilation” into France. She appealed, invoking the French constitutional right to religious freedom and saying that she had never sought to challenge the fundamental values of France. But last month the Council of State, France’s highest administrative body, upheld the ruling.

“She has adopted a radical practice of her religion, incompatible with essential values of the French community, particularly the principle of equality of the sexes,” it said.

“Is the burqa incompatible with French citizenship?” asked Le Monde, which broke the story. The paper said it was the first time the level of a person’s personal religious practice had been used to rule on their capacity be to assimilated into France.

The legal expert who reported to the Council of State said the woman’s interviews with social services revealed that “she lives almost as a recluse, isolated from French society”.

The report said: “She has no idea about the secular state or the right to vote. She lives in total submission to her male relatives. She seems to find this normal and the idea of challenging it has never crossed her mind.”

The woman had said she was not veiled when she lived in Morocco and had worn the burqa since arriving in France at the request of her husband. She said she wore it more from habit than conviction.

‘Body Of Christ’ Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student

You can’t make this stuff up.

‘Body Of Christ’ Snatched From Church, Held Hostage By UCF Student

A University of Central Florida student, upset religious groups hold church services on public campuses, is holding hostage the Eucharist, an object so sacred to Catholics they call it the Body of Christ.

Church officials say UCF Student Senator Webster Cook was disruptive and disrespectful when he attended Mass held on campus Sunday June 29. It was during that Mass where Cook admits he obtained the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is a small bread wafer blessed by a priest. According to Catholics, the wafer becomes the Body of Christ once blessed and is to be consumed immediately after a minister passes it out to churchgoers.

Cook claims he planned to consume it, but first wanted to show it to a fellow student senator he brought to Mass who was curious about the Catholic faith.

“When I received the Eucharist, my intention was to bring it back to my seat to show him,” Cook said. “I took about three steps from the woman distributing the Eucharist and someone grabbed the inside of my elbow and blocked the path in front of me. At that point I put it in my mouth so they’d leave me alone and I went back to my seat and I removed it from my mouth.”

A church leader was watching, confronted Cook and tried to recover the sacred bread. Cook said she crossed the line and that’s why he brought it home with him.

“She came up behind me, grabbed my wrist with her right hand, with her left hand grabbed my fingers and was trying to pry them open to get the Eucharist out of my hand,” Cook said, adding she wouldn’t immediately take her hands off him despite several requests.

Diocese of Orlando spokeswoman Carol Brinati said she was not aware of anyone touching Cook. She released a statement Thursday: “… a Catholic Campus Ministry student representative filed a complaint with the Student Union regarding the behavior of the two young men. A Student Government Representative called Catholic Campus Ministry to apologize for this disruption.”

Cook filed an official abuse complaint with UCF’s student conduct court regarding the alleged physical force. Following that complaint, Brinati said church members filed their own official complaints of disruptive conduct. Punishment for either offense could result in suspension or expulsion.

“The church feels that I’m the problem here,” Cook said. “The problem is actually that this is a publicly-funded religious institution. Through student government here, we fund them through an activity and service, so they’re receiving student money.”

Cook is upset more than $40,000 in student fees have been allocated to support religious organizations on campus for the 2008-2009 school year, according to student government records. He denied he is holding the Eucharist hostage to protest that support.

Regardless of the reason, the Diocese says its main concern is to get the Eucharist back so it can be taken care of properly and with respect. Cook has been keeping the Eucharist stored in a plastic bag since last Sunday.

“It is hurtful,” said Father Migeul Gonzalez with the Diocese. “Imagine if they kidnapped somebody and you make a plea for that individual to please return that loved one to the family.”

Gonzalez said the Diocese is willing to meet with Cook and help him understand the importance of the Eucharist in hopes of him returning it. The Diocese is dispatching a nun to UCF’s campus to oversee the next mass, protect the Eucharist and in hopes Cook will return it.

Cook said he’d consider returning the Eucharist if he gets an apology and a meeting with the Bishop’s office to discuss the Diocese’s policy on physical force.

Gonzalez said intentionally abusing the Eucharist is classified as a mortal sin in the Catholic church, the most severe possible. If it’s not returned, the community of faith will have to ask for forgiveness.

“We have to make acts of reparation,” Gonzalez said. “The whole community is going to turn to prayer. We’ll ask the Lord for pardon, forgiveness, peace, not only for the whole community affected by it, but also for [Cook], we offer prayers for him as well.”