Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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Marriage for All or None!

This morning I received an email from the Northern California ACLU saying, “In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, it’s time to show some love. … Love for the right to love and the right to marry.” The email goes on to urge me to “Tell 3 people about what it means to be LGBT, or to care about someone who is. …

Frankly, given my two marriages, both of which ended in divorce, I’m not sure whether it is an act of support or of sabotage to support the right of LGBTs to marry. But it’s their gig. … Marriage for All or None! – Hawley Roddick – Open Salon


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Baha’i International Community deplores destruction of Khavaran cemetery

GENEVA — The destruction earlier this month of a cemetery in Iran used for the mass burial of hundreds killed in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in 1979 is an outrageous violation of human dignity, the Baha’i International Community said today. At least 15 Baha’is were among those buried at the site.

“The destruction of the Khavaran cemetery by government agents goes against all concepts of respect for the dead in any culture, including values preached in Islam,” said Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva. 

Baha’i International Community deplores destruction of Khavaran cemetery


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Can You Choose Your Reincarnated Successor?

The search for the present Dalai Lama commenced in earnest in 1935 when the embalmed head of his deceased predecessor is said to have wheeled around and pointed toward northeastern Tibet.

Then, the story goes, a giant, star-shaped fungus grew overnight on the east side of the tomb. An auspicious cloud bank formed and a regent saw a vision of letters floating in a mystical lake, one of which — Ah — he took to refer to the northeast province of Amdo.

High lamas set off at a gallop and found a 2-year-old boy in a distant village. This child, they determined after a series of tests, was the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

There is little linear about lama succession in Tibet. And now, as the 14th Dalai Lama journeys into his 74th year, the question of how to pick his successor has come to preoccupy both him and his followers, as Tibet stands at an ever more precarious political pass. ….

Can You Choose Your Reincarnated Successor? – NYTimes.com


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Obama Gets It — But Will It Be In Time?

Obama Gets It — But Will It Be In Time?

Jan. 26, 2009 | The greatest task of the Obama administration — and the next 10 presidents — is to avoid catastrophic global warming. The latest science warns that the unstable West Antarctic ice sheet has been warming significantly since the 1950s, the rate of Greenland summer ice loss tripled last year, and the planet as a whole lost 2 trillion tons of ice in the last five years. The best mid-range estimate for sea level rise by the year 2100 is 5 feet, much higher than U.N. scientists projected just two years ago.

Fortunately, Obama clearly gets it. He devoted more of his inaugural address to clean energy and global warming than even the strongest advocate could have imagined, asserting, “We will work tirelessly to … roll back the specter of a warming planet.” More important, he has assembled a team with unmatched knowledge and commitment to solve the climate problem.

But the path toward a carbon-reduced future will not be an easy one….


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Japanese Religious Groups Concerned Over Effects of Judicial Changes

It seems to me that this is an issue that will resolve itself as people become more cognizant of the actual meaning of the lay judgeship, and the judiciary considers some case law.  Nonetheless, it ties in with other philosophical issues that concern all Buddhists.

Religious groups fret over lay judges

Some religious organizations have expressed uncertainty about how to deal with the nation’s lay judge system scheduled to begin in May.

Under the system, ordinary citizens, along with professional judges, will have to pass judgment on defendants in criminal trials.

Observers point out that religious leaders who seek to help people are unsure about whether they should play a role in bringing criminals to justice.

They also note the lay judge system has stirred debate over the stance religions should take over participation in social processes such as the lay judge system, under which lay judges might have to become involved in death sentence decisions….


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Vatican may join EU anti-terrorism body

Vatican City’s chief prosecutor, Nicola Picardi, said the increased threat of international terrorism required new forms of cooperation among countries.

In October, the Vatican successfully joined Interpol, and the Vatican’s Gendarmeria has been attending meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe since 2006, he said.

While only 492 people live in Vatican City, some 18 million pilgrims and tourists pass through Bernini’s splendid colonnade to enter St. Peter’s Basilica or visit the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museums each year.

Vatican may join EU anti-terrorism body


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The Jesus I Know…

Keep the Faith | A reader blog about liberal religion with the Rev. Matt Tittle | HoustonBelief.com

There was a human being
in the first century who was called “Divine,” “Son
of God,” “God,” and “God from God,” whose titles were “Lord,” “Redeemer,”
“Liberator,” and “Savior of the World.” All before Jesus was born.

All of these
terms belonged to Caesar Augustus…


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Houses of God Turn to Chapter 11

In Hard Times, Houses of God Turn to Chapter 11 in Book of Bankruptcy – WSJ.com

There are those (me among them) who might argue that perhaps God is trying to teach Her wasteful children a lesson.

The financial problems are crimping a church building boom that began in the 1990s, when megachurches multiplied, turning many houses of worship into suburban social centers complete with bookstores, gyms and coffee bars. Lenders say mortgage applications are down, while some commercial lenders no longer see churches as a safe investment.


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Op-Ed Contributor – The Pope’s Real Message for Obama – NYTimes.com

The roughly 67 million Catholics in the United States make up nearly one-quarter of the American population, but just 6 percent of the global Catholic total of 1.1 billion. Ninety-four percent of the Catholics in the world, in other words, are not Americans, which may help explain why the pope and his lieutenants are not always thinking American thoughts when they get out of bed in the morning.

That’s a useful bit of context to bear in mind in light of a tough new Vatican document on bioethics, released one week ago, that ratchets up the church’s condemnations of embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, the “morning-after pill” and a host of other techniques it regards as violations of human dignity. …

via Op-Ed Contributor – The Pope’s Real Message for Obama – NYTimes.com.


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Pew Forum: Faith on the Hill: The Religious Affiliations of Members of Congress

The study finds that there is at least one major difference between Congress and the nation as a whole: Members of Congress are much more likely than the public overall to say they are affiliated with a particular religion.

Ho ho ho

via Pew Forum: Faith on the Hill: The Religious Affiliations of Members of Congress.


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An Eye For An Eye, Times Two

We’ve got a long way to go, baby…

TEHRAN — Ameneh Bahrami once enjoyed photography and mountain vistas. Her work for a medical equipment company gave her financial independence. Several men had asked for her hand in marriage, but the hazel-eyed electrical technician had refused them all. “I wanted to get married, but only to the man I really loved,” she said.

Four years ago, a spurned suitor poured a bucket of sulfuric acid over her head, leaving her blind and disfigured.

Late last month, an Iranian court ordered that five drops of the same chemical be placed in each of her attacker’s eyes, acceding to Bahrami’s demand that he be punished according to a principle in Islamic jurisprudence that allows a victim to seek retribution for a crime.


Iranian Woman Blinded by Spurned Suitor Persuades Court to Punish Him Similarly – washingtonpost.com


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Gay Marriage Ban Inspires New Wave of Activists

Gay Marriage Ban Inspires New Wave of Activists – NYTimes.com

SAN FRANCISCO — They’re calling it Stonewall 2.0.

Outraged by California voters’ ban on same-sex marriage, a new wave of advocates, shaken out of a generational apathy, have pushed to the forefront of the gay rights movement, using freshly minted grass-roots groups and embracing not only new technologies but also old-school methods like sit-ins and sickouts.

Sow the wind…