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Planned Parenthood responds to weekend protests

Planned Parenthood responded to this weekend's local protest events by reiterating their commitment to providing reproductive health services and calling claims that they profit from fetal tissue untrue "political attacks" from right-leaning "extremists."

"These politically-motivated attacks claiming that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation are simply not true,” read a statement from Tanya Riordan, vice president of community outreach for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.

The statement echoes the position of the national organization, which has criticized a series of videos released by an organization opposed to abortion as heavily edited and sensationalized. Riordan emphasized that Planned Parenthood offers a variety of health care services to low-income patrons.

"These protests and attacks on Planned Parenthood are meant to harass and intimidate patients from seeking vital health care services, including lifesaving cancer screenings and treatment, infection testing and treatment, family planning and birth control, and much more," the local chapter of the nonprofit said in its statement. "Make no mistake: These are fundamentalist extremist groups that gain attention and gratification from obstructing women’s access to health care, birth control, and honest education.”

At the protest on Saturday morning, state Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, called the group an "evil organization" that was committing acts on par with Nazi Germany.

Planned Parenthood's annual report shows that 3 percent of its operations last year were related to abortion services. Many protesters said Saturday they were concerned about taxpayer dollars funding abortion. There are several state and federal laws that prohibit public funding of abortions, except in rare circumstances.

"Planned Parenthood will continue to be here for our patients no matter what," the local chapter said in its statement.

Idaho’s history of religious fear goes back decades

Fear and discrimination against different religious groups has a long history in Idaho, reports Ryan Struyk of the Associated Press, from hostility toward Mormon settlers dating back to the first days of Idaho Territory in the late 1800s, to resistance to Catholic immigrants, including Basques, in the 1920s. Most recently, three Idaho senators boycotted a Hindu prayer that was offered to open a Senate session this year, and Republicans in various parts of the state are fanning fears of the state’s Muslim population. You can read Struyk’s full report here.

Fishing’s better when God is on your side

FISHING — I, too, have had days like this with my fishing buddies.

Retreat answers anglers’ prayers

FISHING — A Weekend Fishermen’s Retreat, with programs ranging from fishing to Catholic faith, is set for June 27-29 at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center.

The theme, “Launch Out into the Deep (Luke 5:4) will be keynoted by Paul Coutinho, who has a doctorate in historical theology.

While Coutinho, a native of India, will brings an Eastern flavor to Western spirituality, two Northwest fishermen will provide the angling content:

  • Pat Neal, a North Olympic Peninsula fishing guide, steelheader, author and humorist.
  • Deacon Allen Peterson, owner of Swede’s Fly Shop of Spokane.

Info: Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, (509) 448 -1224, ext. 109.

How religion cuts crime

People who regularly visit a place of worship are less likely to get involved in low level crime and delinquency, according to new research.

A survey from Manchester University found a direct correlation between higher visits to religious places and lower crime figures, especially in relation to shoplifting, drug use and music piracy.

Researchers believe this is because religion not only teaches people about 'moral and behavioural norms', but also spending time with like-minded people makes it less likely they'll get mixed up with the 'wrong crowd'. Read more. Daily Mail

The study found people who visit places of worship commit fewer crimes— the more frequent the visits, the lower the chance of deliquent behaviour.

How often do you visit a place of worship?


What if this was St. Spokane?

Slice reader Bob Launhardt wonders how atheists deal with living in cities named after saints.

Skiers will continue to see Jesus on Whitefish slopes

PUBLIC LANDS — God prevails in the courts.

Federal judge in Montana says ski-slope Jesus can stay
On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen issued a ruling clearing the way for the Flathead National Forest to reissue a permit to the Knights of Columbus to maintain a statue of Jesus on Big Mountain. — Kalispell Daily InterLake;

Pope Francis forgoes Popemobile

While I'm not sure where the new head of the Catholic Church stands on climate change, Pope Francis is already shaking things up when it comes to environmental issues. In the beginning, he had made small efforts such as eating meals at home and speaking out for the poor in the face of globalization. I was also hopeful when he took the name Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment, after all. 

It is often cited that he loves transit. The Pope simply loves to take the bus as part of his committment to humble living though it seemed like he would have to give it up for security reasons. 

Meet the Pope Bus.

From Planetizen:

The Pope Bus is inspired by Pope Francis' own transportation preferences. When a cardinal in Buenos Aires, he gave up his chauffeured limousine and opted to ride the bus to work. Before accepting the Popedom, he insisted that the provision of a Pope Bus – with bullet-proof viewing chamber included – be written into his contract. And so it was.

Known for his humility and consideration of the less fortunate, Pope Francis says he hopes his new Pope Bus will provide service and comfort to the less fortunate of the world.

"If I'm going to be paraded across town like a museum exhibit, I might as well help get some people to work while I'm doing it," said the Pope in a telephone interview from a payphone newly installed by his request in Vatican City.

Poll: Only 49% Say Obama Christian

Forty-nine percent of voters identify President Obama as a Christian, a new poll says, and the others say that they don't know or that he is a Muslim. "Nearly four years into his presidency the view that Barack Obama is Muslim persists," says the survey from the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. According to the poll on religion and politics, 17% say Obama is a Muslim, while 31% say they do not know his religion. "Fewer say Obama is Christian — and more say he is Muslim — than did so in October 2008, near the end of the last presidential campaign," Pew reported. "The increase since 2008 is particularly concentrated among conservative Republicans, about a third of whom (34%) describe the president as a Muslim"/David Jackson, USA Today. More here. (AP photo)

Question: If President Obama says he's a Christian, that's good by me. How about you?

Just wondering

I realize many don't give a rip about the liturgical calendar, which is their absolute right.

But I wonder.

Is it appropriate to say "Happy Friday" on Good Friday?

Poll: Obama Not Attacking Religion

  • Monday Poll: Almost a supermajority of Hucks Nation disagrees with GOPresidential candidate Rick Santorum's claim that President Barack Obama is hostile to religion. 128 of 201 respondents (63.68%) said Obama isn't hostile to religion. 68 of 201 respondents (33.83%) said the president is hostile to religion. 5 of 201 (2.49%) were undecided.
  • Dan English Poll: 61 of 117 respondents (52.14%) said they'd like to see former Kootenai County clerk Dan English, a Democrat, run for the seat currently held by state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, if English decides to seek county or legislative office this year. 25 respondents (21.37%) want to see English run for county commission; 13 (11.11%) want him to seek Rep. Vito Barbieri's seat; 8 (6.84%) want him to seek Sen. Steve Vick's seat; and 10 (8.55%) want him to seek an undisclosed seat.
  • Today's Poll: Should the Idaho Board of Education add the word "flagship" back into the mission statement of the University of Idaho?

Tebow’s Religious Talk Bugs Plummer

Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is a Christian, as he rarely misses an opportunity to say. Former Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer says he’s heard it enough from Tebow that he doesn’t need to hear it any more. In an interview with 910-AM in Phoenix, Plummer said that he thinks highly of the way Tebow is winning games in Denver, but he wishes Tebow would cool it on turning post-game interviews into an opportunity to proselytize. “I wish he’d just shut up after a game and go hug his teammates,” Plummer said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff”/Michael David Smith, NBC Sports. More here.

Question: Does Tim Tebow's witness for Jesus Christ bug you?

Cops: Pa. robber prayed w/ disabled victim

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) — Police say a man stopped to pray while robbed a woman in a wheelchair after breaking into her western Pennsylvania home.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Perretti II, of New Castle, is in the Lawrence County Jail awaiting a hearing on charges including burglary and robbery. Court records don't list an attorney.

The New Castle News reports Perretti forced open a door at the woman's house about 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 30. Once inside, he demanded money and the woman gave him $5, but he wanted more. The woman told police she began praying as Perretti pushed past her to take $20 from her purse. Perretti apologized — though he didn't give the money back — and knelt down as she prayed before running away.

Police found him a short time later.

Dogwalk: Politicians & Pesky Religion

Michele Bachmann is a headache!  Maybe even a migraine.  She certainly creates, in me, as per possible side effects of a migraine,  a degree of nausea and (a) disturbed vision! Now, it seems she has left her church.  She is ~ was ~ Lutheran. After having belonged to the church for at least ten years even if she hasn't attended, in favor of another, for the last two.  It seems, after all those years, she finds herself questioning the Lutherans stand on the Pope and the Catholic view of how one attains salvation. I left the church when I was in college for a number of reasons, not the least being witness to this doctrine being preached from the pulpit to numerous in the congregation from other countries and religions. I thought it showed an insensitivity to those exploring various religions, including Catholicism/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (AP photo of Bachmann in Aiken, S.C., this week)

Question (for former church goers who no longer attend church of any kind): What was the deal breaker that caused you to quit going to church?

Religion Finds Home At Rodeo

The sounds of cowboy gospel music and the faint smell of manure wafted down to the door of the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds’ indoor arena on Saturday. Corey Ross, a preacher from Texas, stood before men in cowboy hats and women wearing large belt buckles. As he began to sing about God’s grace, his voice broke through the murmur of stock calves shuffling just a few rows below him in the large arena. In the crowd, some dressed in their country best in preparation for the night’s championship go of the College National Finals Rodeo, while others wore simple T-shirts and sun-bleached baseball caps. They clapped along with Ross’ folksy tune before sitting down, their eyes trained on the singing preacher man/Amy Huddleston, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (Idaho Press Tribune file photo of high school rodeo in Caldwell)

Question: Do you mind when an athlete uses the podium provided by his/her sport to share his/her faith?

Steele may sue over jail book policy

SANDPOINT, Idaho — A North Idaho attorney convicted by a federal jury for his role in a plot to kill his wife has filed a tort claim against Bonner County, alleging the jail’s policy for providing books to inmates violates his religious freedoms. 

Edgar Steele, 65, was convicted on four counts in U.S. District Court in Boise earlier this month in a murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife and mother-in-law last year.

He faces at least 30 years in prison and is being held in the Bonner County Jail pending sentencing scheduled for August. Steele, who once represented the Aryan Nations, is now taking aim at the jail’s book policy, claiming Bibles are the only religious texts delivered to inmates, a limitation he said infringes on his right to religious freedom.

Steele said he is a Taoist, a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes compassion, moderation and humility with roots in sixth century China.

In his claim, Steele also contends the jail essentially censors other inmate reading materials because they are passed out by chaplains and heavily influenced by Christian fundamentalist themes.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story here.

Gimme old time religion…

Good morning, Netizens…


With the morning news that Oops!! the Reverend Harold Camping, who predicted the end of it all on May 21, he now states that his calendar got screwed up and the date of the Rapture will fall on October 21, instead. This brings me back to the vision(s) we have of Biblical statements, mostly relating to the Old Testament in the case of David Horsey, cartoonist, for example.


Parts of the Old Testament, which includes the Pentateuch, is a favorite source of theology for some old-time religious beliefs, some of which David Horsey has cited in this cartoon. Far be it from me to wade into the middle of the dialogue between Biblical scholars! However, as David Horsey's excellent cartoon suggests, the Old Testament has some pretty interesting restrictions upon modern-day living.


Can you imagine what would happen if we had to actually had to live with the statements contained in the Old Testament? Say, come to think of it, we could all have multiple wives, now couldn't we? We could even behead those in advertising so regularly lie to us. I could easily come up with more sweeping changes that would come about if we adhered 100% with the restrictions in the Old Testament. Say, couldn't we have fun?


Of course, your beliefs and decisions may differ from this vision. Nonetheless, it is an interesting thought.



The Pope on climate change

Some thought it was a foot in the mouth moment when Pope Benedict XVI made the environment an issue in the church by declaring “God entrusted man with the responsibility of creation.” Benedict has been dubbed the "green pope" for his environmental concerns. The Vatican installed photovoltaic cells on the roof of its main auditorium. One year later it installed a solar cooling unit for its main cafeteria and joined a reforestation project aimed at offsetting its CO2 emissions.

Now, The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican's scientific advisory panel,  issued a strong report calling for an urgent reduction in carbon emissions.

"We appeal to all nations to develop and implement, without delay, effective and fair policies to reduce the causes and impacts of climate change on communities and ecosystems, including mountain glaciers and their watersheds, aware that we all live in the same home," says the report. 

Proof that climate change and religion are by no means adversaries.

Have a little faith: Join Earth Hour event March 26

ENVIRONMENT — Artists and naturalists will be mingled in a local gathering that will link world-wide activities during the Faith and Environment Network's annual Called to Care event  on Earth Hour Day, March 26 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, 127 E. 12th Ave. on Spokane's South Hill.

Earth Hour is an event initiated by the World Wildlife Fund in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. 

The Spokane Group joined Earth Hour 2010 as 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action in celebration and contemplation of the planet we all have in common.

The local Faith and Environment Network engages people of faith and their congregations in caring for creation.

This year's event at the cathedral includes:

  • Artists and naturalists discussing the environment.
  • Dark Sky movement presentation on environmentally responsible outdoor lighting.
  • Music, readings and medications from various faith traditions.
  • Turning off lights at the Cathedral at 8:30 p.m. in tune with the global observation of Earth Hour.

Activities start at 4:30 p.m. A light supper will be provided.

Donation: $15 is suggested.

Info: Evita Krislock, 220-6532 or Thomas Soeldner, 607-7115.

Nuns deny devilish claims of skulduggery

Accusations of stolen cash and silver, forged business records and slander have been hurled between two groups of nuns.

The episode has resulted in a police investigation at the request of the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Ghost, who claim that two members of their convent left, but not before stealing the items and turning them over to a rival convent at Mount St. Michael.

Read the rest of John Stucke’s story here.

GOP Rejects Jedi As Party’s Religion

Idaho Republicans won’t be adopting the Jedi religion or pushing for it to becoming the official state religion. A committee at the GOP’s convention on Friday unanimously rejected a resolution recognizing the religion popularized by the Star Wars movies.  The resolution was submitted by Taso Kinnas of Boise, who didn’t speak to the committee and would not comment on the plan/Brad Iverson-Long. More here.

Question: Would Idaho Republicans make good Jedis?

Time for tea and dolls

Liberty Park United Methodist Church, which is located at 1526 E. 11th Avenue, is holding its annual tea on Thursday May 13 from noon to 2 p.m. Church members will display antique, vintage and cultural dolls, and guests are invited to bring their own dolls along for a visit.

On the menu are sandwiches, deviled eggs and veggies, as well as coffee, tea and cookies. And you get all that for just $3 per person. RSVP to the church by calling (509) 535-5905.

Evangelicals on climate change


This was taken last year but writer Matt Nisbet asserted the difference “between Evangelicals and other religious groups on perceptions of climate change is more likely to be because of the confounding influence of partisan identity rather than specific religious identity.”

Horsey speaks on religion…

Good morning, Netizens…

I don’t know why David Horsey chose today, Black Friday, of all days to write about a history of religion, but so be it. It is a hot enough button, and it is done well enough that it should inspire either some in-depth conversation or controversy, depending upon one’s relative point of view.

One of my favorite books, The Comparative History of Religion, an out-of-date tome that delves pretty deeply into how the various religions have evolved, including not only the various permutations of Christianity but pretty much all the other religious factions from Islamic Faith to the more esoteric and Eastern belief systems. Yet another excellent study in belief, the eleven volume set of The History of Philosophy by Will and Ariel Durant, exposes much of how religions evolved.

Nearly all the religions of the world proclaim loudly they are religions of peace. When you stop to think of it, most of the significant wars and strife in the world have been fomented or at least abetted by religion, beginning with the Birth of Christ, continuing up to modern times.

Some say religion and politics are often quite parallel to one another throughout history. Of course, some others suggest that religion shaped politics or vice-versa. It all depends upon one’s perspective.

We have been dragged back and forth into various wars throughout history by our faiths and our political points of view, so it comes as no surprise that in our generation we are fighting wars, once again, with two religions, or factions thereof, most of which proclaim they have only peaceful beliefs.

To see the logic of this all we must do is study history, for its unblinking eye tends to tell us wars and religions are inevitable. Of course, your opinions may differ.


Is religion dying away?

Good morning, Netizens…

Yesterday was Easter Sunday and if you believe David Horsey, there must be a reason why the churches in Spokane were filled to overflowing despite the fact overall church attendance is declining steadily. However, in his analysis of churchgoers, while David Horsey covered the Evangelical, Catholic, Episcopalian and Methodist he left out several of my favorite religious faiths.

For example, he omitted to mention the Mormons who admit to worshiping God but have their own interpretation of the Bible, complete with two books represented to be Holy Scripture. Are they the most-populous American church? Some say yes, some say no. I say it makes a difference on whether you are a practicing Mormon.

Horsey also overlooks the Unitarians who are perceived by some as somewhat of a alternative religion. According to some other churches, they sidestep traditional God-worship because they ordain Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered (BGLT) persons as ministers, which probably drives the Catholics and the Mormons out of their minds. Ah, and then they allow the battle between religion and science to do battle on a regular basis. As far as I know they have not fully accepted Easter as the rising of Christ from the dead, but I could be wrong on that. This may be what is referred to as “intellectualizing Jesus Christ”, but I could be wrong.

Horsey also fails to pay attention to the Unity movement, the Buddhists, Zoroastrians and various other sects who regularly plead for you to join their congregations and contribute to their cause(s). Each have their own set of disciplines, beliefs and long (sometimes tortured) histories, some of which predate the time of Christ.

Horsey’s cartoon begs the question quite directly: Is Christianity dead or dying on the carpet of Faith? I submit that if you judge the validity of Christianity by the number of persons in church on Easter Sunday, you might be drawn to conclude it is alive and well in America. However, in mid-July this summer, when everyone flees Spokane for camping trips, vacations and other events, you might draw a different conclusion.

My opinion is if you base your belief in the resiliency of Christianity upon the attendance in church, then you might truly end up scratching your heads, because the resident populations dramatically diminishes then.


Labor and business clash over captive-audience meetings: unions call it a privacy issue, business says it’s a gag rule…

From the print paper:

OLYMPIA – For nearly two years, Dan Joy says, his boss at a Spokane grocery store badgered him and other employees to go to the boss’ church.

It would, they were told, help their careers.

Joy declined, over and over. He said his boss finally mocked him as just “a trinket-worshipping Catholic.”

Shortly after that, he says, he was fired over an unsubstantiated customer complaint from one of the boss’ fellow church members.

In what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest battles between organized labor and business in the statehouse this year, lawmakers are considering making it illegal to require workers to attend mandatory meetings if the topics are unionization, politics, religion or charitable donations.

Companies would still be free to hold the meetings. But they could no longer require employees to attend. If they try, workers could sue.

“It allows workers the right to choose not to listen to or participate in unwanted communication with their employer on issues of individual conscience,” said Rick Bender, president of the 500-local Washington State Labor Council.

Voting, donating to a charity, practicing one’s faith and joining a union “are all private decisions,” he said, and employers shouldn’t be allowed to compel workers to listen to pitches on those topics. Without such protection, Bender said, many employees dare not challenge the practice.

“What worker can afford to lose their job, particularly today?” he said.

The bill drew a standing-room-only crowd in Olympia Tuesday, with workers and company officials spilling into the hallway outside a hearing room.

Kris Tefft, general counsel for the Association of Washington Business, called the proposal “clearly the most divisive, controversial bill that this committee has heard in probably a decade.”

Yahweh or No Way

This week, Colbert covers Obama’s propechy of a Steeler victory, the failed sale of the Atlanta White House, and the reinstatement of holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson into the Catholic Church.

Blasphemy?  Eh.  It’s all subjective.  And, as Colbert stated (satirically), there are worse things in the world than blasphemy and heresy, including but not limited to denial of the holocaust.