I Guess Church/State Separation Advocates Are Extremists Now

My friend Anu Garg runs the popular website Wordsmith.org, where he teaches you a Word of the Day complete with pronunciation, etymology, etc.

This week’s theme is “Words from the Bible” and Garg introduces the theme with some thoughts on religion and politics:

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The Gods That Won’t Die: For the First Time In a Millennium, Iceland Will Build a Shrine To Norse Deities

Some ancient gods have remarkable resilience. They may fade away for a while, only to be rediscovered and re-worshiped. For instance, more than 16 centuries after Greek gods like Zeus, Apollo, and Hera were replaced by Christianity, the so-called New Hellenes dusted them off and venerated them anew. Today, several hundred thousand Greeks are said to be followers of the classic dodecatheon. I wrote about them here.

Next up: A revival of Thor, Odin, Freya, Loki, Heimdall, and other Norse deities?

Via the U.K. Telegraph:

Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.

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Does It Matter Whether People of Faith Do Awful Things For “Cultural” Rather Than Religious Reasons?

When someone who subscribes to a dubious belief system commits an act of savagery, can the true motivation be pinpointed as that person’s faith or creed? What if it’s the person’s culture? Can we tease those things apart? Is it relevant?

The question of the prime motivator frequently comes up when the topic is the concept of honor and shame that drives so many atrocities against (especially) women in Islamic communities.

PBS, for instance, is happy to tell us (not very convincingly, as far as I’m concerned), that

Honor killings are part of a culture, not a religion, and occur in Arab communities in the United States and many countries.

Hmm. I wonder what religion the perpetrators overwhelmingly are, but it appears we are not encouraged to inquire — it’s “culture,” and that’s that… just like we’re often reminded (with more demonstrable truthfulness) that female genital mutilation is a product of “culture” and that religion plays a small(er) part.

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Jesus Will Be Pissed If Christian Women Go See Fifty Shades of Grey

Carmen Miller, who co-founded the “God Over Porn” ministry, is shocked — shocked! — that Christian women are getting excited about the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie. She wants them all to know how upset God will be if they choose to watch it:

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Republican Leader: Ending Mandatory Prayers in Public Schools Has Led to “Assault, Rape, Murder”

On the “View from a Pew” show recently, Iowa Republican National Committee member Tamara Scott echoed the nasty (and completely off-base) conservative talking point that, when mandatory prayer in public school was deemed unconstitutional, it opened the door to all sorts of horrors:

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