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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.
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About this web site

Newly created or updated essays over
the past few months. Planned essays.

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In this web site, "SSM" is an acronym referring to marriage by a same-sex couple

"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals

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new symbol New and updated essays:

As of 2014-JUN, our dedicated server at CoreSpace in Dallas, TX contained over 7,250 essays and menus. This includes our home page, thousands of menus and many thousands of individual essays. We have a goal of adding one new essay each day. We also update many dozens of essays each week. We continually add to our interesting quotes section, We attempt to cover emerging stories related to religion, spirituality, morality, and ethics, as well as the historic beliefs and practices of many different religions.

There are lots of other religious web sites on the Internet that cover these same topics. However, they are generally written from a very conservative or very liberal point of view. They often reflect only the beliefs of their webmaster or sponsoring agency. Objectivity and balance are often weak or missing. Our web site is different. We try to explain all sides to each topic while remaining as free of bias as we can. When we do state our personal opinions, we identify them carefully.

We think that people can often understand a topic better by learning what others who hold different opinions believe and why they believe what they do. Unfortunately, religious liberals tend to listen and watch liberal news outlets like MSNBC and the Progress channel on Sirius XM. Conservatives tend to listen and watch Fox News and the Patriot channel of Sirius.

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Essays planned for the near future:

We estimate that we need to write many thousands of essays before our web site will be reasonably complete. Even then, there will undoubtedly be new controversial topics emerge among the main moral/ethical topics with a religious content -- like gun control, polygamous marriages, equal rights for transsexuals, etc. These will necessitate the writing of countless new articles.

We maintain a list of new topics about which we are currently working on or plan to write "someday."  We have a larger list for internal use that, sadly, numbers in the many thousands of topics.

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Why do we have so many essays on sexual minorities?

In recent years, the conflict between religious conservatives and sexual minorities -- defined either by their sexual orientation or gender identity -- have monopolized much of the news. Back in 2011-FEB, the Obama Administration decided to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Some commentators predicted that this would generate a tipping point on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) rights. This seems to have happened, because subsequent months saw an accelerating rate of change towards LGBT equality. The change has been so rapid that it has formed the bulk of our web site's new essays from 2011 until now.

In most countries, marriage laws are created by a central government. The U.S. and Mexico are exceptions. In the United States, marriage equality has been fought on a state-by-state basis in state and federal courts, state legislatures, and via citizen initiatives. Instead of one country-wide battle, as in Canada and a dozen or so other countries, it has become 51 battles: one for each state and the District of Columbia. It has been the main religious/civil rights topic in recent years -- eclipsing even abortion access.

However, on 2015-JAN-16, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the appeals by same-sex plaintiff couples in 4 marriage cases, from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, & Tennessee. Hearings will be held in April and a final ruling will be released in late 2015-JUN or early JUL. We expect the decision to be by a 5 to 4 vote which is usual for this court on moral and ethical questions. Many commentators expect that the high Court will eventually issue a ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage (SSM) across the entire country as it did during 1967 with interracial marriage in the case: Loving v. Virginia. Others expect that the court will ban SSMs across the entire country. There are other options open to the court that are part way between these two extremes. No matter what the Court decides, the lives of the approximately 32 million Americans who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual -- or who will discover later in life that they have a minority sexual orientation -- will be profoundly changed by nine Justices.

Since late 2014, commentators have realized that marriage equality would soon be determined nationally by the U.S. Supreme Court. Probably because of this, those groups who promote same-sex marriage have at least partially redirected their efforts towards changing state laws to give the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual community (LGBT) freedom from discrimination in employment, accommodation, etc. Meanwhile, the groups who are resisting same-sec marriage have redirected some of their efforts to protecting the right of people to use their personal religious beliefs to discriminate against sexual minorities with impunity from prosecution under human rights laws. These trends will probably accelerate during the first half of 2015.

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2015-April's book recommendation

book cover image James A. Haught "Religion is Dying: Soaring Secularism in America and the West" 186 pages. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
7.70 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $3.90.

Amazon.com book description:

"Perhaps 50 million adult Americans now say their religion is 'none' or 'don’t know.' This number has climbed dramatically since the 1990s. About 20 million U.S. Catholics have left that church - so one-tenth of American adults now are ex-Catholics. Two-thirds of American Christians in their 20s drop out of church before age 30, one report estimates. Once-prestigious mainline Protestant faiths with seminary-educated clergy have disintegrated so severely since 1960 that one analyst refers to “'Flatline Protestantism.' An estimated 4,000 American churches close each year. From every direction, evidence is snowballing that America, known for devout religion, is following the secular path of Western Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and other modern democracies, where churchgoing has retreated to a fringe. The trend can be seen in cultural changes such as the rapid social acceptance of gays. The Bible commands that homosexuals 'shall surely be put to death,' and fundamentalist churches have ranted against them for centuries -- yet most Americans now feel that they deserve human rights and equality. Religion has lost its power to dictate America’s morality. This book chronicles the slow, relentless demise of supernatural religion in America and the [rest of the] West."

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36 new (and a few updated) essays were posted so far during 2015-APR:

In addition to the new items listed so far in this month, hundreds of pre-existing essays are updated monthly:

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2015-March's book recommendation

book cover image Robert M. Price: "The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
20.90 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $9.24.

Amazon.com book description:

"The story of Paul is one of irony, the New Testament depicting him at the martyrdom of Stephen holding the assassins' cloaks. Then this same Paul is transformed into the biblical archetype for someone suffering for their faith. He becomes so entrenched, it would appear that he had walked with the Christians all his life, that he was the one who defined the faith, eventually being called the “second founder of Christianity.” But much of what we think we "know" about Paul comes from Sunday school stories we heard as children. The stories were didactic tales meant to keep us reverent and obedient.

As adults reading the New Testament, we catch glimpses of a very different kind of disciple—a wild ascetic whom Tertullian dubbed “the second apostle of Marcion and the apostle of the heretics.” What does scholarship tell us about the enigmatic thirteenth apostle who looms larger than life in the New Testament? The epistles give evidence of having been written at the end of the first century or early in the second -- too late to have been Paul’s actual writings. So who wrote (and rewrote) them? F. C. Baur, a nineteenth-century theologian, pointed persuasively to Simon Magus as the secret identity of “Paul.” Robert M. Price, in this exciting journey of discovery, gives readers the background for a story we thought we knew."

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56 new (and a few revised) essays were posted during 2015-MAR:

In addition to the new items listed so far in this month, hundreds of pre-existing essays are updated monthly:

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Sponsored link:

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During 2015-FEB, we recommend the book:

book cover  Susan Katz Miller, "Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available from Amazom.com for $18.90 plus postage in Hardcover or $13.68 plus postage in Paperback. Also available in Kindle format for $14.36.

Amazon.com book description:

"Susan Katz Miller grew up with a Jewish father and Christian mother, and was raised Jewish. Now in an interfaith marriage herself, she is one of the growing number of Americans who are boldly electing to raise children with both faiths, rather than in one religion or the other (or without religion). In Being Both, Miller draws on original surveys and interviews with parents, students, teachers, and clergy, as well as on her own journey, to chronicle this controversial grassroots movement.
 
Almost a third of all married Americans have a spouse from another religion, and there are now more children in Christian-Jewish interfaith families than in families with two Jewish parents. Across the country, many of these families are challenging the traditional idea that they must choose one religion. In some cities, more interfaith couples are raising children with “both” than Jewish-only. What does this mean for these families, for these children, and for religious institutions?
 
Miller argues that there are distinct benefits for families who reject the false choice of “either/or” and instead embrace the synergy of being both. Reporting on hundreds of parents and children who celebrate two religions, she documents why couples make this choice, and how children appreciate dual-faith education. But often families who choose both have trouble finding supportive clergy and community. To that end, Miller includes advice and resources for interfaith families planning baby-welcoming and coming-of-age ceremonies, and seeking to find or form interfaith education programs. She also addresses the difficulties that interfaith families can encounter, wrestling with spiritual questions (“Will our children believe in God?”) and challenges (“How do we talk about Jesus?”). And finally, looking beyond Judaism and Christianity, Being Both provides the first glimpse of the next interfaith wave: intermarried Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist couples raising children in two religions.
 
Being Both is at once a rousing declaration of the benefits of celebrating two religions, and a blueprint for interfaith families who are seeking guidance and community support."

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26 new (and a few extensively revised) essays were posted during 2015-FEB:

In addition to the new items listed so far in this month, hundreds of pre-existing essays are updated monthly:

  • With the start of a new month, we added a list of "Accelerating steps towards same-sex marriage. LGBT equality, etc."

  • Same-sex marriage in Alabama:

    • Alabama's journey towards marriage equality: Introduction and timeline

    • Part 7: 2015-JAN: Plaintiffs ask Circuit Court to let the stay expire. Trial lawyers group criticize Chief Justice Moore. Governor asks 11th Circuit Court to extend stay."NOM" supports Chief Justice Moore's stand. Freedom to Marry starts TV ad campaign.

    • Part 8: 2015-JAN/FEB: Freedom to Marry's TV ad campaign (Cont'd). Results of public opinion polls. 11th Circuit Court refuses to extend the stay.

    • Part 9: 2015-/FEB: District Court judge refuses to terminate stay. Madison County lacks resources to marry couples.

    • Part 10: 2015-FEB: Governor Bentley issues statement. Chief Justice Moore issues another letter. State officers file briefs with Supreme Court. New marriage license forms created.

    • Part 11: 2015-FEB: New marriage license forms created. Expected financial impact of marriage equality. Reactions to SSM by religious conservatives. Marriage equality may arrive in AL on FEB-09.

    • Part 12: 2015-FEB: Full marriage equality may arrive in AL on FEB-09, but only in some counties. Chief Justice Moore orders probate judges to not issue marriage licenses

    • Part 13: 2015-FEB: Chief Justice Moore issues a surprise order (Cont'd). Reactions

    • Part 14: 2015-FEB-09: Alabama became the 37th state with marriage equality. Reactions

    • Part 15: 2015-FEB-09: Alabama: 2015-FEB-09 & 10: Analysis of evangelical statement about SSM. Couples get licenses, sometimes in other counties.
      Good & bad reactions to marriage equality.

    • Part 16: 2015-FEB-09: Marriage equality has arrived but marriage licenses are often inconvenient to obtain.

    • Part 17: 2015-FEB-10: A Washington Post video. Lawsuit against a Mobile County probate judge. National Organization for Marriage makes appeal

    • Part 18: 2015-FEB-10/12: Marriage license availability in various counties. Comments from the Governor and public. Chief Justice Moore receives KKK support

    • Part 19: 2015-FEB-13: Editorial in The Plain Dealer. Reader comments. 1st Alabama same-sex marriage by SBC pastor!

  • Essays donated by Susan Humphreys:

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During 2015-JAN, we recommend the book:

book cover image Philip C. Almond: "The devil: a new biography" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $22.19 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $14.20.

Amazon.com book description:

"Although the Devil still 'lives' in modern popular culture, for the past 250 years he has become marginal to the dominant concerns of Western intellectual thought. That life could not be thought or imagined without him, that he was a part of the everyday, continually present in nature and history, and active at the depths of our selves, has been all but forgotten. It is the aim of this work to bring modern readers to a deeper appreciation of how, from the early centuries of the Christian period through to the recent beginnings of the modern world, the human story could not be told and human life could not be lived apart from the ‘life’ of the Devil. With that comes the deeper recognition that, for the better part of the last two thousand years, the battle between good and evil in the hearts and minds of men and women was but the reflection of a cosmic battle between God and Satan, the divine and the diabolic, that was at the heart of history itself."—from The Devil

Lucifer, Mephistopheles, Beelzebub; Ha-Satan or the Adversary; Iblis or Shaitan: no matter what name he travels under, the Devil has throughout the ages and across civilizations been a compelling and charismatic presence. In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the supposed reign of God has long been challenged by the fiery malice of his opponent, as contending forces of good and evil have between them weighed human souls in the balance.

In The Devil, Philip C. Almond explores the figure of evil incarnate from the first centuries of the Christian era. Along the way, he describes the rise of demonology as an intellectual and theological pursuit, the persecution as witches of women believed to consort with the Devil and his minions, and the decline in the belief in Hell and in angels and demons as corporeal beings as a result of the Enlightenment. Almond shows that the Prince of Darkness remains an irresistible subject in history, religion, art, literature, and culture.

Almond brilliantly locates the “life” of the Devil within the broader Christian story of which it is inextricably a part; the “demonic paradox” of the Devil as both God’s enforcer and his enemy is at the heart of Christianity. Woven throughout the account of the Christian history of the Devil is another complex and complicated history: that of the idea of the Devil in Western thought. Sorcery, witchcraft, possession, even melancholy, have all been laid at the Devil’s doorstep. Until the Enlightenment enforced a “disenchantment” with the old archetypes, even rational figures such as Thomas Aquinas were obsessed with the nature of the Devil and the specific characteristics of the orders of demons and angels. It was a significant moment both in the history of demonology and in theology when Benedict de Spinoza (1632–1677) denied the Devil’s existence; almost four hundred years later, popular fascination with the idea of the Devil has not yet dimmed.

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41 new (and a few extensively rewritten) essays were posted during 2015-JAN:

In addition to the new items listed so far in this month, hundreds of pre-existing essays are updated monthly.

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During 2014-DEC, we recommend the book:

 book cover image Susan Katz Miller, "Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family" Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. Available from Amazom.com for $18.90 plus postage in Hardcover or $13.68 plus postage in Paperback. Also available in Kindle format for $14.36.

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Amazon.com book description:

"Susan Katz Miller grew up with a Jewish father and Christian mother, and was raised Jewish. Now in an interfaith marriage herself, she is one of the growing number of Americans who are boldly electing to raise children with both faiths, rather than in one religion or the other (or without religion). In Being Both, Miller draws on original surveys and interviews with parents, students, teachers, and clergy, as well as on her own journey, to chronicle this controversial grassroots movement.
 
Almost a third of all married Americans have a spouse from another religion, and there are now more children in Christian-Jewish interfaith families than in families with two Jewish parents. Across the country, many of these families are challenging the traditional idea that they must choose one religion. In some cities, more interfaith couples are raising children with “both” than Jewish-only. What does this mean for these families, for these children, and for religious institutions?
 
Miller argues that there are distinct benefits for families who reject the false choice of “either/or” and instead embrace the synergy of being both. Reporting on hundreds of parents and children who celebrate two religions, she documents why couples make this choice, and how children appreciate dual-faith education. But often families who choose both have trouble finding supportive clergy and community. To that end, Miller includes advice and resources for interfaith families planning baby-welcoming and coming-of-age ceremonies, and seeking to find or form interfaith education programs. She also addresses the difficulties that interfaith families can encounter, wrestling with spiritual questions (“Will our children believe in God?”) and challenges (“How do we talk about Jesus?”). And finally, looking beyond Judaism and Christianity, Being Both provides the first glimpse of the next interfaith wave: intermarried Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist couples raising children in two religions.
 
Being Both is at once a rousing declaration of the benefits of celebrating two religions, and a blueprint for interfaith families who are seeking guidance and community support."

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31 new (and a few extensively revised) essays were posted during 2014-DEC:

In addition to the new items listed so far in this month, hundreds of pre-existing essays are updated monthly.

  • Part 2: A list of three proofs, and a rebuttal to the frequently cited "twin studies" proof

  • Part 3: An effort by PFOX to use Proof #1: Identical twins in which one twin is gay does not necessarily mean that the other is also gay.

  • Part 4: PFOX's effort (Continued)

  • Part 5: PFOX's effort (Concluded)

  • Part 6: Proof #2, based on birth rate of lesbians and gays, with a rebuttal.

  • Part 7: Proof #3, based on the ability of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals to "change." Epigenetics: a possible game-changer.
  • Intersexuality (a.k.a. Disorder of Sexual Development, or DSD)

  • Same-sex marriage in Ireland:
  • Part 5: 2014: Opinion on marriage equality."Yes Equality" coalition formed. Irish Times/IPSOS poll on the referendum. Referendum date set

  • Same-sex marriage in Scotland:
    • Part 8: 2014-DEC: More remarks from the passage of the marriage equality bill. Will there be human rights conflicts as a result of this law? 2014-DEC: Law came into effect in two stages.

  • About Evangelicals for Marriage Equality,
    • Part 2: its advisory board, advertising problems, support and opposition within the evangelical community, divisions withinevangelical Christianity, & webmaster's comments.

  • Same-sex marriage in Florida:
    • Part 12: 2014-AUG: Reactions to the District Court ruling. Ruling mostly stayed. Case is appealed to U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. District Court stay made temporary.

    • Part 13: District Court stay to expire JAN-05. State cancels couple's driver's licenses. Liberty Counsel filed brief in state court. 11th U.S. Circuit Court refuses to extend stay.

    • Part 14: Three-judge panel of 11th Circuit Court refuses to extend stay on District Court's decision to permit same-sex marriage. Reactions. Webmaster's comments.

    • Part 15: More reactions to the 11th Circuit Court's decision. Will same-sex couples be able to marry in January? Newspaper suggests state should allow SSM. State seeks stay extension from Supreme Court.

    • Part 16: U.S. Supreme Court refuses to extend stay. Same-sex couples in some counties expected be able to marry in January. Chaos forming?
      Reactions to the developing confusion.

    • Part 17: Chaos forming whether same-sex couples will be able to marry throughout Florida, starting 2015-JAN-06.

  • About NARTH: The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality: Study of homosexuality. Reparative therapy safety & effectiveness. Racism. Rekers' incidents. (Updated)

Same-sex marriage in Idaho:

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