You are here

Religion & Spirituality

Bill Watterson | Being Religious /

Indiana, Religious Liberty, and Religious War


What Republican state legislatures are doing now would establish one religion as supreme over all of the others, with the power of the State to determine which is which.  Above and beyond discrimination against one or more targeted groups of individuals, this is a recipe for a Second Civil War, not only about race, but now about religion. 

Steven Jonas, Planetary Movement

I%20Want%20You.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

separation-of-church-and-hate-1.jpgApril 2, 2015 | So the Indiana Legislature passed and the Governor signed a law that, claims to the contrary notwithstanding, as Frank Rich and many others have noted, surely seemed intended to permit persons operating public accommodations and publicly licensed and/or per-mitted businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ persons, based on their sexual orientation.  Certainly the list of organizations which sponsored the legislation in Indiana (and have done so in many other states) have not been shy about saying that that’s what it is all about.  Those organizations include the American Family (sic) Association (state and national), “Advance America,”  the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Heritage Institute, and the Family (sic) Research Council.  

Of course, one wonders just how Indiana businesses which want to discriminate against LGBTQ persons would pick out the discriminatees.  Since most LGBTQ persons look just like everyone else, would there be a law in Indiana requiring the known among them to line up to receive, let us say, a Pink Triangle?  Now it is true that that was the insignia the Nazis used to identify homosexuals, starting just after they took power in 1933, two years before they came up with the Yellow Star of David to identify the Jews.  So there might a problem in that.  Perhaps someone in one of the organizations listed above could give it some thought and come up with a better one.

Steven Jonas is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the School of Medicine, Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books on health policy, health and wellness, and sports and regular exercise. In addition to being a Trusted Author for OpEdNews, Dr. Jonas is a columnist for, Managing Editor and a Contributing Author for the Political Junkies for Progressive Democracy; a Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post; a Contributor to The Planetary Movement; a Contributor to Dandelion Salad, and a Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter.

Full story … 

From the Archives | Easter Messages, 2014


  • Jesus was killed because he was a speaker of God’s truth. He was an unrelenting advocate of justice. The resurrection stories make a profound declaration: Truth can never be killed and the truth-teller can never be defeated. 
  • Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter
  • Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

twitter-4-512.pnNow you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter.

Part 1:Telling the Truth about Easter

Jesus, a radical preacher who advocated for the poor, was crucified for turning over money tables at the Temple and other insurrectionary acts. His body was likely left to wild animals, but his chroniclers sought to glorify his ending with myths about a resurrection.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

Depiction of Jesus’s Crucifixion by 16th Century artist Mathis Gothart-Nithart.jesus-crucifixion-Mathis-Gothart-Nithart-222x300.jpg

April 19, 2014 | On Easter morning, at 6:30 a.m. when sunlight is just beginning to glow over the mountains to the east of Palmer, Alaska, I will, as is my custom, arrive at a sunrise Easter service to celebrate the resurrection of my Lord. I have already checked the lectionary and reread the resurrection story as recorded in Matthew 28:1-10. Millions of my Christian brothers and sisters will be reading the same ten verses.

Millions of sermons will be preached based on the Matthew account of the resurrection, but very few preachers will make mention of the history and background of the passage. A typical minister will not share what he/she learned in theological seminary about the resurrection passages.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

Full story … 

Part 2: Misunderstanding Jesus’s Execution

jesusmoneychangers-300x244.jpgFrom the Archives (Originally published April 23, 2011): Over the centuries as Christianity bent to the interests of the rich and powerful, the story of Jesus’s fateful week in Jerusalem was reshaped to minimize its pivotal event, overturning the Temple’s money tables, a challenge to religious and political power.

Howard Bess, Consortium News

April 13, 2014 Christians have special celebrations for the key events of Holy Week, but they often overlook one of the most important.

Palm Sunday celebrates the entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. Maunday Thursday is a solemn replay of his last meal with his disciples. Good Friday takes us through his mock trial and his death of horror on a Roman Cross. Easter is the Christians’ triumphant celebration of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead.

Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska.

Full story … 

California Attorney-General Fights To Void Deadly Anti-Gay Ballot Initiative


  • There is nothing religious about hate or about mandating the mass killing of people belong to an identifiable group.  To suggest otherwise is sophistry at its worst.
  • Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom

Adalia Woodbury, PoliticusUSA

20229527c1c240439ddbc81bf821d95e.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

Saturday, March, 28th, 2015 | The far right’s war on the LGBT community took a variety of turns this week. Indiana’s Governor signed a law that confuses bigotry with religion.  Arkansas’ legislature passed a similar law on Friday.  A similar bill was tabled in Georgia. California’s Attorney-General is trying to void a ballot measure that seeks to kill all Gay people.

RFRA and “Super RFRA” laws are under consideration by state legislatures in Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Texas West Virginia and Wyoming.

As disturbing as these laws are, a ballot measure that California’s Attorney-General, Kamala Harris, asked a court to void is even more disturbing.

The so called Sodomite Suppression Act seeks to kill Gays and Lesbians “by bullets to the head or by any other convenient method.”

Adalia Woodbury is the Senior legal analyst for PoliticusUSA. Adalia comes to Politicus with a background in politics and law. Adalia’s primary interests are advocating for civil rights and combating hate speech.

Full story … 


Flipping the Script on Religious Freedom, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 


  • “It is absolutely hypocritical for Pence to claim that Indiana’s Christians need legal protections, while its LGBT citizens are left to depend on ‘Hoosier hospitality.’
  • Part 1: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Fails Miserably On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos
  • Part 2: The Awesome Response to Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Why We Must Change How We Change the World

“We are caught in a vicious cycle, a dangerous dynamic that shapes our views about the people who experience suffering. As a result, those trapped in poverty are dehumanized and poverty is dumbed down while good, well-intended people really believe they are caring, world-conscious, and ethical. But change is coming.”  

Stephan Bauman, Sojourners / God's Politics

twitter-4-512.pngNow you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter. 

Photo courtesy World ReliefI%20CAN%20CHANGE%20THE%20WORLD.jpeg

02-25-2015 | It’s hard to be optimistic about changing the world when our news cycle is dominated by terrorism, violence, and disease. When world events shock us, sometimes our best hopes cave in to our worst fears. Even the most radical activist may be tempted to give up.


But there is a different narrative that summons those of us who dare to care. It begins when we confront the things that have kept millions from breaking free from poverty and injustice. It ends when we find the courage to change how we change the world.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, which consistently ranks among the
poorest countries in the world and the most dangerous for women, a group of peacemakers are changing the narrative. Last year I met a Congolese woman who told me how her husband was killed in crossfire between warring militias, how she was violently assaulted by the soldiers who were supposed to protect her, and how she fled her village with her eight children under the cover of night. In the wake of her suffering, she joined a group of women to save small amounts of their own money each week. From her savings, she launched a soap-making business. Over time, she employed others and taught her sisters how to do the same. She helps others to forgive their perpetrators and, together, they are determined to stop the violence against women in a land known as the rape capital of the world.

Stephan Bauman is President and CEO of World Relief, which empowers the worldwide church to overcome global poverty and injustice, chair of The Justice Conference, and author of Possible: A Blueprint For Changing How We Change the World.

Full story … 

Pope Francis Declares Oscar Romero a Martyr for the Faith—but Whose Faith?


  • Oscar Romero being cleared for beatification (by a pope from Latin America who has his own complicated relationship to liberation theology is important, which progressives should see as a rearguard battle in the culture wars, which are the political wars, which are the economic wars, which in Central America were real, life-and-death wars.
  • By pushing for the beatification of Romero, Francis is sending his own powerful signal—not about the past but the present.

Greg Grandin, the Nation

I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

oscar_romer_el_salvador_cc_img.jpgMural of Oscar Romero (Juana Alicia, CC BY-NC 2.0) 

February 4, 2015 | This week, Pope Francis declared Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero a “martyr” for the Catholic faith, the last major step on the road to becoming a saint. Romero was assassinated on the order of a US-trained and -backed death-squader, Roberto D’Aubuisson, almost thirty-five years ago, on March 24, 1980.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, there is unease with Romero’s case for sainthood among high-ranking prelates, including Benedict XVI, “because of Romero’s embrace of liberation theology, a type of Christian theology that posits that Christ did not just seek liberation from sin but every type of oppression.” In fact, there was an actual Vatican ban on Romero’s beatification, which the pope lifted with his declaration.

Greg Grandin is the author of Empire's Workshop, Fordlandia, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award, and, most recently, The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World.   He teaches at New York University.

Full story … 

Empathy Heroes: 5 People Who Changed the World By Taking Compassion to the Extreme

  • Want to learn to change the world with empathy? Get ready to learn from the masters.
  • Cultivating Gratitude For Everything in Life

Roman Krznaric, YES! Magazine

Twitter%20Logo%20%28512%29.jpFollow Evergreene Digest on Twitter

Empathy-USA-cover-low-res-198x300.jpgNov 06, 2014 | Ever heard of “empathy marketing”? It’s the latest business buzzword. The idea is that if companies can look through their clients’ eyes and understand their desires, they will be better able to tailor their offerings and gain a competitive advantage.

To me, this is stepping into someone else’s shoes just to sell them another pair.

I believe that the best use of empathy is not in the commercial world but in the social one, where it allows us to challenge prejudices and create political change.

Roman Krznaric wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Roman’s new book, Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It, is published by Perigee/Penguin.

Full story … 



Cultivating Gratitude For Everything in Life, Michelle MarosPeaceful Mind Peaceful Life

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bill Maher is right about religion


  • The Orwellian ridiculousness of Jesus, and the truth about moral progress
  • "Most religions were pulled into the modern Enlightenment with their fingernails dug into the past"
  • Excerpted from "The Moral Arc" by Michael Shermer
  • Bill Maher on Charlie Hebdo attacks: “There are no great religions; they’re all stupid and dangerous.”

Michael Shermer, Salon

I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

MoralArc%20deep%20gray%20metallic.jpg?uuid=eplcgqGAEeSxRld4Mur8tASunday, Jan 18, 2015 | Most people believe that moral progress has primarily been due to the guiding light of religious teachings, the activities of spiritual leaders, and the power of faith-based initiatives. In “The Moral Arc” I argue that this is not the case, and that most moral progress is the result of science, reason, and secular values developed during the Enlightenment. Once moral progress in a particular area is underway, most religions eventually get on board—as in the abolition of slavery in the 19th century, women’s rights in the 20th century, and gay rights in the 21st century—but this often happens after a shamefully protracted lag time. Why?

The rules that were dreamt up and enshrined by the various religions over the millennia did not have as their goal the expansion of the moral sphere to include other sentient beings. Moses did not come down from the mountain with a detailed list of the ways in which the Israelites could make life better for the Moabites, the Edomites, the Midianites, or for any other tribe of people that happened not to be them. One justification for this constricted sphere can be found in the Old Testament injunction to “Love thy neighbor,” who at that time was one’s immediate kin and kind, which was admittedly an evolutionary stratagem appropriate for the time. It would be suicidal to love thy neighbor as thyself when thy neighbor would like nothing better than to exterminate you, which was often the case for the Bronze Age peoples of the Old Testament. What good would have come of the Israelites loving, for example, the Midianites as themselves? The results would have been catastrophic given that the Midianites were allied with the Moabites in their desire to see the Israelites wiped off the face of the earth.

Michael Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims.

Full story … 


Bill Maher on Charlie Hebdo attacks: “There are no great religions; they’re all stupid and dangerous.” Sarah Gray, Salon 

  • We must stop deferring to religion: Laughable absurdities must be laughed at.
  • The "Real Time" host appeared on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and spoke about the attack in Paris.


Subscribe to Religion & Spirituality