About this web site
Newly created, updated, & planned
essays over the past few months
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
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. Conservatives tend to listen and watch Fox News and the Patriot channel of Sirius.
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 new
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
In recent months, the conflict between religious conservatives and sexual
minorities -- defined both by their sexual orientation and gender identity --
have monopolized much of the news. Back in 2011-FEB, when the Obama Administration decided to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), some commentators predicted that this would form 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, including access to marriage for same-sex couples in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The change has been so rapid that it has formed the bulk of our web site's new essays from 2011 to the present time. With 31 states denying their same-sex couples access to marriage, activity on a state-by-state basis will probably be the main religious/civil rights topic for the foreseeable future, eclipsing even abortion access. However, most commentators expect that the U.S. Supreme Court will eventually issue a ruling that legalizes same-sex marriage (SSM) across the U.S. as it did during 1967 with interracial marriage in the ironically named case: Loving v. Virginia. Some equality advocates predict that this could happen as soon as 2015-JUN.
During 2014-JUL, we recommend the book:
Elaine Pagels, "The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics"
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $14.04 in Kindle format& $10.72 plus postage in Paperback.
Amazon.com book description:
"From the religious historian whose The Gnostic Gospels won both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of Satan and his role on the Christian tradition. With magisterial learning and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's story into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow side, in which the gospel of love gives way to irrational hatreds that continue to haunt Christians and non-Christians alike."
Three book reviews:
- "... ground-breaking. Many times in the course of reading her explications I found myself saying, 'Of course, why hasn't someone said this before?' By showing how the sectarian demonization of the 'intimate enemies'--Jews and heretics--shaped early Christianity, the book helps us to understand the power of irrational forces that still need to be confronted in contemporary society. -- S. David Sperling, professor of Bible, Hebrew Union College.
- "Pagels ... here examines the New Testament tendency to associate the Devil with Jews resistant to the teachings of Christianity." Reed Business Information, Inc.
- "Elaine Pagels is an exceptional author and skilled interpreter of Christian history. The "Origin of Satan" is an excellent book for lay people trying to understand the evolution of one piece of the Christian paradigm, namely the cosmic battle between good and evil, and the vilification of the Jews in the gospels. ..."
- More information
18 new essays posted so far during 2014-JUL:
This month had a slow start because our Gateway computer just experienced its third disk failure in three years. We purchased a new ASUS computer. However transferring decades of files to the new computer has been a struggle. So have the various problems associated with learning a new operating system: Windows 8.1.
In addition to the files listed below, hundreds of pre-existing essays have been updated.
During 2014-JUN, we recommended the book:
"Open Mind, Faithful Heart," by Pope Francis (Author), Jorge M Bergoglio (Author), Gustavo Larrázabal (Editor), and SJ Owens Joseph (Translator)
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $9.01 in Kindle format. & $22.19 plus postage in Hardcover.
Amazon.com book description:
"Pope Francis connects with people, especially the young, the forgotten, and the forlorn. The cameras show him in Rome, in Brazil, in Lampedusa reaching out to the crowds, holding infants, embracing the disabled. What is the source of his energy, and his spiritual vitality? This book is perhaps the best introduction to what makes the Pope the engaging pastor he is.
The inspiration needed to address the urgent challenges to our world and human living today is clearly outlined in this book. The spiritual foundation for much of what Pope Francis has surprised the world with since his election, radically reframing the Catholic contribution, is found in these texts which their author wished to gather just before expecting to retire--but then being called to Rome instead. Open Mind, Faithful Heart offers an irreplaceable window into the heart and soul of the pope who is changing how the world sees the Church.
The strong scriptural orientation of the Pope is evident in the countless references to both the Old and New Testament. To help the reader, this edition supplements the original text by providing scriptural citations. The language of these pages speaks to the heart as much as to the mind."
The equivalent of about 35 new and updated essays during 2014-JUN:
- With the start of a new month, we opened up a list of "Accelerating steps towards same-sex marriage. LGBT equality, etc."
- Shifts within U.S. faith groups concerning race, gender & sexual minorities; impacting membership numbers
- SSM in Oregon:
- Updates to a half dozen lists of definitions in our glossary section
- News of interest to the transgender/transsexual community from 2013-MAY until now
- Precursors of genocide. Estimating the probability of a genocide in the near future (Updated file)
- SSM in Wisconsin:
- Part 1: 2006 to 2011: Bans added to state
legalized. Poll about SSMs among voters.
- Part 2: 2013-AUG to 2014-JUN: Illinois Governor Quinn urged adoption of SSMs.
Lawsuit Wolf v. Walker launched in federal District Court. Results of a poll of voters.
- Part 3: 2014-JUN: Court ruled SSM ban unconstitutional. Lack of consensus about SSM legality.
- Part 4: 2014-JUN:
Webmaster's comments. State begins to register SSMs. Confusion reigns.
- Part 5: More webmaster's comments. District Court Judge Crabb issues stay. Attorney General plans appeal.
- Part 6: Reactions by conservative groups and individuals.
- Information about the Summer Solstice. It typically occurrs on JUN-21 in the Northern Hemisphere. (Updated file)
- Supreme Court rulings on topics like
marriage, and private same-gender sexual behavior
- U.S. & Canadian milestones on the multiple-decade path towards marriage equality
- Changing the Presybterian Church (USA) definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, and allow ministers to marry marry them
- Recommended books covering a broad range of Christian beliefs about the LGBT community
- SSM in Utah:
- SSM in Indiana:
- Part 4: 2014-MAY/JUN: Five SSM lawsuits consolidated into one case: Baskin v. Bogan. SSMs legalized by District Court.
- Updating of about 30 files and creation of 4 new files about the continuing debates within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) about their policies toward the LGBT community: committment services, civil unions, same-sex marriage, ordination, etc., over the past 4 decades.
- SSM in Colorado:
- Uganda passes draconian anti-LGBT legislation:
- SSM in Florida:
- Part 4: Two new lawsuits to legalize SSM filed -- in Florida federal court
- Part 5: Recent polling data on same-sex marriage in Florida. List of active lawsuits.
Attorney General fights marriage equality.
Briefs filed in favor of marriage equality.
During 2014-MAY, we recommended the book:
"The Last Circle," by Gretchen Blickensderfer.
Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $4.50 in Kindle format, $18.86 plus postage in Paperback, and $32.36 plus postage in Hardcover.
Amazon.com book description:
" 'If you will not be saved, there will be consequences.' Based upon platforms and quotes from Conservative political and church leaders, The Last Circle chronicles the [future] rise to power of a United States evangelical theocracy and the small group of Pagan and LGBT friends who must escape the country to survive. A terrifying chase through the southern states tests the limits of their friendship and someone from among them is secretly tipping off their pursuers."
A book review by an Amazon.com customer:
"The thing that is so chilling about this book is, given our current political and social climate, it is easy to imagine this REALLY happening in our country today. I enjoyed the author's vivid descriptions of her characters and the thrilling journey that she took them on. There were certain points in the story where I could not put the book down and it stayed with me after I finished reading it. This story is about much more than acceptance; of yourself and others and standing up for what you believe in in the face of great danger and retribution. It is about abuse of power, a fanatical belief system, and a single-minded ruthlessness. That is the truly scary part of this story - it's very clear parallels to our world today." Sue Keller.
42 new or updated essays posted during 2014-MAY: