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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. 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 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.

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.

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Sponsored link.

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During 2014-OCT, we recommend the book: 

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Rob Bell, "What we talk about when we talk about God"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $11.14 plus postage in Paperback, or in Kindle format for $12.28.

Amazon.com book description:

"New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell, whom the The New Yorker describes as “one of the most influential Christian leaders in the county,” does for the concept of God what he did for heaven and hell in his book Love Wins: He shows how traditional ideas have grown stale and dysfunctional and how to return vitality and vibrancy to lives of faith today.

Pastor Rob Bell explains why both culture and the church resist talking about God, and shows how we can reconnect with the God who is pulling us forward into a better future. Bell uses his characteristic evocative storytelling to challenge everything you think you know about God. What We Talk About When We Talk About God tackles the misconceptions about God and reveals how God is with us, for us, ahead of us, and how understanding this could change the entire course of our lives."

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43 mostly new (and a few extensively revised) essays posted so far during 2014-OCT:

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-SEP, we recommend the book:

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Robert Boston, "Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn't Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store: $12.26 plus postage in Paperback. Available in Kindle format for $7.86.

Robert Boston has written a concise and lucid explanation of what religious freedom should refer to. It is of immense significance now, because of two major shifts in religious beliefs found throughout the U.S., primarlily among religious conservatives:

  1. The redefinition of "religious freedom." The term used to refer to freedom of religious belief, speech, assembly, and proselyzing. It now increasingly refers to the freedom of individual believers and faith groups to actively denigrate and discriminate against others -- primarily sexual minorities.

  2. The large-scale downgrading of the importance of the Ethic of Reciprocity -- often called the Golden Rule in Christianity. Many individuals who run public accomodations -- companies that deal directly with the public -- are seeking to repeal human rights legislation so that they can more easily refuse to serve the LGBT community.

Amazon.com book description:

"Increasingly, conservative religious groups are using religious liberty as a sword to lash out at others. In this forcefully argued defense of the separation of church and state, Robert Boston makes it clear that the religious freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment is an individual right, the right of personal conscience, not a license allowing religious organizations to discriminate against and control others. The book examines the controversy over birth control, same-sex marriage, religion in public schools, the intersection of faith and politics, and the 'war on Christmas,' among other topics.

Boston concludes with a series of recommendations for resolving clashes between religious liberty claims and individual rights."

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33 new (and a few extensively revised) essays posted during 2014-SEP:

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-AUG, we recommend the book:

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Jennifer R. Prince, "The Handy Bible Answer Book"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $15.11 plus postage in Paperback. Not available in Kindle format.

This book explains what the Bible says about thousands of topics. It usually interprets the Bible neither through a conservative or liberal lens. Thus, for example, it discusses what the creation stories say in Genesis. It talks about various estimates that have been made about the age of the Earth. It does not take sides on whether the earth and the rest of the universe is less than 10,000 years old or more than 4 billion years old. It discusses what the flood story says; it does not take sides on whether the worldwide flood actually happened or not. So, if you like our web site, you will love this book.

Amazon.com book description:

"... The importance of the Bible, whether as a master work of literature, a historical artifact, or religious canon, can not be overestimated. The Handy Bible Answer Book helps readers dig deeply into the Bible to analyze the foundations of Judaism, Christianity, Western civilization, and the teachings of Jesus. This comprehensive guide also leads readers through the Old Testament, the foundation for both Judaism and Christianity and the moral and political cornerstone for many nations of the Western world. The Bible is not always read cover-to-cover, and The Handy Bible Answer Book's layout and index allows quick access to any of its passages. ..."

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33 new or extensively revised essays posted so far during 2014-AUG:

Last month had to replace our main office computer and adopt the Windows 8.1 operating system. We had considered this a downgrade from Windows 7. 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. However, after experiencing it firsthand, it is only a slightly more awkward to use, and this is compensated by its increased speed when compared to Windows 7.

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."

SSM in Indiana:

Part 5: 2014-JUN to now: Case: Baskin v. Bogan. SSMs legalized. District Court ruling stayed by Court of Appeals.

Recommended book selections for future months

SSM in Florida:

Part 8: 2014-JUL: Webmaster's comments. Judges in three Florida counties rule in favor of marriage equality

Part 9: 2014-JUL/AUG: Three rulings for marriage equality (Cont'd).

Part 10: 2014-AUG: And then there were four... Courts in Broward and Palm Beach Counties require state to recognize an out-of-state same-sex civil union and a marriage.

Part 11: 2014-AUG: Review of Florida polling data on SSM. Federal District Court rules in favor of marriage equality. Ruling mostly stayed.

A personal essay donated by "Alan J", titled: "My Journey to Hell"

Religious pluralism:

Introduction to "religious diversity"

A personal essay donated by "Rabbi Allen Maller", titled: "The prophetic vision of religious pluralism From Micah to Muhammad"

Five books dealing with religious diversity

SSM in Michigan:

Part 12: 2014-MAR to AUG: State refuses to recognize 323 legal marriages. Federal government does recognize them. 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals holds hearing

SSM in Ohio:

Part 7: 2014-APR to AUG: Judge issues ruling on out-of-state SSMs. 6th U.S. Court of Appeals hears cases from 4 states

SSM in Kentucky:

Part 9: 2014-AUG: Hearing of Timothy Love, et al. v. Steve Beshear case by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

SSM in Tennessee:

Tanco v. Tennessee lawsuit involving ban on same-sex marriages:

Borman v. Pyles-Borman lawsuit involving obtaining a divorce of an out-of-state same-sex marriage:

SSM in Utah:

Part 17: 2014-JUN/AUG: Utah's options after ruling by the Court of Appeals. Reactions to ruling. State appeals case to the U.S. Supreme Court

Part 18: 2014-JUL: Supreme Court issues stay of "marriage recognition" lawsuit. 2014-AUG: Utah appeals "same-sex marriage" lawsuit ban directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Webmaster's comments

Part 19: 2014-AUG: Webmaster's comments on the "Kitchen v. Herbert case & the status of marriage equality in Utah. Unusual appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court by "Kitchen" plaintiffs

Part 20: 2014-AUG: Appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court by"Kitchen v. Herbert" plaintiffs (Cont'd)

Websites of interest to Internet surfers:

Information on the growth of the Internet, book searchers, search engines, Internet archive, time signal, etc. (Updated)

Computer backups, screen savers, language transators, news sources, Internet hoaxes and dangers, etc.

SSM in Virginia:

Part 11: 2014-AUG: Bostic v. Rainey: Reactions by the public (Cont'd)/ 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals does not issue a stay. U.S. Supreme Court asked to provide stay.

Part 12: 2014-AUG: Statement by the Attorney General. 4th Circuit Court refuses to issue stay. Reactions.

Part 13: 2014-AUG: Polls consistently show majority of Virginia voters favor of marriage equality since 2013. Bostic v. Rainey renamed McQuigg v. Bostic. U.S. Supreme Court issues stay. Reactions.

Information about Islam: "Translations" of the Qur'an; books; publishers, etc: Part 1  Part 2

Muslim leaders' statements condemning terrorism, from 9/11 to ISIS/Islamic State atrocities in 2014

SSM in Wisconsin:

Part 7: 2014-AUG: Attorney General appeals case to 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Court holds hearing.

An essay donated by Alton Thompson:

"What the World Needs Now ..." to promote Jesus command to love one's neighbor.

Review of two versions of an article on Wicca published by the Watchman Fellowship, Inc.

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Sponsored link:
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During 2014-JUL, we recommend the book:

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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

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32 new essays posted 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.

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

SSM in Kentucky:

Summary/timeline: 1972 to now: The struggle to legalize same- sex marriage in Kentucky via federal and state courts

Part 7: 2014-JUL: District Court rules that KY must allow same-sex couples to marry in the state

Part 8: 2014-JUL: The Family Research Council, and National Organization for Marriage respond to District Court ruling

SSM in Florida:

Part 6: 2014-JUN: Hearing held in Florida state court against 2008 same-sex marriage ban.

Part 7: 2014-JUN: Florida hearing (Cont'd)

A brief look at 25 years of arguments used by conservatives opposed to same-sex marriage: : Part 1  Part 2

2014: Starting in Kentucky: Opposition to SSM, based on the belief that marriage equality causes the birth rate to decrease, and threaten the states' economies

Part 1: Definition of terms. Is the belief that SSM causes a drop in birth rates reasonable? Comments by Senior U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn. The theory fails in Massachusetts.

Part 2: 2014: The theory fails in Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Part 3: 2014: The theory fails in Iowa and Vermont.

The Health and Human Services mandate concerning birth control and emergency contraception:

Disagreements on how emergency contraception prevents pregnancy, and whether it can cause an abortion.

2011 & 2012: Catholic bishops and pro-lifers respond to the HHS mandate. Lawsuits against the mandate. 2012-AUG-01: Mandate in effect

2013 & 2014: One national and one Massachusetts study about transgender persons

Two decade process to permit female bishops in the Church of England:

The 2012-NOV Synod vote denying women priests consecration to the Episcopate. Reactions

2012-NOV: More reactions to the Synod vote. 2013-JUL: Synod move to restart process

2014-JUL: A two decade struggle ends. Synod finally approves female bishops

SSM in Colorado:

Part 8: 2014-FEB to JUL: County clerk issues marriage licenses. Federal lawsuit filed to overturn SSM ban. State court overturns SSM ban. Chaos reigns as some county clerks issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

SSM in Kentucky

Part 5: 2014-APR to JUL: Court of Appeals holds hearings, issues its ruling, and stays its ruling

An essay donated by Rabbi Allen Maller: "How religious Americans view those of other faiths"

The death penalty:

Developments during 2014

A brief descriptions of execution methods. Problems with execution by lethal injection

An essay donated by Sheryl Glick, "Journey to personal awareness using our 6th sense"

Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The Gardasil® vaccine

2012 to 2014: Studies show vaccinated girls do not become promiscuous. Webmaster's comments. Two CDC reports on vaccine effectiveness

SSM in Virginia:

A more detailed introduction to the conflict over same-sex marriage (SSM) & LGBT rights

Part 8: 2014-MAR-JUL: Bostic v. Rainey case: Voters support SSM. Opinion on AG's refusal to defend same-sex marriage (SSM) ban. Court of Appeals' pro-marriage equality ruling.

Part 9: 2014-JUL: Bostic v. Rainey: Court of Appeals issued ruling favoring marriage equality (Cont'd). Various reactions to the ruling by media, judges,
state officials, and lawyers.

Part 10: 2014-JUL: Bostic v. Rainey: Reactions to the Court of Appeals' ruling by various advocacy groups. Impact in adjacent states. Possible
future scenarios. Reaction by the public.

SSM in Indiana:

Part 5: 2014-JUN to now: Case: Baskin v. Bogan. SSMs legalized. District Court ruling stayed by Court of Appeals.

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During 2014-JUN, we recommended the book:

book cover image "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."

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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

Parts 1 & 2: Racism and Sexism: Discrimination based on race and gender

Part 3: Homophobia: Discrimination based on sexual orientation

SSM in Oregon:

Part 9: 2014-MAY: Request for a stay refused. Same-sex couples begin marrying. Impact of the District Court ruling

Part 10:2014-MAY: Opinions about the political structure of the U.S. NOM unsuccessfully requests a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court

Part 11: 2014-MAY: NOM unsuccessfully requests a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court (Cont'd). Oregon Family Council initiative to legalize discrimination against LGBTs. Same-sex marriage appears secure for the future 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 Constitution. Limited domestic partnerships 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:

Part 16: 2014-MAY/JUN: Utah Governor criticizes other states (Cont'd). Apology requested. Three judge panel of 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds lower court ruling

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:

Part 7: 2014-FEB to JUN: SSM lawsuit filed (Cont'd). SSM Poll data. Economic benefits of same-sex marriage. County clerk decides to issue marriage licenses

Uganda passes draconian anti-LGBT legislation:

2014-FEB to now. President signed bill into law. Bill promoter, Pastor Scott Lively running for governor of MA

2014-JUN: A report by David Zarembka on the effects of the Ugandan 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.

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During 2014-MAY, we recommended the book:

book cover image "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.

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42 new or updated essays posted during 2014-MAY:

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

Same-Sex Marriage in Northern Ireland:

Part 1: 2012-3: Two failed attempts to legalize same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland

Part 2: 2014: Third failed attempt to legalize same-sex marriage

Part 3: 2014: Reactions to the failed third attempt to attain marriage equality. Polls indicate the mood of the public

Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland:

Part 1: 1993 - 2012. Path to SSM in Ireland: Timeline of events. Civil partnerships. Polling data

Part 2: 2013 to now. Convention on the Constitution held. The Fine Gael party takes a stand

Part 3: 2013 to now. Referendum delayed to 2005 (Cont'd). Negative reactions to SSM. The Fine Gael party supports SSM

Part 4: 2014: Fine Gael party supports SSM. Times/IPSOS poll on referendum

Different views on the type of democracy active in the United States, and how this influences SSM

2013: Objections to proposed Christian law school at Trinity Western University

Part 2: Reactions. Nova Scotia accreditation refused

How public opinion polls lie, either intentionally or by accident: Part 1 Part 2 (rewritten)

Same-sex marriage in Arkansas:

Part 1: 1874 to 2004: Clauses & amendments in the state constitution and statutes that are impacting SSM. 2013: Lawsuit filed in a county court.

Part 2: 2013-JUL: Lawsuit filed in county court seeking marriage equality

Part 3: 2014-MAY-09: Circuit Court Judge Piazza issues ruling

Part 4: Same-sex couples obtain licenses. Marriage begin

Part 5: More reactions to Judge Piazza's ruling on marriage equality

Part 6: 2014-MAY-12: Still more reactions. State Supreme Court imposes stay

Part 7: State supreme court stays ruling. Recent public opinion poll data

Same-sex marriage in Idaho:

Part 1: Quotation. SSM overview in the U.S. The Plaintiffs in Latta v. Otter. Another pro-SSM Circuit Court ruling

Part 2: Court ruling (Continued). Reactions to the ruling by state government officials

Part 3: Reactions to the ruling by same-sex couples. Marriages delayed. Public reactions to the court ruling

An essay by Rabbi Allen S. Maller: "God's commandment against religious extremism"

Two rewritten essays:

Humanism (a.k.a. Secular Humanism): Books, magazines, and web sites

Two meanings of religious / freedom liberty

Introduction to Climate change & other environmental concerns

SSM in Oregon:

Part 8: 2011 to 2014: Polling data. 2014-MAY: Federal judge issues ruling legalizing SSMs

A snapshot of the current status of marriage equality, mainly in North America

SSM in Utah:

Part 14: Circuit Court of Appeals holds hearings (Cont'd). District Court orders state to recognize over 1,000 same-sex marriages.

Part 15: 2014-MAY: District Court orders state to recognize over 1,000 same-sex marriages (Cont'd).
Utah Governor criticizes other states. Apology requested

An essay donated by Rabbi A.S. Maller:

What the first Asian- American Rabbi exemplifies. About the reincarnation of the Jewish soul of an ancestor

Marriage prohibition based on race:

Mildrid Loving's statement in 2007. Public opinion of interracial marriage. Books

SSM in Pennsylvania:

Part 5: 2013-SEP to 2014-MAR: Same-sex couple sues for recognition of their marriage. Judge orders stop to SSM licenses. Another couple sues for recognition. Results of public opinion poll (updated)

Part 6: 2014-MAY: District Court Judge legalizes SSM in lawsuit Whitewood v. Wolf. Some negative reactions

Part 7: 2014-MAY: More reactions, mostly negative

Part 8: 2014-MAY: Positive reactions. Governor Corbett (R) throws in the towel

Part 9: 2014-MAY: Governor drops his resistance to SSMs (Cont'd). Marriages begin

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During 2014-APR, we recommended the book:

book cover image David Nirenberg, "Anti-Judaism, The western tradition"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $14.21 plus postage in paperback, $10.19 in Kindle format. & $23.49 plus postage in Hardcover.

Amazon.com book description:

"This incisive history upends the complacency that confines anti-Judaism to the ideological extremes in the Western tradition. With deep learning and elegance, David Nirenberg shows how foundational anti-Judaism is to the history of the West.

Questions of how we are Jewish -- and, more critically, how and why we are not -- have been churning within the Western imagination throughout its history. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans; Christians and Muslims of every period; even the secularists of modernity have used Judaism in constructing their visions of the world. The thrust of this tradition construes Judaism as an opposition, a danger often from within, to be criticized, attacked, and eliminated. The intersections of these ideas with the world of power—the Roman destruction of the Second Temple, the Spanish Inquisition, the German Holocaust—are well known. The ways of thought underlying these tragedies can be found at the very foundation of Western history. 8 pages of illustrations."

Sadly, this month's selection has turned out to be particularly timely. A locally well-known anti-semitic white supremacist allegedly shot at four people near two Jewish-affiliated facilities in Kansas. Some speculate he was attempting to kill Jews randomly. In fact all three that he allegedly killed were Christians.

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New and updated essays posted during 2014-MAR: 34 essays:

Fewer essays will be written this month because an enormous block of time is being committed to preparing our income taxes. Sorry about that.

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

An essay by E.C. Huddleston: Astute Brutes: Putting More Muscle in Strong Atheism

World Vision's 2 days of inclusion during which they recognized employees' same-sex marriages

SSM in Ohio:

Part 6: 2014-FEB: Lawsuit filed. 2014-APR: Judge will require Ohio to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

SSM in Colorado:

Part 6: 2013-MAR to 2014-APR: Governor signs civil union bill into law. SSM lawsuit filed. Poll on same-sex marriage. Economic benefits of same-sex marriage

2014:The brief assignment of Brenden Eich as CEO of Mozilla, the Firefox browser company

2014-JAN to APR: Public hearings on the proposed "Charter of Quebec Values." Death of the Bill

SSM in Virginia:

Part 6: 2013-FEB: More reactions to ruling in Bostic v. Rainey. Comparing case to Loving v. Virginia. A legal opinion of Bostic

Part 7: 2014-APR: Bostic was appealed. Rainey plaintiffs to become involved in appeal. Briefs by Attorney General & plaintiffs' attorneys

SSM in Utah:

Part 13: 2014-FEB/APR: Similar cases handled by federal District Courts. Oral arguments before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

SSM in New Mexico:

2014-APR: U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeal in Elane Photography discrimination case

SSM in Indiana:

2014-APR-10: One couple will have marriage recognized, but only on a spouse's death certificate. Five SSM-related Indiana lawsuits consolidated

Three Essays donated by Rabbi Allen S. Maller:

"Fasting for Ramadan and Yom Kippur"

"Political Attacks from the second century BCE to the present time against the Jewish and Islamic practice of male circumcision"

"The discovery of an Earth-like planet near us. The search for extraterrestrial intelligent life. (ETIL). The coming of the Messianic Age"

Reports on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Indonesia, Africa and the Middle East

A "fresh news item impacting religion" was added to the upper right corner of our home page:

sad face 2014-APR: Are there limits on how a state can define marriage?

A listing of "fresh news items impacting religion" that we have posted in the past

2014-FEB & MAR: The afterlife. Feelings of being oppressed for one's religious beliefs. Attorney Generals' constitutional problems and conflicts.

2014-APR: Natural and man-made disasters. States defining who can marry. (More coming).

Mississippi religious freedom bill:

Part 10: Quotes. House Committee passed revised version bill SB 2681. Webmaster's note. Bill signed into law

Part 11: Details about SB 2681. Reactions

Part 12: More reactions

SSM in Oklahoma:

Part 4: Webmaster's comments (Cont'd). Case is appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Hearings held

Glossary of religious and spiritual terms starting with the letters "EV" to "EX."

Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in Egypt from 2011 until now

Video feeds from four LGBT groups, as supplied by via www.LiveStream.com

The ACHESS survey in Australia compared children raised by two same-sex parents with those raised by two opposite-sex parents

Canadian federal laws and mental health studies concerning child abuse:

2007 to 2012

2013 to now

SSM in North Carolina:

Part 7: 2012: Reactions to passage of Amendment One. Inaccuracy in reporting by the media.
2014: United Church of Christ files lawsuit seeking the religious freedom to perform SSMs

Part 8: 2014: UCC lawsuit (Continued). Statement by Rev. G.A. Black, UCC President. Responses by the public

Part 9: 2014: United Church of Christ's lawsuit (Concluded)

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During 2014-MAR, we recommended the book:

book cover image Sharon L, Baker, "Razing Hell: Rethinking Everything You've Been Taught About God's Wrath and Judgment"

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store. $11.89 plus postage in paperback & $9.00 in Kindle format

Amazon.com book description:

"The idea of hell can haunt dreams and disturb sleep. Many wonder at the justice (or injustice) of it all, feeling confounded by a God who deems it necessary to send the majority of humanity to burn there forever. Seventy percent of Americans believe in hell, as do ninety-two percent of those who attend church every week.

Clearly, it's a hot topic. Baker offers readers a safe space to contemplate tough issues as they rethink traditional views of hell. In her candid and inviting style Baker explores and ultimately refutes many traditional views of hell, presenting instead theologically sound ways of thinking that are more consistent with the image of God as a loving creator who desires to liberate us from sin and evil. This is an excellent selection for general readers, students, pastors, professors, and grief counselors, and will provide clarity for those with questions about hell, God's judgment, and what happens to us when we die."

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Some book reviews:

  • "This should be a useful book for Christians struggling to reconcile Jesus' sacrifice and a loving God with the place of punishment and the necessity for justice."--Publishers Weekly

  • "A lively, thoughtful and accessible rethinking of one of the most disturbing notions in Christian theology, the prospect of eternal damnation. Put this book on your 'must read' list." John D. Caputo, Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Syracuse University.

  • "What I tried to do in my book The Last Word and the Word After That, Sharon Baker has done in Razing Hell - with more brevity, more levity, and probably with more clarity and accessibility too. Highly recommended." Brian McLaren, author of A New Kind of Christianity

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New and updated essays posted during 2014-MAR: 34 essays:

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