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Tag Archives: church
Business Pope Francis holds his weekly general audience on March 5, 2014 at St.
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There’s no doubt Jacqueline Goldfinger’s authorial voice rings loud and clear through her tales of Southern misfits. Skin and Bone, the second pitch-black comedy in her planned trilogy about the residents, transients, and dear departed of Transfer, Fla., and a world premiere by Azuka Theatre, brings back some of the sound and fury of Part 1, the terrible girls. But to paraphrase another Southern writer, this time, it signifies less.
from star street to Manger Square Christmas celebrating 2013
Here's a spin tour of Bethlehem's Manger Square, which fronts the Church of the Nativity. Sorry about the noisy wind buffeting. For my blog videos, I like to…
By: Cindy Rodriguez
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A group commissioned by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to promote “a just peace in Israel/Palestine” publishes a study guide that includes depictions of Zionism as a heresy at the root of the Middle East crisis.
Meanwhile, a major governing body recommends that the church pull its investments in three corporations linked to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands.
The two actions, while taking place separately in recent weeks, drew praise from advocates for Palestinians but have combined to roil already-tense relations between Presbyterians and Jews, both locally and nationally.
Representatives of Pittsburgh Presbytery — one of the denomination’s largest regional bodies in the nation — met with local Jewish leaders late last week to talk over the controversies.
“We rediscovered what we already knew, which is our fundamental agreement on the two-state solution to the problem, and our fundamental agreement that the Palestinian situation is intolerable as it is and needs to be corrected,” said the Rev. Sheldon Sorge, general minister for the presbytery.
The study guide, “Zionism Unsettled,” while not an official church declaration, represents the work of a group created by the denomination 10 years ago. The illustrated 72-page guide, produced by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), decries what it calls years of fruitless talk over a two-state solution, saying Israel has effectively been creating a single state with apartheid-style oppression of Palestinians. It decried Israel for “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians from hundreds of communities in 1948 and said the state resulted from a “toxic relationship between theology and politics.”
Gregg Roman, director of the Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, said he realizes the study guide “isn’t something that is emanating from the grassroots.” But he called it “a crash course to advocate for an end of the Jewish state.”
He said it reads “as if there were no wars waged against Israel, no campaign of terror by groups including Hamas and Hezbollah and … ignores the reality that Israelis … and the American Jewish community support a two-state solution.”
Among national Jewish groups, the Anti-Defamation League said the study guide may be the “most anti-Semitic document to come out of a mainline American church in recent memory,” while the Jewish Council for Public Affairs’ president, Rabbi Steve Gutow, called it “worthy of a hate group, not a prominent American church.”
The leadership of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has also distanced itself from the publication, emphasizing the decentralized nature of the denomination. While produced by an official church entity and sold through the denomination’s in-house distribution network, the report is a statement to the church rather than on its behalf, said Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, which oversees most of the national offices in the Louisville, Ky.-based denomination.
CARRIZO SPRINGS, Texas Just a few years ago this was a sleepy town of 5,600, and people eked out a living from the land. They farmed, worked ranches and leased their property to hunters to make a few dollars. Now, an oil and gas boom is transforming the economy of south Texas, turning Carrizo Springs into a busy city of at least 40,000.
SALT LAKE CITY A coalition of religious organizations has come together to urge a federal appeals court to uphold same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma, saying unions between a man and woman are best for children, families and society.
The argument was made in a 42-page brief filed Monday afternoon to a Denver-based court reviewing cases that could reverse gay-marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.
Lawyers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote the brief, which was signed by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.
“Our respective religious doctrines hold that marriage between a man and a woman is sanctioned by God as the right and best setting for bearing and raising children,” it says. “We believe that children, families, society, and our nation thrive best when husband-wife marriage is upheld and strengthened as a cherished, primary social institution.”
The coalition struck back at the notion that opposing gay marriage makes one anti-gay, irrational or bigoted.
RELATED: GAY MARRIAGE BAN STRUCK DOWN IN OKLAHOMA
“The accusation is false and offensive,” it says. “It is intended to suppress rational dialogue and democratic conversation, to win by insult and intimidation rather than by reason, experience, and fact.”
They say they have no ill will toward same-sex couples, only “marriage-affirming religious beliefs,” supported by sociological facts, saying holding on to the man-woman definition of marriage is essential.
The “friend of the court” brief was one of several submitted Monday by groups, professors and state attorneys general supporting Utah and Oklahoma in their efforts to persuade the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse recent rulings by federal court judges.
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said Monday that religions will always be free to choose which marriages they perform.
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Friday’s ruling in the NATO 3 trial was a mixed bag for both the defense and the prosecution. After weeks of testimony a jury found Brian Jacob Church, 22, Jared Chase, 29, and Brent Betterly, 25, not guilty of terrorism charges but convicted the three out-of-state men on lesser charges, mob action and arson related charges, that carry prison terms of up to 30 years.
Assistant State’s Attorney John Blakey dubbed the three men Mr. Cop on Fire, Captain Napalm and Professor Molotov respectively, and of hatching a nearly super-villanous terrorism plot that would have included attacks on police stations, President Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters, Chase Tower and burning police officers in the streets.
The trial was the first time the Illinois State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted a case under a 12 year old terrorism law passed just after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Prosecutors argued the three men came to Chicago ready for war and presented the jury with inflammatory and incendiary statements the trio made recorded by undercover police, as well as four beer bottles filled partially with gasoline and a collection of various weapons including a bow and arrow, a throwing star, a slingshot and a homemade shield emblazoned with the words austerity ain’t gonna happen.
If one were to believe Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez Betterly, Chase and Churchwho have spent nearly two years in Cook County Jail awaiting trial with $1.5 million bondswere cold, calculating terrorists. Even Judge Thaddeus Wilson seemed to believe the rhetoric (at least in part) when he declined a move by the defense for a direct acquittal. Wilson repeated a line allegedly said by Church to the undercover officers that was not recorded: Chicago will never be the same, adding the court has that as a backdrop for all this. Chicago will never be the same.
But, were Mr. Cop on Fire, Captain Napalm and Professor Molotov hardened violent anarchists preparing a terrorist plot of chaos and destruction worthy of Cobra Commander, or were they a trio of loud mouthed, outspoken kids who spat a lot of tough violent sounding rhetoric after getting drunk and high when prompted by police? The defense showedand the jury at least partly agreedon the latter.
The prosecution’s case relied heavily on testimony about recordings made by two undercover police officers, Nadia Chikko and Mehmet Uygun, also known as Gloves and Mo. Both Uygun and Chikko, aided by intelligence units within the Chicago Police Department, spent months working undercover in Chicago’s activist community attempting to build relationships and trust with local organizers. Testimony from Chikko and Uygun revealed that police had spent plenty of time prior to the summit searching the city for anarchists. Chikko attended a punk show in Pilsen in March 2012 and spent some time chatting up a local young man, Ian Wise, because of a tattoo he had of Emiliano Zapata. After Wise expressed his distrust of police to Chikko, she took special note, saying it could be something to look into. Police took down license plate information from cars at more than one punk rock show. When asked on the stand about this, Uygun said we are the police, sir. We run plates sometimes.
Chikko and several other police officers spent time at Heartland Cafe in Rogers Park to see if there was any criminal activity being talked about, discussed or planned. According to reporter Kevin Gosztola from Firedoglake, police trolled Division Street looking for anarchists and graffiti related to anarchism. Uygun once even spent several hours handcuffed to an organizer of one of the protests held at the Woodlawn Mental Health clinic, when local activists attempted to fight its closure. Many of these things happened before Church, Chase and Betterly even set foot in Chicago. After the pair of undercover cops set their sights on the three, the recordings revealed Mo and Gloves spent more time talking about Molotovs than the three combined. In one recording, Uygun says Dude, we got Molotovs that’s not whack with Chikko later chiming in you guys got anything? Should we make some? You got bottles?
It seems that no one even brought the idea up before May 16, the day the three were arrested during the raid on their Bridgeport apartment. As to the cache of weapons and other fantastical ideas about plotting to bring Chicago to its knees with a coordinated series of attacks, the prosecution could produce no evidence the NATO 3 planned on bringing the legally owned items to any of the demonstrations or evidence the trio attempted to recruit anyone.
In fact, the three were mostly too drunk or stoned to do anything more than talk big in front of undercover police all too eager to egg them on. The Tribune reported that in one recording, Church apologized for not making coherent plans because he was fucking spaced out. Uygun told him that he and Chase needed to come up with something before you hit the bowl. In another instance, then underage Church was too drunk to drive, so Chikko had to take the wheel. One night, Church and Chase skipped a protest at Woodlawn to drink and wait for a weed dealer to stop by the apartment in Bridgeport. Chases attorney, Thomas Durkin, quipped The revolution had to take a bit of a hiatus that night.
Much of the way the trial played out was something of a tragic comedy. If three young men hadn’t spent the past two years in jail and weren’t looking at spending another thirty years behind bars, it might be. Even after all of the testimony revealing much of the actions the three discussed wouldn’t have become more than words without the help of police, Anita Alvarez not only acted as if the arson charges weren’t enough, but had the three not been arrested prior to the NATO summit, Chicago would’ve been victimized by a brutal terrorist attack. In a press conference with reporters after the verdict was read, Alvarez said: Have we forgotten about Boston here? Have we forgotten about homemade bombs in backpacks? We were able to stop people from being hurt, and I would do it again. She even asked an Associated Press reporter if he would like a molotov thrown at him, when asked if the verdict meant defeat.
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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) –
Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly were the first in Chicago to be charged as terrorists under a state law that was created after the 9/11 attacks.
But like the crude Molotov cocktails the out-of-town activists allegedly constructed out of beer bottles, the serious charges while explosive ultimately never took flight.
A Cook County jury Friday acquitted Church, 22; Chase, 29, and Betterly, 25, of terrorism-related charges some critics dubbed overzealous and a political stunt to scare protesters in the wake of the international NATO summit, the Sun-Times is reporting.
Although the trio was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor mob action and two counts of possession of an incendiary device to commit arson, their attorneys were ecstatic that the most damning charges were dismissed.
“This is a huge, huge victory,” said Thomas Durkin, a lawyer for Chase.
“You cannot imagine what it takes to stand up to that type of pressure, those types of charges, to have a jury stand up to the pressure, the innuendo, and all the fear that was thrown around the courtroom and come back and say no.’”
Church’s attorney Michael Deutsch said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez should be held “accountable” for overcharging his client and his two friends who were mostly just loud-mouthed nincompoops.
When told of Deutsch’s comments, a visibly irritated Alvarez lashed out.
“Chicago doesn’t host NATO every year … I did not overcharge. Defense attorneys can say what ever they want,” Alvarez said as her somber looking prosecution team stood behind her.