Tag: religion

Frosh Opts Not to Weigh in on Hogan’s Peace Cross Fight (for Now), Irking Governor

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The “Peace Cross.” Photo by Ben Jacobson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Attorney General Brian Frosh isn’t quite ready to help fight for the state’s right to spend taxpayer money maintaining a 40-foot-tall cross in Prince George’s County.

Hogan Asks Frosh to Help Him Save Giant ‘Peace Cross’

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The “Peace Cross.” Photo by Ben Jacobson, via Wikimedia Commons.

Maryland’s Republican governor has asked an unlikely source for help protecting a hulking, 40-foot concrete cross in Prince George’s County.

Area Churches in Transition

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Govans Presbyterian Church, pictured, will merge with Brown Memorial Woodbrook Presbyterian Church.

Three well-known Protestant churches in the Baltimore area are going through transitions this fall, with one closing and the other two merging. A Jewish congregation that shares space with one of the churches is looking for a new home.

Coalition of Maryland Christian Leaders Back Proposed Fracking Ban

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Protesters outside Baltimore state Sen. Joan Carter Conway’s office.

As the debate about fracking heats up in Annapolis, faith leaders representing thousands of worship houses across the state have thrown their support behind a proposal to permanently ban the drilling practice.

An Unaffiliated Jew: How I Got Religion

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image via kanestreet.org
image via kanestreet.org

University of Baltimore MFA student Ellen Hartley describes her stint in Hebrew school, the scandal that rocked her temple, and the pivotal personal decision she made at age 15.

I am an unaffiliated Jew. I wasn’t always. I became an unaffiliated Jew in 1956 when I was 15.

Before that I had felt comfortable within the fairly relaxed Jewish framework in which I’d grown up. My parents came from an Orthodox background of Eastern European immigrants. Their families kept kosher and observed the whole shebang. My mother officially left the fold as a teenager, when she and her cousin Ethel sneaked out of Yom Kippur services and went to a luncheonette for their first ham sandwich. When my parents married, they moved 250 miles away and dropped the Orthodoxy. Our refrigerator regularly held sliced ham for sandwiches; oddly, my mother drew the line at bacon, which she claimed made her ill. I remember my father making bacon and sausages for my brother and me on Sundays when my mother slept late. We’d run the exhaust fans so the “porky” odors would be extinguished.

Here’s a Trendy, Totally Unsuccessful Way to Avoid Prosecution in Baltimore

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Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America
Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Blomquist, criminal defendants identifying as adherents of a syncretic sect of Islam known as Moorish Science and referencing obscure treaties with Morocco to claim exemption from American laws is “a growing problem within the courts.”

In fact, two murder defendants in one week — Terrence Rollins-Bey and Robert G. Moore — claimed Baltimore Circuit Judge Emanuel Brown had no standing to hear their cases.

Moorish Americans, as adherents are called, often trace their heritage to Morocco or to pre-Columbian America. This has led some — when faced with prosecution — to claim immunity, sometimes based on a 1787 U.S.-Moroccan treaty 

Sun, Moon, Dog, Pineapple: An Unbeliever’s Creed

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girlsdance

University of Baltimore Asst. Prof. and Bohemian Rhapsody Columnist Marion Winik believes in…you.

In the beginning was the word. The word was but. Do you believe in God? No, but. Do you believe in the immortal soul? No, but. Do you believe in magic? No, but I believe in hormones, endorphins, serotonin, in the fireworks and transformations wrought by chemistry. I believe in every kind of serious embrace — parent and child, lovers, friends — and I believe in the power of connection between people to change the rules.

I believe in using the mind to figure things out, but I believe in the power of the senses to blow the mind. I believe in and indeed worship the blowing of the mind, through orgasm, childbirth, the let-down reflex, chanting, dancing, poetry, drugs, and also beauty, art and craft, all intricate things made by hand, sports, music, and particularly rock and roll.

This Week in Research: Flu-Tracking on Twitter and Saying “God”

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Darker red indicates higher reports of flu cases culled from Twitter data. Clearly, 2013 (lower map) is having a more intense flu season that 2012 (upper map).
Darker red indicates higher reports of flu cases culled from Twitter data. Clearly, 2013 (lower map) is having a more intense flu season that 2012 (upper map).

I’m lucky enough to be flu-free as I write this blog post; not so much pretty everyone else in America. (Sorry! Take the Tamiflu, it really works!) Public health researchers at John Hopkins have found a surprisingly useful tool to help them track the disease as it spreads throughout the country, one that works even better than the traditional method of compiling medical information in government databases:  Twitter.