Barys have to discuss differences, but Rifqa won’t meet parents

JISHOU, HUNAN — Child welfare workers in Ohio have recommended that teenage religious runaway Fathima Rifqa Bary and her parents sit down and talk about their religious differences. Trouble is, the girl does not want to see her parents ever again. Rifqa fears her parents will have her killed for converting from Islam to Christianity. Her parents say they will do no such thing. Here is the Associated Press story on this latest chapter in the Bary family drama. There’s some mostly rational discussion at the Volokh Conspiracy. And some mostly unhinged ranting at Free Republic.

Happy Hallowe’en! 6

JISHOU, HUNAN — While you’re searching for that perfect costume, or buying sacks of mini-Snickers for the kiddies, here’s something to think about: some people don’t like Hallowe’en. I mean, really don’t like Hallowe’en. (Hint: They’re the same people who are the first to cry, “There’s a war on Christmas!”) A few weeks ago, right-wing windbags Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh suggested their adoring fans celebrate an “Obama Hallowe’en,” by taking candy OUT of the trick-and-treaters’ bags and telling them that’s what socialism is all about. So funny, these guys. Then, I heard about this lady, from Florida of course, who might be channeling H.P. Lovecraft instead of God. Some tidbits: The word "holiday" means "holy day." But there is nothing holy about Halloween. The root word of Halloween is "hallow," which means "holy, consecrated and set apart for service." If this holiday is hallowed, whose service is it set apart for? The answer to that question is very easy—Lucifer's! Lucifer is a part of the demonic godhead. Remember, everything God has, the devil has a counterfeit. Halloween is a counterfeit holy day that is dedicated to celebrating the demonic trinity of : the Luciferian Spirit (the false father); the ...

Weird encounter with a Chinese Christian (or Christian Chinese) 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — This encounter happened this morning, but the stage was set yesterday. I met a Chinese guy who apparently is an itinerant Christian preacher of some kind, and he hit me up for money. I meet a student every afternoon outside near the basketball courts for our lessons. The weather has been cooperative (no rain) and the trees give us enough shade to make sitting there comfortable. Meeting in the open means random people wandering by will sometimes just pause by Clark and me. Some just listen and leave. Some interrupt to ask me questions. One asked me to be her teacher, for pay. Yesterday, while I was going over one of Clark’s essays, this older dude kept circling around us, waiting for the opportunity to ask me a question. His clothes (blue cotton shirt, dark gray pants) were a little worn looking, but not in really bad shape. His mustache and beard were scraggly. I’d say he was about 40ish, or maybe older, since his hair was going salt-and-pepper. His question was a grammatical one, not too hard to answer. So, after five minutes, he said thanks, asked for my business card and went on his way. ...

Texas public schools and Christian Reconstructionism 7

[UPDATE (July 16): The new chair of the Texas State Board of Education is not Cynthia Dunbar, but another socially conservative member, Gail Lowe. Texas commentators say Lowe’s appointment will continue the anti-evolution, Reconstructionist bias of the board. The scary details are here.] JISHOU, HUNAN — After doing some research, I have concluded that Texas is just plain wacko. Perhaps some of you are not surprised at this news. Back in April, I wrote about the Texas State Board of Education’s efforts to weasel creationist ideas into the state science curriculum. Despite efforts by its overtly right-wing Christian chair, Donald McLeroy, and his cohorts on the board, most of the creationist ideas were tossed out. Since then, McLeroy’s heavyhanded tactics and nutball pronouncements about evolution and science cost him a lot of the support he had in the state legislature. He lost the chair of the SBOE. Republican Gov. Rick Perry now has to choose a new chair from the other board members. The leading candidate now is apparently Cynthia Dunbar, who may be even nuttier than McLeroy. Dunbar has accused — in print — presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of being a terrorist, and then refused to retract her ...
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