Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bill Maher’s Movie, Religulous

Yesterday, Fox News reported on “Bill Maher’s Anti-Religion Movie” titled Religulous (think of the word religious combined with the word ridiculous). This movie is apparently Maher’s effort to document the ridiculous nature of religious beliefs, whatever they may be, and to express his concern that all religions are bad and in effect dangerous. Maher is quoted as stating that “Religion is detrimental to the progress of society.” In the movie trailer, Maher says, “It worries me that people are running my country who believe in a talking snake” referring, of course, to the Genesis account of Eve being tempted by the serpent.

Certainly these feelings are not new. Dr. Richard Dawkins, biologist and author of “The God Delusion”, has expressed similar sentiments. However the cynical, and mocking nature of how Maher expresses his opinions are rather startling.

Some time ago, TwoMinuteBriefing expressed concern that as a society we appeared to be moving into an era where the level of animosity against religion was increasing. Bill Maher’s new movie would appear to be another indicator of this trend.

Click HERE to see the movie trailer.

CAUTION: TwoMinuteBriefing cautions its readers NOT to follow the link from the movie's website to contains some material that readers of TwoMinuteBriefing may find objectionable.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Mormon Temple is not a place of public religious worship

A decision published today by the House of Lords (Gallagher (Valuation Officer) v Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), reaffirmed the decision issued in the case of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v Henning (Valuation Officer) ([1964] AC 420), in which it was determined that for tax purposes, Mormon temples do not qualify as places of public religious worship in Great Britain. This is apparently because Mormon temples are open only to Mormons in good standing.

The decision clarified that this was not a case in which Mormons were taxed on account of their religion, rather it was that their religion prevented them from providing the public benefit necessary to secure a tax advantage.

To read the full story click here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Woe unto them that call evil good (Isaiah 5:20)

Gossip Girl, an apparently over-sexed show about teenagers in high school, has taken the negative comments of critics and turned them into their media campaign for this coming season. The advertisements feature provocative poses of the the shows main characters with the captions, "Very Bad for You", "Every Parent's Nightmare", "A Nasty Piece of Work", and "Mind-Blowingly Inappropriate". ('Gossip Girl': A look at Season 2's ad campaign)

In 2004, the RAND institute reported that "heavy exposure to sexual content on television related strongly to teens' initiation of intercourse in the following year." (Does Watching Sex on Television Influence Teens’ Sexual Activity?)

That Gossip Girl flaunts the sexual nature of its show, and that its target audience is teenagers is indeed very concerning.

Gossip Girl is a product of The CW television network.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thinking of Christmas in August

It may seem odd to be thinking of Christmas in August, but it is for more than just sentimental reasons. The holiday season, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, are a time of year when, as Dickens writes, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute”. Typically, charitable organizations, and food banks endeavor “to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth” for it is in the holiday season “when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices.”

This year, however, a confluence of events makes the outlook bleak for charitable giving.

The high price of crude oil has impacted the price of virtually all consumer good, the cost of commuting to work, or anywhere else, and will cause the price of heating oil this winter to be over 30% higher than last year.

Even while less discretionary income is available, the political campaigns of this presidential election cycle, and the anticipation of expensive and hotly contested initiative elections (such as Proposition 8 on Gay Marriage in California) are tapping into those ever dwindling financial reserves.

And so, I’m thinking of Christmas in August. With less discretionary income available, and with more people in need, what will happen to the “Poor and destitute” this coming holiday season?

Monday, August 4, 2008

New Issue Specific TwoMinuteBrifing Blog

Even before the May 15th announcement by the California Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage, there appeared to be daily events occurring regarding the legal, political, and social battle over Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender/Transsexual (GLBT) rights.

In an effort to better cover that specific issue, TwoMinuteBriefing has created a new blog specific to that topic.

You can find this blog at: