Thursday, May 2, 2013

USCIRF publishes annual report

According to the 2013 Annual Report on the State of International Religious Freedom by The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), released Tuesday April 30th: 
“The state of international religious freedom is increasingly dire due to the presence of forces that fuel instability. These forces include the rise of violent religious extremism coupled with the actions and inactions of governments. Extremists target religious minorities and dissenters from majority religious communities for violence, including physical assaults and even murder. Authoritarian governments also repress religious freedom through intricate webs of discriminatory rules, arbitrary requirements and draconian edicts,” said Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, USCIRF’s Chair.
Countries remaining of (particular) concern or CPCs include: Burma (Myanmar), China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.  Seven other countries meeting the CPC threshold (also deserving the CPC designation) this year include: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Of peacocks, hawks, doves and dodos

A parody from Saturday Night Live (SNL) is causing a commotion (publicity/marketing ploy) as Academy Award Sunday approaches, coinciding (this year) with the beginning of the solemn Christian period of observance known as Lent.

One of the movies up this year for multiple awards is "Django Unchained" by Quentin Tarantino.

Someone over at SNL thought it a clever play on words, etc., in the context of the Hollywood "scene" which; strangely enough, is not for everyone.

Such reckless, careless disregard (goofiness) has, sadly, become common place.

Our friend, Dr. Frank Kaufmann writes more on that, including essential reflections and a recent disturbing revelation regarding double standards here.

Christianity, particularly among the liberal elite (self-described) of Hollywood would seem to be an easy target these days, particularly when one looks closely at what its own adherents (or proponents) have brought forth in the last few years.

Standing alone (oddly) or perhaps most notably in that category, affiliation or label ("Christian") is Mel Gibson - AND - his "Passion of the Christ."

As a self-proclaimed proponent of religious freedom, I thought it might be worth looking at Hollywood, Christianity and certain themes intertwining (not always or necessarily entertaining) and ask a few new questions, upon brief reflection:

1. Why has "Passion of the Christ" apparently become a joke (at least) in Hollywood?

2. What exactly defines a "religion of peace" in our modern world? And will "one size" ever fit all?

3. Why (or how) is cinema relevant to "true" religion?  Is it?

4. When is freedom of expression more important than freedom of religion? Or is it?

A certain recent event at the Libyan embassy comes to mind.

And so it goes.

Roelant Savery - Landscape with Birds