Madonna: I’m not Jewish, I’m an Israelite – Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews

She makes an interesting and thoughtful distinction between traditional practices and formal religion.  Not just a Material but an Intellectual Girl!

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When asked to what extent would she would characterize herself Jewish? Madonna reportedly laughed the question off, saying “No, I don’t affiliate myself with any specific religious group. I connect to different ritualistic aspects of different belief systems, and I see the connecting thread between all religious beliefs.” 

Madonna elaborated on her theological outlook, saying that though she studied Kabbalah, and does follows many religious practices affiliated with Judaism, like observing the Shabbat and holding a bar mitzvah for her son, she has not converted

Madonna: I’m not Jewish, I’m an Israelite – Israel Jewish Scene, Ynetnews.

​Palestinians accuse Israel of ‘unfair distribution’ on World Water Day

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Water supply and sanitation in the Palestinian territories are suffering from the unfair distribution of resources on account of Israel, Palestinian authorities said, bringing attention to their struggle in a statement issued on World Water Day.

The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) called for sustainable infrastructure development in the wake of Israeli occupation to ensure not only water availability but also its quality.

http://rt.com/news/243081-palestine-water-shortages-israel/

‘We Palestinian Christians say Allahu Akbar’

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The only Palestinian Orthodox Christian bishop in the Holy Land speaking about the suffering of Palestinian Christians, their unity with Muslims in the Palestinian struggle, about Orthodox Christian martyrs, and Ukraine.

Archbishop Sebastia Theodosios (Atallah Hanna), 49, is the only Orthodox Christian archbishop from Palestine stationed in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, while all other bishops of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem are Greeks. The Israeli authorities had detained him several times, or stopped him at the border, and taken away his passport. Among all Jerusalem clergymen he is the only one who has no privilege of passing through the VIP gate in the airport – because of his nationality. “For the Israeli authorities, I am not a bishop, but rather a Palestinian,” explains his Beatitude. When talking on the phone he says a lot of words you would normally hear from a Muslim: “Alhamdulillah, Insha’Allah, Masha’Allah”. He speaks Arabic, and the Arabic for ‘god’ is Allah, whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.
http://rt.com/op-edge/227871-palestinian-orthodox-christian-bishop/

Karen Armstrong on Sam Harris and Bill Maher: “It fills me with despair, because this is the sort of talk that led to the concentration camps.”

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On a cold Thanksgiving Day in 1994 I was about to interview Karen Armstrong about her new book, “A History of God’.  All I wanted was for her to be as wonderful in person as she seemed as a writer.  She was as they say, “all that and a bag of chips.”  In this interview with Salon.com she, as usual, lucidly articulates views I find inarguable.  The whole interview is absolutely worth reading but here are a few gems:

“Every fundamentalist movement that I’ve studied, in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is rooted in a profound fear of annihilation.”

“We came to modernity under our own steam. It was our creation. It had two characteristics. One of these was independence — your Declaration of Independence is a typical modernizing document. And you have thinkers and scientists demanding free thought and independent thinking. This was essential to our modernity. But in the Middle East, in the colonized countries, modernity was a colonial subjection, not independence.”

“If you wrong somebody there’s a huge sense of resentment and distress. That is there, and that is part of it, too.”

Do you think the role of religion in modern global conflicts is overhyped?

Godless millennials could end the political power of the religious right – Adam Lee

he 2014 midterm elections are drawing near, and it appears that the Democrats may well lose the Senate, since they’re fighting on unfriendly territory – a large number of seats in red states are up for grabs.

But if you look deeper than the national picture, there’s a more interesting story. In southern states like Georgia and Kentucky – which in the past would have been easy Republican holds – the races are unexpectedly tight. In fact, the only reason that the questions of which party will control the Senate in 2015 is unsettled at all is that an unusual number of races in dark red states are toss-ups, despite an overall political climate that generally favors conservatives.

What we’re seeing may well be the first distant rumblings of a trend that’s been quietly gathering momentum for years: America is becoming less Christian. In every region of the country, in every Christian denomination, membership is either stagnant or declining. Meanwhile, the number of religiously unaffiliated people – atheists, agnostics, those who are indifferent to religion, or those who follow no conventional faith – is growing. In some surprising places, these “nones” (as in “none of the above”) now rank among the largest slices of the demographic pie. – http://go.shr.lc/1rK9YB5