Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moderate Muslim Scholars: Homosexuality Is Natural And From Go

At a conference on Islam held in Indonesia, moderate Muslim scholars issued a statement calling homosexuality normal and created by God.
Moderate Muslim scholars said there were no reasons to reject homosexuals under Islam, and that the condemnation of homosexuals and homosexuality by mainstream ulema and many other Muslims was based on narrow-minded interpretations of Islamic teachings. Siti Musdah Mulia of the Indonesia Conference of Religions and Peace cited the Koran's al-Hujurat (49:3) that one of the blessings for human beings was that all men and women are equal, regardless of ethnicity, wealth, social positions or even sexual orientation. "There is no difference between lesbians and nonlesbians. In the eyes of God, people are valued based on their piety," she told the discussion organized by nongovernmental organization Arus Pelangi. "And talking about piety is God's prerogative to judge," she added. "The essence of the religion (Islam) is to humanize humans, respect and dignify them." Musdah said homosexuality was from God and should be considered natural, adding it was not pushed only by passion.
Two conservative Islamic groups at the conference responded by condemning gays.

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posted by Joe

UK Gets Conservative Gay Group

From JMG:

The Log Cabin Republicans now have a counterpart in the United Kingdom.
A Tory-affiliated LGBT group has been officially launched at Manchester Pride. LGBTory had a stall during the bank holiday festivities, while members marched in the parade to showcase the new rainbow Tory logo and the slogan 'Conservative and Proud'. Matthew Sephton, the chairman of LGBTory, said: “The weekend was a tremendous success. We had an excellent team in the parade and had loads of fun doing it.We were flying the flag for the modern Conservatives and for the LGBT community and had lots of attention from the many thousands of people who lined the parade route through the city. “On our stall, we had a great deal of interest in both LGBTory and the Conservatives generally. People were positive about us being there and were very happy to see us. As a group we are looking forward to working with all LGBT groups and other Conservative groups to continue the change needed to stamp out homophobia at all levels of society, once and for all.”
Note how their name, LGBTory, echoes GOProud.

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posted by Joe

“The Impact of Inequality” is one of the most important books you will ever read. -- Thom Hartmann

The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier (Paperback): Thom Hartmann "Independent Thinker of the Month" Review Exclusively for BuzzFlash.com
By Richard Wilkinson
BuzzFlash.com's Review (excerpt)
August, 2009

Each month, BuzzFlash is privileged to have nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Thom Hartmann review a progressive book or DVD exclusively for BuzzFlash. See other progressive premiums at The BuzzFlash Progressive Marketplace.

Thom Hartmann's Review -- Exclusively for BuzzFlash -- for August, 2009:

"The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier"

By Richard Wilkinson

Reviewed by Thom Hartmann

If the number of dog-eared pages thickening the upper corner of a book on my bookshelves is any indication of how important that book was to me (and it is), then “The Impact of Inequality” is one of the top ten books in my library (and it is).

Wilkinson has, quite simply, identified the One Single Issue That Drives Everything Else.

Obesity, cancer, infant mortality, homicide, gun violence, imprisonment ratios, depression, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, venereal disease rates, use of prescription antidepressants, workplace satisfaction, trust of one’s neighbors – pick from the menu. ALL of them are driven by a single variable.

And that variable isn’t wealth. While America is the richest nation in the world with a median income of around $44,000/year, we’re way in the back of the pack in all the indices mentioned above. So is the second richest nation, Great Britain.

And it wasn’t that way in the period from 1940 to 1980.

The reason it is now, it turns out, is pretty straightforward. While most European and developed nations have a ratio of about 3:1 to 5:1 between the wealth of the poorest 20% of the populace and the richest 20%, the UK and US are running in the neighborhood of 8:1.

The more unequal a society is, the more problems it has. Regardless of how rich it is.

Conversely, the more equal a society is the better it does. Regardless of how poor it is (so long as they’re above a baseline survival threshold, which appears to run around $5000/year). Costa Rica, at around $7,000 a year, does better than the US or UK on all of the items on the list above – and more.

And it’s not just differences in these indices between nations: they also occur between states or provinces in nations. Wilkinson documents in his book how the most equal of the states of the US and provinces of Canada have the best outcomes in all the cases listed above, and the most unequal of the states have the worst outcomes. The relationship is absolutely definable, linear, and predictable.

Richard Wilkinson builds a powerful and irrefutable case in this book for a radical re-think of the role of wealth – and government and taxes – in society. Without this incredible piece of the puzzle, no other discussion of tax policy, industrial policy, educational policy, or rules of business can make serious sense.

“The Impact of Inequality” is one of the most important books you will ever read. And as a bonus, it’s also one of the most readable. I started it on a Friday afternoon, and was so stuck to it that I was finished by Sunday afternoon, complete with having made pages of notes and folded over and marked up at least sixty or seventy pages. Buy two or three copies, because this is a book you’ll want to share with everybody you know.

(Note: Wilkinson has published a sequel to “Impact” in the UK, titled “The Spirit Level,” which will become available in the US this winter. Its website is here. I ordered it via a British bookseller and read it cover-to-cover, but found it to be mostly a rehash and update of the contents/statistics/arguments of “Impact.” While “Spirit Level” will definitely be worth buying when it comes out, I recommend you not wait but get “Impact” now and familiarize yourself with what I predict will become the hottest topic of discussion in economic and political circles over the next few years.)

Thom Hartmann is a New York Times bestselling Project Censored Award winning author and host of a nationally syndicated progressive radio talk show. You can learn more about Thom Hartmann at his website and find out what stations broadcast his program. You can also listen to Thom over the Internet.

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