Famed Singer’s Tough Words on Religion: ‘No One’s Got Christ More Wrong Than the Christians’

Published on July 23, 2014


Singer Tom Petty has a bone to pick over the way the Catholic Church handled the sex abuse scandal, telling Billboard Magazine that “no one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians.”

Petty, who recently penned a song remembering the victims of the Catholic sex abuse scandal called “Playing Dumb,” will make the track available on the vinyl release of his new album “Hypnotic Eye.”

But while he’s tackling controversial subject matter, Petty told Catholics he respects whatever faith they want to have, but that he wouldn’t personally continue supporting a church that actively covered up crime.

“Catholics, don’t write me. I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have, but it can’t tell anybody it’s OK to kill people, and it can’t abuse children systematically for God knows how many years,” hetold Billboard. “If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club.”

Speaking of religion more generally, Petty told Billboard that “it seems … to be at the base of all wars.”

“I’ve nothing against defending yourself, but I don’t think, spiritually speaking, that there’s any conception of God that should be telling you to be violent,” he continued. “It seems to me that no one’s got Christ more wrong than the Christians.”

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Thor is now a woman!

Published on July 16, 2014

thor woman marvel 660.jpg


Thor’s not a guy anymore.

Thor’s a gal.

Marvel Comics announced that their male hero of yore was no longer worthy to hold the mighty hammer Mjölnir.

(Bear with us.)

“The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” said Marvel editor Wil Moss in a statement. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

Wait, there’s more.

“This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR,” said writer Jason Aaron. “This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

Thor will be Marvel’s eighth comic featuring a female in its leading role, which the publisher says “aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.”

So watch your back, Captain America.

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Army Official Says Bergdahl Is Giving His Parents the Silent Treatment

Published on July 16, 2014


Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl still has not spoken with his family since being released from Taliban captivity six weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported.

In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. The announcement that the U.S. government had secured Bergdahl's release and that it was freeing five senior Taliban figures from Guantanamo Bay has been portrayed first and foremost as a prisoner exchange. But the four-year history of secret dialogue that led to Saturday's release suggests that the main goal of each side may have been far more sweeping. (AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video) AP Photo/Voice Of Jihad Website via AP video

From the Wall Street Journal:

Sgt. Bergdahl has refused to see his parents or speak to them on the phone, [an Army] official said. The decision by Sgt. Bergdahl, who returned to regular duty on Monday, suggests a deeper estrangement between the soldier and his parents than the military understood when he was released. Still, officials said, they don’t know the precise cause of the tension or when it began.

Bergdahl finished his formal counseling treatment at an Army hospital and began a new job Monday at U.S. Army North at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas.

Sgt. Bergdahl’s father, Robert Bergdahl, was an outspoken — if sometimes disturbing — advocate for his son throughout his five years of captivity.

President Barack Obama looks to Jani Bergdahl and Bob Bergdahl, the parents of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Saturday, May 31, 2014, as Bob Bergdahl speaks about the release of their son. Bergdahl, 28, had been held prisoner by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. He was handed over to U.S. special forces by the Taliban in exchange for the release of five Afghan detainees held by the United States. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture in Afghanistan are the subject of a military investigation. Bergdahl was freed in a controversial deal in exchange for the release of five Guantanamo Bay detainees.
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Transgender Student Loses Most of Her Lawsuit Against Christian College That Expelled Her After MTV Reality Show Revealed Her True Biological Identity

Published on July 16, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 10.08.45 AM

A transgender woman lost the majority of her claims in a lawsuit waged against a Christian college, with a judge ruling that California Baptist University did not violate a California civil rights law in expelling her over allegations that she committed fraud.

But while Superior Court Judge Gloria Connor Trask ruled in favor of the school on four of the five claims made by Domaine Javier, 27, the judge did find that the college was wrong to exclude her from off-campus services that are open to the public, the Riverside County Press-Enterprise reported.

In her lawsuit, Javier cited breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act — a state law preventing discrimination — for her suspension and expulsion.


Trask affirmed that the college offers a religious education and that it is deeply rooted in Christian tradition and is, thus, not a business establishment in violation of the Unruh Act, according to the Christian Post.

“Every secular subject is expressly intertwined with a values-based Christian religious component, taught by a Christian,” the judge wrote in her decision. “Whatever economic benefit the student hopes to gain from the CBU educational experience, CBU clearly intends to send forth an engineer, nurse, businessperson, or teacher who will be able to apply its religious values in the secular world.”

That said, Trask did order the college to pay $4,000 in damages and to pay Javier’s attorney fees over the claim that she was excluded from public businesses and services. Additionally, Javier’s lawyer, Paul Southwick, said that the former student will be able to take online classes at the school.

Both Javier’s team and California Baptist University are considering appeals, according to the Press-Enterprise.

As TheBlaze previously reported, the battle between Javier, who was born a male, and California Baptist University first began in 2011 when she was expelled from the school after her biological identity was revealed when she appeared on MTV’s “True Life: I’m Passing as Someone I’m Not.”

At the time, the transgender student was studying to be a nurse and was expelled for purportedly concealing her true identity, with school officials accusing her of committing fraud on her application when she selected “female” instead of male.

But Javier said she didn’t think she was doing anything wrong and that she was simply selecting her self-perceived identity. Javier has reportedly been identifying as a woman since she was a toddler, claiming that, at 13, she began dressing, thinking and acting like a girl.

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Why a Police Rep Is Telling Citizens to ‘Get Yourself Some Firearms Because You’re Going to Have to Protect Yourselves’

Published on July 11, 2014


In order to avoid “yearly budget crises,” Miami-Dade County (Florida) may have to fire hundreds of police officers as part of a long-term budget strategy announced earlier this week. The proposal has been met with some criticism, with one police association spokesman telling citizens to “get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves.”

The budget proposal, announced by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on Tuesday, would cut nearly 650 county jobs in an attempt to close a $64 million deficit in the city’s general fund. The Miami-Dada Police Department could reportedly see the deepest cuts.

John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, argued the drastic cuts to the police department would negatively impact public safety, according to WSVN-TV.

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

“If the mayor’s not going to provide security, then my recommendation, as an experienced law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, is either buy yourself an attack dog, put bars on your windows and doors and get yourself some firearms because you’re going to have to protect yourselves,” he said. “We won’t be able to.”

As WSVN-TV reports, police units that specialize in robberies and child abuse cases could “see positions vanish.”

Mayor Gimenez said he wants the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, which acts like a union for the police department, to agree to other cuts, possibly a 15 percent reduction in healthcare costs and maybe the county wouldn’t have to let so many employees go.

“This is the amount of money that we have, and if I have to pay more for the employees at the end, we are probably going to have to have fewer employees, unless I continue these concessions and get a 15 percent reduction in our healthcare costs. Then we can maintain most of the employees,” the mayor said.

The news station outlines other ways the city is looking to save money:

• Potentially cutting 200 jobs in the library department

• Reducing mowing and maintenance cycles in county places

• Increasing response time to pothole, flooding, sign and signal repairs

• Postponement of correctional and police officer training classes

However, Gimenez said he is not interested in increasing the “burden on our residents through higher taxes” to address budget issues, despite pressure from unions urging him to do exactly that.

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Which Religious Group in America Supports Obama the Most

Published on July 11, 2014


The nation’s non-Christians – whether of another religion or no religion – are far more likely to support President Barack Obama than American Christians, according to an extensive Gallup survey taken over the last six months.

Muslims support Obama the most, Mormons the least according to new poll

President Barack Obama sits at a table with Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed, in Longwood, Fla., left, and others during the Easter Prayer Breakfast, Monday, April 14, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama, himself a Protestant, gets his highest support from Muslims, and least support from three Christian groups, Catholics, Protestants and Mormons, says the poll taken of 88,000 Americans over the first six months of 2014.

No Christian group has an approval rating of more than 50 percent for Obama, while non-Christian populations are the only ones who provide a higher than 50 percent approval rating for the president. That is significant to Obama’s overall approval of 43 percent, since half the country identifies itself as Protestant, and about a quarter identifies itself as Catholic.

The poll showing 72 percent support from Muslims comes as a recent reports show that the Obama administration’s National Security Agency specifically targeted at least five American Muslims for surveillance, based on information provided by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden. The targeted muslims include activists Hooshang Amirahmadi, a Rutgers University professor and president of the American Iranian Council, and Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Obama has the least support, 18 percent, among Mormons.

In 2012, Obama defeated the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major party. Though another prominent Mormon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), has supported Obama on nearly every agenda item.

The second largest category of support for Obama comes from “other non-Christians.” This is a category that would not include Jews, Muslims or people of no faith, which has a 59 percent approval rating for Obama.

Although Obama has been dogged by questions about his commitment to Israel, his support among Jewish voters still stands at 55 percent.

The category of no religion/atheists approved of Obama’s job by 54 percent. While that’s a decisive majority, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the generalizations of atheists as overwhelmingly progressives on politics.

Also noteworthy, the highest support for Obama among Christians – 44 percent – comes from Catholics.

This comes after several dioceses have sued the Obama administration regarding the Health and Human Services mandate that employers pay for their employees coverage of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, a matter that was settled by a Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The Catholic Church as an institution is also strongly opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, while Obama strongly supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also criticized the Obama administration’s plan to deport some of the unaccompanied minors from Central America.

Support among Protestants drops to 37 percent for Obama. Protestants vary widely from very conservative to very liberal denominations and several in between. Evangelicals are generally conservative on the bulk of political issues. But the churches called mainline Protestants such as United Church of Christ and Presbyterians are more liberal.

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ASU Professor Offers Extra Credit For Hairy Armpits

Published on July 8, 2014

The Huffington Post  | By 




A gender studies teacher is encouraging her students to rethink hair.

Breanne Fahs, an associate professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University, offers female students extra credit if they choose to stop shaving their armpit hair, according to a recent profile on Fahs by ASU News. The educator offers male students extra credit if they opt to shave from the neck down.

Fahs, who has offered the boost since 2010, says the extra credit option is a way for students to learn about prescribed gender norms and personal agency.

“There’s no better way to learn about societal norms than to violate them and see how people react,” Fahs told ASU News. “There’s really no reason why the choice to shave, or not, should be a big deal. But it is, as the students tend to find out quickly.”

Students have to maintain their new hair-scapes for 10 weeks and keep a journal to track the experiment.

Reactions to news of the extra credit assignment have been varied.

“This university experiment should be unnecessary as women should be free to decide whether of not to shave under their arms,” one commenter wrote in response to The Guardian’s story about the project. “Many beautiful women have looked lovely with natural underarms, such as Sophia Loren … The female underarm shaving norm should be obsolete in the modern age.”

Another commenter on BuzzFeed said: “This is beyond stupid. No wonder our educational system is in the toilet and the rest of the developed world outlaps us technologically.”

In 1915, Gillette debuted the first razor specifically tailored for women, according to Elle. Soon after, the first ad of a woman with hairless armpits appeared in a fashion magazine.

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Stolen American Flag Returned to Family of Firefighter Killed on 9/11…with a Note

Published on July 8, 2014


Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (AP) — An American flag stolen from the family of a firefighter killed on Sept. 11 has been returned with a note that says: “I am so sorry, I had no idea.”

Image source: Facebook

Image source: Facebook

WNBC-TV in New York reported that the flag was returned Thursday. It has resumed flying on the porch of Melissa Brengel’s home in Huntington Station on New York’s Long Island.

Image source: Facebook

Image source: Facebook

Her brother, Jonathan Ielpi, was 29 when he died at the World Trade Center in 2001.

Brengel posted a note about the returned flag on Facebook:

“The flag means so much to me and my family and we are so happy and grateful that it was returned and we are able to display it again, although this time it will be put in a proper case and displayed in the house.”

“I don’t know who took it or why. I guess they had their reasons. I am just glad that their conscious got the best of them and they did the right thing by returning it. I also hope it taught them a lesson and they don’t try and pull something like this, with any one, again.”

The family believes the flag was stolen last Monday or early Tuesday. Brengel says, “We put it out during certain times of the year just to remember.”

She says the September 11th Families Association gave her the flag after it flew over the World Trade Center ruins.

In related news, someone apparently swiped American flags from seven Brooklyn homes on Independence Day morning, the New York Daily News reported, citing authorities.

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Is the ‘I-Word’ the New ‘N-Word’?

Published on July 8, 2014


Editor’s note: This post contains language that some readers may find offensive. Discretion is advised.

Progressive commentator Sally Kohn took aim at a word she deemed derogatory and dehumanizing in a CNN column published on July 4.

Sally Kohn. (Image via Twitter)

Sally Kohn. (Image via Twitter)

She compared the term to “n*****” and “f*****” and called for an end to its public usage.

The word: “illegal.”

Here’s how she opened her column:

During the civil rights era, Alabama Gov. George Wallace was asked by a supporter why he was fixated on the politics of race. Wallace replied, ‘You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n*ggers, and they stomped the floor.’

In the 1980s, during the rise of the gay rights movement, North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms accused a political opponent for supporting ‘f*ggots, perverts [and] sexual deviates of this nation.’

Today, opponents of immigration reform attack undocumented immigrants as ‘illegal immigrants.’ Even worse, like anti-immigration extremists, some prominent elected officials use the term ‘illegals.’ Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, said, ‘I urge all Mainers to tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals.’

Not the same thing? Of course it is.

She goes on to call for the elimination of the term “illegal” from public discourse, essentially arguing that social pressure should be employed to rid American parlance of the adjective.

“The organization Race Forward has a campaign to get media organizations to ‘Drop The I-Word’ in their reporting about immigration,” Kohn wrote. “So far, the campaign has succeeded in getting the Associated Press, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and many other outlets to stop using the word. But the pressure continues on The New York Times, The Washington Post and radio and television outlets. And the campaign around media usage is just one step toward influencing and ultimately ending the use of the word ‘illegal’ by everyone in America.”

It seemed that Kohn would propose an alternate description for those who enter the U.S. unlawfully: “undocumented immigrants.”

Whether she intended that the word “undocumented” would come to connote “illegal,” or whether she intended that abolishing the use of the word “illegal” would, by association, eliminate the unlawful nature of such immigration, was unclear.

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‘Might as Well Just Say No Black Folks Allowed’: Bar Under Fire for ‘Racist’ Dress Code

Published on July 8, 2014


Can a dress code be racist?

That’s what some people are calling a Minneapolis bar’s new clothing policy, KMSP-TV reported.

“Might as well just say, ‘No black folks allowed,’” local Michelle Horovitz said. ”It’s ridiculous.”

The policy, posted in Bar Louie’s uptown Minneapolis location, bans a host of apparel on weekend nights, including “flat bill hats,” “large chains,” “long plain white T-shirts” and “excessively baggy clothing.”

Image source: screengrab via KMSP-TV

Image source: KMSP-TV

Observers seemed to agree that the policy was tacitly targeting black people.

“If you do not want African-Americans to frequent your establishment, then maybe you should just say that and not just break it down to the dress code,” onlooker Imani Vincent told KMSP.

“Minnesota might be the nicest, healthiest, cleanest state in America, but we have huge issues as far as segregation, racism, systematic oppression — and people want to look the other way,” Horovitz said. “This is not okay, and we’re not going to patronize you if you don’t change your policy.”

The local station said that the manager of the uptown location claimed the policy came from the corporate office, but KMSP reported that no similar dress code was posted at a suburban Bar Louie location.

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