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Hindus dismayed after 2nd temple vandalism in 2 weeks in Seattle metropolitan area

English: The top of the Space Needle in Seattl...

The top of the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus nationwide are highly concerned after reports of various broken windows and scrawling of word “FEAR” at Kent Hindu Temple wall in Washington State late February 26 night.

This was second such incident in recent days in Seattle metropolitan area after scrawling of “GET OUT” on Bothell Hindu Temple was discovered on February 15. In addition, a Hindu grandfather was roughed-up by police in Madison (Alabama) on February six resulting in partial paralysis. These two vandalized temples are about 34 miles apart from each other in Seattle metropolitan area of Washington State.

Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful US Hindu community numbering about three million; who had made lot of contributions to the nation and society; to receive such signals of hatred and anger.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged administration for swift action to regain the falling confidence of the Hindu community.

Zed suggested that basics of major world religions should be taught in high schools of the country and first responders should be imparted cultural competency training so that we understood each other better in view of increasing diversity of the country. Zed urged fellow Hindus to educate Americans about Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents, and try to remove any misconceptions about it.

Zed pointed out that reasons for the success of the US Hindu community in the areas of education, wealth and long-lasting harmonious marriages were because of their continuing with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, sanctity of marriage, etc., in USA amidst so many distractions.

Kent Hindu Temple (Sanatan Dharma Temple and Cultural Center), a non-profit organization formed in 2002, opens daily and besides regular worship services, also organizes festivals; Indian music, dance and language classes; yoga; weekly children’s-parents’ activities; etc. Jugal Thakor is Temple President, while Rishikesh Tiwari is the Priest. Holi, annual festival of color, is scheduled for March eight.


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Are you irrational, abnormal and mentally disordered?

Statue of Sir John A Macdonald, Ontario Provin...

Statue of Sir John A Macdonald, Ontario Provincial Parliament, Queens Park, Toronto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Michael Clark (Transcribed with edits from a voice recording)

Recently I linked to a news story about Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. The headline goes like this:

Kathleen Wynne sees homophobia amid sex-ed protests.

In a nutshell, there was a protest on the front lawn of Queen’s Park, the site of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto.

The protesters didn’t like the new sex education curriculum. And, according to CBC news, the Premier says “she has no doubt homophobia motivated some of the hundreds of people who protested Ontario’s new sex education curriculum this week.”

The whole story got me thinking about something – actually I’ve already been thinking about it, but didn’t really know how to put it into words.

Basically, what concerns me is the use of the word homophobia. If someone dislikes homosexual activity, is it right to brand them as “phobic?”

Dictionary.com gives the definition of phobia as [emphases mine]:

a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.

And another definition at dictionary.com:

a combining form meaning “fear,” occurring in loanwords from Greek ( hydrophobia); on this model, used in the names of mental disorders that have the general sense “dread of, aversion toward” that specified by the initial element: agoraphobia.

And a third:

(psychiatry) an abnormal intense and irrational fear of a given situation, organism, or object

Image via Wikipedia

So in other words, Wynne is insinuating that some people are irrational, abnormal and mentally disordered because they don’t like homosexuality.

That is shocking. I believe it’s a defamatory attack on the right to free speech and the freedom to think.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t care if someone’s gay, straight, bi or transgender. It doesn’t matter to me. I am not interested in those issues. What interests me is the sheer power or words.

There seems to be a general trend these days to label people who dislike homosexuality as phobic. They are homophobics… with homophobia.

Instead of phobic, let’s find some synonyms for the word dislike. We could just as easily call it:

Homo-antipathy, homo-aversion, homo-disapproval, homo-displeasure, homo-distaste, homo-dissatisfaction

And some more synonyms:

Homo-disfavor, homo-disinclination, homo-objection, homo-offence, homo-opposition

There are a few more, but those are the more moderate ones.

Hmmm.

Maybe we could call people who dislike homosexuality homo-objectors or homo-opposers. This wouldn’t slander them as irrational, abnormal or mentally disordered for simply thinking for themselves and forming an opinion.

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Why do people use the word phobic?

I think this is partly due to the scientific mindset. Unreflective folk call it a phobia, creating a pseudo-scientific gloss as if they have some kind of test tube certainty. And that’s bogus.

The word homophobia was coined by George Weinberg, a psychologist, in the 1960s. At that time homosexuality was classified as a disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.

Psychiatry treated gays and lesbians as if they had a disorder, right up to 1973. So a supposedly authoritative scientific diagnosis of homosexuality as a disorder in 1972 suddenly changed to its opposite in 1973. A gay or lesbian goes to their psychiatrist in 1972 and they’re sick. In 1973, the same gay or lesbian is well.

In short, science, and particularly scientism is the new religion. It has the same kind of power to shape thinking as religion did in the Middle Ages. If we make something sound scientific, even if it’s not, many people buy into it.

The fact that the Premier of Ontario would so recklessly smear certain groups in this way – just because they dislike homosexuality – reveals woefully inadequate thinking.

I’d expect that, say, in a teenager, but not with the Premier of Ontario.

About the Author

Mike Clark earned his Ph.D in Religious Studies from the University of Ottawa. He’s an ardent supporter of dialogue and free-thinking. Not one to uncritically accept the latest politically correct, scientific, religious or trendy opinions, Mike wants to get at truth. But as a limited human being, he realizes he’ll probably always have to settle for (hopefully better and better) theories about truth.


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Review – Angels, Demons and Freemasons (DVD)

Reality Films

Are we ruled by a secret society of powerful mystics? Do the Freemasons represent more than just a charitable organization?

Philip Gardiner’s new DVD, Angels, Demons and Freemasons explores these and other intriguing issues, leaving us with just as many questions as answers.

At the heart of Gardiner’s argument is the idea that Freemasonry, along with its hidden rituals and archaic symbolism, embodies centuries of esoteric knowledge once shared among priests, scribes, military elites and the nobility.

Gardiner’s analysis probes deep into the gnostic world of the Egyptian pharaohs, Kabbalistic Judaism, Islamic Sufism, and many types of ancient and medieval alchemy.

All these mystery cults and Freemasonry apparently share one key element—the underground transmission of a stream of covert, illuminated knowledge. And since knowledge is power, those in possession of that knowledge are best positioned to shape the course of history, be it peacefully or through acts of violence.

History demonstrates that individuals have always formed relatively small, hierarchically arranged groups to maximize their power over the masses.

This has been the social dynamic for centuries within Churches and other ruling bodies enjoying both knowledge and power. And so it is today, Gardiner believes, with Freemasonry and some of its allegedly related offshoots.

The contemporary power brokers differ, however, in that neither religion nor nationality figure in their domination. According to Gardiner, the real kingpins of the so-called New World Order are mostly hidden from view and, perhaps equally important, interdenominational and internationally connected.

However, an unanswered question runs throughout this video: Are unique social symbols of the 21st century society, while similar to their ancient roots, consciously (or unconsciously) influencing mankind?

Angels, Demons and Freemasons seems to suggest that the mere presence of these symbols in contemporary artifacts is evidence of secret societies flourishing in the 21st century, replete with esoteric knowledge and power.

English: Jean Baudrillard in 2005

Jean Baudrillard in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But a postmodern semiotic analysis could interpret things another way.

Jean Baudrillard, for instance, argued that the meaning of signs becomes imploded over time. Although ancient symbols carry on, they take on entirely new meanings (or lack of) in contemporary culture. For Baudrillard we live in the hyperreal consisting of so many distorted or entirely reinvented simulacra. Simulacra are signs once having clear meaning, of all which has changed or vanished in the 21st century.

Not to say that Baudrillard is necessarily correct. One could argue that reinvented signs continue to carry some kind of numinous allure and deeply entrenched significance.¹ For instance, the U.S. dollar bill has the image of a pyramid with an eye in the capstone. And this might make the US bill more appealing on some unconscious level. But is this clear-cut evidence for a secret society operating deep within the US government? Some have argued that, if these societies are so secret, why would they blatantly display their esoteric symbol?¹

Now, to switch gears a little, another point to consider is the New Testament portrayal of Jesus Christ as the King of Heaven, while Satan is deemed the Ruler of This World. Here Gardiner makes the astute observation that practical leaders (and we do need them) ideally possess a healthy balance between mankind’s dual nature of vice and virtue, greed and goodwill.

Organizational leaders are often called upon to make personal sacrifices and difficult compromises in order to render legal decisions among competing interest groups. For Gardiner, this shouldn’t be a free-for-all or raw and brutish survival of the fittest scenario. The wise leader, he says, ideally leans toward the compassionate rather than Machiavellian end of the spectrum.

Concerning personal freedom, theologians might not agree with Gardiner’s view that individual choice is merely the outcome of all preceding influences, a view which seems to omit the possibility of grace and divine intervention while decision making. But these apparent theological differences may be more a matter of semantics than actual difference. For the film closes with an undeniable ray of hope.

Angels, Demons and Freemasons is a thought-provoking film that poses seminal questions about the complexities of power in contemporary society. It should appeal to specialists and intelligent laypersons and serve as a consciousness-raiser for those who, perhaps, put a bit too much stock in what the evening news says.

MC (With minor edits to original of 12/23/09)

¹ (a) See: Is the dollar bill’s eye-on-a-pyramid the symbol of a secret society? http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1064/is-the-dollar-bills-eye-on-a-pyramid-the-symbol-of-a-secret-society .

(b) We can’t assume that ancient simulacra had just one fixed meaning. In ancient Rome, for instance, a huge iron meteorite was a simulacrum (religious representation) of Cybele. But the meaning of Cybele cults was debated and contested, even then.


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The Pope, relationships and the 21st century

Blesed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926)

Blessed Bartolo Longo (1841-1926) – At the suggestion of Pope Leo XIII, Bartolo Longo and the Countess Mariana di Fusco were married on April 7, 1885. The couple remained continent (abstained from intercourse), and continued to do many charitable works and provided for orphaned children and the children of prisoners which for its time was revolutionary. (Text and photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Michael Clark (transcript, with a few edits, from dictation with the Dragon app)

I converted to Catholicism in 2001. I did so for spiritual not political or social reasons. I felt tremendous power and graces within the church, like I’d never felt before. Maybe once or twice I experienced something similar in Protestant churches but never had I encountered anything as powerful and complete as within the Catholic setting. There’s more to the story than that but it’s not really worth going into.

What I would like to talk about it is Pope Francis’ most recent statement that married people who do not have children are selfish. I think that is a ludicrous statement. I also think it will turn off my married friends – without children – who might have otherwise considered going to Mass to see what it’s like. When non-Catholics read statements like that, it’s not going to attract them to the Catholic faith.

Not that my raison d’être is to bring people to the Catholic faith. It’s not. Anyone who knows me knows that I accept and respect people where they’re at. I don’t think Catholicism is appropriate for everyone. And I only encourage people to come with me or check out Mass for themselves if I think they might gain some benefit from it.

Now, to return to the Popes’s latest statement… Several objections came to mind, actually so many that I felt almost overwhelmed. I realized I could spend hours critiquing the Pope’s statement. Luckily, however, I found this blog.

Etheldredasplace – Traditional Catholic Blog

I think the above post (and its comments) provide an excellent discussion on the issue. But there is one facet of the conversation that is not really included. And that is the element of money. Of making a living. Something, by the way, that functional priests and popes don’t really have to worry about.

As discussed at the above link, I agree that a couple could join in a holy relationship primarily for spiritual support, for companionship, to do good works, and to spread spirituality throughout the globe or in their neighborhoods. It is also far easier for two people to make a living and pay the bills than it is for a single person. The Catholic Church, the priests, the clergy—they only have a vicarious grasp of this. Sure, they must perform within a busy schedule (some might say a partially self-legitimizing one). But they also get what could be called “free money.” If the roof starts to leak, the furnace blows, the pipes burst or the walls start to crumble, they don’t really have to fret. The “free money” always seems to magically appear from somewhere. And the very best tradespersons always arrive, pronto.

Most of us don’t have that kind of luxurious financial backup. And anyone who gets “free money” like that and harshly judges others who don’t, well I really think they should ask themselves if they’re in touch with the reality of living, and of making a living, in the 21st century.


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Zed dubs Vatican assembly on women equality without priesthood talk “a joke”

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Special to Earthpages.org

Vatican assembly on women’s equality in Rome from February 4-7 despite big fanfare seemed like a joke as there was no discussion proposed on women priesthood, Rajan Zed said in Nevada (USA) today.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that the outline document of this “equality” assembly clearly stated that “There is no discussion here of women priests, which according to statistics is not something that women want,” without mentioning the source of such “statistics”. But this document irrelevantly and strongly denounced plastic surgery, quoting it as “burqa made of flesh”.

Zed further said that Holy See being the largest religious organization in the world with about 1.2 billion adherents should show exemplary leadership in women equality to the rest of the planet by ordaining women priests.

When Church of England could consecrate a female bishop (January 26) overturning centuries of tradition, why can’t Roman Catholic Church ordain women? Zed asked.

Zed stressed that women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion. What was the relevance of such assemblies on “equality” when the Church’s Cannon Law 1024 clearly said—Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.

Zed urged His Holiness Pope Francis to introduce some “real equality” by reconsidering favorably the ordination of women priests. As women were equal partners in the society, they should be equal partners in Church also, Zed added. He urged Vatican to be more kind to Roman Catholic women as exclusion of women from some religious services, just because they were female, was very unfair and ungodly.

Quoting Hindu scriptures, Rajan Zed says: Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God and religions should respect that, Zed notes and adds that time has now come for the women priests and bishops.

Zed suggested that theologians and canonists of the Church needed to address women ordination issue urgently; re-evaluate Church doctrine, theology, male hierarchy and history; and give women a chance. Women should be ordained to priesthood and should perform the same functions as male priests. Treating women as not equal to men was clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality.

Even the image illustrating this Vatican “equality” assembly was disturbing, which showed a naked woman without head-arms-legs in bondage bound with rope, which seemed some kind of erotic fantasy. Vatican should display more maturity, seriousness and responsibility towards women, Rajan Zed indicated.


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The YouTube Interview with President Obama

Originally posted on OK, Fine.:

Yesterday, YouTube personalities Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green interviewed President Obama about the top issues facing them and their audiences.

Fox News expressed outrage, claiming that President Obama’s interviews with three YouTube stars were “beneath the dignity of the office.”

(Video 46 minutes long)

The White House

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Navy research project on intuition aims to optimize discoveries

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By Steve Hammons (originally posted 12/11/2014 at Joint Recon Study Group)

Based on other formal research and anecdotal reports over the years, the ONR study, called “Enhancing Intuitive Decision Making Through Implicit Learning,” will attempt to determine how rapid or apparently spontaneous intuitive impressions can be used by military personnel and others.

Often referred to as “gut instincts,” “hunches” and the “sixth sense,” scientific research indicates that these can be legitimate sources of accurate information and understanding. Intuition may be simply acquiring and processing information in different ways, researchers indicate.

Valid impressions can be arrived at via various kinds of information coming to us through normal sensory perception, absorption of past training and experience, our unconscious minds, our bodies and even somewhat mysterious areas of quantum physics, according to some research.

When these potential sources of information and understanding are used (often in combination) military personnel may be better-prepared to quickly  integrate and process information, gain improved “situation awareness” and make rapid, effective decisions, ONR and other researchers point out.

US Navy 110924-N-ZL585-205 Capt. Dan Burque, r...

US Navy 110924-N-ZL585-205 Capt. Dan Burque, research liaison officer from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), helps a student operate an underwate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LARGER IMPLICATIONS

According to a June 2014 article in the Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Army Times and Air Force Times (Gannett Company Military Times publications), “the  new four-year, $3.85 million program to explore the phenomenon is a joint effort among ONR, DSCI Mesh Solutions, Charles River Analytics, Defense Group Inc., Northwestern University, University of California-Los Angeles and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

In a March 2014 media release from the ONR, more details about the new project were explained. “ONR has embarked on a four-year basic research program to enhance intuitive decision making through implicit learning. A team of scientists will study factors such as memory and perception to better understand how decisions are made and whether there are ways to improve premonition through training,” according to the press release which was also posted on the Navy News Service website.

The media release quoted Lt. Cmdr. Brent Olde, ONR Warfighter Performance Department’s division deputy for human and bio-engineered systems: “A seasoned warfighter develops a gut instinct through experience.”

Olde was also quoted as explaining, “If we can characterize this intuitive decision-making process and model it, then the hope is to accelerate the acquisition of these skills through simulation and scenarios; thus, providing our sailors and Marines with years of experience in a matter of days and greatly improving their ability to make split-second decisions.”

Also included in the ONR press release were statements from Dr. Peter Squire, program officer for human performance, training and education in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department.

Squire said, “Ultimately, this is about sailors and Marines being able to harness their gut instincts in situations where they need to act quickly. But first, we have to understand what gives rise to this so-called ‘sixth sense.’ Can we model it? Is there a way to improve it through training?”

The article published in the Military Times also reported additional comments by Squire about stories of troops in combat who took actions based on intuitive-type perceptions: “These are quick decisions made unconsciously. Troops can’t tell you what made them stop or act, but we believe something different in what is usually a regular environment triggered a reaction.”

“At ONR, we push science to support our warfighters, to make sure they are equipped for a fair fight. But this also has implications for society at large,” Squire was quoted as saying.

The Military Times article included the following: “According to Squire, if the researchers understand the process, there may be ways to accelerate it – and possibly spread the powers of intuition throughout military units. The research could have applicability well beyond the military.”

The same article summarized the critical importance of these kinds of perceptions. “Troops often return from patrols with stories of how they survived intact through some hairy situation because they had a premonition something was amiss.”

English: NEW YORK (May 31, 2010) Visitors inte...

NEW YORK (May 31, 2010) Visitors interact with the mobile, dexterous, social (MDS) robot Octavia at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) exhibit during Fleet Week New York 2010. The ONR human robotics interaction research program at the Naval Research Laboratory focuses on the abilities of teams of humans and autonomous systems to communicate clearly, collaborate to solve problems, and interact via modality both locally and remotely. (U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PREVIOUS RESEARCH

In recent years the U.S. Army has also initiated research into hunches and intuition. Those studies found that two kinds of American troops in combat areas seemed to be better able to detect hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

One type included those troops raised in rural areas in a natural environment and who were involved in hunting and similar activities. They seemed to have better instincts and were possibly more alert about dangers around them. The other category was the Army soldier or Marine who grew up in tough urban settings where they had to be aware of danger from crime and assault.

This type of research is not new. Universities and previous defense-related research going back to the 1970s explored and utilized unconventional, alternative and complementary kinds of perception that humans are believed to possess naturally, and can be enhanced through training.

Probably the most well-known of these efforts is now referred to as Project STAR GATE. That program developed methods to attempt to acquire accurate and reliable information using human consciousness.

Though this research-and-operational program appears to be more forward-leaning in its goals and methods than the new ONR implicit learning project, there seem to be several areas of significant overlap.

Based on the successes of Project STAR GATE, a former Navy SEAL officer developed the concept of “transcendent warfare” that he explored in a graduate-level research paper. The transcendent warfare model involves learning more about new discoveries related to human perception and using that knowledge in appropriately robust ways. The ONR research project also appears to dovetail with transcendent warfare ideas.

The validity of different (though complementary) modes of human perception, and processing those perceptions, appears to be well-established by much previous research.

The new ONR project reportedly attempts to further explore these abilities and add to existing training and education efforts about them.

For more information see:

ONR media releaseNavy News Service article

Article in Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, Army Times, Air Force Times

About the Author

Steve Hammons is the author of two novels about a U.S. Government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND introduce readers to the ten women and men of the “Joint Reconnaissance Study Group” and their exciting adventures exploring the unknown.

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