Archive for January, 2012

Ethiopian Christians to be deported from Saudi Arabia

Young Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are pictured during the annual festival of Timkat in Lalibela, Ethiopia which celebrates Epiphany, the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, on 20 January 2012. Ethiopia was one of the first Christian countries in the world.


In pictures: Orthodox Christmas

Some 35 Ethiopian Christians face deportation from Saudi Arabia for “illicit mingling”, the global rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

Police arrested the group – including 29 women – after raiding a prayer meeting in the second city of Jeddah.

The women were subjected to strip searches and the men beaten and called “unbelievers”, according to HRW.

In 2006, the Saudi government promised to stop interfering with private worship by non-Muslims.

The group was arrested in a private home as they gathered to pray during the run-up to Christmas, celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on 7 January.

HRW spoke to a man and two women by telephone from the prisons where they are being held.

They say they have been charged with mixing with unmarried persons of the opposite sex – even though HRW says Saudi Arabia has no law defining “illicit mingling”.

Mixing of the sexes is not allowed in public – but normally permitted in private unless for “the purpose of corruption”, according to the religious police.

The ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom bans the practice of any religion except Islam – but in recent years pledged to leave people of other faiths alone if they worshipped in private homes.

Ethiopia was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th Century.

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Related Stories

Saudi Arabia profile 16 JANUARY 2012, MIDDLE EAST

Ethiopia profile 18 JANUARY 2012, AFRICA

In pictures: Orthodox Christmas 07 JANUARY 2004, IN PICTURES

Related Internet links

Human Rights Watch

Around the BBC

via BBC News – Ethiopian Christians to be deported from Saudi Arabia.

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Embroidered Newt 2012 cap

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Embroidered Newt 2012 cap. Wording is on the back. For those that dont like their message to be in others faces. I low key political message that says it all. Vote Newt! : )

via Embroidered Newt 2012 cap by scottkelly312 on Etsy.

Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event at Ft. Bragg

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Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event at Ft. Bragg

Jan 27, 2012

Atheists are using a music video that celebrates the burning of churches and synagogues to promote an upcoming atheist-themed festival at Fort Bragg.

“Rock Beyond Belief” is scheduled to be held on the parade field at Fort Bragg in March. The event was created in part as a response to a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event that was held last year.


Justin Griffith, who organized “Rock Beyond Belief,” said he was personally offended that a Christian evangelical event like “Rock the Fort” was held on the base.

“We felt it was entirely inappropriate for anyone to say your current religion is wrong,” Griffith told Fox News& Commentary. “We view all soldiers as already spiritually complete. Whatever their current religious preference is has no bearing on how fit they are as a soldier or anything related to military business.”

Griffith confirmed the lineup includes atheist speakers, a rapper who raps about evolution and a “kiddy pool” where boys and girls will be able to scientifically walk on water.

There will also be a number of bands performing – the most famous of which is Aiden. They are featured in a video on the “Rocky Beyond Belief” website that includes images of burning churches and bloody crosses.

The website was the first to raise questions about the music.

The website labels the song as the “atheist anthem.”

Among the lyrics: “Love how the burn your synagogues, love how they torch your holy books.”

The group is no stranger to strong lyrics. Another of their songs says, “F*** your God, F*** your faith in the end. There’s no religion.”

Griffith said that particular song would not be performed at the festival, but defended the video of burning churches.

“You can buy their albums in Wal-Mart, a Christian-friendly store,” Griffith said. “If you have issues with bands that sometimes have swear words, or naughty words, or shocking imagery, that’s a part of the First Amendment.”

Benjamin Abel, a spokesman for Fort Bragg told Fox News & Commentary that they were launching a review of the bands scheduled to perform along with their content.

“This is a family-friendly event and we expect the entertainment will meet the standards of decency that would be typical on a top-40 music station,” Abel said. “We owe it to our soldiers and families on post to make sure it is.”

As for the graphic, anti-Christian lyrics – Abel said “I would have to think we would have to take a very close look at that kind of lyric.”

“I don’t know how family-friendly that is,” he said.

Griffith said there is absolutely no controversy about Aiden’s upcoming performance.

“It’s a little shocking to hear some of this stuff,” he said. “I’m sure you understand that these types of shocking things are not going to be front and center for a rock concert that is on a military base. This is not controversy. This is not a real story.”

But if that’s the case, why is there a video of the band performing in front of burning churches on the “Rock Beyond Belief” website?

The military could not answer that question.

“I can’t speak to somebody’s website,” Abel said. “We are reviewing the material and will ensure that event organizers understand that we will have to hold them to a certain level of dec

via Church-Burning Video Used to Promote Atheist Event at Ft. Bragg | FOX News & Commentary: Todd Starnes.

When the New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance in October prohibiting “aggressive solicitation” by people who allegedly harass or intimidate French Quarter residents and tourists while asking for money, it included a seemingly unrelated provision that attracted no attention at the time.

southern_decadence_opponents_bourbon_street.jpgView full sizeAlex Brandon, The Times-Picayune archiveAnti-gay campaigners were photographed on Bourbon Street during Southern Decadence in 2003.

That sentence, almost at the end of the eight-page ordinance, said: “It shall be prohibited for any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.”

Although the law, sponsored by Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer, spelled out the justification for the crackdown on aggressive panhandlers, it offered no explanation for the blanket ban on letting people assemble on Bourbon Street at night to voice their views on politics or religion.

When someone complained about the law this week, however, it was not to challenge it as an infringement on First Amendment freedoms. Instead, former mayoral candidate Leo Watermeier complained to Palmer and Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson in public emails that religious demonstrators, sometimes with large signs and bullhorns, have been showing up on Bourbon Street on Friday and Saturday nights, yet police have taken no action against them.

Watermeier wages an annual battle with the small group of anti-gay campaigners who show up during the Southern Decadence festival, using bullhorns and picket signs to convey their message that homosexuality is evil and that its public celebration during Decadence is particularly abominable.

Brendan McCarthy can be reached at or 504.826.3301. Bruce Eggler can be reached at or 504.826.3320.

via Bible-thumping on Bourbon Street at night barred by ordinance |


This is why this city is or use to be the number city for crime. They seem to have no time for God.

Jesus Saves!


Started in 1889, the Eastman Kodak Company has been part of all our lives. Much like today’s generation where terms like “Google” means search, or “Facebook me” means get in touch, the “Kodak moment” has been part of all of our lives, and has always meant a special moment in time that has been captured on film.

Being a photographer, and one who was taught using film and processing my own film (and subsequently spending years in the dark), I can speak from my own experience and say that film is officially dead. I remember my days in art school, and if you were in the photography program, the darkroom was your night club. We would spend days, nights, weeks in the darkroom. The ones who were “serious” about photography would make photographs on film, and process their own film and make their own prints. Digital was emerging, but if you were serious about photography, you shot on film.

Photographers have always imbued film with nostalgia and memories. The physical act of learning the craft of photography is a very intimate one, intertwined with memory, context, and content. Since my time at art school, digital photography has seen rapid transformation, and the technology has evolved to the point where today, quality is at a premium. Much like filmmakers who insist on shooting on 8 or 16mm, their time has come and passed. Digital technology has reached its tipping point, where cost and availability have made the old technologies obsolete.

We are now at the point where image making is so commonplace, it’s not a matter of who is doing it, it’s a matter of where to share your memories. We are so focused now on social media and living in a real-time network of status updates and images, that the craft of photography is now standing on its last legs. Technology has removed the barriers to those who did not learn the craft, making everyone a photographer, and memories everywhere. So with the old technologies now obsolete, photographers can now focus on what is most important, creating content, making images, and sharing their stories with the world.

Sure, you can still tell the difference between a photographer and a hobbyist or your average joe shooting on his/her smartphone. Photographers have a natural understanding of composition, light and framing, and are able to produce photographs that still amaze others. Photographers do not depend on Instagram filters, or HDR to make an image interesting (but heck, they are sure fun to play with). They still have the eye for photography that sets them apart in this image obsessed world. But we have changed as people. Immediacy is more important than time, and instant gratification is key. You want to snap a photo, apply a filter, upload it to Facebook as fast as your smartphone will let you. You want to share your photos, and can do so instantly and to anywhere in the world in a moment. You would rather pick up a chair from Ikea than have one hand-crafted.

With the passing of Kodak, a little piece of every photographer has died, but it’s more of the process of photography for photographers, that will be missed. Today’s kids probably won’t even know who Kodak were, and more importantly, they couldn’t care less. As a photographer, I certainly won’t miss the cost of buying film in bulk, or spending every cent on chemicals, paper, and equipment. I will however miss the process or shooting, processing, printing, and then sharing. So maybe the ‘Kodak moment’ hasn’t really died with the passing of Kodak… maybe it has just begun. With technology giving everyone the means to make photographs, we suddenly find ourselves on an even plane… and quality of content will become even more important.

I’m sure many will miss the excitement of running to the local photomat, picking up your prints, and the excitement of seeing what you captured appear before your eyes. Ask any photographer who has ever processed their own film, and they will all tell you that there is simply nothing quite as amazing as watching your film process, and seeing a chemical bath make your images come to life. But it’s now time for us traditionalists to accept technology, embrace it, and move forward telling the stories we have always told, just with a new and improved medium.

Now on to our next challenge, managing our digital lifestyle. We will cover this in future posts. Let us know what you think about where photography is headed, and what you will miss from the Kodak moments of the past.

via That Kodak Moment –