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Topics - Chuck

Your Turn / FFRF v Geithner – Parsonage Exemption
November 23, 2013, 12:53:09 PM
US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has struck down the housing allowance exemption. The decision can be downloaded here.

"I agree with plaintiffs that §107(2) does not have a secular purpose or effect," wrote [Judge Barbara B.] Crabb, adding that a reasonable observer would view it "as an endorsement of religion."

No doubt there will be appeals.
Your Turn / Court strikes down birth control mandate
November 03, 2013, 10:14:13 AM
This just in this morning...

Court strikes down birth control mandate

A federal appeals court on Friday struck down the birth control mandate in ObamaCare, concluding the requirement trammels religious freedom.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.

Requiring companies to cover their employees' contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.

"The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company's owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan," Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.

Legal analysts expect the Supreme Court to ultimately pick up an appeal on the birth-control requirement and make a final decision on its constitutionality.
Your Turn / Computer Scientists 'Prove' God Exists
October 27, 2013, 11:35:49 AM

"When Gödel died in 1978, he left behind a tantalizing theory based on principles of modal logic -- that a higher being must exist. The details of the mathematics involved in Gödel's ontological proof are complicated, but in essence the Austrian was arguing that, by definition, God is that for which no greater can be conceived. And while God exists in the understanding of the concept, we could conceive of him as greater if he existed in reality. Therefore, he must exist.

Even at the time, the argument was not exactly a new one. For centuries, many have tried to use this kind of abstract reasoning to prove the possibility or necessity of the existence of God. But the mathematical model composed by Gödel proposed a proof of the idea. Its theorems and axioms -- assumptions which cannot be proven -- can be expressed as mathematical equations. And that means they can be proven."

The original paper can be downloaded here. Be prepared for some heavy mathematics.
Your Turn / Dissident Lutherans: Bullying over gays
December 19, 2009, 09:21:18 PM
The Washington Times carried this article today:

Dissident Lutherans: Bullying over gays
Tensions rising in synod split

...But the splits within the ELCA, which is more than twice the Episcopal Church's size, are getting ugly in their own way. Pastors taking their churches out of the ELCA are making charges of "unethical, immoral and in some cases, illegal" acts by bishops and other officials, Mr. Kallestad said.

"I'm talking to some pastors and leaders from many states around the nation, whose [ELCA] bishops are becoming very hostile," Mr. Kallestad said. ...
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