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July 31, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
The free-form documentary "The Gardener" takes acclaimed, exiled Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf ("Kandahar") and son Maysam to Israel to investigate the 170-year-old Bahai faith, which - although based in Haifa - has its roots in Persia. Unfortunately, the elder Makhmalbaf, who wrote and directed, puts many spins on this ethereal mood piece - it is by turns poetic, impressionistic, metaphorical and even a bit trippy - without satisfying such genre basics as structure, depth and resolution.
July 31, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
True Religion Apparel Inc., the Southern California denim company known for its pricey jeans, has named a new slate of executives several months after changing owners. David Conn was named the Vernon business' new chief executive. Conn previously served as president of retail licensed brands for VF Corp., an apparel company known for brands such as Lee, Wrangler and 7 For All Mankind. Interim CEO Lynne Koplin was named True Religion's chief merchandising officer. Erik Bauer, formerly an executive at the Children's Place retail stores and Gap North America, is now chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
July 29, 2013 | By Meredith Blake
A cringe-inducing interview between religion scholar Reza Aslan and "Spirited Debate" host Lauren Green has gone viral, with Buzzfeed calling it “the most embarrassing interview Fox News has ever done.” Aslan's book “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” paints a portrait of Jesus based on the tumultuous era in which he lived and the threat he posed to the stability of the Roman Empire. His version of Jesus doesn't completely jibe with the pacifist figure of the Gospels, which is why some conservatives - or at least other denizens of Fox News - have suggested that Aslan is biased because he is Muslim.
July 16, 2013
Re "Miracle or coincidence?," Postscript, July 13 Lawrence R. Krauss says that a major problem with miracles is that they condition you to believe in faith over science. I couldn't agree more. Moreover, I can speak to the hostility of religion toward science. I teach a philosophy course at a local community college. We discuss metaphysics, free will, the arguments for the existence of God, the scientific method, evolution, epistemology and various ethical theories. Many of my students are downright hostile toward evolution.
July 7, 2013 | By Lawrence M. Krauss
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish . - David Hume Last week the Vatican announced that a meeting of cardinals and bishops had ruled that the late Pope John Paul II was responsible for a second miracle, and thus the way was cleared for sainthood. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints decided he had cured a woman from Costa Rica in 2011 after a panel of doctors apparently ruled that her recovery was otherwise inexplicable.
July 1, 2013 | By Tony Perry
If you're in the downward dog position, don't move: A San Diego County judge's decision is expected Monday on a lawsuit filed by parents against the practice of yoga in Encinitas elementary schools. Judge John Meyer, who heard the case without a jury, has indicated he will issue his ruling Monday on whether yoga is an improper attempt at religious indoctrination or just an exercise program. Having the program in the school district "represents a serious breach of the public trust" and is a violation of state law that prohibits religious instruction in public schools, said Dean Broyles, attorney for the Escondido-based National Center for Law and Policy.
July 1, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
I have little sympathy for folks like Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock, devout Christians who sued the Encinitas Union School District, claiming that teaching yoga to their kids twice a week amounted to unconstitutional religious indoctrination. Despite the quasi-spiritual trappings, yoga, as it's widely practiced by millions of Americans of all faiths, is no instrument of religious indoctrination. It's exercise. In Encinitas, it's being taught to kids in an effort to reduce bullying, obesity and overcompetitiveness.
June 10, 2013 | By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times
As the Supreme Court prepares a decision on the fate of Proposition 8, nearly six in 10 California voters now believe same-sex marriage should be legal, with support rising among older voters and in all regions of the state, a new poll has found. The USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll reveals that attitudes in the state toward gay marriage have changed significantly since Californians banned it in 2008 by a vote of 52% to 48%. The Supreme Court will decide this month whether the ban will continue.
May 28, 2013
Re "Prayers in public offices," Editorial, May 21 Here we go again: A few people are offended by official meetings in Greece, N.Y., beginning with a prayer. Just how do such occurrences actually constitute a "law respecting an establishment of religion"? I have never heard a good explanation of how the few activists who take offense to these things have actually had any rights infringed upon. In this case, there is no official religion and no way to enforce one. To the best of my knowledge there is no constitutional right not to be offended.
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