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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Straight Out Of A Comic Book: Bible Man! Rescuing Citizens From Nothing At All

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasis

freethunk-bibleman-sidekick“"You come right out of a comic book!” – Jim Kelly, Enter the Dragon

As with all cultural anachronisms, there’s going to be a helluva a lotta cleaning up to do:

Constitutional Kryptonite: ‘Bible Man’ Assemblies Banned At Tenn. Public Schools

It seems “Bible Man,” an individual who proselytizes to public school students, recently discovered that the U.S. Constitution is his kryptonite now that some Tennessee schools have halted his overtly religious programs.

“Bible Man,” whose real name is Horace Turner, Jr., leads monthly assemblies in public schools in which he tells biblical stories to elementary children. The original Bible Man, Horace Turner Sr., started this program about 40 years ago.

Turner had been showing up regularly at Grundy County Schools, with displays of Baby Jesus in tow. He also sings religious songs. As a result, a local atheist mom whose child attended Turner’s assemblies felt Bible Man was violating the First Amendment by pushing Christianity on impressionable children.  

So the mother asked the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain on her behalf. FFRF explained that Bible Man’s assembles were a constitutional problem, so Grundy County decided to put a stop to the program.

Unfortunately, that decision was not well received by all. Yahoo! Parenting reported that the mom who filed the complaint about Bible Man has been subjected to some truly vile comments, including death threats and an internet meme depicting a house on fire and the words: “He was an outsider and against the Bible Man coming to our schools, so we threw him a house warming party.”

The mom, who chooses to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, told WCRB in Chattanooga that she did not intend to make people angry, she just wanted her child to have an alternative to Bible Man’s proselytizing.

“We don’t want people to be mad, we just want people to make sure there’s an alternative something for the kids to do,” she told the NBC affiliate. “At first he did not know that he didn’t have to go. As he got older, it bothered him that he had to sit through this because it’s not his religion.”

Even if the Bible Man assemblies were optional, the school clearly did a poor job of communicating that. And it’s likely that peer pressure made attendance a requirement even if showing up was not technically mandatory. Such coercive religious activity is never acceptable in public schools.

Despite all of the anger over Bible Man’s apparent departure from Grundy County Schools, he may not be gone for long.

“I believe the perception was that we’re trying to get rid of him, and that was not the perception we wanted to present,” Dr. Willie Childers, interim director of Grundy County Schools, told WCRB. “At the last board meeting, there were several concerned citizens wanting to make sure that Bible Man or Mr. Turner will continue to be in Grundy County.”

Childers added that he would like to see the school implement a “club schedule” that would include an optional religious club that could be frequented by Bible Man.

This isn’t the first time Turner’s activities have yielded complaints from parents. Back in 2012, FFRF filed a complaint about his activities in Jackson County (Ala.) schools. But in that instance, the local school board chose to continue Bible Man’s assemblies because “our constituents are pretty adamant about what they want for their children,” Jackson County Schools Superintendent Ken Harding said at the time.   

This likely won’t be the last we hear from Bible Man, especially since Grundy County seems determined to find a way to let him proselytize to students. And without more details, it’s unclear whether or not a proposed student religious club would be constitutionally sound. Clearly, the situation will have to be monitored.

Given that Bible Man has been a part of some public schools for decades, removing him will not be an easy process. But Bible Man will never be able to overcome the Constitution, which is a powerful kryptonite for those who do not respect the rights of others.

Well, Grundy County Schools can go suck an egg. It’s not important that the mob decide: that isn’t quite as democratic as most people think. What people want for their children as opposed to what they can have, can be (and in this instance) just too fucking bad. Personally, I find the constant whining and under-handed nonsense from these religious fruitcakes to be more than just obnoying* – these folks keep trying to invidiously inject their codswallop into the rest of us.

It is long-standing violations of this nature, perceived to be ‘institutional’ when in fact they are in clear violation of the Establishment clause, that will be difficult to root out. Accusations will fly (mostly whiny and persecutory in tone and context), the sort like ‘The ACLU is stripping religion out of our culture) – but what these folks don’t get, is that over the centuries, there were clear violations that were just glossed over. Complaints like the one cited in this post a hundred years ago, would elicit all sorts of responses, likely all unpleasant. And of course these good, humble, religious folk, what do they do? In the twenty-first century? Threaten to burn the woman’s house down. Nice. Gee, those bible classes sure paid off, didn’t they? Where ‘turning the other cheek’ translates to violence, and hints of arson are an appropriate response? Who knows what other cultural minefields we will have to tread  in the days to come, but the march for equality must continue.

Till the next post then.

 

*My own portmanteau word combining ‘obnoxious’ and ‘annoying’ – which in hindsight, the word itself is also both.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Because Another Word For ‘Republican’ Is ‘Deranged’

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

cantstandrand

Does this sort of news frost your hide? It should:

Rand Paul: ‘The First Amendment…Doesn’t Say Keep Religion Out of Government’

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky and a prospective 2016 presidential contender, told religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast last Thursday that the First Amendment “doesn’t say keep religion out of government.”

“The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government,” Paul said, according to video captured by CBN News. “So, you do have a role and a place here.”

He went on to say that the Senate opens every day with an invocation, which shows that there is a place for prayer in government.

“Religion is part of our daily life and a part of our government,” Paul said. “It always has been.”

The politician, who delivered his comments at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington where about 50 preachers were in attendance, went on to discuss the “moral crisis” that he believes is running rampant in America, urging his audience not to expect Washington to solely solve the problem, and imploring everyone to get involved.

“The moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage,” he said. “There’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage … really there’s a role outside and inside government, but I think the exhortation to try to change peoples’ thoughts also has to come from the countryside, from everywhere outside of Washington.”

Paul went on to call Washington, D.C. the most “disconnected city on the planet from the people,” and said that America is desperately in need of “another Great Awakening” that sees thousands of people seeking and calling for reform in unison.

Sure, it’s probably just another politician’s lie, so what? I’ll tell you what.  It’s bad enough that the lobbyists buy them off, but it’s insult to injury to tell people that they have to be religious. Because that’s where this sort of thing leads to. Obviously this ditz is talking about gay marriage being a ‘moral crisis’ (geez, how do these people live past 40, they’re always so paranoid about shite!). That ‘unidirectional argument’ was used by David Barton, a known huckster who’s been revising US history (and had his books pulled off the shelves because they were riddled with errors!), a charlatan who is still conning his customer base dollars out of uninformed rubes who think that if they heard it from a fellow Christian, then it must be true!

And the crazies will continue to queue up for the presidency. The cycle of stupidity still flops about in a circle. The sooner the Republicans are gone, the better. They just muddy the waters, and then call them crystal clear despite the silt. The only solution is clear: the GOP has got to go. Chased off the stage amid jeering laughter. (Perhaps pelted with rotting vegetables? Nah –fun thought though.)

Till the next post, then.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

More On The Madness Of Muslims–A Double-Edged Sword Of Blasphemy Is Bad For Everyone…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

jesusandmoblasphemyday"Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?--
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too." – Omar Khayyam

You think this is the problem? No, it’s symptomatic:

Muslim Preacher in Egypt Convicted for Blasphemy Against Christianity

Egypt’s top court recently approved a five-year sentence that was handed down to a radical Muslim preacher, who was found guilty of burning a copy of the Bible in front of the American Embassy in Cairo in 2012. Ahmed Mahmoud Abdallah, also known as Abu Islam, was sentenced on a number of charges, including destroying a religious text, contempt of religion and disturbing public peace and security.

In September 2012, Abdallah, who identifies himself as an ultra-conservative preacher, burned a copy of the Bible during protests that were being staged outside the American Embassy against the screening of a controversial film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, that depicted the Prophet in disparaging light.

During the first ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to 11 years of hard labour while his son was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of blasphemy. After the duo appealed to a higher court, their respective rulings were suspended briefly. During the second ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to five years in jail and also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. Abdallah’s conviction is the first in Egypt for a Muslim charged with offending Christianity.

Yeah, I rail at Islam on a regular basis – but the rules we want for ourselves should be the rules shared by us all. This clown, he burnt a useless book and now his life’s fucked. He’s just another crazy asshole. But of course, my assessment has excluded that pernicious predication of power on high. Maybe he’s better off in labor camp than on the streets, but that’s a jaundiced view and an unworthy one.

What I rail against, is the elevation of paper and leather binding being more important than a person’s life, or life itself. That a wrong opinion should get you killed, this is not proper. Someone’s belief having a higher value than a human life, a sacred scroll being worthy of bloodshed – aye caramba. As a species, we’d best get some sort of collective gestalt going before humanity shoots itself in the head accidentally (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The more we raise our voices, the more the voices swell, and perhaps someday, religion will fall the way of the dodo bird. An anachronism finally buried in the dusty footnotes of history, an oddity no less, but a danger no more.

Till the next post then.

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Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Zombie Day, And A Funny Bunny To You Too!

zombiejesusPresumably what happened to Jesus was what happens to all of us when we die. We decompose. Accounts of Jesus's resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as Jack and the Beanstalk. – Richard Dawkins

Yes, it’s that time of year again – where too many people celebrate an event that is unequivocally unproven.

No historical data, no external multiple attestations, unknown authors claiming to be apostles and getting it all wrong. These alleged clowns KNEW each other – four separate and distinctly different ‘gospels’. And this crap about the ‘empty tomb’ – puh-LEASE! Nobody can tell us where the bloody thing is, it’s all wild speculation.

And yes, Jesus WAS a zombie. Look it up in the dictionary. Every year I get a few nitwits protesting that obvious fact – get over it.

So take a bite out of a bunny for me, and enjoy yourself regardless of all the wackadoodlies out there.

Till the next post then.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Because The Bible Should Be In The Fantasy Section, That’s Why!

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

gcarlinSOCAS“I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish - where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source - where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials - and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.”- John F. Kennedy

Maybe it’s just me, but garbage like this leaves me cross-eyed and…more than a little irked:

No religious text should be Tennessee's official book

Tennessee lawmakers have filed unconstitutional, divisive and misguided bills that would make the Holy Bible the official state book.

Both Tennessee and United States' constitutions expressly respect the rights of individuals to worship freely, but also prohibit the state from favoring one religion over another.

This protects all of us, whether we choose to belong to a religious congregation or not.

We can live peacefully in society without religious tests and choose which religious institutions to attend and which scriptures to honor.

Making a religious text the state's official tome isn't like the innocuous act of choosing a state beverage (milk), fruit (tomato) or rock (limestone). This sends a message of exclusion and divisiveness in a state that is becoming more and more diverse.

The bills filed by Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-Crossville, and Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown, in addition to abridging Tennesseans' constitutional rights are unnecessary and tell non-Christians that they are unwelcome in the Volunteer State.

The co-sponsors include Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin; Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, R-Lancaster; and Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro.

Religious minorities already feel under attack by past legislation such as that involving the prohibition of Sharia law, which while on its face targeted radical Islamists, had the practical effect of demonizing all practicing Muslims.

During the course of the last few years, the community of Muslims and foreigners has grown significantly in Tennessee.

The Nashville metropolitan area has the highest population of Kurds (13,000) of any other in the country and significant numbers of Somalis, Egyptians and other immigrants or refugees from countries where Islam is the dominant religion. The foreign-born population, at 11.9 percent, is among the highest in the nation.

That has caused some confrontations between long-time residents and new Americans, who often came to this area as immigrants or refugees. Take for example the recent controversy of opponents trying to block the building of a mosque in Murfreesboro.

Some Christians may feel threatened by these newcomers because they don't share the same religious beliefs as they do.

However, many came here for the same reasons America's forefathers did: for freedom.

Consider the words in our state and nation's constitutions:

Tennessee Constitution, Article I

Section 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

Section 4. That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this state, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state.

First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Sexton and Southerland's bills stand antithetical to these documents.

Let's be clear that to oppose them is not anti-Christian in the least bit.

Respecting the right of Christians to worship freely is paramount to living up to the freedoms we enjoy, and Christians shouldn't feel they have to apologize for their beliefs.

However, neither should Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, nor atheists.

Remind our lawmakers that their job isn't to favor one religion over another and that they have a responsibility to protect the rights of those who share their beliefs and those who don't.

Passing this legislation would do the opposite.

And whadda surprise – it was spearheaded by Republicans! What a shock! [Snark off].

This is actually a compound fuckup – both constitutions forbid this sort of nonsense. As if that’s not enough, our culture is paying homage to a book that is nothing but fairy tales. Talking donkeys, a flood that never happened, a tower that never existed, an exodus that never took place – we as a species really need to break free of these childish fantasies.

Republicans – they lie, twice. Once when they proclaim ‘limited government’ and then proceed to tell adults which adults they can marry as well as restrict reproductive rights. The second, is that Christian ‘free will’ nonsense which they pay lip service to, but will sacrifice on the altar of their delusion if the ends suits the needs.

Till the next post then.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

‘Slay The Gays’ Legislation?!? In California?!? Say It Ain’t So!

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
homophobic logicMind boggling, to say the least:

Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, California Lawyer, Proposes Ballot Measure Allowing Execution of Gays

A group of California legislators has filed a complaint against a lawyer who is proposing a statewide ballot initiative that would allow gays and lesbians to be "put to death by bullets to the head."

Matthew Gregory McLaughlin, an Orange County attorney, filed the so-called Sodomite Suppression Act on Feb. 24 with the state's Office of the Attorney General. McLaughlin's proposed law would also ban gays — whom he refers to as "sodomites" — from holding public office.

Under his proposed law, people found guilty of spreading "sodomite propaganda" would be fined $1 million or see jail time.

But the state Legislature's LGBT Caucus is asking the State Bar to review McLaughlin, who is listed as active and permitted to practice in California. They believe he's violating the State Bar's requirement that attorneys act in "good moral character."

"We are shocked and outraged that a member of the State Bar would so callously call for the disenfranchisement, expulsion and murder of members of the LGBT community," the caucus wrote in its complaint dated March 10 and obtained by NBC News.

"We believe that this measure not only fails constitutional muster, but that such inciting and hateful language has no place in our discourse, let alone state constitution," it said.

Anyone can file a prospective state ballot measure at a $200 fee, and the public has 30 days to respond before the attorney general publishes a summary of the measure, according to state rules.

McLaughlin, who could not immediately be reached for comment Friday, faces an uphill task to actually see his proposal on a statewide ballot. The initiative must gather the number of signatures equal to 5 percent of those who voted in the last election for governor — or about 366,000 valid names.

Now I can’t seem to find any info on this McLaughlin clown (besides the furor he’s created), but I’m betting this blowhard is a Christian Republican. And while we all have a right to do something this repulsive (hey, it is a free country, file under free speech), we have options too: sign this petition to disbar this assclown. Yet another risible atavistic throwback to a more barbaric time, McLaughable is a shame to the country, his profession, and the whole damn species.

Man, these jackasses are tiresome – they can’t wait to shove their bankrupt ideologies down your throat in the name of their sky-daddy, and dictate the comings and goings (cough!) of our genitalia. Wait for your ‘gawd’ to come down and rain hellfire on earth – please. Because the brighter among us know that simply is not gonna happen.

Till the next post then.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

More On The Madness Of Muslims: Heading Off The Blasphemers

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

BeheadHardly a day goes by without some seriously bad press on the alleged ‘religion of peace’. This time, some brave person went out of his way to illustrate just how ruthless Islam is:

Saudi Man Sentenced for Tearing Up Quran and Hitting It With Shoe

A man in Saudi Arabia who posted a video of himself tearing up the Quran and hitting the shredded book with his shoe has been sentenced by state authorities; he will be beheaded for abandoning his Muslim faith in this manner. The unidentified man, who is in his 20s, was recently sentenced to death by the country’s Sharia Court on grounds of apostasy, which is handed down to any Muslim that fails to honour Islam, the official religion of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s interpretation of Wahabism demands capital punishment for a number of crimes, including rape, murder, drug smuggling and armed robbery. It is also meted out to those who involve themselves with internationally condemned crimes such as sorcery, idolatry, blasphemy and apostasy.

These executions are usually carried out in public in the witness of commoners.

According to human rights groups, the judicial system in Saudi Arabia suffers a lack of transparency as well as a proper process, which is why defendants are frequently denied basic rights, including access to suitable legal representation. While the government has made little to no reform with regards to its judicial system, it continues to insist how fair its practices are. No improvement has been seen in the number of people that are executed each year. In fact, in 2014, the number of executions carried out by Saudi authorities went up to 87 from 78 in 2013, with seven individuals being killed within the first two weeks of this year itself.

Wait – hold on: ‘It is also meted out to those who involve themselves with internationally condemned crimes such as sorcery, idolatry, blasphemy and apostasy.’

Sorcery? Are you fucking kidding me? Hasn’t it been well established that ‘sorcery’ and anything resembling it is just horse manure? This is just a case of one nonsense persecuting yet another nonsense. As for that ‘capital punishment for rape’, I’m betting that since they live in a rape culture, the victim is probably executed.

But as long as these assclowns are oil rich, nobody’s going to do anything about it. Religions like this tend to mostly favor sociopaths who use it to wield and manipulate the impoverished masses.

Till the next post then.

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