left biblioblography: December 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday Twofer–Children’s Hospital

I just discovered this recently – it’s a very brief show on Adultswim, and it’s…well, it’s incredibly random humor. Sort of a Scrubs on mescaline.

An interview with Dr. Maestro gives you a good idea how odd the show is.

And here is (I kid you not) an entire episode. It’s a fast show. One of the funnier aspects, is that it always starts with “Previously, on Children’s Hospital”, and the clips from the last show never ever happened.



Sunday, December 25, 2011

It’s Starting To Look A Lot Like…War? WTF?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Santa-ArrestedThere is a war between the rich and poor,
a war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
and the ones who say there isn't.  - Leonard Cohen, There is A War

This is getting really, really old. Every year, instead of ‘turning the other cheek’ (as they were advised to do by their own damn holy book), the religious nutjobs bellyache as if they had storm troopers dragging them out of their home in the wee hours, their bloody religious channels are being shut down, and churches are being burned.

None of which is even comparable (or occurring) to what they’re actually whining about. Witness:

‘War On Christmas’ Declared In America

Rows about the display of traditional Christmas symbols have broken out across the country.

But one of the pressure groups accused of being partly responsible has told Sky News it defends its campaign on behalf of non-Christians and non-believers.

The usual debate over whether it is acceptable to say ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ has exploded into a much wider disagreement this year.

Thousands of people took part in a prayer rally in the city of Athens in Texas after an atheist group took court action to have a nativity scene removed from outside the courthouse.

They claim it promotes Christianity and excludes non-Christians but a judge has so far ruled the traditional Christmas scene can stay.

The usual debate has become a much wider disagreement

Becky Paul, who was among those at the prayer rally, said: “Christ is the reason we’re here. I mean this is his birth, and that’s why we need to be celebrating and we just pray for the people who don’t believe.”

Carla Barron, another of those who turned up to show support, said: “It is not about the nativity scene, it is about Jesus. It is the reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus is Christmas.”

The row in Athens is just part of a fierce nationwide debate about the right and wrongs of displaying religious symbols in public places.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits the government from promoting any religion but also prevents it from interfering in the practice of religion.

The issue has even featured in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Candidate Rick Perry produced a widely-parodied television commercial in which he said: “You don’t need to be in the pews every Sunday to know there is something wrong in our country.

“When gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As president I will end Obama’s war on religion.”

The debate has taken a bizarre twist in Solana Beach City near San Diego in California – officials have removed the star from the top of the municipal tree just in case they get complaints about it.

The executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, one of the groups accused of being behind the “war on Christmas”, has dismissed the suggestion.

Barry Lynn told Sky News: “There is no war on Christmas. We have a dizzying level of obvious holiday displays. You can’t walk ten feet in any city in America and not realise there is a holiday called Christmas and that there is some kind of religious significance to it.

“I think what’s important is that at a holiday season it is not up to federal government, state government or city government to embrace one religion – Christianity – and its holiday celebrations over the many other religions practising in the United States and many non-believers.”

Seriously, how is this nonsense even news anymore? It’s over a decade old, which makes it ancient by media standards. What the real issue is, is that it’s a holiday that everyone can share in, and not everybody’s a Christian in the USA anymore. And like whiny children, the Christians are crying in their cups about the ‘good old days’, when you could get away with anything Christian-related, and nobody would say boo. Now it’s boo-fucking-hoo, why can’t we sledgehammer everyone with our religion whether they like it or not?

Hell, last Thursday afternoon I was getting a root canal (been through so many, it’s old hat – the biggest part of the inconvenience is sitting in the blasted chair), and my dentists’ office had this tape loop of Xmas songs, and the constant lyrics about ‘king of angels’, ‘jesus our savior’ and all that other tripe started getting to my stomach acids, especially after the umpteenth reiteration.

The persecution complex routine is getting stale. It’s kinda hysterical, that they tend to reserve all their charitability for one week out of the year, and the other 51 weeks they just behave like all the other assholes out there.

It’s a holiday. It’s a holiday that’s supposed to be about sharing – sharing yourself with others, others sharing themselves with you, and yet these folks (who all claim some sort of mysterious ‘higher road’ morality) don’t seem to get the reason for the season whatsoever.

Imaginary wars are usually the figments of some psychotically over-active imaginations.

Anyways, I wish all of our readers a very, very wicked Winterval, and remember: be good to each other.

Till the next post, then.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

File Under ‘Things That Shouldn’t Be Funny But Are’

It should be sad, but it’s somehow despicably hysterical:



Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Road To Theocracy Is Often Littered With Broken Promises…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasispromise-keepers

“Brad showed us that we had permission to speak out about the Judeo-Christian values that we believe in, that we don't have to cower or back down, or we don't have to spiritualize everything. We have every right as Americans to say, 'I don't believe in same-sex marriage.' That's what Brad reminds us.”

One of the consistently scarier elements of the religious in this country, is how they seem to mount a movement almost right beneath one’s nose, and suddenly pop out of nowhere. Granted, I tend to live in an internet-induced bubble for the most part, but these cats? Serious heebie-jeebie time.

Promise Keepers is an international conservative Christian organization for men. While it originated in the United States, it is now world-wide. It is self-described as "a Christ-centered organization dedicated to introducing men to Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, helping them to grow as Christians". Promise Keepers is a non-profit organization, not affiliated with any Christian church or denomination. Their most widely publicized events tend to be mass rallies held at football stadiums and similar venues. They also sell a variety of promotional products to "help men keep their promises," including clothing, books, and music. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson developed the widely-used video curriculum, Personal Holiness in Times of Temptation, as a part of “The Biblical Manhood” series for Promise Keepers.

‘Biblical manhood’? Talk about having a laugh.

Their statement of faith is fairly boilerplate. The ‘7 Promises’ is somewhat borderline worrisome. It’s obvious that they’re homophobic (while trying to appear to be anything but), as they vigorously oppose same-sex marriage. That right there places them directly in ass-clown county.

It was observed that they aren’t…quite right, as reported in this article:

However, critics of Promise Keepers charge its leaders routinely express views that are antithetical to the Bible's teachings, and outside the realm of mainstream belief. They claim it has an unbridled ecumenicism, a charismatic leadership emphasis, and relies on an anti-God secular psychology.
They say Promise Keepers mimics new-age male bonding and self-discovery therapies, and endorses a book which suggests levels of initiation rites to manhood. They decry its emphasis on phallic symbolism and the fact that Jesus is presented as a sexual male. They note that PK requires submission to leaders and employs a pyramid structure in its organization, that it intrudes on the privacy of a man's family life and sexual habits. They point out that the group encourages male domination of women, and is rooted in the Vineyard ministry, with strong links to the Kansas City Prophets -- a controversial cult claiming visions and revelations from God.
Critics say they do not presume to judge the integrity or the motives of all those in Promise Keepers or question the salvation of these men. They concede that many involved with PK are sincere. Instead, they say they are concerned with the doctrine of the movement and the ministry being promoted. They stress that any group that claims to represent Jesus must 1) preach a pure Gospel, and 2) address man's spiritual growth from an accurate interpretation of God's Word. Critics say Promise Keepers fails on both counts.
They worry that the vast majority of men who attend PK rallies probably know very little about the beliefs or church affiliation of the speakers who appear. The lecturers are accepted as authorities on Christian living simply because they say they are Christians and believe the Bible.
"Since the ministry of these teachers runs the gamut from compromising new-evangelicalism and charismatic error, to ecumenical liberalism, it is clear that they [are] introducing the Promise Keepers to unscriptural doctrines and fellowships," says Al Dager of Redmond, WA. "This is a very serious matter."
Rev. Gil Rugh, senior pastor of Indian Hills Community Church in Lincoln, NE. agrees. "There is so much theological diversity among those involved with Promise Keepers that no in-depth discussion of Scripture or what it means to be a Christian could take place without tearing the movement apart."
As one former Promise Keepers member remarked, "it's so diluted and deluded, you can't get very much out of it."

And here is a particularly chilling little bit:

Yet the religious right pantheon behind Promise Keepers consists of men who think the Republican party is too liberal. Founder Bill McCartney cut his political teeth speaking at rallies of the violent anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. In impassioned speeches — which are especially chilling when viewed on videotape — McCartney and company have said things like: men must be leaders and women "responders," lesbians and gays are "stark, raving mad," abortion is a "second Civil War" and participants must "take back the nation for Christ."

As Frederick Clarkson notes in "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy" (Common Courage Press, 1997), Promise Keepers aims to create "men of integrity" while its leaders model opportunistic double-talk. Honor your wife, but take back your role as head and master of your household. Seek racial "reconciliation" with hugs and tears among the biblically correct, but ignore racial injustice when it comes to education, jobs and housing. March on Washington, but assert it's not a political thing.

It is reminiscent of the way Promise Keepers backer Jerry Falwell claims he doesn't condone anti-abortion violence but paid $10,000 toward Operation Rescue boss Randy Terry's fine on a felony stemming from O.R.'s violent seige of women's health clinics during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

Taking a page from Falwell's play book, a radical activist like McCartney insists his group itself is not at all political. Yet Falwell and other religious right doyens — Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer, James Dobson and Bill Bright — launched it financially, lent hundreds of staff members, continue to host and speak at Promise Keepers rallies, publish Promise Keepers books and sell their own politically packed treatises at Promise Keepers events.

Still not convinced? Try signing up as a Promise Keepers supporter, as an academic researcher did, and see if you, too, don't suddenly start getting mail from the Republican party that you never got before. Lurk online in a Promise Keepers chat group, as one journalist did, and see if you, too, don't note that abortion is the number one topic — not a woman's right to choose but an abortion opponent's right to kill women and doctors.

At this juncture, the Promise Keepers are relegated to little more than an historical footnote – they lost bundles, had major layoffs, and Joe (oops! I mean Bill) McCartney resigned in 2003, but returned in 2008 to become the chairMAN. So while not a big-time contender anymore (like the AFA, or Focus on the Family, or those other delusional fucks), they bear watching as well.

So keep an eye peeled. They may not be the barbarians at the gate we are accustomed to, doesn’t mean they’re not equally dangerous.

Till the next post, then.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Twofer–30 Rock

There’s fewer stranger yet funnier shows than 30 Rock.

Kenny questions the existence of god:

And for purely random hysteria, there’s nobody quite like Tracy Morgan:



Sunday, December 11, 2011

More Perry Tales–“Ya Gotta Have Faith!”

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

You'll be so rich you can run for office without pretending to be a fundamentalist. - Gavin Volure, 30 Rock

One of the constants in any election for the past few decades (those that I can recall – elections, that is, not entire decades), is that most Republicans (and I’m sure there’s been a few Democrats too) see themselves as shepherds, and their constituency as sheep. Which is not too far-fetched. Reagan the Retard once stated that “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged”, Bush Bonehead the Senior stating that, “You cannot be President of the United States if you don't have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial in the Civil War and all that stuff” (and the oft-quoted anti-atheist comment that bugs us all about citizenry), or George Bonehead the Junior and his declaration of : ”God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them.”

I’d like to think that these morons were just pandering, and likely snickering in the back room afterward, but it becomes abundantly clear they mean what they say. There’s way too much religious inanity bandied about on election campaigns.

Should someone be excluded because of their faith? Of course not. Should they be excluded if their faith takes precedence over their oath to the constitution? Damn straight. It’s blaringly obvious, especially after Dubya’s incredible declaration and subsequent invasion of the wrong country for all the wrong reasons, bundled with the obvious lies to justify it.

Here is a clip, from one of my favorite obscure movies The Contender, and the character is someone I would most definitely vote for:

It is of course a fantasy – the chances of an unapologetic forthright atheist getting that high in our government is nigh well impossible. At least in this decade.

But we can dream, can we not?

Till the next post then.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wednesday Twofer–Random Humor

My roommate turned me on to these two last night. WARNING: can get stuck in your head!

And a singing Saruman? Cool!

Enjoy. (And you have been warned!)


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Oh Ye Of Little To No Faith–Better Keep One Eye Open As You Sleep

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
popesyeviewYeesh. Just when I thought we were making some kind of progress (slow but steady wins the race is the saying), something like this crops up, spoils my optimistic mood, and activates my inner curmudgeon:

Atheists roughly as distrusted as rapists, UBC study finds

Atheists are distrusted to roughly the same degree as rapists, according to a new University of British Columbia study exploring distaste for disbelievers.

The research, led by UBC psychology doctoral student Will Gervais, found distrust to be the central factor motivating antagonism toward atheists among the religious.

"Where there are religious majorities – that is, in most of the world – atheists are among the least trusted people," Gervais said in a release.

"With more than half a billion atheists worldwide, this prejudice has the potential to affect a substantial number of people."

Researchers believe the negative perception of atheists may stem from some people's understanding of morality; a 2002 Pew poll suggests nearly half of Americans believe morality is impossible without belief in god.

For one part of Gervais' six-part study, researchers compared views of atheists, homosexual men and the general population, noting that the first two groups are "often described as threatening to majority religious values and morality."

Which is disheartening, to say the least. We are an ideological minority, which is why some folks like to suggest we shut our traps – a simple change of mind would help us fit in better. Never mind that discrimination is discrimination, regardless of abstract versus physiological differences. Never mind that we are as underrepresented in government as we are in prison (the former is sigh worthy, the latter YAY!). Or that the majority of criminals are usually fundamentalist delusionists. Or that the Crusades, the Inquisition (Spanish and otherwise), were perpetrated by Christians – let’s amp that one up, and say good god-fearing, praying self-flagellating Christians.

Because really, if you need to have someone (invisible or otherwise) peering over your shoulder and taking notes for future punishments to keep you in line, just how fucking moral are you then? Maybe it’s been done to death on the blogosphere, but it bears repeating. If someone’s invisible friend is suddenly absent (or proven to be absent), and that person became an atheist, just how often do we see headlines where someone has actually run riot with pillaging, rapine and murder? Has this ever happened? The recent stats show that there are approximately 4.7 million of us in America alone. So outside of the usual finger-pointing (“Look! That kid shot people because he didn’t believe! The economic downturn can be blamed on atheists! If there was more prayer in schools, children would be more moral!”), where are the numbers? Where are the press releases? If the scare-mongers are even CLOSE to being correct about atheism being a threat, where is the proof?

The simple answer: it’s not happening. Sure, there is the occasional crime committed by an atheist (we are all human, after all, there’s bound to be someone transgressing), but not even 1% of the approximated 4.7 million are rampaging through the streets threatening society at large. In fact, if we actually look at the drug cartels, the Mafioso, or any of the white-collar criminals of the last decade who stole and scammed millions of people, I’d bet we’re underrepresented there as well. The cartels as well as the Mafioso are predominantly Catholic. The white collar guys are likely Protestant.

It’s this concept of an invisible ledger that keeps track of all injustices that’s the real problem. Most people have this ridiculous idea that at some undefined point in life/time/the universe, all accounts will come due, be balanced, all scars and savagery healed and all bad guys will get their come-uppance. I’ve said it before: it’s a comic book perspective unfounded in reality. A lot of life’s villains died natural deaths in their sleep, and to go about believing that some nosy asshole in the sky’s going to take care of your injuries (real or imagined) is just a fantasy.

The afterlife concept. It’s poison.

Till the next post, then.