left biblioblography: 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Homophobia Gone Mental: And The Gays DON’T Have It.

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
gaymarriageMore depressing news for the end of the year – it’s more pointy-hatted nonsense:

Pope Benedict signals inter-faith alliance against legalizing gay marriage

The pope’s latest denunciation of gay marriage came in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican has gone on the offensive in response to gains for gay marriage in the United States and Europe, using every possible opportunity to denounce it through papal speeches or editorials in its newspaper or on its radio station.

Throwing the full weight of his office behind a study by France’s chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society, he said:

“There is no denying the crisis that threatens it (the family) to its foundations – especially in the Western world.”

The family had to be protected because it was “the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence”, he added.

This is typical Catholic absurdity at its stupidest – note that it was ‘a’ study, not extensive studies, one single study. And boom! It’s a rush off to judgment.

And this is exactly why we need to point and laugh and denounce and shout this nonsense down: there’s no reasoning with the irrational. Courtesy only leads these idiots to think they have a valid point, even when the preponderance of evidence proves otherwise.

Denying a specific subset of the population the right that everyone else has is discrimination: as such, that is distinctly un-American. Marriage is a civil right – saying that two adults can’t do it because somebody’s imaginary friend prohibits it is forcing religious belief on others – a clear violation of SOCAS.

It’s too bad that gay couples in America can’t file a class-action suit against that pointy-hatted assclown in the Vatican. Or any of the other flatline idiots who try to foist their madness onto the rest of us.

Ex cathedra my homesick ass.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Have A Very Wicked Winterval, Y’all…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
And a kickin’ Kwanzaa to boot. catxmas

Been feeling pretty sanguine as of late, which explains perhaps why I’m not quite the angry blogger. This time last year, I was effectively homeless, and taking shelter at an old friend’s apartment. But still managed (sans any divine intervention, or crazy ass fairy begging) to bootstrap my tired old ass back into the saddle. Life is good these days. I occasionally dive-bomb the random fucknob on Facebook (you know, the assholes who like to post garbage like ‘God, why is there so much violence in schools? Signed, a concerned student. I’m not allowed in the schools, signed God’) or the sporadic homophobe who whines about his/her ‘opinion’ being just as good as anyone else’s, etc. etc. Ad nauseum.

But I am still a little bummed out that the Winterval meme still hasn’t taken off.

We need to start reclaiming these passages of time – not steal them forcibly (let’s face it – the Christians are ALWAYS on about something, to the point where their mulings are only worth a shake of the head and a sad sigh). It’s something of a peeve.

Births, marriages, deaths – these should no longer be the sole purview of the religious. We are in the 21st century now. These rites of passage are human in origin, and they should return to us, without the supernatural mumbo jumbo that the self-flagellants want to incant over them.  This also includes the quarterly celebrations that mark the passage of time and season.

The fact is, all any of us really want, is to be treated equally, to share and be shared with –something that that lot who keep declaring a ‘war on Xmas’ aren’t too crazy about.

Mind you I’m not even going to try to mince about changing the word ‘holiday’, regardless of its etymology: that’s a lost battle if ever there was one.

Having said that, I wish you one and all a safe and happy ‘holiday’, whatever you deem to call it, and try to keep the food and alcohol intake to safe levels.

And just for kicks and giggles, my all time favorite Robot Chicken Xmas spoof:

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

The World Is Ending On Friday? Oh Well, It’s Been Nice Knowing You All…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

mayan-calendar-humor-freak-somebody-out-somedayIt's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it.
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine. – REM,  It's the end of the world as we know it

The world was supposed to end last year.

It was also supposed to be swallowed by a black hole created by the Hadron particle accelerator.

It was supposed to end in the year 2000.

The planets were supposed to align in March  1982, triggering mass earthquakes and massive flooding.

In 1910, Halley’s comet was supposed to release a poisonous gas called cyanogen into the atmosphere.

The number of pillars in the Pyramid of Giza number one thousand eight hundred and  eighty one, because Charles Piazzi Smith was convinced some biblical patriarch built it, all evidence notwithstanding.

Belaboring the obvious, all those predictions have two things in common. One is the end of the world. Two, they were all wrong.

This is one of those items that we skeptics find most infuriating: despite all the evidence to the contrary, other members of our species simply refuse to admit that they were not only wrong, but stupendously, incredibly, ridiculously wrong.

The end of the world is a common motif, one that predates Christianity. Because humans are trying to measure the universe in accordance with their own data subset, it’s just trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Our lives are brief, our mortalities imminent, and because our live begin and end, we think in terms of such: beginnings and endings.

But this idiocy should be ridiculed and laughed at roundly: we should never ever keep our peace when someone announces the ‘End Of Days!’ (regardless of how that has a great ring to it). It is, in its simplest form, mental pollution of the worst kind.

Why is that? Back in the days I was selling shoes (and taking too many drugs, and had a great deal vested in  nonsenses both occultic and religious), I made no efforts to work towards a future, because after all, if the world’s gonna end, why bother? Anecdotal it may be, but I’d hazard to guess that a great many people would echo that statement. There are folks out there I’d wager are simply not making any effort to enrich their lives or others. I overheard a grown woman last month at a Tai Chi class blathering about how she was going to ‘get her affairs in order’ because she actually believed this bullshit about 12/21/12 (why wasn’t it on 12/12? Who knows? Maybe the doomsayers wanted 9 more days). I stopped pushing hands, turned around, and carried on about it. At length. Most folks laughed. I dearly wanted to bet her a grand that the world wasn’t ending – a safe bet if it isn’t, right?

(As an aside, wouldn’t it be ever so fun to walk around the metropolitan areas with a sandwich board announcing in big block letters, THE WORLD IS NOT COMING TO AN END! RELAX! And betting anyone who stops to argue a goodly sum against it?)

So if it comes – it’s been n'ice knowin’ ya all. But if it doesn’t (and I’ll bet the rent it don’t), then I’ll see you next for our weekly drubbing of that ol’ time religion.

Till the next post then.


Saturday, December 08, 2012

More On The Madness Of Muslims: People Beating Themselves Up Over Nothing

ashurapictureApparently it’s that time of the year again – where loopy religious folks decide to hurt themselves simply because they exis

Afghan Shia Muslims flog themselves for Ashura festival

Hundreds of Shia Muslims in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, flog themselves to mark the festival of Ashura on Wednesday. The festival marks the martyrdom of Hussain, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson, in the battle of Karbala in Iraq in the year 680. Shia Muslims mourn for a month as part of the festival.

And as if it’s not bad enough that a large percentile of the population flog themselves, there is of course the obligatory loss of life:

Bomb kills four Yemenis marking Shi'ite Muslim Ashura festival

SANAA (Reuters) - At least three Shi'ite Muslims were killed on Saturday in a bomb attack targeting the first public commemoration of the anniversary of the death of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammad in the Yemeni capital in half a century.

No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but al Qaeda and its affiliates, comprising Sunni Muslim militants, have targeted Shi'ites in the past.

I wish I could say that such events are surprising, but sadly they are not. It is hard to respect the opinions and beliefs of any person’s religion, when the inevitable result is bloodshed, horror, and oppression. When children have bombs strapped to them and women are slaughtered or horribly mutilated by men based on the merest misinterpretation of a look or conversation.

At the risk of tedious repetition: religion is the shadow in which the psychopaths cloak their nefarious deeds, where they conspire to force their fellow humans to wear the shackles they deem are necessary, where they sharpen their knives with bloodlust all the while insisting that their imaginary friend is whispering in their collective ears.

No more shadows. These people, these lunatics, should be shown for what they are and roundly shouted down, not mollycoddled for their sociopathic belief system.

And all I can really hope for, is that our species survives this century. That billions of words written on millions of blogs, along with petitions, protests, and the spread of education, will some day finally, in this long tedious war of attrition, raise the headstone of religious belief, as the primitive anachronistic religions are finally laid to rest on the shelves of history, to be only looked at and chuckled over, not taken seriously.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, December 01, 2012

More On The Misogyny Of Muslim–It’s 2 PM, Do You Know Where Your Chattel Is?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
islamicsexistIt seems that these days, all one has to do is turn around, to find some disgusting fact about this alleged ‘religion of peace’. In this case, it’s Muslim equivalent of Wild Kingdom. Only in this case, we’re not talking about wild animals, but people

Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system to monitor women’s movements

In a country where women are denied the right to vote, are not allowed to drive, and are basically treated like children, Saudi Arabia has taken its next giant leap backwards by rolling out an SMS electronic tracking system that alerts male "guardians" by text message whenever women under their protection leave the country. The development has been met with outrage by reformers, who have turned to Twitter to voice their concern.

Saudi Arabia is a complete mess as far as women's rights is concerned. It ranks 130th out of 134 countries for gender equality — a nation where only 16.5% of women make up the workforce. As devout followers of Sharia Law, all women, regardless of age, require a male guardian and cannot leave the country without written consent.

And now, judging by a flurry of incoming accounts, it's clear that the country has covertly implemented a new system that will further serve to strengthen its control over women.

It all started last week when a Saudi man travelling with his wife began to get text messages on his phone from the immigration authorities alerting him to the fact that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh (she was listed as a dependent on his national identity card). Concerned, he contacted Manal al-Sherif, a women's rights campaigner in Saudi Arabia, who then broadcast the news over Twitter.

For insanity and double-standards, all you need to do is look at religion. Especially Islam, where women are considered little more than chattel – because of course, no one would ever consider doing this sort of thing to a man.

And of course, the rationalizations come pouring in:

And as it turned out, the text messages weren't an isolated case. Similar accounts started to pour in, strongly suggesting that a new system had been rolled-out without so much as a peep from the Saudi authorities. It now appears that every guardian whose dependent has a passport is receiving a text after cross border crossings.

In response, the Ministry of the Interior has denied the allegations, saying it's not intended to connect women with their guardians. And according to the Riyadh Bureau, the system has been in place since 2010, but now the service works without having to register with the ministry. It claims that the system is part of a larger e-Government plan to use technology in order to facilitate access to its services — such as electronic travel permits (thus replacing the need for "yellow slips").

Pathetic. Women being treated as second-class citizens in any 21st century nation is an outrage, and should be criticized and denounced regardless of culture or heritage. Gender rights are one of those bridges we need to build, even at the cost of destroying anachronistic traditions.

Whenever any ideology proposes that some people should be discriminated against simply because they were born differently, that ideology needs to go. And if necessary, the hard way.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Without Consent: Islam’s Rape Culture In Action

It’s a far more common story, no matter how repellant it is:

Pakistan supreme court to decide fate of Hindu woman in Muslim marriage row

The fate of a Pakistani Hindu woman who claims she was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will is to be decided this week, after weeks of campaigning by the country's Hindu minority.

The case of 19-year-old Rinkle Kumari has outraged Hindus from her small town in the south of the country, where community leaders accuse Muslims of preying on Hindu girls of marriageable age.

Some claim similar cases are helping to fuel a steady outflow of Pakistan's tiny Hindu community as families choose to move to Hindu-majority India instead.

In a hearing beginning on Monday, the supreme court in Islamabad will try to get to the bottom of the hotly contested versions of events.

The town's Muslims, backed by a powerful local politician, say Kumari freely converted to Islam to marry her neighbour, Naveed Shah, on 24 February. But her father, a primary school teacher, is adamant she was abducted in the middle of the night from her house in Mirpur Marthelo, in Sindh province.

"These people see beautiful young Hindu girls and chase them," said her uncle Raj Kumar. "For 15 days Naveed Shah had been shouting at Rinkle, threatening to kill her only brother."

Her case has won support from members of parliament and attracted widespread attention in the Pakistani media. According to the Frontier Post newspaper, Rinkle was seized "for reasons based in sheer lust and debauchery".

Throughout the whole saga Rinkle's voice has barely been heard, although both sides say she has made clear statements supporting their contradictory claims.

Her family says that when she first appeared at a magistrates court late last month the tearful woman made clear she had been forcibly converted and wanted to return to her parents. But the court failed to record her statement and put her in police custody after hundreds of Muslim protesters surrounded the court.

In a subsequent hearing – from which the family say they were banned – Kumari said she had freely converted.

In a sign of the enormous tensions created by the case, the Hindu minority only succeeded in forcing the authorities to open a case on the issue by staging protests, with shopkeepers striking and demonstrators blocking a highway. The intervention of the Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, forced the police to act, say protesters.

Mian Mitto, the local member of parliament whom Kumari's family has accused of being intimately involved in the abduction and conversion, dismissed her initial court statement. "She may have been emotional, it is only natural to be upset after seeing her parents in court," he said.

Mitto's family control a nearby Sufi shrine which has a long history as a place where people come to convert to Islam.

In his version of events Kumari had long been in love with Shah. Speaking at his house in Islamabad, he produced telephone and SMS logs that apparently showed the pair were in regular communication, although Raj Kumar insisted the family was too poor for Rinkle to have a phone.

Whether she was abducted or went on her own volition, she arrived at the shrine late at night. Within hours she had converted to Islam and married Shah, Mitto said.

Amarnath Motumal, from the Sindh chapter of Pakistan's human rights commission, said many cases of forced conversion were covered up, but he believed there were at least 20 such incidents each month. He said: "They take them into these extremist madrassas and don't let the parents meet their families, claiming the girl does not want to meet kaffirs [unbelievers] – her own parents."

Another recent case involves a female medical student who was allegedly kidnapped on the streets of Karachi. "These people want to stoke a war between the Hindus and Muslims so that we leave the country," said Amarlal, chairman of the Progressive Minorities Commission, who uses only one name. "Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if they leave they can take their properties."

Only a tiny minority of Hindus live in the country after massive migration of Sikhs and Hindus out of Pakistan when the state was formed in 1947 to create a homeland for South Asia's Muslims. About 3% of the population are Hindus. Some Hindu community organisations claim that about 10 families leave Pakistan each month.

I’ve said it in the past, but it bears repeating: the barometer of a culture’s civilization can be measured by the treatment of women and children. In this aspect, the large majority of the Middle East fails horrendously. This sort of behavior (which is consistently dismissed by the accomodationists as “cultural”, or as an isolated example, which is the former but not the latter) is inexcusable. Unforgivable. And the imposition on one’s will upon another against or without consent, is a violation of basic human rights.

And it is these sort of events that we will continue to experience as long as we keep pandering to these people. Someone has a set of religious rules? Fine. But by no means are they anywhere near a proper jurisprudence, nor should they be equal or supersede the laws of the country that religious folk dwell in.

But this Pakistan – probably one of the top 10 worst violators of human, civil, and gender rights – it is the armpit of the world, a great ugly wart on the face of civilization.

And they make Western civilization look good by comparison.

But then the chains of anachronism and faith are hardest to break.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Is Science A Religion? Blurring The Lines Of Definition…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
One of the more icience-vs-religionrritating (and ignorant) statements of our time, is when some ignoramus says, “Science is the new religion.” It rankles me as much as the codswallop that the statement ‘we all create our own realities’ does, inasmuch as both are statements that reveal the utter cluelessness of the speaker.

So imagine my chagrin, when Andrew Brown announces,

The dictionary is wrong – science can be a religion too

John Sulston is one of the smartest men I know – well, he ought to be, as a Nobel prize winner – and last week I got him talking about religion in front of an audience for the Westminster faith interviews.

One of the things that came up in this, as so often before, was the definition of "religion". Sulston was brought up as a low church Anglican, and still feels that religion must involve God and a belief in the supernatural, and that ritual is secondary to theology.

I came up with my usual counter to this – that there are atheistic religions; that there was ritual long before there could be theology and that we ought to take scientists – even social scientists – more seriously than dictionaries. This last point because Sulston had gone to the trouble of looking up and printing out one of the OED definitions of religion, which he felt proved his point.

"Belief in or acknowledgement of some superhuman power or powers (esp a god or gods) which is typically manifested in obedience, reverence, and worship; such a belief as part of a system defining a code of living, esp as a means of achieving spiritual or material improvement."

I can see that it must be frustrating, if you have such a definition in front of you to get some slippery Durkheimian answer about religion being actually the way that society understands and defines itself. You might, if pressed, agree that Americans treat their constitution as a sacred scripture, of universal application to the world. But it doesn't seem properly supernatural.

He gets some of these things right – there have been atheistic religions (Buddhism and Raelism spring to mind). The problem here, is that he’s picking his own definition of the term. This is what is usually defined as religion:

Religion is a collection of belief systems, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the Universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a god, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religions may also contain mythology.

So he goes on to a sloppier way to prove his point:

This is probably an argument that is impossible to resolve. But every serious thinker about religion has ended up with a definition as baggy as Durkheim's. There are just too many modes of belief and behaviour that can function as "religious" for this to be a simple category. And if the dictionary says different, then the dictionary is wrong.

No, one cannot declare that it’s an open-ended conundrum and then self-identify like that. It’s fairly cut and dried: belief in the supernatural. And spare me the theatrics of the “definition atheist” – I use that mostly when I get tired of parroting my talking points endlessly to an audience that is more interested in ‘saving my soul’ than listening.

Brown then goes on to say:

The same holds true, of course, for things like evolution: if I want to know what evolution means, I ask biologists, not dictionaries. The meaning that scientists use may not be more correct than the popular one – how would you measure that? – but it is going to be much more useful for investigations of the subject. So, I am quite happy to say that science could function as a religion, in some modes and in some societies, while at the same time functioning as science. And it ought to be perfectly possible to distinguish between the two uses.

As most authors go, they tend to veer off course without supplying both sides. In this case, Brown doesn’t bother with the definition of science. Hey, we all know what it is right? WRONG. I am shocked at how many people I talk to in real time can’t begin to provide a definition when quizzed. It’s usually my first response to ‘science is the new religion’. Next time you hear that idiotic statement, pin the declarer down by demanding the definition. The blank looks are startling. Here’s the basic definition:

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning (found, for example, in Aristotle), "science" refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained (see History and philosophy below). Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the words "science" and "philosophy" were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, natural philosophy (which is today called "natural science") was considered a separate branch of philosophy. However, "science" continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

Then Brown goes on with an interesting, if somewhat broken analogy:

Scientific and religious explanations come together in an odd way at Stonehenge and similar monuments. They can be interpreted as megalithic calendars, or devices for astronomical prediction, as well as ritual burying grounds – and the reason we can reconstruct them as gigantic observatories is precisely that we can calculate today exactly what would have emerged from calculations done 4,000 years ago.

Yet to call Stonehenge a purely scientific enterprise is clearly wrong. When you consider the immense labour and complex social organisation required to put all those stones in place, you could be inspired to ask "where would the sun have risen at midsummer 3235 BC". But surely the much more interesting question is why this question should have been thought so important in that culture.

That seems to me a question that only historians and sociologists of religion can answer. What's more, although the scientific question and its answer are independent of any particular cultural and religious matrix, they can't be independent of all of them.

First, he is right about Stonehenge being a product of the cultural and religious dynamic of that particular time period. But incorrect to bring that analogy to anything present day. The ‘scientific question’ (as he so obliquely phrases it ) should most definitely be independent of any matrix whatsoever. Objectivity is and should be the defining principle of any scientific endeavor. Otherwise confirmation bias creeps in, and the facts are obscured by the preferred societal approval.

And he tops it off with this:

To come back to Sulston – anyone who had sequenced the same material as he did would have come up with very similar results. That's the scientific question and it's the one that interested him. But the money and the resources that made it all possible were not raised by an appeal to intellectual curiosity and probably could never have been. They were raised partly in the expectation of profit, and partly by politicians using a largely religious rhetoric about "The book of life" which all the scientists involved could have explained was nonsense and which would certainly be impossible for an alien archaeologist to reconstruct. Yet the funds would never have been voted without it. So: is the Genome Centre a scientific factory or a ritual centre? It's both, and that's why the dictionary is wrong.

It’s this constant conflation of structure with ritual – one is contingent on the other, but they are not synonyms, nor are they interchangeable. Structure is a building block, by which we as a species build our habits, our lives, and our perceptions. Ritual, however is defined as:

a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value. It may be prescribed by the traditions of a community, including a religious community. The term usually refers to actions which are stylized, excluding actions which are arbitrarily chosen by the performers.

So mostly this article is pandering to the intellectually vacant, a long and vapid series of composition errors that presumes too much that all definitions are easily as loosely defined as the erroneous one the author provided.

So, in short, Brown is wrong, and the dictionary is right.

That, dear readers, is my nickel’s worth: spend it as you like.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Atheist Threat? Another Atheist With Head Firmly Entrenched Up His Ass…

atheisthousemateCross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
One of the consistent issues I have with accomodationists, is that they tend to schmooze the ‘other side’ quite a bit, whinging on about civil discourse, the familiar nasal twang of ‘why can’t we all just get along, please?’, etc.

I have serious issues with this fellow, one Julian Baggini. He’s one of those guys that goes around saying ‘but look what wonderful things religion had done!’, which makes him an utter ass in my book, as religion is an ideology, not a person, landing that ‘argument’ directly in the obtuse world of reification.

And this article really just proves my point:

Is religion really under threat?

People with faith say secularism has become an aggressive and intolerant force in Britain. What has gone wrong? It should bring society together.

Should it? It’s not really a rallying cry, it’s a principle of fairness. Let’s look at the definition:

Secularism -

Secularism is the principle of separation of government institutions, and the persons mandated to represent the State, from religious institutions and religious dignitaries. In one sense, secularism may assert the right to be free from religious rule and teachings, and the right to freedom from governmental imposition of religion upon the people within a state that is neutral on matters of belief. (See also separation of church and state and Laïcité.) In another sense, it refers to the view that human activities and decisions, especially political ones, should be unbiased by religious influence.

Should we be all on the same page? Of course. But sadly, few people are.

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of secularism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: the pope, politicians from both the Conservative and Labour parties, Melanie Phillips ...

A fucking lie right out the gate: the actual quote is as follows:

A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

So – this is published on a public venue, right there on the Interwebs, and either this douchebag is intellectually honest, or just plain stupid. You decide.

And of course, he rolls with the lie:

It seems odd to borrow the opening words of Marx and Engel's the Communist Manifesto to describe secularism and to find them so apt. For someone such as myself who has always seen the secularist ideal as the most benign legacy of the Enlightenment, it's a bit like discovering that your cuddly teddy bear is being portrayed as a rampaging grizzly.

Not too good with the the metaphors, that’s for sure. And of course, he cites some boo-hooing to prove his point:

But there is no doubt that secularism is increasingly seen as a threat to liberty rather than its stoutest defender. Conservative party chairman Lady Warsi is the latest to raise the alarm, speaking of her "fear" that "a militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies". She pulls no punches in claiming that "at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant" and that it "demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes".

Hey sorry – that’s the price the religious pay for having a choke hold on public opinion, anti-intellectualism, and the general oppressive atmosphere one submits a minority (ideological or otherwise) to. So my heart bleeds peanut butter for ya – get a thicker skin.

In a speech on Tuesday she will say: "My fear is that, today, militant secularisation is taking hold of our societies. We see it in a number of things: when signs of religion cannot be displayed or worn in government buildings, and where religion is sidelined and downgraded in the public sphere.

Hey, these things happen when you wear your delusions on your sleeve.

"For me one of the most worrying aspects about this militant secularisation is that at its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant. It demonstrates similar traits to totalitarian regimes – denying people the right to a religious identity because they were frightened of the concept of multiple identities."

Because hey! Religion’s always been tolerant of ‘multiple identities’. Are you joking?

During the visit, held to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the UK and the papacy, she will stress she is not calling for a theocracy but a more explicit role for religion in public life.

She shouldn’t be calling for any such thing. But the mark of the truly incompetent politician is the obvious crutch of piety.  

Some of the recent attempts by Christians to become involved in contemporary politics have been uneasy, including the near implosion of the administration of St Paul's Cathedral over the presence of the Occupy movement on its doorstep. There has also been sharp disagreements with the Church of England over secular issues such as bonuses and the role of banks.

Why is the CoE even involved in this?

Implicitly rejecting multiculturalism, Warsi, the first female Muslim to serve as a minister, will say that the best way to encourage social harmony is to put Christianity at the centre of public life.

I don’t care that she’s a Muslim – in fact, I could care less what delusion she practices in private. What she ‘believes’ has no bearing on the matter, nor does it lend her words extra weight.

She is taking six ministers to Rome, including Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, and Michael Moore, the Scottish secretary.


She will speak to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, the school for the next generation of papal diplomats, at which she will argue Europe needs to be more confident in its Christianity.

Hard to be confident about something so silly.

"Too often there is suspicion of faith in our continent hinging on a basic misconception – that to create equality and space for minorities we need to erase our religious heritage," she will say.

That’s a huge misconception – nobody wants to erase anything. That would be tantamount to denying history. No rational person would do such a thing.

She will argue "people need to feel stronger in their religious identities, more confident in their beliefs". While individuals should not dilute their nations, nor should nations deny their religious heritages.

Neither should they suck up to them.

She will say that, "You cannot and should not extract these Christian foundations from the evolution of our nations any more than you should or could erase the spires from our landscapes".

Problem is, most Western civilization has developed in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

She will deride the way in which across Europe and in the UK, "spirituality is suppressed divinity downgraded and where in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury faith is looked down upon as the hobby of oddities, foreigners and minorities".

Spirituality is not necessarily religious anyways. Divinity is piety without proof, belief without evidence, craziness with a stamp of approval.

And she will say politicians "need to give faith a seat at the table in public life", saying "intolerant secularisation has to be held back by reaffirming the religious foundations on which our societies are built" .

I find these ridiculous forays of the religious into our lives tiresome. We are the few who don’t applaud when someone blurts out stupidity, or hand out badges to the weak-minded for opening their mouths. Either you have proof or you don’t. And I for one don’t recognize any of these bizarre ‘holy texts’ as any kind of authority on anything – so I’d prefer that someone’s faith be left firmly out of the equation, thank you very much. Because religious people have had a long and terrible track record for making rational decisions.

This is a last gasp, a grasping at straws, and a not very good one at that. Both the author and the protagonist of this article are milquetoasts at the very least.

Till the next post then.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

Five Years Later, A Singer Is Censored

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
religiouscensorshipJust when I was fresh out of outrage, more international news garbage:

Polish singer faces two years in jail over Bible-tearing stunt

Poland's supreme court has issued a landmark judgment against a heavy metal musician who tore up a Bible at a gig in 2007. Although the judges conceded that Adam Darski, AKA Nergal, did not intend to offend his audience, they ruled that he could still have "offended religious feelings", violating Polish law. If found guilty, the singer could face up to two years in prison.

Darski had released eight albums with his band, Behemoth, by the time of their notorious performance in Gdynia on 13 September 2007. Appearing in full costume and makeup, Darski tore up a Bible and described the Catholic church as "the most murderous cult on the planet".

"We'd been doing that for two years on tour before it happened in Poland," Behemoth bassist Tomasz Wróblewski told Decibel magazine (via Blabbermouth). "We [were] not offending any particular person. We [were] just offending the religion that we've been raised in."

Despite this intention, Darski was pursued by Polish courts for having offended Catholic fans. After being cleared by judges in 2010 and 2011, the singer/guitarist is again on trial. Officials in Gdansk asked the supreme court how Darski could be "offending religious feelings" if most of Behemoth's fans expected theatrical sacrilege?

"The crime of offending religious sensibilities is committed not only by he who intends to carry it out, but also by he who is aware that his actions may lead to offence being taken," the court said. Prosecutors have been permitted to pursue with the criminal trial.

"One should respect the court's verdict," Darski told journalists. But the Catholic church is also "immature", he said, "trying to gag people … [and] freedom of speech". Speaking to Reuters, Darski's lawyer said they would continue to oppose the charges: "We are still arguing that we were dealing with art, which allows more critical and radical statements," Jacek Potulski explained

Wait – so religious feelings are protected by law? Yikes. Didn’t the Polish Constitution ratify freedoms of religion, speech, and assembly? Because you can’t have freedom of religion, unless you have freedom from religion.

It’s a book, people. Once upon a time, I would’ve said it’s a book, a good book, but not necessarily the only book. Now? I sing a very different tune.

It’s a book of bright shadows, of ancient but convincing lies: its ubiquity in our (and other societies) is frightening. It is better fit for the lighting of fires than use as an operating manual for life. The whispers of ghosts that never were, that spawn bigotry and death and destruction and ignorance, it is a blood-soaked Necronomicon, a grim grimoire devoted to death but pretending to shed light and rainbows. A paean more to Man’s abysmal ignorance and arrogance in the days of darkness, than to our species eventual ascent from the muck of madness.

It is time that those of us who are members of the Abimelech Society should take a stand.  Rise up, take the next bible that’s handed to you, and tear it to shreds. Do it with a smile. The pre-amble goes a little like this: “First, I’m going to tear out the parts with incest” [riippp!], “Then I’m going to tear out the parts with genocide” [riippp!], “Then I’m going to tear out the parts with slavery” [riippp!]…I think ye ken me drift here.

If you rip up one bible in your life, you’re likely sparing the pollution of some gullible young mind, and maybe, just maybe, begin a counter-ripple in the great lake of life.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Misogyny Gone Mental: Rape As A Divine Plan

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
It fairly boggles the mind, but when it comes to the Republicans, it has sadly become duckspeakjohstuartmill:

GOP Sen. Mourdock: 'God Intended' Pregnancies From Rape

Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God's plan, tearfully explaining that he only supports abortions when a mother's life is in danger.

"I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen," Mourdock said during Tuesday's Senate debate, choking up. Mourdock's opponent, Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly, opposes abortion except in cases of rape and incest.

And of course, this idiot went on to explain how he said no such thing (regardless of the fact that he did):

After the debate, Mourdock further explained his comment.

"Are you trying to suggest somehow that God preordained rape, no I don't think that," said Mourdock, according to The Associated Press. "Anyone who would suggest that is just sick and twisted. No, that's not even close to what I said."

Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Democrats wasted no time linking GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to Mourdock. Earlier this week, Romney personally appeared in a TV ad for the Indiana state treasurer, offering his endorsement.

That suggests a link, does it not?

"Richard Mourdock's rape comments are outrageous and demeaning to women. Unfortunately, they've become part and parcel of the modern Republican Party's platform toward women's health, as Congressional Republicans like Paul Ryan have worked to outlaw all abortions and even narrow the definition of rape," Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in a statement released to press.

It’s a common sign of cognitive dissonance: re-explain reality in a way that you can rationalize your ridiculousness.

Par for the course, Romney deserted the guy he made a commercial for:

"Gov. Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock's comments, and they do not reflect his views," campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

Abortion has become a more prominent issue in the presidential campaign in recent weeks, as Mitt Romney told the Des Moines Register that he would not pursue any specific abortion legislation as president and began airing a new TV ad in which a woman touts Romney's support for abortions in cases of rape and incest-a difference of opinion between Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan.

As they’re both morons, this ‘difference of opinion’ matters not at all.

The Obama campaign hit Romney on abortion soon after, releasing a TV ad of its own that features footage from a 2007 GOP presidential primary debate in which Romney said he would be "delighted" to sign a bill banning all abortions in the U.S.

What do rethuglickans call that, when Dems do it? Oh yeah – flip-flopping.

Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin said during an interview in August that women's bodies have ways of preventing pregnancy in cases of what he called "legitimate rape." Akin apologized for the comment, but refused to leave the race despite pressure from his own party.

Mistaken Akin – one more fool for the GOP.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., the chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee has issued a statement defending Mourdock and pointing out that his Democratic opponent, Joe Donnelly, is also firmly pro-life:

"Richard and I, along with millions of Americans - including even Joe Donnelly - believe that life is a gift from God. To try and construe his words as anything other than a restatement of that belief is irresponsible and ridiculous. In fact, rather than condemning him for his position, as some in his party have when it's come to Republicans, I commend Congressman Donnelly for his support of life."But this election is about big ideas and the reality that our country is going in the wrong direction. If you support Obamacare, government bailouts, reckless spending and higher taxes than you should vote for Joe Donnelly. But if you believe, as I do, that our government is too big, our taxes are too high, and we are passing an irresponsible debt onto future generations, than Richard Mourdock is your candidate to help get our country back on track."

I really don’t know where to begin with this fairy tale. There is no god – regardless of how many people believe there is. We are stripping this planet of resources because people think that there’s some ‘divine plan’, meanwhile ignoring all the evidence that there is no such thing. This election is just another bunch of crazies trying to legislate their own private madnesses. As to irresponsible debt? That accusation coming from the GOP is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. There is ample proof that all the GOP has ever done is wreck this country. It’s a historical fact: we do better under a Democratic president than under a Republican.

Of course I expect too much: it’s always been a failing of mine. I would expect people to vote in their own best interests, but no; the gobshites are too damn lazy to simply take the time out of their TV-infested lives to actually do some homework, check the facts, and weigh the alternatives. They would rather take their cues from some dipshit like Glenn Beck or Limbaugh or some other talking-fuckhead who’s too stupid to breathe, than to actually act in their own best interests.

Or, as Voltaire once put it so well: “I do not know why they call it common sense, as it is not very common.”

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

‘Heterophobia’–Can Anyone Please Get A Little Stupider?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
Gay-Rights-gay-rightsThe raging ignorance of the fellow members of my species exhibit, gives me a splitting headache:

Nick Griffin's ridiculous cry of 'heterophobia'

Just when you hoped you'd seen the last of him, up he pops again. Users of Twitter can hardly have failed to notice that yesterday, Nick Griffin took to the social networking site to express his anger over a judge's decision to award damages to a gay couple denied a room at a bed and breakfast.

In a series of increasingly irate tweets, the leader of the BNP called on his supporters to take action against "the 2 bullying 'gay' activists who won the case v Christian B&B owners." He demanded to know why leftwing and gay activists didn't "confront Muslims instead of picking on meek and forgiving Christians", claiming that "bullies are always cowards". He also publicly shared the home address of the gay couple in question and encouraged people to demonstrate outside their house – what he called a "bit of drama by way of reminding you that an English couple's home is their castle". He ended with the battle cry, "Say No to heterophobia!".

[I think the biggest reason for not confronting Muslims, is that they tend towards hyperactive violence when even slightly criticized.]

And no – bullies are not always cowards. Sometimes they’re just bored sociopaths. Either way we look at it, this sort of discrimination is disgraceful. But if the B&B owners refused to rent to the couple because they thought gay sex was icky-oogy, well, their asses would be on a plate. But as Hitchens so aptly puts it: ‘a man who proves every day that you can get away with anything in this country if you can shove the word "Reverend" in front of your name.’ The main point being, that hide under the umbrella of religion, and it (used to) provide a shield for both ignorance and discrimination.

And  what does the ‘upright’ Mrs. Wilkinson say?

Speaking after the ruling, Susanne Wilkinson said, "Equality laws have gone too far when they start to intrude into a family home." But a bed and breakfast is not a family home. It's a family business – and like any business, it falls under the provisions of the Equality Act. Wilkinson also added, "People's beliefs about marriage are coming under increasing attack and I am concerned about people's freedom to speak and act upon these beliefs."

Oh boo-fucking hoo. I get tired of all these plodders whining about their ‘beliefs’ being held to account – as if the mere act of ‘believing’ has any impact on reality itself.

And then we get idiotic gaffs like the following:

Whenever "beliefs about marriage" are mentioned, some people have a peculiar habit of confusing genuine discrimination with the right to discriminate against others. The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, demonstrated this last week when he compared opponents of equal marriage in Britain to Jews living in Nazi Germany. Clearly the Archbishop has a selective sense of history, or he'd remember that gay people were also rounded up and murdered by the Nazis. And Nick Griffin adopts a similar tactic now when he talks about people being the victims of "heterophobia". What we're seeing is the oppressor claiming the language and status of the oppressed.

And in my personal experience, in both real-time and blogging, is that the hugest portion of humanity that leans towards raging stupidity, is when they’re religious. It’s like they think they’d been absolved of all responsibility for having an informed opinion.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Right Wing Is All A-flutter–Because Nobody Praised Their Imaginary Friend?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisryantheretard

The Elephants Who Hear Nothing are about the business of bullshit yet again. They prove yet again that they pay no attention to the facts nor to the world around them, but are insistent that they can impinge their fantasies on reality by mere dint of will power and repetition.

Paul Ryan Hits ‘God’ Absence From DNC Platform

ADEL, Iowa–Paul Ryan weighed in Wednesday on the Democrats’ 2012 platform, which makes no reference to “God,” calling the omission “rather peculiar.”

“It’s not in keeping with our founding documents, our founding vision, but I guess you would have to ask the Obama administration why they purged all this language from their platform,” Ryan said on Fox News.

The word God is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The word “Nature’s God” appears once in the Declaration of Independence, alongside mention of the word “Creator.”

The new platform refers to faith, saying it “has always been a central part of the American story.”  It also says the US was founded on the principle of religious freedom and the ability of people to worship as they please. It praises the work of faith-based organizations.

As if it’s not enough that some idiotic afterbirth of the Republicans (the ‘Tea Party’) even exists, we have one of these assclowns actually running for VP, and adding insult to injury, he has to regurgitate the party line about ‘the founders’ and America being in debt to some non-existent superstition.

Regardless if Mitt wins or not (and it doesn’t look good for Mr. Underwear), somebody somewhere has to get on the boob tube, and start actually taking these ignoramuses to school. I may sound like a broken record here, but no opinion is worth shit unless it’s backed up by something we in the real world call evidence.

I sincerely wish we could abolish the Republican party – it’s done nothing but damage this country since the Demos and the Repubs switched faces at the start of the 20th century.

We’re better off without them. Any of them.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Worst Name For A Holiday Ever

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
ColumbusDay1This Monday marks the worst excuse for an American holiday ever.

I’m talking about one of the major racist assholes the 14th century, that clown who missed his objective by thousands of miles, claimed land for Spain based on skin color and religion, and was an all around douchebag in every sense of the word.

I’m speaking, of course, of Cristoforo Colombo.

Let’s just whip out a few snippets from the wiki, just to fuel the outrage:

Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson in the 11th century), Columbus's voyages led to the first lasting European contact with the Americas, inaugurating a period of European exploration, conquest, and colonization that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion.

But for a ‘Christian’, he certainly had some terrible ideas about how to treat others:

Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas) San Salvador; the natives called it Guanahani. Exactly which island in the Bahamas this corresponds to is an unresolved topic; prime candidates are Samana Cay, Plana Cays, or San Salvador Island (so named in 1925 in the belief that it was Columbus's San Salvador). The indigenous people he encountered, the Lucayan, Taíno or Arawak, were peaceful and friendly. From the 12 October 1492 entry in his journal he wrote of them, "Many of the men I have seen have scars on their bodies, and when I made signs to them to find out how this happened, they indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves. They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language." He remarked that their lack of modern weaponry and even metal-forged swords or pikes was a tactical vulnerability, writing, "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased."

Columbus also explored the northeast coast of Cuba, where he landed on 28 October. On 22 November, Martín Alonso Pinzón took the Pinta on an unauthorized expedition in search of an island called "Babeque" or "Baneque", which the natives had told him was rich in gold. Columbus, for his part, continued to the northern coast of Hispaniola, where he landed on 5 December.

There, the Santa María ran aground on Christmas Day 1492 and had to be abandoned. Columbus was received by the native cacique Guacanagari, who gave him permission to leave some of his men behind. Columbus left 39 men, including Luis de Torres, the Converso interpreter, who spoke Hebrew and Arabic, and founded the settlement of La Navidad at the site of present-day Môle-Saint-Nicolas, Haiti. He kept sailing along the northern coast of Hispaniola with a single ship, until he encountered Pinzón and the Pinta on 6 January.

On 13 January 1493 Columbus made his last stop in the New World. He landed on the Samaná Peninsula where he met the hostile Ciguayos who presented him with his only violent resistance during his first voyage to the Americas. Because of this, and the Ciguayos' use of arrows, he called the inlet where he met them the Bay of Arrows (or Gulf of Arrows). Today the place is called the Bay of Rincón, in Samaná, the Dominican Republic. Columbus kidnapped about 10 to 25 natives and took them back with him (only seven or eight of the native Indians arrived in Spain alive, but they made quite an impression on Seville).

And it is said that a person can be measured by the company they keep:

Michele da Cuneo, Columbus's childhood friend from Savona, sailed with Columbus during the second voyage and wrote: "In my opinion, since Genoa was Genoa, there was never born a man so well equipped and expert in the art of navigation as the said lord Admiral." Columbus named the small island of "Saona ... to honor Michele da Cuneo, his friend from Savona." The same childhood friend reported in a letter that Columbus had provided one of the captured indigenous women to him. He wrote, "While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful Carib woman, whom the said Lord Admiral gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked - as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. But - to cut a long story short - I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought that she had been brought up in a school for whores." This letter has been interpreted by some as providing evidence that Columbus knowingly aided the rape of captured indigenous people.

There is a word for such men – rapist. And yes, Columbo was famous for his penchant of giving native girls to his crew to do as they wished.

And of course, skipping to the more scumbagworthy of his exploits, his governorship and arrest:

Under the terms of the Capitulations of Santa Fe, after his first voyage Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies, which in practice entailed primarily the administration of the colonies in the island of Hispaniola, whose capital was established in Santo Domingo. By the end of his third voyage, Columbus was physically and mentally exhausted: his body was wracked by arthritis and his eyes by ophthalmia. In October 1499, he sent two ships to Spain, asking the Court of Spain to appoint a royal commissioner to help him govern. By then, accusations of tyranny and incompetence on the part of Columbus had also reached the Court.

The Court appointed Francisco de Bobadilla, a member of the Order of Calatrava, but not as the aide that Columbus had requested. Instead, Bobadilla was given complete control as governor from 1500 until his death in 1502. Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away, Bobadilla was immediately peppered with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomé, and Diego. Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian, states: "Even those who loved him [Columbus] had to admit the atrocities that had taken place."

As a result of these testimonies and without being allowed a word in his own defense, Columbus, upon his return, had manacles placed on his arms and chains on his feet and was cast into prison to await return to Spain. He was 48 years old.


According to an uncatalogued document supposedly discovered very late in history purporting to be a record of Columbus's trial which contained the alleged testimony of 23 witnesses, Columbus regularly used barbaric acts of torture to govern Hispaniola.

[End snip]

His own incompetence and savagery was so vast, that it angered even the Christians of his day (a sorry lot they were, too), and was brought back in chains without the ability to defend himself? This might have provoked outrage in the most sympathetic, excepting that he was one of the hugest bastards in history.

It’s a sorry state of affairs, when any country honors a savage like this. In fact – sign this petition. This monster deserves a footnote at best in the annals of history, but most certainly NOT a day in his alleged ‘honor’.

In fact, I’m somewhat in mind to seek out his grave, and piss on it.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Allegories Gone Wild: ‘Exorcising The Gay’

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
demons of stupidityIt grows tiresome, these idiotic insistences of the deluded:Ex-gay survivor's tales of exorcism in middle England

After $30,000 for controversial conversion therapy, three attempts at exorcism and one failed marriage, Peterson Toscano finally resolved the conflict between his faith and sexuality - he was gay.

It took 17 years to accept it.

Whether called gay to straight, conversion or reparative therapy, the practice Mr. Toscano put himself through purports to help individuals change their sexual orientation.

There are those who claim the practice, largely supported by fundamentalist Christian churches, to have changed them from homosexual to heterosexual. They are know as "ex-gay".

But as far as Mr. Toscano - who calls himself an "ex-gay survivor" - is concerned, not only does it not work, the process is "psychologically damaging".

Mr. Toscano, now 47, grew up in an average Italian American Catholic home in Upstate New York.

But as a devout Christian, and member of the Evangelical Church, he found it difficult to resolve what he saw as a conflict between his sexual orientation and his faith.

"I was doing something spiritually and morally wrong that I would be punished for in the afterlife. And so there was a lot of fear and terrible desperation," he told BBC Religion.

As a teenager in early 1980s America, Mr. Toscano experienced a time when the word "gay" was synonymous with Aids. Up to 1973, US psychiatrists had been classifying homosexuals as insane.

"I put two and two together and made what I thought was a logical equation at the time of saying 'that's wrong, that's bad, I need to fix it'. And then 17 years later I finally woke up and came to my senses," he said.

His years of treatment are painful for him to recall. After an interview with US National Public Radio that triggered a period of depression, he now avoids recalling the specifics.

However, he recounts one of the darkest incidents in some of his performance work. During a two-year residential stay at Love in Action, now called Restoration Path, in Memphis, Tennessee, Mr Toscano was required to record all the homosexual encounters he ever had.

He was then told to choose the most embarrassing to read out to his family.

Mind you, this is not an isolated example (as many religious people will claim): this is a regular occurrence in many countries especially (I am ashamed to say) in America. If anything proves that prayer fails spectacularly, it is this assinity of ‘pray the gay away’.

There’s more to this ludicrous story (unfortunately):

The post-exorcism cuppa

Such therapy was not confined to the US. Mr Toscano visited England for an extended stay in the 1990s as part of his quest to suppress his sexual identity.

Most tourists plan trips to London or Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon; Mr Toscano took a trip to Kidderminster for an exorcism in a cottage overlooking a safari park.

He had already undergone two failed attempts at exorcism in the US. But he describes his experience with a minister in Worcestershire as "more like Reiki than deliverance".

"She never touched me, there was no screaming, there were no buckets of vomit like previous experiences I've had," he said.

"She felt the demons were dislodged enough to come out and then she just said in the most sweet gentle way, 'all right the demons are ready to come out now, all you need to do is take a very deep breath out and poof. There they go'.

"And then she literally put on the kettle and we had tea.

"She was very well meaning, but yet again she re-enforced this notion that there was something, very, very wrong with my insides, that my feelings weren't natural, they were actually demonic.

"That sort of teaching is so psychologically damaging, especially to young people. If you believe that, you will then do whatever you can to rip up your own soul."

In the US, moves are now under way to partially ban the practice in California. Governor Jerry Brown is currently considering a bill to make reparative therapy illegal for children in the state. If this is enacted it will be the first of its kind in the US.

The Evangelical Alliance, which oversees the UK Evangelical community, did not wish to comment on Mr Toscano's experience.

However, there are those within the Anglican community who believe in offering different kinds of support to people of faith conflicted by their sexuality.

And here we strike the sticking-point: there is and always will be  a conflict between sexuality and religion, because the religious do more damage by their intolerance to difference; it is always their way to the heavenly highway. The ancient Israelites wiped out entire clans based on that clans’ sexual proclivity. And over the centuries, the Big Three of Monotheism has done more to suppress natural desire than all the cold showers ever taken or saltpeter ever administered.

As for this ‘partial ban’ nonsense: it should be entirely banned. It has no foundation in reality whatsoever, and is as big a wash as those abstinence programs.

Keep religion out of our bedrooms, out of our schools, and out of legislation, and then hell yes we can get along like adults.

Those are the three rules. Can’t abide by them? Then put up your dukes, we’ll surely have it out.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Allegories Gone Wild: The Unmarried Mythical Man-Child

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
These little news ‘factazoids’ always crack me up:jesuswife

Jesus cites wife in fourth-century script, says US scholar

A Harvard University professor has unveiled a fourth-century fragment of papyrus she said is the only existing ancient text quoting Jesus explicitly referring to having a wife.

Karen King, an expert in the history of Christianity, said the text contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to "my wife," whom he identifies as Mary. King says the fragment of Coptic script is a copy of a gospel, probably written in Greek in the second century.

King helped translate and unveiled the tiny fragment at a conference of Coptic experts in Rome. She said it doesn't prove Jesus was married but speaks to issues of family and marriage that faced Christians.

Four words in the 1.5 x 3in (3.8 x 7.6cm) fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, King said. Those words, written in a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, translate to "Jesus said to them, my wife," King said in a statement.

He added that in the dialogue the disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy and Jesus says: "She can be my disciple."

Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried even though there was no reliable historical evidence to support that, King said. The new gospel, she said, "tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous
debates about sexuality and marriage".

"From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry," she said, "but it was over a century after Jesus's death before they began appealing to Jesus's marital status to support their positions."

King presented the document at a six-day conference being held at Rome's La Sapienza University and at the Augustinianum institute of the Pontifical Lateran University. While the Vatican newspaper and Vatican Radio frequently cover such academic conferences, there was no mention of King's discovery in any Vatican media on Tuesday. That said, her paper was one of nearly 60 delivered on Tuesday at the vast conference, which drew 300 academics from around the globe.

I think the following paragraph exposes just how tenuous this entire dog-and-pony show is:

The fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector who contacted King to help translate and analyse it. Nothing is known about the circumstances of its discovery, but it had to have come from Egypt, where the dry climate allows ancient writings to survive and because it was written in a script used in ancient times there, King said.

And of course, someone takes the inevitable swing at it:

A New Testament scholar claims to have found evidence suggesting that the Gospel of Jesus's Wife is a modern forgery.

Professor Francis Watson, of Durham University, says the papyrus fragment, which caused a worldwide sensation when it appeared earlier this week because it appeared to refer to Jesus's wife, is a patchwork of texts from the genuine Coptic-language Gospel of Thomas, which have been copied and reassembled out of order to make a suggestive new whole.

In a paper published online, Watson argues that all of the sentence fragments found on the papyrus fragment have been copied, sometimes with small alterations, from printed editions of the Gospel of Thomas.

The discovery has already sparked fierce debate among academics, but Watson believes his new research may prove conclusive.

"I think it is more or less indisputable that I have shown how the thing was composed," he said. "I would be very surprised if it were not a modern forgery, although it is possible that it was composed in this way in the fourth century."

It’s ridiculous that people actually spend time and money and squander resources on this nonsense. The entire ‘gospel’ is a hoax, unwittingly perpetrated perhaps, but a hoax nonetheless, a compost of stolen syncretism’s and plagiarized back stories that are richly interwoven bullshit. Mental pollution at it’s narcissistic best, masturbatory delusions that people still use to stroke their broken self-esteem.

One can only hope that our species will eventually outgrow this vile, anachronistic nonsense.

I for one, am not holding my breath.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

More On The Madness Of Muslim: Celluloid Insanity Of The First Order

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasismoandjesuscensorship

You’d have to be living in a fucking cave not to have heard about this latest series where the ‘Religion of Peace’ followers (good old Ass-Lame) are running amok:

US Ambassador To Libya Killed Over Insulting Depiction Of Prophet Mohammad In Anti-Islam Film By Israeli-American

The controversial, little-seen film “Innocence of Muslims,” was produced by California-based Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer who has said he’s both Israeli and American. The film depicts Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and madman. Bacile has gone into hiding following the violence in Libya and Egypt.

BENGHAZI – US ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats were killed in a furious attack on their consulate and a safe house in the eastern city of Benghazi by Islamist gunmen blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

The controversial, little-seen film “Innocence of Muslims,” was produced by California-based Sam Bacile, a 56-year-old California real estate developer who has said he’s both Israeli and American. The film depicts Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and madman.

The US embassy in Egyptain capital Cairo, too, bore the brunt of rioters’ anger over the film made by an Israeli filmmaker living in the US.

California-born ambassador Christopher Stevens, an old Arab hand, had gone to the consulate in Benghazi, the cradle of last year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, with the others to evacuate it after it came under attack Tuesday. It was not clear how or where Stevens died.

The US consular staff were rushed to a safe house after the initial attack, Libya’s deputy interior minister Wanis Al-Sharif said. An aircraft with US commandos then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them.

“It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it,” he said, adding two US personnel were killed there.

The amateurish film, Innocence of Muslims, portrayed the Prophet Mohammad in a negative light. The maker of the controversial film —Sam Bacile, who described himself as an Israeli Jew — has since gone into hiding.

US pastor Terry Jones, who had inflamed anger in the Muslim world in 2010 with plans to burn the Quran, said he had promoted the film.

“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” said President Barack Obama.

A US Marine counterterrorism team has been dispatched to Benghazi, reflecting suspicions that a terrorist group may have used the rioters as a shield to target Stevens. The ambassador was supposedly killed by a rocket-propelled grenade — a weapon normally used by a trained soldier.

The killings have raised questions about the stability of the Libyan regime, which has struggled to contain scores of local militias, and whether more protests might erupt in the Muslim world over the film.

It’s unfortunate that Obama has to play patty-cake with these assholes: it’s a volatile situation, rife with the threat of violence.

And of course the Taliban, those purveyors of putrification, had this to say:

Al-Qaida praises Libya consulate attack as anti-American protests subside

Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen praised the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya as a "great event" Saturday, and urged followers to kill other American diplomats across the Muslim world.

Personally, I’m rather sick of these people: not just the Muslims, but all the terrorists who try to gull the masses with fairy tales, and then incense crowds to riot. Religion is a sickness at the heart of our species – and if I believed in miracles, I’d say it was a miracle that we’ve survived thus far. But I don’t, so it’s not. Likely it’s the sheer stubborn stupidity of the unwashed masses. Few other abstract concepts reward sheer perverse tenacity like religion.

And none of these people, whether they be Arab or WASP, are aware that an Argumentum ad baculum is no argument at all – it’s the sole purview of the bully, the terrorist, and the fanatic, which has no place among civilized peoples.

Instead of bellying up to these people, we should carpet-bomb all 20 of those countries with the film they’re up in arms about.

Which would make them as nuts as ten cats in a bag.

Religion is poison. It neither improves the disposition or the person. It give free reign to the sub-conscious weirdness, and shouts down the cortex. It is a useless, barbaric, asinine anachronism well past its usefulness by multiple centuries.

We’d be better off without it. Let’s hope that someday, we will be.

Till the next post, then.