left biblioblography: August 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

When Tea Is The Wrong Kind Of Party: Mistaken Akin Claims Of Legitimate Rape

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisstupidteapartyakin

Is it me, or when election time rolls around, do the Republican crazies seem to surge during an election year?

Witness if you will: Congressscum Akin has come out with the…most witless, stupidest, misogynistic crap yet:

In an August 19, 2012 interview aired on St. Louis television station KTVI-TV, Akin was asked his views on whether women who became pregnant due to rape should have the option of abortion. He replied:

“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

The comment was widely criticized as false. Medical experts say there is no evidence to support the assertion that women are less likely to get pregnant from rape compared with consensual sex. A three-year study of 4008 adult American women from 1996 that found rape-related pregnancy occurred with "significant frequency" was cited as evidence against Akin's claim.

I’m positive crack heads could make more cogent commentary. Who would even defend such idiocy?

Sadly, all the usual suspects:

Akin has been defended by some social conservative organizations and notable Republicans, including the Family Research Council and Mike Huckabee.[59] A spokesman for the Council said that "We feel this is a case of gotcha politics... We know who Todd Akin is. We've worked with him up on the hill. He's a defender of life." Akin's remarks were also defended by the evangelical Christian activist Kirk Cameron.[61] A representative of the American Family Association cited a 1999 article by Doctor John C. Willke to argue Akin "was exactly right". Pro-life theologian Pia de Solenni called Akin's remarks "idiotic", but also claimed that there is "no solid data" on the question of whether rape inhibits pregnancy, and opined that it was not a "far stretch [from effects of long-term stress on fertility] to wonder if women who are raped might have a lesser rate of pregnancy resulting from the rape". Robert Fleischmann, director of pro-life group Christian Life Resources, similarly argued that Akin's point was plausible but lacked data ("I have yet to see a study that demonstrates some sort of contraceptive effect from a rape. I do believe, however, it is not an unwarranted conclusion." and "Statistically speaking, it appears something happens in a rape, either with the victim or with the perpetrator, that reduces the incidence of pregnancy."). In response to Republican demands that he resigns, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason said that Akin's position "is an integral part of the Republican Party platform, the same position that was held by President Ronald Reagan" and that "[we] are left with Reagan Republicans, who agree with the Republican Party platform on abortion, and Romney Republicans, a fringe group of liberals who compromise on human life. Mike Huckabee supported Akin by soliciting donations for his Senate campaign, in which he accused the "Republican establishment" of a "carefully orchestrated and systematic attack."

That anyone in their right minds could even side with a breath-takingly ignorant statement is officially mind-boggling.

The great divide here is not about anything else but the delusion that there is some sort of ‘soul’ involved, that much talked-about, much glorified, but incredibly unprovable ethereal mythological will-o-the wisp that human beings are mysterious imbued with at birth (or as the more deluded claim, at conception).

We should then work from the assumption that there is no such critter, and deal with the harsh realities of the real world.

But then, when the surreal nonsense of religion invades the domicile of reason, it makes me lose some hope for our species.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homophobia Gone Wild: The Two Faces Of Jonathan Merrit

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasis

Recall the Chick-fil-A nonsense? Of course you do – it wasn’t all that long ago.

Cathy told a North Carolina religious publication in July that he supports the biblical definition of marriage. Cathy also said during "The Ken Coleman Show" that "... we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,' and I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is about."

Eating all that chicken must’ve clogged the arteries to that idiot’s brain, is what I say. It’s another addition to the list of stores I’ll never patronize (though I’d not heard of Chick-fil-A till the controversy). Not surprisingly, some religious clown named Jonathan Merrit actually defended eating at Chick’s with this rather milquetoast ‘hey, let’s just all get along’ article.

And then we all find out that he had a homosexual encounter.

Merritt, a culture writer for major newspapers and magazines and author of two books, told Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research that for a “couple of weeks” in 2009 he corresponded with a gay blogger by e-mail and text messages, some of them “inappropriate.” After meeting for dinner near a city where Merritt was traveling and while saying goodbye, he said, “we had physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship.”

Merritt said he planned to publicly discuss his “brokenness” at some point, but an unexpected turn of events forced him to do it now. On July 20, Merritt wrote an article for the Atlantic arguing against a boycott of Chick-fil-A over the company’s support of conservative groups that oppose gay marriage. Gay blogger Azariah Southworth, who was host of a show on Christian television before coming out of the closet in 2008, then alleged in a July 23 blog that Merritt is gay.

And hey, maybe he just kissed a guy once in 2009 – but if you watch the video, let me know if my ‘gaydar’ is off, because he sure seems that way to me.

And let me tell you something else for free: if you’re imposing YOUR religious beliefs on me via legislation, if you’re DEMANDING that I adhere to YOUR sense of esthetics, if you’re forcing YOUR ideologies down my throat, that’s just plain un-American. Pure and simple.

Because freedom OF religion is completely contingent on freedom FROM religion. Anyone who tells you otherwise, is blowing wind out their ass.

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bachmann Weirdo Overdrive: Finding Extremist Muslims In Every Corner….

Cross posted @ the Atheist OasisBachmann McCarthy

When it comes to crazy, the Rethuglickans have few peers…

Bachmann allegations stain GOP, Idaho congressman says

BOISE, Idaho -- Seven-term GOP Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho said Friday that Rep. Michele Bachmann's claim that an extremist Islamic group has infiltrated the U.S. government is a revival of McCarthyism that must be condemned.

"I thought it was outrageous," Simpson told the Idaho Statesman's editorial board Friday. "We don't need to go back to those days. I thought we'd learned our lesson when (Sen. Joseph) McCarthy (R-Wis.) finally went down."

Simpson lamented that publicity about the former presidential candidate from Minnesota stains the Republican Party.

"Unfortunately, it's not just Michele. The public says, 'There go those Republicans again.' It's a bad reflection on all Republicans. I can't believe the other four members she got to sign the letter with her. Amazing ... That doesn't reflect the House Republican Caucus."

Bachmann says the Muslim Brotherhood has managed a "deep penetration in the halls of our United States government" and accused a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of having family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., defended the aide, Huma Abedin, in a Senate floor speech last month. "These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis and no merit, and they need to stop now," he said.

Added McCain: "When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation."

Bachmann wrote that Abedin's mother, brother and late father were connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives or organizations.

She was joined by fellow Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia in writing inspectors general in the departments of state, homeland security, defense and justice and the Office of National Intelligence asking them to investigate whether the Muslim Brotherhood may be infiltrating the government.

On another national story, Simpson said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush would be a good "dark horse" choice as Mitt Romney's running mate for president.

"Bush helps you with the Hispanic vote, wins Florida ..." Simpson said. "The negative is that his last name is Bush. That brings up a challenge. But, frankly, I think Jeb is probably - I don't know if 'sharpest' is the right word - but I think he's the most attractive of all the Bushes."

Simpson said Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell also would be good choices who would help in key states.

But Simpson said Bush, who served eight years as governor, has experience that Rubio, a freshman senator, lacks.

"Jeb has more gravitas," Simpson said. "He's been the governor of a state. He hasn't been in Washington. I think the knock against Rubio - although I think Rubio is a great guy and has a real future - is that he's still pretty young and fairly inexperienced. Almost as inexperienced as Obama was when he ran for president."

I don’t even know precisely where to begin here. That even McCain was a voice of reason is scary enough. And yes, it does reflect the dark underbelly of a moronic party that shouldn’t be anywhere near anything political – this ‘Party of Five’ are just being honest, while the rest of them are just pandering to the voters, and not voicing their paranoia. And this ‘stain’? It goes all the way back to probably one of the few Republican presidents who was worth a shit: Lincoln.

We’ve banged on Bachmann here before – she is one of those people who is capable of giving rational people night sweats. She is, in no uncertain terms, batshit crazy.


I wish I had a video from the Colbert Report (where I heard about it), but alas, you’ll have to do with one of the more frightening statements Ms. Michelle McCarthy has made:


(As for Jeb Bush? I don’t trust a guy who claims to have a mystical buddy, metaphorical or otherwise.)

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

The Catholic Cee Is Getting Their Kilts In A Twist: Scotland Is Taking The High Road

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasisscotlandtolerance

I personally snicker with glee when I read items like this:

Scotland is ready for gay marriage, whether Cardinal O'Brien likes it or not

My lodger, a nice Catholic librarian, once told me that at her Highlands church the anti-gay marriage postcards were put on a table at the back, no one taking much interest. A Glaswegian friend told me those postcards were actually being handed out to each mass-goer, and those signed collected back at the end of the service.

Signed avowals of homophobia, is what they are.

In 2011, Cardinal O'Brien had the Catholic Parliamentary Office send 200,000 postcards, pre-printed with a message against gay marriage, one for every mass-going Catholic to sign, to every parish in Scotland. They got 28,000 of them back: about 170,000 Catholics ignored them. Thirty-six per cent of the total responses to the equal marriage consultation in Scotland are those postcards.

Gotta love them stats.

"Scotland for Marriage" and other opponents of same-sex marriage point to figures stating that 77,508 responses to the Scottish gay marriage consultation, only 36% were in favour of gay marriage and 64% were against. While civil rights in a democracy are not awarded by majority vote, this does sound fairly conclusive, doesn't it?

As the author points out, civil rights are not granted by mob rule.

But Cardinal Keith O'Brien has announced a fundraising Sunday in August – he wants £100,000 to run an advertising campaign against same-sex marriage. Odd, since they claim to be supported by the majority.

Of course, since eliminating poverty is out of the question, let’s dictate how the hoi polloi copulate.

If you count only the full responses to the consultation – not postcards or petition signatures – then 49% were in favour of same sex marriage and 50% were against and a few hundred forgot to answer the question. But nineteen per cent of the total responses came from outside Scotland: most of them apparently from online forms set up by the Christian Institute and Christian Concern. Those responses were overwhelmingly against Scotland making same-sex marriage legal.

It’s always interesting how busybodies outside a country (or in our case, outside the state) want to stick their beaks in.

Count only what the Scots wrote to Holyrood on consultation forms and letters, and the 2011 consultation reports 65% in favour of same-sex marriage and 35% against. Which matches almost exactly what Ipsos-Mori found when they carried out a poll on same-sex marriage in June 2012: 64% of Scots agree same-sex couples should have the right to marry, 68% agree that churches should have the freedom to wed same-sex couples if they choose.

Well, Scotland obviously is not having the same issues with Catholic priests that their neighbor Ireland has had.

So gay marriage should become lawful in 2014 – at least a year earlier than planned for England, which will be great for the tourist trade in Gretna Green.

Always good news.

Will this mean Catholic priests and Church of Scotland ministers and Amos Starkadders of the Church of the Quivering Brethren could be sued by engaged couples who are unexpectedly keen to have the celebrant join them in holy matrimony while muttering "Ye're all damned!"?

Hey, tell the churches to suck it (literally and figuratively), and go get married by the state.

With praiseworthy consideration for religious freedom, the Scottish government is asking the UK government to slightly amend the Equality Act. Religious celebrants from churches against gay marriage were already protected by the act: this change will ensure religious celebrants from churches for gay marriage are also definitely legally protected if they wish to refuse.

I should say that’s a non-issue: as much as I detest religion, a group of any sort should be able to stand by its principles, askew as they may be. This will help push more people away from the madness that is religion.

That's as it should be (and so say 93% of responses to the equal marriage consultation). But will Scotland for Marriage be content with certainty that any celebrant from any church will have the right to refuse? That Cardinal O'Brien can continue to call same-sex marriage "grotesque" as long as this makes him happy?

They should have a drive to pelt this clown with eggs.

They will not, and I think I know why. I think they know that once it's legal, the churches against gay marriage understand it's only a matter of time before everyone takes it for granted. And many of their priests and ministers, asked by a devout and faithful couple, will quietly perform the wedding as a calling of their ministry, and never mind what the church hierarchy says about it.

Or better yet, stop depending on any church at all for the ceremony.

This is a sore spot for me: I have waxed and whaled at this nonsense before. Our rites of passage need not be blessed by someone intangible. Rather, they should be celebrated by our own flesh and blood, toasts to the sky only in jubilation and not in obeisance: we give our thanks only to each other, and no supernatural being need be acknowledged.

And that day is drawing closer, but not quickly enough for my taste. But it will happen.