left biblioblography: February 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sexual Politics And The Papacy: Genitalia Of Despair

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually  - Jimi Hendrix

doublstandard popeThe Catholic Church is (and always has been) a walking horrorshow of immense proportions. And now that Ratzi the sexual Nazi is stepping down, we find out that there’s always been some sort of trouble in paradise:

Papal resignation linked to inquiry into 'Vatican gay officials', says paper

A potentially explosive report has linked the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI to the discovery of a network of gay prelates in the Vatican, some of whom – the report said – were being blackmailed by outsiders.

The pope's spokesman declined to confirm or deny the report, which was carried by the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.

The paper said the pope had taken the decision on 17 December that he was going to resign – the day he received a dossier compiled by three cardinals delegated to look into the so-called "Vatileaks" affair.

Last May Pope Benedict's butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested and charged with having stolen and leaked papal correspondence that depicted the Vatican as a seething hotbed of intrigue and infighting.

According to La Repubblica, the dossier comprising "two volumes of almost 300 pages – bound in red" had been consigned to a safe in the papal apartments and would be delivered to the pope's successor upon his election.

The newspaper said the cardinals described a number of factions, including one whose members were "united by sexual orientation".

In an apparent quotation from the report, La Repubblica said some Vatican officials had been subject to "external influence" from laymen with whom they had links of a "worldly nature". The paper said this was a clear reference to blackmail.

It quoted a source "very close to those who wrote [the cardinal's report]" as saying: "Everything revolves around the non-observance of the sixth and seventh commandments."

The seventh enjoins against theft. The sixth forbids adultery, but is linked in Catholic doctrine to the proscribing of homosexual acts.

La Repubblica said the cardinals' report identified a series of meeting places in and around Rome. They included a villa outside the Italian capital, a sauna in a Rome suburb, a beauty parlour in the centre, and a former university residence that was in use by a provincial Italian archbishop.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said: "Neither the cardinals' commission nor I will make comments to confirm or deny the things that are said about this matter. Let each one assume his or her own responsibilities. We shall not be following up on the observations that are made about this."

He added that interpretations of the report were creating "a tension that is the opposite of what the pope and the church want" in the approach to the conclave of cardinals that will elect Benedict's successor. Another Italian daily, Corriere della Sera, alluded to the dossier soon after the pope announced his resignation on 11 February, describing its contents as "disturbing".

The three-man commission of inquiry into the Vatileaks affair was headed by a Spanish cardinal, Julián Herranz. He was assisted by Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, a former archbishop of Palermo, and the Slovak cardinal Jozef Tomko, who once headed the Vatican's department for missionaries.

Pope Benedict has said he will stand down at the end of this month; the first pope to resign voluntarily since Celestine V more than seven centuries ago. Since announcing his departure he has twice apparently referred to machinations inside the Vatican, saying that divisions "mar the face of the church", and warned against "the temptations of power".

La Repubblica's report was the latest in a string of claims that a gay network exists in the Vatican. In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a "sting" organised by an Italian television programme while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man.

In 2010 a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting. A few months later a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.

The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals. But it teaches that gay sex is "intrinsically disordered". Pope Benedict has barred sexually active gay men from studying for the priesthood.

That last paragraph is risible. The Vatican doesn’t condemn gays, but gays are ‘intrinsically disordered’? Nice bit of doublespeak there, I’d say.

The raging hypocrisy of this is stupefying.

I’d like to tell these two-faced asshats to go fuck themselves collectively, but I’m betting most of them have tried to do so already.

And so the ‘Holy Cee’ slowly slips into the sea, revealing its irrelevancy….

Till the next post, then.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Homophobia Gone Mental: Choppity Chop Go The Naughty Bits…

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasis

One day when Alfred Hitchcock was still a churchgoing Catholic, he was driving through a Swiss city when he suddenly pointed out of the car window and said, "That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen."

His companion was surprised to see nothing more alarming than a priest in conversation with a little boy, his hand on the child's shoulder.

"Run, little boy," cried Hitchcock, leaning out of the car. "Run for your life!" – Anecdotes

When it comes to truly bizarre horror, few things hold a candle to the religious obsession with genitalia:

Dutch Roman Catholic church 'castrated' boys in 1950s

Up to 11 boys were castrated while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic church in the 1950s to rid them of homosexuality, a newspaper investigation has said.

A young man was castrated in 1956 after telling police he was being abused by priests, the newspaper reported.

The justice minister is investigating the role of the government at the time.

Last year, an inquiry found thousands of children had been sexually abused in Dutch Catholic institutions since 1945.

Dutch MPs called for an inquiry after the report was published in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper at the weekend.

'Serious and shocking'

Henk Hethuis, a pupil at a Catholic boarding school, was 18 when he told police in 1956 he was being abused by a Dutch monk. He was castrated on the instructions of Catholic priests, NRC Handelsblad said, and told this would "cure" him of his homosexuality.

The same happened to at least 10 of his schoolmates, the newspaper said.

Hethuis died in a car crash in 1958.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten called the allegations "very serious and shocking" and said he would investigate the role of the Dutch government at the time.

The Dutch Catholic church has said it is willing to co-operate with an investigation to find out whether the media reports are true, Reuters reports.

A commission of inquiry last year said Catholic officials had failed to tackle the widespread abuse at schools, seminaries and orphanages.

The commission - headed by former cabinet minister Wim Deetman - found tens of thousands of children had suffered abuse ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.

It condemned what it called the church's cover-up and culture of silence.

NRC Handelsblad said the commission received a complaint about the alleged castration cases in 2010.

Dutch MPs are to ask formally for a parliamentary hearing with the head of the commission, former cabinet minister Wim Deetman, to ask him why he did not include the information in his report.

The mind boggles. The stomach clenches. The knuckles whiten. There is perhaps no greater violation than that of an innocent child – there are few things more horrific. The mad obsession with purity and virginity combined with the idiocy of celibacy creates monsters.

Till the next post then. 


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Darwin’s Birthday Is Around The Corner…How Will You Celebrate?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
It’s actually a far more fitting holiday (for lack of a better word) for the world at large than any other birthday/holiday/hallmark-excuse-to-gouge-the-consumer.2009-02-08-darwin-day-sale

Without Darwin’s evolutionary theory, we would lack a great many things in this world: biology (this is almost ALWAYS met with disbelief when you tell a creationist) – evolution is the backbone of biology, and by extension, modern medicine. Oh and agriculture and animal husbandry, not to mention the movement of ethics away from supernatural tripe to actual morality founded on reality. It is the pebble that began the avalanche, the flapping butterfly wing that began the tsunami, the asteroid that struck the world and began slowly extinguishing the anachronistic nonsenses of the past.

I could go at length on this topic – but I lack the vocabulary and the space to pontificate on this subject. Sufficient to say: Happy Darwin Day!

And oh yeah!
Sign this petition.

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Anti-Evolution Screeds–The Frightening Facts Of Denial

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
petardedFour more states have been added to my list of those I wish would just  fucking secede from the union:

Four US states considering laws that challenge teaching of evolution

Four US states are considering new legislation about teaching science in schools, allowing pupils to to be taught religious versions of how life on earth developed in what critics say would establish a backdoor way of questioning the theory of evolution.

Fresh legislation has been put forward in Colorado, Missouri and Montana. In Oklahoma, there are two bills before the state legislature that include potentially creationist language.

A watchdog group, the National Center for Science Education, said that the proposed laws were framed around the concept of "academic freedom". It argues that religious motives are disguised by the language of encouraging more open debate in school classrooms. However, the areas of the curriculum highlighted in the bills tend to focus on the teaching of evolution or other areas of science that clash with traditionally religious interpretations of the world.

"Taken at face value, they sound innocuous and lovely: critical thinking, debate and analysis. It seems so innocent, so pure. But they chose to question only areas that religious conservatives are uncomfortable with. There is a religious agenda here," said Josh Rosenau, an NCSE program and policy director.

In Oklahoma, one bill has been pre-filed with the state senate and another with the state house. The Senate bill would oblige the state to help teachers "find more effective ways to represent the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies". The House bill specifically mentions "biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning" as areas that "some teachers are unsure" about teaching.

In Montana, a bill put forward by local social conservative state congressman, Clayton Fiscus, also lists things like "random mutation, natural selection, DNA and fossil discoveries" as controversial topics that need more critical teaching. Meanwhile, in Missouri, a bill introduced in mid-January lists "biological and chemical evolution" as topics that teachers should debate over including looking at the "scientific weaknesses" of the long-established theories.

Finally, in Colorado, which rarely sees a push towards teaching creationism, a bill has been introduced in the state house of representatives that would require teachers to "respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution". Observers say the move is the first piece of creationist-linked legislation to be put forward in the state since 1972.

The moves in such a wide range of states have angered advocates of secularism in American official life. "This is just another attempt to bring creationism in through the back door. The only academic freedom they really want to encourage is the freedom to be ignorant," said Rob Boston, senior policy analyst at Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Over the past few years, only Tennessee and Louisiana have managed to pass so-called "academic freedom" laws of the kind currently being considered in the four states. Barbara Forrest, a philosophy professor at Southeastern Louisiana University and close observer of the creationism movement, said that the successes in those two states meant that the religious lobby was always looking for more opportunities.

She said that using arguments over academic freedom was a shift in tactic after attempts to specifically get "intelligent design" taught in schools was defeated in a landmark court case in 2005. Intelligent design, which a local school board in Dover, Pennsylvania, had sought to get accepted as legitimate science, asserts that modern life is too complex to have evolved by chance alone. "Creationists never give up. They never do. The language of these bills may be highly sanitized but it is creationist code," she said.

The laws can have a direct impact on a state. In Louisiana, 78 Nobel laureate scientists have endorsed the repeal of the creationist education law there. The Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology has even launched a boycott of Louisiana and cancelled a scheduled convention in New Orleans. Louisiana native and prominent anti-creationist campaigner in the state Zack Kopplin said that those pushing such bills in other states were risking similar economic damage to their local economies. "It will hurt economic development," Kopplin said.

There is also the impact on students, he added, when they are taught controversies in subjects where the overwhelming majority of scientists have long ago reached consensus agreement. "It really hurts students. It can be embarrassing to be from a state which has become a laughing stock in this area," Kopplin said.

Others experts agreed, arguing that it could even hurt future job prospects for students graduating from those states' public high schools. "The jobs of the future are high tech and science-orientated. These lawmakers are making it harder for some of these kids to get those jobs," said Boston.

Madness. Just madness. We have no better litmus test than likability for the suitability of state office? Nobody would dream of allowing an ‘alien abductee’ to be elected to office, but the down-home corn-pone delusionists seem to be a favorite in states where plausibility is measured by calluses and crimson napes, and the ability to hit a spittoon from yards away.

One of the key-notes in that article: global warming is no longer ‘controversial’ – the fact is, most of these are all non-debates (some put to rest decades ago), and we are seeing the backlash of some serious sour grapes.

This nonsense needs to be shouted down – vigorously and continuously, because making allowances for other people’s ‘feelings’ (which is just PCspeak for ‘validate my stupid beliefs without criticism’) just paves the way for these nutters to try and make more head roads into places they have no business involving themselves.

For a great spoof of this idiocy, here’s a clip, courtesy of the Family Guy.


Till the next post, then.