left biblioblography: January 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Allegories Gone Wild–Gay Rights As Omens?

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
redefinemarriageInteresting past time, isn’t it? Playing connect-the-dots with a book written by madmen and liars (yes, it’s the bibble I’m speaking of), anyone can get that folderol to agree with their warped perspectives.

Case in point:

Pastor: Obama is paving the way for the Antichrist

Already no stranger to controversy, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, a Dallas megachurch pastor, is coming out with a book that claims President Barack Obama is clearing the way for the Antichrist.

Jeffress, head of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, writes in his book “Perfect Ending” that he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, yet he links Obama’s support of gay marriage to the coming of the Antichrist. Many Christians believe Jesus’ Second Coming will feature a confrontation with an enemy called the Antichrist, based on interpretation of passages 1 John and 2 John.

“For the first time in history a president of our country has openly proposed altering one of society’s (not to mention God’s) most fundamental laws: that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Jeffress writes, according to an advance copy provided to RNS.

“While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.”

Jeffress said on Wednesday (Jan. 8) that he’s particularly concerned with issues such as the current battle over whether organizations will have to provide free contraception to employees.

“I’m not saying the president is an evil man who’s trying to destroy our society, but Americans are willingly giving up their freedom for what they’re told is a greater good,” he said. “A future world dictator will assume power under the guise of the greater good of the world.”

Jeffress said whether it’s the National Security Agency’s surveillance on American phone calls or the implementation of Obamacare, he sees a gradual encroachment on Americans’ freedom.

“How it can be that this leader is able to usurp freedom of speech with little or no opposition?” he said. “People will be conditioned to surrender personal rights for the so-called greater good.”

Last year, Pat Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network that Islam is the Antichrist, and he has linked security cameras to the end times and “the mark of the beast.” Christians have interpreted Revelation 13:16-18 to mean that there will be a marking of humans, or a “mark of the beast.”

Pointing to the idea of the Antichrist has not been uncommon for so-called “dispensationalists,” who understand God to work in a series of “dispensations,” or periods in history. In the 1960s and 1970s, dispensationalists “had a field day identifying who was the Antichrist,” said Scot McKnight, a New Testament scholar at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill.

“Mercy, when I was in college, the dispensationalists were doing this all the time: Henry Kissinger, etc., were all identified as the Antichrist. Gorbachev was one, especially with that funny birthmark (of the supposed beast) on his head,” McKnight said. “People today have stopped identifying the beast and the Antichrist because the former generation was completely wrong, obviously.”

A dispensationalist, Jeffress says what happens in the future should impact what Christians do today.

“It is foolish to try to identify the Antichrist, but what we can do is see how what is happening now is paving the way for what may come in 10 years or may come in 1,000 years,” he said.

In his book, Jeffress makes his case that Christians should study prophecy more closely. “Evangelist Billy Graham once observed that ‘the most neglected teaching in the church today is the second coming of Jesus Christ,’” he said.

Though he never lived in Dallas, Graham was a longtime member of First Baptist Dallas before he switched memberships in 2008 to a church closer to his home in North Carolina. Graham joined First Baptist Dallas during his first Dallas crusade in 1953. At the time, the Rev. W.A. Criswell led the church, considered by many to be the pre-eminent church in the Southern Baptist Convention, according to The Dallas Morning News. Jeffress has been senior pastor of the church since 2007.

The outspoken Jeffress has made controversial claims about Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Catholics and gays and lesbians in the past. He ignited a controversy at a summit hosted by the Family Research Council when he introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry by calling Mormonism a “cult,” referencing the faith of Perry’s opponent for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, before the 2012 election.

In a sermon at First Baptist ahead of the 2012 election, Jeffress urged people not to vote for Obama, saying that the president was making it “relatively easy for the Antichrist to take over.”

Jeffress wasn’t claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, and said he was not questioning the president’s faith. “But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.”

Last year, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was scheduled to speak at First Baptist but pulled out after the resulting controversy.

The church owns and operates a school, a college, several radio stations and Dallas Life, a mission for the homeless on the southern edge of downtown Dallas. Last year, the church completed a $135 million building campaign to renovate its downtown campus.

Holy shit. It seems like the crazy parade never stops marching: they toss their shredded sense to the wind, like ticker tape. At least this con man gave himself some room claiming it could be ten or a thousand years (as I recall, there’ve already been a few of those pronouncements, also all dead wrong). And instructing his parish on how to vote? Should be an automatic cut-off on being tax-exempt.

As for this alleged anti-christ – *that’s a long wait for a train that ain’t comin’.

And these antiquated ideological dinosaurs, these whiners of things past, their goal is no different than any other philosophical bully: to have it their way, because to them it is the ONLY way.

This war of attrition, this education of the masses, will be a long arduous road.

Till the next post, then.





* Yes, a Firefly reference


Saturday, January 18, 2014

More On The Madness Of Muslims: Sharia Sucks Dick

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

jesusandmohomoI still wonder at the stupid gullibility of people who want to treat this (or any, for that matter) religion with any sort of respect whatsoever. If this hypothetical divine being cares so fucking much about who and/or how people fuck, then we’d all have some extra layers of tissue flaps that would server as a natural chastity belt.

And as if it’s not bad enough that Nigeria is considered the email scam capitol of the world, this sort of garbage does not shine well on them.

The Nigerians who dare to speak of love as a tide of anti-gay hatred rises

The party had just started when the gunshot pierced the music. Instantly the men scattered, knowing what it meant: a police raid.

They had gathered in a hotel in the northern Nigerian state of Bauchi, renting out almost a whole floor for a surprise birthday party. But in the minaret-dotted city, where sharia in theory requires gay men to be stoned to death, such stolen moments are fraught. Someone had tipped off the Hisbah – the religious police.

As officials stormed in on that night in 2007, John (not his real name) felt numb with fear. He ran to a room, switched off the lights and crawled under the bed. "They checked room by room. They opened the door and flashed a flashlight, but they thought it was empty." They arrested 18 others.

A week later, John went to Friday prayers at the mosque. He prayed for 18 of his friends who faced sodomy charges in a sharia court. He prayed for their lawyer, who was forced to sneak into the first hearing via a side door as a mob threatened to stone him for defending "gay marriage". He prayed for strength to do what he had decided to do next.

"That incident really gave us the courage to start doing something. We couldn't hide any more," recalls John. And so, in one of the most conservative states in Nigeria, he started holding underground meetings with other gay people. They supported each other when neighbours accused them of being "demons". Sometimes money was pooled together to pay bail or buy condoms, handed out to those who couldn't afford them. Mainly, though, they helped each other cross the lonely horizon of living each day in denial, finding solace in mutual acceptance.

For years, they gathered in secret. But last week Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed the same-sex marriage (prohibition) bill, unleashing a wave of homophobia that threatens to sweep away seven years spent building a fragile haven. The far-reaching law targets not only homosexuals but also those who support their rights, or who fail to report gay people. At least 40 arrests last week swelled the number of those incarcerated to almost 200 across Nigeria, rights groups told the Observer.

One by one, John and his friends fled the city.

"More than 90% of Nigerians are opposed to same-sex marriage. So, the law is in line with our cultural and religious beliefs as a people," said Reuben Abati, the presidential spokesman. The president's approval ratings soared after months of dismal news about corruption, political violence and a radical Islamist insurgency in the north.

From his location in hiding, John thinks about what to do next. "I'm not comfortable here at all. I cannot stay here doing nothing."

In a hotel room in the capital, Abuja, two women in hijabs are visiting Dorothy Aken'ova to buy goods considered contraband: sex toys. Providing a rare place where society women feel comfortable enough to buy roleplay lingerie without being judged is just one way Aken'ova tries to liberate her sexually repressed country. Another is hiring lawyers to defend men or women arrested for being gay.

The mother of three has filled her week with phone calls, trying to find lawyers willing to represent those in detention. One man was arrested after his landlord said it was suspicious he shared a flat with another man.

"The lawyers who accept these jobs will charge the skin on your bum. But then the cost of armed guards to accompany them isn't cheap," Aken'ova sighs, before telling the two giggling women the price for bottles of massage oil.

Money – sometimes out of Aken'ova's own pocket – is no longer the biggest problem. Simply persuading someone to take up cases is much harder, with many fearing they will be targeted by association. "As soon as I mention gender minority rights, people ask me: 'Are you a lesbian?' You can tell they're willing to immediately dissociate with you if you answer in the affirmative," says Aken'ova, whose quick smile blossoms as brightly as the tattooed flower on her right biceps.

Such reactions are common across Africa, where populist bills have cracked down on homosexuality, often tightening colonial-era laws. International pressure against such moves has fuelled anti-gay sentiment, with leaders using anger at perceived western interference as an escape valve. The Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, last week said gay people were the product of "random breeding" in the west when "nature goes wrong", but blocked an anti-gay bill after months of pressure from international donors. Unlike Uganda, about half of whose budget is supplied by western donors, Nigeria is flush with petrodollars and can defy such pressure.

For campaigners, the problem starts with the title of the bill. "People read it and think: OK, I agree with this. They don't question what else is inside that bill," says Aken'ova, who has never heard of anyone campaigning for gay marriage. "It's not [just] anti-gay people; it's anti-people."

Last year, a lawmaker said of the bill: "You have a right to your sexual preference but by trying to turn it into marriage do you realise you could be infringing on the human rights of the other person who finds it repulsive?"

So far, they haven't been the victims. Last week Ibrahim Marafaa, a 47-year-old teacher who was arrested before the bill was signed, was publicly flogged and fined 5,000 naira (£20) after "confessing to his abnormality".

"If he feels an injustice has been done, he has the right to appeal within 30 days," said Alhassan Zakaria, the sharia lawyer who oversaw the whipping.

Down south, too, floggings aren't uncommon. Lagos-based rights worker Olumide Makanjuola recounts how a friend of his agreed to be flogged in a bid to "whip the devil out of him". "He just wanted to stop being the subject of hatred," Makanjuola says, very softly.

Immaculately dressed and dreadlocked, he talks energetically, at incredible speed, despite several nights awake fielding dozens of phone calls.

Earlier he spent an hour talking to family members to reassure them about his safety. Then two friends called to say they're leaving the country. One, a doctor, asked if he could be prosecuted for treating gay patients.

Last year Makanjuola documented a case where four men suspected of being gay were publicly stripped, beaten, tied together and paraded naked in a south-western village. The police said they had no evidence of the incident, captured on camera by a jeering mob, but opened investigations to find out if the men were "sodomites".

Makanjuola refuses to believe the mob's anger was about homosexuality which, he says, was a scapegoat for their desperation in a country where mismanagement and corruption have left most people jobless and poor.

"They're a clear example of people who are frustrated by the system. But they should be directing it at our leaders who are buying houses in London and Dubai using looted funds," he says.

Others have little truck with that argument. "Being gay is due to lack of parental care," says Abdullahi Sani, a policeman who took time off work to attend the lashing in Bauchi. "Twenty lashes is child's play compared to the offence. The victim has ceased to be a normal human being. He has lost sight of God."

Sani should get a hundred lashes for his lack of compassion and humanity. Jonathan Butplug is a weak little tool. Nigeria is facing something most nations (sometimes including our own) suffer from – a lack of education. Something most religions claim to provide, but fail horribly.

Always thought scapegoating was a Jewish thing – apparently not.

Till the next post then.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Separation Of Church And State–Because Otherwise, Everybody Wants A Piece Of The Pie…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

The devil made me do it! – Geraldine AKA Flip WilsonSatanic-monument

It can be safely said, this sort of donnybrook is vastly amusing:

New York Satanists unveil plans for Oklahoma goat-headed statue

A satanic group has unveiled designs for a 7ft-tall statue of Satan it wants to put at the Oklahoma state Capitol, where a Ten Commandments monument was placed in 2012.

The New York-based Satanic Temple formally submitted its application on Monday to a panel that oversees the Capitol grounds, including an artist's rendering that depicts Satan as Baphomet, a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard that's often used as a symbol of the occult. In the rendering, Satan is sitting in a pentagram-adorned throne with smiling children next to him.

"The monument has been designed to reflect the views of satanists in Oklahoma City and beyond," temple spokesman Lucien Greaves said in a statement. "The statue will also have a functional purpose as a chair where people of all ages may sit on the lap of Satan for inspiration and contemplation."

The Satanic Temple maintains that the Oklahoma Legislature's decision to authorize a privately funded Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol opened the door for its statue. The Ten Commandments monument was placed on the north steps of the building in 2012, and the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has sued to have it removed.

Similar requests for monuments have been made by a Hindu leader in Nevada, an animal rights group and the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Funnier still, is how people are purpling over it:

In response, the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission recently placed a moratorium on considering any new requests.

"Anybody can still make their request, but we'll hold off on considering them until the lawsuit is adjudicated," commission Chairman Trait Thompson said.

The push by the Satanic Temple has rankled elected leaders in this conservative state known as the buckle of the Bible Belt, who say such a proposal would never be approved by the commission.

"I think you've got to remember where you are. This is Oklahoma, the middle of the heartland," said Representative Don Armes. "I think we need to be tolerant of people who think different than us, but this is Oklahoma, and that's not going to fly here."

While Greaves acknowledges the Satanic Temple's effort is in part to highlight what it says is hypocrisy of state leaders in Oklahoma, he says the group is serious about having a monument placed there.

The group already has raised nearly half of the $20,000 it says it needs to build the monument.

"We plan on moving forward one way or another," Greaves said.

Another Oklahoma legislator, Representative Earl Sears, called the group's effort "an insult to the good people of the state."

"I do not see satanism as a religion, and they have no place at the state Capitol," said Sears.

On its website, the Satanic Temple explains that it "seeks to separate Religion from Superstition by acknowledging religious belief as a metaphorical framework with which we construct a narrative context for our goals and works.

"Satan stands as the ultimate icon for the selfless revolt against tyranny, free & rational inquiry and the responsible pursuit of happiness," the website says.

The hypocrisy is so obvious, I’ll not even explore any of that. But it is amusing, that the Christians with their constant whinging about persecution, wouldn’t hesitate to visit their imaginary mistreatment on others.

Till the next post then.


Saturday, January 04, 2014

Allegories Gone Wild: Crazy Catholics Raising Hell

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

exorcismIs there in all the religious literature of the world anything more grossly absurd than this?
These devils, according to the Bible, were of various kinds – some could speak and hear, others were deaf and dumb. All could not be cast out in the same way. The deaf and dumb spirits were quite difficult to deal with. St. Mark tells of a gentleman who brought his son to Christ. The boy, it seems, was possessed of a dumb spirit, over which the disciples had no control. “Jesus said unto the spirit: ‘Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him.’” Whereupon, the deaf spirit (having heard what was said) cried out (being dumb) and immediately vacated the premises. –
Robert Ingersoll

I recall having read William Peter Blatty’s ‘The Exorcist’ prior to watching the movie. I couldn’t tell you if the book was any good: the subject matter tends to overshadow items such as facts, reality, etc.

The thought of having one’s identity co-opted, or infringed upon, is a very real fear for many people. As such, those crazed assholes in Italy are trying to make a comeback piggybacking on people’s ignorance.

Rise of the exorcists in Catholic Church

Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil.

Fabled being the operative word.

The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.

People are ‘dabbling’, but the smart ones figure that all this is snake oil.

The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the phenomenon is also an effort by the Church to sideline unauthorised, self-proclaimed exorcists, and its tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded by Catholic progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.

The entire Holy Cee is an embarrassment to humanity.

The trend comes four decades after the 1973 release of The Exorcist, the American horror film based on the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and attempts to exorcise her by two priests.

‘Based on a true story’ if I recall rightly.

The diocese of Milan recently nominated seven new exorcists, the bishop of Naples appointed three new ones a couple of years ago and the Catholic Church in Sardinia sent three priests for exorcism training in Rome, amid concern that the Mediterranean island, particularly its mountainous, tradition-bound interior, is a hotbed of occultism.

Yes because of course feeding the hungry is a poor second to fighting off imaginary spirits.

In Spain, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, chose eight priests to undergo special training in May to confront what he described as “an unprecedented rise” in cases of “demonic possession”. The Church in Spain was coming across many cases that “go beyond the competence of psychologists” and they were occurring with “a striking frequency”, the archbishop said.

This ‘unprecedented rise’ is simply a blend of overpopulation and under-education. These eight priests would have better served taking psychology courses. I have very little hope that these nitwits can ascertain what is considered competent by a psychologist’s standards.

“Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism,” said Fr Francesco Bamonte, the president of the Italy-based International Association for Exorcists. “The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help,” he told La Repubblica last month.

I wonder if any of these idiots ever heard of Munchausen’s Syndrome

The association was founded in 1993 by Fr Gabriele Amorth, who served as the Vatican’s chief exorcist and claims to have conducted thousands of exorcisms.

Yeah thanks for nothing, asshole.

He has written several books on the subject, including The Last Exorcist — My Fight Against Satan.

The lyrics to Billy Idol’s ‘Dancing with myself’ spring to mind for some unknown reason.

A controversial figure, he has claimed that yoga is “evil” because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and other Eastern religions.

Evidence suggests that most religious people don’t even understand the word ‘worship’. Or ‘reality’, for that matter.

During the papacy of Benedict XVI he said that the sex abuse scandals which engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Australia and other countries were proof that the Antichrist was waging a war against the Holy See.

A spiritual ‘Evil Empire’? How droll.

The Church insists that the majority of people who claim to be possessed by the Devil are suffering from a variety of mental health issues, from paranoia to depression. Priests generally advise them to seek medical help.

Substitute ‘majority’ for ‘all of the’.

But in a few cases, it is judged that the person really has been taken over by evil, and an exorcism is required.

Such loosely defined terminology – all of us atheists likely have been ‘taken over by evil’.

The need for exorcisms is “rare, very rare”, said Fr Vincenzio Taraborelli, a priest in a church which lies just a few hundred yards from the Vatican. “In the cases where a mental illness is apparent, we try to send them to a doctor.”

Wait – not more than a few paragraphs ago, we were told that demonic possession was a rising tidal wave of growing force, and now it’s rare?


“People come to me thinking that with an exorcism they can resolve all the problems they have in their lives. A child is doing badly at school? With an exorcism we can make him study. They see exorcists as a last resort. Out of 100 people that I receive, there will be one who has need of me as an exorcist.”

Knock that number down to zero. Nobody needs an exorcist.

“Demonic” possession manifests itself in people babbling in languages foreign to them, shaking uncontrollably and vomiting nails, pieces of metal and shards of glass, according to those who believe in the phenomenon.

There’s that accomodationist lingo again – ‘believe’. Hell, I don’t care what people believe. Produce facts.

They must undergo the official Catholic rite of exorcism, which involves a consecrated priest invoking the name of God, as well as various saints and the Archangel Michael, to cast out their demons. The growth in the number of priests being trained is “a response to public demand, but it’s also about quality control”, said John Allen, an expert on the Vatican from the National Catholic Reporter.

So…a bunch of people shaking water around, invoking non-existent characters? What fun.

“There are all these guys, some of them priests, who have set themselves up as exorcists. A lot of it is fairly dodgy theologically — they are self-appointed exorcists running around purporting to be acting on behalf of the Church.

Awwwww…is somebody stealing your scam? Poor baby.

“Now there is an attempt to ensure that all this is done in accordance with the Church’s official teaching. The hierarchy don’t want it going on outside the official channels.” Monsignor Bruno Forte, a theologian and the archbishop of Chieti-Vasto, said the Church teaches that evil exists and that in extreme cases it can take possession of a person.

Bruno Forte: a con artist who can’t get a real job.

“God has the power to beat his adversary, but Satan never ceases to work. There are people who experiment with subjection to the Devil, even a state of diabolical possession, for which the help of an exorcist can be necessary,” he told La Repubblica.

Really, this is most illogical: if this ‘gawd’ character can whup ole Scratch, why bother going to the matt? Seriously. Every lie we were taught claimed that ‘gawd’ could just reach down and wipe de debbil from the planet, leaving nothing but a greasy smear. All the texts have him getting his ass beat by the on high. So is this devil guy a complete moron?

“When Christians recite the Our Father prayer, they ask for delivery from evil. In every diocese the bishop chooses one or two priests to act as exorcists — they have to be well balanced and discreet.

Discreet because without their frocks, they could be tossed in the booby hatch. Well balanced? Obviously they’re not.

Belief in black magic and Satanism may have been spread by the internet, but there has been a streak of popular superstition in the Catholic Church for centuries. “I’m not sure it ever really went away,” said Mr Allen. “After the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, there was a great deal of embarrassment among 'enlightened’ Catholics about exorcisms and other aspects of the supernatural. It was seen as a medieval anachronism.

In the 21st century, there’s a huge GOB of embarrassment that any of this is still going on.

“But at the grassroots level there has always been a very strong streak of popular religion, a fascination with the occult and the powers of the Devil.

Yeah. Amid the brain-dead.

In May it was claimed that Pope Francis had performed an exorcism during a Mass in St Peter’s Square.

Television images show him laying his hands on a wheelchair-bound man, who appears to go into convulsions with his mouth open before slumping down into his chair. The encounter was shown by TV2000, a channel owned by the Italian bishops’ conference, which quoted experts as saying that there was no doubt the Pope had performed an exorcism.

Or it could’ve been an epileptic fit. Nobody really knows who this guy is – and he still claims to be possessed. Typical. Some schmoe comes out of nowhere and starts claiming he has a mystical insight and/or disease. Does anybody vet this guy? No, he creeps in under the radar by announcing his/her ‘belief’. Belief is ubiquitous and over-rated. It is no commodity.


During a Mass in November in the Casa Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he lives, he said that although “God created man to be incorruptible”, the Devil entered the world and there are those “who belong to him”.

Aye caramba – the contradictions are enough to buckle the knees of weaker men. Incorruptible? Are you serious?

At a Mass days before, he talked of the dangers of worldliness, warning that: “When we think of our enemies, we really think of the Devil first, because it’s the Devil that harms us. The Devil enjoys the atmosphere, the lifestyle of worldliness.”

It’s just as Sturgeon’s law says: "Ninety percent of everything is crap." For the Catholic Cee, I’d say that the percentage is 100%.

Till the next post then.