left biblioblography: April 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Straight Out Of A Comic Book: Bible Man! Rescuing Citizens From Nothing At All

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasis

freethunk-bibleman-sidekick“"You come right out of a comic book!” – Jim Kelly, Enter the Dragon

As with all cultural anachronisms, there’s going to be a helluva a lotta cleaning up to do:

Constitutional Kryptonite: ‘Bible Man’ Assemblies Banned At Tenn. Public Schools

It seems “Bible Man,” an individual who proselytizes to public school students, recently discovered that the U.S. Constitution is his kryptonite now that some Tennessee schools have halted his overtly religious programs.

“Bible Man,” whose real name is Horace Turner, Jr., leads monthly assemblies in public schools in which he tells biblical stories to elementary children. The original Bible Man, Horace Turner Sr., started this program about 40 years ago.

Turner had been showing up regularly at Grundy County Schools, with displays of Baby Jesus in tow. He also sings religious songs. As a result, a local atheist mom whose child attended Turner’s assemblies felt Bible Man was violating the First Amendment by pushing Christianity on impressionable children.  

So the mother asked the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to complain on her behalf. FFRF explained that Bible Man’s assembles were a constitutional problem, so Grundy County decided to put a stop to the program.

Unfortunately, that decision was not well received by all. Yahoo! Parenting reported that the mom who filed the complaint about Bible Man has been subjected to some truly vile comments, including death threats and an internet meme depicting a house on fire and the words: “He was an outsider and against the Bible Man coming to our schools, so we threw him a house warming party.”

The mom, who chooses to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, told WCRB in Chattanooga that she did not intend to make people angry, she just wanted her child to have an alternative to Bible Man’s proselytizing.

“We don’t want people to be mad, we just want people to make sure there’s an alternative something for the kids to do,” she told the NBC affiliate. “At first he did not know that he didn’t have to go. As he got older, it bothered him that he had to sit through this because it’s not his religion.”

Even if the Bible Man assemblies were optional, the school clearly did a poor job of communicating that. And it’s likely that peer pressure made attendance a requirement even if showing up was not technically mandatory. Such coercive religious activity is never acceptable in public schools.

Despite all of the anger over Bible Man’s apparent departure from Grundy County Schools, he may not be gone for long.

“I believe the perception was that we’re trying to get rid of him, and that was not the perception we wanted to present,” Dr. Willie Childers, interim director of Grundy County Schools, told WCRB. “At the last board meeting, there were several concerned citizens wanting to make sure that Bible Man or Mr. Turner will continue to be in Grundy County.”

Childers added that he would like to see the school implement a “club schedule” that would include an optional religious club that could be frequented by Bible Man.

This isn’t the first time Turner’s activities have yielded complaints from parents. Back in 2012, FFRF filed a complaint about his activities in Jackson County (Ala.) schools. But in that instance, the local school board chose to continue Bible Man’s assemblies because “our constituents are pretty adamant about what they want for their children,” Jackson County Schools Superintendent Ken Harding said at the time.   

This likely won’t be the last we hear from Bible Man, especially since Grundy County seems determined to find a way to let him proselytize to students. And without more details, it’s unclear whether or not a proposed student religious club would be constitutionally sound. Clearly, the situation will have to be monitored.

Given that Bible Man has been a part of some public schools for decades, removing him will not be an easy process. But Bible Man will never be able to overcome the Constitution, which is a powerful kryptonite for those who do not respect the rights of others.

Well, Grundy County Schools can go suck an egg. It’s not important that the mob decide: that isn’t quite as democratic as most people think. What people want for their children as opposed to what they can have, can be (and in this instance) just too fucking bad. Personally, I find the constant whining and under-handed nonsense from these religious fruitcakes to be more than just obnoying* – these folks keep trying to invidiously inject their codswallop into the rest of us.

It is long-standing violations of this nature, perceived to be ‘institutional’ when in fact they are in clear violation of the Establishment clause, that will be difficult to root out. Accusations will fly (mostly whiny and persecutory in tone and context), the sort like ‘The ACLU is stripping religion out of our culture) – but what these folks don’t get, is that over the centuries, there were clear violations that were just glossed over. Complaints like the one cited in this post a hundred years ago, would elicit all sorts of responses, likely all unpleasant. And of course these good, humble, religious folk, what do they do? In the twenty-first century? Threaten to burn the woman’s house down. Nice. Gee, those bible classes sure paid off, didn’t they? Where ‘turning the other cheek’ translates to violence, and hints of arson are an appropriate response? Who knows what other cultural minefields we will have to tread  in the days to come, but the march for equality must continue.

Till the next post then.


*My own portmanteau word combining ‘obnoxious’ and ‘annoying’ – which in hindsight, the word itself is also both.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Because Another Word For ‘Republican’ Is ‘Deranged’

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis


Does this sort of news frost your hide? It should:

Rand Paul: ‘The First Amendment…Doesn’t Say Keep Religion Out of Government’

Rand Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky and a prospective 2016 presidential contender, told religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast last Thursday that the First Amendment “doesn’t say keep religion out of government.”

“The First Amendment says keep government out of religion. It doesn’t say keep religion out of government,” Paul said, according to video captured by CBN News. “So, you do have a role and a place here.”

He went on to say that the Senate opens every day with an invocation, which shows that there is a place for prayer in government.

“Religion is part of our daily life and a part of our government,” Paul said. “It always has been.”

The politician, who delivered his comments at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington where about 50 preachers were in attendance, went on to discuss the “moral crisis” that he believes is running rampant in America, urging his audience not to expect Washington to solely solve the problem, and imploring everyone to get involved.

“The moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage,” he said. “There’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage … really there’s a role outside and inside government, but I think the exhortation to try to change peoples’ thoughts also has to come from the countryside, from everywhere outside of Washington.”

Paul went on to call Washington, D.C. the most “disconnected city on the planet from the people,” and said that America is desperately in need of “another Great Awakening” that sees thousands of people seeking and calling for reform in unison.

Sure, it’s probably just another politician’s lie, so what? I’ll tell you what.  It’s bad enough that the lobbyists buy them off, but it’s insult to injury to tell people that they have to be religious. Because that’s where this sort of thing leads to. Obviously this ditz is talking about gay marriage being a ‘moral crisis’ (geez, how do these people live past 40, they’re always so paranoid about shite!). That ‘unidirectional argument’ was used by David Barton, a known huckster who’s been revising US history (and had his books pulled off the shelves because they were riddled with errors!), a charlatan who is still conning his customer base dollars out of uninformed rubes who think that if they heard it from a fellow Christian, then it must be true!

And the crazies will continue to queue up for the presidency. The cycle of stupidity still flops about in a circle. The sooner the Republicans are gone, the better. They just muddy the waters, and then call them crystal clear despite the silt. The only solution is clear: the GOP has got to go. Chased off the stage amid jeering laughter. (Perhaps pelted with rotting vegetables? Nah –fun thought though.)

Till the next post, then.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

More On The Madness Of Muslims–A Double-Edged Sword Of Blasphemy Is Bad For Everyone…

Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis

jesusandmoblasphemyday"Look not above, there is no answer there;
Pray not, for no one listens to your prayer;
Near is as near to God as any Far,
And Here is just the same deceit as There.
And do you think that unto such as you;
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew:
God gave the secret, and denied it me?--
Well, well, what matters it! Believe that, too." – Omar Khayyam

You think this is the problem? No, it’s symptomatic:

Muslim Preacher in Egypt Convicted for Blasphemy Against Christianity

Egypt’s top court recently approved a five-year sentence that was handed down to a radical Muslim preacher, who was found guilty of burning a copy of the Bible in front of the American Embassy in Cairo in 2012. Ahmed Mahmoud Abdallah, also known as Abu Islam, was sentenced on a number of charges, including destroying a religious text, contempt of religion and disturbing public peace and security.

In September 2012, Abdallah, who identifies himself as an ultra-conservative preacher, burned a copy of the Bible during protests that were being staged outside the American Embassy against the screening of a controversial film titled “Innocence of Muslims”, that depicted the Prophet in disparaging light.

During the first ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to 11 years of hard labour while his son was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of blasphemy. After the duo appealed to a higher court, their respective rulings were suspended briefly. During the second ruling, Abdallah was sentenced to five years in jail and also ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. Abdallah’s conviction is the first in Egypt for a Muslim charged with offending Christianity.

Yeah, I rail at Islam on a regular basis – but the rules we want for ourselves should be the rules shared by us all. This clown, he burnt a useless book and now his life’s fucked. He’s just another crazy asshole. But of course, my assessment has excluded that pernicious predication of power on high. Maybe he’s better off in labor camp than on the streets, but that’s a jaundiced view and an unworthy one.

What I rail against, is the elevation of paper and leather binding being more important than a person’s life, or life itself. That a wrong opinion should get you killed, this is not proper. Someone’s belief having a higher value than a human life, a sacred scroll being worthy of bloodshed – aye caramba. As a species, we’d best get some sort of collective gestalt going before humanity shoots itself in the head accidentally (metaphorically speaking, of course).

The more we raise our voices, the more the voices swell, and perhaps someday, religion will fall the way of the dodo bird. An anachronism finally buried in the dusty footnotes of history, an oddity no less, but a danger no more.

Till the next post then.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Zombie Day, And A Funny Bunny To You Too!

zombiejesusPresumably what happened to Jesus was what happens to all of us when we die. We decompose. Accounts of Jesus's resurrection and ascension are about as well-documented as Jack and the Beanstalk. – Richard Dawkins

Yes, it’s that time of year again – where too many people celebrate an event that is unequivocally unproven.

No historical data, no external multiple attestations, unknown authors claiming to be apostles and getting it all wrong. These alleged clowns KNEW each other – four separate and distinctly different ‘gospels’. And this crap about the ‘empty tomb’ – puh-LEASE! Nobody can tell us where the bloody thing is, it’s all wild speculation.

And yes, Jesus WAS a zombie. Look it up in the dictionary. Every year I get a few nitwits protesting that obvious fact – get over it.

So take a bite out of a bunny for me, and enjoy yourself regardless of all the wackadoodlies out there.

Till the next post then.