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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Mixed bag in the mag

Should have mentioned this before, but the latest issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist is available (click here or on the logo in the sidebar).

In this issue, with a vague nod to Isherwood, we say “Hello to Berlin” – the Berlin Film Festival, to be exact. Some of the mixed bag of fascinating movies that were seen there will no doubt be worth looking out for when they British film festivals, and we take a look at 21 offerings through the eyes of our man in Germany, Colin de la Motte-Sherman.

Comedians are always good for a laugh (well, so they should be). George Carlin certainly is – or was. Carlin died last year, but, thanks to videos that can be found on such sharing sites as YouTube, he lives on. In our “Airings” column, my fellow blogger George Broadhead profiles Carlin, the American stand-up who declared “Religion is bullshit!”, and to whom American broadcaster PBS showed a tribute in February. We also we feature an excellent video (which we featured on this blog a few days ago) of some of Carlin’s stand-up genius.

Also profiled by Broadhead is the well known campaigner, Maryam Namazie, a staunch opponent of political Islam.

Remember the case of the five-year-old girl who told a fellow primary-school pupil she would burn in hell if she didn’t believe in God? Our Christian commentator Neil Richardson has been looking at the case, and at allegations of anti-Christian prejudice at that British school.

Should we believe politicians who tell people only what they want to hear? Yours truly thinks not, and says why. I also ask why the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who sat on evidence of kiddy-fiddling, should be allowed into the House of Lords.

All this, plus our selection of a blog that takes our interest in “Blog Watch”; some titbits from our own blog, in “On the Blog”; a news roundup from a UK perspective; “World Watch”, looking at news from other parts of the globe; and “Gossip from Across the Pond”, in which Warren Allen Smith ponders on some of the more interesting entries in his own online creation, Philosopedia.

All in all, another mixed bag to dip into. Don’t forget to send us letters if there’s anything on your mind. We’d love to hear from you.

Did Darwin kill God?

Science and the Bible are incompatible, but the book can usefully be read as fiction in parts.

A campaign is now under way to convince people that religion and the fact of evolution by natural selection are compatible. They are not. Indeed there is a programme called Did Darwin Kill God? tonight on BBC2 TV to convince people of the notion that the two are compatible.

Evolution is compatible with religion but not evolution by natural selection. An element of chance is central to natural selection but any element of chance would destroy a detailed plan of any god.

It is necessary to choose between the facts of science and religious fiction.

The Battle of the Books

Richard Holloway believes the Bible has been undermined by literalists. I’m inclined to agree, so long as we’re treating the Bible only as a series of stories to help us think about wider issues.

And this is what this outspoken former Bishop of Edinburgh is getting at in a story in the Scotsman.

He says people are all too apt to see science and religion as something you have to choose between; it’s a “Battle of the Books” – choose The Origin of Species or the Bible.

“Unimaginative literalists have destroyed its reputation by insisting on the factual truth of the myth of the Fall of Genesis rather than encouraging us to read it as a metaphor for the enduring human capacity for self- destruction,” says Holloway.

Anyone who’s ever seen Wagner’s Ring cycle will feel something of this. I studied it to some degree, then saw it in one week, some years ago, and felt new understanding percolating into my grey cells. These texts (and Wagner based his music dramas on Teutonic mythology) can indeed give us a way of thinking, a way of thinking that isn’t literal – but does it have to be?

No – provided we can hold the two things in our minds while seeing an appropriate use of each, such as treating illness with the skills of man and not asking a god or a saint to intervene, and not believing we can conduct our physical lives by Bible stories of magic and invisible people and impossible phenomena.

Stories are excellent tools. I have a book of modern parables. It’s good to dip into. Aesop’s fables are parables, too. The New Testament tells us that Jesus used stories – parables – to make points.

I have for some years had some time for Holloway. But Bible literalists are nutjobs.

Monday, 30 March 2009

When the pot calls the kettle black

From a story in Catholic Culture:

“[A] Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition [. . .]”

Excuse me a moment.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Oh, dear!

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Sorry about that.

The arguments against the arguments against

Here’s a video worth watching. My thanks to Truthspew, one of our regulars in the comments section, who has it on his blog.

It’s called What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality? and is an entertaining refutation of the usual arguments against homosexuality, including the biblical ones to be found in Leviticus, among others.

And it’s done with all the humour and piss taking of a good stand-up. Enjoy!

No punches pulled on papal poppycock

While almost every Eurocentric suggestion of interference is treated with contempt by Africans, this deadly one couched in a defunct, outdated moral code is lovingly respected. Irony does not come thicker than that.

Commentators are still finding things to say about Herr Ratzinger’s facile views on condom use, and the passage above is from a blog called Thought Leader, brought to us by the South African newspaper Mail and Guardian. (It’s a few days old now, but I stumbled across it and wanted to share it.)

It’s written by one Grant Walliser in a column called “High Voltage” – and it’s one of the best and clearest arguments I’ve read on the Pope’s ridiculous recent ramblings about AIDS and handy bits of stretchy latex, and how the latter are thought to prevent the former.

Walliser pulls no punches. It’s worth reading, whether you agree with Ratzinger’s view (it may convert you, who knows?) or not (you may just enjoy the read). That quoted bit is telling. While so many Africans see Europeans as the former colonisers, therefore a Bad Thing, they are quite happy to hang onto the religion those former colonisers brought into the continent, obviously seen as a Good Thing.

He also has a go at an Albanian Catholic nun called Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, a.k.a. that fraud, Mother Teresa, in a paragraph that reads:

I could not find a number large enough to put to the harm Mother Teresa vested on the world by her repeated bleating to stop abortions and ban birth control and condoms. Deaths aside, her insistence that suffering was a divine right for the poor and that terminal patients should suck it up and die in pain without spending a cent of her massive donation money on proper painkillers, puts her true agenda into perspective for me.

This wizened prune “shamelessly used her faith” says Walliser, to “catapult her church’s dangerous views around the world”.

Perhaps this column should be required reading in the Vatican. But they’d probably just throw holy water at it and hold up Latin crosses before it and hope that it will crumble to dust. After all, Walliser must be the spawn of Satan in their eyes.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

We're one

Pink Triangle is one year old today. We’re wishing ourselves Happy Birthday.

It doesn’t seem a year ago that we posted that first “Welcome to the blog” article – but it was 28 March 2008.

Since then we’ve posted 607 pieces, including this one, dealing with a variety of issues within the broad areas of humanism, freethought, religion as it affects gays (and much else!), straight gay matters (if you see what I mean!), the lunacy of some religionists, the Islamic threat to Western freedom of expression and quite a bit more.

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read so far (and there are a regular bunch of people who leave comments, so we must be doing something right), pass the word around. The more people we get reading and commenting, the better.

And it would be good if some of those people were in what we might term the opposition camp, too, because reasoned debate is a good thing, and we know that, while it’s fun to talk to and write for like-minded people, there’s a danger of preaching only to the converted.

It would be good if we could make this the humanist/freethought/etc. blog in the blogosphere.

I’ve enjoyed writing some pretty outspoken pieces over the past 12 months, and I’m sure my fellow bloggers have enjoyed it, too.

During this year, the charitable trust whose name we blog under – the Pink Triangle Trust – also relaunched Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine as an online venture and as a sister project to this blog. It’s in the sidebar, and a new issue is due out very soon.

So we’re lighting a candle on the birthday cake here at Pink Triangle global headquarters, and singing “Happy Birthday”! We might even stretch the celebrations to a bottle of champagne. Pink, of course!

The gay witch project

Do you need more proof of total Catholic lunacy? Yes? Take a look at this story in the Australian paper the Herald Sun.

The Vatican doesn’t want priests who are gay. It reckons they can be sought out, much as witch finders would have sought out witches several centuries ago.

And it does have all the hallmarks of a witch hunt. The Devil’s brood we call the Catholic Church can’t burn witches any more, so some other object of their pathological hate has to be found, and be seen to be found.

Gays are the witches of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Catholic Church in Melbourne has now embraced this Vatican tomfoolery, and will somehow test for would-be priests to ensure they’re not gay. If it weren’t so serious, in that it sends out a dangerous message to gay people struggling with their sexuality, this would be hilarious.

You can just see these infantile old men playing dress-up with the clothes from the big chest in the attic, prancing around the place squealing, “Ooh, look! There’s a poofter! Tee-hee! Quick, let's throw custard pies at the rotter. Giggle, giggle!”

The Herald Sun says, “The head of the Vatican committee that made the recommendations has made it clear celibate gays should also be banned because homosexuality is ‘a type of deviation’.”

Under these preposterous guidelines from the Vatican, even men who appear to be gay must be banned.

They obviously have not seen butch, hairy-arsed gay men and effeminate, limp-wristed straight ones; or gay men who take a very blokish attitude to life and straight men who show signs of sensitivity (and a liking for quiche and curtain materials).

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Hayley Conway, tells the paper that the church is sending a “dangerous and offensive” message about sexuality.

“They seem to be moving backwards in a lot of ways which is really unfortunate [. . .] especially for those who are Catholic and out, and there are a lot of them already struggling,” she said.

“If the plan is to root out paedophilia or child molestation, targeting people with homosexual tendencies isn’t the way to go about it.”

Father Bob Maguire, an outspoken Catholic priest, said the document “flies in the face of secular society’s sense of fairness and justice”, adding, “The point is not to what gender you are attracted, but how you manage that attraction.”

Not outspoken enough, cobber. What you should have said was, “The point is not to what gender you are attracted, or even whether you’re attracted to either gender, but how you manage your life ethically and to the benefit of others as well as yourself and your own enjoyment and wellbeing.”

You might have added, “If you want to live an ethical, moral, nonjudgemental life in love and harmony with those around you, don’t have anything to do with the Catholic Church because they’re all as mad as snakes.”

Friday, 27 March 2009

Mary, mother of reason

A British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is in hot water for daring to say that the Roman Catholic Church is extreme.

Obviously, some people don’t like their gooey-eyed view of religion – and this Devil’s tribe in particular – to be sullied by the use of inconvenient facts.

According to EU Politics News, MEP Mary Honeyball blogged her opinions, describing the Catholic Church as an “extreme Christian organisation”.

It’s being seen as a response to a recent article by religious nutter and former Prime Minister Tony Blair in the Church of England Newspaper, in which he said Christianity was at risk of being sidelined by an “aggressively secularist” society.

Christianity sidelined? With goodness knows how many Christian schools, 26 bishops as of right in the House of Lords, money paid on this and that religious initiative right, left and centre? Get real, Blair.

Anyway, Honeyball had this to say:

I have seen very obvious attempts to bring Christianity into the European Parliament during my nine years as an MEP.

Silvio Berlusconi attempted to appoint an intensely religious Catholic, Rocco Buttiglione, as a European commissioner.

Though his efforts were thankfully rebuffed by the majority of MEPs due to Buttiglione’s anti-homosexual and anti-abortion stance, religion had reared its head. Likewise there was a strong movement to include a reference to “god” in the ill-fated European constitutional treaty.

Meanwhile back in the UK the Roman Catholic Church and other extreme Christian organisations tried to defeat parts of the 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

Activities such as these are not the mark of an aggressively secular society.

There has, in fact, been a marked increase in political lobbying by Christian organisations over the last ten years. We are getting more of it in the public square not less.

I for one object to this. I do not believe Christianity should have the kind of privileged place in our public life which it so manifestly does. In this article Blair is quoted as saying, ‘But in general terms in British society there is a risk that people see faith as a personal eccentricity’.

Faith is and should remain exactly that: a personal eccentricity, not something to be forced on others in any way whatsoever.

And for expressing her opinion, she’s been roundly condemned by other MEPs – all, one assumes, Christians.

A German centre-right MEP, Elmar Brok, said her description of the RC Church was “absolutely ridiculous”.

“Let’s be clear about this: the church plays a very important role in society,” he said, “every bit as important as, say, trade unions and politicians, and that is how it should be.”

Should be? Really?

“I totally disagree with her comments. They are intolerant and shows that she understands nothing about the Catholic Church.”

What is there to understand about a fascistic organisation that denies its followers the right to have power over their own reproduction, that denies them the right to fall in love and express their love sexually if they happen to be of the same sex, that tries to deny scientists the right to experiment on microscopic blobs called stem cells, that seeks to prevent abortions in even the most extreme circumstances?

Honeyball has also, we learn come under fire from her own party colleagues in Westminster, including the MP Stephen Pound, who said, “What she does not seem to realise is that many people seek to become politicians because of their Catholicism.”

The relevance of that fatuous comment being? Does that diminish her claim that the Catholic Church is extreme? Anyway, we need fewer Catholics in power, not more. They’re monsters.

And a Northwest MP, Jim Dobbin, was also critical, saying, “She has no place in the Labour party because she demeans the beliefs of many secularists.”

Er . . . Sorry, but I think many secularists would actually agree with her, wouldn’t they? Still if he doesn’t want to be thought of as having the thought processes of a mule, perhaps he should change his name from Dobbin.

As is obvious from even a glance at any news story that has the words religion and secularist in it, the Christians and other members of the deluded herd are happy to dole out criticism when secularists actually get some airtime and column inches, but find it hard to take the criticism.

Good on yer, Mary. Keep up the criticism.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Fired for putting superstiton before work

Mr Ahmed said he was married and now unemployed, with the problem of finding another job to pay the mortgage.

Well, that’s what you get for putting your superstitions before the work you’re paid to do.

The website has the story of Waheed Ahmed, who was not allowed to take time off to attend some mojo at his mosque. He took it, anyway. He got the sack. Quite right, too.

The Walsall, West Midlands, firm was already allowing Muslims some time off for religious reasons, but Ahmed seemed to want more.

Recently we reported on a Muslim worker who refused to handle booze. No one was asking him to drink it, or even come into direct contact with it. He was a forklift truck driver and the booze was in crates. He lost his case.

With a bit of luck, Ahmed will lose his, too, and so will any others who, given an inch, want to take a mile. We may even see a situation whereby all Muslims and other religious headcases are told, simply, “You do your job or you observe your religion. But, if there’s a clash, not both. Keep your religion at home.”

God has abdicated

The Archbishop of Canterbury has in effect announced that God has abdicated his responsibility for the universe.

Speaking yesterday, he said just as God gave humans free will to do "immeasurable damage" to themselves as individuals it seemed "clear" they had the same "terrible freedom" as a human race.

"I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin," he said.

So there we have it from the man who knows more about God than anyone else. He is the leader of the worldwide Anglican community and so he must know.

God will not save the innocent from the effects of global warming, and that comes straight from the horse’s mouth. It is no use praying for help from God – he’s abdicated.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Seize him!

One of Britain’s appalling red-top rags – but an influential red-top rag – is calling for the nutcase Anjem Choudary to be arrested.

The Sun carries an appallingly punctuated profile of this self-styled sharia judge and former lawyer – who, apparently, used to break all the Islamic rules by boozing and drug taking when he was a student – and wonders just how long it will be before he’s carted off.

We reported recently on how Choudary had wanted to see “the flag of Allah flying over Downing Street”, women, whether Muslim or not, wearing body bags, floggings, stonings in the streets – all the sorts of things he could find in abundance if he buggered off to Saudi Arabia or some other benighted Islamic theocracy.

So get lost, filth. Decent people don’t want you here. (Oh, dear! Is that sounding a bit like the Sun?)

See also this post on Pink Triangle.

Meanwhile, have a look at this YouTube video, which I spotted on the other blog I write for, Infidel Bloggers' Alliance.

The power of prayer

Here’s a demonstration of the power of prayer – or not.

This Muslim Tunisian pilot thought Allah would provide what his training as a pilot ought to be providing, if he’d just employed the latter instead of praying to the former.

Result: crash, deaths, court case.

This isn’t a gloating post, just an indication of the stupidity of believing a god will provide protection when skill in the real world ought to have been employed.

Blimey, but he could even convince himself, if it helps, that his god would actually want him to use the skills that the said god gave him. However he squares it, it’s better than a fatal crash.

Why religion is bullshit

My fellow blogger George Broadhead has pointed out a video that someone has kindly placed on YouTube for our amusement. And it is amusing.

It’s American comic George Carlin convincing us (lest anyone who reads this blog should need convincing) that religion is bullshit. He does so hilariously.

Worth a look. Click below. Thanks, George.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Better avoid this film – the Vatican says so

The Vatican doesn’t like Dan Brown. It decried his The Da Vinci Code, of course, because it suggested Jesus was married and had kids.

The latest Brown book to be filmed is Angels and Demons, which also features Tom Hanks (pictured) as a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, who this time is in a race against time to save the Vatican from an antimatter bomb.

I’ve read the book. It’s so-so, not brilliant. Brown comes in for a lot of flak, but the book will at least keep you reading. I think I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code better, but, then, it had a more complex plot and pottered with history. I haven’t seen either film, yet, though, so can’t speak for them.

Anyway, according to the Daily Telegraph (among others, no doubt), the Vatican is calling on Catholics to boycott it.

Which means it’ll be a huge box-office hit.

I’m amused by this line in the Telegraph story: “Avvenire, the Vatican’s official newspaper, says in its latest edition that the church ‘cannot approve’ of the film.”

Er, since when did anyone need Vatican approval to watch a film? And, anyway, most of the book seems respectful of the Vatican and its institutions, as far as I recall (although there’s a passage in it about the murder of a 20th-century pope, but I won’t give anything away).

Making a dickhead of the Pope

One of this blog’s favourite arseholes, Cormac Murphy-O’Connor – leader of Catholics in England and Wales – thinks some people should not be lampooned or otherwise ridiculed.

He’s thinking particularly of the Pope, Mr Ratzinger.

According to the website, Murphy-O’Connor has written to The Times to complain about a cartoon of Ratzo with a rubber johnny on his head.

It appeared in, of all places, a piece by the paper’s religion correspondent, Ruth Gledhill, who reproduced the cartoon (by Peter Brookes), which first appeared on 18 March. She had been writing about the Pope’s considered – no doubt highly scientific – opinion that condoms actually aggravate the AIDS problem rather than help to contain it.

Murphy-O’Connor says, “I was appalled at the tasteless cartoon depicting Pope Benedict XVI. No newspaper should show such disrespect to a person who is held in high esteem by a large proportion of Christians in the world. To pillory the Pope in this way is totally unacceptable.”

Unacceptable to whom, Cormac, me old mucker? To you? Just to those Christians who hold him in high esteem?

There are a lot of people who hold Hitler in high esteem. Should we respect his memory, too, lest we upset these people?

How about Osama Bin Laden? There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Muslims who would hold him in high esteem. Should we respect him, too?

Should we not criticise your good self for having sat on details of kiddy fiddling by one of your pervy priests, just because there are loads of Catholics who have been taken in by the idea that a cardinal is something special – just because he’s a cardinal?

Sorry, but the Pope is just the opposite of respected and esteemed to a helluva lot of people, this writer included (and, he suspects, all the other contributors to this blog and many other blogs). So why should we bow only to those who respect him and not those who don’t. You’ll be asking for Him to have a capital letter on His pronoun next.

There’s no logic in your statement. There is no reason whatsoever why we should treat anyone with respect if he or she doesn’t deserve it. People may get traduced from time to time, but that’s always going to be the case when someone takes a stand on something: there will be those for ’em and those agin ’em.

Enjoy the picture.

Hat tip: Freethinker.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Burning question

We tend to be a bit squeamish about death. Some cultures see it as a rite of passage, and perhaps feel less scared of the Reaper.

Perhaps we ought to have a healthier attitude to death here in the West, and be able to cope with it better than we do.

Be that as it may, this week, the UK’s High Court will hear a case in which a Hindu is claiming the right to cremate a body in the open air. He was denied this in 2006 by his local council, Newcastle, but is now mounting a legal challenge.

One assumes the body he hoped to consign to the conflagration has now been dealt with in some other way, but I guess he wants to establish a principle.

Open-air funeral pyres have been illegal in the UK since 1930, and a (London) Times leading article says this should remain the case.

Whatever the views of other cultures, this is Britain, with British culture, and we’re just not used to that type of thing. So I go along with the Times leader writer.

Not to mention Mrs Bloggs’s washing, hanging out on the line and getting spotted as the lighter bits of dear old charred Mr Gupta are scattered to the four winds.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Stone gays to death, says Muslim fanatic

“If a man likes another man, it can happen, but if you go on to fulfil your desire, if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow [. . .] There are some people who are attracted to donkeys but that does not mean it is right.”

These are the hate words of one Anjem Choudary, whom we blogged about last Saturday after a Standard article had drawn attention to his wish to see “the flag of Allah flying over Downing Street”.

Today, it’s the Daily Mail that is drawing attention to the madman’s words of vituperative hate for all things Western, under the headline, All homosexuals should be stoned to death, says Muslim preacher of hate.

The Mail says, “Under [sharia], adulterers and homosexuals would be killed by stoning. Asked if that would include anybody – even a Cabinet minister such as Business Secretary Lord Mandelson – Choudary responded with an astonishing diatribe.”

It then quotes the words that begin this post.

If gay people or anyone else were holding a press conference to denounce Muslims for being Muslims and practising Islam, would the police not be in there like a shot?

“If a man fancies the idea of Islam, it can happen,” one might have said. “But if you go on to fulfil your desire and practise Islam, and if it is proved, then there is a punishment to follow.

“There are some people who are attracted to all kinds of superstitions, but that does not mean it is right.”

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement’s Rev. Sharon Ferguson is quoted in Sam Greenhill’s Mail piece as saying, “This is appalling. The police should look very closely at what has been said to see if there is any action they should be taking.”

Quite. Having an opinion about homosexuality is one thing and I would defend the right of, say, a vicar to hold up the gay lifestyle against what he perceives to be biblical proscription of that lifestyle, and thus condemn the gay lifestyle. It’s up to him or her. It’s an opinion, and he/she wouldn’t, we assume, be recommending a rock-flinging death for gay people caught daring to love one another.

What this nutjob is doing is tantamount to incitement.

The press conference, in London, was arranged by Muslim extremists to justify their protest in Luton last week against soldiers returning home from Iraq.

Get off the fence, Gordy, and give Ratzo what for

I’m glad to see that Pope Ratzinger* continues to get flak over his fatuous comments about condoms.

But now it’s Gordon Brown’s turn to tell us where he stands on the issue.

You see, Brown recently reiterated an invitation for the evil former Nazi to come here to the UK (no doubt at enormous expense).

Then we learned that he would be coming.

Now, the ever-helpful think tank Ekklesia tells us that the British government is “being challenged on its position”.

It says:

Health campaigners have been surprised at the silence from 10 Downing Street over the affair. Gordon Brown is keen for the Pope to visit the UK in the near future. As he has visited the Vatican recently, it is thought the Prime Minister is reticent about upsetting the Holy See.

But the British Humanist Association says that the government should come off the fence.

The Association says the Pope’s recent comments may actually increase the problem of the transmission of AIDS.

Some governments have already condemned Ratzo’s remarks. Now, says the BHA, it’s time for Britain – and that means Gordon Brown – to speak up.

But Brown has been brown-nosing; Brown is keen not to upset the old sod.

OK, Gordy. What’ve you got to say for yourself?

Well? Hmm?
* One of my correspondents in the comments section, Truthspew (take a look at the lively blog) suggests that Ratzo is a pedestrian name for . . . well, for Ratzo. Benny the Rat would be better, he/she believes. Nice one, but I go for Ratzo because I always have done (so it’s a consistency thing and I have OCD over consistency) and because I just hate (it may be irrational) bowing to this thing about dyeing your name just because you put on a clean white cassock after a bunch of fogeys have generated some white smoke. That’s why I’ve mostly avoided the Benedict moniker (and, by implication, its diminutive Benny). Always good to hear from you, Truthspew. Keep commenting.

Rolling back rampant Islam – has the tide turned at last?

A campaign by two pushy Muslim governors to give Islam a greater presence in a state school played a key part in forcing a successful head teacher from her job, the High Court found this week.

Erica Connor, 57, the former head of the New Monument primary school in Woking, Surrey, was forced to leave the school because of stress after she was scapegoated and accused of "Islamophobia". Other teachers who fell prey to the discord stirred up by the Islamic pair, suffered anxiety, low morale, or chose to take early retirement.

The High Court ruled on Thursday that Surrey County Council had failed in its duty to protect the head teacher and to intervene when the actions and conduct of the governors created problems in the school’s governing body. Awarding her £400,000 in damages, the court said the authority's failure to protect Mrs Connor from these religious zealots had led her to suffer serious depression and a trauma-related stress disorder.

The court was told that over a period of two years, the governors' campaign to make the school more Islamic had torn apart the school’s governing board. Paul Martin, a Muslim convert, tried to stir up disaffection in the community against the school and Mumtaz Saleem was verbally abusive in school meetings. Judge Leighton-Williams said the men had actively pursued an agenda to increase the role of the Muslim religion inside the school, which prior to their arrival had seen improved academic results and had enjoyed harmonious relations with local Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Mr Martin, who had no children at the school, was finally voted off the governing body in June 2005. He complained that he had been "removed for blowing the whistle on institutional racism".

This provides further proof – if any further proof were needed – that:

1) When Muslim zealots shout "Jump!" our politicians and petty officials reply "How high?"

2) Muslim converts are often more zealous and disruptive than those born into the religion.

3) The charge of "racism" against those who stand up to Islamist bullies is a nonsense. Beliefs have nothing to do with race, with white Muslim converts often the worst kind.

4) All too often, sectarian religous bigots can hold the education and future prospects of all our children – Muslim or otherwise – to ransom.

To many other European nations, the UK is a laughing stock – and justifiably so. Let's hope that this week's High Court decision marks a turning point in the muddled multiculturalist policies that make public bodies like Surrey County Council so spineless in tackling rampant Islamism.

Friday, 20 March 2009

The end of the world is nigh

We seem to be beset by premature April Fool jokes. Yesterday, I noticed “village idiot” written in faux Arabic script on a Muslim mufti’s titfer (for those not in Blighty, that’s a bit of rhyming slang, but I’m sure you can figure out how it works), and later in the day I see that gay marriage will make the world end.

Oh, hang on a minute. That one’s serious.

Evangelical types – read suitable cases for treatment – in Minnesota have put forward an amendment to something or other that, they say, will stop the world from ending. I kid you not.

The clue is in the group’s name: Minnesota Family Council. You can bet that any group with Family in its name is likely to achieve the very opposite of family concord.

The group announced its amendment at a press conference flooded with religious leaders.

“If everyone is a gay, this world will cease to exist in ten years,” said Ikram ul-Huq, the imam and religious director of the Muslim Community Center of Bloomington. We think he means humankind. The world – i.e. Earth and its other fauna and flora – will continue, unless he’s talking of gay gophers and queer quinces, of poofter porcupines and faggot fennel, as well.

Well, Mr ul-Huq, we’ll pardon your anthropocentrism for the moment, and just say that, apart from the fact that gay men can still summon the wherewithal to service a willing lady (gay or straight), and apart from the fact that artificial insemination is a reality in this and the last centuries, if not in the one you would prefer to be living in, the incontrovertible fact is that not everyone is gay.

If everyone were infertile, the world would end (the human world, anyway). There are people who are infertile, but not everyone is infertile. Therefore the world will not end.

If everyone were to get killed in a road accident tomorrow, the world would similarly end. There are people walking around now who will die in road accidents tomorrow, but not everyone will. Therefore the world will not end.

It may end for other reasons (a rapidly approaching asteroid we can’t fly Bruce Willis to in time, for instance), but not for the reasons you posit.

I’m surprised any press bothered to turn up. Perhaps they wouldn’t have done so if they’d known what sort of inane crap was going to come out of it.

Time to down tools for a prayer

Yesterday on Pink Triangle we reported on how headteachers in British schools are having to devote time and energy to accommodating the superstitions injected into children’s minds by lunatic parents.

But it’s not only schools. The number of claims against employers in Britain on the grounds of superstition has rocketed, according to this story in the business section of Wales’s national daily, the Western Mail.

Employment lawyer Bethan Darwin of Cardiff is quoted as saying that many employers and employees are unaware of the law, the risks and where the boundaries lie.

“It’s a very sensitive area as we’re dealing with people’s firmly held beliefs,” she says.

“Firmly held beliefs”? Her point being?

“A lot of employers have had to change to comply with laws on other forms of discrimination but many are not aware of the religious discrimination dimension. It’s not necessarily the case that businesses are wilfully discriminating against people with religious views – often they don’t realise they are doing it.

“Many people don’t know much about religions other than their own – if they have one. For example, they may not realise that a Friday, when they may want to go out and celebrate after a successful week or when they may be turning the screw to get jobs finished, is also a significant day for Muslims who may have other priorities that day.”

Well, the answer is that, if you’re an employer and care about workplace harmony and efficiency, you might think twice about employing devout Muslims or others whose religion is likely to disrupt their work. Even if they agree at the outset not to kick up a fuss over their superstitions, such an agreement won’t be binding, so is it worth taking the risk? It shouldn’t be too hard to find ways to get around the law.

“They may not understand”, she continues, “that people of particular faiths feel they should not work on particular religious festival days. And even if they do accept that principle, how many employers actually know when those days are?”

More to the point, why the hell should they? It’s a place of work, not a sodding church or mosque. If people can’t agree to the hours they’ll be expected to work, then find a way of not employing them.

“We’ve become accustomed to the trappings of a multicultural society in Britain,” Darwin continues, “but the religious aspects of it, which are often at the heart of a culture, sometimes go unacknowledged.”

Sion Barry’s Western Mail article says that a survey published recently by the Chartered Management Institute showed that two-thirds of employers say they’re uncertain about the so-called “faith days” celebrated by their staff, and only one in three organisations has an explicit policy on religion and belief issues.

The paper continues, “Another factor contributing towards the increase in cases of religious discrimination is a widely held view that religion should not be brought into the workplace.”

Yes? And why should religion have a place at work? Well, because our shoddy politicians tell us it should, that’s why. Because they’re shit-scared of standing up to the religious lobby and saying, “Look, the workplace is a secular space, and we’re not going to allow religion to hamper workplace efficiency and harmony. We won’t support such disruption, and anyone who wishes to claim some sort of religious discrimination is on his or her own.”

A modern society should have grown up by now, and no longer be bound by what superstitious, infantile men in frocks of various styles and hues tell them. We stop believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, don’t we?

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Where did you get that hat, where did you get that tile?*

It’s not the first of April yet, is it? I was looking over at the Muslims Against Sharia blog today, and noticed a story about Australia's most controversial sheik, Taj Din al-Hilali, who, it says, “has been caught on videotape kicking in a door at his own mosque before calling police to report an act of vandalism”.

The piece continues:

The head imam at the Lakemba mosque, who caused outrage in 2006 by comparing scantily clad women to uncovered meat, was shown on a CCTV security tape kicking open the door just minutes before reporting the incident.

The Nine Network’s A Current Affair last night broadcast the videotape from March 9, showing the incident, which Sheik Hilali initially denied. “There is a trick in this camera. There is a trick in this film,” he told ACA.

Well, whether or not there was a trick of the camera that snapped our image I can’t say. But can you see something written on his hat that means something in Western script that doesn’t, we assume, mean the same in the Arabic script?

You may need to squint a bit, but it hit me right away. In case that doesn’t happen for you, I’ve put a clue in the footnote.
UPDATE: Well, it appears someone’s pulling our plonkers. After some exhaustive research, I found a picture of the man that was identical but for the script. So either it was there and it’s been Photoshopped out, or it wasn’t there and it’s been Photoshopped in. Whatever, how can we deny that religious fanatics are the equivalent of what is depicted on the hat, anyway?
* Tile is an old slang word for hat. The headline is from an old music-hall song by James Rolmaz. In case it hasn’t hit you straightaway, think of someone of limited intelligence living in a rural community.

Faiths’ hopes of parity – but at what cost?

If you ever wished to ponder on just what a “faith” cacophony we have in UK schools, you could do worse than read an article in today’s Independent.

It begins by referring to the headteacher in Sheffield, Yorkshire, who stopped Muslims from having their own separate religious assembly. And quite right, too.

Some teachers, as the Indie points out, use imagination to get over potential conflicts, while keeping their assemblies broadly Christian, as they are supposed to be by law.

But just how much effort in time and logistics could be saved by getting religion out of schools altogether, except as a subject of academic study?

It continues to amaze me that the authorities just don’t see it – or don’t want to see it. Are they just plain thick?

If a school assembly is there as a meeting for the whole school, so that staff can make announcements, pupils can feel a sense of community and both staff and pupils can do whatever else they get up to in assemblies (minus the religious mumbo-jumbo, that is), then surely that is so much the better.

“Not all schools have such harmonious relationships with parents,” says Steve McCormack’s article. “The Sheffield case is one example of a disagreement escalating seriously, but there are plenty of other cases where teachers are uneasy at the way Muslim parents try to influence what happens in school.”

Yes, they can be pushy and demanding:

Another teacher[,] from a secondary school in Essex, complains about the way that Islam, and other faiths, are allowed to intrude on school life. “Every year we see some 15- and 16-year-old girls just disappearing from school,” she says. “Everyone knows it is for arranged marriages. But no one makes a fuss. If they were from other families, we wouldn’t let it happen.”

Other parents insist their children can’t do anything active, or go on school trips, during the month of Ramadan, because they are fasting during day-time. “This isn’t good for their education, and I’ve tried explaining my understanding that it’s not compulsory under Islam for children to fast during Ramadan, but they won’t budge,” says the head of a primary school in outer London. “I get the impression that fasting is treated as a badge of honour by these children and their parents.”

But it’s not only Muslim parents who make life difficult for headteachers, says McCormack:

At a school near the outskirts of London, a head teacher recently found himself under intense pressure from parents of Sikh and Hindu pupils, because he allowed Muslim children to use a hut in the playground for prayers on Friday lunchtimes, under the supervision of a parent volunteer.

“When this news got out, some of the Sikh and Muslim parents were up in arms,” he says. “It had an incendiary effect. I was having people coming into school and talking to me for an hour about their unhappiness at this decision. They were very hostile, but I did not change my decision.”

My case rests. Religion is divisive, toxic and dangerous – or can be. Left to the home and the meeting house (be that a mosque, a church or a madrassa) it can then be contained, and its effects need not infect others against their will.

But, of course, we have to kowtow to all religions, and it’s our kids who are suffering. Do the authorities give a rat’s arsehole as long as cuddly “faith” gets its way? Do they hell!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Condoms and AIDS – Ratzo’s considered view

Pope Ratzinger reckons condoms are not the answer to preventing AIDS. Well, he’s right. They’re not the answer.

However, they are part of the answer.

Sexual abstinence, which is what he preaches, will of course prevent sexually transmitted illnesses, but people are people, and will conjoin or otherwise exchange body fluids as part of whatever they get up to.

His remarks have led to quite a debate, as you can well imagine.

Kevin Osborne, HIV adviser at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is quoted in the (London) Times story linked to above as saying, “All the evidence is that preaching sexual abstinence and fidelity will not solve the problems. We need to work with the reality of where people are, especially in countries he is visiting such as Angola, which is hard-hit by the epidemic.

“The Pope’s message will alienate everybody. It is scary. It spreads stigma and creates a fertile breeding ground for the spread of HIV.”

But Ratzo has an agenda: no sex outside marriage – heterosexual marriage, of course. God says so. Inevitably, Ratzinger will say anything to get people to go along with that.

Does he actually believe he’s telling the truth, or is he telling lies? Who knows? As with so many things he says, he’s talking bullshit.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Maryam Namazie: staunch opponent of political Islam

We’ve had a lot about Islam on the blog lately, so I thought it would be worth talking about Maryam Namazie, who’s a staunch opponent of political Islam.

Namazie was born in Tehran, but she left Iran with her family in 1980 after the establishment of the Islamic Republic under the leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini. She went to study in the United States and after graduating there moved to the Sudan to work with Ethiopian refugees.

Halfway through her stay, an Islamic government took power. She was threatened by this government for establishing a clandestine human-rights organisation and had to be evacuated by her employer for her own safety.

Back in the United States, Ms Namazie worked for various refugee and human-rights organisations. From 1996 to 2004, she was executive director of the International Federation of Iranian Refugees, an international organisation with 60 branches in nearly 20 countries, which campaigns on behalf of thousands of Iranian asylum-seekers and refugees.

Some of her personal successes include preventing the deportation of over 1,000 Iranian refugees from the Netherlands after having spoken at a parliamentary meeting on the issue, and spearheading a campaign to prevail on the Turkish government to extend the period in which asylum seekers can apply for asylum.

She has worked on numerous other campaigns: opposing stonings and other barbaric executions in Islamic theocracies; defending the banning of religious symbols from schools and public institutions; opposing the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill in the UK; and defending the secularisation of society in Britain and elsewhere.

She supported the successful campaign against the introduction of a sharia court in Canada, being a speaker at its first public meeting in Toronto. She is an inveterate commentator and broadcaster on human rights, cultural relativism, secularism, religion, political Islam and many other related topics.

On 8 October 2005, Namazie received the first Secularist of the Year award from the National Secular Society. On 20 March 2006, she was guest lecturer at Peter Tatchell’s fifth human-rights fundraiser. On 25 March 2006, she was one of the speakers at the Rally for Free Expression held in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Maryam Namazie is very pro-gay-rights. Like me, she is a vice-president of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) and was one of the principle speakers at the UK International Day Against Homophobia conference in 2007 (see photo, where she’s seen with me). She is a contributor to the Pink Triangle Trust’s Internet magazine, Gay & Lesbian Humanist.

She is the spokesperson for the recently formed One Law for All campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, which aims to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam and to oppose apostasy laws and political Islam.

In short, she is one of the most staunch opponents of political Islam.

Paying twice: what it will cost and what will be lost

Musing on the proposed visit by Pope Ratzinger to Britain, I recalled something I did back in the eighties when his predecessor, Karol Józef Wojtyla, plonked his unwelcome feet on our soil.

I was working on the local radio station in Coventry, Mercia Sound, and obviously had to do some reporting prior to the visit, mumbling under my breath about the amount of disruption to people in the area he was visiting – Baginton, if memory serves. Streets had to be closed; people had to have passes.

It’s understandable that someone like him would need security, but why did we have to have someone like him visit in the first place?

After he’d buggered off back to the Vatican, I and other on-air station staff received a sort of certificate thing from what I assume was the archdiocese (if that’s what they have in the Catholic Church), based in Birmingham. It was a thank-you for the work I’d done.

I immediately typed a letter on my battered Imperial 66 (remember typewriters?), expressing the sentiment that I had disagreed with the visit, that it had caused untold disruption, that I’d rather not be associated with it and that I had just been doing what my news editor had told me to do. I bunged the certificate in the envelope with it (having photocopied it and the letter first, for my own records) and sent it back.

I didn’t hear a thing from them.

Now, we’re faced with Ratzo’s visit, and no doubt there’ll be even more security precautions because of the age we’re living in. Who’s paying? The Vatican? Will his Swiss Guard be allowed to bear arms in British streets, when no one else but police officers and military personnel is so allowed?

Couldn’t the money being spent on his security by the British taxpayer – assuming he’s not footing the bill for the whole shebang himself – not be spent on doing something for the very people he claims to love and to wish to help: the poor, the disenfranchised?

Blessed, we are told, are the poor (or poor in spirit, if you read Matthew), and the hungry, and the meek, and those who weep. Yet we’ll be hosting a huge circus to honour and revere a total twat who, along with his cronies in the Vatican, is responsible for untold deaths by forbidding condom use and saying homosexuality is evil. Yes, we know he can’t enforce the restriction on condoms, but devout Catholics will go along with the utter nonsense.

Then we get the excommunication – which he will approve of – of the Brazilian mother who, to prevent the death of her nine-year-old, pregnant-with-twins daughter, sanctioned an abortion, along with the doctors who carried it out.

Now we secularists and nonbelievers may not give a toss about excommunication, but the devout will see it as an extreme punishment and will, depending on the sort of society they’re living in, feel utter shame. It’s a frightening prospect for them.

Yet these cretins can put the lives of embryos and early foetuses above the lives of living, breathing people.

But we’ve rehearsed all this before. I despair, I really do. When will we stop praising the evil that these people are capable of, and showing some real compassion? No doubt many Catholic priests and their hierarchy show compassion as part of their work, but then undo any good they may do by encouraging people to believe in the sanctity of embryonic life over actual, real life, and to believe that they may burn in the fires of hell if they don’t lead their lives according to the dictates of the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Sharia: creeping ever closer

As if we needed more warning that creeping Islamism is a very real threat to our way of life, have a look at this piece at

We in Britain, for kowtowing to this evil, are being regarded by eyes far away, and being seen as a dupe.

The article tells us, “As Muslim immigrants in the West, from Europe to North America, are showing increasing support for Sharia, demand for Sharia Court in other Western countries will definitely intensify in light of this British concession.” It continues:

What people in the West must make themselves aware of is that Sharia laws are extremely discriminatory, indeed humiliating and degrading, toward non-Muslims. It is also highly discriminatory and humiliating toward Muslim women. In order to get a grasp of the nature of Sharia law, one may have a look at Afghanistan under the Taliban, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where Sharia laws are applied to varying strictness. In the wake of the just-concluded International Women’s Day, this essay will attempt to make it clear what Sharia law means for Muslim women.

Just put “sharia” into this blog’s search box at the top, and you’ll see where else we’ve given this warning. And, as I said in a recent post, take a look at Citizen Warrior for detailed articles about how the West is becoming Islamised as we make more and more concessions to this Dark Ages, hideous religion.

Official policy on Muslims: appease, indulge, excuse

It's been quite a week for Muslim nuisances. First off, we had the disgraceful spectacle of Anjem Choudary and his blood-curdling crew of Muslim fanatics attempting to spoil and disrupt the homecoming parade of our troops from Iraq. As the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment paraded through the streets of Luton, a small group of supposedly outlawed al-Muhajiroun Muslim extremists waved offensive placards and shouted insults, successfully hijacking the event for their own publicity purposes. As usual, the police - cowed by politically correct meddling - stood by and did nothing. This unpleasant rag-bag of Islamist cranks now calls itself Ahle Sunnah al Jannah, which literally means "the majority of Muslims", yet, ironically, through their non-attendance, the majority of Luton's ordinary Muslims made it clear they wouldn't piss on Anjem Choudary if he caught fire.

Then we heard that just 16 days into his 12-week sentence for killing a man in a drive-by text incident on the M1, another Muslim self-publicist, Lord Ahmed, was released from his custodial sentence on Appeal. I wonder how the poor parents of the young Slovakian man Lord Ahmed killed as a result of his irresponsible and illegal behaviour must be feeling, knowing that their son's life merited only 16 days' detention of this privileged Muslim buffoon? This must be the lightest punishment that anyone has ever suffered for an unlawful killing. Do you suppose that Phillipa Curtis, who received a 21 month sentence in almost exactly the same circumstances, or the Portuguese lorry driver whose distracted fatal driving earned him a 3 year sentence will have their sentences similarly commuted? Don't hold your breath.

Both these incidents highlight, once again, how supine the political class in Britain has become when it comes to Muslims. And the more objectionable the Muslim, the more, it seems, they are indulged and accommodated, taken seriously and let off the hook. Political leaders, senior public servants and organisations like the BBC and Church of England are falling over themselves to be ever more sensitive to the feelings (read "demands") of Muslims, no matter how unreasonable, or how offensive they make themselves to the population at large. Even the National Secular Society, which would once have boldly championed the rights of the secular, now tip-toes around Muslims, fearful of being branded "racist" or upsetting its own far-Left subscribers - hence the reason that it will only have a pop at Islam whilst hiding behind the skirts of Maryam Namazie, the Iranian Communist (a co-traveller, perhaps, but not exactly a friend of freethought).

For most of us, respect is a two-way street. It is important that in a mature and free society like Britain, that minorities, including newcomers, are made to feel welcome and enjoy the same rights as anybody else in terms of being protected against any form of prejudice and discrimination. They have the right to live their lives as they choose, as do we. But those rights are conditional and reciprocal in nature and too many Muslims seem concerned only with the rights and well-being of Muslims, while a persistent few deliberately set out to offend, discriminate against, or even harm, non-Muslims. In my own area of North London, two local Jewish schools now resemble Army barracks in 1970s Ulster, following police warnings about hostile Islamist surveillance. Jews, gays, women and ex-Muslims have much to fear from Islam, the literal meaning of which is "submission". In their own countries this behaviour by Muslim extremists is shameful: when they choose to settle in other people's countries, often availing themselves of generous welfare benefits, it's a damn bloody disgrace and cheek.

Following the murder of two fine young soldiers in Northern Ireland last week, by dissident Irish Republican thugs, Anjem Choudary's insulting public display towards our troops in Luton was as badly-timed as it was in poor taste. Yet guess who was arrested? Not Choudary and his menacing crew of beardy-weirdy, bile-spewing Muslim brothers. No, under orders, no doubt, from the Home Office, it was those who took exception to this crass display of gratuitous offence who were carted off by the police. The Government is completely out-of-step with the feelings of the population at large on this issue. Just a couple of days later, in one of those rare, spontaneous and joyous moments of defiance that the British public does so well, the streets of Watford, Lincoln and Leicester thronged with some of the biggest crowds since VE Day, welcoming home the next returning battalions. This two-fingered salute was directed as much to the political class, one suspects, as it was to Anjem Choudary and his Islamist hatemongers.

If the Luton scenario sounds familiar, that's because it is. Think back to the demonstration against the Danish cartoons, when Islamist hysterics were allowed to threaten and incite hatred and violence, completely unchallenged by the police. One Muslim ghoul, wearing a fake suicide bomber's belt, was actually protected by the police when press photographers tried to photograph him. Think back again to hook-handed Abu Hamza's hate-filled preaching outside Finsbury Park mosque, when he and his followers took over and closed the road to public traffic week, after week, after week. Clearly, the laws that would apply if you or I were to obstruct the highway, or carry offensive placards, or incite hatred and violence, do not apply where Muslims are concerned.

In the case of Lord Ahmed's reckless texting that contributed to the fatal accident on the M1, the Appeal judge, Lady Justice Hallett, this week accepted his barrister's dubious claim that Lord Ahmed's "work in the community" might be "irreparably and permanently damaged" if he served his full custodial sentence. So what immeasurable good has Lord Ahmed achieved in the "community" thus far, to merit his custodial sentence being waived? Well his last "achievement" of note seems to have been successfully persuading our clueless Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, to ban Geert Wilders from entering Britain. His mission, to address peers at the House of Lords about what he sees as the dangers of Islamification, was duly cancelled.

Unlike the Pakistani-born Lord Ahmed, who was appointed a life-peer in 1997, Geert Wilders is a bona fide elected Dutch MP. But it seems that even free-speech and wide-ranging debate, among European politicians - even elected ones - must now be sacrificed to appease unelected Islamist officials like Lord Ahmed. Dubbed the "odious" Lord Ahmed by Freethinker editor, Barry Duke, he has previously criticised the knighthood awarded to Salman Rushdie saying that the author had "blood on his hands" and hosted a book launch in the House of Lords for the anti-Zionist author Israel Shamir.

So, who needs Shariah? Under British law, when it comes to Muslims, they already seem to have it all their own way, whether they want to incite hatred on our streets or close down freedom of speech with impunity. The official policy towards Muslims remains: appease, indulge, excuse.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Don't forget Vatican tax avoidance

One interesting outcome of the meeting of G20 finance ministers was the acceptance by the Swiss government on Friday that it would provide information to tax authorities in other countries, ending centuries of banking privacy.

This is supposed to herald the end of havens for tax avoidance.

Will there be determination to follow through on this aim? And, if so, will it include the Vatican state and the Vatican bank? I am not holding my breath about it, but who will take the matter up in Parliament and government?

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Let’s have stonings in British streets

So a nutcase called Anjem Choudary says he wants to see the “flag of Allah” flying over Downing street, stonings in British streets for adultery, whippings for drunkenness, all women, whether Muslim or not, walking around in bin bags.

So what? We can dismiss him, can’t we? Just some deranged fundamentalist?

Well, no, actually. While this laugh-a-minute preacherman may show signs of being a deranged fundamentalist, he’s deadly serious.

And we should be very wary of creeping Islamism, because it is unlikely that many Muslims would refuse to be part of such changes to British society if they thought such a state was a possibility.

This blog has on many occasions pointed to how things are going. Just put “sharia” into the search box at the top and see our concerns.

And we’re not alone. Britain’s National Secular Society has been raising concerns about indoctrination in Muslim schools – schools that are paid for by you and me.

If you want to see sober, well-argued articles – articles that cite sources and are not just a rant – about how Islam wants to take over the West, have a look at Citizen Warrior’s blog.

But let’s go back to this arsehole Choudary. David Cohen’s Evening Standard article linked to earlier tells us:

The self-proclaimed Sharia judge admitted his followers had organised protests against British soldiers in Luton this week, waving placards which called them “murderers” for their conduct in Iraq.

Mr Choudary, a 41-year-old lawyer, said he was proud to be reviled. “It’s inevitable that when you offer an alternative morality and way of life many people will hate you for it.”

He said this “alternative morality” would mean “a pure Islamic state with Sharia law in Britain” and added: “Every woman, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, would have to wear a traditional burka and cover everything apart from her face and hands in public.”

“In matters to do with the judicial system and the penal code, one male witness is sufficient to counter the testimony of two females. People who commit adultery would be stoned to death.”

Mr Choudary, a father of three, admitted he lived off benefits despite objecting to the British state. He rejected suggestions of hypocrisy, saying: “I don’t think it’s of any importance.”

Well, no. Compared with Allah’s infinite mercy, what’s a few quid of taxpayers’ money?

Friday, 13 March 2009

Oh, look, there is a God. Er, hang on a minute . . .

Advertising agencies and others who make money out of propaganda must be rubbing their hands, and praising both God and the nonexistence of God at the same time.

The Guardian tells us that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided not to rule on the latest claim (or is it a counterclaim?) on whether the Almighty exists.

This one is from the Christian Party, or, as the Graun has it, the “Christian party”, believing, as it does, annoyingly, with so many things, including yer actual names of things, that there’s no need for capital letters, completely ignoring the fact that this does not tell us whether we’re reading a name or a mere description, but that’s the trendy Graun for you, and, yes, I’m digressing.

OK, where was I? Oh, yes, the Christian Party’s entry in this competition to see who can make the best claim says there definitely is a God (it’s a bit of electioneering, really), and the ASA says it’s one of the most complained-of ads since it began its work.

Just what are people worrying their heads about? Why are they spending so much time and money making claims that neither side can prove? OK, the one that claimed “There’s probably no God” was a response to a harsher one from fundies saying we’ll burn in hell, or something equally indicative of mental disorder on the parts of the perpetrators.

But now it’s got out of hand, with claims that Christian ads will be offensive to atheists. Well they’re not offensive to this one, that’s for sure. Let them get on with their pisspottery. It’s no different from seeing a sign outside a church saying “Jesus saves sinners” (to which the obvious rejoinder is, of course, “Well ask him to save one for me”). It’s just that it’s so annoying to think that people are making huge amounts of dosh out of other people’s stupidity.

God has become a soap powder. Daz is best. No, it’s not: Persil washes whiter. Oh no it doesn’t! Oh yes it does!

And what if, as one Christian bus driver did, people refuse to drive vehicles with ads on: atheists refusing to drive “Christian” buses, Christians refusing to drive “atheist” buses?

We may even get Catholic buses being shunned by Church of England drivers. And goodness knows what would happen if there were a slogan saying, “There is an Allah (pbuh). Now stick your bum in the air five times a day and head-butt the floor.”

Anyway, the full story is in the Graun – but do read in that capital “P”. Even the organisation itself uses one.

Talking of which, I visited the Christian Party’s website (to check on that capital “P” – yeah, yeah, call me obsessed, but once you get your teeth into something . . .), and it says you can contribute to their campaign. Beginning with a lovely split infinitive (there I go again), it says, “To financially contribute to our campaign please TEXT AMEN to 60999 to subscribe as a registered supporter.”

I suggest you dial 60999 and text “UP YOURS”! (There, a few capital letters for the Guardian to copy and store in case they run out again – trendy Prats! Oh, look, there’s a capital “P”!)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lillian's ping-pong pantomime of prejudice continues

Good Old Lillian Ladele! She just doesn’t give up.

This bigoted Christian registrar, who was threatened with the sack when she refused to “marry” same-sexers, is now taking her case directly to the Court of Appeal.

Ladele, 48, from Finsbury, is being supported again by the odious and rabidly homophobic Christian Institute. This nest of lunatic vipers has said she will go directly to the Court of Appeal after the Employment Appeal Tribunal overturned the religious discrimination claim she won at an earlier hearing and refused her a leave to appeal (but she can petiton the Court of Appeal directly).

Mike Judge, a spokesman for the loonies, is quoted as saying, “Clearly this is an issue on which people on both sides have strong feelings. But we think Lillian has been treated unfairly and that’s what we will be saying to the Court of Appeal.

“We believe the decision that Islington Council took to discipline Lillian for not doing civil partnerships was an overreaction. They need to respect the rights of their religious employees too.”

Ladele, who was a registrar for more than a decade before civil partnerships were introduced in 2005, claims she was bullied and threatened with the sack when she told Islington Council she did not want to do what she was paid to do and splice people who wished to tie the knot.

She was a public servant, expected to carry out the public’s bidding. This was the public’s bidding, brought about through the democratic process (or as much democracy as we are allowed under the present system).

If doing a particular job makes someone physically ill – such as, say, in the case of a courier who’s allergic to cats and is being forced to make frequent drop-offs to a cats’ home instead of being allowed to do other drops instead – that’s a different matter. And his or her aversion can be medically proven.

But this is just religion, delusional ideas about what’s “right” and “wrong”. Any bigot could claim religious sensitivities (that’s not saying that Ladele is lying about her Christianity and her associated beliefs (I don't think she is), just a comment on what could happen), so it’s hardly a good reason to be let off doing the job.

We get similar problems with moaning Muslims who refuse to handle alcohol. Anyone would think they were being forced to drink the stuff, just as you would think, from the fuss that Christians make about same-sex unions, that they were being forced into taking part in them.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Architects of our own oppression

There’s an interesting letter in the Scotsman today that touches on a matter we’ve dealt with often on this blog: censorship.

I’ve argued, for instance, that, no matter how odious a person’s views, he or she should be allowed to state them (usual caveats concerning libel/slander, of course). I argued this for Geert Wilders and for that bunch of loonies from Topeka, Kansas, the Phelps family.

One of my favourite bloggers, Baal’s Bum (he’s in our sidebar), has disagreed with me in a comment on this blog, and I’m happy that he has done so. It’s what debate is about, and I think no less of him for it.

This one’s about the Holocaust. There can be little doubt that it happened. The historical evidence is too great and varied to be dismissed. It would be the most elaborate conspiracy in history if it turned out that that infamous episode was all made up.

But should someone be allowed to say it didn’t happen – or that it wasn’t as bad as is made out?

Again, I believe public opinion will damn anyone who denies it, and he or she will stand or fall in reasoned debate. Ridicule is the prize if that denier or revisionist is caught out and proved to be wrong. So let battle commence.

And there is always the fear that there but for fortune (or, rather, the politicians’ pet target for censorship this month) go I. If we ban people from saying things, no matter how ridiculous they are (and, yes, even hurtful, which may be a small price to pay for seeing that person shot down in flames), it is only a matter of time before something a little less preposterous is banned. Then something a bit less preposterous than that.

Before long, anything that’s a bit uncomfortable to NuLabour, or to any similar heap of shabby politicians who are in charge, will be banned, and some of us won’t even notice that it’s happened.

That letter, then. It was, as I say, in the Scotsman and is from one James Martin, of Cowdenbeath, Fife, who begins by asserting that the current consensual, international view is that the Holocaust happened.

But he then goes on to say, “Such is the humbug climate of the times that the minority who deny such an atrocity ever occurred are pilloried as criminals.”

He goes on:

In such states as Austria and Germany, custodial sentences are customarily handed out. We don’t punish eccentrics who believe in Atlantis, the hollow Earth, Hans Hörbiger’s ice theory or, indeed, invading aliens, so why punish Holocaust deniers?

Doesn’t this form of insistent insecurity only lead to suspicions that it never took place, and aren’t such countries in danger of imposing an inflexible, totalitarian mindset control similar to the regimes they avow to despise?

Well said, Mr Martin. We can so soon become the architects of our own oppression – and that is the way it’s going.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Saudi sadists are at it again

Just when you thought the Religion of Peace™ couldn’t get any worse, along comes news that the Saudis are going to lash a 75-year-old woman 40 times for having a couple of men in the same house.

According to CNN, quoting to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan:

[T]roubles for the woman, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, began last year when a member of the religious police [isn’t that such a creepy concept?] entered her house in the city of Al-Chamli and found her with two unrelated men, “Fahd” and “Hadian”.

Fahd told the policeman that he had the right to be there, because Sawadi had breast-fed him as a baby and was therefore considered to be a son to her in Islam, according to Al-Watan. Fahd, 24, added that his friend Hadian was escorting him as he delivered bread for the elderly woman. The policeman then arrested both men.

In this benighted country the creepily named Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is made up of “several thousand religious policemen charged with duties such as enforcing dress codes, prayer times and segregation of the sexes”.

The story continues, “Under Saudi law, women face many restrictions, including a strict dress code and a ban on driving. Women also need to have a man’s permission to travel.”

Al-Watan obtained the court’s verdict and reported that it was partly based on the testimony of the religious police. In his ruling, the judge said it had been proved that Fahd is not the Sawadi’s son through breastfeeding.

The court also doled out punishment to the two men. Fahd was sentenced to four months in prison and 40 lashes; Hadian was sentenced to six months in prison and 60 lashes. In a phone call with Al-Watan, the judge declined to comment and suggested the newspaper review the case with the Ministry of Justice.

Are we likely to hear Muslim “leaders” here in the West denounce this barbarity by men who clearly have no moral compass at all, these excuses for human beings who think it is somehow right to inflict brutal sentences on anyone, let alone an old woman?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The morality of the sewer (continued)

The Catholic Church is demonstrating the morality of the sewer again by defending the excommunication of all those involved in an abortion carried out on a nine-year-old girl.

The girl was carrying twins. She’d been raped – by her stepfather, it is alleged. Her little body would not have been capable of carrying the twins to term. She would have died.

Her mother, clearly not wishing to see her daughter die, was one of those “guilty” of this “crime” of aiding and abetting an abortion. The story is in our somewhat angry post of yesterday.

Now, according to the BBC news website, “A senior Vatican cleric has defended the excommunication in Brazil of the mother and doctors of a young girl who had an abortion with their help.”

It says that Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re – who heads the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for Bishops and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America – has told the Italian paper La Stampa that the twins “had the right to live” and attacks on Brazil’s Catholic Church were unfair.

The twins were not even people yet, you moron. The little girl is a person, a living, breathing, thinking, feeling, knowing person.

And you are happy to see her killed.

I thought I’d expended my disgust in the previous post. I now find my blood pressure somewhere around 220/150.

Just what are these people made of? If their God existed and was all he’s made out to be, you could be sure these people were the spawn of the Devil, sent to subdue mankind. It’s hard to find more words to sum up the sheer evil they are allowed to get away with.

We want it all our own way!

Continuing my Catholic-bashing trend (sorry, can’t help it: they keep asking for it), I note that Catholics in Connecticut want to extend a Catholic priest’s refusal to do the mumbo-jumbo with same-sexers to all kinds of other services, such as florists, wedding photographers and justices of the peace.

If same-sex marriage goes against their delusions, they should be allowed to refuse service.

We’re told in the Hartford Courant that a lobbyist for the Catholic Church, David Reynolds, is bleating, “Same-sex couples have their liberties protected fully. Religious people are wondering, ‘How is this going to affect me?’ ”

Not the same argument, though, is it, Dave? If opposite-sex couples have a right to marriage recognised by the state, so should same-sex couples. When you’re appointed as a justice of the peace, you’re expected to do your duty (just as registrars are expected to in the UK, but sometimes get uppity).

When you advertise yourself as a photographer or florist, there’s an expectation that you’ll treat your customers equally – although I suppose it’s really up to a private individual as to whom he or she does business with, unless that business has been licensed in some way to operate (as pharmacists are here in the UK, but, again, we sometimes get people being uppity), and therefore has legal expectations placed upon it.

You could argue, I suppose, that, if a business is being granted permission to operate on a particular patch of land (usually in a high street), and there is a legally binding agreement between the business and the state, county or city over the business that is being operated, then, again, there is an obligation to treat everyone equally.

And, of course, there’s the usual argument that Catholics are coming at this from a belief in the impossible while same-sex couples and their supporters are looking at life as it’s lived, here, now, in reality, played out by real people, made of flesh and blood, interacting with one another, trying to do so harmoniously.

And then some shit comes along and sows discord.

But that’s the Catholic Church for you.

The story goes on:

Reynolds raised his concerns Friday as the legislature’s judiciary committee considered a bill to ensure that existing statutes comport with the landmark state Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

“A situation has been created . . . where state policy seriously conflicts with the religious beliefs of a large number of the citizens of the state,” Reynolds said. He cited examples in other states where businesspeople have faced legal action because they declined, on religious grounds, to provide goods or services to same-sex couples.

The judiciary committee hearing is likely the final chance opponents will have to put up obstacles to gay marriage. But several lawmakers oppose extending the religious exemption. Sen. John Kissel is Catholic and has long shared his church’s opposition to gay marriage.

“I’ve been with you guys all along,” said Kissel, a Republican from Enfield. But, “we’re at a fork in the road and I have to let go of your hand.”

A law preventing a Catholic caterer from serving guests at a same-sex marriage could also be used by a Protestant baker who doesn’t want to sell a cake to a Catholic father for his son’s first communion, Kissel said. “It could just as easily turn against each and every Catholic in the state of Connecticut.”

Connecticut’s state Supreme Court ruled in October that gay and lesbian couples had the right to marry and, the following month, Connecticut became the second state legally to recognise same-sex marriage. The legislature is now codifying the court’s decision.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The morality of the sewer

The sheer evil that the Catholic Church is capable of defies words sometimes. I spotted a post on Ophelia Benson’s blog over at Butterflies and Wheels, and couldn’t resist adding my four penn’orth, if only to point you to her post, because Benson has that feisty way about her that brooks no bullshit and cuts straight to the core of a situation.

And the situation here is that a man who ought to be classed as a criminal – because he wields influence and in this case uses it to evil intent – believes that a nine-year-old girl who was carrying twins after allegedly being raped by her stepfather should not have an abortion.

This in spite of the fact that medics say her body would simply not have been capable of bringing the pregnancy to term. Thankfully, the termination has gone ahead.

The BBC told us the other day:

A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church.

The girl, aged nine, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins.

It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather.

The excommunication applies to the child’s mother and the doctors involved in the procedure.

This piece of shit, the Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, José Cardoso Sobrinho, told Brazil’s TV Globo that the law of God was above any human law.

This piece of shit can know – can know – that a mother loves her daughter enough to want her not to die during childbirth, and yet believe she should be punished by excommunication because she had a hand in preventing the girl’s suffering and death.

This piece of shit is no better than the piece of shit the stepfather is alleged to be for allegedly having raped the girl and the girl’s older sister (now 14), who is physically handicapped.

This piece of shit is no better than a Nazi torturer who believes that one person’s suffering is for some greater good.

I do hope this piece of shit dies in pain. No, scrub that. I don’t. Such a hope would drag me down into the moral sewer that this excuse for a human being inhabits along with others of his malevolent persuasion.

So, no, I don’t really hope that. Even I am made of better stuff. Rather he be paraded through the streets and thoroughly mocked and ridiculed and scorned (a few physically harmless rotten tomatoes wouldn’t go amiss here, too) for his vile, loathsome attitude towards human life.

Then let it happen again on every religious so-called “holy” day, and on his birthday, and on his name day, to make the point that this man – this utter, morally destitute, malevolent man – puts belief in something called God’s law, something invented by people as deluded as he is, above the life of a little girl made pregnant by the predatory, morally degenerate bastard who shagged her.

Benson – who begins her piece on B&W by discussing Tony Blair’s “adult-onset Catholicism” and questioning why people join the Catholic Church – sums it up thus:

So the archbishop thinks that “God” wants a young girl who was used as a sex toy to bear twins despite the fact that her body is too small to make the attempt safely – so the archbishop thinks “God” is a moral monster. Well I tend to agree with him, but that’s why I think human law is not “above” but better and also a great deal safer than the putative law of God. The archbishop of course does not know what “the law of God” is or might be if there is such a thing; he merely pretends to, and then pretends that his own pretence is “above” human realism and reflection.

Grown-up reasonable people have no business joining such an outfit. In fact they ought to be leaving it in disgust, not stumbling along to join it.

But, unfortunately, they don’t leave it in disgust. And governments continue to accord it respect, listen to it, support its (or the Holy See’s) special status in the UN.

And if, indeed, these people – including a loving mother – are to be excommunicated, Pope Ratzo will get to hear of this and by implication will have a part in it (he may have to sign the papers for all I know of their insane, made-up, fairytale world). Pope Ratzo grants “audiences” to heads of state and prime ministers (and did so to our own Gordon Brown only recently). He’s treated with respect.

Would Gordon Brown care to discuss this case with the man he gave up taxpayers’ time to have an “audience” with, next time he pops in for a chinwag and a cuppa?

Like hell!

Friday, 6 March 2009

How Brown brown-nosed gays

So Prime Minister Gordon Brown thinks California’s Proposition 8 – the nasty piece of state legislation supported by malicious religionists that made same-sex marriage illegal – is unacceptable.

He said this at a reception last night to mark LGBT History Month (it’s a February thing, but the reception was postponed for a week as a mark of respect for Opposition leader David Cameron and his wife, whose six-year-old son had died).

This was the first-ever reception at Number 10 Downing Sreet for the LGBT community, and was hosted by the Prime Minister and his wife.

Brown had returned home only yesterday morning from the States, where he had been meeting President Barack Obama.

Pink News tells us:

“What I saw in America tells me what we have got to do,” Mr Brown said.

“This Proposition 8 in California, this attempt to undo good that has been done, this attempt to create divorces for 18,000 people who were perfectly legally brought together in partnerships.

“This is unacceptable and this shows why we have always got to be vigilant, always got to fight homophobic behaviour and any form of discrimination.

“I want to say to you all, you have broken new ground, you have shown what can be done, you have shown how you can change opinion in our country, you have shown how the legislative process, by your pressure, can respond.”

Two questions:

1. Would he express such sentiments to a group of Christians – especially of the evangelical variety?

2. If he’s so in favour of same-sex marriage, why isn’t he making loud noises to have it over here in the UK, instead of civil partnerships?

Two answers:

1. No.

2. Because he'd upset a whole constituency that has voting power – and a religious constituency to boot (as we know, religion is special and ever so good).

Yes, he made noises the gay community like to hear, and no doubt many of the dear souls were lapping it up in their naïveté, with no doubt a large dose of sycophancy in the presence of the great and the good.

But, just as his predecessor Blair did, and just as his successor will no doubt do (whether NuLabour or Tory), he was saying what sounded good to a particular audience. Next week he’ll say nice things to an audience of a different stripe. He’ll tell them what they want to hear.

He won’t exactly tell a bunch of right-wing Christians or gay-hating Muslims that it’s right to hate poofs. Oh, no, he won’t do that, exactly. But he’ll be making noises they want to hear about how important their religious delusions are in the scheme of things – thus bolstering their bigotry, of course, albeit in an indirect way, by telling them they’re nice guys.

So, pardon me for being a bit suspicious, but let us not trust those who always tell people what they want to hear.

But Brown’s a politician. What else do you expect?