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Monday, 31 August 2009

Nastier Ali’s twin evils

It’s just as well few people will take that idiotic Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, seriously. He’s an arch homophobe, for one thing – quite a nasty piece of work.

He’s sounding off now – well, again – about secularists, but he’s put us up there with radical Islamists.

Bishop of Rochester: Church of England must do more to counter twin threats of secularism and radical Islam, says a headline in Saturday’s UK Daily Telegraph.

The intro talks not just of secularism but “aggressive secularism”, whatever that is. I suppose it’s just secularism, but, since that is anathema to Mr Nastier Ali, it’s aggressive.

Many Jesus fans would agree with him, but, thankfully, many are sensible enough not to, and there are even secularists among religionists. Nothing wrong with religion per se: it’s when it gets organised that it’s dangerous, and begins to spawn evil pillocks like Michael Nazir-Ali.

As for radical Islamism, yes, no one wants that, but it's sleight of mouth in the extreme to associate that particular evil in people’s minds with a wish not to want Nazir-Ali and his control-freak cohort to run the country. Prat!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Two tracks for narrow minds

Gene Robinson, the first out gay bishop in the Anglican communion, has been having a go at the Church of England and the Archwizard of Cant, Rowan Williams.

Williams has been talking of a “two-track” model of the church in response to the split in the Anglican Communion over the ordination of gay clergy, the elevation to the episcopate of gay candidates, gay people in general, more gay people, people who like gay people, people who support gay people, people who think gay people are, you know, OK.

Robinson has been giving interview to Britain’s Guardian, and in an earlier story, heralding the interview, the Guardian says:

Gene Robinson, the Episcopalian bishop of New Hampshire, criticised the policy of the Church of England towards gay and lesbian clergy. Alluding to the significant number of clergy who are gay, he said: “I think gay clergy in the Church of England are thought of as a problem to be solved or at least lived with, rather than a gift from God.”

Robinson, who is in Britain to speak at the Greenbelt festival at Cheltenham Racecourse this weekend, added that he could not accept the archbishop’s recent comments that if the Episcopal church refused to uphold the current moratorium on consecrating actively gay bishops or blessing civil unions, the communion might have to be reorganised into a two-tier, or “two-track” model. “I can’t imagine anything that would be more abhorrent to Jesus than a two-tier church,” he said. “Either we are children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, or we aren’t. There are not preferred children and second-class children. There are just children of God.”

Why don’t those who oppose everything gay just grow up and get real instead of acting like spoiled schoolchildren poking fingers at the playground poofter? Those who oppose gay people in the church, same-sex marriage and blessings for same-sex couples really are immature, ignorant, unpleasant individuals who ought to be put out of everyone else’s misery.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Global warming? It's the atheist's fault, of course

So Pope Ratzinger thinks that ignoring God is leading to environmental degradation. Yes, it's the fault of the atheist once again.

In his general address from his retreat Castel Gandolfo this week, Ratzo talks of creation and how environmental catastrophes “remind us of the urgency of the respect owed to nature, recovering and appreciating, in everyday life, a correct relation with the environment”.

Quite right, Herr Ratzinger. So far, so good. We are out of balance with nature, and we’re reaping the consequences. But then he goes on:

The earth is a precious gift of the Creator, who has designed its intrinsic order, thus giving us guidelines to which we must hold ourselves as stewards of his creation. From this awareness, the Church considers questions linked to the environment and its safeguarding as profoundly linked with the topic of integral human development.

Have you spotted the sly link? He goes on:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalised or also where his existence is denied?

Ah, right. So atheists are responsible for environmental catastrophe.

He fails to acknowledge that environmental catastrophe began with the Industrial Revolution, when God-fearing folk built smoke-belching factories. Yes, the process of environmental ruin has accelerated with the use of mass personal transport, deforestation and much else, but it was those mainly religious, God-fearing folk in the days before Darwin, the ones who gave us the industrial world and left the agrarian world behind, who set it in motion.

Terry Sanderson, president of the UK’s National Secular Society, says, “This is rich coming from the leader of an organisation that has plundered the world to enrich itself. As he sits in his golden palaces, surrounded by unimaginable luxury and material wealth, he lectures the rest of us about restraint and greed. We have nothing to learn about environmentalism from this hypocrite.”

Friday, 28 August 2009


There’s to be a lawsuit in Michigan that seeks to prevent judges in courts from requiring women to reveal their faces when taking part in proceedings.

“The lawsuit seeks an order declaring the practice of ‘forcing Muslim women to remove their hijab as a precondition to appearing in court’ unconstitutional and illegal. It asks that the judge and Wayne County not be allowed to ‘take similar unconstitutional actions’,” says a story on the CNN website.

This came about when a woman – Raneen Albaghdady, of Wayne County – said she’d sue a judge for making her take off her face covering. Some details of the case can be gleaned from the link, but the important thing here is, surely, that we in the West are in danger of allowing people to appear in court with no visual cue as to who they are.

Even if something is enshrined into law to say they can do it only if their religion forbids them to take off the garb – which would, anyway, be entirely wrong – there is surely a security issue here.

All the more reason for getting religion out of the public sphere altogether. If someone has to be identified in court, before a customs officer, in a passport photograph, whatever, then, quite simply, religion should have no say. If you and I have to show our faces in certain circumstances for purposes of ID, then so should everyone.

However, a statement from the judge and his circuit officials says he would have allowed the garb had he been told it was for the purposes of religious delusions. Or, as CNN quotes the statement:

“Judge Callahan and the court have the greatest respect for spiritual practices and all religious preferences. Had he been informed that the head covering had some religious significance, the judge would have permitted Ms Albaghdady to continue wearing it in court,” it [the statement] said.

So much for a separation of state and religion.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Death to the apostate!

Interfax tells us that Chechen separatists have sentenced to death their emissary, Ahmed Zakayev, because “they believe he renounced Islamic laws”.

Interfax quotes the separatists’ website: “Zakayev’s public speeches prove that he gave up Islam religion.” It points out that Zakayev adheres to “democratic religion, promotes secularism and prefers human laws to Shariah”.

All very sensible, really, of coure. But, if they really do believe that their sky-fairy law beats any other and the Islam is the wisest and best of religions, why do they give a monkey’s arsehole what this guy thinks? But there you go: the Religion of Peace™ is so dim-witted and brainless.

Way past the days when it may have made some sense from the point of view of tribal security for someone to leave the “faith”, they’re still backward enough in this benighted belief system to think things haven’t changed, or they just go blindly on without thinking anything through.

That’s prepackaged answers for you.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

How to make a Christian cross

They don’t want Madonna in Bulgaria. Well, a certain faction of deluded nutcases are against her, anyway.

The 51-year-old superstar is due to do a concert in Sofia this weekend, but the Catholic Church is accusing her of showing disrespect to Christianity and has urged Bulgarians to stay away from the show, says Christian Today.

“We express our Christian support and approval for the art of singing, which influences the moral development of people and promotes universal moral values,” the church is quoted as saying in a statement.

“In some of her choreography and stage scenarios, this singer sends impressive messages which, however, run contrary to Christian morality,” the statement said.

The church also accused Madonna of displaying “a disrespectful and intolerant attitude” to the feelings of Christians during her ongoing Sticky and Sweet tour.

Christian Today continues:

It also deplores the fact that August 29 is a day of lent for Orthodox Christians marking the beheading of John the Baptist, the biblical preacher who baptised Jesus Christ and an important figure in the Orthodox faith.

Madonna will arrive in Sofia after a concert on Wednesday in neighbouring Romania.

According to the 2001 census of Bulgaria, Christians constitute 83 per cent of the country’s nearly eight million people and the Orthodox Church continues to play an important role in the day to day life of many Bulgarians.

Madonna has faced strong criticism on previous tours when she crucified herself on a mirrored cross during her concerts. The pop diva wore a crown of thorns and sang while hanging from a cross on her “Confessions” world tour in 2006.

So has Madge got to rearrange her tour to suit the sensibilities of religious folk? And does not belief belong to us all? It’s a point we’ve made before. It’s amazing how people can claim history for themselves to celebrate as they wish. If someone comes along with some of the images from that allegedly historical period in history, they jump up and down and rend their garments and indulge in much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The easy option?

Christian Today tells us that “Last week's publication of A-level results marks the sixth year in a row that the number of students taking Religious Studies A-level has risen, with an increase of 4.7 per cent over 2008.”

The received wisdom on this – I don’t have anything to cite but you hear it said every year – is that RE (or religious education) is an easy option. A young person wishing to make up the numbers and ensure they have enough A-level subjects for university will opt for RE.

So how does Christian Today justify the following?

Church educationalists point to the subject’s popularity as a vivid sign that young people are interested in exploring religious and spiritual perspectives of the world, and in studying the moral and cultural frameworks people share across diverse globalised societies.

How do they know that? What is a vivid sign? This suggests that it’s a sign of this over possible signs of just about all other possibilities. Can people who make such sweeping statements based on the number of RE A-levels taken – without quizzing every candidate on their motives and getting straight answers – call themselves educationalists?

If teenagers are so interested in religion, how come the numbers of worshippers in Christian churches is in decline?

Christian Today even puts a link to some prayers young people can use. Here’s an example, set out like verse:

Heavenly Father
We thank you that you love us
Whatever qualifications we hold, or whatever path we take.
Help us, wherever we can,
To follow in the footsteps of your son,
Jesus Christ.

In other words:

Heavenly Father,
We’re guessing that you love us no matter how shit we are;
We know you don’t mind whether we pass or fail, whether we’re good or crap
And that an RE qualification will be no practical good in the real world anyway,
So help us to be a nomadic preacher and go fish for some, ah, men!
Oh, yes!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Rantings of a schizophrenic? Well, on second thoughts . . .

Perhaps we spoke too soon when we queried “wot, no fatwa?” in our post of yesterday, after the author Sebastian Faulks had said naughty things about the Koran.

We now learn that he’s distanced himself from his own remarks.

He said the Koran had “no ethical dimension” and that the words of Mohammed were the “rantings of a schizophrenic”.

“He said the Islamic holy scripture was a ‘one-dimensional book’ that has little literary value,” wrote Lucy Cockcroft in a story, since pulled, in the UK’s Telegraph, “and added that when compared with the Bible its message seemed ‘barren’.”

Now, the Guardian has a tale saying Faulks has apologised:

“While I believe the voice-hearing of many Old Testament prophets and of John the Baptist in the New might well raise psychiatric eyebrows today, it is absurd to suggest that the Prophet, who achieved so much in military and political – quite apart from religious – terms, can have suffered from any acute illness.

“Only a fully cogent and healthy person could have done what he did,” Faulks told the Guardian today. He went on to offer “a simple but unqualified apology to my Muslim friends and readers for anything that has come out sounding crude or intolerant. Happily, there is more to the book than that.”

NOTE: Faulks has also penned his own piece in the Telegraph, under the headline The book I really can’t put down.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Marriage is undermined – again!

“The spiritual leader of Ireland’s Roman Catholics has said that civil partnerships undermine marriage,” Pink News tells us.

The story continues:

Cardinal Sean Brady has expressed his disapproval of partnerships before.

Civil partnerships are already legal in Northern Ireland and there is legislation before the Republic of Ireland’s parliament to introduce them. The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has said it may support a legal challenge to new legislation.

Come off it, Cardinal. You’re just being an evil, bigoted old bastard. How do civil partnerships undermine marriage? Even if they were an alternative to marriage and therefore meant fewer “traditional” marriages in proportion to the number of civil partnerships, you’d just be a bigoted old bastard for complaining.

But they’re not. Same-sex people can’t marry, anyway. How do they undermine marriage, if there are still the same number of marriages happening with or without civil partnerships?

We can see through your arguments, old chum. Why don’t you just wrap yourself in a rubber johnny and chuck yourself in the Liffey?

The rantings of a schizophrenic

“Wot, no fatwa?” asks one of our Gaytheist discussion group members (see sidebar), after the UK’s Telegraph printed a story saying that the author Sebastian Faulks “risks Muslim anger after calling Koran the ‘rantings of a schizophrenic’ ”

Faulks says the Koran has “no ethical dimension” and that the words of Mohammed the “rantings of a schizophrenic”.

“He said the Islamic holy scripture was a ‘one-dimensional book’ that has little literary value,” writes Lucy Cockcroft, “and added that when compared with the Bible its message seemed ‘barren’.”

She continues, “Faulks, who is known for his meticulous research, has recently read a translation of the Koran to help him write his latest novel, A Week in December, to be published in September.”

Of the Koran, Faulks says, “It’s a depressing book. It really is. It’s just the rantings of a schizophrenic. It’s very one-dimensional, and people talk about the beauty of the Arabic and so on, but the English translation I read was, from a literary point of view, very disappointing.”
UPDATE: Mysteriously, the link to this story given by the Telegraph itself if you search on “Koran” now gives an error message. Has the story been pulled? You can, however, read a version in the Express

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Religious discrimination? You can bank on it!

Pssst! Wanna know how you can go into the red at your bank without much of a penalty, while most people are being shafted right, left and centre?

Easy. Convert to Islam.

Here’s how.

Religious discrimination? You bet!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Old Nick and Professor Dick

If you want to see some biased reporting from a publication that calls itself the Inquirer, take a look at this.

Writer Nick Farrell reports how the biologist and celebrated atheist Richard Dawkins’s website has been hacked.

Farrell talks of “Dawkin’s [sic] forum, where people pat themselves on the back about the non-existence of watchmakers”, and goes on to say, “Dawkins manages to miff almost everyone who has not accepted atheism into their hearts. He even attacks fellow scientists if they do not believe his vigorous nihilistic faith.”

Does he? Or does he challenge them in a scientific way? I haven’t read everything that Dawkins has put out here and there, in books, on the Net, in articles, in interviews, so I can’t say.

I doubt, though, somehow, that the good professor would champion scientific enquiry on the one hand and then, on the other, piss off fellow scientists in an unscientific way.

However, given that there’s an invitation under the article not merely to comment, but to “flame the author”, one suspects a bit of tongue firmly in cheek.

On the other hand, the man dabbles in the occult. Perhaps Old Nick is at home in the fire . . .

Friday, 21 August 2009

Talking McRubbish

People who misbehave in Scotland had better watch out in future. If secular justice doesn’t get them, a “higher power” might just be waiting in the wings – well, in the clouds.

This is the fate that, according to a man in a position that ought to dictate that he not talk such rubbish, that awaits the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, whom the Scottish authorities have, to the amazement of half the world, let go.

They refused Libya a straight prisoner transfer, but released al Megrahi on compassionate grounds, because he has terminal cancer.

And why are people so exercised? Well, the 270 people who died of terminal death got no compassion, that’s why.

It was nothing to do with the British government, and the British Foreign Secretary has been heard on radio today bemoaning the hero’s welcome al Megrahi has received. The Americans aren’t too pleased about Scotland’s decision to release him, either.

But it’s the fatuous comment by the Scottish Justice Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, that’s just as annoying as Libya’s welcome for the man accused of mass murder on and beneath Pan Am flight 103 back in 1988.

“With Scotland about to be put under intense scrutiny by Christian Americans and Muslims around the world,” says a story in Scotland’s Herald, “the Justice Secretary said: ‘Those who have been bereaved cannot be expected to forget, let alone forgive. Their pain runs deep and the wounds remain.

“ ‘However, Mr al Megrahi now faces a sentence imposed by a higher power. It is one that no court, in any jurisdiction, in any land, could revoke or overrule. It is terminal, final and irrevocable. He is going to die.’ ”

What a prat!

Does that sort of thinking influence such decisions? That al Megrahi’s imminent death has been “imposed” by some “higher power”? Does Kenny MacAskill believe that al Megrahi will also go on to be judged by this “higher power”? Which power will it be: the Allah version or the God version? Or even the Yahweh version?

Whatever you think of the decision to release him, and whether he deserved compassion when he was in a state whose custodial institutions, while maybe not ideal, are among the most humane in the world – and well able to look after someone with a terminal illness – the fact remains that it was a crime by human beings against human beings, on Earth, and all we should be considering is secular justice.

There’s no higher power, Mr MacAskill. Don’t talk tripe.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Gaytheist – get discussing!

Pink Triangle and Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine now have a discussion group to add to the mix.

Called Gaytheist, it’s one of the famous Yahoo! Groups, and you can join by adding your email address to the link on the sidebar or below this post. You’ll get an email to ask you to confirm that you own that address, and you click on a link. Easy-peasy.

Unlike some groups in the atheist/humanist/LGBT community – and I’m thinking of one in particular – Gaytheist does not believe in censoring your posts. What it does do is respect you as a mature person who will be responsible in your posts, and one who will not break the law by libelling other people, or will not be gratuitously offensive.

Gaytheist expects you to post appropriate material (be that an alert to the latest relevant story in a newspaper or magazine or on a blog or website); to alert other members to events; to ask questions; to comment on matters in the news that are relevant to the discussion group; comment on any other matters relevant to being gay and/or a nonbeliever.

It expects you to adopt other self-regulating qualities, such as not being racist, but, if you are suspected of being, expect other members to jump in and put you right. What is and isn’t racism is often open to debate, and people have been accused of racism when they’re talking about religious groups, such as Muslims and Buddhists, religions that boast members of all races – black, brown, yellow and white.

You don’t even need to be gay. The top-of-the-page description at the Yahoo! Groups site reads:

An uncensored discussion group for LGBT and straight gay-friendly atheists, agnostics and freethinkers that encourages free debate on all subjects loosely related to being gay and/or being a nonbeliever.”

To reiterate, to join Gaytheist, add your email address to the link below (or on the sidebar opposite). You’ll get an email to ask you to confirm that you own that address, and you click on a link to say yes.

Subscribe to Gaytheist

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Alan Turing campaign

Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, author and prominent atheist, has thrown his support behind a campaign to win an official apology for Alan Turing. The Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) supports this campaign and welcomes Dawkins’s decision. Accordingly, in my capacity as secretary of the PTT, I’ve issued a press release (below).

Gay Humanists welcome support for Alan Turing campaign

The gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has warmly welcomed the decision of Richard Dawkins to back the campaign to win an official apology for Alan Turing, the code-breaking genius and father of the modern computer who committed suicide in 1954 after being prosecuted for being homosexual.

More than 2,500 people have now added their name to the on-line petition calling for the Government to recognise the “consequences of prejudice” that ended the life of the scientist, aged just 41.

Professor Dawkins said that an apology would “send a signal to the world which needs to be sent”, and that Turing would still be alive today if it were not for the repressive, religion-influenced laws which drove him to despair.

The author of The God Delusion, who is due to present a forthcoming television programme for Channel 4 on Turing, said the impact of the mathematician’s war work could not be overstated. “Turing arguably made a greater contribution to defeating the Nazis than Eisenhower or Churchill. Thanks to Turing and his ‘Ultra’ colleagues at Bletchley Park, Allied generals in the field were consistently, over long periods of the war, privy to detailed German plans before the German generals had time to implement them.

“After the war, when Turing’s role was no longer top-secret, he should have been knighted and fêted as a saviour of his nation. Instead, this gentle, stammering, eccentric genius was destroyed, for a ‘crime’, committed in private, which harmed nobody,” he said. Professor Dawkins also called for a permanent financial endowment to support Bletchley Park, where Turing helped break the Nazi Enigma code.

The PTT secretary George Broadhead commented: “It is great to have such a prominent atheist and humanist as Richard Dawkins add his weight to the campaign. As a gay atheist himself, Alan Turing is a humanist hero and an apology for the appalling way he was treated for being gay is long overdue.”

Alan Turing took his own life in 1954. To mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death, on Monday, 7 June 2004, a commemorative blue plaque was unveiled by the British mathematician and politician Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, during a ceremony at the house in Wilmslow where he had lived during the last four years of his life.

Also to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Turing’s untimely death, the Summer 2004 issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist carried a special three-article feature. Turing – mathematician, codebreaker, engineer, philosopher, and freethinker par excellence – is one of Britain’s most celebrated gay atheists.

Alan Turing campaign
The campaign was launched by John Graham-Cumming, a leading British computer expert and author of The Geek Atlas.

To sign the petition, click here.

Displeasures of the flesh

Some common sense can be made to prevail, it seems, in our overenthusiasm to appease Muslims at the expense of British cultural norms.

A London council has backtracked on its original rule that, while Muslim sessions are going on in a swimming pool, non-Muslims should dress in goodness knows what in order to cover up as much flesh as possible.

The nonsense of this is that a local mosque, while praising the original guidelines, says it wouldn’t have actually asked for them.

So this is council employees and councillors bending over backwards to appease religious sensibilities, to the ire of the host culture, when it’s not even been asked for.

Is that not political correctness gone truly mad?

The story doesn’t make it clear why non-Muslims are allowed into Muslim sessions, unless it’s just that these sessions are those to which Muslims are merely particuarly encouraged to come.

Mosque trustee Shuaib Yusaf said, “If it was designated as a Muslim session to encourage Muslim women to come along, to that extent I could see a degree of merit in it.”

Even so, a public pool is a public pool. If Muslims are prepared to pay for staff to hold special sessions when the pool would normally be closed, and that extra use did not impinge on maintenance or other practical considerations, then there is probably no harm in having Muslim-only sessions or nudist-only sessions or special sessions for devotees of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Turning back the pilgrims

There’s an almighty row in Egypt about the fact that the authorities want to ban people in certain age groups from going on the annual pilgrimage to Mecca for fear of bringing swine flu home.

“Hundreds staged a sit-in on Sunday when the Egyptian authorities implemented a plan to prevent anyone over 65 and under 25 from travelling to Mecca,” says WorldWide Religious News, citing the BBC.

“The people banned from leaving are those over 65 and those under 25 because they are the most at risk of being contaminated by swine flu,” an official is quoted as saying.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding was that these age groups were more likely to contract the illness. Could they not carry the H1N1 virus but simply not succumb, yet nonetheless bring it back to their home country? Should not all pilgrimages be stopped?

And why stop at pilgrimages? Shouldn’t all foreign travel be stopped on these grounds? People don’t travel to foreign lands and stay in the middle of a wilderness, on their own, remote from other people. They mix among many other people in holiday villages, cities, bars (well, maybe not bars in Mecca), festivals.

But the main Muslim pilgrimage – which this year takes place in November – is a huge one, so maybe they’re just doing a numbers game.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Vile affections

Street preacher faces arrest after reading Bible in public, screams a headline in Christian Today.

No, no, no. He’s facing arrest for reading stuff out that could offend because it was deemed homophobic. It doesn’t matter that it’s the bloody Bible, you blithering, oversensitive idiots. It could have been anything.

I’m not entirely sure that people shouldn’t be allowed to read any passage they wish, assuming they’re allowed to read stuff in public anyway (and that’s another argument), because we can expect our own freedom of speech to be stamped on once we start going down that road.

If he wasn’t actually inciting people to go out and kill a gay, it should be OK – as long as he’s prepared for people to heckle and put their points. (Not that he would have a decent argument if he’s relying on prepackaged answers instead of thinking for himself.)

But the law is as it is, and it was the homophobia of the piece – by my reading of this tale, anyhow – that was likely to cause offence. Perhaps the police interpreted it as likely to cause a breach of the peace, who knows? And what had he said before reading the passage? He’s called a preacher, not a reader, so had he been spouting inflammatory stuff before that?

Whatever, it seems he wasn’t facing arrest for reading from the Bible, but for reading offensive material in a public place that just happened to be from the Bible.

One of the passages he was reading out – presumably the one that got the cops twitching – was from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, in which he speaks of men who, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly”. Vile affections and all that.

Mind you, had be been reading the stuff from Leviticus, he’d have had to add that the culprits in this most heinous act of filth must be put to death. That might be considered a bit inciteful!

The story tells us that Miguel Hayworth, 29, who’s been a street preacher in Manchester, UK, for the last five years, has sought help from the Christian Legal Centre, and a human-rights barrister is to represent him.

Chances are that nothing will come of it. But he’s had his collar felt. If gay people went into the streets and slagged off Christians and Muslims by reading loudly from texts, there’d be hell to pay.

When religions rule

If you want to see just what an almighty shitty mess religion can make of society, you need look no further than this story from WorldWide Religious News.

Singapore’s prime minister has warned how “aggressive preaching” and attempts to convert people can threaten the city-state’s stability.

The story goes on:

Singapore’s majority Buddhist Chinese, Malay Muslims and Indian Hindus have largely avoided conflict since race riots between Chinese and Malays left about 40 dead in the 1960s.

“Christians can’t expect this to be a Christian society,” he said. “Muslims can’t expect this to be a Muslim society, ditto with the Buddhists, the Hindus and the other groups.”

In the most recent census in 2000, 43 percent of Singaporeans said they were Buddhist, 15 percent Muslim, 15 percent Christian, 8.5 percent Taoist and 4 percent Hindu.

Lee cited the case of a Christian couple who were jailed earlier this year for distributing religious pamphlets deemed offensive to adherents to other faiths, and he condemned those who try to convert ailing hospital patients “who don’t want to be converted.”

“You push your religion on others, you cause nuisance and offense,” he said.

Just what secularists have been saying since time immemorial.

Lee also cited a group from an evangelical Christian church “who briefly took control of a women’s association in April and said they opposed what they claimed was the association’s advocacy of homosexuality. They were voted out soon after.”

He clearly didn’t like what they were trying to do: “This was an attempt by a religiously motivated group to enter civil space, take over an NGO they don’t approve of and impose their agenda. This risked a broader spillover into relations between different religions.”

He says by advocating the “live and let live” principle. Try telling that to obdurate and arrogant religionists the world over. Since organised religion is a system of control, it wants to control. That’s what it does.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Democracy? Don’t be silly!

“Millions of Afghan women will be denied their chance to vote in presidential elections this week because there aren’t enough female officials to staff the women-only polling stations,” the UK’s Independent tells us.

“A desperate shortage of female staff is threatening to undermine the legitimacy of the elections, which are the pinnacle of western-led efforts to build a peaceful democracy. Strict cultural norms mean women can’t vote in male-run stations.”

Well, what do you expect? Belief in a vicious, misogynistic sky fairy comes before the democratic rights of real people here on Earth. It is an Islamic country, after all. What do you want: a modern attitude to things? Don’t be silly!

Gay marriage 1 – Religion 0

I’ve always had a soft spot for Brad Pitt, ever since I saw Tom Cruise bite into his neck in Interview with the Vampire and envied him. Cruise, that is.

Nice to see that Pitt has dismissed religion as something that “just doesn’t work” for him.

And he sums up religion’s propensity for stepping on others’ freedoms thus: “. . . the freedom that allows you to practise religion is the same freedom you’re stepping on.”

While religion doesn’t make sense, he says, gay marriage does.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

One wedding and a walkout

For once I find myself agreeing with the Muslim Council of Britain – that organisation that claims to be representative of, ooh, lots and lots of Muslim organisations in the UK, but much of it is strings and mirrors.

However, that’s as may be. Where I agree with the MCB is when it criticises a British MP for walking out of a Muslim wedding because it segregated men from women and he wasn’t allowed to sit with his wife.

This was Jim Fitzpatrick, a government minister, who was at a wedding do at the London Muslim Centre.

“Segregation is a feature in religious, cultural and social occasions,” said a spokesman for the MCB, “and is not specific to Muslims. It is a private matter and is up to families concerned.”

Let me say right from the start, I detest Muslims’ propensity for treating women like shit. But at a private bash it’s really up to them, provided no laws are broken, no one is hurt or threatened – the usual stuff.

Were it a public meeting, then the Islamic organisers should have been told where they could stick their invitations, but it wasn’t. If he couldn’t possibly have known beforehand that this was likely to happen – and he says he’s attended a number of Muslim weddings when it hasn’t – then he should quietly obey the dictum, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” That’s basic courtesy.

Friday, 14 August 2009

L’eau and don’t behold!

A French woman is prepared to leave her home country, it seems, because she’s not allowed to wear clothes while swimming in a public swimming pool.

This strange attitude makes sense once you know that she’s a Muslim.

She wants to wear a burqa in the pool in Emerainville, east of Paris, and the pool people say this would be a hygiene hazard.

The woman – named only as Carol, who is a convert to Islam – wanted to wear a “burkini”, a loose-fitting garment resembling a wetsuit with a hood. Now she’s claiming discrimination and she hasn’t ruled out leaving France.

There could be some sort of self-selecting process here – for selecting out moaning religionists. All God/Allah botherers who don’t like something about the culture they’re living in can have a moan and then go. We have a laugh, and then we’re rid of them.

Hey presto! Fewer moaning religionists.

How to execute a virgin

How do you get over the fact that your penal code prohibits the execution of virgins when you want to execute a girl of, say, nine?

Easy: you rape the girl first.

This is execution Iran style, execution that fits conveniently into the twisted thinking of the Allah-soaked lunatics who are in charge. It goes without saying that the executions themselves are carried out in some of the most barbaric ways imaginable. That’s Islam.

Read the disturbing story here.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

When the gods had a disco

“The quarrel between religion and evolution has taken an interesting turn,” writes William Saletan in the Slate. “Instead of attacking religion, some Darwinists have embraced it as a product of human evolution. Now they’re debating to what extent this evolution was biological.”

Catholics are fond of telling us that they accept evolution and other aspects of science. They see them as much a part of God’s creation as the “miracles” of the New Testament, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection.

So for scientists specialising in evolution to look at that idea seems logical. Religion could have had some implications for survival, so it would have been incorporated into our being.

Certainly, some of the things believed in by religionists would have had explanatory value in the past. That awful racket in the sky must have been the gods having a disco, yes? What else?

The lunatics have taken over the skies

This really is a hoot. We can all feel safer now that we know a bunch of raving, swivel-eyed religious lunatics – sorry, a group of rabbis and Jewish mystics – have taken to the skies over Israel, praying and blowing ceremonial trumpets to ward off swine flu.

Take a look at the YouTube video below. You’ll wet your knickers.

Dancing with the Devil

According to Christian Today, a vicar in Swansea, Wales, is “fighting plans for a new lap dancing club and has called for the council to refuse the club’s application”.

Fantasy Lounge submitted its plans to the local council’s planning committee last month, and wants to convert a derelict warehouse into an adult club.

But the Vicar of St Mary’s in Swansea, Andrew Vessey, believes that the club would be an “inappropriate” use of space, and has told the council it has the chance to show it has standards.

If the council had standards, it would tell the church that its buildings are an inappropriate use of space, too – especially when churches, just for being churches, get tax benefits, which the Fantasy Lounge won’t get, of course. One assumes that the spaces that church buildings take up could be put to a more “appropriate” use while the space that is actually needed for people to gather for worship could be much more compact (and probably easier to keep warm).

Christian Today quotes Vessey as saying, “What people do with their own money and time is up to them, but when it’s clearly open to the public in a city centre that has already got quite enough venues, there is a concern by those of us who have standards and ideals that this is inappropriate.

“It’s an inappropriate use of space and inappropriate use of the female body.”

The latter claim is open to debate, too. I defend anyone’s right to like or dislike public showing of human flesh for the titillation of voyeuristic spectators, and it can be argued that some people might not like it for quite irrational but otherwise harmless reasons.

But who is to say what is “inappropriate”? Inappropriate to what, exactly? To your weird beliefs in impossible things, Vicar?

The story cites the website, on which Vessey said the club would be degrading and was purely about making money.

So is Tesco; so is Lloyds Bank. Ah, you will probably say, but they provide a service.

Well so do lap-dancing clubs. Not my cup of tea, but what the hell!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

God exists?

He asks the question and they give their answer, in the UK Channel 4 television programme Revelations: How Do You Know God Exists?, next Sunday at 7 p.m.

According to the BBC publication Radio Times, Antony Thomas went straight to the top to find out the answer. He asked the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, Muslim theologian Tariq Ramadan, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Hindu Swami Pramtattva.

The magazine asked Antony Thomas, “How many of them gave you a clear answer?”

They all said the same thing – God’s existence is evidenced by the goodness they see in people,” he replied, and “all of them, with the exception of Tariq Ramadan, wanted to see the questions in advance. I thought this was a bit strange – I’ve never been asked to do this before. And some of them refused to answer certain questions.

There could hardly be a more weird answer than the one they all gave. It seems that God implants a little goodness in people and stops at that. So much for an all-powerful, all-loving god!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Changing our religion

Europe is on the verge of changing its religion, it seems. Well, it would be rather nice if it ditched religion altogether, but even the status quo is better than turning Islamic.

But it could do just that, it seems. Britain’s Daily Telegraph has carried a story headed Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent over a standfirst that reads, “The EU is facing an era of vast social change, reports Adrian Michaels, and few politicians are taking notice.”

Adrian Michaels then proceeds to tell us:

Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it.

And why are politicians not doing anything about it? Well, there are votes in it for them, of course.

Worrying, isn’t it?

Go, johnny, go, go, go!

I bet the Catholic nutjobs won’t be celebrating the latest “appearance” of their blessed virgin.

She’s appeared in – wait for it – a condom.

I’ve no idea where the picture is from, except that I unashamedly nicked it from Friendly Atheist (which we featured in Gay & Lesbian Humanist recently), and the author there, Hemant Mehta, says thanks to someone called Doug.

Well thanks, Hemant, and thanks, Doug.

The last “appearance” of the so-called Virgin Mary was in a tree stump in Ireland.

Now, as Hemant says in his own blog piece, he’s not sure whether someone created this or whether it just happened “post-coitum”.

Or maybe it signifies the second coming!

But you gotta laugh. I’m just waiting for an image of Mohammed in a piece of bacon.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Softly softly catchee votee

Grubby politicians are giving in to Islamists again for votes, it seems – that is if this story from Britain’s red-top tabloid Sun is to be believed.

“Labour slammed the brakes on its war against violent extremism yesterday,” it says, “amid fears it had upset Muslim voters. Millions spent preventing Asian kids becoming terrorists will now be used to tackle right-wing racists in white areas.”

It quotes the Community Cohesion Minister, Shahid Malik – Britain’s first Muslim MP – who “admitted he was softening his stance because Muslims felt stigmatised”.

Tories have branded the move a shameless bid to win back Muslim voters who deserted Labour over British engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"You speak to any Muslim in this country,” Malik has told Sky News, “and they are as opposed as you and I are to extremism and terrorism. The frustration is they are constantly linked with terrorism as a community as a whole."

It’s not easy, but it’s up to Muslims to sort out the extremists in their midst. When did you last witness a sea of Muslims marching and demonstrating, holding up banners calling on their fellow religionists to forsake jihad, to forsake terrorism, to integrate into the country that’s hosting their culture?

Instead, they complain if they don’t get their own way and are forced to do things at work that their religion forbids them to do, such as handle alcohol (which they’re paid to do and know what they’re signing up to when they take the job), and demand their own system of law within the secular law that exists in this country.

What chance of a concerted effort on the part of “ordinary Muslims” to curb the murderous enthusiasm of their “brothers” when they don’t even like the host culture?

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Can we eliminate the Christian gene?

A truly amazing story has come to PT’s attention this weekend. Did you know that gay scientists are now trying to isolate the gene that makes people Christian?

I kid you not. Well, just a bit. Anyway, it’s more the memes than genes that cause this strange behaviour, isn’t it?

But who’s arguing? It’s Sunday, the Christian Sabbath. We should all be diverting our thoughts to God and the wonders He hath created, such as the mind behind this YouTube video. Enjoy!

Friday, 7 August 2009

Queen of Heaven

“Fundamentalist Christians have claimed that a play to be performed later this year as part of the Glasgay arts festival is insulting to their beliefs,” Pink News reports.

The culprit here is the rabidly gay-detesting Christian Institute. The “crime”? Jesus is depicted as a transsexual and is Queen of Heaven.

What organisations such as the Christian Institute don’t see is that a belief doesn’t belong to anyone, so anyone can do as they please with it. Once one organisation claims some proprietorial right to it, other organisations that come under the same banner – in this case “Christian” – are automatically excluded, unless their beliefs concerning this belief system, their objectives, their mission statements, their conduct and observances are all exactly the same. And then there would be no need for the two separate subsystems.

I feel an unassailable argument taking form here!

Looked at another way, I believe in the existence of, let’s say, telepathy. Am I justified in getting all uppity because you make a film about telepathy (as has been done, numerous times), or write a fantasy novel about it, ridicule it, say it’s not possible?

No, of course not.

What if I believed in Nazism? Should I have the kind of protection for my belief that the Christian Institute says ought to exist for its belief in the Lord Jesus Christ?

No, of course not.

So shut up, you philistinic, interfering bunch of nutjobs!
Related link:
Religion belongs to all of us

Thursday, 6 August 2009

What we knew all along

The American Psychological Association has told us something most of us suspected already: that mental health professionals should not tell gay clients they can become straight through therapy or other treatments.

Many therapists, “often allied with religious conservatives”, says this story, believe otherwise, and should be struck off.
Footnote: I see the National Secular Society have called for an end to this bloody nonsense, too. Good for them!

Related link:
Good Christian parenting

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Sing, if you’re glad to be “gay”

Congratulations to John Barrowman, whose single “I Made It Through The Rain” is the highest new entry (at Number 14) in the UK’s current official Top 40 singles chart. See this report from the Doctor Who News Page.

And it’s thanks, apparently, to DJ Chris Moyles, who has been championing the single through his BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show and Twitter posts. On his Twitter page, Moyles said, “If you buy it .. it WILL chart Top 5 and I get a night at his house wearing pyjamas..!!”

Never short of a word or two, Barrowman is a very popular actor, singer, dancer and television and radio presenter, perhaps best known as Captain Jack Harkness, the omnisexual character he’s played in Doctor Who and Torchwood since 2005. He’s also an out-and-proud gay man, one of an all-too-depressingly small number of gay celebrities who actually regularly stand up for gay rights in public!

Often associated with one particular word, Moyles – also popular – is accused by many of being a homophobe.

In 2006, his live on-air rejection of a mobile-phone ringtone because it was “gay” – “I don’t want that one, it’s gay” – led to complaints to the BBC from listeners arguing that the use of the word “gay” in this context was homophobic. Perhaps not surprisingly, but rather pathetically, the BBC dismissed the complaints, saying that Moyles was simply keeping up with developments in English-language usage:

The word “gay”, in addition to being used to mean “homosexual” or “carefree”, is often now used to mean “lame” or “rubbish”. In describing a ringtone as “gay”, the DJ was conveying that he thought it was “rubbish” rather than “homosexual”. Moyles was not being homophobic.

The BBC panel did, however, acknowledge that the use of the word “gay” in a derogatory sense could cause offence to some listeners, and counselled caution on its use. But that’s as far as they went.

The DJ's defenders point out that his producer at Radio 1, Aled Haydn Jones, who has worked with him for a number of years, is openly gay and that the he enjoys close friendships with a number of out-gay men, including the comedian Alan Carr, the singer Will Young and Scott Mills, a fellow Radio 1 DJ.

Of course, that once-high-profile homophobe, the now-deceased Mary Whitehouse, also claimed to have gay male friends. According to her, they shared her love of knitting! And, isn’t it just a little bit pathetic to see a middle-aged man trying to act as a hip teenager?

Moyles, himself, claims that he’s just being humorous. He may well believe that but, up and down the country, there are schoolkids – gay, straight, confused – who, I suspect, are being hurt by his behaviour. It’s easy for an adult in a privileged position to dismiss this as harmless fun. It may also be easier to be out and proud if you’re an adult. However, if you’re a young person struggling to come to terms with the fact that you’re different, in a world where people assume you’re straight and an atmosphere where the word “gay” is used in a derogatory way, it's a very different story.

I wonder if the not-so-slim Moyles would think it OK if people insisted on using the word “fat” when wishing to describe something as “lame” or “rubbish”?

I don’t know what Barrowman’s view on all this is but, presumably, he’s grateful to Moyles for his support. Speaking on Sunday’s Radio 1 Chart Show, he said:

The album was released in November last year, and you think, OK, it’s had its life and, if it sells something beyond that, you’re really chuffed and happy and pleased, but you do not expect something like this to happen, for a song to go into the chart.

Moyles might like using the word “gay” but, perhaps at that pyjama party he's so looking forward to, Barrowman will take the opportunity to have a different word in his ear.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Gunn law

Oh, boy! This one could run and run. It’s in Pink News and tells us that a Scottish councillor, Kenneth Gunn, has described “so-called” gays as “really very sad people” and said that nonbelievers are “damned to hell”.

He’s a Scottish National Party councillor for Selkirk, and made his comments on a live BBC radio phone-in on Radio Scotland called Morning Extra.

He was talking about a Glasgow exhibition that has seen a copy of the Bible left for people to interact with – i.e. write in. It attracted some choice comments, one of the more telling of which was, “I am bi, female & proud. I want no god who is disappointed in this.”

But Councillor Gunn, asked whether atheists should respect the Bible, said he thought all nonbelievers would go to hell anyway, “so why should we bother?”

“If somebody doesn’t believe in an almighty being and thinks man produced everything on Earth then they are very arrogant people and, as I say, if they’re nonbelievers they’re damned to hell anyway.”

He went on, “When we all went to church on a Sunday morning and prayed to Jesus Christ, this was a much better country. Look where it’s going now. We’ve got so-called gays, who are really very sad people, and we have nonbelievers and heathens running the country and running down Christianity.

“It seems it is an offence to run down Islam, but not an offence to run down Christianity.”

He makes a good point about Islam, of course, and it’s out of fear and political correctness that people don’t take that particular Dark Ages belief system down a peg or two.

But there’s not much I can add to the rest of it. It’s just so damned entertaining that it ought to be inscribed on a big tablet and put on show in a public park. Since he can’t be taken seriously by anyone but a fundamentalist nutjob, the only sad thing, really, is that he’s a councillor and, with views like that, is making decisions that affect people’s lives.

Change law on same-sex marriage, say Christians

British Quakers’ endorsement of same-sex marriage has brought a call from the Christian think tank Ekklesia for a change in the law.

A press release issued today reads:

The religion and society think tank Ekklesia is proposing a new legal framework which can accommodate same-sex marriage ceremonies carried out by religious bodies.

The call comes after the Quakers became the first major Christian denomination in the UK to decide to treat same-sex and opposite-sex marriages in the same way.

The law currently offers same-sex couples only a civil partnership. Even though religious groups may offer them a marriage ceremony, these are not recognised in law. The think tank says that the Government must now respond to accommodate the change.

Ekklesia, which examines the relationship between religion and public life, suggests that the current “one-size-fits-all arrangement” suits neither the realities of diverse relationship patterns nor a coherent theology of marriage. The think tank, which first raised these points in a 2006 report, has pointed out that the Quakers’ decision means that the government needs to address the situation urgently.

Symon Hill, associate director of Ekklesia, said: “Our churches include many couples who wish to celebrate their loving commitment to each other and publicly dedicate their relationship to God. They are prevented from having their marriages recognised under law because they are of the same gender. This legal inequality should not continue.

“It is time for the government to allow religious and other bodies the freedom to carry out marriages between consenting adults according to their own beliefs, letting those involved decide on the legal terms on which they want to register their relationship.”

Under Ekklesia’s proposals, people who want to enter into marriage as a religious commitment would be free to do so, but registering their commitment under law would become a completely separate process. This would allow different legal arrangements depending upon the intent of the couple, whilst including clear provisions for the protection of the couple’s interests and those of any children.

Not all gay couples wish to ape the hetties and do the walking-up-the-aisle (or down-to-the-register-office) thing, but most, I suspect, would agree that, if marriage exists for heterosexuals, it should be there for same-sex couples who want to avail themselves of it.

Anything else is a human-rights abuse.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Religion belongs to all of us

An interesting analysis of taking the piss out of religion is to be found in the Sunday Times (UK).

The thesis, indeed the headline, No religion should be above criticism, is that religion belongs to us all, and no one has the right to tell us to respect it, to disrespect it, not to make pieces of art about it, not to depict it in movies and so on and so forth.

That goes for all religions, of course. But one thing the writer talks about is an exhibition in which visitors were urged to write things in a bible. Imagine getting away with that if it were the Koran!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

The meaning of meaning

Want to see a load of tosh about why atheists don’t have any meaning in life? Have a look at this.

Lovely paragraph from it:

To have a purpose means that there is a particular way a thing should be. A hammer is meaningful in this sense because it has a purpose: pounding nails. And eyes are meaningful in this sense because they have a purpose: seeing. Consequently the eye that is blind fails to achieve its purpose or fulfill its meaning.

Nope. A hammer can be a thing of beauty, if you’re into that kind of thing – a piece of art. It can prop open a door or be used as a weapon. Eyes? Well, they’re useful for seeing with, yes, but who says they weren’t made for gazing into?

A bit poetic, perhaps, and I attribute purpose to a creator entity by wording it thus, but you get my drift. These Christians talk of “meaning” as though it were an objective thing, as though a deity thought, “Man will need something to knock nails with. I’ll give him the hammer.”

They fail to see that meaning is created out of necessity and the things that are there before us that give rise to a need to create meaning. If you see what I mean. Along came a way of holding one piece of wood to another (a nail), then along came the means to knock it through (a hammer). Perhaps the two emerged together, since you’d need some sort of implement to make sure the nail penetrated both pieces of wood.

This sort of teleological thinking just pisses me off. Things happened because they happened. Sounds simplistic, but there it is. More things happened because the earlier things needed new things, or created an opportunity for new things, or would work better with new things. Whatever.

The writer concedes that atheists find meaning, but that they don’t think meaning is objective. But meaning is a human concept. A snail perceives no meaning as it does what its DNA urges it to do. This is not to say meaning is not important, just that it’s a human concept and requires an ability for abstract thinking. Of course meaning isn’t objective: it’s created in the mind.

And atheists are just as able to attribute meaning to what they see and do as members of the Deluded Herd are. What is more, they don’t have a made-up load of myth to help them, with the idea of a Maker sitting on top of it. What is it about these people that they believe that meaning cannot exist without religion? This seems to be the thesis here. Atheists don’t perceive meaning in the same way as religionists do, so somehow they’re inferior.

Get a life.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


A photographer is being sued for blasphemy for using a Cornish church as the backdrop to some saucy pics, according to the BBC news website.

Quite how this can be, I don’t know, since the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel were abolished in England and Wales last year.

But that’s what it says: “Cornwall-based photographer Andy Craddock is the subject of legal action by the priest in charge for blasphemy.”

Another case of lazy journalism? Even if this is being brought under some obscure law and isn’t, strictly speaking, called blasphemy, isn’t it up to the Beeb journo to explain it?

More on dying with dignity

A bunch of Christians say the House of Lords ruling on assisted suicide – a victory for Debbie Purdy, who is campaigning for loved ones who help a person to die with dignity not to be prosecuted – goes against the sanctity of life.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But in a story on their website, a bunch of religious lunatics called Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCfON) say the ruling has “grave implications”.

Don’t know whether they were aware of the pun when they wrote that.

But have a look at their riveting logic:

Nazis first legalized voluntary euthanasia, then involuntarily killed hundreds of thousands of the mentally ill – all prior to the unspeakable tragedy of the holocaust. The Dutch started with assisted suicide, “progressed” to voluntary euthanasia, and now a physician kills patients there without their consent.

The last claim looks a bit dodgy, or at least lacking in detail, but I can’t be arsed to go and check on the Dutch law on the matter, so let’s leave it aside.

But isn’t it a leap from the legalisation by the Nazis of voluntary euthanasia to the killing of hundreds of thousands of the mentally ill – and then to the Holocaust? All of these three things happened, but is there a causal chain?

It’s amazing how these religionists will clutch at all kinds of tenuous links to prove a point. And, given the weird things religionists believe in, should we take any of them seriously? How are we to separate the good sense – and there no doubt will be some – from the bollocks?
Related link:
Assisting dignified death
What the law saysTelegraph feature