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Saturday, 30 January 2010

The “right” to be indoctrinated

An Irish cardinal reckons it’s religious parents’ right to have religion pumped into their kids at schools that are maintained at taxpayers’ expense, according to the Irish Times.

“The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland [Seán Brady] said parents had a right to have their children educated in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions,” says the story, “and the State had a duty to support this with public funds.”

Oh, yes? And how does this berk work that out? He seems to be just stating it, hoping that people will take it as fact.

He’s quoted as saying, “Those parents who choose and value the Catholic education provided for their children are taxpayers in exactly the same way as parents who send their children to other types of schools. To disadvantage any group of parents because of their faith is completely contrary to the principle of equality and pluralism”

So gay parents should expect a good dollop of same-sex-relationships education, then, because they, too, are taxpayers? I don’t think this deluded idiot would support that, somehow.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The savagery of Islam

We shouldn’t absolve Islam of the crimes committed in its name, says the headline above Rod Liddle’s article in the Spectator.

He then provides a litany of examples of the savagery of even those Islamic states that are considered more progressive.

It makes for sick reading. He talks, among other things, of how a girl was given 101 lashes in Bangladesh for daring to be raped against her will by a barbarous, bestial subhuman who was then pardoned by the village elders. To add insult to assault, the girl’s father was forced to pay a fine.

He points then to Malaysia as a progressive Islamic state, but adds:

But try renouncing Islam in Malaysia and see how far you get: interminable court proceedings and the likelihood of a jail sentence at the end. Try, if you are a Christian, uttering the word “Allah”, meaning the Christian God, and count the seconds before your house is firebombed. Try being an overt gay. Malaysia is about the best Islamic democracy has to offer and it is a hugely admirable country in many ways – and indeed, some of the things which make it admirable have been devolved from Islam. But there are still sharia courts which will punish sexually abused women under the proximity laws and issue vicious prohibitions against homosexuality and apostasy.

He instances non-Islamic countries that are barbaric in many respects, such as Uganda for proposing the death penalty for some acts of homosexuality.

But by and large you cannot escape the conclusion that the most repulsive invasions of human rights that we see in the world today take place in countries where the national ideology is devolved from Islam. And the more directly or purely it is so devolved, the more primitive and savage it is.

As a consequence of the barbarism to be found in some Islamic states, individual Muslims “are being punished as a result of this confused dichotomy”, he says, adding:

They should not be. They should be allowed to believe whatever the hell they like, even up to and including the belief that primitive savages in some Bangladeshi village are within their rights to sentence a raped girl to 101 lashes, or that village elders in Somalia are within their rights to stone adulterous women to death.

Yes, it makes them savages, too, in thought if not in deed, but they should be allowed to believe that. You can’t legislate against the fact that some people are plain shitty. And, anyway, who can tell what they think?

However, Liddle adds:

But the government should not give credence to them by enacting legislation which says that Islam is tickety-boo and thus demanding of our respect. Nor, I would argue, should state schools accede to the views of local elders, who decree that Muslim girls should be dressed in headscarves, which are perhaps a gentle nod towards the subjugation which ends in some pit in Somalia with a woman pleading for her life and the rocks beginning to fly. In private, let them wear what they want, and it would be an infraction of human rights if, à la Jack Straw, we were to complain about the dress code of Muslim citizens. But we should not permit them in a place which has the imprimatur of the state. We should not say, in quasi official terms, we think this is OK.

The actions of the pitiless, sadistic animals we read about in these countries are, we must never forget, an interpretation of an ideology. And it’s an ideology that seeks to be seen as cuddly-wuddly in Western countries.

We should be very suspicious, and stop giving in to religions that demand ever more state recognition and social recognition for this or that.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

White lies

A theatre company is advertising for a white man to portray Jesus in a play to be shown in Trafalgar Square, London, on Good Friday.

This is ridiculous, but not for the reasons some antiracism groups might give.

It’s ridiculous because Jesus was no doubt a Palestinian by descent, if he existed at all. Even if he’s an amalgam or something imagined, a dark skin and dark hair are going to be par for the course.

What a story in the Daily Telegraph tells us, though, is that some companies have a colour-blind policy on recruiting actors, “with the National even having a group of white colonialists played by black actors in Death and the King’s Horseman last year”.

And that, too, is ridiculous (unless I’m missing some underlying artistic device, because I can’t claim to have seen the play or to have read the programme notes). Colour-blind casting is a good thing, the only right thing, when the appearance of the character isn’t important. If you want an ordinary detective sergeant, say, or a teacher or a lawyer you should choose who does the best audition.

If you want a white supremacist, you choose a white actor. If you want someone to play a plantation slave in Gone with the Wind, you choose a black actor.

So the National are probably guilty of a ridiculous amount of political correctness there.

This has been going on for years. I saw a Theatre in Education play in the Midlands some twenty-odd years ago, which portrayed a family who were white except for one daughter. She was Afro-Caribbean. Fine if there’s a suggestion that she was adopted into the family at some stage, but there was no such suggestion.

There should be plenty of scope for actors who are black, brown, yellow, white or green (don’t laugh: they have them on Mars), and it’s clearly unethical to cast according to colour prejudice.

But it’s silly to cast colour-blind when you need someone to play a character who has a particular appearance. You might as well not be ageist, and say you’ll cast a 16-year-old as an old woman or an 80-year-old as a schoolboy. You might as well say you’ll cast someone who’s wheelchair-bound as a Manchester United forward. Or you might avoid sexism and cast Jordan as a gravel-faced, 50-year-old miner in How Green Was My Valley. Try taking on Gabby Hayes to play Anne of Green Gables (apart from the fact that he’s dead, but you get my drift).

Peter Hutley, the producer with the theatre company staging this play, the Wintershall Charitable Company, says, “Jesus was white. If I was advertising for an actor in Sanders of the River I would specify a black man. We want a cast that is appropriate to Trafalgar Square in 2010. When we perform it in a black prison in Alabama or in Uganda we will have casts appropriate to the area.”

Not sure what he means there. Is he saying Jesus was definitely white or not? First he does, then he says he would cast according to where they perform. He seems to be contradicting himself – assuming he’s been quoted correctly. Perhaps they’re setting the Passion in modern Britain, but it does’t say. And even then you could use a black or Asian man without losing credibility. Hutley is right about the Sanders of the River part, though. Of course you would cast a black actor.

There’s been prejudice among TV casting directors and those in theatres, and stories have appeared from time to time over the years pointing this out. And it shouldn’t be so. If casting directors were truly colour-blind when the part demanded no particular racial type, they could then choose black, white, yellow, brown (or green) when it was appropriate, without criticism. If there hadn’t been racism in the first place, casting directors could cast as appropriate without fear of being branded racist.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Dearly beloved, gathered in the sight of God

Regular PT readers would probably not wish to have a religious element to their splicing, but, nonetheless, if it’s there for hetties, it should be there for homos, too.

Now, the British government is showing signs that it may make this possible.

Civil partnerships, as well as currently being denied to opposite-sex couples, are not permitted to be held on religious premises or use religious language. This is clearly unfair, and shows up the British government for paying lip service to unions for gay people while keeping them firmly in the second-class compartment.

This was largely so as not to upset the Deluded Herd, of course, who get very twitchy about such things.

Now, the think tank Ekklesia tells us, “The government has agreed to consider measures to give legal recognition to religious same-sex partnership ceremonies, after the proposal received significant support in the House of Lords.”

This can only be good news to those who feel it’s important to have their union recognised in a religious setting. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just not everyone’s bag.

Ekklesia’s report continues:

Religious language and religious premises have not been allowed in same-sex civil partnerships since they were introduced in 2005. But yesterday (Monday, 25 January), government minister Glenys Thornton said that she was “not unsympathetic” to the idea. She added that the government would explore the matter further.

Her comments, which mark a change to the government’s previous position, were made in response to Labour peer Waheed Alli, who moved an amendment to the Equality Bill to allow religious elements in civil partnerships.

Alli agreed to withdraw his amendment following the government’s commitment. But he pointed out that nearly all the speakers in the debate had accepted the idea in principle.

“Can the front benches listen very carefully to what the House is saying to them?” he asked.

“This is not meant to be an attack on the tenets of religion,” said Alli, who is a gay Muslim. “It is the Quakers, the Liberal Judaism, the Unitarians, who want this provision.”

Thornton said that the government accepted “the fundamental importance of this issue to many same-sex couples” and to “those churches and organisations who do wish to perform same-sex unions”.

However, she argued that any change to the law would need to be more clearly drafted and thought through. A similar stance was taken by the Liberal Democrats.

Alli’s proposal received the support of a number of religious groups, including the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Liberal Judaism and the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches.

However, it seems unlikely that the government will make much progress on the issue before a general election, which must be held by June at the latest.

It is not clear what position the Conservatives would take on the issue if elected to government.

David Hunt, a Tory spokesperson in the Lords, said, “I agree we’ve come a long way [on gay people’s rights], but we have to pause for a moment.” However, he acknowledged that there were many same-sex couples who wished to celebrate their commitment to each other in the context of their faith.

Gillian Ashmore, speaking on behalf of Britain Yearly Meeting of Friends, said that Quakers were “encouraged by the government’s willingness to listen, consult and consider”.

She added, “We are looking forward to entering this dialogue with both government and other faith bodies, with a view to finding a solution together”.

The debate on the Equality Bill led to a victory for bigotry over compassion and common sense, as you can see from our earlier report.

Christians prove that God is a homophobic bigot

God, it seems, has favoured the bigots. Just shows God is not always right.

He intervened – obviously, because nutty Right-wing Christians asked him to – in the House of Lords, the UK’s upper chamber, yesterday and made Their Lordships accept some amendments to the Equality Bill from a homophobe called Baroness O’Cathain.

These will ensure that religious types get unfair exemptions when it comes to employing gay people.

The Christian organisation that sent out yesterday’s “prayer alert” – Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCFON) – are crowing about it, of course. In the email alert I received today, the word “Victory” is up there where “Prayer alert” was in the one I got yesterday, in nice blue script with a little blue square next to it.

This is the rest of their breathless prose:

Three amendments tabled by Baroness O’Cathain were passed by the House of Lords tonight [Monday]. The first amendment was voted through 216 votes to 178, the second was conceded by the Government and the third was voted through 177 votes to 172.

The Government also tried to pass an amendment which would have further restricted the freedom of Churches. Thankfully this amendment was defeated by 195 votes to 174 and the law has not been narrowed any further.

We at CCFON are delighted with the result and are thankful to all of you for your prayers and action in writing to peers and signing the petition. We are also thankful for the many Peers who supported Baroness O’Cathain’s amendments and spoke in favour of religious freedom throughout the debate.

Although the Government has consistently maintained that the effect of their provisions would not alter the current situation, it is the opinion of CCFON and many other Christian organisations that the proposed Governmental provisions contained within the Equality Bill would have further reduced the freedom of Churches. We are therefore grateful that the status quo has been maintained and the law has not been narrowed any further.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of CCFON said:

“This is a great day for religious liberty in the UK. We are thankful that the law has not been changed and the freedom of Churches to control their own affairs has not been restricted any further. The results show what can happen when Christians pray and take action. Let us be encouraged that even in an increasingly secular society, the voice of the Church can still be heard.”

Most of all we are thankful to God for answering our prayers. We serve a mighty God!

Yeah, Andrea and co., but you don’t say he’s a shit God when things don’t go your way, do you, you homophobic pillock? However, since the entire faith system – certainly the metaphysics of it – is based on illogical thinking, anyway, what else can we expect?

So churches – who should, as employers, be subject to the same employment laws as the rest of the country’s employers – can now get away with being beastly to gay people by not employing them, no matter how well qualified they are for the job.

There’s some background in this BBC story.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Creepy Christians and the mysterious ways of God

Today, members of the UK's House of Lords will vote on how much control Churches should have over their employment practices.

In other words, churches who are employers may have to toe the line along with other employers, who come under employment law, and not discriminate against gays.

“If the Government get their way,” say the nutty, rabidly homophobic Christian Concern for Our Nation in an emailed “prayer alert” about the Equality Bill, “Churches will have far more difficulty in refusing to employ people who do not live lives consistent with the Bible’s teaching on sexual ethics. The current law is by no means ideal, but the Government’s proposals make the situation even worse by further restricting the freedom of Churches to organise their own affairs.”

They mean restricting the freedom of churches to sidestep employment law – legislation that other employers have to follow.

“Please pray”, they plead, “that this outrageous attempt by the Government to intrude into how Churches operate will be defeated.” They also want fellow headcases to pray that some amendments are accepted and to pray “that God will have mercy on this country and spare us from this terrible piece of legislation”.

OK, let’s say that all the nutty Christians pray. Let’s say the vote goes against them. Given that they believe God is behind everything, does that mean they’ll then accept that God knew what he was doing when he steered that vote, and will they then realise that they’ve been wrong to oppose equality laws?

Nope. Not a chance. God’s role in the unwanted outcome will be quietly forgotten.

That’s the way these psychos think – if you can grace what their brains do with such a word as think.

Some Church of England bishops are also getting twitchy about today’s vote, as you can see from this press release.

See also Simon Barrow’s take on this subject over at Ekklesia.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Waiting for tongues of fire

I’ve just learned that being a lawyer, politician, journalist or civil servant means knowing about “vital issues such as life, liberty and the family”. On the surface, it sounds OK.

But there’s a contradiction in there somewhere. To Right-wing Christians such as the bunch who are advertising a residential weekend course, how can “the family” and “liberty” be meant to live side by side – not just in one sentence, but in reality?

Because “the family” to the likes of the Christian Legal Centre – which is urging people to join this course in late March in Oxford, UK – is man, woman and some kids, and definitely no poofters (to quote an old Monty Python sketch).

This is the thrust of their pitch to deprive people of some money (I assume) in exchange for what looks like dogma:

The inaugural “Wilberforce Academy” takes place March 21st to 26th 2010 and we are asking all students and young professionals who have a passion for defending and proclaiming the Truth to consider applying. For one week you will be taught by some of the world’s leading thinkers on vital issues such as life, liberty and the family. You will learn how to make a difference to a society which has turned away from God. You will meet like-minded people from across the country that share Christian conviction and the desire to serve God’s Kingdom. In short, you will learn how to become a generation of men and women who “Passionately Demonstrate Truth”.

Why “Wilberforce Academy” is in quote marks makes you wonder. And where is the capitalised “Passionately Demonstrate Truth” quoted from? Or is it quoted from anywhere at all? Are they using capitalised initials and quote marks as mere decoration, as so many do?

The sceptic will wonder whether they are really confident in their ability to deliver, if they have to put stuff in quotes, which, unless you’re actually quoting, usually means, “I’m distancing myself from this; I’m not really meaning this, but this is the phrase I’m using, ha, ha.”

They then have three bulleted items, telling you that you can:

– Learn natural law principles and the foundation of law.

– Lead driving change in the legal system.

– Defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life and traditional family values.

In one weekend? Perhaps they’re hoping for a holy miracle, for tongues of fire, a Pentecostal moment, the Holy Spirit descending from above and saying, “Go forth and multiply the misery of gays and others you don’t happen to like throughout the land, you bunch of sad bastards.”

What links the hysterically homophobic Christian Legal Centre (a sister organisation to the equally rabid Christian Concern for Our Nation) and the “Wilberforce Academy” (got to keep the quote marks going) I don’t know. A banner at the top of the email alert in which this invitation comes to me (with a subject line that gasps, “Amazing Opportunity for Students and Young Professionals”) announces:

The Christian Legal Centre introduces the . . .

Wilberforce Academy

in association with the . . .

Alliance Defense Fund

The ellipses are theirs, not mine. More punctuational furniture?

As for the Alliance Defense Fund, as you can see from the spelling, it’s American, and says of itself, “The Alliance Defense Fund is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.” For Truth (note the capital T) read bigoted, family-oriented, antigay, redneck and all the other adjectives we usually associate with the kind of muscular Christianity that emanates from the wackier end of the religion.

Anyway, the e-flyer continues:

Successful applicants will gather at Oxford University for a residential week of lectures, seminars, worship, devotions, and interactive discussions designed to confront conventional wisdom in legal education and present a principled, analytical framework and Christian viewpoint. You will leave not only with increased knowledge and conviction, but also with connections to other interns and faculty that will assist you throughout your education and career.

Well, I’m all for confronting conventional wisdom (why didn’t they put “wisdom” in scare quotes, since it would be more appropriate?), because a lot of conventional “wisdom” is anything but. Anything but wise, I mean. It’s conventional all right.

But I digress. Their idea of confronting conventional wisdom is saying that there’s no place in society for gay people. That Christians should occupy a privileged position by being able to bunk off doing part of their job because it goes against their weird and often dangerous beliefs.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Invisible Islam

Funny how Islam’s connection with violence is often conveniently forgotten.

We reported on the Fort Hood massacre in November 2009, referring to a New York Post article with the headline, Call this horror by its name: Islamist terror.

Now we learn from the Cafferty File blog that “The Pentagon report into the massacre at Fort Hood that left 13 dead is a joke. There is no mention of the suspect’s views of Islam. None.”

In fact [says the piece], the 86-page report doesn’t even once mention Major Nidal Hasan by name. It lumps in radical Islam with other fundamentalist religious beliefs . . . and instead focuses on things like military personnel policies and the emergency response to the Nov. shootings.

This despite the fact that Hasan made no secret of his radical Islamic faith. He allegedly proselytized to his fellow service members and spoke out against the wars the US military is waging in Muslim counties.

When will they ever learn?

If you want to read how, by various means, Islam is creeping up on us, you could do worse than read the stuff on Citizen Warrior, which is one of the “Further reading” links on our sidebar.

Protesting too much

Some Christian campaigners are stirring things up by “encouraging churches to help people to ‘overcome’ their attraction to members of their own sex”, the excellent Christian think tank Ekklesia tells us. “They have been criticised by other Christian groups and human rights activists.”

I bet they have.

The Ekklesia report continues:

The campaigners developed their approach at a conference in London yesterday (21 January), entitled What can I possibly say? – Pastoral responses to today’s sexual confusion. It was organised by Anglican Mainstream with the support of other groups such as Christian Concern For Our Nation (CCFON).

The nice people at Ekklesia are far too polite to say it, but regular readers of PT will know that CCFON are a bunch of Right-wing, bigoted, intolerant, prejudiced, dogmatic, hate-filled tossers. They shall surely burn in the eternal fires of hell. Anyway, Ekklesia continues:

Speakers at the event included a number of people who define themselves as “ex-gay”, such as Phelim McIntyre, who says that he is now “happily heterosexual”.

But Sharon Ferguson of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) accused the conference organisers of giving “the impression that all people with a same-sex attraction are desperate to change and cannot find peace with God or themselves until they do so”. She insisted that, “This is simply not the case”.

The organisers say that they were very pleased with the turnout of around 150 people, many of whom were in their thirties or early forties. Issues discussed included the nature of sexuality, legal matters and the role of clergy and parents.

Canon Chris Sugden of Anglican Mainstream said that a question that had come up often, was why so many Evangelical Christians are now accepting the legitimacy of same-sex relationships.

At a press conference after the event, several of the speakers emphasised their belief that Christians attracted to their own sex should be able to speak to their minister about it. They said they want more clergy to be aware of the “support” and “counselling” available.

However, the speakers are facing strong criticism for suggesting that almost no same-sex couples enjoy exclusive monogamous relationships.

Speaking at the press conference, Phelim McIntyre said that, in twenty years of involvement in these issues, “I have not come across a same-sex relationship in which both partners are faithful.”

His comment provoked criticism from the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who insisted that, “some gay couples are faithful, others are not – just like many heterosexual couples”.

Speaking to Ekklesia about the conference, Tatchell said that, “No affirmative lesbian or gay Christians were invited to attend, to give their perspective. None of the speakers were credible, authoritative psychologists or sexologists with independent, objective expertise in the field.”

The organisers were also accused of one-sidedness by the Evangelical writer Jeremy Marks of Courage UK, which encourages gay and lesbian Christians to “reconcile their faith and sexuality”. He suggested that “diverse opinions or other conclusions from pastoral experience” did not appear to be welcome.

However, several of the speakers insisted that they are open to calm discussion with those who disagree with them. Canon Dr Vinay Samuel said “I welcome disagreement, I welcome dialogue.”

Lisa Nolland of Anglican Mainstream said that they had not publicised the venue due to “fear of intimidation” and added that she had received threats of physical violence.

Nolland said that “gays are pioneers of a new way of doing relationships”. She expressed concern that changing attitudes to homosexuality would lead to the acceptance of sadomasochism, polygamy, polyamory, paedophilia and bestiality.

The conference also discussed chastity before marriage and gender identity. Several speakers promoted “therapy” for transgender people.

When questioned about intersex people (those whose sex is ambiguous at birth), McIntyre said that intersex was a “very unique situation” that was “actually quite rare”.

His approach was criticised by a theologian, Dr Susannah Cornwall of Exeter University, author of a forthcoming book on Christian responses to intersex issues. She said that intersex is “roughly as common” as Down’s syndrome or cystic fibrosis.

“The significance of intersex goes far beyond its statistical frequency, since it forces us to re-examine the whole notion of a binary sex system,” said Cornwall. “It is simply not possible to say with any certainty where the line between maleness and femaleness lies.”

They do get rather worked up about sexuality, don’t they? These people protest too much, methinks.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

No breakfast for Bahati Boy

I find the very phrase “prayer breakfast” decidedly creepy. Even creepier was the fact that David “Bahati Boy” Bahati (pictured) was going to attend one that President Obama is throwing on 4 February.

But Pink News tells us that the homophobic bigot won’t be there. He’s been disinvited. (Is that a word?)

Bahati Boy is the Ugandan MP who wants to kill gays if they commit the “crime” of something called “aggravated homosexuality” or something.

Pink News says:

Bahati told a Ugandan newspaper last weekend he would be attending the February 4th event sponsored by the Fellowship – a secretive conservative Christian organisation which is also known as The Family

But National Prayer Breakfast spokesman Richard Swett confirmed that he would not be attending the breakfast.

He told blogger Warren Throckmorton: “The National Prayer Breakfast is an organisation that builds bridges of understanding between all peoples, religions and beliefs and has never advocated the sentiments expressed in Mr Bahati’s legislation.”

Fellowship sources said that Bahati had been invited to Washington DC as a volunteer, rather than to attend the breakfast. They said he was had declined the invitation, which was extended before he had introduced the bill in Uganda’s parliament.

Members of the Fellowship include politicians, religious leaders and corporate executives. It asks members not to publicly mention its existence and publishes no information about its activities.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Segregating kids according to parents’ beliefs is good? We think not!

Muslims in Southampton, UK, say an Islamic school for children is in great demand because many parents feel they are being failed by mainstream education.

Yes, probably because kids are not having the Koran rammed down their throats in mainstream schools.

The Echo tells us:

Plans for a private primary school to offer Islamic education for children in the city have been welcomed by parents, according to some of the city’s Mosques [my emphasis].

Zahir Ahmad, secretary of Southampton Central Abu Backr Mosque said parents had been talking about the planned private Islamic school and considering it for their children.

“It has been a talking point for many parents who feel their children would benefit,” he said.

So separating their children – who are not, anyway, of an age to choose a religion, and need to be exposed to several religions plus the option of none, of course, in order to be able to make an informed decision – from the children who don’t happen to have parents who subscribe to this hideous ideology is a good thing, is it?

How do you explain that, Mr Ahmad?

Wilders on trial

It’s being called a heresy trial, and compared to that of Galileo.

It’s the trial of the Dutch politician and filmmaker Geert Wilders, which begins today.

Whatever you think of Wilders’s Right-wing politics, should he not have been allowed to make his film Fitna, which showed verses from the Koran and then depicted corresponding atrocities?
More publicity for Fitna
Proving Wilders’s point
Wilders set to face trial (you can view the film in  this post)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Time to make Pat feel a prick

Whether you believe it’ll do anything or not, you can still have a bit of fun at the expense of the nutty televangelist Pat Robertson, who seems to think the Haiti earthquake has something to do with voodoo practices.

There’s a voodoo doll (pictured) for sale on eBay.

“They were under the heel of the French – you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever,” Robertson has been quoted as saying. “And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the Prince.’ True story. And so the Devil said, ‘OK it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

The soul of logical thinking, these televangelists, aren’t they?

“Ever wanted to cause Pat Robertson a massive headache?” asks the eBay entry. “Give him back pain? Jab him in the crotch? Of course you have! Well then BID NOW to own your very own physical representation of the dark, dark soul of Pat Robertson.”

Accessories in the deal, apparently, are “Pat’s very own Holy Bible, and bag of money taken from real Americans!”

Well, it’s said that voodoo works, to which a logical mind might add that the intended victim needs not only to know that a curse or hex has been performed but also must believe in it.

It won’t be long before Pat Robertson knows about the voodoo doll. Who knows? Maybe the buyer will have enough pins to prick the silly sod’s conscience. Then he’ll feel a real prick.

Thank you, God, for being a cruel bastard

It doesn’t matter what God does to people, no matter how arbitrary, no matter how painful, devastating and plain nasty, they continue to worship him, according to CNN.

“A lot of people who never prayed or believed – now they believe,” Cristina Bailey, a 24-year-old clerk, is quoted as saying.

In parks and backyards, anywhere a group gathers, the prayers of the Haitians can be heard. Last week, the call-and-response chanting and clapping that accompany those prayers pierced the darkness of night and the pre-dawn hours – sometimes as early as 4 a.m. The singing and praying was particularly intense in Champs de Mars plaza, where hundreds of people have taken refuge. But the scene was repeated throughout the city, with preachers on megaphones exhorting the faithful, who responded with lyrics like “O Lord, keep me close to you” and “Forgive me, Jesus.”

Many preachers are telling followers not to lose faith, that God remains with them regardless of what’s happened.

Some comfort!

Bailey is further quoted as saying, “People don’t blame Jesus for all these things. They have faith. They believe that Jesus saved them and are thankful for that.”

So thank you, Jesus for saving me. As for the tens of thousands who weren’t saved, well, um, er . . .

Monday, 18 January 2010

How religionists fan the flames of hate in Africa

Africa is becoming a battleground for pro- and anti-gay factions, according to the Sunday Times.

A disturbing article by R W Johnson in Cape Town highlights a case in Malawi, where a male couple who dared to want to marry can expect up to 14 years in jail.

The trial of a young male couple charged with unnatural practices and gross indecency after announcing their engagement in Malawi was adjourned last week when one of the accused collapsed in court while enduring jeers from the public gallery.

Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, was made to return with a mop to clean up his own vomit, even though he has malaria.

He and his boyfriend, Steven Monjeza, 26, have been held in Chichiri prison, Blantyre, for more than a week – in order, the judge says, to protect them from mob violence.

And, when Western evangelicals are fanning the flames of hatred, what can you expect? It was Christian missionaries who took the idea that gay sex was bad to Africa in the first place. Now, conservative – read bigoted – African leaders and clergymen say it’s a “disease” imported from the West.

It all goes to show how religious ideas of what’s “right” and “wrong” with sexuality can stoke up those flames of hatred until there’s a conflagration.

The Sunday Times piece continues:

Both sides accuse the other [each side accuses the other, for goodness’ sake!] of being driven by external influences: gay rights campaigners say conservative American evangelists are encouraging homophobia, while the anti-gay side insists that homosexuality is only surfacing openly in Africa because of western encouragement.

Some argue that the African rows over homosexuality are really a proxy skirmish in an American cultural dispute, with both evangelicals and gay rights groups in the US pouring in money and support.

The difference between the evangelicals and gay-rights groups is that the former are motivated by hate, while the latter are motivated by a wish to free gay men and women from the oppression and worse they’re suffering because of ignorance and bigotry.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Still Googling Islam . . .

I’m not going to obsess about this, but it’s more than a week now since I mentioned it, and nothing’s changed.

I refer to our previous post, “Googling Islam”, about typing “Islam is” into the Google search box and seeing what happens.

I’ll tell you what happens. Nothing happens. That’s what happens.

Do it with any other religion followed by the word “is” and you get dropdown suggestions based on either your own previous searches or popular ones of others.

But not with “Islam is”. Nada. Nil. Nix. Nothing. Zilch. (And that’s putting it in alphabetical order!)

The people at Google said they were aware of it and were trying to fix it. The people at Google are clever techie whizzes. The people at Google fix things. It doesn’t take the people at Google more than a week to sort out something like this.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this looks just a bit, a bit, a bit . . . Well, make up your own mind.

Right, that's it. I won’t mention it again, unless there’s a development. And then only if it’s worth mentioning.

UPDATE (19 January): Well, there now seems to be that development. Google is now doing dropdowns on this, so something has happened between 17 January, when this post was written, and now. Thanks to DavidMWW for pointing this out (see his comment in the comments section).

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Wilders set to face trial

It looks as if Geert Wilders won’t get away without a trial for making his film Fitna – for exercising his claim to freedom of expression, in other words.

Jurist tells us that a Dutch court has ordered him to stand trial “for his video and printed statements against the Quran and Islam, dismissing a motion to drop or reduce the criminal charges”.

Last September, a district court in the Netherlands rejected a bid by the Dutch Islamic Federation to block Wilders’s statements, saying that his comments are protected by the right of free expression and do not constitute speech that incites hate or violence.

In the interests of showing you what the fuss is about, we’ve reproduced the link to the film below, and I daresay some other bloggers will be doing the same, proving that things get to a wider audience whenever someone wants to suppress them.

Friday, 15 January 2010

More concern for Igwe

This blog’s parent organisation, the UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), has expressed its grave concern about the continual harassment by the police of the Nigerian humanist and human-rights activist Leo Igwe, who has made a staunch public defence of LGBT rights in his country. An updated press release – following the one we reported on on 12 January – reflects the fact that, after being arrested, Igwe has been released on bail. He has also since spoken about his and his family’s ordeal at the hands of Nigerian authorities.

Mr Igwe and members of his family have been subjected to a sustained campaign of harassment by police involving multiple arrests on unsubstantiated charges since 2007.

Mr Igwe is the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement. In 2006 he made an impassioned appeal to members of the Nigerian National Assembly not to pass a Bill that would not only criminalise gay marriage, but also impose a five-year jail sentence on anyone who has a gay relationship or anyone who aids or supports a gay marriage or relationship. The Bill had the blessing of the Nigerian Anglican Church and its leader Archbishop Peter Akinola, as well as the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo who declared that homosexual practice “is clearly un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely un-African”.

In 2008 Mr Igwe and his humanist colleagues were awarded the Rainbow Humanist Award by Nordic Rainbow Humanists “for their courageous defence of LGBT rights and dignity in the face of ferocious attacks from homophobic Nigerian politicians, parliamentarians and religious leaders calling for the imprisonment of those having homosexual relations and those who dare to support such relations, and for reminding fellow countrymen and women in Nigeria of the need to safeguard the spirit of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the need for reason, common sense, thoughtfulness, knowledge, love, tolerance, solidarity and empathy, instead of hate and homophobia”.

Pink Triangle Trust secretary George Broadhead commented: “We are very concerned about Mr Igwe. He is fearless and selfless in fighting for justice for LGBT people. Like the UK’s Peter Tatchell, he is never afraid to challenge the powerful even when he is a lone voice and knows that the powerful may hurt him. It is up to his fellow Humanists and others concerned with human rights to show that he does not stand alone and work together to ensure justice for him.”

The PTT has sent a letter of protest to the Nigerian High Commissioner in the UK Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida and asked the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights to issue a public condemnation.

Leo Igwe wrote an article for our sister publication Gay & Lesbian Humanist in December 2009.

Happy clappies can drive up the decibels

If you happen to be a church, you can disturb the peace as much as you like, it seems.

The All Nations Centre in London is an evangelical church – and the happy-clappy evangelicals just love to make noises. Not happy, it seems, with singing in their church, which is OK, enjoyable and all part of the service, the church has to amplify it, for some reason.

In an emailed press release, the Christian Legal Centre – which helped the church to defend itself successfully against a noise-abatement notice from the local council, resulting in an out-of-court settlement – says the church believes the council has got it in for it, that it doesn’t like evangelicals.

“The complaint has nothing to do with the noise and everything to do with our faith,” Pastor Abraham Sackey is quoted as saying. “Lambeth Council are driving us out and we feel harassed.”

Sounds odd to me. Why would a council take against a church, just because it’s a church?

The Christian Legal centre says, “The use of Noise Abatement Notices is an issue of concern as recently it is being used effectively to categorise worship/the singing of hymns as Noise Pollution.”

But the notice was served because the music is being amplified. Otherwise, why are all churches across the land not receiving complaints?

Clearly not understanding the concept of non sequitur, Kate Hoey, the local MP, says, “They have been serving the local community for many years, consistently helping to improve the quality of life and overall wellbeing of people within the local community . . . It was therefore with a mixture of surprise and concern that I learned that they were served with a noise abatement notice.”

They can have been the acme of virtue, but if they’re making a noise they’re making a noise. Their record on what they may or may not have done in the local community is totally irrelevant. But politicians do that sort of thing, and the pity is that most people are taken in. She also wants the votes.

Sackey is further quoted as saying, “The Church believes that the Council’s withdrawal is an attempt to conceal what happened and which has been ongoing for some time, not only in Lambeth but nationally. The leaders of the church maintained from the very outset that the notice had nothing to do with noise but rather was further evidence of the ongoing campaign of religious hatred and intimidation against evangelical Christians.”

So any mere criticism of a church is some kind of victimisation. Come on! We live in a country that still bends over backwards to accommodate religion. Do we yet again have to instance the many religious schools, paid for by the taxpayer, and the religious “advisers” the government is taking on? The 26 bishops in the House of Lords?

That sort of victimisation?

The fact is that, if you’re making excessive noise, it’s only fair to your neighbours if the local authority tells you to pipe down a bit.

Or don’t you follow the “love thy neighbour” principle that somebody or other propounded a couple of millennia ago?

“Here's to you, Mrs Robinson”

Earlier this week, a Facebook group ­– Here’s to you Mrs Robinson for number 1 – was set up in “honour” of the disgraced Northern Ireland politician Iris Robinson, with the aim of getting Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” to number one in the UK singles chart.

People are being urged to purchase the track following revelations that Robinson, a homophobic bigot and self-proclaimed “born-again Christian”, had had an affair with a 19-year-old, Kirk McCambley.

The group has already attracted over 21,000 members, and, reportedly, banners promoting the campaign have been attached to railings outside the Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, and other locations around Belfast.

Mrs Robinson made a real nuisance of herself in 2008, while “Mrs. Robinson” was previously a UK Top 5 hit for Simon and Garfunkel in 1968.

The Facebook group description reads:

Lets get the iconic song Mrs Robinson – made famous by the 1960’s hit The Graduate – to number 1 in next Sunday’s chart in honour of Northern Ireland’s disgraced first lady, Iris Robinson. The naughty little minx & hateful bigot!!

The 60-year-old is married to Peter Robinson, who temporarily stepped aside as Northern Ireland Assembly First Minister earlier this week following revelations of his wife’s affair and her alleged unlawful lending to McCamberley.

Robinson caused controversy when she labelled homosexuality an “abomination” and recommended that gay people get psychiatric help! Pink Triangle has blogged about Robinson many times. Click here, to see them all.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Pat’s lunatic take on the Haitian quake

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about,” intones the American televangelist and Christian head case Pat Robertson (pictured).

You may be ahead of me already. Yup, he’s blaming Haitians for the devastating earthquake that’s befallen the country’s capital and left thousands dead and many more injured and homeless.

“They were under the heel of the French – you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the Prince.’ True story. And so the Devil said, ‘OK it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.”

So that explains the tectonic processes that have led to this tragic event. Now we know!

It’s not the first time this idiot has blamed people’s perceived irreligiosity for disasters, and Michael Rowe, writing in the Huffington Post, lists a few.

He quotes the lunatic as having said after 9/11, “We have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we’ve stuck our finger in your eye. The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They’ve taken your Bible away from the schools. They’ve forbidden little children to pray. They’ve taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organisations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America.”

And see this CBS website for a series of Robertson’s best quotes, along with pictures.

Meanwhile, a Catholic archbishop is reported to have been killed in the quake. Perhaps he turned from God, too.

How to make Catholics happy: let them indoctrinate more kids

It’s not surprising that Catholic leaders in the UK are rubbing their hands at the prospect, under a Tory government, of being able to set up more indoctrination centres, which they would call schools.

The Catholic blogs editor of the Daily Telegraph, Damian Thompson, thinks it’s “terrific news”.

[A]s the Catholic Herald will report this week, Bishop Malcolm McMahon, the Catholic bishop with the education portfolio in the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has backed the Conservatives’ proposal for “free schools”.

[Tory leader] David Cameron had a meeting with Archbishop Vincent Nichols [leader of the silly buggers in England and Wales] the other day which I gather went very well – and now comes this specific endorsement from Bishop McMahon (incidentally a veteran Left-winger, but with an open mind). Lots of credit should go to [shadow schools minister] Michael Gove, the Tories’ brightest star, who prepared the ground for this breakthrough in his own meeting with Archbishop Nichols.

So this is the child abuse the Tories have in mind if they get in at the general election in the spring.

Gove is quoted as saying to the Catholic Herald, “I’m a huge admirer of the contribution that the Catholic Church has made to education in Britain. I hope our legislative changes will help the Church to establish schools that will be popular with parents and will continue the tradition of educational excellence that the Church has already established.”

Whatever excellence such schools might manage in some subject areas, they are still religious schools, and will have all kinds of exemptions from teaching a balanced view of sexuality and relationships, e.g. they will be able, no doubt, to tell gay kids that their sexuality is an “intrinsic moral evil”.
See also:
We need more religion in schools – not
Today, children, we’re going to tell you how evil you are

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Muslims behind bars

What’s the betting that new laws are on the way to give Muslims privileges that the rest don’t get? This time, it’s in the prison service in the UK, where some Muslims are refusing to do certain rehab and offending-behaviour courses because they’re “haram”, i.e. forbidden under their crazy religion.

The story is told in the Daily Telegraph, which quotes a prison service spokesman as confirming “that a review of procedures was under way and that discussions were being held with Muslim prison chiefs”.

He said: “A very small number of Muslim prisoners have raised concerns with the Muslim Adviser.

“The Muslim Adviser is looking at different Islamic standpoints so there can be further discussion.”

He said, however, that at the moment no Muslim prisoner would be exempt from a rehab course on the grounds of religion alone.

He added: “Each prison-based offending behaviour programme has clear selection criteria, based on risk and need, and rigorous assessment procedures which are used by programme staff when assessing the suitability of offenders referred to programmes.”

No one will be forced to do a course, it seems, but if a prisoner refuses he’ll have privileges forfeited and will serve his full sentence.

Which is as it should be, but what’s this about “further discussion” with the “Muslim Adviser”? And who’s paying for a “Muslim Adviser” to service our prisons?

Why are we tiptoeing around Muslims again? If they’re in the slammer for something they’ve done wrong, they’re paying their debt to society. There may be all kinds of things wrong with our justice system and prisons, but that’s another argument, and they’re in there because they’ve committed crimes.

What happens to them in prison is part of the punishment and rehabilitation, and should be the same for all prisoners. Religion is a privilege in my book, not a necessity, and the freedom to indulge in it should be subject to the same rules as freedom to indulge in any other hobbies prisoners happen to like.

And, along with those freedoms, it should be one that can be taken away if a prisoner is breaking the rules.

And it certainly shouldn’t be something a prisoner can use as an excuse for bunking off rehab courses.

So forget the discussions. If they don’t do the courses, let them continue to have to serve their full whack – without privileges.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

How religion trumps employment rights

If you still doubt the hold religion has on life in the UK, read this report from the think tank Ekklesia.

It shows how teachers in “faith” schools have fewer rights than teachers in other schools, and even than those who work in religious charities.

There are moves afoot to try to redress this, but why is it there in the first place? Because lunatic governments have tolerated religious discrimination, and are not really that interested in removing it, because to upset the Deluded Herd might just equate with losing votes, and politicians are mostly grubby disreputable people (with notable exceptions, no doubt) who cannot be trusted.

“Whereas almost all other employers have to show that discrimination is an ‘occupational requirement’ of a particular post,” says Ekklesia, “faith schools can impose a blanket requirement that all teachers be co-religionists, or that believers are ‘preferred’.”
See alsoReligious tossers afraid of fairness for schoolkids

Lunatic Islamists banned in UK

The nutty Islamist group who planned a march through Wootton Bassett, UK, are to be banned under counterterrorism laws, says the Home Secretary, Alan Johnson.

Islam4UK had planned the protest at the Wiltshire town to honour Muslims killed in the Afghanistan conflict.

The government are said to have already been considering outlawing the group. Islam4UK is also known as al-Muhajiroun.

PTT speaks out on Igwe arrest

The Nigerian humanist and human-rights activist Leo Igwe is reportedly on bail after his arrest on what is being seen as trumped-up charges.

However, fellow humanists around the world have been concerned for his safety.

Igwe – who wrote an article for our sister publication Gay & Lesbian Humanist in December 2009 – and members of his family have been the victims of a sustained campaign by police in Nigeria, and our parent charity, the Pink Triangle Trust, has issued its own news release on the issue, after Igwe and his father, Oliver, were arrested on 5 January.

The PTT says:

The latest campaign of harassment against the Igwe family is a consequence of Mr Igwe’s attempt to bring to justice a powerful man in the area who allegedly raped a ten-year-old girl. Leo Igwe’s father, who is a 77-year-old diabetic in failing health, has been arrested six times on false charges since 2007. Two of Leo’s brothers have been detained three times each in connection with the same case.

Mr Igwe is the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement and has made a staunch public defence of LGBT rights. In 2006 he made an impassioned appeal to members of the Nigerian National Assembly not to pass a Bill that would not only criminalise gay marriage, but also impose a five-year jail sentence on anyone who has a gay relationship or anyone who aids or supports a gay marriage or relationship. The Bill had the blessing of the Nigerian Anglican Church and its leader Archbishop Peter Akinola, as well as the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who declared that homosexual practice “is clearly un-Biblical, unnatural and definitely un-African”.

In 2008 Mr Igwe and his humanist colleagues were awarded the Rainbow Humanist Award by Nordic Rainbow Humanists “for their courageous defence of LGBT rights and dignity in the face of ferocious attacks from homophobic Nigerian politicians, parliamentarians and religious leaders calling for the imprisonment of those having homosexual relations and those who dare to support such relations, and for reminding fellow countrymen and -women in Nigeria of the need to safeguard the spirit of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the need for reason, common sense, thoughtfulness, knowledge, love, tolerance, solidarity and empathy, instead of hate and homophobia”.

Pink Triangle Trust secretary George Broadhead commented [before the reported release on bail], “We are very concerned about Leo. He is fearless and selfless in fighting for justice for LGBT people. Like the UK’s Peter Tatchell, he is never afraid to challenge the powerful even when he is a lone voice and knows that the powerful may hurt him. It is up to his fellow Humanists and others concerned with human rights to show that he does not stand alone and work together to ensure justice for him.”

The PTT has sent a letter of protest to the Nigerian High Commissioner in the UK Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Religious tossers afraid of fairness for schoolkids

Britain’s Right-wing, religion-loving Daily Telegraph is miffed that the government seem to be insisting on fairness in “faith” schools’ selection methods.

Oh, dear! it moans. A school has been penalised for awarding points based on when a child was baptised (i.e. given a religious tag it cannot possibly understand or appreciate before it can even talk, let alone make up its own mind whether it wants to pursue a belief in hogwash – note the “before their first birthday” reference in the extract below).

Cardinal Vaughan – a popular west London Roman Catholic secondary with six applications for every place – was ordered to rewrite admissions after being accused of skewing entry in favour of rich families by imposing over-complicated admissions.

It currently awards points to each child. This includes attendance at weekly Sunday mass over the last three years, proof they were baptised before their first birthday, evidence they made their first confession and Holy Communion before they were nine and that previous schools were also Catholic – a move the local diocese claimed “results in a form of social selection”.

But the barmy Telegraph sees nothing wrong with this form of discrimination, as instanced by its leading article on the subject, which is headlined Labour’s secular tyranny torments faith schools.

“The degree of government interference in the affairs of teachers and parents of children at faith schools is disgraceful,” it declares.

So bugger the needs of the child, then. Let’s just ensure that schools are allowed to discriminate on how superstitious a kid’s parents are and how superstitious they’re going to try to make their offspring become. That smacks of child abuse.

The paper says that “while Tony Blair was prime minister they [religious schools] were largely left alone (hardly surprisingly, since Mr Blair educated his own children at one of them)”. No, not just because of that, you silly leader writer: it’s largely because Blair is mentally unbalanced, too, when it comes to belief in sky fairies – and big time. The man needs psychiatric help for it, as do the unstable cardinals and bishops and all the other loons who peddle this tosh.

The paper talks of “the increasingly aggressive secularism of the modern Labour Party, whose members equate religion with superstition” (they’re not the only ones!), conveniently ignoring the very real fact of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money being spent on “faith” schools, which can impose their “ethos” on kids whether the kids want it or not; the fact that 26 bishops sit as of right in the House of Lords, something the “modern Labour Party” hasn’t yet done anything to change; the fact that the “modern Labour Party” is complicit in ensuring that all national celebration and mourning has a religious element to it; the fact that the “modern Labour Party”, as government, is taking on a coven of 13 “faith advisers” to “advise” on such matters as climate change and social justice (oh, dear, stop it, my ribs are aching); the fact that Prime Minister Brown has insisted that Britain is not a secular society and that religion must be at the centre of policymaking.

No need to go on. You get the picture. What we’re seeing here is that Christianity is dying and those who support it – including pious newspaper editors – feel their backs are against the wall, so they fight back with accusations of “aggressive secularism” and “militant atheism”.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rant of the day

Ready for a good laugh? Sit back and read this (or go here and listen). The following mindless rant is reproduced both on the Right Wing Watch blog linked to above and, where I was alerted to it, on Good Reason News (a blog, incidentally, that was featured in G&LH’s “Blogwatch” column in October last year).

It’s from one of the lunatic Christian Right in the USA, Pastor Stephen Anderson:

You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals. Hypocrite. The same God who instituted the death penalty for murderers is the same God who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals – sodomites, queers! That’s what it was instituted for, okay? That’s God, he hasn’t changed. Oh, God doesn’t feel that way in the New Testament . . . God never “felt” anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed.

You know why God wanted the sodomites in the Old Testament to be killed? You know why every good king of Israel, the Bible says they got rid of the sodomites in the land? You know, the good kings that came after the bad kings who had allowed the sodomites to infest their land, they had infiltrated . . . King Asa got the sodomites out of the land, Jehoshaphat exterminated the sodomites that were left from the days of his father, Asa. Why? Because the sodomites are infectious, that’s why. Because they’re not reproducers, that goes without saying, they’re recruiters.

How are they multiplying? Do you not see that they’re multiplying? Are you that blind? Have you noticed that there’s more than there were last year and the year before, and the year before that? How are they multiplying? They’re reproducing right? No, here’s a biology lesson: they’re not reproducers, they’re recruiters! And you know who they’re after? Your children. Remember you dropped off your kids last week? That’s who they’re after. You drop them off as some daycare, you drop them off as some school somewhere, you don’t know where they’re at. I’ll tell you where they’re at: they’re being recruited by the sodomites. They’re being molested by the sodomites. I can tell you so many stories about people that I know being molested and recruited by the sodomites.

They recruit through rape. They recruit through molestation. They recruit through violation. They are infecting our society. They are spreading their disease. It’s not a physical disease, it’s a sin disease , it’s a wicked, filthy sin disease and it’s spreading on a rampage. Can’t you see that it’s spreading on a rampage? I mean, can you not see that? Can you not see that it’s just exploding in growth? Why? Because each sodomite recruits far more than one other sodomite because his whole life is about recruiting other sodomites, his whole life is about violating and hurting people and molesting ’em.

So how many sodomites is one sodomite going to produce? A lot, and that’s why it’s just exploding. The only way to stop it, you say “how do we stop it?” . . . You want to know why sodomites are recruiting? Because they have no natural predators.

This, of course, is a libel against every gay person in the country, although you can’t claim libel as a disparate group. And the libel laws are different in the States. But you see where I’m coming from.

All gay people have been implicated in this bozo’s accusations, which are just plain lies, of course, as any sensible person knows, since molesters are more likely to be family members or close to the family, and just as likely to be straight.

Even if he’s ranting out of total sincerity, that suggests he believes what he’s saying. If he believes what he’s saying, where did he come by the information? My guess is that he knows he’s lying, but, like most Right-wing Christians, has a thing about homosexuality to the extent that you suspect he himself is gay and suppressing it.

Why else is it always ranked above murder, rape, arson, pillage and a hundred and one other heinous crimes? Because Right-wing Christians who have a thing about being gay have a skeleton in their closets that's making them feel very uncomfortable about themselves, whether they know it or not.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Googling Islam

Islam is . . . What? Bullshit? A lie? The best thing since sliced manna?

Well, if you type that phrase into the Google search box you’ll get nothing by way of suggestions in the dropdown list. However, if you type “Christianity is” or “Buddhism is” (or several other religions “is”), you’ll get dropdowns suggesting several things. “Bullshit” is one of them.

Others are – let’s stick with Christianity – “is a lie”, “is false”, “is almost dead”, “is not a religion”, “is a cult”, “is wrong” and a few more.

Read the story at

Google claim it’s a glitch and that they’re working to fix it – so try it quickly, just in case they realise they’ve been rumbled and do so.
UPDATE: I've just tried this link again at 09.34 GMT on Sunday, 10 January 2010. It’s  still not giving any dropdowns. Incompetence or conspiracy? Make up your own mind, but one thing Google engineers are not is incompetent on technical matters, and Google engineers are aware of the problem and have been for some time.

Friday, 8 January 2010

It was God wot done it – again

Don’t you just love the way the Deluded Herd praise God when things go their way, but don’t believe it’s his doing when things don’t? Laugh? I nearly did.

First let’s get the crappiest intro in the world out of the way:

Yesterday, 7 January 2010 a Hearing was held at Macclesfield Town Hall for the Application for a Premises Licence Variation to “Lap Dancing – Full Strip” at the Repent Nightclub, 84B Mill Street, Macclesfield.

Yawn! That’ll get ’em reading.

Right, onward. In the emailed bulletin I’m referring to and quoting from (probably not yet on their website at the time of writing, because I can’t find it), the Christian Legal Centre – a bunch of homophobic tossers – are crowing about the turning-down of this application for a lap-dancing and strip joint, and end the bulletin thus:

An invisible army of prayer warriors also contributed to the success of this hearing. It was a team effort and an example of working together to produce an excellent result. We praise and thank God for this outcome.

“OK, chaps, we’ve advanced along the west flank. We’ve got the blighters surrounded. Hands at the ready. At my command, hands together and . . . pray! That’ll show the scoundrels!”

Faith in lunacy

Once again we’re being asked to pay for our elected representatives to get the ear of God.

We’ve learned that the bewildered and superstitious John Denham, who has the title of communities secretary, is spending our taxes on appointing a coven 13 of “faith advisers”, who, he says, will be able to advise on climate change, the economy, parenting and achieving social justice.

Just the sort of things you expect “faith” types to be experts in, what?

While there may be those among them who have some interest and even expertise in each of these (though I doubt it), why the hell don’t the government go to those who are experts in their own right? If I want scientific advice, I go to a scientist. If I want parenting advice, I go to my mother.

And what sort of “social justice” would, say, a Catholic or Muslim bring to matters concerning sexuality?

While they're not being paid as such for their services, the taxpayer will obviously have to foot the bill for the machinery that brings them and Denham together and administers the meetings. Nothing comes free.

It won’t surprise you to know that Britain’s National Secular Society aren’t too chuffed about this development.

Terry Sanderson, president of the NSS, is quoted in the Pink News link above as saying, “Religious leaders are out of step with the way Britons live. Most people in this country disregard and are even repelled by religious teachings on divorce, contraception, abortion and homosexuality. Polls show they don’t agree with the churches on voluntary euthanasia and a range of other issues.

“The non-religious majority will regard the implication of Mr Denham’s plan that religious people have some sort of ‘values’ that are missing in everyone else’s lives as insulting and patronising.”

An interesting comment from a contributor called James appears on the Pink News story:

This move is disgusting, pathetic, stupid and transparent. If the government we elect can’t do the job we elect them to do without advice from insane idiots who believe in a fairy tale make believe story that isn’t true, that the majority of people in this country know not to be true, then we need a new government.

They should appoint economists to advise them on the economy – scientists to advice them on global warming – social workers to advise them on parenting – not psychotic morons who believe in an imaginary supreme being that tells them things (THAT NO ONE ELSE CAN HEAR) in their heads when they close their eyes and talk to the themselves (PRAYING). I studied theology for 4 years. It taught me one valuable lesson – god is a concept made up by humans(the masters) to control other humans(the slaves).

Well said, Jimbo!

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Is this just deserts for Iris?

Remember the dotty homophobic Iris Robinson? She’s the Northern Ireland politician who seemed to think being gay could be cured by a shrink. (This link will give you an overview and some links to relevant posts.)

She was a bloody nuisance back in 2008 when our blogging of her reached its peak – total homophobic bitch. Evil.

“I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals – trying to turn away from what they are engaged in,” she was reported as saying at the time.

Well, now – and, of course, this is unfortunate – she’s reported to have attempted to kill herself after having an extramarital affair. No civilised person would wish to see someone driven to suicide, although many may feel tempted.

But she’s shown herself to be hypocritical in the extreme (although she believes she’s been forgiven by God!). She’s been ready to dish out the criticism of people who follow their natural way of loving (some believers would even say “God-given”), but has gone against her own beliefs by shagging outside the matrimonial bed.

One who has sympathy to a degree, but also finds her stance entirely hypocritical, is the gay human-rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who has issued a statement:

I’m sorry for the pain that Iris Robinson has suffered but she’s a hypocrite. Even now, despite her own adultery, she expresses no regret for her harsh, judgemental moralising against gay people. She is sad and two-faced.

It is terrible that Iris Robinson has been driven to attempted suicide and a mental breakdown. I feel very sorry for her. But it is a great pity that this painful experience has not softened her heart towards the suffering of lesbians and gay men.

Even now, she expresses no regret for her harsh, judgemental moralising against gay people. Iris seems as unforgiving as ever.

She’s still unrepentant about her homophobia.

She doesn’t see her plight as a message from God, then. Surely, she would do so if good fortune had visited her instead of bad.

But it was bad. It’s easy to say it was deserved, but of course that suggests some causal link, and only religionists would go that far. One might, of course, conjecture that the entire mental state of such a mixed-up individual could be responsible for both her adultery and her homophobia, but your humble blogger ain’t qualified to do shrink stuff.

However, she might reflect on her attempted suicide and wonder how many have attempted to top themselves – and how many have succeeded – as a result of her rantings. We’ve seen how it’s claimed that the Pope is guilty of killing Catholics by his homophobia. And we recently heard of the former Wales and Lions rugby captain, Gareth Thomas, who was forced to hide his sexuality, to the extent that he got married, and himself contemplated suicide because he felt he was betraying his wife.

So, while we shouldn’t wish people to be driven to suicide, it’s hard to resist the temptation to say this ought to be a salutary lesson to this evil bitch. Unfortunately, it seems not to have been as far as her hatred of gay people is concerned.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The world to end in 2011

They say the world will end in 2012 but “That date has not one stitch of biblical authority,” Harold Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. “It’s like a fairy tale.”

The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.

The Mayans and the recent Hollywood movie 2012 have put the apocalypse in the popular mind this year, but Camping has been at this business for a long time. And while Armageddon is pop science or big-screen entertainment to many, Camping has followers from the Bay Area to China.

Camping, 88 (who founded Family Radio), has scrutinised the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he’d found: the world will end 21 May 2011.

Some common sense, by George!

Some homophobic religious types do come out with some common sense sometimes. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey (bit of a bigot in his time), reckons we ought have a cap on the British population.

He’s a member of the Balanced Migration Group – which also comprises twenty parliamentarians, former Commons Speaker Betty Boothroyd, five Labour MPs and ten Conservative MPs – and he’s backing its campaign calling for curbs on immigration. (With all those politicians in it, one wonders how they call themselves balanced. Oh, they mean the makeup of migration, not the mentality of— I’ll shut up, shall I?)

It’s a pity, though, that the campaign doesn’t call for these curbs to be matched by government advice and encouragement on birth control, but I fear that would be a recommendation too far for religionists, especially Catholics and Muslims.

To force birth control on people would be immoral, of course, until such a time as it became a pressing necessity, then it would be immoral not to. But, with common sense, such a thing may never become a reality. Howeveer, try instilling common sense into the bloody Catholic Church when it comes to birth control!

Oh, no. Go forth and multiply, oh ye Deluded Herd of dupes, and screw the planet to buggery!

Ah, but I’m running away with myself. It comes with age, the weather and post-Christmas blues.

“Last year the Office for National Statistics said, if current trends continued, the UK population would rise by 10 million to more than 71.6 million by 2033 – the fastest rise in a century,” the BBC tells us in that link above.

But get this. Carey wants Christians to be preferred if it comes to filtering immigrants. Oh, he doesn’t quite put it like that.

“What I think I’m concerned about is not saying we must put a limit on people who are non-Christian populations,” he says. “That’s not the point. We welcome everybody and that’s always been the generous spirit of the United Kingdom.”

But, he told Radio 4’s Today programme, immigrants must “understand” the UK’s culture, including parliamentary democracy “which is built upon Christian heritage”, “our commitment to the English language” and an understanding the country’s history.

The system should not “give preference to any particular group”, he said, but added that points-based immigration could take these cultural aspects into consideration.

Which would amount to giving preference, in practice, because many immigrant groups don’t share these values.

And I’m inclined to agree with him. Not because of the Christian aspect – religion shouldn’t come into it – but because of the shared-values thing. We don’t want a homogeneous society, but there are aspects of our culture we do rather like, thank you very much, and many of us are fed up with seeing authorities kowtow to pressures from Islamic and other ideologies for changes to the traditions most of us have grown up with.

There are some – a few humanists among them – who might think that racist. It’s not, and they’re wrong. It’s culturist, perhaps, and our culture is what we should be concerned with, whatever the colour of the people who uphold it, and any immigration that is allowed should reflect that racial diversity. It’s ideology that can cause problems.

So bring on immigration controls – but let’s see some encouragement towards sensible family planning, too, while we’re at it. If fiscal measures are required as an incentive, then so be it. And, if Catholic leaders complain, let’s tell ’em go to hell.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

How life changed for the Westergaards

An article in the Guardian provides a depressing picture of what life is like for one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists because there are nutcases whose “ideologies” are tolerated largely without suspicion by society at large, and who make threats because of perceived insults to their “prophet”.

The Jyllands-Posten cartoonists were commissioned by that paper to provide cartoons of the Muslims’ fave big guy, and Kurt Westergaard has been living in fear ever since they were published. In fact, his life has changed dramatically.

Last week – and this is what has prompted the Guardian feature – his home was broken into and his life threatened by one of the followers of the man of questionable morals whom Muslims worship. He was still exercised by Westergaard’s representation of a man who may or may not have been meant to be Mohammed with a bomb in his turban. As often is the case when Muslims whinge, blogs such as this one make a point of showing their readers what the fuss is about, thus multiplying the numbers of pairs of eyes that get to see what it is the Muslims are getting so worked up about (it's notable that the Guardian doesn’t reproduce the picture, though – oh, no!).

The paper cites a scene in which Westergaard and his family were once unloading their luggage at a hotel, when “they came to the attention of two men and two women who were apparently of Middle Eastern origin”.

“May you burn in hell!” one of the men shouted at Westergaard.

“Can we talk about it?” the cartoonist asked.

“May you burn in hell,” the man repeated.

“Well, I guess we’ll have to talk about it in hell, then,” Westergaard finally said. When the police arrived five minutes later, the party of four was long gone.

This illustrates the unquestioning blindness of the “faith” of these crackpots, which would be a laugh if they weren’t often murderous psychopaths obeying what they perceive are the diktats of their loopy religion. One might have some sympathy with them if they could provide a decent argument as to why they feel they have a right to stamp on others’ freedom of expression.

Monday, 4 January 2010

The pot calls the kettle black

So a secularist is “just as dogmatic as the worst religious believer”, according to some prat called Vincent Nichols, the man in charge of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

This man, who in May last year praised the “courage” of those who’d owned up to kiddy diddling, is quoted in the Guardian – having appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme.

So the secularist who wants to see an end to religion’s undoubted privileged position in society is compared to, say, a Muslim who wants to throw gays off cliffs, and is no doubt dogmatic about why that should be a good idea? Sorry, old chum, but that’s what you’ve just said. You’ve just said that I as a secularist am just as dogmatic as the worst religious believer.

Yes, I’ve chosen the extremes, but that’s only what you’ve done with the words “the worst religious believer”.

What about the “worst religious believer” – who is to be found in Catholic circles, of course – who preaches to impressionable kids that they’ll burn in the fires of hell if they’re “sinners”? Isn't that from dogma, too?

I’m sure readers can come up with more comparisons.

Where, anyway, is the dogma in secularism? It’s its lack of dogma that marks secularism out as, well, nondogmatic. Dogma is something laid down by an authority as incontrovertible. Isn’t that what the church does?

All secularism wants to do is get you damnable people out of the public square, free to practise your quaint rituals to your hearts’ content without forcing them on the rest of us through a privileged position with our national broadcaster, the BBC, and with the government, which seems ever more willing to foist more and more “faith” schools on the nation.