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Saturday, 24 December 2011

We’re taking a break – Happy Christmas, folks!

Time to wish everyone a Happy Christmas, I reckon. Note that I’m not averse to using that term (and the link here tells you why), even though this is a blog that looks towards a nonreligious view of our universe.

And that brings me to Christmas cards. We see a story in the Daily Mail (where else?) whingeing about how stores are “ashamed” to sell religious cards, “but obscene ones litter the High Street”, the headline concludes.

“Christian leaders” are once again wheeled out to complain about this – but, you know, I can’t say I’d noticed. I’ve seen religious cards on sale in several places and never given them a second thought.

The “ashamed” tag above seems to come from one such “Christian leader”, our old friend Stephen Green of Christian Voice. He says he believes there’s anti-Christian prejudice; there’s “militant atheism and nasty secularism” (there are some nasty Christians and those of other religious persuasions about, Mr Green, too, you know, but you think it “nasty” only because it doesn’t agree with you).

Then we get Don Horrocks of the Evangelical Alliance, who says supermarkets “appear” to be ashamed to sell religious Christmas cards.

So, a scientifically carried-out statistical study, then? Seems not. I can’t prove them wrong, but I think we need more rigorous evidence than that these gentlemen have seen some saucy cards and not many religious ones. Let’s face it, they’d ideally wish to see all Christmas cards as religious, because they can’t see that Christianity took over the festivals that we had at this time of year.

As for your humble blogger, well, I don’t buy religious cards. I don’t especially object to receiving them. I look for cards that are Christmassy, in all the ways that word sums up joy and friends and some relaxation and maybe a bit too much to eat and drink. Cards with reindeer, with Santa, with lots of snow, village scenes – these are the sorts I’d buy. I used to buy humanist ones, but felt I was preaching (Christians, take note).

Right, then. Happy Christmas to all those who’ve looked in on the Pink Triangle blog over the past year. Have a Happy New Year, too. We’re closing down from today till the first week in the New Year.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Out of Africa: homophobia – and religion is behind it

Leo Igwe gets everywhere – and deserves to do so. Fresh from a long article in the new Pink Humanist, he has now appeared in Digital Journal, the Toronto-based online news source.

He’s a brave campaigner indeed, and he’s convinced – according to this article – that religion is behind most of the hatred of gays that comes out of Africa.

“I would say religion is behind most, not all of the homophobia coming out of Africa,” he says “Religion permeates all aspects of mainstream social, moral and cultural thought.

“Most homophobes use religion as a basis, as a justification of their hatred and antagonism. I have also encountered non religious Africans who are homophobic and they base their homophobia on what they claim to be the unnaturality of homosexuality.”

Monday, 12 December 2011

Another pillock

Here’s another moron who thinks being gay is a lifestyle choice. But he’s a religious nut, so what do you expect?

And this utter turd – Rev. James Gracie from the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) – has caused controversy by likening being gay to paedophilia, polygamy and theft.

What are these people on, for goodness’ sake? Certainly not anything that teaches them understanding, compassion and a sense of natural justice – the things many Christians pride themselves on having (and some, indeed, have, but not this nutter).

Seems it’s all part of religion’s battle to prevent the Scottish government from legalising gay marriage.

The story’s in Pink News.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Now you see it, now you don’t, now you do

I don’t know what it says about attitudes that a school in Michigan in the USA edited the word “gay” out of a Christmas song.

Well, it was the music teacher, according to this story. Then the school put the word back again.

It comes in a line in “Deck the Halls”, which reads “Don we now our gay apparel.” Your humble blogger makes use of the line in a Christmas article in the new Pink Humanist

The teacher took the word “gay” out and substituted “bright”, not necessary because she was homophobic, but because the pesky kids giggled every time they sang it.

Even allowing that kids will be kids, it says something about the way the word is still used as a minor insult, or that homosexuality is somehow funny (well, it can be funny, but we’re not talking Alan Carr here).

Thursday, 8 December 2011

US foreign aid – and how gays are treated in recipient countries

US foreign aid – and how gays are treated in recipient countries Looks as if the USA is telling some homophobic countries what for. A memorandum from the White House says the administration will weight up how it distributes foreign aid depending on how countries treat their gay citizens.

The Middle East and Africa come in for criticism, according to this story.

And Hillary Clinton has told a gathering in Geneva: “Gay rights are human rights.”

Monday, 5 December 2011

In the Pink – new gay humanist magazine hits the cyberstreets

A new magazine for humanists who are gay or gay-friendly has just launched. The Pink Humanist is published by the owners of this blog, the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT), and edited by Freethinker editor Barry Duke.

Duke, a veteran gay journalist and photographer, formerly of Brighton, now languishing in Benidorm on Spain’s Costa Blanca (lucky bastard!), has put together a colourful mix of articles, including one that Freethinker readers will recognise as a fine display of his own acerbic, cut-to-the-chase (or cut-to-the-jugular) voice.

Here is the press release the magazine has put out today:
The UK gay Humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) has re-launched its online magazine with a new title, The Pink Humanist.

The PTT, which was founded in 1992, started publishing a printed magazine entitled Gay & Lesbian Humanist back in 1993 and continued this until it went online in 2008.

Though described as an LGBT publication, the new magazine is aimed at all atheists, Humanists, sceptics and freethinkers and is the only one of its kind worldwide.

The editor of The Pink Humanist is Barry Duke who is well known in UK atheist and Humanist circles as the editor of the Freethinker, a monthly journal which was founded in 1881. Duke was also closely associated with the National Secular Society for many years.

Contributors to the first issue of The Pink Humanist include Russian gay activist Nikolai Alekseev, who has been praised by human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell for “his amazing, ground-breaking work over many years”.

Barry Duke said: “As editor of the oldest freethought magazine in the world, I am delighted to have been invited to launch the newest.

“Since 1974, I have devoted my life to promoting LGBT rights, atheism, Humanism and rationalism, and The Pink Humanist will, I hope, help raise awareness of the need to challenge religious privilege wherever it occurs in public life, and stem the rising tide of homophobia, especially in Africa where mainly foreign evangelicals have been allowed to muddy the waters of tolerance and generate unprecedented levels of hostility towards the LGBT community.

“My hope, too, is that freethought writers from all over the world will donate original articles, comments and reviews for inclusion in future issues of the publication.”
In the current issue, there’s a piece on Britain’s greatest code breaker, Alan Turing; an article on Andrew Haigh’s recently released Weekend, which has been wowing critics and audiences around the world; a piece on the plight of gays in Russia; an article by Yours Truly about the use of the word “Christmas”; and much, much more, as well as an audio blog by freelance writer and voiceover artist Andrew John, of Celtica Radio, who takes a few pots at the hoo-ha over the latest Benetton ad, featuring the Pope kissing a fella, and the twit who coined the word “Gaystapo” (which we blogged about recently).

So do pop in, browse around, leave some comments and some votes. Especially on my article. Only joking.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Leo Igwe on barbaric bill in Nigeria

Leo Igwe of the Nigerian Humanist Movement has just issued a statement about the bill to be passed in Nigeria outlawing all kinds of things to do with same-sex relationships. See the post here. Here’s Igwe’s statement in full:

I condemn in no uncertain terms the recent passage by the Senate of the the anti gay marriage bill. The passage of this bill once again demonstrates how disconnected Nigerian politicians and lawmakers are from the realities of the 21st century. It has confirmed that our lawmakers indeed prefer to fiddle while our social, political and economic house called Nigeria, burns. Otherwise how does one explain the relevance of this bill at a time when Nigeria has become almost a failed state due to terrorist attacks, sectarian violence, corruption, poverty, diseases, abuse of office, tribalism and nepotism, misguided politics and mistaken sense of statecraft?

The passage of this bill has shown clearly how misplaced our priorities are. Or better, how misplaced the priorities of those who claim to lead this country are. Our senators should answer this question clearly, How does an anti-gay marriage bill contribute to the greatest good of the greatest number of Nigerians?

Does this bill put food on their table or money in their pocket? No. Does it provide them with jobs? No. Does it enhance their much needed security and peaceful coexistence? No. Does it improve the standard of education in the country? No. Does it make Nigerian parents more responsible in terms of child support, upbringing and other family responsibilities? No. Does it improve the love and harmony in homes and communities across the country? No. Will this bill improve trust in marriages and relationships in Nigeria? No. Will it in any way strengthen the much talked about marriage institution or family values? No. Can the senators tell me the practical, political, moral relevance of this bill except to legislate and institutionalize hatred and persecution of minorities, gay cleansing, moral hypocrisy and inquisition.

The true test of a democracy is not how it panders to the so called will (real or imagined) of the majority, but how it treats and respects its minority. The test of a society’s humanity is how it protects and defends vulnerable members of the population. And with this bill, has the Nigerian democracy and society failed this test? The answer is an unequivocal Yes.

This anti gay marriage bill is a clear indictment of our sense of common humanity and our commitment to human rights principles as a people and as a nation. The state cannot legislate when it comes to sexual relationships among consenting adults. The politicians and lawmakers cannot dictate for adults whom to relate with. Lawmakers have no business in the bedroom of adults. For me this anti gay marriage bill is another pointer to where we have chosen to go as a nation – backwards. Today the global trend is to unban, not to ban gay marriage.

The Senate vote to ban gay marriage is another indication of how our politicians have refused to confront our real challenges and to tackle and address our real, urgent and pressing problems as a nation and as a people. Instead our lawmakers prefer to pursue shadows and to engage in wasteful debates and counter productive legislations. The whole idea of debating and passing a bill against gay marriage which has been going on since 2006 is a waste of our limited legislative resource, a huge distraction from more pressing issues and a mark of our warped sense of politics and law making. In fact it is an abuse of Nigeria’s legislative space. The obsession with homophobia among our lawmakers is unwarranted and uncalled for. It is rather an indication of political impotency and emptiness, lack of vision, focus and politically expedient programs for nation building and good governance.

I want to know from our senators and all those clamouring for anti-gay marriage legislation the rationale behind such a bill in a country where homosexuality is a crime. Can any gay marriage act or pact legally stand in a situation where homosexuality is illegal? The answer is no. So why do our Senators think we need an anti gay marriage legislation at this time?. Today as we all know most countries are striving to make their laws compatible and not in conflict with human rights. They are either reviewing, amending or repealing legislations like those against homosexuality, the death penalty and blasphemy, that not in line with human rights, or introducing new laws that are in accordance with human rights.

And instead of moving forward with these countries and working towards repealing obnoxious laws, our politicians and lawmakers prefer to move backward by tightening the laws against homosexuality on the basis of religious and fanatical sentiments, and ill defined sense of African culture and tradition. Culture is not static. Culture is diverse and dynamic. There were acts, norms and habits deemed culturally unacceptable centuries ago but which are commonplace cultural practices today. Those who are saying that respecting people with homosexual orientation is unAfrican are really misrepresenting the African culture. If there is anything history tells us it that Africans have been traditionally tolerant of people with same sexual orientation prior to the introduction of criminal provisions based on the alien religions of Christianity and Islam. African politicians and lawmakers should make African traditions compatible with human rights. Unfortunately, the anti-gay marriage bill entrenches and legalizes homophobia not human rights. Not only in Nigeria but in most parts of Africa, there is a growing trend to tighten laws against homosexuality and to ban gay marriage. There is a escalation of the clampdown on those really or imagined to be homosexuals in Ghana, Cameroun, Gambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Senegal, Malawi, Kenya etc.

Meanwhile, there has been some vague reference to the recent threat by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who, at the recent meeting of the Commonwealth to cut aid to countries that do not reform legislations banning homosexuality. Some have interpreted the statement as an attempt by the UK to impose its values on the rest of the world. I don’t think this is the case. Britain is a democratic country where the people’s voices and opinions matter.

I believe that the so called threat was a reflection of the voices and wishes of the British people. Britain has decriminalized homosexuality and has made significant progress in the protection of the rights of gay people. The British government is simply saying that they cannot be protecting the rights of homosexual persons and also be providing aid or financial assistance to countries where the same people, who are protected under British law, are persecuted or treated as criminals. No country even Nigeria would agree to provide aid or assistance to countries where black people are treated as criminals or thrown into jail because of the colour of their skin. How then do we expect Britain to extend aid to countries that persecute and legislate against individuals based on their sexual orientation? But this is the simple logic which the homophobia of many African politicians and lawmakers cannot understand or appreciate.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Here’s hoping you find this in
your Christmas cake, Mr O’

Our old fiend (spelling deliberate) Cardinal Keith O’Brien is at it again: denouncing love.

Well, he would say that what he’s actually denouncing is evil.

This leader of the Catholic Deluded Herd in Scotland is another of those who think same-sex marriage is some kind of threat to opposite-sex marriage.

He joined other figures yesterday to deliver speeches outside the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.

“The Roman Catholic Church intends to deliver 20,000 postcards to the Scottish Parliament signed by Scottish people who oppose gay marriage,” says Pink News.

It quotes O’Brien as saying: “As an institution, marriage long predates the existence of any state or government. It was not created by government and should not be changed by them.

“Instead, recognising the innumerable benefits which marriage brings to society they should act to protect and uphold it, not attack or dismantle it.

“At the heart of this debate, however, there is one perspective which seems to be completely lost or ignored: it is the point of view of the child.

“All children deserve to begin life with a mother and father; the evidence in favour of the stability and wellbeing which this provides is overwhelming and unequivocal.”

Well allow me to correct you, you blithering evil oaf. Marriage as a legal institution, which is what this is all about, was created by governments. Who else could make it a legal thing? Whether you recognise a couple’s union as marriage by your hocus-pocus – sorry, religious – terminology is up to you, but don’t expect sane people to take you seriously, you pompous arsehole.

(Sorry, I’m getting a bit carried away here, but this ridiculous tosser has just got right up my nose, the pillock.)

Marriage as a religious institution was created by people – men. You, Mr O’Brien, would claim, I assume – though you don’t in this story – that it was created by God. That’s tosh, I’m afraid. There is no evidence whatsoever. Anyway, he told me he had nothing to do with it.

Then there’s this shit about kids. Whatever the debate about whether a kid is better brought up by a male and a female, the fact is that gay people adopt kids who might otherwise languish till adulthood in institutions. As for creating kids using surrogacy, I’m a tiny bit iffy. While there are kids in institutions wanting stable homes, it seems a bit of a waste to add another consumer to the mix, but there you go – that’s not our argument here.

What kids deserve, Mr O-sodding-Brien, is a stable loving home. There are gay couples aplenty just ready, willing and able to provide it.

Basically, you’re talking crap to support your prejudice – a prejudice that betrays an intrinsic moral evil in you and your kind.

I hope you find a rat in your Christmas cake.