Showing posts with label christianity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label christianity. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Movie About An Atheist Making A Movie About Disproving God By Doing Satanic Things & Stuff

Michael King is making a documentary about being possessed in the movie The Possession of Michael King. (source)
I have a confession to make. Horror films scare me lots and I'm a big chicken. So I don't watch them. Anyway, there's this new horror film thing out there that seems to have a ridiculous premise around atheism. Here's a snippet from a review of The Possession of Michael King over at Variety.
As Michael (Shane Johnson, impressively committed) informs us at the outset, he’s an atheist, a condition that movies like this exist to rectify. By the next scene, his wife (Cara Pifko) is dead, partly due to advice she received from a psychic (Dale Dickey, seen too briefly), and Michael has waged a bitter one-man war on all religion, superstition and belief in the paranormal. Oddly, his campaign entails dabbling in the dark arts, participating in satanic rituals and attempting to summon the most diabolical forces known to man — all of which he captures on camera, in hopes that the demons’ non-activity will definitively disprove the existence of either God or the Devil. To say that his plan backfires would be an understatement, and understatement has no place in this silly, dunderheaded movie.
I like this opening paragraph of this review by Justin Chang because it points out the nauseatingly common trope of how atheism is something to be cured and follows through with a healthy mocking of the protagonist's ridiculous mission to disprove God. I can only assume that Chang rightly understands just how ridiculous this is and how much the creators of this silly sounding movie must not understand atheism or atheists.

I would leave it at that but we have this other review of the film over at the New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis. Snippet follows, immediately.
Dim in wits and lighting, “The Possession of Michael King” strains our eyes, spits on our intelligence and saps our generosity of spirit. Relatively untaxed, however, is the part of the brain that processes new experiences: There’s scarcely a shot or an idea in this first feature from David Jung that we haven’t seen many times before.
No doubt the atheism thing is merely a plot device to get into some totally disturbing and grody demon possession -- all the while remaining comfortably familiar if we're to believe Catsoulis.

What I find extra ironic is that even if this Michael character is an atheist, (who doesn't understand you cannot prove a negative), he still gets possessed by demons. Since when does that ever happen in real life? It always seems to be the strong believers who get possessed by demons. Well, I suppose that this single point could conceivably be the least believable part of the entire film -- which I won't see because I'm not into horror! Capiche?

I don't think I'll miss much. It turns out that Catsoulis also recommends giving it a miss.
“This isn’t what I wanted,” he moans when his eyes blacken and his bones contort. Viewers lining up to get their money back will probably be saying the same thing. 
I wonder how many church groups out there will want to use all or parts of this film in their Halloween Hell Houses? Pumpkin season is not too far away.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Shocking News! Christians Watch Porn! And They Talk About It Too.

In news that should shock no one, it turns out that Christian men and women actually watch porn. Don't worry though, they feel plenty guilty about it later. The uber-conservative Washington Times brings us this interesting article.

More than half of Christian men admit to watching pornography

The subtitle on the article is, Churchgoers more likely to self-diagnose as addicts, which confused me a little before I realized that true blue Christians are likely to see any porn consumption at all as a sign of addictive behaviour. Meanwhile, your average non-Christian is unlikely to see it as an addiction unless it begins to have a negative impact on other things like relationships or their jobs.
A new study by the Barna Group shows that 54 percent of Christian men and 15 percent of Christian women admitted to viewing pornography at least once a month, compared to 65 percent of men and 30 percent of women who identified as non-Christian and said they watched porn at the same rate.
I'd be willing to bet a nickel that the true numbers are higher. I'd be willing bet a quarter that the Christian group is likely to be even closer to the non-Christian group simply because of the added stigma and pressure coming from their religion telling them how incredibly wrong it is to consume pornography.
The survey did not break down Christian men who viewed pornography by their ages. But the poll did have age groupings for all male respondents, and 79 percent between the ages of 18 and 30 said they watch pornography at least monthly, while 29 percent of them said they view it daily.
The article does do the responsible thing and admit that porn addiction is nowhere to be found in the DSM manual.
The trouble is that “pornography addiction” doesn’t exist in the professional mental health community, said Joshua Grubbs, who focuses on clinical psychology of religion and addictive behavior patterns at Case Western University.

“It’s not a diagnosis that’s recognized,” he said. “I know there are some people who believe it is a diagnosis, but it’s not recognized by the community at large.”
There is no problem here at all except for all these Christian ministries that like to call porn an addition and then sell you Bible-based cures for it.

Which brings me back to the article itself. Although it contains some interesting parts, most of the article reads like a sort of infomercial for the site that sponsored the study -- which conveniently points out a problem they have the cure for. The site in question -- which the article misspelled -- is Proven Men Ministries.
Working through the Study and combined with either a Proven Men network partner or joining a small Proven Men support group, you can win your personal battle and live a life of freedom. But don’t cut the process short or rely in your own strength.
Support Group? Indeed, here's another tidbit from the website about Joel's personal struggle with masturbation and how talking about it to a bunch of other guys and talking about the Bible really helped.
The importance of others cannot be understated. I vividly remember the first time I heard a man say that he struggled with masturbation. I was shocked that he admitted it, but I was grateful. I had thought that I would take my secret life of lust and masturbation to the grave without ever telling another person. Hearing another Christian man admit his struggles gave me strength and encouragement to one day admit my own. We encouraged each other in many ways, such as praying for each other, calling each other during the week, and sharing struggles and victories. This is what Jesus taught. He did not send out His disciples alone, but two by two (Mark 6:7; Luke 10:1).
Uh... yeah... Dudes, in couples... alone but together... talking about masturbating. Hey, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I also covered a service before to help Christians who look at the sexy videos and do that masturbation thang in previous posts. Then there's Covenant Eyes. It emails your porn habits to your wife -- which could be either very sexy or... well... not so sexy depending on how compatible you guys really are.

I don't know why I find this so hilarious, but it's hilarious.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Let's Talk About Some Non-Dead Atheists, Shall We?

People keep writing reviews about Nick Spencer's new book, Atheists: The Origin of the Species, all over the place, so I'm guessing it might be worth a read to see what all this hullabaloo is about.

Anyway, Spencer wrote a short piece over at Politico about how amazingly surprising it is that so very few Americans identify themselves as atheists. I find it shocking that he finds this shocking. Really, I have no clue how he came to this conclusion unless he has a very narrow view on who are atheists.

Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?
You might think that America would be fertile ground for the rise of atheism. After all, the United States is the most scientifically advanced society in human existence, and as far as atheism has a history—and it is an oddly uncharted one—it is popularly believed to be of slow, steady scientific advance.
I cannot believe that Spencer doesn't realize that America is one of the most religious countries at this technological level and that atheists are the most despised, most distrusted minority in America. Did he do any research at all? Did he read any atheist websites, newsgroups or speak to any real atheists about this? Or is this just some sort of academic exercise?

He goes on to describe the 'myth' (he calls it one) that people were once ignorant about how the natural world works and so posited gods and spooks to explain natural phenomena. Then science came along and demonstrated how wrong these beliefs were. He then gives examples of famous scientists who believed in some form of a god and uses this as proof that the rise of science had nothing to do with the rise of disbelief.

He makes no mention of the Greek gods no longer physically living on Mount Olympus and the likes. I suppose the Greeks never believed in such things. Likewise, European fertility and harvest festivals were all just a commercial ploy to sell Green Men masks.

No it turns out that so few Americans are atheist because of politics.
In reality, the growth of atheism in Europe and America has much more to do with politics and, in particular, ecclesiastically backed politics, than it has with science, something that is clear even from its earliest days. The first person we can unequivocally call an atheist in modern Europe was a French Catholic priest who died in 1729. Jean Meslier led an unremarkable life at Étrépigny, in Champagne. On his death, however, friends discovered a manuscript, his “Testament,” which denounced all belief, all God and all religion with a frenzied anger that makes Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion seem like a work of reasoned scholarship.
The French philosophes had a more repressive church-controlled system to despise while the English system was more moderate and so they had less to rebel against. Because, to many theists out there atheism is all about rebellion, now isn't it?

Is this a book about another universe?

How about this for a quick theory. Atheists have been despised and persecuted for centuries by religious people and institutions -- The term was used as a pejorative against Socrates and early Christians even. In the past, you could get yourself into serious trouble or even killed for being a non-believer -- in some countries this is still the case. These days, you can only lose your job, your wife, your family, your entire support structure.

Then, painfully, inch by inch, people have been allotted a little more space to actually freely question their own religious beliefs and the beliefs of others. People started talking openly about their own atheism. That's it, I think.

But is Spencer really interested in atheists who are not philosophes? I'm really not sure.

Perhaps he should rename his book to: A Few Famous Atheist 'Philosophes' That Are Found Interesting By Christians: The Origin of the Species

I'm shocked he didn't include Camus or Nietzsche. I had my Bingo card ready.

Monday, 4 August 2014

"Left Behind" Marketing to 'Unbelievers'

There are some pretty clever movie posters for the new Left Behind starring Nicholas Cage over at their Facebook page.

Here's one directed at us... apparently. Although if it were me I'd likely either be laughing uncontrollably or facepalming incessantly.

More hilarious posters on the Facebook page.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Christian Alternative to "Fifty Shades of Grey" to Be Produced

Freestyle Releasing also brought us Return to Nuke 'Em High - Volume 1 the preview for which features a lesbian kiss and what looks like a relationship between a woman and her pet duck. No old fashioned chastity shown. I suspect this is aimed at a different audience. Whatever sells, right? (source)
So the company that brought us such classics as God's Not Dead, which looks dreadful and Return to Nuke 'Em High - Volume I -- which surprisingly appeals to the B-Movie nerd in me -- are shlocking together something or other to go up against the ghastly looking Fifty Shades of Grey flick due out on some terrible day in the our dystopic near future.

‘Fifty Shades’ to be Challenged by Faith-Based Romance

The tagline will apparently be: Chivalry makes a comeback.
Freestyle Releasing, which generated strong grosses for “God’s Not Dead,” is offering up a challenge next Valentine’s Day to “Fifty Shades of Grey” with faith-based romance “Old Fashioned.”

I wanted to tell a love story that takes the idea of Godly romance seriously,” said Rik Swartzwelder, writer-director and lead actor.  “A story that, without apology, explores the possibility of a higher standard in relationships; yet, is also fully aware of just how fragile we all are and doesn’t seek to heap guilt upon those of us that have made mistakes.”

After seeing the preview for Jesus People, another film released by Freestyle, I just don't know whether I should take this seriously or not. But then, they did release God Isn't Dead, so I suppose it really depends how much leeway Swartzwelder has.
“God’s Not Dead” topped $60 million earlier this year, representing by far the highest gross for any Freestyle release. Co-president Mark Borde asserted “Old Fashioned” is the first faith-based theatrical release to specifically target the “underserved” Christian singles audience.
Yeah, that sounds about as entertaining as Leave it to Beaver. Sorry, Beaver.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

"Poor Secular Kids Can't Tell (Biblical) 'Truth' From Fiction!"

I heard about a fascinating study last week on the David Pakman Show about how children raised with religion -- seems like Christianity in this study -- are less able to discern fact from fiction. I Fucking Love Science blog describes it well.
For the investigations, researchers enrolled 5- and 6- year old children and separated them into four groups: children who attend public school and church, children who attend public school but not church, children who attend parochial school and church and children who attend parochial school but not church.

They then exposed the children to three different types of stories- biblical (religious), fantastical (where the divine element was replaced with magic) or realistic (all supernatural elements removed). They then asked the children to judge whether the protagonist (lead character) was fictional or real.
So what happened was that both groups believed the completely realistic stories (read: naturalistic). Also predictably, the Biblical stories -- like Noah's Ark -- were predominantly judged as true by children from religious backgrounds and fictional from children from secular upbringings.

The interesting part comes with the fantastical stories.
Children exposed to religion, either through school or church, decided that the characters were real, whereas secular children judged them to be fictional.
So it seems like being raised to believe in certain supernatural stories opens up the door to all kinds of belief in the supernatural without evidence, while a grounding in a more naturalistic secular point of view inoculates kids against believing in magic. Really, both groups of kids are behaving perfectly consistently.

Fast-forward now to an article by David Roach in the Baptist Press.

Religious beliefs form by age 6

About the title. Personally, I think that if religious beliefs are cemented by the age of six, we should all be concerned. A six year old is not qualified to critically examine metaphysical truth claims or realise when they possess inadequate knowledge to come to a sound conclusion. This is why we ought to let their brains develop first.

Anyway, what's really amazing with this piece is how it tries to turn the conclusion of most media observers -- including the study authors -- on its head. It's the secular kids who are most impaired here because they're unable to see the Biblical accounts as non fiction!
Media reports of the study have tended to portray children with Christian training as ignorant or developmentally challenged. For example, the Huffington Post reported that “young children who are exposed to religion have a hard time differentiating between fact and fiction.” But a careful examination of the study suggests the opposite of what some media reports imply. In the rush to slam Christianity, it’s been overlooked that religious children correctly identified the true stories far more often than did secular children. After all, the “realistic” and “fantastical” stories were mere concoctions of the researchers’ imaginations, unlike the biblically-based stories, which were largely true though some changed the details of Bible stories and one was an apocryphal story about Jesus that contained elements similar to what is reported in the Gospels.
Roach had pointed out earlier in his article that some of the Biblical stories were somewhat Biblically inaccurate, so the children could be excused for not always believing those versions to be true. 

This is what happens when True or Non-Fictional equals, in all cases, what's in the Bible. Boat full of pairs of every kind of animal on the planet? TRUE! Earth created in six days? TRUE! Talking donkey? TRUE!

It turns out that the poor secular children were unable to properly identify all those Biblical accounts -- because, I suppose, they just evaluate the plausibility of these stories as they would the The Cat In the Hat or Jason And The Argonauts! Aren't they silly?
Still, the secular children misidentified the religious stories as false at a higher rate than the religious children misidentified the fantastical stories as true. In the end, the Christian worldview proved more effective at recognizing truth than the secular worldview.
Enormous... facepalm...

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Edmonton School Board Calls Off Christian Abstinence Sex Ed Class After Outrage

1950s sex education film, Secrets of Life. (source)
Just one day after the news of Christian-based abstinence-pushing sex education speakers addressing Edmonton public school students broke into corporate media -- as well as the Friendly Atheist blog -- the Edmonton School Board has backed down.

It came after Emily Dawson and her mother Kathy filed a human rights complaint against her high school for bringing in a education workshop from the Edmonton Pregnancy Care Centre.

There is a page in this site for churches who want the centre to present to their congregation. This is where organizations like the Pregnancy Centre should speak -- if they must --- not in a public school.
Provide us the opportunity to speak to your congregation – there are probably many individuals sitting in the pews that need a safe place to go and talk about their current or past situation in regards to an unexpected pregnancy or abortion. Many times after a presentation we are presented with the comment, “I had no idea that you did all this and that you are a Christian organization.”
Although blatantly obvious to many, the rest of the site doesn't exactly scream Christian. I get the feeling it's all sort of covert and on the downlow to buy the organization cred. After some digging though, you get to the juicier stuff.  Here's the guiding principles they were presumably going into McNally High School with last year.

  • Directed by Christ, we trust Him to accomplish His work through us.
  • In this spiritual battle, we must be armed; covered in prayer, ready, faithful, and skillful.
  • We are a client-focused organization that respects and values our clients, demonstrating in practical ways, the love of Christ to individuals.
  • While we believe in the sanctity of human life, we hold that our clients are free to make their decisions.
  • All supporters, including staff, volunteers and donors are vital to our ministry.

Their ministry, indeed.
“While we have a faith background, the religious part does not come up in the public school or education,” said Jutta Wittmeier, director of the Calgary centre.

“That’s just not part of the program, it’s science- and research-based.”
Oh no! Those Guiding Principles above just don't apply at all when they go into the public schools and say really Christ-like things like this:
“She did a lot of slut-shaming to the women, and pointed out the guys as horn-dogs,” Emily says. “She really ridiculed single-parent families, she made it sound like they all give birth to juvenile delinquents.”
I suppose we're all born fallen with our evil sin nature... or something.  I mean, no -- nothing religious here, folks! Completely secular when in public schools.

Naturally, they left all their fundamentalist Christian objections to same-sex relationships at the door as well. Of course they did!:
One classmate, Emily claims, asked about same-sex relationships.

“All those questions were shut down right away. She just said, ‘We’re not here to discuss that.’ ”
Likewise, as mentioned above, it was all science- and research-based:
The Dawsons’ complaints allege the presenter taught students that 60 per cent of boys carry the HPV sexually transmitted infection under their fingernails, that gonorrhea can kill you in three days, that girls should dress modestly to avoid inflaming boys. The allegations have not been proven.
Well, I'm sure glad this is not happening for now. We'll have to see just what sort of group replaces this one over at the Edmonton School Board. They need watching because any board that would choose this group shouldn't be trusted to choose another. I wonder just how many other horrible sex ed classes exist here in Canada.

I can only hope this will act as motivation for other students and parents to step forward.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Rick Santorum's New Sci-Fi Movie About Hobby Lobby & 'Decaying' Religious Freedoms

Thank you, America!

The movie offerings just keep coming and coming lately. The new Left Behind (with Nicholas Cage's face!), God is Not Dead, Dark Dungeons! The Principle? I simply do not have enough time in my day to suck in all of this. I feel like a kid trying to drink from a water hose.

Well now after a craft and hobby store has won a Supreme Court case that has resulted in corporations having freedom of religion (!!!!) -- brace yourselves, fellow Canadians, we cannot be too far behind! -- we get this glorious piece of poop from Rick Santorum that looks so bad it must do a complete wraparound and be absolutely fantabulous: One Generation Away. Skip below to see the trailer.

(edit 2014-07-02: The movie does seem to contain an interview with Dan Barker. I hope creative video editing and cutting doesn't misrepresent what he has to say.)

It's set in an alternate universe where the Christians in America risk losing all their religious freedom. Nay, they are only one generation away from being completely stripped of all their human rights.  Like that band of patriot rebels in Red Dawn, (the original with not-yet-cray Charlie Sheen, not the crappy remake), friendly national retail chain, Hobby Lobby, stands as a brave defender of Religious Freedom(tm).

It's the same kind of religious freedom that is often called upon when Christians do not wish to sell wedding cakes to 'the gays' or take their pictures. This is the God given right to deny some forms of birth control coverage to their employees -- because: religion! Right now, it seems sort of fuzzy exactly which forms will be allowed and which won't. But hey, now that the door is open, why not take away all forms of contraception? Who decides? Well corporations are people, so I guess they will.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed that its decision a day earlier extending religious rights to closely held corporations applies broadly to the contraceptive coverage requirement in the new health care law, not just the handful of methods the justices considered in their ruling. (AP)
Oh well.

Anyway back to the alternate universe now. Are they not oppressed?!! What, will it be back to lions in the Coliseum next? Such intense paranoia and victim playing of a group that is still clearly and utterly dominating. The scents of Christian privilege are strong and pungent like a runny French cheese.

Really now, Is this not a fine piece of science fiction? And such amazing timing too.

The movie trailer even features soundbites from the patron saint Ronald Reagan. And, of course, they pull out the Nazis, which I guess will rise again and take over if corporations aren't allowed to valiantly tighten their grips -- ever more slightly -- on women's uteruses. Oh, it will be a treat.

I am of course being sarcastic. For a Liberal observer like me, looking in from the outside, what I see is increasingly disturbing yet also so intensely ridiculous that I must laugh so as to not fall into a deep depression.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Chuck Norris Roundhouse Kicks Liberal-Minded Architects' Secular Conspiracy!

Before I proceed with this post, I have to come clean. When I was growing up in the 80s, I thought Chuck Norris was pretty badass and awesome with his amazing roundhouse kick etc. etc. This got me thinking though. I used to love the Dukes of Hazzard and lived for the next episode of Knight Rider. These days, I can't bear to sit through even half an episode of that tripe. Same for Chuck Norris, but his recent post in Town Hall was pretty entertaining in a confusing way.
Mrs. Superintendent, there's no surprise or mystery here. The problem is not the software but those programming it. As long as you have liberal-minded architects across the spectrum who only want to steer kids in their own particular secular and progressive direction, changing Internet filters all day long isn't going to change the educational outcome; students will be prohibited from conservative education. Website accessibility is no different from choosing textbooks or instructors in classes; if liberals are in control, liberalism is the education.
If creationists are in control then religiously motivated pseudoscience is the education. Sure, call the programmers liberal-minded architects across the spectrum -- what does that mean?!? -- who wish only to subvert children to be progressive. Wait, is that all they're being accused of? Oh, Chuck, if only that were true I would be a happier man.

Anyway, Norris is talking about a curious case down in Connecticut where a student tried to look up a bunch of horrible  conservative websites and was blocked by internet filters. I actually agree with Norris that this is bad, indeed. How is anyone supposed to access both sides of the argument and make an intelligent well-informed conclusion?

Well, I for one am sick and tired of being sick and tired of these progressive schools preventing students from consuming conservative clap trap and demand they follow the lead of conservative, fundamentalist Christians who have a wonderful track record of not censoring any views contrary to their own... nope... never... never, at all...
National Rifle Association website -- blocked. The Republican Party website -- blocked. National Right to Life website -- blocked. Pro-traditional marriage websites -- blocked. Vatican website -- blocked.

But here's what wasn't blocked in his continued Internet search: pro-gun-control websites, the Democratic Party website, the Planned Parenthood website, an LGBT website and an Islamic website.
I can't believe it, but I must say that Chuck is right. None of that stuff should be blocked. You may be thinking: 'How long can Chuck Norris remain the voice of reason?'

Well! Norris concludes that this is all a sign of the impending doom of American public schools. They are being turned into progressive indoctrination camps! --- Red Dawn! Or was that Invasion USA?
A high school's prohibiting conservative views isn't shocking to any of us who for decades have watched the dilapidating state of public education. It's just one more sign that public schools are little more than secular progressive indoctrination camps.
Then, with surprising elegance -- incorrect elegance -- he brings the founding fathers in like some kind of commando unit. Then he sings the praises of public schools and how these blocked websites show that students are only being fed one side of the issue and that true education doesn't fear alternative views or even falsehoods. 

I'm sure you know where this is going. He's using Internet filters and picking the bones of the founding fathers to call for intelligent design to be taught in public schools.
Jefferson was exactly right, too. Regardless of whether our views define truth and reality, an open education is about presenting every side of the coin -- no matter how ignorant or idiotic we believe another's views are or appear to be. That is why teaching about "intelligent design" and religion should be an integral part of every curriculum.
I know, why not during mythology class or perhaps religion class? Because it's not science! The vast vast majority of biologists agree.

No wait, while we're at it, let's learn about the geocentric universe. How about flat earth? What about a course of leeches to rebalance our humors? This article is increasing the bile in my system.
There is also no doubt about this: When we fear alternative views to the extent that we eliminate them from curricula, we have reduced education to nothing more than tyranny and indoctrination.
There is no fear of alternate views. There is concern that if these ridiculous unproven theories are taught alongside real science there will be even less time devoted to science. It's rather that these alternate views are not science and should not be taught in science class. Teach them in social studies.

Oh, and scientists(!) get to determine what's considered good science based on the scientific method. Who says a medical school should teach homeopathy and blood letting alongside accepted medicine? But the only reason we do not hear the likes of Chuck Norris proposing this is because he hasn't a horse in this race -- namely his religion compels him to try to hijack science to prove his God theory.

Speaking of god theories, Norris ends his piece with an appeal to see the movie God is Not Dead. He believes this movies addresses the very heart of this academic issue. Based on what I've heard about this movie, it in no way reflects reality in your average college philosophy setting.

You know, he's sort of like a male version of Victoria Jackson. By the way, she's running for office and I hope Chuck does too -- (and nobody votes for them)!

Charisma Finds An Atheist Who Opposes Gender Neutral Pronouns

I was waiting for online Christian news sites to weigh in on the recent Vancouver School Board decision to, among other things, let transgender students use the bathroom which corresponds to their own gender identity and the introduction of gender neutral pronouns.

For full disclosure, I'm personally fine with using these pronouns should someone ask me. In the past, I've written the gender neutral they to refer to someone who was moving away from their assigned gender identification. I don't mind if someone addresses me by gender neutral pronouns.

Anyway, I have a few problems with this Charisma story and I suppose they don't so much have to do with their position on gender politics at all. I have a pretty good idea where they stand on this and I'm happy letting them believe what they want to believe.

Even Atheists Oppose School Labeling Transexual Kids 'Xe,' 'Xem and 'Xyr'

First off, there is a difference between transgender and transsexual. It's my understanding that transgender is a sort of umbrella term in which transsexual is a category. Transsexual is when someone is so uncomfortable with their sex not matching their gender identity that they will opt for operations to correct their body and bring it properly in line. I'm not expert though.

Furthermore, the folks at Charisma do not seem to understand that atheism means a-theism, belief in no gods. That's it! You can have Republican atheists, Libertarian atheists, Communist atheists, gay atheists and homophobic atheists. What does this have to do with gender identity? Nothing!

Now, it's possible that many atheists may lean somewhat towards more liberal or progressive ideas when it comes to sex and gender issues because they do not have dogmatic baggage weighing them down with irrational fear and discomfort around these topics, but atheists can be skeeved by transgender people using regular restrooms just the same.

Then there's this language: "Even Atheists..." What's the deal with that, anyway? It's implying that honouring any requests by these kids to be referred to with gender neutral pronouns is so indecent that even horrendous godless atheists are against it. I mean, it must be really bad, right?

Look, I bet a quite a few Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Rastafarians and any other group has members who are completely against a few harmless pronouns. I'm sure you can find God fearing Christians who are convinced that uttering xyr to a seven year old will kill fourteen puppies and make Jesus cry. So what?

For the sake of curiosity, how many atheists did Charisma find to oppose these pronouns? Surely they didn't just find one atheist, right? Yes, they found one atheist.
Brendan O'Neill, who is an atheist, said that just because Austria's winning contestant Conchita Wurst wants to be referred to as "she" when performing in a dress, "does that mean we all have to comply with this rather strange demand, no questions asked?"

"Does objective reality—the fact that there are biological differences between men and women, and that the vast majority of humankind decides whether someone is a man or woman by those biological attributes—count for nothing in the face of one person's wish to be known as something he is not?" he asked.
Wow. Charisma, you have outdone yourself this time. This atheist accused the British Humanist Association of being 'intolerant to religious schools.'  This atheist wrote a long screechy rant about how annoying (other) atheists are and how he dreads meeting one at a party.

Unless logic recoils from him and creeps under his desk to huddle in the fetal position whenever he puts finger to keyboard, one can only assume that, by extension, he could very well be one of the worlds most self-loathing atheists. Read the comments section. Even his own atheist readers cannot stand his position on atheists.

Anyway, good for Charisma. They found an atheist who agrees with them on the transgender thing. They can keep him.

Friday, 13 June 2014

And So Frank Schaeffer Also Said...

A couple of days ago, I wrote about the confusion that is reading Frank Schaeffer's article all about how he's an atheist who believes in God.
He is using some alternate definition of atheist here. Pray to whom? A theist who harbours doubts is not an atheist - they are still a theist. A theist who does not have absolute certainty is just as theist-y as an atheist who does not have absolute certainty is atheist-y. Could someone show him the chart?
Well, there's more Schaeffer talk over at HuffPo now. It seems he's taken to the ever-popular Dawkins poke. That's a strategic move where people - say people who wish to sell their new book or movie - will say something directed towards the most popular atheist on the planet in hopes, perhaps, of drumming up a little controversy.
“Richard Dawkins, you are in the same boat I am in,” he said. “You don’t have any revealed truth either. I wish we would all just admit that. I embrace that paradox. That is the human condition. Deal with it.”
Excellent poke, sir. I hope it brings you much press.

Of course, this only further demonstrates just how severely Schaeffer does not understand that atheists do not require revealed truth to not accept the wild claims that any god exists. It's not my job as an atheist to disprove every theist's claims of the existence of yet another deity or other.

It would also be nice if he were to actually take a look at Dawkin's own position on theistic probability.

Of course, an atheist who believes in God is also exactly the sort of thing many Christians would love to buy into. Many evangelicals seem to believe that atheists like me actually believe in their god - either consciously or at some weird deeper level, because how could anyone not believe in God?

Although I believe Schaeffer is sincere in his completely inconsistent state of a believing atheist -- maybe this is some odd transitional state? --  I cannot help to see how many theists will eat this all up.

Friday, 30 May 2014

"Left Behind" Remake: Watch the First Trailer Here

So many goodbad movies, so little time to watch them!

There's Dark Dungeons! Ooooooh the acting does look deliciously horrendous in that one!

Now, we get the first trailer of the Nicholas Cage remake of Left Behind! Finally something to properly follow that Wicker Man remake!

This movie is all about something many Christians seem to always obsess over- When is all this gonna end, anyway? When can this workaday life end so I can spend all my eternity hanging around with God? When can I jam with St. Peter on the harp for a zillion years? When do I actually get to see that dude from my wife's gym whom I caught having sex with her burning forever in Hell? Or something. I've never gotten a clear picture of what heaven is supposed to really be.

Since this film has Cage in it, we can expect it to be way more edifying than other end-of-world disaster porn films like 2012 or porn disaster porn films like Countdown! Although Nicholas Cage's presence in this film will give Countdown a run for its money when it comes to a wide array of contorted facial expressions. I'm also sure his supporting cast will provide a healthy dose of stilted dialogue and ejaculations of 'Oh God!' to be healthy competition for Wicked Pictures.

Anyway, one of the protagonists in the movie, who is apparently not good enough to get raptured up in the first batch of airline pilots, school bus drivers ... babysitters... neurosurgeons... etc. asks this very poignant question.
"The God that my mother talked about would never do something like this!"
I agree with her. This god is quite the douche.

In fact, this god would appear to be a monster - that would be an understatement. Unless he's addicted to disaster porn like much of the movie going audience seems to be. Hey, maybe we're all part of a disaster porn Matrix?

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Frank Turek & 'Natural Marriage' Is Naturally Ridiculous

Hey kids, want to read some ridiculous bullcrap about natural marriage and how it's better for everyone to because - biology?

Frank Turek
is seems committed to let us all know just how dangerous the gay agenda is to everyone. He has authored pieces with titles like Freedom: Another Casualty of the Gay Agenda and has written this trilogy all about same-sex marriage.

Same Sex Marriage: Stealing Rights From God

Natural Marriage is Not Bigotry, It's Biology

Same Sex Marriage: Stealing Heresy From God

In part the first, Turek asks whether same sex marriage can truly be a right. I will admit that I mostly skimmed through it, but it seems like nobody can have their rights unless they first ask Turek's god. Since this god doesn't appear very often to people, has stopped releasing memos since the first century and hasn't gotten the hang of mass media, we have to rely on people like Frank to let us know what his god wants us to do with our junk and whom we should get hitched with.

Frank says we should absolutely not get hitched with people who have the same junk downstairs as we do. Hey, don't blame him - we get our rights from his god and he's just telling it like it is.

God also hates shrimp, mixed fabrics and any number of other things -- I'm sure he meant to also forbid slavery and racism but was too busy with the seafood and clothing etc. etc. to get to it.  Turek probably realizes we never got permission to marry people we love from his god and, in the end, isn't it much more important to prevent people from getting their rights because of your own interpretation of a 2,000 year old book? Of course it is.

In part the second, Frank spells out the sad truth. Not only can we not have the right to marry people whom we love with a certain sort of genitalia - because: God - but we also can't do it because: Biology (aka Science!) You see, it's never him, it's just God and Science. Sorry!
If all of these observations make you mad, don't blame me-I didn't make up the facts of nature. I didn't make up the fact that men were made for women and that babies only come from their unions. I didn't make up the fact that mothers and fathers are different and bring unique parenting skills and benefits to their children. I didn't make up the universe in such a way that children tend to turn out better when raised by a biological mom and dad. I didn't make up the fact that we all have desires we ought not act on, regardless if we are born with those desires or acquire them in life. These aren't "my" truths or my morality. They are self-evident truths. They are not hard to know-just sometimes hard to accept.
Men were apparently made for women - or was it women made for men? - I can never remember my Bible. I'm guessing it has to do with penises and vaginas. I'll let Turek correct me about what his god tells him is the correct case.

Babies do, of course, come from men and women having intercourse - when God doesn't miscarry them 20% of the time. Fooey. What about heteresexual couples who cannot have children? Should they be denied marriage? It sounds like their union would be unnatural and so illegal.

What of the noble institution of adoption? My wife and I are on a waiting list to adopt and we've heard plenty of stories of children who were not better off with their biological parents. How about putting the children into homes where they will be loved and not abused?  What a freaking concept.

Last time I checked, like single-parent families, gay and lesbian families do have access to 'father figures' or 'mother figures'. The child isn't snatched in the night and put on a plane to a lesbian compound where they will have no access to older role models.

There is in fact no scientific evidence of same-sex parent families producing worse outcomes for children. Furthermore, these self-evident truths of Turek's are his alone - no matter how self-consciously he denies this. When you limit the rights of other human beings you require more than just a declaration of truths which just so happen to coincide with your narrow religious world view. You need to demonstrate real and actual harm to other people before you start taking away rights and making peoples' lives miserable.

In part the third, we learn about the gay mafia who have utterly and completely destroyed the constitution.
This new right is so powerful it has completely wiped out the old rights that our founding fathers enshrined in our Constitution: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association.
What is this horrid new right? It must be pretty terrifying to have done such damage to the American democracy. It's... gay people getting married!

IS THAT IT? I think we have actual problems to deal with on this planet.

Yep. What the hell's wrong with folks like Turek? How could he possibly think that his right to believe his nonsense, spout it on his website and in publications like Christian Post etc. is at all threatened by consenting adults marrying the ones they love?
Liberals can't justify why same-sex marriage is right. Nevertheless, they want to legislate it as a right and will convict you of heresy if you fail to bow to it. Florists, bakers, photographers, Internet CEOs and speakers like myself have all discovered personally that the people who say they are fighting for "tolerance" are often the most intolerant. In the name of "inclusion and diversity," those of us who have a diverse view are being excluded because we don't exhibit lock-step conformity to their intolerant agenda. We are being fired and fined for exercising our real God-given rights. How can this be? We can't work because of our political views-views that are firmly rooted in the biological facts of nature. Is this still America?
Florists and bakers are perfectly welcome to post their views of homosexuality on their front doors. Perhaps they could all submit themselves to an online registry so that gays and lesbians along with pro-equality folks like me would know whom to avoid like to the plague. In return, they would never need worry about baking cakes or providing flowers to filthy homosexuals. I can't take credit for this idea, Dan Savage proposed it on his podcast.

My father-in-law was black. He was alive at a time where black families who wished to drive in the United States and Canada had to purchase a Negro Motorist Green Book so as to know where they would be served by shops, gas stations etc. Imagine you're driving down a road having eaten something that has not agreed with you and it wants to come out. You see gas station restroom after restroom go by - each one reminding you of your place - but your book tells you you must drive on for 20 miles. Oh, but it's their right to discriminated. It's what God wants, I'm sure.

As for the Internet CEO. He doesn't appear to like the gays getting married. This is a view that is growing increasingly repugnant to a larger and larger portion of society. The consumers let Mozilla know and he resigned. Such is unfettered capitalism. This is not a limitation of rights. Is Turek not into capitalism?

Why stand in the way of people's happiness? Why make it hard on parents and children? Why not do something good and spend your time trying to reduce suffering rather than spread it?

Monday, 19 May 2014

Did You Miss "God Loves Uganda" on PBS Too?

What a freakin' let down. Although I am up here in Canada, my cable package still has a PBS option. Unfortunately, the option in question is one of the affiliates that does not seem to carry Independent Lens, which is the documentary program that's airing God Loves Uganda in its entirety right now.

But, if you're like me, you may be able to catch it when it's released in full episode form on another PBS affiliate. I've got my eyes on WNET 13 in NY. We'll see how that goes.

If all that doesn't pan out, I've got it at May 21st at 7:30pm Eastern over at World Channel.

And finally, I could be an honest man and pony up the money to buy the DVD from the actual movie makers!

All in all, I probably ought to watch this film and I think you should too!

The Role of Witchcraft & Religion In the Central African Republic Conflict

Refugees from Central African Republic due to 2014 fighting. (source)

My ongoing weekend migraine - sorcery induced, no doubt - has prevented me from writing anything substantial for the blog.  So here's a link to an interesting story about the role of religion and belief in witchcraft in the war torn Central African Republic.

Sorcery at War

Here's a hint. Belief in witchcraft exasperates any sort of license to do wrong religion may provide and religion acts as a nice holy sanctioned dividing line between Christians and Muslims. However, the other of the piece, assures us that it's not religion - it's all politics.
And yet casting the conflict in religious terms is a poor way to understand it. The war was caused not by sectarian differences, but by political and economic grievances, the products of systematic neglect of Muslim areas by the government once run by François Bozizé, a general backed by Chad and France. Religious divisions mapped onto, and exacerbated, senses of longstanding economic and political injustice.

And if the violence has reached fearsome levels in the last few months, it is partly because a pervasive belief in sorcery among Central Africans has mapped onto and exacerbated Christian-Muslim divisions.
Political and economic grievances which apparently resulted from discriminatory government policy based on religious in-group/out-group attitudes. I suppose if they were all Christian or Muslim, they would find some other way to segregate the Northerners from the Southerners, but for now, it really does look to me like religion had a role to play here as a divisive tool.

Of course this is more complicated! I don't know anything about the situation in this country so I'll take his word for it. It's possible that, like North Ireland, an essentially political situation is codified in a religious language and outlook. This codification allows people to essentially do horrible things in the name of their religion and God. Witchcraft takes it to a whole new level of bad.

I'm certain the majority of New York Times readers can see just how tragic it is for unfounded beliefs in witchcraft leading to death and injury is. I wonder how many realize that the same is true for religion?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

VIDEO: "Cross Fit" By Jesus

Awhile back I tried the PX90 Workout. I nearly died, but it did work.

Well, now there's a cross fit program designed specifically for Christians!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Time For Politics, Prayers & Pancakes!

Almost time for another National Prayer Breakfast! This Thursday, a bunch of our politicians will all get together to eat flapjacks, listen to ecumenical speakers and pray together.
The purpose of the National Prayer Breakfast is to invite leaders to meet in the spirit of Jesus Christ in order to pray together. This is an annual ecumenical event offered under the auspices of the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons and organized by a group of dedicated volunteers.

At the heart of the National Prayer Breakfast is a small group of Parliamentarians from different political parties who meet for breakfast each Wednesday morning while Parliament is in session. The annual National Prayer Breakfast is more visible, but the weekly meetings are far more significant. The weekly meetings provide opportunities for deeper friendships to flourish and grow.

Through genuine friendships built on the Spirit of Jesus, it is hoped that individuals can discover ways of being together which cross many religious, social and political boundaries in order to bless the lives of many.
It's not a big deal like in the States, you know. I've read only about 1/3 of our politicians even show up. Such absenteeism would be unconscionable at the big Washington event. Bill O'Reilly would take you down with some Talking Points Memo or something.

Attendance is so lax that you'll even find Green Party Leader, Elizabeth May bemoaning that you'll never find Prime Minister Stephen Harper at our Prayer Breakfast. (She recently got some press for scooting down to the Washington Prayer Breakfast mainly on the public dime.)
The Annual National Prayer Breakfast. This one may surprise some folks. It was always the case that the Prime Minister attended, just as the US President has for 62 years sponsored the Washington DC equivalent. Premiers always attend the provincial annual prayer breakfasts. With about 1,000 attendees, all parties are represented at the Ottawa one, and the Conservatives usually by Jason Kenney. Not Stephen Harper.
(February 22nd, 2014)

Now, if Harper is too cool for these breakfasts, they must be pretty lame, right? No, just sayin'.

This breakfast is probably a good thing. It allows me to sort of tell where my representatives stand, so to speak. Unlike America's version, where you must attend or be brandished a godless communist heathen, here in Canada it's optional. This means these people are sincere about this - they're not all just posing to avoid the wrath of the religious right. They're the diehards.

I also like it because it's being held at the Westin, not inside Parliament Hill.

I also like it because it appears to be, as far as I can tell, 100% funded by a charity fundraiser.  I suppose my only beef here would be if it were tax-deductible though. That annoys me a little.

Listen up! Perhaps either the CFI or perhaps another new organization could organize a National Humanist Breakfast along these lines. Then invite all the MPs and Senators 'round to listen to a speaker like they do at the Christian event. Maybe we could make them listen to Neil Degrasse Tyson, Bill Nye or Stephen Fry.

We'd know who's who pretty quick.

I'm serious here. Would this not be a good idea?

Friday, 2 May 2014

Pasadena's Health Director Anti-Evolution, Anti-Gay, Anti-Disney etc. & Satan's Everywhere...

Pasadena Public Health Director and fundamentalist, conspiracy theorist, anti same sex marriage, 
homophobic, islamophobic, anti-Disney, witchcraft-fearing, anti-evolutionist  and who knows what else, Eric Walsh

Here's a story about Pasadena Public Health Director, Eric Walsh, who's also a minister at a Seventh Day Adventist church. It's a very interesting story because Walsh is a very interesting person. Apologies, I meant to say «interesting» person.

Pasadena's anti-evolution, anti-gay health director has some explaining to do

He's got some fascinating opinions about evolution - and a bunch of other kooky stuff. Honestly, I don't think most people could offend more people if they tried. And he seems to do it so naturally.
In videos that came to light this week and that record him delivering a series of sermons, he denounces homosexuality as a sin, describes evolution as a “religion created by Satan” and says the prophet Muhammad was a Satanist. He contends that God does not recognize any second marriage following a divorce unless the first was destroyed by adultery. He’s also no big fan of plastic surgery or Disney.
More specifically, he believes Disney is a "dark empire" of superstition and witchcraft. Just thought I'd clear that up.

I bet I could correctly guess his opinion about climate change!

Well, he was going to do the commencement speech over at the Pasadena City College - but now the school and likely most students no longer want him. College kids today and their progressive ideas, I'm telling you! Incidentally, the original speaker they had in mind was uninvited because a sex tape made with his boyfriend was leaked. To be honest, in this day and age, what's the problem with this? Doesn't everyone who's anyone have a leaked sex tape? I think they should ask him back - at least he's not Eric Walsh.
It does seem the burden is on Walsh, however. He might start by explaining how a person holding a position that requires some scientific knowledge can dismiss the fact of human evolution. Someone ought to look up what grade he got in biology.
One only hopes he had some belief in germ theory at least, right? It would put him back a century or so, but at least he would clear the Middle Ages.

I think the city would be better off without him.

You'll find the good doctor at least purportedly pushing a 30-Day Health Recovery Program over at The Original Plan which describes itself as a Bible-based Health Ministry Medical Missionary Network. You'll find suggestions bordering precariously on woo. However, I'm not certain about the legitimacy of this site. Honestly, after reading about the sermons - it's hard for me to tell what's likely or unlikely here.

Edit 2014-05-02: Just after hitting 'Publish' I find this more detailed account over at the Pasadena Star-News: Pasadena Public Health Director Dr. Eric Walsh placed on administrative leave after homophobic sermon furor

Monday, 28 April 2014

British Atheists Ought To Thank Their Lucky Stars They Live In A Christian Country

I was beginning to think that, after a week or so of silence, Christian columnists had finally stopped telling us atheists how to be proper non-believers; how we'll never match up to Camus ( 1, 2 ) or Nietzsche; how we whine too much ( 1, 2 ); how militant we are; how we've usurped the definition of atheist; how we cannot make true acts of self sacrifice. I was beginning to think they had moved on to something else and left me in a real lurch where I would have to think for myself.

Well, lucky me! Tim Stanley, columnist from the Daily Telegraph, a fine publication from over the pond that takes great pains to educate godless heathens like me, has reminded me that militant atheists ought to be bloody happy they live in a Christian Nation. Thank you for your guidance!

To prove his hypothesis he uses a slick alternative history like in a science fiction novel or something Rod Serling - who's in Hell now, incidentally - would write.
In fact, contemporary secularists owe Christians a big thank you for the contemporary church/state divide.
Thank you, Christians of history!

That must be why all those Puritans left uber peaceful religious Britain and went to the US of A so they could freely practice their religions in peace and harmony with each other - stopping only occasionally to burn a few pesky witches and be peaceful with the local heathen natives. Later, they all sat down together in a room and found the Constitution each sitting upon their collective Christian foundations.
Secularism, in its western form, derives ultimately not from Greek philosophy, nor Roman law, nor even from Enlightenment anticlericalism, but rather from teachings and presumptions that are specifically Christian. Its fons et origo is to be found in the celebrated retort of Jesus to the Pharisees who had thought to catch him out by asking whether it was lawful to pay taxes to Rome: "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
Thankfully, the Christians in Rome continued to live in a purely secular Roman empire - even after Christianity was declared the official religion. Thus began centuries of pluralistic, multicultural and tolerant governance of Europe by the freedom loving Popes who were all really big on letting all sorts of Christians, Jews and especially atheists practice freedom of thought, conscience and speech.

Actually, I think this might not really be quite accurate. What the hell is Stanley talking about?

In a sort of smashup summary of some of the defenders of Britains Christianityness, the folks over at CharismaNews quote more of Stanley in their article, Why Atheists Should Be Grateful to Live in a Christian Nation.
“Of course, we’re not Christian in the sense that everyone attends church three or four times a week—but church attendance has been rising and falling since the 1500s and isn’t doing nearly as badly as you think. Either way, we’re Christian in the same sense that we’re Europeans. It’s a part of our cultural makeup,” he adds.
Oh no. We're not Christian in the sense that anyone actually feels compelled to go to church or actually believes in it or anything. However, like God, there is some sort of wispy thingy drifting across the foggy metaphorical moors like some kind of nebulous Zeitgeist... or is it a Platonic Form? Idea? Archetype? Meaningless Word Thingy?
On Thursday, the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said, “It is a historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true) that our main systems of ethics, the way we do law and justice, the values of society, how we decide what is fair, the protection of the poor, and most of the way we look at society ... all have been shaped by and founded on Christianity.”
It's also a historical fact that much of early Christian theology seems to be a freaky lovechild birthed from Neoplatonism and Judaism. Don't forget all that foundation we've got from centuries of who knows what. Oh, and don't forget our common ape ancestors who, no doubt, behaved much worse than any of our modern day church primate.

Here is the deep part of this post. Get ready for it: Things are based on things.

You know, that sort of thing has been going on for, well, forever really. So, I guess my response to that would have to be big woopty doo.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

No, Actually We Are All Funding Your Anti-Gay Christian University.

Well, Fr. Raymond de Souza never got back to me about his wild claim that the Office of Religious Freedom actually said anything at all in defense of a jailed atheist in Turkey. I only posted to his Twitter account. Maybe he missed that. No surprise there.

But you know who I do think was a little surprised during the Michael Enright panel discussion about religion's place in the public square: The Public God? - panelist Janet Epp Buckingham.

It happened towards the beginning of the audience questions and I'll go into it below. But for now I'll take a few guesses. Perhaps she came to a realization that her 'private' Christian university is still given tax breaks which amount to public funding? Or maybe her surprise was over anyone even questioning the privilege inherent for religious institutions such as Trinity Western University? Perhaps she was just annoyed to have to point out that religious institutions deserve our public money but can behave however they please.

During the panel discussion, which is only partly available over at CBC, but is still over at Stitcher, moderator Michael Enright asked the panelist what religion's place is in the public sphere.
Janet Buckingham (JB) (7:57) I think religion should have a place at the table like other interests or identities. It shouldn't be excluded. It has a lot to add to public discourse but it shouldn't have a privileged place and certainly institutional religion shouldn't have a privileged place.
How unexpectedly reasonable. I like that she emphasized that institutional religion should definitely not have a privileged place; like private Christian university.

Alas, my relief was not to last. Later in the discussion, Moustafa Bayoumi, asked Buckingham about whether Trinity Western University - a Christian school at which she is currently an Associate Professor and that forbids their students from homosexual relationships - actually receives any federal funds.
Moustafa Bayoumi (MB) (33:30)  I have a question for Janet if I may. Are there public funds also for the university or is it fully private?

JB It is a fully private university.

MB So there are no public funds there?

JB No.

MB So in that case, I think that in a pluralistic complex society that we also have to admit the space for those things we may find objectionable. So I actually have no problem with the university although I might disagree with it on a very fundamental level.
You know, I agree with Moustafa to a point. He went on to talk about Bob Jones University and how their  backward racist views eventually cost them their tax-exempt status; or in other words, their public supplemental funding.
MB ... they also were getting - as many universities do, even the private schools - were getting some state public funds for it. And then what happened was, not that the university was shut down, but that they just lost any kind of state funding...
At this point another panelist chimed in and it sounds to me like a third panelist, Alia Hogben, I believe, also showed support:
?? ... If Trinity Western, however, asks for public money to support their law school then I think we've crossed a line between closed secularism and open secularism.
So this is pretty covered, right? I mean, that horse has been thoroughly beaten. Janet Buckingham states that religion is owed no special treatment and the entire panel agrees that it just wouldn't be right for the Trinity Western University - or its new Law School - to discriminate against anyone if they were getting any public funds.

I had read that the school was in fact receiving public funds before. Maybe I heard wrong. I mean there it was from the horses mouth. I remember thinking to myself as I heard the recording that surely the school must not be receiving a dime of public funding or else she would have corrected their previous statements and not consented with her silence. Otherwise, one might suspect her of telling a lie.

Well, in the Q&A period with the audience, someone (??) asked her this.
?? (1h06m) Quick question for Janet. I believe the donations to Western Trinity University are tax-deductible are they not? 

JB Like they are to other religious charities. 

?? Right, and as such would that not mean that you would now be using money from the public sphere and now you're also proscribed by the public public sphere? 

JB Well then have to require that the Roman Catholic Church allow their...

?? Agreed! 

JB ... priests to marry and that they have women priests. But we don't allow the state to interfere with religious beliefs and practices any more than we allow religion to interfere with the state.
Uhm... Oopsie.

Well, I suppose tax deductible donations count as public funds. The public pays the taxes. And the fact that all religious charities get it is yet another cause for concern, believe me. The fact this school is even classified as a religious charity confuses me a little as well.

Then I went digging and gets worse.
The Harper government has awarded over $20 million of its infrastructure funding to Christian colleges and universities since the launch of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program in 2009.

Some of the schools receiving federal infrastructure funds prohibit things like homosexual relationships, based on the educational institution's moral code or religious teachings.

A new analysis by Radio-Canada finds that out of the $2 billion allocated in the Harper government's 2009 Economic Action Plan to support infrastructure improvements at universities and colleges, $20 million went to 13 Christian schools, including:
  • $6 million for Crandall University of Moncton, N.B.
  • nearly $3 million for Ancaster, Ont.-based Redeemer University College.
  • $2.6 million for Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C..
As an aside, it makes sense this was found out by the French language public radio broadcaster because half the time I think the English media in the country is willfully ignorant of state endorsement of religion. Anyway, check out last year's Charity and Giving Report for over at the Canada Revenue Agency.

I would guess that $5,498,766 in receipted donations would be tax-deductible. Then we have government funding of $1,404,902. This pattern goes back years. It looks to me like I've been funding institutionalized discrimination against LGBT people by a religious institution. Could someone please explain this?
"The federal government should not subsidize institutions that have discriminatory practices," said Robert Johnson, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

While the amount of funding may be small, "it is still very symbolic, because it gives legitimacy to these colleges and these institutions," Johnson says. "And it is especially surprising in a context where the postsecondary system – universities, public colleges in Canada – are underfunded."
The federal government is getting their money from you and me.

It seems to me that Janet Epp Buckingham clearly denied that Trinity Western University was receiving any public funding. Then less than an hour later she admitted those who donate to the school receive tax-deductions. Then I find this news article and CRA report that suggests the Harper government handed millions to the school. I would love to hear her explanation for these apparent contradictions.