Showing posts with label fundamentalism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fundamentalism. Show all posts

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Christian Radio Host: Ebola May Solve America's Atheism Problem

Rick Wiles (source)
There's this guy on TruNews Christian radio who keeps on saying these really false and offensive things -- most likely to get attention. Recently he was going on about Gay Nazism.

His name is Rick Wiles, and he just said this:
"Now this Ebola epidemic can become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming… Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion."
"If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper."
Holy cow! Fourteen hundred people have gotten this disease and suffered brutally and over 800 have died. We have orphaned children because both parents have died. Or is that his solution? I suppose if we were all dead we wouldn't have any of those things Wiles is against. Seriously though, wishing a plague on those who you do not approve, really?

Oh, but it's not him... God did it, right? Is he not aware that a large proportion of the affected populations are Christian? Does he even care about those people over there?

In fact the only two Americans infected with the disease so far are both Christian missionaries! Ebola case count in gay San Francisco: zero.

As for having the blood of Jesus upon you, whatever the hell that means, it would appear that the only effective treatment so far is purely scientific. Oh, and then there is the new experimental drug ZMapp being developed by scientists. Wiles can keep his Jesus blood, I'll go for the medical treatments, thank you.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Republican Candidate & Former Chaplain: Exorcise The Atheists!

Gordon Klingenschmitt. Future member of Colorado State House? (source)
I usually let other blogs cover the American news and try to keep this one more focused on Canadian or international stories. Sometimes, though, the cray is so intense from down there, I just cannot ignore it. Take, for example, the recent comments by Colorado state house Republican Candidate and former military chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Klingenschmitt was reacting to the US Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal brought forward by a Wisconsin school district. The district was successfully sued by Americans United for Separation of Church and State for holding its graduation ceremony in a church.

Anyway, Klingenschmitt thinks that what whiny atheists need is a good old fashioned exorcism to chase out the demons with which they are obviously possessed -- why else would they be atheists? Then they'd stop complaining about having to sit in churches.
"If the atheist complainer is so uncomfortable when they walk into a church that there's something inside of them squirming and making them feel these feelings of hatred toward the cross of Jesus Christ, don't you think it's something inside of the atheist complainer that's wrong?"

"I have a solution," he continued. "Let's do an exorcism and cast the Devil out of them and then they'll feel comfortable when they walk into church..."
Although some atheists may feel uncomfortable in churches -- due, perhaps to real trauma -- many have no problems with this. I think churches are magnificent buildings. I just have problems with public schools endorsing a particular religion, that's all.

Also, some atheists may not be keen on Jesus, while others have no problem whatsoever with him. Being an atheist doesn't mean you hate Jesus, or God. It means you don't believe in gods.

Isn't it also nice the way he suggests that there is something flawed or wrong with 'the atheist?'

Then there's the brilliant solution of forced exorcism. Half joking? Suggesting? Planting the idea of gross human rights violations?

I'm pretty sure he's not really serious. Although this could be a good case study for why atheist chaplains are required in the US military.

Hypothetically though, dragging people to get excommunicated reminds me a little of some countries that will throw you in jail if you don't observe Ramadan. Just sayin'.

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)!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Oh Thanks, I Never Thought of It That Way!

While listening to a Classic Interview on The David Pakman Show - if  you're a liberal progressive like me you should give them a listen and support them with a membership - I heard Harold Camping follower, Allison Warden, talk about what May 21st 2011 would bring for all those unsaved people like me (and probably David Pakman too).

During the interview, she expressed a very important point that I had not previously considered.  She also pointed out that during the Deluge, it rained for forty days. This, ultimately meant, I suppose that some people had all forty days to attempt to save themselves.
Entering that five month period of judgment it's obviously... the Bible describes it as weeping and gnashing of teeth... it's going to be an extremely devastating realization to know that the Bible was true, God was real, Salvation isn't possible. Uhm, and.. essentially, sort of like Noah's Day with the flood where you have forty days of rain the water... you know people didn't drown... [inaudible]...
I had never considered this. Why don't they make a movie about this?

Presumably the mothers and fathers of this time were not so evil as to neglect their children or the species would cease to exist. So I could imagine mothers and fathers clinging on to their babies and going for days upward ever more to the highest peak in the land. Moving constantly with nothing to eat. Mothers' milk going dry with stress to the frustration of hungry newborns. At the end, after two, ten, fifteen or forty days, they would no doubt stretch their arms out and lift their babies up in desperation as the water flooded into their mouths and nostrils robbing them of life. Their babies would, of course, drown moments later. And God would be watching approvingly to every second.

What a wonderful picture. I wonder how long it took?  How many days and weeks of fear and suffering - before every single person breathed their last breath? How can anyone hold such a graphic image in their minds and believe in and love this God?

Thank goodness this is no more than a dreadful myth.

It's a mystery to me.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pattison Outdoor's Latest Grody Billboard Choice Gives Greenpeace 'Hey, Wait A Minute!' Moment

I'm sure you've all been keeping track. Last year, the big God-fearin' always-puttin-up-controversial-anti-abortion-billboards company, Pattison, rejected CFI's signs in Vancouver.

Then, more recently, they put up an absolutely ridiculous climate change denial advert. This evil deed was for - winner of the most Orwellian named organization - Friends* of Science. Why not do a little light reading about how much this group is allegedly in bed with energy companies (and here too)?

Now the latest oily leak to come, bubbling and gushing out of a pipe somewhere soiling upon the pristine widesky prairie, hearkens back to 2012. Back then, Pattison decided - for no discernable reason - to reject an anti-oil, pro-solar energy Greenpeace ad in Edmonton.  You know, when you think about it, it's sort of the same thing as the Friends ad but in reverse! Friends of Science is sort of like the Yang to Greenpeace's Ying, or something.

Well Greenpeace sees the similarity here and they don't like it. Understandably miffed, they are complaining and pointing out a bit of a double standard, a pattern that's as plain as day to see. Well, us atheists got the message awhile back.

Greenpeace sees Pattison accepting Friends of Science billboards as:
... from the anti-science, oil industry funded, front group ‘Friends of Science.’ In addition to the ad being inflammatory, factually incorrect, the billboard is likely the last message, the most carbon polluting Province in the country,needs to see, yet there it is up on Pattison’s billboard in Calgary.
It's true. For one thing, they claim Earth is to scale with our sun in the picture, but the distance is all off.  I don't think we'd have to worry much about global warming or what sorts of billboards get put up if we really were that close to the sun and completely burnt to a crisp and all, eh?  ---- Oh and then there's the tiny point that this billboard patently flies in the face of the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are the primary driving factor for climate change. Succinctly put: it's a crock of shit.

Beyond being fucking annoying, what a huge counterproductive mistake that was - for humans to be doing, in general, I mean. Think of the carbon footprint involved in putting up these things!

Now, Greenpeace are left 'to wonder if there isn’t an agenda that (Pattison Outdoor) are trying to promote.'

Gee, you think so? Company owner, Jim Pattison appears to be nothing more than a science denying, big oil supporting, anti-atheist/humanist evangelical Christian. No surprises there.

HuffPo digs a little further. They provide a 'totally convincing denial' from Pattison Outdoor that there was any sort of discrimination at all.
Pattison Outdoor president Randy Otto told the Calgary Herald that the decision not to run the billboard was "a business decision relating to Greenpeace," although he did not specify the issue.
Oh well, silly me. That clears everything up.

The same HuffPo article even has this infuriating quote from Len Maier on Tuesday.
"First of all, our message is backed up by peer-reviewed science. Secondly, we’re getting an excellent response from around the world.”

Did you just lose a bit of your lunch or supper? Well, some of mine just tried desperately to come back up but I was able to keep it down by thinking nice thoughts about the latest episode of Cosmos I watched. Yes, must keep thinking nice thoughts. Must not become enraged and break something.

When it comes to the peer reviewing, I could only imagine this must be 2% of so-called climate change skeptic scientists reviewing the remaining %1 while the rest of the scientific community -- 97%-- stand by helplessly wretching uncontrollably and nearly facepalming themselves to a pulpy death.

If you feel like pounding your forehead until it bleeds, you can read and watch the Friends' 'excellent response.' Go ahead, have plenty of napkins nearby and lock your windows and knife drawers first. Maybe consider a quick pop over to a notary public to make sure your living will is in order.

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?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Toni Braxton: My Son's Autism Is God's Payback For My Previous Abortion

Toni Braxton in Romania, 2012 (source)

Ever since it was posted on this blog's Facebook Page today, I've been dying to comment on this outrageous story.

Toni Braxton laments son’s autism as ‘God’s payback’ for abortion

It's all in her upcoming memoir, Unbreak My Heart.

Back in 2001, Braxton got pregnant but was taking Accutane for her acne, which has been known to cause birth defects. She also decided it wasn't the right time to have a baby. Hence, she had an abortion. I don't see a problem with this, but Braxton was raised in an uber cult-like Christian family and so apparently still feels immense guilt for this.
Braxton notes in her book that she grew up in a very strict household where she was forced to fast for two weeks during Lent, could not wear pants, and often had to neglect her homework in order to memorize Scripture. At the church where she and her family attended, students were forced to memorize at least 25 Scriptures per week.
What paints her God as a horrendous monster is that she honestly wonders whether her parents' divorce was caused by her abortion. Presumably God inflicted great pain and suffering onto her parents because of something she did.
She also believed that God may be punishing her with a diagnosis of lupus and her parents' divorce.
Because he wasn't done yet, apparently this God also decided that her son be autistic. Oh no, sorry, he let him have autism.
‘I have sometimes wondered whether God was punishing me for the abortion I had years ago by allowing my son to have autism. Or by giving me so many health issues’, she writes.
I honestly wonder what this says about her thoughts of autistic people as well. I know autistic children and adults and this kind of talk - of an affliction - can be seen as rather offensive. My own son and wife are both autistic and I do not see them as punishments from some (non-existent) God.

On top of this, jerk-God decided to also give Braxton Lupus. What a dick. And just how many abortions has he let happen recently?

Among women who know they are pregnant, the miscarriage rate is roughly 15-20%. Miscarriage may occur for many reasons, not all of which can be identified. Some of these causes include genetic, uterine, or hormonal abnormalities, reproductive tract infections, and tissue rejection. Miscarriage caused by invasive prenatal diagnosis (chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis) is rare (about 1%).
Not to mention being strangled by their own umbilical cords!

Although she's been through a lot and it's not easy. I notice a common thread in all of these cases; they all point back to Toni Braxton and something she did. This can be either seen as rather self-centered of her or a symptom of way way too much guilt and ownership of a bad situation. This appears to be an unhealthy condition and the cause is a twisted up guilt-ridden religious view that attaches unproven consequences onto unrelated actions. Being ex-Catholic, I think I might get some of it.

I hope Braxton can try to get over this and realize it is not anything she did, but that will require getting over the sort of abuse it looks like she had to endure. I think she owes it to her kids to try.

Oh, and it is infact, even worse than it sounds. In her upcoming memoir, Braxton also mentions that her second son's Autism symptoms just so happened to coincide with the MMR vaccine. If you're going to go off the superstitious conspiracy theory deep end, you may as well go for broke.
"Maybe it's just a coincidence that after my son's first MMR vaccine, I began to notice changes in him," Braxton noted in the book.

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!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Christian "Prophetess" Sets Her Daughter On Fire to Drive Out "Witchcraft"

Bose Oluwole (source)
Things don't seem to be going particularly well in parts of Nigeria. In one region we have a band of insane militants, the Boko Haram, who are kidnapping girls, 'converting' them to Islam and selling them off to be married.

This piles on top of their recent anti-homosexual laws that prescribe jail sentences to anyone who dares love someone of the same gender. All of this is, of course, calculated to pander to certain religious elements in the country. Nevermind the north of the country where, thanks to Sharia Law, you can be stoned to death for being gay.

There seem to be many problems here that have one common root: strong, fundamentalist and mostly blind religious belief grounding in anything at all but fact. Otherwise known as too much religion and not enough education and critical thinking.

Oh, and don't forget Helen Ukpabio, who runs her odious Liberty Gospel Church where she pumps out ghastly films that portray children and babies as being possessed by the devil.

This last point leads me directly into this horrific story, which could be a snapshot of a much broader problem in a country that itself seems to be possessed by irrational belief.

Police nab ‘prophetess’ for setting 9-yr-old daughter ablaze

She's a prophetess and member of the Celestial Church, which seems to be an uber fundamentalist ascetic Christian sect that have a whole whack of prohibitions.

One day, while praying, she had a vision her daughter was a witch.
She told the police during interrogation: “I was only obeying God’s instruction. I had a vision while praying that my daughter is from the witchcraft world. When I prayed to God over it, I received an instruction through the Holy Spirit to burn my daughter’s body in order to deliver her from the evil society.”
This woman is clearly mentally ill - I suppose much like Abraham was before he nearly killed Isaac, I mean, who can really tell the difference, right? I'm guessing she truly must believe that Biblical story.
The girl identified as Damilola was said to have thereafter been rushed to Epe General Hospital by the policemen, where she is currently receiving treatment for what doctors described as first degree burns.
I suppose we should be thankful it's only first degree burns. This brave girl bolted out of the house and cried out for help in the street. Youths, who were visibly angry and frustrated by this insanity, put out the fires and saved her from life-threatening injuries.

Oh, and the girl's mother, who admitted to doing this, is pleading not guilty.

More education. More critical thinking schools. Less groundless belief in stories exalting the irrational, the dangerous.

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

Friday, 18 April 2014

Keep Nigerian Child Witch Hunter Out: Human Rights Groups Petition UK Home Office

For Helen Ukpabio Spiritual Attacks can come from innocent little babies or mermaids.

I've written about her before and now I'll write about her again. The fact that witch hunter Helen Ukpabio is a menace to her fellow Nigerians is well-known, but now she's travelled to London to spread her vile and harmful superstitions into the United Kingdom.

Nigerian 'witch-hunter' who claims any child who cries is a 'servant of Satan' could be banned from the UK over fears she is a risk to youngsters

Britain has every right to keep out dangerous criminals who incite fear of children which undeniably leads to child abuse.
She uses her sermons to incite hatred, intolerance and persecution of alleged witches and wizards. 
Her supporters, of which there are many in West Africa, believe she is a servant of God who has helped eradicate spiritual ailments from humankind. 
Her beliefs – promoted through her publications (Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft), films (End of the Wicked) and sermons - fuel witchcraft accusations against children in the region.
Leo Igwe has written about her dreadful shenanigans.  She has literally convinced parents that the cause of their earthly misfortunes are their own children - who are witches and working for the devil. This has lead to the horrendous abuse and abandonment portrayed in Channel 4's Saving Africa's Witch Children.
The documentary will feature shocking stories of torture inflicted on children, including a 13-year-old who was tied up with chicken wire and starved and beaten for two weeks, and a 14-year-old girl who was burned with acid before her mother attempted to bury her alive. 
One 17-year-old was left brain-damaged after having a three-inch nail driven into her skull.
Don't think Ukpabio is part of the problem? Here's what Wikipedia has to say.
Ukpabio has published her views in several books. An example is 'Unveiling The Mysteries of Witchcraft', in which she states that: 
'If a child under the age of two screams in the night, cries and is always feverish with deteriorating health he or she is a servant of Satan.' 
A fact not mentioned in the book is that these symptoms are common in young children, especially in areas like Nigeria with poor health and high levels of malaria. 
She also produces a number of films to spread the view that children can become possessed by evil spirits through her film production company, Liberty Films, part of the Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries franchise. The most famous of these is End of The Wicked in which child actors are shown to eat human flesh and murder their parents.
Oh, and she also believes mermaids are a real problem as well!

The Witchcraft and Human Rights Information Network (WHRIN), which I have written about in the past, is one of the groups demanding that she be banned from ever reentering the country - which I wholeheartedly support. They are petitioning Home Secretary Theresa May to deny entry into the UK based on the very sensible argument that it is not conductive for the common good. You know, because she makes films demonizing little children and claims Satan infects babies with fevers.

They mentioned something rather interesting as well:
In a letter to Ms May, the campaigners warn: ‘Whilst the Government has moved swiftly to block entry to the UK for Islamic preachers whose presence is considered as harmful to the public good, there have been no cases of Christian pastors facing such measures.’
That's interesting, too.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

More On "Bring Back The Blasphemy Laws" Tristan Emmanuel

A few days ago, I think I could have been responsible for exposing a good chunk of Reddit to Tristan Emmanuel and a ridiculous video he made demanding that the United States bring back blasphemy laws because a comedian was making jokes at the expense of his god.

No, no, Emmanuel isn't from Saudi Arabia, Iran or Yemen. He's actually Canadian. Sorry, America.

Now that I've had a little time to digest Mr. Emmanuel's screed, I'd like to break it down a bit.

Here, apparently, are a couple of things that Maher said that were so utterly offensive to Emmanuel.
“… the thing that’s really disturbing about Noah isn’t that it is silly, it’s that it’s immoral. It’s about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God… What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he’s mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie.” — Bill Maher
“Hey, God, you know, you’re kind of a dick when you’re in a movie with Russell Crowe and you’re the one with anger issues.” — Bill Maher.
Bill Maher speaks the truth.

Apparently, a father who murders every living thing on the planet - including little babies and all animal life - isn't a psychopathic murdering dick so long as he's God. I think that Maher brings up some very good points which deserve proper addressing. Instead though we get this response.
Bill Maher is known for being an offensive anti-Christian bigot. It’s his trademark. But this time he’s gone too far. ...
There is nothing bigoted about referring to heinous acts which are attributed to the Christian god in the Bible. Apparently, though, Emmanuel doesn't see these actions of his God as being any problem at all.

The video Emmanuel is referencing, in its entirety:

I'm not usually a Maher fan, but I'll have to admit this is a pretty excellent commentary. Compared to Emmanuel's response it's like night and day.

Part of Emmanuel's analysis of people like Maher - e.g. atheists who speak their minds:
The problem with people like Maher — and rabble like Richard Dawkins and the late burning-in-hell Christopher Hitchens — is their lack of moral character. They are what Psalm 14 says, corrupt. That is to say they are morally bankrupt men who refuse to be honest with the evidence all around them.
It's statements like this that still make me stop and question whether this is just an elaborate prank. How could anyone be so incredibly childish and flippant when it comes to people burning in hell? Is this no more than link bait?

It makes me wonder if Emmanuel's mouth is at all interfaced with his brain or if there is some sort of sociopathy going on here. This is not meant to be a slander in any way to Emmanuel. It just makes me wonder if he is even taking his own message seriously.

As for hating God, sure, I have an intense dislike of the God painted in the Bible and a wide range of feelings towards the various personal gods that Christians and spiritual people have described to me - because, in my experience, the vast majority of Christians out there have to dampen or blur the Biblical image of God in order to even tolerate the idea of worshipping such a fiend.

In the end though, due to lack of any evidence, my dislike is focused upon a fictional character the idea of which has lead society to many bad things in days past and present.

In case you missed it though, Emmanuel does give us a response to Maher's charge. Too bad it makes no sense whatsoever. Someone, if you can please decipher what Emmanuel means by this incoherent rant, let me know.
That’s what they have in common with the Devil. He hates God too. He’s so blinded by this hatred he’s convinced himself — and a legion of other fools — that there is no God and, if there is one, He is evil because everything he does is twisted and egotistical.  That is basically what Maher was saying when he accused God of being immoral by punishing the people of the world with the flood.
What? Syntax Error. Does not compute.

What we do know it that Emmanuel knows God, personally and no matter what the Bible might say he is here to defend his good buddy.
I don’t know Maher. And I have no reason to hate him. But I do know God. And Maher’s public vilification of God is the most offensive and slanderous thing I have ever heard.  Frankly, if a Christian doesn’t have a gut wrenching reaction about this, I’ve really got to question him.
And Emmanuel, in his dislike of Obama, tries to offer this winning logic.
Which raises a question: If it is acceptable to slander and profane the name of God then why not publicly vilify and slander President Barack Obama?  I, for one, don’t believe in his presidency, like Maher doesn’t believe in God. And, I also think Obama is immoral, perhaps even a lunatic???
First off, Emmanuel is a Canadian citizen, so I am unaware anything negative would come of him doing this. People would merely think he's badly deluded.

That said, I welcome him to go ahead and vilify, slander and profane someone of some really high standing with lots of money and legal recourse. As far as I am concerned, it's then up to the person who is being vilified to press charges against the person who is spreading lies and slander about him. The same could be said for God - who I'm sure could press charges and afford the very best lawyers.

I think Emmanuel may discover a critical difference in consequences between slandering God and slandering a living person: the latter will likely sue him while the first - barring some amazing miracle - will do no such thing. His god has to rely on lackeys like Emmanuel to defend his name on account of not existing.

Anyway, it's at this point that Emmanuel goes into a sort of enthusiastic description of all the sorts of barbarous and tortuous penalties that the United States and many other civilized countries have left behind in their dark pasts. Some countries, like Saudi Arabia or Iran still have brutal penalties for blasphemy - the crime against no one (real at least). Perhaps Emmanuel would feel more comfortable in one of these places. He certainly seems to be pining for those lost days.

After all this disturbing frothy-mouthed torture porn, he drags out the requisite threats of divine retribution and prophesizes that the end is near and that America is hanging on by a thin thread of long-suffering divine justice. 
If we are unwilling to hold blasphemers accountable, the almighty judge of the world will.
Good! Finally something sensible. If he is so certain of this then why not let his god do his job and stop his meddling? Or does he, at some level have some lingering doubts about whether his god is up to task to defend himself? How embarrassing for him if this god should prove impotent or - even worse - non existent.

Shortly after his video started receiving attention from Reddit and other outlets, Emmanuel deleted and disabled all comments and commenting and disabled ratings. He then left this silly comment in the description box to all of us atheists who were critical of the video.
NOTE: To all you "courteous" atheists and your allies who claim to be "Christian," I have suspended comments for this video not because I fear debate - OH PLEASE?!?! You think your brand of hate-mail intimidates me? I gave everyone two days to actually make a reasonable point but instead the host of you proved over and over that you are not interested in debate. And that led me to conclude you are not capable of civil discourse. You assert that I'm ignorant and filled with hate...LOL!!! Wow, you should read how hate filled most of you are. I wonder if any of you have the guts to face the flurry of insults I've received and still live to talk about it??? You have demonstrated no real conviction. No courage. No genuine interest in discussion over differences. Just your ignorance, insults and hate. Say what you want about my opinion, but most of you didn't even listen to the point I was making. Instead you jumped to conclusions because of the headline. No, I won't give any of you a platform on my channel to showcase your ignorance of the Bible or your fowl mouth and your lack of comprehension skills. Besides which, for those of you who say, "God can defend himself... he doesn't need Tristan..." Well doesn't the same go for Bill Maher?? He doesn't need your brand of ignorance... coupled with your fowl mouth. He is totally capable of doing that all on his own!!! As for the rest of you, leave your insults in someone else's inbox. In fact, send your complaints to Obama... see if he'll intervene as your messiah.
I think it's pretty rich to post something like this after putting out his video. How else would he expect people to react?

I also wonder what his god would think - if he existed - about being compared to Bill Maher! One would not expect the creator of the Universe to require anything at all - especially not this sort of defense.

As for Bill Maher, I'm certain that a great deal of the respondents fall into the same camp as myself. I'm no huge fan of Maher but Tristan Emmanuel's video wasn't suggesting the law be changed to exclude Maher's right to free speech (which would be wrong anyway). The video was suggesting a return to laws the would muzzle the free speech of everyone who dares to criticize, question or ridicule Emmanuel's idea of God.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Canadian Conservative Activist Wants Atheists Like Bill Maher Punished For Blasphemy

Tristan Emmanuel (source)

The intensely irritating Tristan Emmanuel - who I am ashamed to say is also Canadian - has released what appears to be none other than a kind of fatwa against comedian Bill Maher - and by extension, any atheists out there who wish to challenge or ridicule his god.

Like some religious fanatics in places like Iran or Yemen, Mr Emmanuel wants the US to bring back strong anti-blasphemy laws to protect his apparently feeble vulnerable god from criticism and mockery from a mere television comedian. Seeing his all powerful deity being mocked upsets Emmanuel and rather than turning the channel, he feels the need to demand that everyone stops making fun of Him.

Rather than let his god fight his own battles, Emmanuel feels the need to call for a return to the Middle Ages when questioning or ridiculing deities was met with imprisonment and perhaps also torture or death - if you read into his words the right way.

I'm absolutely livid right now - both at Emmanuel and at his sweater. I can only guess that as the leader of the loony Freedom Press Canada, he's trolling for attention.  I'll likely respond more rationally when I've had time to calm down a bit.
Listen, Maher is no favourite to everyone. Even Christopher Hitchens didn't appear to like him or his style, but wanting to bring back blasphemy laws to protect your imaginary sky daddy? Really?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Game Developers Believe Satan Himself Is Undermining Their Project

So... Satan, otherwise known as Lucifer - who rebelled against God and did battle with immortals - has taken time out of his busy schedule to declare unholy war on a small software company in California. This is a significant step up from possessing someone's thrift shop sweater.

Abraham game makers believe they are in a fight with Satan

The title, of course, is yet another example of the distorting effect of our devil-backed secular media. There is no believe here. It must be true. How else could you explain Phoenix Interactive's $100,000 Kickstarter campaign ending up with only $19,000? Checkmate, skeptics.

The game is described like this on the Kickstarter page.
The Call of Abraham is a single player, third person role playing video game which follows the story of Abraham in the Bible. The player takes on the role of a fictional Elamite outcast who is hired onto Abraham's caravan before departing Haran.   This character was formerly a soldier of Elam and has skills that are very important for a perilous journey into unknown lands.
It's nice that they point out that your character is the fictional one. We need to keep the historical separate from the fictional here.

Of course, this funding shortfall is some demonic work. What else could explain why they've had a hard time getting their project off the ground. It's, of course, highly unlikely it has anything to do with not enough people wanting to support the project. No, that's too obvious.  I'd support it myself but... the devil's in the details.

When asked by the author of this article Colin Campbell if they really do believe that Satan is literally working to confound their plans to release the game; that the Devil is really scheming against them, they were certain.
"I believe that, 100 percent," replies Richard Gaeta, a co-founder of Phoenix Interactive. He argues that since the launch of the Kickstarter for Bible Chronicles: The Call of Abraham, trouble has come into all their lives. 
"It's very tangible," adds his business partner Martin Bertram. "From projects falling through and people that were lined up to help us make this a success falling through. Lots of factors raining down on us like fire and brimstone."
Yup, the trouble all started when they decided to launch this project. But it's not the project because Bible and God. It's got to be the Devil because their decision to begin this new venture was based off sound market research.
Both men speak of coming to business decisions through prayer. They regularly gather in a local diner, along with a panel of religious advisers (all men, all middle-aged). As they wait for their pancakes and fried potatoes, they hold hands and pray for guidance. This, they say, helped them decide to make their game about Abraham, rather than other options, like Moses or Jesus. They want to tackle those other Biblical stories at a later time. God, they say, will help them choose when and how.
And if the Ruler of Hades is personally waging war on this project - like he obviously is - then it must be pretty damn important and a big threat to him and all his little demons.
"If Satan is rallying some of his resources to forestall, delay, or kill this project, I think, this must be a perceived threat to his kingdom," adds Ken Frech, a religious mentor to the project. "I fully would expect something like this to have spiritual warfare. Look at the gospel accounts of demons and so forth. That's reality. Many Americans don't believe it anymore. That doesn't change reality."
Their grip on reality is unshakable. Not even scientists can threaten it.
Phoenix Interactive's executives are Biblical literalists. Gaeta scoffs at the wishy-washy notion that Bible stories are allegories. Bertram dismisses the theory of evolution as "wrong." I ask them if they believe the world was created 6,000 years ago. "Yes," they both say, without the faintest hint of prevarication. They also believe that the extraordinary stories surrounding Abraham all happened, just as they are described in the Book of Genesis.
... Or maybe interest is just not that high in playing this game.

In the end though, I hold no ill will to them and I do hope they get the game made. I'd happily review it for them - I run a Mac.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Crazy Church Posts Sign Saying Jesus Would Stone "Homos" - A Brave Lesbian Calls Their Bluff

(source: Jennifer Lopez's Instagram)
So awhile ago, I noticed the stories around this crazy church in Harlem that keeps on putting up extremely homophobic signs. Their last read: "Obama has released the homo demons on the black man. Look out black woman. A white homo may take your man"

Well, just recently they put up another batshit nuts sign, pictured above: "Jesus would stone homos... (bunch of Bible quotes) ... Harlem is a homo free zone."

Well, one Harlem resident wasn't going to stand for this crap. So she called their bluff.

Jennifer Louise Lopez Asks Anti-Gay Harlem Church To Stone Her

This week Jennifer Lopez presented herself to the church, informed them she is a lesbian and requested her stoning from the bewildered man who answered the door. That's pretty awesome in my book!

The guy didn't know what to do, so he told her to come back the next day for her stoning! I mean, what?!

Jennifer explains her amazing action:
"I hope that by going up to the door and presenting myself as the human and the product of [Goddess’] creation, churches can begin to understand that us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are the very same creations that they are," Lopez told The Huffington Post. "My [Goddess] is one of peace, love and inclusion for everyone. As a United Methodist Christian I would love to see that one day soon all of our churches, including any religion, are able to finally stop the discrimination toward LGBT people."
Churches like this are going to go the way of the dodos.  It's only a matter of time, thankfully.

UPDATE: (2014-03-21) Someone has defaced the sign.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

British Columbia Pastor Advises Congregation To Not Vaccinate During Measles Outbreak

So there is an alarming return of measles in Canada.

Measles outbreak prompts officials to issue national plea for vaccination
The return of the disease in Canada has health-care officials preparing for the worst. They’re convinced the virus has been imported by those who have visited measles-infected countries such as the Philippines and Netherlands, and then returned to Canadian communities where immunization rates are low.
Guess where the epicentres of these new outbreaks are, in BC at least?
The Fraser Valley outbreak is a prime example of how the virus gains a foothold and circulates. Two students from the Mount Cheam Christian School in Chilliwack contracted the disease and were sent home – but not before exposing others. More than 100 students are suspected of having the disease. School officials shut the school a week early for March break. Chilliwack is located in the “Bible belt” of the valley, where members of the Reformed Congregation of North America do not believe in vaccinations.
And ...
That same response was heard in Coaldale, the epicentre of the southern Alberta outbreak. A student at the Coaldale Christian School brought the virus home after visiting the Netherlands. Many in the area near Lethbridge went to the mobile vaccination stations to get immunized; others were afraid of the vaccine’s side effects or declined because of religious convictions.
Notice a common thread here?

The members of the first above congregation do not believe that vaccines are safe, but on the plus side, at least they realise they are not always effective. What they do not get is, that's the whole point of getting as many people vaccinated as possible. Once the percentage of those vaccinated falls too low, herd immunity is compromised. Although the national average is still a healthy 95%, in some regions it has fallen below 50%.

These children of these religious parents, are completely vulnerable to the virus. This is just as bad as faith-healer parents who withhold needed medical treatment from their children. However, the strongly held religious beliefs of these parents are also putting other children and elderly people at risk.
Unfortunately for those living in the Fraser Valley, this much is beyond debate: The virus has jumped from the religious community to Chilliwack’s general population and to the nearby municipality of Agassiz. 
Stories like this make me really angry and they go a long way to confirm my suspicions that religion is a net harmful force.

So, here's another article about what a Chilliwack pastor has to say. Apparently, conventional, science-based medicine is interfering with God's care. What kind of feeble deity is this?

Chilliwack pastor tells congregation vaccines interfere with God’s care
“We leave it in (God’s) hands. If it is in his will that somehow we get a contagious disease, like in this case the measles, there are other ways, of course, to avoid this. If (we get sick), he can also heal us from it,” he said in an interview Friday.
You know, their crazy beliefs are putting their children at risk and my son as well. He got the vaccine but who's to say whether or not it really took?
Geuze counters that there is no need to make a healthy “God-given” body “a little bit sick” through vaccination. 
He does not oppose other means of boosting immunity, such as rest, healthy living and eating well. Nor does the church oppose medical treatment when a person is already sick, he added.
Rest and healthy living will not prevent the virus from entering your system and what about those who are chronically ill coming into contact with healthy carriers? And why bother a healthy lifestyle at all if it's all up to God anyway? Isn't preventative medicine healthy living?!?

When people - particularly children - get sick with measles it's often too late. That's the whole point of a vaccine!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Christians Are Willing To Raise The Dead. People Just Won't Let Them!

Okay, so this is just going to be a short one about Christians who think they can raise people from the dead.

Raising The Dead: Evangelical Christians Want To Practice Resurrections
Leppitt says that when her brother died, she and her husband prayed over his body for nearly an hour and believe that he moved at one point, and that if they gain access to more bodies, they can deliver better results. 
"Practice makes perfect," she was quoted as saying.
The Leppitts are part of Global Awakening fellowship (UK Branch). They seem to believe that they could deal with this whole death thing once and for all if more people would only let them lay hands on dead people.

But that's not the pièce de résistance. There's this hilarious group, The Dead Raising Team(tm), who are like some kind of elite resurrection rapid response squad. They swoop in - upon request from the friends or family of the deceased - to pray for resurrection. They are going to be featured in their own documentary - in which they are apparently unable to raise any dead people. Jesus Christ, performance anxiety affects us all.
Tyler Johnson runs a ministry called the Dead Raising Team in the US. He claims to have brought several people back to life. He says he even persuaded the authorities in his state to issue him with an official photocard which lets him through police lines at car accident sites. 
Johnson appears in a new documentary film called Deadraisers, which follows enthusiasts as they trail round hospitals and mortuaries trying to bring people back to life. Sadly, those they pray for in the film remain resolutely dead.
Oh, and this group even offers training!

And here's the trailer for their raisin' the dead movie, which can apparently be rented on Vimeo for 10 bucks. That's not cheap... but possibly good watching at your next Skeptics event?

DEADRAISER - Trailer from Mountain Light Cinema on Vimeo.

Back to the Leppitts, who, as far as I know, do not have their own documentary film. They're still praying for the dead to come back. They're still a-pluggin'.
Alun and Donna have not had any success with dead raising either. Last year, Donna's brother died of a heart attack. By the time they got to the mortuary, he had been dead for eight hours. They prayed over him for nearly an hour, and although at one stage they thought they saw him move, that was as good as it got.
Of course, this sort of thing can be extremely harmful for those vulnerable ones who are in the process of grieving. I cannot help thinking about this while at the same time finding the whole thing amusing and hilarious. If it were a relative of mine or a good friend employing these people - even for free - I would probably be quite upset.

Vjack over at Atheist Revolution made a much more thoughtful analysis of all this: Raising the Dead.

For hours of entertainment, check out the BBC article above, or read about it in The Freethinker.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Saudi Police Force Fighting Witchcraft One Tweet at a Time!

Witches are pretty evil. I was one for a few years after leaving Catholicism and I know that between rubbing candles with essential oils and burning patchouli in my cauldron, I would cast spells and stuff. That's really bad. But not nearly as bad as the baby eating these days, I guess. Who's to know for sure without an objective God-standard for my morality, right?

Anyway, the Saudi Police have a special unit devoted to witch hunting, which I'm pretty sure violates human rights. Oh yeah, Saudi Arabia, never mind!

Now they've taken to the Internets and have made it their mission to censor cleanse oppress silence persecute police their own citizens who use Twitter. They might say something wrong and nobody wants another soul to fall prey to all the witches who live in the Twitter machine.

Saudi religious police hunt down Twitter ‘witchcraft’ accounts
Saudi Arabia, which has the largest number of Twitter users relative to internet users in the world, has formed a special task force to track users of the popular social media who are accused of spreading vice and witchcraft.
Well, it's a good thing the population already has so many other legals ways to express themselves, their opinions or identity - sexual, religious, political or otherwise - in this country or this might seem like a tyrannical theocratic state police taking away the last vestige of personal freedom of expression of an already repressed people. Good thing it's not come to that!

Apparently, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice -- a name which I'm pretty sure George Orwell owns the rights to -- has become all NSA-like and are looking to stamp out the heightened interest in sorcery.
The religious public watchdog is keeping a lookout for those accounts which “are spreading vice and witchcraft” through the community, said Ahmed Al Jardan, the Commission’s spokesman, as quoted by the Saudi news network Al Arabiya. 
As I've written about before on this blog, witchcraft is taken very seriously in Saudi Arabia and is indeed a real problem not because spells actually work or anything - that would be insane - but because people are duped into paying the witches vast sums of money. 

Of course, the solution to this problem would be proper education into skeptical thought based on logic, science and reason and not religious superstition. But since that's not going to happen in Saudi Arabia, I suppose teams of witch hunters need to be made instead.
Al Arabiya quoted Saudi Arabia’s Mufti, the country’s leading Islamic cleric, as saying that social media networks like Twitter have become a “podium for spreading evil and bad ideas and exchanging accusations and lies” by many of their subscribers.  
“Many Twitter users in the kingdom are also fools who lack modesty and faith,” he said. 
Okay, that last point could actually be true! I wouldn't even limit it to within the kingdom. I think he could be onto something there.

This may be hilarious, but it has real ramifications on people's lives. Like any witch hunt mere accusations can result in grave consequences. It can also lead to people getting charged and jailed (or worse) for harmless acts of casting spells or being a Wiccan. 

Recently, a man ended up with 360 lashes and jail time for trying to pick up other men on Twitter.

What a sad situation. Sad, ridiculous and tragic. Thank you, religion.