Sunday, 20 September 2015
Just coming out of yet another migraine. This one wiped me out pretty good all day long. So this means there will be nothing brilliant exiting this brain of mine. I will however draw a hopefully illuminating parallel.
I'm sure you've probably read about the Rainbow Doritos that sent some conservative writers into the stratosphere of insane over at Hemant Mehta's blog, right? I'll give you a hint: the writer somehow compared multi-coloured corn chips with anal sex. Why does everything have to be about buttsex with these people?
Well it turns out that these US conservatives - usually of the fundamentalist religious type - have problems with gay rainbows just like their Russian counterparts.
You know who else have problems with gay rainbows? Saudi authorities.
It's like all these groups are the same, or something. They're all scared silly of the gay - obsessed, in fact.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
|Not a scene from the movie, but I found it strangely fitting.|
No Sex Please, We're Purity Nuts.
So, there's a really interesting movie that's going to be available for free streaming over at Vimeo, tomorrow: Give Me Sex Jesus (@GiveMeSexJesus).
Give Me Sex Jesus tells six personal stories of struggle from within the Evangelical community to remain sexually pure until marriage. But what happens when our bodies and desires do not behave?It's is a production of Side Hug Films and is produced and directed by Matt Barber and produced and written by Brittany Machado (@BrittLynnMach). It comes as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign launched in 2012 and completed in 2014. (This last point answers my own question about why the movie is being released for free.)
A handsome couple saves their first kiss for the altar; a gay son comes out to his famous family; a transgender man searches for authenticity; and a feminist confronts double standards. While the control of desire is universal, the salvation of these people depends upon it.
Since the 1990s, the Purity Movement has been at the center of a national conversation about sexuality that extends from the pew into the Oval Office. Give Me Sex Jesus invites you into the pleasure, shame, and humor at the intersection of faith and sex in America.
According to the press kit, the film will contain taped interviews from a wide array of people - both pro sexual purity and con.
Interviewees include Dr. Richard Ross (founder of the Purity Movement, True Love Waits), Stephanie Drury (Stuff Christian Culture Likes), Chris Bright (grandson of founder, Campus Crusade for Christ), and Dr. Amy DeRogatis (author, Saving Sex). Personal stories include a couple who saved their first kiss for the altar; a gay son who came out to his famous family; a transgender man who searched for authenticity; a feminist who confronts sexual double standards; and more.You can watch the trailer below.
Give Me Sex Jesus - 2015 TRAILER from Matt Barber on Vimeo.
The film's website even features a supportive from atheist blogger, Hemant Mehta:
They’re not pushing an agenda that says Christians are right or wrong. They’re only interested in telling the stories of people who grew up with these rules around them and explaining where this sex-negativity (my term, not theirs) comes from.I found another short clip from the film on Vimeo which explores how purity has racial baggage in the United States due to its history of racial segregation and minority persecution.
Give Me Sex Jesus: The Impure History of Purity from Matt Barber on Vimeo.
Looks real interesting! So apparently if you go to the site, you can watch the movie tomorrow starting 6pm PST, for free.
Monday, 14 September 2015
So the current premier Kathleen Wynne of Ontario, who happens to be lesbian (just like millions of other people), decided that the province's sex education curriculum needed an overhaul. If memory serves, it hadn't had any changes since 1998 - over 15 years ago. Do you remember what people were saying about gay people and transgender folks back then? I do. An overhaul was necessary.
Anyway, some parents are going nuts over the new curriculum. You can read all about this over at Canadian Atheist, they've been doing a great job of covering it. Unsurprisingly, it seems to be mostly conservative religious sorts who have problems with an updated program which acknowledges same-sex marriages and texting.
I have little more to add to these other than to point out this clever little post over at The Beaverton - a satirical Canadian news blog: Ontario middle schooler can't believe he has so much orgy and Satanism homework.
The homework, as mandated by Premier Kathleen Wynne, promises to teach children about gender identity, the dangers of sexting, and avoiding abusive relationships. However, its main focus is on how to properly worship the Prince of Darkness and the best ways to host and participate in an orgy.
“How the heck am I supposed to know how many points a pentagram has?” complained Donaldson, looking over his demonic summoning assignment. “Wait… ‘penta’? Five! Just like how there are five hands in a penta-fisting!”
With the way you hear websites like LifeSiteNews scream about the program, you'd think the Beaverton article is true. It isn't though. The program as described by LifeSiteNews sounds just fine and I would have no problem sending my own kid through it.
Go check out the short article. It's worth it for a chuckle.
Tuesday, 11 August 2015
|Jessa and Ben Seewald at Arby's. (source)|
Hey, do you recall Jessa Seewald (née Duggar)? She posts all kinds of neat stuff like this and this. She also likes to post videos with her hubby Ben Seewald who does important "«research»" discovering that atheists don't actually exist!
Is this sufficient literary exposition? Are we all caught up now? Excellent! Let's take a look at this, then!
It's some advice from Ben and his buddy Dante Berry about how Christians should respond to racism. I think it has to do with not being racist (duh!) and not believing in evil, racist EVIL-ution... maybe? I don't know.
It goes something like this:
Lots of racism and stuff. Let's check the Bible at Mark 3... blah blah...The more I watch certain videos, the more I think that perhaps some people are more evolved. That would be rude though, so please strike it from the record.
That’s right, there’s no room for racism in Christianity. That all comes from the Devil. That all comes from, like, this false religion out here, evolution, that stuff? Teaching that, like, some people are ‘more evolved?' ... and stuff.”
I sort of follow what Dante is saying. Ben sort of confuses me. I do wish he would substitute words with actual meanings in place of whatever the hell that was.
Monday, 27 July 2015
|Catholic group sticks their own angel statue on a truck and performs their own magical counter ritual!|
I won't go into the whole story. You can read about how an impressive Baphomet statue was crowdfunded by the Satanic Temple to counter a Ten Commandments monument on Oklahoma Capitol grounds. The legislators there pulled some sort of ridiculous voodoo and blocked the statue.
After being shafted by so-called secular government several times, the Satanists decided to unveil the completed statue in Detroit, where they have a significant presence. This caused the local Christian population to flip out and all sorts of nasty threats were made by these good Jesus followers.
Here's a sampling of just how welcoming and ecumenical some local Christian groups were. It's a panel discussion between Satanic Temple's Jex Blackmore - who is calm, intelligent, and rational - and pastor David Bullock - who appears scared, irrational and ... well... like he's lost his shit.
The good pastor is rather rude, quite frankly. One of the other preachers at the start of the video even suggested that a mere statue will rain down woe upon the city! Because: it's cursed!
The will affect our families, our homes and our marriage! We will not allow it in the city of Detroit!The Catholics tried praying, but it didn't work! Satan is so strong!
Area Catholics held a special mass aimed at countering the spirit of the Satanists.Well, during the unveiling, a crack squad of Militant Catholics strapped a statue of Archangel Michael to the back of a truck and drove it around the building housing the satanic statue thrice! They have protected Detroit!
About 250 parishioners and supporters gathered Saturday morning at St. Joseph Catholic Church to pray for Detroit.
ChurchMilitant.com found the location, and several of its staff infiltrated the building, “where a loud party was in full swing,” the Catholic group said on its website....
“An earlier downpour had come through the roof and flooded the dance floor, and approximately 100 people milled around the dark, smoke-filled room. As the rain ceased, more people trickled in, and towards midnight the number went up to about 400. On one side of the room stood an inverted red cross, and on the other the nine-foot-tall statue of Baphomet, covered in a white sheet.”
But Church Militant brought their own version of a heavenly statue, only instead of a fallen angel, theirs was a sculpture of the Archangel Michael.
Church Militant had a 6-foot bronze statue of the archangel, which they hauled in a flatbed truck and prayed the prayer of St. Michael while encircling the site three times.
“We brought our six-foot bronze statue of St. Michael, who normally rests in our Abp. Fulton J. Sheen studio, as a counter-witness to the blasphemous goat-headed statue of Baphomet, meant to represent Satan,” the Catholic group said on its website. “According to Scripture, St. Michael is the angel who did battle against Lucifer and cast him out of Heaven into the Abyss.”Spooky Statue Wars! I'm sure that will work though.
Why did they choose this particular statue? Well, it's more ecumenicalism.
The Book of Revelation (12:7-9) describes a war in heaven in which Michael, being stronger, defeats Satan: there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
So, after being shutdown by city councils and threatened by angry Christians, the statue was unveiled in Lauhoff Corporation building in the Rivertown Warehouse District. That's right, they were chased into the warehouse district. Truly, the Christians are oppressed.
The Satanic Temple plans to move the statue to Arkansas because their state capitol has also decided to show unconstitutional deference to Christianity.
One fantastic novel which opened my eyes to alternate points of view of Satan is Anatole France's Révolte des anges (Revolte of the Angels) - which casts the devil and his angels as struggling against a tyrant overlord god.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Our good friends and allies, the Saudis, don't only protect their citizens from bloggers, Valentines cards, Twitter witchcraft, and women drivers! You under estimate them! They also protect little children from rainbows - Satan's evil portal to total gayification!
Listen up, here's what I mean. There's this school, Talee al-Noor International School. It had gay-inducing rainbows all over it. So it was fined $25,000 and forced to paint over the rainbow which once decorated the building gayly. Take that, Satan!
Remember, Arabic is written right-to-left, so right is before and left is after.
هيئة الأمر بالمعروف والبلدية والأمارة تزيل الشعار وتغرم "مدرسة أجنبية"في الرياض بمبلغ١٠٠الف بعد وضعها شعار المثليين pic.twitter.com/sLTldRQ8yt— قناة المجتمع السعودي (@ksa12300) July 17, 2015
“They sent the school administrator responsible for the emblem to jail in preparation to refer the case to the Bureau of Investigation and the general prosecutor.”Also:
“This is a Saudi school painted normally. They said it is marketing for homosexuality, and then formed a committee and erased the colors. My question is: did the colors come first or did homosexuality?”Great question. Some believe the first rainbow didn't show up until after God had murdered everyone with a big flood - including gay people. So hey, maybe gay people have been around longer, right?
Take a look at this Sports Day picture from the school's website!
Saudi officials should take note of the gay rainbow at the back and the super uber gay - as far as Jerry Falwell was concerned - Teletubbies right near the rainbow!
Gay Tinky Winky! Better buy more paint! Think of the children!
(Top image source)
Thursday, 2 July 2015
An Ontario Superior Court has dealt a blow to Trinity Western University, ruling that Ontario’s law society acted within its rights when it denied accreditation to the proposed law school from the Christian-based, B.C. university in an April, 2014, vote.You can read the ruling online here.
The decision by directors of the Law Society of Upper Canada infringed TWU’s freedom of religion, but the court considered that it did so to protect individuals’ rights to equal treatment. Since announcing its plans to open a new law school, TWU has been at the centre of a national debate over its Community Covenant, which asks students to agree to abstain from sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage or face possible suspension or expulsion.
They're having similar problems in Nova Scotia and British Columbia. The school promises that this will be appealed. If this doesn't bring them to the Supreme Court, I bet they'll make it there in the next year.
The school itself released a dramatic statement about knives being plunged into freedom of faith communities (to discriminate against minorities based on sexual orientation or just getting it on outside of heterosexual marriage). Seriously, Christians who are really being persecuted around the world should stop, take notice and feel sorry for this organization here in Canada who aren't allowed to set up a Law School which denies access to people who don't comply exactly with their religious edicts. Poor souls.
“The Court’s finding that there has been a breach of religious freedom rights in this case is critically important,” said TWU spokesperson Dr. Guy Saffold. “The Court’s ultimate decision against TWU is starkly at odds with the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2001 decision directing approval of TWU’s teacher education program. It points a knife at the freedom of faith communities across Canada to hold and practice their beliefs.”Isn't it neat how nobody is saying they cannot have a school or teach their religion? Sure they can! It's rather their hellbent intent on discriminating against LGBT people is what's keeping them back. They're complaining about how they are being discriminated against because they are not being allowed to use their firmly held religious beliefs to discriminate?
A faith community’s commitment to a traditional view of marriage should not become grounds for denial of religious rights and refusal of full participation in society. TWU asks students to adhere to a Community Covenant that calls for refraining from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.” The court maintained that this requirement is discriminatory, and therefore the TWU Law School proposal could not be approved.
You'd think they'd welcome LGBT people so they could preach to them the good news.
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
You know what can really put a damper on prayer room calls? Spellcasting witches and wizards and generic satanic sorts leaving their ghoulish spam mail all over the place, that's what. So learned Jennifer Leclaire, senior editor of Charisma.
Earlier this year, we started our Mornings With the Holy Spirit devotion and prayer calls at 6 a.m. One of my intercessors felt strongly there were unbelievers on the line one morning and some days there is clearly enemy resistance to our prayers. Of course, we always press through and God brings refreshing, inspiration and revelation despite what the devil has in mind.It seems that Jennifer is talking about spam comments on boards about (usually African) witch doctors. I know all about it because this blog gets them a lot.
On the call each morning, I encourage the listeners to leave a prayer request at 247prayerroom.com. Every day, we get a number of prayer requests for healing, reconciliation in marriages, financial breakthrough and more. Recently, though, the spell casters have invaded the site. Indeed, the prince of the power of the air has reared his ugly head at 247prayerroom.com. Thankfully, none of the requests go live since everything is monitored.
I've gotten comments about doctors Aziza, Sambola, Shekiri, Adesuwa, Oga, Iyare, Ogidigan... etc... it goes on and on. I have gotten hundreds. They're all powerful spellcasters who will be able to solve any issue for you. I picked up a card from one in the Metro a couple of weeks ago as well.
Here's one of the shorter ones this blog received a couple of weeks ago.
Hey are you crying that your lover has left you and the kids for another woman, you don't have to cry anymore because i was in the same position till i heard about Dr. Ekpen of Ekpen Temple how he has help so many people in there are relationship, today i can boldly recommend Dr. Ekpen Of Ekpen Temple to someone for help. He did not fail me i also believe he can not fail you too contact him at ...As expected, I only take these seriously by feeling mighty sorry for anyone being duped into believing these witch doctors are doing anything other than pilfering their money. While I'm not so sure about Leclaire and the folks over at Charisma. They really do seem to believe there is something more going on here than mere charlatanism.
Not necessarily a belief that these spells actually do something, but rather that they are a distraction from the true religion brought on by the devil.
Many others with fake names rave about this "powerful spell caster." But it seems there's some competition in the witchcraft camp because others who try to work their way onto the site are praising Dr. Benedict as the ultimate spell caster, who successfully casts love spells. Still others point to a man named Ezzia, the "very good love spell caster" and Dr. Ekaka. Oh, and let's not forget about Dr. Aisabu. All of these witches are trying to advertise their services at 247prayerroom.com and the volume has increased over the last few weeks. Again, none of these ever make it on to the site because we moderate the comments. But the devil sure is persistent.Although, Leclair has written recently about a revival and uptick of witchcraft -- a practice which can apparently lead to infirmities and hellfire.
As you may know, I've written a book dealing with spiritual witchcraft called Satan's Deadly Trio: Defeating the Deceptions of Jezebel, Witchcraft and Religion. Many times, infirmities are rooted in the devil's witchcraft—and sometimes it comes from the spirit of Jezebel. The Bible talks about Jezebel and her witchcrafts (2 Kin. 9:22). Witchcraft can't heal you, but it can release confusion, sickness and disease, depression and other ailments. At our recent women's conference, Jesus healed 23 ladies—and several of them were afflicted with witchcraft.I nearly forgot the practical advice. If you have spell casters in your prayer room or church or city or whatever, you're supposed to drive them out.
What's most amusing here, I guess, are the two sole comments to her post about these charlatan sorcerer spammers:
That's right. Two spams about "Dr ovia" who will use magic spells to solve all your problems.
Tuesday, 26 May 2015
Okay, so maybe it's because I'm Canadian, but I don't really know who this Eric Hovind guy is. I hear he's the son of some nutty huckster preacher who's in jail for tax evasion or something. That's not Eric's fault, of course, but this is:
"If evolution is true, then there is no absolute right and wrong,” Hovind said. “If evolution is true Josh should not have admitted his faults over a decade ago because what one evolved bag of molecules does to another bag of molecules just doesn’t really matter. If evolution is true there is no ultimate Judge on the bench who will hold every man, woman, and child responsible for their actions. And if evolution is true you will not give an account for every idle word you speak."He's talking about Josh Duggar who's the eldest offspring of Jim Bob and Michelle. I usually delight in recounting all the terrifyingly hilarious views of the Duggars, but Josh molested his sisters and other girls back when he was 14 or 15 and that's just not funny -- really... not funny.
What the hell is this Hovind guy talking about? Whatever it is, it sure does scare the crap out of me when I hear people tell me that without a belief in some guy sitting on a cloud, they'd go around raping their sisters or protecting those who rape their sisters. Pretty scary stuff.
Oh, and I was under the impression that Josh got caught by Jim Bob.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
|Woman in northern Iran, 1971. (source)|
A story appeared on the Telegraph new site -- and only this site -- yesterday about the good cleric apparently once again having problems with women over exposing themselves.
In about the most extreme example of slut shaming yet, a prayer leader in Tehran has blamed earthquakes on women who dress provocatively and tempt people into promiscuity.Except, wait! This story seems to be just a reprint (freezepage) of the precise same quote from 2010, just before Jennifer McCreight invented the protest. The date on the page is yesterday though, so I saw it pop up on my Facebook feed yesterday.
"When promiscuity spreads, earthquakes increase," Hojatoleslam Kazim Sadeghi said during prayers on Friday, a video of which was later posted on YouTube.
"There is no way other than taking refuge in religion and adapting ourselves to Islamic behavior," he added.
Oh well! I guess this is a nice reminder to us all of a golden classic from five years ago. I wonder if someone at the Telegraph mistakenly chose the wrong year with scheduling the story all those five years ago? Wouldn't that be an interesting sort of time capsule into past ridiculousness? The caption on the story's picture is 'Okay guy.' which also seems a little... wrong.
The picture above this post is fairly typical beach attire for Iranian women in pre-Revolution Iran. In fact, regular bikinis were en mode. Off the beach, many people dressed much like they would these days:
|Students at Tehran University, 1971 (source)|
Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Finally! Someone is doing something about the Satan-worshipping and homosexual haircut problem in Iran!
Mostafa Govahi, the head of Iran’s barbers’ union, told the semi-official Isna news agency on Monday that fancifully spiked hairstyles were banned and those who styled them risked having their shops closed.Well, thank goodness for that, right? That should stop the youths from engaging in all that Satan worship and gay sex.
He said: “Devil-worshipping hairstyles are forbidden. Any shop that cuts hair in the devil worshipping style will be harshly dealt with and their licence revoked. Tattoos, solarium treatments and plucking eyebrows [for men] are also forbidden.”
“Haircuts that show symbols or signs of devil worshippers or those adopted by homosexuals are banned,” he said. “I won’t allow such wrongful western styles as long as I’m in this position.” He said the policy was in line with the cultural norms outlined by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.Thankfully, plucked eyebrows for men is also completely forbidden now! Long live the holy Islamic unibrow!
As for lady-parts in Iran. Absolutely no Western pornostyle waxing of your crotch area, women! It's distinctly unholy and whether you sport a landing strip or a full Brazilian, the state has declared that all females should be going au naturel! Doesn't sound crazy totalitarian theo-fascist to me at all.
Recently, a group of hardliners in the city of Qazvin wrote to the authorities asking them to ban full-body waxing for women in beauty salons. Women receiving hair removal treatments to their private parts was of particular concern.In case some of you were thinking the authorities have missed it, mannequins are also not exempt from this. Presumably female mannequins will either have to have their crotch regions covered or else fake muff muff will need to be affixed to said mannequins.
I kid, there was no specification of this. However, you are now required to measure the hips and breasts of your female mannequins to ensure they're not too sexy.
Shop mannequins have not been immune from such measures either, with those displaying sizeable breasts or hips not tolerated.Happy to see they're taking care of important matters in Iran!
Friday, 1 May 2015
|Parvez Sharma. (source)|
Interestingly, one of my readers, Brian Green Adams, attended the screening and left some interesting words in a comment. I thought I would republish them here in a new post.
I was at the premiere and Sharma was clearly shaken by the threats. There were a number of other gay Muslims in the audience who were very appreciative of the film.This first film is A Jihad for Love. Here's the trailer for that one.
I would say that what comes clear is that Sharma feels his religious tradition has been hijacked by an extremist variety, Wahabism, and the Saudis.
The film was a great window into the reality of the Hajj more than anything else, but we also get some indication of the varieties of Islam, Sunni, Shia and Sharma's own Sufi tradition.
It is also a moving personal story, though like you, I cannot understand what keeps him Muslim. He is openly cherry picking, saying that he accepts Islam on his own terms, which is pretty common in a any religion I guess.
The problem I had with it was that he is obviously being disrespectful of the prohibition on filming in a number of places in Mecca. He justifies this by rationalizing that since he is a filmmaker, how could he not film his Hajj? I guess, but this did not dispel the feeling that he was that jerk with his phone out that the museum guard had to keep admonishing.
On the whole worth seeing, but his first picture likely gets more into why gay Muslims don't always leave the faith.
Thanks to Brian for this excellent insight into a film I'll have to catch.
Sunday, 26 April 2015
|Cover of Al-Namrood's LP Ana Al Tughian (source)|
The band's bassist, Mephisto, did an excellent interview with VICE:
We're fed up with religion. The fact is that everything that is connected to it makes us nauseous. I personally spoke to a shrink. He advised me that whenever I get inflamed I have to express [what I'm feeling]. So here we are, expressing. What can be more motivating than living in a place where everything is controlled by religion? Basically, individuals here have no rights to do anything. We're owned by the Islamic sharia. Everything we do must be justified by Islam and acknowledged by society. There are two outrageous powers: religion and our society. They both interact and fulfil each other.It really goes to show that inside this essentially religio-fascist country there is a vibrant underground of atheists and agnostics. Mephisto brings up the hypocrisy, predestination and the bone crushing lack of basic human rights in this uber religious, uber conservative, uber theocratic country.
While there's a lot of hypocrisy, it has been demonstrated that the local people are very much in agreement with the Islamic system. For example, in Islam, music is generally forbidden, but Muslim people listen to it on the basis that "God forgives." But when it comes to freedom of choice, "God never forgives." Everything is chosen for an individual from birth until death. A child is born and raised to become Muslim and never given a choice to look at other religions. Education is highly biased and focused upon the Islamic world. There is no chance of considering multiple points of views. The only view that can be adopted is the view of the acknowledged tradition and approved religious practice. Freedom of expression is a crime, justified by the fact that "it can disturb the peace." Even in marriage you cannot choose your partner. Rather, the elders choose for you. This social approach mixed with religious control is normally practiced in our country with no objection.He also brought up that this sort of repression was a hallmark of Christianity some 400 years ago -- say, before the Enlightenment. This is what's playing out in much of the Muslim world right now.
Inevitably, the risk to their personal safety was brought up. I mean, with fruitcakes like the Haia (religious police) running about busting women for driving and men for dancing at birthday parties -- to say nothing of them bursting into florist shops confiscating everything red during Valentines Day! -- this metal band is obviously living on the edge.
... We've been doing this from childhood. I mean, we've had a different perspective than the rest of our society from an early age, and we've learned that sharing these views is not feasible for us. Some of us tried hard to fit in and share our thoughts, but ended up serving time in jail, so the lifestyle of being mentally isolated from the surrounding environment started from an early age. When it came to our musical approach, we just applied the same methodology of coping.Here's a sampling of their music. They play hard. You know what, I've had days where this might actually be quite therapeutic. I'm going to give it a go and report back on this later.
Interestingly, their production company Shaytan Productions (Shayton = Satan) is apparently based right here in Canada, in Toronto. There's always a Canadian connection! Go buy stuff at their site right now!
Read more over at VICE.
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
Rafe Mair has come out in defence of MP James Lunney's creationism and what a defence it is.
Namely, he's defending Lunney against Richard Littlemore's amusing piece, Social media smites creationist James Lunney, ex-Tory MP where Littlemore points out that the public has every right to point out politicians' silly beliefs when they see them -- for the sake of the common good!
When we lived in villages, everyone knew the fool. And when he said something silly, the people either pointed and laughed and or they turned away in embarrassed sympathy. In either case, they didn’t elect him chief.By all accounts I've read, Mair is a brilliant lawyer with a great list of achievements. This defence is not one of them. Let's take a look at it.
After explaining that he is a lukewarm Christian (read: Anglican) and singing the praises of chiropractors as 'bona fide healers who the public vote for consistently with their wallets because they bring relief the medical profession cannot' -- something sort of like homeopaths and those scam artists in Florida, the Hippocrates Institute -- Mair got to the meat of his argument.
Dr. Lunney's main sin, evidently, is that he is a creationist and denies the theory of evolution as propounded by Charles Darwin. Evidently creationism is so way out a view as to be unacceptably unorthodox, not to mention embarrassing to the Prime Minister.I shall have to send my time machine for Mair, as he's obviously stuck alongside Lunney and countless other creationists in the nineteenth century. It's possible, I supposed, he's missed the memorandum that Charles Darwin died in 1882. It may seem astounding to someone whose religion stands by the words of a man who died 2,000 years ago, but the science around evolution has changed since Darwin laid it out!
This betrays a gross misunderstanding of the science that only gets worse as the defence goes on. Scientists have not been sitting on their laurels since 1882. They've been testing, correcting and expanding the theory of evolution all along. Lunney is challenging the findings of multiple fields of biological science for over a century.
Mair redeems himself by getting the following right, though:
My religion believes in a man who could walk on water, who fed thousands with food sufficient only for scores and turned water into wine. He also raised the dead and ascended bodily into heaven upon his own death.
The senior Christian religion believes all that plus that when one takes communion, the bread and wine turn into the actual flesh and blood of Christ.
Mormons believe that the true beliefs were found by a guy named Joseph Smith, inscribed on golden tablets which he transcribed into a new "Bible", after which he somehow lost the gold tablets.
I could go on but only wish to make the point that there's not a religion in the world that I know of that doesn't strain normal credulity in its teachings.
Indeed. It's all completely ridiculous. So why on earth would you get your ideas about reality from it? Why in heavens name would you challenge the scientific method by substituting your favourite myth or fairy story?
Dealing with evolution I can't quarrel with what Darwin had to say. I'm no scientist and certainly it would appear from the physical evidence that he's right. However he doesn't go all the way and this is where I personally argue with evolution.Darn tootin! You're not a scientist and neither is Lunney and so why are we having this argument?
In fact, what is even meant by the above paragraph? If Mair admits he's not a scientist and that the physical evidence he sees confirms evolution, then why proceed?
It's because Mair takes issue with the completely unrelated problem of how life first began on our planet. He then has a problem with the very very completely unrelated problem of how the universe began!
The question I have is, where did the water and the amoebae come from? I go further than that. Science tells us that it all started with some matter the size of a golf ball exploding into the universe as we know it. Without dealing with just how remarkable that is, the question arises, where the hell did the golf ball and the necessary oxygen come from?Indeed. Where did the golf ball and the oxygen come from? If only the cosmologists had any sort of idea whatsoever, right? Then the biologists would know how the different species of animal came to be.
I mean, how are we supposed to know how golf balls even work until we know how they were made, who invented them, the inventor's birth place, parents, grandparents...
He then points out that if we all don't know for sure, then why is postulating an infinite being outside of time and space that knows everything and can do everything and is utterly beyond our comprehension or ability to explain any more silly? Why is a completely incomprehensible thing for which no one has any proof of more silly... than, say... trying to come up with actual plausible, testable solutions to the problem?
He goes on to point out that many religions -- which he's pointed out above make completely irrational claims -- reject evolution. I'll help him out with this graphic from Wikipedia.
This is completely predictable for belief systems based on dogma lifted from non-evidence based... well... fairy tales. I'll then invite him to take a look at Project Steve on the same Wikipedia article:
The Discovery Institute announced that over 700 scientists had expressed support for intelligent design as of February 8, 2007. This prompted the National Center for Science Education to produce a "light-hearted" petition called "Project Steve" in support of evolution. Only scientists named "Steve" or some variation (such as Stephen, Stephanie, and Stefan) are eligible to sign the petition. It is intended to be a "tongue-in-cheek parody" of the lists of alleged "scientists" supposedly supporting creationist principles that creationist organizations produce. The petition demonstrates that there are more scientists who accept evolution with a name like "Steve" alone (over 1200) than there are in total who support intelligent design. This is, again, why the percentage of scientists who support evolution has been estimated by Brian Alters to be about 99.9 percent.And:
There are many scientific and scholarly organizations from around the world that have issued statements in support of the theory of evolution. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society with more than 130,000 members and over 262 affiliated societies and academies of science including over 10 million individuals, has made several statements and issued several press releases in support of evolution. The prestigious United States National Academy of Sciences, which provides science advice to the nation, has published several books supporting evolution and criticising creationism and intelligent design.Oh, but it's still totally open for debate amongst believers of religions which assert the existence of flying chariots, arks containing every animal in the world, talking donkeys and snakes, etc. Science be damned, we still don't have buy in from those groups.
Since by any objective standards all religions are goofy, why is Dr. Lunney any goofier than the rest of us Christians, Muslims, Jews and so on?Not at all. I would say his beliefs are right on par with the official doctrines of these religions. If he believes these things then he is just as deserving of the same sort of ridicule ardent believers of other silly things are.
Don't get me wrong though. I believe the vast majority of religious people in the 21st century, possess more sense than what their religion itself states. How could anyone function in the modern world if this weren't the case?
No, Dr. Lunney is right – this is a matter of freedom of belief and freedom of speech. That this embarrasses the Prime Minister and his resident toadies, or indeed Richard Littlemore, scarcely alters the basic right in a free society to hold one's own beliefs and express them without incivility and ostracism however unorthodox they are or how goofy they may seem to others, even to the vast majority.I'm not certain what Mair is asking for. Does this blog post cross the line? Are we permitted to point out the error and then required to apologize for our insensitivity or any sort of emotional harm it may cause? Are we allowed to satirize Lunney, or is that forbidden? Will we hurt all important religious sensitivities and risk jail time like in Russia, Iran or Egypt? Can we poke fun at the ridiculousness of his ideas and question other assumptions he may have which might affect his policy as a politician or would this be too offensive for him... for the law?
Where's the line, precisely, Mair? Who gets to decide when it's been crossed?
Because people demanding respect for their deeply held religious beliefs in our society and crying foul and screaming slander when they do not get it -- that does slide into the territory of blasphemy and blasphemy laws.
Sunday, 5 April 2015
|Still from the movie The Devils|
You can tell by these outlets' willingness to publish a story with no visible credible source -- which I've found at least -- that it must be a pretty good story. Well, yes. Yes it is. And it just might be true as well -- sounds insane, but plausible.
Nun stabs schoolboy to teach him about the suffering of Jesus
Apparently yearning to emulate the insane and unnecessary masochistic self-torturing going on in the Philippines this past Good Friday, a Catholic nun decided to jab one of her students' arms with a needle just to demonstrate to the class what Jesus -- son of God -- went through. Not her own arm! Oh heaven's no!
Sister Ludovita, 30, had been giving RE classes at a school in the town of Kysucke Nove Mesto in northern Slovakia when she told unsuspecting pupil Adam Celko, 7, to come to the front of the class.The news report has pictures of the bruise on the child's arm. When he got him, his mother, Helena, asked where the bruise came from. When he told her, she got a little upset and didn't want him to return to the Religious Education class -- lest he be hurt again.
She then took a needle out of her handbag and rammed it into the boy’s hand in front of the horrified class, telling him that this was how Jesus suffered - and he would too if he behaved badly.
"And with Easter coming I began to worry about what she would do next - crucify one of the students or hammer a nail into their hands?"When Helena spoke to the nun -- and astoundingly didn't completely lose her shit, which is what I would have done -- it was explained to her that the class was learning about Jesus Christ and personal sin, whatever the hell that is.
Apparently, the children were invited to volunteer to experience mild pain so they could feel sorry for Jesus. Then she encouraged the students -- 7 year olds -- to poke themselves with needles and stab themselves!
Sister Ludovita has been fired.
The strange thing is this story seems sort of like a hoax to me, but it wouldn't come as a surprise to me really if it were true. That's the sort of thing we're dealing with when we talk about extreme nuns.
Friday, 3 April 2015
James Lunney made good on his promise to defend his Christian faith much sooner than I had anticipated. To be honest, it took me a little off guard when, the day of my most recent ebullient post about him leaving the Conservatives so he could totally let loose, he totally let loose during session of the Parliament!
On April 1st -- purely coincidental! -- he stood up in Parliament as an Independent and embarked on a long, rambling speech. He seemed to have a beef with cyber bullies who made fun of him when he questioned evolution on Twitter before the Speaker of the House shut him down for, essentially, being totally random.
Here's the video.
Others have reacted to this. You can read about it over at Larry Moran's Sandwalk, Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist, Veronica Abbass at Canadian Atheist, and PZ Myers Pharyngula.
I'd just like to add that Lunney also has a blog which people -- well, the media at least -- do read. He also has a Twitter account -- with more followers than me. He can appear on television pretty much whenever he wants, publish to national newspapers and even sell a book if he wanted to. So why impose his victim complex all over other members of Parliament -- tying up our country's government? I'm certain every member of the chamber has access to at least one of the above media. If not, then surely a memo could be sent about!
What sort of media stunt is this? Well, the Christian advocacy group My Canada sure are mighty impressed with Lunney's Commons stunt for FREEDOM(tm)! In fact, this group appears to support all the very same things Lunney's been talking about.
Well, let's follow along with some of Lunney's remarks in Parliament.
... I believe there is a growing and malignant trend by what some would call cyber trolls to engage, entrap, belittle, and embarrass politicians of faith over false constructs of the word “evolution”.Yes, we trolls have been cyber slandering Lunney over evolution, but we've got it all wrong. He isn't questioning evolution, he's questioning macro evolution. This distinction he makes -- a common one amongst creationist apologists -- is hilarious on its own. I won't slander Lunney but I'll happily make fun of him for this too.
In the past month, there were a few words exchanged on social media, apparently inflammatory words: science, managing assumptions, and theory or fact related to macroevolution. ...
After 15 years of serving among members, most of my colleagues would know that I announced more than a year ago that I would not be seeking re-election, so why not just slough it off, shrug it off, let it blow over, and ride off into the next chapter of my life—why, indeed? Maybe it is because I have a background in science. My credentials, modest as they are, are superior on this file to those of many in the chamber and most of my critics. Maybe it is because I have Irish in me and I do not like to be bullied. Maybe it is because, in my time as an MP, I have been sued and exonerated by the courts over the use of the title “doctor”.
Lunney's still mad because someone sued him for using the title Dr. It's all explained in Wikipedia.
In 2006 Lunney was sued by Robert Pound for the use of the term “Dr” on all campaign signs and promotional materials. Pound stated that “The Chiropractors Act states that chiropractors "may display or make use of the title 'doctor' or the abbreviation 'Dr.', but only as 'Doctor of Chiropractic', 'Dr. of Chiropractic', 'Chiropractic Doctor' or 'Chiropractic Dr.'"Pound had previously filed a grievance with the B.C. Chiropractic College, which quickly dismissed the complaint in January 2007. The case went to the BC Supreme Court where the presiding judge, Justice Douglas Halfyard exonerated Lunney ruling that the use of the title “Dr.” did not “infringe any legal or equitable right” of the petitioner, Robert Pound. The judge also called the timing of Mr. Pound’s complaint “suspicious to say the least” –referring to the timing of the petition close to the federal election. Pound was ordered to pay Lunney’s legal expenses.I don't have the links handy, but I keep running into stories about theocons and evangelicals in Canada who call themselves doctor but have really dubious credentials. He's got a Bachelor of Science and a Doctor in Chiropractic -- in other words, he's not qualified to speak about biology and evolution in any expert manner.
Many colleagues represent constituents beyond the ones who elected them. I hope that no members of any faith community in Canada are compelled to defend the beliefs of their communities in the future.Boo hoo. I hope that people are challenged to examine and defend their beliefs, constantly.
He went on into a talk about whether or not the prevailing science is always right. Of course the answer is no, the prevailing science is not always right. If it were, we would have no need to continue using the scientific method or to advance it any further -- it would become religion and be dogma.
Scientists are gagged over a false construct related to the theory of evolution, which is bogged down at the cell. It is something I know something about. We are made up of 80 trillion to 100 trillion of them. They cannot explain where the first cell came from. Scientists are gagged and educators who disagree are gagged. Academic freedom is imperiled. In fact, anyone who dares make the slightest remark related to this has an inability to speak. A member of the Alberta provincial legislature, the new education minister, was trapped by this issue.Uh oh. Someone's been watching Ben Stein's Expelled movie. What's ironic here is that a climate change denying, anti-evolution politician is crying out that scientists are being gagged and he's right! In Canada, it's his own previous party, the Conservatives who are actively gagging scientists like there is no tomorrow. Just look it up on Google! If the scientists were free to share their findings, Lunney would have even more to disagree with and use to feed his personal conspiracy theories.
In my last post I happily challenged Lunney to defend away. Now I'm beginning to wonder if any of us can possibly keep up.
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Anti-Muslim radicalization and anti-racism protesters clashed outside of a Montreal post-secondary institution on Sunday afternoon, leading to one arrest.The anti-radicalization marchers were there to protest Collège de Maisonneuve allowing Adil Charkaoui to resume teaching his Arabic and Quran course after two of his students were linked with six youth who ran off to join ISIL in Syria. Four of the six attended the college.
Duelling demonstrations by a small group of secular charter supporters and a group of anti-racism protesters turned violent after a man was attacked with picket-sign sticks.
As far as I know, there is insufficient evidence to implicate Charkaoui into any sort of ISIL recruiting or direct radicalization of youth. So I wonder why these secularists and anti-racist protesters cannot work together to find a solution to the broader question of radicalization? Am I naive? Surely both sides do not wish anyone's children to run off to Syria.
I would think that there could be no person more noble than an anti-racist person who is also against Muslim radicalization and is strongly in support of a secular state. So what went wrong here?
I keep asking the questions, then in the same article, perhaps I find a clue.
A couple of dozen people who said they supported Quebec's failed secular charter — a proposed bill that would have imposed rules on head coverings in Quebec — ultimately showed up at the school. About 50 people from the anti-racism camp were there to denounce them.This is the tragedy of the charter that keeps disappointing me. A noble idea that everyone should be able to get behind boiled down to the pettiest and most irrational of suggestions possible. Yet this is how I see the original charter framed, time after time -- dumbed down to nothing more than apparently xenophobic wardrobe fascism.
Don't get me wrong, a proper secular charter would include some limitation to religious wardrobe. It would be fine for a woman to take her citizenship oath or appear in court wearing a chador or less -- the same as as a Catholic nun, for example. This is for practical purposes -- for identification. Otherwise, they may wear their niqab wherever they like.
But this would be a minor aspect of a proper charter. Bigger fish to fry would be the eradication of tax breaks for the clergy, churches and religious institutions. Private religious schools would no longer receive a per head government subsidy either. Religious symbols -- mostly Catholic -- would be removed from city halls and other government buildings, including the National Assembly. Prayer before government meetings would be eradicated completely.
I personally do not have a problem with government workers wearing religious symbols or hijabs, so long as the do their duties and do not discriminate. Although I tend to flip-flop on this one from time to time -- I still see this as being their own personal expression and do not assume that it is an expression of the government itself just the same as I do not consider the hue of lipstick they are wearing to be an expression of government endorsed cosmetic.
Even that last point -- being the most contentious and probably best left out of any Charter if we want to have any charter at all -- need not stand in the way of reasonable people -- religious or not -- working together to fight radicalization and promote a democratic secular state that allows us all freedom to exist and express ourselves.
Why can't we work together?
Really, this debate is much more nuanced than this -- and I think we all would actually agree on a lot more if we stopped and listened to each other.
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Since then they've gotten so many death threats -- hundreds -- that they've had to install three panic buttons wired directly to the police (who one hopes will be helpful) and three video cameras. They've got Islamist groups calling to have their president's hands cut off! Even their own president, emperor Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has managed to get their site blocked and has accused them of trying to take down his government and identified them as a terrorist threat.
It's a rough time to be atheist in Turkey -- it's really bad.
They plan to march in the streets of Istanbul on their first year anniversary. That's pretty freaking brave!
Listen to this short and depressing report (audio only) about the situation of atheists in Turkey and then why not tweet to Mr. Bennett (@freedomreligion) and ask him to express a little concern on their behalf.
Tuesday, 17 March 2015
Trustee Mike Babinsky was outraged Monday night. He accused trustees of setting up every roadblock possible to thwart religion in division schools. The board has always stretched out the approval process for months, he said, allowing only one of three readings of the necessary bylaw to be heard each month.
And now it won't take the petition at all, he said.
"Over the years, we have made it very difficult for these people in our community to believe in God. They have the right to do this," he said, accusing fellow trustees of finding ways "to oust these kind of people from our schools."
Do people really need their kids to have evangelicals come in and preach at them on their public schools for them to believe in God? Isn't church and at home enough? This religious group offers ministries such as the notorious Good News Club.
Child Evangelism Fellowship is a Bible-centered organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of Christ, disciple them in the Word of God and establish them in the local church for Christian living.The board, which Babinsky accused of constantly delaying review of the petition every year, says that it was malformed and so they could not accept it. However, one trustee also expressed understandable disgust with the group's evangelical anti-LGBT views.
The primary ministries of CEF Manitoba are Good News Club, Discovery Time in schools, Mailbox Club and 5-Day Club. Through these programs staff and volunteers, who are fully trained and screened, teach the children and help to shape their character.
Trustee Lisa Naylor was ready to take on Babinsky about religion. She said the group -- the only one that uses the Public Schools Act to conduct religious instruction in division schools -- holds beliefs "that do not support gay and lesbian families, transgender people."I'm not up on these politics, but my understanding is this petition was a way for parents to give consent to the group to evangelize to their kids on school property. Board gets petitioned and then it must approve.
"How do we allow discussion to go on in our schools that goes against our own values?" Naylor said.
Apparently, the Winnipeg board has also kicked the Gideons and other groups out of their public schools for their views about sexual orientation. Furthermore, this year marks the lowest school acceptance rate of the Child Evangelism Fellowship in years. I guess I'm good with the end-effect of this, but you know what would be more effective?
Why not just forbid outside evangelical groups from coming into public schools and offering this service? Make this a blanket rule. Problem solved. Keep religious groups like the Good News Club and the Gideons out of public schools.
Friday, 13 March 2015
|Child riding on a dinosaur at the Creation Museum. (source)|
“Listen up, he said, I take sexual immorality seriously,” Dirks paraphrases Jesus in a Nov. 2012 sermon on the book of Revelation.
At the time, I was willing to give Dirks a chance:
I'm highly suspicious but until he does something sucky, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
So, Gordon Dirks, don't let what your church tells influence your politics. We'll be watching you.
Mr. Dirks is a former Saskatchewan MLA with a long history as educator, trustee, and an evangelical Christian who has served in leadership positions in religious schools that espouse traditional values. Mr. Dirks’ appointment was one of Mr. Prentice’s most overt attempts to win over Alberta’s social conservative base shortly after he took office last year.The good news is that Dirks actually ended up supporting a bill that makes it mandatory for faith-based schools in the province to accept GSAs, much to our friends' at LifesiteNews dismay.
Mr. Dirks said at the time that he would “work to balance the rights of all children and parents and teachers,” but progressive critics have grown increasingly wary of the pastor, particularly after he was slow to express his support for Gay Straight Alliances in schools, (Mr. Dirks opened the spring sitting with an amendment in favour of the clubs on Tuesday, months after the issue blew up in the Alberta legislature.)
That's not all, though. Oh no! The Education Minister is also a creationist!
Alberta premier Jim Prentice’s hand-picked education minister Gordon Dirks told forum attendees last weekend that he was an “Old Earth guy” — a reference to a doctrine of Creationism that generally rejects biological evolution.That's right, he doesn't want to talk about it because he needs to appease the social conservative (read: fundamentalist Christian) voter base while not making himself the laughing stock of Alberta -- oh, Alberta! -- and potentially Canada.
Mr. Dirks has declined to clarify his views. He’s also declined to comment on whether or not he accepts the scientifically accepted understanding of evolution when asked directly by the Post.
Irving Hexham, a religion and politics professor at the University of Calgary, said evolution — like abortion — is a divisive issue among evangelical Christians. If politicians from this background come out in favour of the mainstream view of evolution, they risks alienating themselves from their own religious community.Dirks' Old Earth comment popped out just as another politician was querying him about his socially conservative (read: fundamentalist Christian) views and how they must spill over into his policy concerning Gay Straight Alliances.
Natalie Odd, an Alberta Party member and mother of two, attended an open house held by Mr. Dirks over the weekend, hoping to confront the minister about spending cuts.Totally predictable. I saw the train coming down the tracks.
“The Gay Straight Alliance is, to me, an issue where if somebody’s beliefs are very socially conservative, if they are in the position of education minister, I believe that is relevant,” Ms. Odd said. After the open house, Ms. Odd said she took Mr. Dirks aside and began to question him about another evolution.
“He said, it’s possible to believe in creation and evolution. I wasn’t getting an answer out of him,” she said. “As we were walking away, he threw up his hands and said: ‘I’m an Old Earth Guy.'”
Look, I'm all for kooky people believing whatever sorts of conspiracy theories they want about the formation of the planet and how life evolved. People are welcome to believe the world is flat and and the moon is made of green cheese. It's just that, I don't think it's wise as a society to have these people in charge of our childrens' education, you know? It seems like a really dumb idea to me.
Brian Alters, a US-based professor summed up the very problem I was dreading in my previous post:
“With the education minister, if this is something that he practices in his place of worship with colleagues of similar faith, I think most scientists wouldn’t have the slightest problem,” Mr. Alters said. “The problem is if the education minister says ‘I’m an Old Earth creationist because I think there’s credible evidence against evolution. I find evolution to not be credible.’ Then we have big problems, Houston.”Meanwhile, evolution-denying MPP Rick Nicholls, is feeling better these days after receiving multiple emails supporting his denial of science, presumably from a non-evidence-based electorate.