Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 April 2015

God Breathed All Over These Baptist Pastors & They Went Nuts

Pastors going absolutely bonkers and running around yelling and babbling incoherently.
Pastors are generally regarded as the spiritual leaders of their flocks. Recently in the Bible Belt of the United States, Tennessee, a bunch of pastors got onto the stage at a teen camp meeting and demonstrated just how much trouble we may all be in.
The event took place April 11 at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church, where the fired-up pastors bellowed gibberish and ran into the crowd, where they slapped hands with the congregation.

Others chanted like auctioneers, danced jigs, or strutted around in exaggerated fashion, swinging their jackets over their heads.
It happened at the Middle Tennessee Baptist Church. Watch this if you want to know what we could be dealing with here.


The pastors themselves are super proud of this performance. They believe it's the best meeting so far! God apparently breathed all over them -- I hate it when people breathe on me -- and this was the response.

Response to this video on their Facebook page has been very positive as well! Are we doomed as a planet?

Or is this just older white guys making crazy fools of themselves in an attempt to look cool and appeal to younguns?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Nun Stabs Student to Demonstrate the Suffering of Jesus

Still from the movie The Devils
There's this story that's been going around the Internets for the past day or so. The most reputable source I've been able to find to back it up so far is the Irish Mirror, which still sort of seems dubious to me. I've also found it on Croatian language news site and over at a Nigerian one.

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.

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.
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.
"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.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Saudi Arabia Bestows Greatest Honour Ever Onto Quebec

Photo posted on Premiere Philip Couillard's Facebook page of the leaders of all major political parties in the National Assembly. The members of the National Assembly unite in support of the wife of Raif Badawi, Mrs Ensaf Haidar. (source)
As I've reported, back in February, the Quebec provincial government and the city of Montreal both formally and unanimously passed resolutions in support of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi.

Apparently -- it makes me blush just thinking of it -- the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is greatly irritated by this meddling in their devious affairs and have complained officially via the Saudi ambassador to Canada. This makes me immensely proud as a Quebecer.
In a letter obtained by the CBC dated March 10 from the Saudi ambassador to Canada to politicians at the National Assembly, the ambassador says Saudi Arabia “does not accept any form of interference in its internal affairs.”

“The Kingdom does not accept at all any attack on it in the name of human rights especially when its constitution is based on Islamic law, which guarantees the rights of humans and preserves his blood, money, honour and dignity,” writes Naif Bin Al-Sudairy.

The letter goes further, blaming international agencies and the media with tarnishing Saudi Arabia’s reputation.
They also sent the letter to the federal government, who have somewhat supported Raif via the Foreign Minister and the Office of Religious Freedom, but they've never condemned Saudi Arabia for this brutality as a government body.

I'm sure the letter to Canada will make sure the Federal government puts Quebec back in its place. Yes, that's worked out real well over the past century or so.

This is no interference. This is merely what decent people do -- call out tyrant states who participate in flagrant human rights violations and resolve to do what they can to help the victims and denounce the torturers. There are no teeth to these resolutions, no economic sanctions or military action. It's just bad PR -- which is what Saudi Arabia deserves.
... The Kingdom does not accept at all any attack on it in the name of human rights especially when its constitution is based on Islamic law, which guarantees the rights of humans and preserves his blood, money, honour and dignity ...
Hold on a moment while I process this.

It's those international agencies with all their secular ideas of human rights, of course, which are the real problem. Oh yes!

Well, Quebec politicians are refusing to apologize or back down. In fact, if there's one thing the Saudis will need to learn is that Quebec is not easily silenced (e.g. do not give a f*ck). This appears to also be across all parties.
“Regimes which have an unacceptable attitude on freedom of expression have to expect that we are going to get involved in their affairs,” said Parti Québécois MNA Jean-François Lisée, a former international affairs minister and former journalist.

“Human rights is everyone’s business,” added Marie-Victorin MNA Bernard Drainville, a candidate for the PQ leadership. “Mr. Badawi’s wife is now living in Quebec, she’s a Quebecer and she’s living in Sherbrooke with her children. It is our responsibility and our moral duty to fight on her behalf.”

And Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir congratulated politicians for keeping up the pressure on the regime noting the letter to the legislature is proof Quebec has got its attention.

“The barbaric situation Badawi finds himself in has sparked solidarity movements all over the world which are being transformed into political pressures,” Khadir said.
Actually, according to Amnesty International’s Mireille Elchacar, the very same letter has been sent to all political states which have commented on the Raif Badawi case. So I'm guessing the Americans probably got it as well. Still, Quebec is a province within Canada, so I think it gives us something to brag about over, say, Ontario.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Anti-Evolution, Climate Change Denying, Anti-Vax MP Escapes The Circling Trolls!

Go ahead! Make me smile!
Fantastic news! Remember back when I was complaining about Federal Conservative (duh!) MP James Lunney coming out as pro-creationism, anti-evolution, climate change denying, vaccines-cause-Autism?

Well, back then I was happy that he wouldn't be running for re-election in 2015. That makes me smile, but what really makes me smile is that Lunney just left the Conservative party altogether and is going to set himself up as a party of one! Yes, he's left the Conservatives and is now an independent... a lone defender of the faith... the only hope we have! So it's like we're getting the relief of knowing he's not running again with all the goodness of whatever astounding speeches in favor of religious freedom he's bound to share with us all!

Here's the full text of his goodbye letter from his website. I'll jump in every so often with my own comments. I sure hope we get to do more of this before the end of his term!
Leaders of the faith community were in Ottawa on March 25th to express their alarm at increasing and unprecedented attempts to stifle freedom of religion, conscience and expression in Canada ( They identify deliberate attempts to suppress a Christian world-view from professional and economic opportunity in law, medicine, and academia. I share these concerns. I believe the same is true in the realm of politics at senior levels.
This would be religious faith leaders -- mostly doctors and lawyers -- complaining that their religious freedom is under attack in Canada. Go read my response and Hemant Mehta's response!
In the past month a few words exchanged on social media, words like: science, managing assumptions and theory or fact related to (macro) evolution. My remarks were inflated by media, blended with other unrelated but alleged heretical statements and became a top story on national media creating a firestorm of criticism and condemnation.  Since two other politicians in Ontario and Alberta were targeted during the same period, it is clear that any politician or candidate of faith is going to be subjected to the same public scrutiny in coming elections.
Here he would be referring to the Internet shitstorm that ensued after he called evolution just a theory and gave us all a good lecture on how science works -- apparently all the scientists are getting this crucial point wrong and Lunney merely wanted to set the record straight. So what did people do? They made fun of him! That's so mean, people!

Lunney continues.
In a society normally proud of embracing difference, the role of the media and partisan politics in inciting social bigotry and intolerance should be questioned. Such ignorance and bigotry cloaked in defence of science is as repugnant as bigotry of any other origin.  It is based in a false construct from another century and is a flagrant violation of a society that is multicultural, multi-racial and multi faith and strives to be accepting of differences.
Why can't we just accept that things like reality and facts and science -- e.g. the evolution of species -- change depending on the race, faith or culture of... well... James Lunney? Yeah, I'm a little confused by this. Lunney is a politician in a position of power and his opinions and positions about the nature of reality should be up for open debate and ridicule. You'd think he could take a little criticism.

Again though, why can't scientists and their scientific reality with data and experiment be respectful of religious belief? Why not?!? You meanies!
Today I am announcing that I have asked the speaker to assign me a seat as an independent MP. I will seek an opportunity to address the House in defence of my beliefs and the concerns of my faith community.
I cannot wait for this defence.
I am withdrawing from the CPC caucus voluntarily; the decision is entirely my own. Given the circling trolls, I do not intend to entangle the most multi-racial, multicultural and multi-faith caucus in parliamentary history in my decision to defend my beliefs.
Circling trolls? Is he talking about folks like me or people within the Conservative party who are trying to tell him he's too far out there for even their caucus? I'm also uncertain what he means when he says he doesn't wish to entangle the most diverse caucus in parliamentary history. Does he actually mean the NDP, because the Conservatives totally fail there -- well, as does the entire parliament.
I have no intentions of betraying my promise to my constituents and will continue to vote alongside my colleagues in the Conservative caucus.

Freedom of Religion is foundational to democracy; if we don’t get that right, it always leads to persecution.
How about this. Human rights, which include the right to a religion or no religion at all, are the foundation of a democracy. Freedom of and freedom from religion is one dimension of the idea that all humans should have basic rights -- but it's not the sole, most important source. Look up the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Looking forward to more from James Lunney.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Kremlin Could Step In With 'Government Opera Approval Process' To Avoid Offending Religious Sensibilities

Scene from 2008 Barcelona production of Wagner's opera Tannhäuser where Venus is kicking some bloody ass. (source)
I'll admit that I'm no huge fan of opera, but what's going on in Russia with Wagner's Tannhauser, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin is a whole drama unto itself.

In a nutshell, Russian opera director Timofey Kulyabin produced an opera that had Jesus in it. This offended a Russian Orthodox cleric (who never actually watched the show). The cleric brought the Kulyabin to court but the court threw out the case. Then, the Minister of Culture went and fired the opera house boss Boris Mezdrich

CORRECTION: In my last story, I had confused Mezdrich with Kulyabin. The government stepped in and fired the boss of the entire opera house in order to deal with this single opera -- which won in court. 

Now, according to SlippedDisc, the Kremlin is stepping in to control the opera repertoire, with a government approval process, so as to not offend anyone's religious sensibilities!
‘Today I spoke with the Ministry of Culture. Probably, it will be necessary at some stage to approve the repertoire, especially at state theatres … They should no be allowed to hurt the feelings of believers. We have no right to produce works that outrage part of the population and cause feelings of insult. This should not be allowed.’
What the hell is wrong with believers and their feelings? The sanitizing of artistic expression is, truly, a horrendous sign that Russia is descending further into a sort of puritanical theocracy. This does appear to be fascism.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Conrad Black Has Done It Again

What have we done?
If I recall correctly, it began when Conrad Black wrote something about the shallow shabby world of the militant atheist. I assure you, I put my best men on round the clock duty to decipher his prose and tease out any meaning they could find -- even that guy who portrayed Alan Turing in that movieBenedict Cumberbatch. Yes, no expense was spared. Eventually I contrasted Black's work with a screed against atheists by a Zimbabwe preacher. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Other atheist bloggers processed the Rorschach Test in their own way. They took what meaning they could from Black's words and attempted to address inaccuracies and absurdities outright. This was a noble endeavour, but what is the real cost here? Could it have agitated Black into writing this equally bewildering response piece in the National Post: A reply to my atheist critics — they protest too much? Can the planet sustain more of this?
Not since I have written about cats and dogs has a column of mine in this newspaper stirred such a voluminous and highly charged response as my reflections here last week on John Lennox’s success in debates, as a scientific Christian, with the most articulate and learned atheists on the anti-God debating circuit. These exchanges have become almost an itinerant counter-ministry of the media and academia throughout the Western world.

Most messages I have received have been favourable, but the tenor of the unfavourable messages the newspaper and I have received is so generally vitriolic, and often abusive and bigoted, that they incite my return to the subject. Obviously, if I had any problem with people taking exception to what I write, I wouldn’t write for publication, and as I have probably been more severely and lengthily defamed than anyone in Canada since Louis Riel (where the calumniators often had truth as a partial defence), I am not bothered by it. None of the abuse was noteworthy and there were only three cyber-assailants who were so unrelievedly uncivil that I asked my IT adviser to ensure that I never received anything from their addresses again.
Is this translated into English from some other language?

I'm sorry. I just had to get that out of my system, having read the piece in its entirety. I'll spare you the play by play on this. If you're interested in a little pain to break up a boring Saturday afternoon, please be my guest and assign any sort of meaning to it you wish. Believe me, there's enough there to write a book.

I will share this. During his piece, I felt like Black was being a real tease. It often seemed that concrete proof or specific argument was just a couple of sentences away --- like a mirage -- perhaps just beyond this historical or literary reference -- perhaps hiding behind that rhetorical flourish. But when I got there... nothing.

It was only the last paragraph that I obtained enlightenment. I got to a real piece of meat and it really stuck in my craw.
The atheists’ domination of our centres of learning and information is a great vulnerability in the West: it creates acute resentment and dissent among the more religiously tolerant majority, separates learning and information from the greatest pillar of our civilization’s historic development, invites contempt from violently sectarian societies, especially Islamists, and is repugnant to the entire concept of freedom of thought and expression that our universities and free press are supposed to be defending. This is why people like John Lennox, who flatten the marquee atheist tribunes at every encounter, perform such a valuable service. And it must also have something to do with the reaction, like that of roaring and wounded animals, of a distinct minority of my correspondents last week. If God were dead, they would not still be trying, very unconvincingly, to kill Him.
What the hell is Black talking about? Do we not have enough churches and religious schools in this country? Those are the places for religious instruction -- the point of a university is to provide an environment of absolutely free inquiry and learning outside of some stuffy minister's dogma. Is it possible for people like Black to give us a second, an instant outside of religion? Apparently not. Instead, universities must turn into places of religious regurgitation.

Oh, not religious? Don't bother attending, or shut up, or open your mind so we may fill it with our fairy stories.

Yes, when schools teach students to think on their own it can cause resentment and dissent among the more religiously tolerant majority, whatever that means. If it means that it upsets those who would prefer to tow the religious line and let the faithful call all the shots, then good.

As for inviting contempt from violently sectarian societies, whose problem is this exactly? Is this some sort of veiled threat? Is this a brave call to surrender? Is this informing us that we should shut up our opinions and questions lest someone get hurt -- lest someone have to drink the hemlock? People who cannot control their violent actions when they have their religious sensibilities upset need to be locked up, period -- even Islamists.

Then there's this absurd doublespeak:
... and is repugnant to the entire concept of freedom of thought and expression that our universities and free press are supposed to be defending.
That's right. Universities that do not shovel dogma down the throats of students and encourage them to think and express themselves in pursuit of truth in ways that may be offensive to some is actually against freedom of thought of expression! Has someone been drinking the Kool Aid, because this is profoundly wrong and either disingenuous or delusional.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Stephen Harper Refusing to Say Anything In Defense of Jailed Saudi Blogger

Raif Badawi
More news about Raif Badawi and the effort of citizens of the free world to free him. Okay, the effort of many money-hungry governments and corporations to avoid mentioning him ever.

How about our own Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper -- brave captain of industry who recently let once proud Canada drift out of the UN's list of top ten developed countries. Yeah, that Stephen Harper.

After years of pleading by Badawi's wife, Ensaf Haidar, Amnesty International, the Montreal government and the Quebec National Assembly, NDP leader Thomas Mulclair was apparently able to corner slippery Steve and asked him point blank to comment on Badawi's case.
Le chef de l'opposition officielle, Thomas Mulcair, s'est adressé à Stephen Harper en le questionnant sur « l'intervention timide du Canada pour exiger la libération de Raïf Badawi ». Le chef du NPD, qui était présent à Sherbrooke lundi, a rencontré Ensaf Haidar, l'épouse de Raïf Badawi afin d'en apprendre davantage sur la situation qu'elle et sa famille vivent.
« J'espérais qu'avec la question de Thomas Mulcair, le Premier ministre se lève et demande haut et fort la libération de M. Badawi devant les Canadiens. Cependant il a réitéré sa position timide et a aussitôt changé de sujet », a déploré le député fédéral de Sherbrooke, Pierre-Luc Dusseault.
The leader of the official opposition, Thomas Mulclair, addressed himself to Stephen Harper by questioning him on "the timid intervention of Canada on behalf of Raif Badawi's liberation." The NDP leader, who was present in Sherbrooke on Monday, met with Ensaf Haidar, wife of Raif Badawi in order to learn more about the situation her and her family are living through.

"I was hoping that with Thomas Mulclair's question, the Prime Minister would stand up and demand loud and clear the liberation of Mr. Badawi before Canadians. Instead, he reiterated his timid position and changed the subject as soon as he could," Pierre-Luc Dusseault, MP Sherbrook recounded disparagingly.
This is hardly surprising for this Conservative Prime Minister who knows we've got money tied up in lucrative arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Just look what happened in Sweden when their Foreign Minister stood up to the Saudis. Could you imagine what would happen if a Prime Ministers grew a spine and a respect for human rights which couldn't be bought off with oil money and slave (trapped foreign worker) labour?

Speaking of the Swedes, some 30 of the nation's business elite wrote an open letter to their liberal, progressive, human rights loving government asking them to swallow ethics and value of human rights -- because, you know, money. I'm sure the corporations got our backs.

Meanwhile, the first letter from Raif Badawi since his 2012 imprisonment made it out. It's due to be printed on Saturday in Der Spiegel.  In it, Raif gives us some insight into the hell he's experiencing -- all for blogging. I'll post on that as soon as I get a chance to see it myself.

Canadian Postal Worker: Won't Deliver THAT Because It Offends My 'Deeply Held Religious Beliefs'

It would appear that we're approaching a time when nothing will get done in our country unless we run it past religious folk for their permission first. Things like going to the doctor for birth control or to terminate a pregnancy -- or sending something in the mail.
Megan Whitfield, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Toronto local president, said a number of workers have raised objections to a newspaper Canada Post has been paid to distribute in the Beaches-East York area.
Apparently, the publication uses profanity and calls Pierre Elliot Trudeau a "Neo-Nazi fascist, anti-Semite and Quebec separatist." In other words, just someone's off the wall opinion. However, the letter carriers, much like some doctors with medical procedures, would like to arbitrarily decide which letters are objectionable enough to their religious sentivities to make them undeliverable.
“All we’re asking of Canada Post is to be mindful and to respect the carrier’s religious rights and those that found it offensive,” Whitfield added. “Canada Post should have known the trash they were putting out there.”
These are employees of a crown corporation of a secular country talking.

Hemant Mehta wrote a post about this pointing out that they're not sending anything illegal.
That’s irrelevant! They’re not sending out anything illegal! The moment you let postal workers pick and choose what to deliver, the slippery slope becomes apparent.
This is true as far as I am concerned, but after a little digging, I found some disheartening relics on the books. Laws or regulations which remind me of the defunct yet still present blasphemy laws we still have in this country.

Buried deep in the Canada Post website I found this (last updated January 15th):
2 Criminal Code and Other Offences

Any person using the mail for the delivery of any one of the following items commits an offence:
  • articles that are obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous
  • any information relating to bookmaking, pool-setting, betting or waging
  • articles relating to unlawful lottery schemes
  • any article relating to schemes to deceive or defraud the public
  • articles or special messages sent to any person with the intention to obtain money under false pretences.
I hate rules like this because it's questionable what's obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous. Is it the sex toys you ordered online or is it the atheist newspaper you got from the FFRF?

Although there do seem to be laws against mailing specifically sexually obscene material still on the books (bad enough!) -- and it's left to community standards to determine what's obscene or not (even worse!) -- the above section leaves a lot of wiggle room for interpretation when it comes to this newspaper and other material.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Oh No! Canadian Christians Are Being Oppressed!

It's a sad, sad, sad day in Canada: Christians are UNDER ATTACK!
A group of Canadian Christian leaders is raising the alarm about what they say are attacks on their faith, citing barriers to a Christian university setting up a law school and doctors opposed to ending pregnancies being forced to refer patients elsewhere.
Being forced to refer patients to places where they can obtain legal medical procedures! Will Christian doctors need to return to the catacombs in hiding?

"Doctor" Charles McVety, evangelical TV host, anti-LGBT, anti-same-sex-marriage, anti-abortion, anti-anti-school-bullying, anti-environmentalist, anti-Koran, anti-sex-education president of the Institute for Canadian Values -- a website which will happily collect the money of any Christians who might happen to feel persecuted and would like him to fight for their dwindling rights -- specifies some of the GRUESOME examples of all out persecution, subjugation and war against Bible believers in our country of 67% Christians.

HERE are the events that clearly point out how downtrodden Christians are in a country which happens to be run by evangelical Steven Harper and his troup of anti-science, evangelical, theocons:

  • A refusal by three provincial bar associations to accredit any potential law school graduate of Trinity Western University, which prohibits sexual intimacy outside heterosexual marriage among its students.
  • A letter from Bank of Montreal to the Law Society of Upper Canada, which governs Ontario lawyers, arguing against accrediting Trinity Western's proposed law school.
  • A commitment by the general counsel of 72 companies to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario requiring that doctors with religious objections to birth control or abortion refer those patients to another physician.

Yes, it appears that some of their future lawyers may not have their Trinity Western degrees recognized because the school itself is using its religious privilege freedoms to reject students and staff members. What can they do, it's in the Bible? It's due to their filthy and unholy sexual practices.

Unlike not accepting lawyers from your law societies, not allowing students to attend your school or teachers to be employed at your publicly subsidized school is merely a beautiful expression of your religious freedom.

Let's stop worrying about discrimination against LGBT people -- think of the poor Law Schools!

Apparently, the Bank of Montreal, which is a publicly owned company, I think, also thinks discrimination against people based on sexual orientation is a bad thing -- ANTI-CHRISTIAN!

Then there are those 72 companies who want to promote diversity and inclusion -- apparently the opposite of what Trinity Western wants to do. Diversity is, of course, code word for oppress the Christians and inclusion means make some Christians feel bad for wanting to exclude 'the gays'.

Then there's those meanies at the College of Physicians who want to force doctors to actually treat their patients with something we call modern medicine. No actually, the college only wants the doctors to let patients know where they can find the medical help they need. OPPRESSION! You can read my reaction to that here.

I think these groups are confusing an increasing correction of their huge historical religious privilege with persecution. These are two different things. There are plenty of places in the world where real Christian persecution is happening and Canada is not one of those places.

via that non-Christian atheist who makes angels cry, Hemant Mehta

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Christian Physicians Demand 'Right' to Deny Birth Control & Abortion, Refuse to Refer Patients Elsewhere

After several Ontario doctors refusing to prescribe birth control to women based on their firmly held religious beliefs, the Ontario College of Physicians ruled that doctors could opt out of prescribing certain drugs (read: the pill) or some procedures (read: abortion). According to the new rules, doctors had to refer the patients to another physician who would prescribe the drugs or do the procedures, if it was a medical emergency.
The new Ontario policy requires doctors unwilling to provide certain care, such as prescriptions for contraception, to refer patients in good faith to a "non-objecting, available, and accessible" physician. The policy also says in medical emergencies, the doctors would be required to perform procedures themselves.
These rules actually allow doctors to deny legal medical procedures and drugs to patients based on completely arbitrary personal religious beliefs in a secular country with a public healthcare system paid for by all. In other words, it was already plenty conciliatory. Naturally, if a woman was at the point of death they had to operate to save her life -- this should go without saying.

Now the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies are taking the Ontario College of Physicians to court -- because they feel that having any responsibility to help patients -- specifically women who want birth control or need abortions -- is a violation of their Charter Rights!

In reality, of course, the new rules give them broad powers to drastically inconvenience patients (read: women) by imposing whatever deeply held religious beliefs they happen to be entertaining at that moment onto those who do not share their misguided religious convictions.
The two physician groups say in their statement of claim that the policy is a violation of a physician's right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

"The obligation to provide an 'effective referral' for a procedure or pharmaceuticals to which the physician objects on moral or religious grounds is, for some physicians, unconscionable," the applicants say in the statement of claim.

The doctors also say refusing to provide certain procedures or pharmaceuticals does not violate the charter rights of patients, does not violate the Human Rights Code and does not amount to discrimination.
That's right, they cannot even be bothered to refer the poor patient to a doctor who will do the procedure or prescribe the drugs. Even this small act is too much for them. Also, it seems like denying patients legal procedures -- substandard medical care -- is just no problem for the patients. They can just go somewhere else... maybe... who knows where... is it even in the same town?... I guess they might never know... who cares, so long as the doctor's religious sensibilities are not threatened.

Luckily the College has vowed to fight this. Here's a released statement from them:
"The policy requires that physicians act in a manner that respects patient dignity, ensures access to care, and protects patient safety when they choose not to provide health care for reasons of their religion or conscience. The policy does not require physicians to perform procedures or provide treatments to which they object on religious basis, except during a medical emergency," the college said in a statement.

"We believe the policy strikes the appropriate balance between physicians' charter rights, their professional and ethical obligations and the expectations of the public."
This rule is infinitely reasonable. Personally, I wouldn't want to have an anti-abortion doctor doing my abortion (if I had a womb). It's these two religious groups that are demanding too much. A poll on the news story shows that 2/3 of respondents agree that these groups are going too far.

Given that we live in a country with a public healthcare system, physicians who refuse to do certain procedures should be put onto some sort of registry for people to consult. If the system in Ontario works anything like in Quebec, perhaps these clinics should be forced out of the public system altogether and become 100% private.

At the very least, they should be forced to help the poor patient get the care they legally deserve! This begins with a proper referral... and perhaps even a complimentary appointment booking and doctors note off work to attend the other appointment!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Conrad Black & Learnmore Zuze: Both Wrong, One Article Clearly Superior

Why not play logical fallacy bingo at home while reading these pieces?
By now I'm sure you've all read Conrad Black's dreadful piece over at the National Post and I hope you've all had your Bingo cards ready and you were playing along by keeping track of all the tired old debunked chestnuts of arguments as they came -- at breakneck speed.

Only a day or two before Black wrote about how inspired he was by a two hour conversation with Dr. John Lennox, I read a strikingly similar piece from Zimbabwe pastor by Learnmore Zuze who also quotes Lennox. 

Zuze's piece is far superior to Black's -- aside from not being penned by a convicted felon, as far as I know. Firstly, take a look at the titles. Black's: Shabby, Shallow World of the Militant Atheist alongside Zuze's: Atheism no smarter than Christianity. The latter lacks Black's air of pomposity and I can nearly get behind it.

Furthermore, although not directly related to the writing itself, Zuze's profile picture is that of a serious man in front of a clock at 11:35am, with the words The Final Hour inscribed upon it. Below the clock we have flames as well.

What I like about Zuze's work is his economy with words and his pragmatic use of simple language. This man gets to the point and does not waste time on metaphor.
This is precisely what the devil craves for the human race to believe. Atheism, by rejecting the existence of God, is nothing but a secreted way of propping up lawlessness, anarchy and transgression in the universe. Atheism represents the mindset that Satan (whom they think is imaginary), desires humans to have. Atheism, by design or default, is an adroit satanic ideology meant to promote immorality throughout the world. Where it not for space, I would have had readers realize the striking and salient similarities between verses from the satanic bible (written by Antony Lavey) and independent atheistic writings.
Compare this with something or other Black wrote.
This is a large part of the core of the atheist problem, and it is complicated by the vulnerabilities of some of its peppier advocates. Singer sees nothing wrong with bestiality and considers the life of a human child to be less valuable than that of a pig or chimpanzee. It is rather frivolous to raise Hitchens in this company; he was a dissolute controversialist who was a fine writer in his prime, had some enjoyable human qualities and fought to a brave death from cancer, but was a nihilistic gadfly who spent himself prematurely in an unceasing frenzy to épater les bourgeois. He entertained, until he became unbearably repetitive, but no one with an IQ in triple figures was shocked by him. Dawkins almost raves about the extremes that “faith” can drive people to, but was struck dumb like Zachariah in the temple when Lennox pointed out, in a very lengthy debate at the University of Alabama in 2009, that atheism is a faith — clearly one that Dawkins holds and tries to propagate with considerable fervour. In general, something a person believes and can’t prove is supported by some measure of faith.
Honestly, I could hardly read Black's composition. I kept wondering if he actually spoke like a bourgeois himself.
Communities untouched by religious influences have been unalloyed barbarism, whatever the ethical shortcomings of some of those who carried the evangelizing mission among them. Without God, “good” and “evil” are just pallid formulations of like and dislike. As Professor Lennox reminded me, Dostoyevsky, scarcely a naive and superstitiously credulous adherent to ecclesiastical flimflam, said “without God, everything is permissible.”
Flimflam, I say! 
When taxed with the extent of the universe and what is beyond it, most atheists now immerse themselves in diaphanous piffle about a multiverse 
Diaphanous piffle!
The two sides of this argument are asymmetrical. The atheists can sow doubt well, and spruce up their arguments with Hitchensesque flourishes such as the physical mockery of some prominent clergymen and the disparagement of the religious leadership credentials of Henry VIII and Borgia popes and some of the bouffant-coiffed, mellifluous and light-fingered televangelists. They rant against the evils of superstition and can still render a fairly stirring paean to the illimitable liberty and potential of the human mind.
Bouffant-coiffed, mellifluous and light-fingered televangelists!

I know, I'm not being fair and I could very well be guilty of doing the same thing myself. I honestly haven't read such language since my days back in University. There, I occasionally found myself reading forgotten treatises from distinguished professors of 'the' Classics from the 1920s. They exhibited similar language -- it was much more flowery than the easy to understand words from the likes of Will Durant. Words meant to be understood by all.

Our friend the pastor in Zimbabwe writes to be understood.
I have also realized that atheists, eccentrically, suffer from an extremely developed smarter-than-thou-complex. They claim to be more enlightened than the ‘manic lunatics of religion.’ A sister from Netherlands wrote, ”I have suffered much grief debating with atheists as they trash the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and God.” This is not strange, personally I have debated with decorated atheists and one thing that surely stands out in the atheistic argument is their smarter-than-thou attitude. Atheists view themselves as having a monopoly over truth and knowledge, an accusation they ironically direct at Christians. Atheism is anchored in the belief that no deities exist. Building on this belief, atheists go on the rampage attacking everything in their path that is religion.
No fancy-smancy smarty pants words coming from him at least. We cannot say the same for Black. Zuze goes on to complain about how atheists are always demanding proof for God.
The ill-advised part of atheism is that it ridiculously demands proof of the existence of God by intending him to prove himself in a way they (fallible humans) have codified. They think of God as some petite being they can tinker with; they do not want God operating on his own terms. They want a God who would yield to their (warped) ideology of how he should operate before they validate him.
This is proof that was nowhere to be found in either his article or the piece by Conrad Black. The only difference between the two was that Zuze's piece was better written and much more comprehensible.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Atheists Made Us Do It

You know, it's little things like this peppered into articles that act like a million papercuts.

In an article about the Russian Orthodox Church's usual problems with the usual things,  Russian Orthodox Church concerned about legalization of same-sex marriage, abortion issue, and secularism in Europe, we get this ominous threat.
The metropolitan said "manifestations of aggressive secularism, hen believers' feelings and religious sacred things are insulted and mocked under the pretext of freedom of speech and expression" are dangerous to civil peace.
What's that supposed to mean? Is it the sort of thing a wife abuser might say to defend himself after losing his temper? Is it an admission that the religious cannot be trusted to control themselves like human beings?

Or take a look at Rise of Religious Extremism and Atheist: Ominous Signs for Bangladesh. Even the title puts atheism in the same category as religious extremism.
The recent developments in Bangladesh suggest an alarming and simultaneous rise of religious fanaticism and atheism, complicating the already volatile political scenario of the country.
What does this mean? Does it mean that we cannot have atheists because they complicate volatile political scenarios -- e.g. some believers become violent and murder an atheist blogger? How is this the atheist's fault?

Does it not speak volumes of the author's gross misunderstanding of atheism when he throws it into the same box as religious fanaticism? The sole commenter of the piece had this to say:
In what sense are the atheists you mention here “extreme”? What have they done beyond speaking their minds? What crime have they committed? Sorry, but when “intolerance” toward “anyone who believes in god” is restricted to words, that doesn’t qualify as “extremism”. It’s just free speech.

To imply any parity whatsoever all between these people and the political Islamists who are murdering them is disgusting. You may as well say: “Two extreme groups of young people are confronting each other: rapists, who want to rape any woman they see, and women, who want to walk outside.”
Agreed. I've seen these sorts of false equivalences recently growing in number. Another example is Pope Francis himself suggesting that anyone who insults religion should expect violence against them.

These are not the words and reasoning of adults who can control themselves. Such are words of reckless brutes.

Brave Atheists Dare to Exist in a Hostile 'Secular' Turkey

In less than one year of existence, the Atheist Association of Turkey has gotten hundreds of death threats -- some gruesome ones from Islamist groups. Just take a look at these 'dangerous' people! Many would like to see them dead simply for not believing in God.
Here's one for Andrew Bennett and his Office of Religious Freedom to say something about. In secular Turkey, less than a year ago, atheists got together and formed the Atheist Association.

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

Winnipeg Public School Board Refuses Evangelical Group Access to Lunchtime Bible Program

The Winnipeg School Board just rejected the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Manitoba's petition to offer lunchtime Bible study and preschool prayer sessions in their public schools. Trustee Mike Babinsky is not happy about this one bit.
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 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.
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.
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."

"How do we allow discussion to go on in our schools that goes against our own values?" Naylor said.
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.

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.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Controversial Lebanese Model Comes Out Atheist

Myriam Klink
Today's Sunday so it's time for me to put my brain on hold and post something related to atheism but only vaguely relevant. To fulfill this goal, I present this story about controversial Lebanese bad girl model Myriam Klink.

Based on my limited knowledge of Lebanon, I think it's probably newsworthy to report that Klink came out as an atheist on her Facebook page while simultaneously accusing a priest of molesting her when she was 16.

While commenting on a video about molestation she confessed the following.
"When I was 16, a priest did the same thing with me, trying to touch my ass," she said. "I told my dad, but he didn’t believe me and punished me with cutting my allowance for a week." Myriam admitted that the priest is well known in Lebanon, and has blue eyes.

She attributed the incident as one factor that pushed her away from religion by adding, "And they keep asking me why I am an atheist. Religion and priests keep disgracing us every day."
She has a following of around 400,000 on Facebook, so I imagine she must have some public influence. 

Although I'm not so sure how Lebanese atheists will take this. After hearing she defended the war actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, I'd do anything not to be seen as similar in the public eye! So much for being a positive role model!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Pastor Convinced Katy Perry Is Totally In a Relationship With Satan

Katy Perry
I think I'm guilty of being a Katy Perry fan. Not so much for her music, although she does have a couple of good songs. It's her brilliant ability to drive Illuminati conspiracy theorists and fundamentalist Christian pastors into a crazed frenzy. It's like she's not even trying.
A Tennessee pastor branded popular singer Katy Perry a devil worshiping entertainer in a sermon Sunday and charged that she boasts "having a physical relationship with the devil" in her song "E.T." taken from her 2010 album Teenage Dream.
If you watch the video, it seems like she's just talking metaphorically about having fantastic freaky out of this world sex with someone. Or maybe it is the devil or aliens or something -- who cares? Well, pastor Charles Lawson of Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville totally cares.

"'Futuristic lover, different DNA, they don't understand you. You're from a whole 'nother world, a different dimension, you open my eyes. … And I'm ready to go, lead me into the light.' The light? Is not the Lord Jesus Christ the light?" he asked his church.

"That's not who she's talking about, but she says: 'Infect me with your love; fill me with your poison. Take me, take me, wanna' be a victim, ready for abduction. Boy, you're an alien; your touch so foreign it's supernatural, extraterrestrial.' And on she goes in praise and worship and singing to Satan," he charged.
However, Lawson doesn't only have a beef with Katy Perry for setting up the youth to accept the anti-Christ with no question. He's go ta problem with Beyonce, Lady Gaga, the Beatles and their hand-holding and satanic yellow submersibles.

So it turns out he just has a problem with pretty much anything that's not Laurence Welk.

Still, I find it immensely entertaining -- even more than the music, I think.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

119 Confirmed Quebec Measles Cases & Anti-Vax Religious Community Is Ground Zero

Just a month ago, I mentioned in passing 10 cases of measles confirmed in Quebec's Lanaudière region. They were isolated to members of a anti-vaccine religious community (who are also into eugenics!) -- a fact that's being played down by the press -- who refused to vaccinate their kids.
The measles outbreak at the Mission of the Holy Spirit in Crabtree, Quebec left 10 children stricken with measles after a member contracted the bug on a trip to Disneyland in California.
Well, the number jumped to 19 confirmed cases on February 21st.

Then 32 cases on February 27th.

Then 80 cases just yesterday.

We're now at 119 confirmed cases as of this afternoon!

According to the above report, because this is localized in a small -- very unnamed -- cloistered religious community which almost exclusively homeschools, the disease hasn't spread very far in the rest of the province.

However, at least one of the children does go to an outside school with some 700 students. Apparently around 160 of them could be lacking up to date vaccination.

If this isn't frightening enough, take a look at where this Lanaudière region is situated. Or more specifically, Crabtree, where this religious group apparently is located.

That's not too far from Quebec's largest urban centre.

Can we please vaccinate our children? I'm beginning to wonder if vaccination of children should be part of necessary health care and enforced, lest it be considered abuse. I really am.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

'Hidden Atheists' Within The Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community

There is an extremely fascinating article over at Aeon by Batya Ungar-Sargon about the Double Life of Hasidic Atheists which deserves a read -- and deserved to be extended to a book. It's a collection of portrayals and interviews with people who know they are undercover atheists but, for many valid reasons, continue on publicly as Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

It tells the story of people like Solomon who realized he was an atheist during a train ride and then spent the following fifteen years trapped inside a religion which worshipped a god he no longer believed in.
And yet 15 years later, Solomon’s life looks exactly the way it did the day of that fateful train ride, give or take a few infractions. Solomon is still leading the life of an Orthodox Jew. He is married to an Orthodox Jew. His children are Orthodox Jews who go to study the Torah at yeshiva. His parents are ultra-Orthodox Jews. And so, with his new-found atheism, Solomon did nothing.

Solomon is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women whose encounters with evolution, science, new atheism and biblical criticism have led them to the conclusion that there is no God, and yet whose social, economic and familial connections to the ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic communities prevent them from giving up the rituals of faith. Those I spoke to could not bring themselves to upend their families and their children’s lives. With too much integrity to believe, they also have too much to leave behind, and so they remain closeted atheists within ultra-Orthodox communities. Names and some places have been changed – every person spoke to me for this story on condition of anonymity. Part of a secret, underground intellectual elite, these people live in fear of being discovered and penalised by an increasingly insular society.
There is mild-mannered Yanky who's disbelief crystalised after watching a talk by Richard Dawkins.
That’s when his newly observant study partner took Yanky to a presentation by the British scientist and New Atheist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion (2006). ‘It wasn’t so much that Dawkins was so convincing, or interesting even,’ Yanky told me between short sips of beer. ‘It was just, I was sitting there with this whole group of people who were having this one viewpoint.’ He experienced for the first time what religion looked like from the outside, a series of often ridiculous and always questionable ideas shattering its absolute hold on his psyche.

And something else crystalised at that Dawkins talk: Yanky had at that point hundreds of questions which no one had ever been able to answer to his satisfaction, ranging from scientific questions about the veracity of the Old Testament’s narrative (‘woman very clearly wasn’t taken from man’; ‘ancient humans were not vegetarians,’ he elaborated) to questions concerning the claims made in the Talmud (‘the laws of cooking on Shabbos and kosher cooking laws don’t match up with thermodynamics’; ‘bugs don’t spontaneously generate from plants’). It felt like there was a separate, unsatisfying answer for every burning question. And as Dawkins spoke, Yanky realised that there was one answer that took care of all of his questions – God did not write the Torah because He does not exist. ‘So that was basically it for me,’ he said.
Then there's lying to the children -- Moishe tells us the pain involved with having to act like a believer for his children and wife.
‘I’m desperate to tell my kids the truth,’ Moishe confessed. And yet, he doesn’t dare. Moishe is not alone. Many I spoke to stay inside the confines of their Orthodox lives for fear of harming their children, opting instead to let them continue to believe what they themselves now consider to be fairy tales.

‘To me, lying to my children was the worst part,’ said another undercover atheist – I’ll call him Yisroel. Yisroel has a very good job – he makes in the high six figures – and is very attached to his wife and children, the opposite of the stereotype that prevails in religious communities surrounding those who lose the faith, namely that they are ‘liars who want to do drugs, cheat on their wives and eat cheeseburgers’, as he put it. Yisroel’s greatest wish is that his children will learn to think critically and figure things out for themselves. But he has no plans to accelerate that process. ‘I take it one day at a time; I don’t have any long-term goal about that,’ he told me when we met in a Manhattan deli on a rainy afternoon.
I would quote the entire thing. It's powerful stuff. However, I instead invite you to go read the piece.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Russian Opera Director In Court For 'Offending Feelings of Believers'

Scene from Timofei Kulyabin's rendition of Wagner's Tannhaüser. (source)
Here's a short update concerning the Russian opera director, Timofei Kulyabin, whose version of Wagner's Tannhaüser pissed off a Russian Orthodox cleric and compelled this man of God to lodge a formal complaint with the courts.

Well, it turns out that Metropolitan Tikhon had never even seen the production! He's just pissed off and offended by the idea that it features Jesus being tempted.
Novosibirsk prosecutors have taken Russian theatre director Timofei Kulyabin to court over a performance of the Wagner opera 'Tannhauser'. The case was opened due to objections raised by local Russian Orthodox Church officials who reportedly didn't watch the play but claimed that it 'offends the feelings of believers'.
The official court proceedings began March 4th.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Putin's Russia now features a law which forbids offending anyone's religious sensibilities! The maximum jail sentence for this is three years. It's like the Pussy Riot hooliganism charge all over again.

Naturally, the correct way of dealing with something you're offended by is not to arrest someone and throw them into jail! That sort of thing shouldn't happen anymore in Russia, unless nothing has really changed.

There were over 800 Christian protesters outside of the first performance. Well, at least they understand democracy better than the Orthodox Russian Church and Russian authorities.

Nice Article About Pastafarians

Here's a pleasant piece in the Vancouver Sun about Pastafarians by Daphne Bramham.
Hooray for Pastafarians with their colanders on their noodle-y heads! They’re a welcome bit of gentle, comic relief in a frightened world.

From German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tiny hometown of Templin to Surrey to Kansas, Pastafarians are oddly at work pointing out prejudices and privilege.

“By design,” their official website says, “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.”

In addition to believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they like pirates, are fond of beer, embrace contradictions and “we do not take ourselves too seriously.”
It's a bit of light reading in praise of our pasta strainer wearing friends and features Obi Canuel who is being discriminated against by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) who refuse to issue him a photo license ID his religious headgear on (pasta strainer). You can hear his case in the accompanying video.

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