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

Monday, 25 May 2015

Canadian Editor of Bangladeshi Freethought Blog Concerned After Murder of Bloggers

Farid Ahmed is justifiably concerned for the safety of fellow bloggers and his family.
On February 26th, Bangladeshi blogger Avijit Roy was hacked to death. On May 12th, blogger Ananta Bijoy Das was butchered. Both were freethinkers, atheists. Both blogged at the Bangladeshi English language freethought blog Mukto-Mona

The Globe and Mail has an stark story on Toronto editor of the blog, Fahrid Ahmed, who is justifiably concerned for friends, himself and family.
From his home, Mr. Ahmed is steering the Bengali- and English-language blog Mukto Mona – which translates as “free thinking” – through a difficult chapter as its writers are struck down.

The blog’s founder and a friend of Mr. Ahmed’s, Bangladeshi-American Avijit Roy, was hacked to death while leaving a book fair in the capital Dhaka in February. Dr. Roy’s wife, Rafida Ahmed, sustained serious head injuries and the loss of her thumb in the machete attack carried out by suspected religious militants.
The blog Ahmed runs from the relative safety of Canada is the largest of its kind in Bangladesh and acts as an umbrella -- a major meeting place of people in that country's freethought, secular and atheist community. This blog seems to be target number one for murderous militant Islamic groups who seem hellbent to continue slaughtering bloggers until it is silenced.
For Mr. Ahmed, the blog that he helped build has become a matter of life and death – as its writers inside Bangladesh fear for their lives and look to him for answers. From the safety of Canada, he realizes there are no easy solutions.

“I don’t know what to do,” he said.
I wish I knew what to do. I've seen positive outcomes, like Bangladeshi blogger Sharif Ahmed (no relation to Farid) who successfully got refuge in Canada after suffering torture for his atheism in his own country.

However, I also see Raif Badawi rotting still in his jail cell in Saudi Arabia for doing essentially the same thing. Our federal government doing precious little to help his cause. So what can we do?
Speaking at his Toronto home, Mr. Ahmed is pensive. He is getting messages from Mukto Mona writers in hiding. “Somebody will get killed within a short time,” he said with certainty.
The site itself has some 300 contributors and 35 core writers. The threats pour in.

Ahmed himself recognizes he can never set foot in his home country again. Although he has concentrated on subjects not directly related with religion or atheism, Like Avijit Roy, in Bangladesh, he would be a marked man.

I believe every effort should be made to get as many of these bloggers out of the country. I wish I knew exactly what that is though. If anyone reading these words knows what that is -- please let me know.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Ultra-Orthodox News Site Censorship Goof Leaves Woman's Legs Exposed For All to See!

'Mona Lisa!'
There's a funny and sad story over at Haaretz about Ultra-Orthodox Jewish news site B’Hadrei Haredim blurring out all the women ministers of Bibi Netanyahu's new government in Israel.

The website took this picture of Israel's 34th government:


And they turned it into this:


Then Allison K Sommer at Haaretz noticed that:
There was one interesting oversight, however. While the women weren’t shown -  presumably to protect their modesty and to assist male readers from restraining unwanted animal urges, the editors of the web site seem to have neglected at least one of the minister’s other body parts. While Minister Miri Regev’s face has been completely distorted, her completely bare - and not unattractive legs appear unmarred, and in direct proximity to the hand of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 
For shame!

It's not over yet though. I went back to the original story and her legs are now blurred!




Now she's just a blurry mess of nothing. I hope the sensitive young readers -- I'm sure many teen boys must read this site, fer sure! -- got a chance to check out her legs before they got scrambled.

It reminds me of the scrambled cable channels of my youth. If you waited long enough you might just catch the occasional moan or flickering inverted human face for a second before it broke up again into video distortion. I guess it's a little like this here too. Maybe next month they'll goof up and we'll get to see a little Angela Merkel leg!

Sommer also points out the irony that Miri Regev is the Minister for Senior Citizens, Equality, and Gender Equality!

The story also includes some funny pictures their art department came up with of famous women in paintings and posters... well... censored, of course. Go check out the pictures.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Man Shoots Bartender For Serving Non-Kosher Drink

Caesar cocktail (source).
I'm not quite sure how to approach this story, so I'll just hit it head on. Fifty nine year old Montana man Monte Leon Hanson went to a bar and ordered a red eye, which is beer mixed with tomato juice. Anyone who's had a bloody caesar knows that this drink is not too far off the Clamato and vodka drink. In Japan, Mott's Clamato actually sells a red eye drink.

Well, Hanson, a Jew and potentially highly mentally disturbed individual, got pretty unhinged when he found out his red eye contained non kosher clam juice.
Monte Leon Hanson, 59, shot his neighbor and bartender Joe Lewis because his “red eye” — a beer and tomato juice cocktail — was made with Clamato instead of tomato juice, according to court records.

Hanson, who is also charged with animal cruelty, said drinking Clamato, which is tomato juice flavored with clam broth, is against his Jewish religion.
Wait a minute, I'm pretty sure killing people might also be against one of those commandments, perhaps?

Oh and this seems pretty pre-meditated too.
Early the next morning, on May 9, Hanson reportedly followed Lewis when he left their apartment building to take out his dog. Another neighbor then heard four to six gunshots. He found Lewis holding his dog, dead from a gunshot wound to his head. Lewis also was injured from the gunshots.
Lewis was, in effect, saved by his dog, which blocked the first bullet. He was carrying the animal because it was still in a cast after having an operation.

Obviously this isn't a problem with the religion itself, per se. It does demonstrate how unhinged people can use religion to claim they've experienced harm or hurt and use it as an excuse to retaliate. A variant of this sort of personal hurt thing forms the basis of much blasphemy related violence and human rights violations, actually.

This case is fertile for so much discussion: gun laws and availability of firearms and perhaps lack of a socialized system to deal with mental health issues would be a good start.

'I Support Free Speech... BUT' : Great Interview on David Pakman Show

(source)
Recently blogger Jerry Coyne wrote about that ...but that always seems to creep into talk about freedom of speech. Specifically, well-meaning progressives when then talk about the Charlie Hebdo case or the more recent Garland, Texas terrorists.
Here’s a melange of media commentary on the Texas cartoon shootings. The first part of the video shows the dutiful nods to free speech, the second the inevitable “buts”. There seems to be much more passion in the second bit!
I grow weary of progressives who will go to their deaths defending speech offensive to some groups -- like, say, Catholics -- while simultaneously working against anyone who would criticize Islam -- who would punch down. It seems like concern for Muslims -- who are indeed marginalized in the West -- overrides their concern for basic principles like being able to speak openly and candidly about oppressive traits within the religion of Islam.

Freedom of speech is no longer free if fettered with caveats about whom is being offended.

That's why I found this interview on the David Pakman Show with Dave Rubin so refreshing. This sums up the problem of 'I Support Free Speech... EXCEPT'


I know we're not talking about scholarly works here, but could you imagine what would have happened to Thomas Paine or Thomas Jefferson in this day and age? How do you think The Age of Reason or Jefferson Bible would have been handled if they were written as critiques of Islam and the Quran? Would they have been disowned by progressives?

Monday, 18 May 2015

More Signs of Increasing Atheism In Egypt

Donia Massoud showing off her atheist tattoo at the beach. (source)
Secularism and atheism really seems to be picking up in Egypt -- I've even added an Egypt tag to the top of this blog. I first thought the government was being downright melodramatic by declaring that the country's 866 atheists were a key challenge to society and then them setting up these little re-education brigades to combat atheism. Now, though, I'll admit that there could really be something to this.

I've already posted about a new Atheist television station, free-mind.tv, recorded secretly in Egypt and produced in the US. Recently, Al Monitor did a nice piece on them, so they're getting traction.
According to Ghanimi, at least 2,000 viewers watch Free Mind broadcasts daily, and the numbers are steadily growing. “We started the channel with modest capabilities, but our impact is expanding,” said Ghanimi, noting that the goal is to have a satellite broadcast within a year.
Then you've got a recent piece in the Cairo Post with Salafist Muslim leader Yasser Borhami.
“Nowadays there are cafes for atheist, streets for atheists, political parties for atheists, TV channels for atheist… That’s strange,” Borhami said in a recorded statement uploaded on “Me the Salafi” webpage.
He's referring to a cafe in Cairo frequented by atheists that was raided by police in December, because of satanic rituals. Apparently, Borhami visited the street this cafe is on -- the street of atheists -- and quipped that it ought to be called the street of the astray.

Apparently, in December, Egypt was named the most atheist country in the Middle East. You would think this would be great news for freethinkers everywhere. However, this upset the president of the country -- probably because atheists and freethinkers are much harder to control than a faithful flock.
In March, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the Holy Quran radio station he was not worried about a “trend” of atheism in Egypt, adding that “the shock was too much; our shock to see people who say there is not God but Allah and Mohamed is His Messenger, or who claims they raise this slogan, and [at the same time] doing this; killing, destroying and sabotaging.”
Speaking of killing, destroying and sabotaging! Just take a look at the picture at the top of this post! That's Egyptian singer and actress Donia Massoud. Egyptian media are in a tizzy because she got a (beautiful!) tattoo on her back saying "My heart's feud is with God".
The controversial ink work arguably implies that Dunia is an atheist or at least doesn't believe in any of the three holy books. Atheism is prohibited by law in Egypt and is certainly not considered a "freedom of choice."
Reader of this blog, Mariam, translates it as "My heart is enemy with god." Bold words, indeed.


I'll also admit that my wife has tattoos, so I cannot help but love women with ink. There really seems to be something strongly individualistic about it.

There really does seem to be some level of open defiance of religion in Egypt -- it does seem to be growing, slowly.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Egyptian Teens Make Video Mocking ISIS: Arrests, Incarceration and Riots Ensue


Four teens have been detained for two weeks awaiting trial. They must have done something pretty grave. No! They're just in Egypt!
In the harmless clip showing boys being boys, a group of teens ranging in age between 15 and 16, appear to be mocking ISIS kneeling on the ground hysterically praying and imitating a beheading. The video was taken during a faith-based excursion in February, and supervising the trip was Gad Younan, a 42-year old teacher who allowed the boys to a shoot a video using a mobile phone. Accidentally, the teacher misplaced his phone’s memory card, which ended up in the hands of his Muslim neighbour in Al-Nasriyah village in Upper Egypt. Upon watching the video, a group of Muslims filled a complaint with Police under Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal code which criminalises 'insulting a heavenly religion or a sect following it.' 
This is what happens when  your country has a blasphemy law and you've got nosy and probably vindictive neighbours. You might think: 'this is totally insane. There's no way it could ever get more insane than this.' You're wrong!
Not satisfied with just an arrest, allegedly more than 2,000 Muslims decided to march through Al-Nasriya area attacking Christian homes and business. Citing the Copt-owned Watani newspaper, The Daily Mail claims that Ashraf Salah, a computer repair shop owner, said: "They were chanting slogans against Christians and Christianity. They were chanting: 'With our souls and blood, we will defend you, oh Islam! We will not leave you; we will take revenge for you!' They were pelting Christian homes with stones, pounding threateningly on doors and windows, attacking shops owned by Coptic Christians. They destroyed the door of my shop and they destroyed a photo studio owned by the father of one of the boys. For three days we were living in terror and panic. We stayed in our homes and our children didn't go to their schools.”
Yes, this is three days of violence. Naturally, there must be a great deal of deep seated religious hatred between the local Muslim population and the Christians. Although I'm not finding any clear mention that these boys are Christian, I guess the assumption is that only Christians would make a silly video, lose the memory card and have a rotten neighbour snitch them out?

They were at a religious outing, so presumably they were religious of some persuasion.

During the riots three of the four boys' parents turned the children in to the police. The fourth family wisely decided to flee the area. The boys face up to five years in a youth detention centre and the teacher up to seven years in jail!

However, there seems to be some skepticism even in Egyptian sources that the story is actually true. This may be some sort of hoax -- although by whom, I have no idea.
There is a lot of reason to be skeptical of the story, as it failed to make national headlines, and seemingly has only been covered by biased outlets. However, if all of details prove to be true then there is a lot of unrest in the Al Nasrayah village that needs to be addressed before all members of the community will feel safe. In either case this should come as a concern to all Egyptians.
I would say that based on what I've seen regarding human rights vs religion in Egypt lately, citizens should be concerned regardless of whether this is a hoax. For what it's worth, I've found the story over at Fox NewsDaily Mail and Breitbart. I don't see these as fantastic sources and until a source like Reuter or BBC picks it up, it's possible it's just not true.

Here's the 30 second video:


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Iran Cracks Down On Satan-Worshipper & Gay Haircuts and Much More!


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.

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.”
Well, thank goodness for that, right? That should stop the youths from engaging in all that Satan worship and gay sex.
“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!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Being an Atheist in India

Chandra, The Moon God. (source)
One thing I enjoy reading is coming out or childhood stories of atheists in other countries and cultures. There's a really nice piece by writer Sachi Mohanty in the Hindustan Times about growing up in what is undoubtedly the most religious country in the world as a freethinking skeptic and then an atheist.
I was not an atheist always. I remember childhood visits to the Shiva temple with my mother and trying to ring the temple bell by jumping up to reach it. But before the age of 10, I was skeptical enough to stop participating in rituals at home.

My mother followed the rituals she must have learned from her mother - carrying flowers, a coconut and bananas to the temple on Mondays and worshipping the moon on specified days. To my scientific mind, the worship of the moon, the sun, and the Ganga are absurd.
To some -- mainly products of secular families, I think -- such rituals seem fascinating and the mythology charming. This view is similar to my own experience with Greek and Roman myths -- I have a degree in classics. However, things are quite different when you're actually in it every day. They do actually believe this stuff.
But about atheism. People will perform any ritual - while wearing funny headgear - if it's prescribed as part of their parent's religion. Many old men (and women too) in my family spend hours every day worshipping their dear gods. Cumulatively, they spend perhaps more than a 1,000 of their waking hours every year in doing flower arrangements and other rituals and perhaps reading a book. Of course, when it comes to reading books, religions prescribe the reading of the same book, again and again, endlessly and mindlessly.
Imagine how much learning could be acquired if one bothered to read real books (or even Wikipedia) that talked about astronomy or evolution or why religions are evil. But for most people, acquiring new information - especially knowledge that challenges their long-held beliefs - is anathema. They would rather watch television soaps featuring feuding saas-bahus or the IPL.
But Sachi has broken free of the deep religious bonds of his culture. He is one of very few.
For now, it seems like the majority of Indians are destined to spend their lives singing songs in praise of various gods. I'm happy to be in the tiny minority of those who call themselves atheists. It doesn't bother me that I am in disagreement with about 200 family relations. Einstein, Feynman, Hawking and Weinberg are some of the physicists who share my lack of belief while most prisoners in America believe in god.
Go read his entire story over at Hindustan Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @sachi_bbsr.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Parliament Under Scrutiny to Drop Christian Prayer Before Sessions

Architecture inside House of Parliament. (source)
Not long ago, Independant MP James Lunney was attempting to address Parliament with a long discourse about cyber trolls who were making fun of him and other evangelical creationist Christians in Canada. The speaker of the house essentially shut his long rambling down and no doubt there were some with extreme victim complexes who may have taken the Speaker's action as yet another proof of the persecution of the religious in our country.

Well, Lunney and his ilk need not concern themselves there. The Speaker of the House is trying to keep prayer in Parliament after the Supreme Court ruled that it could not stay in city councils -- well, in Saguenay at least. It seems like the NPD would like to see the Parliament follow suit and remove the prayer. The Speaker wants the prayer to stay. It's all about the Parliamentary Privilege.
Opposition House leader Peter Julian is looking into whether the decision applies in the House of Commons, which is protected by parliamentary privilege, said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.

"If there a place where we need to show we fully respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it's here in Parliament," he said.
...
Speaker Andrew Scheer "has no intention of changing this," but standing orders can be amended by the House, Bradley said.
Here's the prayer said before every Parliamentary session:
Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen.
Everyone must stand for this prayer: Speaker, MPs, table officers. How does this even remotely reflect a secular country? Well, it doesn't. It seems that things are worse here than I imagined.
The prayer is read by the Speaker of the House ahead of each sitting before the doors are opened to the public. Parliament's website says that the Speaker, MPs and table officers must stand during the prayer, which is followed by a moment of silence.
Peter McKay actually believes the prayer recognizes all faiths! The following moment of silence is supposed to make the agnostics happy. Meanwhile NPD leader, Tom Mulclair pointed out that just having a moment of silence with no prayer -- like they do in Quebec -- really could be the best way to go.
"It's a solemn moment at the beginning of each session. Those who want to pray are free to pray, but it's not imposed," he said
Before people start telling me it's just tradition and that it's mere formality, why not read this extract from a terrible piece about prayer in city council by Terry Burns, pastor of Pembroke Pentecostal Tabernacle, in the Pembroke Daily Observer:
It's funny. The preamble of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms begins with an acknowledgment of the supremacy of God, so there is some recognition by the document's architects that the Fathers of Confederation, and maybe even a few of the Charter's signatories, recognize the deep ties that our nation has to the Judeo-Christian God. Embedded in the wall of our Parliament Buildings is the inscription, "And He shall have dominion from sea to sea," quoting the Psalms. The God referred to, the "He," is God, Yahweh or Jehovah, not some new-age notion!
This is why we need these prayers out of the ritual of city, provincial and federal government!

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.

Insanity.

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 (http://bit.ly/1ErDN48) 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'

(source)
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.

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