Monday, March 23, 2009

How to raise a fanatic

The devil goes after the young, those who cannot fend for themselves

Interesting documentary that was shown on A&E. This is some seriously disturbing shit.

I had a vague idea that there were people out there that did this sort of thing to their children, but I never realized that the subculture was so vast. According to A&E, an incredible 25% of Americans identify themselves as "Evangelical Christians", which means that 25% of Americans are raising their children this way.

Which then raises the next question - is this child abuse?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Johann Hari: Why should I respect these opressive religions?

The right to criticise religion is being slowly doused in acid. Across the world, the small, incremental gains made by secularism – giving us the space to doubt and question and make up our own minds – are being beaten back by belligerent demands that we "respect" religion. A historic marker has just been passed, showing how far we have been shoved. The UN rapporteur who is supposed to be the global guardian of free speech has had his job rewritten – to put him on the side of the religious censors.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind – and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth. Today, the Chinese dictatorship calls it "Western", Robert Mugabe calls it "colonialist", and Dick Cheney calls it "outdated". The countries of the world have chronically failed to meet it – but the document has been held up by the United Nations as the ultimate standard against which to check ourselves. Until now.

Starting in 1999, a coalition of Islamist tyrants, led by Saudi Arabia, demanded the rules be rewritten. The demand for everyone to be able to think and speak freely failed to "respect" the "unique sensitivities" of the religious, they decided – so they issued an alternative Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. It insisted that you can only speak within "the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community".

In other words, you can say anything you like, as long as it precisely what the reactionary mullahs tell you to say. The declaration makes it clear there is no equality for women, gays, non-Muslims, or apostates. It has been backed by the Vatican and a bevy of Christian fundamentalists.

Incredibly, they are succeeding. The UN's Rapporteur on Human Rights has always been tasked with exposing and shaming those who prevent free speech – including the religious. But the Pakistani delegate recently demanded that his job description be changed so he can seek out and condemn "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets". The council agreed – so the job has been turned on its head. Instead of condemning the people who wanted to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself.

Anything which can be deemed "religious" is no longer allowed to be a subject of discussion at the UN – and almost everything is deemed religious. Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage. The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" – and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.

Here is a random smattering of events that have taken place in the past week in countries that demanded this change. In Nigeria, divorced women are routinely thrown out of their homes and left destitute, unable to see their children, so a large group of them wanted to stage a protest – but the Shariah police declared it was "un-Islamic" and the marchers would be beaten and whipped. In Saudi Arabia, the country's most senior government-approved cleric said it was perfectly acceptable for old men to marry 10-year-old girls, and those who disagree should be silenced. In Egypt, a 27-year-old Muslim blogger Abdel Rahman was seized, jailed and tortured for arguing for a reformed Islam that does not enforce shariah.

To the people who demand respect for Muslim culture, I ask: which Muslim culture? Those women's, those children's, this blogger's – or their oppressors'?

As the secular campaigner Austin Darcy puts it: "The ultimate aim of this effort is not to protect the feelings of Muslims, but to protect illiberal Islamic states from charges of human rights abuse, and to silence the voices of internal dissidents calling for more secular government and freedom."

Those of us who passionately support the UN should be the most outraged by this.

Underpinning these "reforms" is a notion seeping even into democratic societies – that atheism and doubt are akin to racism. Today, whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents immediately claim they are the victims of "prejudice" – and their outrage is increasingly being backed by laws.

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don't respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don't respect the idea that we should follow a "Prophet" who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him.

I don't respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don't respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of "prejudice" or "ignorance", but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand "respect", you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.

But why are religious sensitivities so much more likely to provoke demands for censorship than, say, political sensitivities? The answer lies in the nature of faith. If my views are challenged I can, in the end, check them against reality. If you deregulate markets, will they collapse? If you increase carbon dioxide emissions, does the climate become destabilised? If my views are wrong, I can correct them; if they are right, I am soothed.

But when the religious are challenged, there is no evidence for them to consult. By definition, if you have faith, you are choosing to believe in the absence of evidence. Nobody has "faith" that fire hurts, or Australia exists; they know it, based on proof. But it is psychologically painful to be confronted with the fact that your core beliefs are based on thin air, or on the empty shells of revelation or contorted parodies of reason. It's easier to demand the source of the pesky doubt be silenced.

But a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.

Yet this idea – at the heart of the Universal Declaration – is being lost. To the right, it thwacks into apologists for religious censorship; to the left, it dissolves in multiculturalism. The hijacking of the UN Special Rapporteur by religious fanatics should jolt us into rescuing the simple, battered idea disintegrating in the middle: the equal, indivisible human right to speak freely.


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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Response to "Praying for ...gas?

Zeique seems to be a little confused as I can tell from his article.

Let me clarify:

Muslims pray five times a day (and own most of the world's oil). That means that at the time of this writing the results are :

Pray count:

Californians - 1
Middle East - 30 (@ 5 times per day, not including today)

There you have it. Gas prices to go up.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Praying for... gas?

THIS just in from the "Sometimes The Jokes Just Write Themselves Department". In desperation induced by rising gas prices, a group of Californians have come up with the solution. They got together and... wait for it... wait for it...

staged a pray-in at a San Francisco Chevron station on Friday, asking God for cheaper gas.

Presumably, the Saudis are performing mass counter-prayers to maintain the status quo. Stay tuned for the results of pray-off 2008!

sfgate has the story - linky

If ever a story needed pictures, this would be the one.

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Monday, April 07, 2008


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Tuesday, March 11, 2008


AN honest church is a rare thing indeed.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

God Hates Children: Incident #4,234

TODAY'S episode of God Hates Children is brought to you by Muhammad Parvez, who was having a hard time dealing with his 16 year old daughter. As many do in times of trouble, he turned to his religion to try to figure out what to do.

Allah gave him the answer.

On Monday morning, Peel Regional Police responded to a 911 call from a man who said he had just killed his daughter. When officers arrived at a single-family detached home on Longhorn Trail, they found Ms. Parvez suffering from life-threatening injuries. She was taken immediately to Credit Valley Hospital and later transferred in critical condition to the Hospital for Sick Children, where she died.


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Coolest comic ever. My fave so far...

click me

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Jesus & Mary pancakes!

For those of you who have become bored with Aunt Jemima, there is supposedly a new brand of pancakes rolling out. A woman (from Florida, of course) claims to have seen an image of Jesus & Mary appear in her pancake while she was making breakfast one morning. If you don't believe her, just ask her daughter (because if her daughter said so, it's true) And her daughter said so: "Being a very spiritual person, which I am, when I saw that, I said, 'Jesus and Mary!',"

Rizzo's verdict? Bullshit. The woman is a moron. It's clearly Sonny and Cher.

link and image credit :

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.... We need believing people."

-- Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933


Thursday, September 06, 2007

The crazy... it burns....

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Suffer the little children

THIS just in from the "god made me do it" department.

A fundamentalist church pastor had sex with two of his teenage daughters to educate them on how to be good wives, a South Australian court has heard.

Sounds heinous. What could possibly make a father commit such a horrible act?

The man told the court the sex was not about fulfilling his desires but about teaching his daughters how to behave for their husbands when they eventually married, as dictated in scripture.

Ahhhhh, now it makes sense.

The Sydney Morning Herald has the story - linky

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