Things they would have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXXI

9 04 2009

The week in whackaloonery:

1. A Catholic priest in the UK is shocked SHOCKED at the notion that the primary function of a hospital is the provision of medical care, and claims that if taxpayers don’t continue to foot the bill for “spiritual care” (chaplains, organ players and such), “hospitals could be reduced to mere workshops where you get your biological parts fixed.” Fancy that. (The Freethinker)]

2. The New Zealand Family First organisation is crying foul over a very funny billboard ad depicting a woman who, it is intimated, is privately deriving pleasure from anal beads during a church service. Given that “the church setting simply adds to the offensive nature by offending a sector of our community who would find the ad in particularly bad taste,” and given that said sector of the community has a right not to be offended, and given that nobody is thinking of teh children, NZ Family First has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority. (The Freethinker)

3. In the recently fundy-ised Swat Valley region of Pakistan, a 17-year-old girl was publicly flogged by the Taliban. Swat was once a haven for tourists and was known as the “Switzerland of Pakistan,” until the Taliban took control in late 2008, torching schools and banning female education. (AsiaNews)

4. In Nepal, a woman accused of witchcraft was forced to eat human excreta by a primary school principal. (MYREPUBLICA)

5. Unfortunate article heading of the week from New Vision Online: “Catholic Church probes gay priests.” Homosexuality is teh evil, according to Ugandan Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, because “homosexuality is a sin,” and because “God created a woman for Adam, to be his helper.”

6. In liberated Iraq, in the wake of anti-homosexual sermons by clerics in Sadr city, six gay men have been murdered, their bodies discovered bearing a sign reading “pervert” in Arabic on their chests. (Reuters)





Another quote of the week: Pharyngula regular RevBigDumbChimp

7 03 2009

This one made me smile. RevBigDumbChimp explains why there is much less endorsement of rape in the New Testament than in the old:

It can all be boiled down to the fact that God finally got laid. After a couple thousand years of having to take care of himself, Mary came along and he finally got some. Once he got him some ass his whole attitude changed.

It happens to everyone.

(*And after reading a comment thread in which Catholic apologists whine about how mean the atheists are being, and yet refuse to condemn their Church’s decision to excommunicate all of those involved in an abortion procedure undertaken to save the life of a 9-year-old rape victim, while not excommunicating the man who raped her, you need something to smile about.)





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXIX

27 11 2008

The week in fundie:

  1. The UN General Assembly has adopted a draft resolution calling on governments to ban the “defamation of religion.” (EuropeNews)
  2. The retired Archbishop of Bologna, Cardinal Biffi, revels in the stagnant pool of non-thinking that is conservative Christianity by insisting that Christian teachings do not change with the times. That’s nothing to be proud of, Biffi: it merely serves to demonstrate the irrelevance of your belief system and its wilful disconnection from the real world. (Catholic News Agency)
  3. Islam is the only religion that ensures protection and respectable status to women in society” says an academic in Pakistan. (The News International)
  4. Yoga is banned in Malaysia because “The Islam religion does not find efforts or actions which have no purpose and are done just for the sake of doing something, to be appropriate,” and “A soul returning to the world in another form conflicts with the principles of being punished or rewarded in the afterworld.” Transmigration of the soul? That’s crazy-talk. Post-mortem hellfire and torment for not being a Muslim? Perfectl reasonable. (Sabah)
  5. Morality and ethics, observed an American cleric recently, cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents. Indeed. (ABC News Online)
  6. Morality and ethics, observed an American cleric recently, cannot be divorced from their religious antecedents. Indeed part deux. (Pharyngula)
  7. A loving Catholic blogger lovingly declares: “Was there ever a sub-species of human being as useless as atheists??” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  8. A loving Baptist pastor lovingly declares that Jews are going to Hell and face—and I quote—”a fate worse than the Holocaust.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  9. In India, a teenage boy committed the horrible crime of courting a girl from a lower caste. So of course he justly deserved the punishment of being beaten, paraded through the streets with his head shaved, and then thrown under the wheels of a train. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  10. The anti-vac movement has a following in the Islamic world, too. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan has issued a fatwa against vaccination, declaring it to be a Jewish/Freemason conspiracy to rule the world. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  11. In South Africa, a 52-year-old woman was hacked to death with an axe by four men for being a “witch.” (Sowetan)




Too much book-learning makes baby Jesus cry

19 11 2008

In 1378 John Wycliffe first translated the Bible into English . . . and it appears certain rightwing Catholics are rueing the day.

The Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, has claimed that graduates are spreading scepticism and sowing dissent. Instead of following the Church’s teaching they are “hedonistic”, “selfish” and “egocentric”, he said. [. . .] While not naming names, he suggested that such people had been compromised by their education, which he said had a “dark side, due to original sin”.Prominent Catholics in public life include Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director general, and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister.

Bishop O’Donoghue, who has recently published a report on how to renew Catholicism in Britain, argued that mass education has led to “sickness in the Church and wider society”

In short, too much education is teh evil, because those Catholics who have eaten of this forbidden fruit and have become influential have “corrupted the faith of those who had not gone to university.” And what’s worse,

In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.”Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.

Just think . . . all this time I’ve been depressed and unproductive because I lack belief in the existence of deities. Ditto, these sad and lazy fools.

But O’Donoghue isn’t the first British Catholic clergyman to attack thinking: earlier this year the highest-ranked Catholic in the land warned that reason leads to terror and oppression. It’s just O’Donoghue is far more abrupt about what is at stake: educated Catholics, their minds poisoned by the “dark side” of their education—”original sin and concupiscence”—leading the sheep astray. Is this the voice of an institution worried about its waning power and influence, and increasing irrelevance? Or is it the voice of an institution that is in so much despair about its ability to defend its theological claims with reasoned argument and evidence, that it simply falls to demonising reason itself and demonising those who, having set foot inside the gates of a university, have developed the capacity to question Catholic dogma (and we can’t have that)?

Perhaps it’s both.





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXVIII

11 10 2008

Before I proceed, some breaking news. Pfc. Jeremy Hall, the atheist US soldier who suffered discrimination, harrassment and death threats at the hands of his loving Christian superiors and fellow soldiers, is dropping his lawsuit against U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Defense Department, and plans to leave the Army. (According to the American Freethought podcast, Hall was denied permission to attend the recent Atheist Alliance convention, where he was listed as a speaker.)

The week in fundie:

  1. For an example of how it is possible for Catholics to be as demented as the fundiest fundagelicals, look no further than Matt C. Abbott’s column on the RenewAmerica* website, “As the ‘Obama-nation’ nears, priests sound alarm“. There you’ll hear from Father James Farfaglia, who is unhappy with the recent US bishops’ statement, Faithful Citizenship, which counsels “the Church’s leaders [. . .] to avoid endorsing or opposing candidates or telling people how to vote.” Farfaglia wants the Church to tell people to vote against Obama and for McCain, because, among other reasons, “McCain will appoint a pro-life Supreme Court justice; Obama will appoint a pro-abortion one.” He also speaks highly of Catholic convert, long-time anti-abortion activist and theocrat Randall Terry, who in 1993 said: “I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good…. Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty, we are called by God, to conquer this country. We don’t want equal time. We don’t want pluralism.”You’ll also hear a goodly dose of Christian persecution mania from Father Richard Perozich. Jumping at the shadows of government spooks waiting around the corner to clap him in irons for being an ultraconservative Catholic (“we may not be in jail (at least at the moment)”), Perozich accuses the state of “encroaching on our religious beliefs, our freedom by passing laws which indoctrinate us, penalize us for non conformity, and take away our liberty.” The chief agents of this anti-Catholic persecution , in his view, are (self-hating?) Catholic politicians who, by not always voting in strict accordance with Catholic dogma, have become “slaves to people with evil ideas” . . . those ideas being “abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual activity.” TEH EVIL, you see, infects the souls of individuals who then force teh evil onto everyone else. How, you may ask? Perozich reaches under his cassock and pulls the following theory out of his wrinkled arse: “First evil forms people into groups to organize and express itself. [. . .] Evil then beings to take over in 4 ways: infiltration, indoctrination, intimidation, and imposition.” The examples he provides are just priceless:

    When we know persons with same sex attractions who have not learned to master chastity, we feel sorry for them. We want them to feel better. They infiltrate by asking for tolerance. They reinvent themselves saying that this is who they are. They indoctrinate with false ideas that they are genetically created this way, that they cannot change, that their sex is just as good as, or even better than, normal people because they don’t create overpopulation. They intimidate, calling us bigots, hate-filled people, intolerant. Finally they impose laws forcing us to learn about their sinful lifestyle, to accept it, to take away our freedoms if we don’t accept it, to teach this as normal in schools, nursing programs, to celebrate it publicly in parades, schools, and the work place as ‘diversity’ when in fact it is perversity. [Emphasis added]

    Read the full article to learn more about the INFLITRATE–>INDOCTRINATE–>INTIMIDATE–>IMPOSE strategy is deployed against unsuspecting hard-right Catholics by “unrepetant” woman abortionists and “famous people with diseases” calling for embryonic stem cell research funding. Read the rest of this entry »





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXVI

15 09 2008

The past few weeks in fundie . . .

  1. Minister aids and abetts the breaking of a Commandment. Fundie JoAn Karlos took it upon herself to decide what other members of the public can read by stealing a sex education book from the public library on the grounds that she deemed it “obscene.” A local clergyman decided to pay the $100 fine, to which the fundie responded: “I’m blessed. I’m very blessed. It’s extremely generous because I know they don’t have a lot of money.” Larceny for Jesus . . . what a great moral example to be setting your children. The fundamentalist brain strikes again! (Boston Globe)
  2. “Who are the British creationists?”: according to ths BBC report, the neurological virus known as Biblical creationism has spread across the Atlantic and is now infecting the UK. Think 28 Days Later, only this time with glossolaliating zombies. Much, much scarier.
  3. A senior Saudi official has “qualified” his remarks that it is permissible to kill broadcasters of “immoral” television content. Moderating his views significantly, he believes they should be put to death only “in the due process of law.” (Scotsman)
  4. Eleven people were killed in a Congo soccer stadium riot after a soccer player tried to use “witchcraft” to win a match. I’m not making this up. And don’t laugh: the offering of prayers to magic sky fairies are routine in American football. (Reuters)
  5. In Canada, a 42-year-old man used a “witchcraft club” to groom two teenage boys whom he subsequently molested. (Canada.com)
  6. In Zimbabwe, Dolores Umbridge of the Ministry of Magic sentenced four people to 18 months each in jail under the Suppression of Witchcraft Act. It is not known if any Dementors were involved in the capture of the offenders. (allAfrica.com)
  7. According to the governor of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State, loving Christian pastors have been lovingly throwing children into the street, suspecting them of witchcraft. Says the governor: “They even attempted to [lovingly] burn some children alive in the state. We’ve rescued children who have been [lovingly] almost burnt to death on the basis that they are into witchcraft.” (The Sun News On-line)
  8. In Papua New Guinea, an elderly woman was beaten by local villagers after they accused of her using witchcraft to cause flash floods. (The Australian)
  9. In that hotbed of liberal pluralist democracy known as Camden, New South Wales, a residents’ group that had only recently rejected an application to build a Muslim school has welcomed a proposal to build a Catholic school. Spokesman Emil Sremchevich explains: “It’s very simple: people like some things but don’t like other things. Some of us like blondes, some of us like brunettes. Some of us like Fords, some of us like Holdens. Why is it xenophobic just because I want to make a choice? If I want to like some people and not like other people, that’s the nature of the beast.” The English, Mr Sremchevich: you’re doing it wrong. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  10. Nice try, dickhead. A US man tried to get out of paying his taxes by declaring himself a citizen of heaven rather than the United States. Wait a minute . . . where have I seen this before? (DesMoines Register, via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  11. Hindu fundamentalists gang-raped one nun and burnt another alive as they stormed an orphanage in the Indian state of Orissa. (AsiaNews.it)
  12. According to fundie news outlet OneNewsNow, there is “shock and sadness in the Christian community over word that famed Christian music singer Ray Boltz has publicly announced he’s living a homosexual lifestyle.” There’s a lump in my throat, too.




A more welcoming stance towards gays and lesbians . . . or teh Jesus gets it.

17 07 2008

Via John Morales, in the comments at Pharyngula:

As John remarks, this YouTube may not last, but given the hysterical overreaction to PZ Myer’s post on “Frackin’ Crackers,” I think we can expect a lot more of these.

On the subject of “Al Queerda,” two WYD developments: one encouraging, the other disappointing, if not unexpected.

First, the disappointing. Read the rest of this entry »





We are all wafer-desecraters now

11 07 2008

A Florida student receives death threats for attempting to smuggle a communion wafer out of a Mass, after being wrestled for it by a church leader. Other church figures describe the student’s actions as a “hate crime,” curiously neglecting to apply this description to the aforementioned death threats. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights campaigns for the student’s expulsion, but also remains curiously silent on the matter of the death threats.

Blogging on the transparent stupidity of this situation, PZ Myers makes the following suggestion:

Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.

This is, apparently, all it takes for Myers himself to become the subject of death threats, as well as a campaign to get him disciplined by his employer the University of Minnesota orchestrated by the very same Catholic “civil rights” organisation mentioned above that clearly values discs of bread over human life.

My ire at this breathtaking display of idiocy is not directed at Catholics in general. I appreciate that many Catholics are sane and rational people who are blessed with a sense of proportion and are not going to get their panties in a twist over the prospect of host-desecration. Those many Catholics should not be tainted with the sociopathy of that subset of Catholics who (i) are unable to comprehend that respecting the rights of individuals to believe what they want to believe does not mean that the beliefs themselves must be respected, and (ii) want to harm (or desire for harm to be brought upon) those who mock or question the ideas they cherish.

I guess I just don’t see why wafer rights should outweigh human rights.

See also: Friendly Atheist and Richard Dawkins.





World Truth Day for Pell and Hickey

8 07 2008

By now you’ll be aware of Cardinal George Pell having been caught lying misrepresenting the truth about his knowledge of sex abuse within the priesthood. Regular visitors to this blog will also recall the sex abuse scandal in WA involving the leadership of the Catholic Charismatic Bethel Covenant Community, and of the Church’s endeavours (as with the Terence Goodall case) to wash its hands of the affair, though the incidents have hitherto not received much national media attention. You’ll remember that Barry Hickey, the Archbishop of Perth who is aligned politically with Pell and has in the past engaged in identical antidemocratic ad baculums against Catholic parliamentarians, told the West Australian newspaper in May that the Church had received no complaints about sexual misconduct at Bethel before 2007, a claim denied by ex-Bethel members.

The Archbishop was lying. The West Australian has secured a copy of a report, outlining complaints about sexual misconduct perpetrated by leaders of the Bethel Community, that was handed to the Archbishop in August 2000. Read the rest of this entry »





Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City XXI

5 07 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. The mind-virus that is creationism has infected British schools, 40 of which are teaching in science classes that evolution is a “myth” and creationism a “fact,” according to a survey of Islamic, Jewish and Christian Evangelical schools. 1000 of the students being lied to about the scientific status of creationism attend schools wholly funded by the British taxpayer. (Ekklesia)
  2. Demonstrating its firm commitment to religious freedom, the Indonesian government has told Ahmadi Muslims in that country to convert to mainstream Islam or face 5 years in jail. (Online News)
  3. In Cheshire, UK, two schoolboys were given detention after refusing to pray to Allah during an RE lesson. (Telegraph)
  4. In Herefordshire, a student will have to take four separate buses to travel to school after the local council banned non-Catholic students from using the subsidised bus service it provides to St Mary’s school. (Telegraph)
  5. A 23-year-old woman in Mexico strangled to death a 16-year-old mother, and also killed her 3-month-old baby, because she thought the mother was practicing witchcraft against her. (PR-Inside)
  6. A professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary blames the phenomenon of spousal abuse on women who refuse to submit to their husbands’ “God-given authority.” Those mouthy bitches, Bruce Ware maintains, “desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husbands because of sin.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  7. Haredi Jews in Jerusalem vandalised and razed shops selling MP4 devices, which have been banned by the Orthodox Righteous Court of Law because they are apparently “the devil’s way to try and gain entrance to our protected homes and yeshivas, disguised as something you can listen to Torah lessons through.” (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  8. In Romania, where abortion is outlawed, an 11-year old girl who was raped by her uncle will be allowed to abort her foetus, despite threats by 20 Orthodox Christian groups to press charges if the abortion goes ahead. (via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)







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