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

8 06 2008

Let’s creation the heavens and the earth!!

The week in fundie . . .

  1. In the UK, the Church of England is whining that not being shown enough special preferential treatment by the Government, and not having a special Minister for imposing Christian dogma upon UK citizens (whether they are Christian or otherwise) is tantamount to persecution. (The Times)
  2. Jesus said: And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room (or closet.) and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret…” (Verse courtesy of Matthew 6: 5-6. Link courtesy of the New York Times)
  3. A Northern Ireland Assembly member and chair of the Stormont health committee has called on gay people to seek “psychiatric counselling” to cure their homosexuality. (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  4. At a baseball game in Seattle, a lesbian couple were told by an usher to stop kissing on the grounds that they were making another spectator uncomfortable, and that there were children in the crowd whose parents would have to explain why two women were kissing. (Via Fundies Say the Darndest Things)
  5. According to the Daily Times,

    Pakistan will ask the European Union countries to amend laws regarding freedom of expression in order to prevent offensive incidents such as the printing of blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and the production of an anti-Islam film by a Dutch legislator, sources in the Interior Ministry told Daily Times on Saturday.

    The sources also warned that if the EU did not comply, attacks against EU diplomatic missions could not be ruled out. Read the rest of this entry »

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

29 04 2008

The week in fundie:

  1. Firstly, kudos to Petro Georgiou for his opposition to the Australian citizenship test, an icon of that other but equally virulent form of magical thinking: flag-waving jingoistic nationalism. On the test itself: what Ninglun said. On the fat lot of good this artefact of Howard-era dogwhistle politics has done: “Just 16,024 migrants applied to be citizens between January and March, compared with 38,850 at the same time last year.” (The Age)
  2. The fundamentalist war on women in “liberated” Iraq: how the sharia-based Iraqi constution enables honour killings. (The Independent)
  3. In Pakistan, the anti-blasphemy law enabled Muslim workers in a Karachi leather factory to beat a Hindu worker to death for “defiling the name of the prophet.” They beat him for half an hour. The assailants were charged with . . . (get this) . . . “failure to inform the police that blasphemy was underway.” Now the victim’s family is in danger. (AsiaNews)
  4. Meanwhile, the Pakistan National Assembly unanimously passed resolutions calling upon the Dutch and Danish governments to prosecute Dutch MP and filmmaker Geert Wilders, and urged the UN to “take legal, political and administrative measures to ensure respect for all religions in these societies.” (Pakistan Link)
  5. The Pope’s war on liberal democracy: Benedict urges US bishops to continue heavying Catholic politicians, demanding that they place religious dogma above their responsibilities to the people that elected them. (US News)
  6. The bishops appear to be listening. (New York Times)
  7. Everything you need to know about Expelled (short of watching it) you can find at The Bad Idea Blog. If you’re still not satisfied, visit Expelled Exposed.
  8. Christian students take a stand in favour of anti-gay bigotry and bullying in schools. (Baptist Press News)

The latest Pat Condell

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

14 04 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. A Turkish barber in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death for blasphemy. (Today’s Zaman)
  2. If you attack Ben Stein over his role in Expelled, it must be because he’s Jewish. (Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion)
  3. A Pentecostal bishop in the UK, who headed an organisation known as the “Christian Congress for Traditional Values” and who describes gays as “filthy perverts” and Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists as “foul heathens,” has resigned after admitting to an extra-marital affair. (Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion)
  4. Catch the Fire Ministries is still shilling for the Liberal Party (and is not above Aborigine-bashing as well).
  5. Catholitopia: update on the construction of Ave Maria, Florida. (Telegraph)
  6. From one fundie utopia to another: the raid on the west Texas ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, sparked by a phone call for help by a 16-year old girl who had been beaten and raped by her 50-year old husband. (via Pharyngula)

Rowan Williams, you do not have the right not to be offended

4 02 2008

You can read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s apologia for blasphemy laws here, liberally peppered as it is with the “anti-Semitism” shut-up.

It’s all very well to raise the spectre of anti-Semitism, as if that ends the discussion. But are legal sanctions really the best way to address bigotry towards religious minorities? Like as not they will only end up making martyrs of the bigots, as transpired in the case of the anti-vilification case against Catch the Fire Ministries in Australia several years ago. (As an interesting aside, Catch the Fire’s legal team attempted to invoke Australia’s own blasphemy law in that case, arguing that it only protected Christians, not Muslims.)

It is one thing to call, as Williams does, for an “argumentative democracy” and to take issue with . . .

a coarsening of the style of public debate and a lack of imagination about the experience and self-perception of others, especially those from diverse ethnic and cultural contexts, the arrogant assumption of the absolute ‘naturalness’ of one’s own position – none of this makes for an intelligent public discourse or for anything like actual debate, as opposed to plain assertion.

I couldn’t agree more, but in a liberal democracy the state should not be in the business of enforcing civility. If you’re so (rightly) committed to argumentative democracy, Dr Williams, then I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and argue for the civility we all desire, as ought to be your right and freedom.

Not much else to add: on this mater you can see also The Australian Atheist and Butterflies and Wheels and Ninglun. I think Williams makes an eloquent distinction, regarding one’s dealings with people of faith or of other faiths, between critique and abuse; it’s just that he makes a poor case for having the state enforce that distinction with legal sanctions against the latter.

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

30 01 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. A court in Cairo has rejected the request of a Christian convert from Islam to have his new religion printed on his ID card. Why? Because “Monotheistic religions were sent by God in chronological order… As a result, it is unusual to go from the latest religion to the one that preceded it.” Without an ID card, you can’t get a job, buy property, open a bank account or send your kids to school in Egypt. Isn’t theocracy wonderful? (Independent Online)
  2. Speaking of the profound good that can only come from mixing religion and politics, women in Gaza feel under increasing pressure to cover their heads, according to a UN report. Over the wall in Israel, women are not allowed to serve as religious court judges (yes, they have religious courts there), conversion to Judaism is only recognisable by Orthodox rabbis, and if you have no official religion you can be deemed to be “unmarriageable.” (Haaretz)
  3. Even fundies recognise that “American Judeo-Christian values are not the equivalent of Western values.” As Ronald R. Cherry tells it, “Judaism and Christianity are religions born in the ancient Middle East, and both are rooted in Biblical text and faith. Western values were born primarily in ancient Greece and Rome, and are rooted in reason.” Amen, brother! (Renew America)
  4. The Archbishop of Canterbury wants to ban Five Public Opinions. (Times Online)
  5. The A-Word: verboten in Hollywood? (Talk To Action)