Archive for November, 2010

Tulsa City Hall 2The great Religious Right “war on Christmas” lurches on this year. This time it’s Senator Jim Inhofe from the Christofascist state of Oklahoma who’s screeching about Christmas. The Tulsa World reports on a conniption he’s throwing over an annual parade in that city (WebCite cached article):

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe announced Tuesday that he will not participate in Tulsa’s Parade of Lights until organizers put “”Christ” back in the event’s title.

“Last year, the forces of political correctness removed the word ‘Christmas’ and replaced it with ‘Holiday’ instead,” the Oklahoma Republican said.

Here’s the thing, Jim. It’s Tulsa’s parade. The Tulsa government can call it whatever they want to call it. If they want to call it the Thingamabob Parade, or the Fitzgiggle Parade, or something even more senseless than that … well … they can! And there’s nothing you can do about it. There is no law preventing it. And while you might attempt to pass one, Senator, I doubt it would succeed.

Second, Senator, as it turns out, Christmas is a holiday. (If you need help understanding how this is the case, Senator, please have a look at these dictionary definitions of “holiday” and of “Christmas.”) Referring to Christmas-time as a holiday, therefore, is never semantically incorrect. Don’t like it, Senator? Too bad. While you may get to vote on a lot of things in the U.S. Senate, you do not get a vote concerning English semantics.

The mature thing for you to do, Senator, is to grow up and accept that you are no longer the mayor of Tulsa, and that this decision is out of your hands. I know it’s difficult to act mature — especially when you’re such a militant religionist — but please, give it a try. Just once. OK?

Update: Here is a very nice Newsy video report on the Tulsa holiday-parade issue:

Photo credit: Nmajdan | Wikimedia Commons.

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St John the Evangelist Church, Calgary, AB | Google Earth v. 6, Street ViewI blogged a short while ago about some Anglican bishops who bolted their church and converted to Catholicism over the matter of (gasp! horrors!) women being ordained as priests. I said, then, that this would be only the beginning, and that a flood of Anglicans fleeing their church over the relentless onslaught of modernity would follow. Well, the exodus continues, this time exhibited in this report by CBC News about a Calgary parish that’s changing to Roman Catholicism (WebCite cached article):

An Anglican church in Calgary is set to become the first in Canada to accept an offer from the Vatican to become Catholic.

The congregation at St. John the Evangelist — the only high Anglican church in the diocese — has felt increasingly isolated as the parent church slowly liberalized, accepting women as priests and blessing gay and lesbian unions.

As with the bishops who converted last week, the R.C. Church plans to accommodate its new parish’s customs:

Under the new orders, which have not yet been created, former Anglican parishes will be permitted to maintain their distinctive liturgical practices, and priests will still be allowed to marry.

Strangely enough, the church building and property will remain in the hands of the Anglican diocese of Calgary. I have to wonder how long that arrangement is going to last?

Photo credit: Google Earth 6 Street View of St John the Evangelist Church in Calgary, AB.

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Torches & Pitchforks | TV TropesSo, what do Neocrusaders do when they hear about a Muslim terrorism suspect being arrested in a sting operation (WebCite cached article)? Why, obviously, they torch a mosque that the suspect attended. WMTR-TV in Eugene, OR reports on the suspected arson (cached article):

A fire early Sunday morning at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center attended by Mohamed Osman Mohamud has been declared arson by the Corvallis Fire Department.

Officials said that the fire — which was contained to one room — was intentionally set.

The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

That’s right, folks. Before all the facts have been revealed, before there’s been a conviction, before even the trial has begun — the Neocrusaders have already pronounced sentence; the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center has been found guilty of its complicity (in what hasn’t even been determined a crime yet), and set ablaze.

Why, absolutely this is justified. After all, didn’t Muslims kill Americans on September 11, 2001? Shouldn’t all the mosques around the country be set on fire? Please note, this is not the first mosque that’s been torched by enraged Neocrusaders, I’ve already blogged about another mosque arson.

Can we finally decide that, maybe — just maybe — it’s time for people to fucking grow the hell up, fercryinoutloud, before someone gets killed?

Photo credit: TV Tropes.

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Province House in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, CanadaThis is the sort of story I’d have expected to hear from somewhere in the Religious Right-infected US, most likely in a militantly Christian state such as Texas or South Carolina. But this comes, instead, from the mostly-secular Great White North … specifically, Prince Edward Island. The CBC reports on a comment following a fall (WebCite cached article):

A debate over Sunday shopping has led P.E.I.’s transportation minister to suggest God had struck down the leader of the Opposition, who fell and injured herself after introducing a bill to allow Sunday openings year-round.

Opposition leader Olive Crane introduced the private member’s bill earlier this week. It would remove Canada’s last restrictions on Sunday shopping. …

Unlike in the US, where the comment likely would have been delivered sanctimoniously from behind a lectern at a press conference, this one was delivered in person during a debate:

Following an appearance on CBC Television’s Compass Monday, Crane slipped on the television set, injuring her ankle and wrist. Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley brought up the incident during the debate on the bill Thursday.

“I’m not what you call a saint, but I believe in God and I believe in [doing] the best I can do. You were at CBC pushing Sunday shopping, were you not? On TV?” he asked Crane. “Right after that interview what happened?”

“We had a bit of an accident,” Crane responded.

“Does that not tell you something?” said MacKinley.

“Like what?” said Crane.

“Like the Lord works in mysterious ways, and maybe you should start worrying what’s going on here? We are going all the time, we’re getting farther and farther away, whether it’s prayers in the schools or whatever it is,” said MacKinley.

The CBC article contains video of the exchange, which reveals that MacKinley’s comments were punctuated by a few mild guffaws from those nearby. At least a few people within earshot understood how laughable this moron’s comment was.

There’s nothing like using a little personal misfortune to make a self-righteous dig at someone, eh?

Yes, Mr MacKinley. Absolutely you’re right. God has nothing better to do with his infinite time and almighty power, but to trip up politicians who want stores to open Sunday. Why, of course. It’s so obvious he’d want to do that. He can’t be bothered dealing with stopping crimes, healing the sick, ending wars, halting murderous tyrants, or anything else like that. Oh no! An all-powerful being can’t afford to be bogged down with “big ticket items” like that. No way! Instead, he worries only about whether people are able to go to the store on Sundays. Definitely. Obviously!

When are these religionists going to grow the fuck up and get over themselves already?

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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The Queen speaking to synod today, flanked by the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Duke of Edinburgh.In a move that will, now doubt, enrage lots of theists — especially religionists of the “there-can-be-no-morality-without-God” variety, Queen Elizabeth II commented recently that atheists aren’t entirely bad. The (UK) Guardian reports on these comments to an Anglican Church synod (WebCite cached article):

People of faith do not have a monopoly on virtue as British society was now “more diverse and secular”, the Queen told the Church of England today in an address to its governing body.

Speaking at Church House, central London, she told members of General Synod that believers and atheists were equally able to contribute to the prosperity and wellbeing of the country.

The Queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England, said: “In our more diverse and secular society, the place of religion has come to be a matter of lively discussion. It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the wellbeing and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none.”

The irony here is that Queen Elizabeth — as the Guardian story mentions — is technically the head of the Church of England, as all English/UK monarchs have been, ever since Henry VIII cut off the church within his realm from the Holy See in Rome. Expect the furious retorts to the Queen to begin … not so much in her own realm or even the Commonwealth, but within the US, among the vocal militant Christianists.

Photo credit: Wpa Pool/Getty Images via The Guardian.

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Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower. Seen from south. Image assembled from 4 photos.It’s been a couple years in coming, but it seems the dam of the Anglican Union has broken. Five Anglican bishops have bolted their church, over its increasingly progressive policies, and they’ve gone over to Roman Catholicism. Reuters reports on the first of what promises to be many more defections (WebCite cached article):

Five Church of England bishops opposed to the ordination of women bishops will take up an offer by Pope Benedict and convert to Roman Catholicism, heralding a possible exodus of traditionalist Anglicans.

An arrangement has been made within the Catholic Church under which any currently-married Anglican clergy can convert, without having to set aside their wives under Catholicism’s centuries-old celibacy requirement. (This is not entirely unprecedented; there are Eastern Rite clergy belonging to the Maronite Church — for example — who likewise can be married, but who are in communion with Roman Catholicism.) The direct cause of what amounts to the opening salvo in a renewed Anglican schism is the ordination of women:

One of the departing prelates said the women bishops issue was part of a wider problem they had with the Church of England claim to belong to the universal Church founded by Jesus that includes the far larger and older Roman Catholic Church. …

Church of England defections were triggered by a vote at the July General Synod, the Church’s parliament, that confirmed it would consecrate women bishops.

At one time the Anglican Church had been one of the most progressive of the world’s mainline churches. Defections such as this are bound to yank it backward in time and force it to return to more medieval ways, inspired by the apostle Paul, who (supposedly) said, among other things:

The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church. (1 Cor 14:34-35)

But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (Eph 5:24)

Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Col 3:18)

A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. (1 Tim 2:11-12)

These, of course, are merely the tip of the iceberg: The rest of the Bible is hardly kind to women, either. It’s all because of Eve, you see (see especially Gen 3:16). Because a serpent swindled Eve, every woman who ever lives simply must be treated like crap. Isn’t that obvious!?

Pedantic note: Most scholars dismiss the idea that Saul (aka Paul) actually wrote any of these words. The epistles to the Ephesians, Colossians and to Timothy and Titus were likely written by later Christians and falsely attributed to Paul in order to give them greater apparent authority. While Paul likely did write both canonical epistles to the Corinthians, the above-quoted passage — and a few others — are probably later interpolations (or insertions). Here’s a Wikipedia article introducing the subject of Paul’s authorship, in case you feel like exploring the topic in greater depth … and I definitely advocate looking much further than just Wikipedia.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.

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Ten CommandmentsBy now I must sound like a broken record, reporting on the myriad ways that Texas Christians are trying to ram their fierce religiosity down the throats of that state’s school children. It’s an old story that I’ve blogged about many many times already; I can only assume I will have to keep blogging about it for the next several years at least.

The latest example of this phenomenon comes in the form of a law being proposed by a Texas legislator, which — he no doubt hopes — will get the Ten Commandments into public schools around the state, as reported by the Fort Worth Star Telegram (WebCite cached article):

State Rep. Dan Flynn hopes to ensure that any Texas teacher who wants to can display the Ten Commandments in a classroom.

Flynn, R-Van, in East Texas, recently filed a bill that says school board trustees may not stop copies of the commandments from being posted in “prominent” locations in classrooms.

Calling it a “patriotic exercise,” Flynn said the bill is geared to teach youths about history and principles.

Flynn blathers on idiotically in support of his proposal:

“This is necessary to protect teachers who have the desire to establish that the country’s historical background is based on Judeo-Christian traditions,” he said. …

“For too long, we’ve forsaken what our Judeo-Christian heritage has been. Our rights do come from God, not from government.”

Flynn’s bullshit about the US being “founded on Christianity” — or a euphemism such as “Judeo-Christian traditions” — is, of course, a lie. The US was not “founded on Christianity.” It was established as a secular state, from the very beginning. Its body of laws is not based on the Ten Commandments, it’s based on English common law, which in turn was based on the customs of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. The Decalogue, in any event, is not a collection of civil laws, but rather, is a ritual purity code.

Flynn is just another Christian theocrat trying to turn his religion into the law of the land and force it on everyone, merely because he believes himself entitled to force it on everyone. All I can say to him is what I say to every other theocrat: You want me to believe what you believe, and live as you want me to live … then you’re just going to have to make me. Go ahead. I dare you to give it your best shot. Come on. Lock and load. What are you waiting for?

Like little children, Flynn and the other the religiofascists in Texas just keep throwing tantrums repeatedly until they’ve worn down the opposition. They scream and cry and wail and weep and screech and moan and kvetch and rail and holler and stamp and fume and yell, over and over again … and when they’ve finished, they just start up all over again. Well, I don’t plan to cave into their Christofascism … and neither should you. This is a free country — it should stay free, and for everyone, not just militant Christianists.

Hat tip: Mark at the Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: No Matter Project.

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