Cover of Charlie Hebdo, newspaper in France. Speech bubble reads Once again, the world has been treated to a stellar example of “the religion of peace” showing its true colors. Overnight (by my clock here in the ‘States) terrorists stormed the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, as the BBC and many other outlets around the world are reporting, and killed a dozen people (WebCite cached article):

Gunmen have attacked the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring seven, French officials say.

At least two masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack “of exceptional barbarity”.

A major police operation is under way in the Paris area to catch the killers.

We don’t Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoon, via Assyrian International News Agencyyet know the terrorists’ identities or affiliations, but it’s safe to say they are, very likely, of the Islamist variety. Although Charlie Hebdo has lampooned many religions with its cartoons, it’s only Islamists who’ve previously objected enough to get violent about them, as they did back in 2011 (cached). Someone, please tell me again how Islam is “the religion of peace”? ‘Cause this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen just isn’t seeing it.

I wonder Jyllands-Posten Mohammad Cartoon / 'Stop, stop, we ran out of virgins!' / via AINAwhat Islamism’s defenders (e.g. Ben Affleck) will make of this? He’d probably just mumble something like the terrorists not being “real Muslims” or something … as though that sort of defense isn’t the fallacy it actually is.

As I always do when Islamists rage and fume over their religion being “dissed,” sometimes violently, I decorated this blog post with cartoons that are sure to offend them even more. Go ahead, little crybabies. Rage, bluster, and fume away!

Photo credits: Top, Wikimedia Commons; both in body, from Jyllands-Posten via Assyrian International News Agency.

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Secret of my success: I'm going to succeed because I'm crazy enough to think I can …. / Motifake.ComRep. Michele Bachmann may be leaving Congress, but she doesn’t seem to be leaving behind her childish inanity. She used the occasion of her appearance on a Family Research Council radio show to depart from Washington on what she, no doubt, considers a high note: As BuzzFeed reports, she accused President Barack Obama of supporting Muslims’ jihad around the world (WebCite cached article):

Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann says President Obama has supported the agenda of Islamic jihad “at every turn.”

“And I have been very surprised, to answer your question, to see the president of the United States, at every turn, cut the legs off of our ally, Israel, and in fact embrace and lift up the agenda of Islamic jihad,” Bachmann said on the show Washington Watch hosted by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

As BuzzFeed explains, Bachmann interprets reports of Obama penning letters to Iran’s supreme ruler as “cutting the legs off of” Israel (cached). That set her off on this tangent:

“Now when in the world — and by that, I mean the goals of the Islamic State, the fact that they want their own state. Our president, we know now, is writing secret notes to the Ayatollah in Iran; there’s a recent report that the president is trying to have private meetings with the Ayatollah in Iran. Iran is very clear about their goal — their goal is to have a nuclear weapon. They’ve said, unequivocally, they will use it against the United States and against Israel.”

Bachmann said she used time at the White House Christmas party earlier in December when members of Congress take photos with the president to tell him to “please end their nuclear program.”

“I used that time to talk to him about a nuclear Iran, and I asked him to please end their nuclear program, because we have the capacity to end it. And I said, ‘Mr. President, this will be on your watch.’”

Like most Religious Rightists — and in fact, most Rightists generally — Mrs Bachmann has a hypersimplistic view of the world affairs and the way diplomacy works. In the Rightist mind, Iran is Israel’s “enemy,” therefore, since Israel is our “ally,” the US is forbidden ever to communicate with Iran … for any reason, ever. That this is not how international relations actually works, is something Rightists don’t concern themselves with. The US — along with the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (aka “P5+1″) — is, in fact, communicating with Iran already, trying to end its nuclear program in order to spare the rest of the Middle East, including Israel. Of course, hawks in Israel would prefer that nation bomb Iran back into the Stone Age pre-emptively, so as to physically destroy their nuclear research. And Religious Rightists like Mrs Bachmann want that to happen, because they imagine doing so will invoke a counter-attack against Israel which, they in turn hope, will trigger Armageddon and the return of their precious Jesus to finish doing whatever it was that he never managed to get done, the first time he supposedly came to earth.

Bachmann claims she told Obama to “please end [Iran’s] nuclear program” but was rebuffed by his “condescending” response. As though, prior to her saying something, it hadn’t occurred to Obama to do so. That’s ridiculous, because not only has the US been working with 5 other major nations to terminate Iran’s nuclear capability, but arguably, the US and Israel have already launched schemes to demolish Iran’s nuclear research program, during the Obama administration. Just because Obama refuses to give his blessing to Israel’s pre-emptive attacks on Iran doesn’t mean he’s doing nothing about the problem of Iran’s fanatical mullahs and ayatollahs getting their grubby hands on nuclear weapons.

Also, I find it curious that Mrs Bachmann thinks Obama supports jihad, especially since he went to war against ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-barbaric-brood (cached)! I have no idea how Mrs Bachmann could possibly consider Obama’s campaign against ISIS a form of “support” for jihad — such a conclusion defies logic. I suppose she probably subscribes to the Religious Rightist idea that Obama is a secret Muslim (cached), so she probably considers Operation Inherent Resolve to be just a “false flag” effort meant to make it appear he opposes jihad, when in fact, the opposite is true. This kind of raging paranoia would not be unusual in a Rightist … unfortunately.

Photo credit: Motifake.Com.

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Angel-FacepalmI’m tagging this post “you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me,” because … well … you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me! It’s rare to see people do something so insanely stupid, publicly, and then proceed to double down on it, refusing to acknowledge an error which is absurdly blatant and for which there can be no rational excuse.

This December 15, not too far from me in Springfield, MA, the city held a menorah lighting in its famous Court Square. That city’s Republican newspaper reports on the raging idiocy one of the city’s councilors spewed (WebCite cached article):

Jaws dropped in Springfield’s Court Square Tuesday afternoon when Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams offered his take on the annual city menorah lighting ceremony.

“Jesus is the reason for the season,” Williams said during remarks at the ceremony that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Following short speeches by Congressman Richard Neal of Springfield and Mayor Domenic Sarno, who both touched on the history of religion in Springfield, Williams was handed the microphone and uttered the line that had people talking long after the ceremony ended.

What Williams apparently was unaware of, is that Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday and that Jews don’t worship Jesus. The article gives a brief sketch of what Hannukah is about, and links to Chabad.org’s FAQ page on the holiday. I suggest checking it out.

If you do, you will discover that Jesus had nothing to do with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (except, perhaps, assuming he lived, as a Jew himself, he may have celebrated it). It’s a Jewish holiday, as should be obvious, and Jews don’t revere or worship Jesus.

A lot of folks who said something this stupid would accept correction and apologize. But not Mr Williams. He was having none of it, and is not backing down as the Republican reported just a little later (cached):

[City Councilor Bud] Williams, a Baptist, made the remark during a Court Square event attended by Mayor Domenic Sarno, Congressman Richard Neal, city dignitaries, and leaders of the greater Springfield Jewish community, all of whom gathered at the downtown park to mark the Dec. 16 start of the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights.

“I thought it added something to the service, it didn’t take away,” Williams said Tuesday night.

The city councilor said he referenced Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated every Dec. 25 by Christians worldwide but not by Jews, after participants in the ceremony mentioned “the bright light” of 2,000 years ago — an allusion to Christ, according to Williams.

“They said it,” Williams said.

The councilor said his remark wasn’t meant as an expression of religious superiority or “dominance,” but rather as a simple reminder about the “reason for the season.”

Did you catch that? Williams blamed his stupidity on the rabbis, throwing them under the bus, as it were. “They said it,” he insists … ridiculously! In his mind, the rabbis’ mention of “‘the bright light’ of 2,000 years ago” could only have been Jesus, and cannot possibly have been a reference to the “miracle of lights” which the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates. Williams further engaged in his own variation of the “some of my best friends are Jewish” defense:

Williams said some people thanked him for his remarks. “A couple of the rabbis walked up to me and said, ‘Great comments, Mr. Williams.'”

The Republican notes, however, that they couldn’t verify this:

Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, who attended the ceremony, was asked Tuesday night for his reaction to Williams’ statement. “I’ll get back to you,” he said.

It’s safe to say that either these rabbis never said any such thing to Williams, or they did, but were just being nice to an assholish, mindless buffoon who clearly had no idea what he was talking about. In any event, Williams plainly hasn’t the slightest clue he said something he shouldn’t have said; thus, he isn’t about to apologize for it. Because, after all — as all the “war on Christmas” proponents have been railing for the past several years — Jesus “is the reason for the season” and anyone who says otherwise is trying to destroy Christianity and kill Christians. Or something like that.

Isn’t it time for Christians to just fucking grow the hell up already and get over themselves? Is it really necessary for them to presume everyone else on the planet sees everything the same way they do … even when they belong to non-Christian religions? Yes, references to “light” can mean Jesus … but they can also refer to other things within other religions, too.

Photo credit: shane_d_k, via Flickr.

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Christmas-Tree-Wallpaper-christmas-8142630-1024-768I’ve blogged many times about the paranoid delusion Christians have cooked up, which is known as the “war on Christmas.” Supposedly, wicked secularists have decided to outlaw Christmas or something. It hasn’t happened, but they’ve convinced themselves it has … so they keep repeating it, hoping somehow that it will magically manifest if they say it often enough (even though it doesn’t work that way).

Well, despite the fact that Religious Rightists have never been able to show such an effort exists, the Washington Times has decided it’s uncovered evidence of it, and they’ve blown the lid off secularists’ infernal conspiracy (WebCite cached article):

Conservatives have been mocked for insisting there’s an ongoing war on Christmas, but now it looks like they may have simply been ahead of their time.

American Atheists unveiled Wednesday the “War on Christmas” line-up on its television channel, AtheistTV, featuring “original programs proclaiming the truth about Christmas on December 24 and December 25, featuring scholars and celebrities from the atheist community.”…

Conservatives like Fox News talk-show hosts Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have long warned of a “War on Christmas,” citing moves by retailers, public schools and local governments to remove references to Christmas from displays and celebrations.

The network’s annual coverage of anti-Christmas happenings has drawn taunts from “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, such as last year’s “War on Christmas: S***’s Getting Weird Edition,” while the liberal online magazine Salon weighed in with a sarcastic article titled, “9 reasons Fox News thinks there’s a war on Christmas.”

All I can say is … Wow! “AtheistTV“? How dare those vile, insolent atheist types establish their own television network and actually air their own TV shows!

Oh, wait. Let’s have ourselves a closer look at what AtheistTV is:

The AtheistTV channel was launched worldwide on July 29 and can be accessed via Roku set-top boxes or as a free online stream at www.atheists.tv, the release said.

Aha. So this isn’t a broadcast network. Nor is it a cable-television channel. Nor is it even a single television station! It’s not any of that! It is, instead, a Web site and a Roku channel.

That’s right, folks. A Roku channel. If you’ve never heard of Roku, that can be forgiven, I suppose; it’s an Internet-connected video-streaming device (similar to an Apple TV or Chromecast) with its own proprietary collection of channels that Roku owners can subscribe to and watch.

Lest one thinks the Roku company is run by a bunch of hateful atheist reprobates forcing their secularism on subscribers, one may be interested to know that Roku has religious channels. A lot of them. Hundreds, in fact! They’ve got Christian channels of many sorts (Catholic, Protestant, evangelical) including some focused solely on particular topics (e.g. prophecy, Bible texts); they’ve got Jewish channels, Buddhist channels, “New Age” channels, Muslim channels, and lots more. Only a couple of the hundreds in that category are atheist or secular.

If anyone thinks a single Web site with some videos on it, and a single Roku channel, could possibly represent a viable weapon that atheists can use to carry out their putative “war on Christmas,” well … that’s so fucking laughable, it hardly merits any more comment than to laugh hilariously at the childish idiocy of it!

What’s more, I’d like to point out that Christians have their own video channels. Not just on Roku, nor just Web sites, but Christian television networksbroadcast and on cableby the dozen. Not to mention hundreds of Christian television and radio stations around the country. They have channels, and channels, and more channels, all their own! If one Roku channel and one Web site constitute a “war on Christmas,” what does all of that Christian programming by so many Christian outlets constitute? A “war on non-belief”?

It’s amazing the depths of hypocrisy Christians are willing to stoop to, in the name of their Jesus, when they feel they should … even though he explicitly and unambiguously forbid them ever to be hypocritical, about anything, and at any time. Give me a fucking break already!

Photo credit: travis, via Flickr.

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The cross that for decades was lit for Christmas at Happy Acres Farm has been moved to private property down the road at Judd's Construction. Sherman officials said it was inappropriate to send a religious message with the cross now that the town owns Happy Acres. Monday, Dec. 22, 2014. Photo: Carol Kaliff, via the Connecticut PostChristmas is only a few days away, and as usual, militant Christianists around the country are furiously trying to get Christmas displays onto government property — and where they’re thwarted, they’re angry about it. An example of this is in the western part of my home state of Connecticut, as the Connecticut Post reports, in the little town of Sherman (WebCite cached article):

The Christmas cross that shone for decades atop the main silo at Happy Acres Farm has gone dark this year.

Tony Hapanowich, who owned the farm until his death in 2013, erected and lighted the cross every year during the Christmas season. But after the town’s acquisition of the property earlier this year, town attorney Jeff Sienkiewicz advised the Board of Selectmen that religious symbols like the cross should not be displayed on municipal property.…

Selectwoman Andrea O’Connor said that from a legal point of view, the display raised issues of separation of church and state.

“We felt, given the advice of our town attorney, that we couldn’t put the cross up,” O’Connor said.

For many, that’s just not acceptable:

Resident Gary Albert wondered why it’s acceptable for the town to put up a Christmas tree and other decorations at Mallory Town Hall, and to put candles in the windows at Happy Acres farmhouse, but not acceptable to display the cross.

“People all over town have started putting up their own crosses,” Albert said. “I’ll bet at this time there must be upwards of 25 to 30, including one at my house.”

I applaud Christianists in Sherman, CT who got off their asses and put their own lighted crosses on their own roofs. That’s exactly how this is all supposed to work! If you’re Christian and want to display your Christianity at Christmastime for all to see — despite the injunction against public piety left behind by the founder of your religion — then go right ahead and do it, on your own fucking property. There’s no reason it must be on government property … unless there’s some provision to this effect in scripture that I’m not aware of. I invite anyone out there so inclined, to provide such a citation, if it exists. I would really love to hear what it could be. Honestly.

As for why decorated trees and lighted candles are acceptable in government buildings, but lighted crosses aren’t allowed atop them, I suppose the reasoning is that those things aren’t overtly religious enough to be problematic. Crosses, however, being associated solely with one particular religion — i.e. Christianity — are a different matter. If it were up to me, all of it would have been yanked … but what the hell could this cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen possibly know about such things?

P.S. Note, had the town of Sherman gone around to all those lighted-cross-building homeowners and ripped them all down, that might have constituted a “war on Christmas,” and it’s something I’d oppose. But that hasn’t happened here, nor is anything like it happening anywhere else in the country. Hence, no “war on Christmas.”

Photo credit: Carol Kaliff / Connecticut Post.

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Pope Francis greets the crowd as he arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Sept. 11, 2013. Photo by Paul Haring/Catholic News Service / via Religion News ServiceIt seems the Pope is definitely marking out his own territory, even at the risk of confronting the bureaucracy of his own Church. Earlier today, the Religion News Service reports, he used his traditional Christmas address to the Curia’s functionaries to ream them all new ones (WebCite cached article):

Pope Francis launched a blistering attack on the Vatican bureaucracy on Monday (Dec. 22), outlining a “catalog of illnesses” that plague the church’s central administration, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and gossipy cliques.

The pope’s traditional Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was more “Bah! Humbug!” than holiday cheer as he ticked off a laundry list of “ailments of the Curia” that he wants to cure.

In a critique that left many of the assembled clerics clearly uncomfortable, the 15 ailments in Francis’ “catalog of illnesses” reflected the take-no-prisoners approach he promised when he was elected nearly two years ago as an outsider with little direct experience in Rome.

“The Curia is called upon to improve itself, always improve itself and grow in communion, holiness and knowledge to fully realize its mission,” the pope said.

Among the “illnesses” the Pope diagnosed within his Curia, were: lust for power, hypocrisy, gossiping, and something he called “existential schizophrenia.” The RNS article also explains different ways, over the last year and a half, in which he’s expressed his plans to reform the Vatican’s vast machinery and then began following through on them, including demanding the resignation of Germany’s “bling bishop” and also removing a super-ultra-conservative-fierce-hardline American Cardinal from one of his offices (cached). He’s drifted afield from typical Church positions in the past … to the point where the Vatican’s machinery felt the need to insist the Pope never said something he very likely did say (that, or something close to it), and he married a number of couples whom prior Popes would never have dared even speak to.

Photo credit: Paul Haring/Catholic News Service, via Religion News Service.

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'This is America ... founded by White Christians seeking religious liberty. ... Where people know their place. This is YOUR America! Keep it White and Christian!' / Christian Right Propaganda Posters: America as a Christian Nation, America as a White Nation / Photo Credit: Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: National ArchivesOne thing you learn about the Religious Right is that they’re consistent … stubbornly, ferociously, and even foolishly so. They remain locked in on ideas, no matter how absurd or idiotic they are, even long after they’ve been debunked or shown to be stupid or wrong. Former US Senator and GOP presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, is no exception to this rule. Nearly three years after he railed against separation of church and state, he’s still blustering and fuming moronically against it. As Right Wing Watch explains, he told a Religious Right conference that SOCAS is un-American, and even communist in nature (locally-cached article):

In a conference call with members of right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson’s STAND America that was posted online today, former senator Rick Santorum disputed the existence of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, dismissing it as a Communist idea that has no place in America.

A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.” The likely presidential candidate replied that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

Rick’s Christofascist whine that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ [are] not in the U.S. Constitution” is a very old one, and while it’s literally true — a search of the Constitution and its amendments will in fact never turn up that phrase — it’s not true there’s no Constitutional basis for separation of church and state. The Constitution certainly does support it … e.g. Article VI paragraph 3, and the First Amendment. Moreover, the man who wrote the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment and its establishment clausesaid so, very clearly.

Rickie punctuated his comments later by bitching and whining about Barack Obama and race, mentioning that the president “cavorted with Al Sharpton.” I have no idea what that has to do with anything, but Rickie thought it was relevant. To something. Somehow. I guess. To be clear, I’m no fan of Sharpton myself; he’s a huckster, no doubt. But he is influential, without regard to whether or not he has any right to be, and he’s someone who needs to be dealt with, like it or not. So the president met with him — big fucking deal! The president meets with a lot of people. It doesn’t mean he does their bidding, nor does it mean he “cavorts” with them.

Now, one might ask why Rickie would insist that the U.S. doesn’t have separation of church and state, even after having been pounded for saying so years ago and having been revealed thereby as a moronic, childish buffoon? The answer lies in the psychopathological compulsion the Religious Right has toward “consistency.” The R.R. doesn’t take kindly to any kind of change in expression. They condemn it as “flip-flopping” and frequently turn on people who do it. It’s possible his chance to become the GOP presidential nominee in 2016 could be torpedoed instantly, should he ever say anything that contradicts his now-at-least-3-year-old stance against separation of church and state. So he’s forced to double down on it, rather than admit he was wrong.

P.S. I note the caller whose question triggered Santorum’s stupidity, is even more of an idiot than Rickie is. The Communist Manifesto, however, says nothing about “amnesty,” homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, or any of the other childish hang-ups cited. Like most people who reference that particular book in a negative way, the caller obviously has never actually read it.

Photo credit: Austin Cline, About.Com; Original Poster: National Archives.

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