Posts Tagged “france”

'100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter' (English translation) / Charlie Hebdo, via Huffington PostOnce again, the world has been treated to yet another example of how “the Religion of Peace” conducts its affairs. By now you’ve no doubt heard about the attack on a church in northern France, in which a priest was killed (WebCite cached article):

Attendance was sparse at the 9 a.m. Mass on Tuesday at the Église St.-Étienne, a 17th-century church in a working-class town in Normandy. Many parishioners were on vacation; so was the parish priest.

Mass was ending around 9:30 a.m. when two young men with knives burst in. They forced the auxiliary priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, to kneel. When he resisted, they slit his throat. They held several worshipers and at least one nun hostage, while another nun escaped. Officers from a specialized police unit descended on the church. A short while later, officers shot the young men dead as they emerged from the church.

The brutality in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a suburb of Rouen in northern France, was the latest in a series of assaults that have left Europe stunned, fearful and angry. The Islamic State took responsibility for the killing. Two of its “soldiers,” it said, had attacked a church “in response to the call to target Crusader coalition states.” By killing a priest as he celebrated Mass, the group framed the assault as an act of religious war between Muslims and Christians.

This New York Times article also rather “helpfully” pontificates:

Whether [the attack] will be perceived by the French as a struggle between religions and cultures is less clear. For now, some French politicians seemed willing to take the bait and use the language of sectarian and cultural division.

This little tidbit is in line with what a lot of “experts” have said about ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh/whatever-the-fuck and its ilk … that they’re using terror attacks like this one to cause non-Muslims (especially Christians) to go on a raging crusade against Muslims, who — they presume — will then suddenly and magically flock to their banners, converting to their jihadist version of Islam. This thinking has driven the Obama administration’s approach to Islamist terror, as well as that of many other governments, and it explains their relative passivity in light of it all.

I concede Jyllands-Posten Mohammad Cartoon / 'Stop, stop, we ran out of virgins!' / via AINA the US and many other countries have engaged in military action against ISIS for nearly 2 years. While that’s all well and good, the problem with it is that it has done nothing to curtail ISIS. That savage brood remains free to train and ship vicious jihadists to many places, and even by mere “inspiration” launch attacks all around the globe. Two years of airstrikes have been absofuckinglutely useless in this regard. ISIS is as free as it ever has been to command or inspire primitive savagery throughout the world, and nothing the US or any other member of the anti-ISIS coalition is doing, is preventing it. It’s time for them to review what they’re doing and work to stop it.

A first step, toward that end, would be to recognize the role religion plays, here. As much as a lot of the world’s leaders would like it not to be the case, Muslim religiosity is the impetus of Islamist terror, especially where ISIS is concerned (cached). The role of various Sunni states in promoting Salafism around the world — including our putative ally Saudi Arabia in places like Kosovo (cached) — is something that must be dealt with. So long as outfits like ISIS has a pool of potential recruits either to bring aboard and train in their own territory, or merely inspire as “lone wolves” wherever they happen to be, they will remain a threat. What’s more, it turns out that a lot of recent attacks, in the US and Europe, were carried out by apparent “lone-wolf” jihadists who were on officials’ radar … yet those officials took no action whatsoever to stop them. Ignoring the threat these jihadists pose no longer works — telling others to ignore it won’t, either.

Note: Even with all of this having been said, I don’t approve of going on a rampage against all Muslims, which is what a lot of folks in the Religious Right — whom I refer to as “Neocrusaders” — advocate. Not all Muslims are terrorists … which goes without saying. To condemn all Muslims because some of them are terrorists, is irrational and even childish. What’s needed is to be pragmatic about it: Where there’s something to watch (for example, when someone’s co-workers report he’s mouthing off like an angry jihadist) maybe it’s best to pay fucking attention to what they’re telling you, instead of looking the other way (cached). I dunno, maybe I’m just being too rational and everything … but strangely enough, that seems quite obvious.

As I often do where militant Islamism is concerned, I’ve decorated this post with images intended to offend the extremists.

Oh, and, just a little obligatory note to all you Christianists out there: Don’t pat yourselves on the back over stuff like this. Your own religion has triggered some terroristic violence of its own. “Christian terror” exists, even if most folks would rather not know about it.

Photo credit: Top, Charlie Hebdo via Huffington Post; middle, Assyrian National News Agency.

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Cardinal Philippe Barbarin / Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters, via the Daily BeastThe worldwide Catholic clerical child-abuse scandal rolls on. I’ve blogged about it for a very long time. It’s been going on for around 15 years. Had such a scandal manifested within any other organization, people would have been prosecuted, changes would have been made, victims compensated, and it would have long ago stopped being an issue.

But that’s not how things work with the Catholic Church. No, the Holy Church doesn’t work the way any other institution does. It keeps on keeping on, as the saying goes. It doesn’t admit fault, it doesn’t change, it doesn’t relent, it makes no concessions, it just does what it’s always done … because the Church. Case in point: As the Daily Beast reports, the priestly-pedophilia scandal erupted again, this time in France, involving a Cardinal there (WebCite cached article):

Meet the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who has denied he did anything wrong by hiding the well-known fact [cached] that Father Bernard Preynat was sexually abusing as many as 40 Catholic Scouts in France in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Preynat was relieved of his duties in the parish of Roanne in 2015 after admitting to the sex abuse. He was indicted on Jan. 27 on charges of “sexual abuse and rape of minors” and has admitted his crimes to the police.…

Meanwhile, Cardinal Barbarin is facing criminal charges by a French secular court for “failing to report a crime” and “endangering the life of others,” which could carry a three-year prison sentence and fines up to €45,000.

Barbarin denies having done anything wrong, and his reasoning is quite unbelievable:

[Barbarin] maintains that he shouldn’t be accused at all because he eventually removed Preynat from parish work.

Never mind that the removal came nearly 15 years after his crimes were made known. After victims and their families came forward in 1991, Preynat was removed him from parish duties for six months by the then-archbishop, who is now deceased. Yet despite having confessed to the crimes, Preynat was allowed to return to his active duties after he repented, meaning he had access to children despite admitting to being a pedophilic sex offender.

When Barbarin was appointed as archbishop, he even promoted the errant priest to an administrative position in 2007 where he was in charge of six dioceses filled with children, according to court documents quoted [cached] in the French press.

Barbarin, who is well liked in France despite his harsh stance against gay marriage (which he once predicted would pave the way to legalized incest), removed Preynat from the priesthood last August when secular authorities got involved—25 years after his crimes had first emerged.

Yes, apparently Barbarin believes that, because he finally summoned the courage to stop Preynat decades after he knew Preynat was abusing kids, this means he shouldn’t have been prosecuted for not having stopped Preynat.

Yes, folks, this is exactly the sort of reasoning that floats through the pompous and self-righteous brains of Catholic hierachs. It’s at least as absurd and laughable as any of the vast litany of other excuses the hierarchs and their apologists have offered, over the past few years.

But let’s be brutally honest here: Preynat’s superiors — which included Barbarin for a very long time, but also others within the Church — knew damned well he was abusing kids but purposely chose to allow him to continue abusing kids, for decades. Yes, that’s decades. This is factual — by Preynat’s own admission. There’s no question about it. I invite any and all Catholic apologists out there to explain to me clearly how and why this was acceptable. I fucking dare you! Go ahead and tell me why this was just fine.

Photo credit: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters, via the Daily Beast.

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'Je Suis Charlie' / Bild (DE)Ten months ago, Islamist terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, killing a dozen, then went on a rampage in the Paris region. They did this, reportedly, to avenge their prophet Muhammad, who apparently had been harmed by some cartoons, thus forcing some of his followers to kill the blasphemers who’d insolently dared draw them. Or something like that. I’m still not clear as to how a long-dead man could have been harmed by mere cartoons, but then, I’m just a cynical, cold-hearted godless agnostic heathen and couldn’t possibly be expected to understand such important sacred notions, could I?

Well, by now most of my readers have already heard the news that the Islamists have done it again. This past Friday they launched a savage series of attacks on Paris. The details of this multiple-site massacre are still being collected, but France’s president Francois Hollande has said this was “an act of war” by ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood, and they’ve claimed responsibility for it.

Clearly, the “Religion of Peace” has shown its true colors … again! … even if, by now, no sane person actually needs such an illustration. Predictably, Muslim leaders and organizations around the world have condemned the attacks on Paris, but let’s be honest: Those condemnations will accomplish nothing whatsoever. ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck and all its ilk will continue their barbaric terror campaigns, and they’ll keep attracting Muslim recruits from around the world. It’s not going to stop just because some scholars of Islam mouth recriminations against Islamist terror. The Islmists already don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks, and they’re not going to, ever. Mere words don’t matter, and have no discernible effect on them.

The sooner the world’s Muslims begin actively (rather than just verbally) dealing with the festering sore deep within their religion, which these violent barbarians believe grants divine sanction to their savage terror campaign, the sooner something can actually be done about it. But sadly, I just don’t see that happening. Not enough of them have the courage to do so.

Photo credit: Bild (DE).

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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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Piss Christ photograph by Andres Serrano (1987)It seems the US is not presently the only place where extreme, militant Christianists can be found. It’s true that, here in the States, militant Christianists are common enough that they can be found inhabiting the halls of power, in Washington DC and in state capitols around the country, while they constitute a “fringe element” in other countries, but they still exist nonetheless. And at times they can make their presence known … violently. Some enraged Christianists attacked the famous (or infamous) “Piss Christ” photograph in Avignon, France, as the (UK) Guardian reports (WebCite cached article):

When New York artist Andres Serrano plunged a plastic crucifix into a glass of his own urine and photographed it in 1987 under the title Piss Christ, he said he was making a statement on the misuse of religion.

Controversy has followed the work ever since, but reached an unprecedented peak on Palm Sunday when it was attacked with hammers and destroyed after an “anti-blasphemy” campaign by French Catholic fundamentalists in the southern city of Avignon. …

For four months, [the Piss Christ photograph] has hung in the exhibition I Believe in Miracles, to mark 10 years of art-dealer Yvon Lambert’s personal collection in his 18th-century mansion gallery in Avignon. The show is due to end next month, but two weeks ago a concerted protest campaign began.

Civitas, a lobby group that says it aims to re-Christianize France, launched an online petition and mobilised other fundamentalist groups. The staunchly conservative archbishop of Vaucluse, Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, called Piss Christ “odious” and said he wanted this “trash” taken off the gallery walls. Last week the gallery complained of “extremist harassment” by fundamentalist Christian groups who wanted the work banned in France. …

But on Palm Sunday morning, four people in sunglasses aged between 18 and 25 entered the exhibition just after it opened at 11am. One took a hammer out of his sock and threatened the guards with it. A guard grabbed another man around the waist but within seconds the group managed to take a hammer to the plexiglass screen and slash the photograph with another sharp object, thought to be a screwdriver or ice-pick. They also smashed another work, which showed the hands of a meditating nun.

Photo from Ecce Homo exhibit by Elisabeth Ohlson WallinThe gallery plans to stay open with the damaged works on display:

The gallery director, Eric Mézil, said it would reopen with the destroyed works on show “so people can see what barbarians can do”. He said there had been a kind of “inquisition” against the art work.

This attack had a political trigger:

In a statement, [Mézil] said the movement against Piss Christ had started at the time of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party’s controversial debate on religion and secularism in France. At a record low in the polls before next year’s presidential election, Sarkozy has been accused of using anti-Muslim and extreme-right rhetoric to appeal to voters and counter the rise of the Front National.

Asked by the daily Libération why the Piss Christ protest had happened now, Mézil pointed to Sarkozy’s speech in March lauding “the Christian heritage of France” at Puy-en-Velay, where the first Crusades were preached.

The French government waffled on the matter:

The French culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, condemned the vandalism as an attack on the fundamental freedoms of creation and expression, but recognised that the art work could shock audiences.

Promo for The Last Temptation of Christ, directed by Martin Scorsese.This “we condemn the vandalism but understand it” thing is not really a condemnation. A true condemnation is unconditional and offers the vandals no “out.” It’s is eerily similar to Religious Rightists and various pundits who — a couple years ago — said that, while they condemned the assassination of Dr George Tiller, they “understood” why someone might kill him. Mitterand’s statement, therefore, amounts to nothing more than a “wink-wink nudge-nudge knowwhatimean saynomore” sort of thing. Way to go, Minister. Way to go. Pat the Christianist vandals on their collective backs while at the same time you distance your government from what they did. I am just so fucking impressed by your abject cowardice!

Lastly, just as I do whenever Muslims violently react to the existence of the Jyllands-Posten Mohammad cartoons, I’ve put the “Piss Christ” photo in this post, as well as other images of art that Christians consider blasphemous. Thus I hope to teach them — too — the power of the Streisand effect. When they protest what they dislike, they actually call attention to it and scare up more interest in it than there would have been otherwise. By all means, guys, keep it up. Keep telling us what you think is “blasphemous,” so the rest of us can dig it up and put it out on display again, on the Internet, in thousands more venues than it had been previously.

Hat tip: About Atheism/Agnosticism.

Top photo credit: Andres Serrano via BoingBoing. Second photo: Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin via Amagerica. Third photo: From The Last Temptation of Christ via Scorsesefilms.

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A UFO - It sort looks like an old style ceiling light fixtureAs though a divided, contentious Congress in a divided, contentious Washington has nothing better to do with its time than satisfy wingnuts, cranks and freaks, a University professor in Missouri thinks Congress should hold hearings looking into UFOs. AOL News reports on this demand (WebCite cached article):

Do you think the House or Senate will have any extra time to discuss UFOs? While it sometimes might seem as though our lawmakers are from outer space, this hasn’t stopped one college professor from urging Congress to take a serious look at unidentified flying objects.

Citing findings from a 12-year-old groundbreaking French UFO study, University of Missouri-Columbia psychologist and adjunct professor of peace studies Bill Wickersham has issued a call for congressional leaders to boldly go where their predecessors wouldn’t.

The report Wickersham cited is called COMETA, and it was released in 1999. Since then it’s proven a favorite “proof” of a US-government cover-up of extraterrestrial visits in the ufology community. Pretty much everyone else has ignored it as much-less-than-compelling “proof” of anything.

Ufonauts love to trot out that the committee that produced COMETA was made up of fairly eminent French engineers and former high-ranking military officers. While this sounds impressive, it unfortunately does not grant them any veracity; to assume it does, is to stumble on the fallacy of the appeal to authority. That COMETA could not explain some 5% of UFO reports collected by the French government, does not mean that they can only be explained by extraterrestrials. That in itself is another fallacy, the argument from incredulity, aka “the divine fallacy” (since the agent called upon to explain any given mystery is often God). In addition, the assumption that there must be one — and only one! — explanation for those mysterious 5% of UFO reports, is itself invalid. In fact, we have no way to know how many explanations there may be for them! It’s possible there are 2 different explanations for them, or 20, or even that each and every one has its own, unique explanation. That the folks who drafted COMETA could not think of any, is — quite frankly — unimpressive. And it hardly proves anything.

Photo credit: dimland.

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Photographie de Carla Bruni nu pour le magazine Down TownThe robed denizens of the Vatican have, once again, provided a stark example of their undeniable moral bankruptcy. Still in the throes of evading responsibility for the scandal of decades of child-abuse by Roman Catholic clergy, which was systematically covered up by the Church’s hierarchy, the Vatican has chosen to make its stand … against an ex-model.

That’s right. An ex-model.

The person in question is Carla Bruni, wife of France’s president Nicolas Sarkozy. Time magazine’s NewsFeed blog reports on the Vatican’s objection to her presence (WebCite cached article):

Ahead of President Sarkozy’s 30-minute audience with the Pontiff earlier this month, Vatican officials sent the French ambassador a message saying: “Carla Sarkozy is not welcome in the Vatican [cached].” The message, which led her to stay in Paris, is said to be over the Pope’s fears that more racy photographs of her days as a catwalk model would emerge. Nude and semi-naked pictures from her days as a model are regularly published in the media. In one, she’s seen posing in just a pair of knee high boots and a diamond ring. (The U.S. didn’t seem to mind [cached].)

Benedict XVI clearly suffers from a raging case of Cranial-Rectal Inversion: While the Pope objects to an ex-model (GASP!) daring to walk around in his sacred city-state, His Holiness has no problem letting in priests who abuse children. Among the Vatican City’s more (in)famous residents is Cardinal Bernard Law, who — as Archbishop of Boston — not only permitted the abuse of children in his archdiocese, he moved priests around so as to prevent them from being discovered, and (for a while at least) attempted to shield priests in his archdiocese from being prosecuted.

If you need any other example of the Roman Catholic Church’s blatant lack of anything resembling values, well … here you have it.

Need I point out, also, that it’s not necessarily even the case that hanging around with ex-models is not permitted to priests? After all, Christian legend has it that one of Jesus’ own followers, Mary Magdalene, was a prostitute! If Jesus could have prostitutes around him, then surely an ex-model is not off limits!

Photo credit: Down Town via Hervé Corcia.

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