Posts Tagged “religionism”
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 yet 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 what 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.
Tags: charlie hebdo
, charlie hebdo massacre
, islamist terror
, islamist terrorism
, islamist terrorists
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I’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.
Tags: bud williams
, chanukah menorah
, councilor bud williams
, court square
, hanukkah menorah
, jesus is the reason for the season
, menorah lighting
, miracle of lights
, noach kosofsky
, reason for the season
, springfield MA
, war on christmas
, you've gotta be fucking kidding me
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I’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 networks — broadcast and on cable — by 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.
Tags: american atheists
, atheist tv
, roku channel
, war on christmas
, war on christmas 2014
, washington times
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Christmas 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.
Tags: andrea o'connor
, clay cope
, gary albert
, happy acres
, happy acres farm
, lighted cross
, sherman CT
, war on christmas
, war on christmas 2014
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One 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 clause … said 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.
Tags: christian right
, commie plot
, establishment clause
, first amendment
, freedom of religion
, religious right
, rick santorum
, Separation of church and state
, STAND America
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I’ve blogged about religious scholar — and Muslim — Reza Aslan a couple times. He’s one of those militant theists who views the existence of outspoken atheists as a threat to his precious religionism — and perhaps to his very being. Like a lot of believers, he views religion as above reproach, and anything that ever makes a religion look bad, must be waved off or ignored, because religion is wonderful and perfect and never makes anyone do anything bad. He’s gone on record as insisting that anyone who criticizes any given religion just doesn’t understand it well enough (WebCite cached article). In his mind, there can’t possibly be any such thing as a well-informed religious critic.
After having sanctimoniously gnashed his teeth over what Bill Maher said (cached), in another essay published in Salon, Aslan trained his guns on another of the “New Atheists” he desipises: Sam Harris, widely but wrongly decried as an “Islamophobe” (cached):
Not long ago, I gave an interview in which I said that my biggest problem with so-called New Atheists like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins is that they give atheism a bad name. Almost immediately, I was bombarded on social media by atheist fans of the two men who were incensed that I would pontificate about a community to which I did not belong.
That, in and of itself, wasn’t surprising. As a scholar of religions, I’m used to receiving comments like this from the communities I study. What surprised me is how many of these comments appeared to take for granted that in criticizing New Atheism I was criticizing atheism itself, as though the two are one and the same. That seems an increasingly common mistake these days, with the media and the bestseller lists dominated by New Atheist voices denouncing religion as “innately backward, obscurantist, irrational and dangerous,” and condemning those who disagree as “religious apologists.”
Having spent the last few months screeching to one and all about how horrible it is that insolent atheists have dared criticize religion, Aslan then trickles out this little dribble of disingenuity:
To be sure, there is plenty to criticize in any religion and no ideology — religious or otherwise — should be immune from criticism.
He says this as though we’re all supposed to ignore the fact that he’s spent the last couple months or so making mass media appearances and writing screeds bewailing the very idea that some insolent atheists could possibly have shown the chutzpah to dare criticize religion. Sorry, Reza, but I’m not stupid enough to buy this pretense. You might be able to fool others with this clever little caveat, but not me.
That said, the real gem within Aslan’s anti-Harris — and anti-atheist — diatribe is this bit, which is part of his explanation of the origins of the term “atheist”:
To the Greeks, an atheist didn’t necessarily reject the existence of the gods. He merely acted as though the gods did not exist or were unaware of his actions. Unfortunately, this historical connection between lack of belief and lack of morals is one that still plagues atheism today, despite studies showing atheists to be, as a whole, less prejudiced [cached], less willing to condone violence [cached], and more tolerant [cached] of sexual, ethnic and cultural differences than many faith communities.
Hopefully you immediately see the significance of this. If not, allow me to point it out: Aslan has continuously condemned atheism and promoted religionism — which presumes to make people better than they would be without it — yet admits, explicitly, that religion doesn’t actually do any such thing.
I almost wonder why Aslan included these sentences within his condemnation of atheism, since it so incredibly departs from the position he and the rest of his fellow religionists have staked out. But he said it, and I can only presume … especially since he added links to external sources (which I preserved above) … that he meant it.
I won’t even get into Aslan’s laughable claim that the “New Atheists” are “fundamentalists.” There’s a very simple reason they can’t be “fundamentalists,” because they have no “fundamentals” to rely on (unlike, say, Christian fundamentalists, whose “fundamentals” are their Bibles and their literalist doctrine). Aslan does predicate his declaration that Sam Harris et al are “atheist fundamentalists” on a definition of “fundamentalism,” but it’s one he’s cherry-picked to serve his wishes, and it veers quite wide of what the term actually means.
Finally, as a general observation, please note the vehemence with which Aslan condemns “anti-theists” on the grounds of their (as he sees it) irrational intolerance, without taking into account that his own anti-atheism has the same foundation of intolerance. This makes Aslan something of a hypocrite.
Note: To be fair, while I criticize Aslan in this post, previously I’ve defended his right to write about Jesus. But that problem — i.e. a Muslim like Aslan being told by American Christians that he’s not allowed to write books about their Jesus — is just one more example of the irrational and muddled thinking that religion promotes.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, atheist fundamentalism
, new atheism
, new atheists
, reza aslan
, sam harris
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Lately it seems the stories of primitive Islamofascist barbarism emanate mostly from the hinterlands of Syria and Iraq, with ISIS/ISIL/IS/whatever-the-fuck-you-want-to-call-that-savage-brood. And it’s true they’re responsible for a lot of it. But we can’t afford to lose sight of the fact that primitive Islamofascist barbarism can be found in other parts of the Muslim world, too. A case in point is this NBC News story about a Christian couple in Pakistan who were burned alive (WebCite cached article):
A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack.
Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn’t run away.
“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,” he said. “And then they threw them inside the furnace.”
This is yet another example of the murderous, sanctimonious rage that kicks up within Muslim communities whenever they get the notion that someone has burned a Qur’an (or might do so, but hasn’t yet). I’ve gone on the record as saying book-burning of any kind is stupid, mostly because it doesn’t do anything except display one’s anger over something — and there are almost an infinite number of other ways to express anger, if one is convinced one must do so. But going as far as burning people alive over it is — obviously! — excessive. After all, even though it’s a useless gesture, by the same token, book-burning doesn’t actually harm anyone or anything. If one burns a copy of a book, all one has done is to burn a copy of it; the book itself, and more especially the ideas within it, remain. This is doubly true in the case of the Qur’an, one of the most widely-published books on the planet.
I’m sure Islam’s defenders will claim this heinous double murder was the act of just a “lunatic fringe” (cached), a mere handful of extremists who don’t represent Muslims generally, or even their local community. In this case, however, that’s absolutely untrue; 1,200 people set upon and murdered them, in a spectacularly savage way that none of them possibly could have been ignorant of; e.g.:
Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn’t burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.
At this point, I can’t see how anyone can rationally avoid admitting that there is quite obviously a problem within the Muslim world, if events as large and as barbaric as this can occur. It’s not really the “religion of peace” it’s frequently said to be. Yeah, I know the prime minister of Pakistan has promised “justice” in this case, but the fact that a huge mob of 1,200 people could have done such a thing in the first place is where the real problem lies; how the government reacts hardly matters, after-the-fact. Making it all worse, Pakistan’s courts have a strong Islamofascist bias, to the point I doubt much will happen to any of the folks who’ve been arrested over this incident. So the prime minister’s promises largely ring hollow.
As my own protest against this kind of religiofascistic savagery in the name of preventing “blasphemy,” I’ve used a picture of a burned Qur’an at the top of this post. If this decision angers you, that’s fine by me. Go right ahead and be angry, if it makes you feel better to do so! Throw a tantrum, if you’d like. I don’t fucking care.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
, book burning
, koran burning
, mob attack
, qur'an burning
, religion of peace
, sajjad maseeh
, shama bibi
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