Posts Tagged “religionism”

Donate Life / donatelife.netThe phenomenon of devout believers robbing people of credit for their hard work, and giving it to God instead, is all too common. That it’s a tacit insult to those who actually got something done, seems to go right over their heads. Only God matters to them, not other people. The latest example of this comes from the mother of Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old whose extended wait for a lung transplant become national news, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (WebCite cached article):

Sarah Murnaghan, the 10-year-old Newtown Square girl dying of cystic fibrosis, survived six hours of surgery Wednesday to receive lungs from an adult donor — a transplant made possible by her family’s fight to change lung-allocation rules.…

Shortly before 11 a.m., Janet Murnaghan shared the news, writing on her Facebook page: “God is great! He moved the mountain! Sarah got THE CALL. She will be taken back to the OR in 30 minutes. Please pray for Sarah’s donor, her hero, who has given her the gift of life.”

You can see her Facebook posting here (cached).

One can see what Mrs Murnaghan has done here; she says “God” moved the metaphorical mountain. Not anyone else. She gives no credit to her lawyer who filed suit over organ-transplant policy, nor the judge who signed the order moving Sarah up the waiting list. No. Apparently neither of them had anything to do with it. It was, instead, “God” who did all the work.

Let’s be clear about this: “God” had nothing to do with Sarah Murnaghan getting her lung transplant. Not. One. Fucking. Thing.

I will note that, while it’s great for Sarah that she got new lungs, sadly this means an adult on the waiting list didn’t get them. In other words, in the bigger picture, there really are no winners here. The problem is that there aren’t enough donated lungs — and other organs — to meet the need. The real solution, then, is to get more organs into the donation stream, as it were. Americans need to be more willing to be organ donors, and perhaps more importantly, more willing, as next-of-kin, to allow their loved ones’ organs be donated. Making organ donation an “opt out” affair rather than “opt-in,” as folks like talk-radio host Michael Smerconish have suggested (cached), would certainly help a great deal.

I end this blog post by reminding everyone that organ donation is the official “cause” of this blog. I urge you, Dear Reader, to make sure your organs are donated after your death. In the US, go to Organdonor.gov or Donate Life America, to find out how.

P.S. I’m serious about this. I provide this blog for free. I don’t charge for access; I don’t ask for donations; I don’t even force you to view ads on this site. I’m not saying my blog is great literature, but if you like what you read here and want to give something back to me, do it by making arrangements to ensure your organs are donated. That’s all I ask. You don’t even have to tell me about it … just go do it already!

Photo credit: Donate Life America.

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A police officer helped an injured man. Gay rights marchers said priests from the Georgian Orthodox Church led the charge past police cordons. Reuters photo, via the New York Times.A couple of weeks ago, in Tbilisi, the capitol of the country of Georgia, a gay-rights rally was held. But it seems the Georgian Orthodox Church would have none of it. They’d prepared for it, and as the New York Times reports, launched a massive attack on it: (WebCite cached article):

A throng of thousands led by priests in black robes surged through police cordons in downtown Tbilisi, Georgia, on Friday and attacked a group of about 50 gay rights demonstrators.

Carrying banners reading “No to mental genocide” and “No to gays,” the masses of mostly young men began by hurling rocks and eggs at the gay rights demonstrators.

The police pushed most of the demonstrators onto yellow minibuses to evacuate them from the scene, but, the attackers swarmed the buses, trying to break the windows with metal gratings, trash cans, rocks and even fists.

Here’s the Youtube video that the Times linked to:

First, I have to make this observation: These Georgian Orthodox priests needed to gather up thousands of supporters, in order to take on some 50 gay-rights marchers!? Seriously? What sniveling little crybaby cowards they are!

Lest one think this is just a case of a handful of rogue priests operating outside the sanction of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the leader of that organization made his opinion of gays clear:

In a statement Wednesday, the leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ilia II, compared homosexuals to drug addicts and called the rally a “violation of the rights of the majority” of Georgians.

Hopefully I understand this correctly, Patriarch: It’s an unacceptable violation of your rights for a handful of gays to stage a march, but not a violation of their rights for your own priests to lead a mob to attack them? Did I get that right? I really want to be sure I understand this, because obviously it’s very important to you. So please, correct me if I haven’t gotten it right. Still … somehow, I think I’ve hit the nail on the head. Religionists typically see themselves as being the only ones with “rights,” and believe others have none at all. Even though this is a remarkably evil point of view, it’s actually very common.

Let’s also not assume the Georgian government didn’t play any part in this. The police who’d ostensibly been there to protect the gay-rights marchers, didn’t exactly do much to stop the priests and their mob, in the first place:

In a telephone interview, Mr. Vacharadze of Identoba said that priests from the Georgian Orthodox Church had led the charge that broke through a heavy police corridor.

“The priests entered, the priests broke the fences and the police didn’t stop them, because the priests are above the law in Georgia,” he said.

Sure, police did try to help the marchers … but they did so only after they’d been attacked. Even now, the Georgian government’s non-response is chilling, as the Times has reported since (cached):

Some of the priests leading the rock-throwing throngs who stormed past police cordons could be seen participating in the melee; one repeatedly slammed a stool into the windshield of one of several minibuses trying to carry the marchers to safety, while another punched marchers and tried to drag a driver out of a bus. Some gave their names in interviews.

But as of Sunday, the Georgian police have made no arrests, and there are few signs that the investigation is moving forward.

And Georgian Orthodox hierarchs are defending the assault:

Instead, a bishop who helped to organize the mass turnout — ostensibly a counterprotest — said from the pulpit that while the violence was “regrettable” and those who committed it should be punished, the Georgian Orthodox Church was obligated to protest the gay rights rally and would “not allow anyone to humiliate us.”

So in the name of not permitting the Georgian Orthodox Church to be “humiliated” at the hands of some 50 protesters, it was apparently necessary for tens of thousands of angry Georgians led by dozens of sanctimoniously-enraged priests to attempt to kill them.

I’ve previously blogged about the immature tendency of Muslims in certain parts of the world to riot, rage and even kill over things that bother them. Here, then, is an example of this happening, but among Christians instead. Georgia is, indeed, very Christian … that land was converted to the faith back in the 4th century, and it’s by far the dominant religion there. Here we have incontrovertible evidence that religiously-motivated violence is not solely triggered by Islam, and cultural immaturity isn’t limited solely to primarily-Muslim countries. Despite the fact that Christians market their religion as “the Religion of Love,” it’s clear that Christians limit their “love” only to those who think like themselves and are willing to strictly obey their dour doctrines.

Photo credit: Reuters, via the New York Times (cached).

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Picard Facepalm: Because expressing how dumb that was in words just doesnt workIn a country which is overwhelmingly religious, it’s not unreasonable to assume any given American is a believer. But that doesn’t mean everyone is a believer, so making this assumption all the time inevitably will cause one to stumble into an awkward moment. Precisely this happened to Wolf Blitzer of CNN, as CNN’s own Belief blog reports, when he interviewed a tornado survivor in Oklahoma (WebCite cached article):

Behind her were ruins, a tangled mess where structures once stood. Cradled in her arms, the mother’s 19-month-old son played with a snatched microphone, unfazed by the chaos swirling around him. And in front of Rebecca Vitsmun stood CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, who — after asking her about the decision that saved her and her son’s lives — had one more question:

“I guess you got to thank the Lord, right?” he asked.…

“I, I, I,” the 30-year-old stay-at-home mom stammered before adding, “I’m actually an atheist.”

She laughed, Blitzer laughed, and the moment passed seamlessly on live TV. Except it also became a clip heard across the Internet and social media — one that pointed to a reality about faith in America that exists even where, and when, people might least expect it.

CNN provides video of this exchange:

I note that Ms Vitsmun had worked fairly hard to avoid having to address the matter initially, but Mr Blitzer kept trying to elicit a religious response from her, so finally she had no choice but to just admit she was an atheist. But even then, she only meekly — almost apologetically — admitted being an atheist.

The best thing for Blitzer to have done, of course, was not to have tried to get her to talk about religion or God in the first place and not to have pronounced her “blessed” before he’d even said anything else to her. If she’d chosen to bring up God or religion, that would have been fine. But for him to assume that she’d want to, and then to repeatedly try to get her talk about them … well, that was pretty stupid of him to do.

This Belief blog article itself also engaged in an invalid assumption: It pontificated about the growing influence of “the Nones,” as though atheism and “the Nones” are one and the same. But they aren’t. By the admission of the folks at ARIS, who originated this term, “only a small minority are atheists.” (And in turn, the folks at ARIS are themselves the originators of a misnomer: While they call “the Nones” a “no-religion population,” the truth is that most of “the Nones” are theists. That makes them decidedly “religious,” even if they don’t belong to a specific religious organization, sect, denomination, whatever.)

On the subject of thanking God for getting through disasters like this … can religionists please stop doing this already? People survived this tornado … and any number of other natural catastrophes … for any of a vast host of other reasons. A lot of those reasons depended on them; God, assuming he exists, had nothing to do with it. Let’s give people, not God, credit for their own resourcefulness and accomplishments. Taking the credit away from them, and handing it over to God, is quite simply wrong. It needs to fucking stop already.

Photo credit: Science After Sunclipse.

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'I am the Lord your God, and I need your kids to die for me!' / PsiCop original graphicNote: See below for some recent developments in this story.

A few years ago I blogged about Herbert & Catherine Schaible, who killed their son Kent by relying on prayer instead of medicine to save him from pneumonia. Well, it seems they managed to kill off another of their children. WCAU-TV in Philadelphia reports they killed an 8-month-old son for Jesus (WebCite cached article):

A couple that was sentenced to probation after their 2-year-old died in 2009 from pneumonia have had another child die.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible, fundamentalist Christians who believe in the power of prayer ahead of modern medicine, recently had their 8-month-old son die, according to Philadelphia Police spokeswoman Jillian Russell.

Honestly, I saw this coming a mile away. These people just don’t care about their own children’s lives. They demonstrated this conclusively, already, when they allowed Kent to die for no good reason. That they let another of their children die for Jesus was inevitable. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania also ought to have known this was coming. But they chose to do nothing. In fact, despite their conviction for Kent’s death, Pennsylvania courts and officials purposely and coldly allowed them to endanger more kids:

In 2010, a jury convicted the Schaibles, who have seven other children, of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the death of their 2-year-old son Kent. The Schaibles were each sentenced to 10 years of probation — they could have faced prison time [cached].

Yes, folks, you read that correctly: For having been convicted of killing their own son Kent, the Schaibles were effectively unpunished, and didn’t even have their other children taken away from them so as to protect them. The commonwealth allowed them to go right back home, and just do whatever they wanted to their remaining kids. While the Schaibles are clearly deluded by their fierce, unrelenting, irrational and destructive religionism, the judge who sentenced them — and commonwealth officials who supposedly monitored them — have no viable excuse for their negligence. In a way, because of their comparatively-greater awareness of the problem, they’re actually more culpable for this second death than the Schaibles themselves!

Perhaps they, too, should now be hauled into court and tried for manslaughter. They cannot possibly have failed to know the danger. But we know they won’t be held accountable … because they, and the rest of Pennsylvania’s government, clearly just don’t fucking care about the Schaible kids. At least, they don’t care about them any more than the Schaibles themselves do — which quite obviously, is not at all.

Update: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports the death of Brandon Schaible has been ruled a homicide (cached).

Hat tip: Secular Web News Wire.

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'You will know them by their fruits.' / Matthew 7:16a, NASB / PsiCop original graphicBy now we all know … whenever something awful happens, fierce religionists just can’t help but blame it on their theological enemies, or whoever else they despise. It doesn’t matter whether or not the facts are in, or if they actually know what they’re talking about. They just rage and fume and bluster and hurl the blame everywhere they can, just because they happen to be sanctimoniously enraged that there are insolent people out there who actually dare not believe what they believe.

By now I expect all my readers have heard about this afternoon’s Boston Marathon bombing (WebCite cached article). It’s only been a few hours, but already there are lots of religionists, I assume most of them Christians, who’ve announced via social media that “godless” people are to blame for it. Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, has done a yeoman’s job of cataloging a number of these hateful and idiotic postings (cached).

Please go to Hemant’s page and read their bilious spew; I won’t repeat any of it here. Suffice it to say, these people have absolutely no fucking idea whether or not a “godless” person or persons bombed Boston. As I type this, the New York Post reports a Saudi national has been identified as a suspect (cached). This person is virtually guaranteed to be a Muslim, and not some “godless” person.

Yeah, I get that it’s the Post reporting this, and it’s very early in the investigation and quite tentative. Nevertheless, if that marginal tidbit is best information we have at the moment, no one can rationally justify deciding the bomber(s) must have been “godless.”

Listen up, people. This is just ridiculous, and it needs to fucking stop already! Right now.

Update: The Boston Globe reports the aforementioned Saudi national is not a suspect (cached). The investigation is back to square one and, essentially, stalled out.

Photo credit: PsiCop original, based on Matthew 7:16a, NASB.

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'How are you not do as I say!' (I Can Haz Cheezburger Builder)The Religious Right in the US sincerely believes Christianity is “under attack.” There’s a war against their religion, they claim. Now, most of us know there’s no such thing going on. Churches aren’t being shuttered or bulldozed; Bibles and crucifixes aren’t being confiscated or destroyed; devout Christians aren’t being put on trial for believing in Jesus. Put as simply as possible: There’s no persecution of Christianity going on in this country. It’s. Just. Not. Fucking. Happening.

You may have heard that the great Biblical state of Kentucky passed a law protecting Christians’ freedom of religion (even though, with First Amendment protections already in place, no such law is needed — in Kentucky or in any other state). One of its proponents is outraged that there’s been criticism of this law, and penned a letter to the editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader to explain why it was needed (WebCite cached article):

Could it be a war on Christianity? Now I know your response will be that there is no attack on religious freedoms. Indeed, you will deny the very existence of such a war. Yet, tell that to the owners of Hands On Originals or Chik-fil-A, who were vehemently attacked by government officials and agencies for expressing their personal religious beliefs. Tell that to the high school coach who gets sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for offering a prayer of protection before a ballgame. Tell that to the teacher who gets sued for saying, “Happy Thanksgiving,” “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Easter.” Tell that to the valedictorian who gets enjoined from mentioning God in her graduation speech. Tell that to the county judge-executive who gets sued for posting the Ten Commandments. Tell that to the student who tries to pray or read her Bible during school. Tell that to the citizens whose governor decided the State Capitol needed a “holiday tree” as opposed to a Christmas Tree.

Rep. Stan Lee’s complaint is basically a “dump” of childish whines. There’s no cohesion to it, and Lee generously salts his bellyaching with mythology, marginal claims, and outright lies.

First of all, no business owner has been “attacked” by any officials. An “attack” is a punch in the face or being held up at gunpoint; criticism is not, and never will be, an “attack.” Second, no American — not even the owners of Chick-fil-A or Hands On Originals — is ever entitled never to be criticized. Third, using their position as bosses to coerce their employees to live their private, non-workplace lives according to the fierce, rigid strictures of their own dour metaphysics, is not merely “expressing their personal religious beliefs.” It’s quite something else.

Lee doesn’t provide any evidence of these teachers he says have been “sued for saying, ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Easter.'” It sounds like urban legend to me. There’s nothing specific, just wild claims without a stitch of support.

Valedictorians in public schools being told not to talk up God is part of an effort to keep church and state separate. Let’s face it, lots of public schools use children as proxies to force religion into them, and that’s forbidden.

Oh, and public-school students most certainly can both pray and read Bibles in school. It happens all the time. To say it can’t, is a flat-out lie, and Lee knows it.

Public-school coaches leading students in prayer, and judges putting up immense Decalogue idols in courts, are both examples of Christians using the power of government to promote their religion. And it’s illegal.

And calling a Christmas tree a “holiday tree,” harms no one! Since Christmas is a holiday, semantically speaking, this means all Christmas trees truly are “holiday trees.” To say otherwise is also a lie.

Like the rest of the Religious Right, Rep. Lee is confused. He thinks Christians being criticized for wanting to control everyone’s lives, is an “attack” on his religion. He thinks separation of church and state abridges Christians’ freedom of religion. He thinks Christians are entitled to get their way, all the time, every time, and when they don’t, it’s unacceptable.

As I’ve blogged many times already, I understand where Christians are coming from. A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is part and parcel of their religion, and it has been almost since its inception. This persecutorial delusion is embedded deep in the psychopathology of Christianity. Rep. Lee and the rest of the Religious Right really, truly want to think they’re being attacked for their beliefs. In many ways, they literally can’t help themselves.

But that’s really no excuse for remaining attached to this paranoid delusion. It’s one thing to fantasize about being a martyr, because one’s religion is founded on a martyr. It’s quite another to invent persecution that’s not even happening, and accuse others of doing things they haven’t done. The delusions don’t serve any good purpose, and really need to fucking stop already.

I have to add Rep. Lee to my “lying liars for Jesus” club. Not that he’s alone there. Lying for Jesus is a common pastime among Christians. That’s because … to paraphrase Isaac Asimov … lying is the last refuge of the insecure.

Photo credit: I Can Haz Cheezburger Builder.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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North Carolina State Capitol, RaleighChristofascists are a really angry bunch. They’re downright incensed that things like the First Amendment have gotten in the way of them forcing their dour religionism on the American people.

I’ve been saying for years now that … if they had their way … they’d make everyone worship as they do. Well, it turns out some Republican Christofascist legislators in the great Bible Belt (aka Bobble Bay-elt) state of North Carolina, have declared their religionistic militancy openly. As NBC News reports, they’ve proposed legislation that would establish a North Carolinian state religion (WebCite cached article):

Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill declaring that the state has the power to establish an official religion — a direct challenge to the First Amendment.…

The bill [cached] says that federal courts do not have the power to decide what is constitutional, and says the state does not recognize federal court rulings that prohibit North Carolina and its schools from favoring a religion.

The bill was introduced Monday by two Republican representatives from Rowan County, north of Charlotte, and sponsored by seven other Republicans. The party controls both chambers of the North Carolina Legislature.

The two lawmakers who filed the bill, state Reps. Harry Warren and Carl Ford, did not immediately return calls Wednesday from NBC News.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued last month to stop the Rowan County Commission from opening meetings with Christian prayers. One of those prayers declared that “there is only one way to salvation, and that is Jesus Christ,” the ACLU said.

This proposed law is quite obviously unconstitutional. The law itself explicitly dismisses the incorporation doctrine, even though it’s been upheld through many court decisions and isn’t going anywhere.

Assuming these fierce Christofascists are able to pass this bill, get it signed, and have it become the law of the land in North Carolina, it’s nevertheless fraught with peril, even for the most devout Christians there. That’s because of the sectarian conflict which would have to follow. Would the North Carolina state religion be a Protestant sect? If so, Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians would be disenfranchised. If Catholicism is made the state religion, then Protestants and the Orthodox would be disenfranchised. That’s not even considering that non-Christians and non-believers would be disenfranchised, no matter which Christian sect is made the state’s religion.

The bottom line is that Harry Warren and Carl Ford are childishly furious that the First Amendment has gotten in the way of them imposing their religiosity on everyone. But I’m less worried about them, than I am about the (large) number of North Carolinian Religious Rightists who will, no doubt, immediately and happily flock to their cause and support this bill, in spite of the fact that it’s unconstitutional. Neither Warren nor Ford will suffer any serious consequences from having raised this bill; if anything, they’re assured of long careers in North Carolinian politics.

Be afraid, folks. Be very, very afraid. These people are serious, and they aren’t taking any more shit from anyone.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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