Posts Tagged “religionism”

'One Nation, Under God: Remember, if you don't believe in God, you're not a REAL American. Keep prayer and God in school, where they belong!' / Image © Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: University of GeorgiaThe massacre that happened here in my home state of Connecticut — nearly the worst school shooting in the country’s history — occurred only 10 hours ago as I type this (WebCite cached version). Police and medical examiners are still on the scene, and not all the bodies have even been removed from the building. Yet the wing-nut Christofascist Bryan Fischer, one of the gauleiters of the militant Christianist American Family Association, saw fit to declare why 28 people (at the latest count), including 20 small children, had to die. Would you believe, it’s because Newtown’s public schools don’t begin their days with prayer?

Yes folks, that’s right. God allowed 28 people to be slaughtered in one school, because its denizens don’t pray to him every morning. I’m sure you don’t believe me, but it’s true. Right Wing Watch reports — based on primary source material — what Fischer said (cached):

Bryan Fischer spent the first hour of his radio program today discussing this morning’s truly horrific shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut, which he, of course, blamed on the fact that prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments are not taught in public schools.

Fischer said that God could have protected the victims of this massacre, but didn’t because “God is not going to go where he is not wanted” and so if school administrators really want to protect students, they will start every school day with prayer

I’m not asking you to believe either Right Wing Watch, or me. Go ahead and see it for yourself, the Youtube video is available right here:

I won’t bother waiting for the movement of “good” Christians outraged enough by Fischer’s vile, putrid stench to rise up and drive him off the air and force him into obscurity. There aren’t enough “good” Christians in the US with the fortitude to take him on. What few of them remain, will take the cowards’ way out, and whine, “Well, he doesn’t speak for me,” as though that settles it.

But it doesn’t.

Christians, your religion belongs to you. And Bryan Fischer claims to speak for it. If you object to vicious, hateful pricks like him claiming to be your religion’s spokesmen, then it’s up to you to do something about it. If you won’t respect your own religion enough to police it and shut down asshats like Fischer, then you can’t expect outside observers such as myself to respect it, or you for believing in it. It just won’t work.

My guess is, none of you will do anything about him. And sadly, that’s all I need to know.

Update 1: Fischer isn’t the only Christofascist who won’t even wait until the bodies are cold, to use this horrific event as a bludgeon to pound their fierce, unrelenting religionism into people. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports, Mike Huckabee spewed the same bile on Fox News (cached):

Americans should blame their schools, and removal of God from the classroom, for Friday’s murders of schoolchildren in Connecticut, according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who is now a pundit and host on Fox News. …

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?” …

“We’ve made it (school) a place where we don’t talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability — that we’re not going to have to be accountable to the police if they catch us, but one day we stand before, you know holy God in judgment,” said Huckabee.

Expect more, not less, of this kind of ridiculous chatter in the days to come.

Update 2: It turns out I was right, when in my last update on this, I said we should expect more of this kind of crap. Eric Hovind, the Creationism-spewing son of militant Creationist Kent Hovind, posted this little gem on Twitter yesterday (cached):

Are you happy now that the shooter grew up in a school without God?

We can add Hovind to the list of “Jerks for Jesus” using this event to promote their Christofascism.

Photo credit: Austin Cline, Licensed to About; Original Poster: University of Georgia

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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This ark, located an hour south of Amsterdam, is a replica of Noah's Biblical boat. Underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard is in Turkey, looking for evidence that the Great Flood happened. (ABC News)With Christmas approaching, the mass media are, as one would expect, catering to the country’s prevailing religiosity. That’s understandable, and normal. But this effort goes beyond annual re-showings of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Even their journalists get into the act, manufacturing news stories that reinforce religious sentimentality. An example of this is ABC News, which is reporting that Noah’s Flood has been proven to have occurred (WebCite cached article):

The story of Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood is one of the most famous from the Bible, and now an acclaimed underwater archaeologist thinks he has found proof that the biblical flood was actually based on real events.

In an interview with Christiane Amanpour for ABC News, Robert Ballard, one of the world’s best-known underwater archaeologists, talked about his findings. His team is probing the depths of the Black Sea off the coast of Turkey in search of traces of an ancient civilization hidden underwater since the time of Noah.

Unfortunately for believers in the Abrahamic religious tradition, this is not really the “proof” that the article implies, or that ABC would like its readers/viewers to think it is. The ways in which they support the very-thin contention, are as varied as they are stupid:

Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is well known. In 1985, using a robotic submersible equipped with remote-controlled cameras, Ballard and his crew hunted down the world’s most famous shipwreck, the Titanic.

Unfortunately for both ABC and Ballard, that Ballard had been able to locate the Titanic, does not mean he’s now found proof of Noah’s Flood. It’s a clever appeal to authority, I admit, but that’s all it is. Next comes this gem:

Now Ballard is using even more advanced robotic technology to travel farther back in time. He is on a marine archeological mission that might support the story of Noah. He said some 12,000 years ago, much of the world was covered in ice.

This is not actually news. Most of us learned of the Ice Age back when we were in school. The idea that the Noah’s Flood story might be a reflection of one or more flooding events spawned by the end of the Ice Age, is not new at all.

Curiously, after covering this ground in their effort to “prove” that Noah’s global Flood had occurred, ABC News veers off into something else:

According to a controversial theory proposed by two Columbia University scientists, there really was one in the Black Sea region. They believe that the now-salty Black Sea was once an isolated freshwater lake surrounded by farmland, until it was flooded by an enormous wall of water from the rising Mediterranean Sea. The force of the water was two hundred times that of Niagara Falls, sweeping away everything in its path. …

The theory goes on to suggest that the story of this traumatic event, seared into the collective memory of the survivors, was passed down from generation to generation and eventually inspired the biblical account of Noah.

The story goes on to discuss the fact that the Black Sea appears to have had a different coastline than it does now. Yet again, however, this is not news. It’s well-known. This also seems to be the linchpin of Ballard’s theory … which, by itself, is neither novel nor unreasonable — even though ABC News is reporting it as a “new” discovery.

But as I said, this means we’ve actually drifted away from the original Noah’s Flood story, and are in different territory. The Great Flood described in Genesis was a global flood that wiped out all of humanity and all the world’s fauna except the refugees aboard the Ark. An inundation from the Mediterranean into the Black Sea, as colossal as it may have been to those who were near it, was not the global event recorded in Genesis! It could not have wiped out any person or animal beyond the Black Sea basin.

What Ballard and his religionism-satisfying sycophants in the mass media have done, is to take a localized event for which there is some genuine evidence, and stretched it far beyond what’s actually there, in order to make it appear to support the Bible. Logicians know this as shoehorning, and ultimately, it’s a lie.

Look, I get that ABC News and the mass media feel as though they need to pander to religiosity. The majority of people in the US are Christians, and the majority of them like hearing their Bible has a basis in fact. But lying to them in order to curry their favor and make them feel more secure in their beliefs, is still lying, and it’s still wrong. Journalists like Christiane Amanpour have no excuse for lying to people just to make them happy. The cold fact here is that there is no evidence — zero, zip, zilch, nada, none, not a speck of it! — that the Great Flood tale in Genesis happened. Ballard ahs uncovered nothing that supports any such event. And ABC News had no business suggesting he did.

Photo credit: ABC News.

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AngusTJonesHWOFSept2011Most of us assume that religious people are capable of feeling a certain amount of gratitude for the things they have in their lives. But all too often, they don’t. For example, fierce Christofascist Glenn Beck bolted from Fox News, the network that placed him front and center in America’s living rooms, just as soon as they’d made him famous enough to build his own publishing operation (WebCite cached article).

The latest example of a religionist publicly biting the hand that feeds him, is actor Angus Jones of Two and a Half Men. The (UK) Guardian reports that, now that he’s a fundamentalist Christian, Jones is railing against his own show and begging people not to watch it (cached):

If all publicity is good publicity, Two and a Half Men has once again hit the marketing jackpot. The show, which survives and apparently thrives on its off-screen dramas, has added new elements into the mix: God, Satan and eternal damnation.

Angus Jones, better known as the character Jake Harper, the adolescent “half” in the title, has released two videos criticising the CBS sitcom, now in its 10th season, as “filth”, and urging viewers to shun it lest they become contaminated.

The 19-year-old actor, who reportedly earns $350,000 per show, making him the highest paid teenager in US television, made the pleas after embracing the Forerunner Chronicles, a California-based Christian group which warns about evil in entertainment.

Wow. What a class act this kid is. He makes his fortune on a TV show, becoming one of the highest-paid performers in the industry … and decides to denounce it as evil and Satanic. Boy, that’s Christian gratitude for ya! Well done, kid. Well done. I’m sure your Jesus would be so proud!

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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In this file photo taken on Dec. 17, 2011, pedestrians walk past a Christmas display in Santa Monica, California. Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images file.We have yet another entry in the annual Christian whining session that is the putative “war on Christmas.” This one is taking place in Santa Monica, CA, and involves a court case being brought by churches there to get their sacred nativity onto city property. The AP via NBC News reports on their effort to use the courts to commandeer public property so they can proselytize (WebCite cached article):

Damon Vix didn’t have to go to court to push Christmas out of the city of Santa Monica. He just joined the festivities.

The atheist’s anti-God message alongside a life-sized nativity display in a park overlooking the beach ignited a debate that burned brighter than any Christmas candle.

Santa Monica officials snuffed the city’s holiday tradition this year rather than referee the religious rumble, prompting churches that have set up a 14-scene Christian diorama for decades to sue over freedom of speech violations. Their attorney will ask a federal judge Monday to resurrect the depiction of Jesus’ birth, while the city aims to eject the case.

The article relates the backstory here over Vix’s sign and the reason the city decided not to allow any holiday messages on city property. The churches claim their freedom of speech and worship has been wiped out in Santa Monica:

The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee argues in its lawsuit that atheists have the right to protest, but that freedom doesn’t trump the Christians’ right to free speech.

But there’s no reason they need public land for this:

The city doesn’t prohibit churches from caroling in the park, handing out literature or even staging a play about the birth of Jesus and churches can always set up a nativity on private land, Deputy City Attorney Jeanette Schachtner said in an email.

The churches’ problem, of course, is that they truly are free to put up all the nativities they want … on private land. In all the caterwauling over city-hall nativities that takes place every year around the country, not one Christian has ever been able to identify the exact reason why nativities must be on government land and cannot be on private land. The best they can say is something along the lines of, “We’ve always done it, so we should always be able to do it forevermore.” That, however, is fallacious reasoning; specifically it’s an appeal to tradition. That something has always been done — or that it has always been believed — cannot and will never make it right or grant it veracity. Just a few centuries ago, for example, slavery was a “tradition” that most societies permitted; but obviously we no longer think that way. Likewise, it was once thought that the sun revolved around the earth, and not the other way around. That they were “traditional” did not make slavery right, nor did it mean the geocentric model of the solar system was correct.

Fortunately the judge who heard the churches’ case was not taken in by their claims. She ruled that Santa Monica is within its rights not to allow seasonal displays on city property (cached). The churches will, no doubt, appeal this decision. But they will still be wrong when they claim that their religion requires nativities to be on only on city property and that their faith prohibits them anywhere else. All the sanctimonious whining, crying and bellyaching in the world can’t change that.

As I usually do in cases like this, I’m also going to point out that making a public spectacle of their desire to celebrate Christmas, is an unabashed — and unmistakable — violation of Jesus’ own injunction against any and all forms of public piety. I suggest they stick a crowbar into their precious Bibles, crack them open a bit, and read their own Jesus’ words on the subject:

Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-6)

There, Christians … you’ve read it, now grow the hell up and just fucking do it already. OK?

Photo credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP – Getty Images, via NBC News.

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Saint Peter's Square, RomeIt seems the Vatican has run out of stuff to do, these days, in spite of things like the Vatileaks scandal and the worldwide clerical child-abuse scandal (which it has yet to deal with in any kind of contrite, meaningful way). Yes, the robed denizens of the Holy See, you see, are more than slightly miffed that measures permitting gay marriage passed in three US states this past Tuesday, and it’s becoming the law of the land in France, too. The AP reports via the Washington Post that they’ve gone on the offensive over the matter (WebCite cached article):

The Vatican is digging in after gay marriage initiatives scored big wins this week in the U.S. and Europe, vowing to never stop insisting that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

In a front-page article in Saturday’s Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy See sought to frame itself as the lone voice of courage in opposing initiatives to give same-sex couples legal recognition. In a separate Vatican Radio editorial, the pope’s spokesman asked sarcastically why gay marriage proponents don’t now push for legal recognition for polygamous couples as well. …

The Vatican’s anti-gay marriage media blitz came after three U.S. states approved same-sex marriage by popular vote in the election that returned Barack Obama to the U.S. presidency, Spain upheld its gay marriage law, and France pushed ahead with legislation that could see gay marriage legalized early next year.

The Vatican used expressed the raging paranoia typical of militant religionists:

The article insisted that Catholics were putting up a valiant fight to uphold church teaching in the face of “politically correct ideologies invading every culture of the world” that are backed by institutions like the United Nations, which last year passed a non-binding resolution condemning anti-gay discrimination.

“The church is called to present itself as the lone critic of modernity, the only check … to the breakup of the anthropological structures on which human society was founded,” it said.

Given that gay marriage is vehemently opposed by lots of people and groups … like the American Family Association and Focus on the Family in the US and other evangelical Christian ministries all over the world … the Vatican lies when it says it’s alone in this regard. The cold fact is that the R.C. Church is by no means alone in its effort to unravel the advancements we’ve made since the Enlightenment and yank humanity back to the Dark Ages.

Here’s a thought for those in the Vatican who think they should be able to moralize and tell humanity what it can and cannot do: Once you’ve purged your own Church of its criminals and miscreants; once you’ve handed over for prosecution every abusive cleric in your ranks and every bureaucrat and hierarch who covered up for them; once you’ve admitted your policies were focused more on protecting your own reputations and wealth than looking out for the welfare of children in your care; once you’ve explicitly conceded your organization is not above the criminal law of the countries in which you operate; once you’ve changed your policies to put children first and commit to operating more transparently; once every abusive priest, nun, brother, etc. and obstructionist bishop has confessed his/her crimes and begun their jail sentences; and once you’ve grown the fuck up and stopped blaming anything and everything but yourselves for what you did … THEN, and ONLY THEN, might you have anything coming close to the kind of moral authority that gives you any right to tell anyone else how to live. Until then, you should just shut your fucking mouths about the evils of gays, or of this horrible, rotten, insolent “secularism” you so passionately despise. They haven’t perpetrated anything close to the scope of crimes your own Church is guilty of worldwide.

Is that clear?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Human-evolution-manI blogged about the anti-scientific religiofascism spewed by Paul Broun, R-GA. The problem with is that he ran unopposed, so he didn’t have to suffer any consequences from his idiotic remarks. It seems that some voters in his district nevertheless used this election to offer a kind of protest against him, as the Augusta Chronicle reports (WebCite cached article):

Charles Darwin, the 19th century naturalist who laid the foundations for evolutionary theory, received more than 4,000 write-in votes in Athens-Clarke County in balloting for the 10th Congressional District seat retained Tuesday by five-year incumbent Republican Paul Broun.

A campaign asking voters to write in Darwin’s name in the 10th District, which includes half of Athens-Clarke County and takes in a swath of eastern Georgia, began after Broun, speaking at a sportsmen’s banquet at a Hartwell church, called evolution and other areas of science “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

“I can’t ever remember seeing a (write-in ballot) report that long,” Athens-Clarke County Elections Supervisor Gail Schrader said after releasing the write-in numbers to news media Thursday morning.

Broun still won re-election — given that he was unopposed — but 4,000 people making the effort to write in the name of Broun’s mortal enemy against him on the ballot as a protest, is significant. My guess is, Broun will dismiss them as wicked, Satan-inspired “secular progressives” who “worship” Darwin because they hate Broun’s almighty God, but I still find it remarkable.

Photo credit: José-manuel Benitos via Wikimedia Commons.

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And Jesus WeptTrouble’s been brewing in Waterbury, CT for some time. Its two hospitals spent more than a year trying to negotiate a merger. The proposed deal would have benefitted the hospitals — because they’ve both been losing money for a while — as well as the people of Waterbury, because they’d get a new, bigger and better hospital once the merger took place. But one of the two hospitals, St Mary’s, is Catholic, which meant the R.C. Church was involved. Finally, as the Hartford Courant reports, the archdiocese of Hartford proved intransigent and saw fit to derail this deal (WebCite cached article):

Waterbury Hospital officials have abandoned their quest to merge with St. Mary’s Hospital, concluding after more than a year of negotiations that it would be impossible to comply with the Catholic hospital’s directives on birth control.

“We confronted numerous challenges and obstacles that made it difficult for both of the hospitals in Waterbury to remain true to their respective missions,” Darlene Stromstad, president and CEO of Waterbury Hospital, said in a statement released Saturday. “The objectives that needed to be satisfied in order to proceed — particularly as they relate to our efforts to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church — were too many and too insurmountable to allow us to realize our goal.

“We’ve come to the conclusion it simply isn’t going to work.”

It’s not as though the management of both hospitals hadn’t been trying, for over a year, to get this deal to work, as the Courant explains:

To resolve the thorny issue of birth control, a proposal was made to build a “hospital within a hospital” — a separate, independently operated facility within the hospital building — that would provide reproductive health services prohibited by Catholic doctrine. But that plan was rejected by Hartford Archbishop Henry Mansell.

The archdiocese went so far as to come up with another scenario, that would have placed women’s lives at risk:

Officials also considered an idea for an ambulatory surgical center near — but not part of — the main hospital campus. But that would have been problematic for some women seeking tubal ligations, a surgical form of birth control that is barred in Catholic hospitals. Tubal ligations are often performed after C-sections, and in those cases, women receiving C-sections in the main hospital would have had to be sewn up and transported to the satellite facility for the second surgery.

Diocesan officials approved the idea of a wholly separate facility, but state officials ultimately rejected the proposal because the facility would not be equipped to serve women who are considered high risk.

Now, the average rational thinker would ask the obvious question of why the R.C. Church would want to endanger women’s lives over its dogmatism. But I know better than to even ask this question. The Church has already gone on record as considering the lives of women of child-bearing age forfeit. Where their dogma and a woman’s life are concerned, they happily choose dogma over life. The Church and its princes are viciously, hatefully misogynistic. There’s no other way to put it, so I won’t even try. I will simply state it clearly and succinctly: The Catholic Church wants women to die unnecessarily.

In any event, the management of Waterbury Hospital clearly deserves kudos for taking a stand against the Church and its effort to destroy the lives of women in the Waterbury area. They refused to knuckle under to Archbishop Mansell, and called off this merger, despite their own institution’s financial peril.

Photo credit: Termin8er, via Flickr.

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