Posts Tagged “religionists”

Police cover the body of a suspect outside Watts Hall on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, following an attack on campus that left several people injured on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. The man, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a group of pedestrians and began stabbing people with a butcher knife Monday before he was shot to death by a police officer. (Photo: Adam Cairns, AP / via USA Today)By now my readers will have heard of the strange car-&-knife assault on the campus of Ohio State University*. It turns out the attacker was a Muslim — a Somali refugee no less — who, as USA Today reports, somehow thought that attacking people on a college campus would protect his fellow Muslims elsewhere in the world (WebCite cached article):

An Ohio State University student has been identified as the suspect behind the gruesome attack Monday on the school’s campus.…

[The attacker] was born in Somalia and living in the United States as a legal permanent resident. Investigators discovered a message he posted on a Facebook page before the attack in which he expressed anger about the treatment of Muslims around the world, according to reports from multiple news outlets, citing unidentified law enforcement officials.

Maybe it’s because I have an overly rational brain, but I’m not quite clear on the connection between the people this fucker drove into, and then stabbed, and attacks on Muslims around the world. I’m aware of no direct connection.

But then, I’m just an insolent, god-hating agnostic heathen, and can’t possibly expect to comprehend such high and holy things, now, can I?

I can only conclude the attacker objected solely to Americans killing Muslims, and thought a terror attack would prevent that … but that he didn’t object to Muslims killing other Muslims — because after all, there’s a fucking helluva lot more of that going on in the world than there is of violence against Muslims by any other kind of person. No?

Oh wait. As usual, I’m insolently attempting to make rational sense of a high, sacred mission, and that’s simply not allowed. Isn’t it? I mean, how horrific of me to dare try to logically evaluate this kind of holy pursuit!

Note, there’s a large Somali community in the Columbus, OH area, and this isn’t the first time a Somali Muslim there has gone on a terrorist rampage. Back in February, a sanctimoniously-enraged Somali Muslim stormed into an Israeli restaurant there, brandishing a machete, also apparently in defense of the world’s wickedly oppressed Muslims (cached). Or something.

So go ahead, Muslims. Please. By all means, pin the blame for everything bad that’s ever happened to one of you on the US. And in turn use that blame to justify attacking Americans wherever you go. Because obviously, they deserve to die. Right? Go ahead and continue to ignore all the Muslim-on-Muslim violence that goes on, including the long history of conflict between your religion’s two major sects … which predates the existence of the US by more than a millennium. Yeah, obviously, all of that means nothing whatsoever … but when the US reacts to Islamist terror, well, that just can’t be fucking tolerated for one second, now, can it!?

Maybe it’s time for Muslims to get a grip on themselves, and each other, and start taking responsibility for their own religion, fercryinoutloud. Stop blaming others for one’s own misfortunes, and stop letting extremism slide.

Note, I’ve consistently asked the same of Christians, and Jews, and people of every other religion, too. Whatever religion one happens to belong to, is one’s religion. One owns it. It belongs to those who follow it, and they must take responsibility for it. If they don’t respect it enough to police it and stamp out extremism within it, they can’t rationally expect outsiders, such as myself, to respect it, either … or to respect them for belonging to it.

*I absofuckinglutely refuse to call it “‘THE’ Ohio State University.” What an asinine and juvenile fucking marketing gimmick that is.

Photo credit: Adam Cairns / AP, via USA Today.

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SiegeOfAcre1291For almost a year now, I’ve said the movement I call “the Great Neocrusade” — i.e. an effort by fierce Rightists in the US to eradicate Islam from their precious “Christian nation” — turned violent. There’s been a lot of vigilante “justice” meted out, over the last year, to various Muslims (and to non-Muslims who were assumed to be Muslims). The Neocrusaders would say this is just a counter-Islamist-terror campaign, except for the fact that none of the victims were terrorists, and hadn’t said or done anything (aside from appearing Muslim) to make anyone suspect they were terrorists. They simply happened to cross the path of one or more sanctimoniously-enraged Neocrusaders.

The reality is that — notwithstanding events like the San Bernardino, Boston Marathon, and Ft Hood massacres — Islamist terror is still extremely rare in the US. Americans are more likely to fall prey to domestic, Right-wing terror, and vastly more likely to be victimized by ordinary, simple, mundane sociopaths not motivated by any religion or particular ideology at all. So really, there’s no reason for Neocrusaders to stomp around beating up on random Muslims — even if they view it as justified in order to save Americans from terrorism.

You’d be surprised where Neocrusaders are lurking. There are more of them than you think, and not just in cosmopolitan parts of the country (i.e. big cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) where one expects to find Muslims and other foreign faiths. They can be found even among the reserved, quiet, pious folk of “middle America.” An example of this, as KWCH-TV in Wichita KS reports, is a plot the feds recently broke up in the “heartland” town of Garden City, KS (WebCite cached article):

Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 51, and Patrick Stein were all charged with domestic terrorism.

Beall said the three were planning to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City occupied by a Muslim community of about 120 Somali refugees.

Beall said the men planned to carry out the attack on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.…

Beall said the men wrote a manifesto, which they wanted published after the bombing.

According to an affidavit, the were a part of a group called the Kansas Security Force and the Crusaders.

“These are militia groups whose members support and espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs,” read the affidavit.

Beall said the men’s arrest is a part of an eight month long investigation.

For the last year, the Right — led by GOP presidential nominee Donald “it’s my own orange hair!” Trump — has blustered and fumed over Muslim refugees living among us, and how horrifically dangerous they are. Supposedly. It’s only natural, after all, because isn’t it obvious that all Muslims everywhere are terrorists, bent on killing “infidels” wherever they may be? Wouldn’t it make sense, therefore — according to Neocrusaders’ thinking — that it’s better to kill them before they kill us?

Fortunately for the country, but unfortunately for the Neocrusaders, those Somali refugees in Kansas aren’t very likely to become terrorists … but sanctimonious Christianists don’t let little things like “facts” get in the way of their towering fury.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Peter the Hermit Preaching the First CrusadeAs I’ve blogged quite a bit, the “violent Neocrusade” continues apace. That’s my name for an ongoing campaign by sanctimonious, Islam-hating Americans to (attempt to) purge their precious “Christian nation” of all of its Muslims. Their tactics amount to a kind of counter-terror: Since there are Muslim terrorists, Neocrusaders feel entitled to employ terror against Muslims in return.

The problem is, a lot of the time — in their ignorance — they end up picking the wrong targets. CBS San Francisco reports on the latest example of this phenomenon (WebCite cached article):

A Richmond man identifying as Sikh was attacked Sept. 25 in what he describes as a violent hate crime, the Sikh Coalition said Friday.

Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, was driving home from work at 9 p.m. when he was stopped at a red light near Hilltop Mall Drive in Richmond, half a mile from his home, according to the Sikh Coalition.

The article describes the attack, bolstered by a recorded 911 call. Accordingly, police have taken this report seriously, making two arrests and seeking three other men.

For some reason, many Americans confuse Sikhs with Muslims. But their religions are different — and very much so. About the only thing both religions have in common is that they’re monotheistic. Otherwise, they’re completely different. Islam is an Abrahamic faith that originated in what is now Saudi Arabia; Sikhism is a Dharmic faith founded in India. The former descends from the religion practiced by ancient Hebrews of the Levant; the latter descends from the Vedic faith practiced by Indo-Aryans. Americans, especially of the Neocrusading variety, are ignorant; when they see a Sikh man wearing a turban, they often think, “Muslim!” when in fact that assumption is usually false.

As I’ve said so many times when addressing the lunatic rage of Neocrusaders, I have to say: I get it. Really. I do! I capisce. Yes, there are Muslim terrorists in the world. Too many. They’ve attacked innocent Americans unjustly and savagely: At Ft Hood, the Boston Marathon, in San Bernardino, in Orlando, in Paris, and elsewhere. These — and many more such barbaric attacks around the world — are undeniable examples of how “the Religion of Peace” is no religion-of-peace at all. But, what Neocrusaders in the US don’t realize is that Americans are vastly more likely to be killed by ordinary, non-Muslim (and non-religious) sociopaths (cached), and also more likely to be killed by home-grown Right-wing and/or Christian terrorists, than by Islamist terrorists. The danger of Islamist terror is real, but it’s overstated, and the risk won’t appreciably be reduced even if Islam were outlawed tomorrow and every Muslim in the country deported. It just wouldn’t make a dent in the violence that occurs daily around the US.

The solution is for Neocrusaders to grow the fuck up, for the first time in their lives, and deal with their irrational fears, rather than lashing out like toddlers throwing a tantrum. There are ways to deal with the dangers that exist, without stomping around as part of a latter-day “People’s Crusade.” I should point out — as someone who studied the Middle Ages — that the original People’s Crusade didn’t end well for those who led and participated in it. American Neocrusaders would do well to take note of the rashness and irrationality of their medieval predecessors.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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CNN / Hurricane Matthew whips Florida coast, Jacksonville bracingYes, folks, here comes yet another entry on the massive list of what I call “disaster theology” — i.e. when religionists attribute catastrophic events to something their deity despises — that involves hurricanes. Yes, with Hurricane Matthew raging just off the coast of Florida (WebCite cached article), making headlines everywhere, it was inevitable that someone would declare it a sign of “God’s wrath” over … well, something, anything. In this case, some militant Christianist crank on the militant Christianist Website Shoebat.Com, run by the militant Christianist Shoebats (phony former PLO terrorist Walid, and his sanctimoniously-deranged son Ted) went and did just that (cached):

While all hurricanes are dangerous, something about this storm is particularly unique. As scientists have pointed out, it seems to be gathering strength where it should not, as though the storm was increasing in power from an outside force and in a way not seen before…

Florida is a nice place, but it unfortunately has become a lot like California, representing both the best and the worst that America has to offer. This is especially true in the area of homosexuality. While there are many conservative and religious Floridians, there are a tremendous amount of sodomites and immoral activity that takes place there. Given the serious moral decay of America that we see taking place before our eyes and the increasing disrespect for even the most basic of Christian morality, looking at this storm I began to wonder if perhaps, in some way, it was connected to this crisis.

The author of the article claims Hurricane Matthew is a storm of unprecedented power and is so unique that it can only be supernatural in origin. He also considers it significant that this hurricane is named Matthew, as in the saint who wrote one of the gospels, who happens to be depicted sometimes as an angel, and angels are the agents of God’s will, sometimes sent by the Almighty to chastise and punish. Our word “hurricane” comes from the Taíno people, who thought such storms were caused by powerful evil spirits. What’s more, this storm is hitting Florida today, October 7, on the Catholic Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that commemorates a naval engagement, the Battle of Lepanto (1571), in which some Italian and Spanish lords defeated the Ottoman Empire’s navy, supposedly because they prayed the Rosary. And the Rosary is the most powerful prayer the Church has ever known, having been given to St Dominic Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order and, perhaps more importantly to this crank, a hammer of heretics (especially of the Albigensian/Cathar persuasion). And the Ottomans, who were defeated at Lepanto, were known to be raging pedophilic homosexual rapists. Supposedly.

The author of this ridiculous screed sums up his chain of laughable reasoning thus:

A hurricane- the storms from an evil being- named after the New Testament Evangelist whose symbol is an angel- a messenger of God and and executor of His will among and upon men- is about to make landfall on the exact area where two massive sodomite parades are taking place and almost to the day for the largest one, and the exact day the hurricane is scheduled to hit is the Feast Day of the Holiest Prayer in the Catholic Church used to fight the most wicked of sins and heresies given by the Mother of God herself.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

Yep, it all sounds really Glenn Beckian to me, too. The author finishes by ordering Americans to “stop sinning” — as though he has the authority to give such a command. (To be clear, he doesn’t.)

The crap about hurricanes being signs of divine wrath upon those insolent, sinning gays is actually an old Christianist schtick. Marion “Pat” Robertson invoked it in the wake of Katrina in 2005 (cached). Before that, in 1998, Robertson had predicted hurricanes (and other disasters) would destroy central Florida due to Disney World gay pride days (cached). Perhaps ironically, that year, Hurricane Bonnie formed and appeared to be racing headlong for Florida; but it veered a little to the north and made landfall in northeastern North Carolina, not far from Robertson’s headquarters in Virginia Beach. Hmm.

At any rate, any deity who uses threats of catastrophe in order to force people to knuckle under to his/her/its dour dictates, can’t really be a deity worthy of worship. And any religion that thinks its deity uses such tactics, is not one that any moral or ethical person should belong to. That militant Christianists think this way, only serves to demonstrate how truly vile their beliefs are.

Photo credit: CNN.

Hat tip: Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

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The End is NearAs I’ve said many times, one feature of fundamentalist religiosity — regardless of which overall religious tradition it’s in — is immaturity. They have a very powerful sense of how things should be, but are blissfully unaware of the fact that none of that is even remotely realistic. So they’re repeatedly thwarted by what they perceive as a hostile world around them … and they can’t handle it. It makes them become angry and resentful.

This is illustrated rather clearly in a New York Times article on the status of evangelical Christians in the US (WebCite cached article):

Now, a year later, [Betty and Dick Odgaard] and other conservative evangelicals interviewed in central Iowa say they feel as if they have been abandoned. Many say that they have no genuine champion in the presidential race and that the country has turned its back on them. Americans are leaving church, same-sex marriage is the law of the land, and the country has moved on to debating transgender rights. While other Americans are anxious about the economy, jobs and terrorism, conservative Christians say they fear for the nation’s very soul. Some worry that the nation has strayed so far that God’s punishment is imminent.…

The change in America seemed to happen so quickly that it felt like whiplash, the Odgaards said. One day, they felt comfortably situated in the American majority, as Christians with shared beliefs in God, family and the Bible. They had never even imagined that two people of the same sex could marry.

Overnight, it seemed, they discovered that even in small-town Iowa they were outnumbered, isolated and unpopular. Everyone they knew seemed to have a gay relative or friend. Mr. Odgaard’s daughter from his first marriage disavowed her father’s actions on Facebook, and his gay second cousin will not speak to him. Even their own Mennonite congregation put out a statement saying that while the denomination opposes gay marriage, “not every congregation” or Mennonite does. Mrs. Odgaard, 64, the daughter of a Mennonite minister, was devastated.

“It all flipped, so fast,” said Mr. Odgaard, a patrician 70-year-old who favors khakis and boat shoes. “Suddenly, we were in the minority. That was kind of a scary feeling. It makes you wonder where the Christians went.”

The Times continues explaining how alienated American fundagelicals like the Odgaards feel. The article focuses on recent societal changes, such as the advent of gay marriage, but things like that don’t entirely explain the reality of this alienation. At the Friendly Atheist I posted the following comment, based on my own experience as a fundie Christian:

As a former fundamentalist/evangelical Christian, I must point out something: Their sense of alienation has nothing to do with gay marriage. Not. One. F-ing. Thing. That’s just a convenient scapegoat.

No, the reason fundagelicals feel alienated, is because they’re fundagelicals. No matter what may (or may not) be going on around them, their beliefs define them as a downtrodden minority in what they perceive to be an overwhelmingly “worldly” society. And for them, “worldly” means “Satanic” (because they believe their deity has handed the Devil authority over “the world,” until the Apocalypse).

Fundagelicals believe themselves to be outnumbered and outgunned, constantly oppressed by profane “worldly” forces trying to wrench them away from their deity and deprive them of their sanctity.

For them, this perspective is definitional. As they see it, it’s laid out for them in scripture; they believe it, and that’s that. Everything that ever happens to them simply fits in with this view. Bad things happen to them because “the world” is out to destroy them because of their vaunted holiness. (Anything good that happens to them, of course, is because of said vaunted holiness.) Essentially it’s a rationale for their persecution complex (which, in turn, is the product of Christianity’s underlying psychopathology, going back nearly to its origins).

Sure, things like gay marriage play into, and perhaps even increase, fundagelicals’ prevailing sense of alienation. But those external factors did not create that sense of alienation, and if they were to vanish, would not make it go away. That alienation is ever-present in fundagelical Christianity and is part and parcel of it.

To be clear, this sense of alienation is something I experienced when I was a fundie, and that was during the early 80s. That was a time when gay rights weren’t being discussed very much, gay marriage wasn’t on the horizon, and for nearly everyone the word “transgender” didn’t even exist. Yet, that alienation was very real for those in my little faith community.

So … if fundagelicals feel alienated, too bad so sad for them. All they need to do is let go of the alienation, and it will be gone — because they’re manufacturing it, themselves, out of whole cloth. It’s not based on fact, but on their persecutorial metaphysics.

In sum, I don’t pity these folk one bit. They’ve created their own despair, having crafted it from their own delusions. Whatever anxiety they feel, is purely theirs. No one’s forcing it on them.

Photo credit: Scott Leslie, via Flickr.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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Residents came out to show thier [sic] supports [sic] for Bridgeport Police Officers with a community march in solidarity in Bridgeport, Conn., on Saturday Sept. 24, 2016. Dozens of residents joined members of the department and local clergy and officials at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Park Avenue and then proceeded to march to police headquarters nearby.  / Christian Abraham / Hearst Connecticut MediaIn the world of sanctimonious Christianist nutjobbery, atheists are only just a shade better than Lucifer himself. They’re to blame for almost everything that ever goes wrong, and even Christian-world villains like Muslims and pagans earn more respect from Christianists. An example of this sort of thinking, as reported by the Connecticut Post, came from the chief of police in Bridgeport, CT (WebCite cached article):

Teens joining gangs? Shooting incidents on the rise?

The city’s top law enforcement officer thinks irreligiosity is a major factor in the problems facing the city.

“We need God in our lives,” Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez said Saturday to a group of around 50 people following a police solidarity march.

Perez, who is Catholic, addressed a group of mostly church members between the police department and City Hall.

“The problems that we’re having is because people have abandoned church, people have abandoned God, and that cannot happen,” he said.…

Perez, in his remarks, advocated a lot more praying.

“Let’s bring God back in our lives, back in our church — bring our kids — in our city, in our schools — absolutely,” Perez told the crowd.

When asked to clarify his remarks, Perez said that he didn’t advocate a specific religious belief, though he stood by his statement about religion in schools.

Gee, it was nice of the Chief not to demand that everyone in Bridgeport convert to a particular sect of a particular religion; it’s OK by him, I guess, if that city’s citizens join a religion of their choice. But, he does appear to think everyone must belong to one religion or another. Non-belief isn’t an option, in his book.

He wouldn’t be alone in that regard. There’s a significant wing of American Christianism that genuinely thinks there’s no such thing as freedom from religion; that it’s possible — and legal! — to force every American to have to be a religious believer … of some sort. (Yes, they do. For real.)

Chief Perez doesn’t seem to realize that, although non-belief has been rising over the last several years, crime rates haven’t matched that curve. Despite his whining about atheism growing, the majority of Americans are religious believers (cached). And the proportion of folks in prison who’re atheists is actually lower than that of the general population (cached) … meaning that atheists are less likely than believers to have been convicted of crimes.

Crime and non-belief are not linked lock-step in the way he asserts. To be generous, the Chief is blowing smoke; to be more blunt, he’s lying through his teeth.

It’s long past time for religious believers to grow the fuck up for once and get over the fact that atheists (and other sorts of non-believers) exist. They need to stop getting their panties in bunches over the insolence of those of us who refuse to believe in their absurd metaphysics. They erroneously think they’re personally harmed by the presence of non-belief in their communities; that’s just fucking absurd. They object to atheists (and other sorts of non-believers) for only one reason: They’re insecure in their beliefs, and knowing there are people who don’t believe as they do, only serves to heighten those insecurities. Since they’re not mature enough to handle those insecurities, they lash out against them, like infants. “Waaah! Mommy, the bad people are <sniff> atheists! Wah waah! <sniff> Mommy, make the bad atheists go away! <sniff>” What a damned joke.

Photo credit: Christian Abraham/Hearst Connecticut Media, via Connecticut Post.

Hat tip: Friendly Atheist.

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BlasphemyUnbelievably, it’s a crime in many countries to “dis” a religion or any aspect of one. Of course, this makes no sense at all … since offending a religion causes no harm to anyone or anything. The religion will remain what it is, and its followers will continue to follow it, in spite of that disrespect. Nothing changes, just because someone “blasphemes.” Not. One. Fucking. Thing.

Despite the fact that many places have such laws on the books, very often this is still not enough for some truly sanctimonious folk. They feel a compulsion to take that blasphemy law into their own hands. An example of this, as the Associated Press reports, just happened in Jordan (WebCite cached article):

A prominent and outspoken Jordanian writer on Sunday was shot dead in front of the courthouse where he had been on trial for posting a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam on social media.

A Jordanian security official said the shooter was a former imam, or prayer leader, at a local mosque, and said the man had been motivated by his anger over the cartoon posted to Facebook by writer Nahed Hattar. The shooting was the latest in a string of deadly security lapses in Jordan.…

Jordanian media, citing anonymous officials, identified the shooter as Riad Abdullah, 49, a former imam in northern Hashmi, a poor neighborhood in Amman. The reports said Abdullah had recently returned from a trip abroad, but gave no further details.…

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the suspect said he was motivated by the cartoon, which depicted a bearded man, smoking and in bed with two women, asking God to bring him wine and cashews. All physical depictions of God or the Prophet Muhammad, even respectful ones, are forbidden under mainstream Islamic tradition.

While the government of Jordan condemned this vigilante killing, Hattar’s supporters contend the government actually had put him in jeopardy, by having charged him with “blasphemy” in the first place. And lots of Jordanians are happy that Hattar had been gunned down:

But on Sunday, social media accounts of prominent Islamists in Jordan and elsewhere were celebrating Hattar’s death, saying he deserved it for blasphemy.

I expect the killer in this case to be showered with praise, as happened to a Pakistani who assassinated the governor of Punjab in the name of protecting that country’s blasphemy law.

Killing people over “blasphemy” is the height of foolishness … because as I pointed out at the start of this post, mocking, criticizing, or disrespecting a religion quite literally cannot harm it or any of its followers. A religion is a collection of ideas, and as such, can’t be damaged by disparagement. Its followers will continue to believe in it, and it will endure irreverence. The only reason to act out violently over “blasphemy” is immaturity. It’s long past time for the world’s religious believers to grow the fuck up, get over themselves, and accept that not everyone loves their faith (whichever one it may be).

Photo credit: Silly Deity, via Flickr.

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