Posts Tagged “bridgeport CT”

Coat of arms - Tomb of Christopher Columbus - Cathedral of SevilleA couple months ago, we saw the “alt right” going berserk — to the point where one of them drove into a crowd — over the prospect of Confederate statues being taken down, in Charlottesville, VA. Well, it appears that was only the start of a whole lot of irrationality and immaturity where statues are concerned.

Today was Columbus Day, and as WTNH-TV in New Haven, CT reports, statues of Christopher Columbus around New England were vandalized (Archive.Is cached article):

Across New England on Columbus Day, people are taking stances, vandalizing statues of Christopher Columbus.

In Connecticut alone, vandals spray-painted on or around statues in four cities and towns, including Middletown, Bridgeport, Norwalk, and in New Haven’s Wooster Square over the weekend.

OK, look, I get it. I studied history in college (and have a degree in the subject). I know Christopher Columbus was a horrible person. He did awful things. Really, there’s no need to convince me. I get it. Honest.

I know, for example, that Columbus wasn’t really revered prior to the publication of his biography by Washington Irving. Through the 19th century, veneration of Columbus became a point of pride for ethnic Italians, and other Catholics, in the US. The anniversary of his landing in the New World wasn’t even made a national holiday until 1937. So there isn’t really that extensive a tradition behind it.

I also know that opposition to Columbus-worship isn’t new (cached). And that he was guilty of more than a few atrocities.

But … vandalizing Columbus statues? Really?! Is it absolutely necessary to deface, damage or destroy other people’s property? Can’t veneration of Columbus be protested in other — less criminal — ways? Have things really reached the point where people are too childish to understand this is wrong?

This just goes to show, it’s not just Rightists or religionists who can be fiercely militant, irrational, and immature. The Left, and anarchists, are more than capable of it, too.

Oh, and Italian-Americans getting their knickers in knots because of the backlash against Columbus Day, isn’t all that much more mature (cached). Why can’t everyone just grow the fuck up already?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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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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Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New YorkThe sorry outfit known as the Roman Catholic Church continues to reveal itself as a morally bankrupt monstrosity, but that’s no surprise to those of us who’ve watched it closely over the years. Just over a week ago, I posted a recap of all the evasive, sniveling, paranoiac excuses for the worldwide child-abuse scandal that’s rocked the Church for over a decade. Since then, the archdiocese of Hartford has defended its (non-existent) handling of child sexual abuse by its priests, by claiming — in open courtthat the victims “liked it,” so it was no big deal … and have persisted with this bone-chilling defense.

In that same time, too, another former Connecticut hierarch has weighed in on the scandal, demonstrating that he’s gone off the deep end. Retired Cardinal Edward Egan, who’d served as bishop of Bridgeport (CT), offered some demented and dishonest comments in a recent interview with Connecticut Magazine (WebCite cached article):

You know, I never had one of these sex abuse cases, either in Bridgeport or here (New York). Not one. …

I’m not the slightest bit surprised that, of course, the scandal was going to be fun in the news—not fun, but the easiest thing to write about. …

There really wasn’t much in the way of hidden. I don’t think even now you’re obligated to report them [the abuse cases] in CT. …

Well, the media everywhere made that the whole thing. I never had a case. And I believe that the cases I had were each handled just exactly as they should have been.

The retired Cardinal lied, in all of these remarks. It is not true that he “never had a case” involving sexual abuse of a child by a priest in his service. Connecticut Magazine itself had reported on some of them back in 1999 (cached). That he shuffled abusive priests around has been documented. I’ve even blogged about the case of Fr Raymond Pcolka, and about Egan’s dismissive, snarky attitude toward child-abuse reports.

Also, even more demonstrably, Egan is dead wrong about the diocese of Bridgeport having no legal duty to report child abuse. In Connecticut, all clergy are mandatory reporters of child abuse, and this has been the case since the early 1970s, prior to his tenure as bishop. Of course Egan knew this was the case. He absolutely knew it. But like any good “prince of the Church,” he chose not to accept that; in his mind, the Church is above Connecticut law.

But beyond Egan’s lies about his own record on the matter and the nature of Connecticut law, Egan proceeded to dig himself even deeper during the interview:

CT Magazine: In 2002, you wrote a letter to parishioners in which you said, “If in hindsight we discover that mistakes may have been made as regards prompt removal of priests and assistance to victims, I am deeply sorry.”

EGAN: First of all, I should never have said that. I did say if we did anything wrong, I’m sorry, but I don’t think we did anything wrong.

So, here we have a man who, 10 years ago, had issued a non-apology apology; but now, he’s taking back even that sorry, cowardly measure.

Way to go, Cardinal. Well done. I am so fucking goddamn impressed with you! Why, of course the worldwide Catholic clerical child-abuse scandal was woven out of whole cloth by reporters who gleefully fabricated all its details. Why, of course, it’s all a horrid fiction, cooked up by the media because it was so “easy” for them to do. Why, you’re absolutely right, Cardinal; and the media are, of course, completely wrong to have so maligned you over nothing.

And congratulations to all the Catholics out there who remain steadfastly loyal to this reprehensible, Mafia-like crew who are shepherding you through life. I admire the tenacity with which you actively defend these cretins and monsters. I’m sure it’s hard work trying to justify and rationalize their evil behavior and their lies about it. You must be so proud!

Photo credit: Archdiocese of New York Web site.

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Flip Benham, Director of a group called Operation Save America, leads members in a prayer Friday August 6, 2010 on Clinton Avenue outside the Bridgeport Islamic Society following a protest against Islam. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut PostLast week a strange event occurred in my home state, the Land of Steady Habits. Perhaps inspired by the ridiculous Religious Right attacks on the Cordoba Center (a cultural center — not a mosque! — which will soon be built near — not at, or over! — the site of the World Trade Center in New York City), a bunch of militant Christians protested at a mosque in Bridgeport. The Connecticut Post reports on this protest (WebCite cached article):

About a dozen right-wing Christians, carrying placards and yelling “Islam is a lie,” angrily confronted worshippers outside a Fairfield Avenue mosque Friday.

“Jesus hates Muslims,” they screamed at worshippers arriving at the Masjid An-Noor mosque to prepare for the holy week of Ramadan. One protester shoved a placard at a group of young children leaving the mosque. “Murderers,” he shouted.

My first inclination, upon reading this, was to say, “Here? In Connecticut?” This is a relatively progressive state, compared to the rest of the country. OK, so we have a bit of a parochial streak, as evidenced by our remaining Puritan-era “blue laws,” and of course we have the same sort of “lunatic fringe” one might expect to find in a state of some 3 million people. And the Roman Catholic Church has staged some massive protests, when the Connecticut bishops needed to distract people and squirm out of having to take responsibility for the things they’ve done and so they could desperately cling to all their precious money. But really … this kind of brainless Christofascism, I thought, is something one is far more likely to find down in the Bible belt. Well, it turns out I was correct — these wingnuts aren’t even Nutmeggers:

Flip Benham, of Dallas, Texas, organizer of the protest, was yelling at the worshipers with a bullhorn.

“This is a war in America and we are taking it to the mosques around the country,” he said.

I’m not too sure how truly proud of themselves they were, however, since they didn’t really protest too long, and they packed up and left fairly quickly:

After about an hour the protesters packed up their placards and fliers into a couple of vans and drove off.

Good riddance, “Flip,” and all your militant religionist pals.

Just to see what kind of a freak show these people are, I went to their Web site, and took a look (cached version). They seem to have a problem with the CT Post‘s coverage, as you can see in this screen-shot:

Operation Save America's complaint about the Connecticut Post

So, they admit the CT Post covers this “protest” correctly, in every detail but one … i.e. the accusation that they’d screamed “Jesus hates Muslims.” As evidence they did not, they proudly link to a PDF file of the brochure they said they handed out there. Unfortunately for them, this brochure does nothing to make them seem less extreme. If anything, it shows how insane they are. It includes such enlightened gems of “the Religion of Love” such as:

WHAT DO ABORTION, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND ISLAM HAVE IN COMMON?
They are all inspired by the same liar who has come to the earth to rob, kill, and destroy. …

OUR FAILURE TO RIGHTLY REPRESENT CHRIST TO YOU
Unfortunately, Christianity in America has become so feminized, weak, and limp-wristed that these lies (abortion, homosexuality, and Islam) have come to prevail in a nation that was established and made great on the manly bedrock of biblical Christianity.

This brochure also claims the US was “founded on Christianity” — which is a lie, because it was not — a contention that they support using a quotation supposedly by Patrick Henry — which in fact, he never actually said.

Given the ferocious, irrational content of this brochure — capped by lies and fake quotations — on this matter, I find I must believe the CT Post over this delusional and militant crew.

Photo credit: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post.

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Concerning the “gay exorcism” I blogged about earlier, the pastor of Manifested Glory Ministries in Bridgeport, CT has finally stopped being coy about the video they’d posted online but then yanked when people actually paid attention to it. Pastor Patricia McKinney appeared on CNN to “explain” what happened. (Not that she actually “explained” anything.) Video of this train-wreck interview can be viewed at the Friendly Atheist blog.

Near the start, Ms McKinney makes this statement:

I just wanted to tell the world out there that Manifested Glory Ministries Church is not against homosexuality. We do not hate them. We do not come up against them.

This claim, however, is contradicted just a few more moments into the interview, when she said:

You can come in our church, but you cannot live that lifestyle in our church.

Put these statements together, and you have, “We’re not opposed to homosexuality, we’re just opposed to homosexuality.”

That’s about as nonsensical and asinine as anything I’ve ever heard.

An interesting point — which further reveals how medieval this church’s thinking is — that Ms McKinney makes several times in the interview, is “Everything has a spirit.” This is an archaic point of view; not merely medieval, but ancient and primeval. It is also at the foundation of all fundamentalist thinking. To a religious fundamentalist, the world itself — and everything in it — is fully alive, and is part of the vast cosmic contest between Good (i.e. God) and Evil (i.e. not just Satan, but “the World,” sin, secularism, etc.). Everything that happens, emerges directly from this enormous, ongoing universal struggle. People’s behaviors and even thoughts are a manifestation of this struggle … and in a very real, and both personal and personalized, way. In many ways, fundamentalists — of any sort, not just Christian — end up seeing the world as a terrifying place. Everything around them can potentially be arrayed against them and against their cause (God). This is one of the reasons why fundamentalists tend to be so paranoid in their thinking (the gun-toting Louisville pastor I blogged about is a prime example of this phenomenon).

While Christians have traditionally viewed themselves as being “different” from the pagans who preceded them, ironically their view that all things … people, objects, even behaviors … are living, breathing, metaphysical entities (or “spirits”) with their own existence, motives and purposes, is not appreciably different from the animism that was part of most pagan belief systems.

Put bluntly, Christianity has encountered its enemy — and has become it!

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People often ask me what good my degree in medieval history is. An answer I sometimes give is, “In many ways our civilization is still medieval; modern history is medieval history, and vice versa.” A sterling example of this is in the following case; it exemplifies the medieval mindset which still lives on, even in 21st century Connecticut (USA).

Recently there appeared on YouTube a video of a teen being exorcized of “homosexual demons”; this report comes from WTIC-TV (Fox 61) in Hartford:

A Connecticut church posted a controversial video on YouTube that raised questions about the treatment of children by a leader of a gay and lesbian teen mentoring group among others

The video features church elders performing what looks like an exorcism, of what they refer to in the video as “homosexual demons”

The video shows leaders of the Manifested Glory Ministries in a frenetic scene, screaming, “Right now I command you to leave!”

At the same time a teen writhing on the ground as the adults around him implore so called “homosexual demons” to get out.

The leaders yell at the boy on the ground saying, “Right now in the name of Jesus, I call the homosexuality, right now in the name of Jesus.”

For 20 minutes it continues with the boy in a near seizure, even vomiting.

(Missing punctuation is per the original story.)

The Bridgeport, CT church that orchestrated this gay exorcism doesn’t appear interested in defending their practices, though, and even pulled not only this video but their entire account from YouTube:

Prophet Patricia McKinney and her husband, church overseer Kelvin McKinney have a weekly radio show. She wasn’t much interested in talking, telling Fox 61’s Laurie Perez, “Don’t be following, I’m telling you no.” …

The church has recently taken down its YouTube account, but the video is still posted on other sites.

So this church is happy to exorcize “homosexual demons,” and are even proud enough of it to post it to YouTube … but once it gets ridiculed and reporters ask about it, they suddenly become shy, won’t admit to it, and even try to conceal it. How wonderful.

Note: the video that’s embedded on the Fox 61 report page, is their own televised report, not the original exorcism video. That can be seen here, if you care to look:

Although this “exorcism” is not of the Hollywood sort and a little bit campy, having seen a number of exorcisms as performed by Protestant fundamentalists myself, I can attest to this one being quite usual.

At any rate, although this ceremony is not the famous Rituale Romanum as it had been practiced in the Middle Ages, the idea that a person’s problems are caused by diabolic or demonic possession, making exorcism a solution, is most certainly a very medieval idea. (That’s not to say that I consider being gay to be a “problem” … that’s what Manifested Glory Ministries thinks.) Our 21st century occidental civilization obviously has a great deal of development left ahead of it, before it actually becomes a truly 21st-century civilization.

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