Posts Tagged “death”

Flames shot up from the 'King of King's' statue of Jesus Christ early Tuesday morning after it was struck by lightning. / By Tiffani West-May, AP, via USA TodayBelievers seem to be impressed that, despite everything else in Tanauan in the Philippines having been leveled by Typhoon Haiyan, a Jesus statue remains standing. This is remarkable enough to have been specially noted by CNN’s Belief blog (WebCite cached article).

I remain unimpressed by this … as should everyone else, believers included. Haiyan (aka Yolanda) demolished a good part of that country and claimed the lives of thousands of people (2,500 or so is the count as of the time I typed this). Hundreds of thousands of other people are homeless, and have little or no access to food or potable water. The toll, not just in terms of death but in simple, sheer human misery, is almost uncountable.

But somehow, that a statue of Jesus was untouched by the destruction, is a noteworthy “miracle”?


Wouldn’t it have been far better for the “miracle” to have been of another, far better sort — say, sending Haiyan out into the heart of the Pacific where it wouldn’t have hurt anyone, instead?

Besides, I’m not sure how much of a “miracle” it is for a freak circumstance to leave a statue untouched, when elsewhere, other freak occurrences have destroyed them out of nowhere, leaving everything else unscathed. A great example of this is the so-called “Touchdown Jesus” statue in Monroe, OH which was destroyed in spectacular fashion by a lightning strike, some 3 years ago (cached). If a Jesus statue being left untouched in the Phillipines is a sign of divine grace, then by the same reasoning, the sudden destruction of another ought to be viewed as a sign of divine wrath, no?

It’s time for believers to get over crap like this and stop letting appearances run away with them.

Photo credit: Tiffani West-May / AP, via USA Today.

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Savita Halappanavar, who was found to be miscarrying when admitted, died of septicaemia at University Hospital Galway, via the Irish TimesAs if anyone needed further proof how reprehensible the Roman Catholic Church’s dogmatic approach toward women is, here’s one more sterling example. The Irish Times reports on a woman who died because a hospital’s allegiance to the R.C. Church was stronger than its desire to keep her alive (WebCite cached article):

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Sadly, this proved to too late for Ms Halappanavar; she died of septicemia a few days later.

I’m not sure, but I don’t think University Hospital Galway is Catholic Church-owned or -operated. So this might not be a case where the Church directly and on its own orders caused Ms Halappanavar’s death. Nevertheless, even if it’s not, Catholicism taught the fiercely dogmatic medical philosophy which was applied here, so Church culpability is unavoidable.

I have to ask all of you supposedly “pro-life” Catholics out there who are proud to trumpet that “all life is sacred” and that’s why you militate against any and all kinds of abortion: Please explain how and why your Church’s policy, in this case, did anything to protect “life”? In the name of protecting a dying fetus — which you claim is a “life” than must be saved — you ended up losing both that fetus and the mother who carried it. So whose “life,” here, was protected? I want to know how that “pro-life” policy works, when by your own definitions of “life,” two lives were lost in this case, one inevitably, the other needlessly.

I dare you to explain this. Really. Honest. If you truly believe your Church’s doctrines have any veracity, and if you’re secure in your “pro-life” beliefs, then you should have no problem doing so. So go ahead. Do it. The comment box below is available for you, so get to work and explain this. If you dare.*

Note that this event puts the lie to (now lame-duck) Rep. Joe Walsh’s claim that medical advances have made it so that it’s never necessary to abort a fetus in order to save a woman’s life. We all knew he was talking out his misogynistic, religiofascist ass when he made that comment, but this example provides verifiable, incontrovertible — and horrific — evidence that he was absolutely wrong.

*Appeals to ignorance … such as the old & tired “it’s a mystery” or “God works in mysterious ways” … will not suffice, so don’t insult me by offering anything like that. Those clichés aren’t explanations of the benefits of Catholic doctrine. They’re just admissions of ignorance, and falling back on them betrays a lack of desire to provide an explanation.

Photo credit: Irish Times.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith & Friendly Atheist.

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Stephen Hawking dismisses belief in God in an exclusive interview with the Guardian. Photograph: Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/Discovery ChannelI’ve already blogged about famous British scientist Stephen Hawking, who previously riled up the world’s religionists by saying that one need not posit a God in order to explain the existence of the universe. In a new interview with the (UK) Guardian, Hawking takes on the widespread belief in an afterlife (WebCite cached article):

A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death, Stephen Hawking has said.

In a dismissal that underlines his firm rejection of religious comforts, Britain’s most eminent scientist said there was nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.

Hawking declares his mechanistic viewpoint as clearly and as succinctly as one could hope for:

“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” he added.

But Hawking isn’t mechanistic enough to have no appreciation of beauty:

[Hawking said] Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations. Examples include the double helix in biology, and the fundamental equations of physics.

Cue the screaming and caterwauling of religionists around the world, who will condemn Hawking for having said this. I especially await him being criticized for being a scientist, not a theologian, so he’s not supposed to have anything to say about religion … while at the same time most religionists are themselves also not theologians, meaning that — by this logic — no mention of their religion should ever cross their lips.

Fucking hypocrites!

Photo credit: Solar & Heliospheric Observatory/Discovery Channel via the Guardian.

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Dr George Tiller of Wichita KS, a famous “abortion doctor” who’s long been the target of the pro-life movement — I mean that literally, they’ve shot and bombed him as well has having taken other measures to destroy him — was gunned down this morning (as reported by the AP via the Hartford Courant):

Late-term abortion doctor George Tiller, a prominent advocate for abortion rights wounded by a protester more than a decade ago, was shot and killed today at a church in Wichita where he was serving as an usher and his wife was in the choir, his attorney said.

Tiller was shot during morning services at Reformation Lutheran Church, attorney Dan Monnat said. Police said a manhunt was under way for the shooter, who fled in a car registered to a Kansas City suburb nearly 200 miles away. …

Hmm. Given it’s Kansas we’re talking about — the state which the Religious Right turned into a crucible of religionazism in the US over the last decade and a half — one has to wonder how much is being done to apprehend his shooter. We’ll just have to see who how this manhunt works out. Of course, pro-lifers have already tried to distance themselves from the shooting:

Anti-abortion group Operation Rescue issued a statement denouncing the shooting.

Uh huh. Riiiiiight! As if I’m supposed to believe that Operation Rescue (led by one of the most bellicose, determined and vehement religionazis in the country, Randall Terry*) is actually upset at Tiller’s killing. No way is that possible! And I’m not sure what basis they can claim for denouncing his execution, given that they’ve gone after the guy full-bore, and have called the man every name in the book and even some that aren’t, for over two decades. Seriously … what did they think the product of their vicious campaign against Tiller would be? Did they think their campaign against him can’t possibly have inspired murderous hatred? And now that he’s been executed, how can they claim not to have any culpability in the matter? Just how stupid do they think I am?

The article lists just some of the often-violent features of their long campaign:

National anti-abortion groups had long focused on Tiller, whose Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.

In 1991, the Summer of Mercy protests organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of anti-abortion activists to this city for demonstrations marked by civil disobedience and mass arrests.

Some abortion opponents had resorted to attacks against Tiller long before today’s shooting. A protester shot Tiller in both arms in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1985.

As I blogged a couple months ago, the pro-lifers had suffered a setback when Tiller was acquitted in a criminal case trumped up against him by the Religious Right. Perhaps this frustrated them enough to take the law into their own hands … yet again?

Let’s hear it for killing in the name of the “pro-life” movement! Folks … in case it’s not already crystal-clear to you … there’s nothing “pro-life” about the so-called “pro-life” movement. Rather it’s all about control … managing people’s lives for them, and using the state to force all of its citizens to live by one particular set of religious principles.)

* Correction: After publishing this post I realized Randall Terry is no longer head of Operation Rescue. See my follow-up post for more.

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