Category Archives: religion

Religion playing the victim in Prop 8 hearing

In what is likely the most ironic assertion made since Ann Coulter called liberal women ugly, The Catholic News Agency claimed Catholicism to be a target of religious bigotry on the part of California gay marriage advocates. Says the article:

“Today, religion has taken the stage, front and center, in the battle over the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and is being portrayed as an illegitimate basis for supporting traditional marriage. Religious bigotry surely found expression in today’s presentation by the plaintiffs,” he charged.

“To suggest that the people of California cannot consider their own political, moral and religious views when casting their vote on Prop. 8 is preposterous,” Pugno continued, adding that many issues are presented to voters that involve moral questions.

This is a straw man that my 12 year old could knock down in his sleep and sidesteps the very real and important issue that despite over 200 years of separation of church and state, the church continues to attempt to guide public policy through its adherents.

The facts are these: the right to marry was given to gay and lesbian couples. That right was taken away by the tyranny of the majority in large part due to out of state religious groups with deep pockets. The Mormon church was a key proponent of Prop 8 while operating out of Utah. If the residents of Utah are that concerned with the state of California’s public policy, perhaps they should start donating some cash to assist with  the beleaguered state’s budgetary woes. If one is going to say that the states should make up their own minds, then LET THEM. Do not sanctimoniously claim that none but the people of each state should choose which policy to embrace and then embroil yourself in that choice.

Further, the Constitution exists to protect the rights of the individual from the tyranny of the majority. To have a court interpret the constitution in such a way that rights are afforded equally among its citizens and then remove that right by appealing to the basest fears and prejudices of its citizens flies directly in the face of what it means to claim ‘freedom and justice for all.’

Most importantly: appealing to any citizen’s religious beliefs in order to perpetrate discrimination against any group is not only ethically reprehensible, it is unconstitutional. As soon as ANY leader claims anyone should vote a certain way because ‘it’s what God says,’ the United States Constitution has ceased to be followed. No law shall be made based on religious belief. If the people of the great state of California want to play at being legislators, then they need to follow the law. Not god’s law, the law of the United States of America and the state of California, which dictates a separation of church and state.  I don’t care what your personal beliefs are. The second they start infringing on the rights of others, you lose your credibility and your claim that you love this country.

Advertisements

Irish Atheists Challenge Blasphemy Law

Here in the United States, it’s taken for granted that we are allowed to say/write more or less anything we damn well want, even if it annoys or offends someone else. ESPECIALLY if it annoys or offends someone else. Our inherent right to speak our minds is something we see as sacrosanct.* It is therefore almost unthinkable that in this current age, when speaking out against one’s government is considered almost a given, that something like Ireland’s new blasphemy laws exist, much less are to be enforced.

The laws have been in place but largely unenforced due to  nebulous wording for decades. Now, the laws have been updated and carry a hefty fine of up to €25,000, which comes to more than $35K for those of you following along in dollars.

Enter the group Atheist Ireland. They’re having none of it. On Friday Jan. 1, the day the law went into effect, the group published a list of 25 blasphemous quotes in direct response to the law that they find “silly” and “literally medieval.” I couldn’t agree more. This is something I would expect from Iran or some other overly religious state. But Ireland?  The new law states that someone can be found guilty of blasphemy if:

“he or she publishes or utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”

The best if Irish luck to Atheist Ireland, who are running a campaign to amend the constitution and repeal this archaic, ill thought out law.

*Please note: that right is not as all encompassing as we US citizens think it is. ‘Free speech’ addresses a very particular type of speech. It refers to the ability to petition/criticize one’s government publicly without fear of redress. The first amendment specifically addresses political speech, not your right to bitch out some asshole who takes your parking spot at the local mall. It also doesn’t apply on private property. No, it doesn’t. No really. Private property, including the internet, is not covered under free speech. Check your ToS: you spew hate speech, get yourself tossed and see how much ice ‘Freedom of expression’ cuts with the powers that be.

The Reason for The Season? Whatever You Want.

Last week, the darling man forwarded a meme laden Christmas spam letter. He and I had a lot of fun tearing apart the various little logical fallacies and appeals to emotion contained therein (I’ll go ahead and post it below). One of the things that struck me was how HARD the person who originally wrote this (if it wasn’t just spit out by some meme machine) tried to convey their outrage at their holiday being trampled… TRAMPLED I TELL YOU!… by the godless heathens who wanted their mid-winter holiday acknowledged, too. ‘IT ISN’T FAIR!’ the email seems to be screeching. They appear to be under the impression that by recognizing other cultures and religions, that somehow translates into THEIR religion being completely ignored.

First amendment aside (you remember. The one that says all religions are equally valid in the eyes of the law?), it’s a pretty selfish, uncharitable and distinctly un-Christian attitude to take. Jesus’ birth (which took place ’round about April for those of us able to count) was not the first mid-winter holiday. Nor did it supplant all others. We live in an amazing, wonderful time and place in which everyone is able to celebrate their own chosen mid-winter festival, whether it’s Christmas or any one of many others like the solstice, Modranect, Diwali, Yule, Sadeh, Rosh Hashana, the Saturnalia or even Festivus with the Costanzas. Whichever of these anyone celebrates, it is because it’s what is meaningful to them, not out of some desire to stomp all over someone else’s celebration. So have a cup of egg nog, kiss under the (pagan) mistletoe and get over yourselves already.

The email (complete with my and the dm’s responses):

Twas the Month Before Christmas

*Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*

Give me a freakin’ break. Nobody takes a stand or jerks their knees *faster* than the “Christians.” If they even remotely perceive their precious traditions or “values” are being infringed upon, they start screaming from the rooftops about their rights and how they’re being “overrun,” despite being 85% of the population. I guess the “Christian” value of “sharing” just sort of fell by the wayside…

*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas – no one could say.*
Which is? Ditto. Cite?

*The children were told by their schools not to sing*

*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*

Let us make this perfectly clear. NO ONE is told they cannot pray in school. They are told they cannot lead others in prayer, and that the schools cannot endorse any religion. THAT is the state espousing one particular religion over others, and THAT is against the first amendment. Were the school or teachers to expect children to read from the Torah, wouldn’t you be howling the place down? However. For the sake of clarity, please see Everson v. Board of Education, here: http://members.tripod.com/~candst/tnppage/eclause1.htm

*It might hurt people’s feelings, the teachers would say*

And this isn’t because Christians are having their feelings hurt? Well. Only Christian feelings matter, after all…..everyone else is just a heathen…

* December 25th is just a ” Holiday “.*

It’s one of many…  isn’t it? And, not even the original mid-winter holiday. But that’s not important right now….

*Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*

Makes you wonder where all the “Christians” who shop at Wal Mart got to…..

*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*

So…  this is a libr’l thing? Rush Limbaugh Is A Big, Fat Idiot is one of my favorite books….

*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*

Do they get that the trees are a cultural symbol and not a religious one?  (Pagan tradition trumped again) OMG!! UPSIDE DOWN!?!?! Like an upside down cross??!! OH NOES!!

* At Lowe’s the word Christmas – was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny’s and Sears*
*You won’t hear the word Christmas; it won’t touch your ears.*

Dude! That totally sucks that they’re the only stores in the entire country we can shop at! And it’s, like, really, RILLY important to me that they not acknowledge other holidays, because my god is the bestest and they need to, like, totally acknowledge that instead of attempting to cater to as many customers as possible and bolster their bottom lines, even if they are corporations.

*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me. *

They sound indignant… I hate it when people tell me to be all tolerant and stuff….Wait! What’d that guy in the New Testament say about tolerance? I forget….

*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen*

Ah…  more libr’ls… Yeah, but c’mon… Wolf Blitzer gets on my last nerve, too.


*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*

Because Democrats don’t have God on their side…. We have that scary science thing. We’re not allowed to have god. Apparently.

*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*

Isn’t this a bit of an over characterization? Sadly, yes. But considering they had to make it rhyme, and couldn’t come up with a good one for national policy, it stretches. Sorta.

*And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith*

Took it away?!?!  WTH??? Is your faith so flimsy that retailers not expressing your specific holiday sentiment will take it away?

* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*

By whom? When? Was the first amendment repealed and nobody told me?

*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded*

Probably forgot to keep the receipt….


*The reason for the season, stopped before it started.*

Jesus’s birth?  I’m getting confused… Jesus wasn’t born now? He was. Just…not in December. I think Christians try very hard to ignore that. Let’s look at it logically (if that is for a moment possible). When Jesus was born, the shepherds were “watching over their flocks by night.” On the high steppes of Israel , there’s really only one time they do that, which is during lambing season, which is typically, y’know, Spring. Not December. The Eastern Orthodox church continued to reject Dec. 25th as “Christmas” til around 529 AD, and in 567, the Council of Tours proclaimed the 12 days from Dec. 25th to the epiphany as a “sacred season,” thus stepping all over the pagan mid-winter festival.

*So as you celebrate “Winter Break” under your “Dream Tree”*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me. *

So….it should be called a “Christmas tree,” right? Because, renaming it is wrong, and totally goes against what the true spirit of the holiday means? K. Do me a favor, too. Right now, before you do anything else. Go find a bible and look up Jeremiah, ch. 10 verses 1 through 5-ish, and see what Jesus said about hanging out with people who put trees in their homes in mid-winter. Then get back to me about how changing the name of something doesn’t change the intent. You don’t even wanna *know* what mistletoe used to get you. Kissed would be putting it mildly.

*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*

*Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
not Happy Holiday !*

And show everyone that nobody’s allowed to have a holiday but Christians!!1!ELEVENTY!

Happy New Year, Everyone. Celebrate. The days are getting longer. I mean…for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, I guess for people in Australia and New Zealand….ah, the hell with it.

Ohio Science Teacher Accused of Teaching Creationism In Hearing Today

Despite overwhelming evidence of a First Amendment violation, Mt. Vernon middle school was not allowed to simply terminate John Freshwater in 2008. The school has spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, money that should have rightfully gone to educating students, in order to justify the termination to an independent committee.

Yet despite knowing exactly what he is taking from students and the school district, Mr. Freshwater has dragged out this hearing to a ridiculous length; 14 months and counting. He has lied multiple times during testimony. He has attempted to manipulate and misdirect. It is unconscionable and beyond the comprehension of this atheist how anyone could still call themselves a Christian while behaving in the manner this man has behaved.

Creationism and ID have caused nothing but confusion and detracted heavily from actual science. The insecurity felt by fundamentalists when confronted with scientific research in no way places a burden upon scientists to falsify data to satisfy religious dogmatic teachings.

John Freshwater has not demonstrated a single reason why he should continue to be trusted with the education of Ohio’s children and several as to why he should not. Sadly, instead of taking those children into consideration and simply accepting the termination, he seems intent on causing as much damage as possible.

Texas Atheists Host Kids’ Camp

Something encouraging is happening in the state of Texas. Children who would otherwise feel compelled to keep their religious beliefs to themselves found out they’re not alone. In a state like Texas, where God is a daily topic of conversation, that can be difficult to find. As a transplanted Californian coming from a place where religion is everyone’s choice not an expectation, I can state without hesitation that finding secular friends here can be daunting. I can’t even imagine how hard a 12 year old child must find it.

Another boy, 14, whose stepfather requested his anonymity, started home-schooling this year after enduring years of bullying for his open atheism.

This is simply unacceptable. We teach our children that people of other faiths should be respected. Why can that not extend to atheists as well? I will never understand the mind set that ignorance is a trait we should instill in our kids.

I’m thrilled this camp is here. We missed out on sending our youngest this year. Hopefully next year they will be doing a full week of camp, and he can meet some kids who not only share his love of science and the natural world, but don’t feel the need to insert a god into discussions about them.

Pope Blames Global Warming on Atheism

Thank you to the kind reader that sent this article to me. I’m as gobsmacked as you are. Clearly Catholic guilt is being taken in a new and exciting direction. For everyone else, I will now explain what I’m blathering on about.

After the Pope makes a public announcement or address, it is translated and released on Catholic.net. In his most recent speech, Pope Benedict said:

Is it not true that inconsiderate use of creation begins where God is marginalized or also where is existence is denied? If the human creature’s relationship with the Creator weakens, matter is reduced to egoistic possession, man becomes the “final authority,” and the objective of existence is reduced to a feverish race to possess the most possible.

Creation, matter structured in an intelligent manner by God, is entrusted to man’s responsibility, who is able to interpret and refashion it actively, without regarding himself as the absolute owner. Man is called to exercise responsible government to protect it, to obtain benefits and cultivate it, finding the necessary resources for a dignified existence for all.

So now, it’s the fault of atheists that we have global climate change. Never mind that until recently the church refused to acknowledge that such a thing existed. Now that it’s impossible to ignore, at least we can blame the atheists! It wasn’t C02 emissions that killed the ozone layer. It was a refusal to acknowledge God. The mind boggles.

I’ll Adopt Your Dog After the Rapture

As recently reported in the Telegraph, a group of enterprising atheists here in the states have offered to care for the left behind pets of Christians after the Rapture. Yup, for a small fee ($110.00) this thoughtful group of unbelievers will happily take care of your pet after you’ve gone up to heaven with Jesus.

You’ve committed your life to Jesus. You know you’re saved. But when the Rapture comes what’s to become of your loving pets who are left behind?   Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind.

Kind of a bummer they’re not here in Texas. I mean, talk about a natural market! I’m thinking about contacting them just to see what they say about expanding here. I’d even put fliers on doors. OOo! Maybe leave some business cards at the mega church up the street!

After all. Atheists love pets, too.