Thursday, July 31, 2008

Priest steals church funds to feed gambling habit

This story is not unique and surely happens quite frequently since priests, pastors, rabbis, deacons, elders and other church leaders are only human.

LINK: Pastor Accused Of Using Church Funds To Gamble

ROSELLE, Ill. (CBS) ― A pastor in Roselle is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in church funds to feed his gambling habit. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Lou Vicari has been a parishioner at St. Walter Catholic Church for almost two decades.

“You feel, ‘what the heck!’ If you can’t trust a priest, who can you trust?” Vicari said.

Ummm…trust a priest? :lol: Unless you know a person as a close friend, you don't really know who they are, yet millions of people put clergy who they only see for an hour once a week (if that) in such high esteem and adoration for merely holding the title of "pastor" or "Father".

And it seems that no matter what the clergy does in any religion, the sheeple will still cling to their man-made beliefs and practices which are led by human beings just like themselves and one never knows who is good, who is bad, who is sane, who is insane, who is a pervert and who is not. And praying about it does squat. No God comes to protect the believers.

When a church comes under scrutiny or one of their leaders is accused of wrong-doing and found guilty of even the most heinous crimes, they always say the same thing as this parishioner said:

“It truly is a test of our Catholic faith, in terms of moving forward, forgiving for one who has potentially offended us and carrying on,” :roll:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nearer my God to Thee -- Update

Remember Father Adelir Antonio de Carli, the Brazilian Catholic priest who went missing in his lawn chair, balloon stunt that I posted here? Nearer my God to Thee

Here is an update:

Body of ballooning Brazilian priest found at sea

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The body of a Brazilian priest who floated out over the ocean suspended by hundreds of helium-filled party balloons, has been found off the coast of southeastern Brazil, police have confirmed.

The corpse of Father Adelir Antonio de Carli was spotted by a tugboat at sea near the city of Macae, three months after he disappeared while flying a contraption buoyed by balloons over the Atlantic Ocean in a fund-raising stunt.

“We were almost certain that it was the priest due to various elements, such as the clothes and material used in the balloon trip,” Macae’s chief of police, Daniel Bandeira, said on Monday. “The DNA only confirmed our suspicions.”

The priest disappeared on April 20 after he called friends from his mobile phone to say he was about to crash into the ocean.

He staged the stunt to help raise money for a chapel for truckers in his highway parish.

He phoned friends but no humans could get to him, and since no friends could help him, he was doomed because God never shows up and all the magical prayers people were saying to their imaginary friend to save the priest were pointless.

The video…YouTube has everything:

Indian politician sacrifices 200 goats and four buffalo

Is this really 2008? As Sangeeta Goswami, head of the Assam chapter of the activist group, People for Animals said, "It is strange when India talks of progress in science and technology and is clamping down on child marriages, it is allowing such practices as animal sacrifices in temples".

LINK: Indian politician sacrifices 200 goats to mark win
GAUHATI, India - A lawmaker said he sacrificed more than 200 goats and four buffaloes at a temple in northeastern India to thank a goddess for delivering victory to the prime minister's government last week.
Link to full story

This politician may be doing this to keep people clinging to their insane superstitions in order to control them like many in power have done throughout the centuries. Using religion to keep the sheeple in line has been a political tactic even in western culture. Using religion is also a tool, as we see in our own country of getting elected to powerful positions. If he truly believes his god is pleased with the slaughtering of innocent animals, then he is a very deluded individual who is perpetuating superstition and magical thinking and doing his people more harm than good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The ‘Pro-God’ And The ‘Pro-GOP’ At The DOJ

Graduating from a good law school with strong grades and excellent credentials hasn’t meant much to the hiring officials at the U.S. Department of Justice. Apparently, in the Bush administration you just have to be a fundamentalist Xian.

As Mike commented at American’s United, “Change the world through discrimination, oppression, bigotry, and lack of intellectual honesty. Gotta love the RR’s vision for a better America.”

Justice Injustice: Regent Grad Hired Only The ‘Pro-God’ And The ‘Pro-GOP’ At The DOJ

The New York Times says that senior aides to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales broke the law by hiring applicants based on political affiliation, and that the head of this operation was former White House liaison for the Justice Department Monica Goodling.

Goodling is a graduate of Regent University School of Law, a school founded by televangelist Pat Robertson in 1986. The vision of the school is to transform “society by affirming and teaching principles of truth, justice and love as described in the Holy Scriptures, embodied in the person of Jesus Christ and enabled through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

That vision seems to fit right in line with that of President George W. Bush’s “faith-based” vision for our country. Not surprisingly, since Bush took office in 2001, 150 Regent alumni were hired into federal government positions. Prior to this, it was rare for Regent graduates to join the federal government, according to The Boston Globe. The school ranks in the lowest tier of law schools in the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

“When the Bush administration came to power, it looked to Regent for a reliable pool of well-groomed Republican ideologues eager to wage the culture war from the inside,” the Huffington Post wrote.

Full story by Sandhya Bathija

Monday, July 28, 2008

Feel the “conservative Xian love” in Tennessee

If you disagree, just shoot them damn libruls!
(I wonder if next he will say his imaginary friend told him to do it.)

Police: Man shot churchgoers over liberal views

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Knoxville’s police chief says the man accused of a shooting that killed two people at a Tennessee church targeted the congregation because of its liberal social stance.

Chief Sterling Owen IV said Monday that police found a letter in Jim D. Adkisson’s car. Owen said Adkisson was apparently frustrated over being out of work and had a “stated hatred of the liberal movement.”

Adkisson is charged with first-degree murder. Police say a gunman entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during a children’s performance Sunday. No children were hurt.

The church is known for advocating women’s and gay rights and founding an American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

For those in fundieland, don’t forget to go out and buy your bullet-proof vests and body armor before election day!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Seemingly Square Nebula

click on image to enlargeCredit: C. R. O'Dell (Vanderbilt U.) et al., Hubble Heritage Team, NASA

Explanation: How can a round star make a square nebula? This conundrum comes to light when studying planetary nebulae like IC 4406. Evidence indicates that IC 4406 is likely a hollow cylinder, with its square appearance the result of our vantage point in viewing the cylinder from the side. Were IC 4406 viewed from the top, it would likely look similar to the Ring Nebula. This representative-color picture is a composite made by combining images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2001 and 2002. Hot gas flows out the ends of the cylinder, while filaments of dark dust and molecular gas lace the bounding walls. The star primarily responsible for this interstellar sculpture can be found in the planetary nebula's center. In a few million years, the only thing left visible in IC 4406 will be a fading white dwarf star.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Media adores Obama

When is the media going to start asking him questions?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Democratic National Convention to open with "interfaith" services

Vjack at Atheist Revolution has brought this to our attention — LINK: Democratic Convention to Include Interfaith Service Led By Pentecostal

Vjack writes:

Plans are coming together for the 2008 Democratic National Convention scheduled next month in Denver. But one question remains for the organizers to answer - what to do with those pesky atheists in the party. Specifically, should they be represented in the interfaith service someone deemed necessary to open the Convention? And in case you haven’t heard about that yet, not only will there be an interfaith service, but it will be led by a Pentecostal minister, Leah Daughtry.

If you don’t recall interfaith services at previous Democratic conventions, that is because this appears to be the first. Not surprisingly, atheists are asking whether they will have any role in such a service or whether they are correct to interpret this as exclusionary.

Personally, I am not overly worried about whether atheists end up being part of the interfaith service or not. On the other hand, I am worried about why an interfaith service is deemed necessary in a country founded on separation of church and state. I am even more bothered over the role of a Pentecostal minister in organizing the service.

The Pentecostal leader (who has been accused of homophobia and other things) bothers me also, since that is such a crazy fundamentalist sect of Christianity. What are they thinking? WTF is going on in this country?! It’s like a nationwide religious revival instead of a national political campaign for President of a supposedly secular government.

A worrisome trend

A federal appeals court has ruled that Colorado Christian University can receive state scholarship money even though receiving these funds is blatant disregard for the separation of church and state because of this school’s aggressive religious indoctrination of it’s students, and strict religious guidelines for its faculty.

LINK: Another courtroom victory for religious colleges

A federal appeals court ruling that a Christian university in Colorado can receive state scholarship money is the latest in a string of legal victories for religious schools seeking public dollars.

The most recent case involved Colorado Christian University, a college of 2,000 students in suburban Denver where most students must attend chapel weekly and sign a promise to emulate the life of Jesus and biblical teachings.

Colorado Christian faculty must sign a statement that that the Bible is the “infallible Word of God.”

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Wednesday that the state of Colorado overstepped its bounds with a system allowing students to use state scholarship dollars at some religious colleges, but not those dubbed “pervasively sectarian” — a judgment that required bureaucrats to investigate such tricky criteria as whether religion courses amounted to neutral study or proselytizing.


Supporters of Colorado Christian’s position hailed the ruling as an important victory for students.

Students “attending institutions such as CCU who take their faith-based commitment seriously should have an equal opportunity to participate in Colorado’s financial aid program,” said Paul Corts, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

But critics called it the latest example of a worrisome trend.

“The bottom line is that taxpayers will now end up having to pay for religious indoctrination,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The law wasn’t discrimination, but “a sensible judgment by Colorado that some colleges are so religious that they cannot expect taxpayers to support them.”

The ruling cuts to a conundrum in the First Amendment, which prohibits the state from establishing any religion, but also prohibits religious discrimination. Religious colleges have argued their students shouldn’t be deprived of a state benefit everyone else can get.

Courts have split the difference by allowing forms of state support to colleges with some religious affiliation, but not to those that take additional steps, such as requiring certain religious beliefs and chapel attendance.

But this latest ruling — on the heels of others sympathetic to religious colleges — calls into question whether any legal distinction between “pervasively sectarian” and merely religious colleges can survive.

Once again, we see another example that their god cannot operate without money. They must beg the state for human tax dollars to help them because there is no god. I say if students want to accept state scholarship money then they should be required to use it at a state or secular university. If their god can’t provide for them to go to their religious brainwashing centers, it’s not the taxpayer’s problem.

Obama and the magical wall

The news today published the paper that Obama wrote on and stuck in the magical wall in Jerusalem a few days ago. He wrote:

‘Lord — Protect my family and me, Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.’


IMO, Obama is far more fervent a believer than GW is. Let’s hope his god is more intelligent than GWs.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Atheists explain why you don't die when the sun goes down

Matt and Russell of the call-in show in Austin, Texas called “The Atheist Experience” have a lot of patience responding to a caller who has very little (if any) basic knowledge of science and how the human body functions. The funniest part of this is when the caller thinks that we get our electrical energy in our bodies from lightning and then asks what keeps us from getting electrocuted when we take a shower. Unbelievable!

More culinary iconography - 'Allah' on an apple

Now this is a stretch. And how is it that this proves to anyone that Islam is the "true" religion when it is supposedly "written" in a language that only those who speak Arabic can read? Again, here is the explanation about pareidolia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Absurdity of Hell

Looking back, I don't know how I could ever have believed that I was going to go to some magical place somewhere over the rainbow when I died while others were going to get sent to eternal torment and suffering for merely not believing in something for which there is absolutely zero evidence except some ancient text written by ignorant humans thousands of years ago. To think that one is going to be rewarded with the country club life on puffy clouds for just saying some magical words, while others who are not religious but are good people go to a fiery furnace forever for merely not saying magical words is totally ludicrous. Heaven and Hell are mythical places invented by humans because they cannot stand the thought of not living forever and Hell was invented by them as some sort of mental revenge against people who dare not believe the same way they do.

When we are dead, we are dead. The only way we are going to live on after we are dead is in the memories of our dear friends and loved ones . . . as long as they are alive and able to remember. Every living thing has a beginning and an end. That is the cycle of life. It's how everything in the universe operates.

Culinary Iconography! Allah in beef gristle!

It's been awhile since I ran across a culinary iconography item. This one is from Nigeria where a diner in Birnin Kebbi noticed a pattern in his beef gristle that resembles the word 'Allah' in Arabic. Funny how these gods always leave their markings in food, tree bark, plant roots etc. (LINK: Allah seems to particularly love to write his name in the flesh of animals) but never speak or show themselves directly to human beings. Humans have such an imagination and will see anything to try to justify their beliefs. It isn't enough for them simply to believe and they show us how they have to reaffirm their beliefs repeatedly and in such absurd and bizarre ways. This story gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "mystery meat."

LINK: 'Allah meat' astounds Nigerians

Diners have been flocking to a restaurant in northern Nigeria to see pieces of meat which the owner says are inscribed with the name of Allah.

What looks like the Arabic word for God and the name of the prophet Muhammad were discovered in pieces of beef by a diner in Birnin Kebbi.

He was about to eat it, when he suddenly noticed the words in the gristle, the restaurant owner said.

A search of the kitchen's meat revealed three more pieces which bore the names.

The meat was boiled and then fried before being served, owner Kabiru Haliru told newspaper Weekly Trust.

"When the writings were discovered there were some Islamic scholars who come and eat here and they all commented that it was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind," he said.

[Why didn't someone ask him then what about Jesus sightings in fish sticks, etc?]

The restaurant has kept the pieces of meat for visitors to see.

Thousands of people have already gone to the restaurant to see them since they were discovered last week.

A vet told the newspaper the words "defied scientific explanation".

"Supposing only one piece of meat was found then it would be suspicious, but given the circumstances there is no explanation," Dr Yakubu Dominic said.
LINK: There IS an explanation. Coincidence that the beef gristle formed a pattern that might look similar to the letters in a word recognizable to only those who read Arabic. Human imagination does the rest. Like seeing familiar patterns in clouds passing overhead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wooing the evangelicals

Get ready for more God talk and praising Jesus from the candidates in coming weeks and months and stock up on plenty of antacid and Pepto Bismol. We are all going to need it as we watch these two kiss up to the religious right.

McCain, Obama to participate in church forum

LAKE FOREST, Calif. - Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama will participate next month in a question-and-answer forum at Saddleback Church, Pastor Rick Warren said Monday.

Warren, who oversees the 22,000-member congregation, will question the presidential candidates on Aug. 16 during the church’s Saddleback Civil Forum on Leadership and Compassion.

Joshua DuBois, Obama’s director of religious affairs, said the senator was “looking forward to going back to Saddleback with his good friend Pastor Rick Warren.” Obama spoke at Saddleback in 2006.

Warren said the candidates didn’t want a debate format but rather the two-hour forum. The candidates are expected to appear together briefly before each takes questions from Warren for about an hour. A coin toss determined that Obama will go first.

Warren is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life.”

At least, however, Warren doesn’t seem as big of a whackadoo as Huckabee and Hagee. Warren is actually working to help people as stated on his website:

As a global strategist , Dr. Warren advises leaders in the public, private, and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education, and faith in culture. He has been invited to speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, the Council on Foreign Relations, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, and numerous congresses around the world. TIME magazine named him one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most in 2004” and in 2005 one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Also, in 2005 U.S. News & World Report named him one of “ America’s 25 Best Leaders”.

When will people see the the real “faith” belongs in human endeavor? We can accomplish much if we just rid ourselves of the religion obstacle and believe in each other and humankind.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pastor demonstrates that "shit happens"

The senior pastor of Crossroads Community Church in Kokomo, Indiana was trying to give some sort of lesson on how to be "one" with his motorcycle . . . I assume to illustrate how one needs to be "one with god" (I have heard these types of sermons before.) Well, he didn't exactly become "one" with his bike and gave a very good example about how his god was not there for him, and there is no one to become "one" with. We each are on our own, and shit happens because of things we cannot control, or because we do something idiotic, as did Pastor Jeff here:

Pastor gets into motorcycle crash -- during service

KOKOMO, Ind. - A pastor brought out a dirt bike during a church service to demonstrate the concept of unity. Now he's demonstrating the concept of healing.

Jeff Harlow, the senior pastor at Crossroads Community Church, broke his wrist when he lost control of the motorcycle at the start of Sunday's second service, driving off a 5-foot platform and into the vacant first row of seats. He underwent surgery on the wrist Monday.

"Jeff has already laughed a lot, so he's OK. I think his pride was bruised," said his wife, Becky.

Becky Harlow said her husband had recently attended a motorcycle race in Buchanan, Mich.

"He had this idea that he would bring this bike out onstage and show people how the rider would become one with the bike," she told the Kokomo Tribune. "He was going to just sit on it and drive it out. He was just walking the dirt bike out onstage and somehow it got away from him. It was not intended."

No one else was hurt.

Jeff Harlow had performed the demonstration at earlier services Saturday night and Sunday morning without incident.

This seems to be a thing with redneck pastors...lookie here at youth pastor David Few.

With so many followers, Santa Claus MUST be real!

Worldwide Santa Clauses meet in Denmark

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in a Danish amusement park where Santa Clauses from around the world are gathering for their annual three-day congress.

Now in it's 51st year, the World Santa Claus Congress starting Monday brings together 136 red-clad delegates, mostly from Scandinavia but also as far away as Russia, Japan and the United States.

The activities on the program include a bicycle parade, Hula Hoop dancing and a dip in the Copenhagen harbor.

Delegates go by different names, such as St. Nick, Papa Noel or Sinterklaas, but the Bakken amusement park north of Copenhagen claims they are all real Santas.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Time for some campaignin'

The newest from Jib Jab

Another not-so-intelligent design

Go ahead Xians, tell me this is because of all the evil humans have caused and brought upon these poor little critters. So much for your god taking care of the birds of the air and all.
LINK: Conjoined barn swallows cause stir in Arkansas
"Two baby conjoined barn swallows rest after a fall from their nest Thursday morning, July 17, 2008 in Searcy, Ark. The rare bird discovery was made by a White County resident in her front yard on Thursday. The unusual duo is already sparking the interest of national museums."
(AP Photo/Daily Citizen, Samuel Peebles)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Paranormal believers and God believers - Richard Dawkins

Belief in things like astrology, psychics, ghosts, tarot cards and reincarnation etc. remain as popular as religion. Recent surveys show that 75% of the population in the US believes in the paranormal. Since the US is made up of about 86% who believe in supernatural magical gods, it makes sense that most would also believe in things paranormal.

Several reasons given for belief in the paranormal can also be the reasons people believe in god:

They make people feel special or important in an otherwise chaotic and apparently random, uncaring universe.

They offer a sense of meaning or control over things that are otherwise beyond our understanding.

They offer a sense of comfort by ‘connecting the dots’ and creating a sense of order and structure in life.

Because believers don’t understand how to be skeptical and hold such claims up to basic standards of logic and reason.

Then there are those who blindly believe those things are obviously true and real.

This is a very good two-parter by Richard Dawkins.

Part 2 of 2

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can religion help end wars?

In an opinion piece by USA Today’s Tom Krattenmaker, he states:

“The specter of violent religion certainly hangs over us in these times, especially when it comes to certain followers of the world’s two dominant religions. Christian and Muslim conflict-mongers drone on against “Islamic terrorists” and “Christian infidels,” respectively, while violence continues erupting in the name of Islam, and conservative Christian figures in America, like Pat Robertson and John Hagee, urge violent solutions to foreign policy problems. (Robertson, you’ll recall, spoke favorably of assassinating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Hagee, the Texas mega-church minister of falling-out-with-John McCain fame, has repeatedly called for immediate military attacks against Iran.)

Yes, there appears to be considerable truth to the oft-heard claim that Christian-Muslim co-existence must be achieved lest our collective future turn out brief and brutal. Which is why it might appear outrageous to suggest, as I’m about to do, that religion may also be just the catalyst we need to steer us clear of the apparent collision course.

Religion — a solution to the problem of religiously motivated conflict and violence?

While religion has been the cause of many of the world’s violent conflicts and confrontations, Krattenmaker points out that each religion also offers teachings of peace and unity (which we rarely see even within the religious sects and denominations of the same religions themselves.) Krattenmaker suggests that while religion has been the justification for going to war and invading other lands, religion can also end wars. Call me cynical, but when I hear those words I automatically think of Revelation and how fundamentalists from both sides are looking forward to the great and believed unavoidable “final battle” for imaginary heaven and an imagined “renewed” Earth.

Krattenmaker answers his own questions:

Religion — a solution to the problem of religiously motivated conflict and violence? Yes, actually. Because in their best traditions, the world’s two dominant faiths do promote peace, both through their central teachings and the lessons-by-example taught every day by innumerable Muslims and Christians who take their scriptures seriously.

But that depends on WHICH scriptures both sides want to pull out of their ancient texts to take seriously. There is support for both. So, how can we ever expect for both sides to end war and come to any kind of resolution when based upon their contradictory and inconsistent guidebooks?

Krattenmaker sums up his essay with more idealistic questions and answers:

“So how we will know religion in the final analysis? By its peace or by its violence? The scriptures have had their say. It’s now up to the believers — through their words and works — to settle the account.”

I am not holding my breath. And like I said above, I remain cynical . . . pessimistic based on what we have seen from religion thus far. The fundamentalists like the evil parts of their mythology books too much to give them up.

The only hope for this world is with the moderates of both religions. But when it comes down to making a choice, which side will they ultimately choose?

Moroccan woman denied citizenship to France because of her radical practice of Islam

A deeply religious Moroccan woman was denied citizenship to France because her radical practice of Islam has been judged by the highest court in the land to be incompatible with French values. This “32-year-old mother-of-three, identified in news reports as Faiza Mabchour, is the first person to be refused the right to become French on the grounds of cultural behaviour.”

My first inclination was to cheer “Way to go, France!” as Tommy did here. But then on the other hand I also had some second thoughts that if the woman chooses this life for herself, and keeps it to herself, is this fair to deny her citizenship based on extreme religious practices? Some would say yes, if there is a possible threat to the society in which the person wants to live but not assimilate. Many consider radical Islam a threat, as do I (just as I consider any other radical religious beliefs threatening to peace and well-being of a peace-loving society).

I have problems with the burqa or hijab in a free society because in the general public and schools, the veils makes it difficult to identify a person. The Amish dress funny and keep to themselves, but they do not disguise themselves so not to be recognized. Same for the whackadoo Mormon cult that has been in the news recently. These religious fantatics are already living here though, and citizens by birth. But what if they are coming from another country with such radical beliefs? Should we deny them citizenship on grounds of being extreme in their religious beliefs or if they are of cultures radically different from our own?

When a woman to is forced to submit to the oppression of her husband and male relatives, IMO that is absolutely not be acceptable. But, what if the woman chooses this sort of life for herself? Even though we object, should we have the right to intervene or discriminate if this is what she freely chooses this life for herself?

Chuck A sent me a link to Acharya S’s article France: “No Woman Enslavement Allowed”

Acharya writes:

Of course, we can expect to hear from those who believe that women should have the “right” to dress and live in this inhumane and oppressive manner. These “liberal” cries appear to be based entirely on the blatant bigotry which supposes that anything done in the name of religion - no matter how vile - is just peachy keen. If, however, a Western, non-Muslim woman were living in a totally submissive state and forced to cover herself from head to toe not in the name of religion, would not the same people be yelling for intervention, to help this woman free herself of her abusive husband and this patent imprisonment? The woman in this current story would be freed and sent to a domestic violence shelter, with protection from the law against her husband - if she were not imprisoned by so-called religious ideology.

What truly “religious” ideology is based on the mistreatment and enslavement of women? How can there possibly be any good, decent and merciful god behind such egregious abuse of human rights? Millions of women around the world are suffering horribly because of manmade cults seemingly designed specifically for the purpose of enslaving them - yet, where is the outcry from the “bleeding heart” segment of society? “Religion” is not an excuse and should never have been an excuse for the abuse of women and the denial of basic human rights. If one is truly a “bleeding heart” one will feel the pain of these women in their daily enslavement in the name of Islam - and one will demand an end to it NOW, no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts” about it. This enslavement of women is EVIL, period.

Fortunately, France has finally grown a backbone and made this moral decision that could open the door to ending this vile abuse in the name of God. No god who demands abusing women is worthy of the name or of any sort of worship. No ideology that believes women to be inferior or mere sexual objects in need of being enslaved and covered up should be deemed a “religion” and be given special status. Any such ideology must either change or die.

What is your opinion on this issue?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Leaning right? Or playing politics as usual?

Either way, that ain't change . . . except for changing his mind.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Reverends Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans

From and old Living Color episode

Ministry of assault and battery!

Todd Bentley - Raging Lunatic!
BAM! I found out this tattooed freak faith healer when reading the Religion News on Yahoo. This looney comes to us from Vancouver, Canada (as if we don’t have enough of our own)!

His name is Todd Bentley, of Fresh Fire Ministries, and someone needs to take him away to somewhere safe and get him on some medication before he kills someone. It would be great if someone sues his ass.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Caloris basin on Mercury

Enhanced Color Caloris
Image Credit: Courtesy of Science/AAAS

Explanation: The sprawling Caloris basin on Mercury is one of the solar system's largest impact basins. Created during the early history of the solar system by the impact of a large asteroid-sized body, the basin spans about 1,500 kilometers and is seen in yellowish hues in this enhanced color mosaic. The image data is from the January 14th flyby of the MESSENGER spacecraft, captured with the MDIS instrument. Orange splotches around the basin's perimeter are now thought to be volcanic vents, new evidence that Mercury's smooth plains are indeed lava flows. Other discoveries at Mercury by NASA's MESSENGER mission include evidence that Mercury, like planet Earth, has a global magnetic field generated by a dynamo process in its large core, and that Mercury's surface has contracted significantly as its core cooled.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Student holds 'Body of Christ' hostage -- Catholics furious

With all the religious oddities in the world, we never run out of idiotic news stories to mock. I found this one by PZ Myers at Pharyngula about a student who smuggled (out of a church ) a small bread wafer that Catholics believe transforms into the literal body of Christ after saying some magical words and waving some incense around. While we find it rather amusing, Catholics are furious and even though the sacred cracker was returned, some are calling it a hate crime, and some have even made death threats to the student! As PZ says, IT’S A FRACKIN’ CRACKER!

PZ writes:

There are days when it is agony to read the news, because people are so goddamned stupid. Petty and stupid. Hateful and stupid. Just plain stupid. And nothing makes them stupider than religion.


Anti-Pope fashion parade in Australia

The Catholic folks in Australia are getting special treatment with laws made just for them against anyone causing “annoyance” to pilgrims attending Catholic World Youth day next week. These laws came just a day after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called on all Australians to show the Pope “respect” during his visit.

Protesters plan an “annoying” anti-pope fashion show which violates the new laws and “could attract a penalty of up to 5,500 dollars, prompting one designer last week to come up with a T-shirt reading “$5,500, a small price to pay for annoying Catholics.”

Anti-Pope fashion parade held ahead of Australian visit

“They are not from Milan,” acknowledged Rachel Evans, spokeswoman of the NoToPope group, as T-shirts featuring slogans such as “The Pope is wrong, put a condom on” were displayed outside the New South Wales state parliament.

Other shirts, which are selling for 20 dollars (19 US), read “Pope go homo”, “There is no God” and “Does the history of your church annoy you?”

Among the most graphic was one featuring Benedict XVI standing with arms outstretched but with pointed, red devil ears and a tail superimposed on the image under the slogan “Chief homophobe”.

NoToPope, a coalition including Christians, atheists and gay groups, was protesting at new regulations giving police power to stop conduct that “causes annoyance or inconvenience to participants” in World Youth Day.

Link to full story

World Youth Day

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nothing changed

Noah's flood changed absolutely nothing. It's one of the most pointless stories in the Bible.

God needs lots and lots of money

"My financial records belong to God"

They preach the "Prosperity Doctrine" - that God can make you healthy and wealthy - and they live what they preach.

Every year America's best known TV evangelists bring in hundreds of millions of dollars from donors all over the world. But as BBC's Jonathan Beale reports, some of the evangelists' own lifestyles have begun to ring alarm bells and have prompted a Senate investigation into their activities.

Last fall, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, began probing the finances of six TV evangelists whose lifestyles include mansions, Rolls-Royces, and private jets, all paid for out of church funds. Grassley told BBC, "I would not contribute to an organization that is Christian and evangelical with money being wasted that way."

Four of the ministers have since complied with the probe, but Rev. Kenneth Copeland, whose congregation recently bought him a $20 million private jet to preach the gospel, is holding out against the inquiry, which he claims is "aimed at publicly questioning the religious beliefs of the targeted churches."

"It's not yours, it's God's, and you're not going to get it," Copeland says of his financial records. He has launched a website to publicize his crusade and has received support from several leading conservatives, including Paul Weyrich and Kenneth Blackwell.

This video is from BBC, broadcast July 2, 2008.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Time to replace "gimmicky" pledge?

Click on image to enlarge
Below is a letter to the editor from author Paul M. Howey published in the opinion page of our local newspaper this past week. Few know the story of how the Pledge of Allegiance came to be. The “Pledge” was written as an advertising ploy to sell flags, and was written by a “Baptist socialist”. Taking these things into consideration, and the fact that we may be the only nation to pledge allegiance to a flag, should the pledge be replaced or gotten rid of entirely?

Independence Day--a perfect time for some independent thinking. On this all-American day of apple pie, parades and fireworks, what better time to question why we pledge "allegiance" to a flag.

We say the Pledge of Allegiance a lot, mechanically mouthing the words without truly understanding them or their history. Are we deluding ourselves into believing this somehow renders us more patriotic?

At the risk of sounding like Cliff from "Cheers," here are some little-known facts, Norm.

Conservatives are up in arms about presidential candidates wearing flag pins. I'll bet precious few of them, however, are aware the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a left-winger, a socialist even, and that corporate profits were the sole motivating factor behind it.

Francis Bellamy penned the Pledge in 1892. Bellamy was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and an extreme nationalist whose sermons ("Jesus the Socialist," for one) eventually got him booted from the church.

He then landed a job with Youth's Companion, a magazine that also happened to be in the business of selling American flags. The magazine's owners decided they needed to boost flag sales. They came up with a marketing gimmick.

They engineered a deal with the National Education Association to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus landing in the New World. By agreement, all the schools in the country were to have flag ceremonies, and naturally they would all need to have flags. To cement the deal, they had Bellamy write the following pledge that youngsters all over the country would be required to say:

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

"One nation indivisible" was a phrase Bellamy used to drive home the fact that states had no inherent right of secession. The Civil War was still fresh on the minds of Americans, and the Northerners wanted to be sure the Southerners understood the new rules.

Socialist that he was, Francis had wanted to include "equality for all" in his Pledge, but he knew the states' superintendents of education--who generally did not support equality for women or for African-Americans -- would object. That could hurt flag sales (the Pledge was, after all, just an advertising ploy meant to peddle more flags), and so he dropped the idea.

The last change to the Pledge came in 1954. In response to the "Red Scare" of the McCarthy era, the words "under God" were added, supposedly to show that we rejected the godless precepts of Communism. Otherwise patriotic atheists and agnostics were not consulted.

Sadly, the Pledge of Allegiance was but an ad campaign created to bolster a corporation's bottom line. Perhaps worse, it was worded to be politically expedient rather than politically correct.

We're about the only nation to "pledge allegiance" to a flag, and we do it without even understanding why we do so. Perhaps it's time to consider retiring this anachronistic practice, or at least finding a meaningful replacement.

Paul M. Howey is an author and photographer, and lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

"School of Life"

This video is titled "School of Life" but IMO should be titled "Lame Teachers who Do Nothing." This scene is too typical of what goes on in classrooms every day. Instead of doing something about the bully problem, teachers tell the ones who are being bullied and who want to learn to suck it up and accept the attitude, "oh well, that's life." I was hoping the boy would walk right out the doors and off to find the friend who wanted him to come along with him at the beginning of the film.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What is Patriotism to you?

Barack Obama and John McCain have shared their thoughts on patriotism:

* Barack Obama: Faith In One Another As Americans
* John McCain: Putting The Country First

Many liberals are labeled unpatriotic or told that we “hate America” because we are against the war in Iraq, or if we point out serious flaws in our government that need to be corrected. I thought this would be a good time to state just what patriotism means to each of us or what our vision of patriotism happens to be.

Happy 4th everyone!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

World's happiest country is . . .

Certainly not us. . . we are 16th

Link: World's happiest country is Denmark

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Denmark, with its democracy, social equality and peaceful atmosphere, is the happiest country in the world, researchers said on Monday. imbabwe, torn by political and social strife, is the least happy, while the world's richest nation, the United States, ranks 16th.

Overall, the world is getting happier, according to the U.S. government-funded World Values Survey, done regularly by a global network of social scientists.

It found increased happiness from 1981 to 2007 in 45 of 52 countries analyzed.

"I strongly suspect that there is a strong correlation between peace and happiness," said Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, who directed the study.

And, said Ingelhart, there is a strong correlation between happiness and democracy.

"Denmark is the happiest country in the world in our ratings," Inglehart said in an audio statement released by the National Science Foundation, which paid for the analysis.

"Denmark is prosperous -- not the richest country in the world but it is prosperous."

Puerto Rico and Colombia also rank highly, along with Northern Ireland, Iceland, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada and Sweden.

"Though by no means the happiest country in the world, from a global perspective the United States looks pretty good," Inglehart said. "The country is not only prosperous; it ranks relatively high in gender equality, tolerance of ethnic and social diversity and has high levels of political freedom."

The survey, first done in 1981, has kept to two simple questions:

"Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, rather happy, not very happy, not at all happy?" And, "All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole these days?"

Writing in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, Ingelhart's team said they have surveyed 350,000 people.

"Ultimately, the most important determinant of happiness is the extent to which people have free choice in how to live their lives," Inglehart said.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Expanding Bush's faith-based programs? Eeeghads!

This pisses me off. I thought we would see LESS of this crap in government if the Dems regain control, and NEVER expected to see more of this bullcrap from a liberal Democrat.

I am disappointed and disillusioned.

Link: Obama to expand Bush’s faith based programs

ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Reaching out to religious voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama called for expanding President Bush’s program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — supported some ability to hire and fire based on faith

I am a registered Independent, have been since I first registered more than three decades ago. This term, I am writing in my vote for someone.

I would LOVE to be able to vote for the Democratic candidate, but am not going to do so simply for the sake of the party…a party that has been so wishy-washy and wimpy and cannot even stand up to the Bush administration. I will not vote for McCain who is just as wishy-washy and flip-floppin' as Obama. Who the hell are these candidates? Really?

And voting for someone else is not throwing my vote away. I will be voting my conscience.