Monday, November 22, 2010

Good news

We could all use a little bit of good news these days, and this news gives me some hope that maybe many in the red states aren’t that backwards after all.
By a vote of 8-4, the state’s Textbook/Media/Library Advisory Council voted to support biology textbooks that uphold sound science and do not allow fundamentalist religious concepts to interfere.
For once, Louisiana has provided a glimmer of hope that maybe it no longer wants to be a science-education laughing stock.
Sadly though, there were still a third of the votes in favor of adding creationism to science textbooks. That is still too big of a percentage in favor of superstition being taught as reality in this day and age.
“There is no major research university in this country that teaches intelligent design or anything like that. It is simply not science,” Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Science told the AP. “We need our textbooks to be focused on what is scientifically accurate and not religion.”
Could officials in Louisiana finally be ready to listen to the experts, instead of Religious Right zealots? We really hope so – but it is probably too soon to call.
In any case, we’ll gladly accept this win.

Richard Dawkings reads his hate mail.

This is quite amusing. We’ve heard these “loving Christian messages” before, but very funny the way Dawkins presents them.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Religious Right’s post-election divisive agenda

The Religious Right is feeling pretty empowered right now after their victory taking control of the House. They are most assuredly going to insist on action in their favor to controversial social issues. Screw the economy and getting people back to work, the pushing will start for creationism taught in public schools, “faith-based” hiring bias, laws allowing electioneering by churches, “Christian nation” resolutions and other measures that undercut church-state separation.

AU’s Barry Lynn states, ““Americans did not vote to stoke the fires of the culture war, but they may have done so inadvertently.” 

Lynn noted that the Religious Right remains a potent political force in some situations. In Iowa, for example, a concentrated campaign by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association and their allies resulted in the ousting of three state Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.
“Church-state separation is going to be under sustained fire for the next two years in Congress and in many state legislatures,” said Lynn. “Religious Right leaders are re-energized by the election results, and they are going to want action. Those of us who believe in individual freedom and equality are going to have our hands full.”
We most certainly are. AU is going to need whatever help we can give them. Click here to make a donation and give your support:

‘School Choice’ proponents starting already

They are starting already. Less than two days have passed since polling places closed for midterm elections and proponents of religious school voucher subsidies are already pushing the newly-elected congress to continue a program that funnels federal taxpayer dollars to religious education.

D.C. Parents for School Choice issued a statement yesterday claiming that Tuesday’s election results will increase the chances of continuing a District of Columbia program that funnels federal taxpayer dollars to religious education. “Our representatives have the opportunity to right one of the most severe wrongs of the past two years — the elimination of the [Opportunity Scholarship Program],” said Virginia Walden Ford, the group’s executive director. “The time has come for our new Congress to send a clear message to D.C. parents — that their needs will no longer fall on deaf ears in the highest corridors of power.”
The D.C. voucher program was pushed through Congress by the George W. Bush administration. It passed the House of Representatives by a single vote in 2004 and cleared the Senate only as a result of a procedural move.
The scheme paid up to $7,500 per student for tuition at religious and other private schools and was supposed to be a five-year experiment. The “experiment” was a failure, and after it expired in 2008, Congress limited participation to students already receiving a voucher. No new students were permitted to enter the program – a compromise supported by President Obama.
But despite this compromise, a few members of Congress have sought to reauthorize and expand the program so new students can be admitted. So far, Americans United and our allies have succeeded in stopping these plans.
Unfortunately, it looks like we may have an uphill battle to keep it that way.
D.C. Parents for School Choice said yesterday that it would be mailing packets of information about the voucher program to newly elected House members and senators this week.
The information that will probably be left out of the packets include:
* Approximately 82 percent of D.C. voucher students attended religious schools in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
* In its final report on the program, the U.S. Department of Education found no significant improvement in the reading and math scores of students participating in the D.C. voucher program.
* Studies have also shown that D.C. vouchers have no effect on student motivation, engagement and perceptions of safety. In fact, many voucher schools do not provide key services that public schools do.
* A 2007 Government Accountability Office report found participating private schools lacked occupancy permits and employed teachers without bachelor’s degrees.
AU’s Sandhya Bathija states, “Voucher boosters are blind to this reality. And they want Congress to be, too.” And since the House is made up of mostly bible thumpers, I am sure they will have their blinders on to the facts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Religious right attempt to control voters with satan scare tactics

This is so ridiculous I can’t believe that this is even being taken seriously in the news media at all. It’s unbelievable that in the year 2010 we are still having these sorts of debates and arguments about a boogieman who is overlord of the underworld and is just out to make people take political stances on issues that are against the will a particular segment of Christianity. Mind boggling! 

Giving The Devil His Due: FRC Staffer Says Americans Who Fail To Toe The Religious Right Line Are Serving Satan 
by: By Rob Boston
Are you an agent of Satan?
Kenyn Cureton is worried that you might be. Cureton is vice president for church ministries for the Family Research Council. During the FRC’s recent “Values Voter Summit,” he warned attendees at a breakout session on churches and politics to be ready for some intense action.
“The battle that we’re fighting,” he said, “is not just a political and cultural battle, it’s a spiritual battle.”
And when a battle is spiritual, you can be sure that some people are serving the wrong side.
“When you think about it, you know, the real enemy is not the poor, deluded souls who are advancing these evil agendas,” Cureton said. “Really, they’re just simply pawns in the hands of their malevolent master. They’re simply doing the bidding of the devil, OK?”
So here’s how it goes: You either agree with the Religious Right on issues like abortion, same-sex marriage, church-state relations and so on or you’re buddies with Beelzebub!
These guys have a lot of nerve.

The religious right seem to think they have the monopoly on values, and I personally am sick of it.
We are all “values voters.” Those of us who disagree with the Religious Right’s narrow theology and burning desire to “Christianize” (as you define Christian) this nation have values too.
Ours are a little different than yours, Kenyn. We value things like tolerance, diversity, secular government and complete religious liberty for all, supported by the wall of separation between church and state. We value the wisdom of the Founders and will defend it.
We value the Constitution, a document you and your pals in the Religious Right claim to revere but all too often treat like a first draft. (How many amendments does the Religious Right want to add? Let’s see – school prayer, government funding of religious schools, anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, “parental rights.” Have I forgotten any?)
It has been said many times that politics is the art of compromise. One of the main problems with the Religious Right’s approach to politics is that it tosses that maxim out the window. How can you compromise with people who are Satan’s imps?
Many political analysts believe that the nation is more polarized than ever. I believe it. Attitudes like Cureton’s go a long way in explaining how we got here.
From what I have been seeing, the religious right no longer even care about how stupid their party’s candidates are, as long as they believe in Christianity, AND the right brand of Christianity.

Boo-hooing Christians in North Carolina

I have been hearing via email and on FB all the whining from a few fundamentalist Christians I know  about this story, and how they believe that the minority should stop standing in the way of what the majority want to do:
The Winston-Salem Journal reported on a situation in King, N.C., where a Christian flag had been included in a veterans’ memorial in the community’s Central Park. An Afghanistan war veteran wanted the city to remove the flag to, as he put it, “bring attention to the fact that regardless of the form of government, it had no right to impose any type of religious belief upon its population.”
On Aug. 11, Americans United wrote a letter to the city urging them to remove the flag. On Aug. 16, the North Carolina ACLU did the same.
City officials, after receiving the letters, consulted with their attorney who also agreed that flying the flag of one particular faith violates church-state separation and does not honor all veterans who have fought for our country. The decision was made to remove the flag.
That’s when the whining and boo-hooing started.
Since then, dozens of phone calls and e-mails have poured in from residents complaining about the move. More than 200 people attended a protest rally at the memorial on Monday night, hoping the council will reconsider. Another rally is in the works for next month, too.
The anonymous veteran who complained has also been personally attacked.
“What a coward,” someone commented on the Journal’s Web site. “He can face the Taliban but not American citizens who are probably his neighbors?”
It’s appalling to see how many misguided people have pounced on this veteran who not only bravely served this country, but has now also chosen to stand up for the Constitution. What’s worse, their comments prove that many know little about the principles our country is based on.
As the article states, and as we have had arguments about many times with fundamentalist Christians, they mistakenly believe that this country is officially a Christian country. They refuse to educate themselves and just believe what they want to believe, and while they can do that with their fictional god and Bible stories, they can’t just make stuff up about the Constitution and the principles on which this country was founded.
Many Americans seem to be confused and believe that because majority of Americans are Christians that means the United States is a Christian nation. Many seem to think that the majority should be able to vote and take away the rights of the minority. That’s simply not how it works.
Confused, or pig-headed? Maybe a little of both.

To Bill Donohue: Atheism is NOT a religion . . .

. . .and we don’t have to apologize for anything. Start focusing on cleaning up the crimes and perversions in your religion which is still ongoing in TODAY’S WORLD. Stalin, Mao, and all those monsters made religions of their regimes. No organizing of horrendous genocide, wars, or other crimes have been committed in the name of atheism. Atheism is just a lack of god beliefs. Catholicism is indeed an established religion which controls a huge number of people in the name of your god. The Pope is the leader of that Catholic religious empire where great atrocities have been committed in the name of that religion in the past, where great atrocities against children still are ongoing today and are covered up by the Church (though with the coming forward of past victims, and the news media it’s getting more difficult to keep quiet). Your request to have atheists apologize for historical events not related to them is just an attempt to divert attention way from the problems of the Catholic oppressive empire.
Bill Donohue writes:


The pope cited Hitler today, asking everyone to “reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century.” Immediately, the British Humanist Association got its back up, accusing the pope of “a terrible libel against those who do not believe in God.”
The pope did not go far enough. Radical atheists like the British Humanist Association should apologize for Hitler. But they should not stop there. They also need to issue an apology for the 67 million innocent men, women and children murdered under Stalin, and the 77 million innocent Chinese killed by Mao. Hitler, Stalin and Mao were all driven by a radical atheism, a militant and fundamentally dogmatic brand of secular extremism. It was this anti-religious impulse that allowed them to become mass murderers. By contrast, a grand total of 1,394 were killed during the 250 years of the Inquisition, most all of whom were murdered by secular authorities.

Why should atheists today apologize for the crimes of others? At one level, it makes no sense: apologies should only be given by the guilty. But on the other hand, since the fanatically anti-Catholic secularists in Britain, and elsewhere, demand that the pope—who is entirely innocent of any misconduct—apologize for the sins of others, let the atheists take some of their own medicine and start apologizing for all the crimes committed in their name. It might prove alembic.
No, we don't have anything to apologize for, Bill Donohue. How about Catholics start addressing and doing something about the real and ongoing problems of the Catholic church, and for starters prosecuting the criminals the Vatican protects.

JFK : “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute”

Religion controls our political system like it never has before. The Republicans are quickly destroying the foundations of this country, choosing to dismantle the established separation of church and state. Fifty years ago, on Sept. 12, 1960, President John F. Kennedy gave one of the most important speeches on church and state in American history. Refuting charges that his Catholic religious affiliation would interfere with his presidential duties, Kennedy outlined the proper constitutional relationship between religion and government.

John F. Kennedy’s Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association delivered 12 September 1960 at the Rice Hotel in Houston, TX

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President — should he be Catholic — how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote; where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him, or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish; where no public official either requests or accept instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source; where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials, and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been — and may someday be again — a Jew, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a Baptist. It was Virginia’s harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that led to Jefferson’s statute of religious freedom. Today, I may be the victim, but tomorrow it may be you — until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped apart at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end, where all men and all churches are treated as equals, where every man has the same right to attend or not to attend the church of his choice, where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind, and where Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, at both the lay and the pastoral levels, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.
And here we are fifty years later, and the real issues continue to be obscured by the attempts by the religious to dismantle what has been established by our forefathers and turn us into the United Christian Theocracy of America.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Restoring whose honor???

As many of you know, Faux News personality and religious fanatic, Glenn Beck held his divisiveness and intolerance rally  in Washington, D.C. over the weekend.

Prior to the event, Americans United posted this article:

There is an event tonight at the Kennedy Center called “Divine Destiny,” and is being touted by Beck as a way to “reunite” Americans, and to “heal your soul” and to take a “look at the role faith played in the founding of America and the role it will play again in its destiny.”
However . . .
In reality, a major goal of Beck’s rallies is to undermine the Founding Fathers’ vision of a nation where government and religion are kept separate. Beck propagates a revisionist historical perspective that says America is an officially religious state. Mainline Christians, Muslims, non-believers and other Americans who fail to meet Beck’s religious test are often maligned.
“Our nation’s destiny will be disastrous, not divine, if Glenn Beck has his way,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. “The message Beck and his cronies want to send is clear: if you don’t believe in a government based on his religious vision, you should expect to be treated like a second-class citizen. Beck has made it clear that he has no respect for our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty for all.”
On the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech, the great civil rights leader is probably spinning in his grave. 

Whose  honor are they seeking to restore? (Bristol's maybe, as a friend of mine jokingly suggested.) Beck and Palin had stated that this was not a political event, but from what I had seen from the interviews of some of those in attendance, it was more of an anti-abortion rally, anti-gay rally, all wrapped up into sort of a campground church revival. If it were up to these people who attended, we would be ruled by a Christian  theocracy in a heartbeat.


War on Christmas crap starting already

When are these idiots in government going to understand what Separation of Church and State means? It doesn’t mean that they let every religious group display their individual beliefs on STATE and/or Federal property. Government should not be endorsing ANY religion…NONE. The reason they are allowing other beliefs to be put on display is to be able to put their own Christian beliefs on display on government property while shutting everyone else up with the appearance of “being fair.”
RICHMOND, Va. – Local governments can offer religious holiday displays, provided other beliefs are allowed to display their holiday symbols, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wrote in an advisory opinion.
Cuccinelli publicly released the opinion Tuesday, responding to a request by Del. Robert G. Marshall, who asked under what conditions Loudoun County would be permitted to display the “birth of Jesus Christ.”
In his response, Cuccinelli said a local government can erect Christmas displays on public property as long as other faiths and beliefs are represented.
In an opinion loaded with footnotes, Cuccinelli wrote that Loudoun County “is free to create a nondiscriminatory forum for recognition of holidays, including Christmas, if it makes clear that the county itself is not communicating a religious message.”
If you are allowing religious symbols to be displayed on GOVERNMENT property, then the county, town, state, etc. is indeed helping to communicate religious messages.
In an opinion issued Friday, Cuccinelli said local governments are “never categorically compelled to prohibit holiday displays.”
“Holiday displays at government facilities may include depictions of Jesus along with “candy canes,” Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli says.”
“… The county is free to communicate its own recognition of the holidays, including Christmas, as long as overtly Christian symbols are balanced with other religious and secular ones in a way that communicates to reasonable, informed observers that the county is not making a religious statement.
Overtly Christian symbols and displays are okay on government property??? Since when? And I will repeat what I said above, if you are allowing religious symbols to be displayed on GOVERNMENT property, then the county, town, state, etc. is indeed making religious statements. Tossing in a few token candy canes and snowmen doesn’t take away the fact of the Christian message this government led by mostly Christian politicians is trying to endorse/promote.
“Because secular symbols can insulate innately religious symbols from constitutional attack, decoration of public buildings with such secular items such as lights, candy canes, poinsettias, fir trees, snowflakes, and red and green ribbons should raise no serious constitutional objection.”
Just like with their own religious rules, they think they can just alter the laws to suit themselves in order to wiggle in their own beliefs on the steps of government buildings and other public places. No Mr Cuccinelli, it is not okay to put Jesus imagery on display on government property even if surrounded by a thousand candy canes and and colored lights, and if the citizens of Virginia support this decision, your state is all screwed up.

Friday, August 20, 2010

West Wing - Powerful soliloquy

This scene with Martin Sheen talking to God is such a powerful one. It states how many agnostics and atheists feel. The god of the Bible is mean, vindictive, hateful, and dangerous  as any in all of the ancient mythologies. Gods in literature/mythology/theology hold all of the worst characteristics of human kind.

West Wing - Bible Quote scene

Thanks to my friend KA for posting this in a thread at another blog. This is priceless. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When religious tolerance goes too far

I know everyone is sick to death of hearing about this mosque “controversy”, but this must be brought to the attention of those who may not be aware that New York Gov. David Paterson made a proposal that if the people behind the Cordoba mosque and community center agree to move their facility somewhere else in New York City, the state would be happy to pay for it.
Gov. David A. Paterson said Tuesday that he would consider offering state-owned property to the developers of a $100 million Muslim center and mosque if they decided to build it farther from ground zero.
As this AU article points out, Paterson seems to have forgotten that the U.S. Constitution and the New York Constitution contains strong language barring any diversion of public resources for religious purposes. (Article XI, for example, bans public support of institutions “wholly or in part under the control or direction of any religious denomination….”)

“I understand that some people are not happy with the prospect of an Islamic center opening in Manhattan, but relocating it to public property raises significant legal issues,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Whether the governor is talking about a gift of public land or a sweetheart deal that gives one religious group a special right to purchase government property, it’s wrong.
“In America,” continued Lynn, “government does not subsidize religion or give religious groups preferential treatment.”
I agree with Lynn who said the solution to this dilemma is to respect the Muslim group’s right to build its center on private property using private funds even if we may not like it or believe it to be disrespectful and insensitive. There is nothing legally we can do to stand in their way. But to try to bribe them away with government land is illegal, and a direct violation of Separation of Church and State.

Dr. Laura goes into persecution mode and ends her show . . .

. . . then Dr Laura Schlessinger cries that her 1st Amendment rights have been violated because people criticized her for her “N” word rant, making racist comments on her radio program. No one pulled her plug, she did that herself, but however it came to be that she is no longer on the airwaves spewing forth her moronic advice and bullshit, we can be thankful for her self-imposed banishment. 
Los Angeles, California (CNN) — Embattled radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN’s “Larry King Live” she wants to “regain my First Amendment rights.”
Schlessinger, 63, has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during an on-air conversation with a caller last week.
In announcing her decision “not to do radio anymore” after being in the business for more than 30 years, Schlessinger said, “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry or some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent.”
National furor erupted when Schlessinger used the N-word 11 times in five minutes during a call August 10 with an African-American caller who was seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband’s friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it’s appropriate to ever use the word, with Schlessinger arguing it’s used on HBO and by black comedians.
Schlessinger apologized the following day, saying “I was attempting to make a philosophical point, and I articulated the N-word all the way out — more than one time. And that was wrong. I’ll say it again — that was wrong.”
While Schlessinger told King on Tuesday that she was still “regretful” over the incident, she said she feels her freedom of speech rights “have been usurped by angry, hateful groups who don’t want to debate — they want to eliminate.”
   “I decided it was time to move on to other venues where I could say my peace and not have to live in fear anymore,” she said.
Schlessinger plans to expand her internet presence with her website.
“I’m not retiring. I’m not quitting,” she said. “I feel energized actually, stronger and freer to say the things that I believe need to be said for people in this country.”
As one commenter stated, freer to say the “N” word and be as racist as she wants? She didn’t attempt to help the caller at all, and instead went on this tirade which indicates her true feelings. Though she is not a Christian (she is Jewish), she acts like one in the way she wants her First Amendment rights upheld to say what she wants, but doesn’t want anyone else to exercise their right to criticize what she says.

Monday, August 09, 2010

IRAS 05437+2502: An Enigmatic Star Cloud from Hubble

Explanation: What's lighting up nebula IRAS 05437+2502? No one is sure. Particularly enigmatic is the bright upside-down V that defines the upper edge of this floating mountain of interstellar dust, visible near the image center. In general, this ghost-like nebula involves a small star forming region filled with dark dust that was first noted in images taken by the IRAS satellite infrared light in 1983. Shown above is a spectacular, recently released image from the Hubble Space Telescope that, although showing many new details, has not uncovered a clear cause of the bright sharp arc. One hypothesis holds that the glowing arc was created by a massive star  that somehow attained a high velocity and has now left the nebula. Small, faint IRAS 05437+2502 spans only 1/18th of a full moon toward the constellation of the Bull (Taurus)

Approaching Neptune

Credit: Voyager 2, NASA
Explanation: Two hours before closest approach to Neptune in 1989, the Voyager 2 robot spacecraft snapped this picture. Clearly visible for the first time were long light-colored cirrus-type clouds floating high in Neptune's atmosphere. Shadows of these clouds can even be seen on lower cloud decks. Most of Neptune's atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium, which is invisible. Neptune's blue color therefore comes from smaller amounts of atmospheric methane, which preferentially absorbs red light. Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System, with gusts reaching 2000 kilometers per hour. Speculation holds that diamonds may be created in the dense hot conditions that exist under the cloud tops of Uranus and Neptune

Friday, August 06, 2010

California Gay Marriage Ban Overturned

Just a quickie newsflash
California Gay Marriage Ban Overturned
A federal judge Wednesday struck down a California ban on same-sex marriages as unconstitutional, according to reports the ruling by Judge Vaughn R. Walker of Federal District Court in San Francisco represents an important victory for gay rights advocates in a case that many believe may end up eventually going to the United States Supreme Court.

Where's a liberal supposed to shop anymore?

ChuckA has alerted me to what he calls “more outrageously stupid BS”, and this indeed is. While we are scrutinizing and condemning large national/international chains with a conservative political agenda like Walmart and Hobby Lobby, we can now add Target to the list.
Austin Cline at writes:
As a retailer, Target seems to be relatively popular among liberals — but that’s probably more due to a lack of choices, given how WalMart is their biggest competitor, than anything positive that Target has ever done. Now, though, there are strong negative reasons to avoid Target: when you give Target money, they funnel to anti-gay politicians like Tom Emmer in Minnesota. Emmer then funnels money to anti-gay ideologue Bradlee Dean who seems to approve of the execution of gays. Yes, that’s where money spent at Target is going.
Who is Bradlee Dean?
Bradlee Dean, the frontman of a Christian rock band in Minnesota called You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, recently said that Muslim countries that execute LGBTs are “more moral than even the American Christians,” plus some mouth-foaming about gays engaging in abominations and child molestation. Ugh
You can check out this “loving Christian”‘s blog here,if you have time to waste: Bradlee Dean’s Blog (Of course there are no comment sections to tell him how asshattish, hateful and bigoted his opinions and ideas are.)
What is the connection to Target?
Bradlee’s ministry received money and support from Tom Emmer, an anti-gay Minnesota Republican running for Governor. And Tom Emmer’s campaign got a boost from Minnesota Forward, a PAC running TV ads on his behalf. And Minnesota Forward got $150,000 — which amounts to about a third of all of their donations — from Target.
In support of Austin Cline’s article, here is another source complete with links to a trail that follows the money:

I stopped shopping at Target for prescription drugs after a couple of errors in filling my medications within a short amount of time. Now I have a reason to not shop there at all, no matter how convenient they are, and no matter what kind of grand sale is going on.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Anti-evolutionists at it again in Louisiana

This isn’t old news or anything surprising. We have reported on the attempts by the delusional of Louisiana to force their magical beliefs into the classroom while expecting their religious beliefs to be taught side-by-side with subjects in the category of Science that are backed by extensive evidence and data. Morons just won’t give up. 
Creationism is stirring in Louisiana, with a proposal to teach creationism in Livingston Parish and a call for creationists to scrutinize textbooks proposed for adoption by the state in the headlines.
 “The Livingston Parish School Board will begin exploring the possibility of incorporating the teaching of ‘creationism’ in the public school system’s science classes,” reported the Baton Rouge Advocate (July 24, 2010). The director of curriculum for the district reportedly told the board that, under the Louisiana Science Education Act, schools are allowed to present “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes. The response from the board was enthusiastic, with David Tate asking, “Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?” and Clint Mitchell adding, “Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.” Keith Martin, the president of the board, agreed, “Maybe it’s time that we look at this,” and proposed the formation of a committee to study the possibility.
NO! Teachers should NOT “have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the public school classroom.” That’s what mythology temples churches are for! Religion belongs in churches or in classes dealing in theology, not in classes that present verifiable scientific facts.

We will be keeping an eye on this one to see how it turns out.

Deadly Superstition and Abuse

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, there’s more…evil genie possession:

Saudi man chains his son in the basement for six years because he is ‘possessed by an evil female genie’
A Saudi man has been chained in a basement apartment for more than six years because his father believes he is possessed by an evil female genie.
‘When he has fits he has convulsions and his entire body twists and his eyes become completely white,’ said the father of the 29-year-old man who has been identified only as Turki.
‘Then the voice of a woman can be heard coming from him.’
The following excerpt is identical to the Catholic horror tales of demon possession (some have said this proves that the debbil exists :roll: )
When Turki first began behaving bizarrely, his father took him to local Muslim clerics to recite the Koran over him.
‘But most of them became scared when they heard the female voice telling them that she was a royal jinn (genie) and that no-one can exorcise her unless Turki dies,’ his father said.
One cleric advised him to shackle his son’s arms and legs in chains and read the Koran to him.
Instead of all this woo, it is obvious that this young man needs some urgent emergency medical care!
A Saudi human rights activist and professor in Sharia (Islamic law) who visited Turki found him to be in a ‘semi-coma’.
Muhammad Al-Suhali said Turki ‘did not know what was going on around him. He could not eat, drink or use the toilet without the help of others’.
And no one called the medics? Is this really 2010???

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Christianity's message to its children

Chilling video from the Thinking Atheist. What children are being taught in the name of God. And it is all true and not an exaggeration. Those of us who were born into and raised in Christian homes were all told these things and had them drilled into us again and again, week after week in the churches and Sunday school.

"Stealth evangelism" in public schools

“Stealth evangelizing”, (fundamentalist proselytizing) groups are forming all around the country intending to sneak “under the radar” at public school events with the intention of evangelizing to the children once they get in the door.

Stealth Evangelism And The Public Schools by Rob Boston

These groups share common tactics: They approach school officials with an offer of an engaging assembly on a topic that looks secular, such as suicide prevention, drug awareness or anti-bullying strategies.

Speakers may have scant credentials to address these topics. That’s not surprising, because they are really just fundamentalist evangelists looking for a way to preach to a captive public school audience.

Boston reports that “Several fundamentalist Christian ministries seek to bring proselytizing messages into public schools. Here is information about some of those organizations. All mission statements are taken directly from the groups’ Web sites.”

• The Power Team
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Budget: $1,522,438
Description: This fundamentalist-oriented ministry relies on a bevy of buff athletes who perform feats of strength such as bending metal bars and ripping up phone books. Led by Todd Keene, the group offers programs on suicide prevention, drug awareness, nutrition and other topics – but there’s no evidence that the presenters are experts in any of these fields.
Mission: “The Power Team, Inc. endeavors to preach and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. People are motivated and encouraged to live virtuously and righteously by following the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

• Sports World
Headquarters: Indianapolis, Ind.
Budget: $1,308,079
Description: Sports World recruits former pro athletes and converts them into proselytizers in the public schools. The ex-athletes give lectures on topics such as suicide, drug abuse and abusive relationships.
Mission: “The vision of Sports World Ministries, Inc. is to have a presence on every available school campus, encouraging and challenging students through the Message of Hope…. Sports World is a seed-planting ministry and always seeks to pass the baton to local groups for discipleship and Christian mentoring.”

• Strength Team
Headquarters: Missoula, Mont.
Budget: $499,718
Description: The Strength Team is a sort of poor man’s version of the Power Team. It uses a crew of muscle men who perform feats of strength while offering talks on character and anti-bullying strategies.
Mission: “We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory. We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.”

• You Can Run But You Cannot Hide
Headquarters: Annandale, Minn.
Budget: $385,670
Description: This fundamentalist ministry uses a rock band to lure youngsters into fundamentalist Christianity. The band, called Junkyard Prophet, claims to be able to address any number of issues. According to its Web site, the band offers an “overall message of responsibility” touching on issues such as “drugs, alcoholism, suicide, sex, media, our country, our Veterans, our freedom, the Constitution, the choices we make, the friends that we have, and more in a language that speaks directly to the heart of this generation.”
Mission: “[To] bring permanent change to the people in your community and to the whole nation.”

• Commandos! USA
Headquarters: Katy, Texas
Budget: $169,957
Description: The “commandos” are a team of performers who dress in quasi-military garb while demonstrating feats of strength and engaging in mock battles in loud, high-energy presentations. The events are interspersed with lectures on motivation and character, but the group’s evangelical bias is clear.
Mission: “[Commandos founder Billy Lowery] has a very strong belief that Biblical values are not suggestions, rather solid mandates that assure some degree of civility and success in our culture.”

• Team Impact
Headquarters: Coppell, Texas
Budget: $1,865,141
Description: Similar to the Power Team and the Strength Team, Team Impact uses muscle-bound performers to get the attention of young people. According to the group’s Web site, “[Y]our church has the ability to impact your schools with this powerful message. Very rarely do we not couple these effective school outreaches with our local church events.” The ministry claims to address 700,000 students every year.
Mission: “To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The organization promotes and sponsors programs directed to the youth of America to encourage them to live and grow in life styles which are based on Biblical principles.”

• Go Tell Crusades
Headquarters: Duluth, Ga.
Budget: $499,779
Description: Evangelist Rick Gage offers anti-drug and anti-alcohol lectures in public schools, trading on his past experiences as a football coach.
Mission: “To promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

• Todd Becker Foundation
Headquarters: Kearney, Neb.
Budget: No information available
Description: This group was founded by the older brother of a Nebraska high school student who died in a drunk-driving accident in 2005. It purports to offer lectures on the dangers of drunk driving to schools, but critics say its real purpose is to evangelize public school students.
Mission: “The Foundation’s purpose is to motivate young individuals to discover their potentials and ultimately discover themselves through first discovering God’s plan for their life by placing their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”

Sneaky, sneaky bastards!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mosque near ground zero?

Most of you are probably aware of the battle going on in New York City over whether a mosque and Muslim community center should be allowed to be built at Ground Zero.

Opponents pack hearing on mosque near ground zero

NEW YORK – Dozens of opponents and some supporters of a mosque planned near ground zero attended a raucous hearing Tuesday about whether the building where the Muslim place of worship would be created warrants designation as a city landmark and should be protected from development.


After noting the lower Manhattan building’s history and architectural significance, Lazio said it also warranted landmark designation because on Sept. 11, 2001, it was struck by airplane debris from the terror attacks against the nearby World Trade Center. That connection to the attacks, he said, made it “a place of deep historical significance and a reminder of just what happened on New York’s darkest day.”

As hard as I try to be open-minded on this one, I am having great difficulty with it. For Muslims to even consider putting a mosque and Muslim community center right next door to ground zero is highly insensitive to the people of New York City and to the remaining family members and friends of the 911 victims. I hope that the building can get historical status and they can build their mosque somewhere else. Having a mosque at ground zero will only intensify the memories of the “Allah Akbar!” shouts as planes flew into the Twin Towers, destroying lives, families and our national security in the name of the Muslim god.

Tea Party scare tactics

While driving back home from Key West, amongst the numerous anti-abortion billboards, and the “you are going to Hell if you don’t love Jesus” billboards, and the sex toys and nude-girls-at-next-stop billboards, my husband and I also saw a few anti-Obama and anti-liberal billboards. I should have had my camera ready to snap a pic of the one that said to be liberal is to be socialist. However, coincidentally in today’s news is a photo of one of the billboards we had seen while passing through Georgia [ed. note: same one as the one in the following news story]. Here it is:

Iowa Obama Billboard

Billboard linking Obama, Hitler draws complaints

DES MOINES, Iowa – A billboard created by an Iowa tea party group that compares President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin is drawing sharp criticism — even from fellow tea party activists who have condemned it as offensive and a waste of money.

Never before in our history, has a president been so radically disrespected. I have never seen so many blatantly hateful billboards against anyone in the public or private realm.

Even many tea party folks say that this billboard is offensive and slanderous, but do they really mean it?

One person who welcomed the billboard was Dean Genth, a Democratic activist from Mason City, a city of 30,000 people just south of the Minnesota border, who said he thinks the sign lays bare the views of tea party supporters.

These hateful scare tactics may just backfire, though. As Genth says:

“I welcome them to continue to spew that kind of stuff because I think it’s going to do a lot of good for the good Democrats around the state,” Genth said.

We can only hope.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Fundie watch

Sarah Palin is using the “mama grizzly” theme in her new ad, big female protector of her children, however where are her cubs? Why are her children never around her except for when she wants to prop them up for a photo shoot? I’m not against working moms at all, but I am against someone being hypocritical and using her offspring for her own gain and pretending to be something she is not. Someone else is raising her kids while she is on the road and her husband is working, and she has money to pay nannies, sitters, whoever to care for her little darlings. All she really cares about is her own political gain.

And of course there is the question of what a quitter she is. She walked away from her term as governor and did not fulfill her elected promises and obligations. Why would anyone believe she will make a loyal and strong president? Because she loves Jeebus and has conservative imaginary friend beliefs?

While many would not consider Palin a serious threat in the 2012 Presidential election, I don’t think we can take the stupidity of the conservative fundamentalists for granted. They elected Dubya…twice! And don’t underestimate their desire and ability to elect someone even dumber.

Palin touts ‘mama grizzlies’ in new ad

The video of the ad

If she did by some bad luck get elected, that would really suck. We cannot allow that to happen.

Doesn't matter how bad marriage is, as long as it's heterosexual (snark)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Prehistoric Frilled Shark fossil

It will be amusing to hear what explanations creationists invent to explain this prehistoric specimen.

Fast Gas Bullet from Cosmic Blast N49

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Penn State/S. Park et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/UIUC/Y. H. Chu & R. Williams et al.

Explanation: What is that strange blue blob on the far right? No one is sure, but it might be a speeding remnant of a powerful supernova that was unexpectedly lopsided. Scattered debris from supernova explosion N49 lights up the sky in this gorgeous composited image based on data from the Chandra and Hubble Space Telescopes. Glowing visible filaments, shown in yellow, and X-ray hot gas, shown in blue, span about 30 light-years in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Light from the original exploding star reached Earth thousands of years ago, but N49 also marks the location of another energetic outburst -- an extremely intense blast of gamma-rays detected by satellites about 30 years ago on 1979 March 5. The source of the March 5th Event is now attributed to a magnetar - a highly magnetized, spinning neutron star also born in the ancient stellar explosion which created supernova remnant N49. The magnetar, visible near the top of the image, hurtles through the supernova debris cloud at over 70 thousand kilometers per hour. The blue blob on the far right, however, might have been expelled asymmetrically just as a massive star was exploding. If so, it now appears to be moving over 7 million kilometers per hour.

Respect ?

Companion of a Young, Sun-like Star Confirmed

Credit: Gemini Observatory, D. Lafreniere, R. Jayawardhana, M. van Kerkwijk (Univ. Toronto)

Explanation: The first direct image of an extrasolar planet orbiting a star similar to our Sun has been confirmed. Located just 500 light-years away toward the constellation Scorpius, the parent star, cataloged as 1RXS J160929.1-210524, is only slightly less massive and a little cooler than the Sun. The star is, however, much younger, a few million years old compared to the middle-aged Sun's 5 billion years. This sharp infrared image shows the young star's planetary companion positioned above and left of center. The planet is estimated to have a mass about 8 times the mass of Jupiter, and orbit a whopping 330 times the Earth-Sun distance from its parent star. The young planetary companion is still hot and relatively bright in infrared light, likely due to the heat generated during its formation by gravitational contraction. In fact, such newborn planets are easier to detect before they age and cool and become much more faint. The discovery image, shown above, was taken in 2008 but confirmed only recently by noting that the planet stayed with its parent star as background stars slightly shifted over time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Catholics say light the Empire State Building to honor Mother Teresa, or else!

Mother Teresa is considered by many to be a saint for her supposed selfless dedication in the service of humanity. However, some have accused her of being a rather mean and ghoulish character and running an orphanage where children were maltreated and abused. Some also accuse her of taking money that was meant for the poor and funneling it back to the Vatican for her own personal recognition.(Abusing Children Mother Teresa Style by Atuna Dey)

In Christopher Hitchens opinion, the reason that Mother Teresa is so highly revered amongst not only the Catholic community, but also other religious and even non-religion groups and individuals is:

Partly because that impression is so widespread. But also because the sheer fact that this is considered unquestionable is a sign of what we are up against, namely the problem of credulity. One of the most salient examples of people’s willingness to believe anything if it is garbed in the appearance of holiness is the uncritical acceptance of the idea of Mother Teresa as a saint by people who would normally be thinking – however lazily – in a secular or rational manner. In other words, in every sense it is an unexamined claim.

In his book The Missionary Postion, Hitchens labels Mother Teresa ” the “Ghoul of Calcutta” a “fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud” amongst other things, and there are others who share that same viewpoint for good reasons. Unfortunately most sheeple people will not even bother to listen to or consider these accusations.

In his above-mentioned post on his blog Atanu Dey on India’s Development, Dey writes:

What exactly is my main grouse with M. Teresa? I think that she was evil. She manipulated others and cheated them, and she did so on the backs of Kolkata’s miserable. She was the most famous “beggar lord” – a person who makes a living by taking the money that people give to beggars and using that money for some other purpose. In her case, it is suspected that the money is funneled to the Vatican so that she would get on the fast tract to being canonized.

And now we have this story reported in the news recently:

Light the Empire State Building to honor Mother Teresa, or else?

Catholic forces in New York City are not-so-quietly mobilizing a massive petition drive, protest, lobbying effort and media campaign to attempt to force the owner of the Empire State Building to light the building blue and white on August 26 in honor of Mother Teresa’s 100th birthday. Their efforts have even infiltrated the City Council of New York City, in the form of a resolution which was referred to committee at the council meeting on June 9.

The City Council resolution introduced by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. would force the building owner to honor the New York City Catholic League’s lighting request.

According to the New York Post, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn was infuriated by the owner’s refusal to light the building to honor Teresa. Quinn said: “I just think it’s a really wrongheaded decision.”

Anthony E. Malkin, who privately owns the Empire State Building, said the building “has a specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations.”

The New York Post (June 9) featured a full-page cover story and photo of the Empire State Building with a huge headline: “THE EVIL EMPIRE.” The Catholic League plans to demonstrate outside the Empire State Building on August 26 and has collected 40,000 signatures for a petition in support of the Mother Teresa lighting.

These Catholics are as bad, if not worse than the evangelical protestants when it comes to their lack of consideration for freedom of and freedom from religion. The building is privately owned. The owner can choose to do whatever he wants with this demand. He can honor it, or ignore it. And we know when there is “religious uprising” when they can’t have their way, there could be violence. They say so themselves.

The president of the Catholic League griped: “I think that too many Catholics have fallen asleep at the wheel. It’s time for people, the rank and file to say enough is enough. I hope it’s going to be nonviolent, I wouldn’t encourage violence but I know there’s a lot of anger.”

So they are pissed off because a private building owner will not light his building to honor a certain denominations religious icon, and a ghoulish one at that. What’s really mind-boggling is that the city hall is getting involved instead of just standing firm that it is not their business to promote or make special accommodations for any religion.

Speaker Quinn has additionally joined with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to declare August 26 a “day of service in honor of Mother Teresa.”

Quinn said: “The Empire State Building does not have final say on how Mother Teresa’s life should be honored. That’s why we in the Council are inviting all New Yorkers on August 26th, light up their own windows, homes, businesses in blue and white as a tribute to her. Lighting up the Empire State Building as a tribute to her would be great. But honoring such an inspiring woman does not have to be limited to a single building.”

Fine, light up your own damn windows any way you choose, honor and worship the Ghoul of Calcutta if you choose to on your own property, in your own deluded way. But should the city council be promoting or encouraging such a thing?

“It is inappropriate and unseemly for city council representatives to use their office to promote a denominational religious figure such as the nun, Mother Teresa,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation said.

I agree, it is inappropriate. Once again, a religious community has no respect for the separation of church and state and is trying to bully a private citizen to get its way using elected government officials.

As the article states, “August 26 has long been celebrated as Women’s Equality Day by feminists as the date in 1920 when U.S. women finally won the right to vote, enshrined as the suffrage amendment — the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

Let’s keep August 26th “Celebrate Women’s Equality Day”, Not birth of Mother Teresa, Ghoul of Calcutta day.

Halo of the Cat's Eye

Click on image to enlargeCredit & Copyright: R. Corradi (Isaac Newton Group), Nordic Optical Telescope

Explanation: The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its haunting symmetries are seen in the very central region of this stunning false-color picture, processed to reveal the enormous but extremely faint halo of gaseous material, over three light-years across, which surrounds the brighter, familiar planetary nebula. Made with data from the Nordic Optical Telescope in the Canary Islands, the composite picture shows extended emission from the nebula. Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phase in the life of a sun-like star. Only much more recently however, have some planetaries been found to have halos like this one, likely formed of material shrugged off during earlier active episodes in the star's evolution. While the planetary nebula phase is thought to last for around 10,000 years, astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portions of this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years.