Comments more than welcome.
America is going completely mad. We have a Democrat president who is right wing in most of his approach, but is called a socialist and the Antichrist. We also have a Republican Party which has lost its way so fundamentally its main candidates to challenge the incumbent next year are outright, batshit crazy morons who campaign against gay people and call climate change a lie. The country is screwed. I’m not really in any doubt that Obama, despite waging war at least as gleefully as Bush, is going to be re-elected next year, but you’d have to wonder, given the way these nutjobs have strangled the political system around him, why he’d want to.
The current paranoid climate about Christianity is continuing:
Phones4U has been criticised by the ad watchdog for “mocking and belittling” Christianity in a national press campaign that featured a winking Jesus and the headline “miraculous deals”.
The ad featured an illustration of Jesus Christ grinning broadly and winking with an image of the Sacred Heart on his chest, alongside the headline, “Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy Android phones”. It was created by Adam & Eve. Media was planned by the7stars.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned the ad after 98 people objected and claimed it was offensive to the Christian faith because of the imagery used, the use of the word “miraculous” and because it was published during the Easter period.
Phones4U defended itself by saying the intention of the ad, which ran in the Metro, was to portray a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image of Christianity.
The phone company issued an apology to all those who complained and withdrew the ads.
The ASA acknowledged that the ads were designed to be light-hearted and humorous, but ruled the ad was “mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs”.
The watchdog said the ad was disrespectful to the Christian faith and likely to cause serious offence and as a result has banned the phone company from running the campaign again.
So 98 people had enough time to burn to be offended and do something about it? The ad is gently humorous, it doesn’t even resort to mockery. It’s abundantly clear it doesn’t ‘belittle’ Christian beliefs, but even if it did – who cares? Since when should Christianity or any of its icons have legal immunity from being lampooned? This is crap of the highest order, and a display of unbelievable cowardice by the ASA. We have laws to prevent incitement of religious hatred, which is correct – we don’t and should not have any laws to protect anyone from being offended.
(via British Humanist Association)
And basically trash the entire concept. One to enjoy and share with the zealots.
A select committee-style inquiry on Christianity is to be held in order to clarify how the law affects believers, amid increasing claims of religious discrimination and persecution.
The public hearings, scheduled to last for about three months this autumn, will invite peers and politicians to examine legislation on hate crime and equality and evaluate whether changes are needed.
The inquiry is the idea of Gary Streeter MP, a Christian who chairs the cross-party group Christians in Parliament. He said that, while there was religious freedom in Britain, some groups were “whipping up an alternative view and generating fear” where there did not need to be any. He said: “That fear is growing, that voice is growing. There is a particular problem. In the last 12 months, we have had legal cases that provoked concern. These now need to be tackled.”
We have an Equality and Human Rights Commission. We have an Equality Act. We have the courts, who are well aware that in an age of competing rights claims they will have to determine, case-by-case, winners and losers. There is no need whatsoever to look at this again institutionally. What we have is a group of ultra-devout zealots, who believe they should still have the right to discriminate because of their religion, or to proselytise in the world of work.
Christians (as well as theists in general) need to grow up. I don’t care one iota if their freedom (which has never been a ‘right’) to discriminate on religious grounds has trashed by equality under the law for me. Noone has suggested for a minute that they should be prohibited in some Minority Report stylee from thinking less of me because I’m gay; they have the right to believe in pink unicorns for all I care. But they don’t have the right to discriminate against me because of the crazy ideas they have; noone does and noone should. There is nothing more to discuss.
“It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion.”
Says it all really. As he goes on to say, the mad ‘Christian’ cultists, with their massive (and growing) congregations steeped in bollocks about evil spirits and demons, should be left well enough alone.
(via Godless Atheist)
It’s easy to laugh of course, isn’t it? As if the world was going to end on 21st May 2011 just because some religious lunatic said so. What alarmed me then and alarms me now is the lengths to which the truly devout would go in response. After all if you’ve subcontracted your morality out to religion, why stay moral when you believe you’re guaranteed to rise up with Jesus? Check this out:
Harold Camping should be held liable for this (and any other instances which arise). Martin Pribble couldn’t be more right when he says:
I agree with what Voltaire is famous for saying “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it”but with one addition: “and in return you must be willing to face the consequences of your actions.”
And that’s exactly it. Hopefully the plethora of Christianists in America will start seeing just how much they’ve been duped, but I wouldn’t like to put my money on it. People who feel detached from the mainstream of things will always latch onto whatever it takes to feel part of something, even delusional bullshit like this ‘rapture’.
Somegreybloke has something to say about #rapture today, seeing as it’s 21st May, and I think it sums up the day pretty nicely. If you have any evidence of the Second Coming of Christ today, however small, don’t hesitate to share it with me right here. I could do with a good giggle.
A quick demonstration of how Nick Clegg has utterly lost his way. His long-promised House of Lords reform isn’t going to be anything of the sort:
The Government’s proposal to retain 12 reserved seats for Church of England Bishops would actually mean an increase proportionately of the presence of Bishops in the House of Lords. Keeping any reserved seats for the Bishops would be an affront to democracy and antithetical to the aims of a fairer and more egalitarian parliament, the British Humanist Association (BHA) has claimed.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg set out the Government’s plans in a statement to the House of Commons from 15.30 on Tuesday 17 May. The Government’s proposals include a significant reduction in membership of the chamber, from nearly 800 at present to 300, and between 80-100% elected and the remaining appointed. At present, 26 Bishops of the Church of England are entitled to sit in the House of Lords as of right; the only such example of clergy holding automatic membership of a legislature in a modern democracy.
Under current arrangements, Bishops make up 3% of the House of Lords. Under the Government’s proposals that would increase to 4%. Reducing the number of reserved seats for Bishops from 26 to 12 would actually increase their presence proportionately in the chamber.
This is palpably absurd. The Bishops represent the views of unaccountable organised religion and haven’t been voted for by anyone. They are an appalling anachronism in what now, more than ever, needs to be a modern parliament, bent on ever better representation and not privilege. The Bishops should not be there at all. It’s a good thing that the Deputy Prime Minister wants to transform the upper chamber into an elected body, but retaining an increased undemocratic element can’t be allowed to happen. I saw the word ‘religiophobe’ used on Twitter yesterday, and an even better definition:
Religiophobe: One who strives for the elimination of religious privilege in government and public service.
I couldn’t agree more. That’s a badge I’d wear with pride.
Stephen Green, leader of Christian Voice, has never been shy of berating gay people for our immorality. It’s now time to take him apart for his hypocrisy:
Caroline Green, who was married to the anti-gay Christian extremist for 26 years, says she has come forward now because “the people who support him financially and morally should know what he is really like”.
She told the Mail on Sunday that he had beaten her and her children, “brainwashed” them and forced them to live in a dilapidated caravan in remote Wales to protect them from the “evil” of urban life.
Mrs Green described the incident which prompted her to leave him, recalling how he made a list of her failings as a wife and then beat her until she bled with a piece of wood.
She said: “He even framed our marriage vows — he always put particular emphasis on my promise to obey him — and hung them over our bed. He believed there was no such thing as marital rape and for years I’d been reluctant to have sex with him, but he said it was my duty and was angry if I refused him.
“But the beating was the last straw. It convinced me I had to divorce him.”
She also said that he had beaten their eldest and middle sons with belts and broomsticks.
She added: “It was almost like living in a cult. We were all subjugated to his will and cowed by him. Over the years he belittled us and made us feel worthless.
So the next time Stephen Green is interviewed by the BBC as a counter-balance to gay-related news, you know just how severely to condemn them too.
It is unclear to me how expecting pupils to spend time venerating a being in which they might or might not believe develops their sense of identity and self-worth. Wouldn’t the time be spent more effectively giving pupils the space to engage in structured personal reflection. This could mean pupils spending a few minutes silently thinking about or responding to a stimulus chosen specifically for its potential to develop pupils spiritually (and also morally, socially and culturally). The stimulus might be religious or nonreligious, for there is clearly wisdom in both: perhaps a quote from the Bible, Gandhi or even Marx. Pupils could share their insights with each other, discussing and debating their views, making their engagement collective and participatory and building a sense of communal identity. This is surely valuable, it is inclusive to all (religious or not) and, to be frank, it is not worship and it’s not “mainly or broadly Christian”.
We should reject the idea that worship has a place in our schools. We simply cannot expect pupils to engage in activities that venerate a being they might not believe in. Not only does this violate children’s rights, it offers no real opportunity for spiritual development. Rather, let’s open up pupils’ minds by opening up assemblies as opportunities for personal and shared reflection. This is what many schools do already, so let’s not be dishonest and exclude pupils by calling it worship.
I couldn’t agree more. I went to a school which pushed religion very hard in school assemblies and although I wouldn’t say I was damaged by it, would certainly not say that it helped my personal development in any way at all. Quite the contrary – it almost certainly contributed to developing my utter disdain for unquestioning tradition. Perhaps it’s ironic that Christianity made me hate Christmas.
Separately I can’t fathom why schools do nothing whatsoever to teach children and young people about developing their minds. It’s all about knowledge and passing exams but why is there no room for meditation? Surely understanding oneself is more important than almost anything else?!
It should come as no surprise to those of us who track the HateMail’s bigotry, but check out the guy on the left’s right arm.
This is in response to the story about Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy succeeding in their case against Peter and Hazel Bull, zealous Christian B & B owners who wouldn’t let them share a room on religious grounds.
Join with me here in condemning the HateMail yet again, and continuing to encourage everyone we know who still buys that rag finally to stop.
The zealous Christian owners of the Bed & Breakfast which refused a double room to a gay couple have been found guilty of discrimination:
Devout Christian hotel owners who refused to allow a gay couple to share a double room acted unlawfully, a judge at Bristol county court ruled today.
Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy, who are civil partners, won their landmark claim for discrimination in a case funded and supported by theEquality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
The ruling, one of the first made under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, is likely to provide those in partnerships with greater protection from discrimination.
The owners of the Chymorvah private hotel in Cornwall, Peter and Hazel Bull, do not allow couples who are not married to share double rooms because they do not believe in sex before marriage.
The Bulls asserted that their refusal to accommodate civil partners in a double room was not to do with sexual orientation but “everything to do with sex”. The restriction, the owners said, applied equally to heterosexual couples who are not married.
In his ruling, Judge Andrew Rutherford said the hotel had directly discriminated against the couple on the grounds of their sexual orientation and awarded them compensation of £1,800 each.
A great result. I’ve heard numerous complaints that the Bulls should be allowed to discriminate against anyone they like, but the Sexual Orientation Regulations of course apply because they are providing a service, which may be conducted within their home, but which constrains their freedom to discriminate there. Ben Summerskill of Stonewall points out:
During passage of the 2006 Equality Act, Stonewall fought hard to secure pioneering “goods and services” protections for lesbian and gay people, protecting them for the first time against discrimination in the delivery of public and commercial services. The preceding legal entitlement to deny gay people a service was every bit as offensive as the notorious signs outside guesthouses that once said: “No blacks. No Irish.” And people certainly took advantage of it, as lesbians denied smear tests and gay men refused holiday bookings were well aware.
The Bulls suggest that it’s their freedom, and not that of a gay couple, that is compromised by the existing law. But no part of the current and carefully calibrated compact in Britain’s equality legislation forces anyone to do anything. However, if a couple choose to turn their home into a commercial enterprise, why should they be any more entitled to exempt themselves from equality legislation than from health and safety laws?
Of course they shouldn’t – common sense says they shouldn’t. But the Christian devout keep protesting their right to discriminate as a necessary component of their religion trumps every right gay people have to be protected from discrimination. We’ve had relationship counsellors, civil registrars and others professing their right not to serve gay people in the same manner as they would others, and they’ve all failed. Judge Andrew Rutherford said:
the right of the defendants to manifest their religion is not absolute and “can be limited to protect the rights and freedoms of the claimants”.
No doubt the devout will continue to insist they’re being persecuted, but I would insist that quote proves conclusively otherwise.