From The Richard Dawkins Foundation

Got this in my e-mail today:

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science

Hi ,

The beginning of a year is a good time to look at the challenges ahead. And there will be plenty in 2015. This week we have three reports examining different lines of attack by the Religious Right in the United States and globally.

We offer a chilling examination of how the new GOP majority in Congress may try to punch holes in the wall between church and state. Also, read a short but thoughtful legal analysis of how last year’s disastrous Hobby Lobby decision may be followed by other efforts to expand religious exemptions in law, such as public officials trying to opt out of conducting gay marriages.

Internationally, conservative and religious groups are building cross-border alliances to counter gains made by the gay community. Just one chilling example: Russia’s Putin and the Orthodox church are funnelling money to sympathetic right-wing groups in Europe.

It is becoming more commonplace for non-believers to open meetings of city councils and other local government meetings with a nonreligious invocations. That doesn’t mean they are welcomed. Don’t miss the video of what happened in Lake Worth, Fla.

In news, the head of a public university in Alabama managed to turn a routine New Year’s video greeting to students into an insulting slam against atheists for somehow eroding democracy.

In science, we’ve marveled at the remarkable journey of the monarch butterflies during their annual migration. But if you’ve seen fewer of them in recent years, there’s a reason. The government may list them as officially endangered.

Robyn Blumner
Executive Director
Richard Dawkins Foundation

Support the fight of reason and rationality against ignorance, bigotry and stupidity.

 

Happy Good Friday!

Happy nail-God-incarnate-in-the-form-of-a-Jew-to-a-cross day. Good fun for the entire family!

As it turns out, getting nailed to a cross killed God dead, but don’t worry, he’ll be up and running again in three days’ time.

Holy fucking ghost,  Jesus was a chick magnet!

Jesus was a cjick magnet!

“Lying” By Sam Harris – A Quickie Review

Finally picked up Sam Harris’ “Kindle Single” (a short book/essay approx. 100 pages) “Lying” (not an affiliate link) and finished off the last few pages. I found the book to be unimpressive both in its main premise “Thou Shalt Not Lie”, and the reasoning for it.

A short quote: “Every lie is a direct assault upon the autonomy of those we lie to. And by lying to one person, we potentially spread falsehoods to many others – even entire societies.” Translated: “You should always tell the truth, not doing so might lead to dire consequences.”

Sort of like a butterfly effect of lies, almost; I tell a perfectly harmless white fib with the purest of intentions in Sandy Hook, CT, and a week later a textile sweatshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh comes crashing down killing hundreds.

The book is filled with silly examples and assertions that a bright 5th-grader could easily refute. Having watched a lot of Sam Harris on Youtube I had expected more. Considerably more.

Even assuming that people somehow have a reasonable expectation, or even a right, that I tell the the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth at any given time, this statement is nothing but hyperbolic dramaqueenery©. Denying me the right to lie whenever I’m in the mood is a direct assault on my autonomy (and also the 1st Amendment). Talk about a pompous bag of gas.Two thumbs down.

Hypothetical:
A German SS-Obersturmführer leads his entourage of armed soldiers, Schmeissers held tightly against their chests, from house to house in an Amsterdam neighborhood in November 1942. It’s dark, cold, and a steady drizzle of almost-freezing rain makes the cobblestone slippery under foot. The officer halts at a door and raps it with Aryan authority. A middle-aged woman eventually appears. “Entschuldigung for das inconvenience mein Frau, but hast du any illegal Juden hiding in your loft?” the officer demands.The woman, clearly afraid, stutters, but finally manages to reply in the negative: “No sir, no Jews here. No Jews at all.” The Obersturmführer bows stiffly at the waist as only SS officers do, tips his hat to the terrified woman, utters a polite “danke schön”, adjusts his eye patch, twirls around sharply on his heel and continues on to the next house in search for untermenschen to send off to the work camps in the East. Arbeit macht frei, usw., doncha know!

anne_frank

Lying, runaway Jewess. Picture credit: Bergen-Belsen work camp archives, from a production of “Glückliche Tage” (“Happy Days”) performed by the camp drama troupe.

What a fucking cunt that woman was, lying to the officer like that, knowing full well she had an entire family of Jew fugitives hiding upstairs. You just can’t trust anybody these days.

P.S. I find it much more interesting to read a review of a book, however short and incomplete and biased, thereby perhaps gaining some new insight, rather than just a statement that so-and-so has read such-and-such.

EDITED TO ADD: It appears that Anne Frank was posthumously baptized by the Mormons. Presumably this selfless act by the Latter Day Saints has led God to forgive her for lying and being a Jew, retrieved her from hell and put her in the Heavenly Witness Protection Program where she is now playing dodge ball with Jesus in an undisclosed Heavenly location (Heaven is a big place).

Jesus

I’ve been getting into a really bad habit lately of dropping books as soon as I think they’re boring, badly written, disingenuous, have too much of an axe to grind, or they write and cover a topic in a way I already agree with.

I’m about to take on Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus, made perhaps more famous (infamous?) than it deserves (remains to be seen) by this outrageous interview of the author Reza Aslan on Fox News by Lauren Green.

I’ll get back to you with a review of sorts in a few weeks’ time (I’m a slow reader) to see if all the hullabaloo is justified.

EDIT 10-14-15: Yeah, so I read the book and I thought it was OK. Just wanted to add that Reza Aslan may have overstated his scholarly credentials. I thought perhaps he doth protested too much.

Old Jungle Saying

Those of you who read The Phantom comic book series by Lee Falk as a kid will know what I’m talking about. Your age is just a number, but as you get older that number gets bigger and the number of your remaining years smaller. That isn’t the profundity that slipped my mind the other day on Facebook, but still not bad. I made that. Remember Jesus loves you. So much so that he’ll throw you into the fiery pits of hell for eternity if you don’t love him back.

jesus burning babies

Making engraved images can get you into trouble. Picture credit: The Internet (clearly the original artist is on his way to hell if he isn’t there already, since he made an engraved image of one 3rd of the deity who expressly forbade it). Burn baby, burn!

Marketing Bullshit

Two loaves of bread only $5.00. One loaf $2.50. Who do they think they’re fooling?

The price of bread is steady.

Jesus fed 5,000 people with five of these and a couple herring (Matthew 14:13-21) . Super Stop & Shop is trying to best him with marketing tomfoolery, counting on me not having math skills. Well, I wasn’t educated in America, so the joke’s on them! Picture credit: Google.

Is Paula Deen The Subject Of A Witch Hunt?

The facts that I’m aware of (disclaimer, I haven’t followed the case very closely; I’m not big on food shows on TV and celebrity bashing):

During a legal deposition Paula Deen admitted to having used racial slurs (aka known as the n-word, or, more accurately, “nigger”) in the past.

She also said she wanted a “plantation-style” wedding with black waiting staff dressed as slaves.

Was it in poor taste? Yes. Should she have known better? Yes.

Do I think  Ms. Deen is a bonafide racist with a white supremacy bent, blacks being an inferior race? I strongly doubt it.

Will I give someone who was brought up in the South in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s some leeway? Yes. Meaning I understand how she got to be that way, but still demand that she self-corrects.

Have I myself on occasion used racial slurs (not for quite some time now), either because I didn’t know better or was in a pissy mood and wanted to poke somebody where it hurt the most (and regretted it later)? Yes.

Do I consider myself a racist due to the previous point? Not really, but we all have a seed of something in us. The object is to suppress that seed and see people for what they are, i.e. judge them by the content of their character, not their appearance. I could throw in a little anecdote here:

Some years back I went on a business trip to Philadelphia, PA. I needed a room for  the night and picked a hotel at random that was close to the place I had dealings the next day. After entering the hotel I noticed right away that I was the only white person there. Different shades of black and brown every where, except for me. All black staff, all black guests. Not a single one raised a curious eyebrow at my appearance, but I must admit that it was a totally alien experience for me and I felt a tad bit uncomfortable. Not because the place was seedy or I felt unsafe, but because it was different from anything I had felt before. Now I have some semblance of understanding of what it must feel like for a black person to exist in a mostly white world.

Does the above make me a racist? To some small extent, perhaps, yes, but certainly not in the KKK/Aryan Brotherhood league. It was a wake up call for me and I have since strengthened an already acute sense for racism and civil rights issues of all varieties in our society and around the world.

Do I have any black friends? No. Hardly even acquaintances, it’s just the way things worked out, but I do have a casual association with a couple of Jews. They seem like nice people, though, despite having murdered Jesus.

Do I think black people, especially young ones, use the words nigger/nigga loosely and without repercussion, partly as a term of endearment, partly in pop culture/music (if you can call that hip-hop shit music!) and partly to take ownage of the words and declare every white person who uses it a racist? Yes.

Do I believe that some blacks were insulted by Paula Deen’s remarks? Yes, and justifiably so, but being angry and vindictive doesn’t do anything to fix the problem.

And YES, I do understand that in the vast majority of cases there’s a big difference between a white person saying “nigger” and a black person doing the same. However, understanding isn’t necessarily agreeing.

Do I think everybody should stop using the word and any other racial epithets? Yes.

Do I think anybody over the age of 10 who claims to never have let a racial slur of any kind pass through their lips is a liar? Yes.

Was it right of the Food Network to fire Ms Deen over the “incident”? It was a business decision, I have no opinion. She’ll land on her feet.

Do I think the media is overreacting on this case, willing and eager to throw Paula Deen under the bus for the single purpose of increasing ratings? Yes. I have a strong feeling many reporters over the past few weeks have acted very hypercritical.

Should there be some kind of repercussions for Ms Deen? I don’t know, but in my not so humble opinion I think she has learned her lesson and we should give her a break.

What would a suitable punishment be in case you’re hellbent on her having to suffer some consequence for her ill thought-out behavior? Give her a slight rap on the knuckles with a ruler and get on with your life.

Do I think Paula Deen is at heart a decent person? Yes!

Finally, America suffered though 250+ years of slavery, followed by a century of Jim Crow and organized discrimination. We can’t wipe the slate clean within a few generations. If we all don’t step up to fix the problems, men and women of all races, we’re looking at hard times ahead.

Sweden Burns – Multi Culturalism A Failure?

Salman Rushdie‘s Norwegian publisher, William Nygaard, shot in Oslo after Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against the author and all his publishers; arsonist attacks against Mosques in Germany; Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh assassinated by radical Islamist in Amsterdam; repeated riots by Muslim minorities in France; a Norwegian right-wing Christian extremist bombs and guns down 77 people, mostly teenagers, in a self-proclaimed defensive war against Islam overrunning Europe; a British soldier is hacked to death with a meat cleaver and knives in broad daylight by British-born Muslims; disenfranchised rampaging Muslim immigrants and 1st generation Swedish Muslims riot and torch in Sweden, attacking police and firefighters. Call me crazy, but I see a pattern here.

Muslims and immigrants throughout Europe choose ghettofication and isolation rather than assimilation. Native, ethnic Europeans feel animosity towards immigrants for receiving disproportionate benefits and preferential treatment from their own governments. From personal experience I can say that racism and xenophobia in Europe is much more bitterly felt and expressed than in America.

sweden muslim riots

Model society Sweden plagued by disenfranchised Muslim rioters torching cars, buildings and attacking police and firefighters going on fourth day.

I am not going to speculate as to the reasons that may have led to the current clusterfuck in Europe. I won’t discuss whether or not Islam is a hateful, violent religion (as an observant atheist, however, who normally is an equal opportunity religion mocker, I will say that I have concluded that Mohammad currently sucks more than Jesus). But it seems to me that we can say with certainty that the model used for integrating cultures completely alien to each other, has failed, and that responsible politicians and social scientists need to take a second look and re-evaluate. While it may be politically incorrect, the question of whether “multi-culturalism” will ever work in Europe, is quite legitimate. Maybe some cultures simply don’t play that well together when forced to co-exist in close proximity.

Amish Crazies

Homegrown Amish religious terrorism, right here in America, carried out by Americans against Americans. When will the hate crimes stop? Religion poisons everything. You heard it here first!

Cutting beards for Jesus.

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Twelve members of an Amish splinter group in Ohio pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges stemming from a spate of beard- and hair-cutting assaults last fall on other Amish.

The 10 men and two women were indicted on seven counts, including federal hate crime charges, for their part in the unusual attacks, which began in September 2011 and generated fear in the tight-knit Amish community.

The assaults were considered especially egregious because the beard is a symbol of a man’s identity among the Amish and women in the community do not cut their hair for biblical reasons.

The courtroom inside U.S. District Court in Cleveland where the 12, all from Bergholz, were arraigned on Wednesday was packed with Amish onlookers.

Seven of the original defendants, including the suspected ringleader, Samuel Mullet Sr., and two of his sons, have been in custody since their arrest in October.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster denied a request on Wednesday that Samuel Sr., 66, and his 37-year-old son Johnny be released on bond, citing the lack of modern amenities, including electricity, at their house, which makes electronic monitoring impossible.

But the judge released five of the defendants on $20,000 unsecured bonds. Trial has been scheduled to start March 19.

Corporate Avenger – Jesus Christ Homosexual

Not saying that it’s good,
Not saying that it’s right,
But the Virgin Mary may have been
A hermaphorodite.

Motherfuckin’ go!
Motherfuckin’ go!
Motherfuckin’ go!

God is good, God is great,
I think that he might be gay.

Not saying God is gay,
Not saying that at all.
But if Jesus Christ was God and God created all.
Then Jesus Christ created the homosexual.
There might be a little fag in us all.

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual
Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual

They say that God hates Fags,
They walk around so pissed.
Disguise their hate as love,
But have they thought of this.
He made us in his image,
Now listen to what I say.
Then it’s a possibility that Jesus Christ was gay.

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual
Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual

Not saying God is gay,
Not saying that at all.
But if Jesus Christ was God and God created all.
Then Jesus Christ created the homosexual.
There might be a little fag in us all.
He made us in his image,
Now listen to what I say.
Then it’s a possibility that Jesus Christ was gay.

Not saying that it’s good,
Not saying that it’s right,
But could the Virgin Mary have been a hermaphorodite?
She was with a child without having a man?
And that’s not the only thing that I don’t understand.

Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual
Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ
Homosexual
Homosexual