Irony. It's Dead, Jim

There’s so much wrong with this I don’t even know where to start:

The biggest democracy in the world, India, could sure use a lesson on the necessity of fair criticism in all aspects of life, including religion.

The editor and publisher of a top English-language Indian daily have been arrested on charges of “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims.

What could have possibly infuriated India’s Muslim community enough to warrant their arrests?

[snip]

Muslims said they were upset with the Statesman for reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its 5 February edition.

The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”

It concerns the erosion of the right to criticise religions.

ohforfuck’ssake.


This insane concern for the feelings of religious groups is completely out of control. They’re putting people in jail for hurting the feelings of teh poor widdle Muslimz, with no sense of irony or shame whatsoever. I mean, the assault of freedom of speech and conscience is bad enough. To do this to people who ran an article about the threat religions are posing to critics just shows an appalling lack of appreciation for irony. Way to prove the authors’ point, you fucktards!

But a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.

That’s right. So suck it up. Take it like men, you snivelling little cowards. You’d think a religion that’s survived over 1,000 years of crusades and missionaries would be able to handle it when a few journalists give it the finger. If it’s too weak to withstand even a mild critique, it sure as shit doesn’t deserve to be propped up by popping publishers in jail.

Irony. It's Dead, Jim

Westboro Baptist Church PWND by High School Students and Other Tales

This photo diary at Daily Kos is sure to warm the hearts of all those who love to see Fred Phelps’ Band of Frothing Fuckwits get their due:

Fred Phelps, known for his protests at the funerals of AIDS victims, and now extremely popular for his bizarre protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers, decided to grace Prairie Village, Kansas with the presence of his minions. The target for the picketers was Shawnee Mission East High School, a large suburban school in the Kansas City Metro area.

Westboro Church is located in Topeka, Kansas, which is why Kansas City often gets blessed with their ministries. Shawnee Mission East’s crime is an active gay/straight alliance group, and the nominating of an openly gay classmate for Homecoming King in 2007. I don’t know why they waited until now to tell the students that God hates them and they are burning in hell, but they did. An impressive 12 of them. Wow. And at least two children, which is sweet.

But they were met with at least 300 counter-protesters, a large number of them Shawnee Mission East students. The kids organized and with the support of the school administration were able to shout down the Westboro orcs with signs calling out love, compassion and tolerance.

This is what gives me hope that I’ll grow old in a slightly less dysfunctional country. The generation coming after us seems to have a fairly large proportion of people with their heads screwed on straight.

Perhaps we should take them on a field trip to explain law, civics, and basic reading comprehension to certain dunces:

Let’s briefly recap a story we’ve been following. Earlier this week, the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing legal group formed by TV preacher Pat Robertson, said the stimulus bill includes a provision that would prohibit “religious groups and organizations from using” buildings on college campuses. Soon after, religious right groups and right-wing blogs were up in arms, demanding that lawmakers fix the “anti-Christian” language of the bill. Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network helped get the word out to the far-right base about the nefarious measure.

But there was one small problem: there was no such measure. The ACLJ doesn’t know how to read legislation, and didn’t realize that the standard language in the bill simply blocks spending for on-campus buildings that are used primarily for religion (like a chapel, for example). This same language has been part of education spending bills for 46 years. It’s just the law, and it’s never been controversial.

And if it were just some random yahoos screaming about a non-existent threat, this would merely be annoying. But right-wing whining about the imaginary attack came to the attention of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who actually tried to remove the legal language from the bill. Consider just how truly ridiculous his remarks were on the Senate floor yesterday:

This is a provision “that would make sure students could never talk openly and honestly about their faith … what this means is that students can’t meet together in their dorms if that dorm has been repaired with federal money and have a prayer group or a Bible study. They can’t get together in their student centers. They can’t have a commencement service where a speaker talks about their personal faith.” … Student groups would be banned and “classes on world religions and religious history, academic studies of religious texts could be banned … Someone is so hostile to religion that they are willing to stand in the schoolhouse door, like the infamous George Wallace, to deny people of faith from entering into any campus building renovated by this bill. This cannot stand!”

Please remember, every sentence — literally, every single sentence — in that paragraph is wrong. Indeed, everything DeMint said was the polar opposite of reality, driven entirely by a reading-comprehension mistake made by someone at Pat Robertson’s legal group.

Believe it or not, the situation only deteriorates from there. Click if you dare. Then click back to Reepicheep’s photo diary to help ease the pain.

Westboro Baptist Church PWND by High School Students and Other Tales

"Thank You, Lord, For Creating Eye-Devouring Worms"

PZ points out that Sir David Attenborough’s been getting hate mail from creationists. The whole thing is full of pwn, but I especially liked this bit:

Telling the magazine that he was also asked why he did not give “credit” to the Lord, Sir David continued: “They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds.

“I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in East Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball.

“The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs.

“I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

Have I mentioned lately how much I love the British tendency for devastating understatement?

John Pieret believes Sir David is referring to this:


Let me put it to you this way: giving praise to a deity who’s either this inept or this sadistic when it comes to creating all the beasts of the field etc. etc. seems really fucking dumb. And that’s setting aside the fact that there’s not one scintilla of evidence that even an inept, sadistic son of a bitch exists, much less an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent one.

"Thank You, Lord, For Creating Eye-Devouring Worms"

Pope Palpatine Extends the Hand of Peace to Rabid Anti-Semites

I’m sure plenty of people will blabber about healing, reconciliation, and all that rot, but all I’m seeing here is an attempt to return things to the good ol’ days before that bleeding-heart liberal John Paul II put a stop to all the bigoted fun:

A lot of people were concerned when an arch-conservative like Cardinal Ratzinger was named the pope, but I don’t think any of us imagined that he would be soon playing footsie with some of Catholicism’s most prominent anti-Semites — namely, the Society of St. Pius X.

From the Catholic Reporter:

Papal reconciliation move will stir controversy

In a gesture billed as an “act of peace,” but one destined both to fire intra-Catholic debate about the meaning of the Second Vatican Council and to open a new front in Jewish/Catholic tensions, the Vatican today formally lifted a twenty-year-old excommunication imposed on four bishops who broke with Rome in protest over the liberalizing reforms of Vatican II (1962-65).

Ironically, news of the move came just one day before the 50th anniversary of the announcement by Pope John XXIII of his intention to call Vatican II.

[snip]

What none of these news accounts observe is that the problem with St. Pius X isn’t just that it has some kooky leaders, but that their rejection of Vatican II prominently includes their rejection of one of its most important reforms — namely, the longtime Catholic belief in the “blood libel” that Jews were guilty of deicide for having ostensibly killed Jesus. In fact, these Catholics openly trumpet their belief that the Jews are responsible for Christ’s crucifixion.

[snip]

As the SPLC reported:

It is in The Angelus, published monthly by the SSPX press, and on SSPX’s website, that the radical anti-Semitism of the order is most evident today. One example now on the website is a 1997 Angelus article by SSPX priests Michael Crowdy and Kenneth Novak that calls for locking Jews into ghettos because “Jews are known to kill Christians.” It also blames Jews for the French Revolution, communism and capitalism; suggests a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy has destroyed the Catholic Church; and describes Judaism as “inimical to all nations.”

Another document reproduced on the SSPX’s current website is a 1959 letter from Lefebvre’s close friend, Bishop Gerald Sigaud, who also rejected the Vatican II reforms. “Money, the media, and international politics are for a large part in the hands of Jews,” Bishop Sigaud wrote. “Those who have revealed the atomic secrets of the USA were … all Jews. The founders of communism were Jews.”

Not one fucking word to me about morality, Rat-boy. Not. One. Word.

Pope Palpatine Extends the Hand of Peace to Rabid Anti-Semites

A Benediction Even an Atheist Can Love

I didn’t mean to listen to the religious pablum at Obama’s inauguration, but with it splattered across Pharyngula, Crooks and Liars, and Digby’s Hullaballoo, it was just a wee bit hard to miss. Perils of living in a religious country and all.

Rick Warren’s blabbing reminded me of everything I can’t stand about evangelical Christianity. All glory to God, can’t do it without God, forgive us when we try to take a smidgeon of credit from you God, blah blah blah. When I hear these types of Christians pulling the “we’re not worthy” shit, I always wonder just what kind of father they think their God is. My father would give me a good, sharp smack upside the head if I started abasing myself to him. And he’d be frankly horrified at the idea that I was helpless without him.

His invocation wasn’t as noxious as it could have been, but it was still self-righteous exclusionary bullshit, and if you think it does no harm, then you need to read this. It’s inexcusable.

I’m under no pressure to cheer on god-bothering schmucks or face the wrath of a person who could destroy my career, so I sniggered at Warren’s ridiculous yammering, and chuckled watching a calvacade of supposedly mature people going on and on about a figment of the imagination. I’m sorry if that’s too harsh for the few of you in this audience who are religious, but that’s just unvarnished truth: that stuff makes me laugh.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I found myself watching the Reverend Joseph Lowery’s benediction, and shouting “Amen!” at the end.

The thing is, Rev. Lowery gave a benediction even a jaded old atheist can love:

We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won’t get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love.

Help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid; when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around — (laughter) — when yellow will be mellow — (laughter) — when the red man can get ahead, man — (laughter) — and when white will embrace what is right.

Let all those who do justice and love mercy say amen.

Amen. Most decidedly, amen.

You know why I love this benediction? It’s because it’s got a sense of humor, for one thing. The man knows how to laugh, and isn’t afraid God will strike him dead for making a joyful noise.

But mostly it’s because it’s such a celebration of the human spirit and human ability. He’s not asking God to do all the work. He trusts that God has given people everything they need to get the job done themselves. A little help would be wonderful, but we can get it done.

He gave me the feeling that even us godless heathens have a part in this, because it’s people who are doing the hard work, people who will beat tanks into tractors (how I love that new spin on an old metaphor!), people who walk together and pledge not to get weary. He didn’t ask all Christians who do justice and love mercy to say amen, he extended that invitation to us all.

If he wants to ask God to lend a hand, I won’t quibble. I won’t even laugh. I’ll just sit here with a big, beaming grin and shout “Amen!”

A Benediction Even an Atheist Can Love

Rick Warren Bashing, Inauguration Edition: He Loves Him Some Hitler

Oh, yes, indeedy, he does:

Bruce Wilson at Talk2Action has come up with easily the most disturbing audio clip of a Rick Warren sermon I’ve heard yet — and that’s saying something:

On April 17, 2005, at the southern California Anaheim Angels sports stadium thirty thousand Saddleback Church members, more than ever gathered in one spot, assembled to celebrate Saddleback’s 25th anniversary and listened as Rick Warren announced his vision for the next 25 years of the church: the P.E.A.C.E. Plan.

Towards the close of his nearly one hour speech, Pastor Warren asked his followers to be as committed to Jesus as the young Nazi men and women who spelled out in mass formation with their bodies the words “Hitler, we are yours,” in 1939 at the Munich Stadium, were committed to the Führer of the Third Reich, a major instigator of a World War that claimed 55 million lives. Rick Warren has exhorted Christians towards Nazi-like dedication in at least several public speeches and also during a one hour video recording of a talk by Warren, explaining his P.E.A.C.E. Plan, that is currently hosted on the official P.E.A.C.E. Plan website. A version of the anecdote can also be found on page 357 of Rick Warren’s 1995 book The Purpose Driven Church, which sold over one million copies.

Exhibit A: Rick Warren’s own words:

“In 1939, in a stadium much like this, in Munich Germany, they packed it out with young men and women in brown shirts, for a fanatical man standing behind a podium named Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil.

And in that stadium, those in brown shirts formed with their bodies a sign that said, in the whole stadium, “Hitler, we are yours.”

And they nearly took the world.

Lenin once said, “give me 100 committed, totally committed men and I’ll change the world.” And, he nearly did.

A few years ago, they took the sayings of Chairman Mao, in China, put them in a little red book, and a group of young people committed them to memory and put it in their minds and they took that nation, the largest nation in the world by storm because they committed to memory the sayings of the Chairman Mao.

When I hear those kinds of stories, I think ‘what would happen if American Christians, if world Christians, if just the Christians in this stadium, followers of Christ, would say ‘Jesus, we are yours’ ?

What kind of spiritual awakening would we have ?

Um. Well, from the examples Warren cites, there would be a hell of a lot of dead people, to start. People would be forced to follow one rigid ideology or suffer the consequences. Democracy would die out in the flames of totalitarianism. Art, history and culture would be consigned to those flames.

Come to think of it, that’s what most evangelicals seem to want, innit?

No wonder Warren loves him some dictators. And he’s training his followers to become proper little brownshirts:

“Jesus said, ‘I want you to do this publicly.’ So what I want you to do is take the card, and in just a minute, and if you say ‘Rick, I am willing to serve God’s purposes in my generation.’

I want you to open up to the sign that says ‘Whatever it takes.’

Whatever it takes.

And I want you to just say, ‘This is my commitment, before God and in front of everybody else. I’m in.’ “

And I would invite you to just stand quietly and hold up ‘Whatever it takes’. . .

I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are saying ‘whatever it takes’.

[snip]

As Wilson points out in the piece, he doesn’t point to the methods of great spiritual leaders like Ghandi or Martin Luther King. He doesn’t even point to the positive ideals of political or revolutionary leaders like the founding fathers. He stands before a roaring crowd of 30,000 followers in a huge sports stadium and points to the 20th century’s worst genocidal madmen as inspiration! And from his work in Africa, it appears he practices what he preaches.

Some of you might get even more upset at Obama for allowing this Hitler-admiring, gaybashing, African-dictator-enabling outrageous fucking freak to give the invocation. But I’ve now come around to thinking it’s a brilliant idea.

You see, before the spotlight got shone on him, all most people knew was that he wrote The Purpose-Driven Life, hosted a presidential debate, and seemed somewhat moderate to the casual observer.

Now look at all the info emerging that proves he’s a batshit-insane frothing fundie who’s learned to speak in a normal-person voice. That, my darlings, is priceless. So yes, let him get up there and babble a few faux-holy words. It gives us such a delightful opportunity to introduce the country to the real Rick Warren.

Rick Warren Bashing, Inauguration Edition: He Loves Him Some Hitler

Obama's Inauguration: NSFRWK

So. We’re about to swear in the first African-American President of the United States. This is history, my darlings, and it’s one of those things kids will remember for a lifetime.

If they’re allowed to watch it, that is. The frothing freaks are trying to mark the event as Not Suitable for Right-Wing Kiddies:

Students in the Federal Way, Washington school district must have parental permission slips to watch the Inauguration because, according the school district–which also put a moratorium on An Inconvenient Truth while the board investigated whether a screening adhered to district policies:

The concern is that the televised inauguration was not listed in syllabus handed out at the beginning of the term. The district considers the inauguration a full length documentary, unlike some newspaper or internet reference articles which do not require pre-approval.

Let’s look up “documentary” in an “internet reference article” which won’t require me to leave mom’s basement (aka Rapunzel’s ivory tower) to get a signed permission slip:

A documentary is a creative work of non-fiction.

Federal Way school district, you flunk! A news broadcast, in real time doesn’t actually equal “documentary.”

Ah, but it does if you’re a right-winger looking for a way to wriggle out of letting the kiddies see a dirty Dem take power while treating gay people like actual human beings:

Never one to be outdone, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission is telling parents not to let their children watch what will be the “most perverted [inauguration] in our nation’s history” and warns that God just might destroy the nation’s capital because of it:

The inauguration of Barack Obama as the President of the United States is going to be historic for many reasons, not all of them good. Obama’s inauguration may help move race relations forward in America, but Obama’s inaugural events are a major step backwards for historic Christian values. CADC must issue this WARNING message: Don’t let your children watch!

National events ought to unify and elevate the nation by celebrating what is virtuous, such as God and patriotism. Obama is making a terrible mistake by polluting his inaugural events with sexual sin. Some one ought to remind him that he wasn’t elected mayor of Sodom.

Barack Obama’s inauguration will have the dubious distinction of being the most perverted in our nation’s history … In order to be consistent in using this kind of reasoning, Obama ought to have a stripper lead off the inaugural parade followed by the Hell’s Angel’s Motorcycle Drill Team followed by the Crips Precision Handgun Corp. and the Transvestite Fashion Police. Just because something exists in society does not mean it is good and is to be paraded in front of everyone, especially children.

On this historic occasion of the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, I must unfortunately recommend that you keep the kids away from the TV and pray that God will not rain fire and brimstone down on Washington DC.

What’s got his panties in a bunch? Like you had to ask:

Flamboyant Homosexual Inaugural..Robinson will be appearing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D. C. which forces all Christians around the world to compromise their character if they want to watch the inauguration….To ensure no one misses the perversion, the Inaugural parade will include a homosexual marching band with their rainbow flags flying proud with millions of our nation’s children and Christians watching.

No wonder he thinks it’s the end of days. To him, a gay choir topped off with a gay pastor and a gay marching band must seem like Armageddon.

Obama. I’m still not giving you a pass on letting Warren give the invocation, but kudos for getting so very far up these fucktards’ noses.

Obama's Inauguration: NSFRWK

Our Tax Dollars At Work Helping Evangelicals Stalk Military Children

While Ed Brayton was raking in the pot in Las Vegas, his guest bloggers were hard at work ensuring we were kept apprised of the burning stupid. And this post by Chris Rodda should outrage us all:

The government-funded targeting of the children of our servicemen and servicewomen by Christian religious organizations is an issue that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has been gathering information on for some time now. The countless complaints and reports from members of our armed services that we receive about this completely unconstitutional practice include everything from Christian “public service announcements” being snuck into non-religious programming on the Armed Forces Network to the complete lack of youth programs that are not Christianity-based, leaving our non-Christian military parents with the dilemma of either turning their kids over to Christian evangelists or having to explain to them why they can’t participate in all the fun and exciting activities, events, and trips with the other kids.

These youth programs, many funded by Department of Defense (DoD) contracts, are designed to target and evangelize the “unchurched” among our military youth. No comparable non-Christian youth programs exist for the children of our servicemen and servicewomen who are of other religions or non-religious.

The tactics employed by the Christian military youth ministries range from luring teenagers with irresistible events and activities to infiltrating the public middle and high schools in the communities surrounding military bases, where most children of military personnel attend school. And, with this month being the fifth annual observance of National Stalking Awareness Month, it seems quite timely to note that one of these organizations, Youth For Christ Military Youth Ministry, actually goes as far as stalking military children, following their school buses to find out where they live and what schools they go to. Even the job descriptions for DoD contracts make it clear that stalking kids is expected. One recently posted Army base position requires that the contractor target “locations and activities where youth live and spend time, such as neighborhood community centers, school and sports and recreational activities, etc.” to draw in “youth that are not regularly affiliated with established chapel congregational youth programs.”

We give these fucktards millions of dollars to do this crap. I hope Obama’s got room on his crowded to-do list to pencil in yet another housecleaning mission. Let the frothing fundies fund their own damned bullshit.

Our Tax Dollars At Work Helping Evangelicals Stalk Military Children

Ken Ham Gets Walloped

Bay of Fundie is among the best blogs to visit if you want to watch fuckwitted fundies get bitch-slapped with a yardarm. Ron’s deconstruction of Ken Ham’s attempt to prove that the Bible pwns science is an excellent case in point.

All of the entries on this ridiculous plaque follow the same pattern. First, say what the Bible says:

The Bible claims the universe had a beginning.

It’s interesting that in almost every case, they use the word “claim”, which actually has a connotation of untruth to it. I wonder if they realize that they’re subconsciously casting doubt on their own assertions.

The next sentence describes what those foolish scientists used to think:

Philosophers and scientists rejected that claim for over two thousand years.

Then they tell us what the scientists now think:

Now astronomers believe the universe had to have had a beginning.

It’s peculiar that on this entire plaque, they’re telling us that the scientists—although they used to be wrong—are now right. Yet elsewhere in the museum, they tell us over and over that scientists are wrong. So if science proves the Bible, and the scientists are wrong, then the creationists are admitting that the Bible is wrong! Sweet!

The spanking intensifies from there, and it includes pictures. Go. Read. Laugh your ass off at a creationist’s expense. And while you’re there, indulge in one of my all-time favorite posts, wherein Ron proves, using the same arguments Christians do when they attempt to prove America is a “Christian nation,” that we’re actually a Muslim one.

Ken Ham Gets Walloped

Because Bashing Rick Warren Never Quite Gets Old

Pastor Rick Warren is the gift that keeps on giving if you need a truly odious Godbotherer to get your blood boiling. Gays despise him, of course, as do people who understand why gays might get upset at their same-sex marriages being equated with pedophilia and incest. Those of us who look askance at Christian fundamentalists in moderate’s clothing can’t stand the little shit. Atheists are taking matters to court:

The latest organized effort against Warren’s participation was launched by a group of atheists who have filed a lawsuit that contends prayer should not be allowed during the ceremony. One name stands out among the list of plaintiffs — Michael Newdow, the man who challenged the use of the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Those of us who are sharpening their knives for Warren may have to let another group borrow our whetstones. Are you ready for the latest folks hating on Warren? His very own evangelical Christian community:

Warren did not answer directly when asked whether he would dedicate his prayer to Jesus. In a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, Warren would say only that, “I’m a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray.”

“Prayers are not to be sermons, speeches, position statements nor political posturing. They are humble, personal appeals to God,” Warren wrote. His spokesman would not elaborate.

Evangelicals generally expect their clergymen to use Jesus’ name whenever and wherever they lead prayer. Many conservative Christians say cultural sensitivity goes way too far if it requires religious leaders to hide their beliefs.

“If Rick Warren does not pray in Jesus’ name, some folks are going to be very disappointed,” Caldwell said in a recent phone interview. “Since he’s evangelical, his own tribe, if you will, will have some angst if he does not do that.”

Considering the lawsuits will fly fast and furious if he offers up anything overtly Christian, there’s no way this can end well. Either he doesn’t give Jesus a shout-out and ends up with evangelicals gunning for him, or he “prays the only kind of prayer I know how to pray” and ends up in court. Either way, he’s fucked.

Have I mentioned I’m enjoying this immensely? I’d enjoy it even more if the insufferable ass got caught getting a blow job from a male prostitute a few days before the inauguration, but I’ll settle for watching him attempt to thread a needle that has no eye. Schadenfreude will come in time.

Because Bashing Rick Warren Never Quite Gets Old