Civilised societies

As we all know, gays are evil. In fact if we don’t get rid of them, God (the Christian one) will take it out on us. Or maybe the Muslim one will. Or the Wiccan one. Or the Sikh one. Or …

Really?

In a week where I offered congratulations to a gay friend who had a quiet wedding to his partner of some years, I read elsewhere about ISIS throwing a suspected gay man off a roof to his death, complete with typical gladiatorial/guillotine/hanging excited crowd watching this total barbarism.

And in the land of the brave and the free—so long as you’re not gay that is—a lawyer in California has proposed killing all gays. Nice huh? And although his proposal starts off with gays and sodomy/buggery, he quickly switches to anything that includes same sex relations, so no get-out for lesbians either. No mention of transsexuals but I’m sure he’d include those too. Shoot them all. Death by firing squad. Or ‘God’ will take it out on us. A little self-interest there methinks?

And if you are a heterosexual who supports sodomistic propaganda – no writing pro-LGBTQ blog posts in California – you are barred from public office, public employment and public benefits.

image

Mr McLaughlin paid $200 to submit this sick, discriminatory, inhumane proposal. He needs more than 300,000 signatures to support it. The worrying aspect is that he may well get even one signature.

If the USA is meant to be such an example to the rest of the world (and I’ll hold my breath on that one), why is such a proposal even allowable?

Similarly, in a supposedly secular multi-cultural country, why the reference to a Christian God in a legal proposal?

Or maybe it’s just a crass publicity stunt? In which case I’ve bought into it.

ISIS takes arbitrary action. An American goes through the system. The bigotry and hatred are the same. Where is the humanity, decency or respect for one person to another in any of this?

Posted in Atheism, christianity, life, Religion | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

An exercise in creative writing

Remember this:

What do you think you atheists are doing???
You most certainly are “inflicting your views” about abortion, homosexuality, feminism, and every other form of evil your kind worships! You are such hypocrites, but you don’t even see the forest through the trees! You are against Christians teaching our kids our beliefs, yet you want to cram every unGodly evil belief down the throats of everyone???
You are so blinded by the feminist agenda that you wouldn’t know the truth about Christianity if it was in front of your face. The Only thing about the Christian religion you GUYS want to see is the lies & twisted facts that suppress the TRUTH of how much of a POSITIVE influence it has had on Society!!! You go ahead and believe the lies, you will see the truth one day! I pray for you, because you might not be such a bad guy, but you are certainly deceived by the forces of darkness & evil!!! Feminists like you will most likely grow old and be alone, miserable, & lonely. Because you killed your own children in abortion mills, and no guy in his right mind will want an old, shriveled up woman like you….But hey, Congratulations, You are independant…….Please repent of your evil ways! (OK, blast away, I can almost predict your response. It will NOT be original, it will be the same old stuff….Have a nice life…….

Here we have an attempt at a response in like vein. Any good?

And, what might I ask, do you think you fundamental, evangelical Christians are doing??? No, not just you, ALL Christians???

You have no concept of equal rights and how to treat everyone with respect regardless of gender, sexual orientation, personal and political viewpoints, and certainly not religious ones, or lack thereof.

You Christians want to teach that YOUR god created the world because you are so convinced your evil, malicious and harmful beliefs are right!!! You want to indoctrinate innocent children with your pernicious, harmful, discriminatory beliefs!!! You pick on adults who are suffering due to tragic personal circumstances and convert them to your hideous warped view of the world!!!

That’s before I’ve even got into the child abuse and rape!!! I know the Catholic Church is most famous for that, but there’s been the odd sleazy Protestant too. Shall I start on racism??? Dates back to Luther doesn’t it???

You Christians want to make decisions for me as a woman about my body, and for LGBT people about theirs AND THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS, based upon your farcical beliefs in a book of myths!!! Yes!!! A book of MYTHS. Fairy tales. Seriously, who in their right minds believes stories like that???

The auto-da-fé, the crusades, the forced conversion to Christianity by colonial countries??? The killing of natives as sport by Christian countries??? All carried out in the name of your loving god. You are telling ME to wake up and see the truth??? Looks pretty bad to me.

You Christians, along with those other patriarchal brethren of yours, the Jews and the Muslims, are responsible, yes, RESPONSIBLE, for the sexist, misogynist society we have today!!! That’s why women are still deemed as chattels to be passed from one man to another.

I only hope you wake up one day before it’s too late and enjoy the rest of your life here on earth because there ain’t no everlasting paradise, sunshine. Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes. No resurrection for us mortals.

As for you, you are just a fat balding old git with an extremely unattractive overgrown beard. I dread to think what’s nesting in there. Do you honestly think any woman would find you remotely attractive? And that’s before you even open your mouth. I bet it’s a good thing you’ve spent a life at sea, your wife/wives must have been glad to see the back of you.

Because, on first acquaintance I would say you don’t score highly in the personal charm stakes in any respect…

And, I will. Thank you. It’s been good so far. This unwanted old shriveled up woman will be celebrating her 30th wedding anniversary this year……

Kind regards

Roughseas

PS I am NOT a guy.

The question is, had I posted this, rather than my original response, would I have been banned from the original site? One law for Christians, one for the rest of us.

Posted in Atheism, blogging, christianity, feminism, Religion, writing | 40 Comments

Give me that old time religion

I blame The Ark, the scourge of Christianity, for introducing me to barking evangelical blogs.

Seriously, these people have not just one screw missing, they haven’t got a screw at all in them.

Or sixpence short of a shilling. Forget that, eleven pence and three farthings short. And that’s generous.

So there I am, conducting a civil conversation on one blog of a rather fundagelical, and some twerp jumps in. No problem with someone jumping in. But wholesale abuse and jumping to conclusions is a bit unreasonable.

Checklist:

Sexist

Ageist

Homophobic

Describing atheism as religion

Wanting to teach Christianity as fact not religion

Etc etc

Here you go, word for word:

What do you think you atheists are doing???
You most certainly are “inflicting your views” about abortion, homosexuality, feminism, and every other form of evil your kind worships! You are such hypocrites, but you don’t even see the forest through the trees! You are against Christians teaching our kids our beliefs, yet you want to cram every unGodly evil belief down the throats of everyone???
You are so blinded by the feminist agenda that you wouldn’t know the truth about Christianity if it was in front of your face. The Only thing about the Christian religion you GUYS want to see is the lies & twisted facts that suppress the TRUTH of how much of a POSITIVE influence it has had on Society!!! You go ahead and believe the lies, you will see the truth one day! I pray for you, because you might not be such a bad guy, but you are certainly deceived by the forces of darkness & evil!!! Feminists like you will most likely grow old and be alone, miserable, & lonely. Because you killed your own children in abortion mills, and no guy in his right mind will want an old, shriveled up woman like you….But hey, Congratulations, You are independant…….Please repent of your evil ways! (OK, blast away, I can almost predict your response. It will NOT be original, it will be the same old stuff….Have a nice life…….

And, from me:

Dear sailordale

Thank you for your less than polite comment about mine.

Here is my unoriginal predictable response.

1) ‘You atheists’ implies there is some sort of grouping. There isn’t. I don’t go to the atheist church.

2) Inflicting my views? Well, yes, I think it’s fair to say that everyone deserves equal treatment under the law. I’m neither opposing the law, trying to change it, or saying it is wrong.

3) Obviously, being an evil atheist, I don’t worship anything.

4) Why am I hypocritical? And please stop lumping me with a group of people. I am my own person.

5) I think all religions and beliefs should be taught to children so they are aware of the differences and the many types of faith. I don’t think any religion should be taught as fact. What’s wrong with that?

6) I’ll admit I’m short-sighted but it’s hardly due to feminism. More likely due to reading too many books. My ‘feminist agenda’ as you call it, started after I thought the Christian religion was a load of bunkum.

7) I have a degree in Ancient and Medieval History and Archaeology. BA Hons. What I learned from that was how much evil was caused by Christianity.

8) I may well grow old and alone if my husband dies before me. I’m unlikely to be miserable and lonely. And it beats the hell out of some sanctimonious prat preaching at me.

9) I have had no abortions, not that it is any of your ****ing business.

10) Your comment about an ‘old shriveled up woman’ is gross and insulting, as are you. As this is Wally’s blog, with whom I have had a respectful engagement, I won’t reply in like tone. Should Wally give me permission to do so, however …

Your comment is also ageist, as well as sexist. I don’t think you are a very good example of your religion. Again, thank you for your, rude, abusive and unwarranted response.

Was that suitably predictable?

Liked by 1 person

So there we go. A great advert for Christianity.

Posted in feminism, Religion | Tagged , , , | 50 Comments

Post Charlie (and feminism?)

What journalist could have heard the news about Charlie Hebdo last week and not felt the following emotions? Shock, empathy, and a reminder that we choose a profession that doesn’t make us popular.

These journalists weren’t in a war zone, or at least not a literal one, they were in an office having an editorial meeting, the same thing done the world over. But because of what they published, the war zone came to them.

(Guardian article with numbers of journalists, killed, imprisoned, and kidnapped 2014)

I was torn between writing an immediate piece, or letting the dust settle and thinking more about the issues.

And indeed, there are a number of issues in what is a very complex situation, that are now coming up in discussion.

Let’s start with what should be an easy one.

Defence of the right to free speech

Free speech is a misnomer to say the least. One of the components of my journalistic training was law, we had to pass qualifying exams of which law was one before we could go on to take our final journalism exam.

One of the reasons for learning law was to learn exactly what you couldn’t write. It may be OK for national tabloids to risk libel cases but your average provincial newspaper isn’t too keen on it. So defamation was a big one. Court rules, what you can and can’t say in court. Privilege. (That’s legal, privilege, not the social type of privilege enjoyed by rich white men for example.) And, at the time, although now superseded, we learned about blasphemy (referring to Christianity of course) and racism. That’s quite a list. Ten years after I started we were also more careful about how we referred to women who chaired meetings. Society changes albeit slowly, and so do our words, our views, and our values.

So, the obvious discussion item here is: Should Charlie Hebdo have initially published—and then continued to publish after receiving threats and direct action—satirical and blasphemous cartoons about Islam?

And, to what extent are western media being balanced and respectful, or, intimidated and manipulated by not reproducing the cartoons when they report the news story? How is the reader expected to make up their own mind with this rigidly imposed self-censorship by important media?

The secular state

France is a secular country, the one that comes first to mind when thinking of Europe. There is no state religion and individuals are free to practise a religion of their choice or no religion. Religion in theory, has no place in public life.

Yet who can forget the headscarf saga that continued for years? Even a couple of years ago, a Sikh was expelled from school for wearing a turban, and the law banning obvious religious clothing has led to a rise in Islamic secondary schools in France.

The UK is described by wiki as being ambiguous in its split between church and state. Religion is still embodied in the constitution via the Queen, but in practice the country is secular.

[Please note, for anyone unaware, America is described as a secular state, in spite of the statements by many Christians that it is a Christian country.]

Shabina Begum

In the UK we had our version of the headscarf debate with Shabina Begum, a schoolgirl in Luton.

In the 2011 census, the Muslim population of Luton was around 25% (up from 15% in 2001). At Shabina’s school, four out of the six parent governors were Muslim, three of the local education authority governors were Muslim, and the Chair of the Luton Council of Mosques was a community governor.

The school uniform offered trousers and skirts, and on top of that, a uniform based on the shalwar kameez with optional headscarf. No tough French rules here, Brits trying to be multi-cultural and inclusive and all that.

Ms Begum wore the shalwar kameez for two years and then demanded to wear a jilbab, a long gown regarded as a more appropriate or stricter (depending on your POV) form of dress that was compliant with Islamic dress under Sharia law. Because, don’t you know, the shalwar kameez was tight fitting and had short sleeves—shock, horror—seductive flesh on display, the shape of a female body implied.

And then began a nice circus, no doubt at vast cost to the British taxpayer. Begum and her supporters issued a judicial review, under of course, the European Human Rights Act.

She lost the case in the High Court, but won at the Court of Appeal, courtesy of Cherie Booth. The school appealed and this went to the House of Lords.

The Law Lords looked at two aspects:

      A person’s right to hold a religious belief was absolute (couldn’t be interfered with)
      A person’s right to manifest it was qualifiable (that right could be interfered with)

Three out of five Law Lords said her rights hadn’t been interfered with while the other two thought they had. But they all agreed that the interference was justifiable, and one of those grounds was to protect the rights of other female students who might be pressured into adopting a more extreme form of Islamic/Sharia dress.

And the bottom line for all of this comes down to should/could/can religious beliefs trump constitutional law?

Does/should religion get special treatment in a secular society? Not just equal treatment, but special treatment? At what point will Sharia law start to gain sway in non-Islamic countries and Muslims will be exempt from secular law of the state? Or has it started in Britain, France, Germany?

On Sharia law, and an increase in Muslim populations, there is an interesting circular that reappears every now and again, allegedly based on a book published in 2010. I’ve added the link to Snopes.

Presumably one could reasonably produce a similar projection based on Christianity, showing the ultimate measures that would be taken by a Christian state. Wouldn’t look much different to me.

Increasing calls for Europe to resist Islamification

One of the clear problems arising from increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe is the rise of right wing politics and the perceived marginalisation of Muslim communities. Boháček has an interesting (short) paper on this on academia.edu, looking at The Impacts of Muslim Immigration on European Politics.

It’s worth a read to look at the different strands: tightening of immigration policies, lack of integration, unemployment, discrimination, cultural differences, and the resultant radicalisation of both Islam in Europe and reactionary politics in the individual countries, especially Britain and France.

On the ground, away from academia, we can see the rising fortunes of the French National Front (again) and the emergence of the UKIP in response to some of these problems.

And the Guardian looks at the background of the three men who carried out the murders, which bears out some of Boháček’s theories.

So whose fault is it?

Those greedy colonialists, that’s who

I read a blog post recently which mentioned the impact of colonialism on Islam, and the author was ripped to shreds by another commenter for her liberal, soft, guilt-ridden apologetic views. I paraphrase, but you get the idea.

Yet, in Boháček’s paper, he mentions the significant change that occurred when Europeans gained the knowledge (and presumably money) to surpass the Middle East economically, technologically and therefore militarily, which was the start of western colonialism.

Western ideals of liberalism and democracy, human rights, equality of citizens (well, unless you are a woman of course) separation of church and state, led to new values across the western—colonial—world.

Living in a previously Moorish part of Europe, Andalucía and Gibraltar, it’s impossible to forget the heritage left by the caliphates and Islamic rule. And the vicious way Los Reyes Católicos, Ferdinand and Isabella, drove out Muslims and Jews and instituted the Auto-da-fé.

They didn’t exactly do a lot for PR with followers of Islam.

No, no, it’s the radical and strict orthodox Muslims, that’s who

This is the opposing point of view, oft touted by fundamental Christians, who deny that Islam is a religion of peace and that Islam has been seeking to conquer and rule non-Muslim countries for the past 1500 years and western civilisation is just rolling over waving their legs in the air.

Here’s a Telegraph article that lays the blame squarely on jihadists.

And the other big issue – should Obama have gone to Paris?

Well it’s nothing to do with America is it, so hell, who cares?

It’s just an attack on western values (not just European ones) and civilisation, and some of those countries in Europe are the first ones rung by America if the US wants a little support in invading here, there and everywhere helping restore human rights and freedom to countries with oil tyrants and despots.

Summary

The indisputable facts from last week’s incidents are:

      Twelve people were killed as part of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, one of whom, with bitter irony, was Muslim, defending the right to free speech
      A policewoman was killed on Thursday
      A police officer on the investigation committed suicide on Thursday
      Four hostages were killed
      A jogger shot on Wednesday night, and badly injured, is thought to have been another of Coulibaly’s victims
      The three murderers/assassins/criminals were killed. The three had criminal records and had known jihad links
      A German newspaper that reprinted a Mohammed cartoon was firebombed early Sunday morning

Other than that, who can clearly state the cause, or the way to prevent future attacks? Certainly not me.

I am left with some conclusions of my own.

Religion is dangerous and used for evil means. That’s nothing new, I worked it out at university. But, while the majority of religious people may be relatively law-abiding and not sign up to murder people in the name of religion, some do.

Religious groups get financial deals (eg tax breaks in various countries, and in the UK 26 seats in the House of Lords), and special treatment. It is increasingly unacceptable to offend someone on the grounds of religion. Why is someone’s belief in a fictitious (TM) entity more important than my personal beliefs? Imagine the fuss if someone had been given a non-kosher or non-halal meal in hospital compared with me complaining about the non-vegan meals I received in hospital (I didn’t complain). Offend someone’s religious beliefs – black marks. Give the wrong meal to a cranky vegan? Unimportant.

Religion gets the kid gloves treatment, and that’s partly also because it is blurred with racism. The majority of Muslims are not white Europeans/Australians/Canadians/Americans. Sure there are some white converts, often young and from other religions. Check out youtube. Depressing in the extreme. Same old story, something lacking, minimum social life, sense of exclusion, ripe for religion.

But why does religion get singled out as a priority for dispensation, respect and tolerance that it doesn’t afford non-believers? Charlie is already getting criticised from non-Muslims for its offensive brand of satire.

Guardian

And, it’s good to see religion joining forces:

In a statement released yesterday headlined “Muslims are right to be angry”, Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, accused Charlie Hebdo of “intolerance” and its journalists’ “disgusting record” of playing a role in causing their own death.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is an influential group in the United States, with a multi-million dollar budget and assets, as well as membership numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

Independent

Can you imagine if Charlie had published anti-feminist cartoons, and those few of us who are feminist had even complained, let alone firebombed the office or killed twelve people because we were offended?

Would anyone have stood up for women or said, Charlie was asking for it by insulting women? which is what is being said now regarding the continued depiction of Mohammed and Islam. One quote in the first Guardian article I quoted above said that was similar to saying women wearing short skirts are asking for it. (Called victim-blaming if you don’t know.)

Or would anyone have said that we should all be less offensive towards women? Because there is as much offence churned out against women every day as there is against Islam.

And, women make up approx 50% of the population. And, what affects women, affects their children and men. Yes honestly, it does.

A report in the NYTimes yesterday looks at some studies that prove women need to keep their mouths shut. Or if they don’t it won’t help them at work. Men, on the other hand, can talk as much as they want. Because, you know, they are just so much smarter.

But if the greater enlightened gender of our species lets us open our mouths or contribute, apparently, better results ensue. Surely not? The studies must be flawed. Popular article though, currently the one most emailed forward. It’s a good insight into the daily discrimination that persists for women and yet, it’s denied, it doesn’t exist. Perhaps one of the most interesting examples is how the number of women musicians hired to orchestras goes up when blind auditions are held. Can’t see whether it’s a man or a woman? Have to decide on skill and ability not gender?

Which brings me onto my last article from CNN, neatly combining terrorism and gender equality.

Even terrorists have fears. And the prospect of gender equality appears to rank high on their list of worst nightmares.
The logic, for them, is simple. Empowered women would never accept the brutal ideology espoused by terrorist leaders as the rule of their land.

Which then, leads me to my nice simplistic proposal:

Stop giving religion special constitutional status. That’s right. It’s no more important than believing in the tooth fairy. And the tooth fairy does a fair swap. If you want to go to your local club to chat about teeth fairies that’s fine, just don’t make everyone else put their teeth under the pillow if they don’t want. We can’t all be bought for sixpence.

Support gender equality, and no, men and women do NOT currently have equal rights. Discrimination continues, blatantly in many societies, less obvious to the casual observer in others. Giving women equality would achieve far more than supporting hocus pocus.

Posted in feminism, journalism, Longreads, news, politics, Religion, War | Tagged | 19 Comments

The golden rule (a top tip)

Or, the golden PR (public relations) rule.

It is very simple.

Do not reply to something that doesn’t merit a reply. It is beneath you. It takes a lot of resolve, but do not get drawn into arguments about something that is basically ill-informed, skewed, inaccurate, insulting, ignorant, or whatever.

So there we have it. Don’t add flames to someone else’s fire :)

Posted in public relations | Tagged | 31 Comments

Hunting (shooting and fishing)

The Ark pointed me towards a rather unpleasant blog post that linked hunting, women and vegetarianism. Sneaky, he knew I would have a view. And I did.

In fact he pointed all his readers towards it as he devoted a blog post to it. Most of his other readers had a view too about hunting and killing animals for fun.

Some years ago (translates to more than ten but less than twenty) we were Hunt Sabs supporters. By which I mean we gave them money every Saturday when they had a stall in the city centre. As a fine upstanding (by which I mean ambitious and career-focused) public servant I did not want to be caught on CCTV giving money to a law-breaking organisation, so Partner handed over the dosh, and I lurked nearby.

My logic was that my money was more use to them than me breaking the law and losing my job. I really didn’t feel like going to gaol. I wanted to pass go and collect £200. And give it to Hunt Sabs.

Continue reading

Posted in animal rights, animals, hunting, vegetarianism, WPlongform | Tagged , , | 30 Comments

Equality – for women? – of course, so long as it suits the men

Civilisation is surely marked by a country that provides a reasonable level of public services? Eg the odd library, art gallery, museum, sports centre?

But no!!!

If you want those you must pay for them yourself.

Education? Unemployment benefit? Affordable housing? A state pension?

No, you should work for all those too. With any luck you will drop dead trying to pay your taxes and fund your life.

Which may or may not include health care.

The big one

Let me be frank. Even more than normal.

I have no time for insurance-based health care. The concept of insurance companies making money out of ill people leaves me, well, sick.

Restrictions on care. Only this service or that. And only three appointments a month. Some time I spent on American forums left me cringing at the limitations on their care. Brits moan about access to cancer drugs, I read about an American woman dying of lung cancer struggling to get any drugs.

No-one, but no-one, should be entitled to make money out of someone’s ill health.

‘Hey roughseas, broke your ankle? Tough shit. Give me ten grand.’ Or whatever.

‘Want a smear? Need one every year mind.’ (And no you do NOT). ‘Oh, but not on this plan.’

‘Mental health appointments? Not included on your plan sweetheart.’

‘No more cancer drugs for you darling, drop dead sooner rather than later.’

With the exception of the first hypothetical scenario, the others are true. And a little internet research shows that my accident would be minimum twenty odd thousand dollars. And then physio?

My internet friends tell me that the concept of universal health care isn’t popular. Why should you pay for my broken ankle? Why should I pay for your kids’ education?

A communal society means we all put in and don’t necessarily take out. Sometimes we do. Maybe disproportionately to our contribution.

But there is something there to help us all. Whether it is affordable housing, unemployment benefits, free education, free parks, libraries, museums, sports centres, and free health care. If you are lucky, maybe a state pension.

The reason for this post however is, a judgement made by the American Supreme Court. Called SCOTUS. A bit like their president is called POTUS. Why do they need to add US on the end?

Anyway, the crux is, because America has the most stupid health care system in the world, some bleaty-arsed firm has objected to providing certain contraception as part of its employee health insurance programme on religious grounds because it is tantamount to abortion.

And the supreme court, upheld the case. Crazy crazy crazy.

Because, if the employer, providing insurance-based health care, doesn’t agree with something on religious grounds, they can default.

Many others have made the arguments about refusing blood transfusions, vaccinations, transplants, using pig derivatives, anything that might be contrary to religious beliefs may follow next.

Or will they?

This is nothing more than a despicable, disgraceful, disgusting attack on women’s rights.

Is there one good reason why a woman shouldn’t use contraception? Oh yes, of course.

Her role in society is to drop kids, left, right and centre and wear herself out and die early in the process.

Who has the right to mandate what a woman should do with her body?

Because, I’m up for mandating what men should do with theirs.

You keep your hands off my body. I’ll leave yours alone. Assuming I even want it. Unlikely.

http://deadwildroses.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/quick-take-on-scotus-ruling/#comments

Posted in feminism, health, Religion | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments