Quote of the day

Posted in Humor with tags , on September 24, 2008 by St. Bastard

This one-liner from vjack of Atheist Revolution made me laugh out loud, literally. RIght at my desk, too. Thanks for that one, vjack!

On the other hand, you are right to ask for considerable evidence to support my claim that a supernatural being punishes sinners with hurricanes while rewarding homophobia with Republican votes. (source)

Well played!

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Atheism in politics

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on September 24, 2008 by St. Bastard

Thanks the excellent Google news alerts service, I get emails containing links to news articles that hold a special interest to me. One of those is articles reating to atheism and secularism. Before I get to the point of this article, let me give a word of advice to other bloggers: this service is a great way to target articles of interest without having to actively search or poach from other blogs or Fark.

One of the articles sent to me today is on secularism, atheism, and politics: On Secularism and Politics, by Rob Breakenridge. In this article, Rob wites on theism, atheism, and secularisms place in politics and makes a few good point, but reaches a faulty conclusion. Some key excerpts:

Secularism is the principle that there be no religious test for public office. Beliefs about first and last things, and religious worship, are private choices in which the state has absolutely no legitimate role.

Atheism is a private belief, and one I hold; it is not a position that should occupy civic space, any more than should the monotheistic religions.

The cause of secularism is politically vital. But there is no political case for atheism.

All of this is absolutely true. I wouldn’t appreciate an atheist congressman using his office to promote atheism any more than I appreciate people like Bush or (if things go terribly wrong in November) Palin legislating their religion. It is simply not the place for it, and it wastes my time and my tax dollars. We pay these people to run our country, no to use their office as a soapbox for their religious or irreligious beliefs. However, I think Breakenridge is overlooking the strong ties between atheists and secularism when he says:

I do not wish to see, and will not sign up to, an organised interest group of atheists, because atheism is a private belief, of no civic significance.

Yes, atheism is a private belief, but who is out there with the strongest voice supporting secularism? Focus on the Family? The Discovery Institute? No, it’s groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and Americans United for Separation of Church and State; two groups founded by, run by, and supported by primely atheists. These are atheist groups, make no mistake about it, and that makes them atheist lobbyists. I’m glad they are out there, and I’m completely unsurprised that these atheist groups are able to promote secularism without allowing their beliefs on religion to get in the way.

So, opposite of Rob Breakenridge’s views, I say “Bring ’em on!” We need more atheists fighting for secularism. So few theists are.

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Clifton Hall haunting: part 2

Posted in Paranormal with tags , , on September 23, 2008 by St. Bastard

I’m getting a lot of traffic on the previous post on Anwar Rashid and the “haunting” at Clifton Hall. The comments that I’m getting on that post shows a bewildering ignorance on what kind of site this is, so let me break it down:

THIS IS A SKEPTICS SITE AND WE DON’T BELIEVE IN GHOSTS, SPOOKS, OR SPECTRES HERE!

Got it? I had thought that the mocking “video” of Mr. Rashid being attacked by ghosts actually being an animated gif of fucking Pac-man might have given that impression. Apparently, I am being too kind to certain thick-headed people. Listen, folks, context clues are not exactly an obscure literary convention. Please learn to target and make use of them!

Another note: I don’t know how to contact Mr. Rashid. I just wanted to mock a guy who gave up a multi-million dollar mansion because of Inky, Binky, Pinky, and Clyde. I would also like to say that if I did know Mr. Rashid, I would help him by engaging the aid of a therapist and a sound accountant, not psychics, dowsers, ghostbusters, or any of that rabble.

I hope I have made myself perfectly clear.

Islamic Human Rights

Posted in Human Rights with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by St. Bastard

Is there a more self-contradictory phrase? Let’s take a look at some of the egregious violations of humans rights that have been executed under this draconian, pre-Enlightenment philosophy.

  1. Honor killings – you’d have to have your head stuck in the sand to have not seen a story about
    some Islamic father/brother/<insert male noun here> that has brutally murdered some oppressed woman in the name of Allah.
  2. How about women’s rights in general?
  3. Threats of prison and torture for an elderly British teacher that named a teddy bear after a student whose name happened to be Mohammed. I’m not making this up.
  4. Let’s not forget beheadings.
  5. Or the worst terror attack on U.S. soil ever, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.

There’s more out there, but it’s tough to look at all those links without feeling a little nauseous, so I’ll spare you. Islam recently came to the UN Human Rights council with a request for help: they didn’t want Islam to be criticized during debate. Self-serving, eh? I guess starvation, poverty, and disease are nothing compared to the easily fractured ego of Allah!

You may be surprised to hear that Islam is continuing it’s selfish and infantile crusade for their version of human rights by proposing the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. Pitched (in my head, it’s by that merchant at the beginning of Disney’s Aladdin), as an addendum to the laudable Universal Declaration of Human Rights, accepted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.

Austin Dacey and Colin Koprosky have a breakdown of the Islamic Declaration that shines a light on it’s manipulative, deceitful, and anti-human-rights nature. I’ll give an example from the Dacey and Koprosky
article that describes the use of false Arabic-to-English translation to hide the references to sharia law and binds non-Muslims to it:

English: Every person has the right to express his thoughts and beliefs so long as he remains within the limits prescribed by the Law. No one, however, is entitled to disseminate falsehood or to circulate reports that may outrage public decency, or to indulge in slander, innuendo, or to cast defamatory aspersions on other persons.

Arabic: Everyone may think, believe and express his ideas and beliefs without interference or opposition from anyone as long as he obeys the limits [hudud] set by the shari’ah. It is not permitted to spread falsehood [al-batil] or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination [al-fahisha] or forsaking the Islamic community [takhdhil li’l-umma].

The English version reads as an innocuous restatement of well-established norms, embracing rights to speech and generally accepted limits involving slander and libel. In its original Arabic, however, this article demonstrates a clear religious test for speech: one may not express oneself where limits are set by Islamic law, and one must not “encourage abomination” or “forsake” the Islamic community. (Emphasis mine)

Considering the monstrous violation of human rights mentioned above, why does Islam even have the ear of the Human Rights Council? Did they really think that they could slide through legislation that makes all UN members susceptible to victimization under sharia law? We’ve all heard that Muslims want sharia for them selves in countries that they have emigrated to, but this is the first time I’ve seen them try this kind of deceit to trick us all into following their thuggish code.

The Human Rights Council should laugh this drivel off the floor, and the UN should take the first step in telling Islam that they have to evolve their society into one that follows current human rights laws before they get to try to enact any.

(h/t to Pharyngula for the link and providing me with some morning rage)

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Join the Atheist Blogroll

Posted in Blog with tags on September 23, 2008 by St. Bastard

I have been added to Mojoey’s Atheist Blogroll. The link has been added to the right. There’s some great blogs listed there so visit it often, try something new, and add them to your feedreaders! While you’re at it, add me as well!

Finally, a payoff

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on September 22, 2008 by St. Bastard

I joined a ultra right-wing Christian news service. Have I gone mad? Possibly, but not for the reasons that you think. I joined OneNewsNow to keep tabs on these nuts as an afterthought while I was using their automatic email service, intended to send Christian hatemail to Hallmark for showing love to the GLBT community, to send Hallmark a thumbs-up for starting to carry gay marriage/civil union cards.

Since then, my mailbox has been assailed with all manner of trivial garbage, but today, this headline cought my eye:

Biden ‘honored’ to speak at pro-homosexual gala

From this article are two hilarious quotes, and one not-quite-infuriating one. Let’s do funny first, shall we? Peter LaBarbera, founder of Republicans for Family Values (probably not Larry Craig or Ted Haggard fans) has this to say:

“I think the Democratic Party has sold its soul to the radical homosexual lobby,”

Radical? Why am I picturing a bunch of gay Ninja Turtles eating pizza and making closed-door deals with the Democrats? Now we know why Donatello wore purple!

Another idiot… no, wait, LaBarbera again says the Democrats:

“are now fully in bed with the homosexual activist lobby.”

So, now the gay Ninja Turtle lobbyists are having (assumingly) premarital or extramarital relations with the Democrats! Tortopedobestiolobbying is the new fad. Sounds like it would be a kinky, repressed Republican thing!

If you read the article, you may have by now divined which quote is angering, if not entirely infuriating.

The pro-family activist points out that Senator Barack Obama (D-Illinois) is the most pro-abortion and pro-homosexual candidate ever to receive a major party’s presidential nomination.

LaBarbera again… sigh. I have never heard of anyone who is pro-abortion. Pro-choice? Yes. Pro-abortion? No. I have had two children and no one, when I told them the news said, “Hey, congrats! Have you considered an abortion? They’re neat!”

There’s a world of difference between pro-choice and pro-abortion. In one, you value the life of a thinking, feeling woman over the life of a bundle of cells, in the other you walk around with a glitter-decorated coat hanger, just in case. This is an example of one of the things I hate most in politics, which is spin in order to demonize your opponent. You see it every time someone talks of kool-aid, rethuglicans, wingnuts, moonbats, or any of that shit. It’s a way to avoid debate by denigrating who would be your opponent. Don’t have a good argument? Compare your opponent to Hitler and you don’t need one!

But, I digress. I hope to see more stupidity from this mailing list in the future. I somehow doubt I’ll be disappointed.

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Millionaire flees haunted mansion

Posted in Paranormal with tags , , on September 22, 2008 by St. Bastard

Anwar Rashid and family fled Clifton Hall, their home for 8 months, and handed it back to the bank because of ghosts. The young family experienced such horrors as tapping, voices, red stains, and ghosts actually taking the forms of their children.

Now, I know what you’re going to say, the taps are the house settling, the voices were people talking or a radio or TV, the red stains were cranberry juice, and the specters taking the form of their children were actually their kids.

However, I was able to find actual video recorded in their mansion of a ghost actually attacking Mr. Rashid. Video is after the break.

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