Five years on

me and mum and dad at NMS

It’s five years to the day since my mum was suddenly ripped away from us, just like that, literally overnight. Day before planning holidays with dad, buying new luggage, looking forward to the break, the two of them about to enjoy their retirement together. Next day (or more accurately the small, dark hours of the night) and our world was pulled down around us shattering dad and I. I find it so hard to believe it is five years since I heard my mum’s voice, held her hand, had a kiss and a hug. Time heals all, as the dreadfully banal and bloody meaningless phrase goes. No, it doesn’t, not even close. You don’t get over events like that, ever. You try and get on, every day life – work, bills, illnesses – distract, friends help, my darling kitties were a great morale booster for me when I was in the dark places (alas no more though, all gone too), but it is always at the back of your mind, every single day and always will be.

Been home spending the day with my dear old dad, we took flowers up to mum’s grave, very upsetting for both of us, but we perked up later in the day then on the way to drop me off at the station to go home we visited my cousin’s home deliver chocolate eggs for his adorable girls, and we got plenty of hugs from them and lovely wee handmade Easter cards from the eldest and I felt much better.

Sadly some of that better mood evaporated just five minutes from home when three very young women stopped me in the street wanting to ask me something. I paused assuming they needed directions somewhere but oh no, it was the God-botherer squad asking me about coming to their meeting to accept the love of Jesus into my life. I said no rather curtly and tried to move on only to have them ask again – these idiots are so blinded by how right they and their mission is they can’t accept a no or leave alone (indeed so arrogant they assume it is fine to go up to total strangers about such matters). And my patience snapped and I rounded on them, told them I had just returned from laying flowers on my mother’s grave on the fifth anniversary of her being suddenly taken from us, that she was a believer but their bloody god didn’t seem to care about taking her before her time, so frankly their god, if by some incredibly unlikely eventually he did exist, can kiss my arse because he is clearly a swine and no friend to me.

They started with sorry and we didn’t know sort of lines missing the point – they stop complete strangers in the street and they don’t know what is in that person’s head, they could be approaching someone who is grieving deeply, someone who is devoutly Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or any other faith who would be deeply offended by some 19 year old smilingly telling them why they know better than they what they should believe, they could even be stopping someone who has been abused by a member of the clergy (certainly enough of those) and for whom religious questions bring up dreadful memories. And yet they are so blindly arrogant in their belief and how right they are and that they should tell everyone else that they stop us in the street and even come round uninvited to our homes. I saw them return to the American style church that set near me a few years back, I’ve had these arrogant sods round knocking on all the doors in our blocks with this nonsense too and it never occurs to them they may be wrong, that someone else may know their own mind better. I don’t go into their gathering place to explain why I think their beliefs are silly, or point out that a little historical reading shows many components of their ‘word of god’ were borrowed from other, much older belief systems and that other parts of this supposedly sacred text were edited out in early church history so how can you trust any of it? No, I leave them to it, it’s their lives and beliefs, I have no problem with them pursuing it, but I do object to this blind arrogance that compels them to keep trying to tell others – uninvited and unwanted, I should add – that they should be believing as they.

Normally I just walk away from such idiots, but when they wouldn’t accept no I really couldn’t hold my tongue and frankly I think they deserve someone they stop asking them where the hell their god was when my mum needed him? And unlike me she did believe. Maybe they should consider why good, loving people get taken too early and uncaring, vile people get to live to a ripe old age so often, instead of just spouting what they have been told without actually considering it properly. Then again these evangelicals aren’t much on questioning… I object to these people stopping me in the streets of my own neighbourhood or coming around uninvited to my front door at any time, but today of all days I was in no mood for their unthinking, self righteous fairy tale nonsense. Perhaps those girls will think twice next time they approach someone – should we do it, we don’t know what that person is going through, perhaps we might upset them rather than help them – but I fear they won’t, because they are so sure they are on a sacred mission. And anything they do for that mission that upsets others as they upset me at a very emotional time is okay, they will be forgiven because it was for the Good and therefore they bear no moral responsibility for it.

I did feel like saying this is Easter so why doesn’t your god perform the resurrection miracle once more and give me back my mother, knowing they have no answer to that, but I was tired and upset by them by then and instead I just walked away.

Burning books

I find it highly amusing (in a bitter and dark way) that the same Muslim countries making vociferous complaints against the shagwit bigot preacher Terry Jones and his frankly stupid idea of burning a Qur’an are exclaiming loudly how it is insulting, provocative, derogatory and disrespectful of their culture (which it is) while showing their displeasure by doing what they usually do and burning flags and effigies. Do they see the irony in this? Does it percolate into their equally bigoted minds that perhaps they infuriate other cultures by mass burnings of national flags and effigies of people they’ve been told to hate? Nope, they don’t because like most such idiots (of any type, creed or any other affiliation) they only ever see the other people doing bad things, not them, oh no.

Meanwhile I read that in Edinburgh a group demonstrated outside the US consulate. Now I can understand they are not happy, but I wondered what they thought would be achieved by demonstrating outside the US building? I mean this isn’t an action taken by the US government; in fact government officials have gone out of their way to condemn the 9-11 anniversary book burning as a stupid and disgraceful act and also tried to appeal to the reverend on patriotic grounds, pointing out that his ill advised actions could lead to a groundswell in attacks against US forces overseas. To no avail. So what did the group protesting outside the consulate here expect? “We have asked the American government to arrest this man, he is causing anti-Muslim hatred and I cannot believe nothing has been done,” commented one of the organisers, Mohammed Asif.

Er, what? Rev Jones is clearly a bigot and intent on provoking more relgious hatred and, let’s be honest, anyone who burns books (religious or any other kind) is a barbarian of the first order in my opinion, but while what he’s planning may make him an uncivilised hate-monger he’s not doing anything illegal and he is free to express himself, even if he expresses himself as a totally bigoted arsebag. Guess what, that means you can’t gag him by arresting him. I despise what he is doing but calling for him to be arrested because you dislike his (legal if distasteful) actions is ridiculous – especially coming from a group who have just enjoyed using the freedom of speech of a Western country to stage a peaceful demonstration but seem to think it is okay to ignore someone they disagree with’s rights to freedom of speech and demand their arrest to shut them up. Not an unusual state of affairs when it comes to religious protestors of any type – witness the Christian ones here over the years who demand stage shows or films they dislike are banned or performers or writers arrested, happily invoking the rights to freedom of thought and belief for themselves while finding it so easy to demand its removal from others. Religion. Should be a law against it.

Meanwhile I can’t help but notice that no-one, be it on this militant fuckwit American church side or the usual flag burning Muslim countries side,  has commented on the worst aspect of this whole proposed book burning – I mean, just what is that going to do for their carbon footprint, eh?

I’m thinking the few remaining, book reading, civilised people should have a counter demonstration against both side and wave some oversized copies of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 at these numpties.

Update: as I was posting this news appeared on the BBC that Jones may be calling off his barbaric book burning, although even if he has he’s managed to stir up even more anger and hatred just with the plan of it, not that it takes much to stir up some groups…

C**t of the Day

Shrub Monkey performs an invaluable web service on his blog and Twitter with his Cunt of the Day, selecting a recipient for the not so coveted award on a daily basis, from a field of, let’s be honest, vast numbers of potential candidates. Today’s COTD was Andreas Laun, Roman Catholic archbishop of Salzburg, who declared that the tragic deaths at the recent Love Parade festival in Germany were god’s punishment for a lack of faith. Yes, seriously, this senior office bearer of the religious organisation which has spent decades protecting it’s many kiddy diddling members said that. As Shrub Monkey points out it was bad enough when a religious lunatic in Iran (no shortage of those, obviously) claimed sinful women caused earthquakes (perhaps he misunderstood the term ‘did the earth move for you?’ often used when spending time with such sinful women). But this is a presumably educated man in Western Europe in the 21st century. Yes, I know, as a priest he is more susceptible to be lead by stupid superstitions than most, but even so, Shrub Monkey is bang on, what a cunt, right up there with similar ‘caring’ so-called Christians who made simialr claims about AIDS in the 80s when it was predominantly confined to the gay community and they proclaimed it was god’s judgement.

(apologies for the use of the C word here, but it is the name of the blog and the award, so it kind of has to go in…)

Religious fundamentalists

Anyone who works on a Sunday is making a mockery of God and His laws, but God says He will not be mocked. He has power to sink a Sunday ferry.” No, this isn’t some Islamic fundamentalist but some religious idiot on the isle of Lewis. His ire raised by new Sunday sailings which has outraged the bigoted, blinkered, backward, intolerant Wee Free ultra devout Christians there. These guys take Sunday so seriously the men often won’t shave before church because that is work. And like most seriously hardcore religious freaks of any persuasion they think this gives them the right to dictate how others should also live. Now I make no bones about it, in my opinion these people are fucking idiots and bigots to boot – this is the same splinter from the Church of Scotland who are so against Catholics, for instance, that when a member who was also a government minister attended the funeral of a friend and colleague who just happened to be Catholic he was ejected from the church and not allowed to return. That’s the sort of folks we’re talking about – and of course all draped in a holier than thou attitude.

Now much as I ridicule these throwbacks – and I think they richly deserve ridicule – I do still hold that they are free to follow their religious beliefs as are all people. But not to inflict their own rules on everyone else. You object to work on Sundays? Fine – no-one is asking you to use the bloody ferry service. But others in the region do want to use it, that’s why they have been campaigning for years to have it. Civilised people are meant to live and let live, so logic dictates those who don’t want to use it because of their convictions should not use it and those who are not hampered by ancient superstitions interpreted by incredibly dour old joyless bastards should be free to use it and not be told by those self same, self important twonks what they can and cannot do.

And as for that quote at the start – well the first ferry had mechanical problems so of course these superstitious old fools claim Divine providence. Yeah, I’m sure god has nothing better to do with her time than make a ferry engine in Scotland break down. If that’s god’s will does that mean it was god’s will that French aircraft should crash a few weeks ago? If so then that’s a pretty screwed up person. And note the language – not enough it broke down, he seems to be eager for his little god to rise up in wrath against the infidels and drown them. Now if a Muslim wrote that he’d end up in Belmarsh under the anti-terror laws. An ultra Christian on Lewis gets to have that published in the paper. Those are the sorts of people I’m ridiculing and they damned well deserve it for spouting intolerance, bigotry and even threats of divine violence against anyone (which is most people) who don’t subscribe to their narrow minded views. And they will cloak themselves in that tired, tattered old cloak of Respectablity and Religious Belief as if they are somehow noble. We need to get Wicker Man on some of these joyless buggers.

Creationist whackos get science teacher fired

Yup, once more the intellectually feeble throwbacks who constantly espouse ‘intelligent design’ (which is basically the utterly discredited Creationism dressed up in laughably bad science clothes) have made a move to decrease the IQ of the world a bit more: they used a flimsy excuse to get a science education officer in Texas fired. Christine Castillo Comer’s crime? She forwarded an email as an FYI which she had received from one science educational professional to some interested groups about a talk by an author in the area, an author who has looked into the fake ‘science’ these Intelligent Design wankers keep trying to sneak into school curriculums while also trying to have evolutionary teaching curtailed (no, they haven’t realised the 19th century is over).

Her boss’s boss dropped her in it claiming simply forwarding this message was tantamount to the education board endorsing it, which is ridiculous since she didn’t express an opinion, simply passed on details of a scientific talk to science professionals. Besides which anyone who works for a government department or large corporation knows full well their emails are usually issued under a ‘the ideas expressed in this email do not necessarily promote the ideals of the blankety blank department’. Interestingly enough this boss is a political appointee – a Bush-loving one. And the head of the board openly endorses Creationist nonsense and talks yet hangs out one of his science professionals for simply passing on details of a talk involving scientific matters to other scientific professionals.

Sadly this sort of attack on actually using our brains to logically interpret massive amounts of careful scientific date amassed over many decades by many people from paleontologists to genetic researchers is not confined to a few religious crackpots in Jesusland (as Richard Morgan terms the Texas area in his recent novel Black Man) since there have been attempts to push this nonsense in schools in the UK too. This really does infuriate me – NPR has a radio interview with Christine on their site and the whole thing stinks of a political-religious set-up for these right wing fundamentalist eejits to shove someone out the way so they can then install a new person who will agree with their retarded ideology. And if you are a Creationist don’t bother explaining to me why your view point is valid, because it just isn’t. You’re entitled to hold your view but please feck off and don’t inflict it on others much less try to infect schoolkids with your idiocy. If you believe this crap you are an anti-intellectual moron brain-washed by fundamentalists who like using their religion as a way to gain more control over people and what they can say or think – and that’s the nub of it, these idiots don’t just believe this fairy tale nonsense themselves, they demand it be taught to the rest of us. Thankfully the few attempts here have been laughed at in much the same way as trying to each that the Earth is flat would be, but these idiots keep trying… (link via Boing Boing)

What’s in a name?

Dammit, after the frankly smegging stupid nonsense the Sudanese authorities have made out of a teddy bear being called Muhammad I have decided reluctantly to abandon my latest get-rich-quick scheme, marketing a range of Muhammad action figures (which would have come complete with accessories, such as a stick for beating shameless women who dare to show their eyes in public and a batch of Danish cartoons to burn). Oh well, back to the drawing board… Seriously though, getting so bloody worked up over schoolkids naming a bloody teddy bear??? Come on, get real you stupid buggers – how weak must your faith be if you think a teddy bear is such a huge threat to it?

Tutu attacks homophobia in the C of E

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has attacked the homophobic stance of much of the Church of England (and rather a lot of other organisations which supposedly believe in loving your brother) and the Archbishop of Cantebury for being so bloody wooly and weak on the subject. He also, rather sensibly, I thought, pointed out that the church leaders seem preoccupied with the issue of gay Christians and gay clergy when frankly there were far more important matters they damned well should be thinking about: “Our world is facing problems – poverty, HIV and Aids – a devastating pandemic, and conflict. God must be weeping looking at some of the atrocities that we commit against one another. In the face of all of that, our Church, especially the Anglican Church, at this time is almost obsessed with questions of human sexuality… If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn’t worship that God.”

Thank goodness there are at least some folks looking at this debate with some sensibility and sensitivity – then again, I’m sure Tutu has first hand experience of what it is like to have a large organisation discriminating against you because you might be ‘different’ from them. You have to wonder that this sort of point even has to be made in this day and age, let alone among clergy of a religion supposedly about peace and love, but then again plenty of them are still narked about female clergy. Get over yourselves, we have enough uneducated bigots spewing hate against different sexualities, colours, nationalities or religions as it is without supposedly educated church ministers adding to it. If it isn’t okay to discriminate against someone on grounds of skin colour – something most of us take as gospel – then how can it be okay to discriminate on any other grounds without making yourself a hypocrite?

Looney Tunes Bishop – condoms are deliberately infected with HIV

There has been a huge amount of highly dangerous bullshit from the Catholic church, especially in the developing world, over the use of condoms to try and stem the high levels of HIV infections. Despite the vast numbers of people infected they continue not only to oppose the use of prophylactics but stories abound of certain church groups and even charities doing their best to stop locals using them, knowing full well that it will fuel further infection, because of fixed views on birth control laid down by a bunch of eejits in a male-only club who never have sex themselves (except sometimes with young altar boys, of course). Now Archbishop Francisco Chimoio, head of the Catholic church in Mozambique is claiming that condoms shouldn’t be used because certain un-named European countries deliberately infect some condoms with the HIV virus to wipe out Africans. No, I’m not joking, that’s what this crazy fuckwit actually said.

Africans are doing a pretty good job in spreading the infection without any conspiracy theory like this being used, an infection rate boosted by the retarded stance of the (supposedly) celibate male priests of the church, yet here is this hypocritical bugger claiming it is the fault of shady, un-named countries. So he gets to scare people into doing what he wants them to do, knowing full well that he is leaving them exposed to a greater likelihood of infection as a result and manages to blame someone else at the same time and pretend he’s doing the Lord’s Will, so it is all okay then. Almost Machiavellian in one aspect, atrocious, irresponsible and diabolically irresponsible in all other aspects. Then again if you follow rules on sexual matters from a bunch of celibate old men who are mortally terrified of women then you’re a fucking idiot and probably too stupid to live, so go ahead, follow his advice and end up winning yourself a Darwin award.

Following the Biblical rules

Kevin Kelly has some of a Newsweek interview with a man who spent a year trying to follow some seven hundred rules he found in the Bible. I’ve made the contempt I feel for organised religion in general and those shagwits who persist in applying literal belief to scriptures in particular many times, but this was still pretty interesting stuff. (link via Boing Boing)

My sweet Lord

Christians in the US are pissed off (again), this time about a six foot sculpture of Jesus on the cross made out of milk chocolate. Presumably they would be even more offended if it was made from dark chocolate. I find it highly amusing that the Catholic church is especially offended by the idea of a sweet chocolate Jesus you can eat, since the centre of their faith is transubstantiation, where they believe literally – not symbolically, but literally – that the communion wafer and wine become the real body of Jesus as is it administered to the faithful. So why the problem with a choccy Jesus? Surely it would tastes better than a dry wafer?!?! I think the Catholic church in American should bless the statue, then when the gallery show ends they take the now consecrated choccy saviour, have a special mass and eat it!

Before believers start condemning me to the recently re-stoked fires of Hell that the Popenfurher was blistering on about like some medieval idiot last week, think about it, I am just trying to help. The church is always complaining they can’t attract new people, especially younger folks, to services, so surely a consecrated chocolate Jesus is just the thing? I mean you ain’t gonna win friends with crap wine and dry wafer! If you went to a friend’s soiree and all they offered was piss-poor wine and dry wafers you’d think they were a lousy host, so why is the Holy Host so bad? Come on, at least offer some dip with those wafers! Hey, Father, can I have some gaucamole or spicy bean pate to go with the Host, please? And what about a nice Shiraz to wash it down with? I mean, really, make a bloody effort! “oh, monsignor, with this ferrero rocher Jesus you are really spoiling us!”

Make believers

I came across this article the other day because of its mention of Jedis – it proves to be the most hilariously stupid and self-contradicting piece I’ve read all week. Don Walton, an evangelical Christian minister attacking others for their ridiculous ‘made up’ beliefs:

“In this day of rampant relativism, when everyone is encouraged to make up their own truth and no one is permitted to criticize another’s concocted convictions, feelings have replaced facts as the foundation of faith. In other words, whatever you feel good about believing is “truth” enough, regardless of whether or not it flies in the face of facts and logic. Everyone is now free to make up their own beliefs, as well as their own “facts” in support of them. Consequently, today’s world is becoming increasingly populated by “make-believers”; that is, people who believe what they or others have made-up. On the other hand, real believers — people who believe in real things — are becoming increasingly scarce.”

What he was talking about was the SF fans in Britain who put ‘Jedi’ down on the last national census for the part asking about religious affiliation, as well as having a snigger at Tom Cruise and the Scientology malarkey thought up by a second rate SF writer. He totally misses the point that most fans in the UK put ‘Jedi’ on their census because it was a joke – it went round the web as a suggestion before the census and many fans put it on because if a certain amount of respondents had that the government statistics folks have to create an official category for it in the records (which doesn’t make it an officially recognised religion able to make charity status for tax relief etc, just makes it funny because the grey suits in the statistic departments of government have to add ‘Jedi’ in as a category in official figures). So he starts from a flawed basis and displays not only ignorance of what he is talking about but also a lack of understanding of the humour fans were showing by making this their answer on their census forms (yeah, Don, it was a joke – most Brit Star Wars fans aren’t seriously devoted to the Jedi belief system).

Now as for having a dig at the Scientologists, fair enough, they and their celebrity adherents do rather set themselves up as easy targets and it doesn’t help that L Ron Hubbard just made it all up a few decades ago (Larry Niven took the mickey out of this in Inferno, his take on Dante in which he has an SF author go to Hell after dying at a convention; he is sentenced to Hell for the blasphemy of making up his own religion. It’s a hilarious read). But whacky as Scientology seems to me I don’t see anything weirder in it than believing in Virgin births, resurrecting the dead, burning bushes, women being turned into pillars of salt, humans being made out of dust (or a rib for that matter).

And I love the way he talks about ‘real’ believers and ‘make believers’ and how the former have religion based on logic and facts! I mean come on, are you at all familiar with the concept of irony, Don? Your religious cult differs in no way from these others you are bashing – it recognises no logic and picks and chooses what ‘facts’ it will accept and which it will ignore, even in the face of overwhelming evidence (like, for example, the evolution subject, where many of your fellow believers choose which ‘facts’ make them feel good – so much for logic and truth) so for an evangelist to invoke ‘facts’ and ‘logic’ is laughable and exposes your system for the ridicule it richly deserves. But you did make me laugh with your ignorant and self-contradictory statements (bit like the Old and New Testaments now I come to think of it, never seem to be very compatible). Just a shame some weak-minded numpties unable to think for themselves will blindly believe you and go along with what you say. Oh and one more thing, but after seeing your picture on this article I can only add “should have gone to spec savers.”

Christian bigots

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor (well, he’d be hard pushed to be a Calvinist minister with a name like that, really, wouldn’t he?), head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales is demanding that legislation which makes it illegal to discriminate against gays is not applied to church organisations, a law which makes it a crime for people like the narrow minded B&B owner who refused to give a double room to a gay couple to do so again, just as it is illegal for businesses, organisations or public services to discriminate against people on grounds of colour, ethnicity or religion. In fact new laws are going alongside this to ensure equality protection for Catholics, ironically, while the head Catholic demands the right for the church organisations to be exempted and practise bigotry. Specifically he is threatening to close down the successful Catholic-run adoption service if the law goes through without an exemption because they will not want to give a child to a gay couple to adopt.

There are two huge things wrong with this request. First of all, the minute we start making exemptions for one law like this for one religious cult (and all organised religions are by definition cults, be they tiny fringe groups or huge ones like the RC church) then we open the floodgates for a slew of religious groups and others to demand they are allowed to pick and choose what they want to follow, which is useless. This is one of the reasons we base law on reason today and not on religious dogma, as most civilised countries do. The second is simple and plain bigotry – I don’t care how much the Cardinal and his chums say it isn’t, it bloody well is, they are bigoted bastards and that’s it. If an ultra protestant or Muslim adoption agency refused to let Catholic couples adopt the Cardinal would (rightly) kick up a stink. And the fact he is prepared to shut down the agencies rather than comply with the law, in other words to put his prejudices ahead of the kids needing new homes shows that his argument that they are principally interested in the welfare of the children is utter hypocrisy. Imagine a man in charge of an organisation run entirely by men who dress in what looks like dresses and have a reputation for interfering with choir boys being worried about placing kids with gay couples, what a nerve…