Pharyngula

Injustices and ironies

Allow me to purge a few interesting stories from my mailbag:

  • Keshia Canter was working the drive-up window at a burger joint when a sanctimonious customer handed her a pamphlet.

    Scripture tells us that when a man looks on a woman to lust for her he has already committed adultery in his heart. If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin. By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?

    To answer the question, yes. Yes we can. If a woman walks in front of me stark naked, and I rape her, it is entirely my fault. I have will and a desire to treat people fairly, and no amount of sexual provocation justifies violence and abuse.

    This particular attitude is another reason to throw “scripture” in the trash.

  • In a scenario that plays out all the time, a student at a private Christian school was outed as gay. The kid was ordered to the school office and summarily kicked out.

    There is a poll with this story, asking whether the school can kick students out for their sexual orientation. If it’s a private school, yes they can — it’s a silly question. The only answer, of course, is simply to never send your kids to private religious schools. You should recognize the problem with a school established to promote superstition anyway.

    Unfortunately, that isn’t all there is to the story. The parents are religious morons, and instead of loving their child for who he is, they want him to “repent” and plan to send him to a church “cure”.

    You can choose your school, but you’re stuck with the parents you get. Isn’t that a shame?

  • There is an airport in Liverpool named after John Lennon, which is nice. Not so nice is the fact that the UK has a law, the Crime and Disorder Act, which apparently makes religious irreverence illegal — which ought to mean John Lennon is illegal, too. Anyway, Harry Taylor left some cartoons mocking religion at the airport, and then

    The leaflets were discovered by Nicky Lees, the airport chaplain, who told the court she felt “deeply offended and insulted” by their contents.

    She has a right to be offended. Being offended does not justify what happened next: Taylor was arrested and charged with three counts of “religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress”. I guess you can offend atheists in Great Britain, but offend a chaplain, and you’ll find yourself in court.

    Good one, UK. You’ve got insane libel laws, and now it turns out you provide special privileges to shamans, too.

  • I suppose it’s not fair to pick on the English when we’ve got our share of idiots in Minnesota. Our governor, Tim Pawlenty, has been trying to destroy something called General Assistance Medical Care, which provides support for 30,000 of the poorest people in the state (of course — he’s a Republican!) Among the many inane excuses Pawlenty gives us that the state of our citizens is God’s will (of course — he’s a Republican!). Seriously. He’s making it an important principle of his administration.

    One of the first principles that we should turn to always, and remember, is that God is in charge.

    Now here’s the ironic part. Many religious leaders are opposing Pawlenty’s heartless campaign, and I commend them for it. Keep fighting for the poor — I would have thought that that was an important principle in Christianity. However, this reason, from Lutheran pastor Grant Stevenson, is ridiculous:

    Governor, please stop talking to us about God. The governor is going around saying, ‘God is in control.’ We elected you to be making decisions for this state that will help everyone in this state. Things that will lift up the poorest in this state. Don’t pass this off on God. That’s no God we’ve ever heard of. And please stop lecturing us about God. It’s offensive.

    All right, pastor, come down from that pulpit. You lecture your flock every week about God, and you have no better knowledge of that imaginary being’s will than does Governor Pawlenty.

Comments

  1. #1 Chris Hegarty
    March 4, 2010

    It’s always bittersweet to know that there are people around the world who are as stupid as the government in Indiana.

  2. #2 Juliana
    March 4, 2010

    “The leaflets were discovered by Nicky Lees, the airport chaplain…”
    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?
    An airport just need a chaplain?

  3. #3 Grewgills
    March 4, 2010

    All right, pastor, come down from that pulpit. You lecture your flock every week about God, and you have no better knowledge of that imaginary being’s will than does Governor Pawlenty.

    His comment seems entirely reasonable. If he were paid to lecture to his congregants about sock gnomes and castigated Pawlenty for speaking for sock gnomes in his position as governor it would also be fine. He is paid by the people he lectures about god to lecture to them about god, Pawlenty is not and that is the pertinent point.

  4. #4 https://me.yahoo.com/a/DhjBEuJ8pt63x6eBKuPx0Jv9_QE-#7c327
    March 4, 2010

    Wait a minute. Pawlenty is the governor. Doesn’t that mean HE’S in charge?
    He shouldn’t get away with trying to shove off his workload off on his imaginary friend.

  5. #5 Zifnab
    March 4, 2010

    All right, pastor, come down from that pulpit. You lecture your flock every week about God, and you have no better knowledge of that imaginary being’s will than does Governor Pawlenty.

    That’s hardly fair. If you don’t acknowledge God as existing, then the entire argument that anyone knows what “God is thinking” is moot.

    The pastor does, however, know the tenants of his own religion. And since his religion is generally considered to be operating under the will of God, the two are interchangeable.

    As for the John Lenin airport thing, it’s sad that we’re watching this go to court, but I’d hold out judgment until we see how the court rules. Frankly, any sane legal system would have dismissed this “crime” on its face. But perhaps this will at least put down a precedent that spares future atheist prostalization from discrimination.

  6. #6 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    Here’s the thing, PZ. God is people. Its people’s longings, peoples striving, peoples ideas.

    Dunno if God is adapted or a spandrel. I think you fall into the spandrel camp.

    Either way, people created God. Perhaps they dont need it, but they seem to like it.

    And so, when you rail against God, you’re railing against people — The flock every bit as much as the shepherd.

    Yes, you hate that people are lied to and manipulated in the name of God. Me too. People are lied to and manipulated in the name of many things. It was ever thus.

    But thinking that if you can just ‘cure’ people by way of reason, all will be well, is a laugher. Could be dangerous too. Best to encourage the best in God and the Godly. This preacher doesnt sound too bad.

  7. #7 SC OM
    March 4, 2010

    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?

    Really. Sadly, when I read this I took no note of how strange that is.

  8. #8 Glen Davidson
    March 4, 2010

    Oh come off it, PZ. You sometimes say what Christianity is “supposed to be about,” like in this post:

    Keep fighting for the poor ? I would have thought that that was an important principle in Christianity.

    Stevenson didn’t say anything very different from what you did, and he at least has the excuse of (apparently) believing in Xianity.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  9. #9 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2010

    Here’s the thing, PZ: murder is people…

  10. #10 Gus Snarp
    March 4, 2010

    Is it better if I say what the pastor said to the Governor? Because I don’t believe that god exists, but I agree one hundred percent with those words (except I can think of a few gods who might not mind if the poor suffer, but therein lies the problem with making your decisions based on your idea of what god wants – the next guy’s god is going to want something completely different, even if he calls it the same name and sits in the pew next to you to pray to it.

  11. #11 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Religion fosters bigotry, fear, hatred, ignorance and entitlement… news at 11…

  12. #12 daveau
    March 4, 2010

    One of the first principles that we should turn to always, and remember, is that God is in charge.

    I thought Alexander Haig was in charge…

    The common thread is that every one of these people take their superstitions seriously. They’re all wrong.

  13. #13 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —Here’s the thing, PZ: murder is people…

    spoken like a clear-eyed realist. Nice to meet you.

  14. #14 Carlie
    March 4, 2010

    I’d buy that last pastor a beverage of his choice, and maybe even a cookie. I’m all for the moderates sticking it to the fundamentalists/overly publicly pious.

  15. #15 PZ Myers
    March 4, 2010

    People are people. You want to justify caring for the poor? Do it on the basis of the demonstrable fact that they are human beings, not on your imaginary conversations with a man in the sky.

    Stevenson said something very different from what I ever would. I would not ever argue that my suggestions for public policy should be followed because I have more authority with a ghost in the sky.

  16. #16 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    And so, when you rail against God, you’re railing against people

    Reading comprehension fail. PZ has never railed against god, as one can not rail against something that one doesn’t believe exists. You are absolutely right, though… PZ is railing against people… people who continue to push the idea that god exists and that we must bow to the whims and wishes of those who claim to speak for him. And rightfully so.

  17. #17 DaveDodo007
    March 4, 2010

    John ‘Lenin’ airport thing.

    I know were a bunch of lefties in Liverpool but John Lenin, Come on.

  18. #18 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Soylent Green is people.

  19. #19 Moggie
    March 4, 2010

    #2:

    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?

    A protection racket? “Nice airport you’ve got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it. You know: smitings… acts of God, if you get my drift. I think I can help you with that”.

  20. #20 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2010

    Spoken like a clear-eyed realist…

    Spoken like a really bad gardener…

    I mean, fuck, there’ll always be weeds. Why pull ‘em?

    And hey, you could patch the roof, but fuck, it’s just gonna spring another leak eventually, anyway… Why would you bother?

    We could try to talk people out of following astrology, I guess. But some idiot always will, anyway…. Give that up, too, then…

    Vaccinations. Don’t get me started. They save a few lives, sure… But bugs mutate… Sometimes it doesn’t take. Someone’s still gonna die… What can ya do?

    And get up in the morning? What? Why?

    (/I mean, fuck it. You’re just gonna die eventually anyway…)

  21. #21 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?

    I’d be curious to know if “Airport chaplain”, IOW, an official position and religious representative of the airport, is really correct, or if it should have been worded “chaplain at the airport”, as in the highest religious official in a chapel that happens to reside in the airport…

    The wording would make a huge difference to me as to how I would read it…

  22. #22 vanharris
    March 4, 2010

    I hope that Harry Taylor is found not guilty by the jury.

    I leave the following verse in cathedrals and churches in the UK, on their noticeboards, so i guess i’m as guilty, or innocent, as Harry Taylor.

    TRUE RELIGION

    The Christian?s Jehovah is God Almighty,
    a cantankerous sod, vain and flighty
    and, insofar as I?m able to tell,
    the Christian, often, is as well.

    He?s confused with doctrines hard to see,
    that three is one, yet one is three,
    of heavenly father, son, and holy ghost,
    when surely a mother is needed most?
    If god?s omniscient, omnipotent, just and beneficent,
    then how come evil is so god-damned prevalent?

    The Jew?s Yahweh is a wrathful old jerk,
    setting strict rules on when to work,
    how to dress, and what to eat and sip,
    and giving baby boys the snip.
    Myths of Bronze Age, Mesopotamian nomads
    metaphorically get ?em, by the gonads.

    The Moslem?s Allah is a fierce great djinn,
    Submission?s the name of his religion.
    Apostasy?s treated just like a crime;
    they?ll threaten to kill you, to keep you in line.
    The religion of peace is what they call it,
    with warfare & terror, they zealously enforce it.

    Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain,
    Wiccan, Taoist, and the Born-Again,
    those of each and every religion,
    are mired in stupid superstition.

    I await the jury’s decision with interest.

  23. #23 Marcus
    March 4, 2010

    I was brought up in Liverpool and was enormously proud that the airport was named after John Lennon. And as an atheist I was particularly delighted that above a statue of John which stands in the airport the authorities (presumably the same ones who employ the bloody chaplain) put the words ‘Above us only sky’.

    I hope the god-bothering nutjob walks past that line 100 times a day and it gets to him each and every time!

  24. #24 cnocspeireag
    March 4, 2010

    It seems that the poor guy was convicted today. The report I read said all twelve members of the jury swore on the bible, which presumably means that they were all members of the complainants cult. These fine upstanding members of society flexed their titanic intellects for fully fifteen minutes considering the facts of the case before bringing in a guilty verdict, which will presumably be used as some sort of precedent in the interpretation of an appallingly drafted law.

  25. #25 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    So is our dumbfuck libertarian mfd512 an apologist for genocide?

  26. #26 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    Genocide has happened in the name of God, and without his name.

    People committed genocide, and I’ll bet it will happen again.

    Thus, I suspect getting rid of God will not get rid of genocide.

  27. #27 alysonmiers
    March 4, 2010

    To answer the question, yes. Yes we can. If a woman walks in front of me stark naked, and I rape her, it is entirely my fault. I have will and a desire to treat people fairly, and no amount of sexual provocation justifies violence and abuse.

    Honestly, PZ, you and your Earth logic, acting like men are fully conscious sentient beings capable of controlling their behavior. Pfft. Then again, you also seem to think there’s a significant moral difference between thoughts and actions, so obviously there’s no common ground with this woo-soaked pamphleteer.

  28. #28 Gyeong Hwa Pak, Pikachu para lang sa iyo.
    March 4, 2010

    Two things about the rape thing:

    1. It’s misogynic because it wants to control what women can do with themselves and always assume they are the guilty one.

    2. Is misandric in that it assumes that men are innocent from crime because it’s “in our nature” and that we also can make our discision.

    So fuck your God lady. (I mean he did rape his mother in oder impregnate her with himself.)

  29. #29 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    People committed genocide, and I’ll bet it will happen again.

    Thus, I suspect getting rid of God will not get rid of genocide.

    Wow. How insightful. So if a vaccine will prevent MOST people from contracting a disease but not ALL people, it’s not of great value to you?

    I really think you need to think your arguments through a little better before posting again… you sound sort of stupid.

  30. #30 Stephen Wells
    March 4, 2010

    @26: since nobody claimed it would, why labour the point?

    Getting rid of any one disease will not get rid of death; that’s not a reason for giving up on the treatment of diseases.

  31. #31 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —People are people. You want to justify caring for the poor? Do it on the basis of the demonstrable fact that they are human beings, not on your imaginary conversations with a man in the sky.

    You can pick your nits, PZ. Seems to me a true good Samaritan such as yourself would be more concerned with the question ‘are the poor being helped?’

  32. #32 raven
    March 4, 2010

    One of the first principles that we should turn to always, and remember, is that God is in charge.

    WOW, is this stupid or what?

    “God wants you to be poor, have no medical care, and die young.” So the state of Minnesota will help him by making it hard for poor people to get medical care.

    Nice god there. And of course, since god is in charge, no one else should let docs meddle in his decisions. If god wanted people to fly, he would have given them wings. So stay away from air travel.

    Actually, I think god wants the voters of Minnesota to elect a governor who isn’t a brain dead religious kook.

  33. #33 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —So if a vaccine will prevent MOST people from contracting a disease but not ALL people, it’s not of great value to you?

    If you are asserting that getting rid of God will decrease Genocide, or other human based violence, im gonna need to see a citation.

  34. #34 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 4, 2010

    You can pick your nits, PZ. Seems to me a true good Samaritan such as yourself would be more concerned with the question ‘are the poor being helped?’

    Is concern troll concerned? Is oo, diddums?

  35. #35 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    You can pick your nits, PZ. Seems to me a true good Samaritan such as yourself would be more concerned with the question ‘are the poor being helped?’

    That sound you hear is the point flying right over your head.

    The poor would be, and are, helped by organizations other than the religiously-based… religion is not required for altruism. The value is in appreciating that they are being helped because it’s the humane thing to do, and in appreciating our own capacity for compassion, instead of attributing it to some magic fluffy asshat in the clouds..

  36. #36 Matt Penfold
    March 4, 2010

    We have a concern troll ?

    Ladies and Gentlemen, man your halibuts.

  37. #37 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    If you are asserting that getting rid of God will decrease Genocide, or other human based violence, im gonna need to see a citation.

    You still sound stupid…

    You YOURSELF stated in #26:

    “Genocide has happened in the name of God, and without his name.”

    SO… by your own admission, getting rid of god would decrease genocide… right pumpkin?

    And even if it only did so a little is it still not a net gain worth advocating?

  38. #38 PZ Myers
    March 4, 2010

    I linked to four stories in this post, and I’m surprised that the most popular topic here seems to be making excuses for a god-bothering Lutheran minister.

  39. #39 Walton, Special Special Dumpling of Awesome
    March 4, 2010

    So is our dumbfuck libertarian mfd512 an apologist for genocide?

    Why has “libertarian” become a blanket Pharyngula term of abuse for anyone with whom one disagrees about politics? I don’t see anything in mfd512’s posts on this thread suggesting that s/he is a libertarian – unless he or she has also posted on another thread and I’ve forgotten (which is possible, as it’s an unmemorable handle).

  40. #40 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —The poor would be, and are, helped by organizations other than the religiously-based

    I fully agree.

    –religion is not required for altruism.

    Again, agree. Where we differ is that this seems to this blogs main point at the expense of religious minded who actually contribute some good. The altruism is the value, not where it comes from.

    —The value is in appreciating that they are being helped because it’s the humane thing to do

    Disagree. The value is the help, period. The poor appreciate the help no matter where it comes from and they are too hungry for humanist discourse.

  41. #41 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Genocide has happened in the name of God, and without his name.

    People committed genocide, and I’ll bet it will happen again.

    Thus, I suspect getting rid of God will not get rid of genocide.

    I’m already aware that you are not a smart person, mfd512. Be thankful for this; it shouldn’t be too difficult to live up to low expectations. Even now your total lack of insight is no surprise.

    Here, I’ll hold your hand and walk you through this. Remember that you said:

    And so, when you rail against God, you’re railing against people — The flock every bit as much as the shepherd.

    Let’s assume your premise is correct. Now, this God has ordered genocide, and these people judge Him — themselves — good. This God is believed to be capable of controlling nature, and He has just sent or allowed an earthquake to destroy the poor in Haiti. And these people hold this earthquake to be God’s will — their will — and call God’s will good.

    Apparently there is nothing that they will apply moral criticism to God for. By your calculation, then, there is nothing they will criticize themselves for. There is nothing they can do wrong. Genocide is good. Infants dying of AIDS is good. Natural disasters are good.

    People who believe this deserve to be criticized. They deserve to be condemned for excusing immoral behavior in their heroes. If the flock can forgive God for the Haitian earthquake, then the flock is profoundly morally wrong.

  42. #42 PZ Myers
    March 4, 2010

    He has posted 5 times, so the 3-post rule is skirted…but I don’t think mfd512 has earned the halibut of death yet. Let him waffle his way deeper into the mire first, so it’s harder for him to escape.

  43. #43 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    March 4, 2010

    Disagree. The value is the help, period. The poor appreciate the help no matter where it comes from and they are too hungry for humanist discourse.

    Like so many others, you fail to recognize that people can have multiple goals. One goal might be to ensure the poor are lifted up. Another might be to help create systems that do so without the unpleasant accompaniment of proselytization, or the public pronouncement that it’s God’s will that compels you to feed the poor. These are not mutually exclusive.

    If you’re suggesting that criticizing the liberal ministers for basing their humanitarian actions on God’s will is somehow going to make them close their soup kitchens, then you’re just playing into the Mooney School of Accommodationism. Don’t rock the boat, or the whole thing will capsize – OH NOEZ!

  44. #44 erpease
    March 4, 2010

    On the chaplain and the leaflets at the Airport.

    According to the article Harry Taylor didn’t leave them just anywhere in the airport by accident but appears to have deliberately left them thrice in the airport’s multi-faith prayer room. He did mean to offend and quite likely offend people in distress (e.g., people flying elsewhere due to a sudden death in the family who sought some quiet space [difficult as that is to find in an airport]). He crossed the line of common decency. Now whether he should be prosecuted and found guilty (which he has been) rather than just pilloried in the court of public opinion is another matter.

  45. #45 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —Why has “libertarian” become a blanket Pharyngula term of abuse for anyone with whom one disagrees about politics?

    Walton, I once had the temerity to suggest that the states rights doctrine might have the possibility to increase liberty in certain places around the country on the topics of drinking, drug use, euthanasia, abortion, and a few other things.

    Dumbfuck Libertarian was the nicest nickname I was given.

  46. #46 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Why has “libertarian” become a blanket Pharyngula term of abuse for anyone with whom one disagrees about politics? I don’t see anything in mfd512’s posts on this thread suggesting that s/he is a libertarian – unless he or she has also posted on another thread and I’ve forgotten (which is possible, as it’s an unmemorable handle).

    Comrade Dumplin’! You dare to doubt your strange gods’ memory?

  47. #47 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Disagree. The value is the help, period. The poor appreciate the help no matter where it comes from and they are too hungry for humanist discourse.

    How very myopic of you…

    The value goes beyond just the help. There is a societal value in providing that help that goes far beyond the person being helped. It creates a sens of community, and establishes a standard of behavior for those who simply see it happening… understanding that helping is good because it is intrinsically good and not because you are being forced to be good under fear of eternal penalty has value beyond the actual act of helping.

  48. #48 clockkingfl
    March 4, 2010

    I’m concerned about the young man spending more than 10 hours behind the wheel after being rejected by his peers and his parents. I hope he arrived safely in Tampa.

  49. #49 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    –Like so many others, you fail to recognize that people can have multiple goals.

    Disagree, but im curious which is more important to Pharyngulites, helping the poor, or curing all of religion? And when these goals run counter to one another, which takes a back seat?

  50. #50 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Walton, I once had the temerity to suggest that the states rights doctrine might have the possibility to increase liberty in certain places around the country on the topics of drinking, drug use, euthanasia, abortion, and a few other things.

    Temerity is right, since you came in here with the most unimaginative criticisms of liberals, which you learned by rote but have never considered critically in the real world:

    The one thing I really despise about Liberals Who Know Everything About the Constitution and How it Ought To Operate is that they cant see how an adherence to the original intent of the Constitution (limited Federal Government, active State Gov) would allow for a greater expression of contemporary liberal politics is many parts of the country. …

    “nooooooo” everyone yells, it must be Federal, it must be nationwide, it must be uniform. The idea of competing mini-democracies is just too much for folks to handle. …

    Declaring access to healthcare a right in the same sense that freedom of speech is a right doesnt work. It doesnt work because access to healthcare requires something from someone else in order to satisfy it. A doctor is forced to treat someone on financial terms s/he would not otherwise do so, thereby lowering that doctors freedom, just as you point say in your above quote. Freedom fail.

    Freedom of speech doesnt require anyone to do anthing else. It doesnt lower anyone else’s freedom. Neither does freedom of movement.

    Another way to look at it: Our enumerated rights are supposed to be permanent, eternal, existing long before the Constitution. In the paleolithic, when one man beat another man because he didnt like what he grunted, he violated his eternal, natural right to free speech.

    Tell me who violated paleolithic mans rights when he didnt have access to the latest in stroke therapy?

    Dumbfuck is not an epithet I apply to all libertarians. It does apply to you.

  51. #51 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Disagree, but im curious which is more important to Pharyngulites, helping the poor, or curing all of religion?

    These are mutually exclusive goals. We can, and should, strive to attain both.

    And when these goals run counter to one another, which takes a back seat?

    Prove to me why these goals would run counter to one another.

    False dilemma’s don’t enhance your argument… they just make you sound foolish and desperate.

  52. #52 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Disagree, but im curious which is more important to Pharyngulites, helping the poor, or curing all of religion? And when these goals run counter to one another, which takes a back seat?

    I suppose you’ll get different answers from different Pharyngulites. It’s a rather dumbfucky question as you’ve addressed it.

  53. #53 aplaceinthestar
    March 4, 2010

    @Marcus, 23 – Nice to see a fellow Scouse here :)

    I no longer reside in my home country – I’m an ex-pat in the US these days. Something about you can take the Scouse out of L’pool but you can’t take the L’pool out of the Scouse… I’ve accepted the fact that my city is fully of looneys of all sorts. I fully admit to being of the football hooligan-overly educated-atheist looney type. However, I didn’t for a second think that we’d been infiltrated by the bass-ackwards christian types. It seems that yet again, my slim hope for humanity is crumbling.

    Also, I love how some whacko religious groups have taken offense to “Imagine” and strategically altered the lyrics. It’s such a beautiful song, both in music and meaning.

  54. #54 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Shit… my #51 should read

    “These are not mutually exclusive goals.”

  55. #55 PZ Myers
    March 4, 2010

    OK, now you can start swinging the halibut. That’s a stupid comment.

    which is more important to Pharyngulites, helping the poor, or curing all of religion? And when these goals run counter to one another, which takes a back seat?

    Helping humanity, not just the poor, is the long-term goal. Part of that process has to be an ongoing diminution of the power of superstition. We will make short-term compromises when immediate objectives are in alignment, but we must never lose sight of the fact that perpetrators of pious claptrap are worsening the problem overall.

  56. #56 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    Strange Gods, Celtic Evo

    may I assume you all support Faith based initiatives?

  57. #57 Greg F.
    March 4, 2010

    If a woman walks in front of me stark naked, and I rape her, it is entirely my fault.

    And this hyperbole is actually a perfect example where the “blame the victim mentality goes wrong.” Sure, it’s would be entirely your fault if you rape a naked woman solely because you were unable to control yourself and you should be bunking with a very lonely and aggressive Bubba for the next few years to think about what you’ve done.

    At the same time, we should also note that it’s not exactly a good idea to walk around naked in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night. And this is where the “she was asking for it” argument loses any and all sanity by using this handy self-defense tidbit to turn the blame on the victim.

    Yes, women should be watchful and take steps to defend themselves from potential rapists but no matter what happens, rape is always the rapist’s fault.

  58. #58 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    may I assume you all support Faith based initiatives?

    In that it would keep with your record of saying moronic, poorly thought out shit, sure… I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear you assume such a thing.

  59. #59 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    And Celtic, if the answer is no, care to explain why?

  60. #60 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Religiously-articulated distress is the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. But the demand to give up the illusion about this condition must include the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.

  61. #61 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawmnX0K7wq03KfNjb5trAqFoH4jnYRHQKe8
    March 4, 2010

    The god-bothering Lutheran pastor is doing his job, and asking the governor to do his. Don’t see a problem there, particularly. Remember that several Republicans have suggested that the working poor throw themselves onto religious charities. I’d push back too.

    Yes, many big airports have airport chaplains, and it’s a real position. NPR had a piece on the one in Atlanta; ATL apparently gets more than its share of runaways. The one in this story seems to have time on her hands.

    The rape pamphlet is just a lovely example of the new American Taliban. Hey, if I cut off your johnson, maybe you’d never have cause to sin again. Win win!

  62. #62 Gus Snarp
    March 4, 2010

    I think the reason the Lutheran pastor is getting the most response is that, in my reading of your excerpt at least, he actually said something smart about politicians using god as an excuse. That’s unexpected from a religious figure. The other three topics are, sadly, par for the course. Dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog is.

    Now if I was British I’d be a bit more up in arms about the Liverpool airport story, since one hopes not to see such absurd laws actually enforced, and I have confidence the courts would strike such a thing down in the U.S. Don’t they have freedom of speech and freedom of (from) religion in the U.K.?

  63. #63 realinterrobang
    March 4, 2010

    My heart is breaking for that poor kid and his aunt. I had a friend who was kicked out of the house at age 17 (sheltered life, had never even been away from home overnight before) for exactly the same reason. He’s okay now, over a decade later, but he did eventually go back to his parents and endure several years’ worth of “Christian counselling” and “reparative therapy” and so on, which is not a fate I’d wish on my worst enemy, let alone a vulnerable young gay man in a fairly Republicanoid town.

  64. #64 SEF
    March 4, 2010

    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?

    A perfectly normal thing in the UK, sadly. Religion is an established thing here – which means some things are slightly worse than in the US while others are significantly better (eg the general public is more inclined to ignore it – probably on familiarity and contempt grounds).

    Big airports can even have more than one chapel. Eg Gatwick (as of many years ago, not sure now) had both north and south terminal chapels, but only one had an organ in it. I used to remember which one in case I wanted to sneak a quick play when passing through and having to wait the obligatory large number of hours for the flight.

  65. #65 freemage.geo#b98e9
    March 4, 2010

    PZ: I think it’s safe to say that the reason the bit about the Lutheran minister is getting the most attention is that it’s the one least agreed-upon. The other three (the kid whose life got tossed upside down by a homophobic school, the rape-lady, and the blasphemy cartoonist case) are all so lopsided that other than a bit of spleen-venting, there’s no real point in commenting.

    The pastor, OTOH, seems to fall into that (if I may use the term) blessed category of “religious people who actually comprehend the constitution’s First Amendment”. As such, targeting him seems, at best, counter-productive, fitting the ‘angry atheist’ stereotype. Save your bile for the much-more-deserving Governor Timmeh.

  66. #66 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    By the way, mfd512, the phrase “states’ rights” demonstrates that you have been learning from white supremacists, and you are willing to promote white supremacist talking points.

    Learn to at least fake the decency to call it decentralization or devolution, because I will bring up your association with white supremacists every time you say “states’ rights.”

  67. #67 Matt Penfold
    March 4, 2010

    Yes, many big airports have airport chaplains, and it’s a real position. NPR had a piece on the one in Atlanta; ATL apparently gets more than its share of runaways. The one in this story seems to have time on her hands.

    Dealing with runaways would seem to be reason to ask charities involved in helping such people to have a presence at an airport.

  68. #68 broboxley
    March 4, 2010

    since rape is an act of violence and not sex should pamphleteer be arrested for assault?

  69. #69 Qwerty
    March 4, 2010

    Let’s face it, Pawlenty is listening to the Republican god-helps-those-who-help-themselves GOD while the Lutheran minister is listening to the Democrat tax-and-spend-gay-loving Jesus. Of course Pawlenty has to invoke God. He’s running for president for Christ’s sake and needs the assistance of the born-agains.

    But, really, both Pawlenty and the minister are wrong as we should try to afford assisting these people out of simple HUMAN decency.

  70. #70 Grewgills
    March 4, 2010

    PZ: I think it’s safe to say that the reason the bit about the Lutheran minister is getting the most attention is that it’s the one least agreed-upon…

    Seconded

  71. #71 gr8hands
    March 4, 2010

    mfd512, if you offered “help” of pork to a starving devout muslim or jew, they would reject it, and starve.

    If you offered “help” of scientology-based (or homeopathic) ‘treatment’ to those in actual physical emergencies, rather than actual medical assistance, they would suffer.

    If you offered “help” to the religious wearing “Satan is my god” shirts, they would probably reject it.

    You see? Religion (and context) play a significant part in whether ‘the poor’ will accept help or not. They do care where it comes from. The examples are legion.

    Oh, and I’m against faith based initiatives as a violation of the U.S. Constitution and several laws relating to funding groups that break anti-discrimination laws.

  72. #72 FrankT
    March 4, 2010

    We actually have scientific evidence to back up this claim. Religion increases peoples’ acceptance of genocide by 840%. Reduce the amount of religion, and you would be very safe in assuming that there would be less genocide. On the face of it, I would suspect you’d find 89% less genocide with religion out of the picture.

  73. #73 tsg
    March 4, 2010

    You can choose your school, but you’re stuck with the parents you get. Isn’t that a shame?

    To shamelessly steal a line from Terry Pratchett, sometimes I think there should be a test people should have to take before having a child. Beyond the practical, that is.

  74. #74 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    And Celtic, if the answer is no, care to explain why?

    Because “faith-based” initiatives have no place in a secular government. Regardless of their intentions. The same goals can and should be met using non-religious means.

  75. #75 Marcus
    March 4, 2010

    @ aplaceinthestar, 53- likewise mate. I live down the wrong end of the M62 these days so I’m not really in touch with what’s going on in the Pool any more either. What I do know is that religion over here is becoming ever more Americanised, ever more aggressive and ever more fundie in its outlook. But I’m glad to say us non-believers seem to be getting more vocal and organised too. I’m particularly looking forward to the pope’s visit later in the year – I think that will get a lot of reaction.

  76. #76 broboxley
    March 4, 2010

    @Celtic_Evolution #74 also the rice christian crowd can get in the way of a secular government note haiti stewing up trouble with baron samedi’s crowd

  77. #77 SC OM
    March 4, 2010

    Speaking of Biblical genocide, I came across this a week or so ago:

    http://tinyfrog.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/the-non-believers-review-of-%E2%80%9Cthe-case-for-faith%E2%80%9D-objection-4-part-1/

    The quotations from Strobel made me sick to my stomach.

  78. #78 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —Because “faith-based” initiatives have no place in a secular government. Regardless of their intentions. The same goals can and should be met using non-religious means.

    Ideology over results, as I suspected Celtic. Good on ya for admitting it.

  79. #79 mfd512
    March 4, 2010

    —Oh, and I’m against faith based initiatives as a violation of the U.S. Constitution and several laws relating to funding groups that break anti-discrimination laws.

    Careful what you say in favor of the Constitution round these parts, there is no undoing the dreaded scarlet “L”.

  80. #80 heatherly
    March 4, 2010

    @tsg #73: Seconded.

    I mean, not really, because ethics, laws, freedom, blahblah…

    But, oh my, as a social worker in child welfare…sometimes I wish there were.

  81. #81 aratina cage of the OM
    March 4, 2010

    There is a poll with this story, asking whether the school can kick students out for their sexual orientation. If it’s a private school, yes they can

    That we allow such schools to exist in our society is disgusting. If you can graduate from this school and claim to have earned an education on par with public education, then this school should not be allowed to ban gays. If the diploma this school gives out is only good in private Christian cliques and useless elsewhere, then I have no problem with them being such despicable shitheads.

  82. #82 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Ideology over results, as I suspected Celtic. Good on ya for admitting it.

    Moron with reading comprehension problems… as I suspected.

    Only an idiot would read “results without the ideology” as “Ideology over results”.

    But you can keep on making shit up and pretending you have anything to support your argument if it makes you feel better.

  83. #83 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 4, 2010

    There was a reason why I went after the long banned Barb. She struck me as the type of parent who would send her child to a camp if that child came out as gay or lesbian. She also struck me as the type of parent who would kick out that child if the child was not cured.

    I knew some people who were kicked out of their homes. They were strong, smart and independent. They had to be in order to survive their families. But many had scars. I wanted to hear from a true believer like Barb why parents like her disown their LGBT children.

    When she finally deemed to answer my question, she claimed that I must have been molested by a member of my family and that my parents did not have traditional gender roles.

    Sadly, stories like that student happens all of the time. And many of those parents will choice to blame and condemn their children. But not all. There are members of P-Flag who were fundamentalists. But they went with their humanity instead of dogma.

  84. #84 clausentum
    March 4, 2010

    PZ:
    it’s perfectly fair to pick on the UK, particularly when liberals have to carry the responsibility for such an iniquitous law.

  85. #85 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    dammit… blockquote fail at #82.

    quote should end after first sentence.

    also…

    Careful what you say in favor of the Constitution round these parts, there is no undoing the dreaded scarlet “L”.

    Was there an actual rebuttal in there? Or any point or refutation of any kind? Or was it just noise for the sake of making noise?

    Yeah… that’s what I thought…

  86. #86 negentropyeater
    March 4, 2010

    Ideology over results

    What a pathetic reply to Celtic.
    It’s results AND adherence to the law.

    Careful numbcake, do not provoke the swinging of more halibuts.

  87. #87 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    March 4, 2010

    Ideology over results, as I suspected Celtic. Good on ya for admitting it.

    Nope, same results without reference to imaginary deities and fictional/mythical holy books. What part of comprehension are you having trouble with?

  88. #88 AJ Milne
    March 4, 2010

    Well, y’know, me, I do understand this anxiety that the elimination of certain social institutions that do have certain questionable aspects might still have nasty side-effects for society we just haven’t thought of…

    I mean, their rituals do bring people together in a communal exaltation of a common purpose, at least…

    Sure, there’s also a celebration of brutality, people get hurt, sometimes families get torn apart, rivalries between factions over miscellaneous rules and doctrines can expand into full-blown warfare for no reason anyone external to the conflict can even generally grasp as significant, and sometimes the whole thing seems incredibly ugly, and dishonest, sure…

    But then, they take care of widows, people! Or some of them, anyway. And there’s no question that in their own little way, they do give a reason for people to follow the rules… And they get people working together, y’know?

    So, eliminate them, and who knows? Society might just collapse into complete chaos…

    So I say: let’s be a bit more careful about cracking down on these people…

    I mean, run the Mafia out of town, and who knows, we may actually miss ‘em, after all.

    (/Bows to the Don.)

  89. #89 Barry Pearson
    March 4, 2010

    In response to “Not so nice is the fact that the UK has a law, the Crime and Disorder Act, which apparently makes religious irreverence illegal”:

    In the UK there is a tension between 2 different aspects of irreverence. What this case is about is irreverence in a public area likely to cause a public disturbance. I object to the way it is being used, here and elsewhere, but I can see the “logic” behind it. In a public disturbance, people can get hurt or even killed; think of (falsely) shouting “fire” in a theatre. (The problem in this case is that there is no one around to do the hurting or killing. There are just upset people).

    Another aspect of irreverence is what can take place elsewhere, such as print or the web. Here, it is illegal, via the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006, to incite hatred or violence. But there is a wonderful get-out clause:

    29J – Protection of freedom of expression:

    “Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system”.

    So the difference appears to be about proximity, and the likelihood of disorder at a particular place. It isn’t about general offense.

    At least, I hope not! My website is not as polite as it could be:
    http://www.barrypearson.co.uk/top2009/gods_religions.htm

  90. #90 freemage.geo#b98e9
    March 4, 2010

    The reason for not supporting faith-based initiatives is simple–they have a lousy track-record when it comes to not using the ‘charity’ as an opportunity to proselytize, at best, and abusing their position, at worst. I think one of the more horrific examples were several faith-based homeless shelters that were found to be turning away teenagers who’d been kicked out of their homes after their parents discovered they were gay.

    I grew up in a church with a food pantry that was actually one of the more effective ones in a very depressed area. They handed out food to anyone who presented a welfare ID card, and did so without preaching to anyone. If all FBIs did the same, there wouldn’t be an issue. But unfortunately, there’s far too many who just can’t resist the temptation to squeeze in a little chance to save some souls for Jeebus.

  91. #91 dNorrisM
    March 4, 2010

    From the school kid link:( I’d link to the comment but having broser troubles)
    ************************************************

    Funny you should mention Liberty (32+ / 0-)

    A good friend of mine was two weeks from graduation at Liberty. He was the very popular DJ on the campus radio station. He made some (quite funny) sarcastic comments about Jerry Falwell and was kicked out.

    He transferred to George Mason University. ALL of his science courses transferred as “American Mythology.” He had to take all of his science coursework over and graduated 2 years later.

    Today, he is in IT and is a pretty famous atheist (surprised?) comedian. Look up the “Landover Baptist” web site – that’s him.

    This diary breaks my heart. Perhaps the diarist’s nephew can see the absurdity in this. All my best wishes to you.

    “There’s a fine line between clever and stupid.” This Is Spinal Tap

    by ebirch1 on Wed Mar 03, 2010 at 09:47:04 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

  92. #92 llewelly
    March 4, 2010

    Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM | March 4, 2010 1:10 PM:

    I knew some people who were kicked out of their homes. They were strong, smart and independent.

    Because the ones who weren’t, are dead.

  93. #93 KOPD
    March 4, 2010

    And please stop lecturing us about God. It’s offensive.

    Amen (though not the way he meant it).

    If everybody would stop trying to shove their god down everybody’s throat, this would be a better world.

  94. #94 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    March 4, 2010

    Llewelly, I thought I implied that with my next sentence.

    They had to be in order to survive their families.

  95. #95 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    March 4, 2010

    Walton asks, “Why has “libertarian” become a blanket Pharyngula term of abuse for anyone with whom one disagrees about politics?”

    Perhaps it has to do with the tendency of many libertarians to dismiss any phenomenon or research that poses a challenge to their ideology. Pharyngula is a pretty reality-based community.

  96. #96 Gus Snarp
    March 4, 2010

    I must say that reading the article about the pamphlet was pretty heartening. It seems that there are quite a few people in Bristol who realize that the pamphlet distributor is a cowardly idiot. And Bristol isn’t exactly known as a place of godless liberals.

  97. #97 Grewgills
    March 4, 2010

    He transferred to George Mason University. ALL of his science courses transferred as “American Mythology.”

    That is awesome. Maybe with all those extra credits he could get a second major in American Studies.

  98. #98 mattheath
    March 4, 2010

    Leaving leaflets mocking religion in an area open to the public isn’t reasonably referred to as harassment. You can always just throw leaflets away. OTOH repeatedly putting leaflets on a piece of private property when the person in charge of the property has asked you not is being kind of an arsehole. As far as anything the law should be paying attention to goes, this is the same as repeatedly putting Chick tracts in a gay bar after being asked not to by the landlord. People do have a right to curtail your free speech on their turf.

    It would have been fair enough the airport owners banning him from entering the chapel and, if he did keep going in there, maybe calling in the police to tap his knuckles on some sort of “aggravated trespass” or something (whatever law is used against persistent trouble makers that won’t abide by barrings from pubs, I suppose). “Harassment” and prison is definitely disproportionate though.

  99. #99 direvus
    March 4, 2010

    All right, pastor, come down from that pulpit. You lecture your flock every week about God, and you have no better knowledge of that imaginary being’s will than does Governor Pawlenty.

    I don’t think it’s fair to blast the pastor for his criticism of the Governor. He’s saying that the Governor should not use God as an excuse for failing to perform his duty as an elected official, and the pastor is fully justified in so saying.

    The fact that the pastor’s occupation is lecturing about God is not in itself a hypocrisy with regard to his complaint against the Governor, because he is not using claims about God’s will as a scapegoat to avoid doing his own duty. The pastor is not an elected official.

    I fully agree that the pastor doesn’t know anything more about God’s will than the Governor does — it’s all just made up — but nonetheless, the pastor’s comments about the Governor were reasonable and well directed, and I think it’s a good thing that he’s drawing attention to the Governor’s shabby rhetorical practices.

    If a pastor (or anybody else) wants to call people out for using God as an excuse for dereliction of duty, that’s wonderful!

  100. #100 skeptifem
    March 4, 2010

    “At the same time, we should also note that it’s not exactly a good idea to walk around naked in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night. And this is where the “she was asking for it” argument loses any and all sanity by using this handy self-defense tidbit to turn the blame on the victim.

    Yes, women should be watchful and take steps to defend themselves from potential rapists but no matter what happens, rape is always the rapist’s fault.”

    You know why its a ‘bad idea’? Because rapists target women that they know society deems acceptable to rape. They get away with it over and over again this way. Women would have to fork over every right gained through feminist struggle and activism in order to avoid some condition that people say causes rape- hell, being married to a man means you can’t say no, according to some people. Women are just living their fucking lives, there isn’t anything stupid about doing what you feel when you will, without exception, have some rapist excuse tacked onto your actions if you end up raped (unless you are a perma-virgin who only travels in packs with other perma-virgins, and who will never have a drink or a boyfriend). Rapists will tell you that if you ask em:

    http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

    There is nothing in your situation that inherently makes a woman easier to rape, what you mentioned is only seen as connected via social construction. This whole thing where people mention rape only as a function of strangers who pounce of the bushes is fucked. Those cases are such a tiny minority of rape cases that it shouldn’t take up so much of the conversation.

    The real problem here is that women are considered to be in a constant state of sexual consent, which they must revoke after dudes make a sexual advance towards them. I don’t know of any other situation where this kind of ‘consent’ is an acceptable way to go about anything. If consent was meant to be given enthusiastically instead of retracted, if sex was meant to be a cooperative act instead of something done to women, the idea of victim blaming and grey rape wouldn’t make any sense.

  101. #101 tariqata
    March 4, 2010

    As long as we’re talking about irony and injustice: the only halfway adequate response I could find to this article is a facepalm:

    The chairmen of that review ? Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Department?s top legal counsel, and Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Army in Europe ? told the House panel that they would complete their study by Dec. 1.

    They also said they would talk to active-duty gay men and lesbians as part of that review, although under the current policy such conversations are supposed to lead to discharges. Mr. Johnson told the panel that he and General Ham were looking for ?mechanisms for how to do that within the confines of the law.?

    If nothing else could indicate to a person that “don’t ask, don’t tell” is a ridiculous policy, it should be the fact that it can’t be honestly evaluated without looking for a legal loophole in the policy itself.

  102. #102 Bastion Of Sass
    March 4, 2010

    Airport chaplain?!? What the hell is that?
    An airport just need a chaplain?

    Don’t be silly. Of course, airports need chaplains! They’re needed to pray in order to keep all those planes up in the air. You don’t really think that big, heavy, metal machines could stay up in the air unless God sent his angels to hold them up, do you?

  103. #103 Bastion Of Sass
    March 4, 2010

    People are people. You want to justify caring for the poor? Do it on the basis of the demonstrable fact that they are human beings, not on your imaginary conversations with a man in the sky.

    Last week I was at an event in which the head of the Lutheran Mission Society spoke. She talked about how the society fed and clothed an ever-growing number of poor. And then she proudly added, “And we not only give the poor food and cloth, we bring them the Gospel.” Like that was a good thing.

  104. #104 vanharris
    March 4, 2010

    Taylor … declined to comment after his conviction on all three counts of religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress …

    The blasphemy law was repealed in the UK recently, but it seems that the religionists can claim harassment, alarm or distress, & blasphemy once again becomes illegal.

    I hope that the National Secular Society gets onto this before sentence is passed – on April 23.

    I don’t know about the technicalities of ‘religiously aggravated …’ seeing that atheism is not a religion, but Taylor may have screwed himself –

    Taylor, who labelled himself a ?militant atheist? admitted placing the items in the prayer room on three separate occasions, but insisted he was simply practising his own religion of ?reason and rationality?.

  105. #105 Bastion Of Sass
    March 4, 2010

    Getting rid of any one disease will not get rid of death; that’s not a reason for giving up on the treatment of diseases.

    The reason we shouldn’t treat diseases is that God makes people sick to punish them–or someone else–for their sinfulness.

    If we treat disease, we’re interfering with the Wrath of God and His Mysterious Plan. It’s just so wrong.

  106. #106 Celtic_Evolution
    March 4, 2010

    Taylor, who labelled himself a ?militant atheist?

    Uh-oh…

    admitted placing the items in the prayer room on three separate occasions, but insisted he was simply practising his own religion of ?reason and rationality?.

    Sigh. Religion of “reason and rationality”? He really said that?

    Is it too late to call shenanigans?

  107. #107 Paul
    March 4, 2010

    Sigh. Religion of “reason and rationality”? He really said that?

    Is it too late to call shenanigans? < ?blockquote>

    That’s not something I’d be surprised to hear from a young atheist. They note all the benefits and protections one has for their religion, and will define whatever they want protected as their “religion” in order to show that they deserve the same benefits and protections.

  108. #108 vanharris
    March 4, 2010

    The NSS is onto this. From their site:

    The National Secular Society said today that the blasphemy laws had been reintroduced by the back door after a Manchester man was convicted at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday of causing ?religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress?.

    Harry Taylor left anti-religious cartoons and other material he had cut from newspapers and magazines in the prayer room of John Lennon airport in Liverpool. He did this as an act of provocation because he says he regards himself as a militant atheist.

    He is now on bail awaiting sentencing ? religiously aggravated offences carry a potential seven-year prison term.

    Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: ?This is a disgraceful verdict, but an inevitable one under this pernicious law. It seems incredible in the 21st century that you might be sent to prison because someone is ?offended? by your views on their religion. The blasphemy law was abolished three years ago, but it lives on under the guise of religiously aggravated offences and is several times more dangerous.?

    Mr Sanderson said that Harry Taylor had shown the NSS the pictures that had caused the chaplain at the airport to say in court that she had been ?insulted, deeply offended and alarmed? when she found the bits of paper in the prayer room.

    ?The cuttings were all from publications that could be bought from any mainstream newsagent: cartoons from Private Eye and scraps of paper cut from various newspapers that were mildly anti-religious in nature. There was nothing obscene or threatening about them. I can see how a religious person could be offended, but not ?alarmed?. Offending someone should not justify a prison sentence, far less one of seven years. The chaplain could simply have thrown the material in the bin.?

    This verdict will open the floodgates for religious zealots to secure prosecutions over the most trivial matters. Expressing atheist views should be no more against the law than expressing Christian or Islamic views and freedom of expression should be cherished, not penalised harshly as this law does. The maximum sentence for religiously aggravated offences is draconian.?

    Mr Sanderson commented: ?Mr Taylor struck me as slightly eccentric and he acted in a provocative way, challenging the necessity for the prayer room. He didn?t cause any damage and he didn?t harm anything, nor was he threatening or abusive. Yet he might still end up behind bars because some Christian has decided they are offended. In a multicultural society, none of us should have the legal right not to be offended. This law needs to be re-examined urgently.?

  109. #109 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    March 4, 2010
  110. #110 frisbeetarian
    March 4, 2010

    I think the mother of that drive-thru should have called the police and taken down the license plate number, it is pretty obviously a written threat. Those that handed the girl the note should be prosecuted, they are dangerous and threats like this should be taken seriously, We have all seen the acts these (assumed) religious nuts can feel justified in doing. Religion is dangerous, it encourages this sort of behavior and worse.

  111. #111 frisbeetarian
    March 4, 2010

    I would also like to add, as a heterosexual male, I have seen lots of beautiful women and I have sometimes thought I would like to have sex with them, after all I do have testosterone poisoning but I have NEVER thought I would like to rape them. Sexual thoughts are one thing, thoughts of raping someone is completely in a different ballpark.

  112. #112 Caine
    March 4, 2010

    Greg F @ 57:

    Yes, women should be watchful and take steps to defend themselves from potential rapists but no matter what happens

    Uh huh. Are you even remotely aware of the fact that there is literally no situation where a woman can relax with zero thought in her head about a potential attack? “Potential rapists” don’t wander around with a neon sticker pasted to their foreheads.

  113. #113 Bastion Of Sass
    March 4, 2010
  114. #114 'Tis Himself, OM
    March 4, 2010

    If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin.

    So remember, ladies, to wear your burka at all times so as to not entice men to rape. This has been a message from the American Taliban™.

  115. #115 marcus
    March 4, 2010

    Re: The young man who was “outed” and kicked out of school. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to him (not to let the school off the hook, fuck those sanctimonious bastards). However I hope someone points out to him that his is of legal age (18 in the US) so that no one can “send him” anywhere against his will. He should find himself a good school and emancipate himself from his (perhaps loving, definitely stupid) godbot parents. Probably easier said than done if his is relying on them for financial support but the sooner the better is the rule here I think. He should not let these ignorant, irrational people control his life any longer.

  116. #116 Rey Fox
    March 4, 2010

    The pamphlet article (first one in the post) is actually kinda heartening, because it shows that people like the anonymous pamphlet-leaver are becoming increasingly marginalized and that regular folks are pushing back against their lunacy. If only Chick tract distributers were treated the same way.

  117. #117 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    March 4, 2010

    The idea that the English libel laws are “insane” is largely based on myth:

    http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2010/02/the-libel-tourism-myth/

  118. #118 ButchKitties
    March 4, 2010

    So… if someone hands me a stupid pamphlet that says that rape is the fault of the woman for wearing provocative clothing, and that pamphlet incites me to anger… it’s not my fault if I punch that person in face, right? After all, if I hadn’t been given the pamphlet, I never would have urge to put my fist in that person’s face.

  119. #119 MadScientist
    March 4, 2010

    @ButchKitties: I would say it’s not your fault if you accidentally unloaded a shotgun in their head. Obviously they must be whackos lurking and looking for people to rape. Civilized people don’t hand out pamphlets, they wear that “Thank you for not provoking my uncontrollable lust” t-shirt that’s always advertised on the Jesus and Mo website.

    I hope that kid finds a better school. In the local rags the other day a Dear Abby wannabe had a letter from “Concerned Mom” who was worried about her – I can’t remember – maybe 4-year old boy playing with his sister’s dolls rather than the ty football. Yeah, kids do that – so what? He’ll probably grow out of it. And if not, so what – it’s not as if homosexuals are abnormal people or anything, they’re just people – unless you’re bigoted by religion.

  120. #120 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    March 4, 2010

    It should be pointed out that due to the retrenchment of the social democrat state into neo-liberalism, and the consequent hit on the welfare state, many poor people have been driven towards religious extremists, who have been only happy to give them help as a part of their rabid proselytizing.

  121. #121 tsg
    March 4, 2010

    @tsg #73: Seconded.

    I mean, not really, because ethics, laws, freedom, blahblah…

    But, oh my, as a social worker in child welfare…sometimes I wish there were.

    Yeah, it’s one of those things where the solution is obvious in theory but impossible in practice.

  122. #122 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    March 4, 2010

    I hope that kid finds a better school. In the local rags the other day a Dear Abby wannabe had a letter from “Concerned Mom” who was worried about her – I can’t remember – maybe 4-year old boy playing with his sister’s dolls rather than the ty football. Yeah, kids do that – so what? He’ll probably grow out of it. And if not, so what – it’s not as if homosexuals are abnormal people or anything, they’re just people – unless you’re bigoted by religion.

    Can we please not equate “doesn’t grow out of playing with dolls” with “is homosexual”.

  123. #123 thomasmgilbert
    March 4, 2010

    For all the wonderful ways I love the Uk, (especially during my current residency in the USA at the height of crazy-politics season) we all have to remember this is a country with a state-religion.

    There is no seperation of church and state, the country is officially and legally Protestant. Our political executive is still titled the “protector of the faith” and that is highly unlikely to change.

    Hence chapels in airports and chaplains and such.

    Never said we were smart.

  124. #124 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlIyr2ypquosELalXS7F9H5bz9udtSqKK0
    March 4, 2010

    The idea that the English libel laws are “insane” is largely based on myth:

    Bullshit.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/07/nick-cohen-law-courts-libel

  125. #125 badgersdaughter
    March 4, 2010

    …there is no undoing the dreaded scarlet “L”.

    Grow a pair. I actually did that incredible feat and lived to tell the tale.

  126. #126 woozy
    March 4, 2010

    All right, pastor, come down from that pulpit. You lecture your flock every week about God, and you have no better knowledge of that imaginary being’s will than does Governor Pawlenty.

    But the pastor was hired to lecture to the willing about God. The Governor was not elected for that purpose to the unwilling.

    I guess, we we can argue that as God is imaginary that no-one can possibly more of an authority than any-one else. But if a believer in something imaginary wants to call out another believer on the grounds of elected office not being the appropriate place to lecture their mutual imaginary and shirk duty, I’m not going to complain.
    Besides, even if the body knowledge is imaginary, the pastor is better qualified to understand the rules of the imaginary game…

  127. #127 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    Careful what you say in favor of the Constitution round these parts, there is no undoing the dreaded scarlet “L”.

    What a dishonest shit you are.

    Most US citizens approve of the Constitution, and most US citizens are not libertarians.

    The opprobrium here is not from your lip service to the Constitution, but from your inability to understand it, and your abuse of that ignorance for the sake of your right-wing extremist ideology.

    Again, dumbfuck, we already have state control of most issues which could result in more freedom by that means. Recreational drug laws and liquor laws [as well as the euthanasia and abortion you now mention] are already handled at the state level and there is potential for freedom there. But the lack of antidiscrimination laws would result in a tremendous loss of freedom for minority groups in the South, so that sort of thing needs to be handled at the federal level.

    You, mfd512, are not actually a fan of the Constitution. This is made obvious by your hardon for what you claim to be “the original intent of the Constitution (limited Federal Government, active State Gov)”.

    Well, the Constitution includes the Fourteenth Amendment, which was necessary to secure the liberties of black citizens. And with it comes incorporation, which allows the federal government to ensure that state governments do not take away their citizens’ rights. That’s a result you ought to favor, given your interest in natural law. But you’re all too eager to see women in the South deprived of their reproductive rights, because you’re an idiot and a hypocrite who’ll throw away individuals’ rights in favor of “states’ rights”.

    If McDonald v Chicago is resolved correctly, applying incorporation to the Second Amendment for the first time in United States history, I suspect you’ll quickly become a fan of the Fourteenth. Hopefully you’ll fuck off from Pharyngula before the ruling, but if not, we may have the chance to laugh at your hypocrisy yet again.

  128. #128 heatherly
    March 4, 2010

    @skeptifem #100: We used to argue this issue round and round when I worked rape and dv. There are a lot of rape counselors who espouse teaching victims how “not to be victims.”

    They cover basic safety tips: safety whistles, be aware of your surroundings, do criminal background checks on potential dates, etc. And then they go into encouraging victims not to ‘repeat unsafe behaviors.’ Which can include, depending on the therapist: casual sex, going to bars, drinking alcohol while on a date, etc.

    Most of my co-workers thought it was practical. If women were putting themselves in ‘unsafe’ situations it was our duty as clinicians to educate them in how to not be a victim. After all, we can’t stop men from being rapists, but we can teach women to be detectives and martial arts experts so they don’t get raped everyday.

    Same song, different verses–the onus for preventing rape always falls on the victim.

  129. #129 strange gods before me ?
    March 4, 2010

    As for faith-based charities, even if they were not funneling government money into promoting homophobia, religions are a waste of resources that could otherwise be used to help the poor.

    See, religious organizations are tax exempt even if they don’t do any charity work at all to improve communities. They are freeloaders, effectively stealing from the tax base that would have funded welfare.

    Even considering the ones who do some charity work on the side, they are still exempt from paying taxes on proselytism or buying fancier cars and buildings. They should be forced to keep the books separately for charity and proselytism, paying taxes on the proselytism, and being tax exempt only for charity work that actually benefits the community. But that isn’t the way it works, and as long as this situation persists, religious organizations are parasites preying upon the poor and everyone else.

  130. #130 woozy
    March 4, 2010

    Stevenson said something very different from what I ever would. I would not ever argue that my suggestions for public policy should be followed because I have more authority with a ghost in the sky.

    Ah. *Now* I see… But I didn’t read that into Stevenson’s remarks. Unless you mean the “That’s no God we’ve ever heard of” remark. What I got out of Stevenson’s comments is:

    Or maybe he did. What do I know. But I interpret his remarks as.
    — We elected you to to certain actions.
    — You are shirking your duties off and adapting a sanctimonous spin for doing so.
    — That is irresponsible governing.
    What’s more, the interpretation of God that you use for an excuse is a perverted one religiously.
    — All in all, it’s offensive.

    I guess the offense lies in how cornerstone one thinks the italicized point is. I got the impression Stevenson was advocating that public policy should not be based on what God thinks (even if it the “correct” God). But then, maybe I interpretted the comment the way I wanted to. Then again maybe PZ did.
    Who knows? Who cares?

  131. #131 llewelly
    March 4, 2010

    heatherly | March 4, 2010 7:26 PM:

    Most of my co-workers thought it was practical. If women were putting themselves in ‘unsafe’ situations it was our duty as clinicians to educate them in how to not be a victim. After all, we can’t stop men from being rapists, but we can teach women to be detectives and martial arts experts so they don’t get raped everyday.

    Statistically speaking, the biggest risk factor is having male relatives. So kill your father, uncles, brother, etc. Or at the very least, don’t enter the same room with them, much less spend any time alone with them.

  132. #132 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    March 4, 2010

    Bullshit.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/07/nick-cohen-law-courts-libel

    No, that’s bullshit:

    http://lucifee.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/the-journalist-the-tourist-the-claim-and-their-lawyers-libel-reform-part-2/

    Nick Cohen deals with this not by engaging Lord Hoffman on the point he is making, but by doing four things. First, he pretends that Lord Hoffman cannot have an independent view. This is just silly. Second, he refers to some irrelevant background information about Mahfouz (irrelevant because the libel action was about allegations that he funds terrorism, not that he misstated the financial position of BCCI: that is, Mr Cohen is setting up a straw man). Third, he appears to suggest that Lord Hoffman is anti-Semitic or at the very least anti-Israel (see the seventh paragraph). Lord Hoffman happens to be Jewish. Fourth, he cites various examples said to be of ?libel tourism? which, for the reasons set out in Part 1, don?t prove anything at all. He goes on to say that the rallying point for English liberals is the libel action by the BCA against Simon Singh ? but that, of course, has nothing at all to do with libel tourism!

    If you’d actually read the Lord Hoffmann, or the comments beneath Nick Cohen’s article, you would know that Cohen is full of shit.

    But then, Nick Cohen is a neoconservative hack of the highest order.

    Hoffman even said at the end:

    Finally, we ought to inquire into whether in practice libel tourism is a serious problem, not just for the odd American who would prefer us to have the rule in New York Times v Sullivan, but for the administration of justice and the public interest in this country. I do not get the impression that there are large numbers of litigants with no connection with this country who are coming here to bring actions for libel. If there are, I would like to see some figures. If the Ehrenfeld case and the Don King case are the best that the campaigners for a change in our law can do, their argument seems to me far from overwhelming.

    Emphasis mine. So why did Cohen write a screed attacking Hoffman’s lecture, but providing no figures like Hoffman asked?

  133. #133 woozy
    March 4, 2010

    According to the article Harry Taylor … deliberately left them thrice in the airport’s multi-faith prayer room. He did mean to offend … He crossed the line of common decency.

    The line is a fine one but I don’t think simply leaving pamphelets can really be considered crossing it. Agressively handing them out or seeking confrontation might be. But leaving pamphlets in a public place… I’m just not seeing it. I mean if you slid a socialistic newspaper under your republican congressman’s door, or left a pile of unibomber manifestos in the lobby of the post office would you consider those acts “indecent”?

    I dunno. I wouldn’t.

  134. #134 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlARhxz_EZad2_PPNvQmVelK-U8LVLTYeA
    March 4, 2010

    The subsidiarity principle is one thing, but a “libertarian” claiming to back it by calling for “States’ rights” is stupid. Aside from negative connotations of the term, what kind of libertarian talks about central bureaucracies having “rights” anyway? People have rights, not governments.

    If McDonald v Chicago is resolved correctly, applying incorporation to the Second Amendment for the first time in United States history

    As always though, the devil is in the details:

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/2010/03/guns-abortion-and-mcdonald-oral.html

  135. #135 Shatterface
    March 4, 2010

    ”Imagine there’s no Heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky”

    They named an airport after this blasphemer?!?

  136. #136 Kel, OM
    March 4, 2010

    By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly.

    I find this statement really fucked up, the more I think about it the more fucked up it is. There’s just so many layers of wrongness that it’s amazing that anyone could possibly make this statement and think it in any way okay.

    So can we really say they were innocent victims?

    And this just sums up the depravity that is fundamentalist Christianity. If you can’t appeal to their lifestyle, then there’s always original sin to fall back on. What a fucked-up ideology!

  137. #137 Grewgills
    March 4, 2010

    Same song, different verses–the onus for preventing rape always falls on the victim.

    Isn’t/wasn’t there thinking more along the lines of it’s a dangerous world out there so here are some things you can do to prepare yourself? After all societal change comes relatively slowly and in the mean time you are better off knowing the risks and preparing yourself.

  138. #138 Caine
    March 4, 2010

    Grewgills @ 137:

    After all societal change comes relatively slowly and in the mean time you are better off knowing the risks and preparing yourself.

    You’re talking as if rape is a recent development. It’s not, and while everyone takes what you could term as preparation, bad shit happens all the time, including rape. The onus of rape still falls on the victim after all this time; what the hell makes you think that’s going to change any time soon or at all?

    Women never have the luxury of feeling entirely safe, which is bad enough. It’s not enough to walk, talk and act like a non-victim; it’s not enough to “dress modestly”; it’s not enough to highly restrict the places you go, etc. It doesn’t matter what a woman does, the “well, what was she doing that she was raped in the first place?” is waiting. The implication is always that “good” women don’t get raped because they “obey the rules”.

  139. #139 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawncr0FDc8gdl7yJBz0SJ15D0etcTIOtL0s
    March 4, 2010

    If you are dressed in a way that tempts a men to do this secret (or not so secret) sin, you are a participant in the sin.

    ” And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out…”
    Gospel of Mark 9:47

    Ron Sullivan

  140. #140 Grewgills
    March 5, 2010

    Caine,

    You’re talking as if rape is a recent development.

    Rape, depending on your definition, is either as old as humans or older.

    while everyone takes what you could term as preparation

    No they do not, thus the people in the rape crisis centers teaching defensive behaviors.

    what the hell makes you think that’s going to change any time soon or at all?

    The general direction Western society has been moving since the Enlightenment, particularly over the past 50 years or so. It was in my lifetime that most states changed their laws to admit that a husband forcing his wife to have sex is rape. In my mind that is a massive step in the right direction. It is far easier for a rape victim to get help and far more likely that the assailant will be punished than a just a few decades ago. Date rape is now viewed as rape rather than just a night at the frat house. etc.

    The onus of rape still falls on the victim…

    Full fault lies with the rapist, or any violent attacker for that matter. As an imperfect analogy; if I choose to walk through a rough area of town with a conspicuous display of wealth and am subsequently shot and killed for that wealth it in no way excuses my attackers, but that doesn’t make my actions particularly smart does it?
    The world is far from perfect and it is a dangerous place. The people at the rape crisis centers and elsewhere who are teaching these women how to better protect themselves are doing a good thing and it is a practical response. They are addressing the parts of the problem that they can effect. If they are at all like the people I have met that do this work I would be willing to bet that those same people are advocating for legal and societal change as well and are working far harder for that change than anyone commenting in this thread. It is counterproductive to diminish their efforts as “putting the onus on the victim” and worse to place them in the same boat as the people excusing rape due to the dress or behavior of the victim. It is in fact more than counterproductive, it is stupid.

  141. #141 TimKO,,.,,
    March 5, 2010

    I’m not surprised. England doesn’t really have separation of church/state. Not the way we do, and we only have it because we continually fight for it. The only country I’ve seen that has the separation, culturally and governmentally, is France. Though Canada’s getting close.

  142. #142 TimKO,,.,,
    March 5, 2010

    “By the way, some rape victims would not have been raped if they had dressed properly. So can we really say they were innocent victims?”

    By that logic, these pamphleteers deserve crucifixion.

  143. #143 heatherly
    March 5, 2010

    @llewelly #131: Exactly.

    @Grewgills #140: You’re correct that in some places there has been a positive movement forward to place the blame for rape on the perpetrator and not the victim. But there’s still a hell of a long way to go. I worked dv/sa in Baltimore less than ten years ago, and we still had to constantly fight the ‘blame the victim’ mentality in cops, lawyers, judges, doctors, nurses and the women themselves. In support groups women would blame themselves AND each other because the belief that rape is “preventable” is so ingrained.

    What I was referring to, and what I am frustrated by, is a segment among counselors/social workers that focuses on teaching women how “not to be victims.” The therapists who are using this type of therapy are working from an empowerment perspective–strengthen the client, provide education and resources etc. And that’s fantastic in most circumstances. But when you start talking about safety tips to a woman who’s been raped, and when you start talking about avoiding “unsafe behaviors,” you ARE putting the onus of prevention on the victim. And victims are not able, at that phase, to process the two opposing ideas that: a. rape is not your fault, b. BUT here’s what you can do to prevent it. (As if rape is preventable, but that’s another soapbox.)

    The bottom line is that safety is a fine thing to discuss–and a *good* thing to discuss with victims in select circumstances–but discussing it with rape victims during the majority of the therapeutic process is like walking two tightropes ten feet apart while carrying buckets full of knives: victims and bystanders beware.

  144. #144 badgersdaughter
    March 5, 2010

    The implication is always that “good” women don’t get raped because they “obey the rules”.

    Those particular rules mandate that to be a good woman you must be an amiable fuck toy for any man who trips you and lands on top of you.

  145. #145 BoxNDox
    March 5, 2010

    #132 – “So why did Cohen write a screed attacking Hoffman’s lecture, but providing no figures like Hoffman asked?”

    Perhaps because it wasn’t up to him to make that point.

    The title of Hoffman’s article is “The Libel Tourism Myth” and the, I guess you’d call it an abstract, claims the article “examines the evidence”. Yet when you read the article, what’s actually in there is a discussion of essentially one actual case and then a long screed that attempts to justify and defend the UK’s libel laws.

    Nowhere do I see any evidence presented one way or the other that libel tourism is in fact a myth. Indeed, Hoffman admits, the part you yourself quoted, that he has no evidence, only “an impression”, and would like to see some evidence gathered. But he’s the one claiming this is a myth and it is therefore up to him to justify that claim with evidence.

    Cohen responds by bringing up various cases of what he claims are libel tourism. Argument by anecdote is pretty weak, true, but it’s stronger than argument by impression.

    Now, insofar as the article’s defense of UK libel laws, that’s pretty thin gruel in its own right. We have some discussion of how the law doesn’t actually say what people think it does – which is all probably true but not especially relevant to how these cases actually play out in practice. Then there are a couple of arguments from authority, and while he doesn’t come out and say it, the idea of “bloody Yanks think they can boss us around” sure seems to be floating around in there. What we don’t see, however, is any sort of evidence to support the notion that this is actually a better system.

    In any case, I have to say I’m quite happy to live in a state that has both anti-SLAPP and anti-libel tourism laws on the books.

  146. #146 James Sweet
    March 5, 2010

    Unfortunately, that isn’t all there is to the story. The parents are religious morons, and instead of loving their child for who he is, they want him to “repent” and plan to send him to a church “cure”.

    You can choose your school, but you’re stuck with the parents you get. Isn’t that a shame?

    I have no reservations saying that it ought to be illegal to send minors to these “ex-gay” ministries. I’m not even entirely certain I think it ought to be legal for adults to do it… certainly, anyone doing it with a degree in psychiatry or psychology would be guilty of gross and malicious malpractice.

    But with minors? There is no doubt in my mind. This is child abuse of the worst kind, and it should not be tolerated. Kids who are sent to these camps ought to be removed from their parents, and only returned once the parents have completed a full course of Stop Being a Fuckhead Training.

  147. #147 James Sweet
    March 5, 2010

    The Lutheran pastor, I can’t criticize him too much. As many nasty horrible and inconsistent things as it says in the Bible, one of the few points on which it is consistent over and over again is, “Be nice to the poor.” The New Testament — which many Christians claim to, you know, believe in — is especially clear on this point.

    You can find justification in the Bible for murder, rape, incest, child abuse, child molestation, theft, racism, genocide, slavery, and all sorts of other terrible things. But you can NOT find justification in the Bible for fucking over the poor. So I think the pastor is more or less right about that one…

  148. #148 Grewgills
    March 5, 2010

    heatherly,
    Fair enough.

  149. #149 mfd512
    March 5, 2010

    Strange Gods,

    tis ironic you’d chastise me over my supposed racism and support for legal discrimination, and then in the same post begin bleating about gun control.

    Who do you think gun control laws were written for?

    Why are gun control laws are so popular in cities, and not rural areas?

    Why could the former W.F. Buckley and Howard Stern legally own guns in NYC, but even the rich Plaxico Burress cant seem to get the paperwork sorted out?

    Another example of the reality of peoples fears taking precedence over their egalitarian ideals. Not that actually prevents criminals from getting their hands on guns, but it does make frightful folks feel a little better.

  150. #150 heatherly
    March 5, 2010

    @Grewgills #148: Sorry if I come across as a bit strong–it’s a hot issue for me, especially right now with several of my clients. :)

  151. #151 marcus
    March 5, 2010

    If you follow skeptifems link @#100 you’ll see that the issue is really not “unsafe behavior” per se as the largest number of rapes occur during what would usually be considered “normal behavior” such as dating the “friend of a friend”, going out with someone met at work, getting fixed up with someone’s brother etc. Also it is very telling that these men often don’t even consider themselves rapists.The scenario of “stranger rape” (being attacked on the street by persons unknown or attacked by an intruder in one’s home) seems to be the least common occurrence. The former are also the rapes that are least like to be reported. It is similar to the situation where children have been taught to be wary of strangers and are unprepared to protect themselves when “good ol’ Uncle Bob” or “Reverend Jim” attempts to molest them. I have no answers but I believe we should change the way we look at things to better reflect reality. Teaching our young men not only that “no mean no” but that respect and fair treatment mean so much more that that and teaching young women that self-defense is more than kicking some pervert’s ass, it also putting the bastard in jail afterword (even if it is your best-friend’s brother). Also it must be said that while the guilt and blame always belong completely to the rapist, awareness and intelligence in the protection of life is the warrior’s (scientist’s)responsibility.

  152. #152 Lee Clark
    March 7, 2010

    The more I think about this [the Harry Taylor story], the more upset it makes me. Basically, this guy left satirical cartoons in a public prayer room at an airport. The cartoons were as follows:

    “One image showed a smiling Christ on the cross next to an advert for a brand of “no nails” glue.

    In another, Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise are told: ” Stop, stop, we’ve run out of virgins.” … See more

    A further cartoon showed two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: “Not for women or gays, obviously.”

    I simply cannot believe, that In 2010, in the UK, this guy has [amazingly] been found guilty of a ridiculous version of an antiquated blasphemy law, and could go to jail for 7 years (the maximum sentence for this ‘crime’).

    He’s going to jail for satirical cartoons that pose less harm than anything you’ll find thrown at – for example; political figures in any daily tabloid. Not only that, but he’s going to jail for taking the mickey out of people and figureheads from faiths believing in *nonexistent* mythological entities!

    Could I go to jail for posting my views on here?! Jesus Christ!!!!!!!

  153. #153 Knockgoats
    March 7, 2010

    Who do you think gun control laws were written for? – mfd512

    Who do you think is most likely to get shot, moron?

  154. #154 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawngrONk9mzwC93GngHJFvpqsQcpq7z8uSI
    March 7, 2010

    I think you probably need to re-examine the Liverpool Airport case.

    It’s not that he left the cartoons at the airport, but that he went into the prayer room, and left the cartoons in there.

    Whilst I support free speech, I don’t support the right of people to walk into a church and “desecrate” the space, and this is a similar concept.

    However, I agree the law is ridiculous, and we have existing laws which would have adequately addressed this man’s antisocial behaviour.

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