Activism

Jim Downey's picture

Funny . . . and disturbing.

As the year winds down, and you need a little relaxing fun to kill some time this weekend, you can play dress - up with Jesus and Muhammad! Both are from the somewhat twisted mind of Normal Bob Smith, who seems like he would fit right in here with us other heathens at UTI.

Jim Downey

(Via the comments on this post at ectoplasmosis. Which is just disturbing. I didn't even know there were people who have a 'stigmata fetish'. Let alone that there are inflatable dolls of Jesus that cater to them.)

Jim Downey's picture

It's all in your head.

Now and again I wonder whether I am just simply missing some critical little bit of biology, if there was a small glitch in my development that left out the ability to "sense God". You know, somewhat like how someone with color blindness suffers from a slight defect in their physiology, and is able to see most of the things that the rest of us see, but just can't make out some crucial differences that allow us to make subtle distinctions. I wonder about that.

So, it seems, does Sam Harris. From a Time article dated last Friday titled "What Your Brain Looks Like on Faith", reporting on a recent scientific paper by Harris (and others):

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Mitt Romney Clarifies His Views on Religion And Government

Mitt Romney appeared on Meet The Press with Tim Russert, and immediately Russert hammered him with the atheist/atheism question. Romney stumbled a bit, but managed not to wedge his foot too firmly in his mouth, I thought.

But what in the heck is this "common bond of humanity" he says that he shares with atheists? Is the Mittster a Humanist now? He's trying too hard. He seems to be trying to be all things to all people, and that's just a recipe for disaster.

Transcript below the fold...

Jim Downey's picture

Everyone likes a quickie now and then . . .

. . . so here are a couple. First, a festive holiday poster: Putting the FSM back in Chrifsmas. Via BoingBoing.

Next, some images from The Bible According to Google Earth. You've got your Crucifixion, Noah's Ark, and even Moses Parting the Red Sea. Via MeFi, where, as someone put it:

I can't help feeling that these pictures will somehow turn into "proof" in some nightmare fundamentalist post-apocalyptic religious world following the collapse of secular civilization.

Ramen.

Jim Downey

Jim Downey's picture

A little bit crazy.

I suffer from a mild form of bipolar disorder, as I have written about previously. Looking back, it started in adolescence, though I didn't understand what was going on until my mid-20s. It is mild, though, and I have never suffered either a hypomanic or major depressive episode (though I have had some very dark periods), and have been able to control the disorder with minimal impact on my life. In this sense, I guess you can say that I am a little bit crazy - nothing major, nothing which requires hospitalization or heavy pharmaceuticals, nothing which puts my life at risk. I'm just a little bit crazy.

Brent Rasmussen's picture

"It's nice to win one, for a change"

Congrats, Dawn and Rob! Every win helps!

[link] U.S. District Court Judge Robert Gettleman blocked a northwest suburban school district from following the mandate, and he could extend the ban to schools statewide today. In his preliminary ruling, Gettleman found that the law was vague and questioned how teachers and school officials were supposed to follow it and how it was to be enforced.

The ruling is a victory for atheist Rob Sherman, who brought the lawsuit against Township High School District 214, where Sherman's daughter, Dawn, is a freshman at Buffalo Grove High School.

"It's state sponsorship of prayer," Sherman said.

"It's nice to win one, for a change," joked the activist, who is often in court battling for atheist causes.

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Moment Of (*wink wink, nod nod, say no more*) Silence

If you glanced at this image of sixth-graders at Hinkley-Big Rock Middle School in suburban Chicago, would you immediately conclude that they are observing a government-mandated "moment of silence"?

Or, would you assume that they were bowing their heads in prayer?

Either way, it is a disturbing trend in our public schools. And don't let anyone feed the cock-and-bull about "silent reflection", blah, blah, blah. This is government approved and required prayer time. The supporters and legislators of laws and regulations like this are playing transparent, silly semantic games in order to avoid the law as set down in our Constitution. They are hurting our kids, and they are hurting America by weakening the separation of church and state.

Prayer in school is one thing when students pray on their own. I actually encourage that kind of prayer. I encourage my kids to take responsibility for their own philosophies. If they feel the need for 10-seconds-worth of quiet reflection, then I am sure that they can find ten seconds in their school day to do so. Same with prayer. If a kid wants to pray, they can pray. Find a quiet spot, bow your head, and pray. Simple.

Why do Christians want the government to mandate this quiet time at our public schools if not to bring their religion in?

And what exactly will happen to the first kid who starts making all sorts of crazy noises during the moment of silence, then claims that it is part of his religion to pray noisy prayers? Who is to say that a prayer must be silent? Why do only the silent-prayers get to pray during prayer time in school? Discrimination!

It's a silly thing to legislate on all levels. It is a pathetically transparent effort to return to the good-old theocratic days of mandatory bible readings and field trips to the Olde-Time Christian Tent Revival.

What do you all think?

Jim Downey's picture

"How can you tell Atheism isn't a religion? "

OK, there's a pretty fine post over at Greta Cristina's blog titled "Atheists and Anger" that you might enjoy. Undoubtedly, you'll recognize some of the territory we regularly cover here, as well as some of the common arguments we hear from the religious.

But that's only part of the fun. The post at MeFi that turned me onto it has over 365 comments, which is pretty much a master-class in religious apologetics and hatin' on atheists. There are some of the atheist regulars there, puttin' up a good fight...yet the believers outnumber them, reflecting the overall distribution of faith in our society.

Oh, and the title of this post? Taken from one of the comments in that MeFi thread. Here's the full bit:

How can you tell Atheism isn't a religion?

When an Atheist rapes a child, they go to prison.

posted by Mr_Zero at 10:33 AM on October 30 [15 favorites]

Pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Jim Downey's picture

Project Pterosaur

Brilliant:

About Project Pterosaur
Mission Statement

The goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI). Furthermore, the rookery facility will establish a breeding colony of pterosaurs in order to produce specimens that could then be put on display by other regional institutions or church groups.

By doing all this, we hope to accomplish three goals:

1. Support Creation Theory by showing the incorrectness of the philosophy of Evolutionism.
2. Educate the population about Creation Science.
3. Create excitement about Creation and the Bible in the public.

Absolutely brilliant satire. Here's another taste:

Brent Rasmussen's picture

UTI Alumnus In The News

Former UTI front-pager Alon Levy popped up in the news today.

[link] While there are plenty of groups for students who believe in everything from Catholicism to Zionism, until this semester, there was no group for students who don’t believe in anything.

Columbia Atheists and Agnostics, founded by Alon Levy, a mathematics M.A. student, was organized in an attempt to form what Levy calls “a safe space where the nonreligious can share their views without being called sinners.” After attending a student leadership conference at the Center for Inquiry, a nonprofit organization which supports scientific examination of religion and ethics, Levy was inspired to start an on-campus organization for the nonreligious.

Good for you, Alon!

Jim Downey's picture

"Our Google, who art in California, hallowed be thy name..."

Brilliant. I offer you:

The Church of Google

We at the Church of Google believe the search engine Google is the closest humankind has ever come to directly experiencing an actual God (as typically defined). We believe there is much more evidence in favour of Google's divinity than there is for the divinity of other more traditional gods.

We reject supernatural gods on the notion they are not scientifically provable. Thus, Googlists believe Google should rightfully be given the title of "God", as She exhibits a great many of the characteristics traditionally associated with such Deities in a scientifically provable manner.

They have nine proofs of the Godhood of Google. My favorite is proof of an "afterlife":

Jim Downey's picture

See the atheist strip.

Um, comic strip, that is. These are two of my favorites: Prayer Failure, and But, It's Chinese!

Via that Bad Astro Dude.

Jim Downey

(PS: Sorry I've been a little light in posting this week. But it's for good reasons - explanation here if anyone is interested.)

Scott Mange's picture

The Abimelech Society

Maybe you're like me. You go to a hotel while on business or vacation and you find another one of those damn Gideon's Bibles. What to do with it?? Well, as a newly minted member of the Abimelech Society, I replace it with a nice novel (usually classical literature) from my local paper back exchange store.

I learned about the Society from this link:

http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/abimelec.htm

The article reads in part -

The Abimelechs are an association of Atheist commercial, business, and professional men and women who have as one of their objects: The removal from circulation of the so-called Word of God or Holy Bible, from hotels, motels, hospitals, school classrooms, university dormitories, penal institutions, and many other places, and by the confiscation of New Testaments from school children, service personnel, and nurses.

Scott Mange's picture

Thank You Bill Murray

No....not that Bill Murray. I mean William Murray, son of Madalyn Murray O'Hair and current chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

I had been reading about the life of Madalyn and was amazed at the amount of brutality her family had to endure for their part in removing mandatory prayer from public schools. It ran the gamut from simple assault, to property damage, to segregation, to what may have been an attempted murder.

While reading about this I found myself feeling a great deal of gratitude to them, and especially Bill, for speaking out and standing up for what is right so that I and my children will never be faced with the same circumstances (hopefully).

With this in mind, I decided to write Mr. Murray a thank-you letter

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Major Freddy And The Atheist Soldier

A few days ago Jim wrote about Spec. Jeremy Hall, a soldier assigned to Fort Riley's 97th Military Police Battalion, who filed suit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and a "Maj. Paul Welborne". Jeremy's suit claims that after he was given permission to hold a meeting of atheists, he was harassed by a Major, and by his fellow soldiers for being an atheist. The suit also claims that the Major threatened to block his re-enlistment for being an atheist. Lately Spec. Hall has been threatened in emails and blog posts from his fellow soldiers.

The Army replied that they could not locate anyone named "Major Paul Welborne".

Well, today the suit was amended to correct the spelling of the Major's name. It is "Major Freddy Welborn", and lawdy, lawdy, he's got a MySpace page. His "Interests" are:

The study of God's Word, Evangelism, Grandchildren and Family, and those Men called by God to Preach the Gospel.

Major Freddy describes himself like so:

MAJ Freddy & HIS Girl's Blurbs
About me:
Warrior for the Lord Jesus Christ. Currently serving w/3rd Inf Div Civil Military Operations (Governance) in Baghdad Iraq. Carla & I place all our Faith & Trust in our Savior the Lord Jesus - who provides eternal life to anyone that believes that he is the Son of God, that he was born of a virgin, lived as God in the flesh (as man) was crucified, died, and was buried then rose from the grave the third day, then acended to the right hand of the Father - True repentance (turning away from Sin to God) Being born again, Forgivness & Justification occure to the True Believer in Christ when Baptized w/God's Holy Spirit. He who has the Son has life, he who has not the Son of God has not life. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It is by GRACE that we are saved thru Faith - It's a free gift and can't be earned. I love the Lord Jesus more than words can express, and seeking to gain a stronger relationship w/Him. I'll finish Bible College upon returning from Opns Iraqi Freedom.

Farther down, we see this little gem of an image.

I think he's a little, um, confused about the whole "1st Amendment" thing.

Hang in there Specialist Jeremy Hall. Don't let the godbots get you down. Stay safe.

Jim Downey's picture

Fort Riley soldier sues Defense Department over religious freedom

From the AP:

FORT RILEY, Kan. - A soldier who unsuccessfully tried to hold a meeting for atheists and other non-Christians is suing the Defense Department, claiming his right to religious freedom was violated.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges a pattern of practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military. It was filed Monday, the 220th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. It names Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Maj. Paul Welborne.

According to the filing, Spec. Jeremy Hall, a soldier assigned to Fort Riley's 97th Military Police Battalion, received permission to distribute flyers around his base in Iraq for a meeting of atheists and non-Christians. When he tried to convene the meeting, Hall claims, Welborne stepped in, threatening to file military charges against Hall and block his reenlistment.

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Kathy Griffin's God

Kathy Griffin won an Emmy for her show "My Life On The D-List". In her acceptance speech, she thanked her new god. Catholic League chairman Bill Donohue comes unglued - because, apparently, she thanked the wrong god.

[link 1] [link 2] "A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Can you believe this shit? Hell has frozen over. Suck it, Jesus. This award is my God now."

Blasphemer! Hehehe...

Of course, the the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences immediately caved in to Donohue's shrill demands that her "blasphemy" be censored. What a surprise.

Her acceptance speech is a brilliant, funny comment on the insincere Jebus-thankers that are always at awards shows like this. This is what she does, people. It's her job to say things like that. That's what she won the Emmy for.

Amazing. Where the heck did Donohue get the power to censor television shows? Why do they listen to him? It's got to be the fear of losing advertising revenue.

Congratulations on your Emmy, Kathy!

Brent Rasmussen's picture

He's Not The Messiah, He's A Very Naughty Boy.

Former British spy David Shayler has cleared up the confusion for Christians all over the world. That's right, you Christian folks can stop worrying about that whole "second coming" deal because, well, David Shayler is the Messiah.

Praise David!

How do I know it's true, you say? Well, because David says that it's true - and the Messiah can't lie. Duh.

[David aka the Christ conciousness] "I am the last incarnation of the Holy Ghost (aka the Holy Spirit) or the Yeshua or Jesus Spirit (aka the Christ consciousness).

As the Holy Spirit is God incarnate as essence, I am God incarnated as spirit and man.

It is absolutely clear to me that the world is going to hell in a handcart. Few would dispute that humanity needs a Messiah to get it through these difficult times.

This is all rather embarrassing for someone who was an atheist technocrat three years ago. And I am painfully aware how mad all this sounds."

No, no, David, I don't think that you are aware at how completely and utterly insane you sound. Otherwise you wouldn't be calling news conferences to spotlight your lunacy.

David's mother was not available for comment.

Brent Rasmussen's picture

Grinding Puppies For Fun And Profit

Update 8-24-07: A big tip of the ballcap to commenter Clovis, who was kind enough to transcribe the rest of the story below from the paper. Thanks Clovis!


The Early County News in Blakely, Georgia ran an editorial today that begins like this:

[link] Dear editor, A few days ago I found a kitten on the sidewalk at the end of Cotton Street. It was dehydrated and very weak. It had laid down on the sidewalk to die. It has a 50 percent chance of survival. I am doing everything I can to save it. To the person who committed this horrendous inhumane act, I have a question for you. Are you an atheist?

"Are you an atheist?" Excuse me? Does the writer ask this question because they believe that only a dirty, rotten, amoral, evil atheist would cruelly torture a kitten, then leave it out on the hot sidewalk to die? Or, is this first paragraph the jumping-off point to a larger idea that discounts the notion that only atheists are nasty enough to dehydrate kittens (and grind puppies)?

I have no idea. The problem is that this is only the first paragraph of the editorial, and the whole thing will not be available to the general public, the non-Early County News subscribers for a week.

I'm dying to read the rest of it, because frankly it could go either way. If any UTI readers in or around Blakely, Georgia out there have a subscription to the Early County News, either online or paper, or if you can buy a copy of the paper in a 7-11 or something, could you locate and post the rest of this editorial please? Thanks!

Update 8-24-07: Here's the rest of the editorial, and it's much as I expected. Like Hank pointed out below, replace "people who believe in God" with "white people", and "atheist" with "black person", and you'll get a wholoe different take on this person's hateful, twisted little mind.

[link] Because people who believe in God do not commit inhumane acts against animals, instead they show love, compassion and commitment from their hearts towards their pets. You will pay for the evil sins you have committed against this innocent animal. I would give this serious thought. Judgment day is coming.
Marion English.

Jim Downey's picture

"Are you *sure*?"

A friend sent me a link to this CBS News item this morning:

Atheists Make A Case Against God

Except that the article really isn't about that. It's more about where atheism fits in within our society, as seen through the vehicle of former Saturday Night Live actress Julia Sweeney, who discusses her own journey away from belief, and how it was received by her family:

Even more confusing for Sweeney personally was religion. She comes from a large Irish-Catholic family. But in her 30s, Sweeney says she began a spiritual quest. It led her away from any notion of God — a conversion she turned into a monologue, soon to be released as a film called "Letting Go of God."

But of course, many people would disagree with Sweeney, especially her mother, Geri. She said it was a great shock that her daughter decided that there wasn't enough evidence for her to believe in God.

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