Feòrag: July 2008 Archives

July 30, 2008

Unclear on the concept.

England: A festival promoting religious tolerance has been cancelled because members of one religion objected to the presence of members of others. The Laxfield Festival of Tolerance honoured the life of a local Protestant executed during the reign of Queen Mary, and the legendary reaction of the villagers.

John Noyes, a Laxfield shoemaker, was burnt to death on 22 September 1557, one of 34 executed in the county for his religious beliefs.

Legend has it that almost all the villagers disagreed with his death sentence and tried to put out their fires to stop his execution.

The festival was started three years ago in a bid to remember the execution and spread the message of religious tolerance.

The message flew right over the heads of some, though.

One villager explained his opposition to the festival. He said: I felt there was a drift towards the darker side of things, such as people selling five-pointed stars and other symbols of witchcraft. It didn't uphold the values I see in life.

Just one sentence which demonstrates the need for the festival.

"Intolerant" villagers stop "tolerance" festival The Daily Telegraph, 30th July 2008.

July 29, 2008

Is this inciting terrorism?

Cheryl has noticed an interesting OpEd piece in the Mormon Times, in which science fiction writer Orson Scott Card calls for terrorism against any government which allows same-sex marriage.

I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

As Cheryl comments, [p]resumably the Department of Homeland Security will be taking note, but it brings two questions to mind. Firstly, how is ensuring his children can marry regardless of the sex of their beloved stopping them from doing so? And doesn't Mormonism historically have a definition of marriage which is ever so slightly different from the one which inspires Card's violent thoughts?

A Call for RevolutionCheryl's Mewsings, 29th July 2008, citing State job is not to redefine marriageMormon Times, 24th July 2008.

Brethren accused of kidnapping, fraud.

Australia: The Exclusive Brethren are in trouble again, as a writ is filed accusing the cult of kidnapping, fraud and a number of other crimes.

Three sisters, from India, who say they are on the run from the religious sect, allege they can link it to numerous crimes. The women also allege the Exclusive Brethren is involved in money laundering, immigration fraud in New Zealand and bribery of police and members of the judiciary in India.

We've got 3,000 pages of evidence ... and now we're going to expose this whole thing, one of the sisters told reporters in Canberra.

Exclusive Brethren accused of kidnappingThe Age, 29th July 2008.

Amusement of the moment

Premonition Fail
From Failblog

Equality: you're doing it wrong

England: Birmingham council appear to have failed to have paid any attention to the requirements of the law on religious discrimination when they decided to censor the internet for their employees.

The authority's Bluecoat Software computer system allows staff to look at websites relating to Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and other religions but blocks sites to do with witchcraft or Satanism and occult practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or any other form of mysticism.

Under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, it is unlawful to discriminate against workers because of their religion or belief, which includes atheism.

One also wonders what Birmingham's social workers are expected to do if they have, for example, a Wiccan client, and they need to learn more about that faith in order to deal with them fairly? Perhaps they are expected to dig out those fundie dossiers from the late 80s' Satanic panic?

Council ban on atheist websitesBBC News, 29th July 2008.

July 20, 2008

Australia to Phelps: bugger off!

Australia: According to a gay website, Australian authorities have refused visas to members of Westboro Baptist Church who planned to picket World Youth Day.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, spokesperson for Westboro, told Same Same, If your government would give us a visa we would be there, but they won’t!

I haven't seen this story anywhere else other than on this Australian gay site, but the Westboro Baptist Church did issue a press release on July 12th indicating their intent to go to Australia [PDF]. This reads:

WBC to picket Catholic World Youth Day Sydney, Australia, July 20

Yes, these Roman Catholic priests, bishops, cardinals – all the way up to the Pope – have got a lot of shameless nerve, luring hundreds of kids to a sodomite island thousands of miles away, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with their reputation of molesting kids! And what kind of idiots – escapees from the funny farm masquerading as parents – will let their kids go to Fantasy Island of the Fags, masquerading as a nation called Australia?

"GOD HATES AUSTRALIA" for criminalising gospel preaching about fags. Just to quote Leviticus 18:22, (Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is an abomination), will get you arrested in fag dominated Australia.

Now, the Phelps are US citizens, and could therefore go to Australia on an Electronic Travel Authority (Visitor) (Subclass 976), assuming picketing is considered to be tourism purposes (dubious at best). But they announced their intent 8 days before the event they planned to picket, and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship recommends you are advised to apply for your ETA at least two (2) weeks before your proposed date of travel. They also note that there is a lot of demand for visas due to World Youth Day and suggest applying before June 1st! There are limitations with respect to criminal convictions, but the civil judgement against the church wouldn't fall foul of them. Perhaps the Australian authorities were concerned that they were trying to flee their financial obligations? Without any other sources, it's impossible to even guess.

Australia: A Fag Fantasy IslandSame Same, 18th July 2008; Walls close in on PhelpsesThe Topeka Capital-Journal, 4th April 2008.

July 18, 2008

Cruel vegetable torture

Apparently if you electrocute a non-Christian, they will become Christian, and their arse will glow red and be a really inefficient lightbulb. Or something like that, anyway...

July 9, 2008

Pride ashamed.

England: The Pride London organisers have issued an apology over the discrimination meted out to a transwoman at the event last weekend, and also corrected certain details. They note that the stewards responsible were not employed by Pride London, and that [t]his incident has marred a very successful event and lessons have to be and must be learnt from it..

The full statement follows:

How many panics can you fit into a single short article?

Germany: Some bampot has been killing rabbits in the area around Dortmund and, obviously, it can't simply be someone who enjoys being cruel to animals. Humans are, after all, peaceful bunnyhugging vegans with no tendency towards harming other creatures at all. First up, is the usual suspects: it must be Satanists.

Fear is driving rabbit owners in Germany to lock up their pets at night after a spate of brutal bunny slayings in which pets have been beheaded and drained of blood....

There has been speculation that satanists could be responsible because many of the way the rabbits have been killed.

And if that wasn't enough, the internet is also to blame.

The task force is looking into the possibility that the rabbits were being targeted using the online mapping programme Google Earth.

I'm betting it's a lone nutter, or teenagers.

German police investigate serial rabbit killingsThe Guardian, 9th July 2008.

July 6, 2008

What does T stand for again?

England: Stewards and police at the LGBT Pride march in London yesterday seemed unclear on the nature of the event. As Roz Kaveney reports:

Official stewards who were running the toilets at Trafalgar Square announced that I, and any other transgender or transsexual woman, had to use the disabled toilets and was not allowed to use the regular women's toilets. I pointed out to the stewards that I transitioned and had surgery before they were born; I was more polite than a polite thing. No dice.

I went and fetched a posse of transwomen and transmen and we made a collective fuss. Their response - and remember these were official stewards AT PRIDE - was to radio in 'we're being attacked by a mob of trannies! send backup'. They were joined by a policeman, who was a LGBT liaison officer, who claimed that we had to be able to show our Gender Recognition Certificates if we wanted to use the women's loos and got quite upset when I explained to him that I had been involved in drafting the Act and that it did not take away rights that existed before it. At one point he threatened to arrest us for demonstrating on private property - those loos belong to Westminster Council, so you are not allowed to make a fuss there.

Needless to say, a Facebook group—Stop Transphobia at Pride—has already been created.

As one commenter on LiveJournal put it:
LGBT Pride. Ur doin it wrong.

WTF! LGBT Pride is worse than the other kindSilence Exile and Crumpets, 6th July 2008. See also Transphobia at Pride.

July 3, 2008

Rant of the day

Zimbabwe: Barry Duke of The Freethinker feels that the Roman Catholic Church might have its priorities ever so slightly the wrong way round, and isn't afraid to use robust language to say so. In particular, he notes that the Church seems uninterested in criticising members of its flock who are, for example, murderous dictators:

Notice the book in Robert Mugabe’s hand when he was hastily sworn for a sixth term as President of Zimbabwe? Yes folks, the lunatic dictator – a devout Catholic – was clutching a Bible.

Mugabe is 84-years-old, and with any luck will soon be dead. And when he does finally turn up his toes, what’s the bet that religious revisionists, shaking their heads over the destruction he wreaked on his country, will vilify him as an atheist – just as they do now in respect of that other great Catholic dictator, Adolf Hitler.

For the moment though, Mugabe remains in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church...

Of course, should anyone suggest that pooves be treated as actual human beings, they would be deafened by condemnations from representatives of that same church.

Mugabe - a good Catholic dictator … just like Hitler!The Freethinker, 3rd July 2008.

A list of schools to avoid

United Kingdom: University admissions tutors might be interested in a survey conducted by More4 News, which found that at least 40 British schools are teaching ancient mythology instead of science. The programme also noted that not all of the schools concerned were in the private sector. Andrew Copson, the British Humanist Association's Director of Education and Public Affairs commented:

It is appalling that there are thousands of children in Britain who are being taught that evolution is a myth and creationism a fact. It is even worse that almost 1,000 of those children attend schools funded by taxpayers, which teach creationism despite national guidance that it has no place in the science classroom. We are glad that the government is currently producing new guidance on how to deal with creationism in schools but it is crucial that school inspectors are also trained to check faith schools rigorously for the teaching of creationism or intelligent design.

Humanists 窶彗ppalled窶? that creationism taught in 40 UK schools British Humanist Association press release, 2nd July 2008.

July 2, 2008

What a homosexual day

United States: The American Family Association operates a 'news' outlet which, it has been recently discovered, alters stories to suit its agenda. The tinkering was noticed when they reported on the success of an American athlete:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn't count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here's what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he's certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

It means a lot to me, the 25-year-old Homosexual said. I'm glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.

The athlete's name is really Tyson Gay.

Christian Site's Ban on 'G' Word Sends Homosexual to OlympicsWashington Post Blogs, 1st July 2008.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Feòrag in July 2008.

Feòrag: June 2008 is the previous archive.

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