Church and State: July 2005 Archives

July 25, 2005

Lazy Christian fired.

United Kingdom: A Christian has been told that his being sacked for refusing to work Sundays was fair and did not constitute religious discrimination.

Mr Copsey, 33, of King's Lynn, Norfolk, worked for the quarry firm in his home town for 14 years until 2002. He was claiming £65,000 damages.

An industrial tribunal and appeal tribunal ruled that Mr Copsey was sacked because he refused to work a seven-day shift pattern and not because he held particular religious beliefs.

The judge found that the company had compelling economic reasons to switch to a seven-day shift pattern, which applied to all workers equally, and that alternatives to dismissal had been explored, but none found.

The alternatives to dismissal were fully explored with Mr Copsey. No sensible alternative to dismissal could be found. The tribunal found that Devon Clays had done everything they could to accommodate Mr Copsey's wish not to work on Sundays.

Christian loses Sunday working appeal - The Guardian, 25th July 2005.

July 22, 2005

Time to separate church and state

United Kingdom: Polly Toynbee is inspired mood in today's Guardian, looking at this government's history of appeasing religion, which includes the extremist bampots. And she reminds us that it isn't just Islam that suffers from this problem:

All religions are prone to it, given the right circumstances. How could those who preach the absolute revealed truth of every word of a primitive book not be prone to insanity? There have been sects of killer Christians and indeed the whole of Christendom has been at times bent on wiping out heathens. Jewish zealots in their settlements crazily claim legal rights to land from the Old Testament. Some African Pentecostal churches harbour sects of torturing exorcism and child abuse. Muslims have a very long tradition of jihadist slaughter. Sikhs rose up to stop a play that exposed deformities of abuse within their temples. Buddhism too has its sinister wing. See how far-right evangelicals have kidnapped US politics and warped its secular, liberal founding traditions. Intense belief, incantations, secrecy and all-male rituals breed perversions and danger, abusing women and children and infecting young men with frenzy, no matter what the name of the faith.

Enlightenment values are in peril not because these mad beliefs are really growing but because too many rational people seek to appease and understand unreason. Extreme superstition breeds extreme action. Those who believe they alone know the only way, truth and life will always feel justified in doing anything in its name. You would, wouldn't you, if you alone had the magic answer to everything? If religions teach that life after death is better then it is hardly surprising that some crazed followers will actually believe it.

In the name of God - The Guardian, 22nd July 2005.

July 20, 2005

You'll get hairy palms, too.

United States: A bizarre coalition of religious organisations and psychologists have teamed up to raise funds to 'prove' that porn causes brain damage. Dr Judith Reisman wants to test her hypothesis that pornography affects the physical structure of your brain turning you into a porno-zombie.

Porn, she says, is an erototoxin, producing an addictive drug cocktail of testosterone, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin with a measurable organic effect on the brain.

Some of us might consider this a good thing. Not Reisman: erototoxins aren't about pleasure, they're a fear-sex-shame-and-anger stimulant. Reisman's paper on the subject The Psychopharmacology of Pictorial Pornography Restructuring Brain, Mind & Memory & Subverting Freedom of Speech has helped make her the darling of the anti-pornography crusade, and in November last year she presented her erototoxin theory to the US senate.

The plan is to conduct MRI scans on victims under the influence of porn, hopefully providing evidence to both sue the producers of erotic material in the same way as the tobacco industry, and to get the evil stuff banned - obviously someone under the influence of porn cannot be covered by the First Amendment, for their own good. But Mark Pilkington spots a problemette, which might explain Reisman's rather odd thinking:

But there's a catch. Much of Reisman's research in developing her theory has necessitated examining hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pornographic magazines and films. By her own reasoning her brain ought, by now, to be a seething mass of toxic smutmulch ...

Sex on the brain - The Guardian, 14th July 2005 (via El Coyote Gordo).

July 11, 2005

Catholics Heading into Dark Ages

United States: Just when you thought the Catholics couldn't manage to step any further back into the dark ages, along comes a wingnut to disabuse you of that notion.

An influential cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church, which has long been regarded as an ally of the theory of evolution, is now suggesting that belief in evolution as accepted by science today may be incompatible with Catholic faith.

The cardinal, Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, a theologian who is close to Pope Benedict XVI, staked out his position in an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on Thursday, writing, Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense — an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection — is not.

It will come as a surprise to no one that the deranged man in the frock is in bed with a loony fundie whose mission in life is spreading complete bollocks to impressionable children.

One of the strongest advocates of teaching alternatives to evolution is the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes the idea, termed intelligent design, that the variety and complexity of life on earth cannot be explained except through the intervention of a designer of some sort.

Mark Ryland, a vice president of the institute, said in an interview that he had urged the cardinal to write the essay. Both Mr Ryland and Cardinal Schönborn said that an essay in May in The Times about the compatibility of religion and evolutionary theory by Lawrence M Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, suggested to them that it was time to clarify the church's position on evolution.

Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution - New York Times, 9th July 2005.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from July 2005.

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