A world(view) without morals

Imagine living in a world where you had absolutely no insight into good and evil, a world where you were completely incapable of seeing anything inherently wrong with assault, torture, rape, mutilation, and murder. Imagine being taught a morality so twisted and perverse that the only way you could be persuaded not to do such things is if you imagined some immensely powerful, magical being threatening to hurt you for a very long time if you did them.

Imagine living in Phil Robertson’s world(view)WARNING: Graphic rape/torture/murder fantasy, compliments of Christian hero Robertson, at the other end of that link.

[Read more…]

Skeptical blogger murdered, religious extremists suspected

Al Jazeera is reporting that a blogger who opposed religious fundamentalism has been murdered in Bangladesh in a bloody attack that left his wife seriously wounded as well.

Police say unidentified attackers have hacked a prominent US blogger to death in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.

Police on Friday said that Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born US citizen, known for this writing against religious fundamentalism, and wife Rafida Ahmed, were attacked after a visit to a book fair at Dhaka University.

[Read more…]

Graham on the bandwagon

According to an article on christianexaminer.com, Billy Graham’s son Franklin is eagerly jumping on the bandwagon of conservatives denouncing Obama for bringing up church history and reminding us that not all Muslims are terrorists.

Franklin Graham said former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani “has taken a lot of heat” for questioning whether President Obama loves America, and declined to weigh in on whether it was “true or not.” But Graham said what he did know is “the president defends Islam and chastises Christians, rebukes our allies and befriends our enemies, and fully supports gay marriages and abortion but denies the religious freedoms of those who don’t agree.”

Got to love that bit about not passing judgment on whether it’s really true or  not. Who cares about truth when there’s rabble to rouse, eh Frankie?

[Read more…]

Suffer the little children…

The Washington Post is reporting the appalling story of a Michigan pediatrician who is refusing to care for a 4-month-old baby girl because her parents are lesbian.

“The first thing Dr. Karam said was, ‘I’ll be your doctor, I’ll be seeing you today because Dr. Roi decided this morning that she prayed on it and she won’t be able to care for Bay,’ ” Jami told WJBK. “Dr. Karam told us she didn’t even come to the office that morning because she didn’t want to see us.”

The doctor later apologized for not coming in to the office that day, but made no apologies for her bigotry.

[Read more…]

Anti-evolution bill nixed by lawmakers

Good news from South Dakota. As the Argus Leader reports:

Senate Bill 114 was killed last week. More accurately, it was deferred by the state senate’s education committee to the “41st legislative day,” which doesn’t exist.

Senate Bill 114 was another one of those stealth creationism bills designed to encourage public school teachers to introduce kids to Genesis under the guise of “questioning” evolution. And you have to love this bit:

Language in the bill is also similar to model legislation from a group that has created intelligent design curriculum for private and home school teachers. Representatives for the Washington-based Discovery Institute say they don’t support teaching intelligent design in public schools.

No, of course they don’t support teaching ID in the public schools. They just design the curriculum (and help craft laws like SB 114) to make it possible for someone else to support teaching ID in public schools. See, that way, when the school district gets sued for First Amendment violations, and loses, the Institute doesn’t bear any of the liability, and are free to move on to the next school district.

Court rejects “right-to-meddle” claim

WTAE News reports that a federal appeals court has rejected lower court rulings that granted Christian organizations a right to meddle in their employees’ personal medical coverage.

A federal appeals court has reversed lower-court victories by two western Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses and a private Christian college that challenged birth control coverage mandates as part of federal health care reforms.

The 3-0 ruling Wednesday by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the reforms place “no substantial burden” on the religious groups and therefore don’t violate their First Amendment right to religious expression.

The organizations in question had argued that their religious convictions required them to deny their employees coverage for birth control or abortions. The law, however, allows them to opt out of the mandate to provide such coverage, in which case someone else would provide it. That didn’t satisfy the Christian organizations, however, because they wanted the power to ensure that nobody could provide their employees with coverage that was inconsistent with the organizations’ religious principles. In essence, they asserted that their religious freedom gave them the right to meddle in their employees’ private, personal medical care. Fortunately, the appeals court didn’t buy it.

[Read more…]

Good without God

I like the phrase “good without god(s),” because it reminds us that morality does not come from supernatural sources. But there’s a flip side to that: if we can be good without God, then we can also be evil without the devil, as has been horrifically demonstrated in the Chapel Hill shooting.

The thing is, atheism is just a fact, like the speed of light or the law of gravity. We don’t get any moral impetus from the fact that we obediently accelerate towards the center of the earth at about 32 feet per second squared. Knowing the correct value for the acceleration of gravity may give us a scientific advantage over people who don’t know, or who choose to believe in erroneous values. But that give us no moral advantage.

And it’s the same with atheism. Seeing the absence of the gods, understanding the superstitions and rationalizations that lead people to believe in beings that aren’t there, knowing the history of religion with its triumphs and tragedies—these are all simply observations. They’re not a source of moral guidance or motivation.

[Read more…]

Postmodern vaccination

Much to the surprise of no one who was paying attention in science class, diseases that were once mostly under control are now experiencing a dramatic upswing, thanks to the efforts of the anti-vaccine movement in sowing hysteria and misinformation about products that have already been through a lengthy and vigorous examination of their safety and efficacy. How could such a thing happen in “enlightened” Western civilization? The answer is complex, but part of the problem stems from our cultural post-modernism. Rejection of science goes hand-in-hand with rejection of the idea that any kind of objective truth really exists.

[Read more…]

Obama calls for separation of church and state at National Prayer Breakfast

In a move that is sure to make right-wingers decide (again) that Obama is Muslim extremist out to destroy America, the president spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and called on religion to oppose violence and support decency and freedom.

“We see faith driving us to do right,” he said to more than 3,500 people attending the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or worse, sometimes used as a weapon.”

He urged believers of all faiths to practice humility, support church-state separation and adhere to the golden rule as ways to keep religion in its proper context.

Nothing like a National Prayer Breakfast, hosted by members of Congress and addressed by the President, to promote separation of church and state, eh?

[Read more…]

Ban the Ten Commandments

Judge Roy Moore has been in the news recently, agitatin’ and rabble-rousin’ and insisting that judges in Alabama resist any federal policy on gay marriage, and uphold only the Alabama state constitution. And you know, that’s not entirely a bad idea, now that the state has amended its constitution to explicitly forbid relying on any foreign law to decide court cases. As astute political observers may have noticed, the ancient theocracy of Israel, which produced the Commandments known as the Law of Moses, is not part of the United States. Alabama, technically, has banned the Ten Commandments.

[Read more…]