“I notice you don’t pray with us in the morning.”

A wonderful guest post at Pearl Osibu’s blog about no longer sharing your family’s religion and how painful it can be to try to negotiate that, by T I Ajibade.

Tears continued to stream down my mum’s face as she asked god why this had to happen to her.

I had to recant. My mum is hypertensive. I was afraid for her health. I had an ugly vision of waking up the next morning to find she’d died of a heart attack.

So I took my words back.

And burned with a thrumming sadness. [Read more...]

Orwellian but unofficial

Dawkins offers another installment of The Philosophy of Twitter today.

Today I posted a series of tweets, relevant to this discussion and designed to be read in order:-

As a pejorative, “Politically Correct” has lost its bite. It’s now a cliché. What we have is an Orwellian (but unofficial) “Thought Police”.

Rotherham Police & Council were fearful of the Thought Police:
Let’s learn to lose our fear of the Thought Police. [Read more...]

With her arms full of volumes

I like Mary Beard. I bookmarked her Times blog years ago, long before the Twitter rows. Rebecca Mead in the New Yorker has a profile of her.

Beard’s academic concerns have kept her busy for decades: she can be seen scouring the classics library at Cambridge with her arms full of volumes, like an eager undergraduate. But in recent years, and somewhat to her surprise, Beard has found herself cast in the very public role of a feminist heroine. Through her television appearances, she has become an avatar for middle-aged and older women, who appreciate her unwillingness to fend off the visible advancement of age. Beard does not wear makeup and she doesn’t color her abundant gray hair. She dresses casually, with minor eccentricities: purple-rimmed spectacles, gold sneakers. She looks comfortable both in her skin and in her shoes—much more preoccupied with what she is saying than with how she looks as she is saying it.

[Read more...]


I was just looking at Peter Boghossian’s website. On the About page there’s a collection of comments about his book A Manual for Atheists. I’ll just help him plug the book.

Commentary and Reviews

“Peter Boghossian’s techniques of friendly persuasion are not mine, and maybe I’d be more effective if they were. They are undoubtedly very persuasive–and very much needed.”
–Richard Dawkins

“If I started reading A Manual for Creating Atheists as a Christian I would have been an atheist by the time I finished it. Peter Boghossian’s book is the perfect companion to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. They should be bundled like an atheist software package to reprogram minds into employing reason instead of faith, science instead of superstition.”
–Michael Shermer

“Dr. Peter Boghossian’s ‘A Manual for Creating Atheists’ is a precise, passionate, compassionate and brilliantly reasoned work that will illuminate any and all minds capable of openness and curiosity. This is not a bedtime story to help you fall asleep, but a wakeup call that has the best chance of bringing your rational mind back to life.”
–Stefan Molyneux, host of Freedomain Radio, the largest and most popular philosophy show on the web [Read more...]

Guest post: Not as comfortable for the media to talk about as “political correctness”

Originally a comment by Dan on In Rotherham.

Rotherham is my home town. I was there today and watched the Sky News helicopter hover overhead. What we’ve learned from this is horrifying.

But the media are running with the race angle (or, the wrong race angle), thereby smothering other important issues.

The report finds no evidence that the lack of action was down to fear of being thought of as racist, though it notes this perception. Nor does the report provide any support for the racist/xenophobic narrative that white girls were targeted by Asian/Muslim men because of some inherent hatred or contempt of the latter by the former in a kind of deliberate campaign or religious/cultural war. [Read more...]

The buck stops somewhere

So maybe there are people in Rotherham who should be held accountable for what happened? Like Shaun Wright for instance?

The Labour party has called for the resignation of South Yorkshire’s police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal in Rotherham.

Wright was a Labour cabinet member for children and young people’s services at Rotherham council from 2005 to 2010 when he received three reports about widespread abuse but failed to act, according toProf Alexis Jay’s damning report on the sexual exploitation of 1,400 children over 16 years in the South Yorkshire town. [Read more...]

On Frontline

I watched the first hour of a re-run of Frontline’s Secrets of the Vatican last night. It’s very powerful.

There’s one part where a middle-aged woman describes in detail her rape by her priest when she was 8 years old, and it broke my heart. The detail isn’t physical, but behavioral – what he said, how he looked at her, his tone of voice, what he threatened her with, how he walked away and how he closed the door behind him. And then what she did after that, and how she felt.

And there are men who break your heart too. Several of them.

Milwaukee, we learn (not that it’s new…), was a standout for cold callous self-interested bullying and ass-covering. Who was in charge of that? Timothy motherfucking Dolan. Is that how he got to be a cardinal and live in that nice house in Manhattan? By doing such a good job of shutting up the victims in Milwaukee?

The Vatican is a “sovereign nation” (thanks to Mussolini, which Frontline doesn’t mention, and should have) so it doesn’t have to hand over its archives to anyone. Cases have to be dealt with locally, one by one. Excellent wheeze if you’re in charge of a bunch of rapey priests.

Inhibitions from confronting social attitudes

Al Razi, an Ex-Muslim and member of the CEMB forum, has a piece about the Rotherham mess at Left Foot Forward.

…we must ask if ideological multiculturalism as a political, social policy leads to a situation in which a cover up of uncomfortable issues becomes inevitable. When this happens, suffering and abuse occurs, and rather than dealing boldly with it, what results is a pattern of denial, obfuscation and continuance.

[Read more...]

A strong correlation

Merrill Miller at The Humanist asks why poor people are more religious. She starts with two New York Times blog posts, one about areas of the US where poverty is concentrated and the other about the apparent tendency of those areas to favor religious fundamentalism more than others.

These findings from The Upshot are reinforced by previous research into the connections between religion and poverty. According to a 2010 Gallup poll, there is a strong, positive correlation between strict adherence to religion and privation. But while the Gallup poll reports a link between religious devotion and poverty, it doesn’t provide any insight into why it exists.

[Read more...]