Headline Muse, 9/18

Though the church fears the atheist danger
There’s more risk from a friend than a stranger
And when pastors compete
With the church down the street
Best beware of the dog in the manger!

Headline: Man accused of killing wife, wounding 2 pastors

Ok, it might be a stretch–Aesop’s “dog in the manger” basically growled “I can’t have it, but neither can you!”; in this terrible tragedy, the motives are not yet settled. The shooter and his wife were former members of the church the two pastors ran; it may not be such a stretch to think there was some envy involved.

I hate church shootings. I hate all shootings, but church shootings are a special case. Growing up, church was presented as a sanctuary; if you came in, you were welcomed and treated with kindness. Today, I read a headline like this and know (of course I don’t know) that the shooter was a member or former member of the congregation, and that tears me apart. And some day, perhaps some self-identified atheist will be the shooter, and that will make everyone forget all the other shootings, and forget that the fights within religion are far more representative of history than the recent atheist surge.

Job Duties VS Voices In Head

Rose Marie Belforti was
A brave and honest clerk
Who said that God himself decreed
She could not do her work

To serve the state, her job required,
But Rose observed a flaw—
She could not serve New York; instead,
She served a higher law

She will not sign certificates
When same-sex couples wed;
The path to hell goes that way, and
She simply won’t be led.

She could not “hold her nose and sign”
She could not “go along”
She could not in good conscience
When her God said it was wrong.

Mind you, other people said
That God was fine with gays
But Rose Marie Belforti’s God
Sees things in other ways.

Her God is quite the homophobe
So Rose Marie is, too;
Her bigotry is there , cos
It’s what Christ himself would do.

Well, Christ as she perceives him,
Not the Christ from in that book
So really, not a claim that’s gonna
Let her off the hook.

She’s asking dispensation; could
Some clerk sign those instead?
Her job is making troubles for
The voices in her head

Story at Camels With Hammers.

The Spiritual Guide To Losing

When life gives you lemons, when life steals your hope,
When tragedy o’erflows your cup
When suffering comes, amidst crisis and loss
The key is to learn to give up.

The things you’ve achieved, and the battles you’ve won
Your possessions—your piece of the pie
Your retirement savings from decades of work,
It’s much better to just let them die.

Refocus your mind from the things of the world
To redemption, forgiveness from sin
The key to it all, in the spiritual sense?
Re-defining a loss as a win.

Rant, after the jump:
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Pluck It Out

If thy right eye should offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee
You should sacrifice the bad to save the good
But to rip up Bible sections, is to flaunt the lord’s protections
So you shouldn’t do it, even if you could!
Every word, nay, every letter, couldn’t ever be made better
It’s the only perfect book that’s ever been!
So the Backyard Skeptics Rip-Off is the thinking person’s tip-off
That they’re really only there to make a scene.

Who could disagree, that urgin’, if your wife is not a virgin,
That by biblical pronouncement she be stoned?
If we start to choose and edit—challenge whether Jesus said it,
We’re committing sins that cannot be atoned!
End the sin of eating shellfish? Why, that’s nothing less than selfish!
What the bible says is good enough for me!
Why, these godless pick-and-choosers are the saddest sort of losers
With their addle-pated game of “thinking free”!

Explanation, after the jump:
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Texas Eats Puppy

Having dried up the lakes, and dehydrated guppies
The governor now sets his sights on the puppies
Since his prayer-fest for rain, which the whole region lacks,
It’s been sunshine and drought, and the land now has cracks
Not spiderweb cracks—that would almost be luck—
Big enough that a puppy fell in and got stuck!
If Perry has got a connection to God
Then these cracks that eat puppies are more than just odd—
Either way, the conclusion’s a little bit scary:
Either Perry hates puppies… or God hates Perry.

The drought has left the earth in Texas cracked and hurting. The cracks are familiar to anyone who has seen a dried-out lake bed, but of course, everything is bigger in Texas. In Texas, the cracks are big enough to have trapped a puppy, who needed to be rescued. Yes, the puppy is cute. Yes, there is video at the link.

More Trouble For Giant Cuttlefish

As if things were not bad enough
Point Lowly now has seals
Who may decide that cuttlefish
Make very tasty meals.
For now, they dine on snappers, but
They still are a concern
With fur seals by the dozen…
Will the cuttlefish return?

Via email from John Morales, minutes ago, more bad news for the Giant Cuttlefish at Point Lowly:

Fur seals have been spotted in upper Spencer Gulf at the breeding ground of the giant cuttlefish.

Whyalla fisherman Alan Hall says dozens of seals have been feeding on snapper at Point Lowly.

So they are eating snapper now, but giant cuttlefish are basically a protein popsicle. Just the cuttlebone, no nasty needle-shaped bones, no nasty scales. Seals aren’t dumb; I am worried.

While I’m talking about Point Lowly, let me remind any of you who have not signed the petition to do so ASAP. In my opinion, international signers are every bit as important; this is a huge tourist destination as well as a local treasure.

What Would An Atheist Do?

Inspired by PZ’s post, back just prior to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene hitting the east coast, about David Silverman’s appearance on Fox. Basically, Silverman was invited on so that the hosts could ask him how atheists prepare for storms, and then make fun of him for not praying.

Of course, preparing for a potential disaster takes many forms, but the forms that are actually effective have one thing in common: they are among the things that atheists would do. Batteries? Check. Water? Check. Food? Check. First aid kit? Check. Prayer? Not so much. Candles? Matches? Check; check. Rosary? Nope. As Silverman said, the best thing you can do is prepare like an atheist.

Which got me thinking, and then composing. So below the fold is… not a verse, but a song. In my head it even has an actual melody and accompaniment–original, not a parody of any song I am aware of. For style, think John Hiatt, with a gospel choir backing him up. After the jump:
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