Desecration Done Right

Old news by now, I’m sure, but PZ did the deed. The cracker, the Koran, and a twist entry have all suffered an ignoble fate. And while none of the religious loons will see it this way, this little act of desecration should lead to some important considerations.

PZ’s post on this is a tour de force. It’s not about getting up the noses of the religious: it’s about the power of symbols, and the danger of letting the symbols have too much power. It’s about the use symbols have been put to that led to pain, suffering and death for those deemed other. I’ll just give you the closing paragraph, because it says everything that needs to be said:


Nothing must be held sacred. Question everything. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet. You are all human beings who must make your way through your life by thinking and learning, and you have the job of advancing humanity’s knowledge by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality. You will not find wisdom in rituals and sacraments and dogma, which build only self-satisfied ignorance, but you can find truth by looking at your world with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.

Even if you think Jesus is your lord, and you believe God is great, the rest of that paragraph pertains to you. The moment you don’t think it does is the moment you run the risk of becoming one of those poor, deluded fools who believe that in order to save a cracker from an ignoble end, you must murder a human being. You disrespect your god by believing he is so limited that he can be injured by the actions of one non-believer. You show that faith is a fragile, hopeless thing, a weapon that harms rather than heals.

What is the sacred if it’s not something so transcendent that it can survive any attempt to destroy it?

It’s too bad so many people are so small and insecure that they miss the truth. I hope that PZ’s courageous cracker contempt drops the scales from at least a few of their eyes. Alas, I’m not holding my breath.

What a Fucking Hypocrite

Bill Donahue’s fuckwittery knows no bounds. I’m going to have to find myself a dictionary of invective, because my usual adjectives seem remarkably inadequate in the face of his hypocrisy. I don’t know how anyone can claim to be holding the moral high ground when neck-deep in the bullshit, but he’s claiming for all he’s worth despite the telltale stench.

Let’s deconstruct a few things here.

First off, the name of his pet project:

CATHOLIC LEAGUE
FOR RELIGIOUS AND CIVIL RIGHTS

He demands religious and civil rights for Catholics. Fair enough. What makes him a hypocrite? Well, perhaps the fact he doesn’t seem to believe in religious and civil rights for other folks. If he did, we wouldn’t end up with screeching such as this:


“The biology professor made it clear that he would never disrespect Islam the way he does Catholicism. When asked about those who abuse the Koran, for example, he said such an act was analogous to desecrating a graveyard. ‘That’s completely different,’ he said. ‘I don’t favor [that idea].’ But when it comes to the Body of Christ, he opines, ‘The cracker is completely different.’

“This isn’t the first time Myers has shown deference to Islam. For instance, two years ago he was critical of the Danish cartoons that simply depicted an image of Muhammad. ‘They [the cartoons] lack artistic or social or even comedic merit, and are presented as an insult to inflame a poor minority.’ So now the Planet-of-the-Apes biologist has divined himself an expert on the artistic value of cartoons. So thoughtful of him. He even went so far as to say that Muslims ‘have cause to be furious.’ (His italic.) Worthy of burning down churches, pledging to behead Christians and shooting a nun in the back, Professor Myers?”

My goodness me. Here’s what I’m hearing from him: it’s a no-good, despicable, terrible, awful thing to desecrate a cracker, cuz it’s important to Catholics. There’s a decided lack of condemnation of those who sent PZ death threats, which is as much as saying, “The bastard deserves ’em!” He all but states outright that the Eucharist is far more sacred to Catholics than the Koran is to Muslims. And as for those cartoons perpetrating what, to Islam, is an outrageous sacrilege, well, their outrage was totally unworthy!

I have news for Mr. Donahue: Muslims feel pretty damned strongly about depictions of the Prophet, from what I understand. It’s pretty much on par with mistreating a consecrated cracker. So what, pray tell, is the fucking difference? Why was an atheist less dismissive of Muslim outrage than Crusader Bill?

Might have something to do with the fact he wasn’t being a raging hypocrite, unlike Bill “He Likes Moooslims More Than Us!!11!1!” Donahue.

PZ never did say that the Muslims who went overboard had every right to burn churches, pledge to murder Christians, shoot nuns, etc. In fact, let’s see what he did say:


So on the one hand I see a social problem being mocked, but on the other—and here comes the smug godless finger-wagging—I see a foolish superstition used as a prod to mock people, and a people so muddled by the phony blandishments of religion that they scream “Blasphemy!” and falsely pin the problem on a ridiculous insult to a non-existent god, rather than on the affront to their dignity as human beings and citizens. Religion in this case has accomplished two things, neither one productive: it’s distracted people away from the real problems, which have nothing at all to do with the camera-shy nature of their imaginary deity, and it’s also amplified the hatred.

It also doesn’t help that their riots are confirming the caricatures rather than opposing them. Once again, religiosity turns people into mindless frenzied zombies, and once again it interferes with progress.


Oh, there’s more, if that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t Islam PZ was deferring to at all. Read the whole post, and you’ll see that PZ’s principles stand inviolate, despite his sympathy.

Let us now turn to Bill’s creative quotemining of PZ’s interview with the Minnesota Independent. So nice of Bill not to provide a link, but never fear! I have the power of the Google. And here’s the section in question, sans elipses:


MnIndy: What about the stories of US military personnel urinating on and otherwise abusing copies of the Koran in Iraq? Were you outraged by that, or is that a different version of this for you?

Myers: There’s a subtle difference there — maybe an important difference. I don’t favor the idea of going to somebody’s home or to something they own and possess and consider very important, like a graveyard — going to a grave and desecrating that. That’s something completely different. Because what you’re doing is doing harm to something unique and something that is rightfully part of somebody else — it’s somebody else’s ownership. The cracker is completely different. This is something that’s freely handed out.


Oh, deary me. Bill had to do quite a lot of manipulating to twist that comment into something he could use to prove his point. He wasn’t making it clear he wouldn’t desecrate Islam: he was saying he wouldn’t desecrate something unique or something someone else possesses. That’s showing respect for the person, not the religious object itself. And I believe that would be why, now that some enterprising Catholics have sent PZ a few copies of the Koran, he can desecrate away without compromising that statement. Like the cracker, they were freely given. They’re not unique – Korans aren’t quite as cheap as Communion wafers, but they’re available for a decent price at any Barnes and Noble. There’s even a copy sitting on the shelf behind me.

So PZ’s going to do what so many concerned Catholics have asked him to: he’s going to give the Host and the Koran equal treatment. Bill should be happy. He practically begged PZ to show Catholic and Muslim sacred objects equal respect, and considering that PZ’s whole point is that religion doesn’t deserve this knee-jerk deference, what the fuck did he expect?


“The latest threat by Myers only makes matters worse. Instead of treating Catholicism with the respect he has previously shown for Islam, he now pledges to disrespect Islam the way he pledges to disrespect Catholicism (once again!). This is his idea of equal treatment. “


Why, yes. Yes, it is. He’s not a hypocrite, you see. Unlike Bill, who will go into a rabid froth over PZ threatening a cracker, bitch about how he respects Islam more (completely ignoring the context of PZ’s statements on Islam, which is that he doesn’t respect it at all), and, after allowing his followers to demand the desecration of the Koran, now decries PZ for offering to do it because what he really wanted was for PZ to run off with his tail between his legs.

You wa
nt to know what might have given you a quantum of credibility, there, Bill? Maybe you should have issued one of your famous press releases decrying the death threats, asking your mob of religious fuckwits to cease and desist (as PZ did when some of his – shall we say, enthusiastic but clueless – fans started sending hate mail right back to the haters), stating strongly that requesting the desecration of the Koran is just as wrong as threatening a cracker, and asking PZ for a dialogue to see if some understanding could be reached.

But Bill Donahue has no interest in doing any of those things. He doesn’t want to foster understanding between believers and non-believers. He doesn’t give two tugs on a dead dog’s dick what PZ does to a Koran, until it allows him to pretend a superior morality. And now he’s trying to set the Muslims on PZ, and it definitely seems like he’s hoping they’ll go all suicide bomber so that the Catholic League can say “See! We only threatened his life!”

I wonder how the Muslims’ deafening silence is sitting with him? They don’t seem unduly concerned. They’re not flooding PZ’s inbox with hate, death threats, and long rants about how important it is for PZ not to desecrate the Koran. I think it’s because the majority of them realize that PZ Myers messing about with a mass-produced copy of the Koran is going to do zero damage to Islam. I know it’s not because they haven’t heard about PZ’s promise: Bill’s made sure the news is spread as far and wide as possible. Way to show what a bigoted asshole you are, Bill.

I’m not sure what Ibrahim Hooper at CAIR is going to say to all of this. I hope he sees Bill “Fuck the Mooslims Unless I Can Use Them to Bolster My Martyrdom” Donahue for the batshit insane fucking hypocrite he is, and responds accordingly. After all, it’s Donahue’s followers who brought this on the Koran. PZ was going to stop at a Catholic cracker until they got involved.

Way to spread the Christian love, eh?

Why Christian Businesses Should Read the Articles They Link To

Occasionally, I check Sitemeter to see Who’s Honoring Me Now (copyright Stephen Colbert). Occasionally, that turns out to be extraordinarily amusing.

Take, for instance, this referral:

Weird, says I. What the fuck would a site called Profit God’s Way be referring people to me for? Unless they’re bitching about me… There was that article on shady Christian businesses that wasn’t too flattering. Bet they’re pissed! Yippee!

So off I click to discover what awful things are being said about me. All I get is this:

Well, that’s disappointing. Just a lame fucking advertisement. But I’ve got to be on this page somewhere: otherwise, no one would’ve clicked through it to my blog.

*scroll scroll scroll* HA HA HA HA HA! Aren’t they cute?


(click to embiggen)

Still no me. What the fuck?

*scroll scroll Your product is so great!!1!!1!! blah blah scroll scroll scroll*

*pause*

*really long pause*

Seriously?

THEY FUCKING LINKED TO MY ARTICLE! AH HA HA HA HA HA! HEE HEE HEE! WAH-HA HA HA HA SNORT WHEEZE BWAH HA HAow. I think I strained something.

So no shit. I had to go surfing through the site to verify it wasn’t a spoof. Had to be a spoof, right? I mean, who’s gonna be that stupid?

Forget I asked.

Self-explanatory, really.

I don’t know how long I’ll be up there before someone figures out that – how do I put this delicately? – linking to my article isn’t quite in keeping with the overall message of their website. In fact, it’s pretty fucking counter-productive. I’m sure my enshrinement there will be temporary.

But the amusement value will last me the rest of my life.

Richard Dawkins et al Aren’t Really Atheists, Sez Religious Scholar

I’ve stumbled across an interview in Salon that should keep us all thoroughly entertained for weeks. Super-duper religious scholar James Carse is, according to the article, “out to rescue religion from both religious fundamentalists and atheists.” Since he redefines atheism to be something completely nonsensical, I don’t know who he thinks he’s saving religion from.

You see, according to his rarified definition of atheism, Richard Dawkins doesn’t qualify. None of us do. Observe:


Given what’s happening in the world right now, do you think there’s a lot at stake in how we talk about religion and belief?

Absolutely. In the current, very popular attack on religion, the one thing that’s left out is the sense of religion that I’ve been talking about. Instead, it’s an attack on what’s essentially a belief system.

Are you talking about atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?

Yes. There are several problems with their approach. It has an inadequate understanding of the nature of religion. These chaps are very distinguished thinkers and scientists, very smart people, but they are not historians or scholars of religion. Therefore, it’s too easy for them to pass off a quick notion of what religion is. That kind of critique also tends to set up a counter-belief system of its own. Daniel Dennett proposes his own, fairly comprehensive belief system based on evolution and psychology. From his point of view, it seems that everything can be explained. Harris and Dawkins are not quite that extreme. But that’s a danger with all of them. To be an atheist, you have to be very clear about what god you’re not believing in. Therefore, if you don’t have a deep and well-developed understanding of God and divine reality, you can misfire on atheism very easily. [emphasis added]

“Misfire on atheism?” What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Maybe my rough-and-ready street philosophy is inadequate to the task of understanding Mr. Carse’s elevated definitions, but what he seems to be saying here is that you can’t be an atheist if you have a counter-belief system (i.e., if you can explain most of the mysteries of life by turning to science and reality). You also seem to have to be some sort of religious scholar to qualify. You have to understand “god” to not believe in “god.” And you have to define which god it is, exactly, you don’t believe in. Otherwise, you’re apparently not an atheist.

And here I thought it was so simple. I thought that, to be an atheist, you just don’t believe in gods. None of ’em. I thought that blanket unbelief was good enough. Nobody told me going in to this that I’d have to debunk every fucking god individually, and that I can only do that if I have a deep understanding of all of the fuckers.

Are you fucking kidding me?

All right. Let’s play ball. Let’s have Mr. Carse define religion. Oh, wait, he can’t:


What, then, do you mean by religion?

Religion is notoriously difficult to define. Modern scholars have almost unanimously decided that there is no generalization that applies to all the great living religions. Jews don’t have a priesthood. Catholics do. The prayer in one tradition is different from another. The literature and the texts are radically different from each other. So it leaves us with the question: Is there any generalization one could make about religion?


What he eventually comes up with, after much spewing of the philosophical bunkum, is that religion is simply a belief system that’s survived a few thousand years. Got that? If it ain’t ancient, it ain’t religion.

Now that we’ve discovered the bugger can’t define religion, let us return to his discussion of what an atheist is:


And yet, you’ve just told me that you yourself don’t believe in a divine reality. In some ways, your critique of belief systems seems to go along with what the new atheists are saying.

The difference, though, is that I wouldn’t call myself an atheist. To be an atheist is not to be stunned by the mystery of things or to walk around in wonder about the universe. That’s a mode of being that has nothing to do with belief. So I have very little in common with them. [emphasis added]

So, in order to be an atheist, it’s not enough to not believe in gods. It’s not enough to explain the universe not by resorting to the supernatural, but by reaching for the natural. It’s not enough to not believe in one single, solitary fucking supernatural thing. We can’t even have a sense of wonder about the universe.

You know what? I’m done. This guy had a little kernel of a good idea at the very beginning, when he was discussing belief systems vs. religion. But once you get through those first couple of paragraphs, where it looks like he’s going to present sound ideas that have real philosophical merit, he just skews off into this mumbling bullshit. Wait ’till you hit his celebration of “higher ignorance” bit. For all of us who thirst for knowledge, this clown is like a nice, cold mirage: pretty to look at in some respects, utterly fucking useless when it comes right down to it, and definitely not what you need.

He just wants humanity to celebrate a different kind of stupid. I think we’ve had quite enough ignorance of all stripes.

At least we have an explanation as to why this twit can’t recognize an atheist. There is that small consolation.

Why Christian Businesses Should Advertise As Such

Ron at Bay of Fundie narrowly missed getting fleeced by a Christian business. Fortunately, they gave the game away by attempting to proselytize. While searching for a replacement hard drive for his iPod, he discovered a page on one seller’s site that announced its mission to bring people to Jesus. That told Ron to look elsewhere:

I decided to look around a bit more, just to make sure that iFixit really was the best place to get the drive.

Ultimately, I ended up buying a drive on eBay. There’s an eBay shop that was selling a new 30 GB drive for less than iFixit was selling a used one. I guess they shouldn’t have tried to sell me Jesus. They ended up not selling me anything.

I’ll argue that from the point of view of the business, that’s undoubtedly true: they shouldn’t have tried to sell Jesus because of the subsequent loss of a sale. But from a consumer’s point of view, they absolutely should try to sell Jesus. It warns the rest of us to be on the lookout for scams.

A person who will lie to you and tell you that everything in the Bible is true isn’t even going to blink at selling you shoddy goods, and charging you more than you’d pay for a better product elsewhere.

Self-proclaimed Christian companies are just as moral as the self-proclaimed Religious Right: i.e., not moral at all. I’ve noticed a pattern over the years: if a company is busy trying to tell you they’re a wonderful Christian business you can feel good dealing with, once you’ve scratched the surface, you’ll find a raving bunch of shysters under that pretty gold paper. Take Servicemaster’s slogan: “To honor God in all we do.” It was a company based heavily on Christian values. This translated to breaking federal labor and environmental laws, lying to employees, lying to customers, and milking every customer for every last penny possible, especially when the customer was being charged for an error the company had made.

This has not been an isolated instance. Remember: I’ve been dealing with small and mid-sized businesses for a decade now, and the pattern has held true. The more the company tries to convert its customers, the more likely it is they’re needing to create a pool of guillable victims. Even if they’re genuinely motivated by a desire to save your soul from damnation, there’s still a strange pattern of fundamentalist Christian businesses providing worse service and goods at higher prices.

That being so, I hope they continue to advertise as good, honest Christian companies. It makes it so much easier to avoid scams.

The Real Curse in the White House

I shouldn’t be surprised in the least by the outrageously stupid things theocons say. But Ed Brayton reports on one who has just climbed an Olympus Mons of batshit insanity:


Joseph Grant Swank, a past winner of the Robert O’Brien Trophy, has an amusing article where he declares that the White House is now under a curse. Why? Read for yourself:


For instance, I believe there presently is a divine curse on the White House. Why? Because President George W. Bush placed the Koran in that house’s library. The occasion was a much-celebrated Ramadan dinner where both Muslim males and females were guests.

With much fanfare Mr. Bush announced his placing the Koran in the White House library. Taking biblical data into consideration, one can conclude that God was very angry at that move. I believe He has brought a curse the White House because of placing the Koran alongside the Bible in the White House library. God cannot tolerate those who place other gods alongside Him.

Uh oh. There’s a “curse” in the White House. Someone has put a hex on the country, perhaps even gave us all the Evil Eye.

Gee. I wonder who that could be?

Seriously. You don’t need a jealous tantrum-thrower of a god getting miffed at the Koran to explain why the White House appears to be under a curse. You just need to look into the eyes of the dillweed playing spoiled rich brat in the Oval Office to know that yes, the White House certainly is under a curse. No God did it. The little fucker stole two elections to get there.

And there’s a few problems with Swank’s theory:

1. It’s utterly fucking inane.

2. I’ve had the Koran and the Bible inhabiting the same shelf for a decade. Aside from Bush, it’s been remarkably free of curses.

3. The Koran is a book, not a god. I know this is difficult for mentally challenged people like Swank to understand, but I do wish he’d try.

4. And lastly, Allah is God, you raging fuckwit. God would be putting a curse on the White House because he’s jealous of himself.

Which, from what I’ve seen of the right-wing idea of God, wouldn’t really surprise me. If ever there was a deity who needed Prozac….

Helping Teens Find Faith: First, Provide Them Loaded Weapons

You really need to be sitting down for this. All drinks need to be fully swallowed and moved out of spilling range. Ready?

Right.

Canadian Cynic’s post titled “Kill ’em all, and let God sort it out” takes us, without comment or adequate warning, to this article, wherein we discover:

An Oklahoma church canceled a controversial gun giveaway for teenagers at a weekend youth conference.


What. The. Fuck. They never gave away guns when I was a teenager in church! But it gets better:

Windsor Hills Baptist had planned to give away a semiautomatic assault rifle until one of the event’s organizers was unable to attend.


Semiautomatic assault rifle? Are they out of their fucking minds? Wait a sec – Oklahoma, Baptist church, lots of insane fuckheads who worship the Second Amendment more than God attending same. Forget I asked. But let’s see what the “reasoning” behind this blessed event was:

The church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, said it’s a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event.


You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

A video on the church Web site shows the shooting competition from last year’s conference. A gun giveaway was part of the event last year. This year, organizers included it in their marketing.


What the fuck are you people “preaching and teaching,” exactly? Someone show me the part in the Bible where Christ asks people to worship by honing their killing-people skills.

“I don’t want people thinking ‘My goodness, we’re putting a weapon in the hand of somebody that doesn’t respect it who are then going to go out and kill,’” said Ross. “That’s not at all what we’re trying to do.”


Really, Mr. Ross? That statement would be a lot more credible if it wasn’t a fucking semiautomatic assault rifle you’re giving away to the kiddies. Or are the deer really that formidable down there in Oklahoma? Are they, perhaps, equipped with rocket launchers? Or have you assclowns been playing too much “Left Behind” lately? Delusions of being Tribulation Force, I see.

Ross said the conference isn’t all about guns, but rather about teens finding faith.


At gunpoint, if necessary.

Fucking. Unbelievable. And you know the best part? They didn’t cancel their “Give a Teen a Semi-Automatic!” extravaganza because they had a change of heart and realized that, in a country where school shootings are regular fare, gun violence is out of control, and the news is full of kids killing kids, placing semi-automatic weapons in the hands of a teen may not be the best way to teach kids about finding faith. They didn’t cancel it because they had an epiphany and realized that, if swords should be turned into plowshares, maybe assault weapons should be too. They didn’t even cancel because the community outcry shamed some sense into them.

No. They cancelled because the pastor who runs the event broke his foot and can’t make it this year.

Let that one sink in before the coup d’etat’s delivered:

Ross said the church would give the gun away next year instead.


And these are the people who are soooo morally superior to non-believers. What the fuck kind of demented moral system believes that being gay is a crime against humanity, but giving children assault weapons is perfectly fine?

When is civilized society going to stop pretending that faith like this deserves respect?

The Great Cracker Controversy of 2008: My Best Friend Weighs In

The controversy continues to unfold. Instead of getting actual work done today, I spent most of it chasing blog posts about the Great Cracker Controversy through the blogosphere, reading comments and laughing my arse off at some of the most beautiful smack-downs I’ve seen in a long time. The best raging argument I’ve seen so far that’s short enough to follow is in Ed Brayton’s delightful post on the subject.

I now have ammunition for all of those “respect my religion!” bleaters. I hope I never have to hear another damned word about Communion wafers and the profaning thereof, but if I have to debate someone over the mess, I don’t think they’re necessarily going to like the result now.

Three things have completely stolen the outraged Catholic’s thunder for me, completely aside from the fact that, as an atheist, I don’t think any religion deserves extraordinary respect and universal reverence for its sillyness.

Firstly, there was the fact that my own dear NP took the calm view of the situation. As a Catholic, she could’ve assumed the outrage position, but she didn’t.

Secondly, there’s the little gem of information I stumbled across today that people in the Middle Ages used to take the damned things home for good luck. (And yes, if you’re wondering: Rev. AJB is an actual reverend. I think he probably knows church history.)

Thirdly, there’s my best friend. Since he’s a Christian whose church, while not Catholic, celebrates Communion – I believe they call it the Lord’s Supper, but I could be wrong here – I figured he’d be on the “PZ Myers is a bad, bad man!” side. Instead, when the subject came up (as it inevitably did), he started chuckling, then laughing from the belly, and then said, enunciating every syllable, “It’s. A. Krac-kur.”

And yes, that is the spelling we’ve settled upon: krac-kur. This is going to be our catch phrase for years to come.

His church is definitely not on the transubstantiation side – if it’s not expressly spelled out in the Bible, they don’t buy it – and so they don’t have the “You’re kidnapping Christ!” syndrome. In fact, I came away from that conversation with the impression that, if asked, they might just ship PZ a whole box of sanctified wafers to have his way with. After all, they’re just krac-kurs.

Garrett and I agree on very few things religious these days, but on this issue, we’re in perfect accord. Refreshing, that.

I’ve spent entirely too much time thinking about this whole issue today. It’s forced me to search my own (metaphorical) soul to discover why, exactly, PZ’s provocation didn’t bother me. After all, I don’t believe in going out of one’s way to be offensive. Love, respect, and toleration would be welcome additions to the world.

And those are exactly the things the Catholics involved in this debacle didn’t show.

They blew a minor situation completely out of proportion. The original transgression, by their own teachings, should have been handled with grace, compassion, and understanding. Yes, the young man who absconded with the Host should have known better. But he hadn’t even left the damned church. Would it seriously have been so much trouble to just simply ask, “What are you doing? Showing your friend? You plan to complete the ritual afterward? Fine, then. Next time you want to satisfy someone’s curiosity, just talk to the priest first instead of taking matters into your own – ah ha ha – hands.”

Instead, they overreacted to the point where Webster Cook decided it necessary to teach them a lesson. And from there, they escalated to threats, more threats, death threats (which I have yet to see condemned by the Church, by the way), and the whole mess spilled over into the secular sphere, where it manifestly does not belong.

PZ blew a hole in their hyperbole by offering to show them precisely what real desecration looks like. He showed them up for what they are by incurring their wrath: bullies. Far from being a reasonable bunch we can share a dialogue and eventually come to an understanding with, they’ve demonstrated that there’s no middle ground: if we don’t pander to their every religious whim, we become targets of threats to our jobs and our lives.

They haven’t earned the slightest bit of love, respect or toleration.

PZ stood up to a bunch of bullies, and I respect him immensely for it.

I want you to understand that I’m not applying this to all Catholics. I think NP shows that there are plenty of Catholics out there who aren’t utterly unhinged. I think there’s plenty of room for love, respect and toleration, but it has to be mutual. With people like her, Garrett and other amiable Christians, it absolutely is.

Not so much with bullies. And I think we all know what happens if you don’t stand up to bullies.

International “Give God a Headache!” Day

You remember that whackjob Biltz? Yeah, Mr. “I can look at NASA’s data and figure out when Jesus is coming! Well, sorta….”

He’s baa-ack.

Ed Brayton, surely laughing his ass off, directs our attention to Biltz’s latest cunning scheme:


I find this Worldnutdaily story amusing:


An American pastor who made news in April by studying NASA’s eclipse calendar to speculate on the return of Jesus Christ to Earth is now planning a worldwide blast of trumpets this fall to get God’s attention.

Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonney Lake, Wash., is organizing the global “Day of Shouting” for the evening of Sept. 29, marking the annual biblical holiday known as the Feast of Trumpets.


Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me?

Alas, no.


Let’s have an around the world shofar assembly in every time zone on the Feast of Trumpets at sunset announcing to Messiah we are awake and anxiously anticipating His return. What a dress rehearsal! Won’t that stir His heart?


A dress rehersal? Mark, seriously, I know snorting too much fundamentalist religion does serious damage to your brain, but for fuck’s sake, this is an easy detail. A “dress rehersal” refers to something that, aside from the audience, is exactly like the real thing. Are you trying to tell me that everybody else has been wrong about the Rapture, and that it won’t start until a bunch of silly fuckwits with sheep horns start making a gawdawful racket? That’s not the Rapture, you dumbass – that’s God snatching his children over his knee for a good sharp smack.

Maybe you should read up on Sumerian mythology and find out what happens when humans make so much noise the gods can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Although it’s like critiquing a five year-old’s art project, let’s deconstruct this inanity a bit further.

This little stunt implies several things:

A. Jesus hasn’t heard a single damned prayer.

B. Jesus is very near deaf.

C. He has absolutely no clue that people have been begging for him to return for, oh, gods, what is it now, 2,000 years?

D. We’ve been so meek and quiet he must’ve thought we were all asleep.

E. He’s such an uncaring SOB that it takes several million doofuses blowing horns for all they’re worth to “stir his heart.”

Oh, his heart’ll be stirred, all right. I know mine would be pumping after that much ruddy noise. It’s called outrage, you silly shit.

You know, it’s a damned good thing I’m not a believer. People like this would be an insult to my faith instead of merely an endless source of ready entertainment. What a narrow and pathetic view of the almighty he’s got.

All I can say is this: he’d better not be tooting his horn outside my window on September 29th. By then, I’ll have decided whether I’m more inclined to break it over his head or shove it up his arse, and I shall act accordingly.

For Crying Out Loud!

Bill Donahue, famous attack-Catholic, has taken umbrage against our own dear PZ for his intemperate remarks about a cracker. His letter-writing campaign has of course led to a spate of death-threats and calls for PZ’s job. This is good Christian love for you: instead of using the dustup as a teachable moment for all involved, he’s inciting a raving bunch of wanna-be super-ignorant fundies to new heights of insanity.

This is a poor reflection upon most of the Catholics I know, who are almost without fail kind, decent and above-all sane people. I give you our own beloved NP as a shining example. It’s one of the bajillion reasons I love her so.

You can write the President of the University of Minnesota – Morris and let him know that not everyone’s a raving lunatic who wants to see one of U of M’s best professors dead for dissing a Communion wafer:

President Robert H. Bruininks
202 Morrill Hall
100 Church Street S.E.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

For points on style and erudition, see John Pieret’s letter here.

Now, I’m afraid that Billy’s bluster is going to lead PZ to do something really not nice to a cracker, which could lead to pitchforks and all kinds of other Dark Ages nonsense. So I’ll tell you what. Instead of sending a pilfered consecrated cracker to PZ, who will have no choice but to do mean and awful things to it by way of getting up Billy’s nose, send the damned thing to me. I’ll keep it in a nice glass case atop my mythology bookshelf, along with my Shiva Nataraja, my Ganesh, my Star of David, and my Green Tara. It’ll be shown the same care and attention I show these other diverse religious symbols: i.e., I’ll try to keep the cat from sitting on it, and I’ll remember to dust it once or twice a year.

(I admit an ulterior motive. It’s not just that I’d like to snatch further ammunition out of raving lunatics’ hands, although that’s certainly a consideration. No, what’s really going to be awesome is the fact that I’ll be able to say, with all honesty, that Jesus is in my home when the proselytizers come a-knockin’.)

It would be very nice indeed if everyone was respectful of everyone else’s symbols. It would be even nicer, though, if people could respect people more than things. I think that’s the most important message to take away from this brouhaha: descecrating a cracker is disrespectful when the cracker in question is a consecrated Communion wafer. But threatening to destroy a living, breathing human being for disrespect to a symbol is outrageous, shameful, and shows exactly why we all need to step back and consider the fact that people, ultimately, are more important than things.

People like PZ take unpopular stands to prove that point. And I say it’s a wonderful service to all mankind. Whatever else you may think about his threats against a cracker, at least it’s brought this question of relative importance front and center.

It’s just too bad people like Donahue have such a hard time loving God and loving people more than they love crackers.