The Charlie Hebdo Massacre and Free Speech

I want everyone to consider what Giliell said:

No, folks, please, we’re usually better than that.

No, the cartoonists didn’t “have it coming”. Nobody should be murdered for publishing their shit and suggesting that this is to be expected does nothing but paint muslims as irrational beasts who just cannpt control themselves. It’s just two sides of the same coin.
But this “you don’t have the right not to be offended nanana freeze peach” is the same bullshit we’re constantly getting when discussing feminism. And people here are usually better than that.

We usually understand quite clearly that “equal opportunity offense” usually means kicking down the ladder.

I stand for the right of Charlie Hebdo to publish their cartoons, I stand against the people who murdered them. I also stand to my opinion that their cartoons were racist and misogynist. This is not incompatible. My enemy’s enemy is NOT my friend.

She summed up a lot of my thinking over these past several days.

In looking for Charlie Hebdo covers for my post on the massacre the other day, I noticed themes that I don’t support. There’s a definite taste of racism. There’s homophobia, and some things swerving awfully close to rape. I think that’s lazy, using knee-jerk cultural distastes in order to outrage people. I don’t know what the magazine itself is like – I don’t read enough French to have followed any of its issues. Quite possibly, in different times, I might have criticized them, not for publishing offensive cartoons, but for hitting down rather than up.

But no matter what tropes they employed, even if they were utterly despicable, those artists and journalists didn’t deserve to die. [Read more…]

Charlie Hebdo Journalists Murdered by Religious Fanatics

Ah, yes, adherents of the Religion of Peace™ peacefully protesting cartoons they don’t like by murdering cartoonists wholesale.

They want to terrorize people into silence. They will, if we allow fear to shrink us down to terrified little things skittering away at the slightest hint we may upset the religious sensibilities of men with guns. Well, I’m not interested in being a fearful skittering little thing today. I’m inclined to rub their noses in what they despise.

Cover of Charlie Hebdo. The man in the turban is saying, "100 blows of the whip if you are not laughing!"

Cover of Charlie Hebdo. The man in the turban is saying, “100 blows of the whip if you are not laughing!”

Like Yemmy says,

It would be a great idea to widely reproduce the images these barbarians killed people for. The world needs to say NO to this intimidation by these barbaric, bloodthirsty religious fanatics!

Cover of Charlie Hebdo for The Life of Mohammed, Part One: the Debut of the Prophet. Image is a goofy yellow man leading a sweating camel in a desert with rocky hills in the background.

Cover of Charlie Hebdo for The Life of Mohammed, Part One: the Debut of the Prophet.

I hope that Charlie Hebdo can continue on. I hope the magazine has enough staff members left to carry on despite the tragedy, and that cartoonists line up around the world to contribute their work. I hope a million Charlie Hebdos spring up around the world. Let the fanatics see that killing people who satirize their prophet will accomplish nothing besides making the killers and their enablers pariahs, giving a huge boost to apostate and progressive Muslims, and lead to most people in the world deciding that, no matter how many warm fuzzy feels they may have for religion, it needs some disrespect if its followers are willing to murder people over cartoons.

You want your religion to be respected? Use it to become the best people you can be. Make it something worthy of respect. Don’t think you can demand respect at gunpoint. And don’t think your religion can shield you from the consequences of your murderous actions.

Charlie Hebdo cover showing a Muslim man with crosses for eyes, holding a Koran in front of him. Both Koran and man are being riddled with bullets. The French captions say, "The Koran is shit. It can't stop bullets." The purple box says, "Slaughter in Egypt."

Charlie Hebdo cover saying, “The Koran is shit. It can’t stop bullets.” The purple box says, “Slaughter in Egypt.”

There’s nothing honorable or noble in what these people did. They aren’t honoring their god. They’re just proving that if it exists, and if it approves of this sort of brutality, it deserves nothing but our condemnation. They’d demonstrating that religion does not make people moral, and in fact, too often inspires murder. We must eradicate this inane idea that a deity is up there that cares so deeply about offensive cartoons that it demands artists be slaughtered.

My heart goes out to the survivors and the victims’ loved ones.

Moar Like This Newsweek Article on the Bible, Please

I think I’m in love with Newsweek. Seriously. Seeing a major national magazine carry an article exposing the Bible as the flawed book written and cobbled together by fallible human beings, full of interpolations and mistakes, is outstanding. Seeing it carry such an article without a sugar coating – amazing.

If you haven’t yet, go read Kurt Eichenwald’s intriguing exposé. Here’s a taste for ye: [Read more…]

Gimme Really Horrifying Bible Verses

I need your help, my darlings!

Among the roughly ten trillion projects I’ve got in the works is the Really Bad Inspiration from the Bible initiative. I’ve got lots of beautiful photos, y’see, like this:

Image shows a silhouette of trees, and a lot of sunset-colored clouds.

Lovely sunset. Would look great with bizarre Bible verses.

Plenty of them are the kind of things you see on inspirational posters what has Bible verses about soft, fluffy stuff, and I figure, it’s about time to show what the Bible’s really like. I’m going to make my own inspirational images, quoting the worst, bloodiest, most intolerant or bizarre bits of the Bible. It’ll look roughly like this: [Read more…]

Some Queer Ally You Are, Jesus

Alex Gabriel makes a convincing case against Jesus as an LGBTQ ally, and for keeping supportive spaces secular. Here is a lengthy excerpt: there’s far more at the link, and you should definitely read the whole thing, so that you can be prepared to reply to all of those folks who blabber about how wonderful it is to have gay-friendly Jesus all up in everybody’s business. [Read more…]

The Wit and Wisdom of Ed Brayton, Guru Edition

I will probably never stop loving this bit of dry wit aimed at people who just cannot come to grips with reality. Ed Brayton on the death of a guru, my darlings.

The richest guru in India died of a heart attack in January. Doctors have declared him dead. But his followers insist that he isn’t dead, he’s just in an incredibly deep state of meditation. So deep that he has no heartbeat or brain activity and has to be kept in a freezer.

Image shows an orange and white cat standing with its front paws clenched in front of its face and its mouth gaping. Caption says, "It's alive!!!! Alive, I tell you!!!!"

Sometimes, all you can do is point and laugh without laughing. Thank you, people who invented deadpan humor.

Dear Atheist Leaders: If You Sound As Sexist As William Lane Craig, Ur Doin It Rong

Adam Lee at Daylight Atheism has read William Lane Craig’s Reasonable Faith column so we don’t have to. In the process, he found something that sounds almost exactly like some of our supposed leaders. Craig is responding to a woman who’s concerned about the sexist stereotyping Craig had been spewing. See who this response of his reminds you of: [Read more…]

Yes, You Can Be an Atheist and Like Bits of the Bible, Too

As with any collection of writings, even those chosen more for “God wants you to include this and will curse you if you don’t” rather than literary merit or storytelling chops, the Bible has a few gems of real value amongst all the religious dross. I don’t really approach it differently than any other body of mythology: I’m a writer, and I will damned well cannibalize anything. In fact, back before I was even an atheist, I had an atheist character who regularly spouted bits from the book of Revelation, and would have bopped the noggin of any one of the crowing Christians who love to scream “GOTCHA! You DO believe!” whenever he did so. Revelation spoke to him; God, not so much, and certainly less than the Norse gods. If he ever converts to anything, it will be something to do with Odin long before Yahweh gets an audition. [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Stories from Survivors of Creationist “Science” Education

I’m republishing our Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education series over at Rosetta Stones. The posts are essentially the same, but with fewer in-jokes (like the word “Christianist”), and aimed toward an audience whose computers (or brains) have naughty-word filters. There will be places where I’ll add direct invitations to creationist students to really think about what they’re learning. I’m also letting through some creationist comments I’m getting, in case you want to go have fun with their myths, misconceptions, and outright ignorance about science. I’ve already had a dude making the “we only use 10% of our brains” claim – it’s hilarious. I’m still contemplating how much creationist schlock I’ll allow to clog up my comments section, but I actually haven’t gotten much. I’m impressed. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IVc: Wherein the Climate Heats Up

Onward, Christianist weather! We’re warming up with some global warming talk today. While SPC was content to devote a mere text box to climate change, basically blowing raspberries at anyone who gives a shit about it and waving off dramatic increases in greenhouse gas emissions by proclaiming hey, plants love carbon dioxide!, BJU’s Earth Science 4th Edition isn’t satisfied with blurting a few facts and moving on. No, there’s a whole chapter on the subject. And, people, they are the totes reasonable ones. They’re right in the middle. Look: they sneer at both sides!

They begin with a very telling couplet of sentences: [Read more…]