Kilmeade doubles down on Bill O’Reilly’s bigotry

So Bill Orally managed to offend Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar on The View so badly that they walked off the set before the commercial break. What got them in a huff? He said the so-called “ground zero mosque” should not be built, because “Muslims killed us on 9/11″. Never mind that it’s not a mosque. Never mind that the link is tenuous at best between the terrorism and the religion behind it.

Then. THEN.
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“…but he who destroys a good book, kills Reason itself, kills the Image of God.”

Regular reader and local heathen Clifton sent along a link describing the mounting pressure Rev. Terry Jones is facing over his ill-advised “Burn-a-Koran Day”, due to be staged on September 11, 2010.

Jones, who is known for posting signs proclaiming that Islam is the devil’s religion, says the Constitution gives him the right to publicly set fire to the book that Muslims consider the word of God.

Gen. David Petraeus warned Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press that “images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan — and around the world — to inflame public opinion and incite violence.” It was a rare example of a military commander taking a position on a domestic political matter.

Jones responded that he is also concerned but is “wondering, ‘When do we stop?'” He refused to cancel the protest set for Saturday at his Dove World Outreach Center, a church that espouses an anti-Islam philosophy.

“How much do we back down? How many times do we back down?” Jones told the AP. “Instead of us backing down, maybe it’s to time to stand up. Maybe it’s time to send a message to radical Islam that we will not tolerate their behavior.”

Still, Jones said he will pray about his decision.

What do you want to bet that after he prays about his decision, he will come to the conclusion that this is a really good idea? Given that for most people, praying to your deity is just a way of reinforcing your decisions by granting them extra weight (cross-reference self-projection as God), unless he suddenly has a pang of conscience for fanning the flames of this religious crusade, he’ll come to the conclusion that his god is just fine with his plans. It’s a function of the Ouroboros aspect of prayer, as outlined in my Why Prayer is Nonsense series.

Forget the fact that burning books is an execrable practice carried out by cowards who feel threatened by ideas that contradict their own. Let’s say that it’s his constitutional right to burn books. There’s nothing, technically, wrong with burning a book, right? So why not get the bonfire REALLY going? I say, for every single Qu’ran that’s thrown in the pyre, a copy of the Bible (any translation will do, but especially the one Jones believes in!), the Torah, the Upanishad, Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, and a VHS cassette of Jerry Maguire must needs be thrown in as well. Sound fair?

If Jones says “no way”, you know why. It’s not about getting back at Muslims that he feels hurt his country. It’s, instead, entirely about trying to do violence to one religion in furtherance of another, deepening the chasm between human beings that believe in Christ and human beings that believe in Muhammad. That chasm may have existed for a very long time, practically since Christianity and Islam split, but this entire escapade is about firing another salvo. It’s about subjugating one set of delusions in preference for another. It’s about fanning the flames of an existing physical conflict in which real human beings are dying over whose fan-fiction about Yahweh is better.

And that’s just ass-backward. Live and let live, and let whatever deity might actually exist prove it him/herself.

(Title quote by Winston Churchill.)

The Religion of Peace* (Unless You Draw Stuff We Don’t Like)

In case you haven’t already seen it, Lars Vilks was attacked by Muslims upset at his cartoon of Muhammad as a roundabout dog. It was caught on film.

* Religion of peace my pasty white ass. The man has religious fatwas and a $100,000 bounty on his head — with a $50,000 bonus if his throat is slit like a slaughtered lamb — from the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq. Over a FUCKING DRAWING. How small and insecure is your faith in Allah that you must attack a fucking cartoonist? And if you’re one of the people that honestly believes Islam means peace (rather than “submission”, the real translation of the word), then why aren’t you doing something about the vicious fucks that are wrecking your already tattered reputation?

Fatwa Envy

The main story thrust of the recent two-part South Park episode that sent Muslims into a hate-frenzy and induced Comedy Central’s genitalia to wither and die, was an attempt by celebrities — chief among them Tom Cruise — to kidnap Muhammed and somehow use his powers of avoiding mockery for themselves. To duplicate the mystical “censorship field” power (called “goo” in the episode) that Muhammed has apparently spontaneously developed over the past few decades. Suddenly, and very recently, nobody can make fun of him — or even merely depict him as a human being — on pain of death after religious fatwas are handed down from the Islamic clergy demanding retribution.

Don’t worry though, Islam doesn’t have a monopoly on religious zealots that are beyond-the-pale crazy. Their kissing cousin faith, the Christians, have a particularly hideous little toad of their own who apparently wants Muhammed’s goo as well: Bill Donahue. He has an obvious and very unbecoming case of fatwa envy over Comedy Central’s considering making a cartoon series about Jesus Christ, as a regular guy who “moves to New York to escape his father’s enormous shadow”.

“It’s not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central’s decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad,” said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights, on Thursday.

It’s not certain to me, Bill, when you first started thinking your particular flavor of delusion trumps free speech, but it’s fairly obvious that you’re learning the wrong lesson from zealots threatening death over a perfectly harmless cartoon. The lesson should be “free speech is fundamental to free society”, not “they get to do it, so we should be able to cow people into doing our bidding out of fear of death too!”

Hat tip to Greg Laden.

Matt & Trey: “Not a meta-joke on our part”

So in my last post on the recent South Park / Islam scrape-up, I suggested that the moralistic closing speech was censored as a meta-joke, a “piling-on” by Matt Stone and Trey Parker in an effort to show how far religious censorship is willing to escalate a situation before it is satisfied. Turns out, I had more faith in the inherent humanity of the folks at Comedy Central than was merited.

Via their website:

In the 14 years we’ve been doing South Park we have never done a show that we couldn’t stand behind. We delivered our version of the show to Comedy Central and they made a determination to alter the episode. It wasn’t some meta-joke on our part. Comedy Central added the bleeps. In fact, Kyle’s customary final speech was about intimidation and fear. It didn’t mention Muhammad at all but it got bleeped too. We’ll be back next week with a whole new show about something completely different and we’ll see what happens to it.

That “whole new show” apparently included Bill Donahue of the Catholic League. Yeah, the same guy that said the Pope is being framed, and it’s not child molestation if the kids are at least 12. He didn’t have a speaking role.

I can’t help but figure the Bill Donahue walk-on role IS a meta-joke, to suggest to Comedy Central that their level of censorship over Muhammad could escalate if someone more local who subscribes to a delusion more in-line with the local flavor happens to get his nose bent over South Park. But I’m going to reserve judgment on that fact until I hear from one of them that it is indeed the case.

RCimT: Putting-off-shovelling Sunday

It’s Sunday, boys and girls, and it’s snowing — you know what that means! Time for another weekly atheist news roundup to keep me from having to go out and shovel this crap out of my driveway! Hooray!

Your Cool Atheist of the Week is John Carmack, the lead programmer on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake — games that ate up much of my childhood.

“Just got back from the Q2 wrap party in vegas that Activision threw for us.

“Having a reasonable grounding in statistics and probability and no belief in luck, fate, karma, or god(s), the only casino game that interests me is blackjack.

“Playing blackjack properly is a test of personal discipline. It takes a small amount of skill to know the right plays and count the cards, but the hard part is making yourself consistantly behave like a robot, rather than succumbing to your “gut instincts”.”

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RCimT: Busy Sunday

It’s Sunday, and almost the end of my vacation. We’ve been going at 150km/h all day, doing all sorts of work on outstanding projects. I’ve got a few posts planned for the next few days, and I’m hoping to be able to write them up tonight, scheduled for the next few days, so I can get back into the work groove without having to worry about breaking my post-a-day streak — which is, what, five months now? So I’m going to blow through the links I’ve gathered up over the past week.

Turns out Al Gore and Hillary Clinton have links to The Family — the fundamentalist Christian group that’s wheedled its way into enough power to shape public policy in the American government. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again — religion is a poison. If these two otherwise apparently decent human beings are tainted by the scourge of fundamentalism in any way, shape or form, they are heretofore untrustworthy.

Why do I consider Christianity specifically ridiculous? It’s centred on the existence of a man that probably did not, actually, exist. And some simple proof of that fact is available here, in a 12-part “puzzle”.

Michael Shermer finally watched Expelled. Have pity on his poor “soul” (by which I mean, brain).

Now, I’m not much one to laugh at others’ misfortune, but boy is this one laughable. A woman marries a preacher who goes on to become completely insufferable; she vents on this forum, and the advice given is, naturally, in keeping with God’s teachings: you’re not allowed to divorce your husband who is obviously incompatible and suddenly engaging in reprehensible behaviour.

Epiphenoma explores the recent accidental phenomenon of Christians destroying the “secular truce” between those that would impress upon the Christmas holidays all the import of religious trappings, and those that would claim the holidays are so secularized that they can be endorsed by the government, federal or local. After that last heady link, some hilarious IRC quotes about Christianity will cleanse the palate.

News flash: another pastor has been arrested for child molestation. I mean, seriously, it’s almost getting to the point of being ludicrous, how often this happens. What is it about the religious promise of subjugating your natural sexual inclinations, that draws in pedophiles that understand their natural inclinations are so antisocial as to be criminal? (I answered my own question there, didn’t I?)

In case you didn’t see it as it happened, someone prayed to God that a Senator would miss the health care reform vote — and God apparently answered by cause James Inhoffe to miss the vote for the Republicans, meaning the bill passed 60-39. Which, I have to remind you Americans, is a super-majority, capable of busting any filibusters — you know, in case filibusters were ever actually exercised, rather than just idly threatened.

A scary bit of news for us bloggers — an Egyptian blogger was sentenced to four years in jail for daring to publish his opinion, which just happened to be critical of Islam. That’s right, for having an opinion counter to religion, this man was sentenced to jail time. Thankfully, Canada is not presently anywhere near as Draconian about its religious proscriptions, but I still feel a little shudder thinking about this kind of thing — I mean, this guy was jailed merely for going against the dominant religion of the region.

On to happier thoughts, PalMD dissects Deepak Chopra’s ridiculous pseudoscientific nonsense. I mean, it’s only been done a million times already, but Peter does it with such panache.

VJack has decided to take on his employers and take a stand against his federal employers’ endorsement of prayer “in Jesus’ name”. This apparently marks the day when he became an “Atheist Revolutionary”, having taken a stand against encroachment on the separation of church and state. He is now officially “militant”. Visit to read about what that entails.

And finally, Hemant Mehta posts a fundie anti-atheist bingo card that would have been nice to have prior to Christmas, but I only got around to posting now. Luckily most of you are already readers of the Friendly Atheist blog, so you probably didn’t miss out. …Right?

And that’s all I have in my tabs this week. I just switched over to Google Chrome (Chromium under Ubuntu), so hopefully you’ll cut me some slack on this one.

Have a sacrelicious week!