Right right right, I’m an “Islamophobe,” and criticizing Islam is punching down because Muslims are a despised group. (The second part is true, but the first part doesn’t follow. Punching Muslims is punching down, but punching Islam isn’t, because Islam itself is what punches down. Islam has huge, illegitmate power in many many parts of the globe. Punching Islam does not equal punching Muslims. Yes one can be a stalking horse for the other, but that doesn’t make them identical.) So allow me to be a Christianityophobe for a few minutes. Not that I wouldn’t be anyway, but I feel like pointing it out.

Russia. Russia seems to be getting more and more priest-ridden and believer-whipped. This time it’s believers shouting about a production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and getting it shut down. [Read more…]

It takes practice

You know how Islamists say that jokes are unIslamic? Apparently one result of that is that Islamists don’t get practice in knowing when a joke is present. That means that sometimes they think a joke is actually a serious news item.

Fars News Agency, a semi-official mouth piece of the Iranian regime, earnestly published a word-for-word duplicate of an article from the Onion, a spoof news organisation based in Chicago.

The satirical article cited a fake Gallup poll which found that 77 per cent of white, rural voters would rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Mr Ahmadinejad than with the US president.

It went on to cite a made-up West Virginian named Dale Swiderski, who said that he preferred the Iranian to Mr Obama because: “He takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”

We’re lucky: we know when something is funny!


Taking off the hijab…for now

A blogger stopped wearing the hijab, and she wrote a blog post about it.

This wasn’t an easy decision. I had been struggling with it on a daily basis for the last five years. During the final years of my undergraduate degree, I was constantly reminded of how much my personal beliefs clashed with those of the Islamic orthodoxy. It’s hard to reconcile my mix of libertarian, socialist and humanist values with the conservative ideals of the orthodox Muslim community that I inadvertently become a part of as a Hijabi. [Read more…]

Golden Dawn v Elder Pastitsios

More on “Elder Pastitsios” and blasphemy laws in Greece. The links are to sites in Greek.

Four days before the arrest on September 17, MP Christos Pappas from the neo-nazi Golden Dawn party had brought the page to the attention of the justice minister and submitted an official inquiry into why the Facebook page was not being addressed by the Eletronic Crimes Unit. According to site NewsIt*, the police claim they had already concluded their investigation two days before the question was raised in parliament. Following the publication of the arrest, Greece’s leftist primary opposition party SYRIZA strongly denounced* the arrest as did its offshoot and now ruling coalition junior partner Democratic Left as well as the Greek Communist Party. Center-left party PASOK – also a member of the ruling coalition – issued a more tepid response opposing the arrest but affirming the need to “protect religious and national identity”. Golden Dawn lauded the arrest stating* that their MP’s question “mobilized the government into taking action”.

It’s International Blasphemy Day in two days. I trust you are preparing.


An expression of glandular-level contempt

Slime Season is here, all festive with mildew and rot and weevils.

After four years of invective, four years during which the right has called President Obama a traitor, a communist, a fraud, an affirmative-action case, a terrorist-sympathizer and a tyrant, its shrillest voices have been reduced to the most primal insult of all. They are calling Obama’s mother a whore.

There’s this pseudo-documentary, Michelle Goldberg explains, that’s being mailed to voters. [Read more…]

News from the Secular Coalition for America

Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania to Officially Launch Sunday

Thu, 09/27/2012 – 14:42

Washington, D.C—The Secular Coalition for America is excited to announce the official launch of the Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania, expected to officially launch on Sunday. The Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania is the third chapter to launch as part of the SCA’s greater effort to establish 50 new state chapters throughout the country this year.

The Secular Coalition for America is a lobbying organization representing nontheistic Americans and advocating protecting and strengthening the secular character of our government. The Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania will lobby state lawmakers in favor of a strong separation of religion and government.

Secular Coalition for Pennsylvania Executive Board Co-Chairs, Justin Vacula, 24 of Scranton and Brian Fields, 35 of Newville are expected to sign the “Memo of Understanding” that marks the official launch of the chapter, on Sunday at the PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference: [Read more…]

Joseph Anton

Salman Rushdie, on the other hand, is not a cultural relativist. He too talked to the New York Times, in his case about his new memoir about the fatwa years.

I found myself caught up in what you could call a world historical event. You could say it’s a great political and intellectual event of our time, even a moral event. Not the fatwa, but the battle against radical Islam, of which this was one skirmish. There have been arguments made even by liberal-minded people, which seem to me very dangerous, which are basically cultural relativist arguments: We’ve got to let them do this because it’s their culture. My view is no. Female circumcision — that’s a bad thing. Killing people because you don’t like their ideas — it’s a bad thing. We have to be able to have a sense of right and wrong which is not diluted by this kind of relativistic argument. And if we don’t we really have stopped living in a moral universe.

So no. We don’t have to respect Arab traditions even when they conflict with our values. We can say that some traditions are bad. We probably don’t want to embark on careers as diplomats if we do that, but otherwise – we can say.

My way or your respect for my way

So Morsi’s a cultural relativist. You wouldn’t think a Muslim Brotherhood guy would be a cultural relativist, would you. Pretty much the opposite. There is one way to be and Mohammed is its prophet.

But then it’s not so much that he is a cultural relativist as that he thinks other people should be if they don’t share his non-relativist culture. Heads I win tails you lose. My way is the right way and your way is to respect my way. Mk?

He spelled it out for the New York Times, who wrote it down and put it in the paper. [Read more…]