Tuam

Culture of life, my ass. More like a culture of Catholic hypocrisy.

A mass grave containing the remains of babies and children has been discovered at a former Catholic care home in Ireland where it has been alleged up to 800 died, government-appointed investigators said on Friday.

Excavations at the site of the former Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home in Tuam, County Galway, have uncovered an underground structure divided into 20 chambers containing “significant quantities of human remains”, the judge-led mother and baby homes commission said.

The commission said analysis of selected remains revealed ages of the deceased ranged from 35 weeks to three years old. It found that the dead had been mostly buried in the 1950s, when the facility was one of more than a dozen in Ireland offering shelter to orphans, unmarried mothers and their children. The Tuam home closed in 1961.

Let’s not even consider those unmarried mothers, locked away in isolation and virtual slavery.

If all those people complaining about Planned Parenthood wanted to do what’s right, they’d move their picketlines to the nearest Catholic church.

I’m an EX-Lutheran. Do I still have to register?

Uh-oh. I agree with this. Lutherans are a terrible people who have inflicted much pain and suffering on others in their history, and if we’re going to start discriminating against people for their religion, it’s a fine place to start.

lutheranregistry

But…but…I was brought up as a Lutheran. I’ve since renounced the faith, but my driver’s license does say “Minnesøda”, and I’ve got Scandinavian grandma stories to tell, and I know a few Ole & Lena jokes, and I might be able to remember a verse or two of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. This is probably enough to indict me, especially since our country’s new Muslim ban doesn’t give a flying goddamn about what people think, but just makes sweeping prohibitions based on country of origin.

I also probably belong on the list because hot dish and weak church coffee are enough to inspire me to contemplate revolution already.

I was worried for a moment that I’d also have to be on the atheist registry, but the ongoing alignment of that philosophy with neocon principles might actually counterbalance the Lutheran entanglement. Unless it’s an SJW Atheist registry, then I’ll be doubly damned.

I got it

Christianity has a martyr complex. They always think they’re being persecuted, when they’re not — so you hear constantly about Romans throwing them to lions, but never about how Christianity coopted the Roman imperial bureaucracies, and eventually the emperor himself, to rule over the Western world. They claim that Hitler was an atheist, ignoring the fact that he banned Darwin, not the Bible, had the support of the German Catholic church, and encouraged faith in his people. So I knew exactly where this cartoon would have to go, if it were at all honest.

Our current autocrat is supported by Christian evangelicals. Damn few are hanging their heads in shame (although, to be fair, some are).

Let’s face it, though: the success of the Christian religion has partly rested on its eager willingness to aid and abet authority, unlike, for example, Judaism. Mainstream Christianity has been an enabler, not a critic, of secular authority, no matter how oppressive it may be. There have been exceptions — liberation theology, for instance — but then the Church turns to oppose and oppress them.

Odious Christianity

I woke up to Ken Ham testifying to his faith…and demonstrating why I hate Christianity.

Hate is a strong word, but not strong enough for my feelings. Ken Ham might be a decent human being if he weren’t so thoroughly poisoned by this toxic faith he professes, and insists on infecting others. Christianity is the rot that corrupts minds.

I reject his notion of sin — the idea that there is some kind of divine law against which we can transgress — but humanists do not deny that we can do wrong and we can do harm. We think we should do better, not to appease some vengeful deity, but because it improves our lives and helps make those around us happier and better able to live up to their potential. We certainly do accept that death is inevitable, but not because we are wicked — the wicked often seem to flourish while the good may die young. Are we to measure the virtue of human beings by their longevity? Charles Manson is 82, and surely destined to join the saints in heaven, while every infant death must open a chute directly to hell for its wicked soul.

What enrages me most is the implicit condemnation of every human being who had the effrontery to die, which by the Christian doctrine so clearly stated by Ham is every goddamned human being ever.

So my father, a good man, died quietly in his sleep on Christmas years ago — of heart disease. But in Ken Ham’s filthy mind, his death was the bite of an angry god against whom he’d transgressed.

My sister, a good woman, died suffering in a hospital bed of a massive systemic infection, leaving behind two young children. To Ken Ham, she deserved her death because she’d transgressed in some unknowing way against his mighty, vengeful god.

We all have people we’ve loved and lost to accident, to disease, to old age. To a Christian, their god willed this loss, and to Christians like Ken Ham, those deaths were a punishment for “sin”.

Some day, Ken Ham will die, and remember — it will be because he is struck down by his capricious god for his wickedness, and every moment of his dying, if it be long and agonizing, will be deserved. At least, that’s what he should believe.

Even us sacrilegious jerks have limits

I got drawn into a Twitter conversation, because I am apparently the living manifestation of sacrilege. I actually wouldn’t object to my apotheosis as the god of god-hating, but even in that job, there are rules.

It started off with Madhusudan Katti objecting to an act of sacrilege by Jenniffer Lawrence.

The story of the Lawrence Heresy:

How do you define “sacred?” One simple answer: it’s something you keep your butt off. Jennifer Lawrence got that memo, but decided to disregard it. In a recent interview she recalls her “butt-scratchin’” on sacred rocks while shooting Hunger Games in Hawai’i. They were, to her mind, a useful tool to relieve her of itchiness.

In the comments, which she made on a recent episode of the BBC’s Graham Norton Show this week, she says: “There were … sacred … rocks — I dunno, they were ancestors, who knows — they were sacred.” She goes on to say: “You’re not supposed to sit on them, because you’re not supposed to expose your genitalia to them”. But she did. “I, however, was in a wetsuit for this whole shoot – oh my god, they were so good for butt itching!”

She knew this was a gross cultural breach – that much is clear – but Lawrence decided to go ahead and desecrate the rocks anyway.

Razib Khan seems to think this is an example of a double standard — people defended my act of sacrilege, so how can they find Jennifer Lawrence’s act offensive?

Katti notes some differences: Are you punching up or punching down? Are you disrespecting a whole culture or criticizing an intrusion of one culture into another?

Long story short, Katti’s right. I wouldn’t do that. I said over and over again during the whole Catholic wafer episode that what I was protesting was 1) the assumption that the Catholic church gets to control what I or anyone does in our private, secular spaces, and 2) the historically toxic influence of religion as a whole and Catholicism in particular on people around the world. Trashing a communion wafer turned out to be a surprisingly effective way of highlighting those problems without violating anyone’s rights or committing violence, and most of the effectiveness came not from my trivial act, but the exaggerated outrage from Catholics. It became quite clear that many people did want to control my beliefs in my home, and were willing to threaten violence to do it.

Catholics are free to practice and believe whatever they want in their spaces. Aside from finding their beliefs silly, I’m not going to outlaw communion or blow up churches (although I would like to tax them) or show up at church to disrupt their ceremonies. I will point out the sacred Catholic practice of sheltering pedophiles, of denying birth control to people, of buying up hospitals and then imposing arbitrary Catholic rules on medical practice, of just generally trying to tell non-Catholics how to live, are all examples of using their wealth and power to oppress others.

I find the idea of sacred stones rather silly, too. But I don’t find the native people of Hawaii to be silly, and do find them lacking in harmful intent. There’s nothing I (or Jennifer Lawrence) have to protest, even symbolically, about native Hawaiian culture; if anything, we have amends to make for our great big Western European butts rolling over and largely crushing their people, and wiping our butts further on little things they ask us to let them have is simply condescending, cruel, and wrong. If you go to someone’s house and they ask you to not sit in Grandpa’s favorite chair, do you then make it a point to reject their request and insist on taking that chair and only that chair for your entire visit?

Sure, if it’s a great and comfy chair buy one just like it for your house, and then you can complain if they try to reserve your sacred chair for their grandfather. But otherwise, show a little courtesy. It doesn’t do you any harm. Especially if you’re a hugely overpaid fabulous actor getting millions of dollars to play-act on a Hawaiian beach, and who can afford to buy their own non-sacred custom-designed butt-scratcher and hire a poor Hawaiian to haul it up and down the beach at your convenience. It’s just petty and rude to go out of your way to ‘defile’ a shared public resource simply because you can.

CNN reports a miracle: concrete doesn’t burn!

It’s amazing. The fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee have killed people and destroyed wooden homes, but our delightfully insightful and evidence based media found a concrete statue of Jesus that survived while the house around it turned to ash. Praise the lord!

fire-statute-jesus

Hang on a moment — it looks like the foundation of the house also survived the blaze. Praise cinderblock, the one true god!

Can we test whether CNN’s broadcasting studios will survive an inferno next?

Scientology sucks

The actress Shelley Duvall was recently interviewed by the odious Dr Phil, who worked her current mental illness for ratings. One unfortunate consequence of that interview, though, is that Vivian Kubrick, Stanley Kubrick’s daughter, has started fundraising to supposedly benefit Duvall. Unfortunate because Kubrick is a Scientologist, which calls her motives and actual intent into question.

Vivian Kubrick became a Scientologist in 1999 at which point she became estranged from the rest of her family. She did not attend the funeral of her own sister, Anya Kubrick, in 2009, nor did she visit her sister when she was battling cancer.

Scientology has a long history of hostility towards psychiatry. For details please read the article Scientology’s war on psychiatry at Salon.com, HERE. Another good one is Scientologists Really, Really Hate Psychiatrists on Vice.com, HERE.

The location listed on Vivian Kubrick’s Go Fund Me page for Duvall is Clearwater, FL. Neither Kubrick nor Duvall lives in Clearwater; it is, however, the location of The Church of Scientology’s business operations.

Kubrick has not had any contact with Duvall since filming wrapped on The Shining in 1979; they have not kept in touch over the years and were never close. Kubrick is not doing this at Duvall’s request, nor is she working with Duvall’s family.

Kubrick is requesting $100K without knowing the details of Duvall’s condition, or how much treatment will cost.

Methods used within the Scientology community to treat mental illness are questionable and potentially dangerous. Again, read the articles above.

Should Kubrick’s affiliation with Scientology, an organization that “maintains the very notion of mental illness is a fraud”, disqualify her from intervening in the life of a woman who clearly needs intensive, professional, psychiatric help?

So she has no real connection with Duvall, Duvall has not asked for this, and the request is maddeningly vague — just “Give me money, and somehow I might use it to help someone with psychiatric issues, despite not believing in psychiatry at all”.

Kubrick has so far raised over $22,000 just by appealing to people’s sympathy for a celebrity. Stop. You don’t know where the money you’re giving is going to go at all.

How is Donald Trump like the Catholic Church?

John Oliver explains why Trump bombed at the Al Smith dinner, when he should have been in his element.

It was three thousand dollar a plate fundraising gala at a moth-eaten Manhattan hotel organized by the Catholic Church, a real-estate-owning, male-dominated, sex-scandal-plagued organization with whom Trump clearly shares a uniquely unqualified interior decorator.