Fred Phelps has a use!

Slacktivist, yet again, makes everything that much clearer. Writing about the homophobic astroturfing campaigning of the National Organisation for Marriage, he makes this perfect observation:

We could go through a point-by-point refutation of the ad’s innuendo about the Big Gay Stormtroopers menacing California doctors, Massachusetts parents and tax-free beach-front property managers in New Jersey, but it would be wrong to dignify such brazen BS by pretending that anyone shoveling this crap might even slightly believe it to be true.

So instead we’ll just stick with the two-word rebuttal of everything this ad darkly hints will come to pass down the slippery slope of equality: Fred Phelps.

 Yes, that Fred Phelps. The military-funeral crashing leader of the inbred Westboro Baptist Church. You know, the “God Hates Fags” and “God Hates America” guy.

Or, more to the point here, the anti-gay bigot whose church’s freedom to preach his gospel of hate has never been threatened, circumscribed or interfered with despite the vicious and despicable things he’s made it his life’s work to go around saying at the worst possible times in the worst possible places.

So it turns out that the litigious old bastard has at least one useful social purpose. The unimpeded, undiminished work of his infamously evil  anti-gay “ministry” emphatically disproves every Scary Story promoted by anti-gay religious groups who claim that recognizing marriage equality or including sexual orientation in existing hate-crime or anti-discrimination legislation will lead to Christian ministers being thrown in jail for saying they believe homosexuality is a sin.

“My freedom will be taken away,” says one woman in the NOM ad.

How so? She doesn’t say. But Fred Phelps’ freedom hasn’t been taken away, so we have to assume that this otherwise pleasant-seeming woman must be referring to her “freedom” to harass, slander and berate with greater intensity than anything Phelps has done.

…So there’s the two-word answer for every Tony Perkins or James Dobson or Damon Owens who makes up some dubious claim about being persecuted or punished or threatened or jailed or whatever for their anti-gay beliefs.

“I’m a California doct– ” Fred Phelps! He’s a free man. Are you worse than him? No? Then shut up, ‘kay?

I commend this approach to my readership.

You’re either on the Atheist Bus, or you’re off it…

I love the Atheist Bus.

I’m sure many of you have heard about it. A group of atheists, humanists and the like had a whip-round and sponsored some London buses to carry a poster which reads, “There’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life”.

It’s the word ‘probably’ that makes me love it. If it had said “there is no god”, I’d think it arrogant and stupid. But that ‘probably’ makes it work, adds the element of genuine scepticism and honest doubt which is so often missing from atheist propaganda – and entirely missing from religious propaganda.

So inevitably, Stephen Green (among others)  lodges a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority on the grounds of false advertising.

(A word about Mr. Green. He’s the leading light of Christian Voice, a protest group which was born in the wake of the Jerry Springer – The Opera controversy. The best way to describe Green is that he wants to be the Mary Whitehouse of his generation – except he lacks her charisma, wit and intelligence. And for the benefit of my non-UK readers – yes, that was sarcasm.)

Green’s complaint reads in part;

I believe the ad breaks the Advertising Code, unless the advertisers hold evidence that God probably does not exist.

This is a man who clearly doesn’t understand the word ‘probably’. He’s also delightfully ignorant of the point that, if his complaint is upheld, it will likely mean the end of religious advertising for the exact reason he complains about. Unless, of course, he can prove the existence of his god…

The Atheist Bus is coming to a city near you, if you’re in the UK. In Australia – that bastion of rebellion and freedom of expression – a similar campaign was rejected by the advertising company which had been hired.

A similar plan for atheist bus adverts in Tasmania was thrown out by the state-owned bus company, Metro, which is set to lead to legal action on the grounds that it is discriminatory.

Metro has previously allowed adverts from religious groups including anti-abortion campaigners, but says it has now changed its policy to ban all material deemed controversial.

There’s an interesting debate to be had about how modern belief systems are propagated through the unsubtle application of money and influence, which I hope will be stimulated by all this. And with luck, the notion of trying to ban opinions which differ from ‘deeply-held beliefs’ being treated as blasphemy or religious hatred and prosecuted will disappear as a result.

The more opinions out there, the better. Even the ones I hate. And the more of such opinion holders that have the moral courage to add the word ‘probably’ to their opinion, the better.

Xtianfuckwitwatch Returns, with… Harry Potter and the Xtian Plagarist

Back in the good old days, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was on LiveJournal, I ran an occasional series called Xtianfuckwitwatch. This was news posts (and, I confess, some ranting) about the type of idiocy that seems particular to certain extremists of the Christian persuasion. (Now, as then, I emphasise it’s not that these people hold that particular faith that annoy/amuse me… it’s the way they assume not only that their version of theology is The One Truth, but also that anything that comes out of their mouths and brains carries that same weight of Ultimate Truth with those who are not of their persuasion.)

(Plus that whole” kill or convet their foes, keep women and kids and queers ‘in their place’ and banish all ideas foreign to their twisted rulebook” thing. Never sits well with me for some reason.)

I debated long and hard about whether or not to continue this thread here. But frankly, when I find news like this, it’s impossible not to share. (And woe betide the next one of those fuckwits who manages to kill their client in an exorcism, as I take that kind of professional cockup very personally indeed…)

(Found via Bulldada News)

This is a press release from “Mary’s Lamb Publishing”, called;

The Christian Parent’s Answer to the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Scotland’s J.K. Rowling, the unknown author who claimed to create Harry Potter from her imagination, stirred up America by exposing our children to spells, witchcraft and wizardry. Now an American author is stirring up the answer, exposing our children to true secrets, myths and miracles, introducing J.C. Lamb who came not from the imagination, but from a sacrifice and a vision from God.

(CatNote – You have to love their command of language here. Jo Rowling ‘claims’ to have created Harry Potter from her imagination – of course we all know the story really came straight from Satan Himself, don’t we kiddies? – but by the end of the paragraph they’re saying Harry did come from the imagination of JKR. And that the author of the obvious ripoff divinely inspired parallel sequence didn’t use her imagination at all. It was from God’s lips to her ears. Perhaps He mumbles…)

On July 15th, 2008, Mary’s Lamb Publishing debuted their first “Give & Share Book(TM)” titled The Secret of Yahweh! at the International Christian Retail Show, and it proved to be an instant favorite. The line that formed to meet the author and get a copy of her book was one not usually seen for an unknown author, (especially one whose testimony claims she is “not much of a writer.”)

(The books just write themselves… and so do the jokes)

LeFerna Arnold-Walch, has become a leading authority on the unchurched family since her son’s car crashed into a church in 1998. “My firstborn son’s coma was the sacrifice it took to open my eyes to God’s plan for me. Now I have a promise to keep,” she says…

(I am not going to say a mean word about how a parent deals with such a tragedy happening to their child. I will note that some parents would not have taken their child driving into a church and ending up comatose as a sign of a loving God…)

(And I find that ‘leading expert on the unchurched family’ bit very disturbing indeed. How exactly does one qualify in this field?)

What makes her Christian children’s novel newsworthy and unique

(For very low values of ‘unique’…)

is not only that it stands up for our “under God” Christian history in the USA,

(Er, I thought you said the imagination wasn’t involved?)

or that it introduces a character whose mission is to reach 100 million unchurched Americans, but that each book creates twelve new or reaffirmed disciples for Christ when the circle goes unbroken and the book is returned.

(It is notable that the version of Xtianity espoused by these types – usually a variation of what is often called Dominionism – is not at all averse to casting spells, ranging from non-consensual blessing rituals involving whatever oils they have handy to cursing those who oppose them. Or, as we have here, a variation of the Ringu curse. Yet somehow, the spell-casting of Harry and his chums is bad…)

(And precisely how are all those new disciples created anyway? Now that’s a story I’d read… unsuspecting non-xtians suddenly zapped with super-jesus-powers, maybe like Ninja Turtles bathed in radioactive christ-gloop. Or maybe cloning.)

A “magical” book with secrets the author didn’t see coming – Instead of a lightning bolt on the forehead, J.C. Lamb wears the sign of the fish on his chest, right over his heart.

(How… original.)

He’s magical because God sent him as a messenger in a vision from a song. Instead of using wands and witchcraft, children learn how to spiritually see with their hearts by believing in things they cannot always see with their own eyes– trouble is, they can’t all see J.C. Lamb, either!

If only I was sure this would be the resounding belly-flop it deserves to be. But in a country where Left Behind sold over 58 million copies, perhaps it’s a shoo-in. Perhaps it’s the myth they deserve.

But not their children. Won’t somebody please think of the children?


(Thanks, always, to the extensive work in opposing Dominionist hegemony by the tireless researcher DogEmperor and the Dark Christianity LJ group. Also, if you’re not reading Fred Clark (aka Slacktivist) and his precise and hilarious disembowelling of the text of Left Behind, you’re missing a rare treat.)

Past rants – Christianity is stupid

…and sometimes I just get downright pissed off.

Please – if you are (as Stephen King put it in the Dark Tower series) ‘for the Jesus-man’, read the whole piece before throwing stones.

(From 6 November 2006)

Christianity is stupid

(part of the xtianfuckwitwatch service)

I have finally fucking well had enough. It’s time to say it how it is.

Ever since the ‘election’ (which I do not for a second believe was free or fair, but that’s moot), there have been continuing reports that the Democrats want to try and appeal to ‘faith groups’ to try and win the next one. Specifically, to become more acceptable to the particular breed of Protestant Christian fundamentalism that seems to be taking over their country – just so they can be elected next time. And that this Christian hegemony are taking this ‘victory’ as a mandate to push their life-hating, woman-and-gay-phobic, world-crushing agenda.

They – and you – need to remember something important.

Christianity is Stupid.

(OK, here’s the disclaimer. Individual Christians can be perfectly intelligent and good people. But this can happen with anyone, from any faith or none at all. I never met a person who was a good person solely because of their faith. Usually, it was in spite of it.
Christians can be clever. But Christianity, like any hidebound monolithic faith, is Stupid.)

Christianity is, at root, saying that the Bible is the only source of truth possible. The only source of moral, philosophical or political validity.

Let me rephrase: A multiply (and badly) translated outdated desert survival manual for a nomadic people, full of contradictions and myth-masquerading-as-fact, metaphor-accepted-as-history and sheer hypocrisy… is The Truth and The Only Truth.
And that only those who agree with this claim have any moral code worth accepting.

Fuck off. Just fuck off and die.

There is no clear moral code in the Bible. It all depends on what you choose to emphasise. You can say the Bible teaches us to love our neighbours, to forgive sins, to try and be as a little child in order to achieve spiritual grace.
Or you could just as easily say the Bible tells its followers that throwing the priestesses of any other faith from a high building for their remains to be eaten by wild dogs, allowing your daughters to be raped by friend and foe alike, incest, child sacrifice and murdering people with tattoos who eat shellfish are acceptable moral acts.
You can take from it that Jesus loved the poor, the meek, the downtrodden, even women in the sex trade – or that the whole Sermon on the Mount thing was all about making money (as the Prosperity Theology branch claim…).
And before you mention it… it’s clear that the Ten Commandments mean fuck all to the Bush-supporting Christians. Especially those little bits about murder and theft.

(Obligatory Bill Hicks Quote; “They say the Bible is the exact word of God.. then they change the Bible. Pretty presumptuous, don’t you think? ‘I think what God meant to say was…’ “)

And then, most laughably, they call the newer multi-model modes of belief ‘pick and mix religion’ ! When practically all their rituals, saints and demons are stolen from every religion they exterminated or country they conquered – all in the name of their Prince of Peace…

It’s times like this that I understand why the theory of evolution scares them so much.
It’s not so much that the theory challenges their version of history, or their precious Book. I think it’s far more the idea of evolution as a metaphor, the concept that societies and individuals can move away from past moribund structures and adapt to new conditions, that they must change, that really puts the fear in them. Because their ideas, their ‘faith’, are all inert. Only capable of retrograde movement if any. Dead words mouthed by dead souls.

Their whole life view is so totally removed from anything in the actions of their supposed prophet, or life in the modern world, it would be laughable if it wasn’t for the current re-enactment of the Crusades.

It’s literally like watching Future Shock enacted in front of your eyes. The main reaction to fear of the future, of a complex changing society, is to retreat into simple, narrow, fundamentalist beliefs and try to deny all other realities. The United States has, in the term coined in Judge Dredd, ‘Gone Futzy’.

So, to recap:

Believing the Bible is anything but a set of myths and outdated behavioural codes is stupid.

Treating those who act in such a stupid way as possessors of moral superiority – stupider still.

Accepting the moral authority of someone giving that belief as justification for their actions, especially actions which involve mass murder, the deaths of countless children, lying on an epic scale, corruption and the blending of church, state and money (the last of which I seem to recall was the only thing that ever got Jesus angry…) – complete fucking idiocy.

Thinking you are always right if you believe the above and everyone else who disagrees with you in the slightest way is wrong and evil – clinical brain death.

Despite the above… I do have some sympathy for those Christians in the US who are anti-Bush, not afraid of the modern world or complex thought and do not use their belief as an excuse to persecute those who differ in faith. Theirs is a tough path right now. But they won’t find their answers in that book of theirs – or in any single book, belief or perspective.
The only answers for times like these are found within, and from talking to people of good conscience and moral honour, whatever they believe God to be. From learning, adapting, evolving.

Even the Bush regime itself has bluntly said they are ‘creating their own realities’ these days.
They should not, can not, be the only ones.

And most of those realities, the healthy ones that will endure and thrive, shall come from living minds, not dead books.

Though it’s not very ‘wound-healing’ or ‘bridge-building’, I think the best thing that can be done in America right now is to emphasise everything non-Christian (or at least their idea of Christian) that you can.
(Not ‘Satanism’ – that’s just Christianity’s Loyal Opposition.)

For example…
Ever wondered why Christianity is so down on gay sex, masturbation, contraception, abortion and such?
It’s ‘cos in a nomadic desert community, the gene pool is really, really shallow. You can’t waste food and resources on any members (pun intended) who have non-reproductive sex. The reason for the rules was forgotten by the priests ages ago – only the phobia remains.
Plus, of course, non-reproductive sex (especially the Great Unmentionable Taboo of sex with a menstruating woman) are powerful acts in sex magic…
So use that magic! Raise that orgone! Live and love freely, banish the fear with your desire – and be as out about it as you can. Show them they don’t live in the world they think they do. Protest your right to consensual love and sex as a religious freedom – because it is.
(Sod the Left Wing – long live the Left Hand Path!)

Challenge them every step of the way.

If they insist on the Ten Commandments being in your courthouse, demand Buddha’s Nine Truths be there too. Or quotes from Harry Potter, Dune, Star Wars! Any book or story you find any kind of truth in can be spiritually valid – especially considering their example…

If the local church gets funding from the government for ‘faith-based’ social initiatives, found a church yourself and go after the same cash! Use their self-proclaimed rights against them.
Never ever let their words, their memes, stay unchallenged.

This is cultural Germ Warfare. Mind viruses battling. Unless you can get the immune system of your culture active, America will die of something worse than any physical disease.
It’ll die because it has poisoned its own soul.

And if you still believe in your soul you are a Christian – then listen to what Jesus said, act as Jesus did – not how his posthumous corrupt priests want you to act. It’s the priests, not Jesus, who want you to be unquestioning obedient sheep for them.

It’s Christianity, not the following of the way of Jesus, that is Stupid.

“It is easy to be a criminal. In this world, it is very hard work to be human.
They are drunk, and they do no work, and they are all criminals.
If you try and wake them or sober them, they will be terrified and try to kill you.
Be as gentle as doves and as subtle as serpents.

“These words shall not be understood until the male becomes female, and the female becomes male.

“If you fast, you will create great evils. If you pray, you will be cursed. If you obey the law, you will lose your souls.
But act from the light within and you will do well. Heal the sick, console the dying, make jokes in the face of the wise and teach only one thing: the Kingdom of Heaven is here and now. Smash, smash the old laws and wake from the lie that all men believe.”

Jesus, Nag-Hammadi Scrolls.