Tag Archives: God

March on, Christian Doctors…

We’ve had religious zealotry turning up in art galleries, registry offices, Stormont, counselling organisations – now we can add paediatric medicine to the list of areas of work which Christian fundamentalists seem desperate to colonise:

Sheila Matthews, who sat on an adoption panel in Northamptonshire, lost the job when she asked to abstain from voting in cases where same-sex couples were planning to adopt.

Now she has been reinstated, although Northamptonshire County Council will not allow Dr Matthews to vote on future cases.

Dr Matthews, 50, is a community paediatrician with more than 18 years’ experience advising parents and children. She had worked on the adoption panel for five years, before she was removed earlier this month.

Dr Matthews said: “As a professional I have done a lot of reading around the subject and am satisfied that there are research findings which support my position that a same-sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long-term relationship.

“I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for, and as those on the panel have a legal obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, then I am not able to vote in favour of such placements.”

Fine, perhaps firing her from the adoption panel was wrong under the law. It’s right however that she not be able to vote in cases where same-sex couples are planning to adopt, given that her ‘belief’ is based entirely on bigotry and not the rule of law. I’m sure that she can find research findings hostile to same-sex adoption – it doesn’t make them reliable though, particularly if written from a religiously zealous perspective. Ultimately it’s reassuring that although she’s managed to keep her job, she’s been prevented from behaving in a homophobic way towards gay couples who are objectively as good at parenting as heterosexual ones. You don’t need research findings to prove that one.

Gay People to Repent? Ridiculous!

Curious timing for the Anglican Church to tack back towards blatant homophobia:

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester called on gay people to “repent and be changed” saying the Church of England must not be “rolled over by culture.” Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called on the Bishop to “repent his homophobia.”

Dr Nazir-Ali told the Sunday Telegraph: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.

“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.

“The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.

“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”

He added: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.”

‘We welcome homosexuals – we want to stop them being homosexuals.’ Anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture? I think it’s shocking that such a senior Churchman should actually admit he rejects social change. He doesn’t want to be rolled over by culture? Sounds to me like he picks and chooses which culture he accepts and which he doesn’t – not very Godly if you ask me. He has no choice – the clock can’t be turned back to a repressive time when gay people couldn’t be out, nor are we living in a society as Iris Robinson would wish, where we could fix people’s natures as they suit us. Is either option what Christianity is supposed to be about? An Asian man who must understand discrimination should be ashamed of himself to preach homophobia, particularly when his religion does nothing of the sort.

C’Mon You Homosexual Demon

(via Towleroad)

It would be very easy to dismiss the content of this video as the actions of a few crackpots whose ideas about the world haven’t moved on past the Middle Ages. I personally think it’s horrific, and find it hard to understand why the Christianist culprits haven’t been investigated by police. “We don’t hate them, we just do not believe in their lifestyle,” – such an innocuous justification on the surface of things, yet if carried to its logical extent able to bring about terrible violence. I personally would rather like to cast out their homophobic spirits and see what they were left with. You do not have to be homophobic in order to be spiritual.

More Ironic Catholic Hilarity

So secularism is more dangerous than child abuse eh, Archbishop Nichols?

At the installation of the Most Rev Vincent Nichols at Westminster Cathedral, his predecessor, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, described a lack of faith as “the greatest of evils” and blamed atheism for war and destruction, implying that it was a greater evil even than sin itself.

furious reaction to comments that Archbishop Nichols had made about child abuse in Ireland threatened to cast a shadow over the installation. Referring to the report published on Wednesday that exposed decades of child abuse by Catholic priests and nuns in Ireland, the Archbishop had said that it took courage for religious orders and clergy to “face the facts from their past”. He also warned that the report threatened to overshadow the good done by the religious orders, chiefly the Christian Brothers and Sisters of Mercy.

So the faith which has acted as a cover for child abuse, faith which is continuing to fuel regional wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel and Iraq, which is fueling discrimination and brutality in Iran, the faith which is…hang on, see the paradoxes here? Is atheism really the cause of war and destruction? I guess the Catholic Church doesn’t have a good recent track record at statements which are founded on reason, with the former Hitler Youth Pope decrying gay people for being the cause of the destruction of the environment, and saying that condoms were part of the problem in tackling HIV/AIDS, but this really is quite appalling. For Nichols there’s nothing more damaging to social cohesion than secularism, yet it’s social cohesion on his terms – he’s not exactly ‘tolerant’ of gay people. Reason’s not really that bad a thing after all, is it?

Benedict XVI Goes For Maximum Irony

Pope Benedict XVI has preached against hatred and prejudice, not remotely appreciating the irony of him doing so:

“I urge people of goodwill in both communities to repair the damage that has been done, and in fidelity to our common belief in one God, the father of the human family, to work to build bridges and find the way to a peaceful coexistence,” he said.

Let everyone reject the destructive power of hatred and prejudice, which kills men’s souls before it kills their bodies.”

Says the arch homophobe who says that condoms are part of the problem in dealing with HIV, and that gay people are responsible for environmental destruction. Quite, quite mad.

Christianist Teacher Claims Gay People ‘Risk God’s Wrath’

The Christianists are at it again:

A Christian teacher was suspended from his post after complaining that a training day was being used to “promote” gay rights.

History teacher Kwabena Peat, 54, was one of several staff who walked out of the seminar at Park View Academy in North London.

The presentation was given by Sue Sanders of Schools Out, which campaigns against homophobia in education.

Mr Peat claimed that Ms Sanders had said questioned whether heterosexuality was normal.

In a letter to the staff members who organised the talk, he said that Ms Sanders’ presentation had been “aggressive” and, citing the Bible, claimed that gay people “risked God’s wrath”.

The staff addressed in the letter then complained to the school’s principal saying they felt “harassed and intimidated”.

He really wasn’t paying any attention to the Lillian Ladele case, was he? He’s perfectly entitled to have homophobic ideas, indeed to live with the delusion that somehow his God and religion hate gay people, but he’s not entitled under the law to use that belief as a weapon. I’m sure his school has an equal opportunities policy requiring him not to act in a discriminatory way against gay people, so what gives him the impression that his religious rights are paramount over all?

Some of you might say hold on, isn’t Sue Sanders’ statement somewhat ridiculous, somewhat militant and politically correct? Did that not give him the justification to object? Well to give it a context:

“She started promoting homosexual lifestyles and suggesting those who had objections should sort out their prejudices. She said, ‘What makes you all think that to be heterosexual is natural?’ It was at that point that I walked out.”
Speaking to PinkNews.co.uk, Ms Sanders said of her comment: “Taken out of context, it looks very stark.

She said she explains to her audience the heteronormative model of gender theory.

“It’s quite complex but enables people to question what is normal.

He’ll do as he’s told when it comes to working in the public sector, he’ll not behave in a bigoted or a discriminatory way, otherwise he’ll lose his job. It’s a very simple equation – we live under the rule of law, not the rule of ‘God’. Gender theory training will inevitably question trainees’ ideas about ‘normality’, it won’t suggest that being heterosexual wasn’t normal. And when the rights to be religious and the right to be gay are in conflict, the outcome is now clear – being religious does not give you the right to discriminate. End of.

End Religious Indoctrination Please…

You know, I couldn’t agree with Johann Hari more:

Forcing children to take part in religious worship every day is a law worthy of a theocracy, not a liberal democracy where 70 per cent of adults never attend a religious ceremony. That’s why the Association of Teachers and Lecturers – one of the teachers’ unions – has recently moved to ask the Government to stop forcing its members to take part in this practice.

Why does this anachronism persist in this blessedly irreligious country? For all their whining that they are “persecuted”, the religious minority in Britain are in fact accorded remarkable privileges. They are given a bench-full of unelected positions in the legislature, protection from criticism in the law, and vast amounts of public money to indoctrinate children into their belief systems in every school in the land.

He’s right of course. It makes me cringe when I hear Christians whinge on about how terribly they’re discriminated against. They’re now prevented by law from discriminating on religious grounds, which only the most devout believe is actually discriminating against them, but a large body of Christians feels its previously unquestioned privilege to be under threat. When asked of course they can’t articulate why, and it’s not surprising they can’t – Hari’s analysis is entirely right, Christians retain unparalleled privilege in all facets of British life, even to have television programming embedded in the law and BBC charter.

I can understand why the unelected, faltering religious institutions cling to this law so tightly. When it comes to “faith”, if you don’t get people young, you probably won’t ever get them. Very few people are, as adults, persuaded of the idea that (say) a Messiah was born to a virgin and managed to bend the laws of physics, or that we should revere a man who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year-old girl. You can usually only persuade people of this when they are very young – a time when their critical and rational faculties have not yet been developed – and hope it becomes a rock in their psychological make-up they dare not pull out.

But why do the rest of us allow this fervent 5 per cent of the population to force the rest of our kids to follow their superstitions? Parents can withdraw their children if they choose – but that often means separating the child in an embarrassing way from her friends and exposing them to criticisms from the school, so only 1 per cent do it. Most don’t even know it is an option.

More importantly still, why is worship forced on 99 per cent of children without their own consent or even asking what they think? As the author Richard Dawkins has pointed out many times, there are no “Christian children” or “Muslim children”. I was classed as “Christian” because my mother is vaguely culturally Christian, although at every opportunity I protested that I didn’t believe any of it. Children are not born with these beliefs, as they are born with a particular pigmentation or height or eye colour. Indeed, if you watch children being taught about religion, you will see most of them instinctively laugh and ask perfectly sensible sceptical questions that are swatted away – or punished – by religious instructors.

I saw Dawkins rail against this on one of his programmes, and he too was right. It should be offensive to any reasonable person to even consider defining their children as they define themselves, without even giving them the option to decide for themselves. I was brought up in two different forms of schooling – both a secular International School in Hamburg, Germany, and a C of E public school. As Hari suggests later in his piece, the reason my parents enrolled me in the latter institution was because of their better than average results, but in hindsight it was an illusion. The college left me with far fewer social and analytical skills than I would have had had I attended other local schools, but also had its results undermined the moment a secular grammar school formed locally. I was indoctrinated into being nominally Christian, but fortunately the idea was and has remained intellectually offensive for the reasons Hari lists earlier. Not all of my peers were so fortunate however.

Tony Blair: ‘Do’ God!

Devout Catholic, former Prime Minister Tony Blair continues his conversion on the role of religion in politics and civil society:

Blair said: “As the years of my premiership passed, one fact struck me with increasing force: that failure to understand the power of religion meant failure to understand the modern world.

He goes on to say:

Religious faith and how it develops could be of the same significance to the 21st century as political ideology was to the 20th. It could help guide and sustain the era of globalisation, lending it values, and, in bringing faiths and cultures to a greater understanding of each other, could foster peaceful coexistence. Or it could be a reactionary force, pulling people apart just as globalisation pushes people together. Whichever route develops, it does mean that all leaders, whether of religious faith themselves or not, have to “do God”.

How quickly he forgets it was his ever increasing reliance on religiously-founded belief rather than on evidence, science, judgment, analysis or even reason which caused the end of said premiership. He is a man who has no appreciation of history, and who labours still under the cynical and ignorant misapprehension that the world changed under his watch, when all it did was cycle through some tediously familiar historical trends. The Enlightenment occurred precisely to move society on from religion and faith-based values to ones more equitable and in line with modern values and realities like science and diversity. Political leaders ‘doing God’ would be a further step in turning the clock back from the most peaceful and fair co-existence we’ve ever had, which we live under precisely because we live in a society ruled by secular law and not religious dogma. What a fucking idiot – I’m glad he’s gone; if there’s anyone who doesn’t understand the modern world it’s him.

(hat tip to Scoobs)

God’s Hotline

An art exhibition in the Netherlands will allow people to leave a message on a telephone number designated for God. What would you like to say?

(source)

I’ll start. “Are you the same guys who edit The Bible?”

Your turn…

David Attenborough Champions Darwinism

I particularly like the line about there being more evidence for evolution than there was for William the Conqueror.

It’s also highly reassuring to hear this unconditional, pro-evolution line coming from the world’s preeminent natural historian. When Richard Dawkins rails against creationism and slams belief he does so out of a political agenda; not so David Attenborough.

I would disagree however with his analysis that the Book of Genesis has led to deforestation, global warming and environmental disaster:

Sir David, 82, said the devastation of the environment has its roots in the first words that God supposedly uttered to humankind, as detailed in Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

An atheist raised in an academic, non-religious family, Sir David said Genesis peddled untruths about how animals and plants appeared on earth and was also at the root of why there was now serious environmental degradation due to the greedy overexploitation of the earth’s natural resources.

“The influence of the Book of Genesis, which says the Lord God said ‘go forth and multiply’ to Adam and Eve and ‘the natural world is there for you to dominate’, [is that] you have dominion over the animals and plants of the world,” Sir David said.

“That basic notion, that the world is there for us and if it doesn’t actually serve our purposes, it’s dispensable, that has produced the devastation of vast areas of the land’s surface.

I would say this may have been a justification for the abuse of the environment and of animal life during the industrial revolution – not so now. It would be an interesting point to investigate further, but I suspect that even though modern capitalism and its inexhaustible need to raid natural resources (because they until now have been the cheapest option on the balance sheet) to replenish itself may have had its philosophical origins here, what drives the exploitation of resources and environmental degradation is the system feeding on itself. Corporations for example used to be time- and function-limited organisations but grew into the all-devouring, unstable institutions we know today; capitalism has also evolved into something quite different. The guiding philosophy up to the economic collapse of last year was the maximisation of profit – all other considerations were secondary, and it became an end in itself.