Friday, November 30, 2007

Wuz I right, or wuz I right. More in the saga of the teddy bear named Muhammad

From the news:

KHARTOUM, Sudan - Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, rallied Friday in a central square and demanded the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."

"Shame, shame on the U.K.," protesters chanted. They called for Gibbons' execution, saying, "No tolerance: Execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad."

Oh my, what a lovely religion.
The Sudanese government, in an attempt to straddle the fence, sentenced Ms. Gibbons to 15 days and deportation rather than the longer sentence and 40 lashes called for by their religious, fundamentalist laws. Not good enough for the pious populace. Only death will do for letting children name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Here’s a comment from the article that I thought was straight to the point:
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, said Gibbons' prosecution and conviction was "an absurdly disproportionate response to what is at worst a cultural faux pas."

Christians don’t have a whole lot of room to talk when it comes to absurdity but in this case Mr. Williams got one right. Sometime within the next generation or so Europe is expected to become predominately Muslim. Are you prepared for that?

Ooooohhh…, two topics in one day.

In a bit of irony, we find another article with the following comment:

Pope Benedict XVI strongly criticized atheism in a major document released Friday, saying it had led to some of the "greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice" ever known.

Say what? Hey Pope baby, go back and read the article about the teddy bear lady. If you want cruelty and violations of justice let’s talk Islam, you know, one of your fellow Abrahamic religions. Then go read some atheistic web sites, like say and see how many times they call for people to be lashed, stoned or executed. Does the number ZERO ring a bell? Besides Pope, old fellow, that comment of yours is an old chestnut. Atheism doesn’t lead to cruelty and injustice, megalomania does. If we look back through history at the worst mass murderers, on the level of Torquemada, Genghis Kahn, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. we will find a common thread and it is not religion or lack thereof, it is megalomania. Kings and princes, popes and bishops, emperors and petty dictators, charismatic politicians and preachers, they have all been guilty of mass murder. Religious belief doesn’t prevent it, lack of religious belief doesn’t cause it and the Pope is showing his ignorance with this pronouncement. Unfortunately, due to his influence, people around the world will believe him. Bah!
Herman Melville put it well in Moby Dick: "Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

News report:
(CNN) -- Sudan has arrested a British teacher for insulting faith and religion, the British Foreign Office said Monday.
Blasphemy is punishable with 40 lashes under Islamic Sharia law, Britain's Press Association news agency reported.

In a past article I laid into George W. Bush for being dumb but the Sudanese Government has topped even Georgie Boy. Does religion make people dumb or do dumb people fall for religion? I don’t suppose I should expect less from an Islamist country. I worry about America becoming a Christian theocracy but I am seriously frightened by Islamic governments. A class of 7-year olds names a teddy bear Mohammed, a common enough name in the Muslim world, and the teacher is arrested for blasphemy. She faces imprisonment and possibly 40 lashes. It sounds like something out of the Inquisition in the middle-ages but it’s happening all around the world in Muslim controlled countries right here in the 21st century.
Grown men with the education and experience to run whole countries want to whip a 54 year old, elementary school teacher because a teddy bear in her classroom was given the same name as the primary prophet of the local religion. I just can’t even begin to express how seriously wrong this is.
One thing I can say is that this would never happen in a non-sectarian government. You want to name your doll Richard (as in Dawkins) or name your dog Bertrand (as in Russell) or draw cartoons about any atheist or humanist popular figure? Go ahead. No jail time, no whips. We can take it. Speaking of which, these Muslims and their violent actions remind me of a saying from when I was a kid: “They can dish it out but they can’t take it”. Some tiny little (supposed) insult and they’re rioting in the streets, burning buildings, harming people… I generally avoid vulgarity but the word “assholes” comes to mind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

George W. Bush - the edumacashun predisent

George W. Bush

Ugh. It doesn’t get any more ordinary than that. Substandard actually. How in the world did America elect this guy as president… twice? Ok, ok, I know that he probably stole the first one and squeaked by on the second because the Democrats put up a weak candidate. But it should never have been that close to begin with. It speaks volumes about the American electorate. Can you say “dumb”? And speaking of dumb, check out these Bush quotes and learn a new word while you’re at it: solecism. Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall’s!

George probably doesn’t know it but he single-handedly ran me out of the Republican Party. Yes dear reader, atheist that I am, I was a Republican for many, many years. This was before the religious right hijacked the party and headed it down the road toward Christian theocracy in America. I’ll discuss my political views in more depth in another article. Suffice it to say, I put up with Republican shenanigans for years (think Richard Nixon) because of my general conservative nature and my antipathy towards the Democratic Party. That was, until George W. Bush came along. After that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t rationalize enough. I no longer wanted my name associated with either the Republican Party or the idiot that they elected (see the link above). The next time I had the opportunity I switched my party affiliation. I’m still conservative in many ways but the Republicans no longer behave conservatively. I’m still a strict constructionist with regard to the Constitution. Whew, do we even want to go there? George Bush has violated the Constitution in so many ways I’m not sure I can count that high. The man scares me. He’s the President of the United States, with his finger on the red button, and he speaks so incoherently that you know that whatever is going on in his head is disjointed and irrational. Armageddon here we come.

One more year! I hate to wish away a whole year of my ever-shortening life but I’ll be glad to see this next year be done. The next president just can’t be as bad. Be sure to check out that Bush Grammar link above.