News From Around The Blogosphere 5.2.11

May 2, 2011

T-Minus 19 days until The Rapture.

And T-Minus 20 days until Family Radio and Harold Camiping are mocked mercilessly.

1. Another actor turns against Scientology – Actor Michael Fairman has been expelled from the cult and was officially designated a “Suppressive Person”:

Fairman is not leaving the organization quietly. Posting his expulsion letter at Marty Rathbun’s blog, Fairman blasts Scientology for dismissing him after he had spent years promoting the church with work in its videos and television commercials. Despite all that work, the SP letter vaguely accuses Fairman of various deficiencies, such as “financial irregularities.”

“I have been debt free since early 2010, and am supporting two households.
I make car and insurance payments on my Mercedes…So what ‘financial irregularities and out-exchange’ are they fucking talking about?” Fairman writes.

They also amusingly charge him with being a “squirrel,” which in Scientology-speak means he continued to practice Hubbard’s methods outside of church control. It seems that Fairman, like Rathburn, still believes in some of the methods of Scientology, but has grown disgusted with its management.

2. Friendly Atheist jokingly stumbles onto the best billboard campaign idea yet – Actually, I came up with this idea as a serious proposal last year. It seems great minds think alike. My idea was what I called the “Isn’t it about time you read the whole thing?” Campaign, where an atheist organization put up billboards illustrating or quoting specific inconvenient and unpleasant Bible passages with a big headline reading, “Isn’t it about time you read the whole thing?” How much fun would it be defending such a billboard on Fox News? you could simply respond that you’re just trying to get more people to read the whole Bible, so what’s wrong with that? Of course you can also make your own billboard, advertising your own atheism.

3. Pastor caught molesting woman during demon-banishing service – This happened in South Africa, and it’s just one of those titles that says it all, doesn’t it? You can read the details in the link above. I’m suddenly reminded of the “put the devil back into hell” story from The Decameron.

4. Atheists in Spain double practicing Catholics

The number of young people practicing Catholicism has plummeted, from 29.2% in 2002 to 10.3% in 2010, according to the Youth Institute of Spain (Injuve). Also, the number of non-believers (19.1%) and atheists (9.6%) have increased nine points and three points, respectively. Non-practicing Catholics are the majority, making up 45% of the total.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a battle we can win.

5. Comparing the necessary funding for SETI to other expenses – The other day I reported that Search for Extraterrestrial Life (SETI) is being defunded in the U.S. SETI’s funding equalled $2.5 million a year. Now Phil Plait has broken down the equivalent costs to demonstrate what it would mean to continue to fund possibly one of the most important science programs out there:

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News From Around The Blogosphere 2.12.10

February 13, 2010

Happy Darwin Day everyone!

Also save the date June 21 because it will Global Atheist Solidarity Day!

1. Secular Coalition for America receives a gift of $500,000 from philanthropist Todd Stiefel

2. Need information to counter global climate change deniers in a hurry? Don’t worry. There’s an app for that.

3. Creation Science Fair? – It’s not very fair to science.

4. Measles outbreak in South Africa

The cause of a measles outbreak sweeping South Africa has not as yet been determined, but initial suspicions point to religious objections and unfounded fears that immunizations against the disease increase the risk of autism in children.

Thank’s Jenny McCarthy!


News From Around The Blogosphere 12.21.09

December 22, 2009

Silence is the Enemy campaign image

1. South African lesbians being dragged off the street and  raped – The worst part of all is that in the video found in the link above, citizens are happily admitting their support of rape in order to “correct” these women and “teach them a lesson.” The police and government are not taking this seriously.

One man roared with laughter as he said lesbians should be “whipped”. “There is no mention of lesbians in the bible,” he said.

. . .

They said “women should behave like women” and this was a way of “teaching” them that.

Why is it that whenever there is repulsive female oppression, a reference to the bible isn’t far behind?

2. The Pope (TM) – The Vatican has literally copywritten the Pope. So apparently the likeness and image of Joey Ratz is no longer in the public domain:

The statement seeks to establish and safeguard the name, image and any symbols of the Pope as being expressly for official use of the Holy See unless otherwise authorized.

. . .

Due to this demand, the Vatican has felt it necessary to declare that “it alone has the right to ensure the respect due to the Successors of Peter, and therefore, to protect the figure and personal identity of the Pope from the unauthorized use of his name and/or the papal coat of arms for ends and activities which have little or nothing to do with the Catholic Church.”

So I guess mentioning the fact that it’s a matter of public record that the current Pope conspired to cover-up countless instances of child rape, allowing the rapists to continue to rape and escape prosecution to this very day is a big no-no.

3. Garrison Keillor’s anti-semitic rant – Ironically, he accuses those non-Christians who embrace Christmas of “spiritual piracy and cultural elitism,” apparently oblivious to the holiday’s pagan origins and, you know, the fact that this very rant promotes “cultural elitism.” This just further hits home the point that there’s no such thing as a “War on Christmas,” only a war by fanatical Christians against everyone else’s cultural or religious traditions in order to reinforce their own religious dominance. And the guy seems really, really worked up over this. Dude, there are REAL problems in the world. Non-Christians enjoying the season isn’t a problem; it can hardly even be described as a pet peeve. But I’m not a heartless guy, so I’ll just wish Mr. Keillor a Happy Atheistmas!

4. Mexico City legalizes same-sex marriage – And apparently Uruguay already has legalized civil unions throughout the country, along with several South America nations. Who knew?

5. Clive Thompson of the Washington Post calls anti-vaccination one of the “Worst Ideas of the Decade” – Thompson hits it out of the park, but of course he’s just become the newest target of vitriolic attacks by the anti-vaccine movement. In fact, it’s already started. And by tomorrow, I’m sure Age of Autism will have found some reason to insist he’s a Big Pharma Shill, such as him once living next door to someone who knows someone who works at Merck. And on a related note, the anti-vacine Australian Vaccination Network (or AVN – not to be confused with any other AVN that may hold annual conventions in Las Vegas) and its leader Meryl Dorey are under investigation for misleading the public.


South African would-be judge comes out as an atheist

July 22, 2009

During the hearings to decide if Senior Counsel Torquil Paterson should be chosen for South Africa’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC), Paterson told the committee that he left the priesthood in order to pursue law mainly because he realized that god didn’t exist:

Senior Counsel Torquil Paterson told the JSC: “I left the church for a variety of reasons, chief among them being that I realised God does not exist. I am an atheist.”

Paterson, whose lengthy theological studies included a stint at Oxford University, explained he had eventually come to the conclusion that “all language of God is meaningless”.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was left perplexed and asked: “So what you read in the Bible about the beginning does not exist? You do not believe that we were created in the image of God?”

“Minister you may believe that, I don’t,” Patterson responded.

Radebe insisted, to rare laughter at the JSC ‘s interviews of aspirant judges: “If God does not exist, are you a materialist, a communist, a Marxist?”

Paterson denied that he was any of those, adding: “It is a quite difficult to find a real Marxist”.

BAM! Stangely, the scathing criticism that followed didn’t even have anything to do with his being an atheist:

Advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza, one of President Jacob Zuma’s new appointees to the JSC, declared he was both an atheist and a Marxist. He then launched a scathing attack on Paterson for having failed to join Advocates for Transformation (AFT). Ntsebeza is the national chairperson of the organisation.

Wow! South Africa is crawling with atheists and not believing in any gods isn’t treated as immediate grounds to reject him. It’s seen as a lesser priority than actual issues. What kind of crazy country are they running over there? Next you’re going to be telling me that the politicians don’t hypocritically cheat on their spouses after making a whole production out of condemning others for cheating on their spouses.