Dec 032012
 

Ordinarily, I post these as they are … this time, I need to pass comment. For reasons which I understand, though with which I vehemently disagree, the editors of Gscene chose not to publish my article as originally submitted, even after having requested substantiation of my comments and claims. While they are understandably hesitant to invite legal challenge, I care not. Therefore, I present the original text I submitted, along with the actual published article, with particular attention being drawn to my paragraph relating to the “roman catholic church” – which I did not capitalise for a reason, the content of which has been diluted so far that it’s practically homeopathic and which offends me in its insipidness, and also to the paragraph regarding islam, again neutered like a bad dog, and this time edited so that it no longer even makes sense!

 

 

Canada Dry

And so man* created gods in his image. Unfortunately, that image is a jealous, violent, ill-educated, petty, belligerent, cruel and evil one. Not the better angels of our nature by any means.

Am I being unfair? Intemperate? I don’t think so … I can think of nothing that has caused more misery, suffering, hatred, distress, death or disfigurement in the whole of human history. Religion has – not just permitted, but – required; slavery, objectification of women, vilification of those of other or no religion, wars of aggression, loathing, ethnic cleansing, beating and murder of homosexuals, beating and subjugation of children, racism, cruel – nay criminal – mutilation of genitalia, xenophobia … the list is practically endless. No other aberration of reason and humanity can make such expansive and loathsome claims.

Born in the time of our utter ignorance of everything, offering facile (and fraudulent) claims to answer the difficult questions of existence, presenting false, shallow solace to those who are in pain, salving the pricked ego of those who’ve considered the possibility of “no more me”, religion has absolutely nothing going for it, save vague concepts of tradition, comfort and respect.

The leader of the roman catholic church is the criminal head of the world’s largest paedophile ring and protection racket; it’s only the mantle of religion, claiming as it does incomparable privilege and exemptions, which prevents this vile subhuman monster facing the punishment for his decades of crimes against humanity.

Those of the muslim faith, calling for the death of (admittedly rather bad) filmmakers and their supporters, stoning gays, throwing acid into the faces of women – nay, girls – “suspected” of looking at men in the “wrong” way, baying for the death of people who do nothing more than draw pictures, wallowing in their sheer pig-ignorance; were it not for the “shield of faith” which requires we respect their beliefs, they’d be viewed for what they are – barely more than animals.

In the USA, otherwise normal Americans who shoot and kill doctors in the name of the sanctity of life, previously loving parents who throw out their own children as being “better dead than gay”, a credible candidate for the Presidency who believes in magic underwear and that Native Americans are a lost tribe of Israel (while an atheist is nigh unelectable); these bizarre, illogical conditions couldn’t exist absent the entrenched, privileged position of religion!

The litany is near endless. Religion makes its hay by valuing and prizing ignorance, eschewing reason and the search for knowledge, refusing to acknowledge that it is a world view, and making pseudo-factual claims about, well, everything and that as such it should be subject to the same evaluation of the evidence as any other such world view. Those of us who adhere to the view that, actually, no, if you believe in the power of intercessory prayer, or that the mind is separate from the brain, or that there is a “part” of you which continues after death, or that evolution is inaccurate, or that the earth is about 6,000 years old, then such beliefs should be challengeable (and challenged!) and tested are told that we are being disrespectful.

Why, yes. Yes, yes we are. Utterly disrespectful. So … what? I suffer at the hands of the brainless being disrespectful towards me; I’m a gay atheist – while there are certainly groups who suffer more disrespect, nonetheless I receive more than sufficient denigration from the religious. Which is their right; I may – and of course do – disagree with their beliefs and attitudes, but their right to hold their pernicious, antediluvian views is something I hold nearly sacred. As is my right to challenge it. Why the road doesn’t run two ways, I do not understand.

Or, perhaps I do. My views stand up to scrutiny, and I am able to defend them using logic; the corollary being that I will change my views if the evidence requires it. The views of the religious are nothing more than wishes and hopes, will o’ the wisp fantasies, castles of credulity, precariously balanced upon foundations of faith. As such, there are no arguments which can reasonably be brought to bear. There is no logical recourse for faith, belief, religion.

Perhaps the greatest mind of recent time speaking on the issue of religion and its maleficent influence in and on the world was, now sadly the late, Christopher Hitchens. A couple of his quotes may serve in a few words to state what I’ve tried to say in many:

“I am absolutely convinced that the main source of hatred in the world is religion, and organised religion.”

“Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did.”

“Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way.”

My own modest attempt at a pithy epithet: “Religion is the single greatest crime we have committed against ourselves.

 

So, to conclude, no, “jesus” most assuredly does not have a place in my heart, and religion can take a long walk of a non-existent pier; you can take “christmas” and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine; I’ll see my family around that time, because it’s nice to do so, and let’s face it, there’s nothing else to do anyway. But, religion?  Keep the fairy tales for the children, and let’s all grow the fuck up.

*Sexist pronoun excused on basis of poetic requirement.

 

 

 

 

 GScene - December 2012 - Canada Dry - Religion

 

Nov 102012
 

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day / Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day. In the UK at least it’s become expected that one will wear a Red Poppy, to show one’s support of our former and current armed forces, and the sacrifices they have and do make, including far too often their lives. So much an expectation that it attracts comment – and attack – if those in public life don’t wear one.

Imagine a chat show host, a newscaster, politician, sportsman … anybody in the public eye who dared not to wear one; the criticism and vitriol which would be brought to bear don’t even bear thinking about. In which light, I was hugely gratified to see Frankie Boyle on the Jonathan Ross show recently, wearing a white poppy. Someone who is already such a target has little to lose; I like to think also that he genuinely supports the goals to which it pertains.

Reason one . . .  loathing compulsion and in-group mentalitites. 

 

“The Glorious Dead” . . . what an horrific concept. Dead isn’t glorious; it’s dead. Gone, no more to participate in the world, nothing further to contribute, you’re rotting in the ground, or scattered to the wind, and everything you ever could have done has either been done, or left forever undone. That’s not glorious.

Neither, I’m afraid to say, is the manner of their deaths. Oh, the causes may be just, and laudable, but sitting for months in a rat-infested trench, watching your extremities rot off your still-living body, starving to death, taking occasional shots at people a hundred metres away who are far more your equal than opposite; that’s not glorious. Bombing civilians, and destroying centuries of history and beauty, whether in Dresden or Coventry; that’s not glorious.

Sending an entire generation of American youth off to fight a non-extistent enemy in Vietnam, burning villages alive, raping and pillaging as though it were the 11th Century in Europe; that’s not glorious.

Guiding bombs into Baghdad, twenty years apart, by laser; that’s not glorious.

The sooner we start to acknowledge that it’s not glorious, or wonderful, or admirable, to go to war, but rather that it’s a failure of the entire human species, and while it may grudgingly sometimes be necessary, it should be a last after last after oh-good-grief last resort, the better for us all. We shouldn’t idolise the victims of our going to war, whether the “enemy” or our own troops; we should pity them. Teaching (mainly boys) children to aspire to this monstrosity is one of the most vile, obscene, unconscionable acts perpetrated against our future.

Reason two . . . glorification of violence 

 

Personally, I purchase a packet of White Poppies every year from the Peace Pledge Union.

From their website:

“War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.’ So why, in the 21st century, with all our skills, knowledge and resources, are we still waging war?”

I’ve been accused of supporting pie-in-the-sky idealism, told that conflict is an innate part of human nature, that war will always be with us, that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, etc. Well, I certainly won’t argue that conflict isn’t part of human nature – so are any number things which we choose to abhor in modern society. Surely we could add conflict to that list? We acknowledge but resist it? As for idealism, well so what? Whoever really achieved anything by aspiring to the obviously and easily achievable? I want the seemingly impossible; I’ll work for it. As for ”if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, see above re “in-group mentalities”.
Reason three . . . there IS an alternative
White Poppy Wreath
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Unabashed promotion – click if you like!

 

 

 

Jul 182011
 

A report at Irish Central tells us today that Irish Priest will refuse to recognise and obey a new piece of legislation which requires them to report certain issues to the police which are revealed to them during confession, specifically child abuse. Which anyone of even a moderate level of common sense would presumably see as, at best, a good start.

But, of course, the priests consider that minimal requirement an affront to their religious freedom. In which case, please, by all means, be affronted, but fuck your religious freedom; I would sooner every single catholic on this planet be convinced they are going to burn in hell than that one innocent child be RAPED, SODOMISED, ABUSED by an adult in whom they are told to put their trust.

Of course, the monkey-monks see things differently;

Father P.J. Madden, spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests, however, insisted that the sacramental seal of confession is “above and beyond all else.”

 Fuck you.

Thank goodness, at least, that the Irish government appears to have found its balls and is seriously using them now. No more pussy-footing around, the gloves would appear – for now at least – to be off:

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on July 14 that canon law can not supersede state law.

Minister Fitzgerald said the government was firm on this point.

Good; be firm!

Don’t let them fight their evil little propaganda war against you and get away with it. Throw the fuckers in jail at the first sign of breaking this law. Because claims like the following – from David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute – fraudulent, misrepresentative lies, that raise fear and pedal panic, are only going to increase:

” … such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and, at a maximum, will be counterproductive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe.”

You fucking lying fuck. Fuck off!

Throw them in jail, or throw them out of the country.

St Patrick didn’t throw the snakes out of Ireland, the saints, the priest, the church – they are the serpents, and their pestilential influence should be at an end.

Jul 132011
 

Probably NOT a surprise, but I’m not a supporter of homeopathy. Believe what you wish about freedom of choice, patient involvement in treatments, etc. but when a snake oil merchant pedals blatant, shameless lies, then it’s time for us to intervene. The fact that the ASA has taken action to restrain fraudulent advertising, while not sufficient, is a good start.

However, apparently some hurting homeopaths don’t understand why we don’t love them all, and have put a survey out to ask us why this should be.

The survey is accessible here. If you have a few moments, why not go and tell them exactly why this is? Go on, it’ll make you feel better!

My responses? Ok … here you go:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 082011
 

Just a quick throw out to the world, that 11 July (Monday) is the International Day Against Stoning.

You can read about it here.

An excerpt of what can be done:

  • Standing in a city square with a photo or poster of Sakineh, tweeting, or organising an act of solidarity or a flash mob to raise awareness and attention, and posting your actions on Facebook;
  • Sending letters of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran;
  • Writing to government officials, heads of state, MEPs and MPs calling on them to intervene to demand Sakineh and her lawyer Houtan Kian’s release and to cease recognition of a regime that stones people to death

 

Please do something – get involved in some way – as small or large a gesture as possible. Given that Iran is now executing an average of two people per day, anything to fight this regime’s evil is a good thing.

 

Apr 092010
 

Yes, I’m worried about the outcome – cards on the table time, I’m staunchly pro-Labour, and think Gordon Brown has been treated despicably by the media at large. I’m not blind to the problems that have occurred, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to justify the Iraq Invasion as some sort of legal war – however, major cock up though that may have been, it’s one glitch. Overall, both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have led a government whose focus has always been fairness, improving the lot of everyone and – crucially from my point of view – a serious commitment to LGBT / gay rights.

Let’s take a moment to look at what that has involved:

Since Labour became Government, it has:

  • achieved an equal age of consent;
  • ended the ban on LGBT people serving in our armed forces;
  • ended discrimination against Lesbian & Gay partners for immigration purposes;
  • given LGBT individuals and couples the right to adopt children;
  • scrapped the homophobic Section 28 (Clause 2a in Scotland);
  • become a signatory of the Treaty of Amsterdam, which gave the EU powers to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation;
  • banned discrimination in the workplace and in vocational training with the introduction of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations;
  • created the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which gives LGBT people statutory body protection;
  • included homophobia in the definition of hate crimes;
  • increased sentencing for homophobic hate crimes;
  • removed outdated offences such as gross indecency and buggery;
  • produced and implemented the Gender Recognition Act, allowing Trans people to have their true gender recognised in law;
  • created the Civil Partnerships, allowing LGB people to have their loving relationships recognised by law and have most of the same benefits as married couples;
  • outlawed discrimination in good and services (with no exceptions);
  • launched a campaign in the UN for the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality focusing on the nine countries where it is still punishable by death;
  • awarded statutory rights for fertility treatment for Lesbians on the NHS.

A quick visit to mygayvote will show the difference between the Tories’ voting record and that of the Lib Dems and Labour. How any person in the LGBT community could vote for the Tories remains an utter mystery to me – a veneer of presentability, Cameron’s chameleonic adapting of whatever “position” or “belief” seems best to increase his chances of attaining power, and the great swathes of dark, evil, bigoted, hate filled, selfish and closed-minded members of the same old nasty party … is there no gratitude for what has been done by this Government? No recognition that in some cases past performance MAY be an indicator of future performance in this case? The Tories, the party of discrimination, of special interests, of greed-is-good politics, versus the Labour party which has consistently championed and supported us.

So, please vote – and as a preference, please vote LABOUR!

(With thanks to Trevor Love)