Jul 062011
 

No. 

Well, that was easy.

Actually, I do have a reason for the post. There is an article from his smarminess Rabbi Shmuley Boteach at the Huffington Post with the same question as its title. I imagine it is unnecessary to state that he reaches a different conclusion to me.

His opening salvo about Britain includes:

“Its principle religious exports today are thinkers who despise religion. From Richard Dawkins, who has compared religion to child abuse, to my friend Christopher Hitchens, who titled his 2007 book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, the British have cornered the market on being anti-God … “

 

Neatly ignoring Sam Harris, and the fact that, although he is British, the vast majority of Hitchens’ work, life and outlook has been in the US of course, the Rabbi begins to draw a distinction, which he considers the beginning of his coup de grace, between the dangerously secular and skeptical Brits and good and godly Americans.

A smattering of (frankly rather encouraging) statistics regarding the relative degrees of religiosity in the US and UK later, and he continues:

“Europeans are in the habit of making fun of American evangelicals as backward religious knuckle-draggers who believe that Adam and Eve ate apples with a talking snake. “

 

Well, yes. Those of them who do believe that are asking for ridicule, and far be it from us to deny them!

“But for all this condescension, evangelical Christianity in the United States represents the single largest voting block in the world’s sole superpower.”

 

And this is a good thing, Rabbi?! The fact that over 22 MILLION people make decisions on their votes in the temporal world on the basis of their spiritual beliefs is incredible, if not downright bloody frightening!

Moving on, the Rabbi further develops his “argument”:

“My British friends argue that the demise of religion is a good thing, proving sophistication in sharp contrast to the religious hobos of America who speak in tongues and talk to dead people. I beg to differ.”

 

Well, colour me fucking stunned.

The Rabbi disagrees that the demise of religion is a good thing; oh really? The fact, Rabbi, that you disagree with it is not an argument in and of itself!

“… historian Paul Johnson makes the case that the remarkable growth of the U.S., from pioneering backwoodsmen to the most powerful and innovative nation on earth, was largely fueled by religious fervor.”

 

Yup. No – or little – argument there. I’ll also grant that the vast majority of art, literature and architecture (to name but three areas) throughout history have been influenced or caused by religion. That doesn’t make it either (a) right or (b) good. Neither does it make it relevant or helpful in modernity!

“From the piety of the pilgrims to the faith-based values of the country’s founders ….”

 

OOOOH! You cheeky bugger! You don’t just get to slide that claim in!

There’s strong evidence that majority of the founders of the US were either atheist, agnostic or – at most – deists. “Faith based values?” Bollocks! More like the beginnings of a concept of rights inherent to humanity, not derived from some supernatural hobgoblin!

“British influence in the world has, in contrast, gone off a cliff over the last century. And while there are many factors in this decline, I would argue that the new, militant atheism that is becoming characteristic of Britain is a key reason.”

 

Ok then, if you “would argue” it’s a key reason, please do so. Don’t state it baldly, as though it were a brute fact, and expect us all to accept it blindly; we’re not in the synagogue now, Rabbi!

Note, not just “a reason” or “a factor” but “a key reason”. As though no other factors could even come close! Never mind the collapse of empires worldwide, emancipation of suppressed peoples, devastating wars in Europe, reassessment of ownership of natural resources …. et cetera ad infini-fucking-tum!

“Atheism is a philosophy of nihilism in which nothing is sacred and all is an accident. While it has some brief, flashy moments, life is purposeless and meaningless.”

ARGH!!!

Learn what the FUCK atheism IS and ISN’T!!

And until you do, please stop fucking writing about it!

” … life is purposeless and meaningless. There is no soul to illuminate and no spirit to enliven — just dead, decadent flesh.”

 

FUCK OFF! You can’t state that as a “fact”! I’m an atheist – as people may have gathered – as are many of my dear friends. Our lives have great purpose and meaning and, while we don’t accept the soul, our lives are “enlivened”!

(Aside: is the Rabbi advocating necrophilia? If not, how to reconcile flesh which is both dead AND decadent?!)

“… poetry and faith are shallow distractions masking the inevitability of our certain demise.”

 

Faith, yes; poetry, however, is not shallow, nor a distraction. Please stop trying to conflate YOUR prestidigitations with art and beauty.

You lie to and abuse people; poetry elevates.

” … women are genetically programmed to seek out billionaire hedge-fund managers … “

 

Rabbi, please call Richard Dawkins and ask him if women can be genetically programmed thus! Seems unlikely to me …

And it goes downhill from there.

So, Rabbi, NO!

NO!

Godlessness is NOT dooming Britain; in fact, it’s our only hope. Godliness, however, may be dooming the whole of humanity.

 

May 052010
 

Best of luck to all … though primarily Labour of course! If any of my Conservative leaning friends/readers would care to sign up for my alarm call service, I’ll be happy to wake you in plenty of time tomorrow for the polls. Really. No, seriously … ;-)

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)