Category Archives: Damn Christians

Really, is anyone surprised anymore?

It’s depressing to have the edge taken off of your buzz – The SNP budget is passed in an incredibly powerful way: the labour and lib dem “fused at the waist” block opting to abstain – all sixty of them rather than vote for or against the budget.

This, even when they got an amendment tacked onto the thing without any objections from the government. childish and petulant. This could be mined for PR for weeks to come – and even into the next election if handled well.

So, what could take the shine off of this? why Payback, of course. Alex Salmond has now had to pay for the support of the catholic church during the election, and how. You might almost think he was a natural at this.

It’s quite depressing to see someone who you admire being bought off quite so easily, but there it is… According to Alex, we should be embracing catholic education. Indeed, he went so far as to say “the rest of Scotland’s schools could learn from the strong moral values that are taught in Catholic primaries and secondaries”

How very, very sad.

Catholic belief, like all religion is frankly nonsense. Strong Moral Values? hardly. They teach hatred of minority groups, value the life of a bundle of cells over a living breathing human being and wish terrible suffering on people rather than a death with dignity.

And that’s before we even look at their track record of covering up sexual abuse of children and protecting those guilt of the abuse!

The Catholic Church, in common with all christian groups teaches an inherently weak moral position – “don’t do bad things, or the boogie man will get you”.

Doing the right thing because someone is standing behind you with a baseball bat does not make you a morally strong person – quite the contrary.

Ultimately, I am a moral person because I believe it is inherent in human beings to be altruistic – to look out for our fellow man. When I help people or do the right thing, I’m not looking for cosmic brownie points, when I go through my life without committing crimes and atrocities, I do so because I am guided by my own moral compass, not because I fear the judgment of some ethereal boogie man.

THAT is a strong moral position, and is what we should be instilling in our children.

Chickens coming home to roost..

It’s been a while since I posted, and quite a lot has happened (as you would expect, given that a month and a half have passed. I have resigned from the BCSE, and stepped back from campaigning generally for a while.

Quite a lot going on personally, and I need some “me” time for a bit.

That’s the plan anyway – I doubt that will last for long, now that Alex Salmond has made an incredibly dangerous announcement. I’m a nationalist, and this is the closest we have ever had to a proper government so I have been quite chuffed with the national debate over the last few months…

The one dark cloud on the horizon has been Alex’s blatant (and quite offensive) sucking up to the Roman Catholic Church, firstly on the issue of the UK monarchy (and given that many nationalists are also republicans, that in itself is pretty much a non issue for the leader of the SNP) and now, disturbingly, on abortion.

Those of us who believe that Scotland can stand on her own two feet are of the hope that Scotland can become a small nation like Norway or Sweden – not a small nation like Ireland where women have to leave the country in order to secure medical services, and the church has been able to cover up case after case of sexual abuse of minors.

I have commented already on the Catholic Church’s sickening attempts to inject itself into Scotland’s medical policy.

It was a bit of a surprise to see the RC Church endorsing the SNP prior to the election (ostensibly because of Labour’s support for Gay rights) and many of us wondered just when they would be back for their pound of flesh. Looks like it’s now – and we wait with baited breath to see just how much Salmond had to sell out to get that support.

The Silver Lining of the Gullible Age

Nice to see Richard Dawkins on the TV again – or at least, gearing up to be: The Enemies of Reason. I always like Richard’s stuff – it’s a refreshing antidote to the turgid mess I have to dig through in my other day to day stuff.

It’s actually been an interesting week for me – interesting for the usual “can’t talk about it yet” reasons, for another “can’t talk about it yet” reason, and a third, “can talk about it, but it’s as dull as dishwater” reason. hmmm. Not exactly riveting blog material, that.

In fact, there’s a bit of news that I cn talk about, and not one I would have expected at the start of the year – We are wrapping up the Scottish Atheist Council in the next few weeks. The big surprise has been that, basically, it’s not needed.

I’m well aware of Thomas Jefferson’s observation that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and to be sure these venomous groups need a nice bright light cast on what they are doing, but the simple situation is that Scotland is a lot Brighter than we had thought when we kicked off SAC.

In terms of keeping the more extreme religious views out of schools, we were pushing against an open door – a small survey that we carried out of Scottish Parliament members (we didn’t publish it, as there didn’t seem much point) showed up a very well rounded group of reasonable people, with only the odd one or two “swivel eyed loons” in their midst.

When it looked like Truth in Science had acually wormed their way into the SQA’s exam papers, it was smacked down faster and more thoroughly than any of us could have asked for..

The real big crunch was the Election – you can’t underestimate how much money these guys threw at this – you literally couldn’t go anywhere in the country without seeing their posters on almost every lamp post – in Motherwell, they covered nearly twelve miles of road, with every lamp post, roundabout and sign post getting a placcard…

And the result? a staggeringly weak FOUR percent of the vote – and given that the turnout was only about 45%, that’s less than 2% of the population – about 100,000 people in total across the country. To put this properly in context – nearly twice as many people put “Jedi” on their census forms last time around than voted for the Christian parties combined.

We have had to face the very real possibility that highlighting them in any way actually helps this vanishingly small group of bigots to get more airtime. The effort is probably better spent supporting the efforts of people like the National Secular Society and Humanist Society of Scotland.

It says good things about our country that so few people buy into their rubbish. I’m proud to be Scottish, thinking that the enlightenment is, in all likelihood, safe in our hands.

Silver Ring Thing… or is it Brown Ring Thing?

I just read Sam Harris’ “Letter to a Christian Nation” – hardly a great achievement given how slender it is: I started reading as we taxied out to the runway at Birmingham, and was finished before we started our descent into Edinburgh.

What it lacks in length, though, it more than makes up for in subject matter. Harris is clear on one thing – the unpleasant impact of so called christian “morality” on the pursuit of happiness and in particular, the downright prudishness of Christian views.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly in the idiotic, pointless and utterly misguided “silver ring thing”. Lydia Playfoot (and isn’t that soooo a porn star name?) claims that it was all her idea, and nothing at all to do with her parents, who just happen to be members of the silver ring thing team (her mother is the UK secretary of the organisation, for christs sake!!).

Liar, Liar, pants on fire. with lust, probably, which is perfectly normal.

Silver Ring Thing is always pushed with the suggestion that it’s a better alternative to proper sex education which provides kids with information about the risks of STDs, teenage pregnancies etc.

What they always seem to miss is the single biggest indicator in teenage pregnancy – as study after study has confirmed, the key factor in teenage pregnancy is the education level of the teenager’s mother. Mothers who achieve higher levels of education impart this to their daughters. They are better parents, smarter parents… and they bring their daughters up with an inherent sense of their own self worth (and dare I say it, a clearer drive to achieve themselves!).

What we are trying to do in school sex education is to compensate for crappy parenting – and the simple fact is, that compensating for piss poor parents is hard to do. That being said – when we provide information about sexual health issues, people can make better decisions.

In stark contrast, “just say no”, abstinence only campaigns have an incredibly negative effect – two incredibly negative effects in fact.

You see, the age at which people who sign up to the Silver Ring Thing indulge in vaginal penetrative sex is delayed by on average 18 months (quite a feat actually, to hold back raging teenage hormones for a whole 18 months!!), but when those people do indulge, they are more than three times as likely to not use a condom, exposing themselves to higher risks of disease.

The other side effect, of course, is where the “brown ring thing” tag comes from – a rather dry observation that girls who have taken the Silver Ring Thing pledge are much, much more likely than their peers to indulge in Anal sex: again, without a condom, thereby exposing themselves to an even greater risk.

Ultimately, it highlights one of the darkest parts of the christian faith. They honestly believe that a super powered creator god cares more about whether teens rub their genitals together, than about the countless thousands of people suffering horrible illness, hunger and so on.

Their idea of a “moral crusade” isn’t just ineffective and laughable – it’s downright repugnant.

So near, and yet…

There was due to be a vote before the Council of Europe on the very issue that we have beavering away at for the past few months – banning the teaching of creationism in Schools.

A French representative, Mnsr Guy Lengagne, tabled this thunderbolt for the consideration of the Council. This would have been binding on all member states, so it’s a big deal.

The document pulls no punches whatsoever – it is probably, since the Dover judgement in the US, the clearest statement so far of the threat posed by these relgiious fundamentalists to not only science education, but science as a whole. And in these technological times, anything which threatens science has a knock on effect on the economy and society at large.

Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes

Which is pretty much the point – Intelligent Design is essentially “intellectual surrender”, the equivelant of shrugging your shoulders like a teenager and mumbling, rather than trying to answer the questions. To consider teaching this in Science Class is ridiculous, unless of course, you actually want to leave nice big gaps to fit your god in, or as the report puts it:

We are witnessing a growth of modes of thought which, the better to impose religious dogma, are attacking the very core of the knowledge that we have patiently built up on nature, evolution, our origins and our place in the universe.

There is a real risk of a serious confusion being introduced into our children’s minds between what has to do with convictions, beliefs and ideals and what has to do with science, and of the advent of an “all things are equal” attitude, which may seem appealing and tolerant but is actually disastrous.

So, what has happened – why is this timely and informative report no longer being put to the vote? That would be down to… the so called moderate christians.

The Vatican under John Paul II oversaw some pretty henious policies, but at leasy they were clear on the position of evolution.

Ratzinger/Benedict/Palpatine on the other hand has been murky and evasive on the issue – no surprise then that the world’s largest Papal fan club (also known as “poland”) lead the charge against this vote, resulting in, as Mnsr Lengagne put it “a perfect burial of a report”.

Really, this was more than we could have hoped for – the campaigns go on, and the struggle continues. it would have been nice to have such a stick, but we don’t really need it.