Atheism and religion in the news XIV
I hope this one can be easily viewed by people using IE, I have made some changes. Anyone, I'll start cleaning up the old ones as time permits.
Musicians are apparently the most talked about people on the net, with the exception of Richard Dawkins.
The one exception is Richard Dawkins, a popular science writer, holds the number three spot.
Who is being offended these days anyway?
The issue of religious offense was run through the press quite frequently last year, what with the Danish cartoon fiasco, questions over the deportation of some of the more unfavorable elements of Islam, the attempt by Christian Voice to bring a private prosecution for blasphemy against the BBC and - more recently - with the school teacher tried for blasphemy for naming a bear ‘Mohammed'. In each case, the issue has not been so much about the limits of freedom of expression, but the extreme reaction by the religious to otherwise innocuous actions. In each case, the defining characteristic has not been any intent to deliberately offend, but the willingness of the religious to be offended.
Being offensive in Holland.
And across the English channel.
Was Mr Wilders asserting a right to free speech? Or was he dressing up a gratuitous religious insult in constitutional language? He was doing both, of course. In their eagerness to keep Mr Wilders from airing his argument, the Dutch authorities helped make it for him. They were unable to admit that widespread worries about violence stem from a problem (extremism in the Muslim world) and not just from an approach to a problem (Mr Wilders's brusqueness). At a speech in Madrid, Maxime Verhagen, the foreign minister, said: "It is difficult to anticipate the content of the film, but freedom of expression doesn't mean the right to offend." It doesn't? Well, if it doesn't, then freedom of expression is not much of a right.
Come up with the best insult and win a prize.
In a follow up to yesterdays story about blasphemy being made illegal worldwide, the UK website Freethinker has started a competition.
So now you know. Vent your spleen now and get all those religious insults into the comment box below.
The Freethinker is giving away a super first prize of an imaginary friend to the reader who comes up with the most imaginative insult. Let's make it a bit more difficult and say we're banning taboo words such as the F and the C, and see how we get on. The winner will be announced on God TV on the eve of the Rapture.
Former Teen Bride in Warren Jeffs Trial Writing a Book.
Looks like we have another book to be added to our "To Be Read" piles.
The 22-year-old woman at the center of the trial of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs is writing an autobiography.
The book is scheduled to be published in April.
Elissa Wall accused Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, of using his religious authority to force her at age 14 into a marriage and sexual union with her 19-year-old cousin in 2001.
Muslims in Britain.
Why is Britain so obsessed with Islam?
Islamophobia? It seems as if we are suffering more from Muslim-mania - an unhealthy obsession with all things Islamic, and a paranoid fixation with looking at the world from behind a veil
Another Atheist Blogger
Not exactly news, but a spunky 17 year old girl blogs about being an atheist and underage, amongst other things.
Diary of a Teenage Atheist. Life through the eyes of a 17-year-old formerly Catholic atheist in a small, heavily religious country.
Another Blogger gives his 2 cents on "New Atheism"
It seems that there are more and more each day doesn't it.
I contend New Atheism is a myth. Atheists are people who - for whatever reason - do not have belief in a deity. It would be identical to placing a label on people who do not collect butterflies. The idea that atheists are insincere or unethical because they do not see what theists see is immoral in itself. Atheism is and always has been a reaction to theism. The louder theism becomes, the louder atheism will need to become. If the government suddenly promoted a political agenda based around collecting stamps then those who disagreed would be cast as or identified as aphilatelists. The rise of so-called New Atheism can only be a result of a rise in religious fervor. In other words, there is no New Atheism. There is actually New Theism. And that is the real problem and should be the real focus. The label New Atheism is another smear campaign against people who simply say they do not see the invisible monster in the room. People like Gary Wolf are their enablers.
Is religion a threat to democracy?
Be warned, this isn't from an American newspaper, expect it to be in depth.
In itself, faith in politics poses no great danger to democracy as long as the debates are really about policies.
Want to know what schools are like in Saudi Arabia? Read on.
In two columns in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, titled "What's Happening in the Girls' Schools?" and "Who Will Sound the Warning Bell in the Girls Schools?" Halima Muzaffar criticizes the Saudi education system for using scare tactics and for instilling in young children the fear of death, as part of their religious education. She claims that this "culture of death" is the reason for the spread of terrorism in Saudi society.
This is not the first time Saudis have protested against the school system. A MEMRI Special Dispatch from 2004 looks at criticism in Saudi Arabia regarding the intensive focus on death in Saudi schools, with columnists, university lecturers, and parents discussing the emotional damage suffered by schoolchildren as a result of this focus and calling on the Saudi Education Ministry to put a stop to it.
Palestinian Sheikh: "Jews Are Virus Resembling Aids"
This video speaks for itself.
As does the following comment left by a muslim
This equally dumb ass sheikh doesn't speak for Islam, and its aherents, anymore than members of the Klan, Aryan Brotherhood et. al speaks for Christians. I denounce this dude and what he said.
First they came for the gays.
Gay bashing seems to becoming popular in Europe again.
One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberal ideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of the highly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutality and - among other things - violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel, I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier he had been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn't come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.
Not very long ago, Oslo was an icy Shangri-la of Scandinavian self-discipline, governability, and respect for the law. But in recent years, there have been grim changes, including a rise in gay-bashings. The summer of 2006 saw an unprecedented wave of them. The culprits, very disproportionately, are young Muslim men.
Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher on the Charlie Rose show.
Faith based funding?
How much has it increased and how much secular funding has changed under the Bush administration.
The White House provided numbers that said funding for faith-based programs slowly has increased from 2003, when those groups received $1.2 billion in federal funds, to 2006, when faith-based programs received $2.2 billion.
Funding for secular nonprofits is much higher but fell from $12.8 billion to $12.4 billion from 2005 to 2006, according to the White House, which only began tracking federal funding for secular nonprofits in 2005.
MySpace Deletes Largest Atheist Group in the World.
Reposted from the secular student alliance.
"My personal profile was deleted as well, and despite weeks of emails to customer service, plus a petition signed by 500 group members, MySpace won't budge. I think these actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America (and to businesses whose money was spent displaying ads on our group) that we are not welcome on MySpace," said Pesta.
Afghan 'blasphemy' death sentence
An Afghan journalist has been sentenced to death for distributing blasphemy.
Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, was arrested in 2007 after downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.