religion

MRAs, Christianity, and Ancient Aliens

My three favorite types of nonsense have combined into a Megazord of stupidity:

2,000 years ago Mary Magdalene even if impregnated via test tube in the lab on the alien space ship, gave birth via the cunt, so no tight virginity there.

Ever since then, the holy trinity…

1/ God, an ethreal being that no-one ever saw, except jesus, so if he existed he was an alien ship doctor.. eg he was NOT human.

2/ Jesus, who was NOT human, even the biblical teachings stress this point, he was not a man.

3/ Mary Magdalene, the only human, and therefore the MOST REVERED human in the religion is a wimminz, who fucked an alien to get preggers and got Joe the carpenter to pay for it all and feed and house them.

“Chivalry” in the middle ages was literally based on worship of Mary Magdalen’s cunt, and the chivalric symbology and iconography is replete with cunt symbolism, right down to the order of the garter.

The only remotely male centric tenets of christianity were lifted wholesale from other religions and beliefs and incorporated in an early example of embrace and extend.

Christianity has NEVER been a man’s religion.

Hell even the pristhood, the highest echelons of the meme, were not allowed to fuck.

Is it bad that I’m so used to misogyny, religious nonsense, and ancient alien delirium that my main reaction is “Mary (mom of Jesus) is not the same person Mary Magdalene, dumbass”?

(Via Lousy Canuck)

Purdue welcomes new students with a dose of religious privilege

Going off to college is an exciting time. For many students, it’s the first time in their life that they’ll be far away from friends and family. That independence is awesome, but it also means you’re trying to awkwardly adapt to your new home, make new friends, and fit in. Universities often try to make this process as painless as possible, but my alma mater Purdue University missed the ball when they sent this email to incoming students (emphasis mine):

Welcome from Religious Student Organizations

You are about to become a Boilermaker – Congratulations!  This is an incredible place, not only to continue your education, but to experience all that the university has to offer through the plethora of student organizations.  We want to encourage you to think about growing in your spiritual life as well.  There are around 40 different religious student groups that offer places for worship, prayer, study, conversation, and fellowship, as well as opportunities to put faith into action through service opportunities, mission trips, and faith-based initiatives.

Please go to our website: www.campusfaith.info where you will find links to student ministries and organizations that are non-denominational, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, Muslim, ecumenical, etc.  You’ll also have opportunities to meet several faith groups during Boiler Gold Rush.  Groups will be at:

–Activities Fair: Tuesday, August 14, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, in the Armory
–Faith Fest: Saturday, August 18, 4:00-5:00 pm, on the Memorial Mall

Welcome to Purdue.
University Religious Leaders and Religious Student Organizations

========================================
Sent from the Office of the Dean of Students on behalf of the University Religious Leaders and Religious Student Organizations

Anna Biela, current President of the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue (the group I founded!) perfectly sums up why this email is inappropriate:

The Society of Non-Theists finds it highly inappropriate for a public university to endorse religion in such a way. We feel that incoming freshmen should not be pressured into joining a religious institution, especially not by the university itself. Rhetoric of this variety is alienating to non-religious students and can make them feel like outsiders before they even set foot on this campus.

And this has made at least one non-religious student feel like an outsider. The student who brought this email to my attention wishes to remain anonymous (I can’t imagine why in Indiana), but had this to say about how the email made them feel:

I was taken aback that this was one of the few emails chosen to be sent to all incoming students. Why not “Welcome from *all* student organizations”? The choice to send this email presumes that all incoming students are interested in spiritual growth; worse still, it tacitly implies that spiritual growth corresponds solely to organized religion. Overall, the email gave me the distinct impression that Purdue will not be a welcoming community for a student more likely to worship Carl Sagan than any deity.

That’s why this email is such a perfect example of religious privilege. It automatically assumed that spirituality is 1. Something everyone is interested in 2. Important and good 3. Worth promoting over other things. You don’t see the Dean of Students sending out emails to incoming freshmen on behalf of the Purdue Progressive Coalition. At the very least they could have been more inclusive by including an option for the non-religious students, or sending out an email for clubs in general and listing major themes (Academics, Activism, Religion, etc). But positively promoting religious groups alone is a type of endorsement that is inappropriate for a public university like Purdue.

I know some of you are probably thinking “Who cares? Who is this really hurting? Suck it up!” But I can tell you first hand how awful it feel to be a religious outsider, especially at Purdue.

Annual pro-life demonstration at Purdue, because all aborted fetsuses are Christian

When I came there, I felt like the only non-Christian on campus. I was constantly getting religious advertisements from groups in my mailbox. People were always asking me where I went to church, and some literally would stop talking to me and briskly walk away when they found out I was an atheist. Campus preachers were common. Students from Christian groups spot lonely freshmen in the dorm common rooms and offer up friendship if you’d just come to their Bible study. They prey on the desperation of lonely homesick students to convert them (which unfortunately happened to a good friend of mine).

The hand of God creating life…a piece of art in our Biology building

I co-founded the Society of Non-Theists to combat this notion that everyone on campus was religious, and to provide a safe place for students who were not. We’d get people screaming at our tables saying we’re going to hell. As President, I received hate mail. At graduation, I was treated to a choir repeatedly singing “Amen.” The one time we tried to use a public display case, it was vandalized.

By sending that email, Purdue has effectively labeled non-theistic students as “others” in an environment where they would already be ostracized.

Anna tells me the Society of Non-Theists will be meeting with the Dean of Students on Monday to address these issues and discuss making campus more inclusive in the future. I’m optimistic since the Purdue administration has always been fair to our group in the past, and I don’t think this email was sent out of malice toward non-religious students. But I do think they were unaware of the religious privilege they were promoting, so it’s good someone is pointing it out.

In which my ladybits further destroy religion

First it was my boobs. Now it’s my ovaries:

Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly (R), an ardent opponent of abortion rights, said that today’s date would live in infamy alongside those two other historic occasions. Wednesday marked the day on which a controversial new requirement by the Department of Health and Human Services, which requires health insurance companies to cover contraceptive services for women, goes into effect.

“I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that’s Pearl Harbor day.  The other is September 11th, and that’s the day of the terrorist attack,” Kelly said at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

It makes perfect sense. When I save that $350 a year on my Nuvaring and other feminine checkups, that’s $350 extra dollars I can spend on other religion-destroying activities!

  • Flight to Skepticon 5 – $250
  • Eating lunch somewhere other than Chick-Fil-A – $10
  • New child-corrupting video game – $40
  • Buying a new cleavage-showing shirt – $20
  • Cover for my favorite gay bar – $10
  • Satan juice, aka “alcohol” – $20
  • Pissing off the religious right – Priceless

Yeah, I’d say all of that is equivalent to thousands of people dying.

We’ve lost an atheist blogger…to Catholicism

Leah Libresco, atheist blogger behind Unequally Yoked, has just announced that she’s converting to Catholicism.

…Um…what the fuck?

I love Leah, and I’ll continue to be friends with her and have fun discussing Harry Potter genetics over dinner. But being friends with someone doesn’t mean you stop telling them when they’re wrong, so:

Leah, you’re wrong.

I’m seriously disappointed. Of all religions to join, you choose Catholicism? One of the most despicable, nonsensical, homophobic, misogynistic religions on the planet? Because of its system of morality? I could understand saying you’re converting to deism or unitarianism or maybe even buddhism, but Catholicism?

I know some people will say I’m an asshole for not being supportive of her personal decision…but that’s not how friendship works in my mind. When my friends make terrible decisions, I don’t shut up about it.

What’s really scary is how dozens of Catholics are flocking to the comments of her posts, gushing about how happy they are that she’s come home. Providing social incentive to adhere to certain beliefs? Nope, nothin’ culty about that. Seriously grosses me out.

EDIT: Please no “She was never a True Atheist” idiotic arguments.

Catholic Bishops reduce their issues to “PR problems”

How clueless can you get? Very, if you’re a Catholic Bishop:

There’s no doubt that America’s Roman Catholic bishops have had their share of what might quaintly be called bad press. The priest sex-abuse scandal, a Vaticancrackdown on nuns, a head-knocking fight with the president of the United States over contraceptive coverage — none of these would qualify as good news.

On Thursday, the bishops said they’ve had enough. It is time, they said, to beef up their public relations arsenal.

“We need more help and sophistication in our messaging,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who decried the “latest debacle” of bad PR over the treatment of American nuns (which involves an investigation by the Vatican, not the American bishops).

Hemant beat me to what I was going to say:

You don’t need more sophistication in your messaging. You don’t need someone who can deliver your message more clearly.

You need a new message.

Your current image is that of men who are anti-gay, anti-women, and anti-comprehensive-health-care. You don’t do enough to punish the rapists in your midst. A spokesman (I was going to say spokesperson… but we all know they would never hire a woman for the job) won’t be able to make you look good when so much of what you preach goes against common decency.

Exactly. “PR” can only spin so much.  Good PR can convince you Franzia tastes pretty good. Good PR can’t convince you that child rape is somehow awesome.

This is post 46 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Bible fanfiction?

Found this on r/atheism and it gave me a good chuckle:

I’m not really chuckling at the blasphemy…more at the fact that it sounds eeriely like the fanfiction I wasted most of high school reading. Though come on, if we’re going to write Bible slash fiction, Jesus and his apostles OTP.

Feel free to write your own Bible fanfiction in the comments.

EDIT: I just read the usernames of the people who were posting in that image, and…oh boy. Bad sex puns, homophobic slurs, and pokemon names all in one place. Good job, internet *facepalm*

This is post 38 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Jesus is a drug

That’s obviously what this Christian ad campaign means, right? Jesus is an upper?

Dear random Church: Making a pun out of a phrase that’s meant to be offensive doesn’t automatically make you hip and clever. Especially when 7Up beat you to it 13 years ago.

(Via The Museum of Idolatry)

This is post 12 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Thank god I don’t go to Bob Jones University

I wouldn’t last a week thanks to their fascist student handbook. The 2012-2013 version was just released, and boy is it full of goodies.

  1. No listening to music that “borrows from the styles [of] rock, rap, jazz, and country.” Yes, that insiduous jazz music that kids these days love so much is corrupting our youth! Damn you, Dave Brubeck!
  2. No headphones allowed, because you can’t be trusted listening to music in private.
  3. You can only watch PG-13 movies if accompanied by faculty or staff in their home. R rated movies are right out. And you can’t watch any movie in a public theater when school is in session. Jesus hates Finding Nemo.
  4. No playing video games rated above Everyone +10. To put that in perspective, the next rating level is Teen. Apparently things suited for people age 13 and older is not suitable for Christians age 18 and older.
  5. No publicly criticizing BJU. Well, that’s that, I guess. Thanks, Big Brother.
What I want to know is if anyone voluntarily signs up for this fucked up boot camp, or if they’re all forced to go by fucked up parents. This is more like a prison than a university. I’m sure all these students will come out of their education totally prepared for the real world. They just have no never go out in public lest their ears explode from a rock song played in a restaurant or their eyes shrivel up at the sight of an R-rated movie billboard.

This is post 5 of 49 of Blogathon. Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

Seattle’s proposed solution to their gun problem: God

Seattle is brainstorming ways to deal with the recent increase in gun-related violence in the city…and I’m a little skeptical of the idea proposed by Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell:

Harrell says he’s spoken with a number of pastors about putting together a gang outreach program that would combine clergy members with other mentoring organizations to get gang members off the streets and in work or education programs.

The program is tentatively titled, “Saving the Streets and Saving Souls” (SSS).

Harrell pictures clergy members and mentoring organizations offering at-risk youth paths to education and job training, and a spiritual safety net. He imagines setting up anonymous gun drop-offs to get firearms off the streets. “We have to have safe drop-offs where grandmothers, aunts, uncles, friends, can turn in guns without inquiries or questions,” Harrell says. “Then change the culture by messaging in all communities that we need to get these guns off the streets.”

Every pastor I’ve spoken to has absolutely loved the idea,” he continues. “Church is a huge part of neighborhood culture, especially in the south end. This is a way to help kids get back on the right track while hopefully cutting down on gang and gun violence.”

Harrell is hoping for around 500,000 (tax payer) dollars for the project.

I understand that Seattle is desperate to solve their gun problem, but I can’t support a solution that boils down to “God! Jesus! Woo!” and a bunch of hand-waiving. How exactly are clergy members in particular more qualified to offer at-risk youths the support they need? Why target clergy instead of also involving secular organizations? Why does the city give a rats ass about a “spiritual safety net” and “saving souls”? What about the 65% of Seattleites that aren’t religiously affiliated? I don’t want my money going into a program that’s only funneled into religious organizations with vague, nebulous goals. It works on the assumption that religion is inherently morally superior or helpful…which we’ve consistently seen is not the case.

Maybe we should try to actually solve the socio-economic conditions that perpetuate these problems, instead of treating religion like a cure-all bandaid we can slap on after the fact.

Church economic development controversy strikes West Lafayette, IN

Jen says: The following is a guest post by my friends Anna, Mike, and Mario. Anna is the president of the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue and “isn’t cool enough for a blog.” Mike blogs at Politics and Pucks. Mario blogs at An Episcopalian in Planet Earth. West Lafayette, IN is home to Purdue University, my old stomping ground, so I’m still interested in separation of church and state issues there.

Hello everyone! As you may have heard, members of our community have been addressing an issue with regards to Church and State. Local residents have contacted the FFRF and have garnered local media attention. Both Jen McCreight and JT Eberhard have graciously allowed us to guest post on their respective blogs concerning this issue. This Wednesday, we will be hosting an online town hall meeting to address questions the non-theist and LGBTQ community may have about this issue.

First of all, we’d like to warn you that this is a complicated issue. Politics, law, complicated economics, and ethical concerns are all working together to make this as complicated as possible. We’ll try to walk you through it as best we can, but feel free to contact us with any questions.

There’s an empty lot close to campus that has begun to affect property values. Multiple other projects have been proposed for the site, but failed for various reasons, leaving nearby residents dissatisfied. This is where Faith Church (a local, very active, and very conservative Baptist congregation) intends to build a facility known as Faith West for ministry housing, biblical counseling, and as a home for the Purdue Bible Fellowship.

Generally this wouldn’t be an issue, but there are a few reasons why it is. Faith Church has applied for Economic Development Revenue Bonds (EDRB) that are meant to promote economic development and the welfare of the community through non-profit organizations. The non-profit organization finds a bank they want to borrow from, for their project, and can ascertain loans at a lower interest rate. The issue however, is that the city rubber-stamps this loan. It does not cost the city a dime, but it is a clear endorsement of the project. The city’s bond policy requires that a project “be of benefit to the health or general welfare of the City of West Lafayette.” This is a point that has been made by the only dissenting vote thus far, Councilman Rev. Peter Bunder. Faith Church is asking for up to $7 million, and the city only has to approve it and put their endorsement on it, after getting a loan from JP Morgan Chase.

According to the Faith Church website:

Each space within Faith West is designed to serve the West Lafayette Community and further the mission of Faith Church and be a blessing to Faith Church’s neighbors.

This is on their website, differing in language from the proposal to the city, which attempts to carve out the differences between religious and secular components of the project. In the proposal they have claimed that only certain parts of the facility (supposedly those that are not religious) will be covered by the bonds, while the rest is coming from their own funds. It has been mentioned that this “carve out” and division of funds is ultimately impractical and misleading.

On a side note, we know what Faith West would be if it really did serve a secular purpose.

During the May 24th meeting, Anna spoke of the contradictions which are emerging between the story Faith is telling the City and the narrative they are sharing with their own people. She also pointed out direct contradictions between the bond application, the ordinance that would provide the EDRBs, and what was actually being said.

The city attorney responded by saying that the ordinance was the binding document, not the application. Yet the ordinance is even more vague regarding the specifics of the carve out, and neither of them match what was actually being discussed.

Mario then spoke about his concerns regarding this project. He said that he supports campus ministry (he works for one and has good relations with the LGTBQ community and the Society of Non-Theists at Purdue) and understands the right of Faith Church to support their own campus ministry. However, he spoke about his concerns from the economic side since that was the focus of the public hearing:

  1. Faith Church speaks of the benefits that the 18 created jobs will bring to the community. Mario asked what will be the nature of these jobs, what are the qualifications of these jobs, and who can apply to these jobs.
  2. The ERDB will fund student housing on the site. According to their plans, the housing ministry at Faith West is intended to help Faith Church accomplish its mission in West Lafayette by providing ministry housing to students that seek a unique type of housing that is geared toward a high moral code. Each student seeking to live at Faith West’s Student Ministry Housing will sign a membership covenant that will indicate the student’s willingness to live in accordance with a high standard of moral conduct. The staff at Faith West will hold students accountable for living up to the terms of the covenants. Mario asked: who will have access to this housing? Can it be any student at Purdue? Also, what is the nature of this “covenant”? Details about this covenant have not been provided at these public forums. Instead they have been paraphrased, but not presented.

With regards to the LGBTQ community, Faith Church offers biblical counseling. Pastor Viars claims to support diversity, but there has been public testimony of abuse toward a LGBTQ member through their “homosexual repairitive counseling.” We are unable to verify everything we’ve heard, but we’ve heard other allegations of neglect and abuse from counselors when patients need treatment, but didn’t want religion forced on them. Also, their fitness facilities in Lafayette are open to everyone, unless you want a family membership, then you best have a perfect nuclear family.

Mike spoke on the issue concerning the local LGBTQ community (in fact he had to define that term to the board). He mentioned that negative attitudes toward Faith Church’s ideology by members of the LGBTQ community could lead to negative economic consequences. Further citing that the members of the LGBTQ community could dissuade their peers to live or work in the community. Also, he mentioned that each job is going to cost roughly $300-350k, which is well above the wages that these employees of the facility will likely make in one year. More importantly, he emphasized that he is not convinced that these future employees will be hired from within the community.

To answer Mike’s concerns at the May 24 hearing, Steve Viars said the following:

“…We of course welcome LGBTQ members. We are in the business of being welcoming. This can be said by our treatment of the skateboarders. We don’t ask them their sexual identity, because we’re more interested in their tattoos and piercings…”

If this wasn’t enough, the lawyer said at the public hearing:

“There is a term I picked up in Law School: ‘no brainer.’ This is a ‘no brainer’. The only reason why anyone would oppose this project, because they object to Faith Church.”

Despite these concerns, Faith Church claims in a public letter that opposition to this project is “misinformed.” Here’s something that was written in the letter:

With apologies for being blunt, there is no valid basis for voting “No” with regard to a Project like this one, which provides a clear economic development boost in a struggling neighborhood, at no cost to the City and no risk to the City – aside from simply discriminatory animus toward a particular borrower.

It seems here that Faith Church feels that the only way that people will oppose this issue is on religious grounds. Admiral Ackbar has something to say about this.

We need to argue this in a way that avoids anti-Christian rhetoric, because that’s what they want and they’re already baiting this. We know some of you are concerned, and we share this concern. So if you choose to write a letter to the city council, please avoid anti-Christian rhetoric (ask a Christian friend…if you have one). For example, bring up concerns about LGBTQ abuse, but do not single out Christians. The worst thing we can do right now is to fall in this trap.

We want what’s best for the West Lafayette, IN community. Mario, Mike, and Anna are residents, live, work, and care deeply about this community. In fact, we do want to see the lot being used, but we oppose this proposal. By not being forward about all the details of the project, our doubts have been largely confirmed through information on the Faith Church’s website. We think this behavior has been very misleading, and saddening that people who claim a moral standard are violating their own morals, while berating those who object this project.

The three of us (Mario is Christian, Anna and Mike are non-theists) are opposing this project for very similar reasons that are founded on evidence that goes beyond personal opinion regarding religion. And this is a case where actions speak much louder than words.

The final City Council meeting will be on June 4th at 6:30 at the West Lafayette City Hall. Last time, there were over 200 people, most of which were bussed in by Faith. Written statements can be sent to the City Council, but please make sure the Council Clerk gets a copy too.

Priorities

Here’s a depressing comparison for you:

2012 US Science Budget*: $85.2 billion

Yearly losses due to religious tax exemptions: Over $71 billion

We could basically double the US Science Budget, but instead we continue to bow to religious privilege. Priorities, indeed.

*Funding the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Energy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Defense Department, US Department of Agriculture, US Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blag Hag Hipsters, rejoice!

If you’re one of those people I’ve caught saying “I read Blag Hag before boobquake,” then have I got news for you. An old friend is back: Pastor Tom Estes of the blog Hard Truth.

If you’ve forgotten Pastor T. Estes, don’t worry – I had to dig through the archives to remember why the name was familiar. Nearly three years ago, which is eons ago in the blogosphere, I poked fun at a dumb post he made about how atheists are taking over the internet. He made remarks about looking forward to personally finding me and meeting me when he found out I was going to the Creation Museum. I mentioned it was kinda creepy, he responded with threats of suing me for defamation of character, and I spent my Creation Museum trip slightly on edge. He referred to my blog as “Helga’s Battle Axe” because he thought it was clever. We continued to vaguely giggle in the direction of his blog until he packed up his toys and went home.

I honestly shouldn’t care that this random small town pastor decided to come back to blogging, but his first post was too hilariously bad to resist commenting on. What was one thing that encouraged him to return to blogging? He looked at Pharyngula’s traffic and saw that it has recently plummeted, presumably because Christians are awesome and winning. But of course he didn’t figure out that the traffic drop was because Pharyngula moved to Freethought Blogs, despite the giant box at the top of old Pharyngula informing him.

Pastor Tom did figure one thing out – if you want to be a Christian echo chamber without anyone to challenge your beliefs, turn off your comments. How predictable.