Saturday, November 4, 2006
Kent Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land in Pensacola, was found guilty of 58 counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes. He faces a maximum of 288 years in prison.
Jo Hovind was charged and convicted in 44 of the counts involving evading bank-reporting requirements. She faces up to 225 years in prison but was allowed to remain free pending the couple's sentencing on Jan. 9.
Kent Hovind briefly held onto her arm as the verdict was read. Neither reacted at first. But minutes later, she held her face in her hands.
"Nobody likes to pay taxes," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer said in her closing argument. "But we do because it's the law, and he is not above the law."
Kent Hovind, whose life's mission is to debunk evolution, says he and his employees are workers of God and therefore exempt from paying taxes. He pays his employees in cash and does not withhold their taxes or pay his share as an employer.
Christies are going to spin this as religious persecution, forgetting they get no special treatment under the law compared to any other religion or any group of any kind. It's bad enough that churches are already tax exempt.
Pastor Ted Haggard Scandal Grows: voicemails confirmed for drug use and sex with male escort. YES AGAIN!
Richard Sanders, a voice expert who worked on the Oklahoma bombing, JonBenet Ramsey murder, and Kobe Bryant cases, says voicemails left on a gay escort's answering machine belong to megachurch pastor and Bush ally Ted Haggard.Haggard is the smartass who argued with Richard Dawkins in his Root of all Evil documentary.
Thursday, November 2, 2006
For more than 10 years, I have spent only Godless dollars. Using a red pen or stamp, I mark a circle and slash over the word "God" (as pictured above) on every bill that passes my way. When I make a withdrawal from the bank ATM, I immediately "de-God" each of the crisp new $20s. When I spend the $20s, and receive $1s, $5s, or $10s in change, I "de-God" each bill before passing it along. No merchant or business has ever refused to accept this "godless" money.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
...when judged by his deeds, an entirely different picture emerges: Bush does not demonstrate a life of faith by his actions, and neither Methodists, evangelicals, nor fundamentalists can rightly call him brother. In fact, the available evidence raises serious questions about whether Bush is really a Christian at all.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Does the bible need to be literally true in every word in order to be a testament to the life and death of a remarkable man who changed the world? No! It doesn't.Now, my conclusion is quite different: it's time to abandon all religions to history and superstition where they belong. But at least this is one person who has done something to combat Christian extremism, and who, unlike most Christians, is not just sitting idly by.
So why do you hang your hat on that? Of all the really important things that need fixing on Earth, why do you fixate on whether gays can marry, or waste your time saving a woman who really was, it turned out, completely brain-dead? Why do you spend so much time arguing about how God created the universe, when the exact details don't matter? You can pray in school any time you want-- why force it on others? The justice system generally holds the same values as the ten commandments... why do you need it actually spelled out?
Do you think your rabid devotion to insignificant minutia really makes Jesus happy? I think he's probably more interested in you spending that kind of time and energy on helping your fellow man, don't you?
Do you really think God suffers from the same frailties as human beings, and would condemn vast numbers of people to Hell over such tiny details? I think he's much bigger and greater than you give Him credit for. I think He's infinitely more loving than the vengeful monster you hope he is.
It's time to take back Christianity from such insanity.
The rise of religious violence in the form of terrorism and the war on terror has driven some further into their insulated caves of exclusivity (all religions are exclusive, which is why calls for peace and cooperation, such as what this site's author is doing, are futile). But it has also sparked the realization in many that religion is the problem. Everything else is merely ineffectual treatment of surface symptoms. If humanity is ever to truly get along peacably with itself, it must abandon religion. All religions.
Of course, that's not likely to happen.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
It is time to reverse the prevailing notion that religious commitment is intrinsically deserving of respect, and that it should be handled with kid gloves and protected by custom and in some cases law against criticism and ridicule.Boo-yah! A well-written piece.
It is time to refuse to tip-toe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, or any other kind of immunity, on the grounds that they have a religious faith, as if having faith were a privilege-endowing virtue, as if it were noble to believe in unsupported claims and ancient superstitions. It is neither.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
The government of Mexico has banned an American lawyer from entering their country after the lawyer sued the country's Roman Catholic Archbishop, claiming he conspired to protect pedophile priests.
The five-year exclusion order was issued in Mexico City against Jeffrey Anderson, known for his many lawsuits against the Catholic Church on behalf of victims of clergy sexual abuse.
That's nice. Maybe we can set up a Pedo-priest Protection Program, put 'em up in some villa someplace nice, let poor people send their male children to work in the villa, you know? As an added benefit, the glut of priests would help make sure that a high priest-to-sinner ratio is maintained.
"Local groups are springing up all over the place," said Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists. Active groups have grown by about 90 percent over the past six years, she said.
National membership in the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group of atheists and agnostics that monitors the separation of church and state, grew from 5,000 in 2004 to 6,400 members by the beginning of 2006, said co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor.
Two University of California at Berkeley sociology professors found that the proportion of Americans with no religion doubled from 1990 to 1998, but has leveled out at 14 percent.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
There's a reason I write about dominionism--not just on the political threat, but the real threat inherent in these groups by virtue of many of the hardline "spiritual warfare" dominionists being in essence abusive Bible-based cults.
I know all too well about the danger these groups present--not just for the country, but for the kids themselves. I in fact live with it everyday.
You see...I was once one of those kids like in "Jesus Camp" myself.
I'm a survivor of the same "Third Wave" (aka "Joel's Army") dominionist movement that spawned the camp depicted in "Jesus Camp". I even remember in my youth attending a day-camp program run by the dominionist church I escaped--one that was very much like "Jesus Camp", in fact.
To this day I have serious issues trusting people and have had to undergo therapy for complex PTSD (yes, kids who grow up in this stuff go through literal shellshock, in some ways worse than Gulf War or Vietnam veterans--because they never had anything "before the war" to go back to), and have socialisation issues to the point people have wondered if I didn't have Asperger's Syndrome.
I've compared the experience of growing up in these groups to something akin to growing up in a pit filled with zombies--all of which are trying to zombify you, and grab onto you as you try to climb out the slick, jagged walls...and that's assuming you decide to at all, because you're taught all your life that even with the horrors in the pit that Outside is Much, Much, Much Worse.
Most of us who've escaped discovered either people "in the pit" were lying about Outside, or we had a caring person from Outside tell us what it's really like (usually kind of a mix of both); more and more, these kids are being isolated from ever having contact with people from Outside till they're well in their twenties or even beyond that.
The problem is that--because dominionism is, at its core, a spiritually abusive movement with political aspirations it isn't that simple at all...because you have to fight the programmed mindset.
I am posting this info in the hope that people--in particular, experts in the psychological field (I know we have at least one on the board!) will be able to give suggestions. I also post this in the hope people realise the difficulty us walkaways have had in getting out--and maybe our success stories will give people hints on how to stop the hijacks from occuring.
One thing that is difficult to explain to people who have never been involved in a coercive religious group is just how people get "stuck in" and refuse to leave.
What people don't tend to realise is that most coercive groups--be they dominionist groups or some other flavour of coercive group (such as Scientology, the Moonies, etc.)--have as part of the coercion in and of itself various "thought stopping" techniques and other forms of coercion that literally prevent the person from questioning the group at all. (In fact, that's how we can define dominionism as a coercive religious movement, especially in its "spiritual warfare" and "premillenarian dispensationalist" flavours.)
Friday, October 13, 2006
The US government has given $10.9 million to Food for the Hungry, a faith-based development organization, to reach deep into the arid mountains of northern Kenya to provide training in hygiene, childhood illnesses, and clean water. The group has brought all that, and something else that increasingly accompanies US-funded aid programs: regular church service and prayer.
Monday, October 9, 2006
George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented:
"While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."
Barna's results verified findings of earlier polls: that conservative Protestant Christians, on average, have the highest divorce rate, while mainline Christians have a much lower rate. They found some new information as well: that atheists and agnostics have the lowest divorce rate of all.
Ron Barrier, Spokespersonn for American Atheists remarked on these findings with some rather caustic comments against organized religion. He said:
"These findings confirm what I have been saying these last five years. Since Atheist ethics are of a higher caliber than religious morals, it stands to reason that our families would be dedicated more to each other than to some invisible monitor in the sky. With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage. There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of 'submissive' nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage."
Friday, October 6, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Monday, September 25, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Feminists and homosexuals have taught us the value of consciousness-raising. A phrase like “One man one vote” either causes you to flinch, or is uttered with intent to make you flinch. It is nowadays almost impossible to hear the phrase with its original innocent meaning of “One adult person one vote.” Some atheists and freethinkers try to raise consciousness about, for example, the phrase ‘under God’ in the US Pledge of Allegiance. I am more interested in raising consciousness about something else: the habit, practised not only by religious people, of labelling children by the religion of their parents. This is a Catholic child. That is a Muslim child. I want everybody to flinch when they hear such a phrase, just as they would if they heard, That is a Marxist child. It is immoral to brand young children with the religion of their parents. At present, hardly anybody’s consciousness is raised to this. I would welcome suggestions, perhaps from those with experience of the feminist and gay campaigns, for the most effective ways to raise consciousness. I would like such consciousness-raising to be a particular project of this foundation.
For somebody who claims religion is a thought virus, this seems like an oddly naive hope. The only way to kill a virus is to quarantine it until it has no more carriers. And that, of course, smacks a little too much of a "final solution" and is completely unacceptable. I think we're going to be stuck with religion until the Singularity happens.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
President Bush said yesterday that he senses a "Third Awakening" of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as "a confrontation between good and evil."WTF? He senses a "Third Awakening?" Senses it how? Coincided with the nation's struggle? WHAT STRUGGLE? Does he mean the struggle against American citizens who still beleive that America should befree? And how can Bush behave like this and expect to be considered the good guy?
Commentary more to my style from CorrenteWire:
And now we’ve got Bush telling The Base how to frame his campaign: As the Third Awakening.The problem with Bush is that it just doesn't matter that he's an idiot. The people who handle him and put words in his mouth are not idiots. Rove is a bloodthirsty master strategist. Over the years I have watched him in awe and disgust. He must be just laughing his cold ass off about this. This is pure evil genius, that's what this is. Third Awakening my ass. New Dark Age is more like it. We will be a nation of technologically advanced delusional dumbasses.
Enough to make you vomit. The greatest proof for atheism is that a just God hasn’t struck these people down.
"Once there was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time is called the Dark Ages." ~ Richard Lederer
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag, carrying a cross." ~ Sinclair Lewis
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The third stage, “Arising and Standing Up,” will last from 2007 to 2010. Al Qaeda’s focus will be on Syria and Turkey, but it will also begin to directly confront Israel, in order to gain more credibility among the Muslim population.
In the fourth stage, lasting until 2013, Al Qaeda will bring about the demise of Arab governments. “The creeping loss of the regimes’ power will lead to a steady growth in strength within Al Qaeda,” Hussein predicts. Meanwhile, attacks against the Middle East petroleum industry will continue, and America’s power will deteriorate through the constant expansion of the circle of confrontation. “By then, Al Qaeda will have completed its electronic capabilities, and it will be time to use them to launch electronic attacks to undermine the U.S. economy.” Islamists will promote the idea of using gold as the international medium of exchange, leading to the collapse of the dollar.
Then an Islamic caliphate can be declared, inaugurating the fifth stage of Al Qaeda’s grand plan, which will last until 2016. “At this stage, the Western fist in the Arab region will loosen, and Israel will not be able to carry out preëmptive or precautionary strikes,” Hussein writes. “The international balance will change.” Al Qaeda and the Islamist movement will attract powerful new economic allies, such as China, and Europe will fall into disunity.
The sixth phase will be a period of “total confrontation.” The now established caliphate will form an Islamic Army and will instigate a worldwide fight between the “believers” and the “non-believers.” Hussein proclaims, “The world will realize the meaning of real terrorism.” By 2020, “definitive victory” will have been achieved. Victory, according to the Al Qaeda ideologues, means that “falsehood will come to an end. . . . The Islamic state will lead the human race once again to the shore of safety and the oasis of happiness.”
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Based on what he told police, David McMenemy's plan to destroy an abortion clinic worked out much differently in his head from what played out Monday in Davenport, Iowa.
McMenemy, 45, most recently of Rochester Hills admitted dousing the interior of his silver 2004 Saturn with gasoline he had in a Gatorade bottle and plunging the vehicle into a women's health clinic early that morning. And he told police he planned to die in the ensuing fire.
But the clinic whose lobby the native Detroiter drove into -- the Edgerton Women's Health Center -- doesn't perform abortions or even provide referrals for them. And the impact wasn't enough to cause a fire, so McMenemy had to pour more gas on the car.
And once it was ablaze, he scratched his plan to kill himself when he realized it was going to be painful.
No one was injured.
And yes, people: this is terrorism.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me. ~ Mat 19:21
One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. ~ Mar 10:21
Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. ~ Luk 18:22
Does God Want Us to be Rich?
Um... no. But I guess that's a little beside the point now, isn't it? I find it extremely curious that none of the verses above appeared at all in the Time article. How is such an oversight possible in an article concerning the Bible's take on wealth? Prosperity Lite seems to me to be proof that religion (and by extension, God) is a creation of people. Funny how this new religion reflects the consumerist culture from which it sprang.
These megachurches preaching Prosperity Lite are, to me, a frightening product. Just as radical Islam takes advantage of our own freedom of religion to plot harm to us, under the guise of the same we are looking at nothing less than the rise of a new powerbase in America. They are using freedom of religion as an avenue to political power. This looks to me like the rise of a new class in America: the religious wealthy. Yes, we have had wealthy religious people before, but I can't help feeling there's something fundamentally (sorry, had to!) different about this new batch of praise-singers.
And yet, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Might makes right. Religious power is political power. These people will soon be running for office across the land, and they will win. Theocracy will have arrived at last. Dominionism will have its day. A new Dark Age will begin, but the majority of the people will not recognize it or even care, because a theocracy is what they wanted. Even if it isn't, moderate Christians will not speak out against it. You think I exaggerate? Time will tell. I would love to be wrong about this.
There is a counter-movement living closer to the ideal expressed in the verses above, but it will change nothing for obvious reasons: they have no money and power on earth. I actually kind of admire the new monastics. If I were a believer, I would be attracted to this ideal. One thing it doesn't do is overtake the government or impose itself on me. But unless they actively fight Prosperity Lite, they will be in the unfortunate position of benefiting from the actions of the evangelicals without having to do any of the work.
The church at the center of this "faith of prosperity" is the Lakewood church, linked above. You can watch what services are like here or below:
This isn't church—it's a broadway spectacle. Notice how there is no real learning or lessons, only entertainment and empty emotional appeals. The shared groupthink of the audience carries itself along on an emotional high mistaken for a spiritual experience.
What frightens me the most is how everybody holds up their right hand.