Jumalaton kulttuurilehti

Elokuu 2016

Suomen ainoa kulttuurilehti

TUOMARINVAKUUTUS SÄÄDÖSKOKOELMAAN (30.8.2016)

Lisätty 31.8.2016

http://www.ateistit.fi/uutiset/uuti160830.html

Tiedotusvälineet unohtavat Brasilian suurimman ongelman

Uskovaiset poliitikot

Erkki Hartikainen 31.8.2016

Tätä ongelmaa on esitelty tämän lehden englanninkielisessä osiossa.

Huomaa, että Brasilian suurin ongelma on myös maailman suurin ongelma.

Jeesus sanoi heille: "Antakaa keisarille, mikä keisarin on, ja Jumalalle, mikä Jumalan on". Ja he ihmettelivät häntä suuresti.

Uskovaisten mielivaltaa ei voi estää laeilla

Erkki Hartikainen 30.8.2016

Toisaalla kerrotaan englanniksi siitä, että sekulaarissa Yhdysvalloissa uskovaiset virkamiehet harrastavat mielivaltaa. Tällaisia uutisia voitaisiin kertoa joka päivä.

Erilaisten "vapaa-ajattelijain" ja "humanistien" tavoite sekulaarista valtiosta on liian lepsu. Esimerkiksi Suomessa sekulaari valtio olisi toteutettavissa varsin vähäisin muutoksin. Ne eivät kuitenkaan saisi aikaan mitään todellista muutosta ateistien asemassa. Se, ettei Suomesta ole tehty täysin sekulaaria valtiota, on lähinnä uskovaisten poliitikkojen kiusantekoa. Muutoksella ei olisi käytännössä mitään merkitystä.

Myös monilla ateisteilla on liian lepsu asenne. Ainoa oikea tie oikeasti sekulaariin yhteiskuntaan on omista oikeuksistaan kiinni pitävien ateistien enemmistö väestöstä. 

Kuten olemme nähneet, vallan kaapanneet ateistiset puolueet kuten erään kommunistiset puolueet eivät ole tehneet ateistien hyväksi juuri mitään. Kun ne ovat syystä tai toisesta menettäneet vallan, entinen meno on palannut.

Monissa maissa tapahtuu täysin ateistijärjestöistä riippumatta ateistien määrän lisääntymistä. Ateistien olisi syytä vakavasti pohtia, olisiko mahdollista tukea oikeasti tätä kehitystä. Kokoustaminen voi tietysti aiheuttaa osallistujille mielihyvää, mutta siihen käytettävät rahat ja ajan voisi käyttää paljon paremmin.

Onko maailma siirtymässä totuuden jälkeiseen aikaan?

Erkki Hartikainen 29.8.2016

Ei, se elää totuutta edeltävää aikaa.

Islamin halventamisesta epäilty räppäri pääsi vapaaksi tutkintavankeudesta

Vatsavaivoista kärsineen Nameween tapauksen tutkinta jatkuu edelleen.

Reuters
Namewee (kesk.) saatettiin ulos oikeudenistunnosta Penangissa Malesiassa torstaina.
Namewee (kesk.) saatettiin ulos oikeudenistunnosta Penangissa Malesiassa torstaina.

Malesialainen rap-artisti Namewee on päästetty vapaaksi tutkintavankeudesta, kertoo uutistoimisto AFP.

Namewee, oikealta nimeltään Wee Meng Chee, vangittiin sunnuntaina epäiltynä islaminuskon halventamisesta, koska osa hänen musiikkivideostaan Oh My God on kuvattu moskeijassa.

Oikeus päätti torstaina olla jatkamatta Nameween vankeutta, koska hänellä on pahoja vatsavaivoja. Penangin alueen poliisipäällikön Mior Faridalathrash Wahidin mukaan Nameween tapauksen tutkinta jatkuu kuitenkin edelleen.

Tiesitkö, kuka on varastanut eniten?

Erkki Hartikainen 27.8.2016

Jos mukaan lasketaan laillinen varastaminen kapitalismissa, eniten on varastanut maailman rikkain mies Bill Gates. Hän on varastanut enemmän kuin Suomen budjetin verran. Varkaus on kohdistunut koko maailmaan.

Ehkä tiesit tämän, mutta tiesitkö myös sen, että Bill Gates on kehottanut maailmaa olemaan käyttämättä mitään ilmaista?

Tiesitkö, että kirjoitan tätä ilmaisella käyttöjärjestelmä Ubuntlla ja sen ilmaisella sovelluskehittimellä nimeltä Bluegriffon.

Sen varmaan tiesit, että teen tätä ilmaiseksi.

Olen syyllistynyt suurempiinkin ilmaisrötöksiin. Olen kirjoittanut kouluja varten täydelliset elämänkatsomustiedon oppikirjat.

Ymmärrän, että muusta Euroopasta jälkeen jäänyt fundamentalistikristillinen (luterilaisuus on fundamentalismia, katolisuus ei) Suomi jättää huomiotta elämänkatsomustiedon oppikirjani, koska ne eivät ole uskontomyönteisiä.

Sen sijaan on vaikea ymmärtää sitä, että Suomi jättää huomiotta ilmaiset filosofian koulukirjani. Olen kirjoittanut ne lukemalla ensin kilpailevat filosofian oppikirjat. Olen opiskellut filosofiaa koko elämäni, ja minulla on myös opettajan pätevyys. 

Tässä on kyse siitä, että Suiomessa ei saa käyttää mitään, minkä minä olen kirjoittanut, kuten silloisen kouluhallituksen pääjohtaja Erkki Aho (kristillinen sosialidemokraatti) aikoinaan totesi.

Mikä on muslimien pahin vika?

Erkki Hartikainen 26.8.2016

Se, että heissä on paljon uskovaisia.

Helsingin Sanomat on aina vainonnut ylivelkaantuneita

Vantaan uusi säästömuoto: Ikääntyneet ylivelkaantuneet valtion ylläpitämiin vankiloihin

Erkki Hartikainen 25.8.2016

En kirjoittaisi tästä, jos en hanttityöläisenä (Vantaan kaupungin virkamiehenä) olisi joutunut mm. ajamaan SAS - ohjelmistolla Vantaan ylivelkaantuneista tehtyjä tutkimuslomakkeita. Jotkut kävivät jopa tuomassa lomakkeensa, ja kertomukset olivat hirvittäviä.

Kirjoitan myös siksi, että Helsingin Sanomat ei ollut paikalla, kun tutkimustuloksia julkistettiin eikä Helsingin Sanomat koskaan julkistanut tutkimusten tuloksia.

Päin vastoin Helsingin Sanomat moitti ylivelkaantuneita ankarin sanoin.

Helsingin Sanomain kanta ei ole muuttunut. Miten se voisi muuttua, kun Antti Herlin ja kumppanit eivät ole ylivelkaantuneita.

Kuten Jukka Peltomäen tapauksessa niin hyvin monissa muissa tapauksissa ylivelkaantuminen johtui siitä, että ihmiset olivat taanneet sukulaistensa lainoja, ja kun velkaisten rankaiseminen alkoi, takaajista tuli ylivelkaantuneita.

Vastaavia ilmiöitä löytyy viimeisten sadanviidenkymmenen vuoden ajalta paljon. Eräät mahtavat suvut (kuten äidin äidin suku) kaatuivat velkojen takauksiin.

Alun perin tarkoituksenani oli kirjoittaa tänään Helsingin Sanomain muista rötöksistä, mutta ehdin toki kirjoittaa niistä myöhemminkin.

Todellisuuden ja ns. tiedotusvälineiden välillä on sellainen  kuilu, että sitä ei voi selittää muulla kuin tiedotusvälineiden ohjatulla ja tiedostetulla rötöstelyllä. Mistä löytyisi Suomen Jan Guillou?

Pitääkö ruumisarkkujen palaa tai maatua?

Erkki Hartikainen 24.8.2016

Ohessa uutinen:

Arkkujen laatu on puhuttanut hautausalaa jo pitkään. Kirkkohallitus on tarttunut toimeen ja neuvotellut hautausalan toimijoiden kanssa ohjeistuksen, joka on tarkoitus saattaa voimaan ensi vuoden alusta lähtien.

Maatumattomien materiaalien käyttö arkuissa ja uurnissa on ongelmallista niin krematorioiden työturvallisuuden kuin ympäristön kannalta.

Entä mitkä ovat päästöt polttuhautauksessa?

Miten päästäisiin eroon maan käytöstä turhiin hautausmaihin (muinaiseurooppalaiset polttivat ruumiit, kristinusko toi hautauksen).

Metallimusiikki voi pilata elämän väittää tuore tutkimus

Melbournen yliopiston tuoreen tutkimuksen mukaan metallimusiikki aiheuttaa nuorille muun muassa masennusta.

Kyllä, luit oikein TUOREEN tutkimuksen mukaan.

- Yleensä nuoret kuuntelevat musiikkia positiivisella tavalla eli nostaakseen fiilistä ja saadakseen energiaa. Poikkeuksena ovat masennukseen taipuvaiset nuoret, jotka kuuntelevat metallimusiikkia, tutkija Katrina McFerran väittää.

McFerran antaa esimerkin metallipäiden kuuntelutottumuksista.

- Jotkut kuuntelevat metallibiisejä uudelleen ja uudelleen, eivätkä he kuuntele mitään muuta. He käyttävät musiikkia paetakseen todellisuudesta, tutkija selittää.

- Jos tällainen käytös jatkuu, se voi ajan myötä johtaa jopa itsemurha-aikeisiin, McFerran varoittaa.

Ehdotan tilalle musiikkia, joka ei käytä ollenkaan kitaroita ja rumpuja. Basso kontrabassolla, soinnut pianolla ja soitinsoolot viuluilla. Periaatteessa trio riittää iskelmämusiikin säestykseksi.

Laulajan pitää läpäistä laulukoe, jotta pääsee tällaisen orkesterin solistiksi. Kokeen arvostelee oikea laulunopettaja.

Erityisesti minua ärsyttävät säroinen soitto ja laulu.

Metallimusiikkia saavat mielestäni kuunnella vain epämusikaaliset ihmiset. Heillehän riittää pelkkä rap.

Tietojenkäsittelytieteen laitoksen johtaja ei tunne LINUXia?

Erkki Hartikainen 22.8.2016

Elokuun 21. päivän Helsingin Sanomissa on haastateltu Tietojenkäsittelytieteen laitoksen johtajaa Sasu Tarkomata Linuxin 25-juhlan kunniaksi.

Olen sitä mieltä, että Helsingin Sanomilla olisi ollut varaa haastatella Linusta itseään. On hupaisaa, että tietokoneiden ohjelmistojen, käyttöjärjestelmien jne. opetusta johtava johtaja ei mainitse Linuxin ns. distroja Androidia lukuun ottamatta.

On täyttä pötyä se, että Linuxin käyttöliittymät olisivat vaikeampia kuin Windows. Tarkomalla on koneessan Windows siitä syystä, että tietokoneiden valmistajat pakkomyyvät sen koneen mukana.

Jos Tarkoma olisi pyytänyt jotain köyhää opiskelijaa asentamaan koneesensä Ubuntu 16.04 LTS:än tärkeimpine ilmaisine ohjelmistoineen Windowsin rinnalle ja pannut Grubin käynnistämään suoraan Ubuntun, johtaja olisi seuraavana aamuna ihmetellyt sitä, kuinka hieno Windowsista on tullut.

Sattumalta tunnen Linuxin historian aika hyvin, sillä vaihdoin ammattini tietotekniikkaan niihin aikoihin, kun Linus opiskeli Helsingissä. Kun Linuxia ei vielä ollut, opetin  UNIX- käyttöjärjestelmää levykkeelle mahtuneella ilmaisella MINIXillä, joka antoi Linusille ajatuksen oman unixin kirjoittamisesta.

Todettakoon, ettei Linus käyttänyt riviäkään MINIXin koodia vaan teki koko käyttöjärjestelmän itse. Lisäksi todettakoon, että MINIX on yhä opetuskäytössä elossa versiona Minix 3.

Minulla on kakkoskoneessa Windows 10, mutta ei mitään Microsoftin muita ohjelmistoja. Työohjelmistoina minulla on täsmälleen ssamat ilmaisohjelmat kuin Ubuntussa.

Mainittakoon, että olen neuvonut asentamaan tai asentanut ilmaisia ohjelmistoja myös tuttavilleni. Esimerkiksi Libre Office tekee kaikki samat asiat kuin Microsoft Office lukuun ottamatta Visual Basic makroja. Tämä siitä syystä, että Visual Basic on Microsoftin oma ohjelmointikieli.

Koirat ja niiden pitäminen

Lisätty 22.8.2016
Lähde: http://www.helsinginmuslimit.fi/index.php/islam-tietoa/10-tietoa-islamista/23-uskon-lainoppi#koir

1 - Että ne ovat taahir (puhtaita), jopa niiden sylki. Tämä on Maalikin mielipide.

2 - Että ne ovat najis (epäpuhtaita), jopa niiden turkki. Tämä on al-Shaafi'in mielipide ja toinen Ahmedilta kerrotuista mielipiteistä.

3 - Turkki on taahir, mutta sylki on najis. Tämä on Abu Haniifan mielipide, ja Ahmedin toinen mielipide.

Tämä on oikein mielipide. Joten jos koiran turkin kosteutta tulee jonkun vaatteisiin tai vartaloon, se ei tee niistä najis. 
Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 21/530.

Saksan sisäministeri: Kasvot peittävä huntu kiellettävä kouluissa ja ajaessa

niqabia käyttäviä naisia

Lisätty 21.8.2016

Ehdotus tarvitsee vielä hallituksen hyväksynnän. Sisäministeri Thomas de Maizièren mukaan kasvot peittävillä hunnuilla ei ole paikkaa avoimessa yhteiskunnassa.

Saksan kristillisdemokraatit haluavat kieltää musliminaisten kasvot peittävät burka- ja niqab-hunnut muun muassa kouluissa, yliopistoissa ja autolla ajaessa. Kielto on osa puolueen suunnittelemia kireämpiä turvallisuusmääräyksiä.

Saksan sisäministeri Thomas de Maizière sopi asiasta kokouksessa Saksan osavaltioiden kristillisdemokraattisten sisäministerien kanssa. Huntukiellon lisäksi ministerit lisäisivät poliisien määrää ja valvontaa julkisilla paikoilla.

– Me kaikki torjumme täysin peittävän huivin. Emme vain burkaa vaan myös muut hunnut, jotka jättävät vain silmät näkyviin. Niillä ei ole paikkaa yhteiskunnassamme, de Maizière sanoi uutistoimisto Reutersin mukaan.

Meckenburg-Etu-Pommerin osavaltion sisäministerin Lorentz Caiffierin mukaan peittävä huntu estää sopeutumista, rohkaisee eristäytymiseen muusta yhteiskunnasta ja viestii siitä, että naiset olisivat miehiä vähempiarvoisia.

Sisäministeri de Maizière kuitenkin myönsi, ettei kasvot peittävä huntu ole turvallisuusasia eikä ylipäätään suuri ongelma Saksassa. Sisäministerit haluavat hänen mukaansa viestittää, etteivät ne kuulu avoimeen yhteiskuntaan.

Ministerien ehdotuksen mukaan kasvot tulisi näyttää ajaessa, viranomaisille rekisteröityessä, passitarkastuksissa ja mielenosoituksissa. Lisäksi virkamiesten, opettajien, koululaisten, opiskelijoiden ja oikeudessa todistajien olisi kiellettyä käyttää kasvot peittävää huntua.

Ennakkoluulojen luominen

Erkki Hartikainen 20.8.2016

Keiden tehtävä on luoda ennakkoluuloja? Tietysti

jne. jne.

Keiden tehtävä on poistaa ennakoluuloja?

? ? ?

Tarvitaanko ennakkoluuloja?

? ? ?

Saako ennakkoluuloilla rahastaa?

? ? ?

(Un)believing in Modern Society

Helsingin yliopiston tiedekulmassa (Aleksanterinkatu 7) keskiviikkona 17.8. klo 15-16

(Tila saattaa olla aika pieni, joten kannattaa tulla ajoissa!)

http://helsinginyliopisto.etapahtuma.fi/kalenteri/suomi.aspx#.VLNyixBqOip

(Un)believing in Modern Society

Jörg Stolz, Nordic Conference for the Sociology of Religion: (Un)believing in Modern Society

Religious phenomena don’t seem to be disappearing from our societies – but the traditional categories of religious and secular might well have to be re-examined. Jörg Stolz and his colleagues propose a new way to analyze religious and spiritual phenomena in today’s me-societies: the concept of (un)believing. What is it all about? Hear more at Think Corner on Wednesday 17.8. at 3–4pm.

Jörg Stolz is a professor of sociology of religion at the University of Lausanne, one of his main research interests being the explanation of religiosity and secularization.

The event is organized by the Nordic Conference for the Sociology of religion, taking place on 17th –19th August in the University of Helsinki.
Watch live stream: https://www.helsinki.fi/fi/ajankohtaista/tiedekulma-live

Helsingin Sanomain läpeensä pahat ihmiset

Erkki Hartikainen 19.8.2016

Helsingin Sanomain rikos- ja oikeustoimittaja kirjoittaa "on läpeenä pahoja ihmisiä".

Olisi kiintoisaa tietää, onko toimittajalla takanaan filosofian opintoja, ja jos on, ketkä häntä ovat filosofiassa opettaneet.

Filosofian kuuluisin lause on Humen giljotiini.

Humen giljotiinin eli Humen lain mukaan tosiasioista ei voi johtaa moraalisia sääntöjä.

Näin Humen giljotiini siis leikkaa moraalin irti luonnollisista totuuksista. Periaatteen loi filosofi David Hume teoksessaan A Treatise of Human Nature (1739). Alkuperäinen sääntö kuuluu:

”there is no ought from is”.

Tosiasioista ei voida johtaa väitettä "on läpeensä pahoja ihmisiä".

Toimittajan olisi pitänyt sanoa:

"Minun mielestäni on läpeensä pahoja ihmisiä".

En ole kuulut kenenkään filosofin sanovan näin. Jos filosofi sanoisi näin, hän saattaisi joutua henkilökohtaisiin vaikeuksiin.

Mitä tulee psykopatiaan, jopa tunnetut psykologian testit rikkovat Humen giljotiinia.

Asiaa helpottaa hieman se, että sosiopaatin määritelmä voi ottaa huomioon yhteisön arvot. Sosiopatia on siis suhteellista eli yhteisön arvoista riippuvaa.

Se, ketkä luokitellaan psykopaateiksi, riippuu psykopatian määritelmästä.

Asiaa helpottaa myös narsismin määritelmä, koska sekin voi ottaa huomioon yhteisön arvot.

Jos psykopaatti määritellään siten, että mukaan ei oteta sosiopaatin eikä narsistin ominaisuuksia, jäljelle ei jää paljon mitään.

Ilman arvoja psykopatia voitanee määritä perinnölliseksi ominaisuudeksi. Eräitä perinnöllisiä ominaisuuksiakin  kutsutaan sairauksiksi. Myös sairauden määritelmä on turhan lavea.

Taipoumus väkivaltaisuuteen on huomattavan yleinen piirre, eikä sitä voida näin ollen liittää erityisesti psykopaatin ominaisuuksiin. Tietysti ominaisuuksien leikkausta on helppo käyttää määritelmissä, mutta minun mielestäni tässä tapauksessa näin ei minun mielestäni ole syytä menetellä.

Jos jätetään määritelmästä arvot pois, jäljelle jää ihmisiä, joita on eniten johtajissa.

Olen joskus sanonut, että jumaluustiede tutkii jotain, mitä ei ole olemassa ja kasvatustiede jotain, mikä ei ole mahdollista.

Ihmisen sopeutuvuus siihen yhteisöön, johon hän kuuluu, riippuu sekä yhteisön laadusta että ihmisen perinnöllisyystekijöistä. Oikeaoppiset muslimit teloittavat ihmisiä teoista, jotka ovat ainakin Ruotsissa täysin sallittuja ja suvaittuja.

On mahdollista, että psykopaatteja voidaan "parantaa" muuttamalla heitä geneettisesti. Toistaiseksi ei minun mielestäni ole selvitetty sitä, mitkä geenit tekevät psykopaatin.

Minun mielestäni psykopaateille pitää tarjota sellaista työtä, jossa he eivät haittaa muiden ihmisten elämää. Missään tapauksessa heistä ei pidä tehdä johtajia tai työttömiä, kuten nykyisin menetellään.

Minun mielestäni lähinnä tekniset alat sopivat psykopaateille. Teknisen alan ihmisethän jossain määrin muistuttavat psykopaatteja.

Britanniassa elätetään ISISin saarnaajia yhteiskunnan varoilla

Erkki Hartikainen 18.8.2016

Tämän lehden englanninielisessä osiossa kerrotaan, että Britannia on elättänyt ISISiä tukevaa saarnaajaa yhteiskunnan varoilla.

Britanniassa muslimit näyttävät saavan tehdä melkein mitä tahansa.

Nyt saarnaajia on  alettu sentään tuomita lakien vastaisesta toiminnasta.

Tuomioiden suuruus ilmoitetaan syyskussa.

Mitä maahanmuttajilta pitäisi kysyä?

Erkki Hartikainen 17.8.2016

Kansainvälisten pakolaissopimusten mukaan maahan on otettava minkä lajin pakolaishirviöitä tahansa, jos toiset hirviöt ovat heidän uhkanaan kotimaassa.

Mielestäni pahimmat pakolaishirviöt on jätettävä kansainvälisten järjestöjen jollain saarella pidettäviin pakolaisleireihin.

Suomeen on mielestäni otettava vain niitä pakolaisia, jotka hyväksyvät YK:n sopimukset kuten Kansalais- ja poliittisia oikeuksia koskeva yleissopimus, Naisten oikeuksia koskeva sopimus, Lasten oikeuksia koskeva sopimus jne. Maahan ei liioin ole ottettava naamioituneita ihmisiä.

Muutenkin pakolaiset on otettava lähinnä niihin maihin, joihin he ovat ensin saapuneet, ja heidän oleskelunsa siellä on kustannettava kansainvälisin rahoin. EU:ssa kustannukset maksaisi EU.

Elintasopakolaiset on palauttevava kotimahinsa silloin, kun siellä on taas turvallista (heitä ei esimerkiksi vangita tai jopa teloieta, kuten on tapahtunut).

Palautettavien pakolaisten turvallisuutta ja toimeentuloa on kansainvälisten järjestöjen valvottava paikan päällä.

Turkki otti askeleen lähemmäs lapsiavioliittoja – tutkijan mukaan muutos on kuitenkin vielä epävarma

Turkin perustuslakituomioistuin päätti heinäkuussa, ettei seksi alle 15-vuotiaiden kanssa olisi enää automaattisesti rikos. Tutkija painottaa kuitenkin nykytilanteen epämääräisyyttä.

Lisätty 16.8.2016

Turkin perustuslakituomioistuin päätti heinäkuussa kumota säädöksen, jonka perusteella kaikki seksuaaliset teot alle 15-vuotiaiden kanssa katsotaan hyväksikäytöksi. Muutoksen olisi tarkoitus astua voimaan ensi vuoden tammikuussa. Asiasta kertoi Hürriyet Daily News -lehti.

Vaikka jotkut tutkijat ja ihmisoikeusjärjestöt kritisoivat päätöstä tuoreeltaan, kansainvälisesti se jäi vähälle huomiolle. Viime päivinä arvostelu on kuitenkin kiihtynyt. Päätöstä on moitittu lasten oikeuksia sortavaksi ja lapsiavioliittoja helpottavaksi.

Ikäraja päätyi perustuslakituomioistuimen käsittelyyn alemman oikeusasteen pyynnöstä. Siellä aiempaa lainsäädäntöä arvosteltiin siitä, ettei se tehnyt eroa 14-vuotiaaseen ja neljävuotiaaseen kohdistuvien seksuaalirikosten välillä.

Perustuslakituomioistuimen päätös kuitenkin poistaisi ikärajan kokonaan. Muutoksen myötä lapsiin kohdistuviin seksuaalirikoksiin jouduttaisiin soveltamaan samaa lainsäädäntöä kuin rikoksiin, joissa uhri on aikuinen.

Hürriyet Daily Newsin mukaan tuomioistuin teki päätöksen äänin 7–6.

Vanhempi tutkija Toni Alaranta Ulkopoliittisesta instituutista painottaa kuitenkin nykytilanteen epämääräisyyttä.

Tuomioistuimen päätöksen jälkeen Turkki on joutunut myllerrykseen epäonnistuneen vallankaappausyrityksen seurauksena, ja moni keskeinen vaikuttaja maassa on vaihtunut. Myös perustuslakituomioistuimen ovet ovat käyneet.

”On vaikea sanoa, mitä ennen vallankaappausyritystä tehdylle päätökselle käy”, Alaranta toteaa.

Lapsiavioliittojen helpottaminen olisi kuitenkin Turkin nykyisen suuntauksen mukaista. Alaranta huomauttaa, että painetta konservatiiviseen linjaan tulee valtaapitävästä AKP-puolueesta ja johtavilta poliitikoilta.

Viime vuonna Turkin perustuslakituomioistuin ilmoitti, että avioliiton virallistamiseen riittää jatkossa imaamin suorittama vihkiminen. Tätäkin päätöstä arvosteltiin vahvasti siitä, että se helpottaa lapsiavioliittojen solmimista ja polkee lasten ja naisten oikeuksia.

Islam hyväksyy orjuuden

Erkki Hartikainen 15.8.2016

Kaksi amerikkalaista muslimia on karkotettu Yhdysvalloista, koska he ovat pitäneet orjaa.

Tähän on huomautettava, että kristinuskon ns. kirkoisilläkin saattoi olla huomattavia määriä orjia, eikä kristinusko ainakaan Raamatun  valossa tuomitse orjuutta.

Orjuus Yhdysvalloissa oli orjuuden laillinen instituutio Yhdysvalloissa vielä maan itsenäistymisen 1776 jälkeen aina vuoteen 1865 asti, jolloin Yhdysvaltain perustuslain 13. lisäys kielsi orjuuden kokonaan liittovaltion alueella.

VANHOJA VAPAA-AJATTELIJA- JA HUMANISTIYHDISTYKSIÄ UHKAA POISTO YHDISTYSREKISTERISTÄ (12.8.2016)

Lisätty 14.8.2016

http://www.ateistit.fi/uutiset/uuti160812.html

Trump ei tiedä, miten hänen seurakunnassaan päästään taivaaseen

Erkki Hartikainen 13.8.2016

Tämä on yhtä tyhmää kluin se, että presidentiksi tultuaan Vladimir Putin teki ortodoksisen ristinmerkin väärin päin.

Jos jokin jumala haluaisi kovasti, että häneen uskotaan, jumalan olisi parasta päästää taivaaseen lähinnä ateistit.

Miksi koulut eivät käytä ilmaisia oppikirjoja

Erkki Hartikainen 12.8.2016

Näiltä sivustoilta löytyvät täydelliset lukion filosofian ja elämänkatsomustiedon oppikirjat. Myös lähes täydellinen matematiikan aineisto löytyy täältä.

Jos ilmaisia oppikirjoja käytettäisiin, esimerkiksi lukion oppikirjoissa voitaisiin siirtyä ilmaisiin kirjoihin, koska jotkut tekisivät ne mielellään.

Alun perin ilmaisen oppimateriaalin kammo periytyy niiltä ajoilta, jolloin Suomessa oli opetushallituksen virallinen oppikirjasensuuri. Nyt sellaista ei ole.

Jotkut kunnat kyllä harrastavat oppikirjasensuuria.

Se, ettei elämänkatsomustiedon ilmaisia oppikirjoja käytetä, johtuu siitä, että opetushallituksen kokoomuslainen ylitarkastaja Satu Elo ei edesmenneeltä agnostikkopuolisoltaan Pekka Elolta perityn mielipiteen mukaan hyväksy todellisuutta ja inhimillisiä mielipiteitä totuudenmukaisesti kuvaavia oppikirjoja, "koska ne ovat liian radikaaleja".

Monet kansainvälisesti tunnetut kasvatustieteilijät ovat sanoneet, että koulussa on opettettava totuus ja vain totuus.

Koululaitokset ovat aina ja kaikkialla olleet totuuskammoisia. Kouluissa opetetaan vain muutamia oppiaineita, joista koulua käyville on todellista hyötyä. Muutoin koululaitos on lasten ja nuorten halpa säiltyspaikka, kuten eräs silloisen kouluhallituksen ylijohtaja aikoinaan totesi.

Se, ettei näiden sivujen filosofian oppikirjoa hyväksytä, johtuu siitä, etteivät ne ole filosofien itsensä kirjoittamia - ikään kuin minä en olisi filosofiaa opiskelleena ja ikäni luikeneena pätevä vaan pätevyys vaatii professorin tittelin. Mitään oleellisia eroja koulujen hyväksymien ja itse kirjoittamieni filosofian oppikirjojen välillä en ole havainnut. Ainoa ero on, että kirjoittamani kirjat ovat ilmaisia.

Joensuun yliopisto ei ymmärrä Suomen keltä

Erkki Hartikainen 11.8.2016

Internetissä on seuraava uutinen:


Itä-Suomen yliopistolla jaettu ja piilotettu islam-vastaisia lappusia

Itä-Suomen yliopisto aikoo selvittää, mitä Joensuun kampuksella tapahtuu. Islam-vastaisien lappujen jakamisesta on tehty tutkintapyyntö poliisille, mutta lappujen jakajaa ei tavoitettu ja poliisi lopetti tapauksen tutkinnan. Yle Joensuun saamien tietojen mukaan lappusia kuitenkin jaellaan edelleen yliopistolla.

Kotimaa Joensuu

Itä-Suomen yliopistolla Joensuussa jaetaan islam-vastaisia lappusia. Lappuja on piiloteltu myös yliopiston kirjaston kirjojen väliin. Lapuissa kirjoitetaan muun muassa, että "islam on uhka suomalaiselle kulttuurille."

Aiheesta tehtiin alkukesästä tutkintapyyntö Itä-Suomen poliisille. Poliisi selvitti asiaa, mutta lappujen jakajaa tai jakajia ei tavoitettu ja tapauksen selvittäminen lopetettiin.

Yle Joensuun saamien tietojen mukaan islam-vastaisia lappusia jaetaan edelleen avoimesti yliopistolla.

Komisario Sami Joutjärvi sanoo, että tekijän selvittäminen vaatii aktiivisuutta yliopiston henkilöstöltä, jos lappujen jakajaa ei ole tallentunut valvontakameroille.

Joutjärvi sanoo, että tapaus voidaan avata tarvittaessa uudestaan.

Itä-Suomen yliopiston rehtori Jukka Mönkkönen kuuli lappujen jakamisesta ensimmäisen kerran Ylen toimittajalta. Rehtori aikoo selvittää, mitä Joensuun kampuksella on tapahtunut.

– Suhtaudumme tähän hyvin kielteisesti. Emme suvaitse tiloissamme minkäänlaista poliittista tai rasistista propagandaa.

Itä-Suomen yliopistossa ei ymmärretä selvää Suomen kieltä. 

Islamin vastainen propaganda ei ole poliittista eikä rasistista propagandaa.

Sikäli kuin jonkin uskonnon vastaista propagandaa ei sallita, ei pidä sallia uskonnollista propagandaakaan. Itä-Suomen yliopistossa voi jopa opiskella sekä kristillistä luterilaista että kristillistä ortodoksista jumaluustiedettä.

Ne ovat molemmat kristillistä propagandaa, ja yliopiston pitäisi pikaisesti lopettaa yhteiskunnan varoilla tehtävä uskonnollinen propaganda.

Uskonnot sekaantuneet Venäjän urheiluun

Erkki Hartikainen 10.8.2016

Ilman uskovaisen Boris Jeltsinin sotilasvallankaappausta (nousi valtaan hyppäämällä panssarivaunut päälle ja julistamalla Venäjän neuvostotasavallan itsenäiseksi) Venäjä voisi olla hyvin uskonnoton maa.

Nyt jopa Rion olympialaisten uheilijoita kirkotetaan sekä ortodoksisen kristillisen kirkon että muslimien toimesta. Asiasta kerrotaan tarkemmin tämän lehden englanninkielisillä sivuille.

Mikä on profeetta

Erkki Hartikainen 9.8.2016

Profeetta tarkoittaa alun perin ennustajaa. Koska uskonnot sisältävät kaikenlaisia ennustuksia tulevaisuudesta, uskonnollisia johtajia alettiin jo muinaisina aikoina kutsua profeetoiksi. Selvimmillään tämä perinne löytyy Raamatun Vanhasta testamenttista.

Ainakin sen jälkeen, kun muslimit alkoivat kutsua vätettyä islamin perustajaa Muhammedia profeetaksi, tämän käsitten käyttö on laajentunut.

Juutalaisten profetointi loppui siihen, että juutalaiset papit kielsivät profetoinnin. Muslimit kielisvät profetoinnin siksi, että heidän mielestään Muhammed oli viimeinen profeetta.

Kristinusko on ristiriidassa kosmologian kanssa

Erkki Hartikainen 8.8.2016

Kosmologia (m.kreik. κοσμολογία - κόσμος, kosmos, 'kaikkeus' ja -λογία, -logia, 'oppi') on maailmankaikkeuden rakennetta ja historiaa tutkiva tiede. Kosmologia tutkii kaikkeutta kokonaisuutena ja liittyy näin vahvasti niin tähtitieteeseen kuin fysiikkaankin. Erityisesti nykyajan kosmologia keskittyy kaikkeuden alkuperään liittyviin kysymyksiin.

Nykyinen kosmologia on vankasti ristiriidassa uskontojen kanssa. Maailmankaikkeuteen ei mahdu jumalia eikä paholaisia.

Tämän lehden englanninkielisessä osassa kerrotaan kirjasta, joka esittelee tieteen ja uskontojen välisiä jyrkkiä ristiriitoja.

Tehokain keino

Erkki Hartikainen 7.8.2016

Tehokkain tunnettu keino pysäyttää ihmisen moraalinen kehitys Lawrence Kohlbergin asteikon mukaisesti on uskonto.

Nuori, kieltäydy lukion uskonnonopetuksesta!

Lisätty 6.8.2016

http://www.ateistit.fi/lukio/index.html

Vallan keskittäminen ja ihmisoikeudet

Erkki Hartikainen 5.8.2016

Sikäli kuin ihmisoikeuksilla tarkoitetaan YK:n kansalais- ja poliittisia oikeuksia koskevaa yleissopimusta, sen ratifioiminen ei takaa ihmisoikeuksia edes Suomessa.

Yhdysvalloissa ihmisoikeuksia tukee tämän sopimuksen lisäksi Ranskan vallankumouksen innoittama perustuslaki.

Edes Suomessa perustuslaki ei takaa ihmisoikeuksia.

Maailmassa on kaksi presidenttijohtoista maata, joilla on suuri merkitys koko muulle maailmalle: Yhdysvallat ja Venäjä.

Vladirir Putin on Venäjällä tukenut ortodoksista kirkkoa. Jo Boris Jeltsin muutti Venäjän lakeja uskontomyönteisiksi. Kaikkein merkillisintä on, että Jeltsin nousi valtaan Neuvostoliiton kommunistisen puolueen sisäpiiristä. Presidenttinä Jelstin hajoitti Neuvostoliiton ja osoittautui uskovaiseksi.

Jos Trump valitaan Yhdysvaltain presidentiksi, hän todennäköisesti tukisi kristinuskoa vastoin Yhdysvaltain perustuslakia.

Jo muinaisessa Roomassa yksinvalta johti ihmisoikeuksien vastaisen kristinuskon valtaan nousuun ja toisin ajattelevien vainoihin.

Pakko puhua pahaa muslimeista

Erkki Hartikainen 4.8.2016

Tämän lehden englanninkielisessä osassa on uutisia lähinnä muslimien ihmisoikeusrikoksista. Uutisointi johtuu pelkästään siitä, että islam on ihmisoikeusrikoksiin pyhillä teksteillä yllyttävä uskonto.

Kyse ei siis ole siitä, että muslimeista puhuttaisiin pahaa joillakin rasistisilla perusteilla vaan siitä, että islam on paha uskonto.

Minun mielestäni muslimeja ei pitäisi ottaa pakolaisiksi ennen kuin he ovat allekirjoitaneet YK:n kansalais- ja poliittisia oikeuksia koskevan yleissopimuksen.

Lehden ilmestymisen viivästyminen

Erkki Hartikainen 3.8.2016

Jumalaton -lehden viisästyminen on tällä kertaa johtunut kahdesta eri syystä.

Elisan mobiiliverkko toimi huonosti jopa ulkoantennilla Iisalmessa. Mahtaako surkealla maan hallituksella olla tekemistä yhteyksien heikkenemisen kanssa?

Toiseksi olen joutunut olemaan lapsenlapsen omahoitajana 74 vuoden isästä huolimatta. Vantaa kyllä on parantamassa hänen hoitotukeaan, mutta kesällä se säästi.

Uskonnottomat EU-maissa (Eurobarometri 2010)

Lisätty 1.2.2016

Sija Maa Osuus %
1 Ranska 40
2 Tšekki 37
3 Ruotsi 34
4 Alankomaat 30
5 Viro 29
6 Norja 29
7 Saksa 27
8 Belgia 27
9 Slovenia 26
10 Iso-Britannia 25
11 Luxemburg 24
12 Tanska 24
13 Suomi x22
14 Unkari 20
15 Espanja 19
16 Islanti 1
17 Bulgaria 15
18 Slovakia 13
19 Portugali 12
20 Liettua 12
21 Itävalta 12
22 Latvia 11
23 Sveitsi 11
24 Irlanti 7
25 Kroatia 7
26 Italia 6
27 Puola 5
28 Kreikka 4
29 Kypros 3
30 Malta 2
31 Romania 1
32 Turkki 1

Laskuharjoitin lapsille löytyy osoitteesta

Laskuharjoitin

Gravitation

This is a link. Updated 5/7/2013.

Ateismin määritelmä

George H. Smithin ontologinen ateismin määritelmä:

Ateismi on väite: jumalaa tai jumalia ei ole olemassa

Tässä määritelmässä on määritelty olemassaoloa koskeva eli ontologinen käsitys. Jumala joko on olemassa tai ei ole olemassa. Mitään olemassaolon ja olemattomuuden välimuotoa ei ole.

Teismi on väite: jumala tai jumalia on olemassa

Deismi (jumala on olemassa, mutta ei puutu maailmanmenoon) ja panteismi (jumala on sama kuin maailmankaikkeus) ovat tämän mukaan teismiä

Inhimillinen tieto siitä, mitä on olemassa, on vajavaista. Joku saattaa pitää varmana, että jumalaa tai jumalia ei ole olemassa. Joku toinen saattaa pitää varmana, että jumala tai jumalia on olemassa. Joku kolmas voi olla epävarma siitä, onko jumalaa tai jumalia olemassa vai ei.

Ateistin määrittelemä

Ateisti on henkilö, jonka mielestä ateismi on tosi.

Agnostikon eli jumalaongelmaisen määritelmä

Agnostikko eli jumalaongelmainen on henkilö, joka ei mielestään tiedä, onko ateismi tosi vai onko teismi tosi.

Uskonnon määritelmä

Uskonto on järjestäytynyttä teismiä.

Ne käsitykset joissa ei ole jumalia, eivät ole tämän määritelmän mukaan uskontoja.

Raamatun ristiriidat

Lukeaksesi napauta tästä

Godless Culture Magazine

August 2016

Contents

New book: Logicical empiricism 2016

Julkaisija Suomen ateistiyhdistys ry
Sähköposti: info@ateismi.fi

Publisher: Atheist Association of Finland
E-mail: info@ateismi.fi


Last uppdate August 31, 2016
Päivitetty 31.8
.2016.

Member of

http://www.atheistalliance.org/secular-world/current-issue

Editor of the net magazine: Erkki Hartikainen
Verkkojulkaisun vastaava toimittaja Erkki Hartikainen


Sisällysluettelo

  1. Jumalaton kulttuurilehti
    1. Suomen ainoa kulttuurilehti
  2. TUOMARINVAKUUTUS SÄÄDÖSKOKOELMAAN (30.8.2016)
  3. Tiedotusvälineet unohtavat Brasilian suurimman ongelman
    1. Uskovaiset poliitikot
  4. Uskovaisten mielivaltaa ei voi estää laeilla
  5. Onko maailma siirtymässä totuuden jälkeiseen aikaan?
  6. Islamin halventamisesta epäilty räppäri pääsi vapaaksi tutkintavankeudesta
    1. Vatsavaivoista kärsineen Nameween tapauksen tutkinta jatkuu edelleen.
  7. Tiesitkö, kuka on varastanut eniten?
  8. Mikä on muslimien pahin vika?
  9. Helsingin Sanomat on aina vainonnut ylivelkaantuneita
    1. Vantaan uusi säästömuoto: Ikääntyneet ylivelkaantuneet valtion ylläpitämiin vankiloihin
  10. Pitääkö ruumisarkkujen palaa tai maatua?
  11. Metallimusiikki voi pilata elämän väittää tuore tutkimus
  12. Tietojenkäsittelytieteen laitoksen johtaja ei tunne LINUXia?
  13. Koirat ja niiden pitäminen
  14. Saksan sisäministeri: Kasvot peittävä huntu kiellettävä kouluissa ja ajaessa
  15. Ennakkoluulojen luominen
  16. (Un)believing in Modern Society
  17. Helsingin Sanomain läpeensä pahat ihmiset
  18. Britanniassa elätetään ISISin saarnaajia yhteiskunnan varoilla
  19. Mitä maahanmuttajilta pitäisi kysyä?
  20. Turkki otti askeleen lähemmäs lapsiavioliittoja – tutkijan mukaan muutos on kuitenkin vielä epävarma
    1. Turkin perustuslakituomioistuin päätti heinäkuussa, ettei seksi alle 15-vuotiaiden kanssa olisi enää automaattisesti rikos. Tutkija painottaa kuitenkin nykytilanteen epämääräisyyttä.
  21. Islam hyväksyy orjuuden
  22. VANHOJA VAPAA-AJATTELIJA- JA HUMANISTIYHDISTYKSIÄ UHKAA POISTO YHDISTYSREKISTERISTÄ (12.8.2016)
  23. Trump ei tiedä, miten hänen seurakunnassaan päästään taivaaseen
  24. Miksi koulut eivät käytä ilmaisia oppikirjoja
  25. Joensuun yliopisto ei ymmärrä Suomen keltä
  26. Uskonnot sekaantuneet Venäjän urheiluun
  27. Mikä on profeetta
  28. Kristinusko on ristiriidassa kosmologian kanssa
  29. Tehokain keino
  30. Nuori, kieltäydy lukion uskonnonopetuksesta!
  31. Vallan keskittäminen ja ihmisoikeudet
  32. Pakko puhua pahaa muslimeista
  33. Lehden ilmestymisen viivästyminen
  34. Uskonnottomat EU-maissa (Eurobarometri 2010)
  35. Laskuharjoitin lapsille löytyy osoitteesta
  36. Laskuharjoitin
  37. Gravitation
  38. Geometria
  39. Ateismin määritelmä
  40. Ateistin määrittelemä
  41. Agnostikon eli jumalaongelmaisen määritelmä
  42. Uskonnon määritelmä
  43. Raamatun ristiriidat
  44. Godless Culture Magazine
  45. New book: Logicical empiricism 2016
  46. Brazil Has Another Big Problem: Evangelical Christian Politicians
  47. Atheists Sue PA House of Representatives Over Discriminatory Invocation Policy
  48. Homophobic pastor in Georgia arrested over abuse allegations
  49. Secular Policy Institute
  50. Muslim chastity campaigners were caught having sex in car
  51. Are Jews a chosen people of Yahweh?
  52. Islamist thug faces jail for a brutal attack on a teenage boy
  53. Court told UK Muslim was slain for practising ‘black magic’
  54. Church members cheered as a cleric flogged a young couple
  55. US Salvation Army accused of running ‘slave labour’ camps
  56. Pressure mounts on Ireland to scrap its foolish abortion ban
  57. Patrick Gunkel Is An Idea Man Who Thinks in Lists
  58. In Texas, a ‘good Christian’ used Scripture to abuse girl
  59. In Russia, Archangel Michael joins fight against corruption
  60. Slaves abused and threatened with hell by Texas woman
  61. UK hate preacher found guilty of supporting Islamic State
  62. £1-million needed to keep Jewish children ‘pure and holy’
  63. Priest sent picture of his penis to a pool maintenance man
  64. US judge banishes Muslim couple for keeping slaves
  65. ‘Burkinis’ a threat to public order, says French mayor
  66. Donald Trump, Whose Favorite Book is the Bible, Has No Clue How To Get Into Heaven
  67. Lengthy jail term imposed on ‘wolf in shepherd’s clothing’
  68. If Italy now accepts gay unions, it must also legalise polygamy
  69. Priest appointed to help stressed Russian athletes
  70. Muslims proclaim support for vicious killer Tanveer Ahmed
  71. Christianity is Incompatible With the Universe As We Know It
  72. Anti-gay Catholic cleric faces lawsuit over abuse in Guam
  73. Devout California Mayor played strip poker with a boy aged 16
  74. University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism
  75. Rise of the Atheist Voting Bloc
  76. Child abuser should be spared jail … because she’s a Muslim
  77. Muslim street preacher swears at woman wearing tight jeans
  78. Atheism has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’
  79. Contradictions of the Bible
  80. Arguments for atheism
  81. Filosofia ja elämänkatsomustieto
    1. Elämänkatsomustiedon opetussuunnitelma 2016
  82. Filosofi och livsåskådning
  83. Philosophy and Life View
    1. Constructed language misil
  84. Katsomusaineiden didaktiikkaa
    1. Yleistä didaktiikkaa
    2. Kristillinen dogmatiikka
    3. Filosofian, elämänkatsomustiedon ja uskonnon didaktiikkaa
  85. Lukion filosofia, Filosofi i gymnasiet
    1. Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa
    2. Ilmaiset filosofian oppikirjat
    3. Filosofian ylioppilastehtävät
  86. Elämänkatsomustieto, livsåskådning
    1. Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa
    2. Peruskoulu Grundskola
      1. Ilmaiset oppikirjat
      2. Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa
    3. Lukio Gymnasium
      1. Ilmaiset oppikirjat
      2. Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa
    4. Elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät
  87. Syksyn 2014 ylioppilaskirjoituksiin valmistautuminen
  88. Elämänkatsomustieto ainereaalissa
  89. Muuta tietoa
  90. Ehdotus lukion opetuksen järkiperäistämiseksi

Brazil Has Another Big Problem: Evangelical Christian Politicians

Added August 31, 2016
by  

This is a guest post by Peter Wood. He’s a development researcher, mental health activist, and amateur blogger.

With the XXXI Olympiad now complete, much of the world now has Brazil on its mind. From water pollution to street crime to extreme income inequality to the Zika virus, it seems that the nation has been criticized by the international media in all ways possible. But one incredibly important point of tension remains widely unacknowledged by outsiders: the role of evangelical Christians in Brazilian politics.

shutterstock_194620979

Many already know that Brazil, and Latin America in general, is notoriously corrupt. Most Brazilians strongly distrust elected officials, and the current political crisis there reveals the system at its worst. Brazil and Latin America are also seen as heavily Roman Catholic, though despite being home to the first non-European pope in more than a millennium, Catholic domination is beginning to wane in the region. But unlike the United States, where “Nones” are growing and Christians are dwindling, Brazil is experiencing a boom in evangelical Christianity.

The rise of evangelicals in Brazil is largely underreported outside the country but contributes directly to the political chaos currenting besieging the nation. Dilma Rousseff, the first female president in Brazil’s history, was impeached and awaits final judgment by the Brazilian Senate in the coming weeks. That Senate, as well as Congress in general, is controlled by a majority of outwardly religious officials who make no efforts to hide their faith in Christ and, by extension, their faith-based sexism.

Earlier this year, when Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies (similar to the U.S. House of Representatives) voted on impeaching Rousseff, each politician had 10 seconds to qualify their vote. Of those voting for impeachment, many of them “dedicated” their votes to God, family, Freemasons, even the military dictatorship that physically tortured Dilma Rousseff herself. In fact, “God” was referenced 59 times during voting in April, all by those favoring impeachment.

The fact that many Brazilian politicians are outwardly sectarian when performing public duties is a problem in and of itself, but the trouble does not stop there. The country currently has an interim president, Michel Temer, known to consult with popular evangelical pastors, and the Senate is currently holding hearings on whether to permanently remove Rousseff from office. Temer selected his interim cabinet after Rousseff’s impeachment and failed to appoint even a single woman or secretary of color. In a country that is 51% women and which has 97 million black, mixed race, or indigenous citizens, these lopsided demographics put U.S. discrimination to shame. To make matters worse, Temer selected Pastor Marco Feliciano to head the Commission for Human Rights and Minorities. Feliciano has made claims including that AIDS is a “gay cancer” and was recently accused of rape.

Now that the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics have come and gone, it is hard to tell what comes next for Brazil. In 2017 São Paulo will host the World Humanist Congress, but with the current trend of political and economic instability, it is increasingly difficult to foresee in what cultural climate the event will take place. While the post-Obergefell United States suddenly seems progressive on marriage equality, Brazil’s system still seems to favor homophobic policy writers over popular support for marriage justice.

As the United States continues to endure the never-ending outtake reel that is the Donald Trump presidential campaign, in Brazil, an uncannily similar politician has already shown just how dangerous it is for an egomaniac to vie for expanding evangelical Christians’ political might. Jair Bolsonaro, a congressman and prospective candidate for President in 2018, may actually make you appreciate The Donald ever so slightly. Bolsonaro is notorious (or beloved, in the right congregation) for his “straight talk” candor and shocking sound bites. Some of his most shocking include the following:

“I would be incapable of loving a homosexual son.”

“Women should earn less because they get pregnant.”

“I don’t run that risk [of my sons dating black women or homosexuals] because they were educated well.”

And, when addressing a female politician, “I don’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.”

During this election year, when the U.S. might elect its first ever female president and far right conservative Christians still manage to relentlessly push climate change denial, racism, misogyny, and homophobia, perhaps we can learn some lessons from our Portuguese-speaking friends from South America. When rhetoric and action toward church/state separation are this vile, there might not be any middle ground to occupy.

Atheists Sue PA House of Representatives Over Discriminatory Invocation Policy

Added on: August 30, 2016

Harrisburg, PA—American Atheists joined with Americans United for Separation of Church and State in filing a federal lawsuit today challenging a policy prohibiting atheists from offering invocations to open Pennsylvania House of Representatives sessions.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Speaker Mike Turzai is being sued in his official capacity.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Speaker Mike Turzai is being sued in his official capacity.

The five individual plaintiffs in the case, including two members of Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, an American Atheists affiliate, have repeatedly been denied an equal opportunity to offer secular invocations before the House.

“This is about fairness and equality,” said Amanda Knief, American Atheists National Legal and Public Policy Director. “If the House wants to have invocations, they can’t simply exclude an invocation that would represent the more-than 2.5 million nonreligious Pennsylvanians.”

This case comes after the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Greece v. Galloway that reaffirmed government bodies’ right to open meetings with prayers and invocations as long as they did not discriminate against community minority religious groups, including atheists, who wished to offer their own invocations and prayers.

“It is long past time for the Pennsylvania House to stop treating atheists like second-class citizens,”

said David Silverman, President of American Atheists.

"This case could have been resolved by simply allowing everyone to participate, but it seems that the leadership of the House is more interested in preserving privilege for religious citizens than truly representing all Pennsylvanians.”

Attorney Eric Husby is working on behalf of American Atheists with attorneys from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, including Legal Director Richard B. Katskee, Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser, and Madison Fellow Carmen Green as well as Pennsylvania attorney Allen Warshaw.

Homophobic pastor in Georgia arrested over abuse allegations

Added August 29, 2016

Anti-gay pastor Kenneth Adkins, above, who caused outrage when he celebrated the Pulse club massacre in Orlando earlier this year, has been arrested for molesting an underage boy.

Adkins is a notorious and outspoken opponent of LGBT rights. After 49 people died in the gay bar shooting he he tweeted:

I don’t see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!

The Savannah Morning News reports that Adkins, 56, is a pastor in Brunswick, Georgia, who doubles as a political consultant in the Jacksonville area.

He turned himself over to Glynn County authorities yesterday morning on charges of aggravated child molestation and child molestation stemming from allegations made by a former member of his congregation.

Said his wife, Charlotte Stormy Adkins:

We are disappointed with what appears to be a rush to judgment by law enforcement authorities in this case. We are confident that Kenneth Adkins will be found innocent of all charges.

Attorney Kevin Gough, hired to represent Adkins on Thursday, said a bail hearing could be as early as Monday, but a preliminary hearing on the charges likely won’t occur until September 9.

He looks forward to having his day in court.

Stacy Carson, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Kingsland office, said District Attorney Jackie Johnson asked the GBI on August 12 to assist the Brunswick Police Department in the investigation. It focused on suspected molestation in several locations in the Brunswick area including at Adkins’ church, a vehicle and a victim’s home, Carson said.

The incidents possibly occurred in 2010 and would have had to involve someone younger than 16 for child molestation charges to be brought.

Charlotte Adkins said she and her husband, despite the allegations, share a concern for the mental health of the accuser who the couple has mentored.

This young man was part of our teen ministry. Ken and I have treated him like family, as has our church. He is a deeply troubled young man, to be sure, but our thoughts and prayers remain with him even now.

Adkins has asked to be placed on unpaid leave from The Greater Church Brunswick on Altama Avenue – the Greater Church also has congregations in Jacksonville and Atlanta –  while his case is pending. His wife said she will serve as acting pastor.

Adkins is a controversial figure in Jacksonville politics, particularly because of comments and crude caricatures he posted on his Twitter account while he helped lead the fight against expanding Jacksonville’s anti-discrimination law to cover lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Among the criticisms that Adkins lodged was his assertion that expanding the law would make it easier for sexual predators to find victims in toilets.

His work as a political consultant has been marked by harsh attacks on opponents. In 2012 a Glynn County magistrate ordered Adkins to stop using his Facebook and social media accounts to call a School Board member “a fool” or a “runaway slave.” The order also barred Adkins from using the term “child molester” without proof when criticising a worker for two local campaigns

Secular Policy Institute

Added August 29, 2016

Hello,
France has brought the spotlight onto a boiling cauldron of disputed social, cultural, and political issues whose debate is at the core of democracy and pluralism. In September the Secular Policy Institute will seek to foster a dialogue on the different angles of the "burkini ban." This issue serves as a focal point in the discussion of secularism, pluralism, religious expression, personal autonomy and liberty, public safety, nationalism, ethnocentrism, immigration, democratic norms, human rights both for and against the concealment of the flesh for religious purpose and many more interesting and important topics. As CEO I will be announcing more on this in the upcoming weeks. There is one thing for certain, this is a discussion that is being held by and is in need of further dialogue by both the religious and non-religious alike.

This week in State News, a county in Nebraska has approved the prominent display of "In God We Trust" at a county courthouse. Also, one of our Fellows, John McWhorter discusses the allegations of Ellen DeGeneres being racist by declaring her 'not,' as well as discusses whether 'colored people' is a slur. In Science News, a rocky planet is suspected to orbit our Sun's closet neighbor ("Proxima b"). Lastly, we have a brand new sign-on letter.

Representatives Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) have introduced legislation to fix a major loophole in the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Because of this loophole, discrimination is now permissible by law against established civil rights and liberties protections. Please join us in supporting the passage of the "Do No Harm Act"


have a great week.
sincerely,
Jason Frye, CEO
Secular Policy Institute

Muslim chastity campaigners were caught having sex in car

islamists

Added August 28, 2016

Two prominent Muslim politicians – Moulay Omar Benhammad, 63, and Fatima Nejjar, 62, above –  have been suspended from Morocco’s Unity and Reform Movement (MUR) after they were allegedly caught having sex in a car on a beach.

The pair are known for preaching the importance of chastity and were both serving as vice presidents of the party.

According to this report by Harry Cockburn of the Independent, police said the pair were found in a “sexual position” in the car. The incident is said to have occurred last Saturday at a beach in the port city of Mohammedia, about 16 miles north of Casablanca and 40 miles south of the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

Benhammad, who is married and has seven children, was charged with attempted corruption. Nejjar, a widowed mother of six, was charged with complicity to adultery.

The pair were released from custody and are due to appear in court on 1 September.

MUR, part of another, more prominent party in the country, the Justice Development Party (PJD), released a statement this week saying the pair had been “suspended from all structures of the movement”, while party officials from PJD said the incident was an “extremely serious fault” that amounted to:

A violation of the principles of the movement, its orientation and its values.

Benhammad reportedly said he lives with Najjar in a common-law marriage and added that his wife does not want him prosecuted for adultery.

Extramarital sex in Morocco in punishable by up to a year in jail.

Following the incident, videos of Nejjar telling female students not to give in to “temptation and vice” were widely shared on social media.

Are Jews a chosen people of Yahweh?

Erkki Hartikainen August 27, 2016

No. Yahweh is a chosen god of Jews.

El and his sons made up the Assembly of the Gods, each member of which had a human nation under his care, and a textual variant of Deuteronomy 32:8–9 describes the sons of El, including Yahweh, each receiving his own people:

When the Most High (Elyon, i.e., El) gave the nations their inheritance,
when he separated humanity,
he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings,
for Yahweh's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.

Islamist thug faces jail for a brutal attack on a teenage boy

Added August 26, 2016

A close associate of convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary – Michael Coe – is facing a ‘substantial’ jail sentence for a brutal assault on a teenage boy.

According to this report, Coe  35 – who took the name Mikaeel Ibrahim when he converted to Islam – knocked the 16-year-old schoolboy unconscious when he spotted the teen cuddling his girlfriend on a street in east London in April this year.

He pulled his car over to confront the pair, demanding to know if they were Muslims, before calling the girl, also 16, a “whore”.

He then grabbed the boy by the throat and threw him to the ground before kicking his head as he lay on the floor, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from two head injuries.

When passing schoolteacher Boutho Siwela tried to come to the teenager’s aid, he was attacked by the thug.

Coe, who is 6ft 1in and weighs 16 and a half stone, admitted “shoving” the boy, who is half his size, but claimed he was acting in self defence.

It was revealed that Coe is a close associate of Choudary and was on a list of individuals the hate preacher was banned from having contact with while he was on bail charged with inviting support for Islamic State, of which he has since been convicted.

Coe had attended a number of extremist demonstrations, including protests over the banning of niqabs in France and rallies promoting sharia law.

Coe was reportedly radicalised in prison by al Qaida terrorist Dhiren Barot in 2007.

At his trial in Southwark Crown Court, Coe was described by judge Michael Gledhill as a danger to the public and warned him he will be facing a “substantial” term of imprisonment. Sentencing was adjourned until September 21 for further reports.

Coe has a long record of violent offences starting when he was 16, including assaults, burglary, robbery and violent disorder.

He served an eight-year term for firing a shotgun at police during an arrest.

Coe was convicted of a similar offence in May 2013 after getting out of his car to confront a group of youngsters about their “inappropriate language” on an estate in east London.
He allegedly called a young girl a “slut” and the others “kafir scum” during the incident.

Coe became a close associate of convicted hate preacher Anjem Choudary – founder of the banned organisation Al-Muhajiroun – of which he was a member.

He was also been photographed at a demonstration on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

In December 2013 he took part in a demonstration in Brick Lane, east London, against Muslim shopkeepers selling alcohol.

The married father of two was jailed for 15 months after being found in the back of a lorry with false ID documents at the Kent port of Dover in November 2014.

He was accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join IS but was acquitted of engaging in conduct in preparation of terrorist acts.

Court told UK Muslim was slain for practising ‘black magic’

Added Augus 25, 2016

Two alleged Islamist extremists are on trial for murdering Muslim healer Jalal Uddin, above, who was bludgeoned to death earlier this years in a children’s playground in Rochdale.

According to this report, Manchester Crown Court  yesterday heard that the accused – Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, and Mohammed Abdul Kadir, 24 – were Isis supporters who developed a hatred of Uddin after discovering he practised a form of Islamic healing called ruqya.

The former imam was targeted as he made his way home from a mosque in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, after months of being watched by his alleged killers, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Paul Greaney QC, told jurors that Syeedy and Kadir “stalked Jalal Uddin around the streets of Rochdale” before Kadir launched a savage attack on the older man in the playground. Kadir unleashed “repeated forceful blows” to Uddin’s head and mouth with a weapon believed to be a hammer, leaving him with severe skull fractures.

Greaney said:

These injuries were plainly not the result of a robbery gone wrong. On the contrary, they were obviously the result of an attack that was planned – why else did the killer have a hammer with him in a children’s park?

[It was] motivated by hatred and by a desire to humiliate Jalal Uddin and undoubtedly intended to kill or, at the very least, cause really serious harm.

Greaney added that the severe blows to Uddin’s mouth were particularly significant:

This was … an attack driven by hate and the blow to the mouth was quite possibly the most symbolic of all: ‘You will not say anything of which we disapprove’.

The plot to murder Uddin began earlier this year, the court heard, after his alleged killers spent months conducting surveillance on the former imam while deciding how to “paralyse” his strain of Islam.

Described as “quiet, dignified and well respected,” Uddin wore an amulet – known as a taweez – that some believe to protect the wearer against evil. However, Isis forbids the practice, considering it to be “black magic”, the court heard.

Six months before the killing, Uddin’s books and notes on taweez were stolen from the Jalalia mosque in Rochdale/ At the same time, one of Syeedy’s friends sent a text message to the defendant saying he had gone on a “taweez raid” at the mosque. When told his friend had found Uddin’s “stash”, Syeedy replied: “Burn it.”

Jurors were told there was “clear and cogent” evidence that Syeedy and Kadir supported Isis. Reams of jihadi propaganda were recovered from Syeedy’s iPhone. Jurors were shown photographs of the 21-year-old, who was born and raised in Rochdale, holding an Isis-style flag outside the Jalalia mosque where his victim prayed. In another, he wore a stab-proof vest outside the mosque. Other photographs showed Syeedy and two others holding a jihadi flag over a road sign in Rochdale that had been altered to read: “War Zone.”

On Syeedy’s laptop, detectives found a poster saying “Don’t wear taweez” and the message:

Whoever wears an amulet has committed shirk.

Shirk is a sin of practising idolatry, the jury was told.

Syeedy sat alone in the dock as the court heard that his co-accused was on the run – possibly in Syria – after catching a flight to Istanbul, via Copenhagen, three days after the killing on 18 February.

Jurors were told Syeedy accepted Kadir murdered Uddin and that he was with his accomplice before and after the killing. However, he will deny that he knew anything about the murder beforehand or that he supports Isis.

The trial continues.

Church members cheered as a cleric flogged a young couple

Added August 24, 2016

Police in Ghana are reportedly investigating an assault on a young couple who were flogged during a church service by a self-styled ‘Bishop’ – Daniel Obinim, above.

Obinim, of the International God’s Way Church, whipped the couple and chastising them for fornication in front of a cheering congregation. The assault was filmed and posted on YouTube.

Obinim refuses to apologise for the floggings, defiantly saying:

Any person who is demanding an apology from me or calling for my arrest for flogging my adopted children is unintelligent.

It was reported last Friday that lawyers filed a lawsuit against Obinim for assaulting the couple. Francis Xavier Sosu, a human rights lawyer, and two others are claiming that the pastor violated the dignity of the victims and dehumanised them.

The complainants also mentioned that the incident is not the first time members of the church were subjected to cruel treatment by Obinim.

Nana Oye Lithur, The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, posted on her Facebook account that she has reported Obinim to the Accra Regional Domestic Victims and Violence Support Unit (DOVVSU) Office for investigation.

We have been informed that the Police have commenced investigations into the matter and a complaint has also been filed against him at the Tema Regional Police. We will keep you posted on further developments.

This report contains further details of the incident. His female victim, who was pregnant, was:

Flogged mercilessly with a belt in the full glare of his congregation.

The woman attempted to escape, but she was held by henchmen of the “bishop” who meted out more beatings.

After subjecting the two to severe flogging for several minutes, Obinim ordered his junior pastors to remove their belts and continue the flogging.

Obinim has been involved in several controversies in the past. According to a 2011 article from Vibe Ghana, the pastor admitted to having sex with the wife of a junior pastor.

US Salvation Army accused of running ‘slave labour’ camps

Added August 23, 2016

The Salvation Army in America is hardly short of a dollar or two. This from the Tampa Bay Times in 2011:

Few donors realize the Salvation Army owns a $12 million Florida headquarters in Lutz, a $3 million office complex in New Port Richey and dozens of homes in the Tampa Bay area — all part of a largely tax-exempt local real estate portfolio worth about $75 million.

Officers, who are ordained clergy, live rent-free in the homes, including some that cost as much as $300,000. The organization provides them with cars, health insurance, furniture and Internet service. Its even pays the home­owners’ association dues.

While most of its wealth is derived from the donations, it’s reported this week by The Influence that the SA also profits greatly from programmes run by its Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC) that require people to undergo “work therapy” – doing shitty jobs without pay.

According to Kenneth Anderson:

In exchange for three hots and a cot, the Salvation Army’s rehab clients are expected to labor for 40 hours a week, without pay, for the profit of the Salvation Army stores.

These clients, he writes, are often “unconstitutionally” sentenced to religious programmes run by organisations such as the SA and Alcoholics Anonymous.

There are 119 ARC rehabs in the US, operating from coast to coast; an estimated 150,000 people go through this programme each year. An average of 7,700 people live in the Salvation Army’s US rehabs at any given time. Most clients are either homeless or court-ordered. The basic programme lasts from six to 12 months, depending on the client.

Should they decide to leave the programme, their only options are often to go to prison (if they are court-ordered) or to return to living on the streets.

According to Don Coombs, Programme Director of the SA’s Adult Rehabilitation Center Command, Eastern Territory:

Work is used as a therapy to assist persons in learning how to be of service to GOD and others … [clients] receive no financial wage or other compensation.

The work, says Anderson:

Consists of some pretty tedious and foul jobs, such as sorting through donations of clothing and other items to be sold in Salvation Army stores (such donations are often tainted with feces or vomit), and bailing up unsalable items for shipment overseas. Other forms of ‘work therapy’ may involve moving furniture or janitorial work, including cleaning toilets.

Clients are typically housed four to 20 persons per room. In addition to “work therapy”, other therapy consists of mandatory Bible study and mandatory participation in Salvation Army worship services.

This SA website puts a more positive spin on things:

When you shop at one of our Family Stores, the men and women participating in the ARC program are directly affected. They are provided with a clean and healthy living environment, good food, work therapy, leisure time activities, group and individual counseling, spiritual direction, and numerous resources to help them develop life skills and a personal relationship with God.

According to Coombs:

The ARC provides individual counseling for both spiritual and character formation. We also provide both education and group services as well. Clinical services for mental health and/or chemical dependency most likely are referred to local agencies.

The Salvation Army is currently the second largest charity in the United States, with an annual income of $4.1 billion from donations, investments, sales and other sources.

Says Anderson:

With this kind of budget, the Salvation Army could surely do better than sleeping 20 people to a room, using them as slave labor, and achieving a completion rate of 17 percent. Instead, they could be offering decent housing, decent wages, and the best evidence-based treatment, which includes, for example, a non-abstinence-based housing model.

It seems clear that the Salvation Army, despising people who use any drugs, believes that such people simply deserve the kind of ‘treatment’ offered by ARC. Certainly, no expense seems to be spared when it comes to PR and self-promotion.

Although in its financial statement the Salvation Army claims that 21 percent of its expenditure, $702,539,000, is spent on ‘rehabilitation’, there is little evidence that this money is spent on the clients. Looking at the fact that average occupancy of the programme is 7,700 clients, this would work out to over $90,000 per client year. It surely seems that clients are not receiving $90,000-a-year’s worth of services; on the contrary, the Salvation Army is receiving tens of thousands of dollars of free labor per client year.

And he asked:

Where does all the money go? With ads for the Salvation Army everywhere, it is clear that a good chunk is spent on self-promotion.

However, since the Salvation Army is legally a church, it can also give its officers free housing, free vehicles, free health insurance, free furniture, and practically free everything else, in addition to paying them a salary.

The Salvation Army seems to be an organization primarily dedicated to ‘doing the most good’ for itself. When it comes to people who use drugs, a more fitting motto would be ‘doing the most harm’.

An America where people are forced to labor without compensation under threat of prison is not an America that I can support. Everyone should have the right to decide what to put into their own body, and people who use drugs should not be imprisoned or exploited by the self-righteous.

There are many organizations other than the Salvation Army which will take your donations of items and actually put them to good use—such as Housing Works, which provides housing for people living with AIDS, or Goodwill, which connects people with paying jobs.

Or, do what I do. Give money directly to the panhandler and cut out the middle man. Perhaps they will spend it on alcohol or other drugs, but at least that way it might provide someone a modicum of pleasure, which beats forced labor every time.

Pressure mounts on Ireland to scrap its foolish abortion ban

Added August 22, 2016

Two women have travelled from Ireland to the UK in order to get an abortion, and to protest and highlight the fact that abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland.

According to this report, the pair recorded their journey on a Twitter account, TwoWomenTravel, posting photos and updates of their journey by plane, train, and taxi.

The account of the journey was set up in solidarity with the many other Irish women who are forced to make the same journey every year.

It also supports the campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment – the amendment which criminalises all abortion in Ireland with the exception of a pregnancy which would result in the mother’s death.

The pair’s story comes just a couple of months after a UN human rights panel said that the country’s restrictive abortion laws are cruel and inhumane, and degrading to women.

Meanwhile, it’s reported here that billionaire George Soros, 86, has incurred the wrath of anti-abortionists by funding organisations seeking to scrap the Irish abortion ban.

A leaked strategy document details how Soros’s Open Society Foundation planned to fund Amnesty International Ireland, the Abortion Rights Campaign and the Irish Family Planning Association.


It was reported in 2014 that, through a networkof non-profit groups, Soros had spent at least $80 million since 1994 in an effort to legalise cannabis in the US.

Cora Sherlock, of The Pro Life Campaign said:

These revelations are extremely disturbing. The fact that an outside body is talking about funding and coordinating groups in Ireland to dismantle protection for the unborn child represents a gross interference and is an attack on democracy.

I think most people want to see a fair debate regardless of where they stand on the issue. The public will be deprived of such a debate if this kind of meddling continues from well-funded outside bodies.

The three organisations confirmed they had received grants from the foundation.

In the leaked strategy document, the foundation said it would fund the three Irish organisations:

To work collectively on a campaign to repeal Ireland’s constitutional amendment granting equal rights to an implanted embryo as the pregnant woman.

The document continued:

With one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world, a win there could impact other strongly Catholic countries in Europe, such as Poland, and provide much needed proof that change is possible, even in highly conservative places.
The recent legalisation of same-sex marriage offers valuable and timely opportunities to advance the campaign.

Amnesty International Ireland said the funding it received from the foundation amounted to €137,000 over two years.

Philanthropic foundations have always been an important source of funding for human rights work, both here in Ireland and globally. Amnesty International Ireland applied for and received funding from the Open Society Foundation to part fund our campaign on sexual and reproductive rights.

The Irish Family Planning Association said it received a support grant of €132,500 from the foundation.

The funding will be used to support the IFPA’s long-standing advocacy to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ireland.

The Abortion Rights Campaign did not disclose the amount of funding it received, but said it would be disclosed in its financial statements.

Hungarian-American businessman and philanthropist Soros (86) is among the 30 wealthiest people in the world, with an estimated fortune of €22bn. He is thought to have donated almost €10bn to various causes in recent decades.

Patrick Gunkel Is An Idea Man Who Thinks in Lists

Added August 21, 2016
 
AUSTIN, Texas-If you should need a list of 638 personality traits, 58 ways in which elephants resemble stars or 45,540 what-if questions about toxins, Patrick Gunkel is your man.

Mr. Gunkel is inventing a new field, which he calls ideonomy. Simply described, it is a computerized spinning of ideas.

But Mr. Gunkel defines it in grander terms-as nothing less than "the science of the laws of ideas and of the application of such laws to the generation of all possible ideas in connection with any subject, idea or thing."

All ideas? On anything? Mr. Gunkel often sounds so far out, one doesn't know quite what to make of him. But his notions intrigue just about everyone who knows of them. 

"He has provocative ideas on artificial intelligence," says Edward Fredkin, the former director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's computer science laboratory.

"He has encyclopedic scope," says Frederick Seitz, the president emeritus of Rockefeller University. Adds Robert Clark, a Harvard University law professor,

"Gunkel is undoubtedly the most interesting person I've ever met."

The 40-year-old Mr. Gunkel flunked out of high school and never attended college. But supported by occasional research grants, he has wandered for 20 years among universities and think tanks, following his nose from subject to subject and acquiring an astonishing breadth of knowledge.

Ask him about black holes, economic cycles or pigs with wings, and he will discourse on the subject at length. He has recorded all this learning in the form of lists.

In fact, heaps of them litter his apartment here. There are lists of odors, newly coined words, diseases and brain functions. There are lists of analogies, archetypal shapes and lists of other lists.

Mr. Gunkel sometimes even speaks in rapid-fire lists: "With ideonomy, we can design new kinds of clothing, textures, political systems, sports! Flowers! Dogs!  Dance movements!" If asked, he will reel off the 14 kinds of soda pop he has on hand.

Lists are the raw material of ideonomy. Weaving them together in a personal computer, Mr. Gunkel attempts to replicate, in some sense, what happens when, in a flash, human minds make connections. 

Combining lists of objects' sizes, for example, he invented an educational game based on such analogies as this: "A blood cell is to a pea as an oil tanker is to the atmosphere."

For another mind game, he combined lists of personality traits and emotions in order to generate 84,496 two-word descriptions of psychological states, such as "arrogant affection," "practical hostility" and "insecure acceptance." Many of the phrases are senseless, he says, but ones that click on a fast reading can suggest new insights about people. 

Such simple "idea combinatorics," as Mr. Gunkel calls this matchmaking, is just a playful warming up for ideonomy's more serious goal of suggesting insights to scientists and other researchers. Mixing lists of natural phenomena and fallacies, for instance, he generates reams of questions, such as "Can arteries have rashes?"

Most of them are gibberish-except to someone as wildly imaginative as Mr. Gunkel, who once wrote several thousand words on fallacies about ant slavery. But occasionally his method hits the eureka button.

Combing through Mr. Gunkel's printouts, a visitor recently stumbled onto the question, "What are the structural irregularities of superconductors?" Independently of ideonomy, this question recently became a hot topic among physicists studying new materials that conduct electricity without resistance. 

But can arteries have rashes? When recently visiting Mr.  Gunkel, Austin pathologist Michael T. O'Brien was faced with that question. "At first, I thought it was nonsense," he says. But on reflection, he remembered that, like skin, some large arteries are supplied with blood by tiny vessels. Then, he realized that such vessels might indeed become inflamed and dilated, as do those in the skin.

"I don't know whether something like this makes any difference in a disease or not," says Dr. O'Brien. "But it seems like something somebody should be researching."

Though ideonomy seems surprising-or downright bizarre -- to the uninitiated, it has plenty of precedents, says Mr.  Gunkel, pulling out a list of them from one of his stacks. In the 19th century, for example, the British philologist Peter Roget devised a kind of universal idea map as part of his well-known thesaurus.

And the periodic table found in any high-school chemistry book, says Mr. Gunkel, shows how combining lists-of families of elements, in this case- can reveal previously unseen connections. 

Mr. Gunkel recalls that he first began thinking ideonomically when, as a child, he visited Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and had a religious experience with all the diagrams, graphs, meters and audio recordings he encountered there.

In his teens, he discovered Joyce's "Finnegans Wake," the ultimate novel of hidden connections.  "It has 16 levels of puns!" he marvels.  Soon after that, he blasted off into intellectual outer space, leaving behind such mundane concerns as schoolwork, jobs, marriage, eating and sleeping.

In rapid succession, he failed as a student, mailman and park-maintenance man. Even the Army found him unfit. When drafted, "I just pretended to be myself, and they thought I was nuts," he says, emitting staccato barks that sound uncannily like a list of laughs. 

Meanwhile, he was researching and writing books -- 16 so far, all of them unpublished-on everything from the science of sidewalks to theories about the brain. 

Occasionally, he would materialize without warning in the offices of various luminaries, spouting ideas with the fervor of a boy scientist who has just produced dynamite in the basement.

That's how he met MIT's Mr. Fredkin, who, ironically, was discussing misunderstood geniuses with colleague Marvin Minsky one day in the early 1970s when Mr. Gunkel barged in. 

With his rail-thin build, manic gestures and torrential ideas, the young stranger "seemed to be a living example of what we were talking about," recalls Mr. Fredkin, who soon brought him to the school for a two-year research stint. 

The late Herman Kahn, a co-founder of the Hudson Institute, met Mr. Gunkel under similar circumstances and reportedly hired him after their first rap session. Over the years, a trickle of money from such friends has been Mr.  Gunkel's life-support system as he has explored the distant planet of his own mind.

That voyage has left him little time to socialize, a part of life that he cheerfully says is "totally mysterious to me." But after 15 years of reading, writing and ranting in Boston's academic circles, Mr. Gunkel last year moved to Austin in search of more sun and new friends. To find them, he pored over the University of Texas phone book, made a list of 52 students and faculty members living near his apartment and went knocking on doors.

Introducing himself is a snap, he says: "I just show them one of my lists." Meanwhile, he is beginning to write his magnum opus on ideonomy, a project financed by a five-year unsolicited grant he was awarded in 1984 from New York's Richard Lounsbery Foundation, a nonprofit supporter of research. The $20,000-a-year grant, like most of Mr. Gunkel's awards through the years, was arranged by academic friends who regard him as the ultimate long shot-one that just might pay off big.

The jury is still out on ideonomy. But it already has helped some researchers. Ideonomical analogs, says Mr. Clark, the Harvard law professor, helped inspire him to write a research paper comparing the structure of plants with human hierarchies.

And a Gunkel list enumerating mistakes that people make may help in the design of artificial-intelligence systems that can recognize and correct their own mistakes, says Douglas Lenat, a researcher at Microelectronics & Computer Technology Corp., a high-tech consortium in Austin. 

But can there really be a science of ideas? Even Mr.  Gunkel isn't quite sure whether the notion is bonkers or brilliant. And even if it is possible, it might be too unwieldy to be practical. Indeed, brainstorming with Mr.  Gunkel is a bit like being hit over the head by the muse with a sledgehammer. "He puts people off," says Mr. Lenat. 

To help a biologist interested in toxins, Mr. Gunkel within minutes had his computer generate 45,540 questions on the topic. Paid a penny for each of the interesting thoughts he is producing, Mr. Gunkel might someday be a millionaire. 

"He pours out about 60 ideas a minute, and 59 of them are bad," says Mr. Fredkin. "But even with one good idea out of 60, it's still an amazing accomplishment."

In Texas, a ‘good Christian’ used Scripture to abuse girl

Added August 20, 2015

Dell Ivan Godkin, 48, has begun a life sentence after he was found guilty by a Montgomery County jury on charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The conviction of the onetime volunteer youth pastor came as a shock to his family and members of his church, according to this report.

Prosecutor Monica Cooper said his family and church members had testified that he was a good Christian. They could not believe he had assaulted a girl over a period of four years, using Scripture to justify the abuse which began when the victim, a relative of Godkin, was just 13.

Cooper added:

He would say lots of things about God being OK with it. He would use Bible verses about men’s and women’s roles to justify the abuse. He’s the scariest kind of child predator because he’s the kind who is sitting next to you in church, and he seems like the nicest guy.

The victim testified against the man in court, Cooper said, as did another alleged victim who is part of a pending case against Godkin in Liberty County.

Lead prosecutor Sheri Culberson.Cooper said:

We are very proud of the victims in this case. It takes a lot of courage to face your abuser during a trial like this. But, ultimately, the community is a safer place because of their courage and bravery.

According to prosecutors, Godkin’s ex-wife testified during the punishment phase of the trial that he beat her repeatedly during their 12-year marriage.

“One of the assaults occurred after she had gone to their pastor at church seeking help,” according to a news release from the district attorney’s office. “By the time she arrived home, Godkin knew she had spoken to the pastor and beat her because of it.”

In Russia, Archangel Michael joins fight against corruption

Added August 19, 2016

Religion’s grip on state affairs in Russia tightened this week when Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia appointed Saint Michael the Archangel the patron saint of the Russian Investigative Committee at the behest of the committee’s head Alexander Bastrykin.

According to this report, a spokesman for the anti-corruption agency, Vladimir Markin, yesterday announced that “the Saint Archistratigus Michael” was chosen:

In order to strengthen the spiritual and moral foundations of the Russian Investigative Committee’s staff.

St Michael the Archangel was chosen because in the Holy Scripture he is portrayed as the main fighter against all sorts of illegality among people, and in the Book of Revelation Archangel Michael acts as the warrior of light and the chief leader in the war against the Devil and the dark forces

In Orthodox iconography Archangel Michael is depicted as piercing the Devil with a spear and as trampling with a foot upon a rich old man [as a symbol of the fight against bribery and other corruption-linked crimes]. Archangel Michael is also often depicted as holding the scales where one scale is heavier than the other, which helps the guard of the Gates of Eden to discern between a righteous man and a sinner, thus allowing us to draw parallels with criminal proceedings, which is the main task of the Investigative Committee.Archangel-Michael-defeating-Satan

The first ceremony to hand over an Archangel Michael icon is expected to be held at the St Petersburg Academy of the Russian Investigative Committee on September 1,  when the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the academy will take place, he said.

A draft agreement between the Investigative Committee and the Russian Orthodox Church is currently being drawn up at Bastrykin’s instruction and with the involvement of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Synodal Department for Relations with the Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies, Markin added.

The agreements plans on:

Resurrecting and strengthening spirituality based on traditional moral values, which is a crucial factor of Russian society’s well-being and security; the use of the spiritual potential that Orthodoxy has to protect cultural, spiritual and moral heritage and historical traditions, as well as to enhance stability in social life, overcome the threat of the people’s spiritual degradation and reduce crime rates in the country; the crackdown on negative phenomena such as terrorism, extremism, corruption, immorality, as well as other negative tendencies stemming from the false understanding of freedom and human rights

Archangel Michael is present in the majority of Russia’s traditional religions (Orthodox Christianity, Islam and Judaism) and is mentioned in the Old and New Testament, as well as in the Koran. This will help ensure the worshipping of this patron saint in the Investigative Committee’s departments in Russia’s North Caucasus Federal District as well, Markin said.

Similar initiatives were earlier successfully put into practice in other security and law enforcement services of the country, he said.

Slaves abused and threatened with hell by Texas woman

Added August 19, 2016

Olga Murra, above, convinced two Mexicans she held in captivity for 14 years that she was ‘the voice of God’,  made them listen to recordings of her reading Bible verses and threatened them with eternity in hell if they disobeyed her.

According to this report, she warned one of the women that if they disobeyed, immigration officials would come to Texas, kill her and bury her in a field “with other illegal aliens.”

Last week, a jury convicted Murra, 64, of two counts of forced labour and two counts of harbouring an illegal alien.

When she is sentenced in November, Murra faces 20 years in federal prison for each labour charge and ten years apiece for the harbouring convictions.

Murra made the women sleep on the floor and ask permission to use the toilet. They could only talk to Murra — not anyone else in the homes where they lived. She only fed them bread and water.

One woman told the FBI that Murra would hit her.

The women were forced to hand over money they earned from cleaning houses to Murra, who also made them get jobs at McDonald’s and Walmart using forged documents.

Murra was born in the United States, but lived in Mexico from shortly after her birth until September 1997, when she moved to Texas — first El Paso, then Fort Worth. She operated cleaning businesses in both cities.

When Murra returned to the United States, she brought a 33-year-old Mexican woman with her.

A year later, she arranged for another woman, who was 21, to come to the United States.

The women would be her slaves for the next 14 years and endured a steady stream of abuse and indoctrination.

Approximately once or twice a week, the Murra required one of her victims to attend religious instruction in the residence, during which she preached for two to three hours. Additionally,Murra required (the victim) to listen to religious recordings when she cleaned homes, which consisted of the defendant reading Bible verses and discussing their meaning.

Forced to endure Bible verses?

I’m amazed that a charge of torture wasn’t added to Murra’s crimes.

This is the second case of it’s kind to come before a Texas court. Earlier this month a Muslim couple, Hassan al-Homoud, 46, and his wife Zainab al-Hosani, 39, above, were ordered to leave the US after they were found guilty of on charges of slavery.

UK hate preacher found guilty of supporting Islamic State

Added 18.8.2016

Party animal-turned-hate-preacher Anjem Choudary, 49, above, is facing jail after being found guilty of supporting Islamic State.

According to the Guardian, Choudary was convicted at the Old Bailey after jurors heard he had sworn an oath of allegiance to murderous Islamic group.

Choudary, who has links to one of Lee Rigby’s killers, Michael Adebolajo, and the Islamist militant Omar Bakri Muhammad, also urged followers to support Isis in a series of talks broadcast on YouTube.

Choudary and his co-defendant, Mohammed Rahman, 33, right, told their supporters to obey Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, who is also known as a “caliph”, and to travel to Syria to support the terrorist group. 

They were convicted in July but details of the trial, including the verdict, could not be reported until today.

The men face up to 10 years in jail for inviting support for a proscribed organisation. They will be sentenced in September.

Prosecutor Richard Whittam QC said:

The prosecution case is that whichever name is used, the evidence is quite clear: when these defendants were inviting support for an Islamic state or caliphate they were referring to the one declared in Syria and its environs by Ibrahim [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi at the end of June 2014.

Terrorist organisations thrive and grow because people support them and that is what this case is about. Do not confuse that with the right of people to follow the religion of their choice or to proclaim support for a caliphate.

Choudary, who has a long history with groups involved in radical Islamist demonstrations, such as the now-banned al-Muhajiroun and Islam4UK, denied he was inviting support for IS and claimed to be a “lecturer in sharia law” giving:

The Islamic perspective.

He began studying sharia law under Syrian-born Bakri Muhammad, a Salafi Islamist militant leader who formed al-Muhajiroun with the aim of promoting sharia in the 1990s, the court heard.

Bakri Muhammad fled to Lebanon in 2005, where he was joined by Choudary for about ten weeks. Bakri Muhammad was ultimately jailed in Lebanon for terror offences.

Choudary admitted he was media spokesman for Islam4UK during a time in which the controversial group put out “incendiary statements” calling for Buckingham Palace to be turned into a mosque and Nelson’s Column to be destroyed.

On the ninth anniversary of the London terror attacks – 7 July 2014 – Choudary and Rahman posted an oath of allegiance online under their kunyas or Islamic names, Abu Luqman, used by Choudary, and Abu Baraa, used by Rahman, on an extremist website.

Between August and September 2014, Choudary and Rahman posted speeches on YouTube encouraging support for IS.

The prosecution also played an older lecture given by Choudary in March 2013, which did not form part of the charge but was provided to the jury for background.

In the lecture, titled “Duties of the Khilafah State”, Choudary makes clear his desire for the establishment of a caliphate as well as his support for the military action of Islamic State.

He said:

We don’t have any borders, my dear Muslims. It is about time we resumed conquering for the sake of Allah. Next time when your child is at school and the teacher says ‘what do you want when you grow up, what is your ambition?’, they should say to dominate the whole world by Islam, including Britain, that is my ambition.

The prosecution told the court that the defendants were “acutely aware” of the potential criminal implications of being overt in their support for IS.

Whittam told the court:

The prosecution alleges that this led to great care in the way in which the defendants expressed themselves publicly, particularly after Isil was proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the Home Secretary.

Born in north London, Choudary initially studied medicine at Barts medical school before changing courses and enrolling at Guildford College of Law. He opened his own solicitor’s practice in his late 20s but told the court that by that point he had become religious and his beliefs did not sit easily with certain aspects of the law.

In 2014, The Spectator revealed that Choudary was living on state hand-outs to the tune of £25,000 a year.

£1-million needed to keep Jewish children ‘pure and holy’

Added August 17, 2016

A fund-raising drive has been launched in the UK by ultra-Orthodox Jews to  raise £1-million  to prevent children escaping from strict faith communities and living with ‘irreligious parents’ in an ‘evil culture’.

The Independent reports that drive has been established to fund the legal fees of divorcing parents involved in child custody battles with ex-partners who want to join mainstream society.

Flyers for a fundraising event in the Stamford Hill area of London call for the community to back the bid, saying: 

We now need one million pounds and therefore the community is requested to join in with a minimum sum of £500.

The flyers were accompanied by a letter of support from a local rabbi stating they wish to fight cases involving 17 children:

To our great pain, and our misfortune, our community finds itself in a terrible situation – 17 of our pure and holy children where one of the parents, God rescue them, have gone out into an evil culture, and want to drag their children after them.

This is a decree of apostasy and this situation has motivated our rabbis who are in Israel … to come here in a personal capacity to increase prayer and to gather money for legal fees, and to achieve this a convention has been organised of prayer and also to collect money.

The Charedi community is notoriously insular and practices a 19th-century interpretation of the faith. Engagement with the secular world is deeply taboo, Yiddish is spoken as the primary language and arranged marriages are standard practice.

Men wear 19th-century Eastern European dress including long black coats and black hats, while married women must dress modestly and cover their hair.

Campaigners and former community members have told The Independent the tactical funding of legal fees tears families apart by denying those wishing to leave the religion access to their children as a punishment for no longer believing in ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

They say the practice unfairly skews child custody battles in favour of the funded parent who remains in the faith groups, rather than enabling custody to be decided on the basis of the best interests of children. Many who join mainstream society have little grasp of the English language or legal system as well as no financial resources, they are severely disadvantaged in court cases and can struggle to understand or articulate their experiences or get adequate legal representation.

A spokesperson for GesherEU, a charity supporting people wishing to leave Charedi communities, told The Independent:

Child custody cases instigated by a parent leaving the community are seen as a huge threat to the Charedi community, knowing that people can leave the community and take their children with them and give them a decent secular education and live successfully outside of the community.

It is very common within the Charedi community for the religious parent to receive full financial support throughout the court process to ensure the children remain within the community. The parent who stays religious will receive fully funded solicitors and barristers with the sole intention of ensuring the children remain resident with the parent who stays in the community.

The religious parent will be pressurised into filing for full custody and even lie in court so that the other parent is seen as ‘an unfit parent’ and lose custody/contact with their children. Often parents who leave will experience domestic violence as the religious parent will resort to threats and emotional and physical abuse to try and coerce their spouse to remain married and living within the Charedi community.

The spoksperson added:

An event like this is a clear warning to those thinking of leaving as well as a scare tactic: ‘If you leave we have all the money power and resources to fight you and ensure your children stay within the community are alienated from you.’ This does work to some extent and deters many who would otherwise leave knowing they will be facing a legal battle with possibly devastating consequences.

The Independent has seen details of legal cases brought before British Family Courts in recent years whereby the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has funded legal fees of a “believing” parent in the hope that they will be given custody of the children above the other parent. In a 2013 ruling, a judge told the court:

The mother and father come from the … Charedi community of ultra-Orthodox Jews. A major reason for the marriage breakdown was that the mother no longer wished to follow the strict tenets of that community. She remains an orthodox Jew but wished for a way of living for herself and the children which allowed greater diversity of educational, personal and economic opportunity. Her wish has come at a price. Her own parents and siblings are no longer in contact with her.

The financial cost of this litigation is significant. The mother does not receive public funding, and pays the legal costs from her own pocket. The father’s legal costs are paid for by his community and by his parents … This is a grossly disproportionate misdirection of the father’s available financial resources. It is also a wearing down of the mother’s resources. I did not make a costs order on this occasion but, if these or similar disputes are continued, the court may have to intervene with costs orders in future to prevent further financial injustice to the mother.

A court case last year exposed the extreme pressure individuals feel when leaving the community as a woman sought to divorce her husband after alleging sexual and domestic violence, and gain custody of their daughter. Court records seen by The Independent show the woman was unable to read or write English and was represented on a voluntary basis by lawyers due to lack of funds. It is not known how her ex-husband’s legal fees were funded.

The ruling notes that the woman says she was beaten and raped repeatedly throughout her marriage but:

Was inhibited from speaking out about her abusive experiences contemporaneously because of the culture in which she was living … where she would have no audience and no sympathy.

The woman told the court that when she attended a GP’s appointment for vaginal pain incurred by rape, her husband attended with her to translate English for her, meaning she was unable to get help there.

She said that once she did speak out and seek custody of her child, community members spread rumours she had been sexually promiscuous.

A member of the community threw eggs at me for disclosing the violence and allegedly bringing shame upon the community.

The woman was granted custody and left the country soon after to begin a new life with her child.

Priest sent picture of his penis to a pool maintenance man

Added August 16, 2016

Catholic priest Monsignor Larry McGovern, above, is being sued by a pool maintenance contractor for alleged sexual harassment and retaliation.

According to this report, McGovern, of the Stockton Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in California, sacked the contractor after the victim reported receiving a picture of the priest’s genitals.

Attorney John Manly, acting for the victim, said:

This is a classic case of sexual harassment and retaliation. Monsignor McGovern texted a graphic photograph of his naked genitalia to my client, then terminated his employment after my client reported the lewd photo to the police. This would be a clear violation of the law by any employer but it is even more disturbing when committed by a member of the clergy.

The lawsuit states the incident happened on July 26 and claims when the victim asked why McGovern sent the photo and if the monsignor was supposed to be celibate, McGovern responded with:

Celibate means not married …

This report adds that Manly’s client is a married man in his 40s.

The attorney said that when his client was cleaning the pool, McGovern, who also heads the Presentation Catholic School, would often sunbathe and make flirtatious comments while:

Laying around in a Speedo, making our client very uncomfortable. Our client’s a married man; this is his pastor.

After being challenged by the victim, McGovern allegedly wrote:

Oops. Sorry about that. The curse of the Internet. Shame on me. What is my penance?

Manly added:

Monsignor McGovern either fired him because he reported him or he fired him because he rebuffed whatever advance McGovern was making. If any principal or any school administrator sent a picture of their penis to a parent, they should be fired, not the other way around.

The lawsuit also reveals that McGovern was a key witness in several sexual harassment lawsuits involving Father Oliver O’ Grady, who allegedly molested and abused at least 25 children, and Father Michael Kelly who allegedly molested an altar boy in the 1980s.

The victims’ attorney Vince W Finaldi, said:

Monsignor McGovern was a witness and denied knowing of any sexual improprieties by Father Kelly and Father O’Grady, despite living with them in the rectory for years and contrary to victim statements. It is sad but not surprising that he now stands accused of sexual misconduct.

On Friday, August 12, the Diocese of Stockton responded to the allegations with the following statement:

Today the Diocese of Stockton learned for the first time of employment-related allegations against Monsignor Lawrence McGovern, the Pastor of Presentation Parish in Stockton. In accordance with the Canon Law of the Church, Bishop Stephen Blaire has placed Monsignor McGovern on administrative leave pending a full and complete investigation.

US judge banishes Muslim couple for keeping slaves

Added August 15, 2016

Texas-based couple Hassan al-Homoud, 46, and his wife Zainab al-Hosani, 39, above, were ordered to leave the US after they were found guilty of on charges of slavery.

The couple, according to this report, pleaded guilty to the crimes of holding persons against their will, and forced labour, otherwise known as slavery.

They tried to convince District Judge Orlando Garcia that their actions were acceptable because the Prophet Mohammed kept slaves of his own. Therefore, any punishment they received would be Islamophobic.

Garcia was having none of that. He decided to banish the pair from the US rather than sentence them to a term of imprisonment in an American jail. He said he he did not want to risk having them released early for good behaviour then have them repeat their faith-based crimes.

He knew that, as followers of sharia law, the couple posed a danger to the United States.

The couple were ordered  to pay each of their two victims a sum of $60,000 in compensation.

According to a complaint prepared by Homeland Security’s Special Agent Edward Acuna, the problems are believed to have begun when al-Homoud applied for visas for two individuals, one from Indonesia, and the other from Bangladesh.

In the application for the visas, al-Homoud stated the two would be paid as a housekeeper, and a personal servant, respectively, and would collect a monthly income of $1573.87.

This was a lie. Al-Homoud paid his slaves nothing.

The judge heard that the two women were living in squalor. There had no utensils,  no toilet paper, no television, no books, no linen, no furniture, and only a couple of blankets and pillows on the floor. The pair did not even have a key to their own apartment, and al-Homoud is believed to have confiscated their cell phones. Neither of the women had any money.

Each day, the two women would be transported to al-Homoud’s luxury residence where they were forced to obey his and his wife’s every whim. They were allowed to eat from the family’s leftovers, but that amount was kept to a minimum, and were at times forbidden to use the toilet in the house.

When al-Homoud was not “using” his slaves, he “stored” them in a plastic box in his garage until they were needed again. He kept them from escaping by threatening to incarcerate them in a prison in Qatar.

This report identified al-Homoud as being a Qatari military officer who received military training at San Antonio’s Camp Bullis.

In a statement read in court, al-Homoud said he took full responsibility for his actions.

My conduct has brought shame upon myself, my lovely wife, upon my family and upon my country.

‘Burkinis’ a threat to public order, says French mayor

‘Burkinis’ a threat to public order, says French mayor

Added August 14, 2016

A row has erupted in France following a ban imposed on an Islamic swimming garment knows as a ‘burkini’ by David Lisnard, the Mayor of Cannes.

The decree issued by Lisnard stated:

Swimwear displaying religious affiliation in an ostentatious way, while France and its religious sites are currently the target of terrorist attacks, could create risks of trouble to public order.

The ban on the full-body, head-covering swimsuit, at the height of the French Riviera vacation season, came as tensions remain high after the Islamist attacks on nearby Nice and on a Catholic church in north-west France last month.

The town hall confirmed that the ordinance, which applies for the whole month of August, means women wearing burkini-style swimsuits face €38 (£32) fines if they refuse to change swimsuit or leave the beach.

Thierry Migoul, head of municipal services for Cannes, said:

We are not talking about banning the wearing of religious symbols on the beach, but ostentatious clothing which refers to an allegiance to terrorist movements which are at war with us.

The mayor added:

I’m simply banning a uniform that is the symbol of Islamist extremism.

He insisted it wasn’t the only clothing restriction in force in Cannes, citing a recently decree to outlaw men from:

Walking around bare-chested in a swimsuit in town.

The mayor of the nearby town of Villeneuve-Loubet, also in the Alpes-Maritimes area, has also introduced a burkini ban.

But Muslim and human rights groups today slammed the move as absurd and illegal.

Said Hervé Lavisse, President of the local section of the Human Rights League.

This is abuse of the law and we reserve the right to take this to the courts. What next? Morality police like in the land of the Mullahs?

Feiza Ben Mohamed, spokeswoman for the Muslims Federation for the South, said:

It’s scandalous to suggest this is a public security issue. How is going to the beach in a veil a public security risk? They are shamefully mixing up terrorists with the wider Muslim community.

She added:

This type of row is totally counterproductive and plays into Isil’s hands. It’s exactly what Isil want – the mayor is doing their work for them. Isil seeks to make our young people believe that they are excluded, stigmatised and they will use such examples in their recruitment drive.

France’s Collective against Islamophobia, CCIF, is helping ten Muslim women bring an urgent legal request to have the ban overturned. Spokesman Marwan Muhammad said:

These women tell me that as Cannes residents, they feel unfairly treated.

He said he was confident the ban would be overturned within “three or four days”, citing a 2014 case in which a court quashed a veil ban on a beach in the Essonne area.

Authorities in Cannes claim they have noticed an upswing in the number of women wearing burkinis on the beach, but admitted none had been spotted since the ban quietly came into force at the start of the month.

Donald Trump, Whose Favorite Book is the Bible, Has No Clue How To Get Into Heaven

Added August 13, 2016

At a meeting with evangelical pastors in Orlando yesterday, Donald Trump told the crowd that he needed everyone to pray for him. Because if they could get him elected, he can do great things, and that will allow him to get into Heaven.

Seriously.

“This may be the most important election that our country has ever had. So go out and spread the word,” an unusually soft-spoken Trump said at the event sponsored by the American Renewal Project. “Once I get in I will do my thing that I do very well. It think it’s probably, it may be the only way that I’m going to get to heaven.”

I know this is just his latest failed attempt at a joke, but it also sheds some light into his ignorance. Plenty has been written about how little Trump understands religion. Hell, at that same meeting yesterday, he asked the evangelical audience for help with his poll numbers in Utah, unaware that Mormons, not evangelicals, are the dominant religious group in the state.

But Trump’s joke suggests that he genuinely believes the only way he’ll get into Heaven is by doing really amazing, consequential, important things — by becoming President and helping people.

The problem is that that’s not what evangelical Christianity teaches. That’s not even what Trump’s Presbyterianism teaches. Both groups believe all it takes to go to Heaven is faith in the divinity of Jesus. That’s it. That’s the whole point of why they want to “save” you.

So this low-key moment Trump had with evangelicals became just the most recent opportunity to show them he doesn’t understand the very basics of their faith.

Not that evangelicals will care. They haven’t cared about anything else he’s done so far. Trump is pandering to them and they love it. And they’re more than willing to throw the country out the window because they can’t just suck it up and admit Trump’s not qualified to hold public office.

Lengthy jail term imposed on ‘wolf in shepherd’s clothing’

Added August 12, 2016

Paedophile Catholic priest Philip Temple, 66, was  jailed in London for 12 years after admitting the sexual abuse of 13 children dating back to the 1970s.

Temple, a former children’s home worker, was sentenced at Woolwich crown court after pleading guilty to 20 charges of sexual assault in April and a further seven charges this week.

Temple twice stood trial in the late 1990s. In the first case the jury was unable to reach a verdict and Temple was acquitted in a retrial.

Before passing sentence today, judge Christopher Hehir, apologised to one of Temple’s victims, saying that

Justice was not done when you came to court in 1998 and 1999.

The court heard that the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had become a self-harming recluse and had attempted suicide following the trials. He said:

I can only imagine the damage he has caused to other victims. We can never escape from what he did and we can never be free of it.

Temple was “an extremely skilled liar and manipulator with sociopathic qualities”, the victim added.

The judge said there had been another missed opportunity to bring Temple to justice when the youngest known victim, who was six or seven when abused by Temple when he worked for Wandsworth council in south London, began civil proceedings against the council in 1991.

According to Jonathan Polnay, prosecuting, the civil case “appeared to be settled with no payment” and police did not investigate when the victim reported the alleged abuse four years later.

Temple sexually assaulted boys and one girl when working for Wandsworth and Lambeth councils in the 1970s. He became a priest in 1988 and abused two altar boys while serving at Christ the King monastery, Vita Et Pax in Cockfosters, north London, in the 1990s.

The judge said he viewed Temple’s move to become ordained as a Catholic priest as:

An aggravating factor. You of course exploited the opportunities your deceit as to your character had afforded you, not only by sexually abusing children but, as a priest, by lying on oath to deny the truthful accusations brought against you by one of your victims.

Your actions as a priest demonstrated that in truth you were a wolf in shepherd’s clothing.

Detectives from the Metropolitan police’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse (SOECA) command launched an investigation after receiving information that implicated Temple in multiple offences.

He was arrested on 6 July last year.

Lambeth council said it was cooperating with the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse (IICSA). A spokesman said:

We hope the outcome provides some solace to the victims of these dreadful crime.

In a statement, the diocese of Westminster said it was:

Aware of the sentencing of Philip Temple, a member of the Monte Oliveto Benedictine order. The diocese has fully cooperated with the statutory authorities throughout the investigation. The diocese of Westminster has robust safeguarding policies in place and rigorous selection procedures for candidates for the priesthood.

Temple, of no fixed address, also admitted two counts of perjury relating to his earlier trials.

If Italy now accepts gay unions, it must also legalise polygamy

Added August 11, 2016

Muslim leader Hamza Piccardo, above, has ignited a row in Italy by calling for the legalisation of polygamy.

According to this report, the founder of the Union of Islamic Communities and Organisations (UCOII) in Italy took to Facebook to declare that polygamy is a “civil right” and that Italy would benefit from the large number of Muslim births it would promote.

Responding to a new law allowing same sex couples to enter civil unions, Piccardo argued that if gay relationships are a civil right then Italians must accept polygamy as a civil right too.

When it comes to civil rights here, then polygamy is a civil right. Muslims do not agree with homosexual partnerships, and yet they have to accept a system that allows it. There is no reason why Italy should not accept polygamous marriages of consenting persons.

The call for polygamy, from Italy’s largest Muslim umbrella group, was met with outrage by a number of politicians.

Debora Serracchiani, deputy chairman of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), right, said:Debora_Serracchiani.jpeg

Centuries of fighting for women’s rights can not simply be brushed aside. Polygamy has nothing to do with civil rights.

Paolo Grimoldi, an MEP for the anti mass migration Northern League, declared:

This is the moderate Islam, with which the Italian government intends to keep the dialogue open.

Reflecting on the row his Facebook post unleashed, Piccardo said:

A simple consideration of legal philosophy has sparked an uproar so grotesque as to be even funny.

The former European Muslim Network spokesman also suggested Italy needs foreign labour and that polygamy would boost the nation’s economy.

Do not underestimate the demographic action of polygamy. It would rebalance population decline and the consequent need for foreign labour.

Priest appointed to help stressed Russian athletes

Added August 10, 2016

Russians athletes who were cleared to participate in the Olympic Games in Brazil following a major doping scandal are not having a great time in Rio, despite having been blessed by a walking, talking Christmas tree better known as His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, above.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

The Russians, like characters from any garden-variety Cold War movie, are cast in the role of the villains at the Rio Olympics. During the first three days of competition, they have competed under the suspicion of fellow athletes and under the derision of otherwise neutral fans. More than 100 Russian athletes were banished from the Games because of their ties to a state-sanctioned doping program; the 270 or so who were cleared and are here to compete have encountered open hostility.

Heavens to Betsy, they’ve even been booed!

Bring on Archpriest Andrey Alexeyev, rector of the Church of St Dmitry Donskoy in Severnoye Butovo, south of Moscow.

Alexeyev, according to this report, been appointed “father-confessor” to the Russian Olympic team. He declared:

I have an inner demand to share with you a piece of unexpected news that His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia appointed me a father-confessor of the Russian Olympic team during their stay in Rio de Janeiro.

Alexeyev said that members of the Russian team have experienced:

Great stress in connection with the notorious developments, which certainly exceeded sport grounds.

The priest urged parishioners to pray for Russian athletes:

Who will have to go through difficult trials. Our task is to support them in this complicated affair.

Earlier Patriarch Kirill met with Russian athletes and conducted a special prayer service for them in the Assumption Cathedral in the Kremlin.

A site called “Last news from Russia” adds that Muslims are also fervently head-butting their magic carpets for the athletes.

Muslims proclaim support for vicious killer Tanveer Ahmed

Added August 9, 2016

In a shocking display of support for taxi driver Tanveer Ahmed – sentenced today to 27 years for the killing of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah – a group of Muslims present at his sentencing at Glasgow High Court echoed his defiant shout of ‘Mohammed is the the prophet, he is the only one.’

According to this report, Ahmed, 32, travelled from Yorkshire to confront Shah about clips the shopkeeper had posted online which he said:

Disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.

Watching a clip featuring Shah on his phone as he made his way to Glasgow, Ahmed was heard in a phone message saying:

Listen to this guy. Something needs to be done. It needs nipped in the bud.

He pulled out a knife and stabbed the 40-year-old, who he did not know, at his store in Glasgow’s Shawlands area on 24 March, 2016.

Ahmed, a father of three from Bradford, pleaded guilty to the murder last month.

In passing sentence, Judge Lady Rae said the killing was:

An appalling display of merciless violence.

She expressed her concern that Ahmed showed no remorse whatsoever for his crime.

James Matthews, Sky News’ Scotland Correspondent, said:

Inside court, a section of the public gallery was filled by supporters of Tanveer Ahmed. As he was led away from the dock he faced them, raised his hand to the air, and shouted in Arabic ‘Mohammed is the prophet, he is the only one’. They returned the sentiment, with a collective voice, as the killer was forced down stairs into the holding cells beneath court.

Shah, described as “a pillar of the community”, was a member of the Ahmadiyya community.

The court heard that Ahmadiyyas differ from other Muslims in their belief that the Mohammed was not the final Prophet.

A statement released on behalf of Shah’s family said:

Asad’s family have lost a peaceful, kind and loving brother, son and uncle who can never be replaced. Most of his family have now left or are in the process of leaving Scotland, a country they came to seek safety in.

The murder shocked the close-knit community in south Glasgow, where several vigils were held in Shah’s memory. An online fundraising page for his family raised more than £100,000.

Rafiq Hayat, of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK, said:

Mr Shah’s only crime was to spread a message of love and compassion and the whole city paid tribute to him for his kindness and care. No matter how brutal the crime and how evil the ideology, the people of Glasgow and the UK have made clear that we will not let hate prevail.

Christianity is Incompatible With the Universe As We Know It

Added August 9, 2016
by  

John W. Loftus has released his latest anthology of essays written by experts around one particular topic. This one is called Christianity in the Light of Science (Prometheus Books, 2016) and the chapters cover everything from Creationism to Jesus.

Christianity in the Light of Science_cover

In the excerpt below, written by the late Victor Stenger, we look at whether the modern universe can have any compatibility with the Christian worldview:

CHRISTIANITY AND THE NEW COSMOS

Let’s now ask how the Christian faith fits in with our current scientific understanding of the cosmos, which far exceeds that of just a few decades ago. The universe visible from Earth contains an estimated 150 billion galaxies, each galaxy containing on the order of a hundred billion stars. It is known to be 13.8 billion years old, with an uncertainty of less than 100 million years. The most distant object we can in principle see is now 46 billion light-years away, taking into account the expansion of the universe during the time the photons carrying its image traveled to our telescopes. This marks a horizon beyond which we cannot see because light has not had the time to reach us in the age of the universe.

Well-established inflationary cosmology implies that on the other side of our horizon lies a region far larger than our visible universe, which arose from the same primordial seed.

And that’s just our personal universe. Besides that, there may be an eternal multiverse containing an unlimited number of other universes. However, for the purposes of this discussion I will ignore the possibility of other universes, which is still debatable, and just stick with the one that indisputably exists — our own.

So, let us consider two possibilities that are so far consistent with our best knowledge:

1. Intelligent life exists on only a single planet, Earth.

2. Life is rare, and intelligent life even rarer. But the universe is so vast that there still are countless numbers of intelligent beings in our universe.

1. We Are Alone

Christians are told that they are the special creation of a lone divinity that created everything that is. While making sure every photon and electron in the universe behaves properly without us noticing, their God is also listening to their every thought and helping them to do the right thing — as he defines it.

This involves God controlling momentous events, such as telling a president of the United States to go to war, as George W. Bush said God did, or redirecting a tennis ball off a Christian lady’s racquet so it wins her the point as she shouts, “Thank you, Jesus!”

Of course, a God of limitless power could do all that. By why would he have waited until just 150,000 years ago to create humans? And why would he have confined them to a tiny speck of dust in a vast ocean of space, with no chance, at least with our present physical makeup, of ever traveling much beyond the environs of Earth? If he desired the worship of humans so badly, then you would think he should have made it available to him for all times and from all places.

Apologists make an illogical argument that they think is the clincher for the existence of God. They claim that life in the universe depends very sensitively on the value of a large number of physical parameters. According to this view, since the specific values of the parameters needed for life cannot possibly have resulted from chance (they can’t prove that), they must have been “fine-tuned” by God in order to produce us.

Surely any God worthy of the name would not have been so incompetent as to build a vast, out-of-tune universe and then have to delicately twiddle all these knobs so that a single planet is capable of producing human beings. It would have made a lot more sense for him to have enabled us to live anywhere in the universe, even outer space. But the fact is — he did not.

2. We Are Not Alone

New estimates based on the brightness variations of thousands of stars measured by the Kepler Space Telescope suggest that within our horizon there may be as many as 5 × 1021 planets capable of sustaining biological life of some form. We have seen that beyond our horizon exists a far vaster region of space. It is estimated that this region that contains a minimum of twenty-three orders of magnitude as many galaxies as those inside our horizon but is likely to be much bigger. This gives at least 1044 possible habitable planets in our universe.

This is not pure speculation. It is based on observations and the theory of cosmic inflation that is now empirically well established. So even if the probability of intelligent life for an otherwise habitable planet is miniscule, say one part in a trillion-trillion (1024), that leaves 1020 planets with some form of intelligent life.

So, let us consider the scenario of a Christian God presiding over a universe containing a multitude of intelligent life-forms, all created in his image (being unlimited, he has an unlimited number of images) living on other planets. Of course, the Christian could simply say that this adds to the magnificence of her God. But the God of Christianity does not hold a patent on magnificence. The gods of all the major religions are equally magnificent. Christianity is more than the worship of an infinite being. It is the worship of a highly personal God who so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son there to die an excruciating death on the cross to atone for the sin of the first human beings eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

In The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine wrote, “Are we to suppose that every world in the boundless creation had an Eve, an apple, a serpent, and a redeemer?” Of course, Paine was unaware how vast this “boundless creation” really is. Jesus must be continually dying on the cross, every nanosecond or so, on some planet in our universe, in order to save from eternal damnation every form of life that evolved sufficient intelligence to eat from the Tree of Knowledge.

In the 1930s, astronomer Edward Milne suggested how multiple crucifixions across the universe could be avoided by Jesus dying just once, here on Earth, and the information of his act of atonement then transmitted by radio to other civilizations. However, it would take well over 46 billion years for a signal sent from Earth to reach every planet currently within our horizon, and even longer to reach those beyond. So most intelligent beings would have to wait an awful long time to learn of the Atonement.

While I know of no official policy on this question provided by the Catholic Church or any Protestant denomination, the Vatican is not unaware of the problem. Speaking unofficially, in 2008 the director of the Vatican Observatory, Fr. José Gabriel Funes, told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, that there may be other intelligent beings created by God. However, he suggested, “They could have remained in full friendship with the creator.” He likened humans to “lost sheep” for which “God became man in Jesus to save us.” The other intelligent beings did not necessarily need redemption. (The fact that none have communicated with us yet could indicate that they avoided eating from the Tree of Knowledge and, as a result, never developed radio.) According to Funes, “Jesus became man once and for all. The Incarnation is a single and unique event.”

So, if Funes is accurately reflecting Catholic thinking, humans remain the favorite of God — although a strange kind of favorite who needs redeeming while the countless other intelligent life-forms do not.

My guess, based on what one hears from pulpits across America, is that Protestants would take the same view. Of course, fundamentalists still believe literally in the cosmology of the Bible and think scientists are a bunch of frauds, so they have no self-contradiction here. Science is just wrong. There is just one universe created six thousand years ago (and no evolution or climate change, which are just “hoaxes”).

Moderate Protestants, on the other hand, have yet one more conflict between science and religion among the many that they must reconcile in order to both accept the findings of science and also still hold on to some semblance of Christian faith.

The Judaic-Christian-Islamic God is a mighty God when viewed from the perspective of the desert tribes in the Middle East that conceived him. But that God is not mighty enough from the perspective of modern science.

Religion claims to teach us humility. But it really trades in a false pride, telling people they are the children of God, that they are the center of the universe and the reason for its existence — that they’ll live forever if they just follow instructions. But it’s an unearned pride. So, when science shows that we, for a brief time, occupy but a tiny mote in space and time, the religious recoil from this lesson in humility.

Still, the very fact that in the short period of a few thousand years humans have been able learn so much about the universe by just looking up in the sky and at the world around them, and reasoning over what they saw, testifies that we are unique among the millions of species on this planet. A dispassionate alien observer of life on Earth could only conclude that it is meaningless, brutal, and short — with one possible exception.

We cannot yet compare ourselves with whatever intelligent life-forms might be out there. But we are special, at least on Earth and the solar system. Even though magical thinking and hubris may still destroy us, we can hope that our unique abilities will lead us to a better future.

Christianity in the Light of Science is now available on Amazon.

Anti-gay Catholic cleric faces lawsuit over abuse in Guam

Added August 8, 2016

A while back, Anthony Sablan Apuron, then Catholic Archbishop of Guam warned that the introduction of marriage equality to the South Pacifiic island that belongs to America would ‘destroy the basic fabric of society’ and put Guam on the ‘road to a totalitarian system’.

Apuron and Guam’s Catholic archdiocese are now embroiled in a $2-million lawsuit that alleges that Apuron abused boys in 1970s.

According to this report, three former altar boys and the mother of another filed the libel and slander lawsuit, saying they were called liars when they accused Apuron of sexual abuse.

The lawsuit appears to have forced a 95-year-old Catholic priest – the Rev Louis Brouillard – into the open. After he was identified as an abuser during a hearing this week in the Guam Legislature, he stepped forward to confess abusing boys on Guam. He said he had confessed his sins to other priests on the island at the time but none told him to specifically stop.

Instead, the other priests told him to “do better” along with regular penance, such as saying Hail Mary prayers.

Brouillard served in Guam from the 1940s through the 1970s, teaching at San Vicente and Father Duenas Memorial schools while he was a priest. He said he molested “a couple of boys” during that time.

However, when pressed on how many boys he might have abused, Brouillard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press today:

    I have no idea. Maybe 20. At that time, when I was that age, I got the impression that kids liked it, so I went ahead. But now of course, I know it’s wrong and I’m paying for it.

Leo B Tudela, 73, testified about what he said was abuse by Brouillard in the mid-1950s during the Guam Legislature hearing. Tudela urged senators to support legislation that would lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits against those who sexually abused children.

Brouillard said he didn’t remember Tudela.

Meanwhile, Apuron has denied the abuse and not been charged with any crime.

The Vatican appointed Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai as a temporary administrator after the allegations surfaced.

After the allegations against Brouillard were first reported by the Pacific Daily News this week, Hon released a statement:

    With the news that Father Louis Brouillard, a priest who served on Guam confessed to having abused altar boys on Guam in the 1950s, I convey my deepest apologies and that of the entire church to Mr Leo Tudela and all other persons who were also victimised.

Brouillard said he hasn’t been defrocked, and lives in Pine City, Minnesota, on a small pension from the church in Guam. He said he has volunteered with the local Meals on Wheels programme for 30 years as atonement.

He said he never sought to silence his victims, and he offers daily prayers to the boys he molested.

    I regret with all my heart that I did anything wrong to them,. I am praying for the boys and hope that they can forgive me and that God can.

Devout California Mayor played strip poker with a boy aged 16

Added August 7, 2016

Mayor Anthony Silva, above, is a very godly man – so much so that last year he gave the Almighty a key to his city, Stockton in California, in a stupid and tasteless stunt that following the shooting of a six year old girl.

Well, Silva is back in the news because he got himself arrested on Thursday at his youth camp on charges of playing strip poker with a minor and providing youngsters with alcohol.

Silva, who has form for being anti-gay, was taken into custody the day after Amador County prosecutors filed criminal charges against him based on evidence uncovered by the FBI.

The 42-year-old mayor stands accused of one felony count of making an illegal recording and one misdemeanor count each of providing alcohol to a minor, cruelty to a child by endangering their health and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Silva, through his attorney, denied the accusations. He has been released  on $20,000 bail.

The charges stem from a recent search of Silva’s mobile phone by the FBI. Local prosecutors said they were provided with details of that search on July 26.

Among other things, investigators found 23 photographs and four video clips relating to a youth camp, later identified as Silver Lake Camp in Amador County.

Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe said the strip poker game occurred in Silva’s bedroom at the camp.

One of the participants was a 16-year-old boy. Witnesses also informed FBI agents that Silva provided alcohol to the poker game participants, all of whom were underage.

Meanwhile the Stockton Police Officers Association has called on Silva to resign immediately.

    The mayor’s actions have formed not merely a dark cloud, but full fledged storm, over the mayor’s ability to govern and represent the city of Stockton.

Thursday’s arrest is just the latest controversy to touch Silva.

In 2012, a 19-year-old woman accused Silva of committing sexual battery a year before. No charges were filed and Silva told a local TV station that the woman was a disgruntled former employee.

In 2014, the mayor was handcuffed but never arrested after a fight in a limousine. The limousine driver and passengers sued Silva, including a woman who alleged inappropriate advances by the mayor.

In 2015, a gun stolen from the mayor’s home was used to kill 13-year-old Rayshawn Harris, according to the the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office. Rayshawn was shot to death on  Febebruary 23, 2015, while he stood in his driveway. The .40-calibre semiautomatic pistol was registered to Silva.

University of Miami Establishes Chair for Study of Atheism

Added August 6, 2016

With an increasing number of Americans leaving religion behind, the University of Miami received a donation in late April from a wealthy atheist to endow what it says is the nation’s first academic chair “for the study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics.”

The chair has been established after years of discussion with a $2.2 million donation from Louis J. Appignani, a retired businessman and former president and chairman of the modeling school Barbizon International, who has given grants to many humanist and secular causes — though this is his largest so far. The university, which has not yet publicly announced the new chair, will appoint a committee of faculty members to conduct a search for a scholar to fill the position.

“I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists,” said Mr. Appignani, who is 83 and lives in Florida. “So this is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate.”

Religion departments and professors of religious studies are a standard feature at most colleges and universities, many originally founded by ministers and churches. The study of atheism and secularism is only now starting to emerge as an accepted academic field, scholars say, with its own journal, conferences, course offerings and, now, an endowed chair.

“I think it’s a very bold step of the University of Miami, and I hope there will be others,” said Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and atheist luminary who is the author of “The God Delusion.”

“It’s enormously important to shake off the shackles of religion from the study of morality,” Mr. Dawkins said in a telephone interview from his home in Britain.

The percentage of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has risen rapidly in a short time, to 23 percent of the population in 2014, up from 16 percent in 2007, according to a report by the Pew Research Center. Younger people are even less religious, with 35 percent of millennials saying they identify as atheist, agnostic or with no religion in particular.

Secular Americans are beginning to organize themselves politically. Next month, nonbelievers are headed to Washington to lobby Congress and hold a “Reason Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial to showcase their numbers and promote the separation of church and state.

With atheists still often stigmatized and disparaged in this country, it took some persuading for the University of Miami to agree to create a chair with the word “atheism” in the title, according to Harvey Siegel, a professor of philosophy who has helped to broker the arrangement. He said that more than 15 years ago, when he was chairman of the philosophy department, he and Mr. Appignani first began discussing the idea for a chair to study atheism and secularism.

“There was great reluctance on the part of the university to have an endowed chair with the word ‘atheism’ in the name, and that was a deal-breaker for Lou,” Mr. Siegel said. “He wasn’t going to do it unless it had the word atheism in it.”

The university had reason to be cautious, Thomas J. LeBlanc, executive vice president and provost, said in an interview.

“We didn’t want anyone to misunderstand and think that this was to be an advocacy position for someone who is an atheist,” he said. “Our religion department isn’t taking an advocacy position when it teaches about Catholicism or Islam. Similarly, we’re not taking an advocacy position when we teach about atheism or secular ethics.”

Asked whether he anticipated any backlash, Mr. LeBlanc said: “This is an area where people can get overly excited if they don’t actually look carefully at what’s happening. The idea that there are nondeity approaches to explaining our surroundings is not controversial in the academy.”

Mr. Appignani said he rejected a last-minute proposal from a dean to call it a chair in “philosophical naturalism.” Instead, he and the university leaders worked out the title, broadening the scope by including humanism and secular ethics.

Mr. Appignani was raised a Roman Catholic in the Bronx by Italian immigrant parents. His father was a clothing presser in the garment district. He attended Catholic schools and said he became a nonbeliever at the City College of New York when he discovered the work of Bertrand Russell, the British philosopher and Nobel Prize winner.

With the money he made from the Barbizon school, he said, he created the foundation that has given grants to groups like the American Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America, and the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Over the years, Mr. Appignani has sponsored two public lectures by Mr. Dawkins at the University of Miami. The discussions about a chair gained momentum last year with the arrival of a new university president, Julio Frenk, Mr. Siegel said.

Dr. Frenk announced that he intended to recruit new talent by creating 100 new chairs in time for the university’s centennial anniversary, in 2025, said Margot S. Winick, an assistant vice president at the university. The chair in atheism is the fifth he has added so far, she said.

Pitzer College, a liberal arts school in Southern California with about 1,000 students, became the first to begin a program and major in secular studies five years ago. Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of religion who founded the program, said it now offered four courses on secularism of its own and many others by the six professors associated with the department. Only two students have chosen to major in secular studies, he said, but the courses are popular. For its “Secularism and Skepticism” class last year, he turned away 25 students, more than the 22 he was able to admit.

Scholars have formed a “Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network,” which is holding its fourth conference this summer in Zurich. A peer-reviewed journal, “Secularism and Nonreligion,” is now up and running.

“There is a real need for secular studies,” Mr. Zuckerman said. “As rates of irreligion continue to rise, not only here in the U.S.A. but all over the world, we need to understand secular people, secular culture, and secularism as a political and ideological force.”

Rise of the Atheist Voting Bloc

August 5, 2016

I missed this story when it came out last month, but it deserves attention:

    More American voters than ever say they are not religious, making the religiously unaffiliated the nation’s biggest voting bloc by faith for the first time in a presidential election year. This marks a dramatic shift from just eight years ago, when the non-religious were roundly outnumbered by Catholics, white mainline Protestants and white evangelical Protestants.

You read that right. If you took all the registered voters in the U.S. and grouped them by religious affiliation, the biggest group would be people of no religion. We’re now a plurality!

As recently as 2008, the nonreligious were just 14% of voters, a distant fourth behind the country’s major Christian factions. But we’ve jumped to 21% of the electorate, while Catholics, white evangelicals and mainline Protestants have all declined. We now beat out the Catholics and evangelicals by a hairsbreadth, while the Protestant mainline is falling further behind. And as younger generations become more secular, we can only expect nonbelievers to take an even more decisive lead in years to come.

This is a momentous demographic shift, which makes it all the more striking how little attention it’s received. There are many analyses of how the American electorate is becoming less white and what this portends for the future of our politics, yet hardly anyone seems to be commenting on the fact that a full one-fifth of all voters are now nonreligious. The Republicans are bearing down even harder on religious culture-war issues, while the Democrats, as I wrote in the Guardian this week, continue to flaunt their faith in public even though nonbelievers are a crucial part of their coalition.

But even if the major parties are slow to acknowledge it, the effects are being felt. From Pew:

    The survey also shows that a declining share of Americans say they want a president with firm religious convictions. Today, just 62% of U.S. adults say it is important to them that the president have strong religious beliefs, down from 67% in 2012 and 72% in 2008.

This may be a ripple effect of Donald Trump’s candidacy. American evangelicals have long claimed that religious faith was essential to a candidate, but now that they find themselves compelled by partisan loyalty to support Trump, who scarcely even pretends to be religious, they’ve adjusted their other beliefs to be consistent with that. But it’s not just because of Trump:

    …this decline among Republicans predates the nomination of Trump, having dropped 8 percentage points since 2008. And it mirrors changes among Democrats as well; while a larger share of Republicans (74%) than Democrats (53%) say it is important that a president have strong religious beliefs, declining shares of both groups hold this view.

This ought to be a warning to politicians who pander shamelessly to religion or claim God’s endorsement of their personal beliefs. As the electorate becomes more secular, this won’t just be ineffective, but counterproductive. Candidates who flaunt their piety will be seen for the distasteful, archaic relics they are. That’s a very bad omen for Ted Cruz and other GOP nominees-in-waiting who think a redoubled emphasis on domineering religious conservatism is their key to victory.

However, these numbers also show the challenge for the secular movement. We punch below our weight in elections: the number of nonreligious people who actually vote is consistently lower than the number who are registered. Whatever criticism you have of evangelicals and other religious voting blocs, one thing you can say for them is that they show up, and that’s helped them to preserve their cultural influence and leverage longer than the raw numbers suggest.

Many of the nonreligious are young, and the young vote less consistently than older people. Others are apathetic or cynical about politics, and stay home because they don’t believe their vote makes a difference. Of course, when this happens, the religious right wins and gets to set the agenda, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The secular movement can be a powerful, even dominant force in American politics. We have the numbers, but we need the organization. We need to work harder at building strong networks of atheist voters, keeping them informed, and getting them to the polls. That’s especially true in midterms, where there’s a predictable dropoff of young, diverse, secular voters. Too many of us think elections don’t matter if we’re not voting for a president. This won’t be easy to overcome, but if we can do it, nonbelievers can steer the course of our democracy for decades to come.


Child abuser should be spared jail … because she’s a Muslim

Added August 4, 2016

Despite a plea by her lawyer that she should not be jailed for sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl, Raheelah Dar, 43, above, was handed a seven-year jail sentence when she was convicted in Teeside Crown Court yesterday.

According to this report, Dar’s barrister, Alison Pryor,  said her client should receive a community sentence rather than face a term in prison.

Pryor said:

My client is a practicing Muslim; the shame that this has brought and will bring on her family cannot be underestimated. It is something that would not be found in a more ordinary case of this type.

Pryor also cited the mental health issues outlined in Ms Dar’s psychiatric report, and her diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, as further reason for a community sentence.

Dar was convicted of three counts of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child, which she denied.

She was accused of isolating, manipulating and molesting the girl over a four-year period. The victim, who is now an adult, cannot be named for legal reasons.

The victim described how she feels intimidated and “unable to engage in social situations” due to the abuse, and could not stand to be touched by other people to this day. She also explained she had suffered health problems by feeling unable to see a doctor, struggled with her family, with self-harming and with her weight.

Recorder Tim Roberts QC said he would be failing in his duties if he did not pass a jail sentence. He told Ms Dar:

You were 26. She was only nine. You were sexually experienced and had been married. She was an innocent. You were crafty.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland police said:

All cases of sexual abuse will be investigated thoroughly and professionally by specially trained officers. Victims should not suffer in silence and hopefully this example will assist in encouraging victims of sexual abuse to report it to police. Today’s sentence will stand as an example that those responsible for sexual abuse will be brought to justice.

In another court case involving a Muslim, a High Court judge today ruled that Amina Al-Jeffery, 21, above, who is being held in captivity by her father in Saudi Arabia, must be returned to Wales, where she was born and brought up. She has dual UK and Saudi nationality.

Mr Justice Holman found that said she had been “deprived of her liberty.”

Delivering the court order, Mr Justice Holman said Mr Al-Jeffery:

Must permit and facilitate the return of Amina if she so wishes to Wales or England and pay the airfare.

He set a September 11, 2016, deadline,.

However, he accepted there was:

Lttle or nothing this court could do to enforce the order if Mr Al-Jeffery was determined not to comply with it.

But he said Mr Al-Jeffery might face contempt of court proceedings if he returned to Britain without having complied.

Mr Justice Holman added:

There are no conventions between Britain and Saudi Arabia. The courts in Saudi Arabia would not even recognise the basis of the claim, because it does not recognise dual nationality.

Muslim street preacher swears at woman wearing tight jeans

Added August 3, 2016

Street preacher Krissoni Henderson, above, has been charged with public order offences over an alleged outburst on a busy shopping street in Birmingham.

Henderson, 31, appeared at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court in July after a woman was allegedly sworn at “for wearing tight jeans”. According to this report, he is due back in court on September 6 over the allegations.

Henderson appeared in court after being charged with using insulting, threatening words or behaviour and using racially aggravated insulting words or behaviour.

His arrest came after a footage emerged of a tense confrontation in Birmingham city centre, which goes on for several minutes, in which a highly agitated man screams “Allahu Akhbar” in the face of a police officer. He tells the officer that he not scared on him, only of Allah.

The video shows a crowd gather as the situation unfolds before the PC eventually tells them the man has:

The right to assembly, to stand here and shout and offend.

But he adds:

If his actions go beyond that and he commits a public order offence, then he will be arrested.

In response to the incident West Midlands Police said officers were called to New Street at around 5.30pm on July 4 after a 38-year-old woman dialled 999 saying she feared for her safety following a “verbal confrontation”.

The force added footage of a police officer trying to speak to a man in connection with the allegation later appeared on social media websites.

A few years back Crimestoppers sought the whereabouts of Henderson in connection with an assault on a woman who was punched in the face.

Atheism has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’

Added April 1, 2016

Atheism is not a modern invention from the western Enlightenment, but actually dates back to the ancient world, according to a new book by a Cambridge academic – which challenges the assumption that humanity is naturally predisposed to believe in gods.

In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh, professor of Greek culture at Cambridge University, lays out a series of examples showing that atheism existed in polytheistic ancient Greece. It is, according to its author, partly “an attempt to excavate ancient atheism from underneath the rubble heaped on it by millennia of Christian opprobrium”.

Early atheists were making what seem to be universal objections about the paradoxical nature of religion. Disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hills. It is only through profound ignorance of the classical tradition that anyone ever believed that 18th-century Europeans were the first to battle the gods.

“We tend to see atheism as an idea that has only recently emerged in secular western societies. The rhetoric used to describe it is hyper-modern. In fact, early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal,” said Whitmarsh.

“Rather than making judgments based on scientific reason, these early atheists were making what seem to be universal objections about the paradoxical nature of religion – the fact that it asks you to accept things that aren’t intuitively there in your world. The fact that this was happening thousands of years ago suggests that forms of disbelief can exist in all cultures, and probably always have.”

In the fourth century BC, he points to Plato, as the philosopher imagines a believer chastising an atheist:

“You and your friends are not the first to have held this view about the gods! There are always those who suffer from this illness, in greater or lesser numbers.”

“We may balk at his disease imagery,”

writes Whitmarsh,

“but Plato was surely right in his general point. There have been many throughout history and across all cultures who have resisted belief in the divine.”

Because you disbelieved things that are not unbelievable, your name from now on shall be Disbeliever (Apistos)
The god Asclepius, to a man who mocked miracle cures
These range from Carneades, head of the Platonic academy in the second century BC, who argued that

“belief in gods is illogical”,

to the Epicureans, who were often called atheoi in antiquity, and the atheistic writings of Xenophanes of Colophon.

Whitmarsh argues that the diversity of ancient Greece’s polytheistic societies meant there was no such thing as religious orthodoxy, and no clergy laying out how people should live. This meant, he said, that while atheism could be viewed as mistaken, it was usually tolerated – although not in the case of Socrates, who was executed in Athens for “not recognising the gods of the city.

Contradictions of the Bible

Added December 9, 2016

http://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

Arguments for atheism

Added December 10, 2016

http://www.argumentsforatheism.com/

Filosofia ja elämänkatsomustieto

Last update 01.03.2016

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Syksyn 2015 filosofian ylioppilastehtävät html-muodossa saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.


Kevään 2015 elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä

Kevään 2015 filosofian ylioppilastehtävät html-muodossa saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.



Syksyn 2014 elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Kevään 2014 filosofian ylioppilastehtävät html-muodossa saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Kevään 2014 elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Syksyn 2013 elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Syksyn 2013 filosofian ylioppilastehtävät html-muodossa saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä. ja pdf -muodossa napauttamalla tästä.

Kevään 2013 elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Kevään 2013 filosofian ylioppilastehtävät saat näkyviin napauttamalla tästä.

Filosofi och livsåskådning

20 läroböcker och vokabulär

Philosophy and Life View

20 books and dictionary in Finnish

Constructed language misil

misil

Katsomusaineiden didaktiikkaa

Yleistä didaktiikkaa

Ilmaista didaktiikkaa

Kristillinen dogmatiikka

http://etkirja.pp.fi/dogmatiikka.html

Filosofian, elämänkatsomustiedon ja uskonnon didaktiikkaa

Motivaatio, kv sopimukset, totuus jne...

Lukion filosofia, Filosofi i gymnasiet

Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa

Mitä filosofia on?
Vad är filosofi?
Opetussuunnitelma
Läroplan
Yliopistofilosofian sivustot
Filosofi.fi på svenska
Svenska material
Philosophy links in Internet
Logiikan alkeet Internetissä
Palautelomake

Ilmaiset filosofian oppikirjat

FI1 , FI2 , FI3 , FI4

Normatiivinen etiikka
Sukupuolietiikka
Metaetiikka
Deskriptiivinen etiikka

Filosofian ylioppilastehtävät

S 2012 K 2012 S 2011 K 2011
Vanhoja ylioppilastehtäviä
Vanhojen tehtävien sanaluettelo lukumäärineen
Ylioppilaskirjoitusten filosofit
Ylioppilaskirjoitusten sivistyssanat
Palautelomake

Elämänkatsomustieto, livsåskådning

Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa

Elämänkatsomustieto vai uskonto?
Mitä elämänkatsomustieto on?
Miksi evankelis-luterilaiset eivät pääse et:n opetukseen
Elämänkatsomustiedon opetussuunnitelmat
Grunderna för läroplanen för den grundläggande utbildningen
Koululait ja muut säädökset
Kysymyksiä ja vastauksia
Keskeiset ongelmat opetuksessa
Elämänkatsomustiedon opetusaineistoa ja linkkejä
Ohjeita kouluille
Dosentti Jouni Luukkaisen kantelut
Elämänkatsomustiedon stipendit
Kilpailut
Uskonnottomien uutisia
Religionskunskap i Sverige
Svenska material
Palautelomake

Peruskoulu Grundskola

Ilmaiset oppikirjat

et1 et2 et3 et4 et5 et6 et7 et8 et9

Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa

Elämänkatsomustiedon opetussuunnitelmat
Grunderna för läroplanen för den grundläggande utbildningen
Opetusvihjeitä: 1-5, 5-9
Verkkomateriaalia
Vähemmistöuskontojen oppikirjat
Palautelomake

Lukio Gymnasium

Ilmaiset oppikirjat

et10 et11 et12 et13 et14

Opetussuunnitelmat ja lisätietoa

Elämänkatsomustiedon opetussuunnitelmat
Grunderna för läroplanen
Sanasto
Opinnot Helsingin yliopistossa
Uskontojen vertailutaulukko
Palautelomake

Elämänkatsomustiedon ylioppilastehtävät

S 2012 K 2012 S 2011 K 2011
Vanhoja tehtävä
Vanhojen tehtävien sanaluettelo lukumäärineen
Ylioppilaskirjoitusten sivistyssanat

Syksyn 2014 ylioppilaskirjoituksiin valmistautuminen

Sekä elämänkatsomustiedon että filosofian ylioppilaskirjoituksiin kannattaa valmentautua lukemalla tämän oppiaineiston sanastoa sanasto.

Elämänkatsomustiedon kokeeseen lue myös ainakin kerran viikossa Elämänkatsomustiedon (opetushallituksen) opetussuunnitelmaohjeen sanat aakkosjärjestyksessä.

Filosofian kokeeseen lue ainakin kerran viikossa Filosofian(opetushallituksen) opetussuunnitelmaohjeen sanat aakkosjärjestyksessä.

Elämänkatsomustieto ainereaalissa

Elämänkatsomustieto on eräs lukion reaaliaineista. Elämänkatsomustiedon ainereaalissa kokelas valitsee vastattavakseen kuusi kysymystä kymmenestä vaihtoehdosta.

Reaaliaineiden sijoittuminen koepäivien kesken: Samana koepäivänä järjestetään evankelis-luterilaisen uskonnon, ortodoksisen isen uskonnon, elämänkatsomustiedon, yhteiskuntaopin, kemian, maantieteen ja terveystiedon kokeet.

Muuta tietoa

Esitelmä ateismista 9.2.2012 (pdf)
Maailmanuskonnot
Wienin piiri
Valtion ja kirkon ero
Java kielen perusteet versio 0.7
Palautelomake
Jäsenlomakkeet ja palautelomakkeet tekstinä ohjelmoijille

Ehdotus lukion opetuksen järkiperäistämiseksi

Suomen Ateistiyhdistys ry. kannattaa kaikkien mielipideaineiden poistamista kouluista. Erityisesti oman uskonnon opetus on mielipideopetusta.

Suomen ateistiyhdistys vastustaa kuitenkin jyrkästi kaikille yhteiseen "elämänkatsomustiedon" opetukseen siirtymistä lukioissa. Se merkitsisi Ruotsin mallin mukaista uskonnon opetusta eli sitä, mitä Kulosaaren yhteiskoulussa nyt opetetaan.

Kulosaaren yhteiskoulun kaikille pakollisen opetussuunnitelman löydät napauttamalla tästä.

Koska peruskoulun järkeistäminen on Suomen äärivanhoillisessa mielipideilmastossa mahdotonta, ehdotamme että järkeistäminen aloitetaan lukiosta.

Kun oman uskonnon tai elämänkatsomustiedon opetusta on peruskoulussa 9 vuotta, on kohtuutonta, että sitä on lukiossa.

Koska lukion elämänkatsomustiedon opetus oli aikoinaan filosofian opetusta ja nykyään huuhaata, ehdotamme, että oma uskonto ja elämänkatsomustieto poistetaan lukiosta ja muutetaan filosofian opetusta niin, että lukioissa filosofian nykyiset kurssit 2, 3 ja 4 ovat pakollisia. Samalla on päätettävä, että näiden kurssien sisältöjä ei muuteta lisäämällä niihin uskontotietoa.

Koska lukioissa on paljon evankelis-luterilaisia uskonnonopettajia, ehdotan, että heitä varten luodaan lakkautuspalkkajärjestelmä siirtymisajaksi. Vastaavasti teologikoulutusta vähennetään niin, että lukioiden evankelis-luterilaisen uskonnon opettajat voivat siirtyä joustavasti evankelisluterilaisen kirkon tehtäviin.

Nykyisin pätevät elämänkatsomustiedon opettajat katsottakoon päteviksi lukion filosofian opettajiksi.

Siirtymäajaksi myös opettajakoulutusta vailla olevat, joilla on yliopistossa suorittettu vähintään keskimmäinen oppimäärä filosofiassa, katsottakoon päteviksi lukion filosofian opettajiksi.

Lakkautuspalkka lisää menoja, mutta teologikoulutuksen keskeyttäminen pienentää menoja.

Kun joukko teologian professoreja joutuu lomautetuiksi, tämä on vain osoitus siitä, että kansalaisia lomautetaan tasapuolisesti kaikissa yhteiskuntaluokista.

Todellisiä hyötyjiä ovat lukiolaiset.

Mainittakoon, että ylempää löytyvät täysin ilmaiset lukion filosofian oppikirjat.