Suomen ainoa kulttuurilehti
Erkki Hartikainen 24.5.2017
Olen tehnyt sitä halvat eläkeläisen rahoilla ostetut kuulokkeet korvilla. Tämän tietokoneen osat eivät sentään ole halpoja, tässä on peräti ssd-kiintolevy.
Olen koonnut koneen itse, koska kaukoidässä kootut laitteet ovat alkaneet maksaa paljon enemmän kuin komponentit yhteensä. Tietokoneen kokoaminenhan on noin puolen tunnin työ.
Vaimo on alkanut ärsyyntyä siitä, että hän näkee näytössäni nuotteja. Olihan hänen isänsä viulunsoittaja ja onhan hän äitinsä puolelta sukua musiikkiakateemikolle.
Jotenkinhan muutamat jäljellä olevat elinvuodet on saatava kulumaan.
Maammelaulu jäi kesken, mutta se ei ole mitenkään tärkeä asia, pikemminkin satiiria suomenruotsalaisia vastaan.
Erkki Hartikainen 23.5.2017
Olen sovittanut säveltämääni kansanlaulua hieman helpommin laulettavaan muotoon.
Nyt myös argeniinalaiset koululaiset osaavan laulaa sen.
Kerrotaan, että Pariisissa pyydettiin erästä argentiinalaista muusikkoa soitamaan oman maansa kansallislaulun.
Ei tiedetä, ymmärsiko muusikko, mikä kansanlaulu on, mutta hän soitti argentiinalaisen tangon El Choclo.
Arvellaan, että tango tuli Eurooppaan nimenomaan Pariisin kautta.
Erkki Hartikainen 22.5.2017
Jean Sibelius tuli taivaan portille, ja Pietari kysyi:
"Annatko meille sävellystesi tekijänoikeudet?"
Arvaa, pääsikö Sibelius taivaaseen.
Erkki Hartikainen 21.5.2017
Kuten lukijat voivat toisaalta tästä lehdestä havaita, olen julkistanut tänään lopullisen verion sanoittamastani ja säveltämästäni Uudesta Maammelaulusta.
Jälleen kerran minulle kävi kuten ennenkin: En osaa laulaa omaa sävelmääni.
Minun piti aikoinaan esittää televisio-ohjelmassa lauluni Uusi isämeidän, mutta en osannut. Onneksi ohjelman tekijät löysivät Tampereelta miehen, joka lauloi sen upeasti. En vieläkään tiedä, kuka hän oli.
Tällaisia asioita ei tarvitse hävetä. Kun musiikin opiskelija Gerardo Matos Rodríguez sai musiikkia opiskellessaan tehtävän, jossa hänen piti rakentaa tango urugyailaiseisesta kansanlaulusta ja kahden eri tangosäveltäjän tangosta (säveltäjät olivat antaneet hänelle siihen luvan), mies ei uskaltanut itse esittää sitä. Tämä tango on nimeltään La Cumparsita.
Erkki Hartikainen 20.5.2017
ei kuulu enää Eurooppaan vaan Pohjois-Amerikkaan.
Erkki Hartikainen 19.5.2017
että valehtelu on uskontoja vanhempi ilmiö?
Ihmistä varhaisemmat eläimet osaavat valehdella.
Erkki Hartikainen 18.5.2017
Kovassa kapitalismissa ainoa keino vaikuttaa asiaan on panna muutamien suurimpien rakennusalan yritysten suurimpia omistajia muutamaksi vuodeksi vankilaan.
Lainsäätäjille asia voidaan myydä osoittamalla, että tämä on veronmaksajille halvin tapa hoitaa ongelma.
Erkki Hartikainen 17.5.2017
Tyhmyyttä pitää saada pilkata.
Erkki Hartikainen 18.5.2017
Rytmin alkuperästä ei ole mitään yksimielisyyttä. Mahdollisia alkuperäalueita ovat Afrikka ja Eurooppa.
Nimitys "habanera" on naispuolinen nimitys "habanero":lle joka tarkoittaa "Havannasta".
Ehkä kuuluisin habanera on ooppera Carmenissa, jonka on säveltänyt Georges Bizet. Ooppera esitettiin ensimmäisen kerran Pariisissa maaliskuun 3. päivänä 1875.
Erkki Hartikainen 17.5.2017
Se, että tangon loi yksi mies, Ángel Gregorio Villoldo Arroyo (1861 - 1919) vanhaan kansanmusiikkirytmiin habaneraan.Tangosta tuli yksinkertainen, koska kapakkalaulajalle ei haluttu maksaa paljon ja tangot piti esittää laululla ja yhdellä kitaralla. Villoldon kuuluisin sävelmä on El Choclo, joka tarkoittaa maisintähkää, ja se elää yhä keskuudessamme.
Villoldo sävelsi paljon, koska ahneet kapakoitsijat eivät halunneet tilittää tekijänoikeuksista.
Tangomarkkinoiden pitäisi siis alkaa ja päättyä El Choclolla, ei La Cumparsitalla, joka oli uruguylainen karnevaalimarssi.
Jotta Pohojanmaan miehet muistaisivat El Choclon, laitan linkin sen alkuperäiseen sovituksen midinä tähän.
Jos Tapani Kansa on vielä elossa, suosittelen, että hänet kutsutaan laulamaan El Choclo muodossa
Erkki Hartikainen 16.5.2017
Se säästää eläkkeissä siitä syystä, että tällä järjestelmällä ihmiset eivät elä liian vanhoiksi. Itse palkkakuluissa järjestelmä ei säästä, sillä moninkertainen portinvartijajärjestelmä maksaa paljon.
Ensimmäinen portinvartija on terveyskeskuslääkärin terveydenhoitaja, joka päättää siitä, pääseekö potilas lääkärille. Toinen portinvartija on itse lääkäri, joka päättää siitä, pääseekö potilas erikoislääkärin jonoon. Kolmas portinvartija on itse jono erikoislääkärille.
Minulla on ollut tuuria muutamia kertoja. Kerran terveysaseman päivystävänä lääkärinä oli naapurikunnan lääkäri, ja pääsin nauttimaan verenpainelääkkeistä. Sitten sain tutun lääkärin vaihtamaan verenpainelääkkeen kalliiseen mutta sivuvaikutuksettomaan.
Perinnöllinen selkävika sai minut menemään suoraan Pörriäiseen, ja siellä sattui vahingossa olemaan julkisen terveydenhuollon ulkopuolella oleva ortopedi, joka määräsi minulle ensin tramadolia ja sitten leikkausjonoon. Tehokkaan kipulääkkeen avulla kestin jonotuksen.
Yksityinen silmälääkäri määräsi minut julkisen terveydenhuollon harmaakaihileikkausjonoon, ja näin sain näön sellaiseen kuntoon, että saan ajaa autoa.
Olen selviytynyt hyvällä onnella lähes 75- vuotiaaksi. Nyt on harkinnan paikka. Pitääkö antaa luottokorttivelan kasvaa ja tutkituttaa itsensä Pörriäisessä.
Erkki Hartikainen 15.5.2017
Luulin jo, että Helsingin Sanomain kaikkein tyhmin toimittaja on jo kuollut. Hänellä on tapana kirjoittaa erityisesti asioista, joista hän ei mitään tiedä.
Äitienpäivän numerossa hän taas kauhistelee heikon opiaatin Tramadolin käyttöä kovien kipujen hoidossa. Miksiköhän hän ei älyä kieltää vahvojen opiaattien käyttöä syöpään kuolevilta ihmisiltä?
Helsingin Sanomat on jo pohjustanut juttua uutisilla ISISin tramadolikaupasta. Siitä on juttu alempana.
Minulla on geneettinen taipumus selkärangan kipuihin. Minä ja veljeni saimme onneksi syödä tramadolia ennen leikkausta. Leikkaus lopetti hermosäryn molemmilta lopullisesti.
Tällä kertaa minulla on muuta särkyä, mutta minulla ei ole varaa tutkittaa sen syytä, ja tramadoliakaan ei enää anneta kuin pieniä eriä laimeina pillereinä. Minulla ei ole varaa ortopediin, joka uskaltaa määrätä lääkettä.
Arvauskeskukseen en mene, koska sieltä ei saa mitään apua, vaan päin vastoin käsketään syödä vähitellen tappavaa ja kovaan särkyyn tehotonta ibuprofeenia, jota saa vapaasti apteekeista ja jota muistetaan mainostaa televisiossa.
Täytän 24.6. 75 vuotta, joten taidan tulla jotenkuten toimeen muutamat jäljellä olevat vuoteni kipugeeleillä, joihin kyllä uppoaa rumasti rahaa.
Erkki Hartikainen 14.5.2017
Bosporin salmen kapein kohta on vain 700 m. Jos siihen rakennettaisiin vesivoimalaitos, saataisiin valtavasti energiaa.
Erkki Hartikainen 13.5.2017
Maailmaa kiertää uutinen, että ISIS vahvistaa itseään tramadolilla, joka on keskivahva kipulääke. Tarvitsisin sitä juuri nyt pahaan selkäkipuun, mutta kun ortopedi, joka uskaltaisi antaa lääkettä, maksaisi sata euroa, minulla ei ole pienituloisena eläkeläisenä rahaa sen enempää ministeri Rehulan Pörriäiseen kuin Mehiläiseenkään. Sitä paitsi ortopedit uskaltavat jakaa enää niin mietoja tabletteja, että niitä on otettava useita.
Toista oli Adolf Hitlerin aikaan. Hitler popsi metamfetamiiniia, jota saksalaiset jakoivat nimellä Pervitin myös suomalaisille sotilaille, ja kyllä ryssiä kaadettiinkin runsaasti.
Myös liittoutuneet ottivat aineen käyttöön, mutta sodan Hitler hävisi siksi, että Neuvostoliitto osasi valmistaa parempia panssarivaunuja. Tämä kannattaa muistaa neuvostovastaista propagandaa tehtäessä siinä kuin Hitlerin ansiot moottoriteiden rakentajana.
Kolme uutta ministeriä vannoivat valan: http://yle.fi/uutiset/3-9596662 .
Kukin vannoi kaksi valaa, virkavalan ja tuomarinvalan.
Ei vaan mennyt putkeen, sillä tuomarinvala on poistunut... Asetuksen mukaan "Valtioneuvoston jäsenen on vannottava virkavala ja tuomarinvala tai annettava virkavakuutus ja tuomarinvakuutus ennen tehtävään ryhtymistään. - - Tuomarinvalan ja tuomarinvakuutuksen kaavasta säädetään oikeudenkäymiskaaren 1 luvun 7 §:ssä.", ja mainittu oikeudenkäymiskaaren kohta ei enää sisällä tuomarinvalaa.
Eihän tällä nyt suurtakaan väliä ole, mutta yksi uusista ministereistä on oikeusministeri. Luulisi hänen olevan tarkka muotoseikoista.
asiassa ilmenneiden väärinkäsitysten vuoksi ja kyseessä olevan työntekijän luvalla ilmoitan, että Vapaa-ajattelijain liiton toiminnanjohtaja Maarit Fredlund on pois työstä sairauden vuoksi. Lisätietoja saa minulta tai pääsihteeriltä.
näyttävät suurilta vain, jos niitä katsoo
Erkki Hartikainen 11.5.2017
Erkki Hartikainen 10.5.2017
Internet-osoitteessa http://etkirja.pp.fi/Jumalaton132.html on 3.5.2017 päivätty kirjoitus otsikolla "Kelju-Maarit petti". Kyseinen teksti loukkaa alaiseni työntekijän kunniaa. Vaadin sen poistamista välittömästi.
varapuheenjohtajaVapaa-ajattelijain liitto ry
Koska en ole Vapaa-ajattelijain liiton minkään jäsenjärjestön jäsen, en voi tietää sitä, mitä liitossa tapahtuu.
Alla oleva kirjoitus on Vapaa-ajattelijain liiton jäsenyhdistyksen jäsenen kirjoittama. Oletan hänen tuntevan asiat hyvin.
Keljuksi sanominen ei ole mikään kunnianloukkaus. Huonoksi työntekijäksi sanominen on vain yhden ihmisen mielipide.
Sikäli kuin kirjoituksessa on virheellisiä tosiasioita, sitä korjataan. Minä en pysty tekemään korjausta ilman esimerkiksi liiton taholta tulevia tarkempia tietoja.
Mitä tulee kertomukseen menneen ajan kavalluksista, ne tapahtuivat siihen aikaan, kun olin liiton johtoelimissä. Köyhän yrittäjäperheen tytär oli lainannut liiton rahoja ilman kenenkään lupaa. Oikeusjuttua ei käyty vaan rahat perittiin takaisin.
Vapaa-ajattelijain liiton entinen puheenjohtaja (6 vuotta) ja pääsihteeri (10 vuotta).
Tiesitkö, että sen on alun perin säveltänyt Latvialainen
Ojārs Raimonds Pauls? Hän käänsi sanat venäjäksi, ja AllaPugatsova teki siitä maailmankuulun..
Lisätty 7.5.2017Presidentti Sauli Niinistö on nimittänyt hallituksen uudet ministerit.
Malliesimerkki vaparitoimijasta, joka ehdointahdoin väänsi asioita mutkittaammiksi, oli Erja Sallinen.
Asioita olisi hoitunut ihan normaalisti mutta Sallinen väänteli, jolloin hommat alkoivat mennä hankaliksi ja pieleen.
Sallinen höyrysi noin vuosikymmen sitten useat vuodet vapariliitonkin piirissä ja iänikuisten ällöjen tamperelaisten tuella pyrki johtoonkin.
Eräs syrjintä- ja edunvalvonta-asia lopulta menestyi, kun se otettiin
pois Sallisen hoidettavista. Sallinen siihen vahingollista mutkitteluaan
kytkemällä, oli pilata koko asian ja oli lähes aiheuttaa syrjinnän
Erkki Hartikainen 4.5.2017
Olen kopioinut itselleni suuren valikoiman latinalais-amerikkalaista musiikkia midi- muodossa Internetistä. Sieltä löytyy myös Sibeliuksen Finlandia.
Olen etsinyt pitkään maksutonta midi-tiedostoa laululle Miljoona ruusua. Taitoni eivät riittäneet sellaisen löytämiseen.
Niinpä minun oli pakko kopioida nuotit pdf- muodossa. Lähipäiviä aion tehdä nuoteista oman midin ja sen saa taatusti kopioda ilmaiseksi.
Tärkein ajankohta, jolloin Vapaa-ajattelijain liitto tarvitsee palkkaamaansa paperinpyörittäjää, on liittokokousta edeltävä noin kuukausi ja itse liittokokouksen päivät.
On niin paljon virallisia paperien kopiointi- ja lähettämisvelvollisuuksia, yli kahdellekymmenelle jäsenyhdistykselle ja yli neljällekymmenelle liittokokousedustajalle. Yleensä vain toimiston työntekijä edes tietää jokaisen paperin sijainnin.
Alvin Plantingaa on käsitelty kauan sitten myös tässä lehdessä. Palkinnosta kerrotaan tämän lehden englanninkielisessä osiossa.
Erkki Hartikainen 1.5.2017
Erkki Kurenniemelle mikään ei ollut liian vaikeaa, ja hän oli aina hyväntuulinen ihminen. Esimerkiksi matematiikan ja fysiikan opiskelu sujuivat häneltä kuin tyhjää vaan. Titteleitä hän, toisin kuin vanhempansa, ei vaivautunut hankkimaan, koska hänen taitonsa tunnettiin muutenkin.
Erkki Kurenniemi teki puoli vuosisataa sitten elektronista musiikkia, josta minä olen vasta nyt kiinnostunut kuten alempaa ilmenee. Hän oli mukana mm. rakentamassa Suomen ensimmäistä 8-bittistä Intel -tietokonetta.
Opiskelimme samoihin aikoihin mm. matematiikkaa ja filosofiaa Helsingin Yliopistossa.
Erkki Kurenniemi teki monia uusia asioita ja paneutui niihin kaikkiin suurella innostuksella. Hänen kaltaisiaan ihmisiä tarvitaan lisää.
sävelsin kaikenlaista pientä akustisella kitaralla.
Niistä sävellyksista on tallella vain vuonna 1970 tekemäni Uusi isämeidän.
Nyt, kun on helppo säveltää tietokoneella, olen alkanut tehdä uusia sävellyksiä ja uusia sovituksia vanhoista kansanlauluista tai sellaisista muista sävelmistä, joita voi helposti parantaa.
Valitettavasti nyt tuli eteen sävelmä, josta ei voinut muuttaa nuottiakaan. Tämä sävelmä on Finlandia siinä muodossa, jossa se lauletaan.
Erkki Hartikainen 1.5.2017
Added May 23, 2017
It’s become increasingly obvious over the past few years that the Orthodox Church has been driving Russia towards a virulent form of Christian fundamentalism.
Now it even has a presence in the lower house of the Russian Parliament – the Duma – in the form of the Commission for the Protection of Christian Values that last week called for a total ban on abortion.
Archimandrite Theothilactes, attending the first session of the Commission in the newly-elected State Duma, said that certain Russian laws needed urgent changes.
First, abortion. This, he demanded:
Must be made equal to murder.
Second, child cruelty. The cleric lamented the fact that Russia has a law that forbids parents to use violence against their children. This, he insisted, contradicts Holy Scripture.
We should not allow any bans on traditional upbringing in a Christian family, any attempts to make children equal to parents. We need to introduce amendments to this law.
The lower house working group for the protection of Christian values unites 46 MPs from various parliamentary factions. Its main purpose is to evaluate current Russian laws in the context of “Christian values”, and to initiate new bills to serve this purpose.
Abortion is currently fully legal in Russia, but in recent years conservative politicians, together with religious figures, have made repeated attempts to change this.
In May 2015, MPs representing the parliamentary majority United Russia party and the center-left opposition Fair Russia party drafted a bill that would limit state insurance payments for abortions, ban private clinics from performing them, and allow women to buy morning-after pills only on prescription after an obligatory health check.
The lawmakers also proposed that any woman seeking an abortion should undergo an ultrasound scan of her womb, because:
According to statistics, up to 80 percent of them refuse to have the abortion when they see their child on the screen.
In January 2015, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, delivered his first-ever address to the State Duma, in which he called on MPs to begin a campaign against abortion, with a view to a total nationwide ban. He also criticised surrogacy and urged lawmakers to take steps to replace it with adoption.
In January this year, the State Duma passed a controversial bill on domestic altercations that some in the media described as the “legalisation of domestic violence.”
The bill reduced responsibility for first-time domestic violence to an administrative offence (punished with fines or up to 15 days in custody), but still allows for repeated cases or violence that leads to bodily harm to be prosecuted under the Criminal Code.
Added May 23, 2017
That cheesy old song immediately sprang to mind when I read today that Zimbabwean pastor Paul Sanyangore, above right, claims he has regular telephone conversations with God.
According to this report, Sanyangore can also arrange for members of his congregation to receive calls from the Almighty.
The photo purportedly shows a man called Tich Mataz receiving a call from God in front of an entire congregation of Sanyangore’s Victory World International Ministries.
Mataz then began delivering prophetic messages, and Sanyangore – also known as “Pastor Talent” – said that the “miracle” was enough to prove that he was telling the truth the whole time about his hot line to heaven.
Sanyangore first revealed his ability to speak to God in a February video filmed during a service at Victory World International Ministries.
In an interview with Zimbabwean news site H-Metro, he revealed that he was indeed on the phone with the Almighty, adding that he was surprised to see people so shocked about the whole thing.
I have a direct channel, actually I have his number and I can call him when need rises. It is possible to talk to God, why would you doubt that I got a call from him? I actually have a direct line which I can call him and get instructions on how to proceed. I got this when I was praying and I heard a voice telling me to call direct.
I got instructions on the phone on what to do or say and that is what happened on Sunday.
Sanyangore then went on to say that he would be launching a new show on his church’s television channel, Victory TV, called “Heaven Online”, where more of his phone conversations with God would be heard. He even said that he planned to reveal God’s phone number during a special service at the Victory World International Ministries, and invited people to attend so they could witness the miracle.
When he failed to give out God’s number, he said he’d decided the time wasn’t right. But at the beginning of May, in a follow-up interview with H-Metro, he said he’ll definitely reveal God’s digits later in the month.
The time is ripe, come Sunday the contact will be shared. I will not intercede on behalf of people; they will be talking to the creator directly. We will have the event beamed on our television channel, Victory TV for the avoidance of explanations and misrepresentations.
But once again he wasn’t forthcoming with the number. Instead he arranged to have God call Mataz.
But don’t call him a charlatan. Last year, after revealing that he had died as an infant but was then resurrected, he said:
The same people you pray for and deliver are the people who want to pull you down. This is not only to me but all the men of God. They are the same people who speak ill of you.
Another thing, being labelled fake is the greatest insult not only to me but the one who sent me. You will be doubting that God has no power to do things through me.
Added May 21, 2017
Sydney Allan Markland, above, who has a passion for ‘teaching people the Bible’, has been arrested for sexually assaulting a girl aged 8.
According to this report, Markland, 68 – who allegedly lured the girl into his home in July 2016 – told detectives that the child had been dressed “provocatively”.
After Markland, who goes by the nickname “Dread,” sexually battered his victim, told her not to tell anyone.
Detectives wrote in their arrest report that after the assault:
He kissed her on the cheek and read from the Bible.
The girl told a parent, who called law enforcement. DNA samples were collected from the victim’s and after several months, they proved to be a match with Markland.
Deputies said Markland told them that in his culture his actions were considered acceptable. He also said the child’s clothing and “actions” suggested consent, officials said.
In confessing to the crime, Markland said:
She was wearing provocative clothing. Her actions suggested that she was consenting to sexual contact.
Said neighbor Steve Sarju:
When she started running and crying with her pants down, I knew something was up. I know something was up but I was scared because he always had guns and I didn’t want to go up there.
Asked about the alleged assault, Markland’s brother said:
He’s a good person, all he does is teach people to read the Bible and stuff, that’s all I know about him.
Neighbors confirmed that Markland would preach to people, including children, when they walked by his home. Said neighbor Frank Ley.
Oh my gosh I can’t believe it, because I’ll be honest with you, he preaches the Bible, he knows it inside out. Everybody that walks by there will sit with him and pray, God is the light in our salvation, we always sit there, congregate two or three people at one time.
Markland is charged with an array of offences, including sexual assault on a victim under 12 years old, lewd and lascivious behaviour, and molesting a victim less than 12 years old.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office public information Officer Lauren Lettelier said authorities waited to make the arrest until they had a strong case.
Sometimes, these cases take longer to build so we have as strong of a case as possible, especially when it goes to trial. The DNA came back in November 2016.
Markland is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail.
Deputies said Markland could have more victims because he’s familiar with children in the neighborhood. Said Lettelier:
We don’t have any direct evidence to believe that he may have molested any other children, but he has not been truthful with us so we are still asking if anyone who could be a victim to come forward.
Added May 20, 2017
Following the arrest last month of Muslim Dr Jumana Nagarwala, accused
of mutilating girls for religious reasons, the Michigan Senate yesterday
approved legislation making FGM a state felony.
Doctors who perform the procedure and parents who transport a child to undergo the surgery now face jail sentences of up to 15 years.
A sponsor of the legislation, State Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Rick Jones, above, cited recent expert testimony before his panel describing Michigan as a “hotspot” for female genital mutilation due to its large community of immigrants from countries where such surgery is still routinely performed. He said:
It’s been hidden. But now that we’re aware, we want to make a very strong statement to the world – never again in Michigan.
Genital mutilation of girls, typically involving removal of all or part of the clitoris, is banned by several international treaties but remains a common cultural or religious practice in some African countries, including Somalia, Sudan and Egypt.
Aside from carrying tougher penalties than federal statute, Michigan’s legislation would allow arrests and prosecution by local law enforcement.
It also would close a federal loophole by outlawing transportation of girls under age 18 within state boundaries for purposes of undergoing genital surgery, Jones said. Parents or guardians who bring children to Michigan from abroad or are found to have taken them overseas for such procedures could likewise be charged.
The federal law, enacted in 1996, targets practitioners of female genital mutilation as well as individuals who carry a child across state lines to undergo the procedure.
Jones said female genital mutilation bans have been passed or were under consideration in several other states, including Minnesota and Texas, but he believed Michigan’s would be the toughest.
The World Health Organization has estimated that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone genital mutilation, which can cause lasting health problems.
Added May 19, 2017
Australia can’t bring itself to legalise same-sex marriage because of interference from Christian prodnoses.
That’s the view of Penny Wong, above, the Labor opposition leader in the Senate, who said in her Frank Walker Memorial Lecture in Sydney today that marriage equality:
Languishes in the too hard basket because of the intransigence of those who see it as their right to impose their personal views on the community as a whole.
Wong’s speech made the argument that a major problem in Australia’s contentious same-sex marriage debate is:
The application of religious belief to the framing of law in a secular society. The law slowly evolved to regard marriage as a contract rather than a sacrament and recognised that the marriage contract had particular reference to children and property.
But it remains the case that religious attitudes to marriage continue to impact on much of the political debate that has delayed the recognition of the marriage equality rights of the gay and lesbian community.
Wong described Australia’s secular society as a “great protection” against extremism, and stressed the importance of separating church and state.
Religion-based moral codes continue to limit the freedoms and the rights of those who, in the view of religious groups, do not ‘conform’ to their views. In advocating, and indeed proselytising, their own views, they too often restrict and constrain the rights of others.
Why, one might ask, should gay people be expected to show ‘gratitude’ that their sexual relationships have been decriminalised?
And why, one might also ask, should the gay and lesbian community be merely ‘tolerated’ when the heterosexual community takes for granted ‘acceptance’ and recognition of their sexual preference as ‘the norm’?
She also said religious liberty does not extend to the law enforcing a particular religion’s view on marriage.
Religious freedom means being free to worship and to follow your faith without suffering persecution or discrimination for your beliefs, It does not mean imposing your beliefs on everyone else.
And it most emphatically does not mean deploying the power of the state to enforce one set of religious beliefs.
Wong said she is a person of faith and does not believe a secular society is anti-religion, but rather:
Characterised by the personal freedoms of its members to hold God in whatever regard they wish.
Wong also rejected the argument that marriage is chiefly about procreation and should therefore be restricted to heterosexual couples.
I’m pretty confident that the description of marriages as loveless relationships with the pure aim of procreating would not resonate with the vast majority of Australians.
Over the weekend, the WannaCry ransomware attack targeted Microsoft Windows systems across the globe, even disrupting hospitals in Britain.
But Russia won’t have to worry about anything like that happening because the Orthodox Church’s Patriarch Kirill apparently visited the Ministry of Internal Affairs and sprayed holy water on the computers.
They can hack our political campaigns, but they think spraying water on computers is a smart move… #Logic
It won’t do any good, obviously, and I suspect the government let Kirill work his magic because he’s a powerful figure in the country. I think the government official standing in the middle of the room with the “you’ve got to be kidding me” look speaks for all of us.
Kirill has previous blamed the rise of ISIS on the “godless, secular” civilization in which we live. Also: Pride parades. He also thinks marriage equality is a “very dangerous sign of the apocalypse.”
And now he’s adding to his bullshit-filled toolbox with holy water. Because who needs a white hat when you have religious headgear at your disposal?
Erkki Hartikainen May 17, 2017
The reason for space dystopies is anticommunism.
The model for this type of fiction is Robert Heinleins Starship Troopers.
Robert Anson Heinlein (/ˈhaɪnlaɪn/; July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an
American science-fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science
fiction writers", his controversial works continue to have an
influential effect on the genre, and on modern culture more generally.
Heinlein became one of the first science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s.
He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the "Big Three" of science fiction authors.
Among his most famous novels are the literary classic Stranger in a
Strange Land, Starship Troopers, which
helped create the space marine and mecha archetypes, and
the libertarian novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
A notable writer of science-fiction short stories, Heinlein was one of a group of writers who came to prominence under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Jr. at his Astounding Science Fiction magazine—though Heinlein denied that Campbell influenced his writing to any great degree.
Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.
It all makes sense now.
You can see the full comic at Optipess.
Added May 15, 2017
A credit union in Kentucky has been hit with a lawsuit following its sacking last year of long-serving staff member Penelope Hudson, above, who was judged to be ‘too butch’ to serve customers.
She was also told that, as a lesbian, she couldn’t possibly believe in God.
Hudson worked for Park Community Credit Union offices in Louisville and Southern Indiana for 15 years and received positive performance reviews. But last year she was sacked because of her sexual orientation.
Hudson’s lawsuit, filed last Friday, alleges she was:
Passed over for promotions due to her supervisor’s animus toward lesbians.
She was told to change her appearance because she was “too butch” to deal with customers and
Was called ‘unprofessional’ because she wore her hair short.
The court filing says that:
Her sexual orientation was discussed with other employees and customers overheard those conversations.
It also says her supervisors and co-workers gossiped about her sexual orientation and would “belittle” her for not being a “typical woman”.
One of her supervisors asked that employees at her branch pray for good result, but noted that Hudson, the doesn’t believe in God since she is gay. She was told:
Because you’re gay, you don’t believe in God.
Hudson’s lawsuit also says that when a client at a business event sexually harassed her by flirting, trying to kiss her, and repeatedly asking for her phone number despite her turning him down, she complained to the Vice President of Human Resources.
Shockingly, the VP’s response was:
If the gay thing doesn’t work out you can also go the other way.
After being cleared to take time off via the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a federal law, for in-vitro fertilization, she was asked why. When she challenged the question, she was told that the credit union needed:
To insure it wasn’t for something related to her being gay.
Hudson says she is “heartbroken” over he sacking:
I loved my job and I was good at my job, and I loved the members that I dealt with every day. I gave my heart and soul to this company, and then I was fired for no other reason than that I am gay. That is hard to believe, and I’m filing this case because I want this company to know that this is not OK.
I never want any other LGBT person to be treated the way I was treated.
After being passed over for promotions and even being demoted, Park Community Credit Union ultimately fired Penelope in September 2016.
Months before she was fired, she received a positive performance review and she still gets questions from longtime credit union members about why they don’t see her at work anymore.
According to this report, Jim Spradlin, above, the credit union’s CEO, said the financial institution:
Vehemently denies the allegations made against us and will defend our position through all legal means.
Spradlin also said:We take great pride in the diversity of our workforce and embrace each employee as a part of our family. We look forward to the public learning the truth about our organization, which is that our incredible employees are a treasure that we value
Added May 14, 2017
Ruslan Sokolovsky, above, arrested last August for committing the horrendous crime of playing the video game in the Church on Blood in Honour of All Saints Resplendent in the Russian Land in Yekaterinburg, was given a suspended jail sentence this week.
The blogger, according to this report, compounded his offence by posting his caper on YouTube, and more than two million people viewed his videoIn a short speech at the beginning of the video, Sokolovsky dismissed media reports that playing Pokémon Go in churches could result in a prison sentence. He said:
This is complete nonsense. Who could get offended if you’re just walking around with your smartphone in a church?
But several weeks later, on September 2, Sokolovsky was detained on charges of extremism and insulting the feelings of believers.
Prosecutors claim to have found “elements of incitement of hatred” in nine videos uploaded by Sokolovsky to YouTube and his so-called “atheist” video blog, between May 2013 and September 2016.
He was charged with nine counts of inciting hatred and seven of breaching the right to freedom of religion.
A separate charge of using special equipment to illegally obtain information was added to the list after police found a ballpoint pen with a hidden camera during a search of his home.
The maximum sentence for insulting the rights of religious believers carries a sentence of up to seven years. But prosecutors thought that a three-and-a-half year term in prison would be sufficient punishment.
But on Thursday, a court sentenced him to 160 hours of compulsory community service and ordered him not to appear in public places.
Russian news agencies had quoted a prosecutor as saying in court:
There are no grounds to let the defendant go unpunished.
Pokémon Go, jointly developed by Nintendo Co and Niantic Inc, generated masses of followers around the world as players use their phones to capture animated characters that appear in real locations.
Sokolovsky’s treatment has drawn comparisons with the jailing of the Pussy Riot performance artists after they staged a punk performance in a Moscow cathedral in 2012.
The case has once again highlighted the power of the Russian Orthodox Church under the conservative rule of President Vladimir Putin.
Added May 13, 2017
The foolish police investigation of Stephen Fry for allegedly blaspheming on TV in Ireland has prompted New Zealand to scrap its blasphemy law.
According to this report, David Seymour, above, leader of ACT, a minor opposition party, instigated the move, saying lawmakers of all stripes wanted to end what they saw as an archaic curb on freedom of speech.
New Zealanders cherish the fact that we have strong separation between church and state. So when people discovered that there was a law that meant you could spend a year in jail for offending someone of a religious persuasion there was widespread condemnation.
Seymour, an enthusiastic supporter of gay rights and an assisted dying advocate, will notify parliament today (Thursday) that he intends to include blasphemy on a list of laws that are scheduled to be scrapped.
He added that the government had agreed to the move and the repeal should be complete by the end of the month.
Seymour said his bid to repeal the law was prompted by the Irish police probe into whether Fry blasphemed in a 2015 television interview when he denounced God as “utterly evil, capricious and monstrous”.
While the Irish investigation was dropped this week, it led to New Zealanders reviewing their laws and finding blasphemy was still on the statute books.
The news came as a surprise to many, including devout Catholic Prime Minister Bill English, who said:
It’s basically an accident of history … I can’t imagine a use for it. I think laws that over-reach on addressing robust speech are not a good idea … frankly, I didn’t think we had it, I thought it had gone.
Lawmakers from the majority of political parties, including opposition Labour leader Andrew Little, all voiced support for repealing the law.
Anglican Archbishop Philip Richardson also backed the move:
My view is, God’s bigger than needing to be defended by the Crimes Act.
Blasphemy has been an offence since 1840, when New Zealand became a British colony, and was included in a revamp of the criminal code in 1961. But no one has ever been convicted of the crime.
Added May 12
The summer is late in Finland.
Back in November, we learned that the Christian governor of Jakarta, Indonesia, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, was being investigated by police for blaspheming against Islam.
He didn’t actually do anything of the sort. What he said was that his opponents, by citing a verse from the Qur’an against being ruled by non-Muslims such as himself, were misleading people with their interpretation of the holy book. However, when video of that speech appeared online, someone had subtitled it without an important word, making it seem like he was criticizing the Qur’an itself rather than his political opponents. Approximately 100,000 Muslims demonstrated against Purnama on account of these lies.
Purnama’s blasphemy trial took place in December. This wasn’t long before the city’s elections, and the whole controversy saw his popularity plummet. He lost the race to a Muslim challenger a couple of weeks ago.
As for the trial, it was really a test of whether the nation’s legal system could fairly evaluate all the evidence… or whether it would succumb to mob rule.
Looks like mob rule won out.
The five-judge panel at the Jakarta court found Purnama guilty of blasphemy and jailed him for two years.
Announcing the verdict, presiding judge Dwiarso Budi Santiarto said Purnama was “convincingly guilty of committing blasphemy and is sentenced to two years in prison” and ordered him to be detained.
Another judge, Abdul Rosyad, said reasons for the stiff sentence included that “the defendant didn’t feel guilt, the defendant’s act has caused anxiety and hurt Muslims”.
Purnama will appeal the decision, but what good is a legal appeal in a corrupt system?
Jakarta, much like the U.S. last year, fell for misinformation. And the new leader’s political opponent may indeed be locked up.
Added May 10, 2017
Committed Christian Lizette Franklin, inset above, went into a state of shock when she clapped eyes on a ‘revolting’ OMG! promotion at her local branch of Poundland – and has vowed never patronise the store again until the the signs are removed.
According to this report, Franklin, a South African now living in Kinross, Scotland, was “absolutely disgusted and appalled” when she headed into Poundland’s Dunfermline branch, and assumed that OMG! was short for “Oh My God!”
However, the retail giant stressed the campaign was in fact an acronym for “Oh My Goodness!” A spokesperson for Poundland said:
We can assure her we have no intention to cause any upset with our ‘Oh My Goodness’ signage. While we know ‘OMG’ is in common use – especially online – and people differ on what it stands for, our overall intention is to surprise and delight customers with the amazing value we offer.
Franklin isn’t buying it. She said:
To me it expresses the name of the Lord and can be taken as disrespectful. If it was to mean Oh My Goodness they should have written it out.
She said she will boycott what is still one of her favourite shops until the offending campaign ends. She estimated she has spent a minimum of £100 every month for the last three years at the branch.
I am an absolute fan of the store. But when I saw this I was really in shock. It was as if the name of the Lord has been made fun of and disrespected all over the store. It is as if the name of the Lord was being used in vain to promote prices and this is revolting to say the least.
This is disrespectful to us as Christians and should be removed at once.
A while back got her pretty little Christian knickers in a twist when she saw a man strip naked on a beach before donning a diving suit. She recounted her experience on her Facebook page in June 2014. When a friend pointed out that Brighton, on the south coast of England, had a nudist beach, she replied:
Dont think we wil go there,,, little white soft winkies isnt really my idea of attraction. ….hahaha.
Having been an regular at the beach every summer for the eight years I lived in Brighton I can assure Ms Franklin that the “winkies” on display weren’t all white – and certainly not all “little”.
Speaking of offended South African Christians, back in 2011, a deodorant ad featuring angels ran into trouble with the country’s Advertising Standards Authority, which banned it.
The advertisement for Axe deodorant (known as Lynx in Britain) features winged, attractive women crashing to earth in an Italian town.
The scantily-clad women are then drawn towards a seemingly unremarkable man preparing to get on a moped. They regard their quarry lasciviously while sniffing the air before one by one smashing their halos and advancing towards him.
A voice-over says:
Excite, the new fragrance from Axe. Even angels will fall.
A viewer who complained to the ASA) said the suggestion that God’s messengers would literally fall for a mortal because of a deodorant was incompatible with his belief as a Christian.
The ASA agreed, and ordered Unilever SA, which sells the product, to withdraw the TV commercial.
The ASA said that the angels themselves were not a problem, but:
They are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires. This is something that would likely offend Christians in the same manner as it offended the complainant.
Added May 9, 2017
News that actor, writer and comedian Stephen Fry is being investigated for possibly breaching Ireland’s blasphemy law, went viral at the weekend and has attracted condemnation from many quarters.
Professor David Nash, above, an international expert on the history and contemporary status of blasphemy laws throughout Europe and beyond, told Atheist Ireland:
This incident really points up the utter folly of still maintaining a blasphemy law on the statute books of a modern democracy and the Irish government has been warned about these dangers.
History has shown us that even benign governments can think a blasphemy law will never be used and is there as a deterrent and a reflection of the country’s religious culture. No matter how unworkable governments and civil servants think the law is this incident indicates the power of the individual in finding offence and acting upon this.
Nash, of Oxford Brookes University, added:
Accepting the maintenance of this law is to accept the chilling effect of censorship in daily life – past and present. It is time for the State to itself act responsibly and repeal this law.
The investigation was prompted by an anonymous individual who demanded that Fry be prosecuted for describing God as “an utter maniac” in an RTE One interview with Gay Byrne in 2015.According to this report, a member of the public, who asked not to be identified, said he travelled to Ennis Gardaí station, Co Clare to report the alleged blasphemy.
I told the Gardaí I wanted to report Fry for uttering blasphemy and RTE for publishing/broadcasting it and that I believed these were criminal offences under the Defamation Act 2009.
The Gardaí then took a formal written statement from me in which I quoted Fry’s comments in detail. This written statement mentioned both Fry and RTÉ specifically.
He said he was asked by the Gardaí if he had been personally offended by the programme and if he wished to include this in the written statement.
I told the Gardaí that I did not want to include this as I had not personally been offended by Fry’s comments– I added that I simply believed that the comments made by Fry on RTÉ were criminal blasphemy and that I was doing my civic duty by reporting a crime.
A Gardaí source said the matter is being investigated.
A complaint has been received and it is currently being investigated. Detectives will speak to those involved if they are available and a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Atheist Ireland said it welcomed the Gardaí investigation into Mr Fry for blasphemy, saying:
It highlights a law that is silly, silencing, and dangerous. On 1 January 2010, the day the new Irish blasphemy law became operational, Atheist Ireland published a list of 25 blasphemous quotes in order to challenge the law.
Today, in solidarity with Stephen Fry, we are republishing those 25 blasphemous quotes, and adding in the quotation that has caused the Irish police to investigate Stephen Fry.
If we are prosecuted, we will challenge the constitutionality of the blasphemy law. If we are not prosecuted, it will again highlight the absurdity of this law, which should be repealed immediately. We again call on the Irish Government to honour its commitment to hold a referendum to remove the ban on blasphemy from our Constitution.
The law passed in 2009 and was introduced in January 2010 and it carries a maximum fine of €25,000. It prohibits:
The publishing or uttering [of] matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters sacred by any religion, thereby intentionally causing outrage among a substantial number of adherents of that religion. There have been no publicised cases of blasphemy brought before Irish courts.
Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, a qualified barrister who campaigned against the introduction of the law in 2009, said this was a “most unusual” case.
She said then Justice Minister Dermot Ahern made a grave error introducing the blasphemy law in 2009 and while criminal prosecutions haven’t been pursued in Ireland the law has been used as a model by other less democratic states.
Pakistan and other repressive states pointed to our law as an example of a law they wished to pursue. It is being used as a model by these regimes and this is not what Ireland should aspire to.
Yesterday, the British Humanist Association entered the fray. It pointed out that Fry was a patron of the BHA, and branded that the garda investigation as “ridiculous”.
Ireland’s current blasphemy law was passed in 2009 and has never been used. However, that does not mean it never will be – just in February, for example, prosecutors in Denmark decided to use their blasphemy law to charge a man for the first time in 46 years. Blasphemy laws also remain in active use in Greece, Poland, Turkey, and Russia, all of which have seen prosecutions in recent years.
The BHA is part of the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, an international campaign aimed at eradicating such laws around the globe that has seen laws be abolished in Norway, Iceland, Malta, and France since it was launched two years ago.
In England and Wales, blasphemy laws were abolished in 2008. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, blasphemy laws still remain on the books – but neither have been used for some time.
BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson, above, commented:
It is ridiculous that Stephen Fry is being investigated for a possible breach of Ireland’s blasphemy laws. Not only are such laws detrimental to free speech here in Europe, but they also enable countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran to justify their own laws, which in the case of 13 states come with a death sentence.
The current Irish Government is committed to holding a referendum on the abolition of Ireland’s blasphemy law. It is past time that referendum takes place.
Added May 8, 2017
Marc Vallieres, inset above, the operator of several Church of Scientology ‘facilities’ in Tennessee, has been charged with multiple felony counts of kidnapping.
Vallieres, according to this report, was arrested in Cannon County and faces two felony counts of facilitation of kidnapping. Two others involved with the alleged kidnapping are Dennis Flamond and Hans Snyder Lytle, who have both pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment.
Vallieres runs a number of facilities in Woodbury, about 60 miles southeast of Nashville. His goal at the centres is to take in teenagers who struggle with mental issues or drug and alcohol addiction and treat them with his longstanding Scientology-based therapy programme.
The arrests followed a raid by police on a collection of cabins and a double-wide trailer, concealed in the wilderness and heavily secured. This collection of cabins in Woodbury belong to the Life Center for a New Tomorrow, which is owned by Vallieres. It says on its website:
The Center was created to provide a safe environment for people who have conditions difficult to deal with. The Life Center is not a medical or treatment facility. The main focus is to provide an environment that is peaceful and safe, where people can rest, destimulate, gradually calm down, regain their senses and with some help perhaps recover the social skills necessary to function successfully in life.
No mention is made on the site about the Church of Scientology, but Vallieres indicated his involvement with the Life Centre on his Facebook page. Last August he said he was looking for staff for the Life Center.
A Global News report said the authorities had found out about the cabins when a man inside managed to call 911. When police arrived the captive was “looking out through a Plexiglas window”.
The unidentified man told police that he had been held in the facility against his will for nine months, and had been treated with unknown medications. According to officers who witnessed the scene, it was impossible for the man to leave the cabin, and all he was provided was a single bed with a single sheet and a tiny bathroom, which was the “only room with a light”.
After assessing the scene, the man was taken to an emergency room at a local hospital for care. When police later returned to the cabin and trailer armed with a search warrant, they discovered people hastily packing up and moving out all contents of the facilities.
Later, when the police searched another reported Scientology location, they discovered yet another “patient,” this time a female. She too was transported to a local hospital and her family notified.
The authorities ordered an immediately shut-down of the cult’s facilities. A statement released by the Cannon County Sheriff’s Department said:
We would like to make the general public of [the] county aware that the Scientology facilities are closed and [no longer] operating.
Well-known Scientology reporter Tony Ortega has been sounding the horn on these covert facilities for some time, citing examples of other people who have allegedly been held against their will – including severely mentally ill Scientologists – and who have suffered mental breakdowns in similar rural Tennessee facilities. On his website Ortega, in reporting this week’s police operation, said:
In 2015, we told you the shocking story of a woman with severe mental health issues who was “treated” with Scientology’s pseudoscientific techniques at the Woodbury, Tennessee facility that Vallieres called Life Center for a New Tomorrow. The woman was later moved to the basement of a house in Arkansas, where she had to be rescued by local authorities.
A Church of Scientology press release dating back to 2012 said that Marc Vallieres and his wife Anne had embarked on a crusade to:
Create a drug-free Tennessee after they began to notice heavy drug abuse in their own small town of Woodbury.
They began the campaign in 2009 and since then have conducted drug education seminars in schools, reaching thousands of children in 30 counties around the state. They intend to bring the program to all remaining counties and make drug prevention part of every child’s education in Tennessee.
The release added:
The Church of Scientology has published a new brochure, Scientology: How We Help—The Truth About Drugs, Creating a Drug-Free World, to meet requests for more information about the drug education and prevention initiative it supports.
Added May 7, 2017
US President Donald Trump today made good on a promise to allow faith-heads – particularly those of an evangelical stripe – greater freedom by signing an Executive Order called ‘Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty’.
He is quoted by NBC News as saying at political speech at a National Day of Prayer event at the White House:
Faith is deeply embedded into the history of our country, the spirit of our founding and the soul of our nation. We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore.
We are giving our churches their voices back.
Trump promised during his election campaign to dismantle the Johnson Amendment, which bans tax-exempt organisations like churches from political speech and activities. His executive order relaxes IRS enforcement of that ban. While the executive order signals a promise kept, fully repealing the Johnson amendment would require Congressional action.
His Executive Order also gives “regulatory relief” to companies that object to an Obamacare mandate for contraception in health care.
While an earlier draft of the religious liberty order reportedly would have let federal contractors discriminate against LGBT employees based on faith beliefs, today’s version did not include such provisions.
Pastor Mark Burns, a longtime Trump supporter who attended the White House signing and a White House dinner for religious leaders on Wednesday evening, celebrated the move, telling NBC News today that it was :
A great day for religious freedom in America.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement:
The open season on Christians and other people of faith is coming to a close in America and we look forward to assisting the Trump administration in fully restoring America’s First Freedom,
But Civil liberty groups criticised the order, with several vowing to sue.
Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights said in a statement.
Plain and simple: President Trump’s executive order will hurt women, and the Center for Reproductive Rights is ready to fight back in court. President Trump’s executive order discriminates against women and robs them of essential preventive care.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony D Romero said in a statement released minutes after the order was made public:
We intend to file suit today. President Trump’s efforts to promote religious freedom are thinly-veiled efforts to unleash his conservative religious base into the political arena while also using religion to discriminate.
Lambda Legal said on Tuesday that it would sue Trump if an explicitly anti-LGBT order were signed. But today, the organization’s CEO, Rachel Tiven, said the lawsuit was on hold – for now.
We will be scrutinising the moves that will be taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other administration officials in response to the Executive Order. If they take action based on this Executive Order that harms our community, we will sue.
Added May 6, 2917
We represent associations from all continents acting for separation of churches and religions from states, for formal secularization of institutions, in accordance with the increasing secularization of societies.
The watchword of our actions is to work towards respect for the freedom of conscience of each and every one, of all human beings living on the planet. That is to say, the freedom to believe or not to believe. We do not conflate freedom of conscience with freedom of religion because the latter is only one component of the former and not its equivalent.
We reject the idea that religion be considered a separate category among the variety of convictions of Humanity. Or that it should be given special status exempting it from rational and human criticism. Or that it should in addition be financed by public funds taken from the total contributions of taxpaying citizens.
That is why we are opposed to any form of civil and criminal enforcement of what is generally referred to as “the crime of blasphemy.” The right to engage in unfettered criticism is a fundamental democratic right. Its necessary corollary is complete freedom of expression. We are referring here to criticism of opinions and facts, not individuals as such.
That is also why we refuse and condemn the privilege of churches and religions – which represent the convictions of only a few – being financed from public funds which are the fruit of the contribution by everyone.
Coming from the USA (1791), Mexico (1857), France (1905), Portugal (1911), Russia (1918), Uruguay (1918), Spain (1931) and Turkey (1937), the democratic demand for the necessary Separation of churches and religions from states has continued to mobilize conscious Humanity. Since then, numerous countries on all continents have established that principle. The progress of Separation has a long history.
Ever since James Madison, Father of the American Constitution and 4th president of the United States, observed in 1819 that “the number, the industry and the morality of the clergy, and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of church and state,” the History of human emancipation has shown that, whatever the dominant religious cultures in society, the principle of Separation of the sphere of public institutions from the religious sphere is not only possible and feasible, but it is highly desirable in order to establish and consolidate Democracy.
In all countries, on all continents, in all national and international institutions, we must take action to advance the Separation of churches and religions from States.
Together, let us work for secularism!
I’ll take a stab at an answer based on some data and on my experiences as a Christian in Greece, hopefully I can give you some more insight into the matter.
Officially, the Greek Orthodox Church is accorded the status of prevailing religion in the Greek constitution. So if you want a very simplified answer, there it is.
It might also interest you to know that “Orthodox clergy's salaries and pensions are paid for by the State. All Greek students in primary and secondary schools in Greece attend Christian Orthodox instruction, although there is an exemption system.” ()
According to the most recent Pew report, 88.1 % of Greeks identify as Orthodox Christians.
Most people happily take part in religious traditions such as local fairs held on saints day, drawn out Easter celebrations (including fasting), Christmas and so forth. These traditions are part of the Greek experience and differ a bit from what you find in catholic and protestant countries.
Based on this above info, Greece seems to be like some kind of Orthodox theocracy where both the people and the state are extremely religious.
The reality is different. Belief in Christianity in Greece is dropping rapidly, the country is becoming more secular… more or less like how you’d expect a western European country to be.
According toself-reported Church attendance is at 27%, putting Greece in the company of countries like Canada and the Czech republic. This percentage correlates a bit better with my day to day experiences with my fellow Greeks.
In the cities, among the middle and upper class, among the young, you will find that few people seem to self profess as Christians. The Greek Orthodox church and clergy (and by association Christianity as a religion) are routinely criticized, looked down upon, or just ignored. In the countryside and among the working class and older people you will find more people who proudly will identify themselves as Christians. This is not an uncommon pattern that probably also applies to other countries.
Whatever the case, Christian solidarity did not stop Greeks from electing our current prime minister, a self-described atheist (and marxist?) whose political roots are in socialism and the far left. A Che-Guevara fanboy, he remains un-married, but has cohabitated with his high school girlfriend for twenty years and they have one child. He took a civil rather than a religious oath of office and is a strong supporter of same-sex marriage. This is not a political diatribe for or against him, its to illustrate how this is not a country in which there is some kind of powerful organized Christian voting block like you see in the USA.
As far as Christianity and Islam is concerned, any theories that the state of Christianity in Greece is somehow directly threatened by Muslim immigration are off the mark. It is threatened by secularization. It is also threatened by population implosion due to its “lowest-low fertility” rate of 1.3 births per woman, one of the lowest on earth… but that’s another story.
Something that I’d like to add that is important in understanding Greeks is that we have very blurred line between traditions and religion. People can and will enjoy religious traditions without necessarily being believers, its more about community. This Easter I was attending church and next to me in the courtyard lighting their candles with the holy flame where friends who are most definitely atheists… and marxists. Don’t confuse the widespread participation in and identification with traditions with spiritual-religious belief.
This is a halfway Christian country undergoing a transition. The Church holds lands and influence and commands financial support from the goverment, but at the same time, people are tuning away from organized religion in droves. I have the lingering impression that the hierarchy of the Orthodox Church is out of touch with its people, or simply not up to the job of navigating the 21st century. Its hard to say what it will look like in 2–3 generations.
Erkki Hartikainen May 4, 2017
Hundred years ago carpenters made individual pieces of the furniture.
Now I can buy only products for average people, not for me.
I hope that in the future robots will make products for individuals.
Added May 3, 2017
Donald W Welch, a quack Christian therapist and an ordained minister at Skyline Church in Rancho San Diego, inset, had failed in his bid to overturn to a California law banning gay conversion therapy for minors.
According to this report, the US Supreme Court yesterday declined to take up Welch’s challenge to the law. The justices, turning away a challenge to the 2012 law for the second time in three years, let stand a lower court’s ruling that it was constitutional and neither impinged upon free exercise of religion nor impacted the activities of clergy members.
The 2012 statute noted that homosexuality is not a disease and that gay conversion therapy is harmful.
Similar laws against gay conversion have passed in the District of Columbia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont. A challenge to the New Jersey law was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2015.
Welch is an ordained minister and a licensed family therapist with the evangelical Skyline Wesleyan Church near San Diego. The church believes sex should take place only in a marriage between a man and a woman.
When the Bill SB 1172 became was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, the Sacramento Pacific Justice Institute immediately launched a challenge on behalf of Welch, saying the law violates First Amendment and equal protection rights.
Welch, whose church operates one of the oldest Christian counseling centre in the area, is as an adjunct professor at Point Loma Nazarene University and Azusa Pacific University. The suit also named as a plaintiff Aaron Bitzer, a Culver City man who says he has benefited from the “reparative” therapy.
Institute president Brad Dacus said of the law:
It directly threatens the rights of parents and how they choose to address the issue of same-sex attraction with their children. It threatens to have the child removed from families that do not affirm the homosexual conduct of their children. And then it also violates the rights and the professional duties of licensed counselors – and even clergy who are licensed counselors – by dictating them to affirm homosexual same-sex attraction as well as the sexual conduct resulting from that attraction.
Senator Ted Lieu, above, who introduced the bill, dismissed the lawsuit as:
Frivolous. Their view of the First Amendment is so expansive it would protect therapists and psychiatrists from medical malpractice claims and abuse claims simply because they use speech in practicing their medicine.
He said conversion therapy:
Has no basis in medicine and, in fact, causes harm.
That’s why the state has the authority to step in, he said.
We let adults do stupid things in society but we don’t let children. We don’t let children drink whiskey at a bar even if parents consent. We don’t let children buy cigarettes even if their parents consent.
The state has precedent on its side, Lieu said. For example, California bans children from electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. Lieu also said the lawsuit’s citations related to the right to privacy is so expansive that no court has ever upheld such a claim.
This is not about speech. This is about the practice of medicine.
Not so, argued Dacus. He added that an underlying fallacy to the law is that it presupposes anyone attracted to someone of the same sex does so purely based on their genetics. He further argued there were many youth “suffering” from same-sex attraction who were abused as children.
These youth have already been victimized once. By denying them the ability to get reparative or healing therapy that they choose, they are being victimized twice. That is what makes this so repulsive to those who appreciate not only civil rights but sincerely wish to address the unique needs and the unique therapies that are necessary for each individual.
Added May 2, 2017
Alvin Plantinga, 84, described by Christian Today as ‘a giant of philosophy and apologetics’ has been awarded £1.1m by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF) , the US-based organisation that honours those who have ‘made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery or practical works’.
Plantinga has his own proof for gods existence. He misuses Bayes' theorem.
Biologist Jerry A Coyne, PhD, author of Faith vs. Facts: why science and religion are incompatible, greeted the news with contempt, saying:
JTF has bestowed its annual Templeton Prize on someone who’s not only a deeply misguided religious philosopher, but also has promoted intelligent design and criticised naturalism …
His main schtick is to claim that it’s not irrational to believe in God; that therefore it’s rational to believe in God; that the existence of God is a ‘basic belief’ that doesn’t require empirical justification; that such belief comes from a divinely installed sensus divinitatis that allows us to detect truth; that because the truth-detector has to come from God, what it finds, like scientific ‘truths’, is incompatible with pure naturalism; that evolution was guided by GOD AND SATAN; that the God who installed our sensus is none other than Plantinga’s Christian God (surprise!); and that the presence of atheists, Hindus, Jews, and the majority of people with ‘false beliefs’ simply had broken sensuses, which were due to, yes, the actions of SATAN!
Coyne says the award, a sum exceeding that given to Nobel prizewinners:
Casts doubts on Templeton’s claim to be increasingly down with science, for, after all, Plantinga is pretty much an intelligent design creationist. Although he’s waffled on this a bit in the past, he seems to have settled on ID creationism.
In awarding the prize, JTF claimed that Plantinga’s work for more than half-a-century – mostly “piffle”, says Coyne, had led to a dramatic increase in the number of religious philosophers:
Indeed, more than 50 years after this remarkable journey began, university philosophy departments around the world now include thousands of professors who bring their religious commitments to bear on their work, including Buddhist, Jewish, and Muslim philosophers.
Note the claim (mostly false) that Plantinga’s work has inspired serious philosophers to ‘bring their religious commitments to bear on their work’. That is, he’s given them a license to engage in confirmation bias: justifying post facto what they already believe and want to be true. That’s hardly a good way to do philosophy, but of course it’s the way philosophers of religion proceed.
Now if Plantinga were that influential, why are 62% of philosophers atheists – a frequency at least ten times higher than the general public as a whole? (Plantinga claims that the reason is that atheistic philosophers don’t want to believe in God rather than having good rational reasons for their non-belief.)
Coyne ends by providing a partial a partial list of scholars – natural scientists, social scientists, and philosophers and historians of science – whose endeavors have been supported by the JTF.
These are good scientists and scholars, by and large, but they take money from an organization that promotes religion, natural theology, and anti-evolution. I ask them this with all due respect: do you really want to take money from a Foundation that’s devoted to watering down science with superstition?
Added May 1, 2017
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Mitä filosofia on?
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
Todellisiä hyötyjiä ovat lukiolaiset.
Mainittakoon, että ylempää löytyvät täysin ilmaiset lukion filosofian oppikirjat.