About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

Against God’s Will? Pious Lifeguard Unsure Whether to Save Drowning Man (Hint: It’s Satire)

The Onion has the harrowing account of an existential dilemma faced by God-believer Blake Dunphy, a lifeguard who

… found himself mentally shackled by the question of whether to save a swimmer currently thrashing for his life or allow destiny to take its course unfettered.

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Two More New York Infants Given Herpes in Jewish Mouth-to-Penis Ritual

The Hebrew term metzitzah b’peh (MBP) describes a ritual practiced by some ultra-Orthodox Jewish circumcisers in which they orally suck the blood away from an infant’s penis after cutting away his foreskin. The practice, which we previously covered here and here, is exactly as unhygienic and indefensible as it sounds, frequently resulting in the transmission of communicable diseases, and sometimes even in brain damage and death.

Two additional Jewish infants just received more than a circumcision — the mohels who sucked them off suctioned away the blood with their mouths gave them a case of full-blown herpes.

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Group That Evangelizes to Young Children Comes Under Scrutiny From Activists and Media

A couple of weeks ago, Hemant blogged about a international organization called the Child Evangelism Fellowship that thinks it’s cool to indoctrinate kids as young as four with talk of hell and damnation. CEF had picked relatively godless Portland, Oregon as its next battle ground, and the plan was to send more than a hundred missionaries into the city to form “Good News Clubs,” whose goal is to “harvest” children for Jesus.

A protest group, Protect Portland Children, rose to the challenge and took out an ad in the local alt-weekly to explain:

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Clergy at Mosque in City of Brotherly Love Are Accused of Trying to Cut Off Alleged Thief’s Hand

How about a little vigilante “justice” to go with your God-belief? You’d think this might happen in Riyadh or Islamabad. Instead, the following attempt at Sharia enforcement took place in Philadelphia.

Two men described as leaders of a Philadelphia mosque were accused of trying to cut off the hand of a suspected thief, whose wrist was sliced so deeply it required hospital treatment, police said on Friday.

The 46-year-old victim said two officials in the mosque accused him of stealing jars of money from the house of worship after morning prayers on Monday.

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Has This Happened To You? A Friend Paid Me a Backhanded Compliment: “You’re One of the Good Atheists.”

I consider Craig a friend of the family, mostly because “acquaintance of the family” is a weird term. We’re not close, but I’ve known Craig for six or seven years. He’s intelligent and affectionate and entrepreneurial and geeky and a little high-strung, a fast-talking man of ideas who is building his own quadcopter — one that, he says, is big enough to take his 175-pound frame into the skies. Every summer, Craig vacations on the East Coast island where I live. Then he disappears back home to California, and I don’t see him for 10 or 11 months.

He dropped by unannounced the other day, as he sometimes does. I don’t think we’d ever discussed religion or atheism, though I must have mentioned at some point that I’m not a believer. Apparently, that made an impression on Craig.

He sums up his genuinely warm feelings with a “Good to see you buddy” as we stand talking in my kitchen. And then, out of the clear blue sky: “You’re my favorite atheist.”

I think I arched an eyebrow. Maybe two.

“I am?”

“Yeah man. You know how I figured out that you’re one of the good ones?”

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