Was it Right for Atlanta’s Mayor to Fire the City’s Fire Chief Over His Anti-Gay Book?

This week, Atlanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired after a lot of controversy surrounding his self-published 2013 book Who Told You That You Were Naked?. It included these passages:

“Uncleanness — whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

“Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex, and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

Of course, writing a book like that isn’t grounds for punishment unless you do something actually illegal like pushing it to your employees at work or promoting it not as a private citizen but as a public official.

And wouldn’t you know it

[Read more…]

Boko Haram Attack on Nigerian Town Leaves 2,000 People Unaccounted For

Do Muslim fundies make New Year’s resolutions? If so, Boko Haram’s jihadists perhaps resolved to kill more people in 2015 than they did last year, when the death toll stood at “only” about 11,000.

In any case, the Sunni terrorists are off to a good start:

Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram have attacked the northeastern town of Baga for the second time in a week, leaving bodies littering the streets, according to an official.

Two locals said the Islamist insurgents began shooting indiscriminately and burning buildings on Tuesday evening in raids on the civilian population that carried on into Wednesday.

[Read more…]

Raif Badawi, While Receiving 50 Lashes, Reportedly “Did Not Flinch”

Earlier today, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was given 50 lashes (the first of his 1,000 lashes punishment) for the “crime” of “insulting Islam.”

I’m also encouraged by this report from @ElhamManea:

[Read more…]

Terry Jones, the Man Behind “International Burn a Koran Day,” is Now Running a French Fry Stand at a Florida Mall

Remember Terry Jones? He’s the pastor who caused worldwide controversy with his “International Burn A Koran Day” on September 11, 2010.

Well, guess what he’s doing now

[Read more…]

More Voices, This Time From Liberals, Suggest That Charlie Hebdo More or Less Brought the Massacre On Itself

[Caution: This post contains brain-crunching sentiments like “They asked for an early grave” and “Shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was understandable.”]

With a tip of the hat to Reason, I’d like to present a little potpourri of, um, interesting responses to Wednesday’s massacre. The authors, to varying degrees, place at least some part of the blame on the victims.

Richard Seymour at Jacobin:

All one can have at this point are the correct but platitudinous points about there being no justification for this, that all attacks on journalists are abhorrent, that freedom of speech must be defended to the last drop of blood, and so on. If you really need that sermon, you’re in the wrong place. … I think there’s a critical difference between solidarity with the journalists who were attacked, refusing to concede anything to the idea that journalists are somehow “legitimate targets,” and solidarity with what is frankly a racist publication.

No, journalists are not legitimate targets for killing. But no, we also shouldn’t line up with the inevitable statist backlash against Muslims, or the ideological charge to defend a fetishized, racialized “secularism,” or concede to the blackmail which forces us into solidarity with a racist institution.

That’s all the more remarkable because Charlie Hebdo has always been a left-leaning, anti-establishment publication that directs its barbs at politicians, the police, bankers, the rich and powerful, and (last but not least) religion. The BBC’s Hugh Schofield even describes the weekly as fitting in a French tradition of “left-wing radicalism.”

No matter, says Jacob Canfield at the Hooded Utilitarian:

I understand that calling someone a ‘racist asshole’ after their murder is a callous thing to do, and I don’t do it lightly. This isn’t ambiguous, though: the editorial staff of Hebdo consistently aimed to provoke Muslims. … The statement, “JE SUIS CHARLIE” works to erase and ignore the magazine’s history of xenophobia, racism, and homophobia.

The way I see it, the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were equal-opportunity offenders who viewed themselves as being in the business of slaying holy cows. When they observed a multitude of nodders — that is, when they saw stifling conformity — they questioned and mocked it, even if that meant offending some subset of Charlie readers with drawings that some (not me) saw as homophobic or racist.

For instance, I wonder if Canfield thinks this is a “racist,” “homophobic” cartoon. (To me, it’s the opposite.)

[Read more…]