December 1, 2007

WITHOUT a hint that he’s aware of his own bitter irony, the ex-Nazi in charge of the Vatican – Joseph Ratzinger – says in a new encyclical that atheism has led to some of the “greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice” known to humankind. We kid you not. Read all about it in The Times (and no doubt many other outlets). When you consider modern horrors such as attempts to prevent followers from using birth control; attempts to prevent the… Read more

December 1, 2007

IT takes a little time, but some Catholics, it seems, get the message that there’s a toss-up between enabling a potential life and preserving one that is here, one that is now, one that is proven to exist, one that is made of flesh and blood and skills and smiles and hugs. On World AIDS Day (which is today), it’s good to be able to report that many Catholics realise that the Vatican has been spouting a load of utter tripe, and that wearing a condom is… Read more

November 30, 2007

“WHAT a wonderful Christian attitude some have,” says a commenter to a Daily Mail story about a priest who has been receiving hate mail. And why has this member of the clergy been the subject of a hate campaign that has even included what appears to be an arson attack? Because this member of the clergy is female. She is Yvonne Hobson, who has been vicar of the seaside village of Paul in Cornwall, UK,  since July 2006. The 54-year-old… Read more

November 30, 2007

THE Dutch politician Geert Wilders is about to stir up another MoToons/MoDog/MoCat/MoBear type of rage (oh, add in Salman Rushdie and Submission) with an under-ten-minute film showing why the Koran is such an evil load of fascist propaganda, used as an inspiration “by bad people to do bad things”. According to AP and the International Herald Tribune, Wilders’s latest assault on Islam will be shown in January. We look forward to it. Every little knock at the bunkum and hogwash… Read more

November 28, 2007

THE conviction this month of a Manchester Imam who beat an 11-year-old boy with a mop handle for talking during a lesson at a mosque, serves as a timely reminder of the dangers children face in Islamic institutions both in the UK and abroad. Guhlam Mustapha Hazarvi, 42, dragged the frightened boy into the corner of a classroom and beat him. The boy, according to a report in the Manchester Evening News, suffered “horrific” bruising following the assault at the… Read more

November 26, 2007

WE’VE had the Motoons protests, followed by an eruption of fury over the Modogs illustrations, and now followers of the Religious of Perpetual Outrage in the Sudan are making death threats over a teddy bear called Mohammed. The object of their lastest bout of fury is Gillian Gibbons, a 54-year-old mother of two from Liverpool, who was arrested at her lodgings at Khartoum’s Unity High School yesterday, accused of insulting the Prophet of Islam. She faces a jail sentence, or… Read more

November 26, 2007

DUNDEE University has been accused of “antagonising Christians” with a forthcoming Christmas lecture that challenges one of the central tenets of the faith. Second-year dental student Emily Mackie said the university’s decision to call its inaugural Dundee Christmas Lecture “Why Evolution is Right … and Creationism is Wrong” is badly timed and insensitive to Christians. I call on the university to take a moral stand and choose a new title which better reflects the celebration of the birth of Christ…. Read more

November 25, 2007

ONE of religion’s more palatable exponents, South Africa’s likable and genial Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is on the wireless on Tuesday night, having a knock at the Anglican Church and its leadership for its attitudes towards homosexuality. In an interview with BBC Radio 4, he says the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has failed to demonstrate that God is “welcoming”. The Radio Times online listing for the programme says, Michael Buerk reports on the divide over homosexuality in the worldwide… Read more

November 25, 2007

NOT all Americans are Bible-totin’, scripture-quotin’, Republican votin’ rednecks who think they have a hotline to Jesus, though you might be excused for harbouring such an image when the right-wing Bible Belters get going. Indeed, as this story is published during a Sunday morning, a bunch of kids in the USA will soon (we’re allowing for the time difference here!) be getting a dose of reason. A group of parents have got together and formed something that’s such a good… Read more

November 24, 2007

IT’S just a story. Let’s say it again, louder: it’s just a storr-eeee! Hmm. Doesn’t seem to have done much good. They’re still obsessing about Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, wondering if it’ll poison the impressionable minds of schoolkids and turn them against God. To judge by the current brouhaha, you wouldn’t think the first book in the trilogy, Northern Lights, had been out since 1995. But it’s the fact that they’ve made a movie of it – called… Read more

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