July 9, 2007

I WAS in the middle of writing a piece today which effectively argues that one cannot engage the unengageable, when this story broke about a Muslim woman who was arrested for listening to music on an MP3 player while on jury duty at a London murder trial. She was wearing headphones under her hijab. The piece I was writing for the August, 2007, Freethinker was a reaction to the feeling among many of our politicians that, in order to steer… Read more

July 5, 2007

  MULTI-TALENTED George Melly – jazz singer, raconteur, writer, expert on surrealism and dedicated humanist – died today aged 80. He had been suffering lung cancer and dementia, but was still performing at various gigs around the UK during the earlier part of this year. I first met George around 30 years ago when he was performing at the famous Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in Soho, and remember asking him to sing George and Ira Gershwin’s It Ain’t Necessarily So… Read more

July 4, 2007

IF IT had been mounted in any city other than Brighton, an exhibition in June featuring the work of artist Dan Baldwin would probably have drawn howling packs of holy-rollers demanding its immediate closure. But the large crowds who descended on the art gallery Ink’d were not there to protest; they were driven instead by their desire to get their hands on the controversial Brighton artist’s work – in particular his piece entitled “Fuck Religion”, which sold out in less… Read more

July 4, 2007

Despite the fact that the Scottish Christian Party, fielding 72 candidates, only managed to attract 31,161 votes and won no seats in the 2007 Scottish elections, its leader, the Rev George Hargreaves, is convinced that his party’s narrow following of delusional crackpots will provide a springboard for far greater influence in Scottish politics in years to come. Trumpeted Hargreaves on his website Hargreaves on his website: As I travel around Scotland carrying the news of the Scottish Christian Party, I… Read more

July 1, 2007

IN JULY, 2006, the Freethinker drew readers’ attention to the fact that Britain’s most popular pre-packed ready-meal, the ‘umble banana, had been seized upon by increasingly-desperate evangelical Christians to advance their cock-eyed creationist ideas. The banana, according to a leaflet still doing the rounds, is “an atheist’s nightmare”. The leaflet adds. To say that the banana happened by accident is even more unintelligent than to say that no one designed the Coca Cola can. Well. This was all too much… Read more

July 1, 2007

THE Catholic Church in the UK is so full of itself these days, claiming vast numbers of fresh recruits – mainly from among new, young Polish immigrants coming to this country in ever increasing numbers. I am sceptical of these claims because they simply do not square with the conversations I have had with young Poles in Britain’s most godless city – Brighton –  where their presence is felt everywhere from new bars to convenience stores – now full of… Read more

March 27, 2007

N Islamic school in Sussex has been shut down, and another, in London, has attracted criticism for failing to remove religious hate literature from its library. The Jameah Islameah school, which was raided by police on September 1 last year during a terror alert, was closed after education officials said it was no longer good enough to operate. The Department for Education and Skills removed the independent Jameah Islameah school in East Sussex from the Register of Independent Schools. This… Read more

April 4, 2006

This year the Freethinker celebrates 125 years of continuous publication. Despite the fact that its founder and editor was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment for ‘blasphemy’ in 1883, the publication did not miss an issue, and has continued its war on superstition as robustly as it ever did under Foote’s editorship. Curiously, it was not so much the written attacks on Christianity that roused the ire of the religious – it was a series of sacrilegious cartoons. Oddly, none of… Read more

April 3, 2006

BARBARA SMOKER digs up an old Vatican Gangster ARCHBISHOP Paul Casimir Marcinkus died on February 20 in Sun City, near Phoenix, Arizona. You don’t remember him? During his 18 years as president of the Vatican bank, Instituto per le Opere di Religione (Institute of Religious Works, or IOR), which manages the financial investments of the Vatican, Marcinkus was regarded as the second most powerful man in the most powerful Church in the world. He was born in 1922 in Cicero,… Read more

February 10, 2006

THE latest public figure to stand accused of defiling the Prophet Mohammed is not some Danish cartoonist, or French newspaper editor, but a hapless British Page 3 girl called Emma B. The previous day the erotic retailer Ann Summers unveiled Miss B as the “face” of its new range of products. Not 24 hours later, she finds herself on the front line of Islamic protest after Muslim leaders discovered that the range includes a new blow-up doll, called “Mustafa Shag”…. Read more

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