Showing posts with label Judaism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Judaism. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hate Crimes, Shootings, Guns, Domestic Terrorism, and the History of Ignorant Attacks on American Sikhs

The focus of this blog is most commonly the violence and hatred with which hypocritical religious individuals and institutions shower LGBT persons.  After last weekend's mass shooting at a Sikh gurdwara in Wisconsin, I am again made painfully aware of the violence and hatred that religious individuals and institutions are capable of hurling at those of other religions.  This shooting is another in an endless line of violence that results from the tragic combination of ignorance, hatred, religion, and weapons of mass destruction.  


Ignorance:  The Huffington Post article shares numerous quotes of those who perpetrated these crimes.  One murderer said: I'm a patriot and an American. I'm American. I'm a damn American," "I'm going to go out and shoot some towel-heads," "all Arabs should be shot," and his desire to "slit some Iranian throats."  There is a common pattern in the listed crimes: the Sikh victims were ignorantly assumed to be Muslims, specifically members of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda.  

Sikhs are not in any way Muslim, nor are they the members of al-Qaeda responsible for 9/11.  Neither are nearly 100% of the world's Muslims and/or Iranians.  Yet, innocent Americans of these backgrounds have now been the victims of eleven years of domestic terrorism perpetrated by self-proclaimed "real Americans."  Ignorance breeds hatred and violence.

Religion:  From what I've been able to research (I'm by no means an expert on Sikh beliefs.), the founders of the Sikh religion, the Sikh Gurus, did not believe in the exclusivity of their teachings or writings.  Contrast this with the founders of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Mormonism, who all believed that they had a divinely-inspired, exclusive claim to the one and ultimate truth.  In other words, our god is better than your god(s).  This is a recipe for violence in the name of one's supreme being.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:  Glock semiautomatic pistols and handguns have been usedin  the recent mass shootings in Oak Creek, Aurora, Tucson, and Blacksberg.  The high-capacity magazines that have been used with them have been created with one purpose only: shoot as many bullets in as few seconds as possible. The result is mass destruction, injury, death, and terror.

We live in a nation, where the right of a U.S. citizen to legally buy these weapons of mass destruction trumps the right of every other citizen to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  After last weekend's attack upon the Sikh gurdwara, we again see that the right to bear weapons of mass destruction also trumps the right to peacefully assemble and the right to worship or not worship as one sees fit.

We accept many limitations on our rights.  It's illegal to drive at unsafe speeds, because the result might be death.  It's illegal to smoke at many indoor establishments, because the result might be cases of lung cancer for those standing nearby.  It's illegal to self-prescribe medications, because one might do harm by means of an overdose or uninformed mixing of drugs.  It's illegal to drink and drive, because one might cause an accident killing others.  

If we accept these limits on our rights to perform these actions, because the result of these actions might be injury and death to others, why can we not accept limits upon the right of citizens to purchase and stockpile the semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines that have been the tools used to reap terror, destruction, hatred and death upon so many innocent Americans?

How many more times must the tragic confluence of ignorance, hatred, religion and weapons of mass destruction be allowed to occur before we legislate concrete, preventative measures to ensure the safety of all Americans? 

In the meanwhile, the ignorance of a few will continue to result in hate crimes perpetrated against the many.  



Here's what Lawrence O'Donnell had to say about the NRA after the tragedy in Aurora, CO:
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Rabbis Go at It over Carl Paladino's Anti-Gay Rant and Ensuing Apology

     In the wake of Republican's Carl Paladino's anti-gay speech and ensuing apology, Rabbi Yehuda Levin, at who's community Paladino made his comments that gay pride is "disgusting" and gays "brainwash" children, is taking Padadino to task.  Levin is angry that Paladino apologized for his anti-gay hate speech.

     In the video below, Lawrence O'Donnell interviews Rabbi Levin, who espoused numerous gay myths such equating homosexuality with pedophilia, all in the name of his scriptures and his Jewish god.

     Also interviewed is Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner, who supports equal civil marriage rights for same-sex couples.  Kirshner counters Levin's arguments.

     Kirshner's best line:   "Religion needs to be something that is  a tool to help people cope with the world, not used as a weapon to beat people up."

Monday, October 11, 2010

Catholic Carl Paladino Bashes Gays, But Claims Not to be Hurting Them

     Catholic, Republican, gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino and the Orthodox Jews of Shaarei Chaim agree that homosexuals "brainwash" children, but Paladino claims he isn't  homophobic or hurting gays in any way.

     Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage.  “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event.
     And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech.
Image via The New York Times 
     There is nothing to be proud of in being a bigoted Roman Catholic who bullies minorities.  And why is this Jewish congregation applauding?  Do they really think that Paladino respects them or their religion?  That he sees them as equals?  If his Catholic views on homosexuality are as extreme as they are, Shaarei Chaim should ask him what he thinks of Judaism.
     About an hour after Mr. Paladino’s remarks, Mr. Cuomo’s campaign released a statement condemning them.  “Mr. Paladino’s statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” it said. “These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York.”
     I couldn't agree more.
     Mr. Paladino declined a request to be interviewed after his appearance. His campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, denied assertions that Mr. Paladino was antigay, and noted that he employed a gay man on his campaign staff.
     A few historical notes:  Hitler employed Jews in his death camps.  Confederates had slaves working in their homes.   Catholic missionaries and conquistadors used Native American guides.  That didn't excuse their racism and antisemitism.  Or their genocidal means.
     “Carl Paladino is simply expressing the views that he holds in his heart as a Catholic,” Mr. Caputo said in a telephone interview. 
     How very true.   It's okay for Catholics to be bigots, as long as they hold those views "in their heart."
Carl Paladino is not homophobic, and neither is the Catholic Church.”
     How can anyone take these people seriously?  The Catholic church is historically one of the most homophobic institutions in the world.  Mr. Caputo needs to spend a few days in a seminary
     During his appearance at the synagogue, with reporters in attendance, Mr. Paladino said: “Don’t misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way. That would be a dastardly lie.”

     Mr. Paladino is running on the promise that there will be no marriage equality for same sex couples in New York, but claims that he doesn't hurt homosexuals.  The lack of equal civil marriage rights hurts homosexuals economically, emotionally, and relationally.  Mr. Paladino espouses treacherous lies.

     He uses words like "brainwash" and vilifies "dysfunctional" homosexuals for having pride, but is that not cowardly and meanly base?  Bullies use the same arguments.  So do the people committing hate crimes against LGBT persons.  When gay children hear such statements coming from their religious and political leaders, it tears them apart.  I know this, because I grew up with it.  When I was twenty, I nearly killed myself.  How many more children have to kill themselves before the plugged ears and hardened hearts of the Paladinos and Ratzingers of the world actually start to listen?

     Paladino, PalinLimbaugh--the list of Republicans who publicly bash LGBT persons and then say "but I have one on my staff" or "I have gay friends" or "I tolerate gays" is exhausting.  This tactic of bashing gays and then saying you have friends that are gay is utterly underhanded.  

     Carl Paladino is a Dastard.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The BP Oil Spill, Religion, Blame, the Apocalypse, and the Will of the gods

     Whenever there is a major disaster, of either natural or human making, religious folks feel the need to use that disaster to promote their understanding of their individual gods' will.  The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is currently that rapturous religious appetite for blame. 

     Carl Gallups of the Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida, thinks the oil spill is his Christian god's judgement on the United States because President Obama announced that the U.S.A. will no longer automatically support Israel in the United Nations. (Gallups also blamed hurricane Katrina on U.S.-Israli relations.)  Here's the video that explains how Gallups knows the mind of his god.


     Other Christian fundamentalists are blaming those with insufficient faith for the oil spill, which is the beginning of the apocalypse (Newsweek):
     Now blogs on the Christian fringe are abuzz with possibility that the oil spill is the realization of Revelation 8:8–11. “The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed … A third of the waters became wormwood, and many died from the water, because it was made bitter.” According to Revelation, in other words, something terrible happens to the world’s water, a punishment to those of insufficient faith.
     Lisa Miller of Newsweek blames the greed of Republican and the oil lobby:
     Yet through a biblical lens, it’s hard to see the oil spill as anything but God’s punishment for greed and a disrespect of Creation—and both of those sins fall mostly on the shoulders of the Republicans, who have been aggressively lobbying for more offshore drilling, without, obviously, ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place. (Remember “Drill, baby, drill”? According to OpenSecrets.org, Republicans in the last decade have far outstripped Democrats in donations from big oil, sometimes by a factor of four.) So the question for biblical literalists becomes one of political alliances. Does God wreak apocalyptic wrath on members of one’s own party—or only on the opposition?
     Yet, others, including President Obama in his address to the nation concerning the spill and Sarah Palin on Twitter, are turning to their gods for help, praying for an end the oil spill and help for those in its path.

     So whose god is in charge?

     Not the god of Pensacola's whitest beaches of the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Dialogue Starting Point: More than Just Catholic Clergy Rape Children

      If Jesus were alive today, he'd be asking whether there are enough millstones for the preachers, priests, imams, rabbis, ministers, bishops, deacons, and other religious leaders, who molest, abuse, rape, and even murder children.

     Here is but a scratch in the surface of the reporting done on sexual abuse perpetrated by religious leaders in the past few days. 

    Roman Catholics do it.

     The Winnipeg Free Press reports an update on the sexual abuse of Legionaires of Christ founder Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, who was so saintly that he abused even his own illegitimate children.
     A Mexican man said Monday he is the son of the founder of a once-influential Roman Catholic religious order, and accused his father of repeatedly molesting him.  In a lawsuit, Jose Raul Gonzalez, 30, accused the late Rev. Marcial Maciel of abuse beginning at age 7. Gonzalez said Maciel led a double life, explaining his long absences from the family by saying he was a CIA agent and oil executive...Gonzalez said the abuse began when Maciel took him on trips in South America, England and elsewhere. Leaders of the Legion knew for decades that Maciel was a pedophile and did nothing to stop him, Gonzalez said in his legal claim against the group.  "He always said to us that he was an enemy of the lies, but he was the most liar, the biggest liar," said Gonzalez, at a news conference with his attorney, Jeff Anderson.
Image via BBC News 
     A high-profile former Roman Catholic priest in Italy has been charged with sexual abuse. Pierino Gelmini, 85, is alleged to have abused 12 young people at a drug rehabilitation centre he had founded.
    Muslims do it.

     An imam pleaded guilty to molesting a teenage boy at a Gulf coast mosque.  A judge put Yasser Mohamed Shahade on probation for 10 years and designated him a sexual offender Thursday. He will be deported to Egypt.  He faced 15 years in prison if convicted of the initial charge, sexual battery on a minor. His attorney confirmed that he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of lewd and lascivious molestation.  He was arrested in May 2009 after a boy who stayed overnight at the Masjid Omar Al Mukhtar mosque said he had been assaulted.
     Evangelical Christians do it.

Image via WTMJ
     The Sheboygan County Sheriff's department arrested a Sheboygan pastor for sexually assaulting a child just one day after he was released from jail for a different charge involving a different child.  27 year old Travis Gandy worked with children as a music pastor for five years at Praise Fellowship Church in Sheboygan. The criminal complaints said both of his alleged victims knew him through the church.
     A minister at Greenwich church as been put on leave after being arrested on child porn charges.  According to the U.S. Attorney's office in Boston, on Tuesday,  [Rev.] Simeon Stefanidakis, 59, was charged with four counts of transportation of child pornography and one count of child pornography possession.  Stefanidakis is accused of transporting the kiddie porn in October of 2008 while he was living in Brookline, Mass. Federal prosecutors said that he served as minister, teacher, counselor and “medium” at the First Spiritual Temple in Brookline. 
     Baptists do it.

     A Baptist pastor from Warren charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy made incriminating statements about the incidents to investigators, the city’s police chief said. It’s those statements -- combined with the boy’s and text messages between the pair – that led a judge to keep Christopher Settlemoir, 26, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church and K-12 school in Warren, in jail on $1-million bond today – despite claims of innocence. “This has come as quite a shock to him,” attorney Mark Torrice said while representing Settlemoir at an arraignment this afternoon in 37th District Court in Warren. Charged with two counts each of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Settlemoir faces up to life in prison if convicted.
     A 75-year-old former Palestine pastor has been indicted by an Anderson County grand jury on two charges of sexual misconduct — one of which allegedly occurred more than 20 years ago.  Hezekiah Stallworth, 75, of Palestine was indicted Thursday on felony charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by sexual contact, according to Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe.  Stallworth was a well-known figure in the local Christian community and had preached at two churches — Oak Grove Baptist Church in Elkhart and Beulah Baptist Church outside of Palestine — prior to his arrest in February.  Stallworth was arrested by Anderson County sheriff's authorities on Feb. 26 on the indecency charge, just five days after he allegedly fondled the breasts of a 7-year-old female in an office at Oak Grove Baptist Church following Sunday services, authorities have said.  The pastor allegedly lured the young girl into his office by offering candy, according to authorities.  Following Stallworth’s arrest earlier this year, Lowe said an additional victim came forward, alleging she was sexually assaulted by the accused man on or about March 15, 1989.
Image via The Daily Gleaner 

     A former St. John River Valley pastor convicted of two sex crimes was sentenced to 16 months behind bars Friday.  Fred Hanson, 61, appeared in the Court of Queen's Bench for a sentencing hearing on one count each of sexual exploitation and sexual interference.  Hanson was convicted by a jury in May. The counts stemmed from incidents between May 2006 and December 2007 while he was the pastor at the Plaster Rock Free Will Baptist Church.

     Jews do it.

     A rabbi from the Hod HaSharon region in Israel has been arrested and was accused of raping underage girls. The rabbi offered advice and family counselling to the girls and their families.  According to Press TV, a rabbi from the nation of Israel has been accused for raping underage girls between the ages of 14 and 16.  The report states that the girls, and even the girls’ families, went to the 56-year-old rabbi for family counselling and advice. The rabbi was able to keep his victims quiet by threatening to excommunicate them or curse them if they had charged him for his acts.
Image by Daily News
     New sex abuse allegations - at least one stretching back more than a decade - are surfacing against a once-respected Brooklyn rabbi recently convicted of molesting a teen.  A 29-year-old Borough Park man went to cops last week saying that Rabbi Baruch Lebovits fondled him in a ritual bath, known as a mikvah, when he was just a teen.  Several more men have reached out to police to share stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Lebovits, sources said.  "What he is charged with is the tip of the iceberg," said one law enforcement source.  Lebovits was sentenced in April to 10 to 32 years in prison for sex assaults on a 16-year-old boy - a stunning turn in the life of a cantor who led popular religious services in Brooklyn and upstate.
     Mormons do it.

     After being sent out to deliberate at 10:45 a.m., a Schleicher County jury returned a verdict of guilty for Abram Harker Jeffs at 11:40 a.m., less than an hour.  Jeffs, 39 and a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was charged with sexual assault of a child. He is the latest in a series of men from the YFZ Ranch, an FLDS community near Eldorado, to be prosecuted on child sexual assault charges since the state raided the ranch two years ago.  The state alleged that Jeffs assaulted a girl with whom he was in an FLDS “spiritual” or “celestial” marriage on May 12, 2006, when Jeffs was 34 and already legally married and when the girl was 15.
     Scientologists do it.

     Newser reports via the Sydney Morning Herald from Australia:
     The Australian branch of the Church of Scientology helped a stepfather cover up his sexual assault of his pre-teen daughter and blamed the girl for the attacks, the victim has revealed. The daughter, now an adult, says her stepdad molested her from the ages of 7 to 11, and that Scientology official Jan Eastgate told her and her mother to lie to police about the abuse—and that it was her own fault.
Sunday school teacher/murderer Melissa Huckaby via Mercury News  
     Even harmless Sunday school teachers do it.

     A newly released court document shows that Melissa Huckaby drugged her 8-year-old neighbor, Sandra Cantu, and sexually assaulted her with a rolling pin before stuffing her body into a suitcase and throwing it into a Tracy irrigation pond last year. For her crimes, Huckaby, a 29-year-old former Sunday school teacher, will spend of the rest of her natural life in prison without the possibility of parole. In a surprise move, she pleaded guilty last month to murdering and kidnapping Sandra. In exchange, prosecutors took the death penalty off the table and dropped sexual abuse charges. Also dropped were charges in two unrelated drugging cases involving another Tracy girl and a Hayward man whom police today said was her ex-boyfriend. A theft case she was facing from Tracy was terminated. 
     I feel like I'm going to vomit.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Holy Flag Day

U.S. Supreme Court flying the Vatican and Israeli flags.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Bible Thumping Hypocrite

     Just received an email that had this legendary letter that was written to Dr. Laura (Mikkelson) Schlessinger in 2000.  This was in response to her denouncing homosexuals as a "mistake of nature."
         Via Amazon.com
     For more on her hypocritical use of the title "Doctor," her nude photo scandal, her renunciation of Orthodox Judaism, and her violations of her own black and white morality lens, click here for Snopes.com's report on the letter, whose author is unknown.
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
Via Harper Collins       
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan.
     To read more about the numerous hypocrisies that the holy "doctor" Laura has committed, click here.  

     For the some of the nude photo spread Laura did back in her trying-to-break-into-show business days click here and here.
Dr. Laura's Pasties from 24ahead

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Religious Demographics, the Supreme Court, and the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Supreme Hypocrisy


     Do Murphy's "principled positions" include those he learned while he was Cardinal Law's second in command during the days he covered up child rape and sexual abuse by priests in Boston?  Murphy is one of the many bishops, who has neither resigned nor faced criminal trial for his leadership in the sexual abuse scandal.  Instead, he continues as bishop of 1.5 million Catholics in one of the nations largest dioceses.  I wonder what he thinks of the the rectory that was transformed into an erotic dungeon for raping children by a publicly principled Brazilian priest who is currently running from the law.


     In a nation where only 23.9% of the population is Catholic, the Supreme Court currently has six Catholic justices, that's 66.7%.  Five of those, John Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito are the conservative majority that control the Court.  Sonia Sotomayor is the sixth Catholic vote.  Her ideology has yet to be tested.


     The Catholic Church has the votes to control the Supreme Court of the United States for years to come (which brings up the point that Roe v. Wade is more politically useful to them if not overturned, otherwise they would have done it already), but they are afraid of Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, which leads to another point.


     There are currently two Jewish Supreme Court Justices (Stephen G. Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg).  Jewish Judges make up 22% of the Supreme Court, whereas Jews make up 1.7% of the U.S. population.  That leaves retiring Justice David H. Souter, who is Episcopalian.  Episcopalians/Anglicans make up 1.4% of the total U.S. population.



     Catholics are overrepresented on the Supreme Court by 42.8%.  Jews are overrepresented by 20.3%, which will rise to 31.6% if Kagan is confirmed.  For Catholics or Jews to bitch about who is on the Supreme Court is complete hypocrisy.  Their religious views are well represented.





     When it comes to religious affiliation there are plenty of groups that go unrepresented in the Supreme Court.  Those who practice no religion make up 16.1% of the U.S. population, but non-religious folks are discriminated against in politics today.  Those who admit to being actual atheists, like me, make up 1.6% of the population, virtually the same as the Jewish population, where are our three Supreme Court Justices?



     Evangelical Protestants make up 26.3% of the U.S. population, which is 2.4% more than the Catholics.  That difference becomes 9.3%, when the 6.9% Historically Black Churches are added to the mix.


     Mainline Protestants make up 18.1% of the population, which is over ten times the size of the Jewish population.

     Did you know that there are more Buddhists (0.7%) than there are Muslims (0.6%) in the U.S.?  Or that Mormons only make up 1.7% of the total population, while controlling civil rights legislation in California?


     Should religious affiliation play a role in who gets nominated to the Supreme Court?  That is a discussion for another post, but imagine what would happen if a president nominated an Iranian Muslim from Beverly Hills, or an African-American Lesbian Buddhist, a male-to-female trans-gendered agnostic Korean, or better yet, six of any of these? 


     The point I'm making today is that our Supreme Court is dominated by Catholics, who have no room to bitch about any ruling coming from their Supreme Court, because it is certainly not a Court that represents the diversity of the nation.

     (Statistical information and the charts used in this post are from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and have a ±0.6% margin of error.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Priest and the Concubine: A Sunday School Lesson of Traditional Values

     Happy Sunday.  It's time for a Sunday school lesson.

     Today's lesson is care of "Betsy's Sunday School Bible Classics."  This is the divinely inspired and inerrant word of the Judeo-Christian god as revealed in the bible (Judges 19-21).  This is a story of traditional family values upon which the Catholic Church's traditional value of raping children is based.  Enjoy.





     My latest work is about the Old Testament, in which I took eight stories from various books and told them pretty much as they really are in there; my illustrations give voice to the women, the children, and the animals, as well as give commentary on the classic interpretations of the stories. No doubt some will call these irreverent and offensive, but really they are the actual stories, and they do beg for explanation. Of course my versions are funny as well. Five of them have been adapted to video and are on YouTube, and two of the stories are in the book Betsy's Sunday School Bible Classics, available on Amazon.com.
Click here to follow Betsy on Facebook
Image Credit: BetsySalkind.com

Friday, April 23, 2010

South Park, Mohammad, Death Threats and Jon Stewart


     In the 200th episode of South Park, which was broadcast last week, a proposal to bring the Prophet Mohamed to town is met with short shrift at a community meeting. "Are you nuts?" one character says. "If Mohamed appears in South Park we get bombed!" "We don't know that," another replies. "Maybe enough time has passed that now it's OK to show Mohamed."
     As it turned out, that hope was a forlorn one. The American broadcaster Comedy Central this week censored the programme after the episode's depiction of the Prophet Mohamed dressed as a giant teddy bear drew a warning on an Islamist website that the show's creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, would be murdered.
     The warning was posted on the New York-based website Revolution Muslim. In an article that suggested that Parker and Stone would "probably wind up like Theo Van Gogh for airing this show", a writer calling himself Abu Talhah al-Amrikee listed the addresses of Comedy Central's New York office as well as Stone and Parker's production office. He also posted a link to a piece giving details of the house that the two rent.
     So Comedy Central broadcast the next programme, which concludes the plot of the anniversary edition, with several crucial speeches bleeped out. In Wednesday's episode, Mohamed's appearances were covered with a giant "censored" label, while he was replaced in the bear suit by Santa Claus.
     In response, Jon Stewart of Comedy Central's The Daily Show gave this homage to all the satirical commentary that his show has provided concerning all religions, once again calling religions on their hypocritical and hateful calls for the death of those who have different beliefs.
     The Guardian gives this summary of the South Park episode in question:
     The Muhammad furore began last week in the show's 200th episode when the creators introduced the character as a riff on censorship. The joke was that Muhammad was dressed as a bear because he could not be shown as a cartoon in the wake of death threats made against Danish cartoonists by Islamist extremists, who see any depiction of Muhammad as a gross insult to their religion.  In the storyline, the prophet was brought into the show on the demand of previous victims of its satire, led by Tom Cruise, who believed that he could make them immune to further ridiculing. In this week's episode, the bear costume was unzipped to reveal that Santa Claus, not Muhammad, had been inside all along.

Images are from the previously hyperlinked Guardian and Independent articles.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iowa Christian Group Receiving Your Tax Dollars to Fund Campaign to Strip Same Sex Couples' Marriage Rights

     An Iowa group that receives your tax dollars to help fund its "faith-based initiatives" is using those tax dollars to try and take take away the marriage rights of Iowa's same sex couples.  How's that for the separation of church and state?


     Between 2004 and 2009 the politically influential Christian organization Iowa Family Policy Center (IFPC) received more than $3 million in federal grants through two subsidiaries of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
     The group has also created its share of controversy, most recently garnering headlines when it publicly claimed that homosexual activity was “more dangerous for individuals who engage in it than is smoking,” and thus, needed to be banned via constitutional amendment.
     Recipients of federal funds are bound by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion or disability in providing services. However, even though the Iowa Supreme Court ruled last year that a same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, sexual orientation is not currently part of any federal civil rights language.
     Bryan English, the director of communications for the IFPC, said recently in a phone interview regarding the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in Iowa, “This isn’t a civil rights issue. [Homosexuality] is a choice in behavior and as a Christian organization we don’t believe this is a right, it is a sin against Jesus Christ.”
     Not all Americans believe in Jesus Christ.  There is a separation of church and state in this nation and you cannot legislate your religious views, Mr. English. 

     I have an idea.  Why don't we pass a law promoting the biblical practice of male genital mutilation, requiring all men, as is Jewish (and many Christians') religious practice, to be circumcised, since it's someone's god's will? 

     Are you ready to go under the knife, Mr. English?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary Pope Benedict: Five Years of Scandal, Hypocrisy, and Permanent Crisis, the Seeding of Generation Benedict

     Happy fifth anniversary, Pope Benedict Ratzinger! 


     Congratulations, Benny, on five years of constant crisis, and we're not just talking about sexual abuse, although you've been stellar in your denial and cover-up.  We're talking about your relationship with the worlds' Jewish population.  How about those Muslim-Catholic relations?  Let's not forget your condemnations of the world's gays as "filth," which include most of your priests (possibly even yourself).  What about forbidding condoms to prevent HIV?  Your encouraging religious schism in other Christian denominations?  Turning a blind eye to genocideRape?  You must be doing something right to inspire such wonders in the name of your god and savior.

     Newser reports:
     Today marks the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict's ascension to the papacy, but they aren't exactly popping champagne at the beleaguered Vatican. At the moment Benedict is embroiled in a massive pedophilia scandal that could define his papal legacy, and it's not like he's had a charmed papacy until now, Sylvia Poggioli reports in a rather scathing piece for NPR. Benedict's a lousy communicator, and he's attracted a host of critics.
     “This is a papacy of permanent crisis,” says one veteran Vatican correspondent, citing incidents like his comments about condoms and AIDs, or his various kerfuffles with Muslims and Jews. One Swiss theologian and longtime colleague of Benedict's has actually advised bishops to actively disobey him when he eschews necessary reforms. And the head of the Association of Young German Catholics says Benedict has utterly failed to reach kids. “There's no such thing as a generation Benedict,” he says.

     Wood?  Hmm.

Image Credits of Possible Gifts for Pope Benedict XVI's Fifth (Wooden) Anniversary:
Wooden sewing machine for Pope Ben's vestments: Planet Pink n Green
Wooden machine gun for use in killing non-believers: Pixdaus
Wooden torture rack for encouraging religious homogeneity: Find Target
Wooden egg thingy for sticking where the sun don't shine: Dear Ada
Wooden good luck phallus for overcoming the sexual abuse scandal: Thailand Stories
 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pope Benedict's Big Fat Nazi Movie Premiere

I can see Nazi Germany from my house!

     What does Pope Benedict do to relax amid the turmoil of sexual abuse crisis in which he's implicated, a sexual abuse crisis in which his personal preacher equated the suffering of Jews by Nazis during the holocaust to the media's exposing of the pope's ties to covering up sexual abuse?

     Pope Ben retreats to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, surrounds himself with his cardinals, and releases an official bulletin announcing his special screening of a new film about the controversial World War II Pope Pius XII.

     As the Roman Catholic Church continued to battle a sexual abuse crisis, Pope Benedict XVI spent Friday evening watching a movie. And not just any movie: a biopic about wartime Pope Pius XII, one of the most contentious figures to haunt his five-year-old papacy.
     In an official statement released by the Vatican on Saturday, Benedict praised the movie, “Under the Roman Sky,” as “useful and stimulating.” He said it could help younger generations understand a chapter of history they had not witnessed, adding that Pius “knew how to orient the church toward the horizon of the third millennium.”
     The film about Pius was produced by Italy’s RAI state broadcaster and has not yet been released. The audience included cardinals, Italian television executives and journalists, Italian news media reported.
     The Vatican marked the screening with an official bulletin. By contrast, remarks on Friday by the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, on the sexual abuse crisis, were read on Vatican Radio but not released in an official statement.
Image Credits:
Pope Ben's View from Benedetto XVI
Castel Gandolfo from Aftermath News

Nazi Bishops from  The Pope, the Vatican, and the Anti-Christ for Dummies