October 2005

Hooked on grief?

Heres a great story, found via Liberal England:

Flowers and tributes were left in an alleyway where the body of a mystery dead baby was found - before police realised it was only a chicken foetus.

Police cordoned off the scene but soon realised that it was not a human but a chicken foetus.

Well-wishers had laid more than a dozen bunches of flowers at the scene, along with cards and teddy bears.

One of the cards read: RIP Little Baby. Safe in the arms of Jesus. From someone who is a loving mother xxxx.

And where was this much mourned chicken foetus?

Where else?

Merseyside Police told the community on Monday to stop grieving, its only a chicken.


What Famous Leader Are You?

(via The Apollo Project)

Religious beliefs trump hurricane relief

Anheuser-Busch drinking water

Only when it suits them

Hurricane victims who wanted water had some difficulty finding it at a relief station in Clewiston Friday. The volunteer group running a supply center doesnt like the company that donated the water, so they decided not to give it to those in line for help.

Twenty-two pallets of the canned water, distributed free by beer company Anheuser-Busch, bears the companys label – and members of the Southern Baptist Convention refused to hand it out to those in need.

Residents lined up for miles to receive food and water at the distribution point. But the water was left on the sidelines by the Alabama-based group.

What classic movie are you?

(via Rullsenberg Rules)

Went Travelling

The Longest Ride by Brian Despain Just in case anyone was wondering why it has been so quiet around here recently, its because Ive been on a well earned holiday.

But now Im back and trying to avoid looking at my mail. Normal service will be resumed over the course of next week.

Death by exorcism

I saw this story about exorcism classes being run by the Vatican a few days ago, and my first reaction was vague amusement that anyone could actually believe devils and demons in this day and age.

Then I read this story:

23 year old Latifa died in the Paul Brien Hospital, in the North Brussels district of Schaarbeek on 5th August 2004, after having taken part in an exorcism.

And exorcists suddenly dont seem so funny any more.

One rule for all

Craig Murray on the Blair Governments anti-terror measures.

The bill being rushed through parliament includes the proscription of 15 terrorist organisations. One of them is the Islamic Jihad Union. This is claimed to operate in the dictatorial central Asian state of Uzbekistan, until recently a key US ally in the war on terrorism. But the statement made last week by Hazel Blears, the Home Office minister, included one seriously misleading explanation as to why this group was being banned, and she relayed one straightforward falsehood.

We should - as a society - be very wary of pushing groups underground or of declaring that some speech should not be free. While some organisations are clearly criminal in either intent or practice, the decision to ban them is one that should be taken by the courts on the basis of available evidence, not by junior ministers worried about their opinion poll ratings.

Hats off to Australia

According to The Age, Australia was the only country to boycott Mugabes moronic tirade.

Mr Downer said Australias representative at the meeting had walked out prior to the speech.

I thought his speech was absolutely disgraceful, the foreign minister told ABC radio.

Australia, I am proud to say, was the only country whose representative walked out before President Mugabes speech.

We boycotted his speech. I thought it was quite inappropriate for him to make a speech like that, and ironical and inappropriate for him to turn up at the meeting at all.

Mr Downer said it would have been difficult not to invite Mr Mugabe to the FAO anniversary as Zimbabwe was a member of the United Nations.

However, he said Mr Mugabe had made an enormous mistake in accepting the invitation and then making a political speech.

But he has also highlighted the simple point about Zimbabwe - that this is a country that used to be the food bowl of Africa, a major exporter of food, and under his regime he has simply decimated agriculture and they are begging now for food from the international community, Mr Downer said.

Nice to see one country demonstrating some principles.

(via normblog)

Man in dress throws a tantrum

Archbishop attacks extreme atheists

The former Archbishop of Canterbury hit out yesterday at extreme atheists who are intolerant of religious views and attempt to deny Christians a voice in public debate.

Where do you begin with a sentance like that? Lets start with the obvious question: what exactly is an extreme athiest?

Does the former Archbishop belive that atheists sit around arguing over who doesnt believe in God the most? Is - in the Archbishops world - a moderate atheist someone who doesnt believe in God, but only on Sundays?

Or is an extreme atheist simply someone who doesnt automatically and instinctively agree with - or at least support - anything and everything an he happens to say just because he happens to be an Archbishop? In other words, is extreme atheist nothing more than a handy phrase for Christians to use when they want to avoid answering the people who are willing to engage them in public debate?

Which brings us rather neatly to the second half of the quoted sentence: intolerant of religious views and attempt to deny Christians a voice in public debate.

I cant - off the top of my head - think of any athiest who would want to deny Christians - or any other minority group - a voice in public debate. What I - and most atheists that Im aware of - do object to is the elevating of the Christian - or other minority - viewpoint over and above all others and then ring fencing it as somehow sacred or what we believe.

The problem is not atheists, its the Christians who dont like having their assumptions challenged when they do venture into public debate.

Lord Carey of Clifton told an audience at the festival that such fundamentalist atheists are threatening the fabric of society.

Now that sounds like a pretty extreme view to me. I hope he has some research to back it up.

How about this one, from the Journal of Religion and Society which found that “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.


(via normblog)

Happy Birthday to the IMDb

The Earths Biggest Movie Database has just turned 15, and what a celebration theyre having. Go take a look.

(via Cinematical)