Tag Archives: Religion

“My Little Pony” Proves that Positive Change Does Happen


GREETINGS, Comrades. Today we’re chatting about Grayson Bruce, the nine year-old North Carolina fan of My Little Pony who was bullied by schoolmates when he brought a rainbow-colored backpack to his Buncombe County elementary school.

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I Don’t Look Forward to Fred Phelps Rotting in Hell

Fred Phelps Sr.

ACCORDING TO A Facebook post of his estranged son, Nathan, Fred Phelps Sr, the founder of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, is dying. There’s an undeniable aesthetic appeal in the prospect of Mr. Phelps soon meeting his Maker, but this indulgence presumes far more than I can manage. My own view, if you care to know, is that Phelps will die and dissolve and remain forever in a condition of no condition whatsoever.

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How is Arizona’s Bill 1062 Not Discrimination Against Gays?


REPUBLICANS HAVE AN extraordinary talent at crafting eye-grabbing viral legislation, and in recent years they’ve been upping the bar in the field of contentious law and law-making. My standing pick for sheer legislative chutzpah is North Carolina’s Motorcyle Abortion Bill, but it won’t be long before this triumph is surpassed. The GOP is playing a game of Neknominate, only using the country’s institutions and laws. Neklegislate, I guess you’d call it.

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The Roundtable Podcast 53

Week of 13.10.2013 | “SEND IN THE CLOWNS”

Sam Hyde

Christian delusions are driving the GOP insane | Quebec physicians ordered to stop performing virginity tests | Vatican withdraws Pope Francis medals after spelling Jesus’ name wrong | Mike Duffy billed Senate $65,000 to pay friend for ‘no tangible work,’ RCMP alleges | Recommended Article: I got hired at a Bangladesh sweatshop. Meet my 9-year-old boss | This Comedian Hijacks a TED Talk And Basically Makes A Fool Out of Every “Thought Leader” Ever | Daniel Noehl Calls Police After Being Stiffed In Drug Deal | Music: Paul McCartney “New” | Charges that Canada spied on Brazil unveil CSEC’s inner workings | Scarborough residents report receiving robocalls after Toronto municipal Councillor Ainslie steps down | Giorgio Mammoliti is Back on the Toronto Executive Committee

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Coming to the Defence of Science


I‘VE KNOWN since the age of eight that I would be a writer, but biology was the subject which came in at a close second. The first book I read in college was Richard Dawkins’ The Blind Watchmaker, for a first-year university biology course. To many Dawkins is the leading advocate of “militant atheism,” and for this reason one may fail to notice that his campaign on behalf of science — necessarily a campaign against anti-science — is defensive in nature. But who would have thought even a decade ago that science would be in need of defence? These were my thoughts last week, as I participated in Stand Up for Science, an initiative of an agency called Evidence for Democracy.

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The Niqab in Living Colour

IN AZAR NAFISI’S book, “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” the act of removing the veil is a metaphor for transitioning from the world of black-and-white into colour, and of shedding the state-imposed self to be liberated into one’s authentic, willed identity. “Black and white” is itself a good description of the cruel and stupid absolutism imposed upon Iran by the Velayat-e faqih, its antithesis colour indicating the actual and liveable world of vibrant diversity: irony, dialectic, humour, uncertainty, skepticism and multiplicity — whether in literary, moral, or political matters. In the “clash of civilizations,” the West is on the polychromatic side of the ledger against the monochrome despotisms.

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Mel Gibson and the Holy War Against Secular Modernity

THIS PAST week news arrived of a forthcoming Mel Gibson project, a Warner Brothers “biopic” concerning the life of Judah Maccabee. The announcement provoked the inevitable outrage, an example of which is Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who stated the proposed film is akin to “having a white supremacist portray Martin Luther King Jr.” The analogy however is founded, even if understandably and legitimately enough, not upon logic but rather emotion. Considered on logical grounds alone, Gibson’s fitness to portray sympathetically the life of a guerilla war hero and anti-secular reactionary religious fundamentalist is beyond question.

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Michele Bachmann’s Line Item Lord

THE DISCERNMENT of the Almighty’s will in weather is a practice of such antiquity that one may consider it a founding art, and until the early 16th century our species’ principal mode of meteorology. Much of the Old Testament is dedicated to the routine business of parsing natural disaster, for the exclusive purpose of teasing out its esoteric grammar of retribution. At the professional apex of this undertaking one finds the prophets. The Book of Amos for instance may be termed weather-centric, organized as it is around cataclysm and opening with the following pronouncement: “The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa — what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.”


Anders Behring Breivik: when an enemy of your enemy is your enemy

ONE MIGHT hope a journalist working for a media outlet under the “Christian Science Monitor” brand would gloss the Knight’s Templar, but in this case the hope would be misplaced:

[Anders Behring Breivik’s] manifesto says he is among 12 “knights” fighting within a dozen regions in Europe and the US, but not India. It’s not known yet whether this group, which he calls the Knights Templar Europe, actually exists.

Continue reading Anders Behring Breivik: when an enemy of your enemy is your enemy

It’s The End Of The World Again

Although one can reasonably claim on historical evidence that stranger things have happened, it is nonetheless discomforting that across the world birds drop by the thousands from the sky and fish arrive dead to the shores. The adjective commonly invoked by these at-present inexplicable events is biblical — a word I saw in relation also to the Australian floods. (An aside: given the post-diluvian Noahic covenant, is not a contemporary flood better described as anti-biblical?) Add to this the many wars and rumours of war, the 1948 re-constitution of Israel, a resurgence of Twelver eschatology, the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the Mayan calendar — which I’m told ends on December 21, 2012 and, by this mere fact, apparently marks Doomsday — and the re-emergence of Harold Camping, and you have good material for End Times speculations. And this is only a partial list. Continue reading It’s The End Of The World Again

The Bigotry of Dr. Dobson

If you’ve not yet had the occasion to read Dr. James Dobson’s fantastic October 2008 “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” you’ll not be aware that

in mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians, and after an anguished all-night Cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister agreed.

I deploy fantastic in its archaic sense, to indicate the fantasy-based right-wing Christian paranoia with which anyone who has followed Focus on the Family over its thirty-three-year career, as I have, will be familiar. No, that’s not quite accurate: I did stop paying attention, for a time. However, with the recent suicides of young gay men in the news, the dirty and dishonest work of a Dobson/Focus on the Family creation called “True Tolerance” has got my attention. Apparently, what we must not do in these days of anti-gay bullying is promote the idea that anti-gay bullying is wrong. Continue reading The Bigotry of Dr. Dobson