rivendellrose: (octopus curly)
Don't worry, the Vatican is ready to baptize aliens if they ask!

It's... good to know that all other, more pressing moral dilemmas have already been solved, I guess?

Is there some kind of contest at the Vatican right now for "most befuddling press release?" or what? I'm guessing this is one of those "any PR (that isn't talking about sex scandals) is good PR" kind of things...

Edited to Add: So... I've been thinking. The Vatican astronomer said:

Any entity – no matter how many tentacles it has – has a soul.

Any entity. Any... entity. So either there's a missing adjective there (like, say, 'sentient' or 'self-aware' or something like that), or this is a major change in theology, isn't it? I could have sworn the existing doctrine stated that animals don't have souls. I'm not going to complain, but isn't that going to be a tad bit problematic for them?

Also, I forgot to say that I snagged this link from [livejournal.com profile] deborah_judge, and that it's her fault that I'm now picturing the Pope attempting to baptize Londo. It was the "tentacles" remark.
rivendellrose: (tease)
You know how when you go to the grocery store (or, worse, the drug store...), you sometimes catch yourself looking at the collection of items that you're purchasing and thinking "god, I hope the cashier doesn't pay attention to the image all this paints together" (like when you buy, I don't know, vaseline, eyeshadow, lipstick, and chewing gum? All for innocent purposes! But together it looks like you're thinking about making a really scary porno, which... is totally not really my point, but is perhaps somewhat related, tangentially)? Well, over the course of this weekend I bought:

Books
Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia
Sacred Space: The Quest for Transcendence in Science Fiction Film and Television
The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image

Music
Battlestar Galactica soundtrack: Season 3
Battlestar Galactica soundtrack: Season 4
Wailin' Jennies - Firecracker
Marian Call - Got to Fly

Gee, I wonder what picture all of that paints when put together. I'm not subconsciously (and over-academically) gearing up for a post-NaNo fic-writing binge... no, not at all...
rivendellrose: (crab)
Pope decides that perhaps condoms aren't actually a tool of the devil after all. Sometimes.

Don't worry, though - they're still not okay if you 'just' don't want to get pregnant. We wouldn't want the Pope to get crazy and join the 20th 21st century or anything, after all.

Just to clarify, I'm thrilled that they've finally got around to making this decision and making it public. I'm just a bit peeved on behalf of all the people who've been infected with AIDS and another horrible diseases because the Pope said using a condom was a sin, who now must feel just a teensy bit as though this is too little too late.

In other news, it's really freaking cold here (outside, not so much in our apartment), and I am suffering from complete mental blank regarding my NaNoWriMo project. Eurgh.
rivendellrose: (yay!)
Another fun "Take that!" at idiots attempting to burn the Quran: A planned Quran burning Saturday in Amarillo was thwarted by a 23-year-old carrying a skateboard.

A bunch of other people, including local Unitarian Universalists, assisted in the intervention, covering the grill (wtf, a GRILL?) and stealing the guy's lighter. ♥
rivendellrose: (illuminated)
From [livejournal.com profile] windrose and [livejournal.com profile] cyranocyranoThe mayor of Gainesville, Florida, would like the rest of the world to know that most of the people in his city are not bigoted asshats. In fact, the church that's been planning to burn the Koran only has 50 members... in a city of 130,000.

"Mr Lowe [the mayor] has declared 11 September as Interfaith Solidarity Day, and will join a rally organised as a counterpoint to the Dove demonstration." Further: "Gainesville churches are planning a variety of interfaith activities of their own, including common readings of the Koran, Christian and Hebrew scriptures."

The kind of media attention given to groups that do things like this just to make another group angry feeds exactly the sort of hatred we should be combating.

And Mr Lowe has a good idea there, with "Interfaith Solidarity Day." Certainly more useful than tacking "Patriot's Day" onto calendars either as an empty remembrance or simply to stir up bad feelings.
rivendellrose: (seeress)
So, I was thinking last night about ritual, religion, spirituality, skepticism, and pantheism. A weird mix, I know. I'll try to be as sensible as I can, and not just fall into flaily "I don't know how to explain what I'm thinking" territory. Unedited, free-form, and largely, I expect, utterly incomprehensible. I thought about making this private, but then decided that if there was feedback to be had, I'm at the point where I could probably use it.

Where I'm coming from, and a lot of wondering about what that points to in terms of spiritual whatevers. )

Statements in here are what works for me. Organized religion... doesn't, in my experience. I've tried and/or studied most of them. Additionally, I don't expect anyone else to abide by my weird concepts of intellectual honesty in terms of ripping things to shreds if they're not "real," and clearly I'm not too sure about how it's working for me, so I'm by no means advocating it. That said, it seems to be how I work. No offense is intended, only a whole lot of navel-gazing through the medium of print.
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
[livejournal.com profile] beam_oflight reminded me that I hadn't commented on this yet! Leading atheists back plan to have pope arrested for pedophilia cover-up during visit to UK.

I'm not holding my breath, but it would be a grand day for justice if it happened. I'm anything but a fan of Christopher Hitchens as a person, but on this, at least, I am willing to agree with him. I do find it deeply amusing and gratifying, however, that Dawkins, who I quite like, is getting more press for the effort than the guy who's actually spear-heading it. (To those unfamiliar with Hitchens, I can only say that from what I've read of his books, he's everything people accuse Dawkins of being and that Dawkins himself actually isn't - needlessly aggressive, unpleasant, and, IMHO, far from a good public figure for the atheist movement. He also wrote this piece of moronic tripe about how women aren't capable of being funny, which is what finally tipped me over the edge from "eh, slightly annoying but whatever" to "I hate you, you annoying jackass.")

And since the news seems to be full of the Catholic pedophilia scandal lately:

BBC asks the obvious question: Is oath of celibacy to blame for pedophilia among priests? My money is on "no, but it sure as hell isn't helping."

And also from the BBC: The Vatican tries to blame priests' pedophilia on homosexuality, proving once again that they're both desperate and pathetically out of touch with research and statistics on pedophilia. Do some research, guys - the vast majority of pedophiles - yes, even the ones who abuse little boys - are hetero. Bzzzt! Thank you for playing, please try again... because nobody doubts there will be a "next time" so long as you don't change your ways.
rivendellrose: (omgwtf)
Direct quote of headline: Satan behind media attacks on the Pope, asserts Italian exorcist

“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him.”

Father Amorth added that in instances of sexual abuse committed by some members of the clergy, the devil “uses” priests in order to cast blame upon the entire Church: “The devil wants the death of the Church because she is the mother of all the saints.”


The truly 'hilarious' bit here is that this guy is saying that of course priests can fall to the devil's temptations because they're human and therefore fallible. Okay, fine. That's... that's kind of the whole point of this thing for us crazy secular people, guys. We know they're human like all the rest of us. But because of the church people gave them the freedom and opportunity to do whatever they wanted, and they abused that trust.

Totally unrelated, but is it just me or does that picture of Father Gabriele Amorth over there look like just about the scariest bastard you've ever seen?

This is insane. These people can blame the devil all they want, but even assuming he existed (which, for the record, I don't believe), that doesn't even begin to absolve these people of what they did with their own free will. Maybe I missed out on something along the way, but I'm pretty damned sure that temptation doesn't mean people don't have to take responsibility for their actions.

Aaaaand, just like that, we Godwin's Law invoked, now. That's right: Asking the church to admit that they fucked up by hiding and protecting pedophiles is apparently just like anti-Semitism! The absurdity just doesn't end.

More on the "it's just like anti-Semitism!" complaint over at NPR.
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
Scientology is in trouble about money and misusing their members? It must be Tuesday Monday.

This time, former Sea Org folks are suing for back wages.

Personally, this looks to me (with admittedly limited knowledge of the situation - this is just my instinct!) like a case of somebody doing something stupid and then realizing years later that they could weasel money out of it, but... oh, hey! That sounds a lot like Scientology itself, weaseling its way out of paying taxes by pretending to be a religion rather than just a wacked-out conglomeration of money-grubbing and self-aggrandizing stupidity written by an embarrassment to the sci-fi genre!

Normally, I'd be more or less against people suing for back-wages in a situation that is more or less a parody of the very real tragedy of slavery across the globe. In this case, since the organization they're looking to suck money out of is Scientology? I'm all for it.

Just pretend that my icon is asking about Xenu instead of God for today, please. ♥
rivendellrose: (blown)
'Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.'

Another quote: '“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”'

...I don't think that even needs commentary, do you? The complete lack of compassion, concern, responsibility or remorse speaks eloquently enough on its own.
rivendellrose: (Dalek!Love)
Yet another reason that, although I never got used to the whole going-to-church part of Unitarian Universalism, I freaking love Unitarians. And also San Francisco. Friends who belong to groups associated with either (or both!) of those things should probably check out that article, because I think it will make them happy. ♥

"Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues.

We are Unitarian Jihad. We will appear in public places and require people to shake hands with each other."

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/04/08/DDG27BCFLG1.DTL#ixzz0fGdpN5DX
rivendellrose: (Warrior)
This time, it's a bunch of Baptists trying to steal 33 children without any governmental approval.

A 2- to 3-month old baby was dehydrated and had to be hospitalized, he said. An orphanage worker held and caressed another, older baby, who was feverish and looked disoriented.

"One (8-year-old) girl was crying, and saying, 'I am not an orphan. I still have my parents.' And she thought she was going on a summer camp or a boarding school or something like that," Willeit said.


Nice one, asshats.

Please, everybody - unless you really know and trust the church in question to behave in a sensible way (by which I mean sending aid not proselytizers and distributing said aid equally regardless of whether or not the people are Christians or have converted), please give any charity you donate to non-denominational, secular organizations like Doctors Without Borders (AKA Medecins Sans Frontieres) - their official site is http://doctorswithoutborders.org/. Proselytizing is not the answer to crisis.
rivendellrose: (Attention Plz)
The people of Haiti don't need food, clothing, relief workers, or medical staff and supplies - they need e-meters and volunteer Scientology ministers!

Just in case you missed the memo the first six billion times: Scientology. Not just crazy; they're utterly psychotic. Thank you, John Travolta, for reminding everyone here of that fact.

And lest you think I'm being unfair to Scientologists (although, really - with idiocy like that it's hard to imagine what would qualify as unfair...), this other group thinks that solar-powered Bibles are the answer. Very helpful. I'm sure the 300 people who can hear the "Proclaimer" will feel much better knowing that rich people in other nations have sent them not food, not water, not medical supplies... but a solar-powered toy that can shout at them about their sins.

It must just be a concerted effort on the part of religious groups to distract us from Pat Robertson's completely disgusting asshattery on the subject.

I've already donated to the efforts of Doctors Without Borders dealing with the crisis in Haiti, but I might have to take another look at my budget and see about donating more, to try to make up for these morons a bit. This is just absurd.
rivendellrose: (Tardis Christmas2)
Happy Winter Solstice / Yule to everybody who celebrates. I'm feeling pretty nostalgic for it all, myself, today - we went out to the ballet for The Nutcracker last night, and I got my annual viewing of Love Actually in this weekend, and I have a feeling I'm going to end up lighting candles tonight, and staying up until midnight just because. K and I always talked about staying up all night some solstice, and we never managed it - we'd always peter out about one in the morning. But staying up with a candle always makes me feel better about the winter, and makes me more aware of the fact that the worst of the long nights is over.
rivendellrose: (Morgana = Queen of All)
Director Paul Haggis Renounces Scientology in scathing public letter.

Gee, things haven't been looking so grand for the Church of Scientology lately, have they? :D
rivendellrose: (Bleh)
Note to Christians: This whole 'be not afraid to wear your crosses - we'll show Them!' shit from an archbishop just makes you look like idiots who can't figure out that, in the Western World, YOU are the fucking majority.

And seriously, don't even talk to me about the Pope. That guy... has some serious issues. Wasn't this meant to be a religion of love, or did I get confused somewhere along the line?

For the record: I am very much aware that neither the pope nor the archbishops really represent the majority of the people they're supposed to. I don't blame anybody for that, any more than I wanted to be blamed for the actions of the US back during the reign of Dubya the Incoherent. But sheesh.
rivendellrose: (Bleh)
Turns out that killing your kid by not getting them treatment for a simple thing like juvenile diabetes is only worth 6 months in prison if you do it for religious reasons.

Because apparently criminal neglect is a-okay if you do it because you thought God would fix it.
rivendellrose: (water pistol)
Apparently some folks over at Conservapedia have decided that the Bible isn't conservative enough for them, so they're rewriting it. Their upset? Apparently there's no Bible translation that fits their ten guidelines, including:

1.Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2.Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
[...]
7.Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
8.Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story


That last one really gets me. Oh, those godless, liberal 4th century Romans, throwing their modern ideas into the Bible! Curse them for the horrible, liberal-minded modernists that they were!

Have I mentioned how religious people frequently terrify me with their complete lack of fear of blasphemy? Dudes, if I believed in your god, I would be afraid to stand within a hundred miles of you. Because I'm pretty sure that, taking from literary precedent, most gods really don't like it when you change what they say to suit your purposes. How can people who purport to believe in a god believe that they can fuck around with his/her/its words without literally quaking in their fucking boots? Oh, wait - I forgot that people like this are so fucking arrogant that they can't conceive of the possibility that they wouldn't be right. Seriously - as a pagan, I feared to speak a single ill word against a god or power. Where do these people get the balls to change their own god's words without fear of retribution, if that's what they really think the Bible is? Where the hell do they get off? And can I help them remove it, preferably by the judicious use of a grapefruit spoon applied to delicate and personal areas?

Fuck that. I almost hope there is a god. Because if there is, these jackasses are in a lot more trouble than I, basic plain old quiet non-believer, am. The words "special hell" come to mind.
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
Of particular note to friends in Australia:

Church of Scientology Proposes Net Censorship in Australia.

Because if you can't convince people you're not a vicious, psychotic cult that ruins lives and rips apart families, why not just shut down the people who talk about it?
rivendellrose: (God?  What god?)
Apparently a movie about Charles Darwin is 'too controversial' for American audiences.

Fuck this shit. Can I have a new country, now? Please?

And in case that by itself wasn't enough to make your blood boil, here's a quote from the article:

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.

What. The fuck.

That said, why is it that "special screenings" have been set up for Christian groups even in the UK? It's a fucking movie, you fucking morons. It's a fucking movie about a person, not a documentary about his scientific work. Even if his theories were in some way controversial (which, um, no - not to anyone with a functioning brain and a third of an education they're not), it's a fucking movie.

...I just went from "sleepy comfy Sunday" to "raging bitch oh-god-my-blood-pressure" in the space of five minutes. :P

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