Pope defends sexual immaturity

The pope has defended yet more Christian-based sexual immaturity.

Pope Benedict XVI strongly defended celibacy for priests as a sign of faith in an increasingly secular world Thursday, insisting on a church tradition that has increasingy (sic) come under scrutiny amid the clerical sex abuse scandal.

One of the contributing factors to the child-raping being done by priests is the massive sexual repression that religion, especially Catholicism, encourages. The whole debacle is a reflection of an institution that does not understand anything about sex beyond ‘his thingy goes in her thingy’.

Benedict responded to preselected questions from five priests and none asked for his thoughts about the scandal. One asked him to speak instead about what he called the “beauty of celibacy,” which he said was so often criticized in the secular world.

The pope acknowledged that celibacy was itself “a great scandal” in a world where people have no need for God. But he called it “a great sign of faith, of the presence of God in the world.”

It isn’t that people think celibacy is a so-called scandal because they don’t need God. It’s that not everyone is as sexually repressed as people like the pope, so they recognize that sex is not some chunk of evil that needs to be shoved in the closet, only to be taken out on special occasions.

But he is right about one thing. It is a sign of faith to believe celibacy is a good thing. But then, when has Christianity or any other religion cared about evidence?

Catholic bigots harm child’s education

A child in Massachusetts was set to attend school at St. Paul Elementary School, but the sexually immature chief bigots, Rev. James Rafferty and Principal Cynthia Duggan, rescinded their acceptance of this new student because his mother is a lesbian. But in a surprising move, another sexually immature Catholic leader has stepped up to the plate in an attempt to quell the flaming bigotry.

The head of education for the Boston Archdiocese offered Thursday to help find a different Catholic school for a boy denied acceptance at a Hingham Catholic school because his parents are gay.

In a statement, superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill said she spoke with a parent of the 8-year-old boy and “offered to help enroll her child in another Catholic school in the archdiocese.”

“We believe that every parent who wishes to send their child to a Catholic school should have the opportunity to pursue that dream,” O’Neill said.

Insofar as someone has a “dream” involving Freddy Krueger, sure that’s a dream.

This is surprising on a couple levels. First, I attended a Catholic school – which, incidentally, offered an excellent education bar the religion – and I vividly recall being told on multiple occasions that any and all students were welcome. The specific examples given were students of different religions, but it was a blanket statement we were being given, so I presume someone having a gay parent would have been just as irrelevant. Of course, this is New England, the place where bigotry tends to be less prevalent. Second, the Catholic church is against all sorts of random junk. No meat on Good Friday, no divorce, no birth control – plenty of parents go against all these haphazard (sometime irresponsible) teachings of the church. It is only the overwhelming sexual immaturity of these Christians which can explain the pointed bigotry towards gays. It’s disgusting.

While it looks like a new, clear policy is going to come from the Boston archdiocese which does not arbitrarily discriminate, that isn’t the case in another recent act of shame.

The Massachusetts case is similar to a decision by a Catholic school in Boulder, Colo., the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which said two children of lesbian parents could not re-enroll because of their parents’ sexual orientation. The Denver Archdiocese backed the school’s decision.

Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Allow fewer and fewer children to be polluted with the mind virus of religion while growing animosity towards an already battered institution? Sure.

Religiously-motivated violence gets worse in Nigeria

It’s only getting worse.

Witnesses say people are fleeing their homes in central Nigeria over fears of renewed religious violence between Christians and Muslims.

Witnesses say there has been at least one death in the city of Jos and people began fleeing on Saturday.

A military spokesman confirmed there was unrest in the city, but gave no details.

It isn’t going to be easy for Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, to deal with all the violence it currently faces. Some of it comes from corruption that pervades its entire government. Some of it comes from poverty. But much of it comes from religion; religion is the cause of all the killings between Christians and Muslims going on right now. To cause a significant change in the dynamics of the region, the fact of religion would need to be removed. It cannot simply be replaced with anything – only a simpleton would think that – but without religion, the basis of any violence would change. (It would also change if one religion was all that dominated, but then the entire country might come in conflict with entire other nations.) In places like Northern Ireland, an elimination of the Catholic/Protestant divide throughout the later half of the 20th century probably wouldn’t have completely eliminated all violence there, but it would have subtracted from the equation one significant piece of unnecessary (and untrue) ideology.

For Nigeria, the Christian/Muslim divide is acting as a reason to kill over a lack of fertile lands. Eliminate that divide and the lack of good growing land still exists, but one significant reason for all the murders will be gone. I suspect that for this country corrupt officials might step in to fill the void of controversy and unrest, but they would actually be a step forward in an effort of social and political reform for the better.

They certainly couldn’t be any worse than the two violent religions that have such a strong hold in Nigeria right now.

Well done, Greece

Greece has made a step in the right direction.

The Greek government has announced it will start taxing churches as part of its efforts to get out of its financial crisis. A new draft bill to be tabled in parliament next week imposes a 20 per cent tax on the Orthodox church’s real estate income, reportedly worth over 10 million Euros (US $14.8 million) a year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In Euros, Greek debt is 216 billion, so it’s no secret that this new tax is going to generate very little. But it’s still good because there’s no reason churches should be tax exempt in the first place. There is nothing special about religion which warrants it special economic considerations or status.

Now if only we can do the same for religious institutions in America – especially when they violated the conditions set out for them under current law.

Non-acceptance and intolerance

Time and again I find myself coming across people who think they’re making some grand point when they call me (or those who share my views) intolerant. It is utterly evident that these people have no working definition of “intolerance”. They are completely unable to make even the simplest of distinctions (which fits with why they tend to be conservative).

The most common instance of this has to do with same-sex marriage. It’s a definitional fact that those who oppose same-sex marriage are bigots. They deny that marriage is a right for all and base their conclusions on a lack of acceptance for homosexuality. This lack of acceptance, though wholly ignorant and pathetic, is legally and morally acceptable on some level because it does not infringe on the rights of others. However, the conclusions based on that lack of acceptance are morally reprehensible and (more relevantly to government) legally unsound. They are non-acceptance turned intolerance. And intolerance is the cornerstone of bigotry.

With that in mind, it should be obvious that those in favor of same-sex marriage are not intolerant, even if they think homosexuality is wrong. The time when it is appropriate to describe someone as intolerant is also the time when it is appropriate to use the word “bigot”, such as with anti-same-sex marriage people. They have infringed upon a person’s rights.

It can’t be helped that the word “bigot” is perfectly suited for the subject, but there seems to be some confusion with its use. The word itself does not equal intolerance. No one is infringing upon anyone’s rights or freedoms or liberties. No one is forcing Catholics (the bigoted driving force behind Maine’s recent bigotry) to accept anything. More over, no one is forcing anyone to do or believe anything whatsoever which infringes upon anything remotely important (i.e., rights, freedoms, liberties). Calling a bigot a bigot and not letting them get their bigoted way is not intolerance.

The confusion here is mind-boggling. It’s as if people have no ability to distinguish between intolerance and non-acceptance. What’s more, when non-acceptance shows up as a lack of respect, people further believe there is intolerance afoot. Puh-lease. If I say, for instance, that the belief that God created the Universe in the middle of the well-established civilization of the Sumerians is, in fact, a very stupid thing to think, I am not being intolerant. Where have I infringed upon anyone’s rights? Where have I stopped someone from having the freedom to hold such a stupid thought? The answer is that I have not done that. It’s simply that I, as well as most educated people, cannot give deference to such silly things. That’s a lack of acceptance, not intolerance.

Drink of my blood

Just a notice people living in the Augusta area that there will be a blood drive on March 9. Here is the information. A few more results for the area (and other parts of the country as well) can be found here.

Penney Memorial Church 1038 Perkins Hall
35 Grove St
Augusta, ME 04330

Because giving blood is far more effective than pretending to drink it. UPDATE: Here’s a thought. PZ Myers had a whole big deal where he desecrated a Catholic wafer. It was to prove a point that nothing is sacred (basically). But instead of a wafer, how about dumping out some blessed ‘blood of Christ’ outside a donation location? It’d be especially poignant to do it outside a church. But this time the point wouldn’t be that nothing is sacred but rather that deep belief, prayer, and silly rituals* are far less effective than simply being a good person and doing good things (for example, like actually helping people by giving them real blood).

*To be fair, PZ surely mocked these things as well throughout wafer-gate.

Catholics denied Captain’s Wafers

A South Carolina priest has said Catholics who voted for the evil Barack Obama should not eat crackers. He says doing so would destroy the integrity of the cracker industry, and in a time of credit crunches and government bailouts, we just cannot afford that.