Posts Tagged ‘religion’

I keep running into atheists…

Who are absolutely, one hundred percent in favour of abortion when discussing the edicts of various religious sects, yet cheer for a president who has pledged to appoint pro-life judges to the supreme court and who, on his first day in office, reinstated the Mexico City policy, a policy which, says Wikipedia, "blocks US federal funding for non-governmental organisations that provide abortion counselling or referrals, advocate to decriminalise abortion or expand abortion services."

Who are oh, so quick to comment on the morals of clergy and other religious figures who commit sex-crimes, yet cheer for a president who, amongst many, many other misogynistic statements and actions, openly boasted of having sexually assaulted multiple women.


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I ran across a mention, a couple of days ago, of the fact that it was Jane Birkin's birthday. You know, her that is famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for the 1969 UK number-one hit, Je T'aime … Moi Non Plus, along with her lover (and writer of the piece) Serge Gainsbourg. It's not a song I'm particularly fond of (not because of the risqué content; I just find it boring), but it did give me an idea for a post. Which I then failed to produce in a timely fashion. Ho-hum.

So here, is a post, two days too late for the event I wished to tie it to, about songs which have been banned by the BBC.


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From change.org:

The UK government are about to deport Jimmy Kyesswa, a gay Ugandan man, back to his death.

A flight was booked for 5.25pm on Monday, 5 December 2016. An attempt was made to take him to the airport. Whilst on the road the guards received a number of telephone calls. There was some confusion and he was returned to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre.

Another attempt to deport him could happen at any moment.

Jimmy was detained on 5 September 2016 when he went to sign at Dallas Court Immigration Reporting Centre, Manchester; even though he has an appointment previously given to him by the Home Office to bring further submissions for his case to Liverpool on 9 September. He had no time to exercise his right. He was then immediately detained and taken to Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre in Lincolnshire. His solicitor made further representations, which were rejected by the Home Office.

Despite Jimmy being in a subsisting same sex relationship with his boyfriend, Cyrille, the Home Office has refused to accept that he is a gay man. Jimmy came to the UK in January 2005 after suffering mistreatment in Uganda based on his sexuality.

Jimmy had hot water poured on him after being discovered with a man. The situation in Uganda is well known where gay people face persecution on a daily basis, such as mob violence, imprisonment and even death.

Jimmy is also involved with a number of LGBT organisations and has a high profile on the internet including Facebook. He has attended several LGBT events around the UK to campaign for LGBT rights and for the rights of gay people in Uganda.

If deported, Jimmy would lose his relationship with his boyfriend, his community in Manchester and would have to try to avoid persecution by living in hiding. We fear that he would be discovered and killed by homophobic mobs.

We are asking that supporters sign the petition to stop the deportation and release him from detention. Please spread the word to as many friends and family as urgent action is required.

Please consider signing this petition.


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Well it's an even-numbered year, which means only one thing. The Post Office's Christmas stamps are on a secular theme, and a thousand and one blithering idiots with too much time on their hands and persecution complexes bigger than a very big mountain of very big things, will be whining and moaning that the Post Office, for some vague reason probably connected to Militant Secularism™, are trying to ban Christianity. Because that's what post offices do. Obviously.

This post began life as an attempt to put that straight by listing the basic theme of every set of Christmas stamps since 1966, when the tradition began. And that would have been as boring as hell. But along the way, it kind of grew into a collection of digressions loosely held together by a list of stamps. We have Joyce Grenfell in there, and a short discussion of the slang pertaining to British coinage, and many other brief but, I hope, interesting and amusing snippets of trivia, reminiscence and opinion.


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Meanwhile, In Brexit Headquarters…

"I say chaps, now we're leaving Europe, we need to make ourselves attractive to Johnny Foreigner, for trade deals and all that rot. Any suggestions on how to do that?"

Long silence.

"Wellll, it's just an idea…"

"Speak up old bean!"

"Why don't we try acting like a bunch of racist, xenophobic fuckups who've been banging on about getting out of Europe for forty years, yet have never bothered to come up with a plan for what to do after we leave? That should inspire confidence, surely?"

"Splendid! All in favour…"



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A few days back, Andrew Brown at the Grauniad posted a little article under the unpromising heading, "Scepticism gets you only so far. Even nonbelievers need to have faith."

Yes, I can already hear the groans and mutterings of "Oh no, not that old saw again" from the back row. And yes, Gentle Reader, it is that old saw again.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't try to imply that Mr Brown is some kind of fundamentalist loon, convinced that the Bible is literally true in every jot and tittle, that The Evil Gay Illuminati™ are to blame for everything from a stubbed toe to an earthquake, and that Adam and Eve spent their evenings joyriding on Spiky, their pet triceratops. On the contrary, he's a warm, liberal, fair-minded, intelligent man, who can definitely sling a pleasingly well-formed sentence together; and what's more, usually—on any topic but the one in hand—manages to construct an argument free of fallacies or fuzzy thinking. On most topics, even if I disagree with him, I usually find that, as it were, we're travelling in the same direction and merely disagreeing over the route. But, like many religious people, straddling the whole spectrum from whacko fundy to whatever the complete absence of whacko-fundiness is called, he seems to struggle somewhat with the idea that atheists don't have a "god-shaped hole" in their minds, which just has to be filled with some sort of spirituality.

That atheists, to put it another way, are actually atheists.

So, anyway, the article in question…


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From Jacob Bronowski's excellent nineteen seventy-three television series, The Ascent Of Man, episode eleven: Knowledge Or Certainty. Still, to my mind, one of the most simple yet articulate and moving discussions of the dangers of dogma, of claims to certainty—both religious and secular—ever broadcast.

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