Woman wants to marry her father

From here:

Yes. I want it to represent our uniqueness, so we aren’t doing a white wedding. The color scheme is black and purple, and we are both going to wear Converse tennis shoes. He’s wearing jeans and a nice dress shirt. He says he’s not wearing a bow tie, but it’s my wedding and I am saying that he is. My best friend will be my maid of honor and she’ll be dressed in purple. My grandmother and grandfather — my fiancé’s parents — are going to attend and my grandpa will give me away. The tables will have bouquets of trees without leaves to represent our marriage, which will be like a growing tree. My dress will be black.

Having already redefined marriage to mean almost anything – and consequently, almost nothing – how could the Anglican church turn this father daughter couple down? Gene Robinson could come out of retirement and preside at the ceremony. His purple shirt would match the bridesmaid’s: what could be more apt?

Freedom of speech according to Bishop Michael Ingham

From here:

If religious criticism is intended deliberately to offend, to vilify or to slander, it is not acceptable and I would be outraged. And not just for my own religious faith, but also for others’. I am not against satire. I am against hatred. If satire is intended respectfully to challenge or question a fundamental belief, or to expose the hypocrisy of the institution or its leaders, it is perfectly okay.

There is no unlimited right to freedom of speech and no absolute right to freedom. To exist, freedom needs self-imposed restraints, and democracy requires a consensus based on mutual respect. What we have in the Paris cartoons is a misuse of freedom…it is secular fundamentalism that insists on the right to cause offence in the name of freedom. Religious satire is not off-limits when it serves the public good by exposing hypocrisy and causing us to live up to our ideals in a better way, but when its purpose is deliberately to offend, how is that different from hatred?

Michael Ingham is in favour of satire and freedom of expression provided it is respectful and not offensive, thereby rendering it not free and not satirical. Additionally, satire has to serve the public good. Who decides this? In the absence of an ecclesiarchy, the state; welcome back to the Soviet Union.

In a similar vein, the imam pundit notes:

In a free society, people have the right to offend, but people do not have the right to incite hatred or to stereotype an entire community. When you depict Mohamed as a terrorist, 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide are considered terrorists, when 99.9 per cent of them are peaceful. We must use freedom of speech with responsibility. That is the price of keeping a civil society.

If the imam is correct and 99.9% of Muslims are peaceful (I have a suspicion that figure is too high), we are left with 1.6 million who are not only not peaceful but, since the context is terrorism, are terrorists; I don’t find that particularly reassuring.

Atheist files human rights complaint because school favours Christianity.

From here:

An Ontario school is fighting a human rights complaint over its Christian life centre and relationship with Habitat For Humanity.

In November 2013 – in his second action against the District School Board of Niagara – Rene Chouinard filed an Ontario Human Rights Code complaint arguing the board “continues to exhibit preferences for Protestant Christianity” at its facilities.

Chouinard, an atheist father, signalled out Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ont.

His complaint said the board has “continued to allow other missionary organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, to operate Christian mission activities within its programs.”

The school also has privately funded Spiritual Life Centre, which Eden’s website says provides a “meaningful program to assist in the development and support of Eden’s students through a rich array of life activities.”

That centre describes its mandate as “leading students to learn of Christ and live for Christ.”

A hearing on the complaint was held before a human rights tribunal in St. Catharines on Monday
The tribunal adjourned to rule on the issue of Chouinard’s standing – whether or not he has the right to take the complaint to tribunal. That written decision is expected to be made shortly.

“I have a kid in one of those schools,” Chouinard told QMI Agency after the hearing. .

Chouinard wrote in his complaint the board’s activities exposed him to abuse and “character assassination in the local media and community.”

Among other effects, he alleges are that there has been harm to his three children in that they have perceived Christianity as the norm and “concepts of non-belief were not respected.”

He is seeking $50,000 in compensation from the school board to run a long-term media campaign promoting the validity of secular humanism.

Chouinard is complaining that “concepts of non-belief were not respected.” If he is an atheist, he believes that God does not exist: he has a belief – admittedly, not a particularly rational belief, but a belief nonetheless, so the missing respect does not apply to him. An agnostic can claim “non-belief”, not an atheist.

Canada’s laws and standards of morality have their foundation in a Judeo-Christian understanding of how the created order works. If Chouinard can’t cope with this, he should relocate to a country where atheism is the state religion; he would feel more at home. North Korea comes to mind.

Something else that has nothing to do with Islam

From here:

RaifEnsaf Haidar stood beside the kitchen table, urging her three children to eat. Newspapers featuring her husband’s face on the front were spread in the spaces between three pizza boxes, and a banner covering most of the wall showed him as well, with several dozen signatures of those who attended a #FreeRaif vigil in Montreal.

“All he did was blog,” his wife said through an interpreter in an interview with The Globe and Mail on Wednesday. “Until the last moment, I couldn’t believe it. I kept telling him it wasn’t going to happen. It’s impossible, it doesn’t seem real.”

In Saudi Arabia, her husband Raif Badawi, 32, was preparing for the second 50 of his 1,000 lashes on Friday – but, as it turned out, that punishment was postponed, after a doctor concluded he had not sufficiently recovered from the first floggings administered Jan. 9. And according to Ms. Haidar, the Saudi government referred the case to the country’s supreme court, suggesting international pressure might be having an effect.

But Ms. Haidar isn’t holding her breath: “I won’t stop [fighting] until Raif is free.”

As it stands, Mr. Badawi is to receive 50 lashes every Friday for 19 more weeks after prayers in front of a mosque in Jeddah, a city on the coast of the Red Sea. He was convicted of insulting Islam and religious figures on his blog, the Saudi Liberal Network, and sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10-year order not to leave the kingdom and not to practise journalism after that. He faces a fine of about $319,000.

Don’t be deceived by the phrase “[h]e was convicted of insulting Islam” or by the fact that the flogging takes place “in front of a mosque in Jeddah” or the “prayers” to Allah before the flogging. None of this has anything to do with Islam: Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance.

Anglican Church “explores the spiritual depths of David Bowie”

What is there to explore, you may be wondering.

For the Anglican Church of Canada, plenty: David Bowie is bisexual, an atheist manqué, and a mocker of Christianity; he fits right in.

From here:

Mike Daley, assistant music director at Church of the Redeemer, has been staging “Rock Eucharist” church services monthly. This Sunday will feature the works of David Bowie.

Mike Daley has a delicate task — selecting the most appropriate David Bowie songs to play during an Anglican church service this Sunday.


He has to strike the right balance between songs that people will know and that represent the artist, and pieces of music that are appropriate in a church setting and speak to the Bible readings that day.’

Geese galore

A few years back I was visiting my old home town of Cardiff. During a  stroll to Roath Park Lake, I was rewarded by the sight of a couple of Canada geese bobbing cheerfully in the water. They were imported from Canada, a local informed me. Obviously no one had bothered to tell the keepers of the lake that Canada geese reproduce – quickly.

Here they are in Oakville:



The gentle art of taunting bloodthirsty and mad terrorists

From here:

Condemnation of the new edition of Charlie Hebdo was swift and often fierce Wednesday (Jan. 14) in many majority-Muslim nations after the cover featured a drawing of the Prophet Muhammad with a tear in his eye.

“You’re putting the lives of others at risk when you’re taunting bloodthirsty and mad terrorists,” said Hamad Alfarhan, 29, a Kuwaiti doctor. “I hope this doesn’t trigger more attacks. The world is already mourning the losses of many lives under the name of religion.”

Hebdo1Imagine the shrieks of sanctimonious outrage if, after the abortionist George Tiller was murdered, rather than limiting himself to roundly condemning the murderer, someone had had the temerity to suggest that abortionists must stop because they are inflaming “bloodthirsty and mad terrorists”. But, then, the  cartoon below is so much more offensive than killing unborn babies.


Let’s apply what the Pope said to the death penalty

Concerning the murder of cartoonists by Islamic fascists, the Pope didn’t quite say, “they had it coming”, but just about: he obviously thinks a fair share of the blame lies with the cartoonists.

“It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

The pope said those who “make fun or toy with other people’s religions, these people provoke, and there can happen what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he said something against my mother. That is, there is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.”

When it comes to the death penalty, however, being responsible for the consequences of one’s action does not seem to apply. A murderer, no matter how callous and evil never deserves to die:

Pope Francis called for abolition of the death penalty as well as life imprisonment, and denounced what he called a “penal populism” that promises to solve society’s problems by punishing crime instead of pursuing social justice.


“All Christians and people of good will are thus called today to struggle not only for abolition of the death penalty, whether it be legal or illegal and in all its forms, but also to improve prison conditions, out of respect for the human dignity of persons deprived of their liberty. And this, I connect with life imprisonment,” he said. “Life imprisonment is a hidden death penalty.”

The Pope’s view:
Someone who draws a cartoon of Mohammed should not be surprised when he is murdered because, insofar as he was cavalierly offensive, he brought it upon himself. Someone who murders another person should be encouraged to believe he has not brought either the death penalty or even life imprisonment upon himself. The murderer, no matter how foul the murder, has too much human dignity for that.

This is one weird Pope.

The Pope is not a pacifist

He has informed us that anyone who insults his mother is liable to get a punch; doubtless his theologians have verified that this is in line with Aquinas’s Just War Theory.

From here:

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Commenting on recent killings by Islamist terrorists at a Paris newspaper, Pope Francis condemned killing in the name of God, but said freedom of expression should be limited by respect for religion and that mockery of faith can be expected to provoke violence.

The pope made his remarks Jan. 15 to reporters accompanying him on a flight from Sri Lanka to the Philippines. During the 50-minute news conference, the pope also said his encyclical on the environment will likely be published early this summer, and that he will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, an 18th-century Franciscan missionary to North America, in the U.S. this September.

Asked by a French reporter to compare freedom of religion and freedom of expression as human rights, Pope Francis linked his answer to the Jan. 7 attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, apparently in retaliation for the newspaper’s publication of cartoons mocking Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

“Let’s go to Paris, let’s speak clearly,” the pope said. “One cannot offend, make war, kill in the name of one’s own religion, that is, in the name of God.”

The pope said freedom of expression was a “fundamental human right” like freedom of religion, but one that must be exercised “without giving offense.”

Offering a hypothetical example that referred to the Vatican’s planner of papal trips, who was standing beside him as he spoke, the pope said: “It’s true, one cannot react violently, but if Dr. (Alberto) Gasbarri, a great friend, says a swear word against my mother, then he is going to get a punch. But it’s normal, it’s normal. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

The pope said those who “make fun or toy with other people’s religions, these people provoke, and there can happen what would happen to Dr. Gasbarri if he said something against my mother. That is, there is a limit. Every religion has its dignity.”

I wonder what the Pope makes of Jesus calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers, hypocrites, whited sepulchres and so on. Jesus is God, of course so he may well have  Papal dispensation to say what he likes. Someone should definitely put the boot in to John the Baptist for his insensitivity, though.

Even Michael Coren – not known for criticising the Pope these days – thinks the Pope has blundered badly. Perhaps the Pope’s handlers should persuade him to spend more time keeping quiet; before we know where we are, he’ll be talking about bacon.