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Holy Crap

Here I was, checking the my webcomics today, minding my own business, when suddenly it leapt out at me – a religious position, held by the archbishop of Canterbury, that doesn’t suck.

I’m as shocked as you are.

But Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams, if that is the way you structure his title, has come out and stated that a part of the reason why the church is opposing same-sex marriage is because a lot of christians are wrestling with such feelings themselves, and they need to get their heads in the game and think more clearly about it.

[Checks Guardian to see if Telegraph is bending facts to make Williams seem more OK. The Guardian provides some important context.]

He also says that the church has made itself look silly (paraphrasing) by opposing women bishops and getting high profile involvement in gender politics, and admits that he’s “quite conscious too of the fact that people think that I’m weird and we’re weird.” Hell, he was speaking at an event for Christian teenagers called “Help, my friends think I’m mad”.

Yes, I do think you’re mad. I think you all are. BUT taking rational positions like “we need to get over our disgust over homosexuality” is a great way to cover for that madness.

Not sure how much my opinions have changed about the church; any church. But credit where credit’s due, I guess.

BTW, the offending webcomic is here. YAY JESUS AND MO!

Yuck!

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Defending Free Expression with Other People’s Words

Right now, a speech is going on in London (and in various other places round the world) which I thoroughly wish to be attending, but cannot. This is because I am currently at work, (I’ve kindly asked the sentient AI in my room to post this for me once it’s done ironing my socks), and am in another county.

I’ve mentioned this all before, about why we need to defend our free speech, and why this is happening now, and what the fuck is going on.

So, I’ve been thinking of how best to show my support. And this what I’ve come up with:

SKEPTICAL COMIC REPOSTS FOR EVERYONE!

I had to use this, if only because it started the ball rolling.

Free Expression is Like Metaphors

The freedom to express our own opinions is simple and powerful. The reasons why we should use and be able to use this freedom are doubly so.

In fact, it’s so glaringly obvious that I can’t bring myself to talk about it straight. To discuss it in simple terms would be banal and boring.

So, to keep myself interested while I do so, I’m going to use a metaphor. And now that you mention it, I have a suitable metaphor right here: music review.

When some people talk, their views are coloured by their love of the Beatles. Others are deeply affected by their love of The Kinks. And some people just think 60s pop is overrated. When writing reviews, the Beatlites talk of John, Paul, Ringo and George, while the Kinkiers talk of the one true Ray Davies.

Which is which?

And the a-60s-ists are writing articles about how rubbish and uninformed the songs of the day were, and why singing “Ooh! Ah! Ah!” in the background of pop classics sucks. This infuriates the other groups, who take it as a personal insult, even when it’s not.

The Beatlites, already in the majority, just clamp down their political sway, and bear it. They talk about the good old days when the Beatles were the only real pop group, and complain, wrongly, that Beatles fans are in the minority. Some of them get into power based on their knowledge of ancient Wings singles, and use that power expressly to benefit people who loved the White Album above all others.

The Kinkiers, or a select few of them, get totally fucking pissed about the a-60s-ists, and claim that they are being persecuted. Then they burn someone’s house down.

A few Daviesites take this too far.

What’s wrong with this fucking picture? I, as an a-60s-ist shouldn’t have to stop saying how much I hate vocables and silly love songs just because some people take it badly.

But more than that. The claim that you hear most often is not people are saying the unspeakable. The claim is that hating 60s pop is OK, and that talking about it is fine, but the way you talked about Lennon just then was offensive, and should be stopped. If only you’d found a better way to say that you didn’t like his trite love songs, or his private life.

The claim of offense is a cheap get out. It’s admitting that you’re allowed to hold different opinions. And it’s admitting that you are allowed to talk about them. But every single instance where you express your opinions openly and clearly; that’s offensive!

In many ways, it’s like Intelligent Design; it dresses itself up in science, agrees that science is right, and the only way to know about the world, then says that all non-Intelligent Design scientists are doing science wrong.

If anything here is offensive, it is that dressing up of personal biases and prejudices in reason and democracy. It is as offensive as it is insidious.

Very.

Links:

The convention we in the UK are part of: http://www.echr.coe.int/NR/rdonlyres/D5CC24A7-DC13-4318-B457-5C9014916D7A/0/ENG_CONV.pdf. (See Article 10. )

What wiki has to say about us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_by_country#United_Kingdom

One Law for All, the people behind today’s protest, and specifically Maryam Namazie.

Jesus and Mo (who I’ll be spamming all day) and Rhys Morgan, the fuses that lit this.

“Freedom FROM Religion” is what we should be asking for

This has been sitting in my tabs for a few days now, and since missing Maryam Namazie speaking in my back garden yesterday, I thought I’d finally get around to it. Once I’d finished talking about Bowie, that is.

So I did, and boy is it horrible. You remember how a few days ago I wrote about the Day to Defend Free Expression (February 11th)? Well, here’s some more of the cause of that. This is why we need a day for free expression, specifically of skeptical thoughts and secular ideas: because they’re so fucking easy to ignore!

What part of what I’m about to say sounds reasonable?

I'm Streisand effecting this fucker!

Read the rest of this entry

Instruction manuals, put where they belong.

This is a rather lovely analogy for religion, and I have to say not one I would have thought of myself. Except for the shoddily put-together, flatpack furniture aspect. I mean, whichever your personal “Good Book”, they do all seem to be missing a few screws, or at the very least an allan key to keep it from falling apart.

And with all the words and ideas appearing on screen, it’s easy to ignore the rather lovely piano being played in the background.

Thank you to Theramin Trees, and Jesus and Mo for linking me to him.