Stuff I Care About

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Proud Canadian Just Got Much Prouder.... More Good Stuff in Ontario


So, I found this gem in the Canadian Civil Liberty Site. Apparently, the Gideon association was giving Bible's to children through the school with parental consent. Not anymore. Check it out. To actually view the documents, both the complaint and their response, here is the link;

http://ccla.org/?p=2960

CCLA objects to Gideons distributing Bible in public schools
December 15th, 2009
For years, the Waterloo Region District School Board has given the Gideons permission to offer free Bibles to fifth grade students in public schools. On December 4, 2009, CCLA wrote to the Board criticizing the governing policy and its historical and current application. Public schools should not be used as a vehicle for the promotion of one religion over another, or indeed the promotion of religious life over secular life.

Monday, December 28, 2009

New Addition to my own Personal Lexicon


I am sorry that I have not been blogging so much. Been pretty busy. However, I am going to start again. So, today we are going to discuss a new term that I have learned brought to us by Richard Dawkins. Here it is;

History Denier-

used for those people who deny evolution; who believe that the world's age is measured in thousands of years rather than millions of years, and who believe that humans walked with dinosaurs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Interesting Things Are Happening in Boring Old Ontario- Part 1


So, I found an interesting article in Canadian Christianity today. Seems that a Christian organization in Ontario decided to fire a gay employee for being a homosexual. And, to make it worse, they had a code of conduct established within their employment standards that prohibited all employees for being various things- adulterers, gay, etc. So, this is the Christian spin on it. It is exactly what I expected it to be. It is not about being gay, blah blah blah. Anyways, Part 2 of this posting has the actual court finding on it, so you can see the actual truth in the issue. Turns out this woman was very Christian herself. Interesting stuff, here is the article.

“Religious Orientation” before the Ontario Courts
This case has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but rather the ability of a recognized religious community to define its own beliefs, practices and standards of membership.
by Don Hutchinson


landmark religious freedom case arrived before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Tuesday, December 15. The court is sitting as the Divisional Court, which is a panel of three Ontario Superior Court judges (as distinct from Ontario Court of Appeal judges) sitting in review of the decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in Heintz v. Christian Horizons.


The appeal features the main parties – Connie Heintz, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and Christian Horizons – along with a bevy of interveners – The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, the Canadian Council of Christian Charities, the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops and Egale Canada Inc. (formerly E.G.A.L.E., Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere).

Aside from the fact that the complainant in this case has expressed same gender attraction, the case has nothing to do with sexual orientation. The situation Ms. Heintz found herself in would have occurred if she had been involved in a heterosexual relationship outside of marriage, substance or resident abuse, or any other potential violations of the Christian Horizons community’s Lifestyle Policy. This case is about “religious orientation.”

Christian Horizons is an Evangelical Christian ministry serving people with exceptional needs. Originally established as the Ontario Christian Association for Exceptional Children in 1965, Christian Horizons has been successfully providing a Christian home environment as the foundation for an excellent quality of life for many of Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens. Christian Horizons’ residential care focuses on the spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and social interaction needs of each person entrusted into their care. The success and quality of life established by this form of care became a driving force behind the Province of Ontario transitioning from institutional care of the developmentally disabled to the contemporary residential care model.

Christian Horizons was established, and expanded at government request, as a religious community. The staff is composed of individuals who have come together with a common belief and agreement on common expression of that belief as the unique foundation for ministry to their residents. Each resident is respected for his or her “intrinsic value as loved by God and bearing His image.”

At all times, Christian Horizons has identified itself as and remained a distinct and identifiable religious community, a fact that was affirmed by the OHRT in its decision.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has recognized the right to religious freedom of a religious community as recently as this year’s decision in Alberta v Hutterian Brethren. In that decision the court affirmed the application of two key cases to the concept of collective religious freedom. In Syndicat Northcrest v. Amselem the SCC decided that an individual had a legitimate right to practices that have a nexus with his or her religious beliefs. In Trinity Western University v B.C. College of Teachers the SCC decided a religious community (university) could require its students to sign agreement with a statement of faith and a code of conduct. In short, the religious community defines what it believes and how those beliefs translate into practice.

In another case concerning the Hutterian Brethren, Hofer v Hutterian Brethren, the SCC decided in 1970 that an individual is free to subscribe to the beliefs and practices of a religious community in acceptance of the “normative foundation” of that community. The individual could also be expelled from the community if no longer in agreement with that normative foundation.

In Connie Heintz’s situation, she found herself out of compliance with the normative foundation of her chosen religious community of over 2500 people, serving over 1400 residents. Ms. Heintz had recognized and accepted the normative foundation when she signed the Statement of Faith and the Lifestyle Policy of that community five years before. Connie Heintz resigned from her employment with Christian Horizons and subsequently filed a Human Rights complaint. The Ontario Human Rights Commission took up the cause of that complaint because of Ms. Heintz’ stated sexual orientation. The OHRT sided with the issue of sexual orientation, perhaps even moreso than any support offered to Ms. Heintz, over and above the religious freedom of the established self-identifying religious community Christian Horizons.

The Divisional Court will be asked to assess whether there is a hierarchy of rights with sexual orientation superseding the religious freedom of a community united in non-discriminatory service to people with exceptional needs, as the OHRT found, or whether a religious community continues to have the right to define membership as stated by the SCC prior to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the Hofer case.

No one disagrees with Connie Heintz’s right to define her beliefs and practices in regard to her sexual orientation. Christian Horizons, by law and our constitution, has the equal right to define its beliefs and practices in regard to the organization’s religious orientation.

What this case comes down to has nothing to do with sexual orientation, but rather the ability of a recognized religious community, that’s doing good, not harm, to define its own beliefs, practices and standards of membership.

The above article may be republished with permission in print publications. For more information contact Gail Reid: reidg@efc-canada.com.

Don Hutchinson is Vice-President, General Legal Counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and Director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life.

Originally posted on Monday, December 14, 2009 at the EFC’s ActivateCFPL blog.

Interesting Things Are Happening in Boring Old Ontario- Part 2


Anyways, here is the findings of the Court. Needless to say, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice found Christian Horizons guilty of violating Human Rights. They have stepped in and said that when rights violate other rights, the law can interfere. And, that they did. Check out the link:

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/onhrt/doc/2008/2008hrto22/2008hrto22.html

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Picture of the Day


Beautiful pic of a dinosaur.

R.I.P. Oral Roberts- One of America's Best Con Artists


So, here it is straight from the L.A. Times- Oral Roberts died today at the age of 91. He was billed as the first "televangelist", and really got the ball rolling in North America. He clearly understood, and began to use media and the mail to bring the message of God to people, and in turn, receive absolutely incredible amounts of money for his "hard work". He blazed the trail for the likes of Jimmy Swaggert, Jim Bakker, and Benny Hinn. Thank you for teaching organized Christianity how to further exploit people for the sake of personal profit. I am sure that many of them will remember you as a great man.

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-oral-roberts16-2009dec16,0,3407978.story

Monday, December 14, 2009

Scientists Have Discovered That Monkey Have Language Too....


I found this great article in the New York Times. Scientists have found a group of monkeys that have their own type of language, and have managed to decipher meaning behind the sounds. So exciting, here it is.

Boom! Hok! A Monkey Language Is Deciphered

By NICHOLAS WADE
Published: December 7, 2009
Boom boom! (I’m here, come to me!)

Enlarge This Image
Krak krak! (Watch out, a leopard!)

Hok hok hok! (Hey, crowned eagle!)

Very good — you have already mastered half the basic vocabulary of the Campbell’s monkey, a fellow primate that lives in the forests of the Tai National Park in Ivory Coast. The adult males have six types of call, each with a specific meaning, but they can string two or more calls together into a message with a different meaning.

Having spent months recording the monkeys’ calls in response to both natural and artificial stimuli, a group led by Klaus Zuberbühler of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland argues that the Campbell’s monkeys have a primitive form of syntax.

This is likely to be a controversial claim because despite extensive efforts to teach chimpanzees language, the subjects showed little or no ability to combine the sounds they learned into a sentence with a larger meaning. Syntax, basic to the structure of language, seemed be a uniquely human faculty.

Still, species like gibbons and whales make complex vocalizations in which the order of the sounds seems to have some effect on their meaning, though it is hard to say what. Dr. Zuberbühler’s team reports deciphering some of the Campbell’s monkey’s communication system in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Krak” is a call that warns of leopards in the vicinity. The monkeys gave it in response to real leopards and to model leopards or leopard growls broadcast by the researchers. The monkeys can vary the call by adding the suffix “-oo”: “krak-oo” seems to be a general word for predator, but one given in a special context — when monkeys hear but do not see a predator, or when they hear the alarm calls of another species known as the Diana monkey.

The “boom-boom” call invites other monkeys to come toward the male making the sound. Two booms can be combined with a series of “krak-oos,” with a meaning entirely different to that of either of its components. “Boom boom krak-oo krak-oo krak-oo” is the monkey’s version of “Timber!” — it warns of falling trees.

There is yet another variation on this theme, Dr. Zuberbühler’s team reports. Into the “Timber!” call, the Campbell’s monkeys insert a series of up to seven “hok-oo” calls. The combined call indicates the presence of other monkey groups and is heard most often when the monkeys are on the edge of their home range.

The meaning of monkey calls was first worked out with vervet monkeys, which have distinct alarm calls for each of their three main predators: the martial eagle, leopards and snakes. But the vervets did not combine their alarm calls to generate new meanings, unlike human words that can be combined in an infinite number of different sentences.

If the Zuberbühler team’s observations are correct, the Campbell’s monkeys can both vary the meaning of specific calls by adding suffixes and combine calls to generate a different meaning. Their call system, the researchers write, “may be the most complex example of ‘proto-syntax’ in animal communication known to date.”

Dr. Zuberbühler said he planned to play back recordings of given calls to the Campbell’s monkeys and to test from their reactions whether he had correctly decoded their messaging system.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dear Mike Seaver and Ray Comfort....


You both have no problem publicly telling everyone that their belief in evolution is false, that the notion that we descended from primates is lies. Well, I have been watching Sons of Anarchy. And, here is exhibit #1- Mr. Ron Perlman. He is a talented actor, and carries with him a very distinctive presence, but how can you deny evolution when you look at his face? Wow. Here it is;

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Return to The Basics


Here is a gem of an article from 2006. I pulled this from the New York Times. It is the results of the study that was done measuring the effects of prayer on cardiac patients. The findings- prayer is ineffective, which I already knew. I was a little surprised when this did come out, because I thought that the perception of God helping you would create a little bit of a placebo effect to the more faithful involved. Nevertheless, here it is;

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html

Monday, December 7, 2009

Some More Glimpses Into The Depths of The Religious Mind

Here is a lovely little article that I found in the National Post today. It is a nice little summary of all of the North American crackpots who have recently experienced religious imagery in everyday symbols. You cannot make this stuff up... Or maybe you can. Check out the pictures within the text- totally priceless. I cannot wait for the Rapture, bring it on. Here it is.

Going Postal: Jesus is everywhere edition

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2009/12/04/going-postal-jesus-is-everywhere-edition.aspx

So Not Surprised


So, I found this on The Denver Post Online today. If anyone has seen Bruno, there is a great scene where he tries to get a Christian gay conversion done. It truly is shocking. It never occurred to me that Christians would even think that this is possible. Insane. Isn't God supposed to love all of its creatures? Guess not, especially if you are gay. Nevertheless, like many of them caught on camera, he expresses no remorse for how he behaves. However, he does express remorse that he was duped and placed in a position where he was laughed at. I remember when Jesus Camp came out. I thought that those folks should have been arrested. Initially, they were shocked by the reaction of the public, they saw nothing wrong with what they did. Anyhow, he is using his fame to run for mayor of Birmingham. If he wins, I will never, ever go there. It will be interesting to see if the city will openly support a Christian gay converter as their mayor. I really hope not.
Oh yeah, check out the last paragraph, total icing on the cake. Here it is;

'Bruno' pastor runs for mayor of Birmingham, Ala.
By JAY REEVES Associated Press Writer
POSTED: 12/04/2009 03:01:21 AM MST
UPDATED: 12/04/2009 03:52:19 AM MST


This undated campaign photograph shows Jody Trautwein, a pastor... ((AP Photo/Trautwein campaign))
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Moviegoers know Jody Trautwein as the smiling Alabama pastor who tries to talk Sacha Baron Cohen's character out of being gay in the hit movie "Bruno." Trautwein is now auditioning for another role: Mayor of Birmingham.
Trautwein is among 14 candidates in next week's election to replace Larry Langford, who was booted from office in October after being convicted on 60 felony counts in a bribery scheme.

While the minister's scene drew laughter in theaters, he's running a serious campaign. He has a Web site, fliers, volunteers and a platform that includes fighting crime, improving city schools, economic expansion and restoring integrity to City Hall.

But political discussions inevitably begin with Trautwein's part in "Bruno," a spoof released this summer in which Cohen portrayed a gay Austrian fashion journalist traveling the United States.

"I haven't seen the movie," Trautwein, 39, said in an interview. "From what I understand it's about an hour and a half of darkness and perversion with about three minutes of light."

Trautwein said he was duped into appearing in the movie through phone calls from a producer and fake Internet sites set up by Cohen's cohorts. Trautwein believed he was helping a German TV crew telling the story of a man who wanted to give up homosexuality.

In the movie, Trautwein counsels "Bruno" to convert to heterosexuality by believing in Jesus.

"He wants to come into your heart right now," Trautwein says earnestly.

"Are you hitting on me?" Cohen deadpans.

No, Trautwein wasn't. But the segment helped the administrator and youth pastor at Point of Grace Church build a campaign profile.

Trautwein caught the attention of movie producers because of his former position as director of the Alabama Coalition Against Same-Sex Marriage. He's a conservative who describes himself as neither a Republican nor a Democrat.

Trautwein may be a longshot, but he said he's in the mayoral race to win even though he lacks the name recognition of candidates like Carole Smitherman, who served as interim mayor after Langford's ouster; William Bell, a member of the Jefferson County Commission; or Patrick Cooper, a lawyer who finished a distant second to Langford in 2007.

"We're going to run strong," said Trautwein, a Birmingham native who has worked in ministry for 14 years. "I believe we are going to surprise a lot of people."

The nonpartisan election is Tuesday, and a runoff will be held Jan. 19 if no candidate wins a majority of votes in the city, with an estimated population of about 210,000.

Langford is awaiting sentencing for taking some $236,000 in bribes in his former role as commission president in Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous region.

Evidence showed Langford—himself a professing Christian who leads a weekly Bible study—took checks and expensive gifts from an investment banker who received lucrative bond business from the county, which is now trying to avoid filing the largest municipal bankruptcy ever.

———

On the Net: http://jodyformayor.org

Friday, December 4, 2009

One Sad, and Very Sick Article

Here is a link to a very sad article. This is another article about how victims of abuse from the Catholic church want leaders accused of abuse brought to our justice system. This is just so sick, sad, and awful. Coming back to Darwin's quote- religion is disease. These criminals stay shrouded in the church. If these poor folks had been abused by police officers, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc, there would be no problem seeking justice and retribution. What is interesting, though, is that within the text of this article is a link to a website inciting accountability for bishops. Might not hurt to provide victims with some support.

Here is the link if you would like to see for yourself.

http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Priest-abuse-victims-want-criminal-investigation-275072.php

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Glimpse Into A Religious Mind


My friend, another one from highschool (I have many atheist enablers out there) sent me this. This is the latest "stigmata" of Christ, another Shroud of Turin. People really do see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear. Sometimes, I think about it. This "special interest group" wants their voice heard in all types of civil liberties. So scary. Check this out;

Massachusetts Mother Mary Joe Coady Sees Jesus On Her Iron
November 28, 2009 | Posted by Shannon Bell
I guess it just depends on how you look at it; Mary Joe Coady sees Jesus. I think I see gunk. A Massachusetts woman sees Jesus on her iron, she’s taking it as a sign that everything’s going to be alright. The 44 year old isn’t going to try and cash in on the iron, she’s planning on keeping it.

Not to make light of her situation, but people have seen the image of Christ on other objects before, even food. Sometimes they see the Virgin Mary; a lot of times it’s an attempt to cash in, other times I think they genuinely see the savior.

This story of Mary Joe Coady seeing Jesus on her iron seems pretty genuine. If you look at the photo you see something that could be interpreted as Jesus, but I really think she sees Jesus on the iron because she’s going through a rough patch and needs to be comforted.

There’s no greater comfort than Jesus Christ, so I take heart in the fact that she sees the one who can actually give her comfort when she needs it. At least she doesn’t see Obama on the iron. Sure she’ll be made fun of, sure she’ll probably be pressured to sell the Jesus iron, but the bottom line is she’ll be comforted during a tough time; that’s really all that matters, right?

According to some reports she posted the photo on Facebook and got a lot of confirmation that it did indeed look like Jesus on her iron. Even her teenage daughters told her it looked like a Jesus iron. If your kids don’t think you’re nuts then who cares what anybody else thinks.

H/T JammieWearingFool


Quote of The Day


Comes from my best friend from highschool again. She sent me this great link, and I found this gem on there. This is taken from a Roman Tombstone. Wow, this person was soooooooo ahead of the rest of us: Check it out.

ROMAN TOMBSTONE:

Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
No caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
Have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
Lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Day


I love this. So correct. I know that I tend to use Richard Dawkins alot on this blog, but he is one of the most outspoken people out there. And he is so dead on. Here it is;

It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
-- Richard Dawkins, The Humanist, Vol. 57, No. 1

One of the Best Articles on Evolution that I Have Read in a Long Time


My best friend from highschool just gave me this great article. It is from National Geographic, and it is discussing how futile it is to argue evolution. This article is suggesting that evolution has accumulated enough evidence to begin transitioning from scientific theory to fact. It is a compelling, but lengthy read. Here is the link:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Catholic Church Will Never Do This


I found this great article today. It is from the Associated Press, and is actually reporting that a Protestant Church is publicly apologizing for the manner in which it has treated Native Americans. What is this? One of the signs of the Apocalypse. The fundamentals better start praying cause this is a miracle. However, I will reserve my optimism that utopia is coming with the Rapture, and they will all be taken away, because it is only one church. Check this out;

Christian church, Native American tribe reconcile

NEW YORK — Members of one of America's oldest Protestant churches officially apologized Friday — for the first time — for massacring and displacing Native Americans 400 years ago.

"We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture, along with your dreams, hopes and great love for this land," the Rev. Robert Chase told descendants from both sides. "With pain, we the Collegiate Church, remember our part in these events."

The minister spoke on Native American Heritage Day at a reconciliation ceremony of the Lenape tribe with the Collegiate Church, started in 1628 in then-New Amsterdam as the Reformed Dutch Church.

The rite was held in front of the Museum of the American Indian in lower Manhattan, where Dutch colonizers had built their fort near an Indian trail now called Broadway, just steps away from Wall Street.

The Collegiate Church was considered the "conscience" of the new colony, whose merchants quickly developed commerce with the world in fur and grains — till then the turf of the natives.

Surrounded by Lenape Indians, the Dutch colonists "were hacking men, women and children to death," said Ronald Holloway, the chairman of the Sand Hill band of Lenapes, who lived here before Henry Hudson landed 400 years ago.

The Indians dispersed across the country, eventually ending up on government-formed reservations. On Friday, some came from as far away as Oklahoma.

During the ceremony, Chase embraced Holloway and, as symbolic gestures of healing, the two sides exchanged wampum — strings of beads used by North American Indians as money or ornament. A boy representing the Lenapes and a girl from the Collegiate Church put necklaces on each other.

While Friday's ceremony exuded warmth and openness, accompanied by an Indian drumming circle and the haunting sound of a wooden flute, the feelings leading up to the reconciliation were mixed.

"After 400 years, when someone says 'I'm sorry,' you say, 'Really?' " Holloway said before the ritual. "There was some kind of uneasiness. But then you've got to accept someone's sincere apology; they said, 'We did it.' We ran you off, we killed you.' "

In New York City, the Collegiate churches are composed of four congregations including the landmark Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue led by the late Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

The church plans to sponsor educational activities and exhibits to teach children history — including the Indian reverence for preserving the purity of the land taken over by the Dutch colonists.

___

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christian Side Hugs from That Happened! - Video

Christian Side Hugs from That Happened! - Video

This is sooooo funny. Abstinence rules!!!! A nice way to wake up this morning.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let Us Consult the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


Today, I was struggling with this whole Christmas thing. While I was wrestling with the whole basic materialism, way too much consumerism type of argument, I felt unable to come to any conclusion about limiting the Christian expression of this holiday. Perhaps, we are too hard on them. Maybe we are actively discriminating against their symbols of religious freedom. So, I thought that the best approach would be too consult our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to settle this conflict. Here is what I found, interesting stuff. First;

Sections 2(a) and 15 of the Charter lay out the right to freedom of religion and equal treatment in Canada. 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion; … 15(1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Basic stuff. But here is where it got interesting.

Freedom of religion in Canada has also been interpreted as necessitating the reasonable accommodation of minorities. This means that laws must be adjusted if they have even an indirect discriminatory effect on a person or group based on their particular characteristics. In this sense, Canada’s form of religious neutrality is quite different from the stricter version of laïcité adopted in countries such as France. The Canadian approach attempts to make laws receptive to the particular needs of minorities, rather than espousing a more uniform conception of equality. The policy of reasonable accommodation attempts to break from the trend promulgating the norms of the majority as the dominating values in Canadian society.(18 ) However, unlike the interpretation of freedom of religion under the United States Constitution, freedom of religion under the Charter’s section 2(a) is not absolute. Rather, it is a relative concept, with which courts have the power to balance certain countervailing claims. Clearly offensive conduct or symbols that harm or constrain the freedoms or human dignity of others are not tolerated. These limitations are emphasized within the Charter itself. Section 15 highlights the fact that each religion is one of many vying for equality. Section 27 suggests that religion falls under the rubric of culture, and that the Charter seeks to preserve and protect all cultures. Finally, section 1 gives courts the discretion to qualify the fundamental freedom of religion by such reasonable limits as are prescribed by law and can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.(19)

Interesting... So, the next time they cry about taking away Christmas, remind them that it is part of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that others have the right to not be exposed to Christmas. It is legal now. I love it.

Here is the link if you are up for the read

http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/PRBpubs/prb0441-e.htm#bthecanadian

Another One of the Many Beautiful Parts about Life Free of God


Here is a pic of a beautiful rainbow I just took. I love life. As quick as it was here, it was gone. Seeing how beautiful life is, I almost do not fault people for misconstruing natural events in the Bible when they did not know better. Life really is wondrous. Today is a good day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interesting Little Gem


I posted earlier about certain retail outlets banning the Christian messages associated with Christmas for their holiday campaigns. Of course, there has been a reaction, there always is. You know, instead of understanding that they can keep it within the confines of their homes, they will always fight the need to keep it public. So boring. I have included email addresses at the bottom in case anyone out there wants to email them their thoughts. I plan on doing so, and will post my email later for all to see. Here it is, came from the Christian wire.

200,000 Christian Shoppers Wear Buttons That Tell Retailers 'It's OK Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm)'

Contact: Ashley Tarter, Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign, 800-487-7137 ext 709, atarter@wmamc.com

MEDIA ADVISORY, Nov. 25 /Christian Newswire/ -- Over 200,000 shoppers are wearing buttons this Christmas season that proclaim a straightforward message to retailers: "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm)." Individuals and churches around the country are partnering with the Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign mobilizing advocates energized for a return to the traditional, convivial greeting, bearing buttons that make a clear statement - "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm) (www.wmamc.com)". Over 200,000 of these buttons have been distributed nationally. With over 200,000 buttons on the streets and in stores this year, local store associates are likely to be presented with the opportunity to deviate from the corporate holiday wishing policy of top retailers like the Gap and Best Buy, and stealthily wish their customer "Merry Christmas" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays". But since 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas (Gallup Poll, 2004), it's likely that the store cashiers would prefer to wish their customers "Merry Christmas" as well. In fact 88% of Americans state that "It's okay to wish 'Merry Christmas'." (Gallup Poll). Pastors across the North America have lined up to support the Campaign. "Our nation needs to return to our Christian roots and values. Trying to remove the name of Jesus Christ from Christmas and from our society must be stopped," says Reverend John Mains of Fountain of Life in Johnstown, PA. In Ontario, Canada Pastor Troy Dingwell says, "I believe it is great that there are still people in North America who still hold to our Christian beliefs and traditions." Even Santa himself humbly gives credit where credit is due, "Christmas is not just about Santa and presents. Christmas is about the baby Jesus." Sue Fairchild and Reverend James Ritter of the Watsontown Baptist Church in Watsontown, PA sees the spirit of the Campaign, "We are using these buttons to encourage our congregation to step out in their faith this holiday season. We are coming together to put Christ back in Christmas." Said Campaign Manager, Ashley Tarter, "National retailers will hearken the public's message that it is okay to wish, 'Merry Christmas,' once again. In the meanwhile local communities are being impacted by the message of the Campaign." The national Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign is appealing to retailers to "put Christmas back in the holidays" with two straightforward petitions: * To actively retract adverse corporate holiday wishing policies, by returning to the traditional and explicit "Merry Christmas" phrase; and

* To restore use of the symbols, language and sounds of Christmas in in-store displays, signage and music, as well as in November and December advertising. From Florida to Alaska and into Canada individuals and churches have purchased hundreds of thousands of the red and green, "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas," ornament-like buttons to wear and share. For more information, visit www.wmamc.com - the first letters in Wish Me A Merry Christmas, or contact Media Relations at 800-487-7137, option 4. Merry Christmas!

* Gallup Poll 2004, PDFs available athttp://wmamc.com/millionbuttongoal/media.html PHOTOS:http://wmamc.com/millionbuttongoal/media.html#images

CONTACTS: Ashley Tarter Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign PO Box 5398 Williamsburg, VA 23188 PHONE. 800-487-7137 ext. 709 E-mail: atarter@wmamc.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Can You Deny Evolution When You Look at the Primordial Features of This Beauty


Look at this beauty. He is A Chinese Water Salamander. If this is not a visual throwback to ancient times, I do not know what is. Another interesting specimen in the beautiful diversity of life. Here is some basic info about him;

"The Chinese Giant Salamander is the largest salamander in the world, with specimens of up to six feet (two meters) in length being recorded. Unfortunately for this unusual animal, it is viewed as a delicacy in China, which has led to heavy hunting both in China and Taiwan, where the giant salamander was introduced at some point in history. This in combination with habitat depletion has landed the Chinese Giant Salamander on the critically endangered list, with biologists indicating that immediate action must be taken to save these gentle creatures if we want future generations to enjoy them. Several zoos have Chinese Giant Salamanders in captivity, but a successful breeding program has not yet been established."



Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Look at How Diverse and Wonderful Life Is- A Roar from the Past.


Here is another pic I took of King Shit himself- The T Rex from Montana. I love him. This shot looks at his tail, and how long he was. Beautiful. We owe much to the scientists who worked so hard to recover him and piece him back together. I am going to start posting the pics that I take are relevant to this blog.

Wow.... London is so Progressive.

This comes from the Times Online. Evolution is going to be taught as a compulsory subject in public schools. A feel a sense of pride that we part of the Commonwealth... Well, at least in a symbolic kinda way. Let's hope that some of this progressive thinking trickles to us in the Great White North. Here it is;

Evolution to be compulsory subject in primary schools

Charles Darwin

Campaigners are delighted that Darwin will be on the curriculum

Evolution is to become a compulsory subject for study in all state primary schools. The Government announced yesterday that Darwin’s theory of how life evolved through natural selection would be a legal requirement in science teaching from September 2011, although it will be left to schools to decide how this is done.

The move, which was welcomed by scientists, comes despite a drive to slim down the national curriculum for primary schools and leave teachers greater discretion over what to teach.

British history will also become, for the first time, an explicit part of the curriculum that primary schools must teach, although it makes no reference to which kings, battles, periods or events should be taught.

Church and other faith schools within the state system will have to educate their pupils about the theory of evolution, although officials said it could be taught in a context that reflected a school’s ethos, in a similar way to compulsory sex education for children aged under 15.

“You could do that within the ethos of the school. If as a school, in consultation with governors and parents, you have a particular take on that, you would still be able to do that,” said a spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The change, included in legislation introduced in the Commons yesterday, follows a review of the curriculum for primary schools published earlier this year by Sir Jim Rose.

A consultation on his proposals to loosen the number of formal topics taught in primary schools prompted calls for the curriculum explicitly to include evolution. More than 500 scientists and supporters signed an e-petition to Downing Street.

The new curriculum is to include a requirement “to investigate and explain how plants and animals are ‘interdependent’ and are diverse and adapted to their environment by natural selection”.

The age at which children must be taught about evolution is not specified; it must be included in science lessons “in the later stage of the primary education”.

The Royal Society applauded the decision and said that it would send booklets to all teacher-training colleges with information and advice.

Professor Sir Martin Taylor, its vice-president, said: “We are delighted to see evolution explicitly included in the primary curriculum. One of the most remarkable achievements of science over the past 200 years has been to show how humans and organisms on the Earth arose through evolution.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank Science For This

A friend told me to check this out today, and I did. The Globe and Mail had this great article today reporting that they have had a breakthrough in the treatment of MS. This is exciting....The study of evolution is the gift that keeps on giving. Here is the link to check out yourself.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Honor of the First Atheist I Knew


My dad. My father was well ahead of his time, and openly disbelieved in God. When I was 17, it used to disturb me. I felt fearful for him because I was scared that he would not go to heaven. I would say to him "Dad, what do you think happens when you die?" and he would point to the ground and say "Food for worms." I love him, and I have most certainly become his daughter.

In honor of his favorite band and the atheism we share. Here it is;

"I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facin' up when your whole world is black..."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quote of the Day


This quote comes to me straight from Tom Harpur, in The Pagan Christ. He describes the writing of the Bible as:

"The earliest Church fathers themselves admit that they took the high, symbolic, esoteric (or secret) wisdom that the Christian movement had inherited from Paganism- from Platonic philosophy and the Mystery Religions- and explained it, or rather downgraded it, by means of vulgar fables for the illiterate mob.... They were soon spreading these inner teachings abroad to the general public, and "in the process reducing the rich and sumptuous feast of wisdom to such a hash and porridge to the ignorant masses could find in some way digestible. Thus came Christianism which was the wreckage of Christianity."

Book Recommendation of the Day


For anyone out there who is interested in expanding their reading collection, here is a nod out to Tom Harpur. For my birthday, a close friend of mine gave me this book. While I would not say that I am learning anything new, I am really enjoying returning to the basics of my liberal university education. I love being brought back to the basic mythology that created the Bible. Here is a basic description of the book;

This is Harpur's most radical and groundbreaking work to date, in which he digs deep into the origins of Christianity and how the early Christian church covered up all attempts to reveal the Bible as myth.

What began as a universal belief system has become a ritualistic institution headed by ultraconservative literalists. As he reconsiders a lifetime of worship and study, Harpur reveals a cosmic faith built on these truths that the modern church has renounced. His message is clear: our blind faith in literalism is killing Christianity. Only with a return to an inclusive religion where Christ lives within each of us will we gain a true understanding of who we are and who we are intended to become.


Another Interesting Genetic Discovery Due to Evolution

Here is a great article posted on Science Daily today. They have discovered a gene that determines a person's ability to respond to stress and to practice empathy towards others. I believe, the more that I research about our genetic discoveries, that they are managing to unlock all of the mysteries of life. Awesome stuff, see for yourself;



Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Great Quote of the Day


This quote comes from Alvin Boyd Kuhn, who has studied religion in modern times. This is poignant, and this is why it deserves distinction today.


"Christianity only gained favour and held the allegiance of the masses of the populations of the West for centuries because it succeeded in accommodating its message to the prevalent levels of general unintelligence. In doing so it inevitably distorted its truths into ludicrous caricature and baneful forms of error and falsehood"

Awesomeness Quote of the Day


This one comes to us from Northrop Frye, another reason why us Canadians are so great. I love this. Here it is: In describing the state of modern day Christianity, he likened it to

"a ghost with with the chains of a foul historical record of cruelty clanking behind it...."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Really Hate that I Owe My Sight to my Primal Fear of My Biggest Phobia


Here is a rather interesting article from the Toronto Star about Snakes. I LOATHE snakes... I am terrified of them. However, putting all of my fear aside, this article is an interview with a scientist who believes that primates may have developed sight due to fear of snakes. It also suggests that at one time, humans and primates were food for them, and this is why our eyes evolved. Interesting stuff, and may very well answer that evolutionary enigma about why our sight evolved the way that it did.
Here is the link:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Case In Point


In less than 24 hours, I found this article. My last posting talked about the dissemination of Christian "information" to young people, and how the religious agenda could serve to make them more vulnerable towards making less informed decisions towards their sexual health. And, then this unfortunate article shows up on World Net Daily. Sadly, I could not have called it better.



Teen fights vaccination for sexually transmitted virus
Lawyers say forcing treatment violates her religious rights
Posted: November 12, 2009
12:30 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A teenager is entitled to an exemption from a federal requirement that she be given a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease, because she is a Christian and holds the religious conviction that she must abstain from sex until marriage, according to a brief filed in support of her decision.

The arguments come in a brief filed in support of Simone Davis in her fight with the U.S. Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service by the Alliance Defense Fund.

"Christians shouldn't be forced to violate their faith in order to gain U.S. citizenship," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Joel Oster. "Requiring a young girl to choose between her beliefs and legal citizenship is a clear violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents the government from putting a substantial burden on a person's religious beliefs except under extreme circumstances.

"She has met all of the other legal requirements for permanent resident status and has a loving home already in place, but the federal government would apparently prefer to return this girl to abandonment," he said.

(Story continues below)


WND reported earlier when the federal government threatened that if the teen did not give up her religious beliefs against a vaccine that targets only a sexually transmitted disease, she could not become a U.S. citizen.

Davis, born in 1992 in Britain, was abandoned by her parents and adopted at age 3 by Jean Davis, her paternal grandmother, who then married and moved to Florida.

However, her adoption in Britain wasn't recognized in the U.S., so the process was begun again. The 17-year-old was on track for citizenship, attendance at Pensacola Christian College and a career as a teacher until she ran into Gardasil, the vaccine produced by Merck & Co.

The drug was added to the list of vaccinations required for female immigrants in 2008, but the teen has refused it because its purpose is to protect against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus only. Simone has taken a virginity pledge and doesn't see she why she should be forced to take it.

"I am only 17 years old and planning to go to college and not have sex anytime soon," she said. "There is no chance of getting cervical cancer [thought to result from the papillomavirus], so there's no point in getting the shot."

The teen sought a waiver on religious grounds, but the government turned her down.

The ADF brief noted the law permits a waiver of the vaccine requirement based on moral or religious objections, but Davis was denied because her beliefs do not include an objection to all vaccines. Officials also claim her opposition is based more on medical reasons than religious ones.

"Because HPV is passed through sexual activity, receiving the HPV vaccine for protection in case Simone has sex would be the same thing as giving her a condom to put in her purse 'just in case,'" the brief argues.

"It violates her commitment to remain pure until marriage, a commitment she made as part of her Christian faith."

Her pastor, Mike Dunn, who submitted an affidavit, said, "If Simone received the vaccination she would violate her own conscience which is being led by the Holy Spirit, thus becoming sin against God."

"To me, Jesus is a major part of my life. I live my life for Him, and according to His will and His plan," the teen said. "I talk to God about everything that happens to me. I ask for His guidance in what to do every day. I read the Bible to grow in knowing God better."

She said when she was confronted with the government's demand that she subject herself to the vaccine for a sexually transmitted disease, she prayed.

As a result, she became convicted that she should not accept it, citing 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, which says, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?"

Dunn said the teen's interpretation is consistent with the Southern Baptist Church's teachings.

"There is no doubt that Simone's beliefs are religious," the brief said. "Simone is a religious person, and has been since she was seven years old. … [Her] beliefs are rooted in God's commands, as recorded in the Bible. Consequently, taking [this] vaccination would be sinning against God."

The ADF noted in 2008 its lawyers successfully represented a U.S. Coast Guard officer who refused to be injected with a vaccine derived from an aborted baby after the Coast Guard initially refused to grant a religious exemption.

Meanwhile, the ramifications of the vaccinations are being reported. WND has reported recipients have suffered side effects, including "anaphylactic shock," "foaming at mouth," "grand mal convulsion," "coma" and "paralysis."

The results were confirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a report obtained by Judicial Watch, a Washington group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption.

Deaths also have been reported.

"Given all the questions about Gardasil, the best public health policy would be to re-evaluate its safety and to prohibit its distribution to minors. In the least, governments should rethink any efforts to mandate or promote this vaccine for children,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

The document reveals the case of an 18-year-old woman who received the Gardasil vaccine, was found unconscious that evening and died. Another woman, age 19, got the drug and the next morning was found dead in her bed.

Thousands of "Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System" cases have been documented.

WND also reported on the aggressive push by Merck to lobby state legislatures to make the vaccination mandatory for schoolgirls across the nation.

In 2007 alone, Merck's aggressive lobbying campaign and contributions to the Women in Government organization for women state legislators resulted in proposals in at least 39 states to institutionalize such vaccinations.

"I am most definitely surprised [by the immigration requirement], and I would love to know how it ever became policy," Dr. Jacques Moritz, director of gynecology at St. Luke's–Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, told ABC. "I wonder if the drug company could have had any influence."

A company official told the network it wasn't involved in making the vaccination required.

Quote of the Day- More Christian Based Misinformation


This is a little more complicated than I usually post. I am also going to do something new with this, which is why this is filed under the "Christian Based Gross Misinformation" Quote of the Day category.

I found this interview with an "MD", by the name of Miriam Grossman at Christianity.Ca. She has written a book criticizing current the "myths of sexual education" in Canada. I do not know if she actually said this, or if the author misquoted her to get their own agenda across. Nevertheless, this research apparently comes to us from a "Family Research Health Centre", which could just be a front to have a pro Christian agenda display a credible appearance to mainstream readers. Here is the exact link if you are interested in reading the entire interview.


So, here is her pearl of wisdom;

"A third point is kids aren’t told that oral sex is associated with cancers of the throat. Needless to say this is important, and indeed life-saving, information yet it is withheld from kids, and that is the height of irresponsibility."


So, I had to go see this for myself. I consider myself a fairly informed person, and I wanted to see if this was some new research or something like that. Actually, researchers have managed to discover a link between untreated HPV infection and oral cancer. In fact, the more I researched I found that this doctor had actually said this, and was very misquoted by this publication. So, this Christian publication has this information. Instead of being responsible for the proper dissemination of this knowledge and using it to its full potential- like maybe using it to reinforce the need for an HPV vaccination, they spin it through the religious bullshit cycle, and further scare their youth from a sexual practice that is safer than many others. Perhaps Kirk Cameron was the author. Smells like his stench to me.


Followers

Blog Archive