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;

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:

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:

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.,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

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;

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

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:

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.

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.


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.