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July 17, 2009

Jimmy Carter quits Southern Baptism over discrimination claims

The words of God do not justify cruelty to women | Jimmy Carter | Comment is free | The Observer Specifically, Carter says the new management of the Southern Baptist Convention support the oppression of women.
I have been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when th e convention's leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be "subservient" to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service. This was in conflict with my belief - confirmed in the holy scriptures - that we are all equal in the eyes of God. This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. It is widespread. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths.

July 16, 2009

Ireland passes incredibly strict anti-blasphemy law

Ireland passes blasphemy law The law empowers the police to enter any home or business and seize any materials that are critical of any religion.
On Friday July 11th, 2009, Ireland passed the Defamation Bill by one vote. One of the aspects of this bill would make it illegal to criticize religion… any religion under penalty of fines up to 25,000 Euros. That is the equivalent to nearly $35,000. When I first heard this story on the internets, I was certain that it was a false story. I read the story, googled it, checked out legitimate Ireland news sites, and double checked more Ireland news sites. The story checks out. It seems that the Blasphemy Clause of the Defamation Bill was challenged in the legislature by an amendment which would delete such a clause. The amendment to delete the clause initially passed by one vote, but a request was made for a “walk-through vote.” During that time two more Senators came in and voted against the amendment to delete the clause. This meant that the clause would stay in the bill. The bill then passed by the same margin.

July 14, 2009

Never work with dogs or children: Preacher baby

YouTube - baby preacher...

July 12, 2009

Steven Pinker on the appointment of a religious person to the NIH

Steven Pinker on Francis Collins -- Why Evolution Is True
I have serious misgivings about Francis Collins being appointed director of NIH. It’s not that I think that there should be a religious litmus test for public science administrators, or that being a devout Christian is a disqualification. But in Collins’s case, it is not a matter of private belief, but public advocacy. The director of NIH is not just a bureaucrat who tends the money pipleline between the treasury and molecular biologists (which is how many scientists see the position). He or she is also a public face of science, someone who commands one of the major bully pulpits for science in the country. The director testifies before Congress, sets priorities, selects speakers and panelists, and is in many regards a symbol for biomedical research in the US and the world. In that regard, many of Collins’s advocacy statements are deeply disturbing. For example, I see science as not just cures for diseases and better gadgets but an ideal for how to think about the most important issues facing us as humans– in particular, the ideal that we should seek truth through reason and evidence and not through superstition, dogma, and personal revelation. Collins has said that he came to accept the Trinity, and the truth that Jesus is the son of God, when he was hiking and came upon a beautiful triple waterfall. Now, the idea that nature contains private coded messages from a supernatural being to an individual person is the antithesis of the scientific (indeed, rational) mindset. It is primitive, shamanistic, superstitious. The point of the scientific revolution was to do away with such animistic thinking. This is not just autobiographical. Collins, in his book, eggs on fellow evangelical Christians in their anti-scientific beliefs. He tells them that they are “right to hold fast to the truths of the Bible” and to “the certainty that the claims of atheistic materialism must be steadfastly resisted.” Granted, he is not a young-earth or intelligent-design creationist. But he has stated that God interacts with creation, in particular, that he designed the evolutionary process to ensure that human intelligence, morality, and Judaeo-Christian religious belief would evolve.