News this week (12w24)

NeverSeconds blogger, who was initially banned blogging about her school lunches, has seen the ban lifted. She was taking pictures of, and critiquing, her school lunches. The school initially seemed supportive of the 9-year old girl. The local council didn't seem to like the publicity and banned her from taking her camera into school. After a little internet outrage the ban has rightly been overturned. If you want to live in a free country then people are going to do and say things you might not like. Argyll and Bute Council are finding this out.

We have escaped the solar system, one of the greatest achievements of mankind! Voyager 1 has now reached the end of the solar sytem. I like the idea that this isn't the end for the space probe, it'll just keep floating through space for years to come. Long after I'm dead it might even reach the attention of another intelligent lifeform. What a lovely thought.

In the ongoing Leveson inquiry former PM John Major has testified that Rupert Murdoch wanted a change in government policy regarding Europe. Murdoch even threatened that his papers would oppose Major at the 1997 elections if there was no change in policy. Let's take a step back here. A media mogul tried to coerce a democratically elected politician. And we now have that fact that Murdoch's testimony contradicts Major's. Someone's committing perjury.

Japan are claiming that N. Korea's missile launchers are being supplied by China. Which could well be in violation of U.N. sanctions. Things like this make a bit of a joke of international law. China are on the U.N. security council, precisely nothing will be done about this. Apart from maybe some angry sounding letter, that the Chinese will just ignore.

A Norwegian party wants to ban ritual circumcision. I agree, if a person who is of reason wishes to have their own body modified in some way then that is their choice. A baby however, does not have a choice in the matter and shouldn't be forced to have such treatment.

News this week (12w22-23)

It's been the golden jubilee weekend, and I've been a little bury recently, so I'm doing two weeks in one.

The Dutch parliament has unanimously voted against ACTA, saying further that \"no similar agreement will ever be signed by the government\". This a great step in preserving our internet freedom. Europe is the last area to vote on ACTA and with the Dutch voting against it this may give the impetus to other governments to do the same thus essentially forcing the European parliament to do likewise.

Norway has voted to become a secular nation, removing the Lutheran Church as the state religion. As an atheist I applaud this move. Though there's another side to the story. I come from the U.K., and though the movement of political correctness, the Chruch of England has to be seen to be respectful and tolerant. Essentially stopping it from doing anything that could damage the nation. Whereas you look at America, where freedom of religion absolutely separates church and state, that's big business. Chuches over there are huge with their own tv channels and radio stations. It forces its way into the public conciousness.

Julian Assange has lost his extradition case. This isn't his sexual assault case. He's lost his appeal to the British Supreme Court against extradition to Sweden. He can still appeal the decision with the European Court of Human Rights. Though we now have a fourteen day wait whilst Dinah Rose QC decides to appeal directly to the British Supreme Court on the grounds that the main basis of the Court's decision wasn't argued. The basis being the Vienna Convention.

We recently had the Diamond Jubilee here in the U.K. celebrating 60 years of the Queen's reign. Big celebrations were had. A group of long-term unemployed people were bussed into London to work unpaid as stewards. They were told to sleep under London Bridge before working the river pageant. These people were part of a trial for unpaid work at the Olympics. Let's hope the Olympics aren't as callous in their treatment of staff, unpaid or otherwise.

Former Egyptian politician Hosni Mubarak has been sentenced to life in prison. Whilst this may seem a good thing at first, and at face value it really is, there have been still been protests by the Egyptian people. The problem is Mubarak didn't act alone. He had help from people like Jamal & Alaa Mubarak are found innocent. Clearly this is making the Egyptians unhappy and brings in to question the idea of Egypt having a true democracy.

The Vatican is facing another scandal, oh what a surprise! A butler of the Pope has been arrested for having classified documents he shouldn't have had. The rhetoric coming out of the Vatican is quite amusing really, they keep claiming the butler betrayed them. One even comparing it the betrayal of Jesus 2,000 years ago! Never mind the documents point to crimes being committed by the Vatican themselves. So why is the butler the one in jail?

News this week (12w21)

Egypt has an elected leader for the first time. This is huge. If it is a true democracy, then one would hope the actions of the government reflect the feelings of the people. As Noam Chomsky states, the Egyptian people feel that the U.S.-Israel are a threat. This could escalate tensions out in the Middle East. If Egypt starts to face-off with Israel at the same time as Iran escalating its nuclear programme then who knows how the U.S.-Israel will react. They've already talked about attacking Iran before now. Let's just hope things don't get too much worse.

Monsanto maize has been banned in France, in order to \"protect the environment\". This is however a temporary ban. The article doesn't make that clear, nor does it do the science justice. It says It was modified genetically in order to insert a bacteria into its DNA structure. This is clearly bollocks. Some of the genetic code of a particular bacterium has been added to the genetic code of the maize. Even this is a gross over-simplification of the situation. The genes in question are to generate a toxin that will kill any insects or pests that would try to eat the maize. To me, as long as sufficient testing is done, this ethically acceptable behaviour. The business practices of Monsanto may be less ethical however.

New Zealand authorities, in collaboration with Interpol, have taken down a global child pornography ring. 55 people in 20 countries have been arrested, with 12 abused children being rescued. This is good old fashioned police work in action, with the investigation starting back in October 2010. There was no need to enact new restrictive internet policies in order to bring justice to these paedophiles.

A suicide blast in Yemen kills more than 100 troops. It has left at least 101 dead and 220 injured. Here's a relatively SFW video of the aftermath. As a result the Yemeni president has declared to resolve further his war on terror. Even the Middle East has these issues. It's reading stuff like this that I'm truly glad I live in a peaceful country (everything is relative).

Italy, amongst their debt crisis, are cracking down on Ferrari and Lamborghini drivers. Though only in so far as to make sure they are declaring their income and thus paying their due taxes. The reasoning being that only rich people will have access to such expensive cars. Sounds a bit like the story of the Porches in Greece, though that was a bit misleading, as Porche themselves sold a relatively small number of cars in Greece. So the others were second hand or black market cars. Italy further battled tax evasion recently by 'raiding' a popular ski resort and checking people were paying the taxes on their property. When the squeeze is on the government, that squeeze is transferred to the people it seems.

News this week (12w20)

The Drug War in Mexico, 50,000 dead in 6 years [warning:some graphic pictures]. Clearly innocent lives are being lost or ruined over this idea that drugs are innately bad and should be prohibited, forcefully. Its just an escalating circle of terror as the government and cartels wage war. Ultimately the civilians are losing the most here. As I have been saying before, we need to address this, and discuss openly the issues pertaining to drugs. I'm normally a fan of real-politik, putting aside ideologies and enacting policy that will actually work, that will yield real results.

Israel is closing a school in Palestine in order to construct a training camp for the IDF. The next nearest school for the Palestinians is over 20km away. How are they meant to commute that far? Israel is denying these people access to basic education. Israel's treatment of the local population of the Palestinian Territories is disgusting. Though whilst Israel's actions have the support of the U.S. not much is going to change.

Several people in Scotland, U.K. have been arrested after posting anti-Semitic remarks on Facebook. Without knowing what was actually said, I can't properly comment on this particular case. This does however tie in with a push for better speech laws. I believe people should be entitled to whatever opinion they like, and should be allowed to voice said opinion if they like. I agree it is a fine line between voicing an opinion and inciting violence against people. But a world in which I am only free to say what others find acceptable isn't a free world.

Does censorship work? The U.K. courts decided to require ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. A political party in the U.K. decided to offer a proxy for TPB, found at This has sky-rocketed the website 100,000 places in website rankings by number of visitors. Censorship doesn't work on the internet. If the information is online, people will be able to access it, end of story. So why waste the time and effort trying. All that has really happened is The Pirate Bay have had a load of free advertising. Which is surely detrimental to the cause of the U.K. authorities.

Rebekah Brooks has been charged with perverting the course of justice during the course of the phone hacking scandal. This is serious, if found guilty she will be facing jail time. Will Rupert swing to her rescue? And what about James? This is the story that just keeps on giving. Hopefully justice will be served.

With the craze of Harry Potter many kids decided to get pet owls. These are difficult animals to keep apparently. Now that the craze has died down hundreds of pet owls are being abandoned. As the article says, this is part of a greater trend, TMNT caused an increase in turtle pet ownership. Finding Nemo caused an increase in clownfish sales. People are surprisingly fickle with pet ownership.

News this week (12w19)

Egypt holds its first ever presidential debate. This is great news, it means things are changing, and for the better. For the Egyptian people anyway. A government should represent the wants of the people it represents. Whether this is better for Western nations is to be seen. For example, polls taken show an anti-american opinion in Egypt. Further most Arabs appaer to be happy for Iran to gain nuclear weapons. I'm not sure if thats necessarily a good thing.

The judge who ordered links to the Prate Bay be censored by the Dutch Pirate Party is apparently corrupt. Though it must be pointed out that this is simply allegation at this point. This isn't an official ruling by a court of law. A nice dose of political corruptness always goes down well. There's a similar situation going on in my home nation, the U.K., where major ISPs have been ordered to block The Pirate Bay. If you use one of these ISPs and find yourself unable to reach TPB, simple go to and enjoy your internet freedom again. The block has literally achieved nothing. The Guardian have a good opinion piece about internet censorship. That we shouldn't be forcing anything major through as legislation. That the responsibly lies with the parents if they don;t want their kid seeing questionable material, don't stop the rest of us.

Columbia passes 1st draft of legislation that would allow illicit crops to be grown, such as opiates or marijuana. The fight against prohibition is growing stronger! This draft however, doesn't have the current Columbian's presidents support, but things are moving in the right direction. At least people are being more open about these issues. Making something taboo, censoring ideas and speech is not the solution. It won't solve anything. Similarly, their is legislation being discussed in Holland about selling weed to foreigners. But if people can't get weed in Amsterdam, where can they get it? This hopefully won't happen, but the article raises an interesting idea that other cities might try and profit from the situation, which the could. People will always want a toke, and just making it illegal won't do much to quell the demand.

A public school girl who died at age 13, has saved 13 lives already through organ donation. This just shows the benefits of organ donation. I'm a registered organ donor, if your from the U.K. you can register with the NHS.

News this week (12w18)

Yes, these normally come out on a Sunday, its a bank holiday weekend, shoot me.

Mr. Hollande has won the French Presidential election. Interesting to say the least. Europe's response to the sovereign debt crisis has been steered up till now by a combined German-French policy. My. Hollande disagrees with this policy. Presuming local elections go his way next month and he is able to form a government and enact his policy, how will Europe fair. In my opinion very little will change. I think this because firstly, it doesn't matter what France says. Germany are too big and if they say austerity is the way to go then, tough luck Hollande. Secondly what is the alternative to austerity? The poorer countries don't have a sufficient tax base to simply raise taxes. The amount of inflation required to mitigate the debt would unfairly affect the other eurozone members. The debt is being serviced at too high an interest rate to just take on more of it. This leaves you with the final option of reducing government spending. Or as we like to call it these days, austerity.

Rupert Murdoch has been found \"not fit\" to run a company as large as News Corp. by a committee of MPs. Though unsurprisingly the Tories are remaining more neutral, given there links to News International, a subsidiary of News Corp., who still run several influential papers here in the U.K. It does lead me to wonder, now that this inquiry is over, what the police will do. Is a member of the board going to be arrested? I will not be at all sad to see any demise of Murdoch's business. Though this whole state of affairs has brought to surface a debate of how influential the major media outlets are in swaying public opinion and thus governmental policies. Are we truly in a democracy, or are we just pawns in a much more sinister game?

Russia has threatened to make pre-emptive strikes against U.S. missile shield facilities. These aren't what you may conventionally called a shield. They are missile bases located in strategic places around the globe. They contain short-range missiles which are faster than the ICBMs which would be used against the U.S. and are meant to strike the ICBM mid flight. Detonating it harmlessly in the air. Russia are annoyed at a planned new shield site to be located in central Europe. The idea being that these missiles would be close enough to either attack Russia directly, or intercept Russian missiles targeting someone other than America. This could compromise Russia's defence capabilities, leaving them at America's mercy. I'm not sure if this would be a good or bad thing. It raises tensions, but gives the U.S. a major strategic advantage if the shit does hit the fan.

The Independent has brought to light horrifying statistics on the slaughter rate of Rhinos. There is now a legitimate fear of them going extinct within a generation. The astonishing kill rate of rhinos is primarily for their horns. Demand in Vietnam sky-rocketing due to a belief that the horn can cure cancer! I don't know what we can do about the risk of Rhino extinction. I wish I did.

The Vatican has backed a high ranked catholic priest in Ireland, who failed to protect child abuse victims. He knew the molestation was going on, he knew who was involved, and he didn't report anything to the police. What a horrible person. I don't care how your morality is formulated, if you allow children to have their innocence violated, your morality is wrong. Then the Vatican has the nerve to support this enabler. It's disgusting. How the Vatican are allowed to get away with this kind of shit really gets my blood boiling, people can believe whatever they want, just don't affect the happiness of others with your crap. Tim Minchin sings about this better than I ever could, warning, strong language:

Canada has stopped minting the penny, saying it was too expensive to make. I live in the U.K. and I wish we'd follow suit. Pennies aren't even worth picking up off the ground. Whenever I get given change and it includes coppers, and theres one of those charity change pots, that's where my coppers go. In a way though, if everyone did that, across the entire country, that'd be a fair chunk of money going to charity. Just a thought.

On heaven and suffering

Let's assume that heaven exists. Then presumably for heaven to serve a purpose, some concious essence of myself must be able to transcend to heaven after my physical demise.

Are there rules for entry to heaven? I come from a Christian background, having been baptised in the Church of England. My experience is that most people believe if you are good then you go to heaven, and if you are bad then you go to hell. But then I must ask who determines what is good behaviour and what is bad behaviour? Further, if we are being pragmatic, we all do good things and bad things in our life. Does one bad deed bar you from heaven? If not, how much bad can one do before one is then barred from heaven? How about behaviour that was at one time deemed acceptable, and is now seen as morally reprehensible. A candidate for this might be slavery. I'm sure all the people involved in the various slave trades thought they were acting within reasonable moral limits. Maybe they thought those they were trading were sub-human and thus moral consideration didn't extend to these sub-humans. My point is the moral goalposts seem to me to be moving based on our current understanding of morality. If I were to go to heaven would I see famous people from the past, many of whom I would label as racist or sexist or any other number of unwanted terms.

News this week (12w17)

Drug firm Novartis has taken legal action in the U.K. to make hospitals use $1,000 eye drug over $97 alternative. Let's hear them out though, state-run hospitals have recently started prescribing a much cheaper drug to treat an eye problem. The cheaper drug hasn't been officially approved yet, Novartis say this is potentially putting patients in danger. However, a medical study has shown no significant difference between the two drugs. When you consider Wikipedia says Novartis made $10B profits in 2010, I don't really feel sorry for them.

India will pass a law making sexual contact with a girl under 18 a criminal offence. Interestingly this says nothing about boys. I do believe, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that a female cannot rape a male. Which would make it difficult to create a gender-neutral version of this law.

Libya has passed a new law banning religious parties from government. I did wonder how the power vacuum left by Gaddafi (or however his name should be spelt in English) would play out. I like that they appear to be taking a secular route. It remains to be seen however whether this is a ploy to ensure an Islamic party can grab full power. Time will tell.

Anders Breivik, the Norwegian killer, has claimed no-one would call him insane if he were a bearded Jihadist. In a weird way though he's right. Look at the language that's been used by our media, he's not a terrorist, he's a killer. He couldn't possibly represent Christian views. You can be damn sure if a muslim did the same thing the media would be up in arms about how Islam is a religion of hate. Related, some Norwegians are protesting him by singing a song he hates. Though it should be noted that I don't think this song is targeted at Breivik, rather at his ideals and beliefs. A nice quote from reddit about the matter:

As a Norwegian I will say it here, because many of you have this idea that we are taunting breivik with our way of justice, our way of living, with this song.

This is not a song meant towards Breivik, it is meant for his ideals, his thoughts his unjust foundation of belief.

Breivik wasn't someone who had/has thoughts and beliefs that are only his. His views were shared by many, many Norwegians here still share those views. He was a normal man, just like you and me, who chose to act out in atrocious ways because of his beliefs.

This song isn't against him, we accept that he is a product of fear mongering, he is a product of ignorance, he is a product of Norway.

So no this song isn't for him, its for us. For Norway, for the world. Its to show and tell people around the world, people who think the same way, people who hate out of fear and differences.

That there is more, there is love, there is unity. That no matter what you do to us, no matter how much terror you inflict on us. We will never succumb, we will never give our brothers and sisters away out of fear. We will never give our freedom away.

This isn't a song for Breivik. This is a song for us. For Norway.

MightyMorph commenting on

The Dutch government has resigned, which will likely lead to an election sometime before summer. This is primarily due to a disagreement on budget cuts. I'm pretty sure the Dutch will lose their AAA credit rating now. I always wonder when I look at some of the European governments how they can function when they comprise of so many different parties. It makes me glad our referendum didn't pass in the U.K. and we still use first pass the post instead of proportional representation. At least that means we get an actual government that can get things done. The Hague court has upheld a plan to ban cannabis for tourists, and with the collapse of the government its unclear how this legislation will be affected. I hope it ultimately gets scrapped, but that's just because I like the idea of going over to Amsterdam and smoking some cannabis.

The Dalai Lama has said the world belongs to humanity, not leaders. The context for this statement is with him offering his support for the Arab Spring protests. I absolutely agree with the Dalai on this point. A government that suppresses their own people purely for their own gain is reprehensible. We could now get into a discussion about how a governments job is to protect the people they govern, and how at times that might mean the removal of certain civil liberties. But this is a whole discussion in itself.

ALDE, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament, have said they will reject ACTA. Finally a small victory for civil rights! There are also stories going around that the White House will formally veto any CISPA bill. Oh how this makes me happy.

And finally, Kazakhstan has thanked 'Borat' for boosting tourism. Didnlt they complain about the film when it was first released? Also, a contender for the Darwin Awards, a Swiss woman has died after attempting to live on sunlight. Lets just call that evolution in action.

News this week (12w16)

Last Saturday no-one was murdered in El Salvador, the first homicide-free day in nearly three years. Which is some of the most depressing good news I've read in a while. Three years! I don't know how bad things are economically, but for such a small country...

In Afghanistan an all-girls school had their water supply contaminated, poisoning about 150 girls. This was clearly a religiously fuelled attack. I've said it before and I'll say it again, religion sucks. Particularly when you look at Afghanistan, it use to be such a forward looking country. Speaking of Afghanistan, the Pulitzer prize was awarded to a photo taken in the country of a girl screaming after a suicide bombing.

More news that the EU may reject ACTA. Though things are looking glum on the CISPA front.

Anonymous hacks Formula 1's servers and dumps redacted info on attendees of the race. I may not agree with all Anonymous do, but fair play here. We can't let Bahrain get away with all that it has done to its people. It is a disgusting breach of basic human rights.

And finally, inhabitants of Fucking are voting on a name change due to too many place name signs being stolen by tourists.

Religion breeds intolerance

Here are just a few recent examples of detestable behaviour which is either justified by religion, or a direct result of its ideology.


A Danish cartoonist who drew a cartoon depicting Mohammed survives an axe attack. He had already spent a few months on the run with his wife due to receiving death threats from critical Muslims. Indeed the controvesy of the Danish cartoonist's depiction of Mohammed caused rioting in Nigeria, during which 16 people died. Two Muslim men were also charged over an attempt to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. He also depicted Mohammed, this time Mohammed's head on a dog. This happened in Ireland, an apparently modern forward-thinking country.

In Malaysia Churches are being fire-bombed by Muslims. Thankfully no-one has been killed. Why are Muslims so upset, because when the Christians publish material in the Malay language they use the word for 'Allah' when they translate the word God, being the word used traditionally in the area for centuries.

Iran executes 2 gay teenagers. One was 18 years old and one was a minor under the age of 18. Interestingly they claimed most young men had sex with each other and they didn't know it was punishable by death.


A dose of irony is provided by the story of Christopher Jarvis. He was hired by the Catholic Church as a child safety coordinator in 2002, he was tasked with investigating paedophile abuse within the church. Jarvis was arrested in 2011 for 'possessing, making and distributing' child pornography images. More than 4,000 photos, mainly of biys aged 10-12, were found to be in his possession. This being the man meant to be protecting them. A report found that children in Irish Catholic-run schools and orphanages were subject to endemic rape and abuse.

When Obama tried to expand hate-crime laws in order to protect those in minority groups, guess who some of the most vocal opponents were, Christian conservatives who feared it would oppress their ability to speak out against homosexuality. Oppressive speech wrapped in a veil of religion is still oppressive speech. A gay-couple were prevented from entering a Church, the Pastor and his deacons even physically assaulted the couple. What makes this even worse is the Pastor is the father of one of the members of the couple. So much for unconditional love hey. More disgustingly the local authorities initially denied the couple the right to file charges for the assault.

There is also the issue of homosexuality in America, awareness being raised after a boy commits suicide who had earlier filmed a clip for the 'It Gets Better' campaign. Evidently things didn't get better for the boy. His story isn't unique, there was a surge of suicides in America due to bullying of gays. This has sparked a debate about anti-bullying campaigns. Religious conservatives argue that anti-gay bullying campaigns in particular are swaying young peoples opinions about homosexuality and its acceptability. As if I, as an individual, can't decide how to live my own life.


In Africa there is a worrying trend of children being denounced as witches by Christian pastors. These children are then often tortured or punished as a form of \"exorcism\" by their family which can easily result in death. This trend is a result of the rapid recent growth of evangelical Christianity. In Swaziland an albino girl was shot and then behaded for witchcraft.Also in Nigeria an atheist organised a conference to discuss child rights and witchcraft. At this conference he was attacked by a group of Christians. At the beginning of the conference the religious protesters raided the venue and loudly disrupted proceedings.


In Nigeria Muslim preachers opposed Polio vaccination programs. There initial fears may have been reasonable with primary tests on the drugs used not being conclusive. They continued their campaign against the vaccine, particularly in the north, where the rhetoric just descended into conspiracy, claiming the vaccine was part of a \"Western plot\". Despite the efforts of those involved the Polio virus, after an initial success in the vaccination program, made a comeback.


In Israel Ultra-Orthodox Jews harassed an 8-year old girl because they felt she wasn't dressed appropriately. Why, because they might be too tempted otherwise and rape her? This isn't an isolated incident of detestable behaviour from certain Jewish sub-sects in Israel either. Some Ultra-Orthodox Jews are picketing a girls' school. They argue their religious modesty is being offended. A singer who performed in front of a mixed-sex crowd, i.e. both males and females, was whipped 39 times by rabbis to make him \"repent\". This punishment has been handed down by a rabbinic court who's founder has said its his stated aim to \"bring Jews back to religion\". In Brooklyn Hasidic Jews are abusing young boys. The article is an uncomfortable read about how Diangelo has tried to overcome being raped at age 7 in his local synagogue's mikvah. NYC authorities said they will shut down a bus service run by Jews if they don't stop making women sit at the back. These Jewish men really seem to lack self-control don't they?


National Geographic reports on women being killed for family \"honour\". This is said to have happened even in countries which are apparently more forward-thinking, such as Great Britain, Italy or Sweden. The article goes further to say that this part of a much deeper problem of how women are viewed and treated in various societies and is something that religion has clearly been complicit in. Just last year nearly a 1,000 were killed in Pakistan. A Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia has said women should wear a niqab that only reveals one eye. He suggests showing two eyes encourages women to wear eye make-up and therefore be attractive to the opposite sex, because again, men clearly can't control themselves!


A NYC cab driver was violently attacked simply for being a Muslim. The perpetrator slashed him several times in the throat with a pen knife. Thankfully the cab driver has survived this ordeal.

Death threats aren't solely the purview of Muslims, Christians can stoop just as low. An American Atheists' Communication Director receives death threats after an appearance on a Fox news show.

A doctor who performed abortions was shot to death in Kansas. Admittedly Dr. Tiller did perform late-term abortions.

In Pakistan a Christian family is burned to death after allegations that the Koran had been defiled. Because we don't need actual evidence or anything like that!


These are all relatively recent events and I feel that I have not unfairly picked on any one religion in particular. I admit I have only talked about Judaism, Christianity and Islam but these are the main religions that influence my western culture. This also barely scratches the surface of some of the behaviour that is seen.

How can religion be said to be a force for good when all this happens? Whilst there are good people doing good things, this is more an homage to the innate good within humans. For the most part we want to help people. Something I haven't mentioned above is the situation where parents refuse to get medical help for their children because they believe God will cure, thus causing immense suffering for their children, or even worse death.

All that religion does is label people and thus divide them into groups, giving more ammunition to intolerance. An excuse to not help someone. This agenda is pushed mainly by the extremists within a religion; but why aren't they being called out for this? Surely moderates must take some of the blame here? By pushing religion as something to be respected they give a cloak for the extremists to hide behind.

What annoys me is the 'intellectual immunity' that religion enjoys. If I attack religion based on the above then someone might defend it with the excuse that the perpetrators were acting as an individual, and I should denounce the behaviour of only that person. Religion is not an individual endeavour. It is a communal activity in which religious ideology is passed from one person to another. The faith of one member is supported by the rest of the group. This necessarily contradicts the idea of individual conciousness.

My liberal values require that I respect someone's right to be religious, to tolerate their choices. I do not however, have to respect the religion itself just because you believe in it or that it holds great value for you. I do not respect wilful ignorance. I do not respect hatred or bigotry or misogyny. I do not respect oppression or intolorence. I do not respect religion.

My name is Jonny Barnes, and is my site. I’m from Manchester, UK .

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