Cameron The King: We’re Christian, or if not Christian, just not Non-Religious. God Forbid!
May 12 posted by glencarrigan
David Cameron has recently been playing politics with religion, namely by calling Britain a Christian country and elucidating an ambition to “expand the role of faith based organisations,” and I thought it was Chris the King, not Cameron! It cannot be doubted that much of our culture, art and history derives from Christianity, but to call the country Christian is nonsense, perhaps post-Christian would be better. This has led to Cameron’s assertion being challenged by many concerned members of the public.
This country has many faith groups and those who have none; the latter are usually wholly overlooked though. The 2013 British Social Attitudes Survey records 48% of the entire nation’s population identify as non-religious. Add all of the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’i and other religious communities to this and it is extremely divisive to claim that somehow Christianity must maintain its prominence in Great Britain. Read the rest of this entry HERE
Humanist soldier denied opportunity to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday.
Sept 03 posted by glencarrigan
A few weeks ago I was asked by the Stockport Humanists if I could present a wreath at the official Remembrance civic ceremony. I was extremely happy to help and also honoured to be asked to take part in a day that has particular importance to me and all other serving and non-serving military personnel past and present. Imagine my surprise to be contacted a little later and told that I was not allowed to lay a wreath as an official part of the ceremony to pay my respects. Certain individuals and organisations including The Rt Revd Robert Atwell have the opinion that “we remain clear that this is a religious ceremony and wish it to continue as such” (Jan 14th 2013). This is also particularly galling when bolstered by the words of one local councillor who exclaims that there was “no stomach” to take on the church in a recent telephone conversation. Read the rest of this entry HERE.
We want equality, but a little more than you!
Apil 21 posted by glencarrigan
Cases of the Religious communities feeling as if they’re the victims of prejudice abound in the world. You know, the 5 billion or so believers that constitute the majority of the world’s population yet constantly act like a down trodden minority when challenged on anything. Is it any wonder when people try to cling to their antiquated opinions in an increasingly enlightened (allow for geography here) world, expecting not to be challenged that they feel persecuted when they are? Current cases just show that these beliefs held for Millenia aren’t compatible with an evolving psychology and adaptive understanding of what constitutes a Human Right. Read the rest of this entry
Bangladesh arrests atheist blogger
April 9 posted by glencarrigan
For those concerned with recent events in Bangladesh with regards to the suppression of free expression and prosecution of atheist bloggers. Below is a letter I have sent to the High Commission of Bangladesh in order to help raise awareness of these events and others across the world. These individuals need our help to protect their freedom of expression and right not to believe. If you feel moved by or feel that such a struggle represents your views I implore you to take action in any way available to you such as sending a letter to their ambassadors or joining a local protest. The International Humanist and Ethical Union can provide resources for such a letter writing campaign. It is only through our action that the values of a free democratic secular society can be protected.
Read the rest of this entry
In a galaxy far, far away, there was an offended Lego minority
April 21 posted by glencarrigan
“Austria’s Turkish community claimed a victory in its fight against Danish toy giant Lego yesterday after the firm agreed to withdraw a Star Wars toy set featuring a mosque-like building inhabited by an obese, hookah–smoking alien, following complaints that it was anti-Muslim” – The independent.
Suppose they should be taking action against the entire Star Wars franchise too? It’s ludicrous. This is what you get when countries and people endulge the nonsense and buckle to pressure from the hyper-sensitive community on anything but it’s especially dangerous when applied to Islam. Salman Rushdie, the Danish Cartoons, Sam Bacile’s movie, all resulted in this hyper offence taking over nothing more than art, total drivel in the case of Bacile’s film though. The results being an offer of money, in public to murder Rushdie, and actual murders in the cases of the cartoons and the film as well as acts of social and political intimidation. Read the rest of this entry
On the bus off the bus; Christian anti-gay banners cause offence
Mar 22 Posted by glencarrigan
Last night I attended the Law Ball at the University of Central Lancashire which was a respectable and interesting affair. One guest speaker announced that Lawyers need to have a moral compass when practicing which elicited a slight giggle from those lawyers and aspiring legal professionals in the audience due to the irony of the comment.
Today Mrs Justice Lang defended Boris Johnson’s ban on anti-gay banners ruling that Dr Mike Davidson’s anti-homosexuality adverts reading “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” for display on London buses “cause grave offence” to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic. This could “increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks”. The decision is a defeat for the Christian charity Core Issues Trust, a charity which funds “reparative therapy” for gay Christians. How an organisation like this can achieve charity status with practices like this is questionable at the very least and especially when you take into account they won’t pay taxes on money they recieve when promoting this prejudice nonsense. They believe Boris Johnson to be “politically driven” which is of course as transparent as any other attempt at argumentation ad hominem. It is hard to see how Justice Lang’s decision could be argued with, it is clearly based on the facts of the matter with regards to homosexuality and an effort to curtail the promotion of homophobic attitudes, the UK should be proud to have High Court Judges that seem to have a moral compass. The only issue with this decision is that of freedom of expression and even then not a very big one. Being anti-censorship one could say that this is an infringement upon freedom of speech but even so such people should be able to see the difference between expressing a disagreement with something someone chooses to believe and something someone is. Read the rest of this entry HERE.
Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and interventionist policy.
Mar 6 Posted by glencarrigan
The Iraq war as a liberal, humanitarian intervention could have been valid, a bold statement I know, and not one I fully support but it’s worth looking at important issues from alternative angles in order to understand them. Some would paint it as a them against us, a west against the east or the ever divisive, them against the faith. It was a strategy mandated under for example the genocide convention to which Great Britain is a signatory, this is how Iraq should have been approached. Take a look at theUniversal Declaration of Human rights, we’re all meant to uphold this but some countries don’t even subscribed to it. How does your current government or faith measure up? Utilising certain axiomatic clauses in the UN charter would have been to a great benefit for Blair’s government (and the alliance with the US) in the public arena if they were used in prominence as a measure of legitimacy for invasion. The sad and troubling fact with hindsight is, however, that it was justified under a search for weapons of mass destruction which were never found, and this was to the detriment of all future uses of such a humanitarian interventionist policy and the posture with which it could be delivered. Personally, I am largely anti-war but then you never get a positive answer when you frame something as a war. As an ex-soldier and a communications liaison to places like Pakistan I’ve seen enough conflicts to know what results from them. Although, I also wouldn’t wish to let regimes perpetrate heinous crimes with impunity, especially whilst we might condemn certain things and draw up treaties to prohibit them. So it’s worth looking at military intervention from that perspective too. Read the rest of this entry →
Imprisoned for being and atheist
Jailed for nothing more than a lack of a ficticious Religious belief. Abdul Aziz Mohamed El Baz, aka BenBaz, is an Egyptian living & working in Kuwait. Born on 1985 in Kuwait, Aziz holds a Bachelor Degree in commerce and has worked as an accountant until his arrest.
Abdel was repoted to the government by his employer because he was an atheist. The original motive for Abdel’s employer reporting him to the authorities was extremely duplicit though. They told the Kuwaiti government that he was an atheist and directed them to his blog on atheist and humanist issues because he simply wanted to leave their company and advance his career. The moral integrity of such a company is unfathomable, how this is enough to incarcerate someone is tragic and doubly so as it was used as a weapon against him in a professional capacity.
Isn’t it also odd how the Religious speak out and claim they are being the victims of prejudice or intolerance when someone doesn’t respect their beliefs or through not practicing it is seen as a heretic. Those who brook the greatest insult to their very freedom are actually apostates and atheists within these communities of totalitarian ideology. It puts it into perspective when the majority bourne over reactions and punishments for insulting a prophet, laughing at a book, and just not having the same opinion in Kuwait merit imprisonment in Kuwaiti society as they truly elucidates the double standards used in favour of faith and against disbelief. This sentence is absurd, and is bourne of an opinion that such supernatural beliefs and legislature based on them is immutable and beyond reproach. Such absolutism is the hallmark of every oppressive society in history and should not be allowed to stand unchallenged. Sign the petition to free Abdel if you agree, as I do that ficticious beliefs are not grounds to discriminate against anyone or suppress their freedom of expression as a fellow human.
Gay marriage and apriori bigotry
A land mark case for equality and testament to the values of fairness, equality and democracy. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill was passed in the House of Commons on February the 6th 2013, 400 votes to 175, a majority of 225.
This is especially poignant for those whom like myself, adjusted their views on homosexuality as a youngster when presented with evidence to the contrary of an erroneous and pernicious opinion. Your opinion, just like mine is not of interest when the facts are weighed, especially if it stems from a religious proclivity seeking to enforce inequality and deem homosexuals to be sinful.
The Intolerance of faith – Lars Hedegaara assinnation attempt
This is what the Religious conservatives of Islam (not only Islam however) fear. A 70 year old man exercising his freedom of Speech to criticise their opinons but then they also fear young girls like Malala Yousuf that just want an education. In both very different instances a gun shot is what it comes down to. The Religion of peace? Not so much when left in the hands of fanatics with whom bigotry and totalitarianism are core values.
A word in balance must be said here though, it is not helpful to essentialise all Muslims as being of the same intolerant creed. Some are moderate believers taking only the good from their faith and using it to bind community. The moderates would say that Islamists performing these disgusting acts are not representative of the Islamic faith, that they are the wrong “type” of Muslim.
Burn the Witch!
I hope everyone remembers the comedic masterpiece that is Monty Python’s Holy Grail if not then take a look at this video and I’m sure you’ll agree that it is a sublime peace of beautifully stupid comedy.
As funny as the film was the Salem witch trials were no laughing matter. The anathema placed on anyone accused of being a witch by the Church was not trivial either. I truly wish the use of the word “was” to denote the past was accurate but it isn’t. Sadly this belief in witchcraft persists. Yet another belief in the supernatural has turned into the abuse of women. Kepari Leniata of Papua New Guinea was burnt alive for withcraft. The murder of the 20-year-old woman prompted the Local Christian bishop David Piso to say that related killings were a growing problem, and to the government “to come up with a law to stop such practice” – BBC news”. Strange how one peddler in the supernatural condemns this whilst his institute is one of the foremost forces against the empowerment of women in the 3rd world. Underlying message; the uneducated, ignorant and faithful will do literally anything in the name of a dodgey unsubstantiated supernatural belief. To combat this there needs to be a drastic turn around in education in regions of the world where such nonsensical beliefs are pervasive throughout society. For those that say “let them have their beliefs, everyone is entitled to their opinion” I say stop being so passive in the face of horrendous acts and beliefs if you want to be viewed as a moral person. Such a sit on the fence and look for the quiet life attitude makes your opinion of little worth in these matters. Innovate for an intellectual, humanistic world where reasonable conclusions are drawn with regards to evidence and such acts are condemn by all as they are, evil acts perpetrated by the ignorant and superstitious.
Original essay – James Randi Foundation
To speak or not to speak – speak; Reform section 5
Thanks to all involved in preserving free speech in the UK. We can now have a frank debate on important issues without risking prosectution just for having a difference of opinion. Such differences of opinion have, by some individuals and groups been the target of legitimate legal action by being deemed a source of “insult”. This insult has often justified in the minds of the insulted: violence, prejudice, censorship and immunity from criticism of their opinions on a broad range of topics from religion and LGBT rights to equality, education, political and ideological issues. This reform translates into an ability to be critical of eachother, ideas, beliefs and practices within the sphere of constructive debate in order to make for a better democratic society in 2013 and beyond.
For further information visit; Reform Section 5 – Feel free to insult me