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Pussy Riot gets 2 year sentence for insulting non-existent beings

Back in February, the Russian female punk band, Pussy Riot, was invited to play at an event at a Russian Orthodox church in protest of Vladimir Putin.  You remember Vlad?  George W. Bush said that he could see Putin’s soul in his eyes, or some other vaguely romantic nonsense that induced {{cringe}} moments in thinking Americans?

So, how did the performance go?  The BBC says:

Along with other members of their band, the women staged a flashmob-style performance of their song close to the altar in the cathedral on 21 February.

Their brief, obscenity-laced performance, which implored the Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out”, enraged the Orthodox Church – its leader Patriarch Kirill said it amounted to blasphemy.

And what were their crime?

Critics of the band have also been demonstrating, saying the stunt was an insult to the Russian Orthodox Church.

One, Igor Kim, told the BBC News website from Moscow: “Shouting and screaming and spreading hate in Church is unacceptable and is contrary with Christian ethics.”

Just the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from whip kissers who are such cowards that they willingly embrace the authority of their oppressors and they *like* it.  But how can what Pussy Riot sang be an insult if there are no victims?  Just curious.

The world needs to start asking itself how much reverence we are supposed to give to people who believe in things that they can’t prove exist.  Do they really deserve tax breaks?  So much free air time?  The right to dictate society based on Bronze Aged mythology?  Unquestioning respect?  When was the last time a religious person on TV gave agnostics and atheists respect?  The religious fairly ooze contempt and condemnation towards the freethinkers and non-believers.

It should be the other way around.

When you really think about it, it boggles the mind.  We are letting the religious skate away tax free and at the same time, they have the unmitigated gall to tell people what they can and can’t get in their insurance policies and NO one bothers to ask them to provide proof of their convictions.  Is that insane or what?  In what other aspect of life are you allowed to make claims and get freebies and respect and publicity and the right to condemn other people and no one asks you for anything to back up your claims?  You could never get published in a scientific journal without data and observations.  You could get sued for libel if you lied about someone in print without proof.  You can’t even advertise that PF Flyers make you run faster and jump higher or that cigarettes are good for you.  All that is forbidden because we recognize that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

But religion answers to no one but its unprovable gods and we give it a pass and a lot of special privileges.  Think about it this way: if an atheist organization opened up a string of places of non-worship and did everything a church does, without the supernatural mumbo-jumbo, would it qualify for tax breaks and all of the other privileges of churches?  Or would it specifically have to acknowledge belief in a entity whose existence is unproveable?  In most states, you can get married by the justice of the peace, who can’t be just anyone, or by a minister of an approved church but as far as I know, there aren’t any states that allow a secular minister to marry anyone.  (Pennsylvania Quaker self-marrying licenses not included)  So, if you believe in a supernatural but unprovable being, you’re qualified to perform the same rites as a judge.  But if you believe in reality, you’re not.

Clearly, in the case of Pussy Riot, the blasphemer-hooliganism charge is just a cover for their real offense- criticizing Vladimir Putin.  We here in America can see the hypocrisy and hard fist of the remnant of the Soviet system, which, ironically, used to be anti-religious.  From a distance, we can see the cruel and brutal force of authoritarianism using  religion to crack down on dissidents.

Here in the US, one party hides behind the religious to pass its own authoritarian, harsh agenda on the rest of us, while the other party tiptoes around the religious in order not to offend them, and we’ve been letting them get away with imposing their ancient morality on a modern country for 30 years.  Look where it’s gotten us.  We have politicians who proudly proclaim that they don’t believe in evolution and they are applauded for that pandering to the ignorant.  We have celibate men dictating parenthood and sexuality to young women.  We have people who supposedly focus on families, condemning the children of gay parents to financial hardship if one of the parents die because they refuse to acknowledge their marriages.  And all of this is a giant distraction and smokescreen for the ruthless politicians and their wealthy backers to take everything that isn’t nailed down.

We should be having a “Hey! We’ve been eating grass!” moment but no one dares to raise their voices to the politicians who are hiding behind the religious except for some brave and defiant atheists or a handful of girls in a punk band.

Enough is enough.

What the church is really worried about: MONEY

I saw this bit on Hullabaloo about Cardinal Dolan going on the O’Reilly factor and making a big to-do about the evils of secularism:

DOLAN: You’re a better historian than I am Bill, you know that every great movement in — in American history has been driven by people of religious conviction. And if we duct tape the churches — I’m just not talking about the Catholic Church — if we duct tape the role of religion and the churches and morally convince people in the marketplace that’s going to lead to a huge deficit a huge void.

And there are many people who want to fill it up, namely a new religion called secularism, ok, which — which would be as doctrinaire and would consider itself as infallible as they caricature the other religions doing.

So to — to see — to see that morally-driven religiously-convinced people want to exercise their political responsibility, I think that is not only at the heart of biblical religion, it is at the heart of American enterprise.

Alright, here it comes.  The Reason Rally seems to have gotten their attention since it was all about secularism.  So now they have to go on the O’Reilly Factor and scare the seniors shitless.  Fear always seems to work with them.  Before you know it, they will start accusing the secularists of granny sacrifices and burying WMDs in the backyard.

I’ve had to tussle with some of you readers about this topic and I just want to say, you guys need to relax.  Religion isn’t going to disappear.  And we secularists aren’t going to make you worship Richard Dawkins.  But evolution can happen to ideas as well as living organisms.  An idea that doesn’t have the right stuff to adapt to its environment will fade away.  I suspect the fading will be gradual but you never know.  There could be a large, precipitous decline followed by a more gentle slope.  I think that’s what going to happen here.  Why a religious person should worry about this is beyond me.  No one is going to tell you to stop going to church.  It’s just that younger people are going to see religion as unnecessary to their lives and morality and maybe even an obstacle to achieving a more equitable society.  Plus, some non-believers are starting to realize that the American secularists might need their own community gathering places.  Sort of like church without God.  That’s coming.  Freethought societies are popping up all over the place, especially in the bible belt.

The internet probably has a lot to do with this.  People can read and when they start to question their faith or think about the logistics of Noah’s Ark, there’s plenty of material out there that will shake them to their core.  More non-believers are made everyday and they are just as moral as any godly person.  Let’s just acknowledge that up front.

But for the church, this is going to be a BIG DEAL.  In Europe, churches already play just a ceremonial role.  People might get their kids baptised there or have their weddings there but they are not regular church goers.  There are also an awful lot of atheists in Europe.  I suspect that’s because if you live where there is a good social safety net, there’s less need to pray for relief.  Also, they’ve been through so many horrific experiences in the 20th century and probably realized that praying was not as effective as the local resistance groups in surviving the worst of them.  So, churches in Europe are getting to be superfluous.  They’re pretty and they’re good tourist attractions but it ain’t like it used to be.

In fact, I would go so far as to draw comparisons between pre-reviolutionary France and 21st century America.  Religious institutions benefit greatly from tax breaks and faith based initiatives.  In the latter case, that’s OUR tax money going into their pockets.  If you’re going to accept help from a church based institution, you’re going to get a sermon.  And some of those sermons have to do with homosexuality, female inferiority and birth control.  Why should we be paying the government to help these churches out?  The first estate has it pretty nice compared to some of the rest of us and they are determined to keep it that way.  The church would very much like to continue to sink its teeth into us.

Trinity Church owns some prime real estate in lower Manhattan worth zillions.  The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (the Jehovah’s Witnesses) owns a good chunk of Brooklyn.  And then there are all the Catholic institutions and hospitals and such.  They have a lot to lose if the country becomes more secular.  And what will happen when Americans finally start demanding that churches stop freeloading on the taxpayer’s largess?  What are their property taxes like?  Hmmmm….

Secularists!  Ooooo, boogie men.  Scary.  Even the ones that are believers.

Religious institutions don’t have a lot of time.  The young are turning away from the beta version of God and looking for a major upgrade.  That’s either going to be a more abstract version of god without all of the scriptural and institutional baggage that goes with it or it’s going to be no god at all.  Churches are going to crank up the fear factor on the O’Reilly Factor as much as they can.  They are preaching to an ever diminishing choir.

We are approaching a crisis.  It’s not about conservatism or liberalism.  It’s about money and a shrinking share of the market. If the Vatican loses the American market, that is a big deal.  If that means the churches have to crush the oppressed citizens of Paris America to maintain their status and privileges, they’ll do it.

Kill this Meme: Job Creators

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard a lot nonsense about ‘job creators’.  It’s popping up in clips from Fox News and vomiting forth from the mouths of Republican operatives and politicians.  The meme goes like this: unless we learn to lower our voices and make sacrifices and burnt offerings of pleasing aroma to the “job creators”, they will not bestow the blessings of what Jane Austen would call “a living” on us.

What kind of focus group tested nonsense is this?  The term “job creator” smacks me of having a quasi religious undertone.  The religious frequently refer to God as their ‘creator’.  Is Heavenly Father and Lord far behind?

The religious aspect of the ‘job creator’ meme also carries with it into the business world the wrathful, jealous god characteristics.  “Don’t piss us off or we’ll smite you and make you poor.  Continue to cut our taxes and you will be rewarded with eternal prosperity.  The cardinal sin is disobedience to our will.  The choice is up to you.”

This is bullshit.  Business people are business people, not immortals.  They need people to help them make money.  Making money is what they do.  They can either pay you for your expertise to help them make money or not.  Mostly not, these days.  But that’s not always going to work in their favor.  People *will* adapt.  They’ll either learn to live with less, in which case the demi-gods will be raking in less money, or they’ll learn to compete, or they’ll band together to throw the old gods out and install some new ones.  There’s no reason for any of us to put up with sociopathic megalomaniacs who are constantly zapping us with economic lightening bolts.  F^(* that S^*#.

These people need to read some Phillip Pullman.  Whoa!  Wasn’t it Phillip Pullman who recently dubbed them the “feral elite”?  If that doesn’t describe them, I don’t know what does.  They think they have the power and the glory and have no allegiance to any country.  Fine with me.  I keep saying that the best thing we could do for the world would be to direct their private jets to the Cayman Islands, impose a blockade, bust their internet connection down to some slllllooooooowwwww DSL, jam their satellite and let them live out the rest of their days with their money.

And now we have their minions at Standard and Poors downgrading out credit.  Apparently, we are not humble enough.  We are not giving enough of ourselves, our livelihoods, our childrens’ college funds.  No, now we have to bow and scrape to the S&P and beg forgiveness for having the audacity to want to keep the decades and decades of payroll taxes we set aside for our retirements that do not add to the deficit.  If we just gave it to them, they would hallow us once more with their blessings.

No, just, no.

I know theft and fraud when I see it and I’m not going to beg for my life just so they don’t take more obscene cash than they already have.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Hillary for President in 2012.  Accept no faux-Democrat substitutes.