All entries by this author

Jesus and Mo Are Amazed by Tom Cruise *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

He really seems convinced that he has access to some kind of special knowledge.… Read the rest

Christian Couple Tortured Their Children *

Jan 25th, 2008 | Filed by

Father sliced the boys’ mouths with a scalpel, put safety pins through their lips – because God had his tongue cut off in the Bible.… Read the rest

Eh? What and human rights?

Jan 24th, 2008 12:23 pm | By

I see on Tina Beattie’s page at Roehampton that one of her teaching interests is Religion and Human Rights. That’s a strange pairing, I thought – even stranger than those pairings of ‘Religion and Ethics’ that we see everywhere (such as at the BBC). Why religion and human rights? It is so often bishops or priests or mullahs who oppose human rights rather than supporting them – it seems odd to link them. The pairing of religion and ethics gives religion the credit for ideas and views that are often entirely secular; pairing religion with human rights would seem to do the same thing.

Human Rights Watch is aware of the tension.

Is there a schism between the

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Social Attitudes Change *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Attitudes to gays and single parents are more liberal, those to poor people are less so.… Read the rest

Judge Says Forced Marriage is Undercounted *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Official statistics on forced marriage reflect only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem in Britain.… Read the rest

Blears Urges Muslim Women to Take the Lead *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

Time to give the silent majority a voice.… Read the rest

Dutch Foreign Minister Talks Woolly Drivel *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

If freedom of expression means anything at all, it means the right to offend. … Read the rest

Tina Beattie on ‘The New Atheists’ *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

‘We must go beyond the headline-grabbing confrontations between religious and atheist extremists.’… Read the rest

Nick Clarke on Opening of CFI London *

Jan 24th, 2008 | Filed by

He reports on talks by Stephen Law, Mark Vernon and Azar Majedi.… Read the rest

Demonic epistemology

Jan 23rd, 2008 6:14 pm | By

About this exorcist guy…You know how the pope likes to put up this front of being rational and scholarly and reasonable? Well…the church he’s at the top of has exorcists. The Chief Exorcist of Rome is very emphatic on the point that Satan is for real and that anyone who says otherwise is engaged in ‘true heresy.’ Satan is not a metaphor, or an abstraction, Satan is a fella. Father Gabriele Amorth wants everyone to make no mistake about that.

Those modern theologians who identify Satan with the abstract idea of evil are completely mistaken. Theirs is true heresy; that is, it is openly in contrast with the Bible, the Fathers, and the Magisterium of the Church.

So much … Read the rest

Merlin John on the Offensive Three Builders *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Judges asked: ‘Is it true that all builders are cowboys?’… Read the rest

‘Three Little Pigs’ Too Offensive *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Oh come on, this is a joke, right? No, apparently not.… Read the rest

Mullahs Called for Death Penalty for Journalist *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Afghan journalists exposed to threats from religious fundamentalists who try to prevent any debate about Islam and the status of women.… Read the rest

RSF Shock at Death Sentence for Journalist *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

The deputy provincial prosecutor threatened to imprison all journalists who support Kambakhsh.… Read the rest

Large Increase in Rapes in Kenya *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

‘At any time of unrest, of violence, or rioting, women and children are targeted.’… Read the rest

Woman Allows Boyfriend to Collar and Leash Her *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

‘Goth’ wears collar and leash and lets her ‘Goth’ boyfriend carry the leash.… Read the rest

Journalist Sentenced to Death for ‘Blasphemy’ *

Jan 23rd, 2008 | Filed by

Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, 23, downloaded internet material about the role of women in Islamic societies. … Read the rest

An atmosphere of fear and intimidation

Jan 23rd, 2008 11:26 am | By

Shukria Barakzai seemed (cautiously) optimistic in 2005.

2002 was a splendid year for Afghan women, a year begun with the formation of the interim administration…As the country becomes more pacified, we receive more and more requests for Women’s Mirror throughout Afghanistan. Three years later, our goals, commitments, and principles remain largely the same: the development of Afghan women.

The BBC talked to her last June.

For the past three months, Afghan female MP Shukria Barakzai has been receiving a letter saying she may be targeted by a suicide bomber in the next six months. The cryptic government letter contains an intelligence warning that Ms Barakzai’s life is under threat and she should be careful. She is one of

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Defining blasphemy

Jan 23rd, 2008 10:51 am | By

No blasphemy allowed. Blasphemers must be killed. What’s blasphemy? ‘Downloading material from the internet relating to the role of women in Islamic societies.’ That’s just one example of course – there are others. In fact, if truth be told, it would be simpler and quicker to say what is not blasphemy than it would be to give a complete account of what is. What’s not blasphemy? Ummmmmm…well to be honest that’s such a short list that there doesn’t seem to be anything on it. Let me put it this way – blasphemy is anything some pious group of thugs says it is at any particular moment when they want to shut people up by having them killed. It’s basically … Read the rest

Jesus and Mo Try the ‘Offensive’ Ploy *

Jan 22nd, 2008 | Filed by

But as predicted, the barmaid has a reply.… Read the rest