Notes and Comment Blog

Our short and pithy observations on the passing scene as it relates to the mission of Butterflies and Wheels. Woolly-headed or razor-sharp comments in the media, anti-rationalist rhetoric in books or magazines or overheard on the bus, it’s all grist to our mill. And sometimes we will hold forth on the basis of no inspiration at all beyond what happens to occur to us.

Greta’s father

Oct 12th, 2012 3:37 pm | By

As you may know, Greta’s father just died. She has a wonderful post about him – a daughter’s biography, I would call it, rather than an obituary.

A small excerpt.

My father used to read to us — me and my brother — from fun, brainy books for kids: The Phantom Tollbooth, Alice in Wonderland. His copy of Alice, the Annotated Alice with annotations by Martin Gardner, is the version I fell in love with, the version I still think of as the classic. I learned the poem “Jabberwocky” by heart when I was in third grade. I got the Jabberwock tattooed on my arm when Ingrid gave me a tattoo for my wedding present. And I didn’t just get my dad’s love of Alice. I got his love of ideas. Not a refined, high-falutin’ version of the “life of the mind,” but a delighted, silly, deeply joyful life of the mind: a sense of the playfulness in ideas, a sense of ideas as toys or puzzles or games, a sense of the deep pleasure and straight-up goofy fun that could be found in just tossing ideas around and seeing where they landed.

My father was a math teacher. He never taught me, not in school anyway — he was always careful to never have me in one of his classes — but I knew other kids who had him as a teacher. And the word I got was that he was one of the fun teachers. He was one of the teachers that kids were glad they got. His love of math, his love of the puzzle-and-game aspect of it… it was infectious. There are people in the world now who enjoy math, and aren’t scared of it, because they had my dad as a teacher. And my dad had a love, not just of math, but of the act of teaching itself. He understood that unique pleasure of conveying ideas to other people, the unique pleasure of sharing not only the ideas but the love and the fun of them, the unique pleasure of watching other people not only catch your ideas but run with them in their own direction. I’m not a teacher… but that pleasure is a big part of what motivates me as a writer. And it comes from my dad.

Read it all. There’s a part about being a union organizer at his school, and how risky that was. Read it all.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Not simple

Oct 12th, 2012 1:06 pm | By

Update: this probably needs a trigger warning. It is indeed very upsetting.

Speaking of girls, and bullying, and sexualization, and bullying, and name-calling, and bullying…

A girl in Coquitlam, BC, couldn’t wait for it to get better, and killed herself on Wednesday. She left a video telling the story.

“In 7th grade I would go with friends on webcam,” the card in the teen’s hand read.

The next few cards reveal that the teen began to get attention on the Internet from people that she did not know. People who told her she was beautiful, stunning, perfect.

“They wanted me to flash. So I did one year later,” the cards said.

The teen then got a message on Facebook from a stranger who said she needed to show more of herself or he would publish the topless pictures he had taken of her.

“He knew my address, school, relatives, friends, family, names …”

And it went on from there. Anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self-cutting. Bullying. More and more and more bullying. So she killed herself.

The weird thing about this (weird to me) is that I saw it via a tweet by Al Stefanelli, a tweet which was (kind of) aimed at me, in the sense that it quoted something I’d said on his (new-old) blog. I said it as a comment on his post Free Speech, Being Offended and the Role the Internet Plays in the Exchange of Ideas, which (I think) makes the whole thing much too simple.

For fuck’s sake, if something is being said about you or about a subject that you are sensitive to on the Internet in a way that is going to cause you extreme duress, stress you out, or trigger a reaction that will cause you to have a psychological breakdown, the stay the hell away from those spaces. Really, it’s that simple.

No, really, it isn’t. So I commented to that effect. (It wasn’t meant as a hostile gesture. On the contrary, it was meant as a conciliatory one – a maybe we can still keep the conversation going despite your sudden departure gesture.)

But it isn’t that simple. Suppose what is being said about you is both false and defamatory? Suppose it could do you real-world damage? Then just staying the hell away isn’t really a solution, is it.

So you’re over-simplifying, Al. Quite drastically. It’s just not the case that the only harm ever done by any kind of speech including written speech is that it “offends” someone.

Al’s tweet a couple of hours later said

THIS is what ‘real-world damage’ from digital bullying looks like: Teen leaves behind chilling YouTube video

Quoting me, see. But it’s odd, because that’s what I was saying.  Just staying the hell away isn’t always really a solution.

Anyway…the gesture didn’t work, to say the least. Al is angrier than I’d realized. I frankly don’t know why. But the point remains – no, it’s not that simple. This subject isn’t simple.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A portent?

Oct 12th, 2012 11:45 am | By

The CBC’s Doc Zone had an interesting show last night about the sexualization of children. At one point a group of high school girls were talking about the way porn affects boys, and they said it teaches them to treat girls with contempt and call them bitches, sluts, whores, cunts – you know the drill.

If they’re right, that seems a rather depressing sign for the future.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Compiling a list

Oct 12th, 2012 11:11 am | By

This is bad.

Radical Islamists are compiling a list of unmarried mothers in northern Mali, raising fears of cruel punishments such as stoning, amputations and executions, a senior United Nations official said.

In July, they forced a man and a woman into two holes and stoned them to death for committing adultery as terrified residents quietly watched in remote Aguelhok town.

The U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights, who just returned from a visit to Mali, said there are reports that Islamist groups are compiling lists of women who have had children out of wedlock, or who were unmarried and pregnant.

“The threat is there, it’s real and people live with it and they are afraid of those lists,” Ivan Simonovic said. “This could indicate that these women are at imminent risk of being subjected to cruel and inhumane punishment.”

And it’s all just a racket. It’s a big pimping operation.

Women and children face greater risk, he said.

More women in the region are ending up in forced marriages. And with wives costing less than $1,000, husbands are also reselling the women, according to Simonovic.

He said the process is “a smokescreen for enforced prostitution and rapes” occurring in the region.

“Civil and political rights are being severely restricted as a result of the imposition of a strict interpretation of sharia law, and systemic cruel and inhumane punishments are being implemented,” Simonovic said.

The Islamists don’t have to listen to Simonovic so hahaha and neener neener. They can do anything they want to. Simonovic is not the boss of them.

“We don’t have to answer to anyone over the application of sharia,” Islamist commissioner Aliou Toure said in August. “This is the form of Islam practiced for thousands of years.”

No, 1400, actually. Anyway guess what, humans are able to improve over time, so the fact that a practice has been around for a long time does not automatically mean it’s a good practice.

But Toure and his friends have the upper hand, and that’s what counts.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

How is Malala doing today?

Oct 12th, 2012 10:42 am | By

It appears that she is stable.

On Friday, an international team of neurological specialists said her condition  was stable, but they’re watching her closely…

Tests on Malala went well, doctors said Friday, and her care at a hospital  where she was initially treated was good. She remains in critical condition, but  specialists are satisfied with the situation.

“The next 36 to 48 hours are important,” Major Gen. Asim Bajwa told reporters  in Rawalpindi.

People keep telling us to pray, which is understandable but still annoying. However I do spend some time saying “don’t die don’t die don’t die don’t die” at intervals. Might as well.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

No money for us? Get out of our church then.

Oct 11th, 2012 5:50 pm | By

The German bishops have told German Catholics that if they don’t give the church money they don’t get the sacraments.

Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don’t pay the country’s church tax, they’ll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths.

Registered Catholics, Protestants and Jews pay a surcharge of up to 9 percent on their income. The Catholic Church alone received some $6.5 billion in 2011.

$6.5 billion! That’s not a bad chunk of change, especially for putting on fancy dress to pretend there’s a magic sky dude who will make everything come out right. How nice of the state to do the church’s collecting for it.

In issuing the stringent new decree, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the president of the German bishops’ conference, said that not paying taxes for the church is a grave offense, and that sacraments will be banned for those who distance themselves from the church.

“In Germany, the church is a community of faith which coexists alongside the legal system,” Zollitsch said. “The two cannot be separated.”

And if you try, no sacraments for you! Don’t like it, take it up with god.

The bishops issued their decree as church defections are growing. In 2010, when the clerical sex abuse scandal exploded in Germany, nearly 200,000 Catholics left the church. In a normal year, it’s 100,000.

Church statistics show that only 13 percent of Germany’s Catholics attend Mass weekly. And, Weisner says, the majority of those who are observant criticize the church leadership.

So the German bishops have come up with the perfect way to fix that! Threaten and bully!

What could possibly go wrong?



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

In Pakistan

Oct 11th, 2012 5:40 pm | By

A picture Dil Nawaz shared on Facebook.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A guest post by Reap Paden

Oct 11th, 2012 5:28 pm | By

Because it’s far too good to blush unseen in the comments.

Reap Paden says

Allow me to add “FUCK YEA!” and “Fuck you” just try and do something about me and my freedom to say any damn thing I want. You loons sit here at your circle jerk and think you effect the real world? People like me who take on people face to face will be making change while you sputter amongst yourselves. Look at how much you’ve changed my behavior so far…pfft. Ophelia Benson are you needy for attention or just like to blab blab blab? No matter do not fret you will have your wish I’m happy to speak out about you to as part of the disease called A+. Poor A+ a group of idiots too dumb to know how limited their reach. You do make for great fodder I give you that much. Nothing anything any of you can or will say will harm or hurt me I am the wall you were bound to hit sooner or later. Funny thing is I am not alone we just don’t talk to hear ourselves speak, people actually listen. Now back to the banter……

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Doin it rong

Oct 11th, 2012 5:07 pm | By

A guy from Greater Manchester, Barry Thew, wore a horrible T shirt right after two police constables, Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, were killed. The T shirt said “one less pig perfect justice.” Nasty.

He was sentenced to four months in jail today. He “admitted a public order offence.”

A police spokesman said Thew, of Worsley Street, Radcliffe, had been arrested after being seen wearing the T-shirt in Radcliffe town centre “just hours” after the constables died in a gun and grenade attack in Mottram on 18 September.

Mr Williams said: “While officers on the ground were just learning of and trying to come to terms with the devastating news that two colleagues had been killed, Thew thought nothing of going out in public with a shirt daubed with appalling handwritten comments on.”

That’s very very unkind and unfeeling and rude. Barry Thew shouldn’t be like that. But – being unkind isn’t a crime. All his friends should give him a good talking-to, but he shouldn’t be convicted of a crime or sent to jail.

It’s a T shirt. With a handwritten slogan on it.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Just kidding!

Oct 11th, 2012 4:35 pm | By

Well that’s funny. All that martyrdom stuff about stepping down was apparently just performance art. I hear that Justin Vacula hasn’t stepped down as chapter co-chair of the Pennsylvania SCA after all. Certainly he’s still listed as such.

Update October 13: now he’s not listed.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

From what clay?

Oct 11th, 2012 4:23 pm | By

Kamila Shamsie had a great piece on Malala in the Guardian yesterday.

Today, as Malala Yousafzai remains critical but stable in hospital following an assassination attempt by the Taliban, I watched the laughing, wise, determined 11-year-old in that video and thought of the Urdu phrase, “kis mitti kay banee ho” – “from what clay were you fashioned?”

It’s an expression that changes meaning according to context. Sometimes, as when applied to Malala Yousafzai, it’s a compliment, alluding to a person’s exceptional qualities. At other times it indicates some element of humanity that’s missing. From what clay were you fashioned, I’d like to say to the TTP (the Pakistan Taliban), in a tone quite different to that in which I’d direct it to the 14-year-old girl they shot “because of her pioneering role in preaching secularism and so-called enlightened moderation” and who, according to their spokesman, they intend to target again.

That’s a good phrase; I like it. And it does sum up what I’ve been thinking and feeling (along with countless others, I should think). What a polarity: the exceptional qualities of a Malala and the horrible qualities of the men who want her dead.

Because the state of Pakistan allowed the Taliban to exist, and to grow in strength, Malala Yousafzai couldn’t simply be a schoolgirl who displayed courage in facing down school bullies but one who, instead, appeared on talk shows in Pakistan less than a year ago to discuss the possibility of her own death at the hands of the Taliban.

“Sometimes I imagine I’m going along and the Taliban stop me. I take my sandal and hit them on the face and say what you’re doing is wrong. Education is our right, don’t take it from us. There is this quality in me – I’m ready for all situations. So even if (God let this not happen) they kill me, I’ll first say to them, what you’re doing is wrong.”

Well she did say it, but she didn’t have time to say it to the ones who stopped the school van and shot her and two other girls, so the rest of us have to say it for her. What the Taliban are doing is wrong.

For political differences, seek political solutions. But what do you do in the face of an enemy with a pathological hatred of woman? What is it that you’re saying if you say (and I do, in this case) there can be no starting point for negotiations? I believe in due process of law; I know violence begets violence. But as I keep clicking my Twitter feed for updates on Malala Yousafzai’s condition, and find instead one statement after another from the government, political parties, and the army (writing in capital letters) condemning the attack, I find myself thinking, do any of you know the way forward? Today, I’m unable to see it. But Malala, I’m sure, would tell me I’m wrong. Let her wake up, and do that.

I’ve been doing that too. Her condition is still critical. She’s been moved to Rawalpindi for more treatment.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Oct 11th, 2012 12:35 pm | By

Never a dull moment, eh? Al Stefanelli has left FTB, and on his way out he did a podcast with his friend Reap Paden.

I listened to as much as I could stand, which wasn’t much. I transcribed a few high points.

Reap Paden: I guess I pissed some people off with my last. I guess the main thing – I called Stephanie Zvan a bitch. She was being a bitch.

They both agree it’s a good word. “I use it all the time,” says Al. ”So does my wife. I can understand that it’s controversial, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion.”

They say swearing is great, they like swearing. Hooray for swearing. “If it’s a word that offends you don’t use it,” one of them adds. They compare “bitch” to “fuck” and Al talks about offending people by saying fuck, and being obliging enough not to use it if he knows someone dislikes it, then they say it’s a great word and they like it.

(Commentary: yes, I like it too, and I use it quite a lot in blogging [and certainly in conversation]. I notice it doesn’t work all that well on a podcast (or radio) though, at least not the way Al and RP say it. I could explain why, but I don’t feel like it right now.

But anyway the whole discussion misses the point. “Swearing” isn’t the issue. The issue is epithets. It’s a different thing. “Bitch” doesn’t go in the box with “fucking,” it goes with “nigger” and “faggot” and “kike.” And of course “cunt.”)

RP explains why it’s fine to call Stephanie a fucking bitch repeatedly. He said “She’s a bitch and here’s why”; he didn’t just say “she’s a bitch”; he explained why she’s a bitch, so that’s totally ok.

But those stupid people got all in a lather. “Everybody’s running around with their arms over their heads screaming.” All angry and upset.

Because Stephanie’s such a fucking queen of the shit? Give me a break. Get over yourself.

Al says people aren’t familiar with your podcast. If they were, they would know what to expect. It’s like someone who tunes into Howard Stern. Nothing is sacred, there are no sacred cows, and people would get they if they listened to more of RP’s podcast. That’s how shock radio works.

That’s you, that’s how you are.

I listened to a couple of minutes more but then I couldn’t stomach any more of the shock radio schtick. I never have liked shock radio.

Meanwhile, we have new people joining FTB very soon. You will be thrilled! I promise.

Update: I forgot to add Al’s farewell post (although he apparently didn’t think of it as such when he wrote it).

Update 2: Al’s actual farewell post, which he wrote after I wrote this one. Note first two sentences:

Yes, I’ve decided to leave Freethought Blogs. Now, before you go assuming there were pitchforks and torches involved, this was my decision.

His decision.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

What’s the matter with you? Are you a lesbian or something?

Oct 11th, 2012 8:50 am | By

I woke up the other morning, as one does, and found myself reading, at a free speech outlet not a million miles from here, a joke.  At least I think it was a joke.

Hell!  I hope it was a joke.  The notion was that women being systematically shoved from ‘always wear a head covering when you go out’ (which could almost have applied to my late mother) to ‘abaya at all times and a male escort if you ever go out’ should take advantage of their anonymity to create mischief.  Mischief?

Where dress codes are enforced they are, in the final analysis, enforced on pain of death though the death rate may stay low.  And as you read that, dear Westerner, think not of faraway places with deserts.  Think trans people.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, a cover story is unravelling in a very untidy manner.  One TV company did a story on, I think, 4 women who had been sexually assaulted, when teenagers, by a not-long-dead pop super-star.  First response, in chorus, was I don’t believe this because he was a good bloke.  End of story, as they thought.

As more women came forward that changed to but why didn’t they tell anyone at the time?  Within minutes the news came back  -  they had reported, not all of them but enough to establish a pattern, had anyone been interested.  Cases had been dropped, journalists had backed off, one distressed teen had been punished for telling lies about that great and good man.  And so forth.

There is, at last, to be a full police inquiry and two very successful women have come out and said that their success was bought  -  bought at the price of having uninvited hands shoved inside their clothing when they were live on mic and broadcasting to the nation, a culture enforced by managers to whom they complained asking, “What’s the matter with you?  Are you a lesbian or something?”

Should we be shocked?  Yes, but only if we can be as shocked about denial of the right to a personality, to full citizenship, as we are about sexual impropriety tipping into the criminal.  Anything less than this is prurience.

We are still together, right?  Now, what about freedom of the mind?  What about the right  -  which the teenage girls above were denied  -  to say, ‘This is what happened to me and this is the effect it had.’  And be believed!

Doing anything necessary to shut up a crying teenager may seem at 40 years distance to be a failure of empathy.  Yes, but we can’t leave it at that, can we?  At the time it was an abuse of power and  -  didn’t they tell you?  -  the effect of abuses of power is cumulative.  It acts against the social good as it damages individuals.

So the people who have done real damage to whatever it was  -  we can discuss that  -  in the 16 months since a woman of our acquaintance put up four words of advice to the lovelorn on YouTube are not the repetitive trolls.  Nor are they the idiots who have argued, inter alia, that women’s brains are entirely different in every way from men’s brains or that terms I learned in the social sciences 50 years ago are neologisms and should not be used, that the definition of a word given in a dictionary  -  even if that’s Dr Johnson’s original  -  is the only sense in which a word may ever be used, especially by a woman.  No, such people are merely incredibly boring.

The destroyers have been that small handful of men who, either all the time or just when drunk, believe that they are Genghis Khan and destined to be the ancestor of just about everyone a thousand years from now.  They have supporters, of course, and at two levels.  First line of defence  -  the powerful people of all genders who address bad behaviour with a sort of gamesmanship.  You know, I can get away with ignoring this, we can circulate our own version to key opinion formers, by next year no-one will remember exactly what happened and so forth.  And then there is the Greek chorus, very numerous, always masked of course, who make a lot of noise but seem always to be acting from fear and have no real part in the drama.

And now, because I am not a philosopher, I can sum this up in a sentence.  You do not get to barrack, harass, humiliate, exclude, disbelieve and disregard another group of your fellow humans and then call them the splitters.

Lessons of history and all that.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Live discussion about Malala on Huffington Post

Oct 10th, 2012 5:42 pm | By

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Is harassment just so over?

Oct 10th, 2012 5:26 pm | By

Hey remember sexual harassment? Those were fun times, weren’t they?

The implication is that a combination of awareness, women’s growing economic power and legislation that began with the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act and has been updated repeatedly, has stamped out the problem.

Laura Bates, who set up the website Everyday Sexism earlier this year, isn’t so sure. Like those 1970s speak-outs, her site allows women to share their experiences, and over the course of six months 7,500 entries have poured in, “thousands of which pertain specifically to workplace harassment, workplace sexism and sadly, in many cases, workplace sexual assault and even rape”. “What I don’t know is whether the prevalence has diminished or not [since the 70s],” she says. “But I do know that an Equal Opportunities Commission report in 2000 said that 50% of women still experience sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Problem not so stamped out then.

So why is there this idea that workplaces are so much better now? Part of it, perhaps, is that sexual harassment affects women at different times in their lives. Endean says it is a particular problem, for instance, for young female apprentices in male-dominated workplaces and, anecdotally, many of us are affected by the issue when we start work in our late teens and early 20s. It’s an issue of power. As individual women get older and more personally powerful, sexual harassment often has less effect on them, and so they believe it has been left behind in another era.

Paula Kirby please note. Not all women are treated the way Paula Kirby is treated, therefore what Paula Kirby knows from her own experience is of limited utility for understanding what women in general experience.

Not only is classic workplace sexual harassment still going on, says Bates, but technology has created new forms; in the space of six months, she has seen several thousand abusive emails, including rape threats and death threats. As those 1975 feminists knew, what’s important is to stop the silence around the issue. “I think there’s an idea that women have to put up and shut up,” says Bates. “They’re told they’re whining, being uptight, frigid, sometimes even blamed for causing it in the first place.”

Oh surely not! Surely that never happens.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Heeeeere’s Rebecca

Oct 10th, 2012 4:25 pm | By

Here’s Rebecca at the Humanists of Florida conference last weekend, with EllenBeth introducing her. Two of my favorite women!

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Cover art

Oct 10th, 2012 3:23 pm | By

The Women in Secularism issue of Free Inquiry will be out in late November. Here is what it will look like on the front.

Embedded image permalink

Via Melody Hensley

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Everyday misogyny

Oct 10th, 2012 11:44 am | By

It’s good to see Julia Gillard setting the leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, straight about sexism and misogyny. It’s good to see her listing the sexist and misogynist things he’s said and done – such as standing in front of the houses of Parliament next to a sign saying “ditch the witch” and one describing her as “a man’s bitch.”

“The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and are misogynists are not appropriate for high office,” she continued. “Well, I hope the leader of the opposition is writing out his resignation because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he needs a mirror.”

“I was offended too by the sexism, by the misogyny, of the leader of the opposition catcalling across this table … [such as] ‘If the prime minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself’ – something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair.

“I was offended by those things. Misogyny. Sexism. Every day from the leader of the opposition,” she said.

The anger in parliament follows a fortnight of debate about the tone of politics in Australia after the country’s best known radio talkshow host said Gillard’s recently deceased father had “died of shame” because his daughter stood in parliament and told lies.

Alan Jones’s comments during a Sydney University Liberal Club dinner triggered outrage. A number of companies which sponsored or advertised on his show withdrew their support. On Monday, the station suspended all advertising on his show.

In calling for Slipper to be sacked, Abbott echoed Jones’s remarks, saying Gillard should be ashamed of herself. “Every day the prime minister stands in this parliament to defend this speaker will be another day of shame for … a government that should already have died of shame,” said the opposition leader.

A furious Gillard hit back again, saying: “The government is not dying of shame. My father did not  die of shame. What the leader of the opposition should be ashamed of is his performance in this parliament and the sexism he brings with it.”

It’s good to see her hitting back, but it’s pathetic that she has to. It’s pathetic.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Then why?

Oct 10th, 2012 11:24 am | By

Like army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani for instance, who visited Malala in the hospital and took the occasion to talk comfortable pious bullshit. He

said Malala has “become a symbol for the values that the army, with the nation behind it, is fighting to preserve for our future generations.

“These are the intrinsic values of an Islamic society, based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man.”

Oh really. Is that a fact. Then why is Pakistan such a shit-hole? Why are all “Islamic societies” such shit-holes? If an Islamic society is based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality of man [sic] then why do so many people think it’s based on the principles of coercion, brutality and inequality of women and men? Why is there no Islamic society on earth that looks to outsiders like one that’s based on the principles of liberty, justice and equality?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Oh thank you so much Allah, you’re so kind

Oct 10th, 2012 11:13 am | By

Okay maybe I’m being a big mean atheist poopy head, but honestly, I do wish people would stop thanking Allah for saving Malala’s life. Say what? If Allah saved her life, why the fuck didn’t Allah prevent her (and her schoolmates) from being shot in the first place? Why didn’t Allah cause the shooters to have four flat tires on a very isolated mountain road? Why didn’t Allah give them all a bad intestinal upset that day?

Same old same old. Theodicy. If God this, then why that. Well think about it, people. Use your heads. Don’t just mindlessly thank Allah for stepping in hours after a girl of 14 was shot in the head by a man who thinks he’s acting on Allah’s behalf.

If Allah saved Malala’s life, why didn’t Allah simply set the Taliban straight years ago? Why didn’t Allah sit them all down and say look here, you shits, I don’t want you bullying women and whipping them for not wearing a burqa and keeping them from getting an education. What a stupid vicious idea; stop it this minute. ?

If Allah gets credit for the apparent failure to kill Malala, Allah gets blame for the attempt to kill Malala. It’s both or neither. You don’t get to choose only the nice bits.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)