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.

The princess and the MCB

Jun 17th, 2012 10:24 am | By

A religion allows men to have multiple wives. What could possibly go wrong?

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

A “devastated” Dr Shahian now wants to help other women who are victims of polygamous marriages – a practice a leading family lawyer says is “rife” within the British Muslim community.

Jeez, what a princess. What’s her problem? Just because he gets two and she gets half? He’s a man. Men need more. More what? More everything. More sex, more rights, more freedom, more power, more ability to tell women to cover up and shut up. The prophet said so.

Dr Shahian, who did not want her picture published, realises she was lucky, as a career woman, to have been able to afford the detective fees and also to have support from her family to go through with the prosecution.

However she said some members of her local South Asian Muslim community were less understanding.

“When I go down to my parents I get all the neighbours looking at me. As a Muslim woman I’m supposed to keep a low profile. I feel like I’ve committed a crime here although I’m the victim. You’re supposed to keep your mouth shut and you’re supposed to just carry on. It is impregnated into our culture.”

Princess. Feminazi. Westernized spoiled demanding princessy biatch.

But combating a cultural pressure on some Muslim women is difficult, says Dr Siddiqui. Polygamy “is so widely spread they don’t blame men having a second wife or a third or fourth wife,” he said. “They accept this is their lot.”

Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain and who is an imam, said in the Koran it stated men were allowed to take more than one wife, but only under strict rules that included obtaining consent from the first wife and treating all wives equally and fairly.

He did not think there were many polygamous marriages in the UK but “condemned” the actions of men who flout the polygamy rules. He also described as “sad” the “cultural pressures” that prevent women standing up for justice. “Whatever cultural norms there may be, what Islam does not allow is the mistreatment of women, full stop.”

Why does the BBC think it has to consult the MCB? Why does it act as a conduit for their bullshit?


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

This thing is different from the other

Jun 16th, 2012 5:08 pm | By

What is “dogmatic feminism”? It turns out it’s not dogmatic at all, it’s stating things in strong terms. Well it’s too bad that Becky called it dogmatism then, because that’s a different thing, and much more blameworthy than stating things in strong terms.

A comment on Bad analogies are bad pointed out another strange claim of Becky’s, and I belatedly got curious enough to take a look.

Becky’s claim:

In Stephanie’s post addressing our episode, you in three words reveal your tacit agreement with one of the most egregious characterizations of atheist men I’ve seen condensed into one paragraph (the 5th, if you’re following the links), bolstering an us-versus-them mentality.

The “one of the most egregious characterizations of atheist men” she’s seen in one para is in comment 91 on Stephanie’s post, by Jacqueline S Homan of godless feminist. Para 5 says:

Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how many “rational” men who are “reasonable” resort to evo psych — the last refuge of scoundrels, a load of bullshit cooked up by professional bullshit chefs — in order to justify oppressing women and keeping the atheist community a privileged white ol’ boys’ club, where the only women that are welcome are women who don’t challenge men’s use of their unearned male privilege as a cudgel to beat women down and silence us.

But I “in three words” reveal no tacit agreement with that at all – my three words have nothing to do with that paragraph. I quoted a different paragraph – the second, not the fifth, and added my three words. That’s comment 97.

When the whole Elevatorgate thing erupted, what really bothered me the most was not the initial incident (although that was uncool), but the vicious misogyny and the threats of sexualized violence aimed at Rebecca Watson in response to her very reasonable request that guys not corner women in elevators. This same kind of vitriol was also hurled at Greta Christina.

And at me.

See? Nothing to do with para 5. Becky says my quoting a different paragraph and saying that the same kind of vitriol was hurled at me reveals my tacit agreement with a different paragraph. What an idiotic claim. There’s nothing else I can say about it, and I’m bored with this anyway. But really – it’s idiotic. Quoting one passage is not tacit agreement with a different passage. Pretending it is is just a silly gotcha move. That’s how flimsy her “case” is, yet they squandered two hours of talk and a blog post on it, all for the sake of gaining a bunch of ERVites hurling more vitriol at me.



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

Jen dances all night

Jun 16th, 2012 2:02 pm | By

I forgot to say!

Jen is doing her annual SSA blogathon  – not the wimpy 6 hours I did but the big kahuna: twenty.four.hours.

You know why the SSA is a great thing and needs your support.

Donate to the Secular Student Alliance here.

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

Naming the problem

Jun 16th, 2012 10:00 am | By

I keep meaning (and wanting) to get back to more usual subjects – violence against women, persecution of “blasphemers,” bishops telling everyone what to do – but more shrapnel keeps coming in, so I keep reporting on it.

I could do the other thing. I could ignore it. I could skirt around it, leaving names out.

But I don’t think that’s the way to deal with bullying. There’s been a lot of discussion of this lately, with regard to the bullying of gays, atheists, women – lots of Others – and there’s a pretty strong consensus that advice to “ignore it” just lets it go on. It’s not Buddhist or Tolstoyan or pacifist, it’s lazy and callous and status quo-protecting.

So fuck that. I’m being subjected to systematic bullying, as are other women who are talking about this, and no I’m not going to smile politely and ignore it.

So I’m sorry about the interruption and the monotony, but there it is. There’s a grotesque awkward situation here and it’s not my job to try to smoothe away the awkwardness by pretending it isn’t happening.

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

Squicked again

Jun 15th, 2012 3:28 pm | By

Oh good – this just in – another “bitchez need to stfu about all this sexual harassment shit” announcement, from a Dr Marty Klein.

He cleaned up the facts about the harassment to improve his case though. That’s naughty, Dr Marty Klein.

I recently attended the national conference of a large progressive organization. It was well-organized, stimulating, and fun. The people were mostly energetic, interesting, and friendly; it was a good mix of ages, sexual orientations, and divided almost 50/50 male-female.

I was eventually asked, as a sex therapist, what I thought about Sexual Harassment. Apparently a couple at last year’s conference had gotten friendly with a particular woman in her mid-30s. Eventually “Mary & John” handed the woman their card—suggesting quite clearly that they were “open” to “adult activities.”

The woman didn’t want to share this kind of fun, which is perfectly fine. But she was somehow “offended,” which is not.

See where he got the facts wrong? The couple did not “get friendly” with Elyse during the conference, at least not according to her account.

Then, at the very end, when everyone was preparing to leave, and I was packing up the Hug Me table, answering questions, and generally socializing with other speakers and attendees, thinking about how fat my check is going to be from Big Pharma when one man and his wife, whom I’ve become vaguely acquainted with on Facebook in the last week, approached my table. He said, “Here’s a little something to remember us by” and handed me an upside-down card. I turned it halfway over, glanced at it peripherally, then thanked them.

A minute or so later, I had a “wait… what?” moment, then flipped the card over and looked at it not peripherally to discover I had not been handed a business card, but a card with a naked photo of the two of them, with their information on how to contact them should I want to fuck.

See? That’s different, isn’t it. They didn’t get friendly with her and then “eventually” hand her their card. They came up to her at the very end of the conference, handed her the card face down, and split.

Is it fine for her to be “somehow ‘offended’” at that? What a fucking stupid question. How fucking stupid and unpleasant of this Dr Marty Klein to change Elyse’s account of the incident and then announce that it’s not fine for her to be “offended” in scare quotes – it’s not fine for her to be offended by two total strangers – apart from vague acquaintance on Facebook - sneaking her a card of them naked inviting her to contact them if she wanted to fuck, and then running off.

The name of his blog is Sexual Intelligence. That’s sexual intelligence?

The woman didn’t want to share this kind of fun, which is perfectly fine. But she was somehow “offended,” which is not. In fact, the woman felt that this invitation constituted Sexual Harassment, and she complained. Even worse, this previously loyal movement member then blogged and blogged and blogged about it, urging her female readers to stay away from the organization. Now the word is out to younger progressive women—don’t go to this group’s conferences.

Unless you want strangers slipping you an invitation to fuck and then running away. If you do, by all means go to this group’s conferences! But no, that’s not good enough for Dr Marty Klein – it has to be forbidden for people to blog about such jolly incidents, because to blog about it is disloyal. (And as for blogging and blogging and blogging – there are no words to describe such treason.)

So what did that young woman experience? Not Sexual Harassment, but Unwanted Sexual Attention. And when the woman made it clear it was unwanted, the attention went away. That should have been the end of the story. But if the recipient of a friendly, non-pressuring, non-institutional sexual invitation isn’t grown up enough, she (or he) will feel assaulted. And with today’s heightened consciousness—and internet access—she will have the option of describing herself as victimized to a large number of people.

No, the attention went away before she registered what it was. One could see that as considerate tact, or one could see it as creepy. I think it’s creepy. But in any case – some people (at least, some women) really don’t want to be the recipient even of a friendly, non-pressuring, non-institutional sexual invitation from complete strangers in a work situation. Not as a card with naked people having sex on it, not as a 4 a.m. invitation for coffee in a hotel room. Some crazy women just really want to be able to go places without being asked for sex. Dr Marty Klein apparently thinks that’s nuts. What a creep.

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

I did not compare TAM to Nazi Germany

Jun 15th, 2012 12:49 pm | By

I sent Travis Roy a message on Facebook. (He’s not a friend, but you can send messages to people who aren’t friends. That’s convenient sometimes.) He’s the guy who announced on that “Great Penis Debate” that I compared TAM to Nazi Germany, which is not true. I asked him where he got that piece of misinformation.

The only place I’ve seen it via Google is on a stupid wiki set up by ERV people (and places they’ve dropped it lately, such as Ask an Atheist). I’m curious about how much success they’re having in spreading malicious falsehoods.

Maybe for my TAM talk I’ll just say “I did not compare TAM to Nazi Germany” as many times as I can in the time allotted.

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

Tomorrow, raise a glass to the Exes

Jun 15th, 2012 11:56 am | By

And when I say “tomorrow” of course I mean “a week from tomorrow.” Because I was rushing, and got it wrong.

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain are having a 5th anniversary celebration and fundraiser tomorrow Saturday June 23 in London. If you’re in or near London, go along and give them bales of money tied loosely with twine.

Book your tickets today and join 5th anniversary celebrations

Join us to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain on Saturday 23 June 2012 from 13.00-16.00hours in London. Book your tickets today. Speakers and acts include: Renowned Philosopher AC Grayling Writer and Documentary-maker Gita Sahgal Comedian Kate Smurthwaite Theoretical Physicist Lawrence Krauss and Best-selling Author of A Universe From Nothing DV8 Physical Theatre Director Lloyd Newson with a clip from Can we Talk about This? CEMB Founder and Campaigner Maryam Namazie Magician Neil Edwards Singer and Songwriter Shelley Segal

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

More people speak up

Jun 15th, 2012 11:22 am | By

Update June 18 8:29 a.m.: I modified two items in Act II to reflect later discussion and amplification, including one of the two complainants. They didn’t see him taking photos up skirts, they saw him walking around with a camera on a monopole held at his ankle pointing up. The guy in question – Buzz0 – has also been commenting on the Facebook post.

One of the things I didn’t get to in the hail of shrapnel yesterday – a Facebook post describing two incidents of sexual harassment at TAM.

Act I:  TAM 2009

I notice an outrageously drunk conferee hitting on a non-conferee in the Del Mar Lounge.  She was at the stage of being quite anxious but trying very hard to remain polite.  I asked him if maybe the woman had had enough.  He was far too drunk to notice his inappropriate behaviour and became surly.  I watched from a distance.  He decided to kick it up a notch, leaned across the table, and licked the woman’s neck.  Myself and another gent physically restrained him and frog-marched him to his room.  Hotel security wanted to eject him immediately.  God knows why, but I intervened so he could stay.  He was a royal pain in the ass for hours while we babysat him in his room, and he remains bitter about the experience to this day.  I would not plead with hotel security if that were to happen again.

Act II:  TAM 2011

Two women people approach me and another conferee.  They are pale and trembling.  A man with a camera on the end of a telescoping monopod has been attempting to surreptitiously take photos up their skirts in a position to take surreptitious photos up women’s skirts. Yes, he was attending TAM.  They had taken concerns to conference organizers and got little satisfaction.  Hotel security confiscated the camera.  I later learned the individual was well-known and had been complained about in previous years, and yet there he was again.

Act III:  Female safety?

I go to conferences.  Lots of conferences.  I am nauseated with conferences.  None, NONE, involve the kind of outrageous shitshow behaviour I routinely witness at TAM.  I could supply many more anecdotes.  Oh, anecdotes aren’t data?  Well, these anecdotes are human beings – our sisters.

Frankly, I admire Rebecca Watson’s restraint and tenacity, and her longsuffering support of an organization which, while it does perhaps do net good in the world, has yet to take a long, serious, hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that, if we’re ever going to get past this sophomoric bullshit and present a credible face of rationality in an irrational world, the irrational world we need to start with is us.

There are many comments, informative comments. There are comments from Fred Bremmer, whom I actually know - he was at the talk I did at CFI Vancouver last year, and the pub afterwards. He was in the car that conveyed me and others to the pub. He took some of the pictures I have on FB from that occasion. He’s a great guy. His comments are informative.

Fred Bremmer I provided a picture of the monopod guy to the two traumatized women last year so they could identify him to hotel security. They told me they also reported the incident with him to DJ and to the company that ran the conference for the JREF. They told me the professional conference staff people were the most helpful and understanding about it, but they were frustrated by DJ’s response, or lack of one. As far as I know, the monopod guy was asked to stay away from the women who complained about him, but he was still sitting close to them in the bar later that weekend. When I asked him to move away, he moved his chair, but only AN INCH away. I had to call him out on THAT, and he moved farther away, but stayed in the same general area. These women’s report seems to be missing, or at least significantly downplayed, in the story we’re hearing from DJ about sexual harassment at TAM.

A woman reports some things.

Personal Anecdotes TAM 8

#1 A certain rather well-known male TAM attendee is taking pictures with random TAM goers and I approach him for a picture. “Whoa, I’m married!” he blurts out as if I was asking for something more than a picture. My demeanor had not been different from that of others who had asked him for a picture.

#2 At the bar after the day’s conventions, a TAM goer is flirting with me and is very persistent about coming back to my room with me. I am scared and I have to sit there until a friend comes back to get me because I am not going down the hallway if he decides to follow me. It was more than regular or humble flirting, it wasn’t normal.

#3 I am at the IIG luncheon and a gentleman arrives late so me and my bunch who also arrived late and got a separate table from the main table wave him in to welcome him to sit with us. I act perfectly normal, I am not wearing cleavage, I do not touch him, I am not flirtatious. After the convention this man describes me as having been “sexually manipulative” during that luncheon. I definitely was not and it hurts my feelings.

#4 After TAM ours Mark Edward writes a sexist blog about my TAM event. Mark Edward overall is very sexist not just in his demeanor toward me but to other women also, I have observed. Mark did not attend that particular TAM but does attend other ones and is part of the sexist bunch.

That’s four hideous experiences within a short few days. An alarmingly high frequency, though I wouldn’t go as far as holding D.J. Grothe responsible.

Interesting, I think.

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

Only you can help prevent bishops

Jun 15th, 2012 10:50 am | By

CFI is also taking on the bishops, by defending birth control and telling Obama to do likewise.

And we can help.

HHS is allowing public comments on the new guidelines until Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Here’s how you can get involved:

1.   Visit

2.   In the search field, type the following: CMS–9968–ANPRM.

3.   Scroll to the top result and click on “Submit a Comment.”

This drawn out debate over something as basic as birth control is a perfect example of the harmful influence of religious institutions on public policy. Send a message to policy makers at HHS right now and tell them it’s time to finalize the contraceptive rule and move on.

Remember, the deadline is Tuesday, June 19, 2012!

Dooo eeeeet!

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

CFI expresses outrage over the sentencing of Alexander Aan

Jun 15th, 2012 9:42 am | By

The Center for Inquiry is organizing a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in DC next week. The protest is at the prison sentence handed down to Alexander Aan for expressing an opinion about religion.

Alexander Aan did nothing more than exercise the most basic of human rights — the liberty to express his beliefs — yet he is now in great danger. Not only has he lost his freedom, but many people in Indonesia are calling for his death. It is unconscionable that any person could be jailed or face death threats for simply stating his or her position regarding religion. Freedom of belief and expression are universal rights that should be afforded to all individuals.

In response to today’s ruling, CFI is organizing a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in Washington, D.C. The protest will take place next week, most likely on Monday afternoon, June 18. If you can attend, please email Michael De Dora at

Thank you CFI.

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

Alexander Aan

Jun 14th, 2012 5:17 pm | By

In actually important news – Alexander Aan has been sentenced to 2.5 years in prison.

An Indonesian man arrested after writing “God doesn’t exist” on his Facebook page was jailed for 30 months Thursday for sharing explicit material about the Prophet Mohammed online.

Alexander Aan, 30, was found guilty of “deliberately spreading information inciting religious hatred and animosity”, presiding judge Eka Prasetya Budi Dharma told the Muaro Sijunjung district court in western Sumatra.

Utterly disgusting.


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

Mike Gillis

Jun 14th, 2012 4:46 pm | By

Mike Gillis of Ask an Atheist decided he hadn’t been rude enough yet, when he called my objection to posting my email without permission “such a stupid pedantic distraction from Becky’s actual response.” So he commented again:

Ophelia, knock it off. Now you’re just looking for excuses to dismiss Becky’s arguments.

Actually no. I said what I had to say about her “arguments” in a later post. My objection to her publishing my email without asking is not an excuse at all, it’s a very real objection.

Not worth a post, obviously. I just did it by way of using The Hammer of Shame.

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

Why is she going there?

Jun 14th, 2012 4:18 pm | By

And then there’s a bunch of guys doing a video about how stupid and awful women who talk about harassment are. I haven’t watched it (and oh god do I not want to) but it’s partly transcribed, and what’s there is awful. It’s so awful, and the comments by one of the guys involved with it are so awful, that the combination had me slamming on the brakes and deciding (again) that I can’t do a talk at TAM.

But there are people who tell me they decided to go partly because I’m going to be there, and I would feel like a worm if I didn’t go, so I took the brakes off again. But this stuff is pissing me off like you would not believe.

Gilliel provides a relevant (to me) segment:

-”Ophelia Benson compared TAM to Nazi Germany” 11:12:15 Another blatant lie. I don’t agree with Ophelia’s post, but that’s not what she wrote. It simply isn’t. -”If Ophelia thinks TAM is like Nazi Germany, why is she going there?” Well, it might be because she never actually said that…(1:12:35)

Also, it’s because I was invited and I accepted long before DJ decided to do all this blaming of the women talking about harassment. The comparison I did make (which was not “TAM is like Nazi Germany”) came after DJ blamed the women talking about harassment (which could, for all I knew and still know, have included me).

But anyway – that kind of ERVesque bullying doesn’t make me look forward to going.

DJ should do something about all this. I still don’t understand why he thought it would be a good idea to antagonize a bunch of women (and a bunch of men) some of whom were part of the program at TAM, a few weeks before TAM. I think of the wonderful people who organized QED, and how welcome I felt before I got there and while I was there and after I left. I wonder why DJ does not operate more like them.


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

Bad analogies are bad

Jun 14th, 2012 3:54 pm | By

Here’s some of what Becky Friedman said in her post addressed to me at Ask an Atheist:

My argument is that feminism applied dogmatically, along with employing shame and zero-sum tactics of approach, work at cross purposes to eliminating misogyny and harassment in the atheist/skeptics community(ies). So I’ll give a few examples of how I see your writing as part of that larger observation. I’m not going to go looking for “too-dogmatic” things because that was never my argument.

In my original editorial I state: “Is our womanhood and feminism so holy that we cannot and will not open ourselves to criticism, discussion, and questions? Because the tone I’ve seen is unforgiving.” I could very well have linked the following comment on your Misogyny?  What Misogyny? post as one example of this:

I don’t want to see [commenter] Justicar as a decent human being in one place despite knowing that he’s not one via what he’s said in other places.

This strikes me as dogmatically rejecting all ideas a person has based on experience/contact with them in another arena. If myself and a pastor got into a spat about evolution, but then the pastor said “I don’t even want to see evidence of you doing charity because I know that in another arena you deny the majesty and wonder of the Almighty Creator!” we’d easily identify that as dogmatic.

That’s an idiotic analogy. My mention of Jews in Germany in 1936 was a bad analogy because it was much too strong to compare with women reporting harassment at conferences. Becky Friedman’s analogy is a bad analogy because it’s much too weak to compare with a guy who calls me and other women “cunts” more times than a search function can count.

Becky Friedman was comparing my view of Justicar to a pastor’s view of an atheist who denies the majesty of god. Bad analogy. My view of Justicar is not that he denies the majesty of god or anything comparable to that; it’s that he calls women cunts and whips up contempt for them in every way he can think of.

It’s not “dogmatic” in any relevant sense to refuse to chat with someone who calls women cunts. That’s not the right word, and it’s not the right category. It’s not “dogmatic” to refuse to break bread with someone who calls people by racist epithets, and it’s not “dogmatic” to refuse to argue with someone who calls people by sexist epithets.

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

Not the right Atheist to ask

Jun 14th, 2012 3:28 pm | By

There is way too much shrapnel flying around today, I can’t grab a minute to write a post not nohow. So the shrapnel is going to pile up in a big pile while I grab this minute.

Becky Friedman of Ask an Atheist did a post addressed to me yesterday (but I didn’t see it until today). She started off by saying

I received a personal email from blogger Ophelia Benson around 5 pm on Tuesday:

and then after the colon she pasted in the whole personal email. Without having asked for my permission. Which would not have been forthcoming.

I pointed that out this morning.

About an hour ago Mike Gillis also of Ask an Atheist responded to the issue of posting an email without permission:

This is such a stupid pedantic distraction from Becky’s actual response.

These are not good people.


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


Jun 14th, 2012 11:05 am | By

I’m doing an interview with Dan Fincke this morning for his part of the SSA fundraiser, so that’s why things are slow here at the moment.

Normal broadcasting soon.

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

This is what the Cork councillors need

Jun 13th, 2012 4:37 pm | By

I mentioned it in comments and Gordon asked for a link so I might as well put it in a post. James Croft’s “We Are Humanists.” I like it.

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

Eff up your effigy

Jun 13th, 2012 4:07 pm | By

I’m not going to blame religion for this, because it would be a cheap shot. It’s not religion so much as cranked-up nastiness – with a religious veneer.

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., has hanged an effigy of President Barack Obama from a gallows on its front lawn, a move DWOC pastor Terry Jones said was in response to Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage, as well as his stance on abortion and what Jones called his “appeasing of radical Islam.”

What was that I was saying about threatoids and threat-like remarks? Hanging people in effigy is the same kind of thing. It used to be fairly common, I think, or at least not unknown…but then so did flogging and slavery and child labor. Hanging people in effigy is not an old custom that ought to be revived.

The effigy is suspended from a makeshift gallows with a noose of yellow rope, has a doll in its right hand and a rainbow-colored gay pride flag in its left.

In a telephone interview with The Huffington Post, Jones said the flag was meant to call attention to Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage and that the baby doll is there because the president is “favorable toward abortion.”

But then Obama should have an abortion in his hand, not a baby. Get your ducks in a row. Gay pride flag: something Obama approves of and Pastor Jones hates. Baby: something Obama is taken to want to see aborted before it gets to be a baby and Pastor Jones loves. See? The two don’t match. He did it wrong. It has to be: something Obama approves of and Pastor Jones hates, for both items.

People are so sloppy with these things.

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

Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished

Jun 13th, 2012 11:32 am | By

The Church of England is worried and upset about government proposals to legalise gay marriage, saying these plans might come between it and its dearly beloved the state.

The church — whose supreme governor is Queen Elizabeth II — warned that it could be forced out of its traditional role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state.

Well we can’t have that. We can’t have the established church – whose top person is the monarch – being “forced” out of its traditional role. We can’t ever have anybody or any institution, however archaic and useless, forced out of a traditional role. Everybody knows that traditional roles are the best things ever, and must always be preserved and protected from change and reform.

“The Church of England’s unique place in the current marriage law of England means that the proposals will potentially have a very significant impact on our ability to serve the people of the nation as we have always done,” it added.

It said the plan “fails to take account of the fact that consummation has always been an integral part of the common understanding of marriage between church and state, with annulment possible where consummation does not occur.”

Whut? Consummation? What’s that got to do with anything? No wait, I get it – when it’s straight marriage, they can check for consummation by looking for blood on the sheet. With gay marriage that won’t work.

No, wait, that won’t work, because actually you don’t find the vicar who performed the marriage on the doorstep the next morning, ready to inspect the sheet. You used to, yes, but not any more – that’s one of those traditional roles that have faded away over time. Pause to shed a tear over another traditional role destroyed by our frivolous secular ways.

So that’s not it, so what is it? That “consummation” is a word that applies only to straight couples so that even if there’s no way to verify that a marriage has or has not been consummated, the fact that it doesn’t apply to gay couples makes the church superfluous? Is that it?

Surely not. Surely they can’t be that silly.

Can they?


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

Don’t give it to them, give it to us

Jun 13th, 2012 11:04 am | By

A silly Twitter exchange this morning…Surly Amy reported EIGHTEEN Surly Women Grant winners for TAM 2012, and a guy replied

Must be great for all those females. The rest of us are on our own.

I said so she should send you instead? He said no, he just never understood why it’s only applicable to female skeptics. I said it’s because there are fewer of them, and that self-perpetuates. Then I added

Think of it as actually benefiting you, by spreading skepticism among women and thus the population. Benefits all of us.

Why isn’t this more accepted? Why isn’t it just obvious, and embraced?

We’re all in this together, after all. We can all vote. This is in many ways a tragedy; the least we can do is try to spread critical thinking around as opposed to trying to keep it a special little geeky enclave. If this means grants for women or blacks or any other under-represented group, why is that something to kvetch about? Surly Amy isn’t taking money out of Complaining Guy’s pocket to send more women to TAM, she’s just raising the money through her own efforts and handing it out as she chooses. Complaining Guy can still go to TAM! And there will be eighteen more people to talk to there, thanks to Surly Amy. What’s not to like?

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