Religion and the Religious Right aren’t the same by any means. The religious Right it could be said aren’t even Religious. Christ didn’t mention Homosexuality, yet they want the freedom to attack it and in the meantime, not let the NRL or any other body attack them. (ODT)
Young, vulnerable LGBTIQ are at grave risk of self-harm and suicide because they are too often subject to criticism and bullying because they are ‘different’. Major sports organisations have been working very hard to ensure inclusivity and prevent discrimination on any grounds and Folau has damaged his own prospects by refusing to conform, despite warnings.
The Church of Scientology’s head office in the US has reportedly claimed that a US television show featuring former members is to blame for the recent fatal stabbing of a church member in Sydney, an accusation NSW defectors from the church say is absurd.
Faith can exist without the church and organised religion, but the church cannot exist without controlling the faithful, writes Kim Wingerei.
The free tax ride for religious institutions in Australia is about 400 years past its use by date, argues Brian Morris. In 1587, Dr John Bridges coined the phrase “A fool and his money are soon parted”. Just 14 years later Queen Elizabeth the First issued her 1601 Statute on Charities making “the advancement ofMore
In a special on religion, we speak to Karen Armstrong and debate New Atheism with Lawrence Krauss and Greg Epstein.
Religious groups are not taxable. No wonder there’s no transparency in how their billions of dollars are spent.
We managed a year of Charlie Hebdo, Franklin Graham, Ted Cruz, Josh Duggar and more creationism. To sanity in 2016
Republicans are terrific at fearmongering about Muslims. But why won’t they, or anyone, take on the actual problem?
The pontiff will likely get rock star treatment, but he may pay a price for his unorthodox approach to Cuba, inequality and climate change
WASHINGTON, D.C. – (CT&P) – Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards announced a price increase this morning on all fetal tissue being sold by their 700 retail health and dissection centers located in the United States.
Richards emphasized that the increase only affects centers within the borders of the U.S., and that Planned Parenthood “black sites” in foreign countries can continue to set their own prices.
According to Richards, the across the board price increase was made in response to the increased demand for organs, umbilical chords, stem cells, amniotic fluid, and a variety of other fetal tissues caused by an amateurish video made by a deranged young man named David Daleiden.
“Demand has skyrocketed since Daleiden’s video was made public, so a price increase was the natural thing to do,” said Richards.
The video, which was pounced upon by Fox News, conservative radio hosts, Christian websites, and other questionable news outlets provides unequivocal proof that Planned Parenthood is an organization made up of Devil worshipers who sell unborn babies and their parts to the highest bidders.
“We could not have hoped to get this kind of publicity; not in our wildest, fever induced, Satanic dreams,” said Richards.
According to Richards the fetal tissue and body parts that Planned Parenthood sells go to a wide variety of buyers including medical schools, drug companies, research universities, secretive private laboratories in South America, 4-H clubs, secondary schools for use in high school science projects, witch doctors, terrorists, and wealthy cannibals tired of eating adult humans.
“We have a very broad customer base that we strive to keep happy,” said Richards. “Thanks to Daleiden’s video and all the publicity it’s caused we can cut back on advertising and entertainment expenses and expand our abortion factories so we can do away with even more potential humans. It’s been a real godsend.”
Although Daleiden’s original purpose in making the video has apparently backfired, he is reported to be basking in his new-found fame.
“David is really enjoying all this,” said Daron Dimbulb, a close friend of Daleiden’s who is also obsessed with controlling women’s reproductive organs. “He never thought he would be the object of so much praise from our country’s apparently unlimited population of morons. He really looks forward to being salivated on by Sean Hannity when he goes on his show next week.”
Richards told CNN that although no more price increases are currently being considered, if demand continues to increase all bets are off.
“With the help of Our Lord and Savior Mephistopheles, we’ll be able to convince more poor young girls to get knocked up so we can rip more children out of uteruses all across the country,” said Richards. “Otherwise we’re just going to have to jack prices again. It’s a no lose situation for us.”
THE CABIN ANTHRAX, MURPHY, N.C. (CT&P) – Republican presidential candidate and well-known kook Dr. Ben Carson was declared legally insane this morning by a judge in Michigan, Carson’s home state. The judge relied on evidence given by physicians from Johns Hopkins Hospital and testimony from individuals close to the Carson campaign.
Carson’s speech to the RNC’s winter meeting outside San Diego last Thursday seems to have been the tipping point that forced aides, Republican operatives, and loved ones to take action.
In the speech, Carson compared ISIS militants to American patriots who took up arms against the British during the Revolutionary War.
“A bunch of rag-tag militiamen defeated the most powerful and professional military force on the planet,” said the unhinged neurosurgeon. “Why? Because they believed in what they were doing. They were willing to die for what they believed in. Fast forward to today. What do we have? You’ve got ISIS. They’ve got the wrong philosophy, but they’re willing to die for it while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness. We have to change that.”
Later in the speech, Carson compared Nazi SS troops to the Salvation Army and the Shining Path guerrillas to civil rights protestors in the 1960’s. Carson went on to compare Adolph Hitler to Abraham Lincoln and Pol Pot to John F. Kennedy. “You really have to admire these people for their willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve the objective,” said a sweating, trembling Dr. Carson.
“This is just one in a long series of weird, disjointed ideas emerging from Dr. Carson’s damaged brain,” said Dr. Frank Black of the Banzai Institute in Holland Township, New Jersey. “We’re really not sure if his mental condition is due to environmental pollutants or a series of mild strokes. We think that the damage has been done over the last decade or so, because it would be almost impossible for someone this wacked-out to make it through medical school.”
Dr. Carson continues to insist ad nauseam that he is “completely rational and perfectly sane.” He has appeared to protest his abuse by the “liberal media” on several Fox News programs such as the O’Reilly Factor, a right-wing apologist show that is a favorite in whites-only nursing homes across the United States.
“Well of course the dude is going claim he’s sane and everything is a liberal conspiracy,” said Dr. Black. “When was the last time you heard a psychopath tell you he was nuts and danger to society? I mean, this guy thinks the earth is 6000 years old, Noah put dinosaurs on the Ark, and America is the modern incarnation of Nazi Germany. He’s a fucking freak!”
Dr. Carson will be placed in McClean Mental Hospital in Boston for a minimum of one month while he undergoes further testing and observation. The staff there has already arranged for a series of town hall-style debates between him and Secretary of State John Kerry, who was admitted only last week. The debates will no doubt be wildly entertaining, considering the fact that one guy is a goofball and the other a raving lunatic. The debates will be moderated by Vice President Joe Biden, who is the only person on the planet fully qualified to understand the two men.
An aide to Dr. Carson told the Washington Post that the decision to place the Tea Party favorite in a mental hospital would in no way affect his candidacy for the presidency. “Since when has being legally insane been a problem for GOP candidates? We have just as good a chance at the nomination as any of those other wing nuts.”
BLUE MOUNTAIN BEACH, CRETONIA (CT&P) – In what many are calling a Christmas miracle, Charlton Heston appeared out of nowhere this morning on the beaches of northwest Florida. Heston was on horseback and was accompanied by a scantily clad mute female who many believe was Mary Magdalene or possibly even the Virgin Mary.
For hours Heston galloped up and down the beaches berating the native population for re-electing the ancient Aztec snake god Rick Scott as their governor.
“Damn you! God damn you all to hell!” screamed Heston.
For many decades Heston has been an icon of the right and a huge supporter of the NRA. However, Heston’s support of marriage equality and his objections to oppressive new voter ID laws has recently put him at odds with the GOP leadership in Florida. Heston pumped a great deal of cash and effort into Charlie Crist’s campaign and was apparently frustrated that the citizens of Florida have once again chosen a “false idol” to worship for four more years.
“You idiots,” yelled Heston, “what is it about snake gods and golden calves that turns you people on so much?”
Heston then jumped off his horse and made a huge display of tearing up his Florida voter ID card and throwing it on the sands of “World’s Most Beautiful Beaches.”
“The Lord Our God will kick your ass for this travesty!” said Heston. He then turned, parted the Gulf of Mexico, jumped back on his horse and rode off.
Most pundits believe that Heston’s temper tantrum will have little effect on Florida politics, and the state will remain a “Forbidden Zone” for many years to come. Political pundit Barry Edwards told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that “This whole region is like a vast wasteland of intelligence. It’s gonna take one hell of a lot more than a Christmas miracle to fix this God-forsaken state. We might as well lift off and nuke the entire site from orbit-it’s the only way to be sure.”
We are in the midst of a wave of soul searching trying to understand the Lindt Café siege in Sydney. In a sense we’ve been collectively holding our breaths for years wondering if Australia would ever fall victim to a terrorist act.
Terrorism has many definitions but by and large usually refers to the use of violence and intimidation for political purposes. Its goal is to produce widespread fear and anger. The purpose is to polarise opinion and progress a political battle. It’s like throwing an accelerant on a fire: it forces the opposing parties to respond and fight.
There is a term in psychology called operant conditioning – it’s so intuitive to most people it barely needs description. It describes how we learn (at least in part) according to the outcomes of our behaviours. If you’ve ever raised pets or kids you’ll be an expert. So if I’m rewarded for a behaviour I’m likely to do it again. If I’m punished I’m likely to do it less. If a dog wees in the garden instead of the carpet and you pat it or give it a treat, it will soon learn to go outside every time it needs to urinate.
What can operant conditioning teach us about terrorism? How can we use our knowledge of emotions and conditioning to search for ways to undermine the success of terrorism?
First on the agenda is the fear and anger. We need to contain the fear and address the anger.
Our leaders need to stand up and promote calm to give the message that we are prepared for such situations and that our response is appropriate and considered. They also need to address our natural response of anger and blame. They should not jump to conclusions about events being terrorist in nature, they should encourage people not to start the blame game prematurely. My impression from the Lindt siege was that our politicians tried to convey calm and control, but didn’t quite achieve their goal.
The media is in a trickier position. The less attention they give to terrorism the better. However, unlike in decades gone by, where a smallish group controlled most of the media, there are now hundreds of thousands of players – especially online. There is less ability to give a measured response. Hysteria sells, it’s a crowded media market place and competition is fierce. I think it is reasonable to expect the ABC to prioritise reason over ratings, but I think the commercial networks cannot be expected to have the same balance.
Despite this, I was mostly impressed with the coverage. There were constant calls for calm, constant stories trying to quell racism against Muslims, and various attempts to provide a balance between information and understanding. Most media outlets refused to air videos made by the perpetrator in the cafe. The constant news on multiple channels was unfortunate, but unavoidable.
Can we separate ideology from actions?
Terrorism is no more about religion than rape is about love-making
We need to somehow separate the act of terror from the cause it claims to support. Terrorism is no more about religion than rape is about love-making. It’s about power, control and violence. I’m not a religious person but my impression is that religion and spirituality aim to provide meaning and hope. By and large they promote humanity and peacefulness. I know many wars and unspeakable acts have been done in the name of religion, but my sense is that these acts reflect people’s desire for control and profit – religion just gets hijacked as a vessel.
Psychology has turned its hand to trying to understand terrorists, but it’s hard. Terrorists don’t volunteer for experiments! What we know is limited, and more driven by opinion than evidence. The limited evidence out there suggests terrorists are angry, disenfranchised, feel victimised, powerless and believe violence is not immoral.
Psychologists are also trying to understand the dynamic interplay between terrorists and government responses. For example there is some evidence that excessive responses to terrorist acts can encourage more people to join terrorist organisations.
Programs aiming to reduce terrorist behaviour tend to focus their efforts on addressing peoples’ fears of cultural annihilation, highlighting the common humanity between different religious groups and challenging the dream versus reality of terrorist involvement. These programs have a long way to go, but surely are a step in the right direction.
Why use violence?
Violence is a popular weapon for people chasing power – it’s never been the weapon of choice for people spreading ideas. Violent acts say far more about the perpetrators personalities and life experiences than they do about their beliefs. Resist the temptation to blame a belief system for the way people act.
Finally, amongst all the soul searching, take time to recover. Spare some thoughts for the victims, their families and those who put themselves at risk to respond. Protect your kids from over-exposure and teach them how to react with compassion and consideration. Just like our leaders, we need to try to respond without fear and anger – the antidote to terror is calm, understanding and tolerance. Regardless of your ideological background, don’t jump to conclusions. Take some time to read the views of others and then spread your ideas…. with words.