Category Archives: church

A Few Truths

Why do Christians lie so much? What is this “lying for Jesus” all about. A means to an end is not always the morally right thing to do.

There are several Christian lobby groups around these days with The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and Access Ministries being two very vocal, and apparently quite powerful, examples. The idea of a Christian lobby group should worry every right thinking person, religious or not. Why Christians need lobby groups is a thing to ponder, what ever happened to religious groups just doing what they do best – sings songs in churches and do a little charity work. When did they become so powerful? Are we seeing the march to a theocracy in this country?

ACL wrote this small article titled “A few truths of the religion in schools debate” supporting a Bishop who had written an article in Online Opinion (OO) complaining about The Age’s reporting of Christian Religious Education.

OzAz wrote the following comment in reply to the ACL:

Truth? You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word Truth.

If, as you’d like to portray, Christianity is the predominant religion in Australia (at last census about 60%, BUT only about 20% actual practitioners) then how can you cry “oppression”?

Australians, by and large, aren’t fearful of religion, most just don’t care either way. What we do fear is right wing fundamentalist religious organisations using tax payer funded money (for which they are totally unaccountable for!) to promote their narrow minded view of the world based on, what many believe, to be an out-dated book.

Even adherents of the various holy books do not adhere to everything written in them, so why should the rest of us adhere to anything written in them?

Some may suspect that the only reason your group, and other groups like yours, are so keen to use tax payers and parishioners money to lobby government to spend even more tax payer dollars on allowing CRE, Chaplains in schools and other forms of ensuring you get a foothold into schools and therefore young and impressionable minds is to procure more followers. The more followers the more money you can make. Pity this money isn’t always used for good charitable works.

PS I have copied this and will paste it to various other blogs and forums as I suspect you won’t have the dignity or adhere to freedom of speech and allow this comment to be posted to your site.

OzAz has forwarded this comment to me for inclusion in my blog, as he suspects the ACL will not moderate his comment as the ACL seem to have a habit of not allowing any comment which questions them in any way shape or form.

As usual Chrys Stevenson has written an excellent response to Nicholas Tuohy’s article in OO, I recommend you read it.

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Filed under atheism, beliefs, bible, censorship, christianity, church, politics, religion, religious school, secular

you can’t find all the answers in google

So says church180 in their new television adverts (they had one on during the NBN news). church180’s slogan is “turn it around“, their new advertising campaign suggests that you can’t find all the answers in google and if you need to turn your life around you need to join their church.

church180 seems to be inferring (see their websites) that by finding God you can fix relationships, your job, health and finances. Do you think the church can do this? Is this perhaps false advertising?

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Who said churches were safe?

In rather sad news comes these two reports:

Gunman shoots three in church

A gunman opened fire during a church service in New Jersey on Sunday, wounding three people, one of them critically, authorities said.

A law enforcement official said the shooting may be the result of domestic violence.

Swordsman shot dead at Scientology building

A security guard has shot and killed a man wielding a sword on the grounds of a Scientology building in Hollywood.

Well that’s three posts today, that should catch me up for the weekend I spent offline entertaining guests instead of the internets.

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Filed under church, Church of Scientology (CoS)

Lawful Excuse

Kingsnorth Power Station, Hoo, Kent, United Kingdom

Image via Wikipedia

News from UK. A British jury acquitted environmental activists who damaged a coal-fired power station. The Court cleared the six activists of criminal damage, accepting they had a “lawful excuse” to damage the Kingsnorth property to try to prevent the even greater damage of climate change.

The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage — such as breaking down the door of a burning building to put out the fire.

As the article in The Australian says “[this] will send chills down corporate spines across Britain”. This is the second time Greenpeace activists have successfully used the “lawful excuse” defence.

I wonder if this law could be used against churches? I can see the defence case now:

The damage caused to the minds of young children is far worse than the damages we caused writing “God is a Delusion” on the church walls.

So how about it? Anyone got some spray paint tins?

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Filed under activism, beliefs, church

Like shooting ducks in a barrel

In answer to a question on another forum I stated that one of the reasons Catholics are being ‘picked on’ lately is because they are making themselves such easy targets. What with Catholic World Youth Day (C-WYD)  and all the apologetics saying how wonderful it’s going to be.  Not to mention they are an out-dated, misogynistic, homophobic, power hungry, imaginary sky god worshipping, religious organisation, led by an old authoritarian man in a dress, red shoes and a pointy hat.

 

loaves and fishes A lot of the criticism aimed at C-WYD is the cost to the NSW taxpayers, with the state government spending over $100 million on it. The government has tried to deflect some of the criticism by saying that the event would bring economic benefits to NSW and particularly Sydney. Well it seems that’s not entirely true. It was revealed yesterday that a $3 million contract to provide 800,000 meals for pilgrims has gone to Melbourne. As NSW Greens MP Lee Rhiannon said:

“The Government has boasted this is an event not just about hosting Catholics coming to New South Wales, but bringing economic benefit to New South Wales. We’ve just seen that go over the border.”

 

pope_redshoes

Then there is the report from the Vatican daily Osservatore Romano decrying the media picking on the Pope and his extravagant clothing. Esquire magazine had named the Pope as the “accessoriser of the year” mainly for his bright red shoes supposedly made by Prada. As the ABC reports

The [Vatican daily] article explained that the pope’s shoes, like his range of flamboyant hats, are nothing to do with vanity but all to do with tradition.

“The Pope, in summary, does not wear Prada, but Christ,” it said.

Except Christ doesn’t protect the pope’s delicate little footsies so he wears a nice pair of red loathers.

 

acceptance_mass_sm Did I mention the Pope and his catholic entourage are homophobic?

The group Acceptance was hoping to hold an event to discuss the issues around young Catholics who are gay or lesbian.

C-WYD organisers had already refused an initial request to allow the event to be part of official activities, now they have intervened to stop the forum being sponsored by the Jesuit group MAGis.

… MAGiS was contacted by World Youth Day officials and instructed to withdraw its support.

And some of the C-WYD apologetics say this event is going to be so inclusive. Inclusive if you are a catholic youth who isn’t gay or lesbian.

If you would like to support the gay and lesbian community, and protest the anti-condom stance of the catholic church, then you can get involved in the NoToPope Coalition. Also reported here where they say the protesters plan to hand out free condoms to pilgrims en route to the papal Mass at Randwick Racecourse.

(Though what the heck the Raelians are doing in this coalition, I have no idea. But it is probably in protest to their leader being denied a visa to visit this country.)

 

tip Catholic Church, I have a tip for you. Stop trying to make out the World Youth Day is such a great thing, we all know it’s just a recruiting drive. If you want people to stop ‘picking on you’ or ‘having a go at you’ then shut up. Most of us really aren’t interested in your bizarre rituals, including bringing dead bodies to youth festivals. This is not a catholic country so don’t try and impose your homophobic, misogynist ideals on the rest of us.

 

Richard Ackland reports that today an application is going before the High Court to see if there is a case that the Commonwealth governments expenditure  on Catholic World Youth Day is in breach of the constitution. We await the outcome.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, blasphemy, Catholic, Catholic WYD, christianity, church, gay and lesbian, god, government funding, pope, religion, world youth day

More Wedding Blues

Getting married and being an atheist seems to be causing a lot of grief to some people. Walking down the aisle in the white-gown does have its attractions, but Church and atheism don’t really go together.

Marriage ceremonies around the world, and the beautiful buildings some of them are held in, can be quite breathtaking, why wouldn’t you want to do what lots of other people do? Because as an atheist you aren’t comfortable having ‘God’ involved in your vows. Like myself, who got married in a church out of ‘tradition’ and to not offend the parents (mine, hers wouldn’t have cared), you will regret it later, because you will realise what a hypocrite you had been.

A wedding is a big day, it is a public demonstration that you love your partner so much, you want to spend the rest of your life together. This doesn’t have to occur in a church, or with any religious overtones, to still be a beautiful thing and to mean something to you, your partner, family and friends.

There are non-religious celebrants in most places these days and you can hold the ceremony anywhere you want. The wedding should be about you and your partner, the vows should express what you both want out of life together.

Why am I saying all this? Well I just received a new comment on a previous post called wedding blues (written after receiving a cry for help from another reader – I hope things turned out alright for her). This new commenter, Sarah, has a similar quandary. I’ve re-posted her comment below:

I’m having a similar quandary here. My boyfriend of four years and I are deeply committed to each other. We will both be graduating from college soon and moving in together. Several of our friends are getting married and we are starting to get the “so when are you going to get married” questions. I had always thought that even though I am not religious, I would have a semi-traditional wedding, just because I hadn’t thought of anything else. The older I get, the less ok I am with taking part in a tradition that it bound up with so many things I disagree with, whether or not they are taken as such today.

I know that I love this man and I want to be with him for the rest of our lives. I would like to have some sort of ceremony/party to show this to others (I don’t know why, maybe I’m just incapable of being strong enough to forgo the cultural pressures of “proving it” to everyone else)

I’m totally lost however as to what such a ceremony would entail and why I would even bother. As far as I see it, the term “marriage” means one of two possible things

1) A spiritual union blessed by a religious organization
2) A legal contract

I have problems with both of these, the first is easy. However the second is more problematic. I believe marriage as a legal entity should be abolished and then people can create their own individual contracts with whomever they see fit. That is why the whole are argument over gay marriage is missing the point. Marriage as a legal contract, and the rights that go along with it, devalue non-traditional relationships, gays and lesbians and singles.

Ergo, if I have a ceremony, I will not be married in the eyes of a deity or the government, So, what the hell is the point? If I have a ceremony of some sort, just because I want one, is that shallow and cheap? Are people going to ask what is the point? How can I explain myself without seeming to criticise their decision to get married? AHHHH….I am a strong woman but damnit, sometimes I cant get over visions of the two of us on a cliff, and a pretty dress and flowers.

I’m not even sure if there is a question there, sorry for the rant. I’m just a bit lost right now.

Firstly, I think you can still have a semi-traditional wedding without any of the religious overtones, you’ll just have to put in a bit more effort (unless you have a good non-religious celebrant handy).

I don’t think it’s ‘weak’ to “prove it” to everyone else. Think of it more like a celebration, you have parties with all your family and friends for birthdays, especially big ones like 21st, why not when you get ‘married’ (in whatever form you choose)?

Yes marriage is a legal contract, whether you do it in a church or down at the registry, and in lots of countries you don’t need to get married to still enjoy all the legal benefits.

You could just live together, have a ‘living together’ party, and still enjoy most of the legal recognition and benefits. The difference with gays and lesbians is that they get no legal recognition. (at least that’s the case in Australia, de facto relationships – heterosexual ones at least – are provided with nearly all the same legal rights as married couples).

I think you may be missing the point of the whole legal aspect of marriage. The legal rights are, in the most part, there to protect you both. Being married confers various rights and benefits, such as: Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities; Inheriting a share of your spouse’s estate; Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses; You have the right to visit your spouse in a hospital and make medical decisions for them. It can also entitle you to buy a house together without having to sign an extra legal agreement.  Check this site (where I got most of the above rights from) for a long list of benefits for being legally married and a brief discussion on the lack of benefits to same sex couples. As the link says:

… many of the benefits of marriage won’t apply to you, because the federal government does not recognize these same-sex relationships.

Having a ceremony, of what ever type you both choose, does not make you shallow and cheap. Hopefully, as I’ve previously said, you have it to celebrate with family and friends. One would hope that your family and friends would be happy you are getting married and would want to show their joy and commitment to your relationship.

Being married can, at times, be very difficult, having family and friends who witnessed your nuptials who can then help you through the difficult times can be quite beneficial.

There’s nothing wrong with a pretty dress and flowers, even the toughest woman is allowed to be feminine now and again.

I’m not sure if I’ve helped at all, I’m not even sure if this makes any sense.  Anyway what the heck would I know, I’m no marriage expert, especially at the moment.

Whatever you do, don’t do it because others want you to. Do some research; find out what options there are in your State for non-religious marriages. Discuss with your partner if marriage is really right for you both, it’s not compulsory after all.

cheers for now,
Oz

Help from others with Sarah’s plight would be appreciated, I’m sure, so please leave a comment.

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Filed under atheism, atheist, church, marriage, religion, wedding