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Dawkins: ‘Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope’

I wager that the British can unleash more gleefully scathing insults than anyone else in the world. No one else gives as much robust verbal flavor and intellectual ass-whackery to those they wish to take down a notch or two. Take the delightful and brilliant author, scientist, and loud-and-proud atheist Richard Dawkins and his recent commendation of Pope Benedict XVI in the wake of many critiques and criticisms concerning child abuse in the Roman Catholic Church:

“Should the pope resign?”
No. As the College of Cardinals must have recognized when they elected him, he is perfectly – ideally – qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church. A leering old villain in a frock, who spent decades conspiring behind closed doors for the position he now holds; a man who believes he is infallible and acts the part; a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence: in short, exactly the right man for the job. He should not resign, moreover, because he is perfectly positioned to accelerate the downfall of the evil, corrupt organization whose character he fits like a glove, and of which he is the absolute and historically appropriate monarch.

No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

In the words of some college student somewhere… “Oh snap!”

(source)

March 29, 2010  |  christianity, news, religion  |  25 Comments

Why Doesn’t God Heal Amputees? We May Have the Answer.

amputee

Photo by The Cambodia Trust (flickr.com)

There is no god. Even if there were, it clearly doesn’t give a damn about you missing some bodily tissue. If it did, it could fix it! How do we know this? Science!

The fabulous website whywontgodhealamputees.com is based on the challenge that if a god is all-powerful, all-loving, and promises to answer prayer, then why won’t this god heal someone who has a missing limb? It’s never happened, and we know it never will. At least, not through prayer.

An exciting landmark has been reached in regards to a gene that may regulate tissue regeneration in mammals (that means humans too, Creationists!). This ability to replace damaged flesh with healthy, scar-free flesh seems to be triggered by the loss of the p21 gene. When the p21 gene is lacking, cells behave more like embryonic stem cells rather than adult cells.

“Much like a newt that has lost a limb, these mice will replace missing or damaged tissue with healthy tissue that lacks any sign of scarring,” said the project’s lead scientist Ellen Heber-Katz, Ph.D., a professor in Wistar’s Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis program. “While we are just beginning to understand the repercussions of these findings, perhaps, one day we’ll be able to accelerate healing in humans by temporarily inactivating the p21 gene.”

[Andrew Snyder, Ph.D. stated,] “In normal cells, p21 acts like a brake to block cell cycle progression in the event of DNA damage, preventing the cells from dividing and potentially becoming cancerous,” Heber-Katz said. “In these mice without p21, we do see the expected increase in DNA damage, but surprisingly no increase in cancer has been reported.”

(Read the rest over at PhysOrg)

If it may work on a mouse, could tissue regeneration be available to humans in the future? Do you think this would encourage or stifle the superstitions about divine healing?

Lesbian and Gay Strangers Get a Marriage License

New York residents Kitty Lambert and her partner Cheryl wanted to get married, so they went to the Clerk’s office and asked for a marriage license. A group of people also went with them to protest the state’s recent defeat of a bill that would grant gays and lesbians the right to marry.

With news cameras rolling, Kitty then turned to the crowd and asked for any male who would be willing to get married to her. A gay man named Ed stepped forward and volunteered.

Kitty’s point in approaching the City Clerk for a marriage license is that there is no religious basis for marriage, and it serves only as a legally binding contract in our society. Instead of being offered the ability to receive a license with her long-term partner, she was able to secure a license with a virtual stranger, strictly based on their gender. [EDITED: source unavailable; site is down]

Kitty and Ed say they will not actually marry until they are allowed to with the people they truly love (and actually know). Because it should be about commitment and partnership, not gender. Brava, Kitty!

Check out the Buffalo, NY news coverage for more shots of this moment.

February 15, 2010  |  homosexuality, news, politics, relationships, videos  |  10 Comments

Jesus Loves You… with a Bullet In Your Eye

What Would Jesus Do? Probably not quote himself on a weapon used to kill an enemy.

Oh the irony.

Whether they knew it or not, American soldiers have been displaying Biblical messages on their weapons. A Michigan company, Trijicon, has been inscribing New Testament verses in code on their high-powered rifle sights.

Seen here is a coded reference to John chapter 8 verse 12: "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (photo from ABC News)

U.S. military rules specifically prohibit the proselytizing of any religion in Iraq or Afghanistan and were drawn up in order to prevent criticism that the U.S. was embarked on a religious “Crusade” in its war against al Qaeda and Iraqi insurgents.

Trijicon confirmed to ABCNews.com that it adds the biblical codes to the sights sold to the U.S. military. Tom Munson, director of sales and marketing for Trijicon, which is based in Wixom, Michigan, said the inscriptions “have always been there” and said there was nothing wrong or illegal with adding them. Munson said the issue was being raised by a group that is “not Christian.”

“We believe that America is great when its people are good,” says the [Trijicon] Web site. “This goodness has been based on Biblical standards throughout our history, and we will strive to follow those morals.”

“It’s wrong, it violates the Constitution, it violates a number of federal laws,” said Michael “Mikey” Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group that seeks to preserve the separation of church and state in the military.

“This is probably the best example of violation of the separation of church and state in this country,” said Weinstein. “It’s literally pushing fundamentalist Christianity at the point of a gun against the people that we’re fighting. We’re emboldening an enemy.”

(source)

I realize that Trijicon is a private company that can basically do what it wants with its numbering systems. However, their products were sold to the secular government of the United States. By placing proselytizing messages, even in secret, on their products, they are endangering the delicate balance we hold here at home with the separation of church and state as well as the crumbling image we hold abroad. Especially after the reign of George W. Bush and his Jesus-is-coming-let’s-bomb-the-fuckers attitude, we are seen (even more so than usual) as a bullying Christian nation that will kill in the name of Jesus. These secretive methods just hammer home the antagonistic, anti-foreign-anything image we need to shed.

January 18, 2010  |  christianity, god, Jesus, news, politics, religion, the bible  |  7 Comments