Tuesday, March 31, 2009

They use every opportunity

I had an opportunity to visit the memorial for four slain Oakland Police officers last Saturday morning. It was early and I had the city to myself. I was struck by the outpouring of sympathy from the citizens of Oakland. I took pictures to remember the scene. It was as intense as it gets.

An Oakland police officer watched me from down the street. I could feel the sadness in the air. I stopped to read several of the notes left by school children. I felt so sad. Although I have never been a big fan of the police, they should not have to die to protect us. There are some bad people in the world, and some dumb people too. I don’t understand this level of violence or stupidity.

I noticed the forces of religious idiocy at work. Some soldier for Christ used this opportunity to leave bible tracts. You can see the tracts in the lower right of the picture below the picture of Officers Mark Dunakin, John Hege, Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai. I felt outrage when I saw tracts. I felt better after I put them in the trash,

Later that day my family was able to donate two beautiful flower arrangements to the massive floral display. We plan on donating to their memorial fund too.

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The Center for Dangerous Thought

I took a few days off from blogging to attend my son’s wedding. I’m back now home now, so I’ve started to wade into the mess that awaits me. I have a 1 hour limit on the amount of time I will spend blogging. What follows is one hour of my time all spend fixing things on the Atheist Blogroll. Thanks to Larro for his painstaking research. I could not do it without him.


New Blogs 

I’ve got a bunch more to do. I’ll spend another hour on it tomorrow.

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

In Oakland this morning

My family is in Oakland for the wedding of my son later today. This is the sight that greeted me when I woke up in hour hotel room this morning. The brilliant new morning sun highlighting a table lamp. For some reason it looked absolutely beautiful to me. Perhaps it is just my good mood. Everything looks beautiful today.

Oakland is an odd town this weekend. 20,000 people attended the memorial service for four slain police officers yesterday. The tension here is real. You can see it in the faces of the people who live here.

We managed a good meal at "B" Resturant near our hotel. I wrote a review on yelp. The meal was outstanding. Especially the cheese plate.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The 114th Carnival of the Godless


That's right, Deep Thoughts is hosting the 114th edition of the Carnival of the Godless. I want your best posts for the Palm Sunday edition. Please make your submissions using this form.

If you don’t know what the Carnival of the Godless is all about, check out  CotG 113 at Daylight Atheism, or CotG 112 at State of Protest.

The Carnival of the Godless is:

Posts from a godless perspective that address godlessness, atheism, church/state separation, the evolution/creation debate, theodicy, philosophy of religion as it relates to godlessness, etc.

I want to put up a big carnival and you can help make it happen. So send me your posts!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blogroll Update: More updates

Things that changed

New Members

I would like to thank Crystal of the Sunny Skeptic and Larro of the Ungodly Cynic for help with the dead links. I don’t have time to do the research myself, so the help is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kutiman-Thru-you – The best thing on Youtube

Some people see beautiful things in the chaos of life. I’m so jealous.

Blogroll Update: Rwandan Atheist removed

It appears that the Rwandan Atheist is ripping off content from Atheist Revolution. This blog has been removed from the blogroll. Vjack will have more to say tomorrow.

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Blogroll Update: A new small button

Several members have requested a small button. I made the one shown below. It will work for starters. If anyone else wants to make one, please send it to me. I'll added it to the library and make a post telling the world what a wonderful person you are.

Join the best atheist themed blogroll!

The code for this little masterpiece is shown below.

<a href="http://mojoey.blogspot.com/2006/09/join-mojoeys-atheist-blogroll.html"> <img border="0" alt="Join the best atheist themed blogroll!" src="http://i632.photobucket.com/albums/uu48/Mojoey/AtheistBlogrollSmall.gif"/></a>


If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

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How does one impersonate an Atheist?

I found a disturbing story via Atheist Revolution. It seems that Baptist Pastor Chris Fox felt the need to impersonate an atheist in the comment threads of a post on Unreasonable Faith. He was attempting to build a dialog based on a lie. I put off posting because I needed to let my outrage build and then subside. You see, I don't dialog online much with Christians about religion or atheism, so when they do something stupid on an atheist blog, I write it off as conduct expected. I should know better.

I kept coming back to this story. There was something about the insipid artlessness of the impersonation that struck me as fundamentally tainted. It is difficult to believe that a person can be this ignorant.

What’s wrong with killing babies? I see no problem with it. I have enough mouths to feed. I don’t get the argument and I am an atheist. Since I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe in anything characterized as good, bad / right, wrong. So, what’s the big deal?

The closest analogy is sports. I have no interest in mainstream sports. I don’t watch them, read about them, or go to many games. I play disc golf. When I tell a sports fan about disc golf, their response is typical, they think I’m a dope smoking hippy. In reality, I am a highly educated IT project manager with a knack for managing complexity that few people possess. I am as far from a dope smoking hippy as I am from an amoral baby eater, and so are the rest of my brethren.

So how does it get this bad? How does a Christian pastor develop such a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be an atheist? How do atheists develop the same bias? I think its obvious that ignorance and hasty generalizations promote the misunderstanding.

When I write about bad pastors, I don’t make the illogical leap of thinking that all pastors are bad. In fact, most pastors I know are good people who I am proud to call friends. The difference is in deeds. What people do is always more important than what people say. There are always outliers. The David Trotter's of the world are more than offset by the good of people like my friend Pastor Brad.

Vjack questioned his own motives in a post yesterday. He reads a few Christian blogs and takes the time to post comments, but wonders about the hostility of his iconic avatar. I know enough from my Christian friends to understand that simply asserting that there is no God is offensive to them. So yes, the image might offend. But the dialog is vital. And who better to do it? It is the rational dialog of the likes of vjack and Daniel Florien which present the best hope of offsetting our shared misconceptions.

Pastor Chris Fox apologized. His words were simple and honest. It could not have been easy.

I want to express to you how deeply sorry I am for coming on this site and making the remarks I did and violating my own faith. It was out of bounds. I allowed the “debater” part of me go too far. I messed up and I have come to ask for your forgiveness. Thank you for allowing me back on.

Daniel Florin graciously accepted the apology. Does Pastor Fox qualify for a profile on Hypocrisy Watch? I don’t think so. It comes back to my core value of acting on what people do, not what the say. When you own up to your mistakes you are not a hypocrite, you are simply human, just like the rest of us.

I don’t know how to impersonate a Christian. Nor do I think a Christian knows how to impersonate an atheist. The best we can do is try to understand each other.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pastor jailed for Oakland anti-abortion acts

Walter Hoye, an Anti-abortion activist and Baptist pastor at a Berkeley area Church, will play the martyr and spend 30 days in Jail 

A pastor at a Berkeley church was jailed Friday for 30 days after unsuccessfully arguing that an order requiring him to stay 100 yards away from an Oakland abortion clinic violates his right to free speech…

…Hoye could have disposed of the jail time in a sheriff's work detail or by volunteering. But he balked at the judge's order to stay 100 yards from Family Planning Specialists Medical Group at Second and Webster streets. Hoye argued that the order was more severe than Oakland's ordinance and stifled his First Amendment rights.

Something tells me we will see Hoye back in front of the clinic just as soon as he’s a free man. Of course, it would be a violation of his probation. I wonder if he has the guts to do two years in State prison? speech

Go ahead, blame Satan

A 62-year-old administrative assistant blamed Satan for her alleged theft of $73K from her church.

A woman accused of taking more than $73,000 from the Arlington church where she was an administrative assistant blames the devil. Papers filed with a theft charge Wednesday in Snohomish County Superior Court say the 62-year-old Arlington woman told detectives "Satan had a big part in the theft."

Then there are the Christians who just act like Satan, like leadership of the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church who hid pastors Darrell Gilyard’s prior sexual offenses. Why would you bring a sexual predator into your midst?

The prior allegations against the Rev. Darrell Gilyard include a previously undisclosed 1996 settlement by Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. Gilyard came to the West Beaver Street church in 1993 after resigning a Texas pastorate amid reports of affairs with church members.

I love this story. Pastor Gregory Clarke lost his appeal on a 21 month federal conviction for income tax fraud. Clarke, who is black, claimed the jury did not represent a fair cross section of the community. Of course, he means race, not the religious preference of the jury. Bad news Clarke, you are still a crook.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday there was sufficient evidence "from which a reasonable jury could have found Clarke guilty." The judges also found that the trial judge correctly calculated sentencing guideline ranges.

Yet they still protect them… Like the case of Rev. John Skehan, who stole thousands form his parish. His followers ask for leniency because he’s an old thief and prison would be hard.

After an almost two-hour hearing where defense witnesses asked a judge for leniency on behalf of the Rev. John Skehan, Judge Jeffrey Colbath said he had too many things to consider to hand down a sentence today.

And let’s not forget repeat offenders. Pastor Robert Wesley Bell is a former youth pastor arrested for sexual exploitation of a child. He was busted with child porn on his computer.

He was first convicted in 2006 and is awaiting sentencing for charges in 2008.

Police say, this time, Bell may have also had inappropriate contact with children in Colorado Springs.

Bell lives across the street from Corpus Christi Elementary School. Parents there want to know why Bell was allowed to live so close to a school.

The Catholics continue to have sexual abuse problems. A new lawsuit made the news this week when the Rev. Rudolf Renteria was sued for allegedly molesting an alter boy in the 80s.

A California man filed a lawsuit Friday accusing the Rev. Rudolf Rentería of sexually abusing him when he was the priest’s altar boy in Arlington in the 1980s.

The man, now in his 40s, is also suing the Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese, accusing it of covering up the priest’s actions. His father told another priest at the time of the alleged May 1981 incident, but Rentería was allowed to continue in the ministry, according to the suit. Rentería was "recycled into ministry in the Dallas Diocese," the suit alleges.

My stomach hurts. These freaks piss me off. Remember, the next time somebody tells you Atheists are immoral, point them to Hypocrisy Watch. With over 475 posts covering all manner of religious hypocrisy, Christians have no claim to the moral high ground either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I know evil when I see it

While ABC’s Nightline plans to waste it’s time with a show dedicated to debating the existence of Satan, evil is alive and well in Gambia. President Yahya Jammeh has launched a jihad against homosexuals and witches. He promises to behead any homosexuals in his country and it appears that he intends to exterminate witches too.

Two Spaniards are about to find out if the beheading rule applies to foreigners. While under the guise of stamping out witchcraft,1000 people have been kidnapped his government and stand accused of being witches. I hate to think of the death that awaits them if they fail the herbal witchcraft test. 

So here it is ABC; we have another senseless ego driven genocide launched against innocent people in a country far far away. Will you speculate about Satan with some spiritual not so deep thinkers, or will you report on a real evil that is alive and festering in Africa? I’m betting you go with the talking heads, it is so much safer.

If you need proof that Jammeh is a nutball…

In 2007, the 43-year-old president announced that he had found separate herbal cures for HIV, asthma and high blood pressure, and personally administered his treatment to patients.

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Bond Reduced For Former Pastor

The judge wanted to be fair.

Former youth pastor Benjamin Caldwell is accused of statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a minor. The alleged victim is a 14-year-old girl. He was arrested twice this month on sex charges. His initial bond was reduced from $500,000 to $100,000. After his second arrest, Caldwell's bond was reduced from $1,000,000 to $100,000.

To be fair, Caldwell is only a danger to 14-year-old girls, and they don’t vote.

Previous posts on Caldwell:

Church Shooting Drill

I find it interesting that a church views the threat of a violent attack to be significant enough that they scheduled a hostage rescue drill.

The man playing the role of gunman is really a church youth pastor and says the scenario is frighteningly real.

"There's a lot of value in a role play like this from my vantage point. What would really happen if someone came in to one of my services and did this? So, it really has helped me to think through that process," said Todd Jackson, Youth Pastor at Christian Heritage Church.

"Faith is a huge part of our community here in Tallahassee and there's a lot of churches, a lot of people that attend church. I think it's important to be prepared for anything," said fellow Youth Pastor Marshall Ochs.

I love it when I see Christians adopt a more pragmatic approach. Screw prayer, pass the ammo.

Blogroll Update: Audit update and some weirdness

Chrystal of Sunny Skeptic reported that The Raving Atheist has changed allegiances and is now the Raving Theist. There is much weirdness here. Chrystal advises that we stay away. I agree.

I finished an audit of the blogs who joined the Atheist Blogroll in February, 75% were missing. I’ve added them back as of last night. I’ve spot checked other months and have not found a problem. I’m going to call our membership at 894.

Since Chrystal is really helping out, I want to make sure all the members know how much I appreciate it. Please drop by her blog to say thanks.

I’ve set of goal of reaching 1,000 blogs on the Atheist Blogroll by the end of the year. I need your help to get the word out. Please make a post asking your readers to join. I’m sure that with 894 members, finding another 100 or so will not be a problem.

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fundie blindness

I had a supporter of Pastor Claude Wallace leave this message on a post about Wallace sending illicit text messages to a 17-year-old girl back in 2007. The message was left today. 

I am a member of Mt. Sinai and we are not looking for a new pastor we are gonna stick by our pastor because we know he was set up by someone

I’ve lost track of this case. Wallace was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and unlawful use of a telephone. I assume his case is still pending, although it might have been resolved by now. If anyone has an update, please send it my way.

This is Pastor Wallace and one of the messages he is alleged to have sent to the underage girl.

wallace Wallace2

I don’t understand how Wallace was setup by someone. Especially since he admitted to sending the messages during his interview with police.

“I told him if it was a forward it would show that and then he recanted and he admitted to sending the texts,” said Detective Bryan Louis. “He said he had a moment of weakness.”

He apparently had a moment of weakness 20 times in two months. That would make it a serial moment of weakness, which is more like a character flaw of such magnitude that freaky Baptist pedophile pastor comes to mind. Or maybe 17 is considered of age to a Baptist Pastor?

One last bit of paranoia from Wallace (video)

"I know somebody's behind this, but Jesus had haters, but you know with prayer we are going to get through this and good always overcomes evil," Wallace said.

I mean seriously… WTF?

Pastor Daryl "Spanky" Bujak guilty

Pastor Daryl Bujak spanked a 12-year-old girl who came to him with allegation of sexual abuse. He spanked her for a week because he did not believe her. In his defense, he offered that her situation was above his head.

"The situation was over my head," said Rev. Daryl Bujak, who avoided jail time when he was sentenced to 12 months of supervision. "I didn't have the ability to deal with the situation I confronted."

Right… a young girl comes to you with allegations of sexual abuse., instead of offering her help, you beat her ass with a piece of wood… everyday for a week.  You are a professional counselor, that is what pastors do, they counsel people, they care for people, the take care of the weak and the vulnerable. At least that is what they are supposed to do, you are not a pastor, you are a jackass and a convicted criminal too.

Previous Post: A little Spanking

Charles Manson then and now

Charlie Mason’s a 74 year old prison bitch now. Read all about him at the L.A. Times.

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Blogroll Update: More Changes

Thanks to Crystal from the Sunny Skeptic for finding a few dead and inactive links. Keep the links coming Crystal. I appreciate the help.

  1. Outchurched- dead link
  2. One Fewer God- no new posts since 2007
  3. ohm sweet ohm- page load error
  4. Odder Stories- Dead link
  5. quird- dead link
  6. quark screw- new link: http://quarkscrew.wordpress.com/
  7. Principles of Parsimony-  no posts since 2007
  8. Primordial Blog-  retired… see this post.

We also had two bloggers join.

  1. The Freethinker
  2. How good is that?

Blogroll Update: Introducing RationalBritain.org

Our newest Atheist blogroll member is actually an Atheist oriented service. The authors have been kind enough to provide this introduction:

RationalBritain.org is intended to be a meeting place for rational Brits. Anyone can register and have their own individual blog - it's only just started but has big plans for the future. Add your voice to the fray!

Blogroll update: Status of Primordial Blog

A few of you wrote to me regarding the status of the Primordial Blog and its owner. Alas, the blog is no more and is unlikely to return. The author is fine but has decided to stop blogging for personal reasons. If you would like to contact him, send me an email and I will forward it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blogroll Update: Some come, some go

Thanks to Crystal from the Sunny Skeptic for finding a few dead and inactive links. Keep the links coming Crystal. I appreciate the help.
  1. Shared Difference- No posts since 2007
  2. Ron's Rants- No posts since 2007
  3. Refuting Christianity- dead link
  4. Reason TV-link to directory only, not site

A few new members…

  1. Quicksilver Dream *A photoblog!
  2. Atheist in an Absurd World

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Youth Pastor Re-Arrested

Benjamin Douglas Caldwell was first arrested on 14 counts of statutory rape, he was re-arrested on an additional 19 sex charges.

Benjamin Douglas Caldwell, 29, was arrested last week after police received a 911 call about a sexual assault that just occurred on the west side of High Point.

Police say the suspect was being detained in the victim's home at the time of the call. Investigators with High Point Police say it was a family member who caught and held him in the home until police arrived.

Investigators found the assaults had been going on for the past three months.

Caldwell made my list on March 7th. I would have let this story go but for this comment.

LindsayFnWhite says…

…people like you scare me like i said before and i'll say again, you people are idiots, a sin is a sin in God's eyes and no sin is greater than any other, i'm not sayin ben is innocent but those little girls ain't innocent either, you don't know if it was rape or not idiot you weren't there!! and having a rape charge doesn't mean you raped them it can be consensual they just consider it rape because of the age difference dummy. and by the way 19 KIDS weren't involved it was with the same young fun dummy girl. get ya facts straight! and i wasn't judging those girls i was just stating my opinion like you.

A sin is a sin… and Christianity is all fucked up.

Church counselor accused of sexual battery

DavidFrankMartin Yes, that is a bulletproof vest David Frank Martin is wearing in his mug shot. I wonder why a church counselor would need a bulletproof vest? Could it be his arrest for sexual battery of a 11-year-old  and 13-year-old?

Indian River County Sheriff’s officers began their investigation on Saturday before 9 a.m. about possible sexual abuse at the Life for Youth Church Camp off 82nd Avenue.

Detectives were told that a church group from the Faith Fellowship Church in Melbourne had traveled to the Life for Youth Church Camp for a weekend retreat. The suspected church counselor, 40-year-old David Frank Martin, allegedly sexually battered and molested a person under the age of 18. Sheriff’s deputies said both victims were with the Melbourne church group.

Police are concerned there could be other victims.

Anyone with information about what happened at the weekend of March 13 retreat at the Youth Ranch for Life in Vero Beach is asked to contact Detective Joe Parrish of the Indian River Sheriff's Office at 772-978-6103.

Sandy offered the typical “real Christian” response.

That is another way to describe people of the church who give real christians a bad name. I can tell you, that he didn't know God, so it's not fair to say that he knew God and he still committed such an act. I do agree with the background check, they are useless. I think the best thing to do is always keep a close eye on people who are responsible for children and not just send them off an assume they will be okay.

Right, its not fair to call him a Christian because we call know a real Christian would never actually sin, right.

The Pope condemns condoms in Africa

With a 40% infection rate, I don’t thing the following quote  by Pope Benedict XVI is true.

"The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids."

In fact, it appears to be a falsehood meant to perpetuate the Vatican's moral agenda. Africans be damned, the Pope is more concerned that people do not have sex out of wedlock, and it does not matter if millions die in the process. Religion is evil.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Pastor accused of theft

Say it ain't so.... A pastor would never steal, right?

Mark Anthony Rassmann, pastor of the Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church of Haddonfield, said through an e-mail he has done "nothing illegal or unethical."

Details were not available about the accusations Saturday, but Rassmann's attorney, Salvatore Siciliano, said the accusations "have nothing to do with his role as pastor."

"Although he would like nothing more than to explain the situation in full detail, he is not at liberty to do so at this time," Siciliano said in a written statement. "There are matters currently pending against him and he has heeded the advice of his counsel to refrain from discussing any aspect of the case with anyone."

People, remember this is just an accusation. Don’t worry, Pastor Rassmann will continue to preach while this mess is investigated. I’m sure it is just a pack of lies meant to tear down a man of God. Please pass the collection plate.

***Update*** all charges against pastor Rassmann were dismissed.

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Pastor's widow says she prays for shooting suspect

I read that widow of slain pastor Fred Winters, Cindy Winters, was praying for the man who killed her husband.

"Terry, Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins, including the ones that you committed last Sunday," Winters read from a prepared statement.

And this is where I disconnect. I have to ask why? What good does it do? Cindy Winters is using the murder of her husband to further the cause of Christianity. It feels inauthentic. The real human emotions would be grief beyond words and a taste for vengeance, or justice.  Months from now, when the pain is less, forgiveness can come. I would believe it then. It would feel right. This feels political.

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Blogroll Update: Introducing Odd Innuendo

It has been a long time since I’ve had a chance to welcome an ex-Muslim to the blogroll. The blog’s owner has been kind enough to write an introduction:

In the authors own words:

Hi, I am Odd Innuendo. I am the blog owner of Odd Innuendo. I am an ex-Muslim, an apostate. My blog is to give a glimpse of Islam to the world, the non-Muslims, as well as the Muslims out there. It is there to stimulate discussion, and to reminds everybody that freedom of expression cannot be compromised. If you are interested in my journey from being brought up in a Muslim family, to my apostasy, check out my blog.

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Eating with Islam

I am attempting to make a few posts on my interactions with religion. I run into religious people of all stripes every day. I want to post on these interactions to offset the notion that I somehow hate religion or religious people. Hate is such a harsh word. I have little hate in me. Most of my interactions are pleasant experiences.

Last Friday my wife had a desire for Persian food. We were not able to get a reservation at Darya, so we opted to compromise on food from the Muslim neighborhood in Anaheim. Our first choice was Kareem’s, but it was closed for Friday religious services. Our next choice was the always reliable Sahara Falafel. As usual, the food was great. It was the interaction with Islam that caught my attention.

The beat up old TV was showing Friday prayers from a mosque. I could not identify the language. There were several men seated and eating while watching. They gave me the normal once over when we walked in, but I felt welcome.

The owner/manager extend a heartfelt greeting and treated us like we were his best customers. He made a special effort to put me at ease. Again, I felt welcome.

The restaurant had a flyer promoting an anti-war demonstration. It’s understated claim was to stop the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. It was the only flyer in the restaurant.

I watched the sermon while I ate. I did not understand a word. Nobody bothered me. Heck, few people even looked my way. Most were to preoccupied in their own business or in watching the sermon.

When we left, the manager/owner said, “Peace be with you”. He walked out of the restaurant as we left. He watched as we walked to my truck. I normally walk with a Buck knife handy, the place is not safe, it pays to be careful. The manager/owner was making sure we were getting to our vehicle safely. It was a nice touch.

I enjoy these types of experiences. I get a chance to learn about people and their cultures. But I have to be honest, I would have walked out if the Hour of Power were on the TV. I must have some bias.

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Blogroll Update: Introducing Moneduloides

Well now I’ve gone and let a anarchist on the the atheist blogroll. I must be lowering my standards… Moneduloides.

In the authors own words:

Corvus moneduloides, or the New Caledonian Crow, is endemic to New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands of Melanesia. This particular species of Corvid is the only non-primate organism believed to pass on the knowledge of tool manufacture and manipulation from one generation to the next. It is argued that this could be considered “culture,” but this crow knows better than to argue culture with anthropologists.

Instead, I spend my days carrying out research in evolutionary genetics and morphometrics at a private medical school in the Midwest, focusing primarily on these primates the world seems to care so much about. I have a history in evolutionary anthropology, and a future in it and medicine, and am extremely passionate about both.

Moneduloides is the self-titled pseudonymous blog of a scientist, atheist, and libertarian socialist (anarchist). 

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Blogroll Update: The clean up is underway

I've been working at cleaning up the blogroll almost every day since it returned to service. I want to thank Crystal from the Sunny Skeptic for finding a few dead and inactive links. Thanks! The help is appreciated.

I’ve removed these blogs:

  • Tarpan's blog: dead link
  • Stupid, Lazy, Fat & Crazy: dead link
  • Strappado: hasn't posted for almost a year
  • Strange Land: hasn't posted since Dec 2007
  • stacy-interrupted: has been interrupted, hasn't posted since 2007.

I’ve also added a few blogs that fell off in February. The problem is real. I’ll be auditing the new members month by month soon. I think we are 20 or 30 short.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blogroll Update: Introducing The Lucky Atheist

Our newest member, Mike Caton at The Lucky Atheist introduces himself thusly:

Hi all! I am humbled and honored to join Mojoey's blogroll. I'm carving out a niche of focusing on the politics of atheism, rather than on arguments supporting it - hey, if you're reading an atheist blog, you've already crossed *that* goal line. I try to provide constructive criticism where I think atheists in the U.S. could more profitably focus their efforts, and I don't hesitate to offer constructive criticism. I started a local Brights Chapter in 2004 and in 2006 I was camp counselor at Camp Quest West (Camp Quest always needs people!) And if that's not enough, in 1997 when Richard Dawkins signed my copy of the Selfish Gene with a pen I gave him that was made to look like a blood-filled syringe, he told me it was the most awful thing he'd ever seen. I'll be starting med school in the fall so going forward I'll often be looking at biomedical issues from a rationalist perspective. As for personal stats, I'm a 35 year-old married straight white guy living in the San Francisco Bay Area, and for a living I consult at biotech companies in clinical development, i.e. testing drugs on people to make sure they work. I'm also into distance running, linguistics, beer, and Jack-in-the-Box, though I promise not to talk about any of that on the blog except for beer.

See you at my blog - looking forward to your comments! -Mike

The Atheist Blogroll, Atheism, Blogging

Blogroll Update: 5 New members

We’ve had five new blogs join the Atheist Blogroll. Please visit them and welcome them to our team.

  1. Odd Innuendo
  2. Theology Now Blog
  3. TN Atheist
  4. Dolly
  5. KatScan

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

Feeling guilt

I have made a policy to be as honest as possible on my blog. So I’m going to tell this next story even though I would rather forget it.

Last week I drove across LA during my lunch hour without stopping to eat. When I arrive near my home, I stopped for a quick lunch at Chick-fil-A. I ordered chicken strips and a diet coke. I bought two boxes of four strips each. It was 3:30 pm. I was hungry.

I pulled to a stop at a traffic light in the left turn lane. Ahead of me was a woman in a car with several Christian bumper stickers. You know what I mean, a car with three or four stickers telling people to read the bible, and go to church. I watched as a homeless man showed a cardboard to the lady. She shooed him away and rolled up her window. I did not think it odd, in fact I thought it prudent. The man was large and scary looking.

I did not make it through the intersection when the light changed. As I pulled to a stop to wait for another three minutes, I reached for a chicken strip, dipped it in sauce, and made the Team Fortress Om Nom Nom Nom sound as I munched on it. I looked up to see the homeless man standing on the road divider next to me. His sign read, “I need help”. He asked for money, well… spare change actually. I shook my head no. I had no money to give.

I had food, but my thoughts ran to my own empty stomach, so I did not offer it. And this is where I failed. I should have offered him my lunch. I can always get something else. I have the means.  But I have this thing with food, I think it explains one of the reasons why I’m fat. I simply do not like to pass up a meal. I continued to munch on my lunch. The homeless man would go hungry.  I would eat.

The homeless man spoke to me again, “Please, is there anything you can do? I’m starving”. I was conscious of the fact that I was stuffing a chicken strip in my mouth as he asked. The guilt hit me like a physical force. I Immediately offered my lunch. He jumped off the divider and ran to my window. I handed him what was left of my lunch. He actually said, “Are you sure? This is your lunch.” I told him that I could get more. He smiled, bumped my fist, and ran across the street with my delicious lunch held to his chest. As I turned the corner, I saw him noshing away in the shade of a sign. In my mind I heard, Om nom nom nom. He waved in thanks as I drove away.

If I am to be consistent with the application of my values, I must be able to give freely, even if it means skipping a meal. I was ashamed of myself for a number of things that happened in my brief encounter with the homeless. I’ll do better next time. 

A special thanks to Kat, who prompted me to tell my story through telling me a story of her own. Kat, thanks for the kind words and thanks for sharing your story with me. Kat has the blogs My Single Mom Life and Kat Scan on the Atheist Blogroll.

Blogroll Update: Why do we believe in God?

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Why do we believe in God? The author provided an introduction.

In his own words:

My name is Rafael Garcia, the author of yet another atheist blog. whygod.weebly.com

I've created this site to share my position in the God debate. I am not religious in any way; I don't preach or pray to any God. So a warning to all religious people: the things that I say in my site may insult you, but know that I mean no harm. I do not claim to hold all the answers, because I am not an egotistical religious leader who claims to know everything.

I don't claim to disprove God's existence, I make no such claim because I cannot prove that God doesn't exist. No religion can prove that he does either. Its all faith. I know that I cannot compete against faith. I am just talking about having reasonable doubt.

I was brought up catholic and spend many Sundays at church. I stopped believing in God when I started to try to use rational thinking to justify my belief. I began to ask questions and wasn't too satisfied with the response. It seems that no matter what you ask, you get the same response: God has a plan or God works in mysterious ways. You never get a legitimate answer, you get similes, metaphors, and other "theories" that just have no real argument.

I look at history and see the bloody history of man kind, and religion is one of the reason of why there has been so much violence in the world. Which is very surprising, because religion is supposed to teach people peace and tolerence. Religion does not bring people together, in fact it divides people, because they can't seem to agree on who's praying to the right God. Even when they are praying to the same God, they still can't agree on the fine print. How many different Christian churches are there? I've lost count myself.

Anyway, I'm not here to convert anyone, I just want to speak about what I believe. Isn't that what other religious people do? Except they try to convert others. I will not knock on your door wearing a white shirt and a black tie holding the book of evolution. I promise. Even if you prayed me with charitable donations...

- Rafael Garcia

Monkeys worry about everything

Check out The Primate Diaries for the outstanding video, Some Messed Up Monkeys

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Blogroll Update: A small problem

New member The Sunny Skeptic was dropped from the Atheist Blogroll after joining in mid February. I’ve had a couple of blogs mysteriously drop off since going to version 2.0. I’m not sure if I simply did not add the blogs, or if they were dropped in the transition to blogrolling.com’s move to version 2.0.

The problem is sporadic. Most of the blogs I've added over the last few months are still on the blogroll, 12 were not. If you joined the blogroll since October, please check to make sure your blog is still listed. If your blog has been dropped, send me an email and I will add it right away.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blogroll Update: 7 new members

Seven blogs have joined the Atheist Blogroll. Please visit their blogs and welcome them to the blogroll.

  1. Great Minds on God, Religion and Science
  2. My Thoughts Are Free
  3. Sapien’s Place
  4. Evaluating Christianity
  5. Anything But Theist
  6. Yes, I am
  7. Why do we believe in God?

If you would like to join the blogroll, click here.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

learning that I suck at Rock Band 2

My family band, the Dumb Dogs, is looking for a new drummer. Apparently, I suck pretty hard. So, scratch vocals, scratch lead guitar, and scratch drums. I’m left with, bass guitar. I think the designers had older dads in mind when they came up with this slow paced instrument Even I can play the bass.

I’ve been on the road for four days for work. I’ve had little time for my blog, or anything else for that matter. When I returned home, I tried my best to relax by attempting to master a few songs on Rock Band 2 as a drummer. I feel like I’m physically unable to hit the right drum, the left drum and the foot pedal, in anything like the sequence shown on the screen. I tried to master, Today by Smashing Pumpkins. With some hard work I was able to push my score into the low 90s. It felt more like work then fun.

I’ll catch up on blogging tomorrow. I’m done for the day.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A moment of blind panic

I'm on the road for work. I've spent so many nights in hotels that I rarely have a problem sleeping. True to form, last night, I fell asleep early and slept deeply. At around 2:00 am a loud noise startled me from my sleep. I woke up confused and disoriented. I sat up in my bed in the dark and looked around the room in a panic. I did not know where I was. A movement caught eye, I reacted in typical fight or flight mode. I yelled, jumped up out of the bed and rushed what I thought was an intruder. The sound I made as I hit the wall and full length mirror was enough to wake the dead. The mirror broke, I fell to the floor seeing stars, and my right elbow hurt like hell. It was about then that I realized I was in a hotel.

A few minutes later there was people pounding at my door. My next door neighbor had called the front desk. The staff had arrived in full force. They all had a good laugh at my expense. I did not have to pay for the mirror. I'm such an idiot.

I was wondering if anyone else experiences the same kind of travel disorientation? I sure hope so...
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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Breaking News: Pastor shot to death

It's gruesome news this morning. CNN is reporting that a gunman walked to the pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Maryville in Illinois and shot pastor Fred Winters to death. There is no news as to the  motive.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Youth Pastor rapes 14-year-old girl

BenjaminCaldwell I wonder about the wording of my headlines sometimes. Youth Pastor and Christian athletic director Benjamin Douglas Caldwell has confessed to raping a 14-year-old relative repeatedly over a period of three months. That means I can say "Youth pastor rapes 14-year-old girl" and still be accurate, right?. Because, I'd hate to get the facts wrong or paint Caldwell as guilty when his innocence is still in question on the  6 counts of Statutory Rape, 3 counts of Statutory Sex Offense with a 14-year-old, and 8-Counts of Taking Indecent Liberties With a Minor.

Police say Caldwell also admitted he was the youth pastor of Hayworth Wesleyan Church and the Athletic Director of Hayworth Christian School. According to the church's pastor, David Emery, Caldwell has been dismissed from his duties. Emery also said the victim was not a student at the school or church.

His church wasted no time in firing him. I am sure they are worried that he might have abused children at the church or at the School. There will be a lot of uncomfortable interviews going on over the next few weeks. I hope the church had the foresight to put safeguards in place. They so rarely do though.

I predict 30 years in prison if convicted.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Dan Savage: Youth Pastor Watch

Dan Savage has a long running column on Youth Pastors that I follow called Youth Pastor Watch. He does a great job of highlight the horrible cases of abuse that arise out of Christian youth culture. I'm fan. Dan Savage does a great job.

In his Thursday, March 5th column, he highlights serial rapist, murder, and youth pastor Adrian Estrada. More girls are coming forward…

Pastor Daniel Lowhorn, who is alleged to have repeatedly sexually exploit children, has even more charges piled onto the existing stack of allegations.

Victims of Convicted child rapist Nathan Martinez have filed a lawsuit against the Living Faith Christian Center. They allege the Church knew about Martinez’s proclivities.

America's baby Mutaween

We must keep our eyes open for the Christian fundie's tendency to militarism and violence. I know it seems incongruous, but it’s real. Take The Merciful Death Penalty, an article on The Trumpet.com. The article is a long defense of the death penalty. Apparently the death penalty is a good example of God’s love. The article cherry picks bible verses to make their point.

The Old Testament of the Bible speaks with perfect plainness on the issue of capital punishment: “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death” (Exod. 21:12).

They build an argument, point-by-point, that we need the death penalty. My problem is that they mix up their Gods. It is a common problem, one that I rarely write about. But the outright hypocrisy of this article pushed me over the line. The God of the old Testament and the God of the New Testament are two different deities.

Some Christians I talk to bring up the concept of the New Covenant when describing why the hundreds of rules in the Old Testament no longer apply. My simplified version tells me that the Old Testament, with all its rules and such, is replaced by the New Testament. Jesus brings a new game with a new set of rules. The old rules no longer apply. I’m ok with this, as long as the Christians understand that they worship two different Gods, the vengeful God of the old testament, and the loving God of the new testament. They need to pick the one they want to follow.

When they use Old Testament rules to justify enacting present day punishments, like the death penalty, I cry foul.  You can’t have it both ways. I don’t think the teachings of Jesus would condone the death penalty. Yet, when I use this argument, they thing I’m out of my friggen mind. Am I wrong on this?

And for the record, I am against the death penalty. I do not think the state should have the power to kill us. It has nothing to do with religion.

Closing quote…

That is how the death penalty can be implemented in love! It deters others in this life from committing offenses worthy of the death penalty. And it prevents a murderer or violent career criminal from continuing in his wrong and worsening ways and more firmly establishing habits which must be broken when he has his opportunity to receive God’s truth.

How beautiful is the pure truth of the merciful Go

Mojoey shivers….

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Jesus gets thumped

Being Jesus is tough, just ask the homeless man who claimed to be Jesus Christ.

Suspected street-gang members attacked a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk out of annoyance that he calls himself Jesus Christ, San Diego police said.

I wonder if he would have got thumped if he claimed to be Budda?

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Feed the poor and grow rich

I've started tracking fraud in religious charities. My first story is troubling. It is alleged that some Christians feed the poor in order to grow rich. Why  would a “real Christian” do that?

A Walton County, Ga., judge will decide Friday whether
to bar the leaders of a multimillion dollar charity from their Monroe headquarters pending an FBI investigation into financial mismanagement.

The lawsuit involves Angel Food Ministries, a food charity
founded and run by the Rev. Joseph Wingo, his wife and two sons.

A Feb. 25 suit filed by Angel Food board members Craig Atnip, of Texas, and David Prather, of Georgia, alleges the Wingos enriched themselves by at least $2.7 million.

What would Jebus do? I am fairly certain he would not take a $600K housing allowance, or own a private jet.

Angel Food Ministry actually helps people. They offer discounted food to people who need a meal. It’s what they are alleged to do with the rest of the money that is a cause for concern. Their website warns about gossip, so be careful, you don’t want to be a backbiter because that’s just as bad as murder.... They do not mention theft. I wonder if that is as bad as murder?

Walk into any church, move silently around and eves-drop on a few conversations, and you'll likely discover gossip is a major problem in the Body of Christ. This ought not be so. According to the Word, God takes gossip very seriously. In Romans 1:28-32, He lumps whisperers and backbiters right in there with murderers, sexual perversion, and haters of God. Wow! That's some bad company to keep!

The FBI is involved. This will not end well.

Since it's Friday, I’ll close with some music lyrics Perhaps the Wingo’s will get the message.

Live High by Jason Mraz.

Live high, live mighty
Live righteously takin’ it easy
Live high, live mighty
Live righteously

I don’t think he’s singing about Jebus.

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A profound loss of innocence

I first learned of the nine-year-old Brazilian incest victim yesterday via twitter.  I was working so I could not make a post. Instead, I let the anger build up inside me. I should learn to let it go, but I can’t. Incest alone is enough to set me off. When you add the  pious and judgmental Catholic Church, I quickly reach the boiling point.

Thanks to AnAtheist.net and The BEattitude…

The story goes… A nine-year-old Brazilian girl was raped by her stepfather. She became pregnant with twins. The pregnancy placed the young girl’s life at risk, so the state sanctioned an abortion.   The Catholic church protested the abortion and eventually excommunicated the girl’s mother.

"The law of God is higher than any human laws," he said. "When a human law — that is, a law enacted by human legislators — is against the law of God, that law has no value. The adults who approved, who carried out this abortion have incurred excommunication."

Brazil’s health fights back with logic and reason.

Brazil's health minister accused the Roman Catholic Church on Thursday of an "extreme" and "inadequate" position in opposing an abortion for a 9-year-old girl suspected to have been raped by her stepfather…

"I believe the position of the church is extreme, radical and inadequate," Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said on a government radio program.

"I am shocked by the radical position of this religion which, wrongly saying it is defending a life, puts another life in danger that is as important as any other."

The Catholic Church was even willing to play hardball.

Before the abortion was carried out the archdiocese’s lawyers threatened to charge the mother with homicide, citing the Brazilian constitution’s guarantee to the right to life.

When a young victim needed nothing more than support, her church cast her aside for the sake of principle. The Catholic church was willing to let her risk death. I feel the wrongness of their actions at the very center of by being. Love and compassion guild me to help the victim, to save her life, to protect what is left of her shattered innocence. Christian love  is a jack-booted thug seeking to preserve the profane at the expense of the innocent. No thanks. We are better off without Christian love.

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