Monday, December 31, 2007

Policy or Persecution?

Christine Lutz, a Seventh Day Adventist was asked to leave a Fort Worth City bus for reading her bible too loudly. She claimed to be observing the Sabbath by reading to her children on the way to church.

...'Oh, but it's the perfect time and the perfect place since it is our Sabbath and it is the time with the Lord and therefore I'm going to continue.' And I continued," she explained.

Then, a TRE supervisor came on board. Lutz also told him that she would not stop reading. She and her family were escorted off the bus.

Source: - Woman Escorted Off Fort Worth Transit Bus For Reading Bible Aloud

Sounds like policy enforcement to me. I smell a fundie nutball.

I wonder if the story would have received the same coverage if it had been the Koran?

Huckabee on Homosexuality

Huckabee is a fundie of epic proportions. He is so anti-gay that to elect him would be equivalent to ushering in  a fundie inquisition. American Gays would face four hard years.

In 1997, Huckabee requested an amendment to a state Senate bill stating “that it is Arkansas public policy to prohibit sodomy to protect the traditional family structure.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 1/23/1997]

Source: Think Progress: Huckabee: "I Don't Know" if People are "Born" Gay, But It's A "Choice" To Act Gay

Huckabee would bring his morality and sense of Christian superiority to the White House. And then.... well, it is not a pretty picture.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Peter Kim Arrested Again

Via Onanite: Youth Pastor Arrested.

DENVER -- A former youth pastor at a Longmont, Colo., church remained jailed Friday under a $1 million bond after he was accused of having sex with a teen from the church and ignoring court orders to stay away from children.

Judge John Stavely issued the high bond for Peter Kim after learning of Kim's four alleged bond violations in the past year.

This is youth pastor Peter Kim's Fifth arrest. I've posted on Kim several times over the past year. It is hard for me to remain neutral. Screw it - I'm not neutral. Please put this guy in prison.

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You do I know you are a pervert?

When you blame your crimes on the four year old victim. Kenneth Cook, a retired pastor, did this during his trial. Now he is a convicted pedophile and on his way to prison. Did I mention he was a pastor?

A retired pastor from Canada was sentenced to three years in prison today after telling a McHenry County judge he was sexually harassed by the 4-year-old Lake in the Hills girl he pleaded guilty to molesting.

Kenneth R. Cooke, 73, appeared to have reasonable chance at a probation sentence given his age, health problems and lack of criminal history heading into his sentencing hearing this afternoon.

Source: Daily Herald: Ex-pastor sent to prison after claiming abuse victim harassed him

What damage has Cook caused?

"She has stated on many occasions she is a bad person and wishes she had never been born," the girl's mother said. "You can't imagine how hard it is to hear that from your own child.

His legacy is a shattered life. He must be proud.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Nutball Alert: Ron Paul is a nutball

Via The information Paradox. Ron Paul does not accept evolution as a valid scientific theory (as if that were possible).So... Ron Paul joins Huckabee on the lunatic fringe. Oh wait - I think Ron Paul invented the lunatic fringe. He should be comfortable there.

Science verses faith

A cool flowchart  (Found on Digg)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Feed the Muse - Willy Ronis

French photographer Willy Ronis has long been one of my favorite old school photographers. I've been hunting for a descent copy of Willy Ronis 55 for a long time. I found a near mint copy today in a used bookstore. Three bucks later I was a happy man. My favorite picture is the iconic Carrefour Sevres Bablyon. When I have an extra $7K, I plan on ordering a print. Ronis is best known for Le Nu provencal.

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Culture Wars Fought on Digg

Digg is a great source for news. I find and follow stories under my Mojoey moniker. Digg spy turned me on to the Pink and Blue Project, Everyone's cool with it, says dope smokers, and America's Most Literate Cites, 2007 (Buena Park is not on the list). What caught my attention today was a World Nut Daily post attacking the Canadian judicial system. On Digg, the comment threads are often more entertaining than the articles they link to. In this case, Bible standards attacked in Canadian "bastardized courts" fights the gay/anti-gay culture war in a series of comments that make you shake your head in wonder. As I post this, there are 272 comments in the thread ranging from hate filled screeds to hilarious sarcasm.


How about the multitude of events prophesied in the Old Testament that eventually came true as documented centuries later? The Bible does indeed prove its own Truth. If you want to dispute this, you would have to discredit hundreds of historians and archaeologists.


Politicians gone wild! Who believes Congress and the Courts are protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States? This Country is in a clear and present danger of it's own government. If the people will not do something now then when , if ever? Evil men will wax worse. They call this civilization, I say we never left the jungle, and the only rule according to the power elite is winner take all. Truth be known a high percentage of the power elite are queer.

It gets worse, except for some exceptionally bright people who interject critical thinking into the discussion. They give me hope while at the same time I scratch my head and wonder at the stupidity of the haters - In this case, Christian haters. Their fanatical anti-gay hatred is something I will never understand.

Huckabee - vote for me or die

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Review: HBO - Hard as Nails

I waited a few days after my first post on Hard as Nails to post a review. I wanted to separate my negative emotional response to this documentary from my rational response. You see, this documentary, and its subject, Justin Fatica, touched on something primeval in me. It stirred hatred, and hatred is something I prefer not to harbor. I failed. I could not get over Fatica. He scares me.

As documentaries go, Hard as Nails is a good one. It tells the story of lay catholic pastor Justin Fatica and his Hard as Nails ministry in a convincing and disturbing way. I enjoyed it. At one point I said to myself, this is the kind of documentary I would like to make (if I had gone to film school and actually had talent in this area). It was Justin Fatica who pissed me off, the documentary was great.

Justin Fatica is a bully. I hate bullies - even bullies for Jesus. I watched as he berated children, even simulating the crucifixion on unsuspecting participants. The yelling reminded me of boot camp - it was designed for the same purpose. Break them down so they could be molded into something else, like solders for Christ.

Justin Fatica is a nutball. I don't want him anyplace close to my children or family. If I were a parent witnessing his harassing tirades, I would punch this guy in the nose... twice. I don't care if he has big muscles built as a penance for his sinful masturbation. He still gets a punch in the nose.

In the 70s, when I was a "troubled teen", the tactics were more subtle, but no less insidious. My youth pastor would work us week after week on issue like masturbation, premarital sex, rock music, dancing, books, and even associating with non-Christian kids. It was enough to make me angry at the time. I did not need advice from these guys, few of us did. Fatica pounds the message home by yelling in the faces of his captive audience until he triggers the inevitable emotional breakdown. Once he cracks the shell, he dives in for more. His methods reminiscent of vaudeville, pro-wrestling, and military mind control all aimed and inflicting the maximum emotional distress on at risk children - night after night a church near you. Where are your kids?

Fatica has no credibility. I doubt he would have any credibility with the kids he preaches to if they knew of his silver spoon upbringing. take the 5,000 square foot home on a lake where his every need was taken care of. The "troubled" young Fatica was a spoiled brat at the end of his schoolyard influence with few prospects. Now the power of Jesus fills him - and he is utterly pathetic. If this is what his brand of religion is, I want no part of it.

I know a few people like Justin. They are ignoble, misguided and socially stunted. They embrace religion with a fervor not seen since the crusades. They focus on religion to the exclusion of all else. They ultimately fail at everything they touch except religion.

Justin Fatica is a scary man. I hereby christen him a nutball.

David Holbrooke deserves an award for his work. I don't know how it is possible to treat a subject like this fairly. My guess is that there was much worse footage left of on the cutting room floor. If you are reading David, may I suggest you choose James Dobson as your next subject?

Blogroll Update: Archaeoporn

2007 is winding down. The Atheist Blogroll has grown from about 100 blogs to nearly 550. It has been a good year. I can no longer keep up with reading all the blogs on our blogroll. My guess is that we post at least a thousand posts per day (it seems that way anyway). The latest blog to join is Archaeoporn. Thadd Nelson is the author.

In his own words:

Archaeoporn looks at the misuse of archaeology, with a specific focus on its ties to religious belief and agendas. Articles also cover archaeology news, information on looting, politics, and atheism.

Sample Post:

Talpiot Tomb: Reviewed

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A question for the heathen masses

My 26 year old son recently finished his first hardcore science fiction novel, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game.  He asked for a recommendation for his next read. I need to set the Sci-Fi hook. My recommendations are:

  1. Isaac Asimov - Foundation Trilogy
  2. Robert Heinlein - Starship Troopers
  3. Joe Haldeman - The Forever War
  4. William Gibson - Neuromancer
  5. Neal Stephenson - Cryptonomicon
  6. Alfred Bester - The Stars My Destination
  7. Phillip K. Dick - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  8. Jack Chalker - Dancers in the Afterglow
  9. Tim Powers - Dinner at Deviant's Palace
  10. Niven & Pournelle - Lucifer's Hammer

It is important to me that my son continue on his Sci-Fi education. I've read nearly everything published in the genre, as has my wife. This list is my favorites. I would like to hear your recommendations and/or critiques. What are your Top 10 Sci-Fi books?

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Monday, December 24, 2007

A story from my day - One

I played an early morning round of disc golf at El Dorado Park early this bight Christmas eve morning. For those of you in cold places, it was bight and sunny. I wore shorts and a t-shirt with a dose of sun screen for good measure. It was a perfect Socal winter morning.

I played alone for the first few holes. I caught a threesome on the 6th hole. They asked me to play with them instead of allowing me to play through. They were young men, my guess was they were in their early 20s. They paid too much attention to me. My fundie senses tingled.

On the tee box they asked me if I was a Christian. I told them no, that I was an Atheist, and not interested in their faith. They wanted to talk, I wanted to walk. I did a quick calculation in my head and realized I would spend at least an hour with the guys. it was going to be a long morning.

I was playing well. I pared the 6th hole while they shot one or two over. They continued to pester me with questions. I asked if they had ever really played disc golf before. When they asked what believe in (since I did not believe in Jesus), I responded with "I believe in love, you know, like the U2 song One. I got a few blank looks. So I quoted the song:

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

The actually said "we only listen to Christian bands". When I told them U2 was a Christian band they laughed. I just shook my head. These guys were not only fundies, they were wearing blinders too. I told them that U2 and the song One carry the message of love as the higher power of "oneness". It is how I try to live my life. I try to love everybody. They did not understand how I could do it without Jesus. I... well I did not really care.

A few minutes later I got my first ever hole in one on the 9th hole. It was a very good day.  

Happy Holidays everyone.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

and the rest of the world laughed

Do you know how I know? When evangelical Christians glob on to an old testament reference to the number 35 and somehow come away with a Holy highway, is there need for further proof?  This kind of "yuck yuck, I checked by brain in at the church door" crap can only happen here in America. Read it and weep.

A devout group of evangelical Christians in the Midwest are flocking to help purify a spot they believe the Bible has ordained as holy ground -- and it happens to be 1,500 miles of interstate asphalt.

Why the location?

According to CNN, the small contingent of churchgoers believe that Interstate 35, a sprawling highway running from Texas to Minnesota, is specifically mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 35.


Devout? more like demented.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Pastor charged with abuse

*** Update ****

Clayton Pruett is innocent. I'll publish an update when I have the full story.

*** Update ***

Another Baptist youth pastor has been arrested and charged with inappropriate sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl.

Clayton James Pruett, 25, allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with the girl at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he serves as a youth pastor, said Lt. Detective Scotty McGaha of the Bullitt County sheriff's office...

...He was arrested after the girl and her mother told police that Pruett made inappropriate sexual advances toward the teen at Pleasant Grove Baptist, and that the behavior had continued for more than a year.

McGaha said the advances began when the girl was 14 and intensified after she turned 15. The worst offenses happened in July, he said. He declined to elaborate.

Source: Bullitt coach, pastor, 25, is charged with abuse

When will it end? Never! New pedophiles pastors pop up every other week or so. What is being done about it? Nothing!

This man is crazy

Which man? why Mike Huckabee of course. How do I know? Andrew Sullivan told me so...

Again: you try and disentangle this. I can't. "Institutionally supported necrophilia"? The man is nuts.

Source: From Under Huckabee's Rock

I followed Sullivan's link back to the original article in Mother Jones. it was from a book review of Mike Huckabee's 1998 book Kids who Kill. I plucked this quote from the article.

He also declared that people who do not believe in God tend to be immoral and to engage in "destructive behavior."

Source: Mike Huckabee: Playing Both Sides of the Pulpit

Kids who kill is about:

In Kids Who Kill, Huckabee argued that school shootings were the product of a society in decline, a decline marked (and caused) by abortion, pornography, media violence, out-of-wedlock sex, divorce, drug use, and, of course, homosexuality. Huckabee and his coauthor bemoaned the "demoralization of America," observing, "Despite all our prosperity, pomp, and power, the vaunted American experiment in liberty seems to be disintegrating before our very eyes."


At least he did not argue that the shooting were God's wrath on a sinful nation (although I am sure that is what he thinks).

New Jersey ends capital punishment

America took a small step forward today. After our giant steps backward under Bush, this small achievement is cause for calibration. Thank you citizens of New Jersey - you give me a small measure of hope.

Today Governor Jon Corzine signed into law a bill that ends capital punishment in New Jersey. "This is a day of progress for us and for the millions of people across our nation and around the globe who reject the death penalty as a moral or practical response to the grievous, even heinous, crime of murder," Corzine said. In a powerful and eloquent speech delivered Monday morning, the Governor thanked advocacy groups for their hard and courageous work in creating "a fundamental grass roots groundswell that put pressure on those of us in public service to stand up and do the right thing."

Read More....

Now - let's take a look at Texas.

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Blogroll Update: Our Freedom of Espresso

I love the name of this blog, Our Freedom of Espresso. Jersey has offered an introduction.

In her own words:

Just like Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and the rest of the major religions, adherents to atheism and its non-theistic cousins  come in a variety of colors and shades. As is, coffee and coffeehouse have long been associated with the freethinkers' movement, giving rise to democracy, freemasonry, humanism, separation of church and state, both the New York and London Stock Exchange, and the not-as-important things like tipping, social gatherings without the presence of alcohol, and $5 coffee drinks.

As secularism and non-theism rise as dominant forces in the Western world, these forces clash with established traditions and religions who long have had an unrestrained hold on our culture and society. "Our Freedom of Espresso" hopes to be a blog about showing the benefits of freethinking and skepticism, while trying to show that there are as well many positions between atheism and theism that many blogs do not seem to show.

I love espresso - thick and strong like it is made in Italy. Yummy!


Blogroll Update: Five Public Opinions

I am behind in my maintenance on the the Atheist Blogroll. I plan to catchup tonight. Five Public Opinions joined our blogroll a few months ago. Now that this outstanding blog has moved from blogspot to wordpress, an introduction is in order. Enjoy!

In his own words:

Suffice it to say: while I have always been an atheist, Five Public Opinions has not always been an atheist blog, if you take my meaning. It evolved in this direction out of a growing interest in the hybridisation of religion and politics both in Australia and in the US, and the ramifications of this hybridisation for science and education (e.g. the ID debate) as well as liberal democracy (e.g. discrimination against non-heterosexuals and same-sex couples). In the course of many fruitful (and even some fruitless) online exchanges I have come to identify myself as an agnostic atheist–the kind of atheist that Richard Dawkins would term a “Level 6.” I am yet to be convinced that a move further along the scale towards “Level 7″ is warranted.

And here is a sample post:

Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City

Another troubling Huckabee clemency

Hot Air has an interesting piece on a questionable Huckabee clemency. It seems he grated special treatment to a donor.

Much discussed lately is Gov. Mike Huckabees incredible record on issuing clemencies more than 1,000 of them during his 10 years as governor. National Review and MSNBC are both reporting on a suspicious one involving an evidently incorrigible DWI convict who just happens to donate lots of money both to the AR GOP and to Baptist causes in the state. That the story is coming from both a liberal and a conservative outlet at roughly the same time suggests to me that its being fed to the press by a rival campaign, but nevertheless, if the facts are as reported, it doesn't look good for Huckabee

Read More...Another troubling Huckabee clemency

I cannot keep track of Huckabee's character issues. I'll have to make a post with a list of problems. Did I mention that this guy cannot become our next president?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Question of the day

How does this help the cause?

A teenager was arrested after a leader of the Church of Satan turned over to the FBI an e-mail the high school student had written to the sect in which he threatened to kill his grandparents, authorities said. 

Source: News from The Associated Press

The Church of Satan is an Atheist Organization.

Gilmore said members of his group are atheists who believe Satan is a symbol of freedom, not evil. "To the Satanist, he is his own God," reads a statement on the group's Web site from Gilmore.

Can somebody tell me how associating Atheism with Satan helps promote the cause of Atheism?  I don't get it.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Reagan would loose 2008 primary

Most people do not know that Reagan was not a regular church goer. While he was president it was never an issue. But if he were running today I have a feeling he would not even clear the primaries. So does Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan

In a column last week in the Wall Street Journal, former Reagan adviser and speechwriter Peggy Noonan speculates that if Reagan were running for president today, he would lose in the Republican primary. He would be hurt by not being a regular churchgoer and being too relaxed about the faiths of his friends and aides, or about its absence. He was divorced, to boot.

Source: Religion, politics must stay apart. The Mercury News.

The Mercury News editorial got me thinking about how things have changed. In particular about  how religion has gained center stage in our 2008 presidential race. I cannot recall religion being a big issue in any election I have voted in. Now we have Huckabee as the official Christian candidate and Romney as the as the anti-secular candidate. I think we should throw both of the bums out. The only issue that is important with regard to religion is the separation of church and state. These men cannot be our next president. They do not even understand what it means to be an American.

HBO: Hard as Nails

HBO has a religious documentary scheduled for release Monday, December 17th at 8:00 pm. The film Hard as Nails explores the life of Justin Fatica and the catholic youth movement he inspires.

Directed by David Holbrooke, HARD AS NAILS captures the dynamic 29-year-old unordained Catholic minister Justin Fatica as he preaches to a wide variety of young adults. Drawn by Fatica's magnetic aura, his teenage listeners pour their hearts out to him, offering their brutally honest accounts of drug addiction, sexual abuse, self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts, as well as confessing to more common teen insecurities, such as not fitting in.

Read More... HBO: Hard as Nails - Synopsis

The trailer alone is enough to make me watch this documentary. Fatica is the type of religious leader who speaks to the young and disenfranchised. His onstage antics inspire a fanatical following. Chapters of his Hard as Nails Ministry are sprouting every place he visits. Fatica is at the helm of a growing religious phenomenon. This could be good or bad, depending on his message.

I'd point you to his blog, but to date there is little in it.

So, set your Tivo's for Monday night. I'll post a review some time next week.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Huckabee caught in a lie

Mike Huckabee claimed to have a theology degree in an interview in a CBN Interview.

"I'm as strong on terror as anybody. In fact I think I'm stronger than most people because I truly understand the nature of the war that we are in with Islamofascism. These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree. I think I understand it really well."

Theology degree, it kind of rolls off the tongue. His response was a  less clear.

"I have a bachelor of arts in religion and a minor in communications in my undergraduate work. And then I have 46 hours on a master's degree at Southwestern Theology Seminary. So, my degree as a theological degree is at the college level and then 46 hours toward a masters -- three years of study of New Testament Greek, and then the rest of it, all in Seminary was theological studies, but my degree was actually in religion."

I think that means he does not have a degree. And, I think that qualifies Huckabee as a liar and a braggart. It may be par for the course for a Christian, but it is not what we need in a president.

Powerline broke the story.

Seven Random and Weird Things Meme

I was tagged by Frank at Salad is Slaughter.


  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
    Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  3. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

My 7 Random facts:

  1. I can throw a playing card 100 feet, even sticking them in walls (or my little sisters forehead). I win free drinks with this trick all the time. I can throw a beer coaster even farther.
  2. I moonwalk out of my socks after a long hard day.
  3. I am a sleepwalker. I wake up in my backyard staring at the stars during the summer months. When it is cold I stare at the refrigerator.
  4. I have had two near death experiences. I drowned when I was 18, and later that same year I was knocked out by 70 pounds of metal to the back of my head. I dream about drowning all the time. It was a horrible experience.
  5. I cannot sleep with the closet door open. I've had lucid dreams about people coming out of my closet since I was a child.
  6. I have a morbid fear of railway level crossing. I will never ever cross against a lighted level crossing.
  7. I go out of my way to help needy people., especially when they are homeless and hungry.

I tag: (the last seven bloggers to join The Atheist Blogroll)

  1. I Never Shut Up
  2. The Passionate Skeptic
  3. Dragged from the Bottom
  4. Tarradiddle
  5. Life According to Mike White
  6. Breaking Spells
  7. Oliver Benen
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ex-Lubbock pastor convicted

Pastor James Clark had his day in court. Guilty!

LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal jury has convicted a former Lubbock pastor accused of demanding sex from an African woman he sponsored with the promise of a college education.

James Cornell Clark was found guilty Wednesday of importation of an alien for immoral purposes.

Investigators say Clark met the woman in August 2005 while on a trip to Kenya.

Prosecutors say Clark, after the woman arrived and was enrolled at South Plains College in Levelland, demanded she repay him by performing sexual favors.

Defense attorney Helen Liggett challenged the woman's testimony, saying she had sexually exploited herself to get a better life.

Sentencing is pending for Clark, who faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Source: Ex-Lubbock pastor convicted in sex demand case | - Houston Chronicle

I posted on Clark three times.

Evil Lurks in Lubbock

Lubbock Pastor May Not Stand Trial

Another sexual predator posing as a pastor in Lubbock

The parade of guilty pastor continues. There are at least four more cases due to be resolved in the next week. It has been a bad year for these perverts. I think there is more to come.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Laces 4 Love

I have never understood the whole Christian foot washing fetish. Even when I was a Christian I would shy away from my friends "going down" on my grubby nasty feet.  When I read that schools in South Caroline are participating is a program that allows Christians to wash the feet of poor children in exchange for shoes - I shuttered in revulsion. Why would people allow this to happen?

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A church-state separation group has asked schools in Aiken and Edgefield counties to stop a church-run program that gives needy students new shoes and socks because the youths engage in ritual foot-washing.

On its Web site, Laces4Love says children who need shoes are brought to the lunchroom where volunteers remove their old shoes and socks and wash their feet with warm towelettes before putting the on the new socks and shoes.

Aiken County school officials say children decide whether they want to have their feet washed before getting new shoes. Americans United for Separation of Church and State says regardless of the nature of the foot washing, the fact the shoes come from a church group carries with it some level of religious influence.

Source: Columbia, SC: SC district: No religious ritual involved in church shoe giveaway

There have been times in my life when I was poor enough to gladly sit through a foot washing in exchange for a pair of shoes. The thing is, when a child needs something this desperately, it feels like giving them shoes in exchange for an opportunity to proselytize is subjecting them to exploitation.  Why not just donate the shoes? And I hate to say this, but think about the pervert factor here. How many of these good (Baptists) Christians do this because the like touching kid's feet? What are these people thinking?

Americans United are on it. This program is doomed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blogroll Update: Tidbits for Atheists

The Devout Atheist writes Tidbits for Atheists. He joined the The Atheist Blogroll in October and has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

In his own words:

We atheists devote much time, energy, and words to two themes: 1. disputing the existence of a god(s); 2. expressing our anger and dismay that in our ultra-religious country, reason is so often supplanted by a blind self-righteous miasma of belief in the supernatural. I plan to offer occasional tidbits to help us persevere as an often beleaguered minority. Most of my entries will be short, and some hopefully also sweet. Most will concern atheism, but some will be meditations on various themes.

Drop in and say hi.

Top Ten Suggestions For Performing Better Miracles:

I was pursuing the Atheist blogroll at lunch the other day when I found the Top Ten Suggestions for Performing Better Miracles

Via Atheism: Proving the negative

1) The claim that a violation of the laws of nature has occurred should not be evaluated or investigated by committed, zealous believers. Humans have an uncanny knack for finding what they are looking for. The virtue of double blind testing procedures in science is that they help us prevent undue influence by wishful thinking, conflicts of interest, hedging, confirmation bias, and sloppy thinking. Many people claim that there are miracles happening on a regular basis now. It would be a relatively easy matter to have an independent panel of objective evaluators, doctors in the case of a healing miracle, examine just the evidence before and after an alleged healing without any leading or suggestive information about what they are looking for. Just show them the X rays, or the diagnoses, or the CAT scans before and after someone is alleged to have been healed of a brain tumor, for example.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Baptist, pastor & incest - oh my!

Well here is a surprise, yet another Baptist pastor arrested on incest charges. I know incest is in the old testament and all, but our modern law forbid it.

Union Parish Sheriffs deputies arrested Kenneth Duchesne, the pastor at Beulah Baptist Church Tuesday afternoon, and charged him with two counts of aggravated incest.

Duchesne, 35, was arrested at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the parking lot of Wal-Mart after the Sheriffs Office received a complaint on Monday.

Dusty Burroughs, a deacon at the church, said the congregation was shocked by the arrest. "It's hurt the church pretty good", Burroughs said. "We're trying to deal with it and move on."

Duchesne had been the preacher at Beulah Baptist, located north of Farmerville between Farmerville and Spearsville, for less than a year, and according to Burroughs, was asked to resign on Sunday night on matters unrelated to the incest charges.

"The deacons asked him to resign on some other things that had come up but nothing rated with this", Burroughs said. We never figured on anything like this. Burroughs said Duchesne will be officially relieved of his duties on Wednesday. Duchesne is married and has two children a girl and a boy and lived in the parsonage of the church.

"We're all shocked and hurt", Burroughs said. "Of course were concerned about the family, his wife and children. All we can do is pray for them and pray for him."

Source: Pastor arrested on incest charge

Of course, his church fired him for an "unrelated issue". Something smells fishy on this one.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pastor is convicted in sex case

I posted on Pastor Bruce Alvin Curtis back in April. He was convicted of his crimes last week. So far the the 2007 pastor conviction rate is pretty damn high. Only one of the many pastors I have profiled here has been found innocent. Something tells me this trend will continue.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Huckabee spin

Huckabee continues to confuse and obfuscate. This time distancing himself from an actual call to have AIDS patients quarantined by spinning it as an observation.

Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn’t really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn’t isolate the carrier.

Source: Think Progress » Huckabee Denies He Ever Called For Quarantining AIDS Patients, Contradicts His Own Comments

Of course, he is on record as calling for the United States to take steps to isolate people with AIDS. We all know he was not just talking about AIDS victims too, he is a Gay basher from way back. 

If you want to see spin in action, checkout this youtube video. Huckabee cannot be our next president.

For my sister

Light Study

I saw my sister yesterday, she wanted me to make a picture for her this Christmas. I told her my Nikon was broken again and that it would be hard to make a picture with my little Sony Cybershot. She laughed.

I screwed up a bunch of shots this morning while playing with the settings on my Cybershot. This is my favorite.

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God vs. Darwin

I stumbled upon this small article on this morning.

According to a poll released by Harris, out of 2, 455 American citizens, 82% believe in God. From believing in miracles to heaven and Jesus himself, U.S. citizens have once again proven their religious fervor. This number is relatively unchanged from the same poll taken two years earlier.

An age-old argument, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution versus The Big Bang has been a topic of discussion for centuries. And despite technological and scientific advances in modern society, it is still a much talked about topic today.

Source: - Daily Blog: God vs. Darwin

The article itself is innocuous, except that I really do not understand the Evolution versus The Big Bang reference. These theory's do not cover the same topic so how is there a conflict? It is the comments that made me laugh.

Andrew B (1 post) says:

Evolution is false to me. My brother isn't a gorilla

gcljlamb (3 posts) says:

The Bible describes the wisdom of man as being folly to God. It means the wisest man who has ever lived, lives today, or will ever live, his very best theories, etc. will be like 2+2=4 to God. Consider this: Man would like to believe he's becoming "all that" by the whole cloning thing, but what is that? It's copying. God formed Adam out of the dirt; He built and transformed dirt into blood, skin, bones, nerves, eyes, brain, etc. When man can take dirt and make out of it what God has made without God's "pattern", THEN and only then can we say we've "arrived", not before. Thoughts?

posche (1 post) says:

Well evolution guys plz ask the monkeys dat we see even to this day what are they waiting for?Why aren't they evolving? Perhaps they will sort this out for us after they have evolved and to think that I was once a monkey, God forbid He tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I'm sticking to that. O and you who said that if we don't believe in evolution we should not use computers, well u also stop using God's oxygen for your complex-wired brain dat even evolution cud not afford to design, in order to think crap. The big bang theory says that matter came from nothing, and the Bible also tells us that God made the unirvese out of nothing coincidence? You guys are just too proud to admit dat de big bang really is crap? Well in this world de is1 point of reference n dat is God!

Most of the comments are pro-Darwin. I had to mine for the religious nutballs.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just say no to Huckabee

A friend mentioned he would be voting for Huckabee in the upcoming primary. I nearly choked. Huckabee is not the candidate we need. He is a fundamentalist Baptist preacher turned politician. He believes the bible is the literal word of God. He believes the bible over science. And more to the point, he has a long history of letting his religious ignorance guide his politics. Take his position on AIDS in the 90s.

As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

In 1992, Huckabee wrote, "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague."

Source: Huckabee wanted to isolate AIDS patients - Yahoo! News. By Andrew DeMillo

This was the fundie view at the time dispit overwhelming scientific evidence that AIDS could not be spread by causal contact. Now he's singing another tune. My guess is that he is not being entirely honest.

My friend - he always gets it wrong too.

Chocolate love

A friend of a friend opened an online chocolate shop last week. Xuan Patisserie is a speciality chocolate shop producing a small range of unique chocolates in the Los Angeles area. I had an opportunity to take a closer look when several boxes were dropped off as samples by my friend. (He happens to have made Xuan's website.) I cannot eat chocolates for health reasons, but my co-workers, especial a few of the females, could sample with abandon (and they did).

Xuan Patisserie has been established by chocolatier Xuan Ngo to fulfill the growing demand for artisan chocolates. Xuan currently serves as a pastry chef at the Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills.

Ngo was born in Danang, Vietnam and grew up in Les Baux de Provence, France. There, he spent the summers of his childhood in the kitchen of Oustau de Baumaniére. Upon graduating high school, he went to work for Pâtisserie Lenôtre - a renowned Paris bakery.

I don't normally plug products, especially products I cannot enjoy, but these chocolates are special. Once my co-workers sampled a few, it created a minor chocolate feeding frenzy. I actually had people begging me to open a box I had set aside for my wife. It got ugly.

The box for my wife is another story. She swears it is the best taste experience ever. I have a feeling I will be making a regular purchase. Free samples.... its more like crack.

This gem is the best of the lot, white chocolate with pure passion fruit. apparently, those who have tried it experience a foodgasm.

I saw two people actually split one in half - its that good. Chocolatier Xuan Ngo is the real deal. He's worked at Spago, Baumaniere, Sona, Boule, and now works at the Peninsula restaurant in Hotel Beverly Hills.

Xuan Patisserie chocolates are not cheap, a box goes for $22. If you are looking for a special holiday gift, this might work.

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Blogroll Update: Life According to Mike White

Our newest Atheist Blogroll member is Life According to Mike White. Please drop in and welcome him to the team.

In his own words:

Growing up from a Christian background, knowing Christian friends and having Christian parents isn’t necessarily a bad thing but does bias you towards a set of beliefs. With Christianity taught to you as a child at such a young age many people develop into adulthood holding strong to the set of beliefs which they had known since birth. However, after a much needed realization of reason, the chains of religion have fallen and atheism is the new world view. My Blog doesn’t only tackle religion but gives a new look onto atheism as a moral and free thinking world view which isn’t limited by dogmatic doctrine. Of course my blog also contains subjects other than religion, because let’s face it, we all need a break from the subject sometimes!

and a smile crossed my face

I was reading the Salt Lake Tribune for news tidbits on Mitt Romney. The tend to be more critical and more enlightening when when it comes to Mitt. Anyway, I stumbled on this Public Forum Letter titled Atheism's OK by Jayne Butler.  I thought I would pass it on.

According to Kevin Prusse, (Tribune, Nov. 30), the new face of atheism is "aggressive, dogmatic and unrelenting." Might those same adjectives be used to describe most religions?

Muslims in Darfur feel the need to kill a school teacher over the name she allowed her students to give a teddy bear. Catholics and Protestants killed each other for decades over the dogmatic belief that their respective religions were true. Missionaries of many faiths aggressively pursue new converts and then require adherence to their dogma. And the unrelenting belief in the inerrancy of the Bible leaves many of us wondering if believers have actually read the book and considered some of the utter nonsense therein (God's really going to allow a bear to consume innocent children because they made fun of a prophet's bald head?).

Mr. Prusse says atheists are being "fueled by crusading hatred of all religions . . .." My atheist friends are kind, loving and genuinely good people. Their goodness comes from within, not from obedience to, or fear of, an unseen God. Mr. Prusse and others who "crusade" against atheism need to wiggle a toe outside of their boxes and see the bigger picture.

Jayne Butler


Source: Salt Lake Tribune - Atheism's OK

Goodness comes from within - I said the same thing just yesterday.

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Ex-Pastor 4 year term for sex conviction

Ok - he's an ex-pastor so its a bit of a stretch. My guess is he becomes a born again prisoner while serving in protected custody. They all do....

A former postman and ex-pastor convicted of sexually abusing an elderly Florala woman is headed to prison.

Alabama Attorney General Troy King said a Covington County judge yesterday sentenced Jerry Hutcheson to four years for raping an 86-year-old woman in November 2004. King said Hutcheson committed the crime while delivering the victim's mail. He pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse in October.

A judge ordered Hutcheson to register as a sex offender and he must pay $3,000 court costs and a $200.00 fee to the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Committee.

Hutcheson has a hearing January 14th regarding his request for probation.

King said in a statement yesterday, "the crime was an appalling violation of human decency

Source: AG: Ex-Florala postman gets 4 year term for sex conviction | The Journal Gazette

Lets see, rape an 86 year old women and then ask for probation. That just does not seem very Christian to me.

Blogroll Update: Jyunri Kankei

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Jyunri Kankei.

In his own words...

Jyunri Kankei is pigdin Japanese for "the relations of (pure) reason." Written in kanji it would look like this: 純理関係. Through curious trick of homophones -- which are abundant in Japanese -- it could also mean: 'tricks of reason', or 'net profit relations'.

Jyunri Kankei is a collection of musings and thoughts about the world as it is today, with a focus on the prevalence of reason and logic, and often about how these two are ignored in the world in favor of less-than-ideal metaphysics, and sometimes out-and-out stupidity.

One another note...

The Atheist Blogroll has grown to 528 blogs. With each passing week the amount of time I must put into maintaining our ever expanding list grows. I ask for your patience when requesting updates, I usually get to them within a week. Thanks.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Blogroll Update: Reasonable Doubts

Reasonable Doubts (#524) is a blog with a podcast. Please drop in and give these three former Christians a listen.

Reasonable Doubts blog/podcast provides an informative and humorous look at religion from a freethinking perspective--including news, commentary, guest interviews and more. Reasonable Doubts primary focus is on counter-apologetics: detailed counter-points to the faulty logic and blatant misinformation propagated by religious apologists. We take pride in promoting skepticism not cynicism: a fair-minded approach emphasizing integrity and critical thinking. Check out our website at for information, downloads and to join in the discussion.

Sample Post: Props to Ann Coulter for Being Honest About "inferior Religions".

Or a sample episode post - Episode 4

Top 15 Quotes By Famous Atheists

I found this while surfing today. The Top 15 Quotes by Famous Atheists. My favorite is number 9.

A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. Samuel Clemens

Do you have a favorite Atheist quote? if so, please post it.

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Baptist Pastor in Puyallup arrested

Another Baptist pastor has been arrested on charges he sexually abused two sisters, ages 12 and 13.

TACOMA, Wash. -- A pastor in Puyallup has pleaded innocent to four counts of child molesting involving two sisters whose family attends his church.

The Rev. Forrest Lee Hudson, 65, pastor of Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, was arrested Friday, posted $100,000 bail and remained free after his arraignment Tuesday in Pierce County Superior Court on first-degree child molestation and three counts of second-degree child molestation.

Judge Vicki L. Hogan ordered Hudson to avoid any contact with anyone under 18 but did not bar him from ministering to his congregation.

Source: Pastor in Puyallup charged with child molesting

There is no word yet on if his congregation will stand behind him. I'm betting they blame the girls.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I swear, I was doing research

I just happened to be writing a book on hypocrisy, and I thought it would be a good idea to download a couple of pornographic images of children. I was all a big mistake from three years ago. I swear, I was doing research. This is all a big mistake. My enemies are persecuting me - or so says radio host and former catholic priest Bernie Ward.

"As everybody knows, Bernie, for over 20 years, has been a progressive, opposed to insensitive authority - he has been a champion of charities, nonprofits for the homeless," said Doron Weinberg, who appeared in federal court today as Ward's lawyer.

"More than three years ago, Bernie was doing research for a book he was doing on hypocrisy in America," Weinberg said.

As part of the research, Ward downloaded "a few images" of child pornography, and, Weinberg said, "it came to the attention of the government in late 2004."

"They investigated and they never found any involvement in child pornography other than this period that he accessed these images," Weinberg said. "The government knows that Bernie was doing this for an investigation he was doing for a book. But the government believes he violated the letter of the law and they have gone ahead and prosecuted him."

Source: SF radio personality Bernie Ward indicted on child porn charges

We've heard one side of the story, the governments case is under seal. We will have to wait to find out the real story.

Pastor Convicted of Raping a Teen

I posted on pastor Bruce Curtis back in April. I received a few nasty emails from his congregation at the time. Now he has been convicted of raping a teen. Is he still a man of God?

A local pastor is found guilty of inappropriate sexual contact with a teenage girl who attended his church. The Hamilton Journal News reports that a jury decided to convict 54-year-old Bruce Curtis yesterday.

Investigators say the charges stem from an incident that happened at the 17-year-old's Fairfield home in February. Curtis was pastor of Community Friendship Church of God in Christ in Hamilton.

He was taken into custody until his sentencing next month. Curtis faces up to 18 months in prison.

Source: Local Pastor Convicted of Inappropriate Sexual Contact With Teen - WKRC-TV Cincinnati

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

yet another Baptist pastor in court

People are starting to send me these stories from all over the country. The whole Baptist sexual abuse problem is much bigger than people realize.

A new trial date was set yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for a onetime Toledo Public Schools board of education candidate charged with several counts of child endangering.

Richard Brown III, whose address is listed on court documents as 1146 Hamilton St., will go to trial Jan. 28. He is charged with four counts of endangering children and two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. If convicted, he could face a combined maximum punishment of 28 years in prison.

Mr. Brown, 34, is accused of abusing two brothers, now ages 16 and 18, whom he met as a youth pastor at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave. According to the prosecutor’s office, two of the counts of child endangering involve coercing the boys into posing for inappropriate photographs and two of the counts involve corporal punishment.

Mr. Brown, who at one point in 2007 was the endorsed Democrat for the school board, withdrew his candidacy prior to the election.

Richard Brown joins the long list of pastors Baptist pastors charged with a sexual offence in 2007. I hope 2008 is a better year. Our children deserve it.

I don't believe in you either

Pope Benedict released his second encyclical. Atheism is the target of his heavenly biased criticism. He logic goes something like this:  Lennon was an Atheist, the communist revolution was a horrible thing, therefor every form of atheism is evil. I am sure glad the Pope is not the leader of our secret atheist church, logic  like this would keep the scientists away (we need them, the fill the collection plates).

Marxism, Benedict wrote, had left behind "a trail of appalling destruction" because it failed to realize that man could not be "merely the product of economic conditions." For man to be redeemed, he also needs God's unconditional love.

"It is no accident that this idea (Marxism/Atheism) has led to the greatest forms of cruelty and violations of justice, rather, it is grounded in the intrinsic falsity of the claim", he wrote. "A world which has to create its own justice is a world without hope."

Benedict also cited Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union, and the "intermediate phase" of dictatorship that Marx saw as necessary in the revolution.

"This 'intermediate phase' we know all too well, and we also know how it then developed, not ushering in a perfect world, but leaving behind a trail of appalling destruction," the pope wrote.

Source: Pope: Atheism Led to 'Greatest Forms of Cruelty' |

Is every Atheist a Marxist or a Communist? Does every atheist dream of replacing God with an dictator lead authoritative state? Do we all scheme to overthrow civilization and establish a new world based on Atheism? (Is there a manual for how we are supposed to do this? Can somebody send it to me?).

The truth is Mr. Pope, I am simply a man with no faith whatsoever. Hell, I don't even believe in you. the Catholic church is a shame based on a lie. You are a political hack with no more divine authority than my dog Thor. I grant you ZERO authority over my life.  And by the way, with your legion of pedophile priests raping our children, perhaps you should focus on something that will benefit humanity?

I leave you with my favorite Atheist themed song.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Atheist Blogroll Toolkit Firefox Plugin

Larro maintains a site dedicated to providing tools for the Atheist Blogroll. His latest tool is a Firefox Plugin which can be used to search the Atheist Blogroll. Larro also maintains the Atheist Blogroll search engine tool (for which I am gratefull). 

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The pedophile's secret code

Bonnie Goldstein of Slate Magazine has published the Pedophile's secret code. It is thoroughly unsettling.

Every subculture speaks its own dialect, and pedophiles are no exception. Hence the FBI's January 2007 "intelligence bulletin" on "symbols and logos used by pedophiles to identify sexual preferences." The document (see Pages 2-4), was prepared and distributed to FBI divisions and field offices earlier this year by the Cyber Division's Innocent Images National Initiative. These are the G-men and -women who work on cases involving child exploitation and sexual abuse.

Read More

It gives me the chills.

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Things that piss me off part II

Christians post all sorts of drivel on that backs of their pathetic little cars. Take "What Would Jesus Bomb" for instance. I see this and want to puke. What would Jesus Bomb? Ask Bush and his fundie war mongering crew - they are Christians and they bomb the shit out of everyone. When one Christian voices a concern like this, the audience is me, not George W. The audience is the Atheist, not the Christian. They think we need to know what Jesus would do, yet what Jesus does through our fundie leaders is enough to make me sick. And yes - this pisses me off.

Blogroll Update: Tabula rasa

An outstanding Spanish language blog has joined the Atheist Blogroll. Tabula rasa (Darwinismo sociable) provided an introduction for our English speaking readers. He asked me to edit it, however, I fear he writes better than I do so.... I give you an introduction to Tabula Rasa.

On the insufficiency of atheism

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams.

Sam Harris recently addressed what he called "The problem with atheism" at a conference in Washington: since we do not call astronomers "non-astrologers" or chemists "non-alchemists", then why do we secularists and naturalists keep using "non-theist" or "a-theists" negative denominations?

Harris was -at least partially- right. "Atheism" is neither a "science", as in the Marxist "scientific atheism" tradition, nor even a systematic philosophy. A-theism is not a worldview. Naturalism (or materialism or positivism) is.

Naturalism is a philosophy based upon the assumption "that every mental thing is entirely caused by fundamentally non-mental things, and is entirely dependent on non-mental things for its existence." But I would suggest naturalism is rather methodology or soft ontology than pure metaphysics. Even though we can't establish what consciousness really is -given the actual neuroscience research and neurophilosopher's interpretations-, we do know what is about. All we have is some bad and some good (mainly naturalists) hypothesis concerning the "hard problem" of how is it that some organisms are subjects of experience . Neither do we know all the neuro-hormonal connections between brain and culture that enable human singularity. But I think we're in the way to consilience.

Along with the neopositivist tradition of the 20th century, I reject any kind of substantial conception of philopsophy or metaphysics. Since I don't hold philosophers capable of establishing the ultimate nature or ±ÁÇ® of life and matter, neither I consider "naturalism" a dogmatic philosophy in that sense. Instead, I suggest the term "skeptical materialism" to describe naturalist view as both a methodology and a soft ontology. "Sensible positivism" (positivismo sensato), as the spanish philosopher Javier Muguerza call it, would also be an accurate term.

We should positively redefine "Metaphysics" as well. Metaphyics refers to a set of non empirically proved and not directly verifiable broad assumptions concerning the nature of reality. Following Imre Lakatos, we should not reject metaphyscs as a whole. Instead, we should try to separate good from bad metaphysics. Good metaphysics is basically progressive metaphysics, a set of theoretical, cultural and even mythical assumptions that "fuel" research programs, along with the discovery of novel facts. On the contrary, bad metaphysics does not lead us to a progressive research program, but to a degenerative one marked by lack of empirical growth and disconnection with reality.

In my view, many atheists today tend to overemphasize the causal link between religion and ignorance (Harris: "All we need are words like "reason" and "evidence" and "common sense" and "bullshit" to put astrologers in their place, and so it could be with religion."), or between religion and bigotry and fanaticism (Weinberg: "The world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief"). No doubt there is a strong connection between some forms of religion and some forms of violence. But neither religion nor atheism are "the root of all evil", and there is a danger in adopting "Harris interpretation" as atheist conventional wisdom. We skeptical materialists should be able to clearly distinguish between advance and primitive religious creeds, and between religious bigotry and "customary orders" that really reinforce human morality and human cooperation. Of course, supernatural beliefs are not absolutely required to support our moral purposes (because moral capacity rests on the natural order embodied in the evolutionary architecture of the human brain), and atheist activists are right arguing against those who still found morality exclusively in God's sanction.

Atheist activism has nothing to do with "imposing" disbelief but with secularism and freedom of thought within an open society. According to the Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 18) "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion", and this right "includes freedom to change his religion or belief". Similarly, the 2004 Human Development Report defended "cultural liberty" as a "vital part of human development". So, if we are free to choose a religion, we should be free not to choose any. We may speak today about the "right to atheism" or the "non-religious affiliation right" as de lege ferenda for the 21st century.

Tabula rasa wins the best into award for 2007. I'm going to go learn Spanish now so that I can read his blog.