Archive for March, 2007

U.N.H.R.C votes to outlaw “religious defamation”

The United Nations Human Rights Council has passed a resolution urging a global prohibition on the defamation of religion. For “religion” read “Islam”, because the main thrust of the resolution focussed on that particular belief system. This is unsurprising, as the resolution was pushed through by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference countries, and opposed only by European countries plus Canada, Japan, and South Korea.

According to the International Herald Tribune:

The resolution [...] “expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.”

It makes no mention of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or any other religion besides Islam, but urges countries “to take resolute action to prohibit the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas and material aimed at any religion or its followers that constitute incitement and religious hatred, hostility, or violence.”

It was passed by a 24-14 vote.

Needless to say, the Islamic countries and their allies (China, Cuba, Russia) don’t exactly have the greatest human rights records, especially when it comes to freedom of expression, which, according to the resolution:

may … be subject to limitations as provided by law and necessary for respect of the rights or reputations of others … or morals and respect for religions and beliefs.

It was the Danish Motoons which prompted this action. Fortunately, the UNHRC has no power other than to draw attention to human rights issues. This decision will do nothing for its already terrible reputation.

For a scathing analysis of the UNHRC, and an even more revealing response, watch this video:




Sweet Jesus H Christ on the Cross!

chocolate jesus
American religionists are up in arms about a milk chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ, the semi-mythical figure upon whose deeds and sayings Christianity is largely based.

The six foot confection has raised the ire of The Catholic League. Its head, Bill Donohue, has brought the previously obscure artist responsible into the international limelight by branding it “one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever”. Raging Christ-worshippers have bombarded Manhattan’s Lab Gallery with angry emails and telephone calls, prompting the gallery’s creative director to reconsider his options:

We’re obviously surprised by the overwhelming response and offence people have taken. We are certainly in the process of trying to figure out what we’re going to do next

Mr Donohue feels the statue, titled “My Sweet Lord”, is particularly offensive because of the time of year, known to followers of his religion as “Easter”. This is traditionally the time when Christians celebrate their god’s act of suicide by going to church and eating chocolate eggs.

The fact that they chose Holy Week shows this is calculated, and the timing is deliberate

Bill Donohue is strongly of the opinion that his beliefs should be treated with respect.

UPDATE: The show has been cancelled by the director of the hotel which houses the gallery. The gallery director, Matt Semler has resigned in protest. He described the protest as a “Catholic fatwa”, to which the zany Bill Donahue responded:

He had no business saying my letter of protest was hate speech. It just goes to show the guy is out of his mind.

Protest email and phone calls to the gallery included death threats.




What the CCTV doesn’t want you to know

cctv video
The swivel-eyed fringe fundamentalists of the Christian Congress for Traditional Values have been off our radar for a while, but their recent campaign against the Sexual Orientation Regulations has brought them back into the firing line.

On March 20 they sent a mailshot out to supporters linking to a video on YouTube entitled “What the Government Doesn’t Want You to Know”. This video, which is hilarious and disturbing in equal measure, shows a teacher giving a fictional lesson in sexuality to a group of primary school kids. Bloggerheads has a full transcript, but here are a couple of highlights from the lesson:

It’s important to find out whether you’re gay or bisexual, as all of us are really bisexual; which means that we enjoy having sex with either men or women. Some people are just gay, and some people only have sex with the opposite sex. The important thing to remember is that a family can be anything that you want it to be; it could be two Daddies, or ten Daddies… or you might have two Mummies or lots of Mummies, and lots of Daddies, all enjoying having sex with each other.

Now children, you see this picture here… I’m going to teach you how to experiment with each other’s bodies, to find out whether or not you’re gay. It’s fun to play with each other, and you’ll soon find out whether or not you’re actually gay.

In addition to this video, which appeared on the newly created CCTV channel on YouTube, a host of new commenters appeared to support it. Very little negative reaction was published (MWW’s sarcastic comments, for example, were excluded).

Again, Bloggerheads has recorded the commentary for posterity. Among the most amusing contributions was one which began: “I am gay, and quite happy to be one, but…”.

On Wednesday a delegation from the CCTV demonstrated in Parliament Square with a hearse bearing the words “A good day to bury morality”, and placards reading, among other things, “GAY AIM: ABOLISH THE FAMILY”.

So far, so predictably paranoid. But what has this got to do with MWW? Well, Tim at Bloggerheads made a parody of the video, and also mirrored the original on another YouTube channel. Then, after the regulations had been passed, the original video was removed and Tim got a message from the person responsible demanding that he remove both the mirror and the parody. He did not. But YouTube, following a complaint from the video maker, did.

It seems such a shame that this gross and idiotic video, which so perfectly reflects the nature of the CCTV, should disappear without a trace. We can’t imagine why they would want to suppress their own masterpiece. So it’s up on our Californian servers for any interested party to download as and when they wish.

So why not crack open a bag of popcorn and watch the good Christians of the CCTV in action? .MPG or .WMV.

(Downloads courtesy of Matt Wardman)




Eurovision promotes Satanism (again)

The Swiss entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been condemned by Christian fundamentalists for its allegedly satanic content (reports Swiss Info).

DJ Bobo’s Vampires are Alive is “an affront to religous convictions” according to Thomas Feuz, the head of the Federal Democratic Union’s petition committee.

The song is bad from our point of view. We have nothing against DJ Bobo but he song has a destructive meaning and we want it stopped

The song is bad from many points of view, and some Swiss-German radion stations are refusing to play it simply because it is rubbish. The FDU’s position, however, is that Eurovision has increasingly become a platform for “the occult and Satanists”. Their petition garnered 49,082 signatures.

MWW has risked its soul and transcribed the lyrics for you to read – if you dare!

Vampires are alive.
They just have to survive.
We’ll never come undone,
And we will be forever young.

(Vampires get alive)

I am a vampire; I’m a slave.
I sleep through the daylight, hence: my grave
In the darkness, in the shadows… here I am!
I want you to be forever mine,
To “gather” until the end of time
Like a nightmare, never ending.
Let me change your world!

(Chorus)

Tonight is the night let a thousand years.
Don’t be scared. Don’t drown in tears.
Free your spirit after midnight;
Sell your soul. Let it go
From heaven to hell, and enjoy the ride.
You’re here to surrender with your life.
Precious victims, my desire: live eternally!

(Chorus)

We’re off to sacrifice a goat…

(Hat tip The Pagan Prattle)




Beyer’s porn petition flops

10 Downing Street has responded to “Massah” John Beyer’s petition to criminalise R18 pornography. Basically, the answer is “no”.

In his announcement of the petition, Beyer stated:

Almost 600 people have already signed, but it is vital that it attracts hundreds of thousands of signatures so that the Prime Minister is not left in any doubt about the strength of public feeling against offensive and harmful pornography.

The petition closed with 4,081 signatures.

So it would appear that there aren’t hundreds of thousands of people quite so keen as Beyer to tell adults what they can and cannot look at. And the government responded accordingly.




Grande Mosque de Paris declares victory

A press release by the Grande Mosque de Paris indicates that questions about the clarity of the Charlie Hebdo verdict are justified.

Dalil Boubakeur, president of the French Council of Muslims, states that the verdict largely justified the action against the publication of the cartoons, which he somewhat hysterically describes as a “deliberate act of racist violence”, and concludes:

The judgement pronounced by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris serves as an official warning against such acts of aggression in the future

Contrary to previous reports, he does not rule out the possibility of an appeal with with the Union of Islamic Organisations. Though why an appeal would be necessary, considering the verdict was such a great victory, he does not say.




Danish paper publishes more Motoons

Nearly a year and a half since the Jyllands-Posten published its infamous 12 Motoons, and over a year since worldwide tantrums were thrown as a result, a Danish paper felt confident enough that the climate had changed, and printed an article about the gently-blasphemous webcomic Jesus and Mo.

According to the cartoonist’s blog, the main thrust of the article in Information was the Charlie Hebdo trial, and the Jesus and Mo cartoons were printed as a direct challenge to Carsten Juste, editor of the rival daily Jyllands-Posten. This from the Information blog:

Thus, Jyllands-Postens editor-in-chief was wrong when he predicted that nobody would draw the prophet Muhammed after the Muhammed-crisis, to which he pathetically added “therefore I am deeply ashamed to say: They have won!”.

These cartoons might be of another nature, the context might be different, or perhaps the entire over-excited conflict has settled down to a more peaceful level, so that few people will take offense from these cartoons in the papers.

The journalist who wrote the story, Niels Ivar Larsen, there has been absolutely no uproar.

Here is one of the cartoons that appeared in Information last week:

jesus and mo

(Hat tip Harry’s Place)




2000-year-old virgin finally makes it to Inverness

Gagwatch reports that Martin Scorcese’s Last Temptation of Christ will finally be shown in Inverness where it has been banned for almost 20 years. It is part of a Visions of Christ season being staged over Easter.

The Highland Council confirmed that the ban had lapsed, but said it would look into the matter again if complaints are received.




Vatican demands respect

A Vatican representative has told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that it must develop “mechanisms or instruments” to defend religious believers from ridicule. Members must have been relieved to hear that Archbishop Silvano Tomasi was not talking about the rack, merely some kind of legislative framework which would “defend the message of religious communities from manipulation and would avoid a disrespectful presentation of their members.”

Respect of the rights and dignity of others should mark the limit of any right, even that of the free expression and manifestation of one’s opinions, religious ones included

And this respect for the dignity of others

implies respect of his freedom in religious matters to profess, practice and publicly manifest one’s religion without being mocked, injured, discriminated against

The nuncio failed to note that there are already laws in place preventing injury and discrimination. What he wants is another one which would prevent mockery. Sorry Archbish. The right to believe in shit is inseparable from the right to take the piss. They are part of the same package.

UPDATE: David Thompson picks up the censer and runs with it.




A question about Charlie Hebdo verdict

Oliver Kamm has a question about yesterday’s Charlie Hebdo acquittal which is worth examining:

Note, however, one aspect of the judgement, according to the BBC report, that troubles me: ‘The cartoons were covered by freedom of expression laws and were not an attack on Islam, but fundamentalists, it said.’ Do freedom of expression laws not cover an attack on Islam? It is essential that they should. There is nothing wrong with an attack on Islam (or any other sacred belief). There is nothing wrong with giving offence to religious groups. The judgement appears implicitly to reject these principles. Defenders of a free society must assert them militantly.

Quite so. It is a pity that the judge did not make that more clear.

David Thompson takes the point further:

Religious freedom is presumed to entail sparing believers any hint that others do not share their beliefs, and indeed may find them ludicrous. There is, apparently, no corresponding obligation for believers to embrace ideas that are not clearly risible, monstrous or disgusting. When given a moment’s thought, this protectionist claim is decidedly fascistic in its practical implications. If believers wish to be insulated from any differing opinion, and even statements of fact, they would have to create a closed religious order, somewhere atop a mountain where reality can to some extent be avoided.

Having said all that, there is still cause to celebrate the fact that the French court delivered a very important, and in most aspects correct, verdict.