The Catholic League Would be a Joke if not so Wretched

The South Park parody of William Donohue

The South Park parody of William Donohue

“You don’t have a right to go into the street and mock my religion…”

That’s a direct quote of William Donohue, the president of the Catholic League. The CL and its loud, ridiculous leader, routinely attack the critics and the “blasphemers” of the catholic cult. Donohue attempts to portray the CL as an “anti-defamation” league, similar to the real Anti-Defamation League established to combat anti-Semitism (which has its own faults, but isn’t nearly as kooky as the CL). The problem is, his “league” mostly comes across as a kooky, wacko cult of Catholics who are just a shade less so than Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, who seek to bully and intimidate critics of Catholic superstitions and dogma. And Donohue exploits any opportunity to engage in loud, idiotic shouting matches on media outlets that are all-too-happy to point their cameras and microphones to any loud-mouthed asshole willing to pick a fight or start a controversy.

But it’s important to be clear on this point: Donohue is not championing the rights of catholics but, rather, he’s engaging in a campaign to suppress and bully those who criticize or ridicule the cults of Catholicism and to loudly bash anyone he disagrees with.

And you know what? That’s his right under free speech. That’s a right I spent over decade defending in military service and its one I’m willing to defend now. But that same right to Free Speech also exists for the people he so vehemently opposes. And that same right allows me to voice my opinion that he’s a blow-hard and an asshole.

Donohue’s irrational antics are recently demonstrated in the case of the catholic cracker, where the university student in Florida was bullied and threatened with death, both encouraged by Donohue, after he declined to eat a cracker given to him at a cult ritual held on public property in the commons area of a public university. Donohue’s superstition requires that the cracker be consumed and the superstition holds that said cracker, at some point, becomes the body of Jesus, a mythical deity in the catholic pantheon.

Donohue and his “league” sent letters, and encouraged cult followers to do likewise, which demanded the expulsion of the student that committed no crime and was, at worst, guilty of only blasphemy. According to the student, the intent wasn’t to offend, but to educate an inquiring peer on the nature of the cult rites they were observing in the commons area of their university. Since events held in such commons areas, particularly when funded in part or whole by fees collected with tuition payments (facilities fees), cannot exclude any member of the student body, the students, regardless of whether or not they were catholic, were free to attend. Interestingly enough, the student eventually returned the cracker to the cult leaders, who, along with Donohue, claimed that the student had “kidnapped” Jesus.

When noted atheist, biologist, and professor PZ Myers wrote of the crazies that were threatening the life of the student over such a trivial matter (an eye for an eye, a life for a cracker?) and calling for the student’s expulsion, Donohue and his cult followers then turned their radar on Myers, demanding his resignation and dismissal. Myers also received death threats, clearly encouraged by the tone and vehemence of Donohue’s very un-Christian actions.

But the lows to which Donohue is willing to stoop are best characterized and demonstrated by his previous rants and loud, irrational accusations of “defamation,” which are every bit as contrived, illogical and idiotic as the cracker nonsense.

During a winter holiday season in the recent past, Donohue bullied Walmart with threats of boycott by his “league” (which I’m not convinced isn’t just Donohue on his basement computer, sitting in his boxers, eating milk duds) when Walmart displayed on its website an all-encompassing “happy holidays” instead of the limiting and excluding “Merry Christmas,” claiming that Walmart had “banned xmas.” Donohue, the bigot that he is, cares not that a substantial portion of Walmart’s customers have faiths and beliefs that are different than his own and that marginalizing the minorities that work for and shop in Walmart is actually an unpatriotic and anti-American point of view.

But his creation of a non-issue regarding the non-existent “ban on xmas” notwithstanding, Donohue’s worst demonstration of idiocy and a disconnect with the very people he claims to be a champion for comes with his support of the pedophile priests. Rather than defend the families and victims who were truly being defamed if ever there was a case of defamation, Donohue chose to defend the pedophile, child-raping priests, stating and implying that the families were exaggerating and lying about the rapes.

If you come away from this article with only one opinion of Donohue, you should at least understand that he is a defender of pedophiles and the rapists of children.

Even his own cult leader, Pope Ratzinger, who also defended these pariahs of humanity, eventually acknowledged their behavior and apologized.

Anyway, have fun and watch a related YouTube video that made the rounds nearly a year ago.

On a closing note, I’ll end with a link to, and a brief excerpt, from a PDF that resides on a Catholic website that is critical of Donohue and his alleged league. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights: Neither Religious nor Civil.

Unable to explain away the Catholic church’s embarrassing pedophilia scandal, Donohue tried to turn it back on progressive Catholic activists, claiming that they were exaggerating the scandal to try and bring down the church

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Creation on the Web and Morality

Codswallop on the Web has an article titled, “Can we be good without god?”

To the atheist, this question need not even be answered since we have no gods yet we’re “good.” Sure, there are “bad” atheists. Arguably fewer than there are “bad” theists, but then atheists don’t walk the Earth with an imagined “get out of jail free card” like those deluded by cults of Christianity do. We don’t assume that whatever we do, we can always just ask for forgiveness from an unseen and imaginary agent and all will be well.

For the atheist, this life is it. This is all there is and there’s no promised afterlife to strive for. And, for the atheist, any required forgiveness must be solicited from those whose lives were affected by our decisions. Therefore, we’re careful to live our lives as if though they were special and that we, alone, are responsible for who we are or what heights we can acheive.

Morality is the product of human experience and observation; ethics are not dependent upon religious superstition -though I will acknowledge that religious superstition can provide ethical and moral guidelines, but this is not because they were put there by any gods.

To demonstrate this, one need only note that the Judeo-Christian gods (there *are* more than one) are relatively new in human history. Cultures, both extant and extinct, exist that have gods that differ greatly from the Christian gods, yet these cultures have established moral and ethical guidelines. Indeed, there are universal commonalities between cultures of varied and often conflicting supernatural deities. In no culture, for instance, does it appear to be moral or ethical to murder one’s parents in order to assume their wealth.

Christians who make the argument Codswallop on the Web makes do so from an ignorant and undereducated perspective. From their ill-informed and irrational conclusion:

Morality is real precisely because God is real. As our Creator, He is the transcendent authority—the law-giver who gets to tell us what we ‘ought’ or ‘ought not’ to do.

The first sentence, of course, affirms the consequent, stating that morality is true because god is true. It also implies that without a god, there can be no morality, which is clearly hasn’t been shown to be the case. Such fallacious mistakes are common among those that seek to confirm only the conclusions they’ve already arrived at, remaining unwilling to open their minds to other alternatives. In addition, the ignorance of such arguments is further demonstrated by the second statement above since, if true, our society would embrace atrocities such as stoning adulteresses and victims of adultery, slavery, and the notion that it is better to offer up a daughter for rape than to permit a gang rape of a stranger. The god from whom ignorant and unquestioning Christians today believe their morality is derived has no problem with genocide (Joshua 6:20-21), yet few can be found in modern Western society that are willing to approve of the mass killings in Darfour. Then again, there’s little being done to stop these actions by Western society, dominated in the U.S. by Christian cults.

Moreover, I’ve little use for the morality of a god that approves of the pretty girls from the enemy for sex and forced marriage and, if she no longer “delights” me, I can simply let her free (
Deuteronomy 21:10-13). This after the pathetic and immoral god in question permitted me to slay all the males of my enemy and plunder not only the females (the young ones) but the livestock and whatever else I wanted. In the eyes of such a god I can be a thief, a murderer, a rapist, a slaver, and an asshole -but I can still have “everlasting life” as long as I “believe.” Codswallop.

So, when the poor, ignorant individual who wrote this article on Codswallop on the Web concludes that “atheists are in dire straits,” the rational mind is left to, therefore, conclude that apologists for Christian cults and their adherents are to be pittied. What a sad existence they have where they don’t see the glory and wonder in reality, chosing instead to bask in delusion and fantasy throughout their entire lives. Can such a person truly ever be free?

James Ross: My Stalker, My Friend

Okay, perhaps “stalker” is a little harsh, since it isn’t as though he’s followed me around from site to site on the internet. He’s stayed in the Employee of 1800Flowers.com thread, getting his attention fix there. His last comment was deleted, since it started off calling his host a “dunce” and a “cluck.” Sorry, pal, but you’re my guest and, as such, you don’t get to be an asshole. If you want to repost the comment like you have more sense, be my guest. Please.

But his prior comment, less obnoxious and “assholish” is worth posting. Perhaps others might like to respond to his questions about “what have atheists done for the world.”

Dear ylooshi, I suggested you google Vitz’s book, not read it. You can glean enough from that. As for your pretense to be scientific, why don’t you googel Stanly Jaki’s books. It’s just a click of the mouse. He is both a scientist and a priest. He demonstrates that the same guys who articulated Transubstantiation also invented western science.
Could you flesh out what you mean by “batshit crazy”. Is that a scientific term? Also, since atheists like you are parasites, holes in the donut, could you list some contributions your ilk have made to the world in the area of science, art, music, literature etc.? How many hospitals and orphanages they have built? I mean, what good are you anyway? What purpose do your icky little lives have? Why do you even bother to crawl out of bed in the morning? In 500 years, where will you be? Who even cares? What difference is it to you what we Catholics believe? C’mon son,vent. Get it all out. Let the healing begin. I am here for you. One more thing; did you say Myers is a “patriot”?!?! Like Jefferson and Franklin? Oh my goddess! you are wild

A look at Google reveals that Vitz was obsessed with demeaning atheism and never made an attempt to empirically test his assertion that atheists were the product of poor fathers. Indeed, Vitz appears to have thought that anyone that didn’t believe in the Judeo-Christian god was an atheist. Not only that, but just <i>believing</i> in this god wasn’t enough, one had to meet certain qualifications, such as regular church attendance or was to be considered an “atheist” in Vitz’s mind. He even went so far as to conclude that he was an atheist since he didn’t attend church, even though he believed in the Judeo-Christian god.

As for Stanley Jaki, I don’t think I need to Google his name, I’m somewhat familiar with the name. If memory serves correct he was (perhaps is) a physicist and argued that the metaphysics and superstitions of the catholic cult made science possible. This argument is easy to dismiss since so much about the Catholic versions of scientific understanding was wrong in medieval times. Moreover, other cultures such as the Vedic, Islamic, and Chinese had an edge up on things like mathematics and astronomy, and chemistry long before Europeans.

By “batshit crazy,” I mean the belief that the body and blood of a long-dead and alleged Messiah, that may or may not have even existed to begin with, replaces a cracker. Such an extraordinary claim has not even a modicum of evidence to support it, nor should one expect such magic and paranormal processes to exist since they don’t appear to anywhere in nature.

But it is this kind of ignorance that truly informs your bigotry: ” I mean, what good are you anyway? What purpose do your icky little lives have? Why do you even bother to crawl out of bed in the morning? In 500 years, where will you be? Who even cares?”

Such arguments by the superstitious have been refuted as fallacious time and time again, so I’ll defer to them. Suffice it to say that atheists have plenty to “crawl out of bed” for and if the only thing that inspires one crawl out of bed is the belief in gods and adhering to the superstitions that go with them, then one is pathetic indeed.

But you also ask of the contributions of atheists to society, which also shows your ignorance. Perhaps you should take your own advice with regard to “Google” and educate yourself as atheists have provided many, many contributions to society and not insignificantly either.

“Also, since atheists like you are parasites, holes in the donut, could you list some contributions your ilk have made to the world in the area of science, art, music, literature etc.?”

I hope you don’t mind the hyperlinks in your own quote. Don’t forget to click “etc.”

Those above are off the top of my head as are: Aldous Huxley, Isaac Asimov, Andrew Carnegie, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Frank Zappa, Frank Lloyd Wright, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, Jackson Pollack, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ethan Allen, Albert Einstein, Ayn Rand, Bertrand Russell, Hellen Keller, George Bernard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinam, Gene Roddenberry, Kurt Vonegut, Frank Crick, James Watson, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, James Joyce, John Lennon, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Richard Burton, Oscar Wilde, and the list goes on, and on, and on….

Are all Believers Bigots?

This was the question that was posed to me by James Ross, a visitor to my Employee of 1800Flowers.com thread, when I accused him of bigotry. It’s a fair question. I thought I’d repost my answer to the atheosphere, which is…

… I suppose that depends on what they believe in. If they believe blasphemy is a “sin” that deserves death, then yes. If they believe that atheists, non-believers, or those that believe in cults different than their own have not the right to be free of their spam/proselytizing, then yes. If they believe that people different than they don’t deserve equal rights (i.e. different races, genders, sexual preferences), then yes. If they believe that their superstitions should be unquestioned and respected even if done in public and forced upon the public (which is where the communion Cook attended took place), then yes.

If they believe that scientific knowledge must be suppressed and avoided in public schools because it threatens their superstitions, then yes.

If they accept only supernatural terms to explain the world and seek to impose these superstitions on the rest of society, then yes.

If they believe that those who don’t accept their superstitions or have superstitions different than their own are immoral or unjust because of this, then yes.

If they believe that criticizing religion, their’s or anyone else’s, should be a taboo; if they believe that non-believers should remain silent while their superstitions are codified in local, state, and federal governments; if they believe it’s okay to defend anyone who threatens bodily harm to a critic -be it in jest or not, then yes -they are bigots in the truest sense of the word.

(n) bigot (a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own)

And because I’m big enough to recognize some of my own intolerance (I can’t stand assholes, for instance), I’m also willing to admit, freely, that I’m open to change. I’m willing to enhance, improve, revise, or even completely turn around any opinion that I hold.

I only require a modicum of evidence.

Sunday Cult News

cult – n. A particular form or system of religious worship; esp. in reference to its external rites and ceremonies. -Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. 1989

Here’s a brief look at what’s going on with various cults and cult leaders around the world in the last week or two.

The Cult of Scientology
Xenu.net is the best place to find all the accurate, up-to-date, and embarrassing to the cult’s adherent’s information. On that domain is a list of quotes [1] from judges and court officials from around the world. Here’s an excerpt:

“Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.” –Justice Anderson, Supreme Court, Australia

“[The court record is] replete with evidence [that Scientology] is nothing in reality but a vast enterprise to extract the maximum amount of money from its adepts by pseudo scientific theories… and to exercise a kind of blackmail against persons who do not wish to continue with their sect….” –Judge Breckenridge, Los Angeles Superior Court

“It is dangerous because it is out to capture people and to indoctrinate and brainwash them so they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult, withdrawn from ordinary thought, living, and relationships with others.” –Justice Latey, High Court of London

The cult of Scientology has an obvious appeal to celebrities, which makes sense for several reasons: good PR; celebrities have lots of money to scam from them; people want to be like their favorite celebrities; celebrities come with fan-bases which offer a source of potential marks to con money from; etc. Everyone knows about nuts like Tom Cruise, Kirsty Alley, Vinnie Barbarino and Will Smith (the list goes on), but you might not know about lesser known celebrities like Jodhi Meares [2]. Her career is “ailing,” she’s suffering from a breakup with her husband, and just gets deeper and deeper involved with the cult (meaning, they get more and more of her money).

But if getting good PR from celebrities isn’t enough, the cult of Scientology can also just generate its own PR. By lying and stealing.

In case you weren’t aware, the cult employs what it calls “volunteer ministers” which rush in to “assist” whenever there are disasters or tragedies, basically exploiting the suffering of others for their own gain by getting in the way and preventing legitimate first responders from doing their work. The cult then takes credit by announcing their “good deeds” to the world. Among their goals is to block and prevent real psychologists and and real counselors from providing assistance. This is actually a goal.

So, when a flake that buys into their cult nonsense comes along and gives the Church of Scientology the Medal of Valor for their “service” [3] did anyone in the cult mind that this flake wasn’t in an official position to give an award that “has been awarded POSTHUMOUSLY and EXCLUSIVELY for line of duty death?” … or that the award carried any more weight or meaning that a $3 bill with Clinton’s face on it? Nope. I suppose when you’re a fake religion having a fake award and being proud of it is par for the course.

The Messiah-with-a-hardon Cult

Wayne Bent is cult leader and sexual abuser of children that has his followers convinced he’s the Messiah. If it weren’t for the tragedy and trauma experienced by the kids involved in the case, it would be comedic. The worse part of it is that Bent is apparently in communication with his victims, so perhaps his legal strategy is to continue with the brainwashing and indoctrination and with the pressure from his followers to avoid jail time. I won’t be surprised if when this goes to trial the victims have a change in their story. Sad stuff. How do his followers deal with it? By participating in a “word fast” -at least when it comes to speaking with prosecutors and the press.

The Mormon Cult
From the Beat-the-dead-horse-with-a-stick dept.: Warren Jeffs, already incarcerated, joins 5 others indicted by a Texas Grand Jury for charges that include felony sexual assault of a child [5]. Get your magic underwear on, Warren. Looks like they may extradite you from your Arizona Jail cell to face charges here in Texas. The “real Christians” here don’t cotton to “fake Christians” like Mormons.

The “Real Christian” Cults
I recently wrote about the Texas girl that was assaulted by religious nuts that forced her to participate in witchcraft ritual known as an “exorcism” (only the members of the cult don’t consider it witchcraft). The experience has left her father, who was once a missionary and a minister, agnostic in his religious beliefs. It’s left the girl, Laura, traumatized. She attempted to slit her wrists with a box-cutter after the so-called “exorcism.”

The Texas Supreme Court dismissed her lawsuit against the church last month, so the Pearson, 17 at the time of the abuse but now 29, says she and her parents are willing to take the issue to the United States Supreme court [6]. She states, “You can’t use your religious beliefs to get away with harming a child.”

I say, more power to you. Texas, through its Supreme Court, has stated it’s okay to abuse kids in the name of religion as long as sex isn’t involved. Typical of the Christian cults.

Televangelist Cults
Who wants to be a millionaire? If you have your credit card handy, all you need to do is make a $1000.00 donation to the Benny Hinn during his “South Africa Miracle Cursade” and you will earn a “special blessing” [7]. Apparently this special blessing from God will last only two minutes but would “create 500 churchgoing millionaires or even billionaires.” One of Hinn’s minions had credit card machines ready and told people that God would bless their credit cards “and they would be able to rule over South Africa with their money.”

It never ends.

There is more. Believe me. There is plenty more. But I’m out of time for the day. I’ll save a few of the others I marked this week for next time.

References and Sources

1. Xenu.net (2008). What the judges have to say about Scientology. Found online at: http://www.xenu.net/archive/disk/archive/quotes.htm

2. News.com.au (2008, July 25). Stressed Jodhi Meares takes comfort in Scientology. News.com.au. Found online at: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,24074268-10388,00.html

3. von Marcab, Lily (2008, July 19). Scientology Cult Fraudulently Claims “Medal of Valor” from New York Fire Department. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Found online at: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/07/19/18517551.php

4. KOAT.com (2008, July 18). Cult Leader Appears in District Court. KOAT.com. Found online at: http://www.koat.com/news/16926528/detail.html

5. Ramshaw, Emily (2008, July 23). Grand jury indicts six people from West Texas polygamist sect. Dallas Morning News. Found online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/072208dntexpolygamy.7a60fc1c.html

6. Baker, Max (2008, Jul 27). Family resolves to take fight over exorcism to Supreme Court. Fort Worth Star Telegram. Found online at: http://www.star-telegram.com/state_news/story/786870.html

7. News24.com (2008, Jul 20). ‘God Bless Your Credit Card.’ News24.c0m. Found online at: http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_2360893,00.html

John Wiley Price is an Idiot

I’m sorry, but I just had to say it.

This story got past me earlier this month, even though it was local news. I heard it mentioned on The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast that was released earlier this week.

For those that don’t live in Dallas County, Texas, John Wiley Price is a nobody. Indeed, for many in Dallas County he’s also nobody, but his stupidity earlier in the month of July should reveal it to the rest.

Price reacted illogically, irrationally, and, perhaps, with the deliberate intention to race bait another Dallas County politician during a recent county meeting regarding traffic tickets. Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield remarked that the central collections for the county was “a blackhole” since so much paperwork gets lost within its office.

This is where John Wiley Price’s ignorance and/or stupidity comes in. Price responded with (probably feigned) indignation and said, “excuse me!” then stating that the office is a “white hole.” Price and a judge in the meeting then proceeded to demand an apology from Mayfield for his “racist” remark.

I didn’t read each comment that followed the Dallas Morning News blog post linked above, but the first dozen or so I read were overwhelmingly critical of Price -and rightly so.

This sort of nonsensical race-baiting does nothing but perpetuate tensions between races, which assholes like Price capitalize upon for their own gain. And it cheapens and degrades genuine racial issues that actually do exist in the county both within politicians and citizens.

The very first commenters at that blog got it exactly right: Price’s response makes him out to be either more ignorant than the average 5th grader or a bigoted race-baiter and, as the commenter concluded, there really isn’t any other choice. I would add that either choice also makes him incompetent for the job he was elected to.

And for citizens of Dallas County, he’s an embarassment.

C Kroll Returns

Chuck Kroll has returned with a follow up post you can find here. I’ve posted a response just a few comments below that. Here’s an excerpt from his latest comments:

I do hope that Mr. Myers will be removed from his position as a teacher, for his obvious lack of tolerance towards others, and the fact that he used a state funded website to broadcast his hateful teachings. God only knows what he talks about in class.

I do believe that what I did was wrong, that is no way to speak to anyone, even if you do no Agree with them. But this was not about debate, or a free exchange of ideas or that Myers is an atheist, it is what he promotes (and he does not have a right to, not in the classroom, or in print.) That is, the desecration of anyone’s religion in this country.

Among the comments in my response, I’ve attempted to educate Mr. Kroll both as to the nature of Prof. Myers’ blog and how it isn’t “state funded” and as to the nature of what it means to have Freedom of Speech. I doubt, however, either attempts will sway Kroll or those like him of irrational thought, since they live in fabricated realities that are constructed of false dichotomies and spells of thinking that inhibit change or progress.

Doubtless, Kroll is sincere in his desire to have Myers “removed from his position” since those that promote free thought, rational discourse and knowledge that breaks the spells of afflictions to humanity like religion are feared by those that prefer their thinking done for them. Statements like this, I realize, are readily abundant on crank and pseudoscience sites where nutters speak of the “close-mindedness” of skeptics, but the difference is that rational discourse and thought can be defended. Cranks and the superstitious are consistently unable to justify their beliefs and “knowledge” rationally -instead they must rely on myth, fantasy, and delusion.

This, after all is the crux of the issue at hand: superstitious people clinging to deluded and irrational beliefs about a cracker becoming the “body of Christ.” What utter and complete nonsense. And to become upset enough to threaten the life of someone who states they are willing to use such a cracker for whatever purpose they desire is the act of a nut.