Saturday, 19 September 2020

American Christians Becoming More Uncaring About Racism

No race problem here: Despite the summer of protests, many practicing Christians remain ambivalent.

Further confirmation today, if any were needed, of how low down their list of priorities the welfare of others is for American Christians.

After a summer of protests over the killing of black Americans by white police and increasing demands for social justice, equal treatment before the law for minorities and an end to institutionalized racism in the police, few people can be left thinking there is nothing wrong with American society and no grievances that need to be addressed; no wrongs needing to be righted and no evidence of the oppression of minority groups by the majority.

And yet the Christian polling organisation, Barna Group, has found that many more self-identified white Christians now say they are not motivated to address matters of racial injustice in American society than there were last year:
Thirty percent of practicing Christians — people who identify themselves as Christians, have attended worship in the past month and claim to strongly prioritize their faith — say they are not motivated to engage in matters of racial injustice (12% unmotivated, 18% not at all motivated). That's an increase from 2019, when 17% said they were not motivated (9% unmotivated, 8% not at all motivated).

Friday, 18 September 2020

Covidiots - India's BJP Leaders

Covid-19 cases (18 Sep 2020)
Sitting in mud with conch shell: BJP leader says tactic will boost immunity against Covid-19 | IndiaToday

India is leading the world in the number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections a day, having overtaken Brazil in early August and USA a few days later. Yesterday, a total of 173,932 new cases were recorded, bringing the total to 5,020,359 with 82,066 deaths since the pandemic began.

India is a deeply religious society, like the USA, so it is not surprising that the population is easily duped by frauds who offer magical cures and preventions, especially when linked to religious nationalism.

Indias equivalent to the magic spells cast by America's Kenneth Copeland, is that of BJP MP Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuria. According to this report in India Today:

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Lying to Win. How Trump is Fooling Americans

Figure 3. Republicans are far more easily fooled than Democrats
Observatory on Social Media (OSoMe): Reports: Research: The Media School: Indiana University Bloomington

The results of an Indiana University poll, published today, show how successful the disinformation and fake news campaigns by the Trump camp have been in fooling Americans into believing falsehoods.

Indiana University have set up a media monitoring team to fact-check narratives widely-circulating in the social media. This report is Wave 1 conducted between 20th Aug- 7th Sep 2020.
Figure 2. A significan number of Americans believe the false stories

Narratives


For the first wave, we selected five narratives through a deliberative process of monitoring issues that were becoming relevant in the weeks leading up to data collection and using tools developed by OSoMe to look at the diffusion of narratives across social media.

We showed respondents a screenshot from social media that represented a trending narrative. We asked: “Have you encountered this, or similar stories about this issue, on social media or the internet?” In addition to asking whether respondents had seen the story, we asked, about each story: “To what extent do you believe the following statement is true?”

The statements were:
Joe Biden is not mentally fit to be President.1
Kamala Harris is not a natural-born US citizen.2
Dr. Anthony Fauci funded a lab in Wuhan to develop the coronavirus.3
Joe Biden’s family has illegal business ties with China.4
Mail-in ballots cause election fraud.5

Results


Our results show that large segments of the population have encountered these narratives through media exposure, and find them plausible. For example, 78.9% of participants in our survey were aware of at least one of these five stories, whereas only 21.1% had not heard about any of them. It is also worth noting that a majority (61.1%) believe at least one of the five narratives; 38.9% do not believe any of them

[...]

The five stories were not equally known or believed among the participants. Figure 2 shows that the Kamala Harris birther narrative was one of the two most widely known (54.7% aware), having been frequently covered during the survey period, but also the least believed (27.7%). Mail-in votes causing voter fraud was the most believed narrative (46.4%), and was as widely known as the Harris narrative. In two of the five narratives, the number of participants who believed the stories was more than the number who reported to have encountered them online. For example, 46.1% of participants believed that Joe Biden is cognitively compromised, whereas 43.1% reported that they had seen the story.

The report includes the following links to fact-checking sources which debunked these claims.
  1. Joe Biden's mental fitness:
  2. Kamala Haris' elegibility for VP/POTUS:
  3. Fouci funded the lab in Wuhan to make the virus:
  4. Joe Biden's family and "illegal business ties" with China
  5. Mail-in ballots and election fraud.
Having lied his way to power and lied about almost everything while in office, is it any surprise that this most dishonest of people will try the same again to get re-elected? With a large nunmber of predominantly white, evangelical Christians now unable to admit they backed a failure last time, there is a high probability that they will do all they can to spread Trump's lies and disinformation as widely and forcefully as possible this time.

The question is, will enough Americans be fooled by it this time?

Alliance with Trump Has Made 'Evangelical' a Toxic Brand

Jorge Alfonso waits to get into the El Rey Jesus church in Miami, where President Donald Trump held a rally for evangelical supporters on Jan. 3, 2020. The Trump campaign has been trying to woo Latino and Black Evangelicals to expand his base of support among religious conservatives.
Credit: Lynne Sladky/AP
Evangelicals for Social Action Leaves Behind ‘Evangelical’...... | News & Reporting | Christianity Today.

Their craven whoring of basic principles for the sniff of political influence that support for Donald Trump promised, is beginning to backfire on the Evangelical Christian right.

The 'Evangelical' brand name has become toxic - and deservedly so. Now the 50 year-old Christian organization, "Evangelicals for Social Action' a moderate, apolitical organisation that advocates for social justice, has changed its name to "Christians for Social Action" in order to distance themselves from Donald Trump and those 'Christians' who associate with him.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Covitiots - How the Far Right Fruitloops Think

Selfish anti-mask protesters harangue a counter-protester for advocating compassion
Insane Anti-Mask Protester’s Defense: “Most Child Molesters Love ‘Em!” | Beth Stoneburner | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

A far-right bunch of paranoid ftuitloop American conspiracy nuts, calling themselves the “Liberty Action Coalition”, put their ignorant, self-centred covidiocy on display in the town of St. George, Utah for all to see the other day, and I am more than happy to help them in this endeavour.

Amongst the more insane reasons for allowing people to die rather than them be be slightly inconvenience, in true white evangelical Christian style, were:

Monday, 14 September 2020

Terrible News for Creationists - Signs of Life on Another Planet

Venus in real colors, processed from Mariner 10 images.
Image credit: Mattias Malmer / NASA.
Phosphine gas in the cloud decks of Venus | Nature Astronomy

Creationists have been putting all their eggs in one basket and telling their credulous dupes that the possibility of living organisms arising by natural processes on Earth are so low as to be impossible - so they should conclude that it must have been created by the Christian god exactly as the Bible says.

Now it seems their egg basket may have been kicked over by science. Leaving aside the false dichotomy fallacy in their non sequitur of an argument, the discovery that there may be life in the atmosphere of Venus blows their big scary number tactic out of the water. If it could have happened on Venus it could happen on Earth.

And they still face the prospect of signs of life, either now or in the past, in the soil of Mars and maybe in the waters on some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn!

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Covidiots - Missouri GOP Fruitloop Candidate

Sandra McDowell, Covidiot Christian fundamentalist and GOP candidate for governorship of Missouri.
Missouri GOP Candidate Rejects “Demonic Ritual” of Wearing Masks During Pandemic | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

Hemant Mehta (if you're not following his Friendly Atheist blog, you should be!) brings us news of a fundamentalist Christian Covidiot GOP candidate from Missouri who is standing for the State governorship and is now campaigning against the wearing of facemasks as an anti-Covid-19 measure on the grounds that they are part of a "demonic ritual"!

She is Sandra McDowell, who actually posted this on her Facebook page and which Facebook have not yet taken down:
I’m not afraid to take a stand!! Are you?? I walked in Walmart tonight without a mask ... and I refuse to wear a mask anywhere I go from NOW ON unless I choose to! That’s my right... as it is yours!! But really.... this is not about masks... masks are just a symbol of deception and oppression. Its compliance training for what’s to come. It’s about control and instilling fear in America. Fear is not of the Lord, but of the enemy. Despair is the absence of faith! This is all part of a demonic ritual to get rid of our individual God-given rights. BLM just said it... it’s a spiritual battle... they are chanting to dead spirits practicing witchcraft. Our bodies... our faces... are created in the image of God. We shall not veil our faces spiritually or practically. 2 Corinthians 3:13-16 Our country was founded on freedom and liberty for all... and God was the author of our nation and that freedom and liberty. Not people! God! Their faith in God!! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty!! 2 Corinthians 3:17 #takeastand #spiritualbattle #warriorforchrist #unmaskmo #mogov #bibleverse #missouri #moreformissouri — at Walmart O Fallon - Highway K.

Silly Cults, Trumpanzees and Abdication Syndrome

Donald Trump, Big Daddy cult leader for childish people.
The Abdication Syndrome | Psychology Today

The reason so many people are attracted to cults, and not just wackadoodle religious cults but also political cults like neo-Fascist white supremacist cults and fanatical supporters of Donald Trump, is explained by psychologist Steve Taylor, Ph.D., writing in Psychology Today.

It all comes from a desire to return to the 'safe' authoritarianism of childhood, where decisions were made for you by authority figures who provided you with a safe and secure environment and catered for all your needs. It's for these reasons that we remember our childhood with affection. As Steve Taylor puts it:

Covidiots - Ukrainian Orthodox Church Leader Who Blamed Gays for Coronavirus Pandemic Gets COVID-19

Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kiev's Patriarchy.
Picture: Genya SavilovAFP
Source:AFP
Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Filaret gets coronavirus after blaming gay people for COVID-19.

Sometimes, you just can't help wondering if there is something in this karma stuff after all, especially when you hear news like this.

The Ukrainian Orthodox priest, Patriarch Filaret, who blamed the coronavirus pandemic on same-sex marriage, has contracted Covid-19.

According to this report:
The 91-year-old, who is the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Kiev Patriarchate, is currently in a stable condition being treated in hospital, with Ukrainian website 11.2 international also reporting he has pneumonia. Filaret’s church, which is said to have more than 15 million followers among Ukraine’s 42 million population, confirmed the COVID-19 diagnosis in a Facebook post.
We inform that during planned testing, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for COVID-19. Now His Holiness Bishop is undergoing treatment at a hospital.
” Filaret caused controversy earlier this year after he made comments about the coronavirus being a result of gay marriage.

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Secularism Winning In Iran!

Source
Iran's secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs

Until the moment of the Iranian revolution, the overthrow of the Shah, the installation of Ayatollah Khomeini and the establishment of a Shia Islamic theocracy in Iran in 1979, largely by young people, who then formed the fanatical backbone of the Revolutionary Guard, it had looked from the West as though post-war history was one of relentless retreat of religion and the inevitable advance of scientific secularism.

The Iranian revolution changed all that. Suddenly, the Islamic world had a new confidence and a new leadership and seemed to be embracing a regression to medieval religious fundamentalism. Something had gone wrong!

Or was this just a temporary reversal? How long would young people tolerate the state micromanaging their lives? How long would women tolerate the prohibition on their independence and their former right to dress in fashionable cloths, to date boys of their choice and the requirement, under pain of punishment by male 'modesty police' to cover themselves in dull, black, unflattering jijabs in public?

Incredibly, this Islamic fundamentalism was spreading and an increasing number of women were allowing themselves to be the possession of their husbands or the 'wards' of their father and brothers! Increasingly, especially in the West, an Islamic cultural identity required wearing the uniform of a Moslem at least in public in an assertive rejection of Western, materialist liberalism. So, how has resurgent fundamentalist Islam fared in its homeland in Iran? To find out, a group known as the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in IRAN (GAMAAN) conducted an online survey with the collaboration of Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran.

The result may be surprising!

Christian Fruitloops For Trump and Fascism

Former GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann,
Trumpanzee Fruitloop conspiracist and pro-Fascist, black lives don't matter advocate.
Michele Bachmann: The Bible warned that ‘transgender Black Marxists’ would try to elect Biden – DeadState

Paranoid conspiracists and pro-Fascist, Christian fundamentalist fruitloop, Michele Bachmann, former GOP Representative for Minnesota, has become even more shrill and hysterical as Trump's re-election campaign falters.

Appearing on mega-rich televangelist fraud, Kenneth Copeland’s television show, Bachmann claimed the Black Lives Matter campaign is a plot to overthrow the USA, install Jo Biden as POTUS and bring about a world-wide Communist dictatorship. Furthermore, so she claims, this plot was prophesied in the Bible. And all this will be brought about by "Transgender, Black Marxists", just like the Bible says!

Friday, 11 September 2020

And Now the Good News - Christian Preacher of Hate is Shut Down by YouTube

Pastor Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church.
Preacher of hate.
YouTube Finally Took Down the Channels of Christian Hate-Pastor Steven Anderson | Hemant Mehta | Friendly Atheist | Patheos

Preacher of Hate, Pastor Steven Anderson, has had his YouTube channels taken down. Readers may remember Pastor Steven Anderson, whom I wrote about a little over a year ago when he was banned from entering the Republic of Ireland following a petition to the then Irish Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan.

This ban came shortly after the ROI had voted massively to legalise same-sex marriages and then to decriminalise abortions. Anderson is now banned from some 34 countries, including New Zealand, South Africa, Republic of Ireland, UK, all the Schengen group of European Union countries, Botswana, Canada and Jamaica.

Shortly after my post, Anderson's Twitter account, which he had denied had any connection with him and his church, was taken down when he started posting hate messages and incitements to violence, calling for the killing of homosexuals. Now, following a campaign by Hemant Mehta, all of Anderson's YouTube channels have also been shut down.

Covidiots - Trumpanzees Don't Want Covid-19 Vaccination

Caption
Seven in 10 Americans willing to get COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds

A survey by researchers, Paul L.Reiter, Michael L.Pennell and Mira L.Katz, from Ohio State University has shown that 69% of Americans "probably" or "definitely" would get the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when one becomes available, but 17% are "not sure" and 14% are "probably" or "definitely" unwilling to.

The astonishing thing is how this opinion is influenced by politics, or political affiliation. As the Ohio State press release put it:
One of the more unexpected findings in this study – and something that isn’t typical of public health research – is the correlation between political affiliation and willingness to adopt a public health intervention, Reiter said. Respondents who identified as liberal or moderate were significantly more likely to accept a vaccine. “COVID-19 has turned into a political issue in many cases, and I think that some people just pick their side based on that, without much research,” he said. “We’ve seen that with mask wearing. It’s a promising public health intervention, but it’s turned into a political powder keg.”

Covidiots - Visiting a Place of Worship Gives 16 Times Higher Risk of Covid-19 Infection!

Covid-19 Study Links Strict Social Distancing to Much Lower Chance of Infection – 2020 – News Releases – News – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

A survey by researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has shown that those who visited a place of worship two or three times in the previous month were 16 times more likely to have had a history of Covid-19 infection than those who had not visited a place of worship over the same period.

The researchers surveyed a random sample of 1030 people in the state of Maryland in late June, asking about their social distancing practices, use of public transport, SARS-CoV-2 infection history and other Covid-19-relevent behaviours. The state of Maryland has logged more than 113,000 SARS-CoV-2 confirmed cases and nearly 3,700 confirmed deaths, according to the Maryland Department of Health. The results reinforce the importance of strict social distancing in reducing infection rates.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

Religion in USA - The Decline Accelerates

In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace | Pew Research Center

This Pew Research survey passed under my radar last December, but it shows just how far the growing rejection of religion in the USA has progressed as the USA catches up with Europe in its rejection of organised religious superstition in favour of secularism and rational thought.

As usual with these surveys, the news is relentlessly dreadful for organised religions, with few if any crumbs of comfort, other than that the religiously affiliated are still an absolute majority, albeit a majority which will inevitably disappear within a generation.
The religious landscape of the United States continues to change at a rapid clip. In Pew Research Center telephone surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Catholic Child Abuse News - Duluth Bishop-Elect Resigns

Father Michel J. Mulloy
Father Michel J. Mulloy Resigns Weeks Before Becoming Bishop of Duluth - The New York Times

The person chosen by Pope Francis to become Bishop of Duluth, Minnesota, Father Michel J. Mulloy, has resigned before taking up the post, amid allegations that he sexually abused a minor in Rapid City, in the early 1980s.

Father Mulloy, a South Dakota native, was ordained in 1979, according to a post on the website of the Diocese of Sioux Falls announcing his appointment as a bishop. His first assignment was at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City from 1979 to 1981. He was then assigned to Christ the King Parish in Sioux Falls and held positions at several other parishes in South Dakota during the 1980s.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

How the Frontier Mentality Evolved

Man in a cowboy hat atop Humphreys Peak in Arizona, US
Credit: Todd Diemer
‘Wild West’ mentality lingers in US mountain regions | University of Cambridge

The American 'Frontier' mentality, closely associated with fundamentalist religiosity and Creationism, evolved by a classic Darwinian 'advancing wave' process, according to research by a team from Cambridge University and published yesterday in Nature Human Behaviour.

The team were looking specifically at a possible correlation between a personality type that fits with 'frontier settlement theory' and topography (elevation in relation to the surrounding region).

Catholic Abuse News - Pope Ratzinger's German Connection

Msg Christoph Kühn, Sexual predator and friend of Pope Benedict XVI
Homosexual abuse scandal and cover-up during Benedict’s pontificate shakes Vatican  | News | LifeSite

Another scandal of sexual predation amongst senior Catholic priests is breaking - this time centered around a German priest and favourite of Pope Benedict XVI and involving forced sex with junior priests, inside the Vatican itself!

According to this report in LifeSite News, Monsignor Florian Kolfhaus and a second man – a former priest - both allege that then-senior official in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, Monsignor Christoph Kühn, violently compelled them into sexual masochistic acts.

According to LifeSite:
Kolfhaus first lodged a complaint against Kühn at the Vatican in 2006. He testifies that his abuse took place inside the offices of the Secretariat of State, as well as inside the Casa Santa Marta, a residence for Vatican prelates.

But it appears no formal investigation was launched until 2019, in spite of the fact that the Report of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Delegate for the Pontifical Representations, was presented to the Superiors of the Secretariat of State on July 3, 2006.

The other priest has since become laicized and is now a practicing homosexual and LGBT activist. He has given his testimony for the Kolfhaus complaint that is currently underway in Germany.

Monday, 7 September 2020

Christian Fruitloops for Racism

Bishop Aubrey Shines
Clergy of Color tell Nike: ‘Stop supporting anti-Christian BLM’ | Barry Duke

A small bunch of extreme right clergy, calling themselves the Conservative Clergy of Color, which would probably be more accurate if spelled with capital 'K's, has intervened in the Black Lives Matter campaign, on the side of those who argue that black lives don't matter.

It started when, in a rare display of unity of cause in the highly competative trainer and sportswear industry, Nike and Adidas put their differences aside and came out in suport of the BLM campaign. Adidas then followed up with a heart emoji and by posting Nike's video on their Instagram story.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Malevolent Designer News - How Dodder Eavesdrops on its Host

Dodder, Cuscuta australis, on a soybean host plant: The parasite is flowering and has already produced seed capsules. It uses its host’s flowering signal for flower formation.

Photo credit: Jingxiong Zhang,
Kunming Institute of Botany,
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Dodder uses the flowering signal of its host plant to flower | Max Planck Institute
for Chemical Ecology
.

Not content with designing a parasitic plant that steals nutrients and water from its host, Creationism's putative intelligent [sic] designer has designed dodder to steal their hormones too!

To the embarrassment of creationists this redesign appears to have involved a loss of genetic information too - something they say can't result in an increase in information or be beneficial to the organism. The latest dictat from the Discovery Institute, following the abysmal failure of the Intelligent Design hoax, is that all genetic change must be presented as 'genetic entropy' and 'devolution' from an initial perfect creation, so it can be presented as consistent with the Bible and Michael J. Behe's latest book.
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