Sunday, June 3, 2007

Bad Religion Linkfest

A series of links that all came up about religion recently that evince the darker side of religion.

BBC NEWS | Programmes | Panorama | Row over Scientology video:  BBC's Panorama:  Scientology and Me
Scientology has tried, unsuccessfully, to block this documentary showing the innards of its religion/cult.  I found out recently that this playbook for silencing critics was written by founder L. Ron Hubbard.  Nice.
"Fair Game" was introduced by Hubbard, and incites Scientologists to use criminal behavior, deception and exploitation of the legal system to resist "Suppressive Persons", i.e. people or groups that "actively seeks to suppress or damage Scientology or a Scientologist by Suppressive Acts". He defined it "Fair Game" as: ENEMY — SP Order. Fair game. May be deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist. May be tricked, sued or lied to or destroyed.
And, sickening (literally) attempts to block a breakthrough vaccine that can stem suffering and disease for so many.
US conservatives block cancer vaccine for girls - 14 May 2007 - New Scientist
Plans to vaccinate young girls against the sexually-transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer have been blocked in several US states by conservative groups, who say that doing so would encourage promiscuity.

Advocates of the vaccine point out that the jabs work against human papillomavirus (HPV) - which causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer - and are safe.

The latest data from a large clinical trial of Merck's cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, found it offered 100% protection against cervical, vulval and vaginal diseases, caused by HPV (types 6, 11, 16 and 18) and 98% protection against advanced pre-cancers caused by HPV types 16 and 18 (New England Journal of Medicine: vol 356, p1915).
And you thought veteran's healthcare couldn't get worse than rat and cockroach - infested facilities? 
Crooks and Liars » How About A Little Dose of Fundamentalism To Make The Medicine Go Down?
Navy veteran David Miller said that when he checked into the Veterans
Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City, he didn't realize he would get a
hard sell for Christian fundamentalism along with treatment for his
kidney stones.
In Indiana, a fight over 'In God We Trust' license plates - Los Angeles Times
Short version:  Indiana exempts the plates with this slogan from extra charges applied to similar sloganized plates.  State-sponsorship of a religious belief system?

YouTube - Bill Maher interviews Christoper Hitchens
Mr. Hitchens is in the class of "abrasive atheists" but he is always entertaining and this interview is a true gem. 

Senator Brownback tries to backpedal from his freedom of speech moment at the first Republican debate where he joined two other Republicans in professing to not believe in evolution.  Of course, his position is a tired one that many evolution-deniers take in that they create a straw man argument about what "evolutionists" believe.  It is not part of the theory that "there is no divine causality".  Perhaps it was Darwin's title "The Origin of Species" that throws believers off.  He wasn't saying that there emphatically was not a divine origin of life. 
What I Think About Evolution - New York Times
The most passionate advocates of evolutionary theory offer a vision of man as a kind of historical accident. That being the case, many believers — myself included — reject arguments for evolution that dismiss the possibility of divine causality.
Georgia was already on my list of states I'd never want to live in, let alone educate my kids in.
Ga. judge: Keep Potter books in school | - Houston Chronicle
The adventures of boy wizard Harry Potter can stay in Gwinnett County school libraries, despite a mother's objections, a judge ruled Tuesday. Laura Mallory, who argued the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft, said she still wants the best-selling books removed and may take her case to federal court.
A report by Media Matters reveals how extremist religious figures in America are often spoken of as if they speak for a majority of Americans.
Media Matters - Left Behind: The Skewed Representation of Religion in Major News Media
this study documents, coverage of religion not only overrepresents some voices and underrepresents others, it does so in a way that is consistently advantageous to conservatives.
This is what I find more disturbing, however, and the O'Reilly's of the world perpetuate this distortion:
Religion is often depicted in the news media as a politically divisive force, with two sides roughly paralleling the broader political divide: On one side are cultural conservatives who ground their political values in religious beliefs; and on the other side are secular liberals, who have opted out of debates that center on religion-based values. The truth, however is far different: close to 90 percent of Americans today self-identify as religious, while only 22 percent belong to traditionalist sects.
Ahh, the war on reason and science continues. - Science museum serves those with no use for science
To the embarrassment of thoughtful believers, the Creation Museum has been built for people who were born yesterday, or more or less yesterday, because they don't believe in the great geologic periods that spoilsport science insists upon.
Well, if he can use scripture to justify bigotry against gays, how about scripture to justify slavery or beating your wife or many other vile things in that book.
Romney cites Scripture in defending opposition to gay marriage -
Romney, seeking to become the first Mormon president, also tries to allay any concerns about his religion.

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