Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia and the corruption that is UN

Frequent readers of my blog know that I have a strong opinion on the United Nations:  FIRE THEM ALL!!!

Un-elected, un-accountable, corrupt and arrogant beyond belief.

Frequent readers of my blog will also know that I was one of the first Western voices raising alarm over the horrific and unconscionable – frankly, inhuman – treatment Raif Badawi, the Saudi Liberal, had suffered simply for creating and running a website.

The fact remains that the corrupt and tyrannical theocracy that is Saudi Arabia has no business being accepted as an equal member in organizations that pretend to be a platform for civilized countries.

I mean – just try driving a car in SA while female!

Or sitting in a cafe without your owner (wali)!

Or being a 75-year-old widow and letting your nephew bring you bread…

Yeah…

Saudi Arabia is not exactly the bastion of ‘human rights’.

After much international outcry on behalf of Raif Badawi, he was permitted to appeal his sentence of 1000 lashes (that’s flogging, no ‘falsies’ here) and 5 years in prison just because his blogging ran afoul of the religious police and their fancy fetishes.

It is important to note that Raif is to be flogged in many instalments, because 1000 lashes at oncewould, effectively, remove the skin from the back part of his body and kill him long before the punishment could be carry out in full – which, of course, would spoil the whole ‘fun’.

So, instead, the punishment is given a bit at a time, giving the man time to at least partially heal and recover from it before the next instalment of torture.  This both extends the physical suffering and creates incredible psychological torture as one is awaiting the next torture session.

Of course, any ‘healing break’ is too short to allow complete healing.  This will lead to a progressively weaker and more sick Badawi at each ‘session’ – ensuring he will, eventually (but not too soon) die of his flogging.

The only good bit in this story is that his wife and babies are now safely in Canada – and I wish them all the best!

And, enough people have volunteered to take Raif’s place in each instalment of the floggings that, had the Saudis accepted the swap, he would be safe.  At least there is some moral support in knowing that people were willing to put their hides on the line for him!

So, no sooner had the Saudi courts ruled and upheld the 1000 lashes and 10 years in jail (upped from 5 by an in-between court, I presume) than…

…and I kid you not…

…than the UN, in its wisdom, decided to host a summit on Human Rights IN SAUDI ARABIA!!!

Please, please, PLEASE!!!

Contact your political masters and beg them to get out of the cesspool of corruption that is the UN!

Draw Muhammed Day – so, what next?

It has been two weeks since my failed attempt to hold a Draw Muhammed Day event on Canada’s Parliament Hill.

To read what had transpired then, please see my posts on the topic.

In the aftermath, everybody wanted to know what was I going to do next?

To be honest, my failure had taught me just how naive I was when it came to this issue.  Yes, I knew I had to DO something – but I didn’t want another failure.  So, the first thing to do was to learn.

In the last two weeks, I spoke and corresponded with many peoples:  some passionate, some intelligent, some knowledgeable – and most a combination of the above.  I got a lot of suggestions and a lot of advice.

One neighbour of mine asked me why I would bother with this – when I could be gardening or doing something else fun.  I pointed out I had kids and could not leave the country in a worse shape for them than it was when I came here.  He just shook his head and drove away.

Another neighbour, whom I had considered a friend, ‘jokingly’ suggested that perhaps I should move, so that her house does not get shot up by accident when ‘they’ come for me…

But most people were actively supportive and gave me some constructive criticism and good advice.

One suggestion I got from a large number of people went something along the following lines:

  • freedom of speech is guaranteed as our Constitutional right
  • so is freedom of assembly
  • Parliament Hill is a public area – perhaps THE public area and as such, it belongs to all of us Canadians
  • therefore, don’t get any permits and just show up with a group of people and do your thing

While I agree with this in principle, there is more to it that just the principle…

You see, there is an organization that is in charge of the activities on Parliament Hill.  It’s some kind of a committee – of course…how else can the bureaucrats avoid individual responsibility – but, it exists for several very practical reasons.

It is necessary to co-ordinate the various events, for simple logistics reasons.

And it is also their responsibility to, through the RCMP, provide security on The Hill (or, in their shorthand, PH).

So while I reject any suggestion that they have the right to judge the substance of the protests in PH  (and their multi-page guide to the use of PH indeed does reserve this right – down to who will speak and what they will say and to limit this to what will ‘fit their image’), I do understand the practical necessity of crowd control and event co-ordination.

In addition, it seems that if I am deemed to trespass on PH, this organization has the right to get me arrested.  And while I think freedom of speech is a worthy issue – worthy enough to go to jail for – I am not certain if getting arrested for ‘trespassing’ has the same impact.  (Which, of course, why this loophole is there…)

So, this is not the course of action I plan to take right now.

Others have urged me to go the Texas route:  to rent a private venue and private security to hold the event.

And while the Garland, Texas, event was a success story (yes, a couple if ISIS goons showed up, but security dispatched them quickly and nobody besides the terrorists got killed – so, despite the media negative spin, this WAS a success story), it feels too much like trying to hold a free speech event in an unmarked basement room with nobody really knowing about it.  And a sign on the door saying ‘beware of the leopard’…

Yes, I am exaggerating – but with my highly limited media reach (I’m no Pamela Geller), I’m not exaggerating anywhere as much as I’d like to.

So, for now, that is also not a preferred course of action.

Then there were those who said that any form of blasphemy is ‘not nice’ and that it is an abuse of the freedom of speech to use it for the purpose of blasphemy. (These are the same people who say “I am for freedom of speech, BUT…”)

To you, I say that without the freedom to blaspheme, there would be no freedom of religion!

Yes, truly!!!

If I were not permitted to blaspheme most Christian’s belief that Jesus Christ was/is the son of God, born of a human woman, who was crucified as a human sacrifice of his corporeal self to his divine self to atone for the sins of humanity – then I would not be free to worship as a Muslim.

If I were not permitted to blaspheme the Muslim belief that Jesus was fathered by a human and did not die on the cross, I would not be free to worship as a Roman Catholic and many Protestant sects.

If I were not permitted to blaspheme the Hindu belief in many deities, then I would not be free to worship as a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew or any other forms of monolatrism/monotheism.

And that is barely scratching the surface!

It is no coincidence that religious books/teachings are exempt from hate-speech laws, because they all hate-speech each other!!!  Which, of course, leaves atheists and ignostics (I do consider myself an ignostic more than anything else) at a bit of a disadvantage:  if everyone else is free to blaspheme and even hate-speech each other’s religion, why are we not allowed to even civil-ly criticize any of them?

NO – blasphemy is not only good, it is absolutely necessary for freedom of religion – and freedom from religion – to exist!!!

Which still leaves me with the question…

What to do?  What to do?!?!?

First thing on my list was a bit of self-education.

If the reason my original event was cancelled was due to ‘security concerns’, then I had better educate myself on this topic in particular.

OK, perhaps picking the International Draw Muhammed Day was not the best for security’s sake.  Perhaps I should pick a less inflammatory date, like, say September 11th – but I jest!

The next item on my list was to learn a little bit about security, public spaces and events and both the theory and how to in that.  I was in luck!

As it so happened, yesterday, 3rd of June, 2015 (exactly 2 weeks to the day when I had intended to hold my failed event), the International Security Conference & Exposition was held in Ottawa – just across the street from the big RCMP building!!!  What luck!!!

Of course, I could not miss an educational opportunity like this!

In my usual bumbling manner, I asked for directions at a hotel nearby the convention centre – and got very exact ones from a nice lady at the front desk.  I followed them to the letter and soon found a room.  Seeing people within, I boldly entered….only to find out that this was ‘the speaker’s lounge’!

Eventually, I found the registration desk, got my badge – and soon found the room with the seminar I knew I could not miss:  ‘Securing Public Spaces’.

It was awesome,

A moderator from The Hill Times (a sponsor) had three most esteemed panelists:  David Harris, Director, International and Terrorist Intelligence Program INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc., some Commie prof from Carleton U who kept insisting that policing causes income disparity (and boasted of helping Greece organize their policing…really, I’m not making this up) and a lady from the City of Ottawa who is in charge of emergency stuff.

The moderator and two thirds of the panel were most excellent!

Joking aside, I really learned a lot about both the theoretical as well as practical aspects of policing public areas.

So, I feel that with my newly acquired knowledge, I might be better able to co-operate (I will NOT ‘collaborate’ – where I come from, collaborators are lined up against the wall and shot – and I am most definitely against violence of any sort) with the powers that control PH.

Perhaps with a different date – one that will work for them and not be so provocative – we can still succeed in having this equal-opportunity blasphemy event on PH.

So, my next step will be to re-contact the power that be and see what hoops I need to jump through to get this event happening!

John Stossel – Separation of Church & State

I have to say, yet again, that I am sick and tired of religionists demanding that their non-evidence based claims be ‘respected’ more than any other non-evidence based stories, just because they call them ‘religion’.

I am sick and tired of non-evidence based beliefs being afforded more privileges under the law than evidence-based claims.

But most of all, I am sick and tired of people demanding limits on my freedom of speech, just because my I will not treat as absolute truth everybody else’s non-evidence based claims!

Reply to ‘POD’ on ‘The Rise of the Christian Taliban?’

Sorry that this has to come as a post:  but, it would appear that due to WordPress’s most excellent latest updates, my response to POD’s comment is too long to post as a comment.

I guess I am just a little bit too verbose…but I hate being misunderstood, so I had to reply in some length.

The original post is here.

The comment by Peter O’Donnel is here.

My reply is below:

Thank you, Peter, for the long and well thought out reply.

Let me take things in order:

It seems to me that Christianity stopped committing atrocities whenever it became separated from actual real, hands-on political power.  I suspect that this will be true of all religions, secular (non-theistic) as well as theistic:  it is the real-world power combined with a firm and unshakable belief that one is not just correct, but ‘absolutely right’ that produces tyranny.

Since this piece focuses on Christians forming what they hope will be a religious terrorist organization, I naturally focused on Christianity.  That, plus Christianity martyred more of my family than any other doctrine – so it’s personal.  Of course Communism and Islam are greater threats now than Christianity has been in the 20th century, but my point was that regardless of which religion it is, it can and will be used by some to usurp power over others.  If we let them.

As for Jesus whispering similar things to people – I understand your belief in this, but there have been many wars between Christian sects all of whom truly and honestly believed to have Jesus’s true message while the other guys were idiots who were wrong.  Just consider the difference between Catholics and Evangelicals on the topic of evolution:  Catholics assert it is the means through which the various species were created by God while Evangelicals claim it is Devil’s teachings…

Solzhenitsyn:  good book, the Gulag Archipelago.  However, Solzhenitsyn himself longed for a totalitarian state himself – he just wanted the tyrant to be the Russian Orthodox Church instead of the Bolsheviks…which is really much the same thing.

As for Buddha:  he was not so much enlightened as cowardly.  He was in the perfect position to alleviate the suffering of the common folk, being a crown prince and all that.  Instead he went and sulked in a cave….and had the nerve to accept food from the poorest of the poor, who thought it was their duty to feed him even if it meant their own children starved.  Yeah, great spiritual enlightening there!

And before you go on about the accomplishments of monks who meditate:  please consider their diet and that their ‘enlightened meditation’ perfectly fits the symptoms of brain damage due to malnutrition.

I would not go looking for spiritual advice there!

As for God being the foundation of morality.  I did not intend to say that since God does not exist, it cannot be the foundation of morality.

I do not know whether god(s) exist or not or how we would define them.  I suppose I am very much an ignostic.  As such, I would need a clear definition, because different people mean different things when they say ‘God’ – and without knowing what they mean, I cannot possibly hold an opinion, much less knowledge, regarding their existence.  (Having said this, I find little to no evidence that supports the existence of Bible-definined deity, and consider monotheism to be the least credible of all the theological positions – but that is not the point here.)

What I was referring to is the continued assertion by Christian apologists that morality is whatever their God defines it to be.  So, if God commands genocide, then genocide is the moral thing to do.  If selling your daughter to her rapist for 40 silver pieces is what God says is the moral thing to do, then that is indeed the ‘moral’ thing to do.

In other words, many Christians argue that without God, there can be no morality.

Because ‘morality’ is obeying anything and everything that God commands.

I hold the diametrically opposite view:  ‘obedience’ to morality dictated from the outside (be it from a parent or God or teapot or whatever else) is exactly that.  Obedience.

And obedience, in my never-humble-opinion, precludes morality.

Morality is making decisions about what is right and wrong, what is good, bad or evil.  Weighing the consequences of one’s actions – then choosing what to do and living with it.  Morality is reasoning from the first principle of self-ownership and deriving the least incorrect course of action therefrom.

Morality is choosing one’s actions and accepting the responsibilities thereof.

Without  this decision making process, without internal locust of decision-making, there is no ‘morality’ – only obedience.

After all, how can you be held responsible for following someone else’s rules?

So, to my way of thinking, ‘obeying the word of God’ is abdicating ‘morality’ in favour of ‘obedience’.

Because doing the right thing for the wrong reason does not make you ‘moral’….it makes you, at best,  ‘accidentally right’.  Because you did not make the choice as to what the moral course of action would be – you simply obeyed the what somebody else decided is the moral course of action.

Sorry to go into this in so much detail, but as I did not make my position clear in the original post, I want to make sure to be more clear in my reply.

To recap:  I am not saying that morality cannot come from God since God does not exist:  I am saying that obeying somebody else’s rules about what is or is not moral is not morality itself, it is simply obedience because the locust of decision-making about what is or is not moral is external to one-self.  And I am perfectly aware that many religious people consider ‘morality’ to be ‘obeying God’s commands’ because they believe they are owned by God (in one manner or another).  I acknowledge their belief, but disagree with them.  Obedience is not ‘morality’ – or every puppy would be the most ‘moral’ creature in the world!

Which brings me to Mother effing Theresa.

Just this past weekend, I had a huge fight with a self-defined Christian apologist about Mother effing Theresa!

He had driven her around Montreal for a week and thought the sun shone from her behind!

Of course, being a fact-focused person, I know better than to buy in to the hollow propaganda about this profoundly evil person, who fetishized the suffering of others and maximized it in order to bring about her own salvation.  Her clinics did not differentiate between curable and incurable patients and used unsterilized needles for all…as well as denying even child-patients life-saving medical care and all painkillers….’cause, suffering would bring them closer to Jesus!

If the evil bitch Agnes (self-called Mother Theresa, which in itself should be a hint as she was NOT a mother and it is deeply immoral of her to usurp that noble title) is your example of the good things Jesus whispers to people, then you confirm my suspicion that all religions are, at their core, evil incarnate.  And that to get good people to commit evil deeds, all you need is religion….

Jesus himself:  perhaps we can leave discussion of the Nazarene and his teachings for another day…

As for giving God a chance:  I rather like Thor…and Tyr…and Hospodin and Baba Maja.  Have you given them a chance?

The Rise of the ‘Christian Taliban’?

One thing that differentiates Atheists from religious people is the recognition that regardless of the underlying religious doctrine, believing that one is doing things to please their God can make even good people descend into acts of unspeakable barbarity.

It is the ‘knowledge’ that one is the instrument of ‘The Almighty’ that gives people the impetus to leave their humanity behind and commit acts of unspeakable cruelty.

In many debates between famous theists and Atheists on the topic of morality:  every single Christian apologists (whom I have seen – and I follow this a lot) states that ‘morality’ is what God commands.

As in, defining right from wrong is God’s prerogative – and God’s prerogative alone!

If that does not frighten you, the following bi should:  many Christians truly and honestly believe that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and that he whispers right and wrong into their ears.  And Jesus hardly ever whispers the same things to two different people….

Why am I going into this?

Well, non-Muslims are eager to prove – with actual quotations from their scriptures – that their faith could never be used to justify brutality in the name of their God.

Raise the Crusades with Christians and they’re apt to go off the handle about Muslim aggression and the Crusades being defensive wars.  OK – that is true – for some crusades.

What about the Albigensian Crusade?

That one was fought by Catholics against Gnostic Christians who were non-violent and wanted nothing other than just to practice their own faith, without interference from the Catholics.

Or the immolation of Jan Hus and the subsequent Crusade to murder anyone who dared disagree with the immolation of the peace-loving priest?  The suppression of the disciples of Hus got so brutal that simple folk would have no choice but to take up farm implements to protect themselves and their children from the aggression of the fully armoured, mounted, armed and militarily trained knights!!!  Much of my own family – peaceful farmers who just happened to be in the path of the Crusaders and suspected of, may be, perhaps, because of their geopgraphic location, harbouring Hussite sympathies – were butchered in the most horrible ways possible.

These were not Muslim aggressors:  these were peaceful Christians who just wanted to practice their faith unmolested by the Pope and his Church tyrants!

And, apart from wars:  Christianity was used to impose a tyrannical system of peasantry on the majority of European populace:  ‘as above, so below’ was the name of the doctrine which permitted the nobles to own their serfs, rape and kill them at will.  It wasn’t until another one of my ancestors, Jan Sladky ‘Kozina’ invited his lord to God’s judgment – and won – that peasants realized that their suffering was not ‘God’s will’ and began the uprisings which eventually ended serfdom in Europe.

So, it comes as little surprise to me that Christianity has spawned its own ‘Christian Taliban’ group.

That is not my assessment:  that is what they describe themselves as.

It’s here and it demonstrates that all belief in ‘divine-dictated-morality’ is necessarily going to lead even good people to do evil things.

But, don’t take my word for it: read all about it!

‘That’s the theory. In practice, Korchynsky wants the war in eastern Ukraine to be a religious war. In his view, you have to take advantage of the situation: Many people in Ukraine are dissatisfied with the new government, its broken institutions and endemic corruption. This can only be solved, he believes, by creating a national elite composed of people determined to wage a sort of Ukrainian jihad against the Russians.

“We need to create something like a Christian Taliban,” he told me. “The Ukrainian state has no chance in a war with Russia, but the Christian Taliban can succeed, just as the Taliban are driving the Americans out of Afghanistan.”

For Korchynsky and the St. Mary’s Battalion, the Great Satan is Russia.’

Ah, yes.

Nothing like a bit of a holy ‘war’…

 

Christopher Hitchens – Don’t Bow to Islam

We cannot be reminded of this often enough:

“Be Careful With Mohammed”: Muslim Action Forum launches “legal strategy” to stop publication of insults to Mohammed

From National Secular Society:

The Muslim Action Forum (MAF), which staged a protest outside Downing Street against Charlie Hebdo in February, has launched a “legal strategy” to stop insults against Mohammed.

The organisation is also asking supporters to “lobby your MP” to make “Islamophobia” a criminal offence.

They state that they intend “to launch a series of legal challenges in the English Court system” because “depictions of our Holy Prophet peace be upon Him is the worst kind of ‘Hate Crime’ that can be perpetrated on the 3 million Muslims in the UK and 1.7 billion Muslims worldwide.”

The group says that they have “devised a legal strategy to prevent the continuous insulting and derogatory publications depicting and abusing the personality of our Holy Prophet Muhammad peace be upon Him.”

In a press release published shortly after the demonstration in February 2015, the MAF set out details of their plan to outlaw depicting Mohammed in the UK, through “amendment of some existing legislation and the presentation of a Private Members Bill that promotes the idea of Global Civility.”

They describe “Global Civility” as a “new direction” and argue that the “desecration” of “collective human dignity”, through “insult, denigration or humiliation is morally and ethically wrong”. Their website rails against “reckless and malicious expressions”.

They urge the 100,000 Muslims who they claim signed their petition to lobby their MPs and all candidates standing in the General Election. The MAF makes a number of suggestions including three specific questions which they ask supporters to direct to their MPs.’

Well, that’s not good.

Getting 100 000 signatures?!?!?

I guess us blasphemers ought to prepare for being burned at the proverbial stake for now – and a literal one soon!

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