Crossing the 13-year-old threshold

Can anyone of you women — who grew up in the Christian tradition — talk about the feeling you had when faced with the idea that God chose a 13 or 14-year-old middle eastern, pre-Muslim era girl to impregnate with himself and he didn’t choose you?

Did you secretly want this for yourself?

I don’t believe in miracles, but if that really happened, how was it that those back-woods, middle eastern, death-loving desert hicks didn’t take Mary out and stone her when they found out she was pregnant?

I guess if you believe in miracles, just shove that in the same box.

On that same note, the tradition teaches that God — born where livestock eats and poops — is supposed to devour your entire concept of majesty. Jesus lived around and taught mainly the common folk. The eye of the needle is a clear concept. And yet, the focus of so many churches throughout history is opulence and grandeur. See Soloman to medieval Catholic churches all the way to super-mega-Churches today.

The message is this: God says greatness and godliness is being poor, self-less, and miraculous to the needy are the most important things to him.

And his followers gather together and in beautiful unison, they sing out, “Fuck that.”

Dutch Roman Catholic church ‘castrated’ boys in 1950s

Last night, I watched the first 40 minutes of the movie Saved (2004) that I added to my DVR a few weeks ago.

It’s scary how accurate that show is in portraying the world from which I grew up. There are obvious embellishments.

Well, the story below is not an embellishment. I wish it were.

From BBC:

Up to 11 boys were castrated while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic church in the 1950s to rid them of homosexuality, a newspaper investigation has said.

A young man was castrated in 1956 after telling police he was being abused by priests, the newspaper reported.

The justice minister is investigating the role of the government at the time.

Last year, an inquiry found thousands of children had been sexually abused in Dutch Catholic institutions since 1945.

Dutch MPs called for an inquiry after the report was published in the NRC Handelsblad newspaper at the weekend.

‘Serious and shocking’

Henk Hethuis, a pupil at a Catholic boarding school, was 18 when he told police in 1956 he was being abused by a Dutch monk. He was castrated on the instructions of Catholic priests, NRC Handelsblad said, and told this would “cure” him of his homosexuality.

The same happened to at least 10 of his schoolmates, the newspaper said.

Hethuis died in a car crash in 1958.

Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten called the allegations “very serious and shocking” and said he would investigate the role of the Dutch government at the time.

Via Cynical C

Michael Voris kvetches over Ireland’s departure from the church

Legendary homophobe and perpetuator of inanity Michael Voris released a video decrying the decline of religion in Ireland.

I’ve been doing research lately into criticisms of atheism, and this video is certainly reflective of what I’m finding. Believers report on atheism as if it’s a bad thing, but the entire time  they deliver their message, all I hear is positive publicity for disbelief.

When I watch something like this, it encourages me. Thank, Michael Voris for spreading our good news under the pretext that it’s evil.

Oh yeah … I  like your haircut, guy.

Via Pharyngula

A hypothetical situation that you must respond to

Sexual equality symbol
Image via Wikipedia

I have a doozie for you. It’s a hypothetical situation. And you must respond. And I hope some of you lurkers pull out of the dark and at least give some advice. Because I know who you are, and I think you have some interesting and solid advice to give.

Let’s call my friend Sam. Sam is an atheist. Sam’s brother Bob is engaged to be married to Jane. At the moment, I’m not clear if Bob (the brother) is a believer or not, but let’s assume he is.

Let’s assume he’s the Catholic brand of believer.


Bob is an atheist, too. Scratch the bit about being Catholic. (It shows what kind of friend I am!)

**End Update**

Jane is a believer, too. But she is the Muslim brand of believer.

Ahh, the classic story of Romeo and Juliet. Will it ever go away? 

Wedding plans are not set in stone. One scenario is a destination wedding to the Caribbean and a reception back at home. Another scenario is that Jane, and maybe more so Jane’s father, would like to have a traditional muslim wedding.

You see, at traditional muslim weddings and church services, women are separated from the men, because women aren’t important in islamic culture. They are inferior and treated as such. It’s very biblical, too. But who’s keeping score?

My friend Sam is shocked and appalled that in 2011, anyone would reach back into non-gender-equality for the sake of pleasing a tradition of asininity. He is shocked that he would disrespect his wife for any length of time. He made a vow of equality with his wife.

Just so I’m clear, I want to give you Sam’s original explanation to me in his words so you know exactly the information I had to respond with:

My brother is marrying a Muslim.  She has planned to have a Muslim ceremony, where men and women are segregated. I am really not comfortable with that.  To me, it is a slight against my wife and perpetuates attitudes that I cannot support, religiously grounded or not.  Yet if I take a stand, I risk alienating her family in the midst of an already strained situation.  She has said that she wants a “white wedding” and a “muslim wedding”, but expects me to attend both of them.

What would you do?

What kind of message am I sending my daughter, or worse still, my sons, if I act as if this is permissable behavior?

If I recuse myself on principle, then I put my new sister-in-law in an inenviable position with her family.  Her father has already been very difficult, and he will no doubt consider this an additional slight.

And later, after an exchange, Sam wrote this:

[My wife] is the person I have commited to love, honor and cherish, forsaking all others, for all the days of my life.  She is also the woman who will be sitting separately from her husband because she is a lesser human being.

I told Sam what I think. I’m afraid he wasn’t pleased with my advice. I basically said that the greater good is honoring your brother’s and sister-in-law’s wishes for one hour of your life. If my family would have done what they wanted to do at our wedding, I would have exploded in front of all my guests. I would have alienated myself from them. I would have hated them. But they came in love despite the absence of god in our service and reception. They did everything they could to welcome Tina and to honor me when they probably HATED that we were atheistic in our marriage commitment.

I told Sam that I would devote a post to it here at Le Café, because I know you have an opinion about it. I almost didn’t write my response, because I want your responses to be unfettered.

I hate to call out names directly. And I’m serious about the lurkers. Sign in as anonymous if you want.

I really want your feedback. Please respond to Sam’s plight from within a non-theistic perspective. Sam is who we’re aiming to help, here. Thanks.