Anything worth talking about, is worth blogging about

Posts tagged ‘Islam’

Link farm and a random thought

In no particular order:

The ultimate in data storage. Scientists have found a way to store digital information in DNA. The storage method is sophisticated enough that all information currently in hard drives could fit into the palm of your hand.


Quote of the day (emphasis added):

“What always interests me about defenders of creationism is how they clearly don’t think of children as people in their own right, but instead property that you use to enact your ideological obsessions.”

I personally would edit that quote to include the entirety of the rotten parental rights movement. Those people really do see their own kids as enemies and who’ll do anything to prevent those children from thinking for themselves and not being a projection or perfect reflection of the parents. Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism has emphasized this point multiple times.


Solar power is well on its way to becoming cheaper than coal. It might reach that point before the end of the decade. This is important, as it would eliminate much of the point of burning coal, which is important for climate change mitigation. (It’s still better to start today, however).


I fully agree with these suggestions on how to write a better fantasy story. (Via all these people).


Did you know that (supposedly) the committee of the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women supposedly “Told Libya to re-interpret the Koran in the light of CEDAW”? To rational people, this is an excellent reason to support the CEDAW. But, Echidne found out, wingnuts actually use this as a justifiation for opposing the CEDAW. To their credit, at least they’re honest.


Two of the comments on a post on Brute Reason have won awards. You just have to see them.

And yes, I did manage to read and finish what is visible of the first comment. It starts repeating itself part way through Can’t it be all new woo?

This post has been edited since publication.

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Shut up because the views must be the same

A guest blogger at the Volokh Conspiracy is doing a series of posts about treaties and the United States’ Congress’ powers and the ability to enforce them.

Rather than offer my own views on that subject (which is way beyond my expertise, in part because IANAL), I’ll instead draw attention to a curious contradiction among many in the religious right wrong. In concerns the United States’ Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), which reads as follows:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

The people in the religious right wrong use this section to argue that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, if ratified by the US Senate, will somehow threaten “parental rights” or homeschooling or other such stuff. (As every other country [except Somalia, which hasn’t signed] shows, such claims are nonsense, but showing why is beyond the scope of this post). In other words, they are required to believe that any international treaty overrules whatever laws are in force in the US, even if Congress legislating in that area would be ultra vires (beyond its powers).

The religious right wrong also believe that the US is founded as a Christian nation. This is in spite of the Treaty of Tripoli, which the US Senate unanimously ratified over two centuries ago. The relevant section is Article 12, which reads as follows (spelling and wording in original):

As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

In other words, the religious right wrong believes that treaties overrule law when they provide rights to children, but not when they refute the Christian nation myth.

Those two positions are contradictory. One cannot rationally believe both. If they truly believe that the US was founded as a Christian nation and that the Treaty of Tripoli does not apply, then they can forever shut up about the UNCRC overruling any other law and threatening parental rights. If, by contrast, they believe that the UNCRC does overrule other laws, they then can shut the fuck up about the US being founded as a Christian nation.

At least someone’s bringing the hammer down for public health

A hospital in Indiana has fired eight employees because they refused flu shots (via). Good. It’s about time someone grew a spine and stood up to religious extremists who put the health and lives of the public at risk. And can we start doing this in BC, now? Update: My apologies, I didn’t read the date carefully enough. This is from a year ago. But still, the principle behind it still holds.

And to those who want religious exemptions from doing the job the voluntarily signed up for, be careful what you wish for. (Indeed, I think that it is pretty likely that the same people who support the people in Indiana would object to this second group, even though both are using the same justifications for not doing what is necessary for their job).

You go girl!

I can’t say I endorse her methods, but still this is full of win.

International human rights groups ought to defend this woman, as she is likely to face heavy jail time for standing up for her rights.

Update 201209–22: According to information I found at Muslimah Media Watch, attacks against such clerics are not rare, and that the particular cleric that was beaten did not file charges, although the local judiciary might still do so.

A lack of relevant difference

In the Joyce Quiverfull book, there is a section concerning some Christian fundamentalists (The Pearls) who, besides advocating that people should use a ridiculous amount of corporal punishment on their kids to “train” them and that women should be submissive doormats, also believe in an excessive form of female modesty, as illustrated by the following passage on pp. 79–80 (my emphasis):

“[They] require wives to dress and behave modestly among men to whom they do not belong, lest the sight of their bodies tempt men into ‘sight’ or ‘thought’ adultery… The lack of men’s responsibility or culpability for their own actions and the acceptance of male ‘urges’ as irresistible forces of nature is the understructure of Christian modesty movements and their secular counterparts: seeing women’s bodies as almost supernaturally perverse and corrupting….”

I’m sure this asshole would agree.

Actually, that person I linked to? He’s a Muslim. But he’s expressing the exact same sentiment as the Pearls: pervasive victim–blaming that blames “immodest” women (those who don’t cover up almost everything) for the actions of others, in one case “Adultery” and in the other rape and sexual assault.

There really, really is no relevant difference in mindset between fundamentalists/extremists of different religions. They’re all misogynist, just with different junk in their heads.

I’m tempted to agree with deBeauxOs as for what to do about him (emphasis in original):

“Well, I want a law making it legal and mandatory for men who believe they will sexually assault women because of the way they’re dressed, or for those who have violated women for those very reasons, to be given skewers to poke their eyes out.”

If you truly believe that a woman’s attire drives someone rape her (as opposed to simply taking responsibility and not being a rapist), do you even know what you’re saying about yourself? That you’re some kind of monster or something. Or even better, if you see something you don’t like, why don’t you just turn the fuck away or close your goddamn eyes? I’m pretty sure yours and almost everyone else’s necks and/or eyelids work just fine.

Either way, problem solved.

Jeannieology of a not–Poe

I’ve seen any number of ridiculous objections to the birth control mandate in the US, but this one has got to be one of the loopiest. I found it at Sadly No!, and I swear that it is not a Poe. It’s by someone named Jeannie DeAngelis, and is titled “Is Obama purposely altering America’s religious complexion?”. Considering that Ms. DeAngelis’ writing has also been found at websites like The American Stinker pretty much sums up all you need to know about her. And since I haven’t done a fisking in so long, DeAngelis’ screed provides the perfect target.

Just like a benevolent government that has worked hard to help provide naïve young girls with parent-free abortions,[…]

All women and girls have reproductive rights. Parents don’t own their kids, and they shouldn’t suffer because they happened to be born to fetus fetishist parents. Abortion (and contraception, although DeAngelis didn’t mention it in this context) are legal.

[I]t stands to reason that ‘patriarchal’ Christianity would be next in line to be undermined.[…]

If patriarchal religion is being undermined I’m all for it.

When it comes to challenging authority, the President seems to be particularly obsessed with using birth control and abortion as a weapon.

“Birth control and abortion as a weapon?” You have until the count of ten before I pump your guts full of pills!;)

[…]Barry seems excessively concerned about ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, credo or upbringing, can obtain free condoms, morning-after pills, sterilization, and abortion-on-demand.

Actually, economic and other barriers ensure that most women don’t have abortion or contraception on demand. Additionally, the Hyde Amendment and other laws ensure that federal tax dollars and none of your money™ are not being used to fund (most) abortions (cite).

The only religious group Obama respects and is careful not offend, whether religiously or parentally, is Muslims.

Bush emphasized on a number of occasions that he was fighting Islamic terrorists and extremists and not the vast majority of Muslims who are neither.

The Muslim faith has drawn a line in the sand and the President, who feels very comfortable defying every other authority from the Vatican to the parents of 14-year-old girls[…]

The Pope runs his own country. And again, children shouldn’t suffer because they had the misfortune to be born to parents who abuse them by denying them legal health care.

[A]cquiesces, without question, to the tenets of the Koran.

This conspiracy theory that Obama is a secret Muslim has been debunked a million times.

Barack Obama knows full well that “Muslims believe that health insurance is ‘haraam,’ or forbidden, because they liken the ambiguity and probability of insurance to gambling.” Thus, without question the Obama administration has decided that, unlike other faiths, “This belief excludes them from any of the requirements, mandates, or penalties set forth in [Obamacare].” Obama respects the Muslim stance on gambling, and presto! Muslims are exempt from health insurance, and more specifically the birth control, sterilization, and abortion mandates that accompany it.

Actually, as Snopes and FactCheck make clear, while some Muslim groups object to life insurance, most Muslims have no problem with health insurance or other insurance required by law. Considering that no Muslim groups objects to Social Security, which Christian groups granted exemptions under the appropriate laws do, it is unlikely that any Muslim would be granted an exemption. As Snopes puts it, “[N]o Muslim group has ever qualified for an exemption under the guidelines which define which religious groups would be exempt from the health care law.”

And furthermore, there is no abortion mandate.

DeAngelis then goes on to quote some Catholic dogma about human reproduction and sexuality. The appropriate response to this is, of course, to point out that if one is concerned about abortions (like DeAngelis herself mentioned as recently as last month) and wants to reduce the number of abortions, improved access to contraception is the number one way to do it. That, along with better sex education, is how places like the Czech Republic (cite), Georgia (cite), and elsewhere (cite) have reduced their abortion rates.

Barack Obama, who’s obsessed with everyone else’s sex life[…]

“[O]bsessed with everyone else’s sex life?” I thought this article was written by Jeannie DeAngelis, and not Yagotta B. Kidding.

The question arises as to why a President so focused on controlling so many Americans’ reproductive habits and overriding religion[…]

98% of sexually active Catholic women use contraception. A Majority of Catholics support no–cost contraception (cite). The only religion being overridden is that of the professional virgins almost no one listens to anyway. In addition, as David Frum (a Republican) pointed out, those who oppose the birth control mandate on the grounds of “freedom of religion” are incoherent, much less the fact that several states have required churches to follow similar rules several years already.

[…]Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Barack Obama have joined forces, blocked the exits, and are distributing free condoms at the contraceptive circus.

Contraceptive circus? Really?

Meanwhile, Islam is exempt.

See just above. DeAngelis mentioned this in the part of the paragraph that I skipped over. She sure does know how to rant, doesn’t she?

The President is urging and actively assisting in lowering birth rates in a Christian community whose tenets reject contraception and abortion and stands by while, according to Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life population projections, “Globally, the Muslim population is forecast to grow at about twice the rate of the non-Muslim population over the next two decades.”[…]

Ooooh, alert alert, it’s the scary foreign people! That aside, if you read such demographic reports, you’ll find out that the fertility rate in the Muslim world is plummetting. The reason for the continued increase is, of course, population momentum: When you have a large cohort of people of prime reproductive age, the population will almost certainly go up even with a low birth rate.

DeAngelis continues ranting the same stuff for her last paragraph, reiterating her previous wingnut word salad about Muslim exemptions and pretty much nothing that hasn’t been debunked above.

Update: This post used to have a picture, but I removed it on the grounds that it added no value to this post.

So much for the slippery slope

As all rational people could reasonably foresee, the Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the sections of the Criminal Code of Canada that outlaw polygamy. The pith and substance of the ruling is that even though laws against polygamy infringe on the religious freedom of Mormon fundamentalists, it is a justified restriction based on a Section 1 tes

A cartoon with four panels. In each panel there is a bald, incensed-looking man standing at the bottom of the slope (always lower left of the panel). In the top left (titled Loving v. Virginia, 1967) there is a biracial couple standing at the top. The man says "Just you watch! Now that Black can marry White, people marrying housepets is just around the corner." Top right:: (titled Roe v. Wade, 1973) A woman stands at the top. The man says "Now that abortion is legal, we're certain to make it legal to commit infanticide! Any year now!" Bottom left: (Titled Goodridge, 2003)  A lesbian couple is standing at the top. The man says "If gays can marry, legal incest and bigamy will come nest! It's inevitable!" Bottom right: Same people as bottom right. The lesbian couple says "Dude, I don't think this slope is nearly as slippery (emphasized) as you think it is." The angy man at the bottom is turning away and says "Oh shut up."

Cartoon by Barry Deutsch

Such a decision is the correct one. If polygamy were to be legalized now, almost certainly the only ones who would take advantage of the legalization would be Mormon or Muslim fundamentalists. Considering that severe negative consequences arise from the existence if these relationships, (such as how Mormon fundamentalists rape women, abuse girls, and expel “surplus boys”) it is perfectly justifiable to keep polygamy illegal.

Considering that many bigots and opponents of marriage equality explicitly argued (the fallacy of the slippery slope) that same–sex marriage would lead to polygamy, this decision proves them wrong. In other words, so much for the slippery slope.

Hopefully, this case will set a precedent regarding the harmful effects of religion on others. Frankly, women’s rights (and others) ought to take precedence over freedom of religion. Amongst the people this ought to apply to are fundamentalist Muslims, Mormon fundamentalists, the Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement, and ultra–Orthodox Jews. First of all, religion is a choice, while gender isn’t. Even if adults voluntarily chose to enter these religions, their children didn’t, and unlike them I don’t think children should suffer just because they had the misfortune of being born to nutcase parents. Furthermore, no one is preventing these people from converting to denominations that are not so blatantly misogynistic. No one is ever forced to be a gynophobic misogynist. Freedom of religion shouldn’t be the “freedom” to oppress women, especially those who aren’t part of it.

Cartoon attribution/legal stuff: Barry Deutsch / CC BY 3.0

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