Friday, 30 November 2007

Just call it Christmas

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When our editor emailed New Humanist contributor Michael Bywater to invite him for a "Winterval" drink the other week, he triggered a fantastic rant on the absurdity of referring to the period as anything other than "Christmas".

With the onset of December we've published this on our website as part of our new web-only content, as it really did deserve a wider audience. Have a read and let us know what you think. What do you think of alternative names like "Winterval", and how should us heathens refer to Christmas? Leave your suggestions by commenting on this blog post. Should we even observe or celebrate it? Does anyone really care?

Also, make sure you let us know what you think by voting in the poll at the top right of this page.

Religion-free morality

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Time magazine's latest cover story tackles the question of what makes humans moral – and refreshingly there's not a religious explanation in sight. The piece, by Time senior writer Jeffrey Kluger, looks for answers in biology, anthropology and sociology to the question of why humans adhere to, or in many cases break, moral codes.

The only appearance from religion is in reference to the practice of shunning in order to enforce group morals: "Religious believers as diverse as Roman Catholics, Mennonites and Jehovah's Witnesses have practiced their own forms of shunning—though the banishments may go by names like excommunication or disfellowshipping".

It's an excellent article that doesn't even bother wasting time on the notion that we may have gained our morality from supernatural sources, or for that matter the idea that the only reason humans have acted morally throughout history is because they were told to do so by priests, Popes, clerics, holy books and so on.

Of course, it's not an article that would please religious readers. The GetReligion blog (slogan: "The press... just doesn't get religion") can't believe that a reputable publication like Time would cover morality without resorting to religious explanations: "To think that science ever could explain the why speaks of a curious certainty that science can solve life’s deepest mysteries through chemistry and brain waves and sociobiology. To publish an article that not only makes such triumphalist claims for science, but fails even to acknowledge millennia of religious thinking about these mysteries, is one of the most ridiculous stunts in journalism this year".

You learn something every day...

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In seeking items to post on this blog I come across a lot of nonsense (I'm not saying this is a bad thing), and today is no different. I'm not sure how I've managed in the past without knowing what a "demonologist" is. But it's OK, because thanks to this interview with "noted demonologist" Keith Johnson, now I know.

You see, a demonologist "is essentially someone who makes a study of the activity, nature and history of demons, and is at least somewhat skilled in the practical application of this knowledge to apply this knowledge".

Of course they are. How could I not have known that? It seems I am not alone in becoming recently enlightened, as apparently TV exposure has meant "the reality that the demonic realm is indeed a reality is receiving greater awareness. People who genuinely need assistance with demonic disturbances are finding out that they are no longer alone in their situations, and that there are some reliable sources to turn to for help."

With this in mind, I trust you will all sleep sounder tonight.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Catholic commentator Christina Odone in row over carol service speech

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Catholic journalist Christina Odone has pulled out of speaking at the Royal Commonwealth Society's annual carol service after her speech was rejected for being too polemical.

Odone, who regularly bemoans the "persecution" of the religious in British society (see our July editorial), had penned a speech on what she sees as the hostility shown towards those wishing to express their religion in Britain, claiming that "in a culture increasingly hostile to God and his followers, expressions of faith have become taboo". She had been asked to speak about "opportunities for all", and told that her speech could be "political and controversial".

Stuart Mole, the director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, told Odone the speech would not be suitable for the carol service, saying it was necessary to consider those of little or no faith who nevertheless might wish to turn up and hear a few carols. Instead Odone was asked to read a passage by Bertrand Russell, and needless to say she refused and pulled out of the event.

All this led to a heated exchange between Odone and Mole on this morning's Today programme, which you can listen to here (skip 20 minutes into the audio clip).

Also, if you do listen to the Today clip, let it run on after Odone to hear one of the least insightful pieces of sporting analysis you're likely to come across. A Professor Tom Cannon from the University of Buckingham's business school has "worked out" the four measures of success for judging who should become the next England football manager, a theory which basically boils down to "have they been successful in the past?" Thanks for that Prof.

Discussions featuring the New Atheists available on DVD

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The Richard Dawkins foundation is to sell DVDs of a discussion it held earlier this year between Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris. The four agreed that all profits from DVD sales of the discussion would be donated to the Ayaan Hirsi Ali security fund. The DVDs will be available at the end of December priced $20. Visit the Dawkins site for more information.

The Dawkins foundation is also releasing a set of two DVDs featuring lectures by Hirsi Ali, Dennett, Hitchens, Harris, Dawkins and more at the 2007 conference of the Atheist Alliance International. This will be available in the first week of December, and again profits will go to the Hirsi Ali fund.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Turkish publisher of God Delusion could be charged for inciting religious hatred

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The owner of Turkish publishing house Kuzey may be charged with inciting religious hatred for publishing Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion. According to a report on the Guardian website, a Turkish prosecutor is considering whether to charge Erol Karaaslan as both the translator and publisher of the book, which has sold more than 6,000 copies in Turkey since its publication in June.

It seems the investigation was triggered by a complaint from a reader, who argued the book was an assault on "sacred values". If convicted Karaaslan could face up to a year behind bars.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Christina Martin: Why is it fine to mock disabled people, but off limits to joke about God?

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As a bi-monthly magazine we often find events occur that we'd love to cover, only for the opportunity to have passed by the time our next issue comes out. That's why we've added a new Web Exclusives section to the New Humanist website, allowing us to publish additional content to what you see in the magazine.

To get things started we've got comedian Christina Martin asking why jokes about disability are considered fair game in comedy, while jokes about religion can get you banned from venues and broadcasting channels.

Christina wrote a piece for us earlier this year where she told how her jokes about Jesus and the Pope had affected her chances of appearing on Paramount TV, who were seemingly too worried that she might offend Christian viewers. Yet, as she observes in her latest piece, time and again she hears comedians mocking disabled people to the sound of roaring laughter. Why is this considered fine, while jokes about God are seen as too likely to offend?

Have a read of Christina's piece and let us know what you think by commenting on this blog post. Do you think disabled jokes are becoming all too common in comedy? Or should no topic be off limits? Does religion get unfairly shielded from mockery, or is it wrong to poke fun at deeply-held beliefs?

Next up on Web Exclusives, we'll have the writer and critic Michael Bywater on the absurdity of referring to Christmas as "Winterval".

Friday, 23 November 2007

The Atheism Tapes: full interviews from Jonathan Miller's A Rough History of Disbelief

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The extended interviews from Rationalist Association president Jonathan Miller's BBC4 series Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief are available on YouTube, featuring the likes of Richard Dawkins, Arthur Miller, Daniel Dennett and Colin McGinn.

Simply search for "Atheism Tapes" (or follow the link above) to access the full list. To get you started, here's the first part of the interview with Dawkins:

NH contributor Stan Cohen on Comment is Free

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Regular New Humanist contributor Stan Cohen has a piece on the Guardian's Comment is Free site today, discussing Israeli academic Carmi Gillon's upcoming visit to London.

Gillon is the Hebrew University's vice president of external relations – but he is also a former head of the Shin Bet, the internal Israeli general security service. He occupied senior positions within the organisation from 1988-95, which, as Stan writes, "was the high point in Shin Bet's policy of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees". In his piece Stan questions Hebrew University's wisdom in appointing someone with Gillon's track record, while at the same time Israeli academics claim "to be at the forefront of the struggle for justice for the Palestinians".

This ties in nicely with Stan's upcoming article for the January/February 2008 issue of New Humanist, when he will be discussing the return of torture.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Video of the US Dover Area intelligent design case

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Alan Watson at Humani has forwarded us this great resource for anyone interested in the intelligent design debate in America. Popular US science TV series NOVA have put online their 2-hour show on the 2005 federal court case over the teaching of intelligent design in the Dover Area School District in Pennsylvania.

It was a landmark case in which the judge ruled that intelligent design had no place in science lessons. It originated when a group of parents sued the school district over a statement that the school board required teachers to read out in science classes whenever evolution was taught. This stated that evolution was a theory rather than a fact, and offered students a book on intelligent design, Of Pandas and People, if they were interested.

The film is split into handy 10 minute chunks, so dig in.

Missing American pastor resurfaces as small-town mayor

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Here's an amazing story. The pastor of a church in Hammond, Indiana who mysteriously disappeared in 1980 has resurfaced under a different name – and it turns out he's been the mayor of the small Arkansas town of Centerton for the past six years.

Don LaRose, who was pastor of the Hessville Baptist Church in Hammond, disappeared 27 years ago, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. He had previously claimed to have been abducted by a Satanic cult in 1975 for "blaspheming Satan", saying they had given him shock therapy to erase his memory before dumping him in Minneapolis.

An investigation by local Arkansas newspaper The Benton County Daily Record revealed this week that LaRose had been living in Centerton under the fake name Ken Williams, serving as mayor of the town since 2001. LaRose finally broke the news to his new wife of 21 years this week, telling her: "Our whole world is about to crash down because I am Don LaRose, and I am Ken Williams, sort of".

Speaking to the Daily Record on Tuesday, having finally broken his silence, LaRose attempted to explain his disappearance. He claims the same Satanic cult that abducted him in 1975 – who he now says are an "underworld" crime group – returned in 1980 and ordered him to disappear, threatening to kill his family if he did not cooperate.

Adopting the name and social security number of a Bruce Kent Williams, who had died in a car crash in New York state in 1959, LaRose says he drifted for several years before settling in Arkansas. Since becoming the mayor of Centerton as Ken Williams in 2001, LaRose has twice been re-elected.

LaRose, who now intends to resign as mayor, says he fears the publicity he has received this week could put his family in danger from the group that forced him to flee.

It has also been revealed that the website, which details his missing years, was set up in March this year by LaRose himself. He claims he did this in the hope of getting attention from police, who he says ignored him when he tried to report his alleged abduction in 1975.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Bad Faith Awards: last chance to nominate

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As many of you will know, since July we've been inviting nominations for our inaugural Bad Faith Awards, encouraging readers to put forward the men and women they feel have made the most outstanding contributions to talking nonsense about religion.

Nominations for the 2007 awards are set to close on 8 December, after which we'll run a poll on here to determine the overall winner. With this in mind, now's the time to put forward your nominees to join the existing field of bigots, charlatans and proselytisers. To do so, simply add a comment to this blog post, preferably with a web reference that backs up your choice.

As things stand, here's the current list of runners and riders:
  • Chuck Norris: These days the martial arts legend seems to spend less time cracking skulls and more time lamenting the moral decline of Western civilisation. His weekly column on conservative Christian website WorldNetDaily is a goldmine of evangelical rantings, and his Bad Faith nomination comes by way of his declaration that if he was US President he would "tattoo an American flag with the words 'In God we trust' on the forehead of every atheist".
  • The Bishop of Carlisle: This Cumbrian prelate shot to fame when he suggested this summer's floods were God's punishment for Britain's liberal attitude to homosexuality.
  • Fake witches: A woman in Harrogate was driven to suicide when she was unable to keep up payments to witches providing "astral protection" for £23.95 a month. Newspaper reports labelled them "fake witches", which suggests those real witches are out there somewhere.
  • Richard Dawkins: One heretic New Humanist reader even put forward rationalism's very own Dawkins, for turning "the 19th century's doubting of religious dogma into another kind of dogma". The cheek...
  • Westboro Baptist Church: That delightful bunch who picket the funerals of US soldiers killed in Iraq, displaying such tactful signs as "God hates fags" and "God blew up the troops".
  • Archbishop Francisco Chimoio: Head of the Catholic Church in Mozambique who claims some European-made condoms are deliberately infected with HIV in order to quickly finish off the African people.
  • Pope Benedict XVI: Clearly the bookies' favourite. Perhaps he should be excluded to give the rest a chance?
So, it's a long field but someone's got to win. Keep the nominations coming by commenting on this post.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Comedy night featuring Robin Ince, Josie Long and more

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For those of you in London, our friend Robin Ince has just informed us of a new comedy night taking place on Wednesday 28 November at The Albany pub on Great Portland Street. In Robin's words:

"The School For Gifted Children will be a night of people enthusing about things they have found out about dinosaurs, nebulae, wig powder and that sort of thing, and some of it will be in song. It should be the best lecture you have ever been to, but all splintered and haphazard. It’s for people who like watching documentaries about ants with odd behaviour, books about rebellious librarians and who enjoy the idea of enthusiasm."

The first night features Josie Long, Ben Moor, Martin White, Darren Hayman, Dan Atkinson, Simon Munnery, Helen Zaltzman, Robin Ince and more. It's at The Albany (W1W 5QU) on 28 November, 7.45pm (show 8.15pm). Tickets are £7 and £5.

'Tis the season to read Dawkins

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They say the customer is always right, so non-believers can take heart from a graphic currently appearing on Amazon which puts all-time sales figures for Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion up against those of staunch critic Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion.

Dawkins is currently trouncing McGrath 90% to 10%, which can only be a good thing for the forces of rationalism. We've displayed the graph here as apparently it comes and goes on the Amazon site, at one point being replaced by "Kylie v Spice Girls". I wonder how Dawkins would fare against them?

[Many thanks to blog reader Matt Robinson for sending this in. Reader input is always appreciated – if you spot any amusing or relevant items on the web, do send them in via the address on our website]

Monday, 19 November 2007

Anti-abortion agenda promoted during UN debate on death penalty

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A debate at the United Nations became sidetracked late last week after a group of mostly Muslim states, led by Egypt, attempted to introduce two anti-abortion amendments into the text of an EU-led resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Despite protests from the sponsors of the resolution that an amendment on abortion was not relevant to a debate over the death penalty, the Egyptian representative argued that since the resolution was aimed at protecting life, it was appropriate to include a reference to abortion. Representatives of Egypt, Bahrain, Iran, Libya, Kuwait, Mauritania, and Sudan called for a new paragraph to be added to the resolution that urged: "Member States to take all necessary measures to protect the lives of unborn children." The amendment was rejected in a recorded vote of 28 for, 83 against with 47 abstentions.

While it is thought the abortion amendment was introduced in an attempt to stall the resolution on the death penalty, the move reflects growing attempts to undermine abortion rights through UN channels. In the May/June issue of New Humanist Solana Larsen told how conservative anti-abortion pressure groups were increasing their presence at the UN, targeting delegates from the United States, Latin America and Muslim states. Last week the United States delegates, while voting against the resolution on the death penalty, voted in favour of Egypt's first amendment on abortion.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Arkady Babchenko on the Today programme

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This morning's Today programme featured an interview with Arkady Babchenko, author of One Soldier's War in Chechnya. Babchenko was an 18-year-old law student when he was drafted into the Russian army and sent to fight in the first Chechen war (1994-96), and he returned as a hardened veteran to fight in the second war (1999-2000).

Michael Binyon reviews the book in the November/December issue of New Humanist, calling it "a tour de force. A grim testament to the worst of wars".

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

The New Humanist cartoon controversy

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Richard Norman's cover story on the New Atheists from the new issue of New Humanist has attracted a great deal of attention online. The atheist biologist PZ Myers linked to it on his lively Pharyngula blog alongside his own comprehensive response, and the article was republished on Both postings have led to lively discussions from readers, many of which tie in to the debate over atheism and humanism triggered by Sam Harris's recent speech to Atheist Alliance International conference.

An interesting, and to us surprising, side issue has arisen in those discussions over Martin Rowson's illustration for Norman's article.

On Pharyngula and in two places on Richard Dawkins' site (here and here), some have accused the cartoon of bein offensive, and not just generally offensive to Dawkins and Hitchens – "This cartoon is aggressive and mean. I reserve fat jokes for people I truly despise." (Dr Benway, – several readers have interpreted the depiction of Dawkins as homophobic. One poster kindly listed the reasons why he is offended:

"It is clearly trying to illustrate a link between the 'out' campaign for atheists and the campaign for gay rights (a valid link), by making Dawkins look like a figure of fun - a grinning limp-wristed effeminate. It is offensive on so many levels. It says 'look - Dawkins is funny because he is like a gay man'. In other words, gayness is something to laugh at. It is not offensive because it attacks Dawkins and Hitchens - that kind of cartooning has a long and distinguished history. It is offensive because of the way it does it." (Steve99,

Ok, though he could of course have noted that the link to the campaign for gay rights is not something we invented, but an inevitable result of calling a campaign "Out". Richard Dawkins himself recognises this in this article.

Encouragingly, several participants in the discussion have leapt to the cartoon's defence, most notably one "Cartomancer". In one post he identifies himself as gay, and here's a selection of what he had to say:

"I thought the cartoon wasn't all that bad really. Grossly and exaggeratedly parodic perhaps, but then again that's what cartoons, and indeed satire in general, are for. I do not believe that Dawkins is being presented as a gay stereotype, rather his characteristic exuberance and sense of wonder are being exaggerated ... I see it as mildly affectionate even - portraying him as a daft, batty old uncle figure, a harmless, sandal-wearing innocent enthralled by the wonders of nature in a very child-like fashion. I would not see that as a terrific disservice to the man. It certainly makes a change from the shrill, ranting demagogue of popular myth." (Cartomancer,

What do you think? Is the cartoon offensive, or even homophobic? Let us know by leaving your comments on this post and voting in our poll at the top right of this page.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

BHA launch secularism pamphlet

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Just back from the RSA, where the British Humanist Association launched its new pamphlet The Case for Secularism: A Neutral State in an Open Society with a lunchtime debate chaired by its president Polly Toynbee.

The debate was opened by philosopher David Papineau, a co-author of the pamphlet and member of the Humanist Philosophers Group, who put his case for a secular society as one intended not to cause differences, but rather to ensure that all citizens are free to practice their religion (or lack thereof) as they please, with the state favouring none. He presented secularism as a fair system, and one which encourages the loyalty of all groups to the state, since they have no need to fear that it is infringing on their religious autonomy.

There was little disagreement from the rest of the panel. Dr Indarjit Singh, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations began by saying he agreed 70-80% with Papineau, but warned that secularism and humanism are religions in their own right, in that they advocate a particular way of life. He expressed his view that we already live in a secular state, and reminded that it is important for all groups, religious or otherwise, to have the right to influence the state. He also warned that staunch advocates of secularism too often make big issues of the trivial, citing a debate he had yesterday on the BBC with a representative of the National Secular Society over the Sikh girl suspended from school for wearing a Kara bracelet.

The final speaker, Simon Barrow of liberal Christian think tank Ekklesia, agreed with Papineau that a secular society is not anti-religious, but rather provides institutions that are open to all. He warned that privileges harm and distort the egalitarian core of Christianity and believes the Church must be persuaded that letting go of privileges would not threaten their existence.

Copies of the pamphlet can be ordered for £5 inc UK postage from the BHA by calling 020 7079 3580 or mailing BHA, 1 Gower St, London, WC1E 6HD

German wins world light-heavyweight Chessboxing title

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It would be hard to dream up a stranger combination of sports, but try telling that to 37-year-old German policeman Frank "Anti-terror" Stoldt, who is this week celebrating becoming the light-heavyweight chessboxing champion of the world.

Contests consist of alternate rounds of boxing and chess, with wins coming by way of knockout or checkmate. After 11 rounds the fighter ahead on points in the boxing gets the decision. Stoldt defeated American David "Double D" Depto with a seventh round checkmate to take the title in front of 1200 fans in Berlin.

Chessboxing is administered by the World Chess Boxing Organisation (WCBO), whose slogan is "Fighting is done in the ring and wars are waged on the board". You can view a video of Stoldt vs Depto on the BBC website.

In the new issue of New Humanist Sally Feldman takes a look at chess and the various intellectuals, exiles, misfits and tyrants who have made the game their own.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Poll: Does a religious correspondent need to be religious?

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In the new issue of New Humanist, journalist Stephen Bates looks back on his time as Guardian religion correspondent, saying he's glad to be leaving behind the petty feuds, bizarre views and vicious power struggles of the religious world.

At the start of the article Bates identifies himself as a Catholic, and his successor at the Guardian, Riazatt Butt, has become the first Muslim to be appointed as religious correspondent by a national newspaper.

So in our latest poll we're asking whether it's necessary for a journalist to be religious in order to be a religious correspondent? Read Bates's article then cast your vote at the top right of this page. Feel free to elaborate by leaving comments on this post.

So does Jesus love porn stars?

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Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly):, a California-based ministry that aims to discourage people from watching and participating in pornography, has had an order refused for 10,000 Bibles emblazoned with the words "Jesus loves porn stars" after the publisher, the American Bible Society, deemed the words "misleading and inappropriate for the New Testament".

The ministry, which goes under the misleading slogan "#1 Christian Porn Site", hands out Bibles to those attending adult film conventions (they're due in London for one in 2 weeks, apparently) and had hoped the message would remind porn stars that "Jesus loves you regardless of your profession".

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Britney Spears offends Catholic Church

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As if she didn't have enough problems already, troubled pop star Britney Spears has gone and offended the Catholic Church with the artwork for her new album, Blackout. Two photos from the CD booklet show a scantily-clad Britney appearing to seduce a Catholic priest in a confessional booth, in one case sitting on his lap.

After bemoaning Britney's role in the celebrity gossip industry – "one more sign of a Western culture in moral decline" – an article on US website Catholic Online slams the singer for making a mockery of the confessional, "the place within a Church where a penitent confesses their sins and receives Sacramental absolution from the priest, acting on behalf of Jesus Christ through the Church".

It's not all doom and gloom though. The writer ends by hoping the pictures will lead to Britney's reformation: "One can only hope that Britney’s exposure to a confessional, even if meant to mock the Catholic Church, will be added to the mental images which occupy her sleepless nights during this troubled time in her life, as she struggles to regain custody of her children and make sense of the last few years. Perhaps the next time she approaches a confessional it will be to seek absolution and request a new beginning from the One who is able to give her the grace that she needs."

Church of England pleased with religious postage stamps

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It seems it doesn't take much to please the powers that be at the Church of England, who have today congratulated the Royal Mail for giving their Christmas postage stamp range a religious theme. Apparently they were unhappy that last year's set featured secular winter wonderland images, as Christian-themed stamps help "remind people of the true meaning of Christmas".

Now, I won't go on about this, given that ultimately it's a news story about postage stamps, but surely it's the job of the Church to "remind people of the true meaning of Christmas"? They must be getting a bit desperate if they're relying on stamps to do it for them.

Anyway, if you want to know what Christmas is really all about read comedian Carrie Quinlan's diary from the new issue of New Humanist.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Jehovah's Witness dies after refusing blood transfusion

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A mother died in a Shropshire hospital after refusing a blood transfusion when complications set in following the birth of her twins. Jehovah's Witnesses are forbidden from having blood transfusions, meaning doctors were powerless to save 22-year-old Emma Gough.

Terry Lovejoy, a spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses in Telford, said: "We share the family's very real grief".

Of course, he failed to acknowledge the completely avoidable nature of a death that leaves the newborn twins without a mother. Not that the doctors would have been wise to intervene. Across the Irish Sea, Dublin's Coombe Women's Hospital is currently pursuing a case against a Jehovah's Witness who has threatened to sue the hospital after she was given a blood transfusion following massive blood-loss during childbirth. The woman, who had lost 80% of her blood, told the court the transfusion was "like a rape". The hospital says it was only informed of the woman's objections "through a friend" who was also a Jehovah's Witness, and claims "constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and free practice of religion do not extend to enabling her to decline appropriate medical treatment."

Update: I've closed comments on this post as I keep having to moderate long, nonsensical comments which seem to contain long swathes of quotes from web pages, rather than original statements.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Westboro Baptist Church fined $10m

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The Westboro Baptist Church – that pleasant bunch of "God hates fags" fame – have been ordered by a jury in Maryland to pay $10.9 million in damages for picketing the funeral of Lance Cpl Matthew Snyder in 2006.

The Church, which consists mostly of relatives of leader Fred Phelps, has become well known for picketing the funerals of US soldiers who have died in Iraq, claiming God is exacting his revenge on the nation for its tolerance of homosexuality. During the pickets they carry signs displaying such tasteful slogans as "God hates fag enablers", "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God sent the IEDs". We featured them on the news pages of New Humanist back in March, shortly before Louis Theroux spent time with them for a documentary on BBC2.

The case was taken to court by Albert Snyder, Lance Cpl Snyder's father, whose attorney urged the jury to pass damages so high they would deter the Church from future picketing. Following the verdict Albert Snyder said: "I hope it's enough to deter them from doing this to other families. It was not about the money. It was about getting them to stop".

Let's hope it works.