Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bad Faith Awards 2010: Vote for this year's leading enemy of reason

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As we enter the closing stages of 2010, the time has come for you to help us choose the winner of this year's New Humanist Bad Faith Award – 'tis the season for voting for the enemies of reason.

After a nomination period that saw you put forward those you feel have made the most egregious contributions to irrationalism and superstition during the course of this year, we've whittled them down to a shortlist of eight. Now all that's left for you to do is vote for the person you think should take the Bad Faith crown from last year's winner, Pope Benedict XVI. Here's the poll, and  to help you decide, below it is full list of names (in alphabetical order), each complete with a prize quote and a word from our in-house rationalist bookmakers.

Lauren Booth

She says: "In fact, what we Muslims are saying is 'God is Great!', and we're taking comfort in our grief after non-Muslim nations have attacked our villages.

Bookies say: Shortly after announcing her conversion to Islam, Cherie Blair's sister puts herself beyond parody with this explanation for the Arabic phrase "Allahu Akhbar" . Unless, of course, Nato forces have taken to bombing Islington. 12/1

Prince Charles

He says: "In short, when we hear talk of an 'environmental crisis' or even of a 'financial crisis', I would suggest that this is actually describing the outward consequences of a deep, inner crisis of the soul. It is a crisis in our relationship with – and our perception of – Nature, and it is born of Western culture being dominated for at least two hundred years by a mechanistic and reductionist approach to our scientific understanding of the world around us."

Bookies say: In a speech to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, the heir to the throne continues to build on his reputation for mixing an apparent genuine concern for the environment with pseudo-scientific/spiritual mumbo jumbo. Expect strong support from anti-establishment voters. 7/1

Pastor Terry Jones

He says: “Eternal fire is the only destination the Qur’an can lead people to, so we want to put the Qur’an in it’s [sic] place – the fire!”

Bookies say: He may have stepped back from the brink due to worldwide pressure, but Jones’s aborted plan to burn the Qur’an on 9/11 will be seen by many as the ultimate expression of bad faith. 8/1

Cardinal Walter Kasper

He says: “When you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country”.

Bookies say: Speaking on the eve of the Pope’s visit to Britain, and throwing in a line about the UK being marked by “a new and aggressive atheism”, Kasper seemed to represent everything secularists opposed about the Papal jamboree. 7/2

Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed

He says: "Clearly there cannot be any ‘rape’ within the marriage. Maybe ‘aggression’, maybe ‘indecent activity’."

Bookies say: In an interview with the Samosa blog, the head of the UK Islamic Sharia Council helps shore up the case for the opposition to Sharia tribunals providing arbitration in the UK. 5/2F

Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi

He says: “Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes.”

Bookies say: This Iranian cleric’s ludicrous statement sums up the wider misogyny of Iran’s regime. 6/1

Baroness Warsi

She says
: “We have seen the rise of a new kind of intellectual, who dines out on free flowing media and sustains a vocabulary of secularist intolerance.”

Bookies say: The Conservative minister’s declaration that the current government will “do God” was the last thing humanists wanted to hear in the post-Blair era. 9/1

Ann Widdecombe

She says: “The British Humanist Association does not believe that children should be allowed even to discuss creation or to be exposed to any evidence that might support it.”

Bookies say: The retired MP’s enthusiastic support for the Noah’s Ark creationist zoo near Bristol leaves her well placed to win one last election (Strictly Come Dancing aside, of course). 10/1

So, there's the shortlist. You now have until 26 November to help choose this year's winner. Let the voting commence!
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