Showing all posts for #Secular Vs. Religious
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zerocommandments

Good news everybody, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ordered the Ten Commandments monument must be removed from the state Capitol, saying it violates the Constitution, which bans using public property for the benefit of religion.

This Politico article goes into it in more detail:

Before the statue was installed in 2012 as a gift from Republican state lawmaker Mike Ritze and his family, legislators argued that it was not religious, but historic. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court found that a similar monument in Texas did not violate the establishment clause because it was intended to convey a historic and social meaning and did not constitute a religious endorsement.

The 6-foot-tall monument’s installation prompted other groups, from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to Satanists, to try to get permission to build their own monuments on the grounds of the state Capitol to mark what they also characterize as historical events.

Big thanks to all the Pastafarians in Oklahoma pushing for equality and the ACLU for doing the tedious work of fighting this case in court.

And the Satanists did a tremendous job of bringing attention to this issue, not to mention that their monument was a work of art:

Capture

The statue features the seven-foot tall, horned figure of Baphomet fawned upon by two exultant children. The statue is a symbol to “celebrate our progress as a pluralistic nation founded on secular law.”

I’m sure it won’t be long before this stuff is in the courts again:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt vowed to file a petition for a rehearing, saying that “the court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law,” according to local reports.

It’s too bad that these guys are so bent on pushing religion. I feel like there must be something more beneficial to the public they could be spending their time on.

But for today, I feel like we are making progress.

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Pastafarian ministers are coming to teach at Australian schools

Published March 27th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

victoria2

Good news in the fight for religious equality in Australia –

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has applied to the Victorian Department of Education and Training for approval to “spread the word” in schools through the Special Religious Instruction program.

Department spokesman Stuart Teather confirmed correspondence had been received and it “will be considered”.

Read the full article at the Herald Sun here

I think this is great. The Victorian Department of Education deserves a lot of credit for taking the request seriously.

Cynics might see this all as a way to make a point that religion has no place in schools, that having Pastafarians Spread the Word while dressed in Pirate Regalia to a bunch of kids will be such a ridiculous sight as to make administrators re-think the policy of allowing religious teaching in schools … but I am confident that the kids are going to get some quality information from us. At the very least we’ll be able to counter some misinformation in the secular curriculum. Such as:

* that pirates were unruly criminals
* that the world is older than 10k years despite the “evidence” to the contrary

What should we cover on our lessons? I feel like maybe we should tone down any teaching about Beer Volcano and Stripper Factory, as these are impressionable youths we’re educating.

Now I’m curious what has been allowed previously in this Special Religious Instruction program.

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Bruder Spaghettus and the Pastafarian struggle in Germany

Published February 24th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

bruder

PRI has a story about Pastafarian minister Bruder Spaghettus and his struggle for the recognition of Pastafarianism in Germany.

He [Bruder] is convinced that religion holds a privileged place in German society and that non-believers lack the same civil rights.

Weida is a 63-year-old retiree who lives in the town of Templin. It’s about an hour’s drive outside of Berlin and happens to be Angela Merkel’s hometown. Templin is also where Weida founded the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” in September last year. As one of the leading “Pastafarians” at the church, or non-church more accurately, Weida goes by the alias of “Bruder Spaghettus.”

Weekly “Noodle Worship” begins at 10 a.m. Fridays in a small building on Weida’s farmstead on the outskirts of town. It looks and feels somewhat like weekly worship services at mainstream Christian churches. There is an altar, time for prayers, scripture readings, hymns, and even a version of Holy Communion. But the similarities end pretty quickly.

Read the full article here

It’s a good article, but I find it a bit slanted in terms of calling us Atheists, not Believers in the FSM, and referring to Pastafarianism as a non-religion. When I see these tactics, I wonder if the writer does it purposely, as a means to get the article published. Still an interesting read.

Bruder is great, I am sure the FSM is very pleased to see his work.

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In response to the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks

Published January 16th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

hebdo

The P.A.S.T.A Foundation wrote this article in response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks titled In Defense of Religious Satire. I like it, a lot of great points in here:

As the world continues to reel from the vicious terrorist attack that left 12 dead at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, for some in the West the inevitable finger pointing and blame game has already begun. In one corner, right-wing blowhards attempt to smear the entire Muslim faith of over 1 billion people with the heinous acts of two fanatics. While in another corner, politically-correct ninnies minimize the horrible killing of these writers and cartoonists by referencing the paper’s history of “xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia” and claiming the publication somehow “provoked” the violence from Islamic extremists.

Both of these reactions are an affront to civil society. We cannot blame the whole of the followers of Islam for the actions of a group of marginalized individuals. Painting with this broad-brush point of view is a major contributor to the ease with which an entire society can label Muslims as “the other”. It’s this mentality that helps support military imperialism and the wholesale torture and killing of people in far off countries. The second mind-set, one that would explain away the barbaric nature of these killings by limiting freedom of speech, takes away one of our most potent defenses against fanaticism on all sides of the spectrum: Humor and Satire.

[read the rest here on J.T. Eberhard's1 Patheos blog.]

What do I think about the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks and the aftermath?

I’ve been trying to stay out of it until the noise dies down. I hear a lot of voices saying what’s obvious and true: this was a sad, terrible act done by some extremists; this is a predictable outcome of blind, extreme faith; the few extreme members don’t represent the whole of any group.

One thing I believe: it is the groups who feel their beliefs are above criticism who are in need of being deflated a bit with humorous satire. This idea that some beliefs can’t be questioned is a cancer. But let’s please try to confront it in a positive way.

There was a great interview on NPR this week with a man who has reversed his radical views and is now fighting against the underlying causes of extremism. He makes the point that in Islam there is a core belief, even amongst many moderate members, that the prophet Muhhammad can not be criticized or joked about, and that this is at odds with modern democratic society where we demand the right to poke at our institutions/leaders/beliefs. Definitely worth listening to if you’ve got 30mins. Here’s the link: How Orwell’s Animal Farm Led A Radical Muslim to Moderation.

1. Side note — Early FSM people may remember J.T. Eberhard from the Missouri Pastafarians group. I was always a fan of his — one of my favorite things he did was building a box-fort in the middle of campus as a statement about religious discrimination.

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Secular message not well received as House of Reps daily prayer

Published June 6th, 2013 by Bobby Henderson

juan-mendez

I like this — Arizona Rep. Juan Mendez offered the daily prayer at a floor session, and instead of God talk, he spoke about tolerance and the values we share as humans, and the duty of government to look past religious divisions:

Most prayers in this room begin with a request to bow your heads. I would like to ask that you not bow your heads. I would like to ask that you take a moment to look around the room at all of the men and women here, in this moment, sharing together this extraordinary experience of being alive and of dedicating ourselves to working toward improving the lives of the people in our state.

This is a room in which there are many challenging debates, many moments of tension, of ideological division, of frustration. But this is also a room where, as my secular humanist tradition stresses, by the very fact of being human, we have much more in common than we have differences. We share the same spectrum of potential for care, for compassion, for fear, for joy, for love.

What a great sentiment, and surely the members of the House, even if religious, appreciated such a positive message.

Except for Rep. Steve Smith, who felt it necessary to re-do the prayer the next day in repentance. What a douche.

Some articles:

About Rep. Mendez’s secular daily prayer

About Rep. Smith, butt-hurt, re-doing the prayer

I look forward to the day when Pastafarian members of the House can speak openly about their one True faith.

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Where is the evidence?

Published April 7th, 2013 by Bobby Henderson

Here’s a video that has been making the rounds.   Richard Dawkins shows great patience in interviewing Creationist Wendy Wright.  I find it painful to watch but also fascinating.

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Signs of an Enlightened School Board

Published July 16th, 2012 by Bobby Henderson

enlightened_schoolboard

It appears the Flying Spaghetti Monster has infiltrated local levels of government here in Okanagan Falls, Canada. This is a service vehicle used by the Regional District’s School Board!

-Wes

Nice to see a school board with some sense.

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Melbourne counter-demonstration: Muslims and Pastafarians Vs. Atheists

Published June 11th, 2012 by Bobby Henderson

During lunch break on Sunday April 15th  at the Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, a group of 20 or so courageous Muslim extremists gathered in front of the convention center filled with 4000 Atheist unbelievers. They were quickly joined by two Pastafarians and shoulder to shoulder they demonstrated against those ignorant Atheists who do not understand Creation nor fear God. Islam and Flying Spaghetti Monsterism have the same core beliefs in common; we believe (and truly know) that the universe and all living beings were created by a deity and a Prophet spoke in His name. We just have different opinions about  the name of that god and Prophet and also treat our wenches slightly differently. Apart from that, Islam and Pastafarianism: Same struggle!

In the attached pictures you will see the Muslims demonstrating in full Islamic regalia together with Pastafarians in colander head gear holding up the Gospel and a fresh pack of Spaghetti. On the windows in the background you might see the reflection of a Pirate Ship. Coincidence??

Pesto be upon all Believers,

VinZ

IMG_3645_Along_came_a_Wench

IMG_3646_Him

IMG_3648_Pasta_Gospel_and_Colanders

IMG_3652_Can_you_find_Him_and_the_Pirate_Ship

IMG_3653_FSM_Is_The_Creator

IMG_389680_Pastafarian_and_muslims_convincing_unbelievers

Pasta Brothers

Pastafarian Preaching along Muslim brothas

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Oregon faith-healing couple found guilty of manslaughter

Published September 30th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

image

From kwtx:

Dale and Shannon Hickman of Oregon City, Ore., who prayed for their ailing prematurely born son rather than seeking medical care, have been found guilty of felony manslaughter.

Prosecutors claimed Shannon Hickman never sought prenatal care and the couple never considered taking the premature infant to the hospital.

The child was born with a bacterial infection and underdeveloped lungs and died within nine hours after he had trouble breathing.

The Hickmans’ attorney claimed religious persecution and said there was no evidence that medical care would have saved the baby.

Faith healing is one of those areas where I can ignore it as a so long as it’s affecting themselves.  But it’s very sad when parents are making reckless choices for their kids.  I am happy to see this case worked out and hopefully it will cause some religious groups to do some critical thinking.

Some believe this case illustrates how evil religion is. I wavered on posting the article because that is not the point I wanted to make. More to the point, I believe the Church of FSM is not just another anti-religion club. A lot of us have the view that religion is harmful and antiquated, but a lot of us also accept that a huge number of people feel they get something positive out of their faith and their religious communities.

So I am cautious about posting things that promote the idea that the world would be better off without religion. Because, more than anything, I don’t believe it’s in the scope of the Church of FSM to make that statement.

The point I want to make is this: instead of drawing the line between the religious and non-religious, let’s draw the line between the reasonable and unreasonable. Let’s criticize a culture that values faith over reason, rather than religion itself.

Why? We know plenty of religious people and we realize that the majority of Christians do not reject modern medicine for their children. We personally know people who get something positive from their religious communities and yet still act with reason.

These are the people who might believe in some scripture, but they also realize that their faith does a poor job of explaining the natural world. They are not blinded by faith, they are reasonable. We need these people to promote the value of reason within their communities.

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David Attenborough Vs. Creationism

Published September 25th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

Sir David Attenborough

The Telegraph has an article about my all-time favorite Naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, and the campaign he’s joined to combat religion in science.

The naturalist joined three Nobel laureates, the atheist Richard Dawkins and other leading scientists in calling on the government to tackle the "threat" of creationism.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the BHA, said: "Evolution is probably the most important idea underlying biological science and we support the view of many experts that it should be introduced right from primary level in all state-maintained schools.

"At the same time, the threat of creationism and ‘intelligent design’ being taught as science is real and ongoing, particularly as more and more schools are opened up to be run by religious fundamentalists.

"It has never been more urgent for concrete steps to be taken to ensure that all state schools teach evolution, and not creationism, and we urge the Government to implement the simple and sensible measures suggested in this new statement."

I love that Sir David Attenborough has gotten involved.  I worry when the ones who make a stand come off as petty and one-dimensional.   David Attenborough is such a likeable guy, and his work so accessible … I think a whole lot of people are all the sudden going to want to listen.  

Here is my favorite video from Mr. Attenborough’s Planet Earth:

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An elaborate spoof on Intelligent Design, The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is neither too elaborate nor too spoofy to succeed in nailing the fallacies of ID. It's even wackier than Jonathan Swift's suggestion that the Irish eat their children as a way to keep them from being a burden, and it may offend just as many people, but Henderson puts satire to the same serious use that Swift did. Oh, yes, it is very funny. -- Scientific American.


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