A polite request for more restrained language 
Thursday, 12 April, 2012, 03:11 PM - Not TFTD
Most comments here are intelligent, witty and polite. However, being the internet (the network that was designed to bring everyone together in greater peace, understanding and harmony), people sometimes get a bit carried away.

When I read something here that makes me feel uncomfortable, I generally just ignore it and read on. Recently this got me into some trouble. A couple of comments were so shockingly over the top that I had to request that such comments stop. Rather naively however, I maintained my normal policy of not deleting the comments. The result is that various blogs now describe me as an anti-Catholic bigot who tolerates discussion of violence.

As a result of this, whenever I see a comment that I think is a bit over the top, especially when it's directed personally at the TFTD presenter, I'll replace anything I find objectionable with an appropriate euphemism. I'll enclose any such edits in curly brackets {thusly}.

With this in mind, a couple of yesterday's references to Rev Winkett have been suitably bowdlerised.

I'd prefer not to do this at all and would like to politely ask everyone not to post unnecessarily rude comments.

There, I feel better now.
17 comments ( 1065 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 124 )

Easter Bonnet Competition 
Sunday, 8 April, 2012, 08:09 AM - Not TFTD
There used to be a tradition of Easter parades that often included an Easter Bonnet competition. As a tribute to that almost forgotten ritual, I thought I'd liven up your Easter Sunday with some spectacular bonnets found on the internet. The first one is worn by the current Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury.



I think you'll all agree, that is one impressive pointy hat, but he's got a little way to go to match some of his more ebullient colleagues. Here's a blast from the past, late Archbishop Fulton Sheen from New York.



He's currently aiming for sainthood and with a hat like that, who can blame him? He's not without his modern day rivals though. Here's Bishop Athanasius Schneider for example.



Sadly, our own little C of E has a little bit of catching up to do, as can be seen from Alistair Sim's 1972 portrayal of one its bishops in The Ruling Class.



But as far as humongous headgear goes, even the Catholics are completely outclassed by the Sikhs. Just have a look here...



or here...



Finally, let's not forget the astronomy picture of the day.



I'm 100% confident that these are the most extravagant hats ever worn by anybody, unless of course you know different...

Have a happy Easter everybody. :)
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What's Happened to Melvyn Bragg? 
Monday, 2 April, 2012, 01:34 PM - Not TFTD
A few weeks ago, Melvyn Bragg, for no obvious reason, suddenly had a go at Richards Dawkins. Melvyn Bragg is a broadcaster that I've always hugely admired. His consistently fascinating series, In Our Time, is one of the jewels of British broadcasting. Part of it's success is his own reputation as being unbiased and having no obvious axe to grind.

I assumed this particular attack on uncle Richard was a one off, a soon to be forgotten lapse of judgement, but no, he's at it again. As is usual in most attacks on Dawkins, it's mostly name calling, and as we'll see, irony of ironies he accuses Dawkins of ignorance (that's original!).

The shallowness of Bragg's "arguments" are quite astonishing. Asked about the evil done in the name of religion:

Men lusting for power caused a terrible thing to happen...[snip] I agree with you, in the name of religion. In the name of anything they can get their hands on. In the name of ideology...[snip]. There’s nothing religious in the name of Genghis Khan. Twenty million people were killed in the Middle Ages… There was nothing religious about that. Pol Pot I don’t think was particularly religious, I don’t think Mao was, either.


What on earth has that got to do with it? We don't have to worry about medieval warlords or communism much more here in the West. The point is religion causes people to do bad things and religion is still around, worse, it continues to exercise considerable influence. Does Bragg think the 911 bombers were after power? What about contraception, gay rights, stem cell research? Is Bragg saying we should just shut up and let religion have a free hand? And if medieval warlords or communism were still around in Europe, is he saying we shouldn't attack them because other people do terrible things too?

Lord Bragg said the King James Bible gave to the English-speaking world the basis of its language; was the instrument by which “the greatest abomination of mankind”, slavery, was abolished; helped create modern democracy by arguing against the divine right of kings; and was the greatest empowerer of women in the 19th century.

On Richard Dawkins, he said the prominent atheist misunderstood the effect of the Bible on slaves by saying that it was used to pacify them.

“What happened to slaves is they took hold of it and turned it into liberation theology,” Lord Bragg said.

“He (Professor Dawkins) was completely ignorant, he didn’t do his research.


He forgot to mention that the KJV was behind the invention of the internal combustion engine and the elimination of polio. I hardly know where to begin. First, I've heard Dawkins say many times that the King James Bible was of enormous cultural significance and needed to be taught as a work of literature. Liberation theology for slaves? WTF? I can only presume that Bragg hasn't actually read the Bible. I'll let everyone else fill in the gaps on democracy, slavery and women's rights (maybe Bragg can explain it to all the women bishops).

Bragg saves the real humdinger for last though.

Galileo was a serious Christian. So was Kepler, so was Isaac Newton – people who dwarf Dawkins


That's the kind of argument I was hearing 20 years ago on old fashioned bulletin boards from people who'd never seriously engaged in debate about religion before. I'm pretty amazed that there are serious people around who still think that constitutes a point worth making. I'm utterly speechless that Melvyn Bragg is one of them.

And he accuses Dawkins of ignorance!

14 comments ( 1528 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 144 )

Paul Anthony Melanson 
Sunday, 25 March, 2012, 09:04 AM - Not TFTD
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

Terence Weldon, a radical, militant, homosexual person, has once again said that the Catholic Church's teachings on homosexuality are not very nice. He states that science has shown that homosexuality is widespread throughout the animal kingdom.

Actually, Mr Weldon is entirely wrong. Apart from actually being a homosexual, Mr Weldon has no expertise whatsoever in what it means to be homosexual. In order for homosexual persons like Mr Weldon to find out about homosexuality they should consult a fine Catholic Psychologist such as Dr Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D., who is an expert in the subject and speaks authoritatively for the World of Science. Dr Gerard J.M. van den Aardweg, Ph.D., could inform homosexuals like Mr Weldon that "there is, in fact, no such thing as homosexual love and anyone who says otherwise must be really stooooopid!"

Research performed by the Catholic Medical Association has proved that homosexual persons have higher suicide rates, higher rates of substance abuse and that many suffer from multiple psychological disorders. This proves, once again, that the Catholic Church is right to tell homosexual persons that they are inherently disordered, an intrinsic moral evil, that they will never find true love, that they should refrain from all sex ever, and that all homosexual relationships should be banned and denied any form of legal recognition, thus bringing true happiness into their lives.

As if this were not evidence enough, Dr. Antonio Pardo, Professor of Bioethics at the university that shares a founder with Opus Dei has stated, "There is no homosexuality in animals, if there were, they would die out, wouldn't they? I mean it stands to reason."

Reason and Science therefore support the truth, as revealed through the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, that poofters have something wrong with them and that they are the ultimate other that we may all look down upon.

But enough of Terence Weldon, the homosexual who clearly knows nothing about homosexuality, what I want to know is, why does the Archbishop of Westminster not rant and rage and preach more hatred about him? It's his Christian duty!

Read
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Peter Tatchell 
Tuesday, 20 March, 2012, 02:35 PM - Not TFTD
Just adding my congratulations to Peter Tatchell for winning Secularist of the Year.

He is a man of principle who has consistently stood up for minority rights throughout the world, and has suffered the consequences. From being mugged by Mugabe's thugs, to having to live in a reinforced bunker in Elephant and Castle - nothing has stopped him speaking the truth.

The Establishment, naturally, detests him.

Well done Peter, thoroughly well deserved. If only there were more people in the world like you.
7 comments ( 927 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 91 )

Catholic Diocese Halts Funding for Homeless 
Friday, 9 March, 2012, 12:07 PM - Not TFTD
We all know the Catholic Church has a fairly warped sense of morality. They "closed" their adoption agencies in England and Wales rather than face the theoretical possibility that a homosexual couple might walk into one. (In reality, those agencies are all still operating, just without the word "Catholic" in their title and without funding from the Catholic Church.)

You wouldn't think the Catholic Church could get much more petulant than that but they certainly seem willing to give it a try. Francis House, a homeless charity in Sacramento, has lost its funding from the local diocese. What crime, you might wonder, have the poor and homeless in Sacramento committed? Have they been pushing atheism, or worse, saying nice things about President Obama? Nope.

"We serve the poor. We don't have a litmus test for homeless people when they come in," said a spokesperson.

The diocese has supported this charity for many years, so what has changed? Answer: the director of the charity has changed. The new director is Rev Faith Whitmore, a Methodist. That isn't the problem, the Catholic Church is willing to overlook the fact that she's the wrong type of Christian. No, the problem is that Rev Whitmore is an outspoken advocate of a woman's right to choose and of gay marriage.

That's right, because the charity's director does not uphold Catholic teaching in these areas, the diocese has removed it's funding. Francis House won't collapse as a result, but it's enough to hurt, and it will certainly affect the poor and homeless that rely on its services.

As one Catholic priest put it, "If the bishops are going to de-fund every organization headed by someone who disagrees with their views on gay marriage, birth control and abortion, they are going to find very few agencies to fund."

Read
3 comments ( 809 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 127 )

Equality Law Extended to cover Ku Klux Klan 
Monday, 27 February, 2012, 05:37 AM - Christian persecution, Not TFTD
A cross party committee of Ku Klux Klan parliamentarians has demanded that equality legislation be extended to cover the KKK.

"In recent years there have been a long string of cases where the beliefs and wishes of KKK people have been relegated below the rights of certain other groups," said Baroness "Stonewall" Jackson. "We believe it is high time the balance was redressed and that employers are required to make reasonable accommodation for ordinary KKK members. After all, they do it for disabled people, we think we should be treated as disabled too."

The move follows reports of a British Airlines check-in desk attendant who was sacked for wearing a large pointy white hat while on duty.

"It's an utter disgrace," said the utterly disgruntled ex-employee. "Sikhs and Muslims are allowed exceptions from the uniform rules but as soon as an indigenous white racist asks for the same treatment, equality goes out the window. It's blatant double standards. We're loosing what it means to be British."

Similar stories of bias against the KKK have come from other parts of the country. A council in the north of England transferred one of it's drivers from delivery duties simply because of KKK symbols in his van.

"I've never had any problems," said the van driver. "I've had this very discreet golliwog hanging from a noose on my rear view mirror for years. The only people who complained were those who are prejudiced against the KKK. It just seems that no one cares about our rights any more."

One of the most famous cases of KKK beliefs being marginalised, was the Hackney registrar, Robert E. Lee, who refused to marry black people.

"I'm not bigoted," said Mr. Lee, "but it's against my deepest and most sincerely held beliefs to assist in the procreation of inferior races. The council could easily have accommodated my beliefs. They could have adjusted the rota so that I only had to preside over white weddings. Doctors get a conscience clause to opt out of abortions, this is no different."

There is a growing feeling among extreme right wing, hate campaigners that they are being persecuted for their beliefs. The owners of a Devon guest house, who turned away a black couple, have had their rights repeatedly undermined by the courts. As a result, many feel that they cannot even be loyal KKK members in the privacy of their own homes.

"Judges, council officials and managers just don't seem to understand Ku Klux Klan feelings on a whole range of issues," said Baroness Jackson. "There should be no hierarchy of rights. Those who hold to traditional beliefs deserve the same respect as inferior people."

Comparisons with Christians demanding similar exceptional treatment and the right to openly discriminate against gay people were denied by the former Archbigot of Canterbury, Lord Notcarey.

Read
10 comments ( 1010 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 210 )

Muslim Attacks Atheist - Judge Blames Atheist 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 11:36 AM - Not TFTD
I know three posts in one day is pushing it a bit, but I had to point people in the direction of this latest piece of religious idiocy.

An atheist dresses up as Mohammed on a Halloween parade. A Muslim takes offence at this and attacks the atheist. The attack is witnessed by a police officer, the attack is filmed and the attacker admits the offence. The attacker claims he didn't realise it was against the law to assault someone.

It comes before a judge, who just happens to be Muslim. He refuses to admit the video evidence, dismisses the police officer's testimony and then proceeds to lecture the victim on how offensive he's been. The judge points out that in some countries he'd be facing the death penalty for having provoked the attack.

Oh, and he calls the victim some names just to finish things off. The case is then dismissed.

Thankfully this didn't happen in Britain. It happened in Pennsylvania.
8 comments ( 643 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 148 )

Theories about Faster than Light Neutrinos 
Thursday, 23 February, 2012, 10:10 AM - Science, Not TFTD
There was a rash of papers offering explanations for the faster than light neutrinos coming from CERN a few months back: variations on relativity, particles tunnelling through extra dimensions, multiple time dimensions, were just a few.

It isn't confirmed, but it looks like the solution to the mystery may have been found. The timing discrepancy was due to... a loose cable.

When they tightened the cable properly, the faster than light neutrinos disappeared.

The nice thing about science is that it fixes its mistakes. Now if this was theology...
7 comments ( 507 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 181 )

Iain Duncan Smith 
Tuesday, 21 February, 2012, 09:26 AM - Politics, Not TFTD
I wish to comment on some comments by the elite, who seem to think that shelf stacking at Tesco, for about a fifth of the minimum wage, is not a worthy career for an ambitious young person. I will use my own example to inspire those young people who are not too proud to start at the bottom rung of the ladder.

My university education took place in a town with an ancient and distinguished university that awarded degrees. After attending a nearby language college I realised that I had learned all that I needed to learn and saw no need to sit any exams or obtain any formal qualifications.

My working life started out in the Guards, where I served as a humble aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir John Acland. On leaving the guards, I married the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe and spent some time considering my future career. It was at this point that I joined GEC-Marconi, where various official biographies used to state that I was a director. This turned out to be mis-remembered and my actual position at GEC-Marconi is now not mentioned by anyone, even on the internet.

With successful careers in the army and the defence industry behind me, I thought it appropriate to turn my talents eleswhere. I founded my very own property company which subsequently collapsed, whereupon I found myself once again contemplating where I could next be of service. I decided to serve on the board of Jane’s Information Group, a directorship that was real and not actually mis-remembered at all.

Having had no previous interest in politics, it was at this point that I decided to become a Conservative MP. My wealth of education, talent, experience and connections, was such that I rapidly rose to become leader of the Conservative Party, where I served with distinction before returning to the backbenches again.

My career proves that, provided one is willing to work hard and stick with it, anyone can overcome an underprivileged background and rise to become a government minister. So just ignore what the elite are telling you and don't be too proud to work 40 hours a week for £53.
4 comments ( 1082 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3 / 227 )


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