Thursday, January 11, 2007

In trouble again

In an idle moment, I was browsing an edition of The Open Society, Journal of the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists, when I came across a footnote to an article by Noel Cheer, Chair of the Sea of Faith Network. It read, in part:

The website associated with The Open Society http://www.nzarh.org.nz/ has a feature called 'The Fundy Post' of which they say 'we read this crap so that you don't have to. Now if you really must read it you can. The Fundy Post Newsletter [sic] provides links to all the best stories about religion, from New Zealand and around the world.' Some of the idiotic things done in the name of a religious path of faith are written up in what are called 'best stories.' My reader is invited to look for any intellectual merit at all in this approach.

Mr Cheer is a little confused: the text he has quoted comes from the Fundy Post Newswire, which I compiled for the NZARH website. It was no more than a list of links to online stories with my comments attached but I like to think it was educational, informative and entertaining. The Newswire was removed from the site at some time after my departure from my job as Spokesman. Obviously nobody there thought it worthwhile providing this sort of service, so I will do it here. My readers (I have more than one) are invited to look for any intellectual merit at all in this approach.

To start, I expect you are wondering what is happening to the Exclusive Brethren. The good news for them is that they have a champion in the shape of local blogger Whaleoil, who complained to the Human Rights Commission that members of the Government were threatening their religious freedom by criticising their political activities. The HRC's response was disappointing to Whaleoil, who is now compiling further evidence of harassment.

Meanwhile, in England, The Bishop of Southwark was found throwing toys out of a stranger's car.

In Mexico, the miraculous survival of some fishermen is beginning to look unconvincing.

On Air New Zealand, that film about The Queen was shown with references to God bleeped out. It is reassuring that they are sensitive to the feelings of Atheists, although perhaps they should have thought of the Republicans and not shown it at all.

On the other hand, if you want Jesus as your co-pilot, consider flying with Christian Aviation, which has had a plane land on a wing and a prayer.

The LA Times has revealed who is profiteering from the War on Christmas.

Elsewhere in America, a televangelist has been called to account for her claim that she has cured cancer

Have you found Jesus? It turns out he is on a train station in Sydney, looking a little like a Francis Bacon self-portrait.

Blast! I have gone and done it again: that last one really finished my claims to intellectual merit. I will try to make up for it with something philosophical: on Brain Stab, Eric Olthwaite writes about Objectivists. If that is not enough, here is some literature: The Literary Review's Bad Sex Writing awards.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whale Oil is just like Snake Oil I am told.

PW

Anonymous said...

Only greasier...

I think the "Subsitute EB with gays, muslims" etc argument is interesting, considering that is what Herr Oel does on his blog and on SH all the time, and considering that is what most of the nats, and all of United Future did do during the civil unions campaign. As Paul pointed out, none of those groups covertly attempt to swing an election using fraud as the EB did, nor for instance did the civil unions legislation force any one to become gay or have a CU. Lets be clear, legislation such as that does not remove the freedom for anyone in society to do anything.
Scott


Scott

Paul said...

It is interesting to see how conservatives use the language of rights and freedoms for themselves, while denying rights and freedoms to others.

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes, but I think the rights they talk about are 'God Given' rights - i.e. if you don't believe in their god, you ain't got no rights.

Scott

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, too, they never use the language of responsibility insofar as they themselves are concerned. For example, fundie spanking enthusiasts have only used the term parental responsibility once compared to parental rights during the Section 59 Repeal debate.

Craig Y

Jordan said...

Personally, I think that they constantly expose themselves as an amusing distraction (the WhaleOils of this world and the rabid collection of similar kids on the right).

The only fear I have is of our political culture moving firmly in a direction where ordinary people discuss politics in such terms.

It is a deliberate strategy to make rational debate impossible. Which suits conservatives just fine, unfortunately.

Paul said...

Yes, it is tribal politics: they don't have to engage with ideas from the left because they come from 'those people.'

At least we don't have to buy him drinks.

Anonymous said...

Here is a classic Exclusive Brethren court case:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21059109-5006788,00.html

Question:

How do they get away with this sort of thing. Father constrained to conform to culture of Exclusive Brethren ex-wife!!!

I have never heard of such at thing before.

PW

Anonymous said...

Because religion still has a lot of latitude in society.

Scott

Anonymous said...

And Australia is less constitutionally governed than we are...

Craig Y