27 May 2011

I talk to the POSTGRES Missionaries

This Comic is a work of fiction, and not based on any particular person, alive or dead, if you can identify any person in this portrayal, then you have got it wrong.

Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it. Dan Barker.

24 May 2011

Where I ask the Minister about ACCESS Ministries

Australia has been on a slow slide to a soft theocracy for the last decade with even the left wing Labour Party moving to embrace the religious right. In 2006 the then PM John Howard decided that the schools of Australia needed a Chaplain, not a youth worker, or a councillor or a Psychologist, but a religious Chaplain.
To bypass the constitution, these Chaplains who must be religious, are supposedly forbidden to mention their religion while at school. So the Chaplains often meet with young students at lunch, and after hours in order to make converts.

The Australian Government has cut funding to disabled students, and added more money to the Chaplains. Some people think it's for votes, but I think the Religious Right have actually made inroads into the Liberal and Labour parties, and are in the process of attempting to take the country back to the intelectual dark ages, but I seem to be in the very small minority with this veiw.

No other first world country would even think of wasting money on this bizarre project.

To keep up to date with this ongoing story, a parent created website http://religionsinschool.com/
is keeping track of events. If nothing else, listen to the recording of the ACCESS Ministries CEO in a talk to a conference of Bishops, and how she says the complete opposite on the radio to the public.

Mike Stuchbery has been amazing good at following the story, and a publicly funded High court challenge hopes to stop this waste of Tax payers money.

And just in, is a story on the one days training given to religious teachers from ACCESS.

I would defend the liberty of concenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent. - Arthur C Clarke

18 May 2011

A bit more vanity from me.

As done by http://icemaxx1.deviantart.com/

"The essence of drawing is the line exploring space." -  Andy Goldsworthy

11 May 2011

Deviant Art Commissioned Picture

I got this done by http://operative274.deviantart.com/  and I really love it. I have tried to get some artwork done by other people on Deviant Art in the past, but sometimes it just seemed so hard to get something done.
This was almost done overnight, did I say I love it?..Did I? 

I wanted to become a cartoon artist, a portrait artist, and an illustrator. This was my first idea.
Karl Lagerfeld

10 May 2011

Debaptise and become and an Official Pastafarian Minister

The UK National Secular Society produced a Debaptism certificate some time ago and it's available on their website here

The US Freedom from Religion Foundation has also started to produce one, and is available from here

I guess after this event, you might feel a little empty, you could of course read some Darwin, Dawkins, some books of Philosophy, books on  rhetoric to defend your new found freedom, or you could join the fastest growing religion amongst the worlds most intelligent people.

Yes, you to can become assume the title Reverend, (or maybe Captain, or Father) 

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.
Denis Diderot

08 May 2011

UK decides it can't figure out how Australian voting works

Well the AV vote has been, and surprisingly it turned out to be NO :-(
Yes vote at 32.1% and the No vote at 67.9%

But at least some people are happy 

If the NO side says #yes2av is too hard, then the Tories are admitting Australians must be smarter than people in the UK, so prove them wrong   - Shockwave Plasma

Concordats, the Vatican and Human rights


                I'm not a Catholic or a diplomat, and my reading of history is pretty good, but I had never heard of a Concordat until recently, when I came across Concordant Watch.
It can be as simple a treaty, or legal document that is written up between a sovereign state and the Vatican. It's one of those documents that both parties must agree to dissolve, but as it's usually about the Vatican keeping it;'s privileges then it's not likely they will do so.

The Vatican is a legal oddity, it claims to be a state, and the Pope to be the equal of a Prime Minister, or a country's President. the discussion usually is split by people who are Catholic or sympathetic who say it's a country, and those who are irreligious, and think that it's probably not. I haven't the slightest idea who is legally correct, I just find it seems to be what ever is convenient for the Vatican to be what it want to be at that particular time. In Italian law the Vatican is it's own microstate, this was confirmed in 1929 when the Lateran Treaty was signed between the Vatican and the Mussolini Government.

One thing to keep in mind is that the catholic Church isn't really big on Civil law, you know the stuff everyday people have to worry about. It's got it's own Canon Law, that it believes overrides Civil law. That's why raping a child will just get you moved to a different parish, but making a woman a priest will get you excommunicated. 

So how does the Church really see it self?

The Catholic Church, for her part, has always maintained that she is a supranational community and does not receive her legal existence from any temporal State. The Catholic Church exists as such, and it is in the Holy See that her organic unity is guaranteed, represented and perpetuated. Her extension corresponds to the spread of Catholic believers throughout the world. She is therefore a universal community that knows no national frontiers . Put in other words, when a state and the Holy See conclude an agreement they enter into a relation as two "perfect societies": the first as a temporal society, the second as a spiritual one. The Church receives its laws from her 'Founder' and not, like states, from some temporal power. But that doesn't mean that acts of the Catholic Church can have no effect on temporal jurisdiction. An intersection is possible and at this point the sovereignty of the Catholic Church stops and the problem of concordats begins.

Why does this really matter?

    The Catholic Church is a big employer, it has a million people working for it in Germany, and it is one of Australians biggest employers, one of the biggest landowners, and would be in the 10 richest corporations in Australia if is was actually incorporated, and could sort out it's accounts. In concrete terms it can mean that you can be discriminated against for employment, in a church run business, that is paid for by the state, such as happens in Australia, for not being the "correct" religion. Italy still pays the Vatican money for the loss of the Papal States. State funded, but church run hospitals will refuse abortions.

To to find out what has been happening in modern times we can  use a Slovakia  as an example. Oddly it has recently been turning more Catholic, a trend that has been a bit disturbing to the rest of the EU, where Poland and Ireland have been becoming more secular.

How have they been using in the past?  Well it shows very simply that the German Government under Hitler was very keen on the Vatican, and signed the Reichskonkordat not surprisingly as he was a Catholic, Germany still continues to sign them to this day 

Are they still in use in this day and age?

On the third of May 2011 Azerbaijan the and the Vatican signed a new one 

East Timor is currently in the process of signing one.

To find out more about concordats this very very excellent page on Wikipedia sums the problems very well, and is far better than I could have written myself.

As usual with matters of the Vatican, caution must at all time be taken to recognize actual issues, and those that are products of conspiracy, or fantasy.

 Each concordat marks a state’s renunciation of its own powers and its assumption of the obligation to contribute to those of the Catholic Church. In exchange for these gifts, authoritarian governments buy from the church hierarchy a kind of legitimacy and support for their power, as being in harmony with the commands of God. In some cases they gain influence in the appointment of senior Churchmen. A democratic system does not need this legitimacy [...] To grant the Church any privileges violates the foundations of democracy, even if the facade is retained.
— Anonymous Polish MP to President Kwaśniewski, cited by MP Ryszard Zając on 12 September 1996 in the Sejm.

04 May 2011

Want to get Divorced in Malta, well not yet.


There is only one European Country that does not have a divorce law, and it's Malta, unsurprisingly Pope Benedict XVI  praised Malta’s stance against abortion and divorce, during a visit last April. Malta is about 96% Catholic, and usually the only time anyone actually hears about Malta, is when the Knights of Malta appear in some sort of historical or less likely modern context.

On 28 May 2011 Malta will have a referendum if they should have a divorce law. The local Humanist are for it, and as usual the dark age Catholic Church is against.

The referendum question in English is as follows:
Do you agree with the introduction of the option of divorce in the case of a married couple who has been separated or has been living apart for at least four (4) years, and where there is no reasonable hope for reconciliation between the spouses, whilst adequate maintenance is guaranteed and the children are protected

Malta is still big on Billboards, and here is one for the YES side

 Personally I am on the YES side.

 Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers. – Gerard Lieberman

02 May 2011

May 21 is coming, my take on what the real Rapture story will be.

Many people  will have heard about FamilyRadio and Harold Camping, and his prediction (yet again) of the Rapture and the 2nd coming of Christ. You may have even seen the Billboards, or the car, or even the Vans.

I suspect something else is going to happen, that it's a cover story for something much more sinister.

Nom nom nom

Thanks to lynnfriedman on Flickr for the Wecanknow van image
Thanks to Oni Horan for Necronom
Thanks to various Aliens for eventually not eating me

Those of little faith are of little hatred. - Eric Hoffer