Just stolen from Mark Frauenfelder’s twitter: “The Backfire Effect” on

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.


Geoffrey Munro at the University of California and Peter Ditto at Kent State University concocted a series of fake scientific studies in 1997. One set of studies said homosexuality was probably a mental illness. The other set suggested homosexuality was normal and natural. They then separated subjects into two groups; one group said they believed homosexuality was a mental illness and one did not. Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.

“Are you late?”

A commercial for unplanned pregnancy and abortion advisory services that was aired last year in the UK. Apparently the first of its kind and its airing kicked up quite a bit of dust (for an impression of the (misplaced) outrage, click here)

There’s one comment below this video, by AmusedChild, which I’d like to highlight, because it’s important

I was late…and I was never pregnant. I was not properly shedding the uterine buildup (because as it turned out I was not ovulating at all). I needed to see a doctor. Thank goodness there were not scores of lunatics outside of my clinic screaming at me for having what was never an “abortion.” Let there be more commercials like this.


From the Guardian:

And besides, really,” [A.C. Grayling] adds with a withering little laugh, “how can you be a militant atheist? How can you be militant non-stamp collector? This is really what it comes down to. You just don’t collect stamps. So how can you be a fundamentalist non-stamp collector? It’s like sleeping furiously.”

No, silly. It’s like militant non-smokers. That‘s what it comes down to, and that is the whole problem (well, part of it, anyway). Oh, I’m tired already. Let’s move on.

Of Bullets and Ballots

That Gabrielle Giffords, a Congresswoman and John M. Roll, a Federal Judge were shot today, in a district especially marked as a target by Ms. Palin and by a Republican Candidate in the same district, reminded me of this vintage bit of Republican rhetoric, spoken by Catherine Crabill, the Republican Party Nominee in the 99th House District of Virginia.

People of the book?

A depressing survey done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

want some examples? Lookee here:

¶ Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.

¶ Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.

¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.

How is it that adherents of religions based on reading and thinking in a time of low illiteracy rates, know so little about their own faith?

Triumphgeheul der Kreuzritter

Classless Kulla hat mit seiner dreiteiligen Dawkinskritik (eins, zwei, drei) natürlich recht, Dawkins, einer der Football Hooligans of Rational Discourse, ist aber auch ein einfaches Ziel.

Das hier ist dann übrigens die andere Seite: in der “Welt” lacht Matthias Heine hämisch über “die Linke”, die sich über den Volxentscheid am Sonntag ärgert, der sich gegen die “Religion des linken Atheismus” richtet. Heines Argumentation ist genauso kaputt wie seine bizarre ideologische Zuordnung.


Today, Craig Seymor blogged on outrageous and unacceptable policies at

Here’s my story: I’m the author of a memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C. (Atria/Simon & Schuster), which is about my journey from grad student to stripper to entertainment journalist to college professor. (I’m currently Associate Professor of Journalism at Northern Illinois University.) Like many authors, I frequently check my sales status on Amazon, so imagine my shock, back in early February when the “ Sales Rank” completely disappeared from the Product Details of my book. The book also disappeared from the search listings, so that if a customer looked up “All I Could Bare by Craig Seymour” on the Amazon home page, nothing came up.

Of course, I immediately sent emails to Amazon asking about this situation. I also placed several phone calls. But I could never get a straight answer, until February 25, when I received an email stating that “the sales rank was not displayed for the following reasons: The I S B N #1416542051 was classified as an Adult product.”

I thought: An Adult product? What does that mean? Who knew that Amazon had such a category and why is it being applied to my book?

I brought this to the attention of my publisher, and they started looking into it. But, in the meantime, I also did some snooping around, and it turned out that the only books I could find without a “sales rank” had gay content like mine. For instance, my gay stripper memoir had no sales ranking, but Diablo Cody’s stripper memoir, Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper,did.

Memoirs by gay porn stars Blue Blake (Out of the Blue: Confessions of an Unlikely Porn Star) and Bobby Blake (My Life in Porn: The Bobby Blake Story) didn’t have a sales ranking, but memoirs by straight porn stars Ron Jeremy (Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz) and Jenna Jameson (How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale) did. Clearly, there seemed to be a double-standard.

I found this story through poet Mark Doty’s facebook; later in the day, Doty added:

Okay, this is the most amazing thing. If you go on Amazon and type in “butt plug” in the search window, you’ll see a number of them for sale, with sales ranking attached! So, it’s okay to rank butt plugs but not books? Umm…

. And there’s more to this. See this account and many, many, many others. For this to happen now demonstrates what a crucial moment this is in the fight for civil rights. Below is Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal justifying his resistance to an amendment to reverse Iowa marriage equality:

Die guten und die bösen Deutschen

Vor ein paar Wochen haben wir uns ja allesamt über das hier gefreut, schöne große antisemitische Massenkundgebungen. Ich hätte ja verschiedene Bezeichnungen gefunden dafür, nicht aber “bürgerliche Demonstrationen gegen Krieg und Gewalt”. Ich wurde aber eines besseren belehrt, als ich folgende Frage samt Antwort in einem Interview fand, das der NRW-Verfassungsschutz-Chef Hartwig Möller den Ruhrnachrichten gab:

Muss Deutschland die eindeutige Instrumentalisierung von Demonstrationen gegen Krieg und Gewalt hinnehmen?
Möller: Extremisten freuen sich über die Aufmerksamkeit, die sie erzielen, wenn sie sich bei bürgerlichen Demonstranten einklinken. Rechte, Linke oder beide gleichzeitig versuchen immer wieder, bürgerliche Demonstrationen für ihre Zwecke zu nutzen. In einer offenen Gesellschaft darf eben jeder demonstrieren, auch Extremisten, solange sie sich an die Spielregeln der Gesetze halten.

Daß es sich bei besagten Extremisten keineswegs um Islamisten oder andere Freunde des gepflegten Judenhasses handelt, wird klar wenn wir sehen, daß es in dem kompletten, wirklich lesenswert-bekloppten Interview ausschließlich um die Antideutschen geht,

eine eindeutig linksextreme, antifaschistische und antiimperialistische Bewegung, die allerdings in der linken Szene eine Minderheit darstellt.

Mir schien die Tatsache, daß diese ‘Szene’, soweit ich sie aus der blogwelt mitbekomme, sehr zersplittert ist, immer ein interessanter Fakt zu sein, sowas weist ja oft darauf hin, daß die Dichte an einigermaßen selbstdenkenden Menschen besonders hoch ist. Da habe ich mich allerdings getäuscht, denn

es gehört zum Selbstverständnis der gesamten linksextremen autonomen Szene, jegliche Strukturbildung zu vermeiden, die man dann verbieten könnte.

So einfach ist das. Ich kenne mich natürlich nicht so gut aus, weder kenne ich besonders viele Antideutsche noch bin ich der NRW-Chef des Verfassungsschutzes, aber mir persönlich kommt es vor, als ob da jemand von sich, i.e. seiner eigenen Denke, auf andere schließt. Aufklärung ist mir hier willkommen (Herr Kulla vielleicht?).

Persönlich möchte ich schließen mit meinem Neid auf den Interviewer, dessen Gemütsruhe ich gerne hätte. Wieso kann ich mich nicht darüber freuen, daß die “israelische Reaktion […] vergleichsweise moderat [war]” und hoffen, daß diese Schädlinge am Volkskörper “erst einmal” wieder “verschwinden” jetzt wo die aktuelle Gazakrise vorbei ist. Fritsch, der das Interview führte, ist ein guter Deutscher. In einem kurzen Artikel darüber, wie Frau Sommer, die NRW Erziehungsministerin, das Erziehungsziel “Ehrfurcht vor Gott” erreichen will, stellt er klar, daß das morgendliche Gebet, dessen Verbot in einer Klasse in Neuss vernünftigerweise gerichtlich durchgesetzt wurde, nicht irgendein Gebet ist, sondern es ist

ein einzigartiges historisches Dokument christlichen Trostes und christlicher Zuversicht aus der Feder des seinerzeit inhaftierten evangelischen Theologen und NS-Gegners Dietrich Bonhoeffer handelt, der kurz vor Kriegsende 1945 hingerichtet wurde.

Ist die Klage der Mutter gegen das Gebet nicht irgendwie auch ehrabschneidend? Muss Deutschland sowas hinnehmen? (via Lizas Welt)

Hidden: Brian Evenson’s “The Open Curtain”

Evenson, Brian (2006), The Open Curtain, Coffee House Press
ISBN-10 1-56689-188-4
ISBN 13 978-1-56689-188-2

In fact it is impossible to comprehend the actions of the murderous Lafferty brothers, or any other Mormon Fundamentalist, without first making a serious effort to plumb their theological beliefs, and that requires some understanding of LDS history, along with an understanding of the complex and highly fluid teachings of the religion’s remarkable founder, Joseph Smith. The life of Smith and the history of his church may be considered from myriad perspectives, of course . And therein lies the basis for the Mormon leadership’s profound unhappiness with my book.

(A Response from Jon Kracauer to his critics)

This book is hard to describe without spoiling it for the reader. It’s a tightly wound tale of horror, although not in the sense of the recent wave of splatter movies. Its brand of horror is akin to the brand of horror in Doris Lessing’s terrifying The Fifth Child. There are murders in the book, dismemberments, stabs, cuts, and strangulations, yet the novel is far from grisly. The blood is decorative, ritual. There are numerous rituals in the novel, rituals, however, which are an integral part of the horror. There is, in the middle of the novel, at the point where events really take a steep downward turn for the protagonists, a strange marriage ceremony. Strange to me, but apparently a faithful depiction of a Mormon wedding ceremony. It bears remarkable similarities to Salman Rushdie’s masterfully dense novel of partitions, marriages and Pakistan, Shame. In Rushdie’s novel, it was a delightful, tender, erotic episode where two people find each other not only despite rituals, but find ways to use them for their own ends. In a way, in The Open Curtain, a similar episode is described, and this time, too, the ritual is put to individual use, or as one of the characters puts it “we pulled a fast one on God”. Evenson, a former Mormon, presents us these rituals with painstaking –and ultimately frightening- accuracy. It is important since Mormonism provides the backbone of the story.

The story is basically based on two historical events. One is the murders by the Lafferty brothers, Ron and Dan, who killed their brother Allen’s wife and child in order to purify them. The victim, Brenda Lafferty, was thought to support Ron’s wife in her decision to leave him when he insisted upon marrying multiple women. Mormonism’s ties to violence are notorious, mostly connected to the so-called blood doctrine. Here’s wiki’s neat summary:

In Mormonism, blood atonement is the controversial concept that there are certain sins to which the atonement of Jesus does not apply, and that before a Mormon who has committed these sins can achieve the highest degree of salvation, he or she must personally atone for the sin by “hav[ing] their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins”. Blood atonement was to be voluntary by the sinner, but was contemplated as being mandatory in a theoretical theocracy (see Theodemocracy) planned for the Utah Territory; it was to be carried out with love and compassion for the sinner, not out of vengeance.

In 2003, Jon Kracauer published a non-fictional account of the Lafferty story, Under the Banners of Heaven, which included a fascinating account of the aforementioned violent history and spawned indignation and changes in certain rituals. The book is also one of the pre-texts of Evenson’s tense coil of a horror novel. The actual incident that spawned the novel, according to the author, is William Hooper Young’s murder of Anna Pulitzer. The great thing is that the New York Times has digitalized a huge part of their archives. As the protagonist digs through the articles, we have the opportunity to do the same. This is from the September 20, 1902 article:

Capt. Titus, Chief of the Detective Bureau, announced at 10:30 o’clock last night that Mrs. Anna Pulitzer was murdered by William Hooper Young, a grandson of Brigham Young, the famous Mormon leader. The murder, said the chief detective, was committed in the apartment of Young’s father, at 103 West Fifty-eighth Street.

The Open Curtain takes a troubled teenager, Rudd Theurer, from a Mormon community, who digs up the case of William Hooper Young for a school project and at the same time discovers he has a half brother, Lael. From this situation Evenson spins a tale of violence, religion, deceit and madness. Rudd comes from a troubled family although we are never filled in as to what constitutes that trouble. His dead father towers over the first half of the book, as he is the one who connects all the strands of the story. The plot ingredients here would make for a fat, long, complicated novel, psychological in a convoluted way. And this is just the beginning. The novel becomes more and more complex as it progresses at a prodigious speed. It starts with memory of a murder and progresses to actual murder, as the events unravel. Murder, he wrote? Make no mistake, this is not a mystery: there are no surprises for the reader, who soon gathers how the novel is going to end. The Open Curtain is a terrifying novel, precisely because we know what is going to happen.

One of the central tropes of this novel is doubt. Doubting the evidence of yr own eyes, doubting God, yourself. Names become pratfalls: Lael, a male name often assigned to girls, meaning “belonging to God”, is often mispronounced as Lyle, the main difference being the first syllable that changes from being pronounced lay to being pronounced lie. Things like thus abound, most significantly the main character, Rudd, whose name derives from the Old English meaning “ruddy-skinned”, in other words: red-skinned. This provides a link to one of the most frequently cited instances of Blood Atonement, the 1887 Mountain Meadows Massacre, undertaken by a group of Mormons disguised as “redskins”, i.e. Native Americans. Instrumental in that slaughter was John D. Lee, whose manifesto is frequently cited by Rudd, who finds that his father had added copious annotations to it. This is just a mild hint of the complexities in The Open Curtain.

Mainly, however, it is about spiritual awakening, religious experience, a concern throughout the book. “God”, as one of the characters pronounces, “has drawn a curtain between myself and heaven and there is no parting it.” This is straight in the middle, ironically, since this novel is about breaking open boundaries, ripping open curtains, having madness fuck your old tired separations. In a way this novel is about strong religious experience, but the further open the curtains are, the darker the room becomes, until the concluding third of the novel, a masterpiece of describing a darkness within a soul or a mind. This novel is about the power of religion, even in those who do not think themselves religious. Religious upbringing or knowledge of intimate religious ideology can be enough to propel your forward on a path into the night. There are no farmhouses near that path and no possibility to rest once one embarks upon it. The dread the reader feels upon watching the characters hurtle down that path stems from Evenson’s mastery in drawing characters and setting situations and moods. Except for the teacher a character I felt slipped from his control, everybody is fleshed out and real to the extent necessary. So are the moods. There is humor, banter, as well as dread, irritation and fear, in the necessary doses. Because, above all, it is an accomplishment in that it does not waste a word. It is first and foremost a thriller and it succeeds within its own genre, a rare feat for literary forays into genre.

It is a superbly well crafted thriller, which is not weighed down by pretension. It has a serious side to it as well, showing what can happen if the violent elements in our culture suddenly surface and create a huge swirling vortex of madness. I will close with a remark from Evenson’s afterword:

A few years after the Lafferty murders, the Mormon temple endowment ceremony was changed in significant ways. The most significant changes to my mind involved the deletion of the “penalties,” a portion of the ceremony in which each temple participant mimed out stylized ways of being killed if they were to reveal temple secrets. Many temple-going Mormons saw this as a positive step: I tend rather to see it as a further repression of Mormonism’s relation to violence. Changing the ceremony hasn’t changed Mormonism’s underlying violence; it has only hidden it.


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Immer diese Moslems! Das hier in SPON

Wegen eines papstkritischen Liedes wird der evangelische Pfarrer und Liedermacher Clemens Bittlinger von katholischen Fundamentalisten mit Morddrohungen attackiert und im Internet wüst beschimpft. Die Polizei nimmt die Drohungen ernst.

In seinem Song “Mensch Benedikt” hält Bittlinger Benedikt XVI. unter anderem vor, durch die Ablehnung von Kondomen die Ausbreitung von Aids in Afrika zu fördern. Zudem kritisiert der Darmstädter Pfarrer und Liedermacher die Haltung des Papstes, keine andere Kirche neben der katholischen anzuerkennen. Seit Bittlinger seinen Song im Mai auf dem Osnabrücker Katholikentag aufführte, sind laut Informationen des SPIEGEL auf rechtskonservativen katholischen Internet-Seiten zornige Hinweise auf den Song erschienen.

Die Wutwelle habe ihn “vollkommen unerwartet” getroffen, sagt Bittlinger. In Drohschreiben wird der Songschreiber als “dreckige Protestantensau” bezeichnet, andere halten ihn für “vom Teufel besessen”, einen “Stinker” oder beklagen, keine “Aggressionen” gegen ihn “rauslassen” zu können. Die hessische Polizei nahm die Drohungen so ernst, dass sie ein Konzert unter Polizeischutz stellte und eine verdächtige Postsendung an ihn von einer Spezialeinheit öffnen ließ.

"An Engine of Hypocrisy"

Daniel C. Dennett on a case of political correctness that never gets labeled as such even though it should

It is fascinating to see how cautiously the candidates are approaching this issue in the run-up to November’s election. Everybody apparently thinks — probably rightly — that this is a race to be lost by a single fatal misstep, not won by a bold stroke. So nobody is going to come out in favor of secular values or visions, and secularists, like me, are not so foolish as to try to goad any candidate into acknowledging their sympathy for a secular world view if that could cost them the election. Of course, this tradition of mealy-mouthed lip service is something we should try to discredit and dismantle as soon as possible. But not sooner!

We are stuck, for the time being, with what I have called an engine of hypocrisy.

Western Tolerance (rant)

I am so sick of all these dumb people “defending the West” against some phantom horde of turks or something, all these people who extol the virtues of ‘The West’ (what an irrelevant description of a place on a round planet!) and demand, yes demand, of immigrants (and they always, always mean Muslim immigrants) that they adhere to the high standards of tolerance espoused by ‘the West’. Yes, YOU, dirty Muslim, if you want to live here, YOU will have to accept and embrace our tolerance for all religions and minorities such as gays, for instance.

Apparently these staunch defenders don’t know their own countries. For example, people in ‘The West’ don’t like gays all that much. The most challenged book in the US is, once again, And Tango Makes Three:

A children’s story about a family of penguins with two fathers once again tops the list of library books the American public objects to the most.

And Tango Makes Three, released in 2005 and co-written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, was the most “challenged” book in U.S. public schools and libraries for the second straight year, according to the American Library Association.

“The complaints are that young children will believe that homosexuality is a lifestyle that is acceptable. The people complaining, of course, don’t agree with that,” Judith Krug, director of the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in an interview yesterday.

Neither, judging from voices in West Virginia, do they like blacks very much. Or, still the primary, women. But we’re not as bad as them rag heads, right? I hear them proclaim behind their beer hump. Yes there is a difference, even a fairly large one. But it’s a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. And it’s utterly despicable, and dishonest, that so-called cultural differences are played up as if they, in fact were differences in kind, to justify treatment that is unwarranted, racist and entirely unacceptable.

The Catholic Vote

Berlinerblau speculates

At 8:24 pm the Obama people sent out: “BREAKING: Obama Overperforms Among Catholics and Wins Protestants.” That claim was somewhat difficult to reconcile with the note I received at 9:28 from the opposing camp: “FYI: PA Religious Exit Polling – Clinton wins Catholic, Protestant and Jewish Voters.” This was followed at 10:38 by the rather un-Christian “FYI: Dallas Morning News Religion Blog: “Hillary Clinton whups [Barack Obama in the Largest Categories]”

Leaving the claims about Protestants aside for now, let me confirm that Clinton did in fact carry Catholics by a bruising 68% to 32%. This statistic is lending credence to a growing chorus of analysts who say Obama has a problem with this constituency.

We will, undoubtedly, be discussing this at length in coming weeks. Permit me to briefly float one explanation for this state of affairs. I wish to claim–and I stress this is a first-go hypothesis–that Obama fares poorly among Catholics for the same reason that Huckabee did. Namely, these Americans are put off by Protestant presidential candidates who go too heavy on the Faith and Values stuff.

Admittedly, my hypothesis runs into difficulties when we recall that Catholics gave the majority of their votes to George W. Bush in 2004. Then again, strange as it may sound, Bush’s rhetoric was rarely as relentlessly Christ-y as that of Huck and Obama.

Common Sense (Blathery Rant)

I have talked to people recently who extolled the virtues of disagreeing with academic opinion, regardless of the soundness of yr arguments against the old position. They appeared to be entirely unfazed by the fact that the argument in these books seems to rely entirely on common sense, not on thinking or careful reasoning (for example this book).

Last night it occurred to me that the funny thing about most of these ‘rebellious’ attacks against the academic establishment is that they only work for a reader who is rather roughly or not at all acquainted with the ‘facts’. While it is true that many of these ‘facts’ are created by academia (and I would be the very last person to defend something like ‘objective historical facts’, indeed I think that to posit the existence of knowable objective historical facts means almost always a shoddy methodological framework) and that there is a strong intolerance against alternative theories, the carefully reasoned book that would actually have an impact on the generally accepted theory is rare. The only thing it actually does is stir up the uneducated masses without educating them first. It’s pure demagoguery, and not in a nice way.

This is anti-intellectualism at its worst. It may not look like this sometimes but take a closer look at the premises and you’ll see it. And Common Sense, as the instrument of such arguments, appears to me sometimes to be downright evil. I am not very firm on English etymology, but the German equivalent, “gesunder Menschenverstand”, which, roughly, awkwardly, translates as “healthy human reasoning”, shows how Common Sense works. It attacks things which are outside of a given societal norm, which, of course, reflects strongly the dominant anti-emancipatory ideas of a given society. Small wonder then that, say, in the realm of philosophy, books, nay, pamphlets abound which are bashing Feminism and any strain of postmodern/poststructuralist thought that is not in agreement with the dominant norm. The sick elements of society, if you will, channeling Agamben and Foucault here.

Thus, Common Sense often surfaces in the most evil of contexts. Antisemitic, racist literature is built on a foundation of ‘common sense’. The whole insidious concept of political correctness is built on ‘common sense’ as well, the idea being that, if we were really honest, we would admit that what is perceived as ‘pc speech’ is really only pc mumbo-jumbo. There is, as to modern antisemitism, an aspect of down-to-earth, almost agrarian, simplicity to the whole thing. Small wonder that both concepts can often be found in nationalistic ‘Blut und Boden’-contexts and in anti-cosmopolitanist arguments. It does not, though, usually make an appearance in islamophobic contexts, as the stereotypes directed at that particular minority are others. Debauchery, decadence, yes, but Islam is so strongly identified with a particular ethnic group that the particular nexus described above is never really activated. Islamophobia is, currently, a rather obvious affair, and so widely and fundamentally accepted, that it has had no need to hide behind a rhetorical veil yet.

The strangest aspect of this, though, is that even intellectuals, and those who are very much in favor of emancipatory movements, tend to view ‘common sense’ and the gesture of rebellion as an acceptable ally in the battle against orthodoxy and then proceed to attack nilly-willy those who work within orthodoxy, who urge others to try to read and understand what you are criticizing before you go off on a 200page commonsensical rant (or at least to be open to arguments from orthodox academia). Happened to me once here and several times in person. And no, this is not about left-wing antisemitism (think anticapitalism, think usury). And no, I have no answer to this, really. It baffles me, honestly. Did I mention that they are all really, really smart, some of them way, way smarter than this blog’s dim-witted excuse for an author? They are. You see me throwing my hands up. I have no answer. Do you have one? I’d love to hear it. A book you can direct me to?

Have a great week, btw., folks.


Found this on openDemocracy

A comprehensive FBI report published recently has highlighted the threat from domestic, home-grown extremists from a variety of groups, including those on the “extreme fringes” of social movements such as the “Animal Liberation Front” (classified as “special-interest terrorism”) to far right groups which often take “racist and racial supremacy and embrace antigovernment, antiregulatory” platforms.

The toD verdict: Since 9/11 and the inception of the “war on terrorism”, the threat posed by “domestic terrorism” has been conflated with Muslims residing in the US. Yet, an astounding 23 out of 24 terorrist attacks domestic terrorist attacks that took place between 2002-2005 were carried out by ‘special interest’ terror groups. As the report points out, the greater threat arises from fascist, right wing groups.

Pope Benedikt XVI has a field day

*sigh* This Pope should get a Nazi medal or something. In the Post’s On Faith columns

But in condemning Nazi antisemitism before that Jewish congregation in Cologne, Pope Benedict defined it univocally as having been “born of neo-paganism.” That was true, a reference to the odd mysticism that underwrote the Teutonic myths on which claims for Aryan racial superiority rested. But Nazi hatred of Jews was born of two parents, and the other one – the long history of Christian anti-Judaism – the pope did not mention. This was not a slight omission. It is urgently important, in going forward into the 21st century, that the context out of which the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people grew, and within which it nearly succeeded, not be forgotten. The crimes of Hitler were not the crimes of Christianity, but the Final Solution depended, both for the recruitment of active perpetrators and for the passivity of a continent’s worth of bystanders, on the ingrained anti-Jewishness of Christian theology, liturgy, and tradition. You would not know that from what the pope said in the Synagogue in Cologne. […]

Benedict went to Auschwitz, he said, “as a son of the German people, a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation’s honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation.” In Germany itself by now, there is an established tradition of a much fuller recognition of national complicity in the Nazi project. For a generation, Germans have declined to portray themselves as mere victims and dupes, and German church leaders in particular have been forthright in confessing their sin in relation to the Holocaust. In his portrayal of the past, both at Cologne and Auschwitz, Benedict is becoming a German apart.

And as a Christian? Here is how he defined the Nazi aim in murdering Jews: “Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people…by destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the tap root of the Christian faith.” As if to dramatize this astounding claim that the “ultimate” Nazi target at Auschwitz was the Church, Benedict greeted 32 camp survivors, all but one of whom were Polish Catholics. A lone Jew represented the more than one million Jews who died there. With no apparent embarrassment, the pope prayed, “Why, Lord, did you remain silent?”

[…] the dark legacy of Christian antisemitism began to be redeemed when the Second Vatican Council both repudiated the “Christ-killer” charge against the Jewish people, and affirmed the on-going validity of Jewish religion. The days of scapegoating Jews, and seeking their conversion are over. Or are they? When Pope Benedict meets with Jewish leaders in New York this week, the cordial greetings will be heartfelt, but so will an undercurrent of wondering. Why, under his authority, has the Vatican recently restored the pre-Vatican II Good Friday prayers for the conversion of Jews? Does this pontificate represent a retreat from Christian moral reckoning with the Holocaust? Does it intend to restore the lethal Christian conviction that God’s only plan for Jews is baptism?

Here is the complete English transcript.

Und hier ist die deutsche Version seiner Rede.

History of Islam (paradoxe du bouquiniste)

On Helen de Witt’s wonderful blog I found this

Urvoy points out an oddity which he calls the paradoxe du bouquiniste. Anyone who spends a lot of time at secondhand bookstalls finds an image of the history of French thought in the 18th century quite different from what he was taught. In his studies they would have talked only of thinkers who were opposed to established religion, above all to religious orthodoxy; but in the bookstalls one finds a vast army of defenders of the faith, names one has never heard of, or heard of only as someone who criticised Rousseau… Since the Renaissance, he suggests, we have placed emphasis on originality, on individualism, so our intellectual history devalues whatever was typical of its time, rates highly whatever was at least self-proclaimed as original. Books offer us chapters on great individuals, with perhaps a dutiful chapter on background which the reader feels free to ignore.

In the history of Arab thought, on the other hand, the opposite is true. It has been written not by philosophers but by historians, and they privilege “representative” authors. The Arab philosophers who drew on the Greek philosophical tradition have just about managed to get taken seriously because of their immense influence on Scholasticism – but many Islamic scholars regard them askance as marginal thinkers. Attention was concentrated on the religious apologists, who were seen as expressing the essence of Arabic-Islamic thought. [I am writing this awkward English because paraphrasing DU, something I do very badly.]

Urvoy comments: the enterprise of setting out a collective structure of thought, with occasional detailed studies of individuals, is entirely legitimate. But isn’t there something odd about this radical antithesis between the study of Western and of Arab thought? Can it really be right for the Arabist to concentrate solely on writers whose equivalents he would despise if he were a specialist of the 18th-century in France?

Catholic Conversion

More on the Pope’s outrageous behavior. Susan Jacoby wrote last week

Benedikt has taken less trouble […] to conceal his dedication to a theology that regards other religions (not to mention secularism) as inferior. The pope’s personal baptism, at a widely publicized Easter vigil service, of an Egyptian-born Muslim, Magdi Allam […] is a case in point. Allam, in a column discussing his conversion, wrote in his newspaper that the “root of all evil is innate in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictual.” […]

Allam, who once attended a Catholic school in Egypt, is persona non grata not only to most Muslims but to a great many secular Italians, who tend to view his conversion as an exemplary “out of the frying pan, into the fire” move. […]

Does anyone seriously think that the Vatican finances mission schools around the world because it does not hope to gain converts? In this regard, it should be noted, the Catholic Church does not differ from other proselytizing Christian churches that offer a wide variety of social services along with a strong dose of religious indoctrination. […]

The Catholic emphasis on conversion has remained remarkably consistent throughout history. Pope John Paul II’s canonization of the Carmelite nun Edith Stein, a German Catholic convert from Judaism who died in Auschwitz, is a prime example. Stein was sent to Auschwitz for one reason: she was born a Jew, and for the Nazis, no religious conversion wiped out the “racial” stain of Jewishness. Yet the church considers her a Catholic martyr–a position as offensive to many Jews, and as impervious to the fact of who was targeted for extermination during the Holocaust–as some of Benedict’s statements about Islam have been to many Muslims. Stein was murdered by the Nazis because of her Jewish “blood,” not her Catholic faith.

Of course, Benedict can get away with offending Muslims more easily at the moment than he can with offending Jews. Much of post-Christian, secular Europe is terrified of the Muslim immigrants in its midst and would probably love to see a population of Muslim converts to Catholicism.


heute fitna ansehen wollen. das hier gefunden.

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Western Values and Free Speech

In the Independent

A Roman Catholic bishop has likened books which criticise the teachings of the Church to works that deny the Holocaust took place.

The Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, Bishop of Lancaster, told British MPs that books critical of the Catholic faith should be banned from school libraries.

Asked if that applied to works by authors such as Karl Marx and Albert Camus, he told the Commons Children, Schools and Families Committee: “Suppose you went into a school and found in the library material that said the Holocaust never took place?”

Labour MP Fiona McTaggart said she was extremely concerned that Catholic sixth-formers would be denied access to great works if the bishop’s ban were implemented. “I would not expect a school to promote material that was lies but I also would also expect children to encounter a wide range of material,” she said.

Antikommunismus wie üblich

vor über einer woche bei fucking queers:

Während Kubas Kommunisten bereits laut über die Öffnung der Ehe für gleichgeschlechtliche Paare nachdenken, halluzinieren hiesige Blogger in schlechtem Deutsch noch immer darüber, ob “auch” Fidels Nachfolger Raúl “Homosexuelle und AIDS-Infizierte aka ’soziale Abweichler’ weiterhin verfolgen lässt”. Auch? Weiterhin? Haben wir auf f*queer vielleicht was verpasst? Oder sind da Antikommunisten mal wieder über ihre eigene Propaganda gestolpert?


“Wir müssen jede Form der Diskriminierung gegen diese Personen abschaffen,” erklärte so etwa auch der kubanische Parlamentspräsident Ricardo Alarcon Anfang 2007. “Der Sozialismus sollte eine Gesellschaft sein, die niemanden ausschließt.” Deshalb sei es jetzt an der Zeit, “das Konzept der Ehe zu redefinieren”.

Derweil eröffnete das kubanische Staatsfernsehen im selben Jahr einen neuen Plot in der beliebtesten Seifenoper des Landes: ein verheirateter Mann verliebt sich in einen anderen. – Die Bevölkerung wird langsam auf die Veränderungen vorbereitet.

“Es ist ein Tribut an die humanistische Essenz der kubanischen Revolution, dass ihre Führung in der Lage war, ihren Fehlern ins Auge zu sehen und den Kurs zu wechseln”, kommentiert begeistert Calvin Tucker im britischen Guardian und wagt eine provokative These: “Kuba ist heute auf dem Weg, das in sozialer Hinsicht liberalste Land der beiden Amerikas zu werden.”

Richard Flanagan: The Unknown Terrorist

Persons and actions of this story are invented. If the description of certain journalistic practices shows ressemblances to the practices of the Bild newspaper, that’s because these ressemblances are not intended nor accidental, they are inescapable

The Unknown Terrorist, Richard Flanagan’s novel, is, as he himself says at the back of his forgettable new book, a modern take on Böll’s Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum. And it is basically the same story. Woman fucks stranger, stranger is suspected of terrible crime, woman is suspected of being an accomplice. And I really like the Böll novel. Must be my favorite novel of his. So why was The Unknown Terrorist such a mess of a novel?

Can’t be the writing. Heinrich Böll is not a great stylist. What success his novels and stories have, style has nothing to do with that. Flanagan is, if anything, a better stylist. Much of the novel drags and much is functional at best, but there are outstanding passages as well. Can’t be the writing? Characters, maybe. That, actually, is the first problem. Although Böll’s characters are cliché characters, they need to be for the story to work in the little space that is allotted to them and Böll is a master in making even cliché come alive. Not so Flanagan. For one thing, he overdoes the cliché, adds many more layers of schlocky details. And then he just lets his characters get away with this. He doesn’t even try to make the characters believable. No Sir. When he slips his characters into the pockets of the story, he adds just the most necessary characterization. He sticks to the dolls (ironic, eh?) he constructed. Interaction between characters is unbelievable, as a rule.

But that is not his main error. The main problem with the novel is the old show-don’t-tell idea. He lets us know what people are thinking. Not just the protagonist, but also the journalist, the cops, and others. Every aspect of the story is examined and explained. It’s as if he was expecting his readers to be less smart than fourth graders. No guesswork for us. And this is where the novel goes terribly wrong. Yes, that’s tedious to read. But the political aspect of it is softened to an extent that is almost criminal. The hard criticism of mass media of Böll’s novel is softened to bad individuals who do know better but decide, greedily, to go ahead with the “story”. Whereas the only dedication of Flanagan is to David Hicks, a victim of misguided governmental policy, Böll’s reads like this:

Personen und Handlung dieser Erzählung sind frei erfunden. Sollten sich bei der Schilderung gewisser journalistischer Praktiken Ähnlichkeiten mit den Praktiken der Bild-Zeitung ergeben haben, so sind diese Ähnlichkeiten weder beabsichtigt noch zufällig, sondern unvermeidlich.

(Persons and actions of this story are invented. If the description of certain journalistic practices shows ressemblances to the practices of the Bild newspaper, that’s because these ressemblances are not intended nor accidental, they are inescapable). Lots of misguided governmental policies in his time, too. However, that’s plainly not his point. It’s about how the mass media distorts something if it conforms with certain bourgeois stereotypes.

This would have worked fine with The Unknown Terrorist, too. Slutty woman? Check. Arab terrorist? Check. Etc. And these stereotypes are seen to be at the basis of the journalist’s doing the story the way he does. However, it stops at this point. Richard Cody. And he does know better, but his greed for money and fame blinds him. Böll exposed the stereotypes that govern the press. Maybe a ‘real’ Richard Cody would not need the incentive of greed. The stereotypes alone are more than enough. This would have made an incisive commentary on the state of our nations. Look at the inane and inherently racist coverage of the remarks of Archbishop Williams, or check out the coverage in Danish newspapers of the alleged plot to kill the damn cartoonist. Or German newspapers covering that. Hell, mainstream coverage of muslims by privately owned media. Daily Express, anyone? Henryk M. Broder? Broder writes the stories Cody would write had he Broder’s erudition or style. Or check out how much of a deal it is that a photograph was published with Barack Hussein Obama wearing a turban.

No, The Unknown Terrorist is not tidy nor subtle. It doesn’t have to. It’s an angry book, wearing its moral indignation on its sleeve. But it is on this account, the political sphere, that it fails first and foremost. It attacks a government who uses a Patriot Act-like legislation to exert pressure on people. But the main protagonist’s life is not destroyed by that. It’s destroyed the hateful discourse taken up and whipped up by the press. Böll’s novel got him into a pickle with the press which launched a spite-and hateful campaign against the little indignant writer, a campaign that lasted years. No such chance with Flanagan, I presume. The boring little antepodean shit.

God and the Primaries (He must be a really happy wanker now)

Oh, the wise Mike Huckabee, endorsed by such luminaries as the great Chuck Norris, hath spoken on his conception of, let’s say secularism.

I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution. But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do — is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.

Which, apparently, doesn’t really help him. So he tries to explain it

Well, I probably said it awkwardly, but the point I was trying to make […] is that […] Constitution was created as a document that could be changed. That’s the genius of it. The Bible, however, was not created to be amended and altered with each passing culture. If we have a definition of marriage, that we don’t change that definition, that we affirm that definition. And that the sanctity of human life is not just a religious issue. It’s an issue that goes to the very heart of our civilization of all people being equal, endowed by their creator with alienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That was the point. The Bible was not written to be amended. The Constitution was. Without amendments to the Constitution, women couldn’t vote, African-Americans wouldn’t be considered people. We have had to historically go back and to clarify, because there’ve been injustices made because the Constitution wasn’t as clear as it needed to be, and that’s the point.

[…] I don’t think a person has to be a person of faith to say that once you redefine a human life and say there is a life not worth living, and that we have a right to terminate a human life because of its inconvenience to others in the society. That’s the real issue. That’s the heart of it. It’s not just about being against abortion. It’s really about, Is there is a point at which a human life, because it’s become a burden or inconvenience to others, is an expendable life. And once we’ve made a decision that there is such a time […] we’ve already crossed that line. And then the question is, How far and how quickly do we move past that line?

And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?


Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.

Please take note how ‘the point’ at first is injustices that have been made because of the constitution having been too unclear and how Huckabee then moves on to include not just abortion, which, I grant you, is a difficult issue (although I’d say Huckabee is on the wrong side of it) but also same-sex marriage, which suddenly, by association, is as much of an injustice as slavery. This is amazingly brazen.

But God gets his due from everyone. See for example Barack Obama

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life. But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful. I didn’t ‘fall out in church’ as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn’t want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals,

For a secular voter all of this (because there are quotes for Clinton, too, and of course for the Republican horde as well) must feel like being caught between Scylla and Charybdis, no?

Albern II

Nachdem ich mich gestern geärgert habe über die Aufnahme der neuen Studie zu Muslimen, traf ich heute angenehm kühlköpfige blogeinträge an, etwa bei Entartetes Engagement

Im Auftrag des Schäuble-Ministeriums erstellten die Hamburger Forscher Katrin Brettfeld und Peter Wetzels die Studie “Muslime in Deutschland”, bei welcher in vier großstädtischen Regionen rund 1000 Muslime befragt wurden. Insgesamt sehen die Ergebnisse wie zu erwarten aus. Nur eine Minderheit der Muslime (5,5%) hält Gewalt zur Ausbreitung des Islams für gerechtfertigt. 90% der befragten Muslime halten Selbstmordanschläge für feige und eine ebenso große Anzahl an befragten Personen lehnt das Töten von Menschen im Namen der Religion ab. Jedoch fühlen sich 50% der Muslime von der Gesellschaft ausgegrenzt und 20% erlebten selbst in den vergangenen zwölf Monaten Ausländerfeindlichkeit.

Die Anzahl der Muslime, die antisemitische Voruteile mit sich tragen und demokratiefeindlich eingestellt sind, sind, so die Forscher, etwa mit den Zahlen aus der deutschen Bevölkerung zu vergleichen.

via classless


Mir mißfällt der Ton in dieser Debatte.
SPON tönt

Eine neue Studie zu Muslimen in Deutschland zeichnet ein düsteres Bild: 40 Prozent sind fundamental eingestellt, 6 Prozent gewaltbereit. Die Zahl der Rechtsstaatsgegner ist ähnlich hoch wie die von deutschen Nichtmuslimen. Politiker und Experten sind erschrocken, halten die Daten aber für realistisch.

Was daran düster ist, daß es genausoviele Muslime mit demokratiefeindlicher Einstellung gibt wie deutsche, etwas, das durchaus nicht von SPON unterschlagen, sondern hier ausgeführt wird

Der Kultur- und Sozialanthropologe Werner Schiffauer sagte dem Blatt, die Hamburger Studie komme auch zu dem Schluss, dass demokratiefeindliche Einstellungen bei nicht-muslimischen Deutschen etwa ebenso häufig anzutreffen seien. Daher könne nicht gesagt werden, dass der Islam Demokratiefeindlichkeit stärker fördere.

erschließt sich mir ehrlich gesagt nicht. Müssen Muslime ‘besser’ sein als nicht-muslimische Bürger, damit das Bild nicht mehr “erschreckend” ist? Die Rhetorik der beiden SPON Artikel finde ich, na, nicht erschreckend, eher erwartet, aber unangenehm. Diese Aufregung, wenn sie nicht u.U. höchst unangenehme politische Maßnahmen zeitigen könnte, wäre als albern zu bezeichnen. Siehe auch, was für die Studie unter “fundamental” fällt.

40 Prozent aller befragten Muslime in Deutschland sind “fundamental orientiert”. Hochgerechnet auf die Gesamtzahl der in Deutschland lebenden Muslime wären das 1,2 Millionen. Merkmale dafür sind: eine enge religiöse Bindung, hohe Alltagsrelevanz der Religion, die starke Ausrichtung an religiösen Regeln und Ritualen verbunden mit einer Tendenz, “Muslime die dem nicht folgen auszugrenzen sowie den Islam pauschal auf- und westliche, christlich geprägte Kulturen abzuwerten”. Die Zahl ist nach der Studie indes nicht gleichzusetzen mit dem Umfang des Potentials demokratieskeptischer, intoleranter oder gar islamismusaffiner Haltungen unter Muslimen.

Also? Inwiefern unterscheidet sich das gros dieser Ausführungen von den Forderungen des aktuellen Papstes? Oder weiter Teile der CDU/CSU? Die find ich erschreckend. Abstrus, das alles. Und, wie ich bereits sagte: das unangenehmste an dieser Studie ist ihre Darreichungsform. Düster? Erschreckend? Erschreckend sind auch teils die Autoren dieser Studie, die “problematische Einstellungsmuster” feststellen als ob es sich bei den Muslimen um ungehorsame Schüler handelte. Kopfschmerzen.

On Moderate Islam

Eboo Patel’s Washington Post Online post of today is nice. It resonates with some things I was thinking about since reading that odious article by Mr. Broder weeks ago and it, while replete with strange and invalid assumptions, makes an important point. I will quote the bulk of it here, just to raise the chances of it being read by those too lazy to follow up on the links

My wife was at a dinner party last week and someone asked about the English woman in the Sudan […] My wife’s friend asked: “Does Islam really say that she should be punished?” “I don’t want to talk about it,” my wife responded.
[…] But her friend still wanted an answer to her question. And if my wife wasn’t going to provide one, then she would have to find someone who would. In this case, it was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who wrote an OpEd in The New York Times effectively stating that Islam requires Muslims to severely punish teachers who name teddy bears Muhammad (Sudan), rape victims who are accused of being in the presence of a man who is not a family member (Saudi Arabia) and female writers who criticize Islam (India).
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is right on two important points. The first is that all of these punishments are appalling and brutal. The second is that moderate Muslims should be louder about these matters. There are some things that are true even if Ayaan Hirsi Ali believes them.
[…] Hirsi Ali and people like her are widely-read because they offer a theory of the problem: they tell the world a convincing story of why Muslims keep popping up on the front pages of newspapers in negative articles. Hirsi Ali’s theory, and the theory of other Islamophobes, is that Muslims have dirty laundry because the body and soul of Islam are dirty. […]
A lesson for mainstream Muslims: Whenever you don’t offer a theory of the problem, someone else will. When there is a vacuum of information about a hot topic and you don’t fill it, other people will aggressively move in.
Too many mainstream Muslims believe they have only two options in the face of the current discourse on Islam: angry indignation or stony silence.
I believe there is a third way. It is what University of Michigan Professor Sherman Jackson, one of America’s leading scholars of Islam, calls ‘Islamic literacy’.
Here is how someone literate in Islam, Muslim or not, might have responded to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s contention that Islam and compassionate conscience are mutually exclusive. First, by saying that there should be no excuses made for those who sought the punishments in any of the three cases she named. They were indeed brutal, and as such, were in conflict with the core ethos of Islam – compassion and mercy, which are enshrined both in the Muslim tradition and in the human conscience.
Compassion and mercy are the two most repeated qualities of God in Islam, best illustrated by the most common Muslim prayer, “Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim” – In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the most Merciful. As they are qualities of God, they are attributes that Muslims are required to emulate.
Compassion and mercy are also enshrined in the first lesson that classical Muslim scholars would teach their students, what came to be known as the Tradition of Primacy in Islam: “If you are merciful to those on Earth, then He who is in Heaven will be merciful to you.”
Islam, like other traditions, has internal contradictions. The Qur’an and Muslim law say different things in different places. That is precisely why compassion and mercy play such an important role in Muslim interpretation and practice. When in doubt about how to deal with a particular situation, a Muslim should always be guided by compassion and mercy. […]
Khaled Abou El Fadl, one of America’s most important scholars of Islamic thought and law, believes that people are required to bring their God-given compassion to the reading of the text of the Qur’an. “The text will morally enrich the reader, but only if the reader will morally enrich the text.,” he writes in a remarkable essay called The Place of Tolerance in Islam.
Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, the most prominent Muslim scholar and preacher in the West, wrote in a piece for this website, “Unfortunately, millions of Muslims all over the globe are humiliated and betrayed by the ignorance and lack of basic humanity that a small minority of Muslims too often exhibits.” […]

Christlicher Fundamentalismus (Kram)

Angetippt von diesem SPON Artikel, besonders dieser Passage

Williams provoziert immer wieder mit seinen Äußerungen. Im vergangenen Jahr bezeichnete er Befürworter eines Angriffs gegen Syrien oder Iran als kriminell und mörderisch. Die israelische Tageszeitung Haaretz kritisierte Williams wegen dessen Äußerungen in Bethlehem zu Israels Mauer. Zuvor hatte Williams’ Amtsvorgänger Bischof Carey ihn wegen eines Boykott-Aufrufs angegriffen. Damals hatte unter Williams’ Vorsitz die Synode der Anglikanischen Kirche entschieden, Aktienanteile am US-Unternehmen Caterpillar zu verkaufen. Begründung: Die Firma liefere die Bagger, mit denen Israel Häuser in Palästinensergebieten einreiße.

Auch im aktuellen Interview mit dem Magazin “Emel” erwähnt Williams das enorme Leid, das die Mauer in Israel verursache. Von Terroranschlägen sprach Williams nicht. Einzige verworren-kritische Äußerung zum Islam: Die muslimische Welt sollte bedenken, dass man etwas von der Frage lernen könne, wie “klassische liberale Demokratie zu einer islamischen Weltsicht passt”.

Abgesehen davon empfiehlt Williams in dem Interview allen Gläubigen die muslimischen Betrituale: Fünfmal am Tag zu beten könne helfen, “Gott stärker in den Alltagsrhythmus zu integrieren”.

mußte ich an etwas denken, von dem ich längst lustige Passagen zitieren wollte. Einmal ein Artikel in dem Parzany und seine unerträgliche Pro Christ Veranstaltung quasi von rechts kritisiert wird, was einem Evangelikalen erst einmal passieren muß:

Wesentliche Bestandteile des biblischen Evangeliums werden bei Pro Christ verschwiegen bzw. haben nicht das Gewicht, das sie von der Bibel her haben müßten. […]

** die Heiligkeit Gottes, der ein verzehrendes Feuer ist;
** der Zorn Gottes über alle Sünde und über die gottlosen Sünder;
** die völlige Verdorbenheit des sündigen Menschen, an dem nichts Gutes ist und der zu nichts Gutem fähig ist, der unter die Sünde versklavt ist;
** die Tatsache, daß auch nach menschlichen Maßstäben „gute“, ordentlich lebende Menschen vor Gott verlorene Sünder sind;
** die Tatsache, daß auch „moderne“, heute gesellschaftlich akzeptierte Sünden wie Hurerei (vorehelicher Geschlechtsverkehr, Zusammenleben ohne Trauschein) vor Gott ein Greuel sind und zur Verdammnis führen (Ähnliches gilt z.B. für Abtreibung, Steuerbetrug, Lügen);
** klare Buße als Bruch mit der Sünde und Unterwerfung unter Gott;
** die Aufforderung des Herrn Jesus Christus an alle Gläubigen, ihr Eigenleben zu verleugnen und zu verlieren und ihr Kreuz auf sich zu nehmen;
** die Ausschließlichkeit des Heils allein durch Jesus Christus auch im Hinblick auf Anhänger anderer Religionen.

[…] Im Licht der Bibel müssen wir aber feststellen, daß jede gewichtige Verkürzung des Evangeliums im Grunde auch schon eine Verfälschung darstellt. Paulus zeigt in Apg 20,26-27, daß es Blutschuld nach sich zieht, wenn ein Verkündiger unbequeme Wahrheiten verschweigt und nicht den ganzen Ratschluß Gottes verkündigt.

Weiterhin gibt es ja noch das Aussetzen der Lektüre von Harry Potter in Chemnitz (und zwar nicht aufgrund berechtigter Einwände, was die literarische Qualität des Textes als Schullektüre betrifft), worüber an verschiedener Stelle, unter anderem ebenfalls in SPON berichtet wurde

Eine Chemnitzer Schule hat auf Bitten zweier Eltern die Lektüre von Harry Potter vom Lehrplan genommen. Die Eltern hätten sich in ihren christlichen Gefühlen verletzt gefühlt, berichtet die in Chemnitz erscheinende “Freie Presse”. Der Schulleiter des Kepler-Gymnasiums, Stephan Lamm, erklärte, man respektiere die Gefühle der Eltern und werde Harry Potter nicht als Einzelwerk in der betreffenden 5. Klasse behandeln. […] Die beiden Elternpaare hätten sich hauptsächlich an der Magie gestört, die in den Romanen viel Raum einnehme.

Gruselig wird es, wenn man das noch recht kleine Netz (in ganz Deutschland wohl nur zwischen 40 und 100 Verweigererfamilien) der fundamentalistischen Schulverweigerer betrachtet. Der Sprecher dieser bewegung schreibt Dinge wie

„Wer ein Gewissen knechtet, mit dem wird Gott rechten”, heißt es in dem Schreiben wörtlich.

Trotzdem es recht wenige sind, bekommen sie, wie der Fall in Chemnitz zeigt, immer wieder Einfluß auf Schulen oder, wie aus Hubers neugewonnener Unterstützung für die evangelikale Bewegung deutlich wird, auf Mainstreamkirchen. Unterstützung finden diese Gruppierungen, die sich etwa König Drosselbart aufgrund der dort enthaltenen Blasphemie (“ein Werk des Teufels”) verweigern, auch von der Partei Bibeltreuer Christen. Guckst du hier:

Die PBC mit ihren rund 100.000 Wählern stehe “voll hinter den Heimschulfamilien”, schreibt der bayerische Landesvorsitzende Johannes Schabert (Nürnberg) in einem Offenen Brief an Adenauer. […] Schabert erinnert zudem daran, daß das Verbot von Heimschulunterricht “auf das Jahr 1938 unter Adolf Hitler zurückgeht”. Er zieht ferner eine Parallele zwischen dem Rücktritt der bayerischen Kultusministerin Monika Hohlmeier (CSU) und ihrem scharfen Vorgehen gegen Heimschuleltern. Sie habe gegen mindestens sieben Elternteile Beugehaft verhängt. Schabert: “Der Prophet Sacharja sagte bereits vor 2.500 Jahren, daß wer Gottes Volk antastet, seinen (Gottes, Anm.) eigenen Augapfel antastet.”

Abschließend die im selben Artikel zitierte, na, man möchte schon fast sagen: Drohung des kölschen Baptistenpredigers Hartmann

“Diese Eltern haben dem kommunistischen Druck nicht nachgegeben und ihm widerstanden; glauben Sie, daß diese Menschen vor Ihren Drohungen zurückschrecken?”

Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and their ilk

It has been online for awhile, but it’s so perfect a phrase that I can’t resist pointing it out to anyone who hasn’t read it yet. Associate Professor Berlinerblau from the University of Georgetown, in a rare stroke of genius, called the writers spearheading the recent wave of dumb atheistic writers “the football hooligans of rational discourse”. Such a perfect phrase, isn’t it?