Nice guys these Quakers

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Quaker_star

Yesterday I came across an article in a local online newspaper about how a group of Quakers are helping the LGBTQ community flee Uganda’s absurd and outrageous Anti-Homosexuality Act. What’s more, I got to learn a lot about the Quaker community, otherwise known as the Religious Society of Friends (didn’t know that either).

Like the Amish community, Quakers are fervently religious and believe very strongly in non-violence. However whereas The Amish are very conservative and don’t adapt to change, Quakers are pretty liberal and embrace modern technology. Another thing, Quakers don’t have priests or clergymen and eschew religious symbolism, and for that alone this atheist is warming up to them.

But here’s why I think they’re simply awesome: Quakers are involving themselves in a dangerous activity by helping people escape persecution. And they’ve done it before; many times.

Quakers denounced slavery as early as the 1670’s in Barbados. Later they would play a fundamental role in abolishing slavery in the United States. They were also involved in setting up the Underground Railroad in the USA which helped runaway slaves.

It was therefore fitting that the group based in Olympia, Washington, assisting people escape the bigotry and persecution as a result of the draconian law passed by the Ugandan government, decided to call themselves Friends New Underground Railroad (FNUR).

However not everyone likes what they’re doing; even right’s activists and NGO’s within the LGBTQ community have their reservations, but I think it’s just remarkable.

Meanwhile Ugandan activists, and right’s organizations like Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) who incidentally are critical of what FNUR are doing, are petitioning the courts to overturn the anti-gay law. I sincerely hope they’re succesful. The world does not need legislated hatred.

Respect faith? Hell no!

religionrespect

Lizzylo, a recent addition to my long list of detractors commenters seems to think the reason I write this blog is because I yearn for respect.

Well, Lizzylo, let me make this quite clear. I DON’T.

I don’t really care whether you respect me or not. I have never cared whether anyone respects me, even outside of this blog. I don’t demand respect, nor do I give it easily. In my job, I tend to piss off a lot of colleagues because I demand competency and productivity. But in the process, I make a whole lot more people happy, including my customers.

I don’t sulk when my colleagues are angry at me for being demanding. I live with it. It’s a trade-off. Similarly, when people respond negatively to my blog posts, I don’t let it affect me. The fact that I tick people off, is actually quite revealing. It puts a smile on my face, just like those positive comments do.

scienceandfaith

Another thing I get quite often is quotes from the bible or some other religious text about faith. People seem to think that these texts are authoritative and that I’m supposed to be moved or threatened into submission by them.

Let me make this quite clear. I give ZERO fucks for faith or your holy quotes about it.

I don’t believe your quotes, nor do they scare me or move me in any way whatsoever. I also think faith is a dreadful disease that needs to be eradicated. I’d really like to bash your skull in, but not through violence. All I have to throw at you is words.

So there, I hope that was painful.

To be or not to be… a dictator

While our cricketers were being humbled in the World Cup down under by New Zealand, our President was toying with the idea of becoming a dictator.

If you’re wondering how these two events are connected – they’re not. It’s just that both our President and our cricketers were a major disappointment yesterday, with the former being a permanent one.

While most will have people laughed off Jacob Zuma’s idiotic contemplation, some of us were a tad bit jittery, this being Africa, a continental clusterfuck of downright autocratic and pseudo-democratic governments. Talk here in South Africa of dictatorship by the ruling circus clown should never be taken too lightly.

Zuma may be a giggling, incompetent, lying, corrupt leader who somehow always comes off as likeable to the voting fodder, he harbours a dark side that very few people get to see. I caught a glimpse of it once on television when he was engulfed by a horde of reporters and cameramen, and I recognized it instantly. He is most certainly capable of transforming into a full-blown dictator.

But why would Zuma want to become a dictator, even if for one year as he facetiously “requested” in the South African Local Government Association summit in Midrand? He has everything going for him.

(a) He has this uncanny knack of fooling everyone into thinking they have a fully functioning democracy.

(b) The majority of the voting public being somewhat credulous, are tripping over each other to vote for him.

(c) He has twisted practically every arm of the law and judiciary to serve his every whim and folly.

(d) He can spout utter rubbish and the majority of the people lap it up unquestioningly.

So why? Is it possible that he senses that the tide is turning and that things will no longer be going his way. Are more and more of his former supporters and lap-dogs slowly but surely recognizing what a huge liability he is?

I think so…

Pastor Crafty Dollar wants a new jet

A pastor wants his flock to buy him a $65 million dollar private jet. A state of the art Gulfstream G650 to be exact. It’s not the sort of thing your average millionaire thinks about splashing out on – this is serious billionaire territory.

But Creflo Dollar, the preacher with the pornographic surname (his wife is Taffi Dollar; I kid you not) is no billionaire. He’s your average multi-millionaire evangelist who’s made his loot screwing credulous sods who either don’t know any better, or don’t care to.

The following clip of his plea for donations on YouTube is no blue movie; it’s far worse. It promises to not only fuck you over thoroughly and leave you with a false sense of satisfaction, it will leave you much poorer and none the wiser too.

I have no doubt that Creflo will get the money which will ensure he becomes the flashiest flying preacher-man out there. I know this because there is an endless supply gullible people out there.

Bring back Clarkson

Daddy didn’t give affection, no!
And the boy was something that mommy wouldn’t wear
King Jeremy The Wicked
Ruled his world

I love cars. Which is why I love Top Gear.

But I soon discovered that Top Gear is not all about cars. Oh no, it’s about Jeremy Clarkson. It’s not a one-man show, but his sidekicks Richard Hammond and James May, proficient though they are in their own right, are like the cars they feature, little more than beautiful (and did I say accomplished?) props.

Top Gear is almost all about Jeremy. Funny, irritating, laughing, teasing, politically incorrect, offensive, shameless, devilish Jeremy. There was a time the only reason I bothered to watch the telly, apart from sport off course, was because of Top Gear.

And now he’s in trouble again.

This time, suspended for allegedly throwing a punch at a BBC producer. The reason does not matter. Producers after all are supposed to serve gods actors food on time… and take a punch or two for the greater good.

There’s a litany of indiscretions that’s got him into trouble before, but the BBC knowing what a treasure he is, sensibly did not let those mundane distractions keep him off the box. But now it appears to be different. Two whole shows have been postponed. That’s pretty darned alarming.

So he’s alluded to truck drivers being murderers of prostitutes, and called former Prime Minister Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot.” So fucking what? I despise truck drivers who’s only mission in life seems to be to cause traffic chaos, and everyone knows Gordon Brown is an idiot. Surely we don’t need to be convinced.

But it’s also alleged that Clarkson has offended various race groups, nationalities and religious denominations around the world, including Mexicans, Argentinians, Asians, Muslims and Indians. Boo fucking hoo! People are just too darn sensitive.

Hey, I’m Indian (South African), and I was not at all offended by Clarkson’s remark about Indians being unsanitary. India is on my bucket list of places NEVER to visit, up there with Saudi Arabia (practically all of the Middle East actually), North Korea, Pakistan, Malaysia and 98% of Africa. No, not even when I’m dead and my atoms return to star-dust.

The guy’s a gifted comedian for fuck’s sake. The world needs more of them really badly.

Yes, there’s a much more selfish reason why Jeremy just has to come back. The Top Gear Live Show is scheduled to return to Johannesburg, South Africa in a couple of months, and I DO NOT want to miss that. It just won’t be the same. It would be Stuck In Gear.

Slave to the idea in which he believes

Sheikh Hani Al-Siba’i, an Egyptian scholar recently got properly schooled by a female Lebanese TV show host. Al-Siba’i thought that it was quite okay to behave like an ass while asserting that he is “serving the idea in which he believes.” They were discussing reports of Christians joining the Islamic fundamentalist group  (ISIS).

TV host Rima Karaki, who is a university professor herself, eventually cut the ideological, misogynist son of a maggot-infested gargoyle off the air.

Well played Rima.

What music will you choose in a zombie apocalypse?

Well into Season Five of the The Walking Dead, I got to thinking. What music would you listen to if you had a disc player with a decent supply of batteries?

Here’s the scenario:

It’s the zombie apocalypse and while out scavenging for food you stumble into a music store. It’s the kind that had prior to the apocalypse, shifted to selling mostly vinyl again, because, well, nobody buys CD’s any more, right? All that’s left apart from the great vinyl selection, are the following albums on disc. Who knows what happened to all the other albums on disc. It’s the friggin’ apocalypse!

Which of these albums (discs) would you choose? You can’t take them all, because you need the space in your backpack for food and batteries okay.

I’ll tally up the results and let you know next week what your choice says about you relative to the zombie apocalypse. Are you the Walking Dead, The Walking Dread, or Right Said Fred?

This ain’t no banana republic

Everything leading up to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by Scoundrel No.1 the President a few weeks ago and subsequently has given force to the idea that South Africa is a banana republic.

Social media was abuzz with claims that the beginning of the end had started that horrid day. Those video clips of the bust-up in Parliament was merrily doing the rounds, much to the delight of all those who have over a period of time come to despise this ANC administration (as admittedly, I do too).

But are we really a banana republic?

No. And far from it. However, the daily antics of our politicians, especially those in the ruling governing party will not ease the cries of the nay-sayers. But do we have a democracy then?

No. I’m not convinced that what I’m living every day is actually a functioning democracy. At least not in the traditional sense like those in countries such as Norway and Switzerland say (two random European countries. Extracted from Global Democracy Ranking), based on (1) politics, gender (socio-economic and educational gender equality); (2) economy (economic system); (3) knowledge (knowledge-based information society, research and education); (4) health (health status and health system); (5) environment (environmental sustainability).

As you can see, South Africa is not doing too well; way off the mark actually and declining. But we’re the new kids on the block, so a little leeway should be allowed, right?

No. Instead of making headway to improve our fledgling democracy, the politicians seem to be heading the other way. My experience is that the politicians are too busy looking after numero uno (well Scoundrel No.1 The President first, then themselves obviously because the system of patronage must be protected) and they have absolutely no compunction in trying to hide it, nor do they show any remorse when caught.

The levels of corruption are so bad, that when the nay-sayers do label this country as a kleptocracy, I have no hesitation in agreeing. It seems so apparent that our politicians are hell-bent on making South Africa the leading kleptocracy in Africa, maybe even the world.

Footnote: Choosing Banana Republic by The Boomtown Rats would have been an obvious choice for my mostly usual Monday music post, but I decided to go with the other one as this post developed into a rant. I Don’t Like Mondays has nothing to do with going back to work on a Monday, or whatever people usually think, but has to do with the shooting spree of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California, USA on 29 January 1979, who like our politicians showed no remorse for her actions.

Apatheism

lennymaysay:

Not quite an apatheist, but there are times when the world appears to have gone ape-shit bat-shit crazy, I feel like one.

Originally posted on colemining:

I learned a new word recently. That doesn’t happen all that often- although it is occurring more frequently since I moved into a job significantly outside my regular wheelhouse of history, literature, religion, myth, story, music and etc.

I was watching a TEDTalk (have I mentioned how I’m hooked on these things? No wait. That discussion is in a post that is still languishing in the drafts folder. I need to stop being so easily distracted…) by Dr. Ben Goldacre.

This TEDTalk here:

I was watching it for a couple of reasons- I am working in the healthcare industry at the moment, so the subject matter is relevant to my day-to-day involvement in scientific, evidence-based research and the public policies that are informed by this research.

Mainly, though, I decided to check it out because there has been a whole lot of irresponsible let’s call it ‘journalism’, for lack of…

View original 1,467 more words

Five inches closer to God

beliefs

How does an ordinary John Joe become the world’s most wanted killer?

“Jihadi John”  the cold-blooded executioner of Western hostages held in Syria, has been revealed to be an apparently likeable computer programmer from West London named Mohammed Emwazi.

Why do people willingly cut their penises off?

Gurmeet Ram Rahim is a self-proclaimed spiritual guru who heads Dera Sacha Sauda, an organization which has millions of followers around India and claims to be a humanitarian, social welfare and spiritual organization. Around 400 of these followers are alleged to have been convinced by Rahim to castrate themselves so that they could become closer to God.

Is there a link between “Jihadi John” and Gurmeet Ram Rahim? I think so.

“Jihadi John” was obviously influenced to change by someone or something. Gurmeet Ram Rahim is an influencer, a propagator of religious ideology. Scattered across India are 400 eunuchs probably rueing the day they bought into this loathsome ideology. Is it not plausible to also contemplate that “Jihadi John” also bought into some contemptible ideology that tainted his mind to such an extent that he joined the despicable ISIS cult and turned into a common murderer?

I leave it to you to ponder. I acknowledge off course that I’m trying to influence you, but just to think.