Ever since Homer Simpson first ate that holy waffle, exclaiming "Mmmm sacrilicious", sacrilege has been hilarious to me. I also enjoy me a simple flash game or two. Do those two sentences seem awkwardly unrelated? Not so! I want to share with you guys the games I play that are both rad and sacrilegious. Dare I say - radcrilegious?
Bible fight is the fighting game Joe Lieberman would have wanted to replace Mortal Kombat with if that ancient fuddy duddy had his way back in the 90s. It even follows the biblical tradition of unabashed misogyny considering Eve is the WORST CHARACTER EVER.
Jesus Dress Up!
Oh, many a wasted night in my youth was spent at my friend's fridge rearrainging George Bush's outlandish outfits on his magnetic paper doll set. This online Jesus version is just as fun, and because Jesus was most likely a fictional character, I don't get sad every once in a while as I did by having to stair at GW's stupid monkey face.
Homeless or Jesus?
This is a simple guessing game where you get a square of a picture, usually a close up of a sweet beard, and you are made to guess if it's a picture of a homeless guy or a picture of Jesus.
Today on twitter via Queers United, I was made aware of something that I had no idea about - evidently, per Queers United blog:
That's right, kids! A preference in clothing = mental disorder.
...the APA considers individuals who crossdress to be suffering from "transvestic disorder".
You may say, "Now wait a darn minute, Pinko. We're not talking about just a preference in clothing! Stop purposefully misrepresenting the issue!"
The fact is, I'm not misrepresenting anything. I personally, like everyone else who is sane, wear clothes in which I feel comfortable. Technically, I would be considered a cross dresser given that I wear pants 99.99% of the time and I have a vagina. Joe blow misogynist might try to say that my desire to wear pants, even though I have said vagina, is indicative of some deep mental issue I have toward my own femininity. What he's really saying, however, is that he likes it when chicks wear skirts and because I'm a chick and I don't wear a skirt, there's something wrong with me. He is perpetuating his personal perception of normal as an objective measure of normality.
For men who prefer to wear woman's clothes, the issue and the judgment is far worse and honestly, nothing to laugh at.
It's people who think they are justified in assuming someone has a mental disorder if they don't conform to some imaginary, objective 'normal' standard who are misrepresenting the issue.
The APA often reflects the misinformed mainstream assumptions regarding behaviors and lifestyles as mental disorders, but luckily there are people who are actively vigilant about this and take steps to petition the APA for change. Here's a link to the petition to get this ridiculous classification for crossdressing removed from the APA. The listed arguments are irrefutable, in my opinion:
So, in the spirit of labeling shit you don't like as a mental disorder and for those who think those who crossdress have a mental disorder, I feel there are other fashion choices which deserve this unflattering distinction FAR MORE than crossdressing. Feel free to add to the list as you see fit.
1. Crossdressing involves no inherent harm to the individual engaging in it, to other people, or to society. Its presence in a psychiatric manual (whether for reasons of diagnosis or for research) is anachronistic, trivializes the DSM, and diminishes the psychiatric profession;
2. By the 1980s, laws against crossdressing were abolished virtually everywhere in the U.S., Canada and Western Europe with almost no controversy as they were recognized to be anachronisms, unworthy of attention by law enforcement officials. The psychiatric diagnosis, however, remained in place;
3. In many other countries around the world, crossdressing is still a criminal offense, and the continued presence of this diagnosis in the DSM promotes the oppression of gender diverse persons by local authorities;
4. The mere grouping of crossdressing alongside criminal behaviors that can cause grave harm to non-consenting persons needlessly stigmatizes people who engage in harmless gender-diverse behavior;
5. The application of this diagnosis only to male persons is obvious evidence of sexism;
6. The arbitrariness of this diagnosis is compounded by its proposed extension to cover gay and bisexual men who were explicitly exempted in the past, and by the questionable reasoning given to justify the change;
7. The proposed "Transvestic Disorder" diagnosis would no longer be limited to crossdressers. It also now targets many transsexual women with the new specifier of "autogynephilia," a pejorative label implying that transsexual women transition for reasons other than harmony with their gender identity. This mischaracterization of transsexual women is already being exploited by political extremists to undermine their civil rights and human dignity.
8. The psychiatrist and former chairman of the DSM-4 Task Force, Allen Frances, M.D., recently wrote in the Psychiatric Times, "As psychiatrists, we have our hands full taking care of the suffering and distress caused by real mental disorders. There is no need for us to expand our purview to cover sexual thoughts and behaviors that are private and harmless."
9. In February 2010, the Norwegian Directorate of Health, following the earlier lead of Denmark (1995) and Sweden (2009), invalidated the diagnostic code for "Fetishistic Transvestism" in the standard Norwegian psychiatric manual. The Directorate of Health observed, "There have been no changes in these diagnoses for over 100 years... At best these diagnoses are completely superfluous. At worst they are stigmatizing minority groups in society."
Wolf T-shirts. While often accompanied by rat tails and confederate flag stickers in the mid-west where the disorder is rampant, they can be found in rural areas outside the mid-west as well, usually being worn by a guy with a 'sweet' fantasy dagger collection.
Crocs. 'Nuff said.
Chicks who wear those sweatpants with a word written across the backside. Nothing says 'I'm clinically desperate for attention' like a wearing a pair of pants that force everyone around you to look at your ass.
ICP fans, aka "Juggalos". I feel this mental disorder is serious enough to warrant mandatory sterilization.
Ugly Christmas sweaters that additionally incorporate American patriotic zeal. Nothing says Christmas like a snowman with a flag. Wait, what?
I've decided to try my hand at a weekly post, just to keep myself posting a bit more regularly. I wanted to choose a topic with a wealth of information and endless nominees, and so what better subject to post about weekly than one of my favorite/most despised flavor of asshole around - the snake oil salesman.
When I say 'snake oil salesman', I'm referring less to the specific peddlers of entirely worthless products - this is a specific kind of snake oil salesman, a sub-genre if you will. More generally, a snake oil salesman is anyone pushing a fallacious idea as fact for the express purpose of their own emotional or monetary gain. Religious figures, holocaust deniers, those who perpetuate the anti-vax misinformation, 1-800 psychics, weight loss supplement companies, holistic cure pushers for incurable diseases, these are all modern day snake oil salesman. The fact that so many different categories exist under this title is less a reflection of too general a definition and more a reflection of society. It kind of seems like we don't mind being lied to - we want to drink the kool aid because maybe, just maybe, chewing flax seeds and drinking goat urine WILL cure AIDS.*
For my first post, I've chosen Healing Cancer Naturally as my Snake Oil Salesman of the Week. Why? Well, if the name of the site isn't enough to keep you from asking that question in earnest, you're already in trouble.
Cancer is something that frightens just about everyone. It can strike without warning and completely changes a person's life and their perception of life, two occurrences which can lead to rough emotional and physical times for a lot of people. During my first marriage, my mother in law went through aggressive cancer treatments and yes, they were hard on her and it was hard on us to watch her go through it. You know what the upside to all of it was? She's still alive. Now, is there a slim chance that she could have skipped the chemo, radiation, and medications and still have gone into remission? Of course! Cancer is unpredictable and at times, people will go into remission randomly.
The thing is, unassisted remission is truly random. There are no magical affirmations, no secret mantras or exotic mixtures of holistic ingredients that are going to affect your cancer dramatically one way or the other. A positive attitude and improving the health content of what you eat and how you live certainly isn't going to hurt, but for treatment it's necessary to visit a reliable, well informed medical professional. If you happen to be drinking a lot of orange juice and then, at the same time, your ear begins to hurt it is NOT a logical conclusion to attribute your ear pain to drinking orange juice. The same is true in regard to holistic credos proposed as if they are proven healing methods, a term meant to imply cure without using the word 'cure', for cancer.
Luckily (actually, legally) The person who runs this website, Ulla, makes that known. In a disclaimer. After a ridiculously long block of bright pink text where she calls the validity of medical treatment into question AND heavily alludes to those evil, money grubbing soulless doctors who don't give a damn about you or your life. So what's the harm? Ulla herself claims that she's doing all this because she just wants to help people and to spread the word that she HAS DEFINITELY found the cure for cancer.
When, sadly, my best friend’s mother developed cancer, my particular focus turned to the healing of cancer, something I have long believed and meanwhile come to KNOW to be absolutely accomplishable, as proven for many years and on a daily basis by tens of thousands of courageous and determined men and women all over the globe.- Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.comWow, Ulla. So, what is your secret? Surely it's something mindbogglingly awesome that we've never - oh, no wait. It's not.
Healing Cancer Naturally is based on three fundamental “credos” and commitments:
1 The human body is designed to be self-healing and will beautifully do its assigned task if we properly support and/or don’t hinder it in the performance of this basic function. This is why the overwhelming majority of Healing Cancer Naturally’s pages is devoted to diet, detoxification, and mental, energetic and spiritual factors in healing and health.
2 Information and help should be made available to anyone afflicted with cancer or other illness, regardless of the size of their pocketbook. This is why Healing Cancer Naturally provides all its potentially life-saving information for free rather than selling part of it in book form, and asks for donations and other support instead. That is also the reason why simple and inexpensive “DIY” ways people have used to heal from cancer get top priority while expensive “alternatives” to conventional treatment (and there are some very expensive ones indeed) will either be ignored or mentioned only on the side.
3. Healing Cancer Naturally believes that any challenge, be it in the area of health, relationships and/or finances, can (and optimally perhaps should) be used as a personal growth experience, allowing the person undergoing and eventually victoriously overcoming the challenge to arise from it not only healthier but also wiser and a better person than ever before. - Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.com
Oh Ulla, Ulla Ulla...
So, in the first paragraph basically you're saying that your cure to cancer is diet, exercise, vitamins, and positive affirmations. Oh and don't forget those ridiculously vague and pointlessly obtuse "spiritual factors." One would think, Ulla, that you are somewhat crafting your own loophole for failure in this very credo statement. Of course, I'm just one of those 'blind science followers', I'm sure I don't, no - CAN'T understand. The second and third paragraph are just emotional pleas meant to make our new friend Ulla seem genuine and trustworthy - Ulla cares about poor people, Ulla just wants everyone to be the best they can be and learn from life! This is meant to distract us from the fact that Ulla's main concern seems to be pimping specific items for her woefully misunderstood following to purchase with the hope and sad expectation that their 25$ vitamin purchase will somehow be just as effective as legitimate medical treatment. The disclaimer of her website is the only bit of it I could actually stomach without some admission of disgust because it seemed to be the only bit of the site that was factually correct and not intended solely for the purpose of building a superficial repertoire with a desperate audience in order to suggestively guide their purchases toward specific products or people.
All material provided on www.healingcancernaturally.com is based upon the sole opinions of the maker of this website or those quoted by her and is for informational purposes only. Any information contained herein does not take the place of professional advice from your health care provider nor is intended as medical advice or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Information is a compiled report of existing data and/or research and intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of www.healingcancernaturally.com. Approaches described herein are not offered as cures, prescriptions, or diagnoses. The authors/webmaster assume no responsibility in the use of this information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Consult your doctor before using any presented information as a form of treatment. - Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.com.
Finally, Ulla, you're making some sense! I suppose I'll just ignore the completely contradictory message this disclaimer provides when compared to everything written everywhere else on your site and just be thankful you legally have to be honest in a tiny section of text buried under walls of bright pink jibberish that seems to be pushing me to the cusp of both physical illness and epilepsy. I better take a vitamin and visualize my happy place right away!
Bonus features for this site:
Gratuitous/questionable/confusing use of quotations. (see: any random page of the site.)
"Unsolicited visitor's comment"
Cancer Healing & Spirituality
*Chewing flax seeds and drinking goat urine will NOT cure AIDS
An interesting question was posed to me, one that I feel every atheist should consider and take the time to respond to -
If God is nothing more than a human fabrication then what is there to disprove? Why do atheists spend time arguing about something they don't believe exists?
My personal response is as follows, and though I know for a fact that my response isn't the same as the response others might put forth, I felt it was beneficial to myself to be reminded exactly why I concern myself with what other people believe.
I don't think of myself as wanting to disprove god, I think of myself as wanting to communicate with people of faith to the point where they have to accept that my position has validity. I don't want to change anyone's mind because I honestly don't care - pray to a popple and worship cinnamon toast crunch, it's all the same to me. The issue I see is that there are people in positions of power and influence who use religion to convince the masses of certain ideas which then are put forth as laws with lots of support from said masses. I don't have a lot of money so beyond making phone calls and voting, I can't take an active stand against the people of power, so I do what I can and reach out to people who follow the people of power and try to explain to them why it's wrong to legislate their religion.
I would love to not feel the compulsion to do this and to simply live my happy atheist life, but I can't do that unless other people wake up and realize that belief, even in mass numbers, does not equal a free license to start dictating how others live. I don't go out of my way looking for confrontations or arguments, but I don't back down if I come across them and I rarely ignore them - even if the argument is about something as stupid as whether or not Jesus was a historical figure or if God definitely exists or not. These discussions are less about the subject for me and more about being continually active as yet another voice of atheism. I think, this is stupid to argue about, but maybe if I make enough good points, it'll add to all the other good points this person has heard and they will at least THINK about why they're supporting what they're supporting. Maybe if enough people say they disagree, religious people might stop blindly following that random religious person in a position of influence and start thinking for themselves a little more, and things will get better.
Another reason I willingly engage in conversations and arguments with theists is because I feel like science needs a voice in the everyday world. I am by no means a scientist and I don't have a degree in a scientific field. Most of what I know about science is self taught, and that self taught knowledge is constantly changing with every bit of new evidence which I come into contact with. My point in making this distinction about myself is that I feel like I'm on a level playing field with any random person who is approaching scientific data. I'm not trained in how to read studies and I have trouble at times understanding complex scientific ideas, but the awesome thing about science is that you don't have to be an expert in a field of study to learn more about a particular subject. You do, however, have to learn to tell science from pseudoscience and I feel like that is an area where a lot of people go astray. It would seem that there is a stigma about science that a lot of my fellow laymen fall into where they feel that if someone has a PhD or a degree in a certain subject that they must know what they're talking about. However, from my experience, it doesn't take an academically trained scientist to distinguish good science from bad. It does take a little bit of effort and skepticism toward what you are reading, especially if you're exposed to an idea which you would like to be true, even though it has been proven false by countless other sources. The argument of whether evolution is real is just as ridiculous to me as the argument of whether god is real, but I still participate in these arguments because though I know the argument against evolution has little to no scientific validity, there are still those people in positions of power and influence telling their supportive masses that evolution is a lie and that preposterous pseudoscientific ideas such as Intelligent Design should not only be taught in schools, but should be taught as science.
This might seem like a huge deviation from the initial question, but it's not. One thing most theists agree on is that for them, god is important in every aspect of their lives. It was, and sometimes still is difficult for me to understand the scope of this kind of thinking as I was never personally religious and didn't grow up with religious parents, but once I understood how truly intrinsic the concept of god is to people, I realized how equally important it was for someone like me, someone who doesn't believe in god, to have their voice be heard.
Misinformation in the name of god is still misinformation, and I feel a personal responsibility to speak out against it wherever it's found. Maybe it's a naive waste of time or delusions of grandeur on my part, I don't know, but at least I'm doing SOMETHING to help spread the word that atheists exist, we're rational people who deserve the same rights as everyone else, and even though people may not agree with us that doesn't give anyone the right to treat us like we count less or don't count at all.
My dad told me once that it's generally known that it's impolite to talk about politics or religion with people you don't know very well. When I asked why, he told me that people have strong opinions about those subjects, so it's better to not talk about them at all to avoid an argument.
The internet has changed a lot of social rules, and politics has become a pretty open topic of conversation. People root for politicians the way people root for sports teams and you'll see the full range of opinions, emotions, and passions attached to those declarations of support. I hardly ever hear anyone complaining, online or off, about someone being 'too political' or bringing up politics as if it's a taboo subject.
Well, it's gotten a bit better but it's still considered an inappropriate topic to talk about.
Let me clarify - it's inappropriate for ME to talk about. Because I'm an atheist.
Religious people feel comfortable plastering their worship/praise/general ass-kissery of god all over the place - on facebook status messages, in chain emails, in forums, wherever. The religious are becoming more and more free with their expression, but it seems when an atheist friend or associate responds to such a declaration, they're still seen as being invasive and rude.
So it's OK to post "God is so awesome! I feel bad for anyone who closes their heart to feeling how loved I feel!" - that is no longer taboo.
However, if you were to respond and say, for instance "That's crazy, because I think living without god is awesome and I wish you could feel how it feels to be free of religion!" - YOU ARE A TOTAL ASSHOLE.
...Ok, maybe that's a tad dramatic, but my point remains.
Making ANY subject taboo to talk about creates problems for people and communication between different groups. A chunk of religious people have a ton of misconceptions, sometimes bazaar and sometimes pretty insulting, about non religious folks and to a degree non religious folks tend to guess the possible 'believer category' that the person their dealing with falls into, at times incorrectly assuming things about the person that aren't exactly true when discussing religious topics. This leads to a hell of a lot of bullshit fights that would be reduced by quite a bit if we could all just drop the whole 'not supposed to talk about it' attitude.
So this is my new vow - if I run across someone who is saying anything about religion and I feel like commenting, I am going to. Not to be rude, not to be obnoxious, but because if they're going to talk about it, I'm going to talk about it too. I figure if someone feels compelled to email me a story about Noah's Ark, they're showing that they are rejecting the taboo of not talking about religion and are open for a conversation.
Best case scenario - we both learn something more about what the other person believes. Worst case - they quit bothering me and I no longer have to delete annoying mass emails filled with Family Circus and Love Is... comics and clip art from Windows 95.
Bus Messages Try To Connect Atheists
The Detroit News - Atheists are taking their message to the streets.
More than a dozen SMART buses for the rest of the month will carry the message "Don't believe in God? You aren't alone" as part of a national campaign to raise the spirits of atheists. The nationally based United Coalition of Reason will pick up the $5,600 tab.
"We are not trying to insult anyone or to proselytize," said Detroit Area Coalition of Reason coordinator Ruthe Milan.
"This is a message from the heart to reach out to the atheist community; we want them to connect with like-minded thinkers. We have no interest in converting anyone to our way of thinking."
The SMART buses will travel as far north as Pontiac and Auburn Hills, as far west as Walled Lake, as far east as Troy and as far south as downtown Detroit, according to DetroitCoR.
The idea is not to destroy the faith of believers, but to let atheists know that they aren't alone, said Milan, who said the Bible-like term "you aren't alone" was purely unintentional.
This is a side note, but what the hell? The Christians have designated the term "you aren't alone" as theirs now too? Can't we somehow regulate the number of things Christianity claims as its own so they at least have to put some thought into what they decide to assimilate into their religion?
To date, similar ads have appeared in numerous U.S. cities, including San Diego, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Baltimore.
While atheists don't believe in God, the Rev. Dr. Stanley Scott doesn't entirely believe in their ads.
"Their bottom line is that they want to engage more people to learn more about being an atheist," said Scott, of the Salvation Temple Church in Detroit.
"My first thought when I heard about this was that 'Wow, I sure am glad that there are more with us than with them.' "
Scott is a firm believer in free speech, "but my point and concern is that certainly the church should have the same opportunity to express itself; then from there we'll see which side wins."
OK. So..."Don't Believe In God? You Are Not Alone = come be an atheist? The phrase on the atheist ad makes you feel threatened? It's a factual and obvious statement. I don't understand this trend with religious people where a statement as vanilla and inoffensive as this inspires a defensive reaction.
When I read reactions like this, I imagine people who lack confidence in their convictions/beliefs/opinions/whatever. It's not a game of risk. We're not not trying to amass an army to fight you. Calm down.
As for having the same opportunity for expression, how are these ads keeping him from doing anything? Take out some of your own bus ads or get involved with a religious organization that can help you do so.
Of course, this isn't the only reaction that religious people have to these ads, and there are voices of reason that make me feel more at ease with my religious brothers and sisters. Like this guy:
Detroit Archdiocese spokesman Joe Kohn downplayed the advertisements.
"These kinds of advertisements speak more to the people who take them out than to us, the ministry and the church," Kohn said.
"They speak to their beliefs, not to ours."
According to DetroitCoR, the advertisements will be on the outside of the buses with the words "Don't believe in God? You aren't alone" superimposed over fluffy clouds in a blue sky.
Guthrie Center, Ia. - A high school senior's desire to build a Wiccan altar in shop class has forced a community debate about free expression.
Dale Halferty, who has taught industrial arts at Guthrie Center High School for three years, was placed on paid leave Monday after he acknowledged to district officials that he told the student he could not build the altar in class.
"This is not a beef that I have with the district. It's not me against them," said Halferty, who has been an educator for much of the past 20 years. "But this kid was practicing his religion during class time, and I don't agree."
Halferty said he previously told another student he could not build a cross in shop class because he believes in the separation of church and state. "I don't want any religious symbols in the shop," he said.
So far this all sounds good. Yeah! If no one is allowed to do religiousy things at the school then he can't either! Eff that Wiccan! But wait...oh, that's right. This guy doesn't care about separation of anything, he's just a retarded pearl clutching Christian trying to use the establishment clause as justification for his personal bias.
His viewpoint: "We as Christians don't get to have our say during school time, so why should he?" School officials say Christians actually do get to express themselves in the same way.
More than one school policy, as well as state and federal law, prohibit discrimination against students who express religious beliefs through school assignments.
Superintendent Steve Smith and Principal Garold Thomas said they placed Halferty on leave while they conferred with the school's attorney to decide what to do.
Both Smith and Thomas said the incident has become emotional for the high school's 185 students: Almost 70 signed a petition late last week saying they didn't want witchcraft practiced at the school. "I think it's fear based on some of the old ideas people had about witchcraft," Smith said. "It's fear and a lack of knowledge about the unknown."
Neither Smith nor school officials identified the student at the center of the controversy, and the boy's father declined a request made through Thomas to be interviewed.
Smith acknowledged that some people have expressed fears about satanism or sacrifices.
He said they too could use some educating: Though Wicca is often subject to such myths, it is nonviolent and based on a shared reverence for the Earth and all living things. Halferty was sent home for the first time Friday and told to think about what he was doing.
He said he had no beef with the student or his project - until the student told him he was a practicing witch.
"I said, 'Ah, you're kidding, right?'"
When the student said he wasn't, Halferty told him he could work on his project - a table that would become the altar - provided he kept religious materials at home.
However, he said, the student kept returning to class with a book of witchcraft. Halferty said he thought about it, and decided allowing the student to make the altar "was wrong on every level."
"It scares me. I'm a Christian," he said. "This witchcraft stuff - it's terrible for our kids. It takes kids away from what they know, and leads them to a dark and violent life. We spend millions of tax dollars trying to save kids from that."
But Smith said school policies prohibit teachers from denying students access to varying points of view without just cause, and prohibit employees from denying students participation in activities on the grounds of race or religion. The U.S. Department of Education has written guidelines for public school districts to ensure students' First Amendment rights are protected.
Ben Stone, executive director of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union, said the clash appears to be a simple case of religious discrimination. All students, he said, have the right to religious freedom and to be treated equally in school.
Stone said: "The teacher may have good intentions. It's a learning process. But he needs to respect that students can exercise their religious viewpoints within the context of an assignment."
I think it's interesting how this guy is trying to make this a separation of church and state issue when in reality, he's obviously just an uneducated Christian who seems intimidated by Wicca. Intimidated by Wicca? Oh man, I could make so many jokes about that...
A public school teacher leading a prayer is a separation of church and state violation because that teacher is a representative of the state and by leading a prayer, they're showing bias to one religion over all others and forcing that bias onto others. A kid making a lame-o alter in class is no different from a kid writing about a religious experience in English class or someone singing a hymn to fulfill an assignment in music. If the teacher said, 'sing whatever you want' and the person sings a hymn, that's their right. It fulfills the requirement of the assignment. If the teacher uses his position of influence to stop a kid from expressing his religion in an appropriate context as was the case here, the teacher once again has violated the separation of church and state.
Good try, super Christian shop class guy, but the law just won't work along with your inflated sense of religious privilege.