Monday 17 December 2012


"Last year Handguns Killed: 48 in Japan, 8 in Great Britain, 34 in Switzerland, 52 in Canada, 58 in Israel, 21 in Sweden, 10,728 in the United States." 

On that basis, the 77 people killed by Anders Behring Breivik in Sweden are matched by those killed by handguns alone in the United States EVERY 63 HOURS.

If you have a child in the US, then taking account of the population ratio, YOUR CHILD is 6,705 times more likely to be killed by a handgun than my child in the UK. It's not 10% more, or 50% more, or even 100% more,... 

IT'S 670,400% MORE.

WTF is going on America? If you cannot see the magnitude of this problem you have, you are seriously deluding yourselves. Wake up and smell the coffee people, it's not about "guns don't kill people..." or "a right to bear arms..." or "the government wants to control us...", it's about an epidemic of homicide in your nation which has now added these poor little children. If you understand this, and you're okay with that, then you're seriously fucked up. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! Do something about this, and DO IT NOW!!!


Sunday 26 August 2012

Revitalise the Reformation

Today, Cardinal Keith O'Brien has his army of priests read out the following message against inclusive marriage.
A Message for Marriage Sunday
26 August 2012

from The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland

In all things, we as Catholics look to Jesus Christ as our model and teacher.   When asked about marriage He gave a profound and rich reply: “Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body’.”   (Matthew, 19: 4-5)
In the Year of Faith, which begins this October, we wish to place a special emphasis on the role of the family founded on marriage.   The family is the domestic Church, and the first place in which the faith is transmitted.   For that reason it must have a primary focus in our prayerful considerations during this period of grace. 
We write to you having already expressed our deep disappointment that the Scottish Government has decided to redefine marriage and legislate for same-sex marriage. We take this opportunity to thank you for your past support in defense of marriage and hope you will continue to act against efforts to redefine it.   We reaffirm before you all the common wisdom of humanity and the revealed faith of the Church that marriage is a unique life-long union of a man and a woman.
In circumstances when the true nature of marriage is being obscured, we wish to affirm and celebrate the truth and beauty of the Sacrament of Matrimony and family life as Jesus revealed it;  to do something new to support marriage and family life in the Catholic community and in the country;  and to reinforce the vocation of marriage and the pastoral care of families which takes in the everyday life of the Church in dioceses and parishes across the country.
For that reason, in the forthcoming Year of Faith we have decided to establish a new Commission for Marriage and the Family.   This Commission will be led by a bishop and will be composed mostly of lay men and women.   The Commission will be charged with engaging with those young men and women who will be future husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and with those who already live out their vocation to marriage and parenthood in surroundings which often make it hard to sustain and develop the full Catholic family life we cherish. 
We wish to support too, those who are widowed, separated and divorced and all who need to feel the Church’s maternal care in the circumstances in which they find themselves.   The new Commission will promote the true nature of marriage as both a human institution and a union blessed by Jesus.   The Commission will be asked to develop an online presence so that prayer, reflection, formation and practical information on matters to do with marriage and family life can be quickly accessible to all.   It will also work to produce materials and organise events which will support ordinary Catholic families in their daily lives.   During the course of the coming year we will ask for your support for these initiatives.
Our faith teaches us that marriage is a great and holy mystery.   The Bishops of Scotland will continue to promote and uphold the universally accepted definition of marriage as the union solely of a man and a woman.   At the same time, we wish to work positively for the strengthening of marriage within the Church and within our society.
This is an important initiative for all our people, but especially our young people and children.  We urge you to join us in this endeavour.   Pray for your own family every day, and pray for those families whose lives are made difficult by the problems and cares which they encounter.   Finally, we invite you to pray for our elected leaders, invoking the Holy Spirit on them, that they may be moved to safeguard marriage as it has always been understood, for the good of Scotland and of our society.
This is precisely the kind of unwarranted political interference that the Reformation and Act of Supremacy in England, and similar laws in Scotland, were designed to prevent. 

This poor excuse for a Christian describes equal marriage rights as a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right".  What human right is being subverted, Cardinal?  None at all.  As a celibate bachelor, what makes you an authority on what subverts a loving marriage?

The message reveals clearly the flaws in his argument on the matter.  It describes the biblical account of Christ's teaching on marriage:
“Have you not read that the Creator, from the beginning, ‘made them male and female’, and said: ‘This is why a man must leave father and mother and cling to his wife and the two become one body’.”   (Matthew, 19: 4-5) 
Here Christ describes an example of marriage, he does not mandate this as the only form of marriage.  Indeed, the question he answers is about divorce, not homosexuality,  (Matthew, 19: 3).  And he goes on to describe celibacy in various circumstances saying "He who is able to accept it, let him accept it".  (Matthew, 19: 11-12).  Christ teaches not one dogmatic rule which all must follow, but freedom to live a sexual life according to individual needs and circumstances, within a loving and faithful framework.  What could better promote a loving and faithful sexual relationship than marriage?

Then the bishops say,
"The family is the domestic Church, and the first place in which the faith is transmitted.   For that reason it must have a primary focus".
So there we have it: this is not about the good of society, or following the teachings of Christ, this is about evangelizing the Roman Catholic faith.  Surely these men are calling on gay people to deny their sexuality, enter into deceitful heterosexual marriages and raise more child fodder for their church.  Here we see the sordid, evil, subversive motives of the church laid bare.

But not content with subverting families and children to their own purposes, (a trait you will recall that is not new), they also hope to subvert the democratic process:
"Finally, we invite you to pray for our elected leaders, invoking the Holy Spirit on them, that they may be moved to safeguard marriage as it has always been understood...".
So you want your congregation to pray for god to overrule the consciences of the democratically elected representatives of the Scottish people, and do the dirty work of a foreign papal power?  This is the 21st century - I mean: are you nuts?

But there is humour to be found in this rotten diatribe too:
"Our faith teaches us that marriage is a great and holy mystery".
Yeah mate, marriage may be a mystery to you bunch of alleged celibates.  But the real mystery is the reason you think that anyone should listen to a bunch of sexually repressed paedophile-protectors in dresses on matters of love, sexuality, marriage and family.  You guys are about as unqualified to speak authoritatively on these matters as it's possible to be.

So perhaps this kind of papal vitriol is a sure sign you guys in Scotland are heading in the right direction. Keep up the good work!

Thursday 3 May 2012

Am I really a bigot?

I have a confession to make: When I saw the story linked to below, my first reaction was delight that someone who had clearly suffered such a long and difficult identity crisis now had the chance to resolve it, and at such a stage in life when many people would not consider something so drastic.

BBC News - East Sussex pensioner to have sex change op

No, that's not the confession.  The confession is that not long ago I know my first reaction would have been a visceral repulsion, followed by a rational re-evaluation, and shame at the contradiction.

Gender identity is such a deeply ingrained part of human consciousness that it can be a real challenge to accept that which crosses intuitive gender boundaries.  Reason and empathy tell me that homosexuality is perfectly valid, that gender reassignment can be positive and transforms the lives of those in need of it.  But in my teens, when I met a transsexual who came to my family home, I was too confused and afraid look her in the eye.  In my twenties, when meeting a colleague and her girlfriend, at a gay bar in California, I was too afraid to leave the car park and go inside.  I knew it was okay, but couldn't confront the reality myself.  So I was a closet, intuitive bigot, and I was ashamed of myself for that.

But in the years since, I've known many delightful people who happen not to share my bedroom tastes, and it doesn't matter a damn.  For years, I've let my gut get on with what it does, and made decisions with my head.  And now, finally, I find my gut has fallen into step with my reason and my instinctive reaction to this story is joy.

Like many faculties, my gut reactions evolved long ago, for reasons which no longer apply, and I can live with that, allow them to be arcane and accept that as a personal limitation.  But I now know that by getting to know different kinds of people, who are different from me in all sorts of ways, I can become a better person and put aside visceral prejudices and be open to anyone.

So what does this story do to you?  What's your gut reaction?  What does your rational head say, and which are you going to allow to win?  What do you make of my conflicted sensibilities?  Are you shocked and appalled at my inner prejudice, or can you recognise the conflict?  All civil comments welcome!