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Melantrys’ Page » religion

Archive for the ‘religion’ Category

A sad day for Europe

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

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The Swiss were asked today to vote on a referendum that was mainly brought in by the nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) concerning whether the building of minarets should be forbidden and this ban added to the constitution.

Early polls showed a 37% minority in favour of the referendum.

All other political parties called upon the Swiss people to vote against the referendum.

Today 57.5% voted in favour of the minaret ban.

The four (!) minarets that are already in existence (and don’t broadcast the call to prayer outside of the mosque, mind you) are allowed to stay, but there will be no new ones.
This goes against the Swiss constitution (freedom of religion, human rights anyone?), but the will of the Swiss people as expressed in a referendum carries more weight than even the constitution, someone explained on tv today.

The only hope for a reversal of this decision would be if the Swiss supreme court or the European Court of Human Rights ruled this illegal.

If not, this will be used by anti-Islamic groups all over Europe (I could name a few here….) to further their cause.

The vague fear of the Islamisation of the western world that’s been flowing through Europe has borne the first ugly political fruit.

This is a very sad day for Switzerland, and it will have repercussions in the whole of Europe.

I am saddened, shocked and appalled.

Modern crusade weapons

Sunday, March 4th, 2007

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I read something on Omar’s blog today (post mainly in German), caught myself IM’ing all and sundry about it and thought “What are you doing there? You’ve got a blog yourself. Publish something!”

For all of you who - like me - never considered pig’s trotters as food (Anyone for a nice knuckle sandwich? ;) ) but are loath to simply always throw everything away, here’s a real novel idea for a different use: as a modern weapon for our Christian values.

How (and probably why) so, you ask? Aha! Norway is showing us the way.

In the Norwegian city of Bergen the Muslim community will be without a mosque for a time as the old one will close at the end of this month, while the building of the new one is apparently behind schedule.
Labour Party politician Jerad Abdelmajid suggested that the city’s Muslims should hold their Friday prayers in Torgallmenningen, Bergen’s central square, from then on.
Now, that might indeed prove a nuisance if it is a big community, but I suppose that the new mosque had been promised to be finished on time, and would say that it is the Muslim community’s right to express their unhappiness about this problem by peaceful means. (I distinctly remember people saying that “they” should learn peaceful protest instead of setting flags on fire and becoming violent after some of the Muslim over-reactions to the cartoon scandal… And what better way of peaceful protest than public prayer?)

But of course in a civilized country «Muslims having their Friday prayers with their butts in the air in the city center is no solution» (Vidar Kleppe, leader of the “Demokratene”, an extreme populist party) and in turn calls for a civilized response.

City council representative «Kenneth Rasmussen told newspaper Dagbladet’s web site that Bergen residents should hang up pig’s feet and play pig squeals over loudspeakers to scare off Muslims, and claimed these tactics worked when he was a soldier for the United Nations in Somalia and Lebanon in the 1990s.» (quotes and general info taken from The Aftenposten)

As an aside, this throws a very interesting light on what United Nations soldiers are doing over there in foreign countries. (Or on what Mr Rasmussen was smoking while being there.)

The Iraqi Konfused Kid summed the reason for a (real or imagined?) success of this tactic up pretty well in a chat I had with him today:

Konfused Kid: That’s oversimplification surely
Konfused Kid: They weren’t probably scared of the pig’s feet
Konfused Kid: but of the crazy squealing dude with the gun

Who wouldn’t be…?
Just close your eyes and picture the scene, if you will…. Armed persons (United Nations soldiers or no) running at you, waving pig’s feet and squealing (Hey, that reminds me of Braveheart)….
Or an army vehicle hung with pig’s feet driving down your street, playing squeals from a speaker…

On a more humorous note, here’s the start of our conversation on this topic:

Melantrys: *waves a pig’s foot at you and squeals*
Melantrys: So what’s your instinctive reaction to this?
Konfused Kid: huh?
Melantrys: Er, seriously, in Norway some politicians consider this a way to “fight” Muslims praying in the middle of the street
Konfused Kid: Death to the infidels!

P.S.: Make sure to watch the video on Omar’s post as well….

It’s the fasting season!

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

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So what?

I thought that since I read so much about Eids and Ramadan on the blogs it was time to mention how religiously motivated fasting is done over here.

Not that this applies in any way to me, what with me being a Protestant, but anyway.

From last Wednesday on (the last day of the Carnival season) until Easter good Catholics are fasting. (Very good Catholics do this every Friday by the way.) This is rather different from the way Muslims fast during Ramadan.
Some clever person at some point in time came up with the idea that it’s fasting already if you don’t eat any meat. It’s allowed to eat cheese instead. Or fish. *makes a thoughtful face* Er, call me Mrs Silly, but fish is meat, but anyway. And of course potatoes and vegetables and stuff. I suppose stuffing your face with the food allowed would be frowned upon, as is eating sweets and the like.

To be fair, there are a very few who really fast in that time, but that is not the rule.

But I have been thinking. I have not only been forgoing meat (including fish!), but all animal products for…. oh dear…. can it really be 8 years already? Now, I think that’s hardcore enough to allow me chips and the like in return and make me a Saint or something. :)

Better late than never - some thoughts on cartoons, violence and I Told You So’s

Sunday, February 19th, 2006

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1. Freedom of press is a precious thing, and a thing that - as people have been pointing out over and over again - some people do not seem to understand. Even if the Danish government was furious at the Jyllands-Posten there’d be nothing they could do about it; they cannnot tell them what to print and what not to print.
On the other hand freedom of press also means responsibility. The press should know when to well leave alone.

Picking a time of heightened stress to show that they are not afraid of printing something that was haram to Muslims was a bad choice. Picking cartoons that were not only haram through depicting Mohammed, but also including some that were racist in the extreme was a studied insult, no matter how Rose now tries to explain the obvious interpretations away.

I find it very interesting as well that it was reported that the Jyllands-Posten had declined printing cartoons on Jesus because religious feelings might have been offended, rationalising that decision by saying that those cartoons had just been sent in to them without a request from their side, unlike with the Mohammed cartoons which they had asked people to send in. This was presented as the official Jyllands-Posten statement.
Today the news suddenly is that they did print those Jesus cartoons, and no-one had made a fuss over it.
Excuse me, so what is the truth now?

What I don’t understand either is how someone can apologize for printing offensive cartoons, then state a few days later that he was very disappointed about the other Danish newspapers not printing the cartoons as well. But that question is rendered mute, seeing how he defends the printing today - from a safe hidy-hole, I might point out. Yes, Rose is off on a holiday to some place unknown.

As for Italian politician Calderoli wearing a t-shirt with a Mohammed cartoon on tv, there is not really much to say about that. Pouring oil onto the flames to not let them go out fits into his political position. Thankfully public pressure was strong enough to make him resign. 100 points to Italy!

2. Now to the other side.

I’m pretty much an atheist myself, but I do know that religious belief is something… well… sacred. People might be willing to discuss politics, but religion is where it stops for a lot of them. Because it is not about politics. It is not about taste. It is not about ethics, even. It is about faith. And if you’re really faithful a mockery of your religion hurts you to the core. The moderate voices I have read and heard still mostly say one thing: It was wrong to print those cartoons. They are not only mocking my religion, they are implying that I and all of my fellow believers are terrorists.

Now, normal people will say all that, and not do anything else.
Or they will file a lawsuit against the newspaper(s).
Or they will protest in the streets.
Or they will boykott Denmark, which is a bit over the top (as the government can’t influence the newspapers) but still a peaceful means of expressing how they feel about the whole thing.

But unfortunately religion always breeds fanatics.
I don’t have to mention what happened; I am sure everyone was following the news.

Do I condone what happened? Christ, no.

But what I am saying is that the extent to which a certain type of Islamists will go to avenge a wrong done to them is well known. It is also well known (or should be) that in these times of people more often than not saying/thinking Islam = 9/11 = Al Quaida etc tempers on the receiving end of those generalizations are very frayed.

So, yes, I believe that Jyllands-Posten was well aware what was likely to happen and did this on purpose.
I wish they hadn’t succeeded, but unfortunately they did. Fanatism never sparks reasoning.

3. Which brings us back to the other side again.

I am online with AOL. I suppose they provide this service worldwide, but in case they don’t - or you don’t use AOL ;) - I’ll point out that in addition to supplying a news service they also offer a pinboard on which users can discuss current news.

I try to avoid it, but sometimes I just can’t help noticing the opinions uttered there.

In the wake of the cartoon sparked violence a verbal counterviolence has been voiced there that more often than not makes me sick.
People demanding that no more mosques be built on German soil.
People demanding that we show them their place and don’t allow Islam to take over Germany (and other western countries) and install the Sharia.
One person ranting in sentences so bad that they didn’t make any real sense talked about Negroes, although it was unclear to this reader whether they were mentioned together with the Muslims or in contrast to them.
People demanding that we wake up to the reality of Islam being a danger and a religion of violence.

People have been waiting for this. Tempers and opinions on both sides are running high.

I am reminded of the aftermath of 9/11 when colleagues of my sister seriously expected that Germany would be attacked by Turkey.

I have been reading a lot of hate and suspicion filled comments in the blogsphere as well.

4. I have also been reading Christian and Muslim posts and comments speaking up for the Muslim side.

There’s one thing that I failed to read about so far now though:

Christian fanatism and violence.

People talked about the printing of the cartoons being wrong.
People talked about the media hardly covering the non-violent protests in the Muslim world and concentrating on the “better stories” instead.
People brought up the Inquisition, pointing out that fanatism is a thing of most religions.

Exactly. But aren’t you forgetting something here? People rightfully brought up the counter-argument to this that the Inquition happened a long time ago, and that the Muslims should live in the modern world.

Yo, people, don’t dig in the Middle Ages!

We have Christian fanatics terrorizing abortion doctors with midnight phone calls and death threats in these enlightened times of western civilization!
Over the course of the last 30 years they have been setting fire to and bombing abortion clinics, occasionally killing people within the buildings.
They have been intimidating and harrassing the patients.
They have been injuring and killing abortion doctors.
All in the name of Christianity.

Well, when I say “we” I mostly mean Americans.

Some facts about this topic can be found here.

So what would be the “logical” conclusion of that? That in contrast to the peaceful message they claim their religion to have Christians are a dangerously violent group of people who are frothing at the mouth, whose attempt at forcing their way onto the world has to be stopped in its tracks by all means.

No?

Indeed.

Now that is food for thought, hm?

To lighten up the mood of this post, here’s a righteous little piece of jihad I found on an Iraqi blog:

I wake up, go to the fridge, do a sleepy-eyed makeshift inspection, and voila, there in the treacherous corner of the first drawer….what the?
An almost depleted package of Danish butter Lurpak…
Blood and sugar pressures went to the devil immediately…this is outrage! This is blasphemous, how can a Danish product survive in our god-abiding, Muslim household…La, and a thousand La…I took out the cursed vile from the refrigerator and reclaimed the appliance in the name of Islam.
I whipped out a knife, and with an ear-piercing ‘Allahu Akbar’ that startled my half-deaf grandma I charged, cutting up the cursed butter into slices, frantically, I spread that on bread and added the nice aftertouch of strawberry blood - munching up the dreaded work of Satan quickly into oblivion, my mission to eradicate the evil conspiracy off the face of the planet was a resounding success!

Burp.

Yet another update on ID

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

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Due to recent events a huge German political magazine wrote a long article about ID. Actually they wrote about this subject in September already, which might have been the reason why CDU politician and Minister President of Thüringen Dieter Althaus cancelled his invitation to micro biologist and author Siegfried Scherer to speak at a political discussion forum next year.
Scherer is the most famous German follower of ID, although he claims not to be any more.
Up until 2003 he was a member of the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Now he renounces them, and distances himself from their plans to force ID into the schools’ lesson plans. On the other hand he is busy with sowing doubt against the Theory of Evolution in his role as chairman of the Studiengemeinschaft Wort und Wissen (study community Word and Knowledge). He is convinced that the Fall of Man caused our mortality. Had Eve not made Adam eat that apple we would still be immortal. Oh, and all the animals too.

The magazine also published the results of a poll:

13% of the Germans believe that God created Man and the world in 6 days

23% believe that God or another higher being guided evolution along its way

60% believe in evolution without any divine influence

Results by region, creed and school type:

God created Man and the world:

14% in West Germany
8% in East Germany

14% of Protestants
17% of Catholics
5% of people without creed

28% from Hauptschule (lowest level of education)
14% from Realschule (medium level of education)
4% from Gymnasium/Hochschule (highest level of education)

God or similar helped evolution along:

25% in West Germany
14% in East Germany

26% of Protestants
29% of Catholics
11% of people without creed

22% from Hauptschule
19% from Realschule
27% from Gymnasium/Hochschule

Evolution without divine interference:

57% in West Germany
73% in East Germany

54% of Protestants
50% of Catholics
80% of people without creed

43% from Hauptschule
63% from Realschule
67% from Gymnasium/Hochschule

And at the end let’s go back to where it all came from: America.

In Pennsylvania the mother of a 16 year old girl is suing the school.
Her goal: Nothing but her constitutional rights. The American constitution bans religion from schools (separation of church and state).
Her reasons: Growing uneasiness about the changes at her daughter’s school, climaxing in utter dread and terror when her daughter came home from school, screaming at her: Why do you believe in evolution? What kind of Christian are you? Why did you teach me all those lies? Evolution is a lie!
This she had learned from her friends and - yes - in school.

I call that brainwashing. They’re brainwashing the children, so that the new generations will all be followers of ID.

And they don’t want to stop just there. (As if this wasn’t enough already.) Here’s some other things they’d like to get rid off:
- sex education right along with Darwinism and Theory of evolution
- homosexuals
- abortion
- atheism
- materialism

I only hope the judges will rule in favour of the plaintiff.

I’m not having very high hopes though. If even the funny monkey, er, President of the United States is violating the constitution by supporting the teaching of ID at schools, what is there to expect, really…?

hijab or not hijab

Sunday, November 13th, 2005

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Without a doubt the Muslim headscarf - or hijab - has been used as a symbol of oppression and inequality through the ages. Fundamental Islamistic states have forced their women to hide their hair and often their faces as well from the outside world, whether those women wanted to be “protected” that way or not. This was and is wrong. Every person has to have the right to wear - or in fact, not wear - what he or she pleases.

This misuse of the hijab is what remains in people’s heads most strongly though. Even I have to admit that I have a certain feeling of… reservation towards this symbol.

But we should not forget that it is also a religious symbol.

Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish state, wanted the Turkish women to have equality. One way of achieving this was for him to forbid the hijab, declaring Turkey to be a secular state.
Today there’s a move by some of Turkey’s politicians to try and reverse this, but they will face some major difficulties.

This November the European Court for Human Rights in Straßburg/Strasbourgh rejected the suit of a 32-year-old medical student who had been forced to leave her studies at a university in Istanbul.
The court argued that the ban of the hijab was not against the basic rights to education and religious freedom.
In their decision the judges referred to the protection of democracy and pluralism and the equality of the sexes. Yet they admitted that the plaintiff had been barred from showing her religiousness and from taking part in lectures.
Somehow contrary to that they still judged the ban to be constitutional. It would keep the Turkish state from favouring one religion and would therefore ensure freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
As the ban would forbid people to publicly display their belief, people of a different faith and non-believers would be protected from repressions by the state or religious fundamentalists.

(In 1999 already the young woman went to Vienna, Austria, to continue her studies…)

For a few years now politicians in Germany have been advancing the idea that teachers should be forbidden to wear hijabs at state schools and universities.
Turkey was always named as a glorious Muslim example. “See, if they are forbidding it, it can’t really be a religious symbol, or a Muslim country would never do that!”

School rules and lesson plans being decided by the counties rather than by the state, the decision about the hijab was left to the respective counties as well.
Some politicians advanced the idea to not make any general decision at all but to decide in each case. Basically not such a bad idea, but how exactly does one find out whether that new teacher wants to wear a hijab because of religious reasons or because of being a fundamentalist?? If she is the latter she will very likely be clever enough not to say so.

If I am not mistaken (either Google doesn’t know everything, or I’m asking the wrong questions ;) ) five counties so far have passed a law to forbid the hijab, among them Baden-Württemberg, Niedersachsen, the Saarland and Hessen. My own county Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW) has just set the process in motion, endeavouring to become number six.
I find it very interesting that they manage to forbid the hijab while not even explicitely naming it. The reason for that is said to be that this way the law sounds more like something that international courts would approve of.
Here’s the bit they want to put into the school laws (there’s two different words for male and female teachers in German, and I want to keep that in, so excuse the awkward translation):
The new passage will forbid female and male teachers the use of symbols that endanger “the political, religious or ideological peace at school” through “giving the impression that a female or male teacher will take a stand against the dignity of man, equality (…), the right to freedom or the free democratic basic order”. Only in the attached formal explanation they actually state that what they mean is: No hijab for female teachers in NRW.
If no miracle happens in the meantime this will be the law from the beginning of the schoolyear 2006/07 on.
The choice of vague words has been well thought through. They are meant to forbid the hijab, while at the same time allowing the wearing of the Christian cross or the Jewish kippa, as for many the hijab is - so the additional law text states - a symbol of the inferior status of the woman in society and family or a demonstration of a fundamentalistic theocracy. The Christian-occidental tradition though is a fixed part of the regional constitution.

Apart from kippa and cross the hijab-free counties still allow the habit of the nuns, some even defining the habit as work clothes.

An FDP politician stated that the point was not the evaluation of religions but the self assertion of our order of values against the Islamic fundamentalism.

A Die Grüne politician quoted Johannes Rau (SPD; “The illegal use of a symbol should not impair its legal use.”) and added “How do I recognize a fundamentalistic male teacher anyway?”

I will conclude my fact finding - again - with a little passage I found on the web, on the main page of the Institut für soziale Dreigliederung to be correct:
The issue here is not the question whether one approves of the hijab or not. The decisive factor is that one cannot forbid the hijab without betraying freedom oneself. And the question arises whether one is much better then than those who work for enforcing the hijab in Islamic countries.

Well, like in the good ol’ school essays, time for my own words here at the end.

Like I said in my opening paragraphs I myself am having mixed feelings about the hijab. We do have a problem here with Muslims taking the ancient “traditions” too far, be that by keeping their women from learning German (or to read and write, for that matter), forcing them to wear hijab in public and keeping up the time honoured values of family honour by killing their daughters and sisters who dare go against that.
There I do agree with the - also time honoured - cry of: If they want to live here, they have to accept our social and democratic values. Period.

But if we are a free and democratic country, offering religious freedom, then we can’t do that with one blind eye.

We can’t allow the habit and crosses because they’re part of our “Christian-occidental tradition”. I am a Christian - although admittedly from the point of view of the Pope the wrong kind of - and all the crosses on the school walls I encountered annoyed the heck out of me.
The habit of a nun defines her as a nun, so in a very broad sense you could maybe argue that this makes the habit her working clothes. But as her “job” is religion that renders the whole thing null and void again. Besides, a lot of nuns active in youth work often do not wear their habit at work. Interesting, hm?
Besides, I’ve always felt that the habit serves exactly the same purpose the hijab does in some places (except for the bride thing of course): A nun is the bride of Jesus (I think. Or was it God? Can somebody tell me?) and every earthly man has to keep his hands off her. So she dresses up in some drab uniform, even hiding her hair from people. Hm, that does sound familiar, doesn’t it?

As for the Jewish kippa being a part of our Christian-occidental tradition… Since when? So, ok, Jesus was a Jew and all the rest, but we are a Christian country, not a Jewish one. And maybe it is just this region (I’m not going to google for population percentages now), but a male teacher with kippa would have surprised me more than a female one with hijab. You see hijabs everywhere!
For any Jew happening across this humble blog I’d like to add that I don’t have any problems with either Jews or teachers wearing the kippa; it’s the principle here that I’m having a serious problem with.

And talking about religious freedom at schools, I’d like to take you back to my youth.
In grade school our main teacher prayed with us once a week before school started. I don’t remember her sending out our two Muslim pupils, or there ever being a word about them having a different faith and these prayers not concerning them. Unfortunately I was caught up too much in my own confusion and misery (and ignorance) to notice whether or not they were in the same awkward position I was.
Because, you see, we always had to cross ourselves.
I didn’t even know how to do that! I am not Catholic; I did not have to!
Only after having a word with my parents - and they with the teacher - did I stop trying to keep up with that crossing thing. But I still felt out of place.

In Germany we teach religion at school. I know that in some places more is offered, but here it’s just Catholic and Protestant religion lessons taking part at the same time. To keep our two Muslims busy it was offered to their parents to let them take part in one of those lessons (one family declined apparently). But was there a choice for the parents who sent their son to religion classes at grade school? No. It was a given that Muslims would attend the Protestant course.

Much later, at the end of the fourth grade, a fellow pupil told me that in Catholic religion class - held by that main teacher lady by the way - they had been told that Protestants were heathens. Furthermore we were also said to be stupid.

Thankfully this is not happening in the local grade school anymore, but back then - and further back - these were not single incidents.

My sister often had to walk back home from her grade school in the place we used to live before 1980 because if the last lesson for the day for some reason did not take place at the Catholic grade school, their dean called the bus company and cancelled the last bus for the day, totally forgetting about the fact that they shared the bus service with the adjoining Protestant grade school. And that was quite a march, or else there would not have been a school bus in the first place…

Science?

Thursday, November 10th, 2005

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the Externsteine

These huge sandstone stones are situated not very far from here.

They’re said to have been a place of worship in Celtic times already. Every year, at times like Midsummer, Samhein and whatnot, hippie heathens go there to party.

They’ve definitely been used by the church, which soon becomes obvious when you approach one of the main stones - a huge biblical scene has been hewn into the poor innocent rock.

I don’t know if the picture can bring that across (especially as it’s in such poor quality, but it’s a photo that has been scanned by an ailing scanner…), but if you just stand there and look at them, it’s like… wow. They’re awe-inspiring.

You can vividly imagine those Celtic “heathens” climbing up them and feeling grand, just like you yourself are doing, standing there.

Skeptics always said that that was more wishful thinking than proven fact.
And during the last month the media announced them to be right. (The skeptics, not the starry-eyed neo-Celts.)

I read an article in our local newspaper which announced the scientifically proven fact that the caves in the stones have not been used before the Middle Ages. It then went on to explain the scientific method the scientists who spent 1.5 years doing their stuff there had used. But let’s skip that for a moment.
As I don’t have the newspaper anymore I dug up a Spiegel article on the web.

Basically it said the same thing, only in more detail.
Two fire marks in the caves are said to have been made in 1325 and 1425 AD.
The marks in the grotto are decidedly older and are estimated to be from 735 and 934 AD. Even with the given margin for error this would mean that the earliest mark cannot have been made any earlier than 555 AD.

Then the article goes on to explain the scientific method used.

Apparently it is possible to date the time when the quartz and feldspar grains within the sandstone have been heated the last time.

See anything green? I sure did right in that Glocke article. The Spiegel people were at least honest (clever?) enough to mention the obvious flaw of this method.

It’s failsafe against smaller fires (as it is a known fact that people have been lighting fires in the caves and the grotto until the 1960’s), but it will only tell you the time of the last really big fire.
The caves could in theory have been in use for 10,000 years, and the method would only show those latest fires.

Yes, I admit I want to believe.

But as long as science does not provide any real proof I dare say that is my right. :)

Update on ID and other stuff

Monday, October 24th, 2005

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Drew has kindly pointed me to a very interesting web site.

I was not aware of this religious movement. Or rather that more people are aware of the true Creator of our universe.

Sadly, they got it all wrong, but what can you expect from meat eaters? They only see what they want to see.
Of course the Flying Spaghetti Monster always appears in the shape of Italian (pure durum wheat) pasta with wheat meat sauce!
I shall have to elaborate on this some other day.

But the important thing is that they actually wrote to school boards, demanding that teachings about the FSM be made a part of biology classes equal to ID, and even go out into the streets, trying to convert the heathens.

I dare say that our cause is important enough to put schisms aside and work together for the common goal.

Talking about meat - more often than not I am very glad that I’m not eating any meat products these days.

I’m not quite sure about the time anymore; either late last month or early this month it was discovered that some companies in Bavaria had sold meat that was not meant to end up in human food, but was destined to become pet food. Which is not a happy thought either, as the meat in question mainly consisted of rotting garbage.
The meat did not only end up in German sausages and the like, but was also sold into a couple of other European countries.

It took the authorities quite some time to follow the meat trail (while people would surely have preferred to hear some names as soon as possible…). In the end they announced that they had been too late, and that the products in question had all already been sold and very likely been eaten as well. (Still no brand names were mentioned. Hey, some people use their freezers, you know…)
The public was informed that during production the meat would have been heated so high that there was no danger of people getting ill from eating the “meat”. (Well, that’s a relief at least…)

And what do I read in the paper today? It was already known in July that this garbage had been sold to human food companies.
Thank you Bavaria for keeping a lid on that info long enough for people to buy all the garbage. Excuse me, but I’d really like some heads to roll there.

In other news: Heino will finally stop making music after the current tour. Hooray!!

Lord, throw down some brain!

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

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… as we Germans say.

Today I read an article in the newspaper about the Creationalism/Creationism/Intelligent Design in America.
These Creationalists (or Creationists; no two sources seem to be able to agree on the name…) believe in Genesis.
By careful study of the Bible and doing some maths over the genealogies they arrived at the conclusion that this here world that we’re sitting/standing/lying/lounging on is 6,000 years old.

God created the world in six days indeed, yeah, and if the saurian fossils aren’t just decoration then we were all trundling about on this world together back then, humans and the T.-Rex side by side (no clear opinion on those two possibilities either it seems; the newspaper article mentioned the latter).

Let the faithful believe what they will in their churches you might say, but they don’t intend to keep it in the churches.
They don’t want their own children to learn the “false” Theory of Evolution at school, and get likeminded people to sign their petitions. And they’re sneaky and get not very well educated people to sign as well, by asking questions like “Do you want your child to only learn about the Theory of Evolution, or would you like your school to offer differing theories as well?”
Now, either you believe in Creationalism and don’t need a twisted question like that, or you paid attention at school, and know that the only other “theory” is religion, which has no place in biology classes. Or - unfortunately - you did not pay attention, don’t understand what the question is implying and blissfully say “Why, of course I do. My child should learn everything there is to learn.”
In some places these petitions already bore some fruit. There is the odd school that has substituted Genesis for the Theory of Evolution on their biology syllabus, and in some states like Georgia (thanks to Fizzy for that info weeks ago) biology books must bear the sticker “The Theory of Evolution is just a theory”.
Which seems to allude to a saying of theirs, i.e. “if the Theory of Evolution is just a theory, it obviously isn’t right”.

Also, they seem to have made it a hobby to visit museums and drive employees there wild by contradicting everything they say.

Their “teachings” apparently reached and convinced an appalling number of people. Surveys show that 54% of U.S. Americans do not believe that humans ever were anything but human.
54%! of the population of that huge country that thinks it is better than anyone else and can tell the world what to do does not believe in the simplest scientific facts!
I did some research on the net just now, and a lot of blogs and forums popped up on the search term. If they’re anything to go by the surveys are right. There’s bundles of people out there in the U.S. of A. “arguing” Genesis and laughing every counter-argument off or burbling out some pseudo-scientific crap that would make me laugh if the whole topic weren’t so sad.

Now, although I personally do not believe in anything godly anymore I’d be the last person to grudge anyone the “God nudged things along though” view of evolution. Fine by me. Faith is faith, and you can’t mess with that. But this 6,000 years and no relation to the apes thing…… I mean, come on, Bible Belt, wake up to the real world!!!

I’d like to conclude this with a quote I found in another blog, and which I just loved. Apparently one Arthur Naebig wrote in some paper:
“What the argument comes down to is the scientific evidence balanced against no evidence. Scientists collect evidence and attempt to formulate answers to the questions about our world, but admit they may never have all of the answers. Creationalists (Intelligent Designers?) collect no evidence and state that they already have all the answers. A thinking person should have no trouble deciding which group to believe.”

A short lesson in history

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

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During the time of National Socialism here in Germany most people and institutions either agreed or kept their mouth shut out of fear.
Not least of all among these was the Church. Lone priests sympathizing with the resistance pretty much were on their own.
The priest Dr Max Metzger for instance was sentenced to death in 1944 for doing what he felt right while his bishop, Archbishop Gröber, did not just keep silent (as one might understand and even excuse) but wrote a letter to judge Freisler who was responsible for Metzger’s (and many other enemies of Hitler’s) death sentence, complimenting Freisler and distancing himself from the “crime” that Metzger had committed.
Even the pope kept silent when 1000 jews (most of them women and children) were being deported to Auschwitz from practically under his nose in Italy, close to the Vatican.
Resistance only took place when the Church felt the need to protect their own interests (marriage laws, crosses in classrooms, etc).

The same - or almost the same - seems to apply to the then Bishop of Münster.
His father being a member of parliament for the Zentrumspartei (very right wing party) Clemens August Earl von Galen himself always felt close to that particular party.
He strongly criticized the Weimarer Verfassung (Constitution of Weimar) and was known as being both anti-liberal and anti-social.
Even though he denounced “The Myth of the 20th Century” by chief Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg as pagan, racist and anti-Catholic in 1934, he still found a lot to agree on with Adolf Hitler.
Von Galen called the Spanish dictator Franco “the Spanish liberator”, expressed his relief about the attack on the Soviet Union - citing Hitler’s word about the “Jewish-Bolshevistic control” in Moskow - and endorsed the war on Great Britain (”God allowed the sword of retaliation against Great Britain to be placed into our hands. We are the executors of His just will” - Catholic church paper for the Northern Münsterland, March, 9th, 1941).
In 1944 he still considered the German soldiers martyrs who fought against the “godless Bolshevism” and the “Antichrist”. The godless Bolshevism in Spain was “defeated with God’s and Hitler’s help” according to Bishop von Galen.

At no point in time did he publicly denounce the killing of Jews.

The wars he publicly embraced.

What he did was to condemn the National Socialist’s Euthanasia Program. He clearly stated those so called “mercy killings” of the mentally ill, aged and disabled to be murders which - according to the German law - ought to have been punishable by death.
It is even thought that his sermons on that topic were responsible for a momentary pause in the Euthanasia Program.
The only thing that saved him was that Hitler and Goebbels considered the killing of a bishop and thus creating a martyr as a bad thing to do at that point in time. So his prosecution and execution were put off for the time after the “end victory”.

For that he surely deserved praise, especially considering that he fully expected to be killed for it.

Instead he lived to publicly call the Allied Forces in Germany enemies and to be “promoted” to Cardinal, an honour which he only enjoyed for a few days, as he died shortly after that.

More schools than you can shake a stick at bear his name even today.

Cardinal Earl von Galen, our glorious “Lion of Münster”!

And still that was not enough for the Catholic Church.
In 1955 he was suggested for beatification, which - finally? - was approved of in November 2004.

And today he was beatified in a huge ceremony in Rome, before the eyes of thousands of righteous pilgrims.

Now, I can understand that the Church (and not only the Catholic Church but also the Protestant Church) would rather forget the sad little chapter of church history under Hitler, like so many other people would.

And I do understand that the Church would like to have people know that there was resistance (even if it was minimal).
Well, there are those who offered resistance; name and praise them! (Which, to be fair, they did.)

But to beatify a man for opposing Euthanasia, implying - more than subtly - that he opposed National Socialism as such, while in truth he only denounced the bits of National Socialistic ideology which he considered to be pagan, never spoke up for all the Jews who were being killed (in order to prevent worse harm, supporters claim) and publicly welcomed World War 2 is just so plain wrong! Shouldn’t people who get beatified have been…. well… more holy?

a puzzled pagan Protestant