Comment Policy

1. You can say whatever you want.

Really. Go to town! It’s all about robust discussion and the exchange of ideas and shit. I won’t delete your comment. Probably. 

2. Don’t be a dick.

If you need that explained to you, it’s already too late.

3. Don’t  be anonymous.

You don’t need to use your own name (duh, this is the interwebs), but don’t cop out. If a discussion breaks out, it’s convenient to have a name to address responses to.

4. I reserve the right to change the rules at any time.

Mainly because I can and because this is my blog and not a democracy – free speech is a great love of mine, but you do not have the right be a dick on my blog. Hopefully I won’t have to because you’re all going to be nice to each other and nice to me, even though there may be disagreements over things we may hold sacred.

Thanks for your time.

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On The Buses – everywhere but Down Under…

…but do I give a toss?

Recently, atheist bus ads have popped up in the UK and the US to much acclaim from freethinkers and much tiresome bitching & moaning from the usual suspects. Buses are so hot right now! However, an attempt by an Aussie atheist group to have their own ads on our buses has been unsuccessful. The Atheist Foundation of Australia wanted to buy ad space, the ad company, APN Outdoor, refused to sell it to them. And it seems they didn’t explain why. I certainly don’t see the harm in slogans like “Sleep in on Sunday mornings” or “Celebrate reason”, but I guess APN have their reasons. Such as – they’re a pack of bastards with double standards higher than Israel’s separation wall. So, yes, it’s disappointing. Even annoying! And refusing to take someone’s freely-offered money is just goddamned un-Australian. Not to mention that glaring double-standard: the article explains that APN had buses in Adelaide plastered with the Bible verse John 3:16 – that’s the one about God loving the world so much that he had himself (in the form of his hippy son) tortured & executed to forgive us all of our sins, especially the original sin committed by Adam & Eve, the guilt of which apparently extends several millennia onto every last one of us, from birth – conception – no less, giving us no damn choice but to accept the hippy as our saviour. Nice. World’s oldest protection racket – “Say, that’s a nice soul you got there…be a shame if anything, I dunno, happened to it…”

Now, some people might find the public assertion that we’re all destined for eternal torment at the whim of a celestial tyrant, unless we accept that he had himself (his human avatar anyway) murdered to save us all from the Hell he created and could simply choose not to send us to, somewhat offensive. But an atheist wouldn’t try to stifle someone’s freedom to say so. They’d only ask for the same freedom to say something arguably less offensive – like “sleep in” or “celebrate reason”. If one group can buy an ad saying “God exists and is awesome and will roast your soul”, another group should have an equal right to ask “how can you be sure?” or “just be good!”

Anyway & however.

Apart from the 50-foot high, floodlit double standard on display from APN, I really don’t think I care. Yes, people should have the freedom to say what they want. Equally, advertising companies, like any seedy bar with a handwritten sign, may “reserve the right to refuse service”. Commerce isn’t an equal opportunity industry – people can sell to whomever they choose and refuse the money of whomever they choose. Although, in this case, it seems the Aussie Atheists aren’t able to buy space from anyone else, because it seems APN are more or less a monopoly when it comes to bus ads. And billboards. Which is a shame. Any time when one company has more-or-less total control of a particular medium, it’s very easy for that company to exercise unfair control of the messages people want to spread. I think if TAFA have a good case to sue then they bloody well should.

But I just don’t think a public awareness of atheism campaign is necessary in Australia. Most of the time when you hear religion in our media it’s either about some whiner from Family First having an tiresome, sky-is-falling crack about the sanctity of marriage and how the gays want to take it from us and make all our kids gay, some cardinal something-or-other droning on about other peoples’ sexual & reproductive rights (as if they have any first-hand evidence of sex with adults anyway) & reminding everyone exactly how out of touch his crew are with modern Australia and its evolving moral landscape, or some off-leash imam, comparing liberally-dressed Aussie women to uncovered meat (then failing to see what’s wrong with that). Most people in this country tend to keep their religious beliefs private, and we (because we’re such cynical bastards) tend to look on anyone who’s oh-so-earnestly preaching anything with a sideways glance – even those ostensibly on the same side as the preacher. That’s what I think would happen with this atheist campaign – people would see the atheist bus ads, go – derisively – “ok, righto, whatever mate, good onya” and get on with their day. Much as they do when they see a religious ad. Or an ad for oven cleaner. Much as I do when I see dreadlocked greenie ferals screaming hysterically at police when they break up a protest and start arresting people. Do yourselves, and the image of your cause, a good solid favour you stinky bastards – peaceful, non-violent resistance. Civil disobedience, not obscenity-laden tirades and throwing rocks and lighting fireworks to freak the horses out. Ghandi & MLK made enormous strides! I’m on your side and I love my planet too, but it’ll get you a lot more respect and public support if you quit the usual drum-beating chants, face painting and screams of “fascist!” You’re there to make a political point, not start a freaking roots festival on the steps of Parliament House.

Among my wide & varied circle of friends and family, religion doesn’t come up at all, even amongst my fundy cousins or the few of my friends that I know for sure are religious (there are probably more than I’m aware of). Not because we actively avoid talking about it, it’s just that it’s considered a private matter and really isn’t pertinent. My lack of religion is the same. My folks, brothers, friends & I have the odd cackle at nutters but we don’t sit around discussing the finer points of non-belief. We all have more important and more fun things to do and to talk about, especially considering we only see each other twice a year. It’s the same across the country. Put it this way: whenever a group of Aussies watch the Grammy awards, we play the “I wanna thank my lord and saviour Jesus Christ” drinking game and we’re usually blotto before they even get to the hip-hop/r&b categories.

So … back on topic: while I’m a tad miffed at APN refusing, for seemingly no good reason, to take money from the decent godless folk of TAFA, I didn’t really see the need for an atheist awareness campaign in this country to begin with. We’re not contending with a home-grown wannabe Taliban-for-Jesus like our Yank chums or with flamin’ sharia courts like our Pommy inferiors (sharia courts, you idiots? WTF?). We’re not fighting uphill against the active public bigotry & political marginalisation of the godless. We’re not battling for simple acceptance. We’re not the suffragettes or gays or blacks of our day (hell, the Aboriginals of right now are still getting screwed). We godless are already all over the place and most people wouldn’t even know who believes what in Parliament House anyway!

But hey, bugger it – get the ads up there. I’d just like to see the reactions from the usual suspects! If nothing else it’d make good blog fodder.

US Court allows case against Vatican

*sailor-talk warning*

Excellent.

[source]

Hold the fuckers liable, make them accountable and make them PAY. A LOT. Not just money either, I want to see some people jailed. And perhaps [SOMETHING], very roughly, by a large, angry Aryan Brother. Or, poetically perhaps, shanked in the neck by some poor damaged junkie kid whose descent into the criminal underworld began at the hands of some cassocked nonce one night after vespers.

Excuse my French, but the only thing that fucks me off as much if not more than a rapist of children is someone convering up for a rapist of children.

From the Wall St Journal article:

A federal appeals court has permitted a lawsuit over alleged sexual abuse to proceed against the Vatican, creating potential liability for the seat of the Roman Catholic faith for the activities of Catholic clergy in the U.S.

Monday’s ruling, issued by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, marks the first time a court at so high a level has recognized that the Vatican could be liable for the negligence in sexual-abuse cases brought in the U.S.

The ruling is seen as a breakthrough by those allegedly abused by priests. Investigators and grand juries have found several instances where the church failed to report alleged abusers and covered up alleged misdeeds to protect them.

Which is almost as bad as the abuse itself. If you personally know of a crime and neglect to report it, you become an accessory to that crime by allowing it to continue.

One of the central pieces of evidence in the case is a 1962 memo, issued by the Vatican and disclosed by reporters in 2003, which directs Catholic bishops to keep silent about claims of sex abuse. The document was approved by Pope John the 23rd.

Well now, if you know of a crime being committed but have been specifically ordered by your employers/superiors/robed & mitred capos not to report it, then they’re also accessories. Yes, also. No fucking way will “just following orders” get you out of this one. Didn’t work for the last crew of brainwashed, uniformed, ignorant fucks who took over the world, powered by mythology and brutality.

Okay, I rag on Catholicism more often than most people. I definitely have a chip on each shoulder about the organisation. But only because the Papacy goddam well deserves it. It’s not the regular everyday believers, the doctrines, the beliefs, the rituals – none of that shit matters. It’s the Vatican’s actions that define it and it’s their actions that fuck me off. Crusades, centuries of Jew-hatred, Nazi sympathy. Constant, deadly lies and anti-human rights bullshit about abortion, contraception, premarital sex. And it’s not just the child abuse – paedophiles are found in every scummy little corner of society. But the Papacy seems to have had a decades-old policy of denying, ignoring or flat-out enabling the sick bastards to continue with their depravity (and this organisation has the fucking nerve to oppose gay equality!).

The Vatican’s hundreds of years old, has a billion followers and claims to be the one true church of the ever-lovin Christ-child, son of the one true god. It claims to be the halfway house between horrid, yukky Earth and totally awesome, sparkly Heaven. It claims to represent the one true god’s all-loving persona…but the one thing that rankles me most: the Papacy’s wizards go on frequent rampages about abortion & contraception, all in the name of the little children, God’s dear children, those teeny lil’ everyday miracles with their big eyes and innocence and for the love of god won’t anyone think of the children!? Don’t abort that clump of cells, it has a soul (never mind that between a third and a half of all pregnancies spontaneously self-terminate, often before the woman even knows she’s pregnant – does that make God the world’s most voracious abortionist?)! Don’t use contraception, think of the soul you’re not creating when you waste your more-or-less-infinite sperm (never mind that gazillions of sperm are wasted with every attempt at conception anyway, with every single wet dream, with every sample given for medical reasons and by every man who doesn’t even ejaculate let alone conceive a child every single fucking day of his life, which is most of us)!

Well, OK Vatican, you claim you care about children, about new souls (I think you give more of a fuck about your membership drying up, but that’s another post). Why, then, have you put so much effort over the years into protecting members of your organisation who have abused & raped the trust, minds, bodies and hearts of countless innocent CHILDREN? If reports of that 1962 memo from Johnny are accurate, does that not just shoot down your pathetic soundbyte-ready hand-wringing every time someone mentions “family planning” or “safe sex” down in hypocritical flames? Every time I see one of your frocked spokestrolls on TV with his concerned, bulbous face spouting about abortion or frangers being evil, I shout at the TV, “what the FUCK are you FUCKING HYPOCRITES doing about your FUCKING PAEDOPHILE ARMY?”

Or do you people only care about God’s precious little children before they’re born?

I hope similar decisions happen the world over – I’d like to see truly massive lawsuits come from every corner of the globe and millions of subpoenas land on the Vatican’s gigantic fucking gold-encrusted doorstep. I can think of few better ways for the Papacy to go stone cold fucking broke than emptying its coffers & selling up all its zillions of acres of real estate settling with victims of the rapist priests they’ve been enabling for decades. I’d like to see irrelevant wastes of space like Ratzinger & Pell have no goddam choice but to take a vow of poverty. I’d like the Vatican’s secret libraries wide open to the public, so we can all see exactly what they’ve been hiding from the world for so long (like what they left out of the Bible – and why). I’d like to see the Vatican cease being its own pretend country, lose its UN seat (how the FUCK did that even happen at all?), start paying fucking taxes and become the world’s greatest museum – a monument to both artistic genius and extreme human greed, criminal hypocrisy and spiritual imperialism based on guilt & fear. Hell, I’d like to see the whole disgusting scam exposed for what it is and see a billion people freed.

Equality one step closer!

[doubled at Dangerous Intersection]

In the aftermath of California’s passing of the shameful Proposition 8, I bring good tidings (and hope) from Australia. I’ll post most of the article From the Canberra Times because it’s short and to the point:

Gay and lesbian couples are a step closer to equality before the law after
two Bills passed through the Senate.

The laws would extend the definition of a de facto relationship to include same-sex couples and allow homosexuals to leave superannuation entitlements to partners. The Bills also guarantee equality in tax, social security, health, aged care and employment.

Labor senator Penny Wong, who is openly gay, said the laws would deliver the sort of equality before the law that same-sex couples have never experienced.
”They [the Bills] deliver on a very important election commitment on an important day for us,” she told the Senate.

Uniting Care Australia’s national director Lin Hatfield Dodds applauded the Bills, saying it was ”about time” they were passed. ”These Bills are about citizens having equality before the law,” she said. ”They should cut across party lines, because it’s about respecting the inherent dignity of each person, and ensuring under the law there is opportunity for each person to express their sex and not be penalised for that.”

Liberal senator George Brandis said it was a historic day that signified an end to law reforms more than 40 years in the making.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, also openly gay and a long-time campaigner for same-sex rights, congratulated the Government for putting the legislation before Parliament within 12 months of its election.

Nice. Bi – actually, tri-partisan support for this historic decision! Makes me proud, not just of our elected officials and of the pollies I voted for but of the fact that I participated in the campaign led by indie non-partisan political campaign group GetUp.org, who have shown themselves in their relatively short political life thus far to be quite a major player in public participation. My voice was one of many, many thousands heard and heeded. But enough about me.

This historic event would never have happened under the Howard government (just given the arse, finally, after a dozen years of bullshit, borderline racism & almost six years of war). Former Prime Minister John Winston Menzies Howard, an old-school conservative, Bush supporter, Royalist and, well, lying bastard & refugee-hater (google: Children Overboard, mandatory detention, Nauru) naturally (as for most conservatives) held that homosexual people simply weren’t entitled to the same rights as everyone else (but, curiously, had exactly the same responsibilities – which they exercised by uniformly voting against him, bless their hearts). Howard may well have thought, like many conservatives, that being gay is some kind of choice or “kink”, and if people make the choice to play the game that way then they can jolly well watch the game from the bench and cut up the oranges for half-time. Or he may just have had a natural, ingrained, 1950’s white Australian slant against “bloody poofs”. Either way, there was no way gays were ever going to be equal while he was at The Lodge (aka the Aussie Whitehouse). This measure may well have had support from MPs from the Liberal Party (who, despite their name, are conservatives) during Howard’s reign, but they would always have felt compelled to vote along party lines. Not so this time – plus the emphatic Labour victory of last October & the gains for the Greens meant that the numbers for these votes were pretty much sorted.

Of course, this isn’t gay marriage per se, but removing the largest legal obstacles to equality is a giant step closer toward the inevitable. The fact that it has support from Liberal, Labour & Greens senators indicates that the prospect of gays being equal hasn’t seen them scurrying under their desks for a “duck & cover” drill. The three major parties have, finally, come together and exercised common sense, empathy and humanity. They’re not bollocking up & down, waving their Bibles around and shrieking about the sky falling or kids being taught Gayness at school, they’re shutting the f* up and working together for the good of all Australians, which is what they all swore an oath to do when they entered Parliament. And that makes me happy.

But then, we’ve always had flashes of political progression down this end. In 1893 our New Zealand cousins were the first to grant women the vote, with Australia beginning to follow suit two years later (in my home state of South Australia – go Crows!). Unfortunately it took until the 1960s for Aboriginals to be granted voting rights, but that’s another long & sad story.

Of course, I’m now waiting with bated breath for some button-down pontificator from some indignant branch of the God-squad to pop their talking head up on TV to have their obligatory 10-second crack at this long-overdue step in the right direction. My feeling is that it’ll be someone from either the Family First party (isn’t it curious how the word ”Family” in the name of a political party or group is pretty much always code for “God hates gays”?) or some collared clown from the Catholic church. Specky anachronistic twat Cardinal Pell is my odds-on favourite. Being something to do with sex, this is right up the Papacy’s alley (so to speak). Papists are like Pavlov’s dogs, salivating at the mere mention of gays in the public sphere. I’ll give an outside chance to someone from a fringe whack-job group like the Assemblies of God.

Anyway, three cheers and three beers for Australia! My loving, loyal, law-abiding, dog-registering, voting, tax-paying neighbours (who just happen to be gay) can now look forward to being on equal footing with everyone else on the street.

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A comment …

Over at this post on Dangerous Intersection (where I’m known to lurk, occasionally leaping from dark corners to spew acid on passing lackwits and then devouring their liquidy flesh), a battle rageth with “Karl”, a commenter intent on proving that The Gays shouldn’t be allowed to get Gay-Married. He has his reasons. Most of them are to do with the fact that he’s a copy-pasting conservative Christian spambot who thinks and does what he’s told.

Anyway, as is my wont, I’ve been heckling him from the sidelines & challenging him to produce something, anything which makes banning gay marriage a reasonable choice. Of course, he has provided nothing but a vac-sealed package of Grade A bullshit. I’d call him Erik Brewer II but to the best of my recollection he’s not mentioned The Gay Agenda yet…

Part of my latest comment:

It would’ve been interesting seeing which side of the coin these Prop 8′ers would have been on during the Abolition/Suffrage debates…

“It’s tradition! We’ve always owned blacks/kept our women subservient/picked on gays, why should we set them free/let them vote/allow them equality? If we do that, society will crumble into chaos and anarchy with free negroes/chatty women/married gays dragging us into a bottomless pit of syncopated drumbeats/gossip magazines/interior design shows!”

The saga at DI will continue. Karl will respond. Hopefully. Firstly because I love seeing the other DI guys & gals lay into these hateful trolls and secondly because I have far from exhausted my Sarcasmo-Ray and I have no respect for those who have no respect for love, human rights or equality. And even less respect for those who attempt to justify their ingrained bigotry with transparently lame and ultimately fail-ridden attempts at reason and logic. And goddam do I love ripping into them. Even if it has no effect on their beliefs (I don’t expect it to), I enjoy ridiculing the ridiculous and laughing at the laughable. Hell, you come to a humanist/secular/atheist/liberal-ish blog like DI and start throwing around homophobia and trying to disguise it as carefully considered sociological and political positions, don’t expect a warm reception. Stalwart fundy Erik Brewer caught a facefull of strident atheist militancy, stormed off in a huff and hasn’t returned. Yet.

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God Trumps – collect ’em all

A pithy pictarticle from New Humanist gives you, the lucky reader, a free card game featuring the world’s major faiths. While it doesn’t go into (any) detail (whatsoever) about the rules, I shall just say this: look out for the trump card, it’s vicious.

Here are a couple that jumped out at me:

“Ex-smoker of the religious world” – love it.

There are a bunch of others – got get the whole set!

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Education: still the greatest enemy of organised religion

And this bloke [source] has his cassock in a twist over it:

The Rt Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, has claimed that graduates are spreading scepticism and sowing dissent. Instead of following the Church’s teaching they are “hedonistic”, “selfish” and “egocentric”, he said.

Aw. My heart bleeds for you, Paddy. Quick primer:

Graduates = people who have spent years learning about The World and how it works (ostensibly, anyway – it’s highly likely they’ve spent years learning to be alcoholics).

Bishops = people who have spent years learning about The Church and how it works whilst all but ignoring how The World works yet presuming to tell The World how it should work according to what The Church told them. Back to the bitching…

Bishop O’Donoghue, who has recently published a report on how to renew Catholicism in Britain, argued that mass education has led to “sickness in the Church and wider society”. “What we have witnessed in Western societies since the end of the Second World War is the development of mass education on a scale unprecedented in human history – resulting in economic growth, scientific and technological advances, and the cultural and social enrichment of billions of people’s lives,” he said.

And that’s a bad thing because … oh, that’s right. You people had absolutely nothing to do with any of it! In fact, much of this amazing progress (especially in the areas of cultural & social enrichment and scientific advancement) has been made in spite of the concerted efforts of monolithic religions such as yours. Hence this walloping serve of sour grapes:

“However, every human endeavor has a dark side, due to original sin and concupiscence. In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.

“Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him.

Good golly, how dare anyone use any modes of thought or philosophy other than those sanctioned by That Humungous Tomb In Rome Which Pretends To Be A Country! How dare anyone consider living their life ethically and knowledgably and to the fullest extent possible without consulting That Great Big Confusing Unverified Book Of Fairy Tales, Torture Porn And Contradictions!

So I’m mistaken, am I? Pray, dear Bish, tell me exactly how I, one of your educated heretics, am currently living a happy & productive life with my gifted & gorgeous medical student wife and adorable dog and great band and vegetable patch (the lettuces are looking brilliant) and loving family (also mostly godless) and amazing, talented, beautiful friends (with whom I don’t know that I’ve ever had any sort of serious religious discussion because it’s simply not important enough a topic in our lives to discuss)? How is it that my wife & I are just as happy as those few friends of ours that are religious (not that we know exactly how many of them there are anyway because it doesn’t come up)? How am I less happy than your average petrified, guilt-ridden Catholic because I go through life not fearing Hell, not fearing “temptation”, not studiously avoiding evil “secular” knowledge & not feeling the eyes of God burning through my back as I muddle through life?

Jeez, Paddy … you and your fellow befrocked ones say ignorant, insulting, out-of-touch shit like that and then you wonder why people are, in ever-increasing numbers, viewing your Church and the people who run it as anachronistic geezers with an unhealthy (and often hypocritical) interest in how other people run their private lives, and accordingly turning their backs on it.

Your Empire had a moral monopoly on Europe and much of the world for centuries. The Pope replaced the Roman Emperor as supreme monarch. You imposed your rule by force and enforced & expanded it brutally. Times changed though, and dispossessing rich heretics of their worldly goods and roasting the feet of your still-living enemies as their families watched and screamed in horror became, shall we say, passe. Since the roasting stopped, people have slowly realised that all The Church has left is guilt-inducing judgements & public denunciations of normal behaviour from people like you & Herr Ratzinger to keep people in line, keep bums on pews and keep the souls rolling in. Since people have realised that you have only words to throw at them, they’ve realised that the only power those words have is the power that they give to those words.

If you could just sit in your average pub and watch peoples’ eyes roll (in a combination of mild amusement and apathetic boredom) the next time Ratzi or some collared clown (like, say, our own paedophile enabler, Cardy Pell) appears on TV, as if he’s some kind of social/medical/artistic authority, to spout a soundbite denouncing something pretty ordinary, you’d have some idea what you’re up against. People simply don’t take any notice of your morality police on TV anymore. If anything they laugh at them. Not because people are becoming more evil or more secular (one and the same according to your capo di tutti capi), but because they just don’t accept your self-appointed role as our moral superiors.

It isn’t the 1950’s anymore, where your local priest was the first guy you called in a pinch and not the cops or your lawyer or the milkman. People simply no longer accept that there’s only one source for their morality and, what’s more, they strongly resent hearing people like you (i.e. cloistered virgins with chips on your shoulders about anything fun) publicy denouncing them as hedonistic or self-obsessed or materialistic (or whatever other negative trait you can link to the modern world) just because they don’t go to bloody church anymore. Sheesh, you drive people away from your precious Church by continually being ignorant of modern society and modern peoples’ needs (not to mention being inert at best on the topic of child abuse) and insulting anyone who doesn’t conform to your view, then you have the idiocy to wonder where all the Catholics went! Are you serious?

People change. As societies are made of people, societies inevitably change. Some institutions change along with the societies that support them. Sometimes a change is in fact necessary for the survival of an institution, e.g. the British Royal Family – no longer a monarchy with any real power, yet still existing in all its gilded glory, supported by their society (the French Royal Family, on the other hand, refused to change and they, well, got the chop). Those institutions who refuse to change, or do it very slowly or reluctantly, run the very real risk of becoming irrelevant or useless (or even harmful) to the society in question. The Catholic Church, constantly railing against, insulting, denouncing and harshly judging our ever-evolving society (while simultaneously ignoring its realities), as well as fruitlessly exhorting it to change back (presumably to pre-Henry VIII times when Papists ran Europe and just murdered anyone who stood up to them and then rifled through their pockets), runs the severe risk of becoming irrelevant.

But hey, Vatican, you’ve always been useless & irrelevant to me (except as a museum of artistic genius and great example of reprehensible social policy at the hands of an unchallenged absolute ruler). It would please me greatly if Catholics left you and your judgements behind in droves. Exodus-sized droves. Just keep up whatever it is that you’re doing. You’re driving far more Catholics away with your corruption & hypocrisy & unwarranted moral superiority complexes & unwanted, insulting, ignorant judgements than I ever could!

Just take solace from this, Papists: former UK PM Tony Blair just converted to Catholicism … for some reason. I’m sure you’ll all welcome your newest soul with open arms. He certainly won’t be the first lying, mass-murdering, hypocritical piece of shit to eat your magic zombie-flesh and drink your magic zombie-blood.