Kevin Andrews suddenly learns that everyone else knows Catch The Fire are batshit #auspol

Minister for Putting Single Mums in Their Bloody Place Kevin Andrews, among other Team Australians, has recently learned that the people of Australia don’t particularly like that the “World Congress of Families” is run by well-known slavering extremist anti-choice homophobic bigots Catch The Fire Ministries and has decided not to open their adorable little Hatesturbate For Jesus for them after all.

Catch The Fire Ministries, whose head douche Danny Nalliah infamously linked Victoria’s Black Saturday bushfires to that state’s abortion laws (and will now have to find other high-profile fundamentalist scenery-chewers to mix the green cordial [red is SINFUL!] and run the games of “pin Satan’s pitchfork on the eternally burning lesbortionist,”) have since thrown K-Drews under the bus for being a sad wuss. Because how dare any public official in a secular democracy respond to public outcry over lending explicit government support to a pack of fringe-dwelling cultists whose lunacy is only exceeded by their self-importance.

I suspect that, much like a pair of cling-wrap Y-fronts, this is a transparent arse-covering on the part of Kev and his fellow Tory wingnuts, Eric “I Am The Politican Every Sketch Show Bases Their Politicians On” Abetz and Cory “Looky, I Wrote A Book Just Like God Did” Bernardi, who would surely have gone along had the public not had something of a issue with members of our government explicitly validating the dark-ages lunacy of extremist evangelist hooligans.

Not Catch The Fire but close efuckingnough, amirite?

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School Chaplains: why can’t you lot just stick to the pulpit #auspol

It appears the Abbott government still wants to exclude secular workers from the School Chaplaincy program, despite widespread opposition and two High Court challenges.

Religious people have numerous avenues available if they wish to seek spiritual guidance for themselves or their children; this constant push by some of them to have exclusive access to other peoples’ children while in school is distasteful and extremely presumptuous (and possibly even un-Constitutional – while Section 116 has historically not been applied to state funding of religious schools, implementing exclusively religious programs such as this in state schools might be a different basket of loaves and fishes. While the Abbott regime might be able to use the general term “religious” to escape being accused of favouring of one faith over another, the very term “chaplain” has an exclusively Christian origin and I doubt very strongly that we’ll see a great many imams, rabbis or whatever those used-god salesmen-for-Xenu call themselves counselling state school students).  

Apart from the blatant discrimination involved in barring secular counselors from consideration, kids with serious problems (or even mild ones) don’t need Divinity lessons, they need trained professionals. Religious exceptionalism of this sort is highly likely to expose vulnerable children to inappropriate proselytising and unhelpful advice – when compared to the likelihood of a properly trained secular counselor attempting to proselytise their philosophy, it’s practically a stone-carved certainty.

If a counselor is appropriately qualified and experienced they should be hired; their religious status, just like their age, marital status and orientation, should be irrelevant to their practice. It’s not legal for the Commonwealth to refuse employment in any other area of operation on religious grounds; how such a proscription wouldn’t apply to state school counselors escapes me. This appears to be yet another example of a government operating by ideology and working off a checklist, with pragmatism, fairness and perhaps even legality being secondary concerns.

Evangelising students in school is not only preying on an audience that’s legally compelled to be there, it’s also based on the offensive and arrogant presumption that the evangelists have the right (God-given, of course) to undermine whatever religious traditions those kids’ families may already observe in their own homes or places of worship or whatever non-religious philosophies they may subscribe to.

Not only that, but those churches that evangelise more often than not subscribe to fringe conservative and flat-out fundamentalist interpretations of Scripture which have absolutely no place in our public schools, where there frequently is a plurality of ethnicity and culture.

I’m sure we can all imagine the outcry from decent Christian folk if Islamists or JW’s or Mormons were given privileged access to state school students (even if ostensibly to use their powers for good and explicitly not for the purposes of conversion attempts); it’s much better for all concerned (chiefly the kids who’ll need professional advice and support) if preachers (or preachers-by-other-names) stay in the pulpit.

It Came From The 80s – The Flamer’s Bible!

Anyone who’s been anywhere near the atheoskeptoblogosphere in the last two years might well have noticed an undercurrent (or over-current) of hate-speech, flaming, obsessive trolling, twit-stalking and general petulant shit-slinging – especially if the target is a feminist blogger. But it’s nothing new – online communication has been around for ages; as such, the anonymity inherent in it has always provided cover for keyboard warriors to dispatch rhetorical missiles and toxic word-sludge across the globe, the nation or just the building – all with no social consequences.

Without further ado, from some time in 1987, I present a selection of tips for being an Internet Tough Guy:

The twelve commandments of flaming

  •     Make things up about your opponent: It’s important to make your lies sound true. Preface your argument with the word “clearly.” “Clearly, Fred Flooney is a liar, and a dirtball to boot.”

 

This might be familiar. How about: “She’s a misandrist! She’s a Feminazi! She hates men! It was only an invitation to coffee at 4am! She’s frigid!”

  •     Cross-post your flames: Everyone on the net is just waiting for the next literary masterpiece to leave your terminal. From rec.arts.wobegon to alt.gourmand, they’re all holding their breaths until your next flame. Therefore, post everywhere.

 

This one’s never been so important to the career troll: you can’t expect every one of your hate-chorus to just be reading your blog, so to increase your back-pats & pingbacks & likes you need to facebook, tweet, instafreakingram, blog, re-blog and link to everything in whatever dark, mouldy corner of the ‘net where there are no standards of behaviour when it comes to Approved Enemies.

  •     Conspiracies abound: If everyone’s against you, the reason can’t possibly be that you’re a fuckhead. There’s obviously a conspiracy against you, and you will be doing the entire net a favor by exposing it.

 

This is now known as the Galileo Gambit: They made fun of Galileo, and he was right.
They make fun of me, therefore I am right. However, the counter to this comes from Robert Park: It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.

  •     Use foreign phrases: French is good, but Latin is the lingua franca of flaming. You should use the words “ad hominem” at least three times per article. Other favorite Latin phrases are “ad nauseum,” “vini, vidi, vici,” and “fetuccini alfredo.”

 

Accusations of ad hominem abound on the internet – usually as soon as someone gets insulted for acting like a douche. However, a true ad hominem is dimissive of an argument based on who’s making the argument, i.e. “You’re a douche therefore your argument is wrong.” Much of the time you hear an a.h. invoked, it is done so in response to a simple insult, e.g. “You’re a douche and your argument is wrong.” To avoid confusion, please be sure to dismiss someone’s argument on its own lack of merit and then call them a douche.

  •     Accuse your opponent of censorship. It is your right as an American citizen to post whatever the hell you want to the net (as guaranteed by the 37th Amendment, I think). Anyone who tries to limit your cross-posting or move a flame war to email is either a communist, a fascist, or both.

 

FREEZE PEACH! “Because the country I live in has granted me the right to say anything I want (of course there aren’t caveats – I can walk onto the White House lawn and threaten to stab Barry O because FREEZE PEACH is absolute!), it therefore follows that I get to follow you around the internet and regurgi-hate on every single one of your online properties. The fact that you own your twitter account, facebook, youtube account or blog doesn’t give you the right to decided who gets to talk to you! StasiNazi #bullies baawww!”

Um, yeah it does. A website/media account, as far as you’re concerned, is someone’s property as much as their doorstep or the counter of their store – if you don’t like when they shut the door in your face, try modifying (or at least paying attention to) what comes out of your face.

Go and read the rest – you’ve probably seen all of them in the last week.

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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