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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Herr Ratzinger continues the massacre

[Doubled from Dangerous Intersection]

HIV/AIDS is possibly the worst health crisis to hit this planet. It’s also arguably the worst thing to happen to the African continent since white people were regularly kidnapping its inhabitants and trading them like farm machinery.

But the one hopeful thing about the whole situation is this: while there’s no cure yet, AIDS is easily preventable. Ridiculously easily preventable. Avoiding the sharing of needles & using contraception are the two most effective ways to avoid the long, tortuous, wasting death we’ve all come to associate with this horrendous epidemic. And if you’re not an intravenous drug user (or you studiously avoid sticking sharp, blood-stained things in your body), there’s 50% of your prevention pretty much sorted already.

So … how the hell are you supposed to react when the gold-robed, paedophile-protecting dictator-for-life of the Catholic Church continues to threaten people with eternal torment for using contraception during sex (based on a very, very, um, interpretive interpretation the Bible) and instead tells people “just say no” to sex? In this story (BBC) Pope Oberstumbannfuhrer Herr Kaiser Ratzinger (I refuse to use his picked-out stagename, he’s not Axl Rose for crying out loud) once again proves to the world that not only is his outlook anachronistic, unrealistic & laughable, it’s also flat-out fatal. To millions upon millions of people.

In the referenced article Ratzinger, in the very same breath, calls AIDS a “cruel epidemic” and then follows that with this clanger: “The traditional teaching of the church has proven to be the only failsafe way to prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.” Except when it hasn’t, doesn’t, isn’t and won’t. Obviously.

Allow me to rephrase & clarify that statement for you, Popey: “The inestimable, genocidal cruelty of AIDS is most efficiently perpetuated by people in positions of power (like Popes, for example) asking poverty-stricken superstitious people, living in abject fear for their very souls, to do what amounts to the impossible.”

In the past, before I knew much about AIDS’ awful presence in Africa (for instance, the article states that today, around 60% of the entire world’s AIDS 40 million patients are African and up to 1000 die each day), whenever I’d hear some robed halfwit with celestial voices in his head make a pig-ignorant statement like that of Ratzinger’s I’d just roll my eyes, sigh and think “Gosh, those wacky Catholics. At it again, asking the impossible and being ignored by the world, even Catholics. Laugh out loud!” But after a while I realised that while most people in the developed world treat Ratzinger’s words with all the respect they deserve, large swathes of Africa (and other developing regions) are still tightly gripped by superstition of all kinds and take the word of people like Herr Ratzinger and his little wizards as gospel. Accordingly, they avoid the simplest precautions against unwanted pregnancies and definitely unwanted STDs because they’ve been taught that wasting sperm incurs God’s wrath.

Then there was this gritty little cultured pearl of wisdom:

It is of great concern that the fabric of African life, its very source of hope and stability, is threatened by divorce, abortion, prostitution, human trafficking and a contraception mentality [emphasis mine]

Righto. Right up there as the biggest threats to Africa’s future, along with human trafficking (a modern form of slavery if there ever was one) and prostitution (often related to said trafficking) are those gravest of grave sins: the right to choose if you conceive a child during sex (regardless of whether the sex was legal or consensual), the right to not carry an embryo into actual foetus-hood and that most awful of activities, the right to end a relationship.

Does this geriatric idiot in the imperial robes who lives in a palace not see the links – right there in his very own statement? There’s human trafficking – desperate, poor people either taken advantage of or simply forced into such activities as prostitution – quite often not presenting a choice to the new sex-slave about who they have sex with, when they have sex with them and whether the “customer” protects himself or not. Divorce – well, in many cultures across the globe, obviously including Africa, people (and by “people” I mean “women”) don’t get a choice who they marry or when their new spouse decides to consummate that marriage (search the web for “obstetric fistula” – a painful & embarrassing condition which occurs way too often in underage African girls). Abortion, that old Catholic standby – well, disregarding the fact that a fertilised ovum or a tiny clump of undifferentiated cells isn’t a human being – what if you’re nine years old and aren’t physically capable of carrying a child to term? Well, if you’d read the news lately that doesn’t matter to the Papacy. Their official response? Excommunicate the doctors and the kid’s family – but not the mangy son of a bitch stepfather who repeatedly raped the girl from when she was six years old – then impregnated her with twins which would almost certainly have killed the girl. But hey, everyone knows it’s par for the course for the Vatican to protect child-rapists.

Rape & sex-slavery & STDs aside, even in the average committed, loving, monogamous relationship – even one completely without risk – there should be a choice. There should be a right to choose not to have a child. One word comes to mind when people think of Africa: poverty. If you can’t afford to feed & clothe & educate a child, there is absolutely no reason that you should be forced to have one. To force people, under the threat of eternal damnation, to simultaneously conceive children they cannot support and risk contracting the deadliest disease ever experienced by humanity is possibly the most reprehensibly immoral act that can be undertaken by a person in a position of power and responsibility. Ratzinger knows the effect his words will have among the faithful, he knows what the stakes are and, unless he’s been living under a rock (maybe not but I’m willing to bet he sleeps in a coffin), he surely must know what the results have been from decades of official Vatican “don’t protect yourself, just say no to sex” wisdom. Of course he knows all that, for crying out loud. But why care too much about adding millions more to the existing millions of sick & dying Africans? There are more where that came from, right Ratzi? Of course there are going to be if you tell people they’ll burn in Hell for wasting their sperm. And hey – dying slowly & horribly of AIDS and watching all your kids starve, followed by eternal bliss in heaven has just got to be better than a long, healthy life followed by forever with a red-hot pitchfork inserted somewhere less than convenient. Right?

But, honestly, I don’t know how to react anymore. These days when I hear Ratzinger, as he frequently does, displaying a stark ignorance of the realities of the world (unmatched except perhaps by Sarah Palin or your average coma patient) or condemning people to what he surely must know is an early death, I’m not sure if I should scream unintelligibly at my screen, post floweringly verbose excoriations, sigh in defeat & just sit and feel powerless and frustrated or … just have a healthy, profane vent & say “Ratzinger. Hey. Shut the fuck up. You’re killing people with this retarded dogma of yours – actually killing people – just as much as if you strangled them with your own bony, pampered hands. Your words are weapons of genocide – a war crime in peace-time, a crime against humanity – and if anyone’s going to Hell, you elderly virgin whose first & last experience of a naked woman was being pushed, tiny, wet & screaming, out of one, it’s going to be you, because you had the opportunity to save millions of lives and you bailed on it, your mind enslaved by your precious god-damned magic book. And once you’re there, roasting, I hope the millions of victims of your arrogant delusions & murderous idiocy visit you in Hell to kick your balls right up through your face.”

Here endeth the rant.

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Open letter to Ratzinger: lift birth control ban

The coolest thing about this open letter to Pope Ratzinger (I refuse to call him Benedict) is that it’s written by a coalition of Catholic groups! From the HuffPo story:

The initiative was spearheaded by Catholics for Choice, a Washington based pro-choice advocacy group, but the letter was signed by organizations from countries across the Americas and Europe.

Taking a half-page ad in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the groups said Friday that the Church’s ban on artificial birth control has had “catastrophic effects,” particularly in the fight against AIDS.

The ban on contraception “has had catastrophic effects on the poor and weak of the whole world, putting in danger the lives of women and exposing millions of people to the risk of contracting HIV,” the letter published in Corriere said.

The Vatican’s response: predictably, mind-numbingly arse-backwards.

[Vatican capo Reverend Federico] Lombardi denounced the ad “as paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives.” “Policies against AIDS based mainly on the distribution of condoms have largely failed,” Lombardi said in a statement. “The answer to AIDS requires deeper and more complex interventions, in which the Church is active on many fronts.”

“Paid propaganda for the use of contraceptives” eh padre? Well, I guess noone would know propaganda when they saw it better than a Vatican PR operative. I’ll tell you what the answer to AIDS requires, you pompous fucker: an effective preventive measure other than abstinence – the very kind of measure you and your hoods have actively been opposing since the respective inventions of the condom, The Pill and every other method out there that doesn’t involve a vow of celibacy (which, by the way, you guys suck at). I’ll tell you why policies against AIDS based on condom use have largely failed too: it’s because black-robed morons like yourself in those areas have been actively spreading bald-faced, anti-science & fucking lethal lies for years, such as the one about condoms having tiny holes, through which the HIV virus can pass through, which still makes my jaw drop to read.

Well, chalk up another retarded remark to the stormtroopers of Herr Ratzinger! It blows my mind that this organisation can continue to get away with this shit. Imagine if the Health Minister or Surgeon General of any civilised country said something like “chemotherapy doesn’t affect cancer, it just makes it stronger!” – that’s the order of magnitude of Pure Wrong we’re talking about here. Imagine the head of pretty much any organisation other than the Roman Christian Empire saying something that retarded! Not just retarded, but potentially fatal to any follower who believes it. This continuing and baffling desecration of human free will is as precise & glaring an illustration of the danger of organised religion that you could ever see – not the danger of a particular belief itself, as many people believe in Jesus’ divinity and don’t listen to Vatican idiocy – but of the effect blind faith & blind trust can have on a person, his family, town or whole country or continent, when that faith & trust is abused by people who should damn well know better.

So what’s behind this Vatican wrongheaded stubbornness anyway? Does it really say in the Bible “thou shalt not spill thy seed” or “thou shalt always conceive with thy booty calls”? If it does – unambiguously, that is, with no wiggle room for interpretation – then why are Papists the only ones who insist on enforcing it in such a lethal manner? So they can ensure a constant flow of believers to continue to fill their pews & coffers? The arch-cynic in me says a big, fat “yes”. The less cynical part of me is still in the dark about it. Is it scriptural? Then why are Catholics allowed to work on Sunday, eat meat on whatever day they want, skip Lent, have graven images in their temples (what’s a Catholic church without a bunch of statues of Jesus, Mary and selected saints standing around looking down on you), wear high heels or whatever else they’re allowed to do now that they couldn’t not so long ago?

The answer often comes back to control. The Vatican has let a lot of things slide over the centuries (noone’s getting burned for heresy or buying Indulgences anymore, for example), but they’ve always held onto two things tighter than Tarzan: the bans on divorce and on contraception. Two of the most private things concerning any human on the planet. So many other Vatican edicts and restrictions have been dropped like hot rocks, yet they continue to refuse to allow their followers to run their own sexual & family lives. Stinks like a control thing to me. It’s a classic control ploy actually: bear a child into a Catholic family, marinate that child in shame-inducing, fear-mongering dogma until its identity becomes inextricably wrapped in its religion, then impose upon it restrictions that could mean excommunication should the eventual adult wish to use its own judgement in deciding on two of the most important decisions in its life: whether to have children of its own or end a marriage that’s beyond saving, or perhaps was a mistake in the first place (we’ve all heard of young Catholic girls forced into marriage to avoid the shame of a bastard child).

What the Papacy says & does about contraception is thought control of the worst possible kind and I’m glad it’s a group of concerned Catholics that have raised this issue. Non-Catholic Christians, non-religionists and anyone concerned with human rights in general have been raising this issue contantly for years, but we now know it’s far from reasonable to expect anything but the usual, half-witted bullshit from the Vatican (and from many Catholics). Hopefully, the fact that quite a few Catholics themselves are having serious problems with the Vatican’s counter-intelligent stance on contraception and are speaking out about it will get some discourse going between other Catholics. Dissent in the ranks is likely to be the only thing to change the Vatican’s tiny mind on any issue – God knows appeals to reason, science and basic human freedoms do jack shit.

I’m still staggered that this debate continues to go on in the 21st freakin century, the third millenium of the Christian Era. We’ve landed men on the Moon (last century!), sequenced the human genome, looked backward in time 13 billion years to the birth of our universe and still we’re having a debate over whether condoms work. But hey, this argument’s with the Vatican: these people believe wafers turn into Jesus (mmm, a savioury treat!) – but only if a magic spell special prayer is said over them first. They still practise exorcisms for Chrissakes! And we’re having serious conversations with them! Would you have a serious chat with the psycho homeless guy on the corner screaming at the demons in his pocket? No! But hey, the poor homeless guy hasn’t been around for 1500 years and he doesn’t have a billion followers. That doesn’t mean the Papists are right, but it does mean they have a strong game it’ll take a lot for them to see sense. Shit, these people took 500 years to pardon Galileo.