Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Top ten religious idiots #2

(Previous list)

(I'm tired of ranking everything. New items will appear at the top of the list.)

  1. The Government of Pakistan: Fellow ministers failed to support Nilofar Bakhtiar, Pakistan's Minister for Tourism (Pakistan has tourism?), when hard-line Islamic clerics demanded her resignation for hugging her parachute instructor at a charity event.
    (Izvestia; h/t to Fark; 22 May 07)

  2. 49 State Legislatures: Religious conservatives are lobbying nationwide against mandated HPV vaccine, claiming that it will "encourage promiscuity". Assuming arguendo that this claim is true, apparently such people consider promiscuity to be worse than death by cervical cancer. Only Virgina has mandated the administration of this life-saving vaccine.
    (e.g. StarNewsOnline.com; 22 May 07)

  3. Eva Marie Mauldin: Their infant daughter was severely burned after her husband, Joshua, placed her in a microwave for 10-20 seconds. The mother blames... Satan. Authorities are seeking to sever their parental rights.
    (Houston Chronicle; h/t to News of the Weird Daily; 21 May 07)

  4. Iraqi Yazidis and Muslims: "The stoning to death of a teenage girl belonging to the Yazidi religious sect because she fell in love with a Muslim man has led to a spiral of violence in northern Iraq in which 23 elderly factory workers have been shot dead and 800 Yazidi students forced to flee their university in Mosul."
    (The Independent; Thanks anticant!; 15 May 07)

  5. Rev. Sherman C. Gee Allen: Just being a clergyman accused of assault and rape is not enough to make it to the list (even given the blatant hypocrisy: clergy are held up as moral exemplars). However Rev. Allen had his own "spin" on sexual assault, justifying it with biblical verses: Plaintiff Davina Kelly said that Rev. Allen
    gave her a Bible and asked her to turn to passages such as the one that yielded the phrase "spare the rod, spoil the child."

    "It ended up being a lot of Scripture on spanking for the most part – parents disciplining their children," she said in a February interview. "When he had me read them, it became obvious he meant for it to be spanking me."
    Rev. Allen has denied the allegations.
    (dallasnews.com; h/t to Fark.com; 15 May 07)

  6. Eric Rudolph: Serving life in Colorado's "Supermax" prison for a series of religiously-motivated abortion clinic bombings and the murder of a police officer, Rudolph is still able to taunt his victims thanks to the cooperation of an Army of God supporter.
    (Tulsa World; h/t to Fark.com; 15 May 07)

  7. Fred Phelps: Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church will be picketing Jerry Falwell's funeral.
    (Westboro Baptist Church [pdf]; h/t to Fark; 17 May 07)

  8. Dick and Luke Otterstad: This father and son team is picketing San Juan High School principal Dave Terwilliger. Their agenda: To permit Christian students to wear anti-gay t-shirts to school. The principal had previously suspended students for wearing t-shirts implying that homosexuals would go to hell. [see comments]
    (Sacramento Bee; h/t to Atheist Revolution; 19 May 07)

  9. Straitgate Church proselytizers: Several members of the Church were mistaken (?) for child molesters for approaching children in a Minneapolis public park.
    (StarTribune.com; h/t to Fark; 19 May 07)

  10. The National Association of State Boards of Education: The only candidate for president of this august institution is Kenneth Willard, a Kansas Republican who supports the teaching of Biblical creationism, er... scientific creationism, oops... intelligent design in public schools.
    (statesman.com; h/t to Fark; 19 May 07)

This list: Religion 10, Nontheism 0
Previous list: Religion 10, Nontheism 0
Total: Religion 20, Nontheism 0


  1. It's not about religious idiocy per se, but there's this bit of news. I must confess that I find it heartening, and so fear I am a very bad man.

  2. I think you copied the wrong tab. I'm heartened as well, but without a hint of moral ambiguity, by early diagnostic procedures for autism.

  3. Whoops. That was supposed to be the article telling you Jerry Falwell kicked the bucket.

  4. I think I can safely give him a lifetime "achievement" award.

  5. I have to say that if you're having (9) in the original list, you at least have to consider this.

    It's a mixed bag of dopey and reasonable comments, though, and the original post seems to be more about the quotation itself than Starbucks' use of it.

  6. PZ is entirely off the hook: There's nothing at all idiotic about having a philosophical discussion about the quotation itself, and he was clearly joking about boycotting Starbucks.

    Some of the comments seem a little dopey, but garden-variety dopiness doesn't make it to the list. At the very least, you have to make it into the newspaper.

  7. Nigeria's struggle to beat polio:-


    "For more than a year from mid-2003 the northern states stopped the vaccination programme altogether after rumours swept the country that the polio vaccine caused Aids and that it was all part of a western plot to sterilise Muslim girls"

    "In Nigeria polio cases exploded and 18 countries previously declared polio free were re-infected, all with virus originating from Nigeria. Now that vaccinations have restarted the fall-out is still being felt"

  8. oops, pressed the wrong button; meant to prefix with this:-


    Kano shuns Nigeria polio campaign (Friday, 12 December, 2003)

    "Datti Ahmed, the President of the Kano-based Sharia (Islamic Law) Supreme council, has told the BBC that the vaccine is part of a United States-led conspiracy to de-populate the developing world"

  9. kepler: That's very idiotic. Coincidentally, my wife is reading Hitchens' new book, God is not Great, and he mentions the same situation.

    I appreciate the submission, and I definitely appreciate reading my blog! I have a couple of reservations, but the fundamental idiocy is a few years old, and I think I'd rather keep the list about relatively fresh stories.

  10. Regarding the Otterstad story:

    On the one hand, I'm always concerned about the restriction of minors' Constitutional rights, which is already excessive. On the other hand, I don't think it's a good idea to turn our public high schools into ideological battlegrounds.

    Local church officials, school leaders and even one supporter of the suspended students said Monday that [the Otterstads'] tactics mark a nasty, personal turn in a debate that's so far remained peaceful.

    As vjack notes, it seems implausible that these staunch defenders of free speech would so vigorously support a student's right to wear a t-shirt saying, "F@$& the skull of Jesus."

  11. Actually, that dude being elected to the National Association of State Boards of Education is a BAD THING. He's running unopposed.

  12. Indeed. That's why I name the National Association as "idiots", for having him as the only candidate.

  13. So children should be forced to get a vaccination against their wishes or the wishes of their parents? Is this a free country or Soviet Russia? There are some legit concerns about the safety and efficacy of this vaccine that have nothing to do with whether or not it encourages people to have sex.

  14. I deem the legislatures idiotic not because they are raising justifiable questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, or the ethics of mandating a vaccine, but because they are bowing to the conservative religious ideology that promiscuity is worse than death.

    Of course, we all know that protecting people from disease was one of the most indefensible tyrannies ever perpetrated by the Soviet Union.

  15. Furthermore, "Texas and 48 other states including DC... have laws allowing parents to opt-out[;] WVA and Mississippi are the only two States that do not provide religious or philosophical exemptions for vaccines."



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