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Flawed Theos survey claims Catholic values are common in the UK

A new Theos survey about the Pope’s visit is doing the rounds today, and statistics are flying in all directions. The BHA are pointing out that a large majority of Britons are uninterested in (not hostile to) the Pope’s visit, which seems a fair conclusion. Theos says the public generally agreed with the poll’s 12 Catholic statements of values, and ask whether this means Britain is much more Catholic than we think. This, to put it politely, is dubious. The value statements are almost all nothing to do with Catholicism. Some are ambiguous platitudes, but where it’s specific there’s nothing every ... Read More »

Caution over Cherie Blair’s religious ruling

Cherie Blair/Booth apparently gave someone a lenient sentence because they were religious: I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before. You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour. Admittedly, “based on the fact that” seems damning. But I think it’s worth waiting for the full transcripts to become available, as this has the ... Read More »

Befrocked brats in the news

The Pope’s rubbish, isn’t he? He thinks there’s a ‘natural law’ against gay people. The Archbishop of Westminster agrees, which was news despite that being his job. Mind you, Muttley mostly went on and on about Dastardly’s right to speak out, which – from the reactions I saw – was an argument he was having entirely with himself. But while their bigoted drivel was widely reported, the dynamics of the criticism meant the media were surprisingly hostile – he was criticising ‘our’ equality laws, so it became a nationalistic thing. Outside of the usual circles it was only a few ... Read More »

And the only acceptable reason not to move with the times is…

If you need to file a VAT return, you’ll soon be required to submit it electronically. Well, I say ‘required’ – there are two ways you can avoid it. Currently, if you turnover £100k+ you don’t have to file online if you’re subject to an insolvency procedure. Or if: HMRC is satisfied that your business is run entirely by individuals who have a religious conscience objection to using computers Sure – maybe you’re an Amish-ish businesspeople who doesn’t do electronics. But there’s no paper submission if you simply don’t want to use computers. So HMRC distinguishes between “I think” and “I believe”. ... Read More »

Unwavering conviction

Says the Bishop to the armed forces: The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other. There’s apparently been uproar. Good. It’s 2009, after all, and expressing admiration for unwavering conviction to a faith is a ridiculous and medieval… …oh, no, wait. The uproar is because saying anything relating to warfare that isn’t ‘soldiers are brave’ apparently means ‘I want soldiers to die’. Sigh. Can we not just put ‘I support people not dying’ in the same category of the blindingly-obvious as ‘you have the right to your opinion’ ... Read More »

Quotes of the day

Both from Ben Goldacre’s latest: “I am talking about a long-standing discipline—an art and a science—that has been with us since ancient Egyptian, Roman, Babylonian and Assyrian times. It is part of the Chinese, Muslim and Hindu cultures… Criticism is deeply offensive to those cultures,” says Tredinnnick: “and I have a Muslim college in my constituency.” That’s Conservative MP David Tredinnick defending his view that the moon is evil. To cleanse: The honourable Member for Braintree cited evidence from The Sun, so I want to refer to a recent edition of the British Medical Journal. That’s Evan Harris, Lib Dem MP ... Read More »

Coventry Telegraph on non-religious naming ceremonies

This week’s Coventry Telegraph has a feature on non-religious naming ceremonies, and they interviewed my sister about her choice of Humanist naming ceremony. They’re on page 4: “I really had no idea you could do anything like that,” said Jane, 23, from Claverdon. “But it is a great idea because otherwise you are stuck with having a christening in a church and making promises which you don’t really believe in or otherwise doing nothing. Go Jane. The BHA’s naming ceremonies aren’t as well known as they could be, and it’s great to see them getting some publicity. Read More »

The Bible is not a science book

There was a wonderful moment in this evening’s Christianity: A History, when Colin Blakemore asked a Vatican astronomer why he doesn’t think the Earth is only 6000 years old. Said astronomer replied that the Bible doesn’t have to be taken completely literally, because it’s not a science book. How do we know it’s not a science book? Because science books need to be updated, while the Bible doesn’t. Srsly. This actually happened. I have no idea what he meant, but it only applied to the old testament – the new testament is obviously completely true, and we know so because ... Read More »

Christian comebacks to the Atheist Bus Campaign

The Atheist Bus Campaign adverts are coming down in the next few days, after an amazingly successful month. They’ve been a remarkable talking-point1, similar adverts are going up all around the world, and they annoyed, then embarrassed, Christian Voice. All great results, but they’re also apparently the vanguard for a wave of god-related banners: A trinity of Christian groups have created their own series of advertisements to run across London buses Fair enough, let’s see what they’ve got. Here’s the first, from the Christian Party: There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life. Quite the ... Read More »

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