I believe in the power of barking…

funny-dog-bark-thinking

On prayer in school.

prayerinschool

If you really think we need school-led prayer, then consider the fact that to be legal it would require your kids to participate in prayers by any religion that wishes to be included. Imagine your kids reciting a Islamic or a Hindu prayer. How about a Wiccan spell, which is like prayer in many ways. Shinto prayers can be interesting and, if pressed, I’m sure even us Atheists could come up with something in the way of a Secular Invocation. Would you have a problem with your kids being required to participate in any of those things? If so then shut the fuck up about schools not being allowed to lead kids in your Christian prayers.

FOX’s Father John says having an imaginary friend is bad.

On a news segment about a study that shows praying can lead to mental relief during tough times regular FOX News contributor Father John manages to push unintentional irony to new heights. Apparently the study suggests that even us nonbelievers can achieve similar peace of mind by “praying” to an imaginary friend of some sort. Father John is naturally very enthused to have some positive press for talking with his sky fairy, but he can’t abide the idea that it’s just as effective if you just make up your own pretend entity to talk to. In the following video clip he makes the stunning claim that “if you have an imaginary friend then there’s something wrong with you.”

Check it:

Dammit. Looks like I’m going to have to replace yet another irony meter as that segment just blew my current one sky high.

There is something very amusing about watching the good Father insist that his imaginary friend is actually real and thus of greater benefit for spilling your guts to. The truth is that venting your frustrations with just about anything is often psychologically beneficial — be it a God, an imaginary friend (but I repeat myself), a pet, a plant, etc. — whether it can understand you or not. Hell, blogging is a great way to ease the mind if you don’t mind venting in public. At least it works for me.

The placebo effect can be very strong even when you know it’s just a placebo. There’s no harm in taking advantage of it, but that doesn’t validate that your God is real. No matter how much you wish it was.

Illinois woman prays God will bring jobs to her town.

JoAnna Caldwell of Jacksonville, Illinois has the solution to her town’s unemployment problem. She got a handful of people together and prayed for God to make it all better:

“I was laying in bed and I heard God say, ‘Go pray in the plaza,’” Caldwell said. “So I figured I’d get people out here with me.”

Caldwell stationed people facing north, south, east and west around the Civil War memorial as she led them in prayers that included Psalms 103, Ephesians 3 and the Lord’s Prayer.

Mayor Andy Ezard and Salvation Army caseworker Alan Bradish were among about eight people in attendance as Caldwell shouted out her prayers to improve conditions.

“We shall not want for jobs,” Caldwell said. “We have no fear. We’re not in a recession, that’s what the world says.”

Yeah, that should do the trick. After all it’s a proven fact that prayer works, right?

Well, no, it doesn’t. At least not when put to the test. If anything some studies have shown that prayer can sometimes make things worse. Almost as if God is annoyed you’re bugging him with your puny little problems. But none of that bothers Ms. Caldwell:

After seven minutes of continual prayer, Caldwell thanked those in attendance for coming and enduring the cold to pray for more employment.

“Just watch,” Caldwell said. “We will see results.”

It’s worth noting that she didn’t say when we would see results. That makes for a nice way to claim any improvement in employment to be proof God listened to their prayers even if it takes years.

At the very least she’s not asking God to kill someone, like some Senators and religious leaders have been doing as of late, so I suppose there’s no real harm in it. If it helps her to sleep better at night then who am I to yank her security blanket away?

It’s just a shame the newspaper considered less than a dozen people standing around in the cold pleading to an imaginary sky-fairy to be news.

Now for some sports..

I’m not a huge sports fan myself, but I must admit that if the Ultimate Prayer Championships were a real televised sport I’d probably tune in to watch it. Especially if it looked anything like this:

I thought the small comment about “Good thing God is real otherwise all this fighting would be point…” was a nice touch.

Found via The Friendly Atheist.

Which way is it to Mecca again?

One of the inherent risks in getting overly specific in how your religious ceremonies are performed is the chance that someone will screw it up and call everything into question. For example you probably shouldn’t get too specific about things like which direction to face while praying:

Mecca mosques ‘wrongly aligned’

Some 200 mosques in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca, point the wrong way for prayers, reports from Saudi Arabia say.

All mosques have a niche showing the direction of the most sacred Islamic site, the Kaaba, an ancient cube-like building in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

But people looking down from recently built high-rises in Mecca found the niches in many older mosques were not pointing directly towards the Kaaba.

Some worshippers are said to be anxious about the validity of their prayers.

Oops.

It says something about how deep the delusion among some Muslims goes that some were worried that their prayers would be invalid because they were facing the wrong direction when saying them. Think of how silly you’d think someone was being if they said that they had to dress in all blue robes and wear a bee bonnet and stand on one foot while praying otherwise God wouldn’t consider their prayers.

Naturally the religious leaders are trying to reassure everyone:

Tawfik al-Sudairy, Islamic affairs ministry deputy secretary, downplayed the problem in remarks quoted by the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

“There are no major errors but corrections have been made for some old mosques, thanks to modern techniques,” he said.

“In any case, it does not affect the prayers.”

Of course it doesn’t affect the prayers. Praying to a non-existent being isn’t affected by which direction you’re facing or what clothes you’re wearing or how you prostrate yourself because there’s nothing there to pray to. If it makes you feel better to beseech your invisible sky friend then by all means do so, but don’t sweat the details cause it isn’t going to matter.

Edward Current wants you to pray for his grampa.

Ed’s back to show us how Christians aren’t selfish and how prayer is better than doing nothing at all:

There’s a few Christians out there that need to read their Bible more.

What’s (amusingly) wrong with the following picture:

It’s a bunch of Christians praying fervently to God in front of a statue of a bull for his (God’s) help in fixing the financial market. This was apparently the idea of a noted Christian “leader” by the name of Cindy Jacobs who’s been hearing the voice of God a lot lately and passes on his message in this article at the 700 Club:

In January of this year, Cindy Jacobs was in a worship service when the Lord spoke to her, “Cindy, the strongman over America doesn’t live in Washington, DC – the strongman lives in New York City! Call My people to pray for the economy.”

[…] The Lord further said, “October 29 was Black Tuesday, the day the stock market crashed, and Satan wants to do it again.” We must be proactive in prayer. At the beginning of the year many intercessors began to hear from the Lord that without divine intervention, a major shaking was coming to Wall Street. This would spread until there were food shortages. Some think that 2009 would be worse than 2008. Of course, it goes without saying that this would affect markets around the world.

Who knew God gave a shit about the stock market? All that talking by Jesus of giving away all your money to the poor and chasing off the money changers was just him pulling our leg. God DOES care about money (which explains why the clergy are always asking you for it on his behalf) and he’s willing to help so long as we’re willing to pray to him asking for it:

“We are going to intercede at the site of the statue of the bull on Wall Street to ask God to begin a shift from the bull and bear markets to what we feel will be the ‘Lion’s Market,’ or God’s control over the economic systems,” she said.  “While we do not have the full revelation of all this will entail, we do know that without intercession, economies will crumble.”

Wait a minute… wasn’t there something in the Bible about a golden calf and Moses and God not being too happy about it? Yes, yes there was. Granted those ancient Jews were praying to the statue itself and not to God while laying hands on the statue like they did in New York, but still that’s gotta be an annoying thing to be reminded of. It also seems somewhat against the message of Jesus to be begging God for money. Not that God can’t afford it seeing as he’s got all these suckers followers giving him money all the time. I guess it all depends on how you interpret the whole “ask and God shall provide” idea. I realize I’m no religious authority, but it seems to me that this particular venue was an awkward choice.

At least I’ll be in good company.

So browsing through the referrer logs today I come across a link to this entry on Republican Faith Chat titled “Hellbound: People Who are Probably Going To Hell”. When you combine that with the RFC’s tagline of “Conservative Christians ONLY. Liberals, Atheists Not Welcomed.” you just know it’s going to be a fun site.

As it turns out it’s a listing of various websites and blogs that the Republican Faith Chat folks feel are the worst of the worst on the Internet. You have to wonder why they’d be visiting any of the sites in question and they’ve helpfully provided the following explanation:

Regardless of how reluctant we are sometimes, it is our duty as Christians (Baptists) to pray for those we deem already damned to Hell. As easy as it is to dismiss these people as lost forever to eternal damnation, we must remember that in Christ, anything is possible no matter how remote the chance.

Given the enormity of sinners that we come across on a daily basis we simply cannot list them all. We will, however, try and update this list as frequently as necessary.

I guess that means they are hoping that people will pray for our corrupted souls in hopes of us seeing the light. On the off chance that the upright visitors reading the list feel the need to see just how vile and evil any of the sites on it really are they encourage them to recite the following prayer of protection first:

WARNING: Before visiting any of the following links you are cautioned to say the following prayer.

IN JESUS NAME, I BIND UP EVERY DEMON COMING ACROSS THE COMPUTER LINES, AND I RETURN THEM AND ANY CURSES.IN JESUS NAME, I COVER MYSELF IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS. I COVER THIS COMPUTER AND THE INTERNET ROAD I TRAVEL IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS. I TAKE AUTHORITY AND DOMINION OVER ALL WEB SITES, WEB MASTERS, WEB DOMAINS, AND DEMONS OF THE INTERNET SUPER HIGHWAY SO THEY DO NOT CROSS MY PATH. I DISPATCH ANGELS AHEAD OF ME TO PROTECT ME.

IN JESUS NAME, I CUT ALL UNGODLY SILVER CORDS AND LAY LINES.

AS YOUR WAR CLUB AND WEAPONS OF WAR I BREAK DOWN, UNDAM, AND BLOW UP ALL WALLS OF PROTECTION AROUND ALL HOMOSEXUALS, WITCHES, WARLOCKS, WIZARDS, SATANISTS, ATHEISTS, LIBERALS, DEMOCRATS, SORCERERS, AND THE LIKE, AND I BREAK THE POWER OF ALL CURSES, HEXES, VEXES, SPELLS, CHARMS, FETISHES, PSYCHIC PRAYERS, PSYCHIC THOUGHTS, ALL WITCHCRAFT, SORCERY, SATIRE, PARODY, MAGIC, VOODOO, ALL MIND CONTROL, JINXES, POTIONS, BEWITCHMENTS, DEATH, DESTRUCTION, SICKNESS, PAIN, TORMENT, PSYCHIC POWER, PSYCHIC WARFARE, PRAYER CHAINS, INCENSE AND CANDLE BURNING, INCANTATIONS, CHANTING, UNGODLY BLESSINGS AND HOODOO, CRYSTALS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE BEING SENT MY WAY, OR MY FAMILY MEMBER’S WAY, OR ANY CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES WAY, AND I RETURN IT, AND THE DEMONS TO THE SENDER, TEN FOLD.

AMEN.

Yeah, that’ll do it. No doubt. I have no idea why the words WARLOCKS and WARFARE are bold faced, but they are. I found it fascinating to see “satire” and “parody” listed among hexes, vexes, spells, and charms as things to be protected against thus proving that Republicans have no sense of humor. Or at least not the ones on “Republican Faith Chat.”

And they really mean it when they say you should recite that prayer first:

At the time of our encounter with these infidels there was no links to pornography, Satan Worship, or extreme foul language. Given the nature of the sinner and their willingness to sin we cannot gurantee that things will not be added at a later time. That is why it is crucial that you say the above prayer before visiting any of the listed web sites. If you have come across someone who is need of deliverance from their sickness you may email 

Mrs. T.D. Gaines-Crockett,

and she will forward the site to the Monie Willis Imprecatory Prayer Committee for submission to this page.

Due to the recent onset of foul language by certain unsaved visitors, comments will not be permitted for this page.

Warning: Proceed at your own Risk

Then we get to the list proper and it starts in June of last year with a link to Mark Fiore’s political cartoons website. Yeah, I can see how they’d have a hard time with him. They describe his site as follows: “Foul LIEberal, Mark Fiore, creates disgusting, anti-Family Values, un-American, un-Conservative, pro-Demoncrat, animated political cartoons from an undisclosed location somewhere in San Francisco. Imppressionable children under 21 should not be allowed to view this site.” And that gives you an idea of what the rest of the list is like.

Moving down the list there’s links to Hillary Clinton’s website, Barack Obama Hussein Bin Laden’s (their name for it, not mine) website, surprisingly enough a link to Fred Thompson’s website (described as “Supporters of a garden variety RINO and dirty old man running for President.”), (un)AmericaBlog, (don’t)Think Progress, Fark.com, Brent Rasmussen’s blog (“Bearded God-mocker who probably sprouts horns and a tail before sneaking into dreams and stealing souls. Extreme wickedness ahead. NSFC”), PZ Myer’s blog (“P.Z. Myers is not only a Atheist of the worst sort, he is a scientist who promotes the lies of man kind evolving from primate love.  NSFA.”), Richard Dawkins, Andrew Sullivan, Fundies Say the Darndest Things!, and, eventually, little old me:

Stupid Evil Bastard

:

Les Jenkins a Liberal Independent, Atheist spreads his message of hatred for Christ and Family values on a blog venue. Also reviews video games filled with sex, bood, gore, and guts.  Owner of the Fundies Say Darndest Things site above. VERY VILE. NSFW, NSFC<21, NSFC.

I like how the mouse tooltip for my link is “Truthful in it’s [sic] description”. They’re wrong in thinking that I own Fundies Say the Darndest Things – I wish I’d have thought of a site that cool – but I can see how they’d make that mistake as SEB is listed as a friend of FSTDT on their main page.

I skipped over a lot of the other sites listed, but suffice it to say that I’m honored to be included in such fine company.  SEB was added back in February of this year so it took them awhile to find us, but I’m proud just the same. The site overall is just a treasure trove of lunacy. I especially love their Legal Statement:

By visiting this entertaining Godly site OR by sending an e-mail submission to Mrs. T.D. Gaines-Crockett©, Republican Faith© OR posting to this site, YOU ARE CERTIFYING THAT YOU ARE 18 YEARS OR OLDER AND you are granting a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display your submission (in whole or part) and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed. The original posts, prayers, all materials and even the pasquinading by our mockers and antagonists found on this site and all materials within are Copyright© protected through 2008 by site manager and/or the contributors. Many antogonists on the political Left would like to call it political satire so perhaps everything posted here should be understood in that context. Whatever it takes to keep their tiny brains from overloading. Please keep in mind that Posting of personal phone numbers or information that may lead to personal injury or harassment is deemed illegal on this forum under congressional legislation, state law and various personal protection acts. Please refrain from divulging information of this kind in such a public forum for obvious security purposes. God Bless America.

I do have to give them credit for using a big word like “pasquinading” though. That’s an unusually large word for people with such tiny intellects, but perhaps they had a thesaurus handy. I may have to spend some time perusing the site a bit more. It’s looks like a lot of fun.

Once again prayer fails to save a young man’s life.

16-year-old Neil Beagley died of heart failure thanks to an untreated urinary tract blockage:

He probably had a congenital condition that constricted his urinary tract where the bladder empties into the urethra, and the condition of his organs indicates that he had multiple blockages during his life, said Dr. Clifford Nelson, deputy state medical examiner for Clackamas County.

“You just build up so much urea in your bloodstream that it begins to poison your organs, and the heart is particularly susceptible,” Nelson said.

Nelson said a catheter would have saved the boy’s life. If the condition had been dealt with earlier, a urologist could easily have removed the blockage and avoided the kidney damage that came with the repeated illnesses, Nelson said.

In short, the kid died because he couldn’t piss and reports have it he refused medical treatment in favor of prayer. It probably won’t be prosecuted as a crime because in Oregon the law allows anyone 14 years or older to refuse medical treatment. The same can’t be said of the boy’s cousin, though, who has also fallen victim to people who think prayer actually does something:

In March, the boy’s 15-month-old cousin Ava Worthington died at home from bronchial pneumonia and a blood infection.

Her parents, Carl and Raylene Worthington, also belong to the church. They have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and criminal mistreatment, and their defense attorneys have indicated that they will use a religious freedom defense.

I find it odd that so many True Believers™ will protest abortion because every life is sacred, but apparently not sacred enough for some to seek simple medical treatment for their kids. Abortion is murder, but not getting your kid a catheter is just God’s way of saying his time has come.