Evangelicals stunned that they’ve finally alienated everyone, including those in their own ‘party’

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After years of lecturing everyone about right and wrong and “family values” and attempting to statutorily impose their own beliefs on America, Christian fundamentalists are now shocked to find out that they’ve been abandoned by pretty much everyone, including the Republican party. Katie Zezima reports on fundie dysphoria in the wake of Donald Trump’s ascension to titular head of the Republican party.

“In a sense, we feel abandoned by our party,” [Pastor Gary] Fuller said. “There’s nobody left.”

Fuller and other conservatives whose voting decisions are guided by their Christian faith find themselves dismayed and adrift now that Trump has wrested control of the Republican Party. It is a sentiment that reaches from the small, aluminum-sided church with a large white cross on its front that Fuller and his wife built on the Nebraska plains to the highest levels of American religious life. Even progressive Christians — evangelicals and Catholics, among others — who don’t necessarily vote Republican are alarmed that Trump is attracting many voters who call themselves religious. […]

“This year the Republican Party has not just surrendered on the culture wars, they’ve joined the other side. And that’s a unique situation,” said Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“This year” may turn out to be a gross underestimation of the cultural change that’s taking place within the GOP and America, frankly. Trump and his followers have mostly rejected the notion that they need to embrace the fundamentalist agenda in order to win and—perhaps more to the point—that winning on fundie terms is even worth it.

Ted Cruz’s failure to convert his demonization of transgender individuals into votes in Indiana wasn’t simply a local miscalculation, it was fundamental misunderstanding of where the nationwide electorate stands on LGBTQ issues. While the public is still learning about gay and transgender people, voters seem less vulnerable to “the sky is falling” messages that social conservatives employed with same-sex marriage, for instance. As a poll found this week, 57 percent of Americans oppose mandating which bathrooms transgender individuals should use and 75 percent support equal protection laws for transgender Americans in jobs, housing, and public accommodations.

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Anti-Gay Therapist Monsignor Tony Anatrella, a Vatican Adviser, Suspected Of Sex With Male Clients

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For decades now, young French seminarians and priests who were deemed to be “struggling with homosexuality” would often end up in the office of trusted Vatican adviser and anti-gay therapist Monsignor Tony Anatrella.

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Via Religion News Service:

Now Anatrella … is facing mounting allegations that he himself had sex with male clients under his care. … So far, European media have relayed accusations from as many as four men — only one of whom agreed to be identified by his real name — who say that Anatrella engaged in various sex acts with them during counseling sessions in his Paris office, with the activity allegedly occurring up until a few years ago.

According to Daniel Lamarca, an ex-seminarian treated by Anatrella in the late ’80s,

Anatrella told [him] he could rid him of his “pseudo-homosexuality” and sought to do so by performing sex acts on Lamarca. “I know details about Anatrella’s body that could only be known to someone who has seen him naked,” Lamarca told Nederlands Dagblad [a Dutch newspaper]. … In recent weeks, another ex-seminarian, who goes by a pseudonym in the articles, told French outlets that he was counseled by Anatrella for 14 years, from 1997 to 2011, and that after the first few years Anatrella began “special sessions” that included episodes of mutual masturbation.

The Paris archdiocese is asking other clients of Anatrella to come forward with any complaints of sexual impropriety. If it’s confirmed that the therapist had sex with young men under his pastoral and professional care, he’ll have some explaining to do — especially because he is on the record as saying that homosexuality is

“like an incompleteness and a profound immaturity of human sexuality,”

and that

gays are “narcissists” and … homosexuality is “a problem in the psychic organization” of a person’s sexuality.

(Photo by Peter Potrowl via Wikipedia)

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There Are No Final Solutions, There Is No Absolute Truth, There is No Supreme Leader

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“there are no final solutions; there is no absolute truth; there is no supreme leader; there is no totalitarian solution that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would simply abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours.

We have to begin by repudiating all such claims – grand rabbis, chief ayatollahs, infallible popes, the peddlers of mutant quasi-political worship, the dear leader, great leader, we have no need of any of this.”  – Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

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Mugshot photos of Radovan Karadžić by the Yugoslav and Bosnian police

Christian Fascist Radovan Karadzic Convicted of War Crimes and Genocide

THE HAGUE (Netherlands)

A United Nations tribunal has convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for leading a campaign of terror against civilians in the deadliest conflict in Europe since World War II.

Karadzic, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in lethal ethnic cleansing operations, the siege of Sarajevo and the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995, in proceedings that were likened to the Nuremberg trials of former Nazi leaders.

During his trial, like WWII Catholic and Christian-fascist dictators before him, Karadzic confessed he waged to what he believed was a holy war; a crusade sanctioned by priests, church, Christ and god, a “just and holy” war he declared.

Karadzic was saluted by the Greek Orthodox Church as “one of the most prominent sons of our Lord Jesus Christ working for peace.”  The church decorated Karadzic with the nine-hundred-year-old Knights’ Order of the First Rank of Saint Dionysius of Xanthe.

The Ecumenical Christian Patriarch Bartholomew announced that, “the Serbian people have been chosen by God to protect the western frontiers of Orthodoxy.”

The prosecution presented recorded testimony and transcripts of Karadžić’s political speeches. In one Karadžić is quoted as saying “Sarajevo will be a black cauldron where Muslims will die,” and that “They will disappear, that people will disappear from the face of the earth.”  In another Karadžić is quoted as saying that “Europe will be told to go fuck itself and not come back till the job is finished.”

Satko Mujagic, a former prisoner held by Serb forces for more than 200 days, said that Karadzic was responsible for “ethnic cleansing and blood”.

“I’m very glad that this man finally got what he deserved,” he said.

Mujagic said the verdict should also have a broader effect on Bosnia’s Serbs, Muslims, and Croats.  

“Honestly, I hope this sentence will mean something for people in Bosnia, because many people deny what has happened – people deny war crimes. I hope this means something for reconciliation in the country,” Mujagic said.

About 100 survivors gathered outside the UN tribunal as judges inside read out verdicts on some of the worst atrocities committed in Europe since World War II.

One banner read: “Srebrenica, we remember the 8,372 victims of genocide.”

Karadzic had long been accused of orchestrating the 1995 slaughter after Serb forces seized the UN’s Srebrenica “safe area” in eastern Bosnia.

Corespondent Emma Hayward, reporting from The Hague, said the pain of some survivors hadn’t gone away, but added that there was a sense of relief among the families and victims after the verdict.

“When we heard about Srebrenica, we heard about the Muslim men and boys who were taken away from their families and systematically killed,” said Hayward.

Some Bosnians outside the tribunal denounced the 40-year sentence saying it was grossly inadequate for the mass crimes committed.

“For me as a victim of genocide, I’m afraid this is some political game,” said Munira Subasic. “But I still believe in this court’s prosecutors, probably they’ll prepare more evidence for the appeals process so we hope to be satisfied at the very end.”

Karadzic was also acquitted on another genocide charge relating to events in 1992, a move that angered some Bosnians.

“Genocide didn’t only happen in Srebrenica but across all of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as persecution, suffering and everything we lived through,” said Zumra Sehumirovic outside the court.

A psychiatrist by vocation, Karadzic emerged as the Bosnian Serb political leader shortly before Yugoslavia began disintegrating in a series of wars in 1991. His military chief, general Ratko Mladic, is still on trial on similar charges.

To Bosnian Muslims and Croats, Karadzic is synonymous with war, death, and destruction.

 

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The Arabic Translation of The God Delusion Has Reportedly Been Downloaded 10 Million Times

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I’m not sure about the legality, but if Richard Dawkins isn’t bothered by the copyright ramifications, then neither am I.

An unauthorized PDF translation of Dawkin’s The God Delusion, by Iraqi emigrant Bassam Al-Baghdadi, who lives in Sweden, has reportedly been dowloaded ten million times,

with 30 percent going to Saudi Arabia. Bassam said that there were over 1,000 downloads on the very first day after he uploaded it, and the numbers only climbed as the translation was picked up and shared on the blogs, websites and forums of prominent Arab atheists. The book has prompted unprecedented controversy and debate in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

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The translator received…

… you’ll never guess this!…

death threats and accusations of conspiring with the Zionists to corrupt the youth. He was forced to close his social media accounts and stop posting for a while. …

In the Arabic translation of The God Delusion, under the title, Bassam added the words: “This book is banned in Islamic countries.” It is fortunate and wonderful that the banning of books in the Arab and Islamic worlds is no longer feasible in our new age of information. I was able to read the book while I was still in Morocco, where I was born. Some atheist friends even managed to get hold of the book in Saudi Arabia. The dark times of censorship, in which knowledge for the people was confined to carefully curated books and resources, are gone and will never return.

According to Kacem El Ghazzali, writing for the Huffington Post, Dawkins was unaware of the translation until El Ghazzali brought it to his attention at a 2014 skeptics conference in Switzerland. It’s to the great biologist’s credit that he apparently raised no big stink about it.

As for El Ghazzali, who was born in Morocco but now makes his home in Switzerland, he says he owes

… a tremendous debt of gratitude to Richard Dawkins, and to others who guided my journey from the hells of religious dogma to the oasis of free thought and enlightenment.

If you’d like a copy of the Arabic God Delusion, you can download it here.

(Image via ScienceBlogs. Thanks to Brian for the link)

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2016: The Year Republicans Admitted They Want the U.S. to be a Fascist, Christian Theocracy

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By Allen Clifton

What gets lost in the media’s obsession with all things Donald Trump is the fact that the alternative to him is Sen. Ted Cruz, someone who I think is far more dangerous than “The Donald.” As I’ve said plenty of times before, Cruz is basically everything bad about Trump – but even more radical.

At least with Trump you get a slight glimmer of common sense when it comes to health care and Social Security. Plus Trump isn’t exactly “Mr. Religious,” even if he’s pretending to be to pander for votes. However, Ted Cruz is a religious radical who has a history of putting himself and his own ambitions before anyone else, including his own political party and the country.

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This is someone who’s so unpopular that he’s done what almost nobody in Washington has been able to do for years: he’s brought Democrats and Republicans together because both groups can’t stand him. But having these two men as the top two candidates for the GOP openly tells us what kind of country conservative voters want to turn this nation into: A fascist Christian theocracy.

Both of these men are essentially different types of fascists. While Trump is more the prototypical “dictator-type,” Cruz is what I call a religious fascist. He’s even said in the past that the only way to “save” the United States is to turn it into a theocracy. These are two men who are almost never honest, who’ve built the foundations of their campaigns on doing nothing more than pandering to hate, anger, bigotry and racism.

Even when they’re called out directly to their face on something they said that was unquestionably not true, they simply accuse the person calling them out of being dishonest, then continue to lie some more. Both individuals are completely impervious to being fact checked because neither one operates within a realm of reality where “truth” matters at all. Which works well for them because most of their supporters couldn’t care less about things like facts or reality.

These are people who simply want to be told what they want to hear. The 2016 election has shown us all that Republicans want this nation to be run as a fascist, Christian theocracy. They want a propagandist who tells them mythical stories created to do nothing more than play to their fantasies.

They want to be indoctrinated, told what to think and have the Bible rule over the Constitution. They want Muslims and immigrants (at least brown ones) out of the country. They want a “leader” who stands behind a podium preaching nationalism, hate and fear. Aside from President Obama’s race, a big reason why so many hate him is because he’s not an idiot. This president is someone who sees the bigger picture and seems to understand that we’re living in a world where your capacity to outthink your opposition is just as important as the size of your military.

Meanwhile, Republicans are sheep who respond to trigger words, simplified talking points and seem to believe that extremely complex problems are solved by solutions that sound like they came from the mind of a deranged 7-year-old Charlie Manson. Right now the country is at a precipice in time that history will look back upon as either the moment we all stood up against this wave of fascist Christianity that’s threatening to take over the country, or the moment we stayed home on election day and allowed it to happen.

I certainly hope that when future generations of Americans look back on the 2016 elections, this year will be defined by tens of millions of Americans rising up against the biggest fascist threat this country has faced since Adolf Hitler ruled over Nazi Germany.

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The French conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories

From left to right: Spicee co-founders Jean Bernard Schmidt and Antoine Robin, editor-in-chief Matthieu Firmin and documentary-maker Thomas Huchon. Photograph: Spicee

Thomas Huchon and Antoine Robin’s bogus film about Aids and the CIA is being
shown in French schools in an effort to educate students about disinformation

by Paul Hill

The CIA invented the virus that causes Aids in the 1960s to wage war against Castro’s Cuba, according to a French documentary that started to spread online six months ago.

The 42-minute online film alleged that the United States was now lifting its 50-year embargo in a cynical move to give the American pharmaceutical industry access to a vaccine developed by Cuban scientists.

But none of it was true.

Even Lionel Perrottin, the mysterious figure behind the footage, was a fabrication.

The bogus film was the brainchild of documentary-maker Thomas Huchon and Antoine Robin, co-founder of the Paris-based video journalism site Spicee.

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Troubled by the emergence of conspiracy theories in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, their “Conspi-Hunter” project was intended to show how quickly and easily disinformation can spread.

Huchon posed as his alter-ego Perrottin on social media, building a following of more than 500 people before publishing the bogus documentary.

The film clocked up 10,000 views on YouTube and thousands of shares across Facebook and Twitter in three weeks before the truth was revealed on Spicee.

The bogus film was also featured by a number of French blogs – and can still be found on one site which has more than one million unique visitors per month.

The story of the Conspi-Hunter investigation appeared on November 12: the day before the terror attacks in Paris.

Even if bizarre plots against Cuba attributed to the CIA have been the subject of genuine research among both historians and journalists, the “Conspi-Hunter” project has since become a media talking point and is being taken into French high schools to encourage students to think critically about what they are reading online.

“Today, if you are 15 or 16 years old, you’re going to ask questions – but the problem is never the question, it’s who gives the answer,” Huchon said. “Today – and for the last 10 years – the people who answer questions like ‘Was Charlie Hebdo a conspiracy?’ are conspiracy theory believers. That’s the problem. As journalists we produce content that can answer these questions. But how can you fight people who do not respect any kind of journalistic rules?”
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Huchon added: “We’ve lost the fight for the algorithm. For 10 years, the conspiracy theorists have been writing on the web and they are over-represented. It’s because they are more eager to share their views than others, they publish more, they go up in the algorithm. It’s a fight for quality of information. And the fight right now, well, we’re losing it for good and bad reasons.”

The Conspi-Hunter project was featured during France’s “national study day on responding to conspiracy theories” on 9 February.

Led by education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, the study day saw 300 academics, educationalists and teachers debate how best to counter disinformation online.

It came amid growing concern in France about dealing with radicalisation in schools in the wake of the terror attacks.

Debate in the UK centres on the Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 which put a duty on schools to help prevent students being “drawn into terrorism”.

The Department for Education said its Educate against Hate website was intended to help both teachers and parents encourage “young people to challenge conspiracy theories and build a stronger understanding of the risk of extremism”.

“We want young people to be able to take advantage of the vast potential that the internet and social media offers to their lives and education,” a Department for Education spokesperson said.

“But we also want to make sure they are aware of the risks and dangers. That’s why we are strengthening statutory guidance, so that schools are required to ensure that they teach their pupils about safeguarding, including online safety, and have appropriate filters and monitoring systems in place.”

Successful conspiracy theories had four ingredients: a villain, a victim, an underlying theory and a twist or revelation

Google told MPs earlier this year that it would pilot a programme to show anti-radicalisation material to users searching for extremist material.

Huchon said successful conspiracy theories had four essential ingredients: a plausible villain, a victim, an underlying theory and a twist or revelation.

“We decided at the beginning not to choose an ethnic or religious conspiracy, or anti-Islam or anti-Semitism – all of these subjects are nitro-glycerine,” he added.

“We didn’t want the project to escape from us. Perhaps the biggest point was to stay the master of the experiment. If a crazy story about Aids and Cuba could be spread on the internet, imagine what could happen with a crazy story about anti-Semitism or anti-Islam? We wanted a topic that would keep us a little apart from the major trends. We wanted to be able to explain how something totally fake would be repeated and never fact-checked by anyone. We looked at the ‘complot-sphere’ and decided the best way to understand it was to infiltrate it.”
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In shaping the Conspi-Hunter project, Huchon and the Spicee team drew on advice from Rudy Reichstadt, founder of France’s Conspiracy Watch, anthropologist Dounia Bouzar, sociologist Gérard Bronner, and high school teacher Sophie Mazet, author of the Manual of Intellectual Self-Defence.

Today, Huchon and Spicee’s battle against conspiracy theorists is set to continue.

They plan to follow Conspi-Hunter by mapping “real-time revisionism” and plot how conspiracy theories emerge from breaking news stories.

“We don’t have the choice, we have to answer the questions in front of us – even if we think the questions are ridiculous,” he said.

“We have to answer with intelligence and to the highest standard possible – we need fact-checking and we need to be thinking critically all the time.”

Via The Guardian