Excommunication. Hurrah!

From a draft in June 2014. I don’t really know why I didn’t post this as it seems finished and ready to go. So I post it now!


As you may know, I’m not that keen on religion.

Like all big corporations, it loses the message in its desire to control.

Still, I am surprised that something like excommunication carries any weight, these days. And, yet, recently, the Pope has excommunicated the “Mafia”. Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, the “Mafia” haven’t responded to this by issuing a statement, so we don’t know how they feel about it.

And I read that someone has been excommunicated from the Mormon church because she was promoting the idea of women in the hierarchy of the church.

Apart from the fact that it’s bad form to think that women are “less” than men, to excommunicate her because of her campaigning seems a bit harsh. But, then, the established churches are hardly known for their democratic practices, are they?

But that’s not the worst thing, in my opinion. The worst thing is that she should be upset by this excommunication. This was not what Jesus preached – exclusion. He preached the opposite. So, if a group of people who profess to follow his teachings, do something that is exactly the opposite of what he taught, doesn’t that make them and their organisation so far removed from the real thing that, in fact, by excommunicating someone they are, in fact, excommunicating themselves from God’s church?

And, if they’re all excommunicated, doesn’t it make excommunication by them mean the opposite – i.e. that, in this case, she has joined God’s church?

It’s just a kind of logic, isn’t it?

The “Mafia” and the Catholic Church – two institutions that “run” Italy

There’s a story about squatters living in one of the churches in Rome that the Pope uses.

They are, in fact, making some sort of demonstration about the housing crisis in Rome.

However, I was struck by the following:

“We are an alarm call, a heads-up that the housing system in Rome is collapsing,” said Luca Bonucci, 38, a former security guard who lost his home when his employer failed to pay him for a year.

The thing that struck me was not that the housing system in Rome is collapsing, nor that this guy was a former security guard that is now unemployed, nor that he “lost” his home.

It is that his employer failed to pay him for a year!

This is something that seems quite common here, in Italy.

In the UK, I only heard about this happening (for an extended period of time) for one person. Here, I’ve heard about it often. It seems a common thing.

Of course, this has all to do with cashflow management – and how good or bad the managers are at managing it.

It’s not helped by the fact that Italian government and council agencies still find it acceptable to pay companies late – more than 90 days – and yet those same agencies demand money immediately or, even, (from what I understand) in the case of VAT (IVA, here), up front! But it’s not only government and council agencies.

I can’t imagine continuing to work somewhere when I wasn’t paid – for a whole year!

It’s not even as if wages here are so huge. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before now, I still can’t quite understand how this country functions with wages set so low.

As usual, the solution to this (and most problems here), is a change in thinking. A change that seems unlikely to come any time soon.

I remember one of my “contracts” here when I was teaching. I did some work that was funded through the EU, providing cut-price lessons to companies in Italy. The pay for me was quite high (compared to most English teaching “jobs”) and the funding actually came through charity organisations. Since I did a number of these contracts, I had different contracts with different charity agencies.

All of them were really good – except one. The one that was terrible was the “Catholic” one. For this one, I really had to fight for my money. The others paid me almost as soon as the courses were complete. This one kept me hanging on for a couple of months. Eventually, I went to their headquarters. I was told that the person who could sign the cheque was not there right now. I said I would wait. They told me that it was not a good idea to wait as they didn’t know when he would come in but they would make sure that he signed the cheque as soon as he came in and I should come back the next day.

I went back the next day. Apparently, for one reason or another, he hadn’t signed the cheque. And he wasn’t there right now but they would get it done today and I could come back tomorrow. I explained that that wasn’t good enough and that I wasn’t trekking all the way across town again.

I said I would wait.

They didn’t want that but they thought that I would give up and go after an hour or so. They had no idea who they were dealing with. I waited for an hour and a half to two hours.

Suddenly I was called to the desk as somehow, miraculously, they had the cheque! This was strange, as no one had entered the building since I had arrived, apart from people going to the desk and then leaving!!!! I thanked them but told them that I would never do work for them again. I was shocked at the time as I never expected a Catholic charity to be lying bastards.

Catholic charities, it seems, are the worst for paying their debts! So it seems justified (in a justice sense) that the Catholic Church should suffer the homeless people who may have even been made homeless by their failure to pay the company for which poor Luca worked. Even if it wasn’t a Catholic charity directly, you can be certain they were involved somewhere down the line. They are, after all, as prolific here as the “Mafia”. And, to be honest, I would put them both in the same category of organisation.

The full link to the article is here

Religion, Lies Part 2 (and THAT film.)

It was really not easy, yesterday, to find the ‘film’.

First I had to find the name of the ‘film’. Before that I had to find the ‘writer/director’ of the film. I looked all over the place. eventually I found the name of the guy and, from that, the name of the film.

Actually, it wasn’t a film but, supposedly, the trailer for a film. The film being The Innocence of Muslims directed and written by Sam Bacile.

People are upset. People have died.

Because of this ‘trailer’.

I read it had a budget of $5 million.

But, having watched the trailer, I don’t see how that is possible. Low-budget doesn’t even begin to describe it.

But the problem is not that it was low-budget, nor even that the ‘actors’ are more wodden than trees, nor that the ‘actors’ are, quite obviously NOT in a desert but floating some way above it, nor that the ‘actors’ voices seem to have been dubbed, nor that it is a ‘shitty little film’.

For it is all of those things and more. The fact that you can post a film or trailer on YouTube doesn’t make it good. In fact, that’s the whole point. You can put any old crap up there (and this trailer is most certainly that).

Nor is the problem that the story is, most certainly, a complete load of bollocks.

No, the problem is that there is any story about this at all. Worse, that people (who may have never seen it) have been incited to kill people who almost certainly never watched it and, certainly, had nothing to do with it.

And, the real story may be that it was made with the specific intention of causing this problem, of inciting this murder.

And, if the reports are true, by a group of people who are supposed to be religious. Again!

These so-called religious people are Coptic Chirstians – but not Coptic Christians in the actual country but ex-pat Coptic Christians who don’t live in Egypt and won’t have to suffer any of the problems that, almost certainly, the REAL Coptic Christians will now suffer on behalf of a film they had nothing to do with!

Intolerance of others is unacceptable. Inciting hatred is despicable.

Religion should be banned.

p.s. since I wrote this I found the ‘full?’ 15-minute film. As is normal, the trailer showed the ‘best bits’. The film is not only dire and a load of old crap but really shouldn’t even be called a film at all. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

Religion, Lies Part 1 (and THAT newspaper.)

The DailyHateMail is at it again.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK, apparently, in a speech that was issued (but not actually made), called the people opposing the right of marriage for gay people, bigots.

Today, the headline in the DM says I apologise for my gay marriage ‘bigot’ slur, says Clegg as he tries to limit fallout caused by remark

Clegg wrote a letter which, apparently, says:

‘Those extracts were neither written or approved by me. They do not represent my views, which is why they were subsequently withdrawn.

‘While I am a committed advocate of equal marriage, I would never refer to people who oppose it in this way. Indeed, I know people myself who do not support equal marriage and, although I disagree with them, clearly I do not think they are bigots. Nor do I think it is acceptable they, or anyone else, are insulted in this way.

‘My views on this issue are no secret, but I respect the fact that some people feel differently to me about marriage, often because of their religious beliefs.

‘I hope this explanation helps clarify what happened yesterday as well as my position, and I hope that the serious error that occurred will not cause lasting offence.’

Well, a couple of things here.

1. Clegg didn’t make the speech. And, in any event, these people don’t actually write their speeches. So, someone (but NOT Clegg) wrote the speech which was issued ahead of the event at which Clegg was going to speak. The to-do that occurred as a result meant that the words were changed (or, perhaps it really WAS a mistake).

2. The letter that Clegg subsequently wrote does not apologise for something that he didn’t say in the first place.

3. The definition of a bigot, namely a person having or revealing an obstinate belief in the superiority of their own opinions and a prejudiced intolerance of the opinions of others, seems to fit quite well. That’s religion for you.

I’m going to take my toys away and not play any more.

[We are] sympathetic to those needs, we want to see a society in which gay people are fully included and their needs are fully provided for.

Except, of course, in this one case, where we don’t actually want them to be fully included at all.

In fact, if you do this, we’re going to take our toys away and sulk in the corner. And that’ll show you, won’t it!

Surprisingly, this is not a three-year-old child talking but some senior adult person in the Church of England.

They are, as you may have guessed, talking about marriage and the fact that by changing the law it will change the whole idea of marriage. Because marrying two people is not the same as marrying a man and a woman.

And, because they’re frightened that some of their powerbase will disappear and they will become irrelevant by virtue of some countries splitting from the CofE and becoming the Church of Nigeria or some other backward place.

However, what I didn’t know until now was that the CofE is obliged to marry a man and a woman (if they are residents of the UK) in their church, even if they are not of ‘the faith’. Apparently, it’s law. They have to do it. And they are worried that, for all the ‘safeguards’ from the government, the European Court of Human Rights might see things differently and determine that the current law should also apply to queer people.

Apparently, “Marriage benefits society in many ways, not only by promoting mutuality and fidelity [which, quite obviously it won’t be able to do once we allow gay people to marry], but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation.”
Hang on! Only 25% of people get married in Church anyway. So, that would be many (but not all) of that 25%, I guess. So, maybe 20% of the population!

And they say that gay people are a minority and trying to ride roughshod over these 20% of people’s views. So that’s a minority trying to tell another minority what to do? Whereas, the 20% that are saying we want everyone to be equal except in this case are NOT a minority trying to tell another minority what they can and can’t do?


If the church was fairly irrelevant before, it becomes more irrelevant with this kind of skewed argument.

But, didn’t they used to have all sorts of other ‘rules’ too? Like not marrying someone who was black to someone who was white? Did the change in law take anything away from the ‘institution of marriage’?

Not that I have a beef one way or another, since I won’t be getting married in or out of any church. But, really, what a hypocritical, bigoted bunch of w£$%&!rs they are. May their demise or revelation come quickly.

Quotes came from here

They’re all quite mad, you know?

It makes me wonder what they’re scared of.

V wanted to get married. He had plans to have some big ‘do’ in Eastnor Castle or somewhere similar. He decided we would wed in white suits and he had chosen who was going to ‘give him away’. It was fantasy, of course. By the time there was the ability to have a civil ceremony, I was already certain that I wouldn’t marry him.

Personally, other than for the benefits it gives your partner (in terms of when you die, etc.), I don’t see the point. It doesn’t seem to be able to keep people together much more than normal couples (with the divorce rates rising year on year); and if it is meant to be significant – in what way is it? Other than to tell the rest of the world that you have a partner (for the moment). It seems a strange, outmoded thing and, I suppose, that is why some people are frightened of it becoming available to all. They WANT to keep it elitist – a club where not everyone can get in. That would, in their minds, make it more precious.

Would I marry F (should the law here change, however unlikely)? Yes, if he wanted it. I am ambivalent about it. It wouldn’t change how I feel about him. It wouldn’t really make any difference to me, inside. I don’t really need the presents or the party. We have our ‘anniversary’ and that’s good enough for me. I don’t really keep our relationship a secret and I’m sure that most people at work know. Our relationship is our business and we don’t need to have anyone else’s acceptance to make it more real than it is. I suppose I might change my mind if something happens where I feel discriminated against. But for now it’s OK as it is.

That’s not to say that I don’t want other people, currently denied the opportunity to marry, to be allowed to marry. If they want it, it’s fine by me.

But what I don’t understand is the hatred (from both sides) and the stupid arguments made for and against.

So, this person, a leader of an organisation that has harboured paedophiles for years, probably centuries, thinks that making marriage legal for homosexual people “madness” and a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”.

Excuse me? What ‘accepted human right’ is he talking about*? And why is it ‘madness’?

No it doesn’t make any sense at all. Was this the same church that, for years, opposed inter-racial marriage? The same religion that assisted Hitler and Mussolini with the deportation and gassing of Jews? The same church that actively kept paedophiles safe from the police and courts?

How is anyone from that religion permitted to offer their thoughts on anything at all?

Now that, to me, is where the madness lies and that is a grotesque subversion of human decency and morals.

And, if you want to read more from crazy people, see the comments below this article, in the Independant.

* In fact he is talking about Article 16 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, where marriage is defined as a relationship between men and women.
In fact, the UDHR, article 16 is defined as:

Article 16.

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

This is disingenuous on his part since he totally twisted the wording. Article 16 gives the right for men and women to get married – nowhere here does it define marriage as specifically restricted to between a man and a woman. As with most religious nut-cases, he takes something and applies it in the way that he wants rather than fully comprehending its meaning. Stupid man, Keith O’Brian

Breaking news: Christians kill a Christain! Muslims kill a Muslim! Jews kill a Jew!

In fact, people kill people. Sometimes it is racially motivated, sometimes because of an argument and sometimes by accident. Even, sometimes, it is because the murderer objects to what the other person is saying/doing. Like Road Rage!

So, it beggars belief when I read this story.

Unfortunately, I am unable to check out what he actually says at http://dinoscopus.blogspot.com/ because I can only read it if I am invited and, quite obviously, I wouldn’t ever get the invitation ;-)

However, given that the Guardian might be telling the truth, he has, basically, said that there was this Jew who was killed by Jews about 2000 years ago.

Of course, Christians would like to think that Jesus was a Christian. Unfortunately, he wasn’t. He was born and he died a Jew. However, he did have a different view of God and how we should practice our faith in God which did, somewhat, slightly upset the leaders of the Jewish faith at the time (so it is said/written).

But, because we think that Jesus was a Christian, when someone says that the Jews killed Jesus, the Jews get a bit upset since some Christians undoubtedly think that it makes the Jews terrible people.

Which it certainly does not.

After all, if Jesus hadn’t died, would the Christian faith exist at all? I mean, his death and the supposed events afterwards (like rising and going to heaven) are pretty central to the Christian faith, aren’t they? And if he had died of some disease or old age at, say 68, I doubt it would have started the worldwide craze known now as Christianity.

So, rather than Christians being all aggrieved about some Jews from 2000 years ago who killed (or forced the Romans to kill) one of their own for having some different thoughts, they should be very happy and be thanking the Jews for making it all happen!

Well, that’s my thoughts on it. Not that it will make any difference.

The 1000th Post

It’s a lot, really. OK, so some of my previously published posts haven’t been earth shattering but it doesn’t really matter. I got to 1000.

I wanted to do something a bit special for this post. Gail suggested I talk about God. No one else suggested anything.

So, let’s talk about God or, rather, let me talk about God.

The first thing that comes to mind is, why?

I mean, why did we make up God. Of course, there are stories in the Bible about people having a direct relationship with God. If they said such a thing now, we would lock them away.

I believe it’s our need for two things. 1. We need some way of explaining the inexplicable and 2. We need someone to blame/call on when things go bad. We need that feeling that there’s someone more powerful than us who can help us or whose fault it is.

That’s it.

Now, we need a name for him/her. Let’s call him/her God. For that matter, why should it be a him or a her? Why not an ‘it’? Well, we don’t know how to depict an ‘it’. In the olden times, before God became God, humans worshipped gods. The gods could be trees or animals – the things around. When we became sophisticated we made God in our image and someone wrote a book about him where we were the image of him. That was very convenient. It makes us more special than anything else. But he may not be a he or a she or, even, an it. Maybe God, should such a being exist, is nothing comprehensible to us but if that were to be so then he would be too difficult to handle.

So we made him like us. And then, until recently, we made him a him. Now we say he could be a her.

It’s a bit like death. We make up stuff about a heaven and, just so we make sure that all the nasty people we don’t like can’t be with us in this heaven (‘cos they don’t deserve it), we make a hell too. And whilst we’re at it we’ll have a bad guy against God because, well, all the best stories have a good and a bad guy. Let’s call him Satan or the Devil.

And now we have a reason why everyone can’t be nice and perfect. ‘Cos they got in with Satan. So, although we have already given God all powers – we create someone who also has a (nearly) matching power.

The logic problem with that is that, if God is all-powerful, then there can’t be a Satan, can there?

I could stop there, I suppose. Because the problem with all this is that, if you get rid of Satan because of his impossibility to exist (God being all-powerful and all that), then what about the bad people? I mean, if God made us in his (very convenient) image and Satan doesn’t exist, then why the bad people? Or are we saying God can be good AND bad?

Of course, if God is both good and bad and he made us in his image, then we, too, would be good and bad. And that’s not good, is it? Since that gives him ‘whims’ since being bad is not a Christian thing to be.

So, I guess I’m saying we’re stuffed. Since there can’t be a Satan and, since, without Satan, that would make God both good and bad, then all the stuff in the Bible that there is like ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘love your enemies’ is flawed. And if that bit is flawed and if Satan doesn’t exist then, to be honest, neither does God.

But if God doesn’t exist then neither does heaven. And if heaven doesn’t exist then that’s just too scary because what happens to you when you die? Other than you die, of course. What I meant was, what’s the point?

And the point is not 42.

But, of course, if there is no God, then there isn’t necessarily any point. Why does there have to be a point? Why isn’t there just life? Because we are always striving for something. A goal. If your goal is to get to heaven to be with God, then there is a reason for life and a reason to be good (or try to be). We can’t be ‘goal-less’, can we? Or, can we?

I mean to say, why should we have a goal, even just the one? What if we live everyday like it will be our last day? What if the ‘heaven’ that everyone wants to get to is really just a thought – I mean, a thought by others? What if heaven is really that we shall be remembered?

I.e. heaven is not a ‘place’ (was it ever?), but a memory, by others.

When you’re dead, then you’re dead. Why do we want to live forever? We don’t think that animals do (well, generally, we don’t think that animals do). We think that, when they’re dead, they’re dead. We even eat some of them (or, rather, a lot of them). There are even (or maybe that’s ‘were’?) tribes of cannibals. So, even we are eaten. And then? When there’s nothing left?

We talk about soul. As if it’s real. We even describe it as not being able to be seen. Like the Holy Ghost. It’s the get-out clause of all time. Something that exists but doesn’t.

We laugh at those people who believed in gods. We think they are slightly crazy. But, surely, they are no crazier than us? They believed in things they could not see; tried to make images of these things they couldn’t see – images that were like themselves or things around them; there were gods that couldn’t be seen.

We have a need to have these things that are higher than us, more supreme. We make up stories to ‘fit’ the things that happen, the things that exist.

We do it, too, with science. We ‘prove’ things. We look in incredible detail. We theorise about how it all started. Is this any better? The bible, one great fairy tale, was written to explain about God and the things that had happened. Are science books that different? If we, as a race of beings, survive for another couple of thousand years, are our ancestors going to look back and laugh at our beliefs (both of God and in science), since they have found a better story around which to fit everything?

Don’t get me wrong. I call on ‘him’ in times of strife or worry. I have my beliefs. I have the things that I believe in. They are the things that I’ve picked up over the years that suit me. They are the things that make sense to me. Even if some of them are as stupid as believing in astrology. I pick and choose the things I believe in. I don’t quite ‘fit in’ to the single belief. That’s OK. Why not? I’m making my own bible. It does for me.

Do I believe in heaven, even if I have some belief in God? No, that’s where I can’t go. I want to make an impact on this world in the (vain?) hope that there will be people who remember me. That is my heaven. I try to be nice, not because I am a Christian but because I feel more comfortable living like that.

I try to do what my Grandfather said. I am trying to be content. It works for me.

Unusually for me, I have decided I might edit this post after the event. So I may do that. Just so you know.