29 January 2010


(Click on image for larger view.)

In my meandering on the web, I ran across this wonderful post:
It is a great post and a heartfelt apology from Rechelle, a former Christian.

Unfortunately comments are closed on the blog, so I was unable to contact the writer or ask her permission to copy the first lines of her points, but I don't think she will mind as I am directing readers to her blog. Please click on one of the links for the full text.

1. I apologize to all the homosexuals. I am sorry that I believed in a religion that condemns you......
2. I apologize to everyone on the face of the earth that has not accepted Jesus christ as their personal savior because I believed that you were all going to hell...
3. I apologize to all my former Sunday school students because I taught you that the bible was the word of god...
4. I apologize for giving money to the church...
5. I apologize for believing all sorts of mad things that are seriously messed up and incredibly hurtful to my fellow humans...
6. I apologize to my kids for being a passive aggressive christian mom...
7. Finally, I apologize for allowing my faith to numb my response to the problems of the world...
Click HERE to read the full text of the author's seven points of apology.

23 January 2010


In Ireland during the 1800s, Magdalene homes were set up as places of refuge for prostitutes and “fallen” women. They were named after Mary Magdalene who repented before Christ. As the 20th century approached, the homes were taken over by nuns, who, instead of making the homes places of forgiveness and compassion, brought them under the strict and cruel dogma of Catholicism and turned them into institutions worse than prisons. Prisoners had rights. Magdalene inmates had none.
In 1996, the last Magdalene asylum was closed in Ireland. It is almost unimaginable that such a misogynistic and horrific institution survived for so long, and it is almost inconceivable that women had been treated so badly by other women.
Irish girls were not instructed in sex education, yet were condemend to a miserable fate if they were poor, had been raped, had a child out of wedlock, or were “too beautiful” or flirtatious and thus might be in “moral danger.” Of course, abortion was illegal and a mortal sin. Many girls were rejected by their own families and given over to the “mercy” of the Catholic Church. The women were locked up to “scrub away” their sins by working 10-hour days 6 days a week for no pay in insitutional laundries run by nuns. The church earned money from local hotels and univeristies to do their laundry with what amounted to slave labor.
For an estimated 30,000 young women, life with the Magdalene Sisters was harsh and miserable. Some victims were kept for a few years. Many stayed for the rest of their lives.
The plights of these women seemed amazingly similar to the treatment of women by the Taliban. The Magdalene Sisters perpetrated a form of religious terrorism directed at women. Perhaps their positions of power and their own fear of sexuality resulted in their depriving their charges of any freedoms.
In Ireland, the Catholic Church was so powerful that no one questioned its practices. Women who escaped or were released didn’t speak about their experiences because they were too broken, ashamed, or afraid.
Researcher Dr. Frances Finnegan received documents from one of the religious orders at a time when they thought themselves invulnerable. Much of that research resulted in the 1998 documentary “Sex in a Cold Climate” which, in turn, inspired the 2002 fictionalized version “The Magdalene Sisters” based on the lives of four women in the asylums. (The DVD of The Magdalene Sisters includes both the documentary and the fictionalized version.) Although the film is set in the 1960s, the stories on which the film is based happened in the 40s and 50s.

Critics claim the film portrays conditions much more brutally than the reality could ever have been.
Inmates watched nuns eat buttered toast and bacon while they breakfasted on porridge. As punishment, they were beaten, their hair cut off, and they were frequently subjected to humiliation. They were not allowed to speak while working and were forbidden to form friendships. They were isolated from the outside world. Their names were changed and they were denied any contact with or knowledges of the fates of their illegitimate children. Many were sexually abused by priests.
Filmmaker Peter Mulian said, "In any oppressive regime, you take away people's ability to think once you take away their ability to express themselves. The church is a pretty sophisticated organization. It simply didn't serve their purposes to educate these women. They held them with fear, guilt and shame - its oldest and vilest weapons. The methodology they applied is shared by torturers all round the world. The prisoner's self-esteem is taken away, you deny them education, you deny them access to the outside world, you deny them communication to one another, you don't allow friendships to form and you take away their identities and give them new names. It is about breaking people down.”
Writer Fiachra Gibbons writes, “Every...‘Magdalene’ I've talked to says...the reality was more brutal [than the film.]”
"It was worse in the Magdalenes, much worse than what you see. I don't like to say it, but the film is soft on the nuns," says Mary-Jo McDonagh, who spent five years in a laundry in Galway. After being molested by a neighbour, she was spirited away early one morning by a priest and told she had "brought shame on her family". McDonagh eventually escaped to England after she was farmed out as a servant to a cousin of one of the nuns.
Often children born out of wedlock were placed in orphanages. At age 17, many of the female orphans were placed in Magdalene laundries, not for any sexual misbehavior, but because the nuns didn't know what else to do with them ---or maybe just to acquire more free labor. One woman had worked beside her own daughter for more than 20 years. Knowing the mother had pined for her daughter the entire time, the sadistic nuns had not revealed their relationship. The daughter was told only after her mother had died.
It should be noted that the actions of the nuns were entirely contradictory to the tenets of the faith in whose name they claimed to act. Accounts of Jesus say that he pardoned, showed kindness to and frequently spent time with women caught in adultery, whereas the Magdalene Sisters forced such women into brutal work for their salvation and pardon.
Predictably, The Magdalene Sisters film outraged the Vatican. Victims of Magdalene Asylums have received no closure in the form of recognition, compensation, or apology, yet many ---brainwashed with an eternity in hell for even thinking of questioning church authority ---remained devout Catholics. However, some of the women highlighted in the documentary film have wisely abandoned the church.


The DVD (including Sex in a Cold Climate and The Magdalene Sisters) is available from Netflix. Read more about these films on the Internet Movie Database

20 January 2010


In my attempt to show that being religious
is not a guarantee of moral behavior,
this post is part of a series of reports featuring
the bad behavior of religious people, past or present....

Look for other posts showing the bad behavior
perpetrated by members of other religious groups.

"God told me......"

According to CBS News and Wikipedia, on many occasions, Pat Robertson has announced that god told him truths or informed him of events that would happen in the near future. "I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."
Wait a minute! If god tells Pat truths, how can he possibly miss? And, you will notice below, that if Robertson does get it wrong, he just claims that enough Christians prayed so god changed his mind.

1982: In late 1976, Robertson predicted that the end of the world was coming in November or October 1982. In a May 1980 broadcast of The 700 Club he stated, "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world."

2006: In May 2006, Robertson said, "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms." On May 17, 2006, he elaborated, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest." His declaration was generally received with mild amusement by the Pacific Northwest media. The History Channel's initial airing of its new series, Mega Disasters: West Coast Tsunami, was broadcast the first week of May. Robertson repeated his claim at least 4 times on the 700 Club.

2007: On the January 2, 2007, broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said that God spoke to him and told him that "mass killings" were to come during 2007, due to a terrorist attack on the United States. He added, "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." When a terrorist attack failed to happen in 2007, Robertson said, in January 2008, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."

2008: On the January 2, 2008, Pat Robertson predicted that 2008 would be a year of worldwide violence. He also predicted that a recession would occur in the United States that would be followed by a stock market crash by 2010.

2008: In October 2008 Robertson posted a press release on the Georgian Conflict speculating that the conflict is a Russian ploy to enter the Middle East, and that instability caused by a predicted pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran would result in Syria's and Iran's launching nuclear strikes on other targets. He also said that if the United States were to oppose Russia's expansion, nuclear strikes on American soil are also pending. "We will suffer grave economic damage, but will not engage in military action to stop the conflict. However, we may not be spared nuclear strikes against coastal cities. In conclusion, it is my opinion that we have between 75 and 120 days before the Middle East starts spinning out of control."

2010: At the start of 2010, the Associated Baptist Press said Robertson shared God's predictions for the year and said he wouldn't bless America because of abortion, homosexuality and prayer. "Fifty million babies slaughtered," God allegedly complained to him. "You can't have legislation that is anti-God. You can't foster in your midst things that I call an abomination… If you do, sooner or later judgment's going to come."

You can bet that sometimes Pat misses, like maybe he is missing a few marbles.

19 January 2010



According to Wikipedia, Marion Gordon Robertson (born March 22, 1930) is the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Christian Coalition, Regent University and other organizations and corporations. He is the host of The 700 Club, a Christian TV program airing on channels throughout the United States and on CBN affiliates worldwide. His media and financial resources make him a recognized, influential, and controversial public voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.

Oh, I forgot to mention, he's a raving nut case.

He claims that some Protestant denominations harbor the spirit of the Antichrist, claims he has the power to deflect hurricanes through prayer, has denounced Hinduism as "demonic" and Islam as "satanic," and has so many objections to feminism, homosexuality, abortion, and liberal politics that it would be impossible to list them all. He had financial ties to presidents Charles Taylor (Liberia) and Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire), both human rights violators. He claims that every natural occurrence ---be it weather-related or illness of someone he dislikes ---is an act of god in retribution for some sin or other.

The following outrageous statements were found on the CBS News website:

1992: "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Gee, I consider myself a feminist, but I seem to have gone about it all wrong. I’m not a socialist. I guess I ought to sign up. I did leave my first husband after he committed adultery. (He was the "sinner," Pat, not me.) But my second husband and I have been married 25 years, so I will file divorce papers right away. I can’t kill my children because I never had any, so I guess I have to off the neighbors' children. (They're rather annoying anyway.) After I file those divorce papers, I'll search for a lesbian lover and start practicing witchcraft.

2001: Two days after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Robertson agreed with Jerry Falwell who said that God allowed the attacks because of moral decay - specifically the ACLU, abortionists, feminists and gays.

2005: If Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez "thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop… We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

2005: After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Robertson said, "I was reading… a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those [abortionists] who shed innocent blood… Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected?"

2006: Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was given a debilitating stroke because he was trying to make peace with the Palestinians and give them land. "He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course…God says 'this land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'"

2010: After the earthquake that devastated Haiti, Robertson said Haitians had made a "pact with the devil" and have been "cursed" ever since. "They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said 'we will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.'…so the devil said, 'ok it’s a deal.' And they kicked the French out. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."
In my attempt to show that being religious
is not a guarantee of moral behavior,
this post is part of a series of reports featuring
the bad behavior of religious people, past or present....

Look for other posts showing the bad behavior
perpetrated by members of other religious groups.

Robertson likes to make predictions that he believes have come directly from god. Read about them in my next post.

14 January 2010

Help Earthquake Victims in Haiti

The news and photos from Haiti and the Dominican Republic are almost too terrible to imagine. Those of us who are atheists know that there is no god who is going to provide relief for those who are suffering there. Prayer will do no good. We must act to help those in need.
According to moveon.com, "Three million people have been affected by Tuesday's earthquake, and the Red Cross estimates as many as 50,000 may be dead. Survivors are digging through the rubble with their hands in a desperate attempt to rescue those who are trapped. With water and medical supplies in short supply, and the Haitian government paralyzed, international aid efforts in the next few days will be critical to prevent more human suffering."
According to screencrave.com, MTV is working with George Clooney to host a telethon to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake. The event, which has a tentative air date of January 22nd, will air on all MTV affiliated networks including BET and VH1.

As usual, beware of individuals and unsolicited emails claiming to be collecting funds for the relief efforts. You can find an article HERE about disaster relief scams.

The American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity-watchdog group, has a list of top-rated Haiti relief organizations HERE. This organization gives charities grades of A+ to F and recommends donating to those that receive an A or B grade based on the portion of their budget actually going to the program and other factors.

I have listed below those non-religious charities recommended by the American Institute of Philanthropy with A grades. (I didn't have time to research them all, but these seem to be non-religious. Please let me know if I am wrong.) We know that many religious charities do a great deal of good, but many of them come with religious "baggage."

05 January 2010


I know you are wondering why an atheist would title a post, "Jesus is my co-pilot."
Bear with me. You will see.

My husband and I needed a new car, but since my husband can fix anything on a car, we normally buy used. So we looked in the paper, Auto Trader, eBay, & Craigs list. We found two in good to excellent condition, within 15 miles of us, in the price range for which we could pay cash, but they were both 8-9 years old and had more than 90,000 miles on each. Anything newer or with fewer miles was more expensive and most older cars had body problems. Plus, we haven't had much luck with the last few used cars we had --transmission problems, a/c not working. Each one has cost us major bucks within 2 or 3 years and would have cost much more if my husband hadn't done the repairs himself.
I happened to see an ad in the Sunday (1/3/10) paper to lease a new car for three years, no down payment, 0% interest, a maintenance pkg. that covers everything including annual state inspections, the dealership paying for our plate and registration and the first month's fee. The total cost (including taxes) was about $1240 more over 3 years than we would pay for a 8-9 year old car. But, when we figured what we would save on gas mileage, not having to rent a car while my husband works on our older one, the interest we would earn on the cash we would have paid in full for a used car instead of withdrawing the monthly payments, and the cost of general maintenance (oil, filters, etc.) we would actually pay $500 less over 3 years for the lease rather than a used car. Plus we would have a reliable, worry-free car covered by a manufacturer's warranty.
We've never leased before, but we had to decide immediately if we wanted to do that because the deal ended Monday. We checked Consumer Reports which rated that 2010 model very highly.
So first thing Monday, I called the dealership from the ad and talked to Bob. The deal sounded good, but it was a long drive in frigid, snowy weather to that place. So I called a dealer 7 miles from home and talked to a salesman from Puerto Rico. His deal was nearly identical. He pronounced his name Hay-zeus. I was not quite awake yet, so it took me a second to realize that he would spell his name Jesús.
My husband nearly choked on his coffee when I told him I had just spoken to Jesus.
We chose the color of car we wanted, a dark green with a bluish tinge and took a test drive. Jesús took his time to explain everything. He was not a wheeler-dealer trying to get us to take something more expensive, and actually gave us some hints on saving a few bucks. We signed the papers. While a credit check was done and the car prepped, we looked through the manuals. Jesús gave us his card and told us if we have any problems that we should call him directly and he would intercede for us.
Then he said, "Well, it's sort of like.... Are you Catholic?"
We answered, "No."
"Are you Christian?"
"Are you religious at all?"
We shook our heads.
"Do you know anything about religion?"
I answered, "We've both been indoctrinated. It just didn't take,"
"Well, you know how people pray to Mary or Jesus to intercede for them with god?" We nodded. "Well, that is what I will do for you, intercede with the right department, if you have any problems with the car."
I just couldnt' help myself. I said, "Well, in a way, Jesus will be interceding for us ---won't you?"
Jesús laughed. He had a great smile.
When the car was prepped, including a full tank of gas, we were ready to roll. Meanwhile, it was nearly 9 pm, closing time, and it had started to snow again.
While my husband scraped snow and ice off our old rust bucket of a car, I got in the driver's seat and Jesús got into the passenger seat of the new car and he explained to me what every single thing on the dashboard did and even programmed the radio to our favorite stations. I kept thinking of the bumper stickers I have seen that say, "Jesus is my co-pilot."
We had received a good deal on a new car. It was the first time since I was 12 that I can say I really liked Jesus. He seemed like a great guy.

Update 1/14/10: Today we received a hand-written postcard in the mail from Jesús. He signed his name with beautiful penmanship. I asked my husband if he thought we could offer Jesus's signature on eBay? I figure it is just as valuable as a piece of toast featuring the image of the Virgin Mary.

Update 5/5/12:  "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."  ---attributed to Albert Einstein

Although I cannot see the names of individuals who have viewed this blog, I can see where viewers are from and I can see if they have found my blog by entering keywords or a question in a search engine. On several occasions, and again today, I have seen that someone has arrived at this post by asking, "Where in the Bible does it say, 'Jesus is my copilot?'" (today, from a reader in Federal Way, Washington)

Say what?????  The only "pilot" in the Bible was Pontius Pilate ---and he was no "pilot" but perhaps more akin to the physical fitness system "pilate" ---but only because of the spelling. I wasn't sure when "pilot" first came into use, but it boggled my mind that anyone would think the word "copilot" was in the Bible.  I researched the word "pilot" and learned that the term was not even in use before the 16th century. It came from a French word derived from a Latin term, with it's original derivation coming from the Greek word for rudder. In the 16th century the word referred to a ship's pilot. 
And by the way, we have been enjoying our car.  The lease will be up in 8 months, so we are pondering what we will lease next.

copyright 2010, C. Woods

01 January 2010


(click on image for larger view)

What do Conservative Christians really want?
On the one hand, they say the Bible is the absolute literal truth. Yet, Conservatives are rewriting the Bible from a conservative perspective.

The Conservative Bible Project's website claims that, "Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations."
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing," is, according to Conservapedia, a favorite Biblical passage of Liberals and should not appear in the Bible, along with many of Jesus' other teachings including "turn the other cheek" and his condemnation of profiteering.
They think Jesus corrupted the Bible????? I thought Jesus was perfect in their eyes ---and the reason for their religion.

They want to make the Bible less wordy without dumbing it down. (Current Bbiles are written at about a 7th grade level.) They want to change words such as "enroll" (for the census) to "register" to reflect modern political terms and re-explain economic parables with their "free-market" meaning.
The group claims that "Socialistic terminology permeates the English translations of the Bible, without justification." The web site rawstory.com reminds us that most English versions of the Bible date to the 16th century or earlier, while the concept of socialism didn't surface until the 18th century.
"The insane hubris of this really staggers the mind," writes Rod Dreher at Beliefnet. "These right-wing ideologues know better than the early church councils that canonized Scripture? They really think it's wise to force the word of God to conform to a 21st-century American idea of what constitutes conservatism? These jokers don't worship God. They worship ideology."

More information:
Conservative Bible Project
Conservatizing the Bible
Conservative group aims to delete "liberal bias" from Bible
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