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cleanhippie's Journal
cleanhippie's Journal
January 18, 2015

Pope Francisí new clothes: Why his progressive image is white smoke and mirrors

Don't buy his populist rhetoric. The new pope is every bit the sexist homophobe as his predecessors

THE IMAGE OF Pope Francis is that he is a breath of fresh air, more progressive on social issues than his predecessor and a kinder, gentler pope. But when the facts are examined, you see that he is none of these things. There is an enormous disconnect between who the pope really is in terms of his policies and his public relations image, as crafted by the Vatican’s PR man, previously with Fox News. The current PR mission is all about reversing the incredible decline in fundraising under the last pope from the U.S. Catholic Church in particular. Pope Francis has made any number of statements that seem to indicate change and progress that are not reflected in policy. In fact, in the wake of such comments from Pope Francis, the Vatican often makes a point to explicitly state that no church policy has changed.

While the pope transmits a populist vibe—particularly about the economy— he is an old-school conservative who, despite his great PR, maintains nearly all of the socialpolicies of his predecessors and keeps up a hardline Vatican “cabinet.” He has done virtually nothing to change the policies of the church to match his more compassionate rhetoric. People excuse the pope, claiming that he doesn’t have much power to make changes, but this simply isn’t true. Further, it is ludicrous to suggest that a man who denies comprehensive reproductive health care (including all forms of birth control including condoms and abortion) and comprehensive family planning is a man who cares about the poor of this world. The bigotry of homophobia and sexism cloaked in religion are still bigotry and sexism. By giving to the church, American Catholics aren’t supporting “progress,” they are supporting oppression and in this way are complicit in the bigotry, sexism, and oppression of the church.


Glad to see that more and more are seeing the reality of who this man is and what his church actually stands for.

And Catholics wonder why attendance is down and churches are closing?
January 17, 2015

Pope, in Philippines, says same-sex marriage threatens family

Appealing to the traditional values of Filipino Catholic families, Pope Francis made one of his strongest calls as pope against movements to recognize same-sex unions as marriage. "The family is also threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage," the pope said Jan. 16, hours after warning that Philippine society was "tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family."

"As you know, these realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces which threaten to disfigure God's plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture," he said. Pope Francis made his remarks at a Mass in Manila's cathedral and then at a meeting with families in the city's Mall of Asia Arena.

At the latter event, the pope called on his listeners to resist "ideological colonization that threatens the family." The Vatican spokesman, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, said later that the pope was referring to same-sex marriage, among other practices.

The pope's comments came less than a week after a speech to Vatican diplomats in which he criticized "legislation which benefits various forms of cohabitation rather than adequately supporting the family for the welfare of society as a whole," saying that such legislation had contributed to a widespread sense of the family as "disposable."


How's that new Pope-y Change-y thing working out again?
January 16, 2015

On Charlie Hebdo Pope Francis is using the wife-beaterís defence

On the day another cartoonist victim was buried at Père Lachaise cemetery, the pope came as near as dammit to suggesting that Charlie Hebdo had it coming. “One cannot provoke; one cannot insult other people’s faith; one cannot make fun of faith,” he said.

Oh yes, you can. You may not choose to. It may not be wise or polite or kind – but you can. And to show you can, without being gunned down, Charlie Hebdo has just gone on sale in the UK, in bolder outlets, proudly defiant with an image of Muhammad on the cover – though with a tear and a kindly thought: “All is forgiven.”

The pope pointed to his aide as he said “If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

No, it’s not normal to punch someone who insults you; the pope’s Christ certainly didn’t think so. Verbal provocation is never an excuse for violence – that’s the wife-beater’s defence.

January 16, 2015

Pope Francis is wrong. Religion deserves ridicule.

Religion is an idea, and, as an idea, it should be eligible for criticism, discussion, and yes, mockery. The only reason so many believers demand special exceptions be made for religious ideas—exceptions to be backed up with violence, no less—is because they know full well that their ideas don’t hold up well under scrutiny. Not only do they not have any evidence for their claims for the supernatural, but the logical arguments all break in the other direction. Even here we have the pope calling for a general stifling, with violence, of criticisms of all religions. But he, being the pope, just by existing is declaring that some religions are false religions. So why on earth should the rest of us be restrained from pointing out the same of his religion and other religions? It makes no sense at all.

Now, there’s definitely an argument to be had that this mockery should be careful not to punch down or use the excuse of blasphemy to advance what are actually racist ideas. That’s why I personally prefer mocking Christianity to Islam, because Muslims are an oppressed minority in my country but Christians, particularly fundamentalist Christians, are a dominant and ofttimes domineering class. But that equation is different for different people and different audiences—a white America woman mocking Muslims and a Iranian woman doing it are very different critters indeed.

But the larger point stands: Because of the gulf between the preciousness with which people treat religious beliefs and their actual merits, I would argue that we need more mockery and more blasphemy. A lot of people out there are nursing doubts and want to extract themselves from the yoke of false belief. Seeing that you can not only reject religion but make fun of it without God striking you down with a lightening bolt is liberating for a lot of people. Religions amass power by bullying people in just the way that Pope Francis is doing, complete with threats of censorship and violence. We should stand up to these bullies. Making fun of them is an excellent way to do that.

In conclusion, fuck you, Pope Francis.

January 14, 2015

Man gives out 13-year-old daughter in marriage to man who raped her

A father in Tudun Rubudi of Ungogo local government, Kano State has given his 13-year-old daughter to one of the four men who allegedly gang-raped her. Usaini Ja’afar alongside Sani Isa, Jamilu Sani and Isa Musa were all arrested in December 2014 by Kano State Hisbah Board’s Dala Command after they were all found naked at an uncompleted building shortly after they had raped the 13-year-old girl.

According to Hisbah officials, three of the suspects confessed that they had raped the girl who was lured to the uncompleted building. During interrogations, one of the rapists, Usiani Ja’afar pleaded to marry the girl, begging her father to give his blessings. The father, Malam Ya’u, a mechanic, spoke to Weekly Trust and revealed that he was at his garage working when Hisbah officials came with the news that his daughter had been raped.

Malam Ya’u said he wanted all of them to be tried and sent to jail for their crimes but had to change his stance after all of them showed remorse for the crime and one even pleading to marry the 13-year-old girl. “When all of them showed remorse, especially the one pleading to marry her, Ja’afar, I decided to temper justice with mercy,” the rape victim’s father told Weekly Trust.

According to Malam Yau, Usaini indicated his seriousness of marrying his daughter by carrying out the customary tradition of coming with his family to formally ask the hand of the girl in marriage. “He came with his uncle, who it turned out I already knew and had a cordial relationship with. So I accepted the request and will marry her off to him. In fact, the date for the wedding has been fixed since. I decided to allow him marry the girl because our consultations with our Malams (Islamic clerics) showed that there is nothing wrong about that,” Malam Ya’u said.

According to Weekly Trust, a Kano-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Fadlu Dan Almajiri Fagge, said that the Islam religion allows for a rape victim to marry the man who raped her provided certain conditions are met. “First, the girl has to observe Istibira’i, a month period to ensure absence of pregnancy. The girl should not also be among those prohibited for the rapist. Provided those conditions are met, marriage can take place with the consent of the girl and her parents,” Shiekh Fadlu Dan Almajiri Fagge said.


Disgusting. But nothing to do with religion, right?
January 14, 2015

The Amazing Pope.

January 14, 2015

The human brain is an amazing organ.

To the jury that is sure to be called with claims that this is "offensive" or somehow a "personal attack":

I'm mocking an idea (religion), not a person. Je suis Charlie.

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