Rainbow Chard

An assortment of indigestible things

Category: religion

If the Church of England wants to be sexist, it should walk away from the Lords

The Lords Spiritual remain all male

Despite blanket coverage in the quality media, most of the British population did little more than raise a puzzled eyebrow at the decision of the Church of England’s General Synod to reject proposed legislation which would have allowed for the consecration of women as bishops. The majority of the population has little contact with the church, and it’s easy to dismiss the recent news as a curious anachronism: a decision which is plainly at odds with our progressive society, but only affects the Anglican church and its members. Most religions, after all, have sexism built into their doctrines at some level.

Unfortunately, this misguided decision affects us all.

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Creationism in British schools, the Big Bang, and a small Mouse

A particularly dodgy textbook

If you live in the UK and have any interest in politics, education or science, you’ll know that a minor kerfuffle has arisen over the apparent intention of some new free schools to teach a creationist viewpoint as some level of fact. Many people sensed the dark cloud of events in the US on our horizon: dodgy textbooks, partisan school boards, and a generation of children that have been ‘taught the controversy’.  The issue has received a modicum of coverage in the quality (and not-so-quality) press, a small storm of activity on Facebook and Twitter (and maybe Google+, who knows?), and even a petition to the government with a signatory count well into five figures.

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Dying of AIDS? Cheer up: you’d have died eventually anyway!

As I slowly go through all my old radio memorabilia, I’m rediscovering all sorts of interesting things that I haven’t seen for decades. They range from the mundane to the historically fascinating, but this particular example is perhaps the most unpleasant item I’ve found so far.

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State-sanctioned child abuse: a response to Sean Faircloth’s interview with Liz Heywood

It’s not every day I sit in front of my computer and talk to it. However, yesterday I watched something that affected me so strongly that I made my first ever piece to camera. I have now joined the countless thousands on YouTube who speak their brains through their webcams into the void.

This is an interview with Sean Faircloth (of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science) talking to a woman called Liz Heywood. Ms Heywood had the misfortune to be raised by Christian Scientists, who over a long period of time failed to treat her osteomyelitis, leaving her in excruciating pain and eventually necessitating an amputation. Ms Heywood demonstrates a remarkable capacity for perspective. I do recommend you watch the whole thing (17 minutes; alternatively, here is an embedded version on the RDFRS website).

I have seen and heard such stories before, so I was naturally horrified but not overly surprised. What I found most shocking, and what prompted me to make this little video, was the fact that in the majority of US states it is legal to neglect your child in this way if you claim that you are providing ‘faith healing’ instead. Here aresome specific details of the laws involved.

This gets a bit ranty, so if you’re only going to watch one video today, please watch the interview rather than my ugly mug.

Further reading

Friendly Atheist’s blog post on the subject, including a statement from Liz Heywood which was read by someone from the Secular Coalition for America in a meeting with White House officials.

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