Wednesday, 31 December 2008

A New Year Resolution - of sorts

There’s an interesting debate about morality kicking off on the PTT Blog at Maybe it’s a kneejerk thing (end of the year, New Year Resolutions and all that) but I was thinking about the same topic last night, albeit in a lighter-hearted way guided by re-reading an old favourite, Quentin Crisp.
I was going to announce as my big New Year Resolution that I refuse ever to take religionists or politicians seriously again.’Get a grip’, I was thinking – concerned at the way in which my posts are getting grumpier. ‘Time to lighten up, mock mercilessly, point and laugh by all means, but don’t get so wound up over the immorality and hypocrisy of people we know are just rotten through and through.’
This time last year I’d decided that in 2008 I was going to meet the religionists and politicos halfway. Join with them on earnest committees to tackle homelessness, prison conditions, poverty or whatever and maybe, just maybe, there’d be a point in the middle where we could make common cause and talk.
I now admit that was a waste of time. They were, and will always be, nothing more than two-faced, triple-crossing neanderthals out to manipulate misery for their own ends. They cannot even spell ‘humanity’, never mind celebrate or embrace it.
Sadly, middle of the road humanists are little better. Either too scared to upset the neighbours or unable to stop looking at the world unconsciously in ‘religious’ terms.
Far better to play on religionist hypocrisy and hoist them by their own petards wherever possible. Chip away relentlessly at their pretensions to the moral high ground. Poke, point, laugh, run.
Do not get involved. Do not debate in arenas which they control. Pick a time and place when the odds are stacked in your favour, let them have it full blast and vanish before the smoke clears.
'Semiotic guerilla warfare' was the phrase we idealistic young media types used to bandy around. We understand how the media works, where stories come from and how they appear in the press. We know how to use images and words, and how to dismantle myths, spread doubt where belief is testified but insecurity lurks beneath the surface.
When posting the link to my old story about Pat Kneen and the Manx Death With Dignity campaign I realised something else too. All this concern about morality and seriousness, trying to engage with pathological liars on their own terms, and I’ve lost something.
That assisted suicide campaign, despite the (literally) life or death subject matter, the brushes with corrupt local government and law and so on, was a joy from start to finish. We lost all fear and hardly ever stopped laughing, and THAT is what I want to get back to.
In 2009 I'm no longer getting serious. I'm getting happy.
I just want to laugh ignorance off the planet.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wanted, godbothering prison visitors. Must have own rubber stamp

I was amused by the appeal for new members for the Independent Monitoring Board at the local prison (see
I laugh because my experience last year at an interview for the Board of Prison Visitors confirmed to me that it’s a waste of time even trying to find middle ground with the bigots and throwbacks who run this island.
I knew about the disgraceful human rights record, I’d even read the damning 2003 report by the ECPT (European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment) on Manx prison conditions (available at, but I was willing to do my middle of the road bit and give the Prison Visitors a try if that was what it took.
Big mistake!
For a start, the Board were so slack it took about six months to get enough of them together to interview me. As soon as I entered the room I knew it wasn’t worth the wait either. Small town biblebashers one and all - I swear one guy’s knuckles even scraped the ground. Their faces on knowing I was not only an atheist but a member of Liberty and Amnesty International for over 25 years were a picture.
Needless to say they didn’t take me. Funnily enough, I later found out they’d happily allowed the successor to an evangelical pastor who was put away for child sex offences to be a prison chaplain, even though he’d bought his clerical title from a correspondence course in the Evangelical Times. Even funnier, one interviewer, I now realise, must have once helped prevent the police from interviewing East European victims of the pentecostal pest after an assault I witnessed in 1998. The charity that brought his victims over is still running, though they’d be worried if they knew that their trustees, including a senior Manx politician, are now listed on East European police files as possible threats to children, and the kids are routinely debriefed by police after their annual visits to the Isle of Man.
So, would I recommend any right-minded local collaborates with bogus Manx government committees set up to rubber stamp bigotry and human rights abuse?
No, because there are probably more thugs, bigots and crooks around the Department of Home Affairs than in the prison.
Why pretend otherwise? Just treat them like the villains they are, and stay well clear.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Pimps, Parsons, Police & Prostitution

A press release from the ECP (English Collective of Prostitutes) on the MOJUK (Miscarriage of Justice UK) news service has finally made my mind up.
I must post something on the cretinous, faith-biased proposals to change the laws on prostitution in January. It’s been proposed by UK Home Secretary Jaqui Smith and advertised by Stop The Traffik and other religious pimps as ‘protecting’ women, but to be blunt it’s absolute bollocks which works by appealing to racist and sexist myth dating back to White Slave Trade fairy stories.
The ECP release mentions a raid on a Soho premises in December, just the latest in a series of similar swoops. This one will lead to a grandmother and registered carer for a man with Alzheimers facing a charge of "controlling prostitution for gain". This though no underage or trafficked women or any evidence of force or coercion was found at the premises, and none had been found during the weekly visits by the police during the whole month of September.
The ECP say it is only the latest in a series, all targetting women at small premises where women are working in safety and by mutual consent, well away from street violence and organised crime rings. As the ECP note: "Many are mothers supporting children; at least three have children with disabilities. One woman started working after the Inland Revenue sent her a £6,000 bill for overpayments of child tax credit. Others are struggling to keep bailiffs at bay following threats of repossession on their home or suffer from ill health.”
These raids and prosecutions are preparing the ground for the new legislation to be announced on 19 January which would force women into "rehabilitation", make it easier for the police to close brothels and arrest kerb-crawlers, and make an offence of "paying for sex with a person who is controlled for another person's gain". Receptionists such as the one arrested in the December raid face up to 7 years in jail, and immigrant women would be automatically deported.
Yet as the ECP also point out,” The figures the government is using to justify raids are based on blatantly discredited research which claims that 80% of women working in the sex industry in the UK have been trafficked. Convictions for trafficking are distorted because the UK definition of trafficking for prostitution, unlike trafficking for any other industry, does not mention force or coercion. This enables every woman with a foreign accent to be labelled a victim of trafficking!”
There is not only the on-the-ground anecdotal evidence of the ECP for such a claim. One of the few serious academic studies of the topic, Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry by Laura Maria Agustin, pretty emphatically trashes the entire argument, pointing out that these figures are arrived at by such a loose definition of ‘traffiking’ that pretty much any migrant seeking work in another country is cast as a ‘victim’ brought there against their will, not as an intelligent decision to better their lot.
I’ve been following this issue for some time, and not just because the involvement of Rev Steve Chalke and his twattish Stop The Traffik outfit alerts me there’s likely to be a scam the religious hope to profit from. By the way, considering the number of ‘business interest/charities/government initiatives’ he and his cohorts are involved in (e.g. Stop The Traffik, Faithworks, Parentalk, Oasis), and the not uncommon use of evangelical networks to provide cheap labour here in the UK (including the Isle of Man), you might wonder who the real pimps and gangmasters are here!
Also note that under the Proceeds of Crime Act the police get to keep 25% of assets seized, and also have a habit of keeping all cash found, trading on the reluctance of sex workers to go public and demand it back. Nice little earner which resembles stories I’ve heard from when the fishing and tourist trade were still profitable here on the island.
Yes, this is a difficult and controversial issue. But if anyone is serious about cutting down on exploitation, rather than religionists trading on sexist and racist myth for a quick buck and more public subsidy, we should have the honesty to look closer and to speak out.
As I recall, I first noted an item by Natalie Rothschild on the ‘Spiked’ website on the misuse of the term ‘traffiking’. You’ll find that at I’d then recommend Brendan O’Neill highlighting the reintroduction of ‘white slave trade’ mythology on the same site at To bring things up to date check out Natalie Rothschild again in a November update at
My old friends at Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine are also on the case. See, for example,a reprinted article, Sex Workers of the World United, by Cherry Bennet at, and also the link from the G&LH site to the International Union of Sex Workers site at

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Clappies, Fascism and East Europe

We've just received some sad news from Romania, which I'm using as an unashamed excuse for a rant at the side-effects of Western bigots supporting shit evangelical charities.
A friend of my wife's teaches English and Art there. Probably not for much longer, as she's had a minor stroke and lost the ability to see more than fuzzy lumps of colour. At not much past 30 the career of the kind of creative, unselfish teacher you can only dream of over here is over, even if impending public sector job cuts due to the interference of Western charities doesn't make her redundant soon anyway.
As a bright, multilingual student this woman acted as an unpaid translator to the first Western charity workers - equally helpful to anyone whatever their background. In this capacity she helped a well meaning Manx woman who went there some years ago, and returned to persuade her husband to get the likes of the local Buffs and Rotary Club involved. He put up with his wife's efforts, guided by our teacher friend and a few others, for about a year, before admitting neither he nor his fellow toytown business buddies trusted greasy Johnny Foreigners and would only continue to help through 'respectable' Western charities.
In practice that means the only 'charity' available from the island to East European countries is via wealthy evangelical chancers like Samaritan's Purse, who with a US income alone of over $200 million can afford to fly speakers into disaster zones, push them in front of a TV camera, then fly them home again. The sickest thing is, they're not even the worst charity operating here.
Franklin Graham's UK employees tried but failed to get puppet trustees for a Manx SP. Other US outfits did find willing stooges, which are up and operating without declaring their links to even their UK branches, which in turn rarely mention their US puppetmasters.
It would be too much to expect that anyone at the Attorney General's office would have bothered checking out these Manx muppets before granting them charitable status and open access to schools and other public premises. This is, after all, a place where the civil servant paid a six figure sum to head the Financial Supervision Commission and the failed tractor salesman and retired senior politician heading up the IPA were simultaneously directors of an Icelandic bank that's just gone bust in a big way.
Strange, though, that godfearing Manx folk are happy to go along with this hypocrisy and to export to Eastern Europe the kind of sectarian hatred previously only seen in Northern Ireland. Yet they refuse to speak to highly educated people in the countries they claim to be 'helping' who try to warn them that the hate, division and ignorance they are now breeding will eventually lead to ethnic cleansing.
These are the Eastern European professionals who, even now, are losing teaching and health care jobs just as EU help finally filters through to their countries, because that aid is passing via corrupt neo-fascist politicians in places like Romania to 'experts' from 'reputable' Western organisations, mostly evangelical. It then slips back out of the country as one evangelical charity 'donates' it to a sister charity, and eventually once the audit trail is lost back to the US.
Every time you read a piece of PR puff in a Manx newspaper about our wonderful East European 'charity work', don't pat yourself on the back. Hang your head in shame.
If you so much as give a penny to these scum you've contributed to the redundancy of a decent professional who could have made a difference, and a future bloodbath just waiting to kick off.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Bah Humbug

Well, Sentamu's prodigy has given his first Xmas sermon (see ), and as you'd expect it got prime coverage on a radio station where the news staff were at home instead of in the newsroom.
As he highlights 'the Island’s growing problem of homelessness, and criticises what he calls the “I want” culture', so will I.
I was talking to a volunteer at Kemmyrk (the local homelessness charity) recently. On one of the coldest nights of the year just three people stayed either there or with Graigh , the rival service also getting public money run by Broadway Baptists. That's approximately ten down on the known users even in mid-summer last year, before either service got government backing and extensive publicity. Meanwhile I know of two pensioners trudging the Douglas streets each night with sandwiches and coffee for an average of 30 street sleepers in that town alone.
In other words, since the Social Services and local evangelists combined to close down the Island's only alcohol treatment centre and hand it over to an 'independent' housing charity set up according to private instructions from civil servants at the DSS, politicians and church leaders (who also collaborated to keep any member of the public off the management committee) more people are sleeping in the street. This tells me the homeless know they're safer sleeping in a doorway, squat or even a skip than a warm building funded by government and staffed by biblebashers.
The Manx public have shown interest in dealing with the issue, but been prevented from even expressing an opinion by churches. In my book, that makes the churches directly responsible. All they have done is manipulate a growing crisis to get public money which is used for evangelising, not to solve the problem.
Then, if we want to talk about 'the “I want” culture', there's a beauty at To learn more about the apparent background, see previous publicity for this at and
The things to note are it's Xmas Eve, a time when there's panic buying, and the only car-parking for this event is down the road at Stepford Central. Curious that evangelicals put on a public show and to get to your car afterwards you have to walk through the most expensive shopping centre on the island, which is owned by....... oh, another evangelical.
Obviously a complete coincidence, Stepford hosting all those government conferences at special rates, two of their management committee being on all the police bodies you'd have to liase with to arrange public order and all.
Coincidence. Complete. Really.
Scrooge is alive and well. He's probably just left a church near you.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

A Christmas message I wish I'd written

Yesterday the ever excellent Garry Otton over at Scottish Media Monitor
(see for more) delivered a Christmas message that would do for any of us fighting religious privilege and prejudice.
As I wouldn't want to miss out a word of it, here it is in full:

"66 countries in the United Nation's General Assembly have agreed a declaration to decriminalise homosexuality. Now let's read the Big Print: France, the sponsor, didn't have sufficient support for an official resolution. Amongst those refusing to support the non-binding declaration were the so-called United States of America, China, Russia, the Vatican and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, none of whom share a particularly glowing record on human rights. You don't have to be Hercule Poirot to see religionists' fingerprints all over the declaration. The Holy See's observer mission issued a statement saying that the declaration 'challenges existing human rights norms'. Tell that to Amnesty International, sweetheart! And while we're here, what legal justification does the Vatican have to be a member state of the UN? Discuss. Let's not make any excuses for religion; exponents blaming their bigotry on a 'higher authority'.
Yes. A hydra-headed 'authority', as venal as it is contemptible; condemned to crawl for eternity in the darkness and slime of its manufactured superstition.
Such a declaration says nothing of the United Nation's capabilities of protecting the human rights of the world's citizens and everything about the hopeless and ineffective nature of this otiose organisation. The writing is on the wall. In a time of greater need; the United Nations is destined to fail us all.
Christmas. What can I say? To all my friends and readers who will be forced to watch their mum pushing her fingers up a turkey's arse to the sound of 'Hallelujah', please join me in raising a finely-honed Sabatier to Santa's neck. It's dark at three and I'm at home watching pre-recorded drivel in high definition. Give me two religious-free weeks in August! And remember before poking your pennies in that collection box: The poor and lonely don't want to be patronised this Christmas; they want equality and fair play every day. "

I'm always inspired by such a mix of wit, scrutinously researched corrections to lazy mainstream media shite and totally in-yer-face, up front queer attitude.
Slainte, Gary! Here's me, and I hope many others, raising a glass to you.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

When biblebashers go bad

I was startled by a huge Examiner headline this week. It read ‘Ungallant police officers made speeder even later for church’.
But when I read the story, my wee daughter was concerned for my health, having found me on the floor, bent double, clutching my stomach and shrieking with laughter.
Sadly it’s not on line, but the jist of it is as follows:
Police clocked a 61 year old woman doing at least 45 in a 40 zone, just before a village. Apparently she was late for church.
Our boys in blue are usually lenient with minor speeders, preferring to concentrate on serious headbangers. We have no speed limits outside town and well signed 40 zones just before and after. So usually you get a polite reminder of why the few limits are there and sent on your way.
I’ve had a few myself over the years, but no follow ups. In TT Week I once saw a copper studiously ignore a stark naked biker cruising down Douglas prom with an Alsatian on the pillion, so the bar is not exactly low.
Yet this woman ended up in court, where she got a £150 fine and three penalty points. This tells me at once she must have lost it big style and annoyed them into prosecuting.
You get a hint of this from a letter read out in court in which she claimed the police ‘simply sprang out of their hiding place’ and this was the ‘very height of ungallantry’ which made her even later for church. Well, tut tut!
She went on to say that as getting to church was so expensive and life would be ‘intolerable’ without evensong where she could ‘rejoice in tribulation’ she now planned to return to Canada. Her diatribe ended sniffily with: “They do also say of the Isle of Man that nice people come here but they don’t stay. Why should they. Good riddance!”
Need a hand onto that plane with your bags, dear?
I wonder. Is it possible all those fundies on the Police Consultative Forum, forever ranting on about relaxing parking restrictions near churches and so on, have finally exasperated the police into action?
If so, can I also point out the habit evangelicals have of parking their cars with two wheels on the pavement close to their favoured faith hovels. Not hard to spot – newish Chelsea Tractors or people carriers in naff colours, fish signs on the back, personalised plates like ‘MAN460D’, close to a church with the door open and the sound of tuneless wailing wafting from within. Don’t even need to worry any more about a Chief Constable stood at the church door, prayer book in hand, dragging victims in and waving parking wardens away.
Go on officers: make my day. You KNOW you want to!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Let Us Prey

I think Manx churches are feeling the credit crunch.
So, under the usual pretext of 'helping' us , they want to help the public organise their finances better. Then they can beg more cash .
Just take a look at and see what I mean.
But I will only shoot at the guilty here, because I know Cyril Rogers and he's a decent man. If all local clergy were like Cyril - speaking out against racism or homophobia for example - I could have a little respect for them, even if I'd still giggle at their daft superstitions.
But they're not, as you'll see from the inevitable attempt by Stepford Central (that's St. John's Mill to newer readers) to cash in on a crisis. These are the same bandwagon-jumping parasites I mentioned in earlier posts (e.g. Read, note.....then walk away fast ).
'How Can the Church Help with Debt' was their question, so I'll tell them the answer.
Piss off , stop interfering with our lives and stop begging for money.
Oh, and if you were serious about offering cash-strapped people some advice, wouldn't you give them a proper phone number, not a mobile? What are you clowns - cowboy builders?
I don't know about putting people in touch with the Office of Fair Trading. Stewardship Money looks like just the kind of scam that should be reported to them.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Gay & Lesbian Humanist online mag is out - read it!

I've been slow to acknowledge a compliment recently paid to me, so want to put that right now.
The November issue of Gay & Lesbian Humanist came out recently and you can find it at I must admit a special interest - they have a new blogwatch feature, and the first one is very kind about this blog. There - interest declared to appease the critics.
G & LH was always my favourite humanist mag. It actually wasn't being produced for a while because of controversy over a Diesel Balaam article. Now it's back in an online version, bigger and badder than ever.
I read the other humanist mags dutifully but..............................
I don't know, there's always something a bit like Secular Methodism about them. I have a sense of folk who are members of the Rotary Club, drive Volvos, polite middle of the road opinions about most things but don't happen to be religious - if you see what I mean.
I suppose gay humanists are always going to be a bit edgier than that, from necessity,and it shows in the mag. The articles, the subject matter, the opinion, the attention to detail always goes that bit farther.
There's more urgency because, let's face it, it matters more. This isn't some polite academic discussion - the humanist equivalent of theologians arguing over how many angels on the head of a pin. People rarely lose jobs, get beaten up or killed in the UK for not being religious; but if you're openly gay as well as an atheist?
Though I'm not gay I relate to that. I grew up on a council estate in a conformist Midlands town, went to a class-prejudiced grammar school and couldn't wait to get out at 16. In my case the route out and rebellion came through punk - the music, the clothes, the fanzines, the anarchist politics and the attitude. It was a little community of other outsiders - like the gay one -in which we had some respite from a mainstream society whose inability to question or experiment with anything disgusted us.
One of the first punk films was Jubilee, via which I discovered Derek Jarman's writing, and in turn learnt of Outrage and Queer Theory. Actually met Jarman at the premiere of Edward II , which with his mixture of luck and obstinacy was held in a Leeds fleapit, not a flash London venue, and at a time when the effects of his HIV status were very plain. Absolutely magic night, and I'll never forget his mix of wit, charm, principled anger and total refusal to compromise with Thatcherite Britain.
It may sound strange but the gay attitude - and more particularly the queer attitude (there's a difference - think Stonewall and Outrage as rough benchmarks) is an inspiration to someone like me. I'm just trying to get by in a community where everything revolves around the church. I didn't seek arguments with churchgoers, but they don't notice anyone or anything good outside their little world, so I had little choice but to resist.
When I got interested in humanism enough to want to contribute to humanist mags I hesitated - that Secular Methodism again. What had I to say to these folk? When I discovered G&LH that changed. People I could relate to, felt at ease with, who spoke my language.
Look -I can't explain it any better. Just go and read the damn thing. You'll see what I mean, and you won't want to miss an issue - ever!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Save The Children from this

It seems Friends and Heroes , the TV series made here in Ramsey for tiny godbotherers, is scooping up awards at faith-biased filmfests. At least according to a big piece in an advertising supplement enclosed in this week's Courier.
They seem proud that they got a gold award from the Christian Broadcasting Council (selected by 'media industry professionals' too -wooh!). This would only sound impressive if you have never heard of the CBC, and so think they're a big deal.
Sadly not so. Any UK evangelical charity which only reports an annual income of under £10K is a joke. That's not even enough cash to get someone like TV vicar Steve Chalke out of bed in the morning, fer fek's sake!
Actually, there's more than a whiff of Hans Christian Andersen about their charity register entry, but that's nothing new. In fact 'forgetting' to register trustee interests, hiding income and stuff like that is the norm for godbotherers who beg for public funds and avoid tax, as I've demonstrated before on this blog.
When you also note that they're on something like their fourth reincarnation as a charity you know other things are wrong. The usual penalty for failing to make returns or other minor illegal stuff is a quiet strike off by the charities commission rather than prosecution and public embarrassment. Then there's poor legal advice - e.g. forgetting to put something basic in the charitable objectives, which cannot be amended as you do with a normal company. Then there's the even more usual problem with evangelicals: put three in a room and two will plot against the other for control, while all three will be taking instruction from their church superiors anyway.
To get a better picture of the mettle of the CBC committee, go to . After you've noted this sad collection of snakecharmers and holy rollers, along with the fly-by-night outfits they represent, try going to and looking at their partners in crime for more hilarity.
Oral Roberts University?Fek! How sad is that?
Then there's Christian Concern For Our Nation and everybody's favourite LCF lawyer Andrea Williams - a woman so robotic in TV interviews that with a well aimed TV remote you could probably make her head explode. Actually, I'd just settle for switching her off, as would most sick of seeing pointless court time taken up by homophobes who'd rather read a bible than do their public sector jobs.
We should laugh at these losers, a lot. But don't forget something else.
Friends and Heroes is now on both the UK and Manx RE curriculum. This bilge is being shown to small kids like yours and mine without even a health warning, and the company that makes it got breaks from the Isle of Man Film Commission, plus more public cash and a lot of behind the scenes government help to avoid planning objections and build their new studio.

Betty Page (RIP) - America's Best Christian?

Sad little story on the BBC website today.
Betty Page, the pin-up queen, has died.
For those to whom this means nothing, you obviously didn't dabble in punky perversions in your younger days.
Betty caused outrage in her heyday with her (by modern standards) mild bondage and spanking films and photoshoots. I think I came across her (so to speak) when she was reborn as a bit of a campy gothgirl role model in the 1980's and 1990's.
I love her comment that "I never thought it was shameful. I felt normal. It's just that it was much better than pounding a typewriter eight hours a day, which gets monotonous."
Way to go, girl!
I was also intrigued by the revelation that in her later years she turned to religion. This sparked a wicked thought.
Was Betty Page the template for Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian?
Just the idea has me sniggering hysterically at the thought of uptight Baptist ladies punishing the wicked with........a certain gleam in the eye and rather more enthusiasm than is strictly necessary.
Hallelujah! (whack) Praise the Lord!! (whack) Ooo-er Missis!
Take a look at for the Betty story and to see if you agree with me.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Manx fairy tales

Seems the new Anglican bishop has been taking advice from the fairies.
No, really.
He's picked up on the popularity of pinning messages to the trees down at Fairy Bridge. This gave him the idea for something he calls a 'prayer box'.
Apparently this is something that looks like a garden bird box, but you stick notes in it instead of breadcrumbs for robins. These are going to be nailed to trees in church grounds, along with cards and biros, so spookchasers can write cards to their imaginary mate.
See if you don't believe me.
What I love is his explanation.
He says: 'Some may say we're a superstitious lot (or have a lot of superstitious visitors), but I think there's something more profound behind this.'
'I'm convinced that it is a sure sign of the human longing for God and for conversation, fellowship, relationship - communion- with him.'
Um, no, it means you're a loon who needs imaginary friends, and if you can't hide behind institutional lunacy like major religions you tend to get sectioned.
And once again, why do Christians insist on calling believers in other old wives tales 'superstitious' but intimate their own folk tales are not? How can you be a Christian without belief in the supernatural?
Apparently also when humans look at beauty or pain: 'humanity doesn't know where to direct its thoughts and emotions of thanksgiving and longing. The result can be what you can see at the Fairy Bridge.'
...or in any church, mosque or synagogue.
I'm also intrigued that he goes so far out of his way not to knock anyone who calls out 'Hello fairies' as they pass over the Fairy Bridge. Maybe the shrinking church is more desperate for inter-faith alliances against change than we knew already!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

This one is for Pat Kneen

The papers are full of stuff about the assisted suicide programme to broadcast today on Sky. See here for example.
Every time this stuff comes up I'm reminded of a life-changing event. Something that changed the way I look at this island forever, and marked the moment when I lost all fear of speaking my mind at all times and hang the consequence.
People forget very quickly that just a few years ago the Isle of Man was at the centre of such discussions, so go here for a reminder.
This piece was translated and read around the world at the time. It's still my recipe for dealing with apparently overwhelming religious prejudice, and bringing about a sea-change in local attitudes.
Don't get serious. Get happy.
Laugh ignorance off the planet.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bono and Bob won't like it

It had to happen. Not only is the UK government taking their usual hypocritical public stance on 'tax havens', now Benny the boy Nazi is having a go too.
See for more.
I love the bit about 'Offshore markets could also be linked to the recycling of profits from illegal activities.' Also young Ade's understated response about the Vatican Bank.
It needs to be said. At the same time that offshore centres were coming under intense scrutiny from the OECD, and the Isle of Man had the Edwards Report from the UK, the Vatican Bank, along with other financial institutions, were asked by Jewish organisations to take a close look at their World War Two records, consider how much war loot they might have hidden for the Nazis and maybe consider giving it back to the rightful owners. Even Swiss banks 'fessed up, and in the following years as the audit trail got clearer Jewish families started getting their heirlooms back, art institutions discovered the true provenance of paintings they'd acquired, and so on.
The Vatican Bank? Nada - too difficult, too complicated.
Funny-same excuse they're now giving academics who want the Vatican to release wartime records which might show when, if ever, it stopped cutting deals with the fascists. Funny, just as Benny Boy is so keen to canonise the bastard who might have been cutting them when he could have been saving folk from the death camps.
On a less serious note. Wonder when Bono is going to tell his best mate Benny to lay off the offshore stuff.
Wouldn't want any nosy journo asking awkward questions about godly Irish showbiz types and their tax affairs, would we? Offhand, even without bothering to research the matter, I can think of at least five such figures who won't be doing any more Kafflic Yoof rallies for Benny if he doesn't shut it soon.

It's music, Jim, but not as we know it

Reading an otherwise innocuous bit of Education PR about a Christmas concert at I was startled by a familar name at the end.
James MacMillan? Not the sad religionist James Macmillan who churns out such awful muzak?
'Who?' sez you. 'Oh sod it,' sez me, 'just read and we can cut to the chase'.
I do like this comment by the way
'Leading British composer'? That's almost as oxymoronic as 'Christian morality'! He's an idiot whose religious beliefs will thankfully soon be as obscure and irrelevant to the rest of us as his music.'
Wonder who said that? Oh - me.
No but seriously... the last patron of the Manx Youth Orchestra was Malcolm Arnold - and what a difference. Populist, wrote film scores and music kids could play, and liked playing. Even wrote a piece replete with foghorn chorus celebrating his local lifeboat crew specially for a local youth band. Glorious stuff.
When he wrote something for a Manx orchestra and the local fur coat and no knicker brigade were getting uppity about it I poked fun in the local paper, pointing out his best known composition was the theme tune to 'St. Trinians'. They fainted -but he roared with laughter.
What really worries me is if some bright spark also decides to commission 'Holy Jim, CBE' to knock out obscurantist drivel for Manx kids to struggle through at some point.
No prizes for guessing what kind of theme it will have with his track record. Still, at least it will never get a second performance, and no-one will go to the first unless their attendance is a job or exam requirement.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Oy, Godbotherer, you're nicked!

Some days you see something you didn't expect which gives you the hope to go on - and this is one of them.
A while back I spiked Manx National Prayer Week plans with a pisstake letter to the Examiner suggesting street evangelists should be arrested for begging with menaces, which got more attention than Stepford Central's carefully planned campaign. Poor them, after they got their space in return for advertising from godbothering local businesses and everything.
Just an off-the-cuff prank, and I never dreamed my suggestion that evangelists be pestered by the law would be taken up.
Then I saw an article on the IOM Newspapers website about cowboy builders (see Not the most obvious target for a bit of holy roller-baiting, but look at the first comment from Steve.
Hmm, thanks Steve.
Now, let's take this further, people. Let's write to our retards (sorry - politicians) and demand that the coldcalling clause is applied to thugs who threaten pensioners with badly misquoted scripture.
If this new Crime & Disorder Bill really could be used to criminalise door-to-door biblebashing we might actually see an end to a real social evil.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Read, note....then walk away fast

There's so much Horlicks going on over here at present, and so little time to unmask it, that it's hard to pick an issue.So, better take the biggest scam first.
According to an item on the Manx Radio website (see ) a new local charity guide has been published. Even if you're not as cynical about our poorly regulated charity register as I am, this is a joke.
First thing to note is that Connect2Charity is run by David Talbot, right hand man to the Stepford Central management, the Police Consultative Forum and Police Advisory Group (see As soon as this pub closes, the Revolution starts on 16th October for more on that), and many others. This crew have been flogging their dubious management skills around the voluntary sector for a while now, mostly trying to scare small charities into letting them 'help'. They are also a major component of the team behind the recent local Council of Voluntary Organisations, which seems intent on lobbying Tynwald to disband any half-decent social services left and replace them with predominantly faith-based amateurs.
All this kicked off when CARE came over about five years ago to 'advise' Manx fundamentalists on rebranding their businesses with a 'Christian ethos' in order to avoid anti-discrimination legislation - and taxes of course.
This set bigots counting on their fingers the potential profits to be made from loopholes in charitable and small business law if only the Manx government can be persuaded against fluffy liberal compassion, maintaining professional standards and stuff like that. About as hard as persuading the Pope to conduct a mass, then!
I'd give anyone who might be considering asking a Manx charity for help this advice. Take a look at this guide, note the names, and make damn sure to steer clear of all of them.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Child abuse as a public art form

As if our Education Department and Arts Council haven’t screwed up enough young lives with godbothering theatrical shite (see, for example 'How To Win Government Friends And Screw Up Kids' on 10th October), they’ve done it again.
Now they want to put on a ‘Rock Nativity’ in the island’s only community performance facility (though the real community will never be allowed to perform there anyway – and that’s another issue). See for more details.
Look, I laughed my socks off with every other parent a few years back when my kid, then aged four, raced round on a wheeled toy donkey as ‘Virgin Mary’ in the nursery school nativity play. Tiny kids with towels round their heads playing holy mummies and daddies, making up their own words based on stuff they overheard at home and making you blush – that’s a proper nativity play.
Teenagers playing Joseph and Mary under threat of poor grades if they don’t? That’s seriously sick and someone should ring Childline.
I also love the fact that they’re wasting public space every night of the week ‘except Sunday’.
Do you seriously think any 14 year old with more than two braincells would be in a church unless they’re drugged up to the eyeballs?
Maybe the emergency services should just rope off the Studio Theatre at Ballerkermeen School and declare it a disaster zone, because this is getting serious.
When a big chunk of not only Education Department cash but the island’s arts budget goes into what is supposed to be a ‘community facility’, shouldn’t that community have some access, and some say in what gets put on?
We are consolidating a ridiculous position where, as churches island-wide close through lack of punters, the superstitious still dictate our public arts programs and have open access to our schools as cheap churches on Sundays, because they can’t be arsed to repair their current faith hovels or rent a room like anyone else.
Meanwhile, try booking a building anywhere on the island to show a film, host a discussion or put on any public event either critical of religion or where views might be offered which differ from godbothering dictats handed down by national or international ‘faith leaders’. I have been trying it for two decades here, and I tell you bluntly it cannot be done.
This sucks. I’m writing to the Arts Council.
I want my money back, so I can spend it on something else. Any DVD splat or shag fest you can name - I don’t care how bad it is, any gig by any loud and raucous visiting over the hill punk band. I don’t even care if some colour-blind smackhead wants to spray-paint a wall in his own vomit and call it art. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING, is better than underwriting more superstitious shite with public money.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

To Uganda, with ignorance

The island’s efforts to export evangelical misery to Africa got an extra boost this week, though you wouldn’t know so from reading the Education Department’s press release at
Yes, on the face of it looks like a worthy project, but to know what’s really going on you need to know who Abaana really are.
You can find that out at
Starting to get the picture?
A key point to note is this is a Northern Irish evangelical charity. These have a murky history not known to anyone who hasn’t studied the sectarian conflict, and in particular the Loyalist tradition of abusing public funds meant to heal sectarian division and rebuild communities.
Briefly, in the 1980’s any biblebasher in the North could get public funds by claiming to run a ‘peace and reconciliation’ project - so many did. Background checks were minimal, Westminster was working flat out to support anything which got Ulster unemployment down and inevitably Loyalist local government departments looked after their own first.
All they had to do was use the magic word ‘bridgebuilding’ and UK government and charity funds rolled in –staff wages, office equipment, even rent-free offices in purpose built small business centres. Evangelical churches got so used to it some of their congregations have never needed another job – even though they were the root of sectarian hate in the first place.
Then peace broke out so they had to look further afield, and the Isle of Man is perceived as an easy target.
You should also take a really close look at the role of evangelical churches in Uganda. For example, consider the growing problem of evangelicals who accuse small kids of witchcraft, bag small fortunes ‘curing’ them until the parents run out of cash, then slope off leaving the families to get driven out of the village or lynched.
But surely that doesn’t involve Western evangelicals, and certainly not Manx ones?
Yes, it does! Just a few years ago I interviewed a Peel pastor who had a nice little earner going over there. Once or twice a year he went over to ‘cast out spirits’, ‘cure’ AIDS….and split the profits with an African partner church. Even my highly religious editor was so embarrassed he wouldn’t run the rantings of this lunatic as a story.
You also need to know that the teacher who introduced this project to St. Ninians moonlights with Port St Mary Living Hope Community Church's infamous ‘youth ministry’. In fact she’s one of the little clique who enable their pastor to have open access to schools and even pupil records. And yes, this is the same pastor who was the subject of complaints for pestering girls in their early teens with text messages. See previous postings for more on that!
Will the Education Department ever stamp this crap out?
I doubt it. Not if the alternative to easy publicity for bogus charitable projects they know no-one will ever investigate involves real research, properly thought through policies or employing qualified professionals at the going rate.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The curse of Dumbledore strikes again.

Well, I said getting the clergy to cast spells on public buildings causes problems (see Blessing or Curses on 7th November)........and I was right!
The Anglican bishop only 'blessed' the new school up here on Friday 21st November. Yet on the evening of Sunday 23rd I have it on very good authority that the holy rollers who met there that very morning got an earbashing from their 'sponsors'.
Seems Broadway Baptists, who underwrite the 'outreach project', don't think their Northern brothers and sisters are pulling their weight.
I know not if the problem is their economic or evangelical shortcomings. I DO know they have been told the plug is getting pulled if things don't improve PDQ.
The funniest thing is cynics quickly pegged this bishop as little more than John Sentamu's apprentice.
The usual 'consultation' between Manx and UK Anglicans before his appointment earlier this year was a short one. Basically the Archbishop of York not only formally chaired the meeting, but told them who they were getting - end of.
Even Downing Street didn't bother with the usual token 'approval'. Sentamu told Brown, and Brown had made it clear at the start of his premiership he was leaving the choice of new bishops entirely to Lambeth Palace, not making a token 'choice' between two formal candidates.
So that was that. Democracy Nil, Superstition Two.
Mind you, if whatever sorcery El Bish picked up from Sentamu gets hardline sectarian freaks out of our schools this fast, who cares? At this rate they'll be safe for kids within the year.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Christ in a Cage

I see that the tightwads up at the Tourist Department are up to their usual tricks again.
There’s an ongoing problem with places for kids to go and do stuff, but, hey, let’s not splash out on proper facilities. Why not just get some godbothering throwbacks to bring over a cross between five a side footie and cage-fighting. Then we can spend the difference on a ‘fact-finding’ mission to the Bahamas or something instead.
Think I’m kidding?
Take a look at
But it gets worse. British Youth For Christ (charity number 263446) actually manages to keep 47 biblebashing halfwits off the dole and scrounge an annual income of almost £2,670,000 with this kind of crap. It says it exists ‘to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world by promoting & encouraging the Christian evangelisation of young people & standards of behaviour which accord with the doctrines of the Christian faith’ and ‘to advance the Protestant and Evangelical tenets of the Christian faith in all parts of the world.’
What, like homophobia, burning witches and sectarian violence?
Then there’s the trustees. You can get the measure of them just by looking at their other charitable deeds.
Take Rev. David Stillman and Novi Most International (charity number 1043501), which says it is ‘a Christian charitable organisation which works with young people in Bosnia Herzegovina: to help them overcome the effects of their past, to equip them to enter their futures with hope and confidence, to empower them to become instruments of transformation in their communities.’
So a community in which Catholics and Muslims ethnically cleansed each other is going to get better because Protestant hardliners introduce a new sectarian divide?
Yeah, that’ll work!
I could go on, but why bother? I think you get the picture.
The government has been bellyaching for years about how kids are turning to drink, drugs and wall-to-wall Grand Theft Auto.
So do they put on some half-decent events, fund proper youth clubs?
No, they hand them over to the first brain-dead bunch of sectarian freaks who offer a bargain basement show alternating empty-headed US style sports entertainment with bible-readings.
Look guys. Try doing this properly.
Smack dealers will screw your kids up for about the same price, and NO smack dealer in the WORLD promises the junk they sell will give you life after death!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Normal service will be resumed...

I'm only too aware I haven't posted anything in a week or so.
This is due to having to deal with a number of work & family issues which arose out of the blue last week.
I'm hoping to be back on track by the middle of the week, and posting regularly again towards the end of the week.
Meanwhile - I can't be the only one on this windy, damp rock in the middle of the Irish Sea who is alternatively highly amused or hacked off at the lunacy of self-appointed local decision makers - in particular of the faith-based 'don't question anything or you'll get a thunderbolt down your chimney' variety.
So why not speak up instead of waiting on me!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Stop the temperance war on choice

The utter stupidity of temperance nazis is currently being demonstrated in the Manx courts. Or it would if the government department involved could even get their act together enough to turn up and make a case.
The case revolves around an incident in a garage where a Department of Fair Trade employee says she saw an under-age girl buying fags. If that was all that came out, it would sound like a fair cop – bad petrol company selling ciggies shamelessly to ickle kiddies, etc. But it’s not the whole story.
From other sources I know that the garage owner, having studied CCTV tapes, still thinks the girl looks well over age and would have served her himself, as his employee did.
I also know the employee is a hardcore teetotaller and non-smoker who challenges kids on their age all the time. He’s about the least likely person on the island to flog booze or fags to anyone under the legal age – even late at night when they turn up in a gang.
So far the garage owner and his employee have taken two separate days off to turn up for court, only for the DFT to ring in and say they’re not ready to proceed. It’s a nightmare for a business trying to get by in a credit crunch, though business as incompetently usual for a government department.
The whole stupid point seems to be to secure a highly publicised prosecution and ‘send a message’ to other small businesses and kids who smoke.
I’ll give two reasons.
Firstly, the island’s corner shops have already been driven out of business by a mixture of bureaucracy and government kowtowing to property developers who want to gentrify perfectly decent working class areas. So people move on to garages and supermarkets as the only places open and cheap enough.
Then middle class temperance nazis move in, demanding the source of cheap booze and fags is blocked, claiming kiddie innocence and family life must be protected – oh, and creating a few cosy, publicly funded ‘counsellor’ jobs for their unemployable mates at church.
Pass me a sick bag –pulleeeese!!!
Secondly, when it comes to families or kids, the Manx government gave up providing adequate services years ago, and gave up even inadequate ones when it adopted measures like a five year drug and alcohol plan which, in effect, closed the last professional service and employed faith-based amateurs at a fraction of the cost.
One of the island’s most experienced youth workers tells me, quite bluntly, that kids have had all the drug, alcohol and other health education anyone can give them – despite fundie opposition to any professionally delivered variants still on offer. They know ten times more about the subjects than any evangelical whackjob being employed to offer ‘counselling’ as a condition of non-custodial sentences or early release.
In short, they make a fully informed choice to drink, smoke and generally enjoy life now even if it means problems later. That is at least an improvement on the compulsory religious indoctrination anyone up to the age of 18 faces in local schools.
This government no longer cares if anyone unemployable outside the finance sector lives or dies. It just pumps out media bilge full of buzz words like ‘empathy’, ‘caring’, ‘family’ and ‘concern’ which fool enough Daily Mail readers too lazy to read further. The kids know that, and if there were enough local people who care enough about real civil liberties we would grasp it too and oppose the temperance nazi intent to interfere with informed choice where it still remains.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Blessing or curses?

I see from the government website at
that the new Ramsey junior school, Scoill Ree Gorree (King Orry’s School) is being officially opened on 21 November. I also see the Anglican Bishop is turning up to cast spells on it.
This sad modern Manx ‘tradition’ that every new building has to be blessed is almost as wrong as incest or folk-dancing. But it also has a habit of going badly wrong.
I once watched a previous bishop bless a first-time buyers house on a project here where, within months, so many building defects were discovered that the houses became uninhabitable and there was talk of pulling down the entire estate.
Due to a housing shortage directly caused by the government, building industry and finance sector’s relentless profiteering that wasn’t possible. There was nowhere else for the tenants and house-owners to go. Some of them are still there, two decades later, and frankly if that cleric had called down a plague of frogs instead it couldn’t have done much more damage to their health.
Then there was the fiasco of the last Anglican Bishop and the new Douglas cemetery – a disaster in design so awful that no self-respecting person would be seen dead there anyway. He got carried away, and instead of sticking to the plan happily showered everything in sight with holy piddle.
This discourtesy was noted privately at the next Catholic burial (and Manx Jews are so used to low level anti-semitism that they never remark on it anyway), but not made public until the first local Muslim burial was required.
Still, whatever the consequences of Christians pathetically trying to mark public territory like so many geriatric tomcats, I am more concerned by the evangelical cult currently infesting Auldyn School, next door to Scoill Ree Gorree, at the weekend.
It cannot be good for any school hall to have sweaty, 100% polyester-clad halfwits babbling in tongues and rolling around the floor each Sunday. Even if the place gets scrubbed afterwards – which I very much doubt – with so much idiot DNA washing around there has to be a genetic side-effect somewhere when kids sit or play sports on that floor throughout the week.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Help an East European child, bankrupt a charity

The new Education Bill amendments allowing teachers to physically restrain pupils and so on are all very interesting. But they don’t answer a vital question.
When removing a fundie throwback from my daughter’s classroom, can he just be thrown through a window, or do I have to open it first?
Which handily brings me to my main theme.
It’s close to that time of year when religious charlatans start begging for funds to screw up other people’s lives. Now more enlightened legislation (in the UK anyway, don’t hold your breath over here yet) makes it harder for them to peddle their bigotry in the UK, they increasingly look to East Europe or the ‘developing world’ for victims, but still rattle buckets here shamelessly – especially near Christmas.
With this in mind, time to launch a secular Christmas appeal – let’s call it ‘Help an East European child, bankrupt a charity’.
But surely, you say, those poor Romanian kids need help – even if it’s from evangelicals?
Well…! The decent element in East European civic society has spent two decades struggling to kill off the last hangovers from a previous era, and almost succeeded. The two remaining obstacles are bent quasi-fascist political groupings and their freeloading Western friends. I have this from no less a source than one of the ethnic Hungarian-Romanian Lutheran pastors whose activities kicked off the 1989 uprising, who says wealthy western evangelical groups like Samaritan’s Purse are a bigger obstacle to multicultural community cohesion in his and surrounding countries than Ceacescu and his ilk ever were.
As my East European friends and relatives joke – they send us plumbers, electricians, doctors, nurses and others to keep our creaking service industries going. And we send in return unemployable, superstitious village idiots to collaborate with corrupt politicians, not only revive dead ethnic conflicts but start new sectarian ones, cream off EU funds from local initiatives and generally drag things back to the 1930’s.
It isn’t just friends over there who note this. To the elegant, multilingual East European women working here in offshore finance, the funniest thing about locals isn’t their dowdy clothes, parochial attitude to the world, or inability to do basic maths or speak other languages, but their limited knowledge of British history, vocabulary, spelling or grammar. The word most used locally in Czech, Polish, Hungarian or Russian for ‘Manx’ translates as ‘peasant’. In their eyes, this is the Third World, and the sooner they’re back in a place with shops, cinemas, theatre – or just adequate plumbing – the better!
In return for their invaluable expertise, the least we could do is tell our evangelical bucket rattlers to sod off and find a job. Even some of them can’t be too dumb to stack shelves in Tesco.

Just Stop it!

The monthly round-up from International Campaign Against Honour Killings arrived today.
It was depressing, and the Pope is a Catholic…
Apart from the now well publicised case of the 13 year old stoned to death in Somalia after reporting her own rape, there were statistics on the number of known honour killings in Pakistan so far this year (225), a 17 year old killed after her uncle set his dogs on her, then shot her with a tribal judge’s approval - passed off as an honour killing, but probably a land dispute between brothers. Just for ‘balance’ there’s also a report of the Egyptian Christian who killed his daughter, her husband and their child in a fit of rage because she married a Muslim.
On the brighter side there are attempts to change the Syrian penal code which allows shorter sentences for honour killing. No prizes for guessing who is objecting to that.
The bulletin had a link to a new site for the Global Campaign To Stop Killing and Stoning Women (, which seems to have replaced the old International Campaign Against Stoning. In turn this has links to numerous campaigns to stop religiously motivated violence against women around the world – all good stuff.
While I’m on the subject of religious violence against women, I should also mention the FGM National Clinical Group site at .
Another worthy cause, and from what I can see not getting anything like the public funds thrown at religious bigots to ‘aid interfaith dialogue’. If you have a quid or two to spare, maybe looking for a workplace charity appeal that tackles a genuine problem ,not some fluffy bunny kids swimming with dolphins crap, give the site a look.
Maybe it’s because I’m a dad with a daughter just four years younger than the poor kid burnt alive for wearing lipstick, but this stuff gets to me more than almost anything else these days. I cannot imagine how any parent can kill their young daughter, or bear having her murdered by fundamentalist scum with no apparent link to humanity. But then, I can’t even imagine why any self-respecting parent could be happy knowing evangelicals are allowed into schools, spreading their anti-human virus to impressionable kids.
It has to stop. WE have to stop it.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

What tradition?

I have been interested, though hardly suprised, at the results of Peter Tatchell's efforts to reveal UK Catholicism's rewriting of history with Westminster help.
Catholicism has two problems. It needs a new UK saint to keep the punters interested, but the best recent candidate seems to have been gay.
In brief, the favoured candidate is Cardinal Newman, who not only quite openly had a 30 year intimate friendship with a Father Ambrose St. John, but at his own request was buried with him a century ago.
After several enquiries under the Freedom of Information Act, Tatchell seems to have established that recent Catholic attempts to have Newman reburied in a more 'fitting' manner had a fair bit of behind-the-scenes help from the Ministry of Justice. This even seems to have included a 'media plan' to enable a whitewash should the facts ever come out.
For a good up to date summary of the story look at today's Pink Triangle Trust blog (
Now of course, on the Isle of Man church/state lovey-doveyness notoriously helps to perpetuate common prejudice.
We still have no Civil Partnership Act, despite 'public consultation' prior to a promised drawing up of a bill which was timetabled last year.
Faith-based schools and 'community facilities' are openly homophobic - even when getting public money to deal with issues motivated primarily by faith-based homophobia, such as teenage homelessness.
Unlike the UK, nothing in our legislation requires either charities or businesses to avoid discrimination, and to offer services fairly and (in the case of charities/voluntary sector bodies) to all who need them.
There's only been one 'unofficial' civil partnership ceremony here that I know of - between two women, held in a country hotel lounge and conducted by an off-island clergyman.
It was interesting that they were both Methodists, and that their church friends and relatives were 'advised' to stay away but didn't, despite attending one of the most hardline village churches on the island.
That the event involved quite down to earth country folk, who effectively told their lay preacher and other village worthies to sod off, is quite encouraging.
But has Manx church and community always been as unforgiving towards gays as we think?
There is some evidence that in simpler times they just didn't worry.
A few years ago I had to do a local history project for a Manx magazine which involved (amongst many other things) pottering around village graveyards. I was astonished to find several 18th and 19th century graves where 'lifelong companions' of the same gender were buried together. They weren't hidden away at the edge of graveyards with shipwrecked foreigners, criminals and other 'outsiders'. Presumably clergy and churchwardens were fully involved in the burial arrangements. They just seem to have worried less about what folk got up to with the human plumbing system.
Such a shame 'educated', office-working, financially secure 21st century Christians and church leaders aren't as wise as their illiterate, farmworking forefathers, who respected loving friendships for what they were and generally just minded their own business.

Pest Control

My good mate Roy, who also worries about his kids being abused in the classroom by totally inappropriate adults, suggests we go to
The answer to every concerned parent's dreams, I'd say.
So only one question left.
Why isn't this available in Tesco yet?

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

It's not pastoring, it's mugging

A report in a Wandsworth newspaper (see flagged up on the NSS site gives a taste of what could be coming here, if we don't stop it.
The Wandsworth council are paying evangelicals from the Ascension Trust £10K a year, topped up with another £5K from the police, to act as 'street pastors'. Locals are not impressed and want the money spent on proper community facilities instead.
It's not even as if they have relevant local experience - the cult started in Ghana and most of their trustees are from there. They're also so slow at filing their accounts and annual returns as a registered charity that in 2005 they were almost struck off the register. These days they're almost on time - though with an £800K income and a large chunk not spent there are still questions to be asked.
There have been some sly attempts at street pastoring over here too. Some Douglas ones were stopped dead in their tracks a few months back by a letter in the Examiner suggesting the police arrest them for aggressive begging. After all, if chasing folk with small kids and pensioners down the Prom threatening them with hellfire and eternal damnation isn't demanding money with menaces, what is?
But our Southern Baptists now even have their own bus, as well as a 'youth pastor' who pesters teenage kids in a secondary school to the point of apparently being supplied with their mobile numbers by a staff member (see previous postings for more). It beggars belief that, while our legitimate youth services have to badger small businesses for cash and materials because the education Department won't fund them, superstitious halfwits with the combined intellect of plankton can get something close to a six figure sum for the same pastor to drive around harassing kids, and even police back-up when they tell him to clear off.
Douglas Baptists and their ridiculous 'Machine' project also had a go a few years back - at least until strong local pressure closed down a 'community resource' apparently getting public funds on the basis of calling any kid who sat at a popular meeting point outside a member. Oh, and however hard they tried to dissuade the families of witnesses, that pastor getting nailed for underage sex on the premises didn't help.
Neither did using a speaker with a background in Loyalist paramilitarism, I suspect. 'Street smart' that wasn't, but also a shame the Manx police somehow forgot to check his background; they might have picked up on an appeal from Coleraine police about a mysterious fire in a family planning clinic and asked him more pertinent questions than the ones his local mates fed him at his 'drug seminar'.
There seems to be a ridiculously simple answer. If you really want to stop street crime in the Isle of Man, make sure our biblebashers stay home at nights.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Wanted - flat earth spookchasing do-gooder (No Muslims need apply)

As if to support yesterday's posting on the state of Manx prison rehabilitation services - an advert in today's Isle of Man Examiner for a 'Principal Project Worker' at David Gray House, the island's bail hostel run by the Salvation Army.
The vague job description ends with this statement: 'The Salvation Army is a Christian Church and registered charity 215174. Promoting Equality in the Workplace.'
Actually, even that is misleading, as the SA is not a Manx registered charity, but David Gray House and Friends of David Gray House are - so why not tell us that?
Short of saying something on the lines of 'no dogs, no blacks, no Irish' it's hard to see how the SA could be clearer about who they DON'T want to employ.
As there's no Manx equivalent to the UK 'goods and services' legislation (which makes it difficult for religious charities not to employ well qualified gays or non-Christians or refuse to offer services) they are on disgustingly secure ground. In addition, a few years ago a nice man from CARE came to Stepford Central and gave local evangelicals a briefing on branding their business with a 'Christian ethos' in order to continue discriminating without fear of a court case should Manx law ever even entertain 20th century standards of civility, never mind drag itself into the current century.
Nevertheless David Gray had to improve on their last advert, for a manager, in which they tried to limit the candidates by saying the manager would be required to lead a daily act of Christian worship. When the probation service and DGH management were trying to pretend to the Minister for Home Affairs there was no problem accomodating those of other faiths - most particularly two Muslims awaiting trial who couldn't get bail - I pointed out that advert to him. They continue to deny there would be a problem, or that the worship is compulsory, but you can see they needed a less blatent strategy for ensuring that whoever continues to fail to deliver a publically subsidised 'social service' it will still live up to their previous standards of flat-earth, superstitious prejudice.
Saddest thing is, as numerous groups 'close to government' fiddle work permits over here, there is probably no point in even a reasonably decent Manx Christian applying. The spookchasers and their friends at the DHA will have already decided who to employ - from off-island - and just be running the advert to prevent Work Permit Committee objections.
Well, they already circumvent the rules on planning applications, so what else is new?

Monday, 27 October 2008

No faith in prison reform

A piece in yesterday's Observer about godbotherers in prisons make me wonder if even the 'broadsheet' press bothers with basic fact-checking any more.
In Faith groups spreading the word on the wings one Jamie Doward claims: 'the unspoken truth is that, in an increasingly irreligious society, Jesus continues to walk the wings of Britain's prisons, offering salvation to those who have no other chance of saving themselves.'
He goes on to quote ad nauseum from twattish cults like the Kainos Community and Prison Fellowship Ministries without bothering to verify their claims.
Take Kainos's claim, 'independently verified by academics' , that 'only 13 per cent of the serious offenders who complete its courses go on to reoffend after two years, compared with 35 per cent across the prison service average.'
Actually, the report they're referring to was demanded as part of a 1999 Home Office review to decide if Kainos should be further funded after running out of public money two years into a four year program. It's not available to the public, as Kainos paid for it, but a parliamentary committee considered it, and their 'executive summary' said that a comparison between those who had been through Kainos and 14,000 prisoners serving similar sentences in similar prisons found no significant difference in re-offending rates. By comparison, prisoners on other, more secular, rehabilitation programmes were on average 10% less likely to offend again.
Then he confuses things by saying 'The Prison Fellowship has more than 120 local prison prayer groups and 900 volunteers from all Christian denominations' , but unless I'm mistaken, this refers to their US program where they are one of four beneficiaries of a $22.5 million diversion of public funds towards evangelical chancers and away from proper prison reform work, not the UK. They shouldn't even be working in UK prisons since their 'InnerChange Freedom Initiative' was kicked out of Dartmoor for failing to ‘enhance diversity’ (i.e. they wouldn't work with anyone of other faiths or none) and this at the initial request of the UK's Chaplain General himself.
Funniest of all, Doward refers to Working with the Third Sector to Reduce Reoffending as a 'new document'. It has been available since early last year, and taken such a kicking from everyone from the BHA through to all serious prison reform and prisoners rights groups that there isn't a 'fact' left unchallenged.
OK, he later quotes doubters ranging from the NSS to the Howard League and NAPO, the prison officer union, but would most folk read that far anyway?
This has a Manx angle too. Since about 2003 the Salvation Army have been lobbying Tynwald to hand over prison reform to them in entirety, using an example of a Kainos style program they ran in a Nottinghamshire prison. They already run the bail hostel, where I continue to hear that good court reports depend on prayer meeting attendance - last year, for example, two Muslim remand prisoners seem to have been unable to get any bail before their court case came up because of this. The SA depend for 'drug and alcohol counselling' on the equally ridiculous Stauros cult running out of Broadway Baptists down the road. Housing and resettlement help for ex-prisoners is organised by a 'family liason officer' who also helps run Graih - another pathetic Broadway initiative where hardcore homeless alkies give an excuse for public funding to evangelicals too disorientated to stack Tesco shelves.....and so it goes on.
Considering that, by my calculations, at least as many evangelical pastors have been imprisoned for serious offences on the island in the last decade as have been employed for prison chaplaincy work, you have to wonder if anyone is still awake at the Department for Home Affairs.
The further you look and join the dots, the more you realise the Manx government are simply not serious about tackling social exclusion, but quite content to hide that by employing 'faith groups' to provide token programs with no proper audit procedure at a 10th of the cost of the professionals.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Forget 'probably', just stop honour killings

I haven't looked at the excellent International Campaign Against Honour Killings site recently, but a visit today confirmed that in some parts of the world faith-based cretinism has reached such a low that I almost value the toytown stupidity of Manx Baptists and Pentecostals.
Take, for example, the report of an 11 year old girl in Jaipur set on fire by relatives for wearing lipstick. You did not misread that and I will repeat it - I DID write '11 year old', 'set on fire' and 'for wearing lipstick'. The poor kid had 90% burns and is not expected to survive.
Then there's the report from the Asian Human Rights Commission on the guy who killed his second wife for allegedly having an affair. Even from a religious court you'd expect a fine, a slap on the wrist....something, right?
Well, no.
The AHRC report tells us....
'According to the information received, Mr. Sher Dil Jatoi, 62 years old, killed his second wife in an honour killing for allegedly having an illicit relationship with a person named Mr. Shahoo Jatoi. The honour killing occurred in August this year. Based on this case, Mr. Mir Hassan Jatoi, one of the chiefs of Jatoi tribe, a powerful tribe in the area held a 'Jirga', a court which has been declared as illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, at Lucky Ghulam Shah, Shikarpur district, Sindh province on October 20, 2008 in order to make a decision on the murder case.
Several elites of the Jatoi tribe who have remained in power in both the military and civilian governments took part in the Jirga. The decision said Sher Dil Jatoi was the victim of honour and innocent in killing his second wife. It further said, "as Shahoo Jatoi developed the illicit relationship with the wife of Sher Dil Jatoi, Sher Dil had the right to murder his wife. Shahoo Jatoi was ordered to compensate Sher Dil by handing over his three minor daughters". Since Shahoo has only one girl, a 10-year-old daughter, the Jirga decided that the brothers Mr. Miro Jatoi and Mr. Khanan Jatoi should give their daughters of ages between 13 and 11 years to Sher Dil. Besides, it also ordered Shahoo's family to deliver 20 buffaloes, costing more than 100,000 rupees (around USD 1,400) each, as a fine for having the relationship.'
......and it gets worse. Believe it or not, Sher Dil also killed his first wife in 2001 to protect his honour, and got off that time too!
The truly depressing thing is, the site logs cases like this almost daily, along with suggested protests to the authorities involved.
Much as I love all the current buzz about bendy buses and atheist adverts, even though there's no god I can't stop worrying and get on with my life. Because there is no 'probably' about it, this shit will NOT stop until we stop it.
Please, just go to and help that happen.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Big Daddy is watching, but even small kids are laughing

My wife came back from my daughter's school concert with a hilarious, if chilling, story about faith-based brainwashing.
It was advertised as a 'harvest concert', so should not have been a religious service. We've been getting letters home about it for a month and listening as she practiced her 'Thank you farmers' song, so thought we knew what was involved.
The Mrs knew all that was bollocks when the vicar from round the corner appeared unannounced to 'lead' it.
The 'thank you' our girl has been rehearsing turned out to be only one verse in a dirge thanking a fictitious twat on a cloud at every available opportunity. The words to this and other dirges were displayed, bouncing ball style, on a screen so the parents could join in and the kids could remember - or any 5-6 year old capable of reading them anyway.
Then came the lengthy prayers, led by old vinegar-face. Kids meekly held hands together, closed eyes and at the first 'Amen' went like mini-mujhadhin into the Lords Prayer without even being prompted. Mine didn't, of course, and turned round to Mum with her usual smirk.
My wife was furious. Bear in mind that she grew up in Ceacescu-era Romania, so lived through 20 years of totalitarian crap in which her every move was watched or choreographed, and every sign of dissent logged by teachers who she didn't even know were Securitate agents until much later. So when she says there is more blatent brainwashing going on in a small town Manx primary school than she ever experienced as a compulsory member of the Young Pioneers someone should sit up and take notice.
Finally, we are amused, and my daughter takes such crap in her stride. Since she could talk we taught her to ask questions, and that if anyone - including adults - can't or won't give a straight answer then she is free to consider them either dumb or dishonest. It seems to work, and as she's well ahead of her classmates her teachers have no complaints.
Maybe they enjoy, for once, teaching a small child who doesn't just sit there but asks question after question without a trace of fear. Maybe, like us, they are just waiting for the day when elderly politicians and civil servants who are hand in glove with a dying church also get tired of being laughed at -even by small kids.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Afghan 'charity worker' death - sad, stupid, but avoidable

The press is full of stories about the recent shooting of the 'charity worker' Gayle Williams in Afghanistan by Taliban gunmen who said she was trying to convert natives to Christianity. Even humanist websites picked it up without asking questions about the source.
Everyone took the word of her 'Serve Afghanistan' colleagues as true, when they said she was only helping locals, not proselytising, and that is the problem.
Now it's a shame if anyone gets murdered by religious nutters; but unfortunately what the Taliban said is probably true, and it's just as likely Serve Afghanistan are as careless with the truth as any other bunch of evangelical Christians.
Just take a look on the England and Wales charity register at the Serve Afghanistan entry - charity number 1105086.
Got that?
Then look at the Trustees.
Look in particular at the other charities for which Mike Lyth is also a Trustee.
Firstly the Firm Foundation Trust - charity number 277298, whose objectives are:
and then The Kerygma Trust - charity number 1098784, whose objectives are:
Now that's bad enough, but at least Mike Lyth admits his interests to the Charity Commissioners.
Another trustee, Andy Dipper, doesn't. But a few moments later and I established that he worked for Tearfund, then in 2006 became Chief Executive of Release International, which is a working name only.
I have friends and relatives in East Europe, and good contacts amongst groups who trace the resurgence of neo-nazi activity there, so can say without fear of being proved wrong that evangelicals have stirred up ethnic and sectarian conflicts, destroyed local communities and traditions, provided foot soldiers for attacks on Gay Pride festivals and, in the particular case of Latvia, even exported rampant homophobia back to parts of the US where it was otherwise dying out (see the excellent 'Intelligence Report' magazine produced by the Southern Poverty Law Center for more on this).
This particular little bunch of patronising, interfering godbotherers may turn out not to be part of the general US-led rabble which charges around past and present disaster areas destroying communities, hobnobbing with corrupt politicians and hoovering up foreign aid money, but they are not innocent either.
If you need an analogy for this sad, stupid death, don't think 'nice lady helping poor kids shot by nasty Taliban', think of the way established drug gangs wipe out the women and kids of new rivals first to scare them off. The Taliban absolutely, absolutely suck, but they do not pretend to be anything they are not.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Freaks Out Now!

There's a petition at I'd encourage anyone sick of evangelical wierdos being allowed to roam around UK schools to sign.
It was put there by a Torbay parent, Alan Urdaibay, after an outfit called the Linx Trust was given unrestricted rights to pester kids at his daughter's secondary school.
In a letter to the school, he said:
"We write with great concern regarding the presence of Nigel Taylor and Linx in the school. Nigel Taylor is not a member of staff. In our view Taylor and other members of his group are undesirables and we want them to have no contact with our daughter. None of them is to address our daughter or communicate personally with her in any way. She is not to be approached at mealtimes, in the corridors, or any other location within or without the school.
Additionally, our daughter will not participate in any aspect of the school mentoring system until such time as its integrity is not compromised by the participation of any Linx member in any way. It is our view that any mentoring system within the school should be entirely secular and the government's 2007 Children's Plan indicates it should be carried out by a member of staff. Religious groups with an agenda of their own, especially those with unacceptable attitudes towards aspects of sexuality, have no place in mentoring in a non-faith school.
Linx describes itself as being associated with the Baptists, a fringe religious group whose representation in the UK is about the same as the Scientologists. Admitting no central authority, and not technically a denomination, they are a fractious grouping holding widely differing beliefs. Linx has no published doctrine or teaching and confines published material to banalities with the occasional attack on witchcraft. What is apparent is that Linx is a fundamentalist group responsible to no-one and which, despite its claims, does not reflect mainstream Christianity. Taylor has effectively created his own religion: a fringe of a fringe, so to speak. It is the case that Torbay school is not a faith school and that nothing about its prospectus or web site suggests that it is anything other than a normal school. It should not give privileged access to any religious group, either mainstream or, in the case of Linx, an extreme minority with no identifiable teachings.
Linx has the admitted purpose of inveigling its way into Torbay schools by offering free services not directly related to religion in order to gain access to other people's children. We consider this Machiavellian 'over the heads of the parents' approach to be unethical and it should be blocked by all schools. Parents' satisfaction with the school in general should not be used as a mechanism for lulling them into accepting input preferentially from any religious group, not least a fundamentalist one. Even the establishment of such a thing as a bible study group needs to be viewed with caution. A long-established bible club held at my daughter's school has been taken over by Linx and is tolerated by the school only because it is nominally independently run by the girls. It is certainly a deceitful attempt to go over the heads of parents. While my daughter was at [this school] I asked to speak to Mr Taylor about his religious views, but was refused.
It is our view that a school should be a place of safety away from sexual predators and no less away from religious predators. The objective of any participation by a Linx member in any class or school activity, is, directly or indirectly, to serve their proselytising agenda. They are certainly being funded with this in mind.
By giving Taylor a privileged platform within the context of assemblies, the classroom, and, shockingly, even in the refectory, he hopes to achieve a moral authority from which he can groom the vulnerable to participate in his religious beliefs and practices. These ways of gaining access to children are deceitful and should be stopped."
That struck a chord with me. Baptists are being allowed to hold services each Sunday at my daughter's infant school, Auldyn, not counting the number of times she's come home saying evangelical con-artists were there begging under the pretence of helping Eastern Europeans or something equally ridiculous. Having been visiting East Europe since she was 18 months old my nipper's more likely to wet herself laughing at such pillocks than fall for their twaddle, but Manx schools put no effort into checking such chancers out.
Almost as soon as I mentioned the petition above, I had a reply from someone who knew of a 15 year old getting pestered by our very own Southern Baptist throwbacks last year. Apparently a Port St. Mary based youth pastor is allowed into Castle Rushen to 'mentor' kids. When one refused to play music at his sad little youthie he started texting her out of school hours (where'd he get the number is another interesting question!). No action has been taken, and Isle of Man College is another place where such evangelical trolling is going on.
Also, interestingly, while our Sexual Offences Act has measures to stop 'grooming' of kids under 18 by adults from numerous community groups, church organisations are quite specifically excluded. This though the worst cases in recent years of underage Manx kids being preyed on sexually by an adult involved pastors and youth workers at other evangelical church youth clubs.
My informant on the Castle Rushen case suggests it might be time concerned folk got up a petition to get these freaks out of our schools. As someone with a lower opinion of evangelicals than drug dealers (seriously - I've lived in inner cities and known drug dealers with way higher moral standards than the average biblebasher) I agree.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

As soon as this pub closes, the Revolution starts

There’s an advertisement in this week’s Manx papers for a new member of the Police Consultative Forum, which, so the blurb says, was ‘established in 1998 to gather views about policing and crime prevention issue’ and ‘to work alongside the IoM Constabulary and Department of Home Affairs to further improve relations between the police and the community’.
It’s also supposed to be independent…yeah right, and a herd of pigs just flew past Tynwald in a ‘V’ formation!
No point even getting an application form.
Last year there was an advertisement for a related body, the Police Advisory Group. This was also supposed to have representatives of a broad cross-section of Manx business, social and community organisations.
After months of time wasting the new members were announced, and coincidentally all were involved in Crimestoppers, Neighbourhood Watch or Victim Support and/or linked to evangelical churches. The owner of St. John’s Mill Conference Centre, (nicknamed‘Stepford Central’ because of all the right wing kooks who are based there) chairs both the PAG and PCF, aided by a Stepford sidekick.
The Department of Home Affairs is really going to have to tackle this flat-earth spookchaser monopoly some time. The Board of Prison Visitors are self-elected godbotherers, so many prison officers were recruited from Ulster and Scottish jails that they even formed a Manx branch of Ian Paisley’s church, the bail hostel is run by the Sally Ann, their 'drug and alcohol therapy' is done by bozos operating out of the Baptist church down the road, the police force has never recovered from being led by a James Anderton clone……
Funny how the Manx government assumes all concerns about policing can be expressed by a handful of superstitious village idiots – like the rest of us don’t care or matter.
No, what we really need is a new special interest group, and I know just how to start it. Forget prissy church hall gatherings of sourfaced grumps. Let’s all go down the pub.
By about 8 PM, after the first couple of pints take effect, the real problems will be getting well aired and we’ll know just what to do about them. And even by midnight ,when none of us can stand up or talk straight, we’ll still be talking less bollocks than a stone-cold Baptist on Sunday morning.
Get the drinks in: the fightback starts here.