Rounding up the news from the world of faith and faithlessness
Westboro music tastes mISSoURI Indie rock superstars Radiohead may divide opinion amongmusic fans, but it’s unlikely many detractors feel as strongly as the rabidly homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, who branded the band “Freak monkey’s [sic] with mediocre tunes” as they turned out to picket a recent gig in Kansas City.
Yet, in a bizarre twist, it turns out that at least one member of the church is happy to call himself a fan. “I listen to Radiohead,” the church’s “media outreach” oﬃcer
Steve Drain told Vice magazine, pointing out that while he likes the music, he hates the band for saying, “It’s OK to be gay.”
It seems this kind of cognitive dissonance comes easily to Drain, who also declared himself a fan of Ozzy Osborne. “Black Sabbath has some interesting songs. But on the moral standpoint, they’re horrible.”
Breaking achey hearts HoLLYWood It seems we have a new atheist heroine, in the, ahem, divine form of Southern-fried popstrel and film starlet Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana. According to reports she has enraged “the haters and her fans” alike by tweeting a quote by the theoretical physicist and prominent atheist Lawrence Krauss marvelling at the wonders of the Universe.
“You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded,” runs the quote. “Because the elements weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in stars. So forget Jesus. Stars died so you could live.”
Miley apparently thought this sentiment was “beautiful” thus revealing herself to be, in the eyes of her public, Satan and Richard Dawkins rolled into one. A torrent of hate from the haters followed. “You seriously believe that crap?” asked one Twitter follower. “It’s so ridiculously stupid. Go to hell.” “Forget Jesus???” asked another, “Seriously? What has happened to you out there in the famous world?”
As if to compound her offence, Miley recently passed on this aphorism to her followers, from Charlie Chaplin: “Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.”
6 New Humanist MAY JUNE 2012
Road rage FLoRIda A battle has broken out between Christians and a humanist group over the blessing of a highway in Florida. Humanists in the sunshine state recently discovered that a minister in Polk County, just east of Tampa, had embarked upon a scheme to anoint the roads surrounding the area, thus warding off unholy spirits and ungodly forces. “A strip of anointed oil has been placed over all lanes of highway and a prayer has been given at each location asking God to have angels inspect every vehicle that travels into or out of this county,” explained Pastor Frank Smith, who claims that crime in the area has decreased since the scheme was introduced in 2010.
But now the atheists are fighting back, using “unholy water” to mop the stretch of anointed road. “We’re not doing anything to harm anyone,” explained Humanists of Florida spokesperson Rob Curry. “No gods will be harmed in the washing of the roads.”
Shock rock IoWa A high school is facing a backlash from parents after a Christian rock band invited to perform for students used the opportunity to impart their anti-gay views, show images of aborted foetuses and tell female students they should assume a submissive role in their future marriages.
Junkyard Prophet were invited to Dunkerton High School to perform a gig for the students and spread their “very strong antiviolence, anti-drug, anti-alcohol” message. And all was fine during the musical section. “The kids were rocking out,” said the local Superintendent, but once the gig was over things started to go awry. The students were divided into male and female groups, and the girls were taken aside for a lecture in evangelical morality.
“They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins,” said one mother. “I couldn’t even understand her, she was crying so hard. They told these kids that anyone who was gay was going to die at the age of 42. It just blows me away that no one stopped this.” The local school district is now trying to recover the fee it was charged for Junkyard Prophet’s appearance.