Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I wanna hold your hand 2

Ratzinger embarks on Mission Impossible, from The FREEETHINKER

IN a move reminiscent of the little Dutch boy’s efforts to plug the leak in a dike, Pope Ratzinger has unveiled plans to stop the growing number of escapees from the clutches of the Church.

According to the Telegraph today, Ratzinger is to create a crack squad to drive disillusioned Catholics back into the fold. The new Vatican department would tackle what he called:

A grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church.

He expressed deep concerns that previously staunch Catholic countries in Europe and North America were facing:

The eclipse of a sense of God.

Or waking up to reality, as we prefer to call it.

Tens of thousands of worshippers are deserting the Church over issues such as clerical sex abuse and the ban on married priests. And maybe also because Ratzinager, 83, cuts such an unattractive figure.

Said the old drag queen:

I have decided to create a new body with the aim of promoting a renewed evangelism [in countries that are going through] progressive secularisation of society.

The new department, to be called The Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation, will try to reinvigorate belief among Catholics in rich, developed countries – or, in the pontiff’s words:

Find the right means to re-propose the perennial truth of the Gospel.

It is expected to be led by an Italian archbishop, Rino Fisichella, who as head of the Pontifical Academy for Life is the Vatican’s top bioethics official.

Congregations in the West have fallen dramatically and faith in the Church has been hard hit by a series of high-profile scandals involving the sexual abuse of children by paedophile priests.

The Vatican, together with senior Church leaders in individual countries, has been accused of ignoring or actively covering up sex abuse cases in the United States, Australia, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Austria – in fact, just about everywhere that the Catholics have managed to ply their vile trade.

The Pope himself has been accused of turning a blind eye to paedophile priest cases when he was Archbishop of Munich and then head of the Vatican’s office for doctrinal enforcement.

Ratzinger made an official visit to Portugal last month, but barely 20 percent of the population in the formerly staunchly Catholic country regularly attends church and the average age of priests is 62, and are probably now in need of Viagra.

Austria – once seen as a bulwark against the Protestant Reformation and a stronghold of Catholicism in central Europe – is witnessing a particularly strong push for a more liberal Church, partly in response to the paedophile sex abuse scandal.

The Austrian Church has estimated that up to 80,000 of the country’s 5.5 million Catholics could leave the church this year a new record.

In Britain there are about six million Catholics – one in ten of the population – but only around a million say they go to Mass every Sunday.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said he looked forward to co-operating with the new body.

This initiative identifies a challenge with which many in the Catholic Church, and many in other Christian communities, are familiar.

I wanna hold your hand

Surfer by Joe Phillips

All on board!

Baby you can drive my car

Sexy shading

Hot male arms

Sunday, June 20, 2010


"can-true-morality-be-based-on-the-humanistic-values," from the Blog "Being Human"

When a fundamentalist Christian or Muslim talks about morality I fear that all too often he or she does not really mean a personal sense of right or wrong that many see as the real form of morality.
I fear that he is not talking about personal ability to judge what would be the most beneficial way of action for one’s near and dear ones or even for one's society, but he really means just plain old unquestioning submission to authority.
However, fundamentalists dress this submission up as some kind of 'absolute morality' where religious moral codes are of some kind of 'divine origin' and cannot therefore be questioned at all.

Things that are seen as moral and immoral in Christianity or in the even more un-evolved Islam have, however, changed immensely during their existence.
For example for hundreds of years owning slaves was seen as a quite moral thing in both religions to do. Also only a few hundred years ago burning old ladies on big bonfires ceased to be a highly moral thing to do.

The plain truth is that this ‘divinely’ ordained morality has always been created by mortal men. It has always changed according to the current requirements of the society, as all morality basically do exist to protect society and its members from behavior that can harm the harmonious co-existence of its members.
There can't be a society without a moral code in use, as it would fall down very rapidly. There is only the question about its origins; is morality derived from outside the humanity or is morality something humans themselves create to further the interests of their societies and through this also to ensure the happiness of their own family and ultimately of themselves?

The fundamentalist approach of unquestioning obedience to all rules has some clear-cut advantages. It makes accepting the current moral norms automatic and if these claims are accepted at face-value, a automated response to moral problems is created that can be beneficial for a individual facing moral dilemmas.
A big thing in this religiously motivated morality is that not being able to question the basis of what is currently deemed as moral or immoral eases the mental load of a individual.

A person can rely blindly on tradition without a need to really analyze ones actions at all. Many people find this very liberating, as really answering questions concerning morality can be very difficult in many cases.
In fact a person can return to a status of a child with the fundamentalist approach. A child has the ability unquestioningly accept all that is handed to him by persons in positions of authority.
Many find this kind of situation extremely liberating, when they are relieved from the need to make personal choices and decisions in difficult issues.

Freedom is much more difficult in this respect than a state of submission, as a free person is held accountable to his or her own decisions.
The cat is however often out of the bag when one realizes that these religious rules are in fact laid out by ordinary human beings, who all too often use the their Holy Texts as only as vehicles for furthering their own prejudices and conservative agenda.
On the other hand there are of course also a lot of progressive and well-meaning, warm-hearted people also who see adopting the Christian or Islamic morality as a good short-cut to ensure a better and healthier living and especially as a tool in ensuring that the coming generation does not fall outside the civil society.

We are in fact facing a dilemma here; do the dangers inherent in automatic submission to authority out-weight the benefits gained from such a system, when we know that this kind of submission can save some people from falling outside the society?
This is a tough question and I do understand the pain of people from have put their faith in this system and who feel threatened by those who reveal the human origins of their faith.

A very basic problem is that the automatic submission built in this system falls easily apart when the real nature of religions as man-made ideologies is revealed to a person.
So a system based on absolute submission cannot really flourish in a situation with a fully free flow of information in place. The worst part is that striving to curb the flow of information will inevitably foster undemocratic and totalitarian tendencies and undemocratic and totalitarian societies tend to fall behind in overall development.

A system that ensures that our sons would not fall into drug-use and would keep our daughters home on the evenings sounds like a very tempting preposition, if only it would really work.
There is however no guarantee that it will work in the end and there is also a heavy price to be paid.
A very real danger is that this requirement gives all too much power to people who in many cases are drawn from the ultra-conservative fringes of the society.

The fundamentalists all too often oppose equality, social justice and even the very basic freedoms in society that so many of us take for granted.
Relying on a religious ideology to supply the needed basis for morality has also the very clear danger that the base for this version morality disappears, when one loses faith in the ideology itself.

If this happens a person is all too easily left hanging in thin air on moral issues.
However, I would suggest that there is are alternatives for building a true sense of morality in young people which does not require submission to just one religious ideology.
In a world where multicultural societies are becoming the norm, also the idea of morality supported in a society cannot be tied to a single overwhelming ideology like a dogmatic monotheistic religion anymore.

I think much is already gained if a person learns from his or her earliest childhood that families, kindergartens, schools and societies have rules that are in place to protect all their members besides the need to ensure their smooth working.
It would be important also to learn that all societies all over the world have quite have similar rules for quite similar reasons. If a person understands that these rules are in place because we all will benefit from them one goal is reached.
A small victory is won if he or she also understands that a person can also work try to change these rules, if he or she feels that they the rules are somehow wrong.

When a person really also learns to understand that 'do others what you want others to do to you' is a universal, golden rule of all human societies, that is not only part of a single religious ideology, I think the risk of losing the sense of morality by losing faith in a single ideology is a lot smaller.
If young people ultimately could learn to help and protect all other humans just because of their common shared humanity, we could just have reached a new level in morality.

I would claim this level of universal humanity is unattainable in more fundamentalist versions of religions at least, where the circle of those who belong to the group of 'us' is often frighteningly small and all other humans are classed as 'them' who deserve no respect from the believers.
I would even claim that a strong input of universal humanistic ethics in kindergartens and schools would give children a very strong basis for building a real personal sense of morality, if it would be done in all seriousness and in a way a child can really relate to.

To finish this thing off, here is a fine example of how universal humanistic thinking can work:
"Ten Humanist Commandments
By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay
1. Proclaim the natural dignity and inherent worth of all human beings.
2. Respect the life and property of others.
3. Practice tolerance and open-mindedness towards the choices and life styles of others.
4. Share with those who are less fortunate and mutually assist those who are in need of help.
5. Use neither lies, nor spiritual doctrine, nor temporal power to dominate and exploit others.
6. Rely on reason, logic and science to understand the Universe and to solve life's problems.
7. Conserve and improve the Earth's natural environment - land, soil, water, air and space - as humankind's common heritage.
8. Resolve differences and conflicts cooperatively without resorting to violence or to wars.
9. Organize public affairs according to individual freedom and responsibility, through political and economic democracy.
10. Develop one's intelligence and talents through education and effort."

From: "The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles" Prometheus Books, (ISBN: 978-1-61614-172-1), 2010.

I think humaniostic values are the ONLY rational base for ethics

Kiss me tender

Good night


Tied up cop

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are they gay?

Two soccer players, Ibra and Piquè, were spotted in this seemingly tender moment. Heterosexist soccer fans claimed to be flabbergasted and outraged at the idea that they could possibly be gay. As if two hetero friends couldn't show affection to one another. And if they WERE gay so what? Italian soccer player are supposed to be ALL HETERO. How silly can you get?

Designated hitter

Heigh Ho!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Surf Dive

Rainbow silhouette: Viva la vidaby_FallenZephyr on Deviantart

War against child labour: The crime committed against 215 million children globally

12 June 2010, worldwide: “Children should not be working, instead they should have books in their hands,” says Amarlal, a 14-year-old former bonded child labourer from India. “I know this because I had to start working at a very young age in the stone quarries. I want every child to go to school and to be able to have a good, free education.” Pleas such as Amal’s can still be heard from millions of children today, 11 years after the international community unanimously adopted ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

The vital importance of the convention is clearly underlined by the political commitment shown to date by the 171 countries which have ratified it. Strong and consistent efforts by civil society organisations and individuals drove the agenda even further forward. In 1998, the Global March Against Child Labour built a worldwide movement of civil society, trade union and teacher organisations and children themselves, mobilising unprecedented international support of millions of people. Without the presence of Global March partners in over 140 countries constantly and vigorously pressing governments to ratify and implement convention 182 and No. 138 on the minimum age of employment, such significant for the fight against child labour could not have been sustained.

On this day in 2010, the World Day serves as a reminder that there are still 215 million children globally who are suffering from the exploitation of their labour. Out of these, 115 million are found in the worst forms of child labour, amounting to 1 child in 7 worldwide. In 2006, the ILO’s member States pledged to eliminate all worst forms of child labour in the world by 2016 – at present, we are not on target to achieve this goal. Taking this challenge into account, Kailash Satyarthi, Global March Chair, launched the following call for action by all stakeholders in the fight against child labour:

“It is time for us to declare war on the existence of child labour. It is time for the international community to state quite clearly that enough is enough and a strong political commitment must emerge to combat child labour once and for all. As with other wars, we need to establish effective strategic partnerships, including with those countries where child labour is prevalent. The time is right to do this and if we fail now, the consequences are too devastating to contemplate.”

As part of this call to declare war on child labour, Mr Satyarthi outlined a 6-point strategy to revitalise the global plan of action to eliminate child labour. This must include:

building and strengthening strategic partnerships among and between governments;
strengthening the worldwide movement against child labour through financial and technical investment;
focusing on the emergence of a new child labour diplomacy, including reinforcing the leadership role of emerging economies, such as India, Brazil, South Africa and others and South-South cooperation;
strengthening cooperation between intergovernmental organisations, including the international financial institutions;
enhancing financial support for education for all;
strengthening corporate social responsibility not only of multinationals, but of all business entities at different supply chain levels, including in domestic markets of developing countries.
World Day is being commemorated globally, regionally, nationally and locally by Global March partners. Events around the world will involve governments, employers and workers and their organisations, UN and civil society organisations, media events, awareness-raising campaigns, cultural performances and other similar public events. The theme of these events will maintain this year’s focus on the 1Goal campaign for education, linked into the 2010 FIFA Football World Cup, as well as the outcome document from the Global Child Labour Conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, 10-11 May 2010, called “Roadmap 2016”.

On the eve of the World Day in India, elected child leaders from around the country are releasing a national roadmap for the elimination of the child labour in line with Roadmap 2016 through a high-level inter-faith panel on “Religion and Child Labour”. In Bangladesh, there will be rallies, human chains, art competitions, discussions with child labourers, parents and employers on child labour and an open concert by children on the theme “Stop Worst Forms of Child Labor and Ensure Education for All Children”. In Chile, reinforcing the link between the World Day and the World Cup, high-profile mini-football matches were organised. In the USA, the Departments of State and Labor, in partnership with the American Federation of Teachers, the No Limits Foundation and the International Labor Rights Forum, organised a high-level discussion on child labour.

“If more countries do not provide free, compulsory education, then more children will be drawn into exploitation. Without education, no country’s future is secured as a large number of its children would be uneducated”, said Zama and Maphefo Khosa, two former child labourers from South Africa on the eve of the World Cup.

For more information on World Day events, reports, background and other materials, see:

For more information, please contact:

International Secretariat
L-6 Kalkaji, New Delhi 110 019 India
Tel: (91 11) 4132 9025
Fax: (91 11) 2623 6818

Good night

Jocks by Michael Breyette

Bound to your love