Bill Maher on Catholicism’s ‘New Rules’

The best part starts at 3m24s.

Three or Four Thwacks Severed the Man’s Head

I just clicked on a short video on a skeptics website. The footage was labeled something like “A Sunni Day in Syria,” so, not being overly naive, I figured it would feature something ugly done in the name of Sunni Islam in that war-ravaged country. And I wasn’t wrong. But I also wasn’t prepared for what I saw: a sword-wielding jihadist thwacking at a bound man’s neck. Three or four blows and the beheading was done; the murderer proudly raised the severed head, like a trophy. He appeared to be in ecstasy. The killing happened so fast it was already over by the time I managed to unfreeze myself and click stop.

I can watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and crack questionable jokes. I can watch Saw 1 through 7 while eating popcorn, no sweat. But this stomach-churning video got to me because, despite its low-res crappy quality, (a) it wasn’t make-believe, and (b) I hadn’t even been given a chance to brace myself.

In a way, the graphic evil of Islamist beheading-porn is perfect fodder for Moral Compass, but I can’t bring myself to post it. And even if I did, it would be preceded by multiple warnings regarding what you’re about to see.

I can’t say I understand why this isn’t common courtesy all around the ‘Net.

Anyway, Western governments, in their wisdom, are helping the Syrian rebels with money and weapons, just as America helped the Afghanistan mujahideen fight Russian forces in the 1980s — while the State Department and others stayed wilfully clueless about how that aid would someday be turned against the givers.

Why do we not learn from our mistakes?

It’s undeniable that Syrian citizens who we imagine to be brave freedom fighters, and who we want to help break free from the oppression of Bashar Assad’s brutal government, are often violent fundamentalist sociopaths, no better than the non-fundie goons we are itching for them to replace.

Sometimes, the decent thing to do is nothing. We should achieve what we can through diplomacy, but not spend one more dollar on establishing a future theocratic state that is different from a thugocracy like Iran in name only.

[image D. Kennedy via Body of Truth]

Rapping About Teh Gay

Wow. It doesn’t get much whiter than this.

It’s not really worthy of a serious response, so we didn’t write one. Instead, we took it down to her level for a minute. Beatbox optional.

We humans sometimes can be great
when we learn to differentiate
between things we ought to denigrate
and love that we can celebrate.
Why don’t we simply highly rate
things that unite, not separate?

And when it comes to gay or straight
I have to ask, when you orate
please leave behind that thick steel plate
that just serves to debilitate
and leads you to extrapolate
things Holy Books don’t advocate.

Know also that no rap is great
when done by a mental featherweight
who use muzak to berate
and fails to fully ‘preciate
this is the West and not Kuwait.

More Devout Might Be to French It or Fuck It

Via Reddit:

“Evangelist Mike Murdock tells followers to stroke, kiss, and rub their Bibles across their faces in this oddly erotic video.”

It’s harmless when the reverend and his flock appear to desire physical relations with a book; not so cool when their fellow believers do it to kids. As long as we’re all clear on the difference, we’re cool.

Watch: NY Sikhs’ Sword Assault — In Temple

This website features mostly current news reports, but we occasionally bring you older examples of religious wickedness if they amuse us. Here’s an oldie but goodie we just came across: a 2011 video of a brawl inside a Sikh temple in New York City where worshipers attacked each other with cricket bats and small swords. Seven people were charged with assault.

The Curious Case of the Mormon Penis Biter

Here at Moral Compass HQ, we’ll be keeping an eye on the upcoming trial of Mormon penis biter Efrey Antonio Guzman, 47.

Last May, Guzman, a branch president of the Church of Latter-Day Saints, knocked on the door of a family friend whose 13-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son were home alone.

When Guzman learned that the brother was in the shower, “the defendant suddenly grabbed [the girl], hugged her tightly and would not let her go,” the charges state. The teen said Guzman started kissing her and grabbed her buttocks, but left when her brother entered the room.

In August, however, the church official returned to the home, allegedly pushed his way in, and

…began to assault the mother. During a struggle, Guzman ripped her shirt, then grabbed her exposed breast, the charges state.


The woman’s son attempted to come to her rescue, whereupon Guzman decided to explore the contents of the boy’s boxer shorts. With his teeth.

Guzman grabbed and then bit the son’s genitals, “causing severe damage that required surgery,” according to the charges.

Kind of a dick move.

Guzman was president of the LDS Union Park 9th Branch in Midvale. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said after charges were filed that Guzman no longer holds that position.

[image via Mormonism Unveiled]

Stabby Pastor: ‘Her License is Semen-Stained’


A pastor who repeatedly stabbed his longtime mistress just days before she was to marry another man has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. The Rev. Edward Fairley of Paterson, NJ, must serve nearly 85 percent of the term imposed Friday. Fairley had admitted stabbing the victim 28 times in March 2011, but said he did not intend to kill her. He said the stabbing occurred during a fit of rage provoked by her toying with his emotions and using him for his money.

But a Passaic County jury convicted him last month on charges of attempted murder, stalking, and making terroristic threats. The victim, who is also a minister [emphasis added] survived the attack.

Fairley started the affair with Simone Shields shortly after marrying his fourth wife. He and Shields worked at the Koinonia and Christian Ministries that Fairley started 17 years ago.


The good reverend represented himself in court, which resulted in the unusual situation of the accused cross-examining the victim. He told the jury that Shields had slept her way up the ladder, and accused her of having had an affair with a clergyman from another congregation to help get her credentials — adding,

Her minister’s license is stained with semen.

It wasn’t the first time the man of God found himself in court — or in prison. Fairley’s gotten a bit stabby before.

Though the jury didn’t know about it, Fairley, 61, was convicted in 1983 of kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault and other crimes, and sentenced to 22 years in prison after stabbing his then-wife and mother of two of his children. He served seven years before being paroled in 1990.

[photo by Mitsu Yasukawa, via]

Give Me Faith, Not Facts, Or Fuck You

A former student at Jewish Yeshiva University in Manhattan is still distressed after a rabbinical professor, years ago, challenged some axioms of students’ Jewish faith during a course called Introduction to the Bible.

So upset is Elliot Resnick that he published an impassioned plea in Kol Hamevaser, the student body’s “Jewish Thought Magazine,” this week — a piece that he headlined Shut Down the Bible Department.

He points out that

…the overwhelming majority of Orthodox Jews grow up believing that Moshe [Moses] wrote every word of the Torah as dictated by God.


For some, that belief turns out to be unexpectedly shaky. Resnick, who graduated from Yeshiva College seven years ago, feels deeply wounded that the school’s Bible introduction made him consider, among other things, that today’s Torah is not a copy of an absolute and unassailable “original.” To his horror, he learned that words and sentences and most likely entire sections have been added or deleted over time, as is the case with all Abrahamic so-called Holy Books. (I truly thought that that was common knowledge; I was wrong.)

In addition, complains Resnick,

Hebrew, I learned, is just another ancient Semitic language. It possesses no intrinsic holiness.

Oh, the humanity!

Resnick assures us that he loves truth. Loves it.

If my beliefs are naïve or based on ignorance, I am fully in favor of reconstructing my Judaism on a more solid basis.

Awriiight! Now we’re getting somewhere.

But this is not what my Bible professor did.


He destroyed my core beliefs without replacing it with anything. He tore down my foundation and left me staring at the rubble.

Really? Resnick’s articles of faith perhaps weren’t particularly robust then, were they?

I recently met a fellow student who took the very same Intro to Bible course with me years ago. He, too, left that class dazed, he said. He did not know what to believe anymore. How can a professor do that to a frum [devout] teenager? What is the point of teaching all of this to impressionable nineteen-year-olds?

In other words, “How dare you confront me with new information?”

I’m no teacher, but I’m pretty sure that teaching students anything at all neither presumes nor necessitates the affirmation of their dearly-held biases and beliefs. Quite the opposite: good teachers, in addition to offering facts and knowledge, probably endeavor to open minds and challenge students to consider new points of view. That’s kind of what academia is for. Not to learn by rote; not to learn what to think; but to learn how to think — by adroitly juggling all the available evidence, I should hope.


Still, you know what they say about leading an ass a horse to water. Quoth Resnick:

When I speak to right-wing acquaintances of mine, my main hesitation in recommending YU for their siblings or children is … the Bible Department. I therefore propose that YU either radically reform this department or eliminate it entirely.


As an atheist, I have no dog in this fight — although I’ll note that you won’t soon come across a finer example of why facts are to faith as cats are to dogs.

Resnick’s pusillanimous, provincial philippic attests to that, as do the more than one thousand ‘likes’ his piece has so far received from his frum fellow Yeshivites.

[top image Rob Bennett via the New York Times; bottom image via]

AA Still Asks, ‘Your Liver or Your Brain?’

If you have a serious drinking problem, you turn to AA, right? But what if you’re an agnostic or an atheist? Can you still climb those famous Twelve Steps if you don’t believe in God?

Six of the steps have strong religious connotations, to say the least:

2) (We) came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
5) Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Quite the litany. Turn our will and lives over; admit the nature of our wrongs; remove our shortcomings and defects of character; pray for God’s will for us.

Sounds like a sect to me. A pretty brainwashy sect, at that.


So would you rather ruin your liver or your brain? Some choice.

[image via Roger Fields]

Buddhist Monks Lead Mobs to Violence

Dozens die in Myanmar thanks to Buddhist-Muslim violence.

Toll Rises as Sectarian Violence in Myanmar Spreads -

More in the New York Times.

Pastor Starved His Daughter (9) Over Homework

The nine-year-old daughter of Mark Hooper (42), the pastor of Cob Street Baptist Church in Johnsonburg, PA, should weigh approximately what other girls her age do: around 65 pounds. But the pastor and his wife, Susan, allegedly didn’t let the girl eat

…until she correctly finished her math homework while being homeschooled.

So instead of being anywhere close to the 65-pound mark,

Police say the girl weighed only 31 pounds … and has the bone structure of a 5-year-old.

Mark and Susan Hooper have been charged with child endangerment and will have to appear in court next month.


At least their daughter is still alive. Javon Thompson isn’t so lucky. In a case that made headlines three years ago, his mother, Ria Ramkissoon, refused to let the 16-month-old boy eat or drink because he didn’t say “Amen” — which, egged on by other believers in the house, she took as evidence that he was “possessed by an evil spirit.”

The boy died.

Could it possibly get any worse? Why, yes, actually:

For weeks afterward, Ramkissoon spent much of her time in a room with her son’s emaciated body — talking to him, dancing, even giving him water. She thought she could bring him back. … His body was hidden in a suitcase for more than a year and has since been buried. But even now, she maintains her faith in his resurrection.

Unbelievably, when the case went to trial, Ramkissoon got off with time served (20 months) plus probation, and was made to attend a residential-treatment facility for young women, where

…the treatment program includes Bible study.

Did Cardinal O’Brien Have a Boyfriend?

Other than Jesus, I mean. Business Insider says ‘Yes, probably.”

Cardinal Keith O_Briend Had Boyfriend? - Business Insider

Scotland’s The Herald newspaper has more.