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]

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.

Anti-Defamation League Brings Back the Dead

I should precede the affecting video below by confessing that I’m not a terribly big fan of the grievance junkies who commissioned it — the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. The ADL can try to pass itself off as the enemy of bigotry all it wants, but those of us who pay attention know that the ADL and CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) are two sides of the same tiresome coin.

New Atheism author Sam Harris once correctly called CAIR “an Islamist public-relations firm posing as a civil-rights lobby,” and much the same can be said for CAIR’s antipode, the Anti-Defamation League. It is the ADL’s mission to cry anti-semitism at every turn, just as it is CAIR’s mission to advance, ad infinitum, the narrative of “Islamophobia.” Victimology is their lifeblood.

So, is the ADL opposed to discrimination, racism, and religious strife? Not always. Sometimes the ADL engages in it. For instance, in 2010 the organization agitated against the building of an Islamic recreation and social center in downtown Manhattan, saying that the center’s adjacent but independent Muslim prayer space would be an intolerable affront to families of the 9/11 victims. The ADL stated that those families were “entitled” to feel “irrational” and “bigoted” toward all Muslims. Hmm.

The ADL, ironically, also makes light of actual anti-semitism by habitually calling it anti-semitic to oppose rightwing Israelis’ favorite policies. People who see a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue can also expect to be smeared by the ADL as anti-Jewish and possibly racist.

One more thing. It surely is a bit much for an organization that defends not just cultural but religious Judaism to use John Lennon’s Imagine as its soundtrack. In that signature ballad, the British bard is asking us to think about a world without religion, a sentiment that didn’t make it into the digital edit used for this ADL video. I wonder why.

Other than that, it truly is a sweet and laudable message, based on a lovely idea that tugs at the tear ducts.

More From the Religion of Peace

Syria_ suicide bomber kills top Sunni preacher in Damascus mosque | World news |

Original news article here.

The Man’s Got a Point



Peaceful Buddhists Burn Down Mosques

Yesterday, in Myanmar,

Two people, including a Buddhist monk, were killed and at least three mosques were destroyed after riots broke out [between Buddhists and Muslims] in a town in central Myanmar, police said. Around 200 people fought in the streets after an argument in a Muslim-owned gold shop turned violent in Meiktila on Wednesday. …


The unrest comes amid heightened concerns over Muslim-Buddhist relations in Myanmar, where communal conflict in the western state of Rakhine has left at least 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced since June 2012.

[image via Al Jazeera]

The World’s Tallest JPEG?

And to think, it could easily have been a thousand times taller. Still, pretty impressive (enlarge the picture by clicking on it after it loads).

Faith’s Epic Fails, Now on Video

If you prefer sitting back and watching the (ahem) less successful societal contributions by people of faith, get some popcorn and prepare to be dazzled by the YouTube channel of Conversation With A. Every month or so, the people behind Conversation With A upload an eye-opening new video that’s very much along the lines of Moral Compass — a collection of news stories about, as we say, “faith’s epic fails.”

Here’s their latest. Enjoy!

[Hat tip: Hemant Mehta]

All Fired Up: Saudis Have a Machine Gun Party

Cool shindig, I’m sure. Except maybe for the part where they’re indiscriminately spraying thousands of lethal bullets into the air.

We all know — I think — that what goes up must come down. People are frequently killed by so-called celebratory gunfire.

Not that these guys care. Some kid accidentally getting shot in the head — clearly not their problem. In fact, they’d surely never even question God’s will. Allahu akbar!

Think of them next time you fill up your tank.

Egypt: Any Religious Nanny May Arrest You

Egypt’s Prosecutor-General, the highest law-enforcement official in the land, wants to allow citizens to arrest anyone — tourists included — for religious “crimes” like blasphemy.

Moderates warn that this will do incalculable damage to Egypt’s tourism industry.

Foreign visitors, whether or not they did anything wrong, should reckon with the possibility that they’ll be mistreated or blackmailed by any Egyptian citizen with a bone to pick over anything at all.



Some warn of even more dire consequences: that an open season on people deemed insufficiently pious could lead to civil war.

Egypt has fallen to the lowest rank out of 140 nations in terms of safety and security — behind Pakistan, Chad and Yemen — in the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s most recent Travel and Tourism (T&T) competitiveness index.

[image via Arabian Business]

God’s Will

Different religion, same bull:


Abdullah Abdel Hamid, a professor at Al-Azhar University and Salafist preacher, described Egyptian government officials as “enemies of God,” following their statements about eradicating millions of locusts who infested several of Egypt’s governates in the last few weeks, Al-Watan newspaper reported on Friday

“Locusts embody a gift from God to humans living on Earth; how dare they say such things?” Abdel Hamid said at a Friday sermon in the Egyptian canal city of Suez. Abdel Hamid argued that no “police or military troops” could stop the locusts, as “God’s will” cannot be challenged.

[image via Ahram Online]