Two killers I met on the road last night…
The first said his name was ignorance,
and as I spoke, turned away his head;
The second, I assume his name was silence,
For when I asked him, not one word he said.
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I must admit, I was as surprised as anyone.
Hitherto a deity of such fine standing. A pillar (and often pestle) of many a community. That he should stoop so low. That he need stoop at all given his inferred omnipotence.
And yet, several hours after being relieved of my wallet, roughly one hundred euro of quite hard earned cash, a newly purchased smartphone (unsurprisingly, having the direct number to the Almighty has not resulted in any more success when attempting to contact the Good Lord directly) an assortment of bank cards, ticket stubs and souvenirs, it was the only possible explanation. The Lord God Almighty had revealed himself to me just long enough to steal my possessions before he buggered off once more into the ether never to be heard from again.
As far as clean getaways go, it’s pretty impressive.
As an atheist, I was all the more surprised to find that my finger of suspicion sought finally to rest upon the Good Lord as his non-existence ought to have made it even more difficult to have carried out the heist and yet even this salient fact managed to escape my attention as I poured over the night’s events in an effort to understand what had happened.
It is difficult to describe the myriad emotions that tumble in one’s mind like dirty water on a wash cycle after such misfortune. It is a bewildering tumbling of retribution, second guessing, resentment, ‘why-mes’, shame and some particularly foul thoughts of what soon might visit upon the head of the perpetrator(s). I admit, I was rather shocked by the ill fortune I would willingly have willed upon my attackers without another moment’s thought. Read More
Comment: As the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) releases a twenty year study into the practice of female genital mutilation and finds that 30 million girls are at risk of having their external genitalia forcibly removed in the next decade, isn’t it about time we cast off the shackles of cultural relativism?
The UNICEF report, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: a statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change, is the most comprehensive review ever undertaken into the tradition of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) and reveals that over 125 million women and girls alive today have already been subjected to the brutality and trauma of the practice.
While the report ultimately highlights a slow decline in the number of girls being subjected to this anguish, and reveals that girls and women consistently underestimate the number of boys and men who wish to see an end to FGM/C (in several countries, men now are more opposed to FGM/C than women) it also shows that even among those who wish to end the practice, social pressures exerted upon them are sufficient to ensure the bloodying of blankets continues with scant enquiry.
As defined by the World Health Organisation, female genital mutilation refers to ‘all procedures involving partial or full removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons’. In it’s most extreme form, FGM/C involves the sowing up of the vagina completely. The removal of the external genitalia may be undertaken with sharp rocks, pieces of glass, scissors or blunted knives and razors. FGM/C is generally carried out without anaesthetic. Read More
The all too fallible Pope Francis the Infallible
It’s difficult to know who to feel more sorry for this week. Atheists such as myself, who having been granted salvation by Pope Francis on Wednesday morning had our redemption revoked the very next day by the Vatican who clarified that we are still instructed to go directly to hell, while not passing ‘Go’ and certainly not collecting 200 pounds or, the beleaguered Catholics themselves who, still trying to come to terms with the Vatican’s flagrant disregard for papal infallibility, opened their papers the following Tuesday to find that Anthony Murphy had been granted an op-ed column in the Irish Times with which to further undermine any good the church may reasonably lay claim to.
Last Wednesday’s homily during which Pope Francis declared “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” came as something of a surprise to many, not least Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, who cautiously welcomed the Pope’s comments as ‘quite heartening’.
“‘Father, the atheists?'” Pope Francis continued, “Even the atheists. Everyone”. Read More