In December the British Government blocked the legal recognition of humanist marriages because it was seen as a ‘fringe’ issue. Andrew Copson of the British Humanist Association called this decision an insult, pointing out that ‘under this government, Scientologists have been added to the list of religions that can perform legal marriages, joining Spiritualists, the Aetherius Society (which believes in aliens and that the Earth is a goddess), and dozens of other religions. To describe the legal recognition of humanist marriages as a “fringe” issue insults the many couples – much larger in number than these many small religious groups – whose planned marriages next year will not be able to go ahead if Number 10 blocks this change.’ Continue reading
One of the teachers at my Church of England Primary School used to tell us children that a good Christian treated others as they wished to be treated themselves. She would explain that even the smallest kind gesture would make others think well of you and of your testimony in Christ. We were taught that good Christians were selfless, kind, shared, volunteered and loved their neighbour regardless of their story. Our teacher would remind us that we should live as Jesus did himself, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Jesus said, John 13:15”, she would say “I have given you an example, that as I have done, so should you do.” Continue reading
I recently held a workshop in my local library for children aged 10 years+ that was marketed as ‘How to be a Ghost Buster’. I taught the attendees how to spot faked ghost photos, misidentified ghost photos, and what a scientific approach to odd activity looked like. I taught them how dodgy human memory is, and we often see meaning where there is none. None of what I told them was personal opinion and was all based on research and studies. I answered their questions as objectively as I could and yet I was still terrified that I might say or do the wrong thing to a potentially vulnerable audience. Continue reading
I interviewed Dave Wood, the chairman of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomlous Phenomena (ASSAP) and CJ Romer, a highly regarded phenomena investigator, about the ethics of ghost hunting for Episode 105 of the Righteous Indignation Podcast. Below is a transcript of the interview… Continue reading
Some people seem shocked that I don’t agree with the recent decision to not run the ‘gay cure’ advert on London buses because I made a complaint about the Christian groups ‘Healing on the Streets‘ and an advert they were handing out. Let me explain why very briefly…
The ‘gay cure’ advert is offensive and horrid, but we all have a right to be offensive but not to have our offence catered to. Remember the recent controversy over the Jesus and Mo cartoon being used by Atheist groups on University Campuses and how most of us non-believers were outraged that one group could use their offence to this to censor the other group? Remember being angry that Rhys Morgan could be threatened by his school with expulsion if he didn’t remove the offensive cartoon from his personal blog? Well, those atheists and skeptics who were angry in those instances but protested the ‘gay cure’ ad and are happy that the ‘gay cure’ advert has been blocked are being hypocritical.
The ‘Healing on the Streets’ advert was different because the claims were found by the ASA to be misleading and in breach of CAP codes, and as a result, they were told not to use those adverts anymore. That wasn’t an issue of censorship because they are still allowed to do what they do, they’re just not allowed to make specific health-based claims on the adverts.
Hopefully, the adverts for the ‘gay cure’ weren’t rejected because of social pressure by those who were offended. Hopefully, they would have been rejected anyway because they breach CAP codes or are misleading (i.e. being gay isn’t an illness), but if not and they were blocked because people were offended, that’s just a shame.