Pastor Michael returns

And he’s gone from being dishonest to being paranoid, delusional and threatening. Well, the “delusional” part is a given, I suppose, given the nonsense we know he believes in. Despite the fact that the mothership has tried to beam him out of the conflict (see Taryn Hodgson’s apology for the Christian mis-representation of the atheists here), he still insists that it’s the UCT Atheist and Agnostic Society who had intentions that “were not right to [him] at all”, and that the AAS is now “threatening him”.

His grievances are two-fold: first, he’s upset that we (myself on this site, and the AAS on their forum) published his correspondence with us. As I’ve explained previously, we were forced to do so because the reasons for myself and Tauriq withdrawing from the debate were being mis-characterised by Michael, as well as by websites run by Taryn Hodgson and Paintball Hammond. Despite the apology received, the mis-representations have not been removed from some[ref]The ACA website was edited in February to more accurately reflect the events[/ref] websites, so this reason for publishing the correspondence stands, and leads me to publish extracts from the most recent correspondence here also. Continue reading “Pastor Michael returns”

Mandela’s Robben Island getaway (and other weirdness)

It isn’t often that I find myself agreeing with the folk at African Christian Action. Perhaps this is because I don’t do enough drugs, or because I like things to make sense – I don’t know. But when I recently came across their review of Invictus, I thought that we could finally agree on something, seeing as their headline of “Invictus Idolatry” made it clear they didn’t like the movie. Don’t be confused by the title tag of the African Christian Action review, which might cause your browser to tell you that the article is titled “PROLIFE: Aborsie – Die Feite”. The article is instead an account of why Invictus is evil. And this is indeed true, as I’ve mentioned before.

But while I thought it was a crap movie on the basis of being a mawkish, poorly scripted, glacially-paced and poorly acted account of a largely imagined period of South African history, the African Christian Action (ACA) reviewer didn’t like it because Mandela was a “terrorist” who didn’t really even have such a hard life while imprisoned. Continue reading “Mandela’s Robben Island getaway (and other weirdness)”

Freedom of (Multi)choice

Originally published in The Daily Maverick.

A number of the self-appointed guardians of South Africa’s moral fabric have recently weighed in on DStv’s news that it is considering introducing a pay-per-view pornography channel. As previously reported by Kevin Bloom in The Daily Maverick, Taryn Hodgson of the Christian Action Network claims that the channel will fuel the “fires of sexual abuse and exploitation”, and that those who believe otherwise have “imbibed the lies of the porn industry”. Errol Naidoo of the Family Policy Institute cites sympathetic studies (including one from a right-wing Christian organisation, and another from a high-ranking Freemason’s address during the 1989 ‘Religious Alliance against Pornography’ conference) which purport to demonstrate a connection between pornography and sexual violence. The trade union Solidarity claims that “children’s rights will be violated” by this channel, based on their own research indicating that “77% of molesters of boys and 87% of molesters of girls used pornography”. Continue reading “Freedom of (Multi)choice”

Taryn Hodgson’s pornography problem

The Christian Action Network’s (CAN) “international coordinator”, Taryn Hodgson, seems to be on some sort of PR offensive. Last month, she was accusing the Cape Times and Argus of denying the “hidden holocaust” of abortion, and more recently, she took time out from being upset at things to offer an apology for the lies told by CAN around an aborted debate between Peter Hammond, myself and Tauriq Moosa. Continue reading “Taryn Hodgson’s pornography problem”

Cape Times and Argus – holocaust denialists?

Taryn Hodgson – who you’ve read about previously, when she impersonated the typical student by a) writing a letter to the UCT student newspaper, and b) making little sense, is at it again. This time she focuses on (b) exclusively, and swaps her fake student hat out for the one worn in her capacity as the international co-ordinator of the Christian Action Network (CAN). Her current concern relates to the evil tolerated by the South African press:

In what appears to be a case of censorship by the press, The Cape Times and Argus have again refused to place an obituary notice (for aborted babies),” said Christian Action Network (CAN) international co-ordinator Taryn Hodgson in a statement.

The newspapers had refused to publish the advertisement in their classified “Deaths” and “Personal” sections, Hodgson said.

“Freedom of speech seems to be undermined when newspaper editors censor obituary notices and refuse to give appropriate media coverage to the hidden holocaust of 900 000 South African babies killed by abortion,” she said.

Without wanting to get into anything pesky like “science” – which would involve Taryn accommodating irritating details like EEG’s only showing brain activity around 30 weeks, therefore making the claim that “babies” are being killed rather unsustainable – Taryn’s arguments are again rather peculiar. The quite reasonable explanation provided by Independent Newspapers editor-in-chief Chris Whitfield (who said that it would be “inappropriate to publish the anti-abortion obituary in the “Deaths” section”, as “such advertisements would violate the ‘sensibilities for people who use the columns to commemorate loved ones'”) was dismissed as “hypocritical” by Taryn on the grounds that the newspapers’ classified sections “often contain legitimately offensive material such as strip joint advertisements”.

So, as our arbiter of what is “legitimately” offensive, Taryn wants us to believe that a) it’s morally incontrovertible that strip joints are offensive, and that b) it’s perfectly acceptable for my obituary for a dead mother, brother, wife, etc., who I didn’t want to die, and who I probably miss, should appear alongside an obituary (or obituaries) for 900 000 zygotes, blastocysts and foetuses, who may at some point have developed into babies that the parents presumably did not want to live? That seems rather offensive to me – or at least it would if my spouse’s obituary were published on the same day. And the lack of sensitivity displayed by CAN is amplified by the fact that their freedom to have their viewpoint heard is undeniable: they were welcome to publish their ode to lost (and fictional) souls in other sections of the newspaper, and they live in a country where their mystic mumbo-jumbo is fully tolerated, and even encouraged by our political leaders.

And even on her own standards, there’s a final peculiarity: Taryn will be leading a march to Parliament on February 1 in protest against the “thousands of babies, killed by abortion, who have never had a funeral”. Is she not aware that there are plenty of other babies (real and fake) killed by TB and AIDS (etc.) who die without funerals? Can we take her seriously until she insists on publishing obituaries for them, too – or are they less important for the purposes of this tasteless PR stunt in the service of Jesus?