Category Archives: Religion

Doctor Who and the “Lesbian Kiss”

Doctor-Who2Apparently, Peter Capaldi’s debut episode as the Doctor, “Deep Breath”, attracted some complaints. Not about the writing, though some do think it wasn’t up to much. Certainly not the acting.

No, it was a supposed kiss between Madam Vastra and Jenny. It wasn’t that they were of different species, Vastra being a lizard person from prehistoric Earth and Jenny a human, but that they were both female. Some have suggested that the kiss amounted to porn!

Leaving aside the fact that it wasn’t really a kiss, as such, but a “kiss of life”, how does a kiss equate with pornography? Can we expect complaints about kisses between men and women? Obviously scenes of gratuitous lifesaving should be banned in case children see them and get the idea that saving lives is somehow admirable!

The other thing that’s being used to justify complaints is that the Doctor Who team are pushing a “gay agenda”. I have yet to discover what this agenda is. Though I’m not myself gay, I know a few gay people, and they’ve not been able to enlighten me.

Not many of those that make the claim can tell me either. They tend to go quiet when pressed on the issue!

There are a few people who will tell anyone who will listen that the gay agenda is to make everyone gay, but they tend to get laughed at by anyone with a functioning brain.

The characters of Vastra and Jenny happen to both be female. Aside from the occasional line, usually comic in nature, their relationship can easily be skipped over by younger viewers who may not understand even heterosexual marriages. If they are capable of understanding straight marriages, then they should be able to cope with gay marriage. After all, they’re more likely to hear about those on the news than an episode of Doctor Who, even an episode featuring Vastra and Jenny.

Same sex marriage is a part of modern life, and television programmes should reflect that. People who don’t like modern life probably shouldn’t have televisions.

The War on the Poor (continued)

Food Banks
I’ve mentioned before that, though I don’t respect religion, I have a great deal of respect for some religious people. The Trussell Trust is a Christian organisation that battles poverty and injustice, best known for running food banks. There is no religious test to receive their help, however, so I can happily endorse them, even though I’m an atheist.
Some Christians are less sympathetic. Iain Duncan Smith has accused the Trussell Trust of having a “political agenda”, and his DWP lackeys regularly brief against them. The Trust’s crime? Telling people facts about their work. There are more food banks than ever before, and they are used more and more.
Now the Mail on Sunday has joined the fray, sending a reporter to a Citizens Advice Bureau office to obtain a voucher by misrepresentation. That he succeeded is not an indictment of the Trussell Trust, nor even of the CAB really, though they could beef up their procedures a little.
It is an indictment of the Mail and its staff. Just because they are dishonest, and because they can find a few other people who are, doesn’t mean everyone who uses food banks is a crook.


There has been one positive note following this story. The backlash against the Mail has encouraged more people to donate to the Trussell Trust. If you’d like to add your donation, click here.


More from around the web:

Dyno-Rod Dave, the Messiah of Downing Street

St Cameron

David Cameron has resurrected his “Big Society” idea, long after it was discredited the first time. It was widely mocked, and quietly dropped from any Tory publicity. Until now.

Now Cameron has claimed divine inspiration, despite his government’s various attacks on the very people Jesus was supposed to have been most concerned about; the poor, homeless, the hungry, the sick and disabled.

The only fundamentalist position he hasn’t adopted seems to be homophobia.

He also wants people to think of him as “a giant Dyno-Rod”, but if there’s a Biblical reference to professional drain-cleaners, it’s passed me by.

See also:

“This Lent I will eat no food, to highlight the hunger all around us”

“This Lent I will eat no food, to highlight the hunger all around us” says Keith Hebden, in a “Comment is Free” piece for the Guardian on Monday. As an atheist, I have no automatic respect for religious rituals. I think it’s a good idea to eat fish at least once a week, for example, but I don’t see why it should be a Friday.

So a religious man, doing something that ties in with his religion, but taking it a little further, is just a publicity stunt. One that I applaud.

We can probably all recall at least one Tory politician who has spent a week on as much money as someone on benefits gets, to show how, with a bit of planning, it’s possible to adequately look after yourself. These cynical ploys are undermined, either by abject failure, or by revelations of cheating.

Keith Hebden isn’t trying to prove anything by fasting. He isn’t trying to show either how easy it is, or how difficult. He almost certainly won’t suffer any long term health problems, though I hope he has taken, and will heed, medical advice. He isn’t even evangelising for his faith, as he concludes his article with:

“We can all help: whether you are spiritual, religious, or just that wonderful thing called “human”.”

He’s fasting to raise awareness of a very real problem. The phrase “publicity stunt” is usually taken to mean that there’s an ulterior motive, but it doesn’t have to and, in this case, I don’t think there is.



You can follow Keith’s progress on Twitter by clicking here.

Voluntary Slavery?


I really thought that the Salvation Army in the UK did a lot of good, on balance, despite my antipathy to religion and religious organisations. Their involvement with workfare has finished off any residual respect I had for them.
The government doesn’t like the word “workfare”, and neither does the Sally Ann, They always talk about the people who are forced onto these schemes, with a withdrawal of benefits as punishment for not complying, as volunteers, which is adding insult to injury when the only alternative is “volunteering” to starve, or freeze, or go homeless. Or all three.
All this is bad enough for people who have just left school, many of whom may have families to support them, but it’s often older people, who have worked for decades and don’t need “work experience”, who are placed on these schemes, and the government have extended the scope of workfare to include disabled people, with the added sting that their placement can be indefinite. If the “volunteer” doesn’t turn up for any reason, such as a vital hospital appointment, they can lose all their benefits.
Even workfare for younger, fitter people is detrimental to society though, as it depresses wages. Why would an employer pay decent wages, when they can use free labour? In fact, why pay wages at all?
An organisation that claims to work for the greater good should not have any involvement with workfare, and quibbling about the name won’t persuade your opponents.

Papal Resignation

prancingpope21So, Joseph Ratzinger has announced his resignation as Pope, and the news media are abuzz with speculation about who his successor will be.
Ratzinger’s Papacy was certainly controversial. His membership of the Hitler Youth raised a few eyebrows. That was a little unfair, as he had very little choice in the matter, and his family would have been threatened if he had refused to join. Indeed, there is evidence that he and his family were opposed to the Nazis. My criticism of him in this regard is that he was in a position to know that the Nazis were by no means atheists, as he claimed on a recent paid holiday to the UK.

The criticism of his handling of the child abuse scandal within his church is on firmer ground, though there is still a degree of hyperbole. It would be wrong, for example, to assert that he is himself a “kiddy fiddler”, but it is true that his lackadaisical attitude to paedophile priests, both before and during his reign, meant that more victims suffered, and for longer, than if he’d acted promptly.

Some people are lamenting the departure of a Pope so adept at bringing the Roman Catholic Church into disrepute, but I’m looking forward to a whole new era of scandal especially if, as is being mooted, the next Pope comes from Africa, a region in which the Catholic Church has particularly bloody hands.

Meanwhile, rumours abound over the precise reason for Ratzinger’s resignation, since “failing health” hasn’t tempted his predecessors to quit.  Perhaps he has had a better job offer!


#WowPetition – Please Keep It Going!

Who's been at the communion wine?

Who’s been at the communion wine?

When I started this blog, I intended to write, for the most part, about religion, and my continued opposition to it. I seem now to write, almost exclusively, about social justice and, lately, the ConDem government’s War on Welfare.

I suppose I could shoehorn religion in, by mentioning Iain “Duncan” Smith’s devout Roman Catholicism, and noting that his faith does not, contrary to the many claims of religious apologists, make him a good person. To emphasise this point would, however, be to ignore the many people who are religious who stand firmly against all that Smith stands for. It would be wrong, as well, to ignore atheists in government, like the Quisling Nick Clegg who, at the very least, stand idly by while Smith hounds sick and disabled people, sometimes to death.

So, just as members of the government, religious and non-religious alike, can join together to persecute the poor, so I will happily stand with my religious friends to fight them. Some people, on either side of the religious divide, will call me opportunistic, but I don’t see it that way. Sometimes, one principle has to make way for another.

Of course, the government side has the best armaments, having better access to the mainstream media than us, and it has been suggested that on-line petitions and social media aren’t going to help so “why bother?”

This defeatist argument often comes from people who are well aware of the role of social media in the “Arab Spring“, so I don’t understand why they’re so sure it can’t work here.

In any case, it’s worth a try, and it’s better than just rolling over and accepting defeat so, if you haven’t already signed the Wow Petition, please head over to and do so and, whether or not you’ve signed, you could also help by passing the message along to your friends.