How Islamist gangs use chat rooms to lure, torture and kill Iraqi gays

Jesse Brown, a BoingBoing guest-blogger, is the host of TVO's Search Engine podcast.

The Guardian has a chilling report on how fundamentalist murderers are using the Internet to locate, entrap, and brutally murder dozens of gay Iraqi men:

Sitting on the floor, wearing traditional Islamic clothes and holding an old notebook, Abu Hamizi, 22, spends at least six hours a day searching internet chatrooms linked to gay websites. He is not looking for new friends, but for victims.

"It is the easiest way to find those people who are destroying Islam and who want to dirty the reputation we took centuries to build up," he said. When he finds them, Hamizi arranges for them to be attacked and sometimes killed.


Thanks, Phillip


  1. I’ll bet that there’s a lot of closet cases among the killers. Think about it: trolling gay chat rooms, flirting and talking dirty, and then repudiating their suppressed gay desires with extreme brutality.

  2. and why hasn’t the reporter alerted iraqi or US military officials to the location of this accesory to murder? Journalistic integrity is one thing, but after you get your story, go tell the frakking authorities!

  3. I’m with ACB. Someone who spends six hours a day trying to destroy gays is very likely trying to destroy his own gayness. Mere prejudice isn’t going to explain such a level of obsession.

  4. ACB&JOE: Agreed. Who was the congressman in the US who pushed for anti-gay legislation, then got caught in a gay sex scandal? Like that, but a bit more extreme here.

  5. I don’t think “I bet they’re gay too” adds anything in this case. Sure, some of the killers may be, but it doesn’t change what they’ve done or give us any new ways to prevent it.

  6. DIATRYMA: Fair enough. What would, then? I’m really not trying to be argumentative. Discussing why this happens and what we (or anyone in the world) can do to help stop it would be a great direction for this comment thread.

  7. I disagree, Diatryma. If you go to any Unitarian Universalist Church, you can see that the gay people who are not denying their sexuality are typically quite well adjusted and, dare I say it, fairly “normal”.

    Perhaps the best way to prevent self-hating gays from becoming mentally ill oppressors (like an appalling number of Republican lawmakers) or worse yet, violent criminals like these Islamists, is to practice tolerance and acceptance of all types of harmless consensual relationships? The idea being to take away any societally-reinforced correlation between their homosexual impulses and their self-hate? It seems likely to me.

  8. That’s called “reaction formation” (

    It’s an idea that’s been around for some time.

    I seem to remember reading a paper that used brain imaging of people that showed men who had strongly homophobic attitudes were often (not always) noticably eroused by homoerotic imagery.

    Oh, and this story really sucks.

    It amazes me how much time and effort people seem to put into hating and persecuting other people. All very depressing.

  9. Bet those gays miss Saddam Hussein. Bet those gays find themselves wishing the US hadn’t attacked Irak in the name of freedom.

    I bet those gays and lesbians and bisexuals find themselves wishing freedom to love.

  10. centuries ago the islamic world was the most enlightened, educated and tolerant society in the world.

    thanks to douchebags like this, they’ve managed to build a reputation as the most backward assholes the world could do without.

    you go Abu Hamizi. it’s really working.

  11. @Felton #4:

    Who was the congressman in the US who pushed for anti-gay legislation, then got caught in a gay sex scandal?

    Oh man, you REALLY need to narrow that down.

  12. Why can’t the Iraqi people be like the American people, who are generally satisfied to express their hatred for gays through non-violent discrimination in areas like employment, housing, adoption, and marriage? Sad.

    Otherwise, it’s always nice to read the conclusion that the murderers are also gay. Because no straight person could be so obsessed with TEH GAY!

    Sort of like how no white people could be so obsessed with black people that they would lynch any, right? Or how no men could be so obsessed with women that they would stone any?

    Honestly, why compound the brutality of the act by saying, effectively, “the murderer is probably a fag, too.”

  13. I’m not sure what insights would help. There’s something that says it’s okay to kill people if they don’t count as people/meet certain requirements/et cetera. There’s a certain amount of weird community-building, maybe. Grasping whatever power you have to control anything you can.

    If the killers are killing gay men because they themselves are gay, how do we* fix it? By making it okay for them to be gay… which is exactly what we do for the ones who are being killed. Other factors, which are just as hypothetical– it’s not like I have any great insight– can at least be addressed.

    *rhetorical ‘we’ here. Didn’t want to use passive voice.

  14. Diatryma:
    It does matter whether or not these men are “gay too,” because if they were not pressured by their society and religion to hate the LGBT community then perhaps they wouldn’t feel the need to act so violently towards a community that could embrace them.
    To the members of these Islamist gangs, being homosexual is worthy of a death punishment. Because the killers may be gay they have convinced themselves that harming other homosexuals is the best way to prove, either to themselves or to others, that they are not worthy of the same death sentence. Their rationality becomes something along the lines that, although I have impure sexual feelings towards my own gender I am not worthy of death because I do not openly engage in homosexual activities, in fact I violently oppose homosexual activities.

  15. EagleApex: Yeah, I’ve always said that, if I were to believe in a god, it would have to be a god I would respect as a person;-)

    Diatryma: Good points. I’ll think about this and post again later. Gotta go for now!

  16. Some might be gay, that does take protesting too much to an entirely different level.

    But I’m willing to believe that they’re primarily just violent assholes with an appetite for others’ pain who found a socially acceptable outlet. THAT’S what will have to change before this kind of thing ends.

  17. @ Chainsaw #15:
    “Their rationality becomes something along the lines that, although I have impure sexual feelings towards my own gender I am not worthy of death because I do not openly engage in homosexual activities, in fact I violently oppose homosexual activities.”

    — or perhaps they’re just jealous?

    1. That closet cases are homophobic leaders has long been known to the gay community. But it’s not unique to us. It’s basic witch-hunt psychology. Prove that you’re not a witch by becoming an inquisitor.

  18. @Antinous #23:

    It’s basic witch-hunt psychology. Prove that you’re not a witch by becoming an inquisitor.

    Are you implying that many Puritan leaders were actually witches? That explains a lot.

  19. We make sure they know why they are being held and give them the chance to ask God’s forgiveness before they are killed.

    How merciful.

  20. Then were the white perpetrators of lynchings trying to prove they weren’t black? Would it have been reasonable to say, in the wake of a lynching, that the worst of the perpetrators, or a disproportionate share of them, must have had African ancestry that they wanted to hide?

    To me, that would read like an effort to shift responsibility for the violence onto the community that suffers it – its members become both the victims and the responsible parties.

  21. If all fish live in the sea, and all herring are fish, that does not prove that sharks live in your bathtub.

    The fact that some homophobes have homosexual urges and some of that group hate themselves for it and some of that subgroup violently act out their self-hatred on others has nothing to do with black people or witches, m’kay?

    There are almost certainly some humans involved that just really like to torture and kill people, and don’t really care about their victims’ sexuality as anything other than an excuse.

    Some posters (including me) have suggested that there is something we, as individuals and as a society, can do that might help the situation. I submit that this is a change from the average Internet discussion, which usually involves crying and moaning about how a third party (usually, the government) should do something to somebody else while we sit on our fat butts.

  22. I don’t buy the ‘gay-haters must be gay’ rationale. At least not in the ratio it’s brought up here. It obfuscates reality. These muslims hate gays because they find homosexuality offensive and degenerate. Just like short skirts and online porn. This is their beef with Western civilization – we’re debased – and this is how they justify everything from WTC to this senseless butchery.

  23. DCAMSAM:

    In a sense, many racist whites ARE trying to prove they’re “not black.” I grew up in Mississippi and have spent all my life around racism and race issues. It’s not about ancestry, though. It’s about psychology.

    I have observed this in myself. You take a trait you do not embrace (in this case, overbearing, violence-oriented alpha-male mentality) and you project it. Then you fight the projection.

    Not claiming this is absolute in any way. Just saying that a white proving he/she’s “not black” need not have anything to do with genealogy. It could be proving you’re not .

  24. @ DCAMSAM

    I do see what you’re saying about this being interpretable as an effort to shift blame to the victim group. I don’t share that perspective, but I understand it.

    There was a post here once about a comic book made by some old religious zealot/politician that was meant as an attack on homosexuality. The bulk of it was detailed descriptions of gay male sex acts. Lesbianism was notably absent. It was clear that the author had spent a great deal more time thinking about gay sex then I had, and I had tried it!

    It brings Nietzsche to mind: “Be careful when you stare into the void; know that the void is also staring into you.”

  25. Exactly, as I have said before there are literally hundreds of millions of people who believe in and welcome the destruction of everyone who does not believe and do as their god commands. By killing members of the GLBT community these people feel they are doing god’s work. And they will not stop there.

    1. Although I understand your concerns, particularly since I’d be in the line of fire myself, I do think that you’ve become somewhat of a raving lunatic on the issue. You don’t offer a solution. Do you want to just kill everybody off to protect our lifestyle?

  26. Antinous, my solution is to try and educate people to the dangers of even moderate versions of these religions. For me the real danger is the hundreds of millions of moderates that are closeted extremists.

    Moderates do a couple of things.

    1. They create a climate that does not permit open discussion of religion or seeks to explain away the role of religion in world events.

    2. They share all the core tenets of extremists and indoctrinate their children in these intolerant beliefs. This religious indoctrination limits reason and enables extremists to easily turn a disillusioned moderate into fundamentalist extremist. Recruiters exploit these similarities/vulnerabilities.

    In some ways extremists are only moderates who have decided to act on their bigotry, intolerance, and hate. Extremists are moderates who no longer feel the need to couch their contempt for non-believers in code.

    Moderates and extremists alike believe non-believers are doomed to an eternity of suffering for their unwillingness to accept god and the dogma of their respective religions. Violent extremists have just made a decision to help us along. This is why moderates will never protest the actions of extremists, because doing so would also cast doubt on their own faith. Besides, many moderates actively support extremists.

    My solution is to demand that moderates prove they are truly reformers and radically alter their holy books in such a way as to remove all intolerance.

    Only then will they put their souls where their mouths are and prove they really don’t support intolerance. By doing this they will remove the beliefs that allow extremism to gain funding from moderates and recruit new members.

    In other words they need to make a clean break with the past and join those of us who wish to live in the enlightened future where science, reason, and compassion prevail, instead of superstition, faith, and intolerance.

  27. Not so much just terrorism. Religion is by nature divisive and intolerant.

    All three religions preach different brands of the same hatred.

    The example I like to make is when I say, we should round up all religious nutjobs and nuke ’em.

    Quite naturally most people recoil at the thought and think I’m crazy, but this is in effect what they all expect their gods to do to my family and you.

    Why don’t they recoil from the idea that their god would consign all non-believers or infidels to an eternity of horrible suffering?

    Why is this religious concept acceptable, instead of viewed as the abhorrent desire it represents?

    How does the cheery acceptance of their gods final solution influence their opinions and actions in the here and now?

  28. Hmm, ok.. needs to be broader than terrorism, and the short-sighted will read that as Islam-specific. How about..

    Religion: The Gateway Drug to Fucking-With-Other-People’s-Shit?

  29. @Foetusnail

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s good old bigotry you’re peddling there.

    The whole “even the one’s who seem moderate are really extremists, biding their time!” is just a way to spread fear and intolerance about people who for the most part follow their cultural traditions and have no interest whatsoever in extremist interpretations of their scripture.

    You wanting them to prove their fealty by burning the Qur’an is just fucking facism.

  30. I interpreted it as Islam-specific. Does that mean I’m short sighted?

    I do sometimes get a headache after spending long periods on the computer.

  31. Robulus, you’re not only missing the point entirely, but creating quotes from thin air!

    Quite unimaginative and disingenuous.

    No one said anything about burning books.

    What I did say was rewrite scripture to remove any intolerant passages that give extremism any credibility in moderate communities.

    Why would that be unacceptable?

    Remember, extremists/fundamentalists insist that moderates are not really jews or christians or muslims anyway if they don’t accept the books as complete and infallible.

    Fundies really hate moderates picking and choosing what to believe, like the holy books are some sort of religious smorgasbord.

  32. Robulus,

    That you interpreted the word “terrorism” in connection to “religion” as Islam-specific? Yeah, I’d call that short-sighted.

    I’m Irish. Tell me about it.

  33. Well Arkizzle generally I would cop that sweet, but the discussion is taking place in a thread called “How Islamist gangs use chat rooms to lure, torture and kill Iraqi gays”, so I’m going to use that context as a defence, I think that’s pretty reasonable.

  34. I forgive you.

    But for future reference I am always dissing all religions, except Unitarian Universalism and any other religions that practice the same uncompromising compassion for all creatures great, small, different, or gay.

    There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

    * The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
    * Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
    * Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
    * A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
    * The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
    * The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
    * Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

    Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:

    * Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
    * Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
    * Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
    * Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
    * Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
    * Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

    These principles and sources of faith are the backbone of our religious community.

    Last updated on Friday, November 7, 2008.

    1. By your standards, we’d have to kill three quarters of the earth’s population. Stalin and Hitler as conjoined twins couldn’t even rival that.

  35. Damn computer crashed i the middle of posting

    Fair enough Rob. But Foetusnail has always been pretty clear in his universal dislike of religion (as have I). His comments here are no exception.

    I don’t share all his sentiments or solutions, but I see the point.

  36. Foetusnail, the Holy texts are Holy, and calling for them to be modified ad-hoc is obviously completely impractical, as the texts are central to the traditions. You’re being a bit facetious, you are perfectly aware it is not a realistic proposition, you are just making a point. I get it.

    If I really misrepresented the intent of your comments with the book burning thing, I apologise, but you must admit it had more pop the way I put it.

    I completely disagree that religion as currently practiced is typified by radical fundamentalism constantly threatening to seize control of mainstream moderate fellowship.

    Fundamentalism is a product of environment, a political tool to organise the oppressed and ignorant. It takes root when people have their backs to the wall.

    The answer to it is education and empowerment, not authoritarianism.

    The moderate practice of religion is not the threat you make it out to be. Arguing that way, is playing the fundamentalists game.

    Proving that you don’t need to be religious to be a fundamentalist.

  37. Yeah Arkizzle I get the point, but I’m happy to stand by what I posted anyway. Just swap out Qur’an for “respective religious text” and it will work fine.

    I’m not sure that broadening your scope to include all religion makes it any more tolerant than just zeroing in on one.

    Does it?

  38. Rob, you are still off the mark.

    I completely disagree that religion as currently practiced is typified by radical fundamentalism constantly threatening to seize control of mainstream moderate fellowship.

    My theory is that since all versions of each religion teach from the same intolerant books, children are then given everything the fundies/extremists need to recruit new members.

    The real problem is not the specific dogma or myths of the tens of thousands of cults descended from the original desert cults. The religious myth is but one unimportant piece of the lie. The deception is not the myth of any one faith, but the false impression religion has answers to the unanswerable. Giving children the idea religion is the answer is the danger. The answers these cults provide leave victims open to exploitation.

    The religious mind is hacked, the backdoor is open, and mommy and daddy did it. Again, extremists and moderates share the core beliefs of their respective religions; therefore, it is not a very big leap from disillusioned moderate to fundamentalist extremist. Recruiters exploit these similarities/vulnerabilities.

    In the end, this is not about faith; it is about religions imposing their beliefs on the secular world. This is about people dying because religious zealots oppose sex education and passing out condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. This is about a president, that when discussing his opposition to stem cell research, says the ends do not justify the means, but supports the death penalty and starts a war. This is about teaching creationist myth as though it were science instead of theology. This is not about beliefs; it’s about exploiting our ability to believe, in an effort to manipulate the lives and votes of millions. All of the preceding were brought to us by so-called moderates.

    Therefore, if the so-called moderates of any of these cults want to expunge the fundamentalists/extremists from their ranks, and more importantly stop providing their own children as fodder for a war of hate, then they should rewrite their dogma to exclude those ideas that allow extremists to exploit the beliefs they implant into their childrens’ psyche. Rewrite the unholy books, filled with hate, which create the us and them world that then makes strapping on a bomb to blow up a competing mosque or murdering doctors possible.

  39. Antinous,
    I’m not sure Foetus’ is calling for the death of anyone.

    I’m with Robulus on this one, I don’t think it’s feasible, nor desireable to expect people to edit or censor their holy books. They are historic documents with a place in peoples’ culture.

    The largest problem is in people interpreting their books differently; literally or metaphorically. I can find lessons in the bible, and read it with an awareness of the environmental and cultural differences at the time it was written.

    But that doesn’t mean I believe in invisible sky daddys.

    I don’t think the books are necessarily the issue, just how they are interpreted, and to what lengths people value the righteousness of their path over the individuality of other peoples’.

  40. I have a solution that works well for all parties, I think:

    We in the USA should give asylum on humanitarian grounds to gay Iraqis.

    And we should deport all our own fundamentalist Christians to Iraq.

  41. The problem is that once we are taught and then accept that these books are the final word on morality and truth then we are doomed to continuously repeat the past.

    A recent ad in a christian newspaper, I love reading those things, shows a little blond girl, with a blank thousand yard stare. The ad tells us, “What she needs from a bible school curriculum.” followed by the line, “Unchanging truth in a changing world.”

    That’s just what we need.

    Why isn’t the irony readily apparent; people are returning to a religious past that is responsible for getting us into this mess in the first place!

  42. While some homophobes have certainly been gay, in the Muslim world you also have the segregation of girls from boys.
    This means that most of the boys find sexual release with each other.

    This can often be through forcing younger boys to have sex.

    This sets the stage for feelings of guilt and impurity, which have to be purged somehow.

    Zealots will rather project that feeling of impurity unto those who persist in same-sex activities, rather than find fault with Islam which creates the situation in the first place.

    I had a gay Pakistani friend who admitted that he had been raped numerous times, even by the guy engaged to his sister.
    He had thought his same-sex attraction was due to this for a long time. In the end he realised it wasn’t the case but it made it much harder for him to accept who he was.

    The situation is much more complex than self-loathing gays.

  43. Foetusnail, Arkizzle,

    I think religion is just the traditional way to hack peoples minds, I don’t think it possesses any irreducible characteristics you couldn’t come up with a secular alternative for.

    Chinese soldiers seem pretty effectively mind hacked, they’ve just got different secular symbolism.

    I’m quite confident that if you managed to completely abolish religion there would be perfectly good secular alternatives popping up all over the place.

    Arkizzle said I don’t think the books are necessarily the issue, just how they are interpreted, and to what lengths people value the righteousness of their path over the individuality of other peoples.

    Agree completely.

  44. This is about teaching creationist myth as though it were science instead of theology.

    Yes I forgot, its a lot keener in the US. I’d probably be driven to a more extreme point of view if I lived in that environment. Its a pressure cooker.

  45. Robulus, as I mentioned in another thread:

    Takuan, I completely agree, both military and religious organizations, in that order, are the oldest schools of leadership and indoctrination.

    My opinion is that they are now so refined and work so closely hand in hand, that only by stopping the religious indoctrination of children will it be possible to prevent the militaristic indoctrination of young adults.

    Religious indoctrination starts at such an early age that it creates the neural pathways that will eventually make ideological indoctrination a literal no-brainer. Religious indoctrination truncates our thinking, it is a circumcision of reason, god is our first dictator. The lesson of never questioning authority, begins with gods.

  46. Every century people have thought our world had reached some crossroad, but we really are in a place and time where what we do can literally cause the destruction of our habitat. Right now we need mutual trust and compassion more than at any other time in history, but people are instead retreating to a fundamentalist past that is filled with witches, torture, and murder in the name of spirituality.

    In and of itself belief in gods is not dangerous; what is decidedly dangerous is what people think their gods or their faith is telling them to do. These people moderate or not, are dangerous. They represent a real threat, a threat that given the chance would return our civilization to the beliefs of the Dark Ages.

    These religions have fought science and spiritual freedom from the beginning. Many of these people are actively seeking to take over the world. Their ultimate goal is no different from that of any other fascist movement. Whether it is an anti-theist dictatorship or a theological dictatorship, it is all the same to those excluded from its safety.

    This is not about destroying religion, though it often sounds wonderful, this is about forgetting religion. This is about people coming full circle and living without religion and superstition. This is about reclaiming our self-respect, our self-worth. This is about learning to live with mystery. This is about returning to us that which was stolen and rendered unto imaginary gods by those claiming to speak for them.

    No one is opposed to people believing any crazy shit they want, but what many seem to agree, but fail to do, is mind your own business. This means keeping all religious dogma out of the public school system and government. This also means stop indoctrinating innocent children.

    I would take this a step further and say I agree with others who believe raising your children in some of these willfully ignorant and intolerant religions is tantamount to child abuse. These religions are purposefully brainwashing and intellectually hamstringing their children in an effort to take over the world. Why is it not seen as cruel to teach a child they are nothing without gods, that they are disgusting sinful creatures, the product of sin, and that they must then spend their lives begging forgiveness on bent knee before some eternal dictator? Why tell them in effect that we are nothing?

    We are not nothing. We are everything.
    We are the universe looking at itself.
    We are here to enjoy.
    We give meaning to the universe.
    This is not arrogance or hubris.
    Hubris is inventing a god and then proposing to know its mind.

    Intolerant and dogmatic theologies are a vestige of our ignorant past. We don’t need religion to be charitable or ethical. We don’t need religion to enjoy life. We don’t need religion to share this experience with others. We don’t need religion to instruct us on right or wrong. We especially don’t need any soothing fairy tales to bridge the gap between knowledge and the unknown. Moreover, we certainly don’t need a manipulative clergy that seeks only power and wealth, a clergy that uses blackmailing dogma to control the lives and purses of almost every person on this planet.

    The point of all this is to reconnect our split personality, to grow beyond religion just as a child one day grows beyond the bogeyman.

    I have given up trying to free people from their belief in the supernatural; now the only hope is for people to believe in a better class of god and remove religion from its undeserved pedestal. The ultimate goal is to remove religions from our lives, to separate religious dogma and the belief in god, to separate religion and spirituality; to dispel the false idea that religion is the arbiter of right and wrong. In other words, remove the middleman, liberate people from dogma, and give them an opportunity to develop their own understanding, their own lives, their freedom. By removing religions from our lives, we will finally be united. Only then will we see we are all the same, we are all asking the same questions, we are all seeking the same understanding, whether we believe in gods or not.

    If gods exist, why do we need a religion to act as liaison? Religion should be recognized as superfluous to belief in god and spirituality. We must recognize religions for what they are, dangerous and divisive. Religions have murdered millions more people than they will ever save, even if they never killed another heretic or apostate until the end of time. Because religions have never saved anyone, we save ourselves. Fellowship is what we need, religion is what we got.

    This is what they don’t want you to know; this is the blasphemy, the heresy: We alone are responsible for our own salvation, our own enlightenment. This is what religious clergy don’t want us to know. This is what they don’t want us to believe. Having faith in our own ability is blasphemy. When we no longer depend on religions, they are out of a job.

  47. “The lesson of never questioning authority, begins with gods.”

    So what of the free-thinkers who come out of fundamentalist cultures? Of children who cut their teeth on lies that hold billions of adults in sway?

    Like the Fremen of Herbert’s “Dune,” strong through ridiculous selective pressure?

    A side thought, admittedly. Although maybe not. If you find a subset of a population that’s immune to a disease you’re studying, whatever it is that makes that group different would certainly be of interest.

  48. The lesson of never questioning authority, begins with gods.

    Or the State, as in China.

    Pretty much all you have said would be just as true (more so in my opinion) if instead of religion you expanded the criticism to any cultural group who values dogma over freedom of thought.

    Religion is certainly the most typical expression of this, but I don’t believe it is the problem in and of itself.

    What really bothers me is that your comments echo the sentiments of right wing nationalists who want people from particular cultural backgrounds to take “oaths” or renounce their religion, implicitly because they are inherently untrustworthy. I think your ideas could easily be used to justify the persecution of minorities.

    I know you are coming from a position of love, tolerance and acceptance, but you are preaching vilification, exactly like the fundamentalists you oppose.

  49. Querent, very good point.

    I often find it amazing that after tens of thousands of years of selective breeding for religious belief, there are any non-believers at all.

  50. Robulus, that’s your opinion. I would love to sit over many good beers and discuss this with everyone.

    Please trust that I fear the unchecked authority of the state just as I fear the unchecked authority of gods.

    I have spent a great deal of time and money studying the 3rd Reich, a brutal combination of both.

  51. Borders also cross religions, so to speak. These days, at least.

    I’m inclined to agree that it’s a common mechanism. In my experience, most dogmatic people, whether religious, nationalistic, materialistic, whatever, haven’t thought too deeply about the content. They just react properly. The content could easily be secular. But it may work better with a grand scale about it…like in the third reich. These people seem to be impressed by size and power, so the god concept has a built in advantage in that regard.

    And there’s a great deal of selective pressure (from different sources, mind you) encouraging free thought. “All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and child-like. Yet it is the most precious thing we have.” (a paraphrase, probably.)

    I’d love to take you up on the offer of boozy, hoppy discussion. Makes me wish this month’s paycheck was already in the bank.

  52. I would love to sit over many good beers and discuss this with everyone.

    Sounds great. Can haz BB party?

    Oh yeah.. different countries.. Dammit!

  53. For all those who are able, I suggest we all pop open a beer at 8PM BB time and raise a toast to BB the most excellent place in the world to discuss the undiscussable, a true gathering of wonderful beings. May we all agree to disagree, yet live in peace and cooperation regardless of belief, sexuality, gender, or abilities.

  54. A most excellent idea. I am down, Foetusnail. Gotta make a quick run down the block. I may be a few minutes late, but I’ll be with you.

  55. Indeed!

    I’ll spark one up for the occasion, it being 3:58am here, and no booze in the house.

    Sláinte go saol agat!

  56. Religion poses more of a problem than any non-metaphysical kind of ideology though.

    Every human culture ever seen has some kind of metaphysical belief system, ranging from divination thru witchcraft to modern, heirarchical relgions. Any behavior which exists everywhere probably has some biological basis. We all cry when unhappy, smile when happy and all of us are capable of magical thought, and there is variablility in the strength behaviors between individuals. Religion highjacks this innate weakness in our intellects, uses peer pressure and ritual to convince us that some damn fool thing or other is true. And it is hard to challenge because it usually is based on something that is considered, by the believers at least, to be “Holy”, or beyond question.

    And once you have someone convinced that some big sky daddy will look after them even after they are dead, you can get them to do almost anything. The only reason we don’t have widespread religious terrorism in the US, IMHO, is that the leaders of our whacko fringe religious groups think they can win in the ballot box.

    Religious moderates are not a problem, but the inherent flaws of magical thinking that enables all religion will guarantee that even if all religious fanaticism is eliminated today, it will return at some future date.

    The elimination of religion, John Lennon notwithstanding, is a pipedream. We humans seem to be wired for it to a greater or lesser degree, and changing basic human nature is a pretty tall order.

  57. I would love to sit over many good beers and discuss this with everyone.

    For all those who are able, I suggest we all pop open a beer at 8PM BB time and raise a toast to BB the most excellent place in the world to discuss the undiscussable, a true gathering of wonderful beings. May we all agree to disagree, yet live in peace and cooperation regardless of belief, sexuality, gender, or abilities.

    Best idea I’ve heard all day. Unfortunately its only just gone 1pm, and I have a ton of work to do. BB has been the most excellent point of procrastination, but I think cracking a beer would beyond what I can manage. Assume I’m drinking in spirit!

  58. Dan, you’re right and I’ll raise you a Dodfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA as soon as Querent gets back from the store.

  59. Cheers. Cheers to BB and all the beautiful, thoughtful, sometimes-happy mutants.

    And god bless to all those unfortunate to be born into circumstances that do not recognize the fucking miracle of their individual being. Which is all of us, to a greater or lesser degree. My thoughts and prayers, such as they are, are with you.

    Thanks for waiting. I’m here now.

  60. They are getting ready for a rather late bedtime, but having a ball. They’ve been seeing who can give daddy the biggest bear hug.

  61. Cheers brothers and sisters of the BB! Thanks you to you all for your patience, understanding, and forgiveness.

  62. *clinks glasses with the foetus

    cheers to patience, understanding, and forgiveness.

    cheers weird fears!
    cheers mad seers!
    and cheers to david bowie’s “life on mars.”

  63. Night all!!

    God-bless and good night!

    And I did keep at least one small fire burning tonight. On more than one level. On more than two.

  64. Yeah, I hadn’t seen that ManchesterPride vid before, great!

    Sorry, Foet’, got interrupted by the joviality last night.. How’s the young’un?

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