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Australia’s fanatical Christians

Meet Nick and Sarah Jensen, Two More Christian Bigots Upset That Other People Are Happy.

I was going to go play video games this evening but the more I think about this story, the more I want to talk about it right now.

Meet Christian bigots and hypocrites Nick and Sarah Jensen from Australia. These Jesus-smile-wearing committed Christians have children together and have been married for ten years.

And they really, really, really hate gay people.

Marriage is serious business, and you can bet these two dolls take theirs more seriously than Christian bigots do. (Credit: Mike Mozart, CC license.)

They recently told their local news site that if equal marriage laws pass in their country, they’re prepared to get a divorce in protest. No, really. I guess it might be an elaborate troll attempt, but it seems to be on the level. You’ve seen children throwing tantrums in supermarkets who are less petulant and nasty-sounding than these two. Of course, they’ve stated that they don’t intend to actually live separately; they’ll still cohabit, probably have more kids, and continue to refer to themselves as spouses and consider themselves “married by the Church and before God,” which I seem to remember was exactly the excuse lobbed by at least one Christian hypocrite who wanted to commit adultery and get away with it in busybody-laden Christian communities: he was “spiritually married” to his mistress, so it was okay. What the Jensens would be giving up is only Australia’s benefits for married couples.

Hey, don’t ask them to actually sacrifice anything.

They’re so upset about other people having the same rights they do that if those people get those rights, they’ll take their ball and go home. If they’re not the most super-specialest kids on the playground, they don’t want to be there at all. If the club lets everybody in, they don’t want to be members anymore.

And I imagine it was a huge shock to them when nobody really gave two shits what they thought of other people’s rights or marriages and only mocked them for their childish demand.

After Australians stopped laughing long enough to draw a breath, headlines emerged like “Same-Sex Couple Threaten Not to Give a Shit if Other Couple Divorces,” pointing out that the Jensens sound like they have a pretty weak and flimsy marriage in the first place if they’re this ready to dissolve it:

It’s truly surprising that they expect other people to give the slightest shit about their relationship when clearly they don’t. If you’re willing to throw away your ten year marriage because a bit of legislation you don’t like passed maybe the thing you’re really unhappy about is your terrible marriage.

Reactions haven’t been much better outside their country. New Zealanders openly called them “pathetic, ignorant plonkers.” Even the Christian Gospel Herald has carefully avoided saying too much either way.

Other folks pointed out that under Australian law, the Jensens might not be able to qualify for a divorce anyway since part of Australia’s divorce laws include that the couple has to separate in every way, including cohabitation, for 12 months beforehand. The ROYGBIV link includes this absolutely classic assessment:

According to ABC Australia, the couple won’t be able to actually break their marriage for a dumb-ass reason such as “we don’t like other people doing stuff” because Australian law dictates that a divorced couple must have no plans to continue cohabitation and the Jensens have clearly stated that once they’re divorced they’ll still stay together, live together, and raise their kids together.

Of course, they could always lie to the courts about their intentions. They’re already getting divorced, which is a sin, and planning to cohabit, which is a sin, and showing hatred for their neighbors, which is a bigtime sin. What’s one more sin added to the heap they’re already committing? Lying would be the least of their problems. Luckily, their country takes marriage way more seriously than these two hypocrites do, and it seems like their citizens certainly know better than to deny people civil rights just because a pair of outraged bigots threaten to hold their breath till they turn blue.

I can’t speak definitively for Australia, but in America at least, churches don’t actually get any say in civil marriage law because churches don’t actually make a marriage legal or illegal. All they can do is have the pretty ceremony to Jesus-fy the union. Their ministers have to qualify to be legally able to join two people in marriage, but they are not automatically qualified. And the union is not official with the state unless a qualified officiant signs the license and files it with the appropriate agencies. In fact, churches don’t give out licenses, sign them on their own recognizance, or keep them on file. From my limited research, Australia works much the same way: secular laws and the government itself decides who can get married, licenses officiants, and keeps track of the licenses. So when these two nitwitted bigots chirp that they will be “married by the Church and before God,” it’s doubly hilarious because they don’t seem to realize that their church and god have nothing to do with their marriage’s legality and status. I had a Christian boyfriend try that same stunt in high school to get laid, and it didn’t work for him either. Churches have historically taken a very dim view of Christians cohabiting and sexing each other up without legal sanction to do so. Even churches don’t go in for that lunacy.

One does wonder if extremely bigoted churches prefer couples having non-marital sex over putting up with equal marriage, but ultimately, the Jensens have to commit to one or the other sin, don’t they? Either they have non-legally-sanctioned sexytimes and get a divorce, which are both totally sins, or they stay married but have to put up with people they don’t like getting the same rights they have, which would actually be exactly in keeping with their Bible’s direct and unequivocal commands straight from the mouth of Jesus himself (bonus “covenant” bullshit from a Christian site analyzing the one loophole Jesus offered: infidelity). But those commands are totally boring and hard to keep, so most Christians consider them optional in daily life, which is why they eat shellfish and wear mixed fibers but condemn gay people, and come up with mind-bending convolutions of illogic to explain why those difficult commands were optional but the ones bashing gay people are totes for forever and ever.

The commands about divorce have always been deeply problematic in our age of free-will marriages and divorces, and the Christians who are the most upset about equal marriage seem to be the ones who divorce at the drop of a hat for a variety of reasons. But woe betide a minister who preaches about the immorality of divorce! He wouldn’t have much of a congregation left if he pressed too hard on that topic. His flocks would rather hear about the motes in other people’s eyes than the beams in their own. The serious hypocrisy of Christians who are totally fine with divorce while condemning equal marriage has gotten infrequent attention from Christians themselves, but nothing serious enough to change anything in the culture.

In the end, the Jensens have ironically demonstrated just how little they take their marriage vows seriously when they’re willing to throw it away over a temper-tantrum over other people getting civil rights.

They love marriage so much they are willing to threaten to end their ten-year marriage over other people getting married.

They love Jesus so much they’re willing to ignore and flout several direct commands he gave his followers.

That’s a level of hypocrisy that even I have to admire for its sheer scope, completeness, and artless ignorance.

And it’s another demonstration of why Christianity is failing and deserves to do so.

On the plus side, though, this threat is likely just another game of “chicken” played by Christian zealots; they’ve never been that good about follow-through on their various scams and schemes. I’m betting if we check back in with the Jensens in a year, we’ll find they’re still married and still seething over not being the most-specialest kids on their little playground.

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Listen up, my bearded and veily friends! (by Marcus Brigstocke)

Listen up, my bearded and veily friends!


“I’d like to start this week with a request, and this one goes out to the followers of the three Abrahamic religions: the Muslims, Christians, and Jews. It’s just a little thing, really, but do you think that when you’ve finished smashing up the world and blowing each other to bits and demanding special privileges while you do it, do you think that maybe the rest of us could sort of have our planet back? I wouldn’t ask, but I’m starting to think that there must be something written in the special books that each of you so enjoy referring to that it’s ok to behave like special, petulant, pugnacious, pricks. Forgive the alliteration, but your persistent, power-mad punch-ups are pissing me off. It’s mainly the extremists obviously, but not exclusively. It’s a lot of ‘main-streamers’ as well. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.

Muslims: listen up my bearded and veily friends! Calm down, ok? Stop blowing stuff up. Not everything that said about you is an attack on the prophet Mohammed and Allah that needs to end in the infidel being destroyed. Have a cup of tea, put on a Cat Stevens record, sit down and chill out. I mean seriously, what’s wrong with a strongly-worded letter to The Times?

Christians: you and your churches don’t get to be millionaires while other people have nothing at all. They’re your bloody rules; either stick to them or abandon the faith. And stop persecuting and killing people you judge to be immoral. Oh, and stop pretending you’re celibate — it’s a cover-up for being a gay or a nonce. Right, that’s two ticked off.

Jews! I know you’re god’s ‘Chosen People’ and the rest of us are just whatever, but when Israel behaves like a violent, psychopathic bully and someone mentions it that doesn’t make them anitsemitic. And for the record, your troubled history is not a license to act with impunity now.

So, when the letters come (and I’m guessing they will), I can gaurantee that each one of those faiths will be convinced that I’ve singled them out for special criticism.

[In mock Arabic accent] Why did it have to be us? Islam is a peaceful faith!

[In upper class British accent] I don’t see what’s wrong with being Christian? We’re a peaceful, loving faith.

[In affronted, huffy voice] How dare you after all we’ve been through! We Jews know how terrible violence can be.

You see, all of them will be convinced that they’re the ones being picked on. The Abrahamic faiths are like scousers: they’re always convinced they [in scouser accent} have it harder than everyone else.

And why is it that all of these faiths claim to be peaceful, when even a most fleeting glance at a history of warfare will tell you otherwise? The relationship between religion and warfare is very similar to the relationship between Ant and Deck: you could have one without the other, but I’m not sure anyone would see the point. I wouldn’t actually like it, but it would be refreshing to hear one of them come out and say [in working class London accent] “Our faith’s violent as you like. We love a scrap, us lot, we do. Our special book says ‘fight fight smash maim murder kill fight fight.’ That’s why I signed up to be honest. I’m a bit naught, know what I mean?” But yet all of them claim to be peaceful religions. Yeah, peaceful right up to the point where someone takes something they think is theirs, or says the wrong thing or looks at them funny. Then it’s fighty smashy kicky punchy all the way. I know this’ll upset a lot of people and frankly I don’t care. I’m getting so sick of religious people screwing it up for the rest of us.

Please don’t kill us, seriously. As far as I’m concerned this is the only chance we get. When we die it’s all over — there’s no virgins and pearly gates waiting for us, no big, beardy man saying [in deep, echoing voice and upper class accent] “Right, so how do you think that went, then? Killed a lot of people in my name I see. Not really what I had in mind. Um, tell you what, have another go as a worm.”

While we’re at it, I’m sick of religious people forcing their children to define themselves by their parents’ faith. A four-year-old is no more a Christian than he is a member of the Postal Workers’ union. [in child’s voice] “We want a fair working wage, decent working conditions, and time allotted to see the new Transformers film.”

This week Lydia Playfoot, who took Millay School in Horsham to the high court so she could wear jewelry to prove she’s staying a virgin for Jesus, lost her case. Good. I’m glad. I don’t care how many times her parents claim it was her idea, rules is rules, and if you want to wear a ring that tells everyone you’re not having any sex you can get married like the rest of us. Now, the lawyer for the chaste Miss Playfoot said the question for the judge was ‘What are the religious rights of school children in the school context?’ Well, I’m no judge (not yet, anyway), but if you want my opinion, none. No rights. No religious rights whatsoever. Schools are for learning. If you want to have a little pray before maths so that Mr. Figures won’t set too hard a test, or prevent the P.E. teacher from being a colossal pervert, then go head, fill your boots. If you want to pop on a feathered headdress and chant and dance and mumble and sacrifice something you can do that on your own time. (Or take a drama course, pretend it’s art, and get a degree in it. That’s what I did.) The lawyer, Mr. Diamond, argued “secular authorities cannot rule on religious truth.” Hmm. Well, Mr. Diamond, I’m going to assume you’re not related to Neil Diamond, because he rocks. Yes, I like Neil Diamond. And Prince. And I’m married — go figure. But the point is “religious truth” is a foxy one, because religion, by it’s very nature, doesn’t tend to concern itself with truth. There simply isn’t time for truth. By the time all the singing and candle-lighting and toadying and condemning and hiding from science is done truth has given up and gone down to the pub for a pint. Here’s the truth: faith is about as interested in truth as I am in hanging out with Anthony Warrel Thompson, ie, not very.

Now, I know that most religious folk are moderate and reasonable and wear tidy jumpers and eat cheese, like real people. And on hearing this they’ll mainly feel pity for me, rather than issue a death sentence. But they have to accept that they are the power base for the nutters. Without their passive support the loonies in charge of these faiths would just be loonies, safely locked away and medicated — somewhere nice with a view of some trees where they can claim they have a direct channel to god between sessions making tapestry coasters, watching Teletubbies and talking about their days in the Hitler Youth. The ordinary faithful make these vicious, tyrannical thugs what they are. See, I get angry that show like Celebrity and Big Brother and insert-title-of-wretched-show-here still fill our lives with vapid, pointless emptiness, and I wish the producers’ development executives would crawl back under the rocks they emerged from, but the truth is they sell stuff that people consume. Without the audience to prop it up, Heat magazine and fundamental religious fanaticism goes away. Imagine what humanity might be capable of if we had that much spare time! We could explore space properly, have decent look in the sea, find a cure for James Blunt, anything!

Thank you very much. Letters to the usual address.”

Marcus Brigstocke – The Now Show, BBC4


Well known Mis-quotations

Popular misquotes – ‘the things they never said’.

Many phrases and sayings have entered the language as quotations by known authors. Some of these are accepted into the language with scant evidence linking the phrase and the person, and some are just plain misquotations. These false attributions, although generally quite easy to disprove as many of them as supposed to derive from films or works of fiction, join the popular fallacies as the most difficult to remove from the popular consciousness.

There are some untruths which people prefer to believe than to have refuted. It seems that, for a large enough percentage of the population to keep a phrase in circulation, the sense that a quote sounds appropriate for a particular author or fictional character is sufficient, regardless of whether they actually ever said it.

There are a startlingly large number of ‘quotations’ which, on investigation, turn out to be false. Some of these probably wouldn’t persist apart from their ‘misquote’ notoriety. Here are a few examples:


Attributed to:


Beam me up, Scotty.

Captain James T. Kirk, in the Star Trek series.

The closest that Captain Kirk ever got to this was “Beam us up, Mr Scott”, in the ‘Gamesters of Triskelion’ episode.

Come with me to the Casbah.

Charles Boyer, in the film Algiers, 1938.

The line doesn’t appear in the film, although it was present in some early trailers. Boyer did epitomize the suave, debonair French lover and became somewhat typecast in such roles. The ‘quotation’ came to the public consciousness via Chuck Jones’s cartoon skunk “Pépé le Pew” in a satire of Boyer’s performance. In later life, Boyer tired of the endless repetition of the phrase and attempted to disassociate himself from it.

Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.

Sigmund Freud, in ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’, 1909.

The line doesn’t appear in this book, or any of Freud’s works. It derives from others’ summaries of Freud’s theories.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

The Wicked Queen in Disney’s animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1937.

The actual line is ” Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the fairest one of all? “.

Elementary, Dear Watson

Sherlock Holmes

Holmes didn’t say ‘Elementary, Dear Watson’ in any published story. He came close in a couple of books, but never that exact phrase.


England and America are two countries divided by a common language.

George Bernard Shaw.

This supposed quotation doesn’t appear anywhere in the copious writing of GBS. A similar idea was expressed by Oscar Wilde in The Canterville Ghost, 1887, some years earlier than Shaw was supposed to have said it:

“We have everything in common America nowadays except, of course, language”.

It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.

A saying associated with Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in the Star Trek television series.

The saying does not occur in the series but derives from the 1987 song ‘Star Trekkin’ ‘ sung by The Firm. The nearest equivalent found in the series is (There is) ‘No life as we know it’ (here), said by Mr Spock in ‘The Devil in the Dark’, 1967.

If you gotta ask what jazz is you’ll never know.

Louis Armstrong.

The misquote is an invented variant of Armstrong’s response ‘If you still have to ask… shame on you’, quoted in Max Jones in Salute to Satchmo, 1970.

Me Tarzan, you Jane.

Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller), in Tarzan, the Ape Man, 1932.

The actual dialogue (not a classic example of the screenwriter’s art) went like this:

Jane: (pointing to herself) Jane.
Tarzan: Jane.
Jane: And you? You?
Tarzan: Tarzan, Tarzan.
Jane: Tarzan.
Tarzan: Jane. Tarzan. Jane. Tarzan…

Play it again, Sam.

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), in the 1942 film Casablanca.

One of the best known movie misquotes. The nearest to ‘Play it again, Sam’ in the film is ‘Play it, Sam’, which is spoken by Ingrid Bergman’s character, not Bogart’s.


The white heat of technology.

Harold Wilson, British Prime Minister 1964-70 & 1974-76.

What Wilson actually said, in a speech at the Labour Party Conference, October 1963, was:

‘The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry’.

Warts and all.

Oliver Cromwell

There’s no evidence to support the idea that Cromwell ever said ‘warts and all’.


Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?

Mae West, in the 1933 film She Done Him Wrong.

A bit nitpicky this one, but what West actually said was:

‘Why don’t you come up sometime, and see me?’

You dirty rat!

James Cagney

This line didn’t appear in any of Cagney’s many films. In a speech to the American Film Institute in 1974 he made a point of saying:

‘I never said “Mmm, you dirty rat!”‘



Jim Croce & Maury Muehleisen

Jim Croce (January 10, 1943 – September 20, 1973)


Which way are you goin’
Which side will you be on
Will you stand and watch while all the seeds of hate are sown
Will you stand with those who say that His will be done
One hand on the Bible, one hand on the gun
One hand on the Bible, one hand on the gun

Which way are you looking?
Is it hard to see
Do you say what’s wrong for him is not wrong for me
You walk the streets of righteousness
But you refuse to understand
You say you love the baby, but then you crucify the man
You say you love the baby, but then you crucify the man


Everyday things are changin’
Words once honored turn to lies
People wonderin’ can you blame them
It’s too far to run and too late to hide

Now you turn your back on all the things that you used to preach
Now it’s let him live in freedom if he lives like me
Well your line has changed, confusion rings
What have you become
Your olive branches turn to spears when your flowers turn to guns
Your olive branches turn to spears when your flowers turn to guns