Vacation time!

I'm taking the month of August off blogging
- I'm in need of a vacation.
I'll leave you with a couple of recent photos,
just to illustrate the versatility of the Pastor Bastard's work.
(Photo: Joakim Palmén)

(Photo: Niklas Montonen)
All the best! The Lord be with you!
See you in September!

Quotation from Bailey's Buddy

Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching.
- Satchel Paige
as quoted on Bailey's Buddy

King on quality and quantity

The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Mother Love?

Here's a nice one!
A mother was so upset with the fact that her daughter was a lesbian, that she arranged to have her daughter raped. Her idea was that if the daughter even once could have a real man, her misguided interest for other women would disappear.
Crazy! Disgusting!
Read the story on One Utah. And thanks to MadPriest, through whom I found it.

Schoolboy Howlers 17

The headmaster caned me only on rear occasions.

True and false moralists

A true moralist, after years of study and thought, works out a rule of life and sticks to it.
A false moralist expects everybody else to stick to it.

On the Jamaican homophobic society

Through Aqurette and the Box Turtle Bulletin (BTB), I found an AP article dated 20 July 2009, entitled Gays live - and die - in fear in Jamaica. This is terrible, but enlightening, reading for those who paint a rosy picture of freeminded Jamaican potheads. A few excerpts:
Even now, about three years after a near-fatal gay bashing, Sherman gets jittery at dusk. On bad days, his blood quickens, his eyes dart, and he seeks refuge indoors.
A group of men kicked him and slashed him with knives for being a "batty boy" — a slang term for gay men — after he left a party before dawn in October 2006. They sliced his throat, torso, and back, hissed anti-gay epithets, and left him for dead on a Kingston corner. [...]
Many in this highly Christian nation perceive homosexuality as a sin, and insist violence against gays is blown out of proportion by gay activists. Some say Jamaica tolerates homosexuality as long as it is not advertised — a tropical version of former President Bill Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for the U.S. military.
Jamaica's most prominent evangelical pastor, Bishop Herro Blair, said he sympathizes with those who face intolerance, but that homosexuals themselves are actually behind most of the attacks reported against them. [...]
Perhaps playing to anti-gay constituents, politicians routinely rail against homosexuals. During a parliamentary session in February, lawmaker Ernest Smith of the ruling Jamaica Labor Party stressed that gays were "brazen," "abusive," and "violent," and expressed anxiety that the police force was "overrun by homosexuals."
A few weeks later, Prime Minister Bruce Golding described gay advocates as "perhaps the most organized lobby in the world" and vowed to keep Jamaica's "buggery law" — punishable by 10 years — on the books. During a BBC interview last year, Golding vowed to never allow gays in his Cabinet.
The dread of homosexuality is so all-encompassing that many Jamaican men refuse to get digital rectal examinations for prostate cancer, even those whose disease is advanced, said Dr. Trevor Tulloch of St. Andrews Hospital.
"Because it is a homophobic society, there's such a fear of the sexual implications of having the exam that men won't seek out help," said Tulloch, adding Jamaica has a soaring rate of prostate cancer because men won't be screened. [...]
Sherman, meanwhile, is simply trying to move on with his life. But he said he will always remember how, after his attack, patrolmen roughly lifted his bloodied body out of their squad car when a man admonished them for aiding a "batty boy." A woman shamed them into driving him to a hospital; they stuffed him in the car's trunk.
The BTB comments:
So predominant is hatred of gay people there that it outweighs basic decency - simple compassion you’d show a dog.
Shameful. And even more shameful, of course, is the fact that the churches seem to endorse this behaviour. At least, by not speaking out against it.

Anglicans and GLBT

Last week, two sets of news concerning Anglicans and GLBT hit the world.
The first one dealt with a letter sent by two English bishops, Christopher Hill and John Hind, to the Swedish archbishop, Anders Wejryd. ++Anders had sent a letter informing the Porvoo churches about the Church of Sweden's stance on gay marriage, and the English letter was a response to this.
In effect, the bishops Hill and Hind (oh, so diplomatically!) threatened the Church of Sweden with ecumenical repercussions if the Swedes wouldn't desist accepting gays as Christians and full members of the Body of Christ. This has created quite an uproar in Sweden, where some see it as an interference in internal matters, while others (happily saying "I told you so") predict the downfall of the Church of Sweden and of the Porvoo Communion.
I think the English bishops have every right to communicate with the Swedes and inform them of their thoughts in a matter where the Swedes first took the initiative. The Swedes, however, have an equal right to ignore the English, if they choose to do so. Ecumenism doesn't mean that everyone should do the same thing, but that we all should look to what unites us, rather that to that which divides us.
The other Anglican news was that on 17 July, the Episcopal Church in the USA (ECUSA), which is part of the Anglican Communion, authorized bishops to bless same-sex unions and research an official prayer for the ceremonies. This moved the church closer to accepting gay relationships despite turmoil over the issue in the Anglican family. The Anglican spiritual leader, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, has struggled to keep the communion unified.
Anglican leaders had pressed the ECUSA for a moratorium on electing more gay bishops than Gene Robinson, elected in 2003, and asked the church not to develop an official prayer for same-gender couples. But the measure adopted Friday by the Episcopal General Convention noted the growing number of U.S. states that allow gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships, and gave bishops in those regions discretion to provide a “generous pastoral response” to couples in local parishes.
The 2 million-member Episcopal Church earlier in the week approved a resolution opening the doors to ordain gay men and women as clergy. These and related issues have already prompted some congregations to leave the Episcopal fold and form the rival Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) that claims 100,000 believers. Anglican churches in regions like Africa have broken ties with their more liberal U.S. brethren.
Here, too, the split is unfortunate, but the Episcopalians must do what they think is right. As must their opponents, of course.
The Bishops' letter, dated 26th June 2009
Engelsk oro över svensk äktenskapssyn (Kyrkans Tidning 15.7.09)
USA-kyrka bryter anglikanskt löfte (Kyrkans Tidning 15.7.09)
Gay clergy eligible for all Episcopal ministry (365 Gay 15.7.09)
Episcopal Church USA to ordain homosexual bishops (Spero News 16.7.09)
"Vi kan vara på väg att bli isolerade" (Kyrkans Tidning 16.7.09)
Anglo-Swedish rift over church gay marriage (The Local 16.7.09)
”Klipp banden med England” (Svenska Dagbladet 16.7.09)
Chans till besinning (Dagen 16.7.09)
Könsneutralt äktenskap (Från prästgårdsfönstret 16.7.09)
Engelska kyrkan i genuspanik mot Sverige (Trollhare 16.7.09)
Gay bishops more likely after US passes ‘nuanced’ motion (Church Times 17.7.09)
English bishops say Swedish proposal redefines marriage (Church Times 17.7.09)
Koskinen svarar på "anglikanattacken" (Kyrkans Tidning 17.7.09)
”Vi viker oss inte men bör ändå be Engelska kyrkan om ursäkt” (Dagen 17.7.09)
Episcopal Church moves toward blessing gay unions (Reuters 17.7.09)
Vad är viktigast? (Karin Långström Vinges blogg 17.7.09)
The Church of England Condemns the Church of Sweden (Aqurette 17.7.09)
Auf Wiedersehen! (Dagblogg 17.7.09)
Brevdebatt förvånar anglikansk biskop (Kyrkans Tidning 18.7.09)
Episcopalians: Bishops can bless same-sex unions (AP through 365 Gay 18.7.09)
Den västerländska kyrkan splittras (Dagen 21.7.09)

Lithuania's new law against information

On July 14, 2009, the Seimas (the Lithuanian parliament) voted to pass a law that bans information on homosexuality, bad hygiene, gambling and hypnosis (among other things) in schools or in media accessible by young people. The law, titled 'Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information', includes "the propaganda of homosexuality [or] bisexuality" as a detrimental factor on young people.
In June, the then-President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the law, but the 141-member Seimas has the power to override him and did so with a vote of 87-6. It is expected the law will come into force on March 1st, 2010.
On July 12, the country's new President, the former European Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaitė, came into office. She has voiced her opposition to this law, but is powerless to do anything about it. Many Human Rights organisations - e.g. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - have expressed their concern about the significant narrowing of the rights to free speech and to information, that this law entails. The blogger Aqurette comments:
The irony is that Lithuania fought long and hard for its independence from the Soviet Union. Freedom of speech was at the top of the agenda. And now, after eighteen years of post-communist democracy, it introduces a law that bans free speech. Joseph Stalin would be so proud.
And we certainly wouldn't want to disappoint him, now, would we?
What really worries me, however, is the attempt (within the EU) to legislate moral issues. That has never worked and it will never work. If something is sinful, a sinner will try it. Making sin illegal can't cure the incurable. And since we all are sinners, it is obvious to me that we try to legislate away not our own sin, but our neighbour's. This is not how lawmaking should work.
While laws reflect the morals of the legislators, the laws themselves should be concerned with actions that hurt others in some way, not with trying to enforce moral behaviour on those that haven't the same values or basis for their morals as the legislators have. If morals are to be influenced or changed, you should use information, not legislation.
Lithuania's parliament passes 'Section 28-style' law to ban homosexuality in schools (PinkNews 14.9.09)
Litauisk lag mot homosex och hypnos (Svenska Dagbladet 14.7.09)
Homoseksualumas yra meilė! ( 14.7.09)
Ny morallag i Litauen får kraftig kritik (Kyrkans Tidning 15.9.09)
Litauen antar lag mot homosex (Dagen 15.7.09)
Mycket att göra i EU: korkad litauisk lag antagen (Karin Långström Vinges blogg 15.7.09)
Dumstrut över Litauen (Antigayretorik 15.7.09)
Homoseksualumas yra meilę (Aqurette 15.7.09)

The last refuge

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
- Salvor Hardin
a character in a book by Isaac Asimov

Join the Church electronically!

For a few years now, it's been possible to leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland electronically. A humanist society in Tampere (the largest city in Finland outside the Helsinki area) has thoughtfully provided this service, which has been very popular.
Now, the Church has made a countermove. Through the websites (in Swedish) or (in Finnish), it is possible to join the Church electronically. One obstacle has - up till now - been the need to know which parish you're joining. Through the new service, your application is automatically sent to the right parish, which then, presumably, contacts you and wishes you welcome.
About time, one could say - but better late than never. And we'll see what effect, if any, these websites have. At least they're streamlining a process that so far has been rather difficult.