Christina Engela's picture

Viva Secularism, Viva!

Many people today have moved beyond the confusion caused by mixing religion and affairs of the real world. Unfortunately there are still many people who cannot tell the two apart. To them there is no difference between politics, civil affairs, daily life and their own personal religious views. And for some unfathomable reason, whenever it is pointed out to them that they are being unfair for using their personal religious opinions to detract from the civil rights or equalities of others, they start whining childishly that it is they who are being picked on, and not their victims.

Fortunately, this sort of mentality appears to be gradually on the decrease, and those indulging in it are increasingly being exposed for the bigots, hypocrites and fascist leftovers they make themselves out to be.

This world is made up of all kinds of people, resulting in diversity - and not just diversity of race, culture and language, but also beliefs. This means that to expect people of all kinds of beliefs in particular to be satisfied while the government in their area proudly champions just one belief system or religion, while trampling the rights of others underfoot and preening its feathers at their cost - is not only naive', but plain stupid as well.

The logical mind would arrive at two possible outcomes; the first being to homogenize all belief systems into a harmonious gray sameness, where all people believe the same things, and have the same values. This is of course, unlikely at best, and has been something many social engineers have been trying to achieve since time immemorial.

The second alternative is to keep matters of government, law and justice and civil matters apart from religious belief systems, and to accord all religions equal status under the law of the land. This second system is called secularism - and for Christian fundamentalists in particular, is a favorite most-hated feature of the modern world - second only to homosexuality and other religions, chiefly Islam. It is nevertheless, this second system which history has demonstrated works best, although I am sure the Roman Catholic church would disagree - after all, their faith came about as a result of the first option, back in the old days when the emperor Constantine created Catholicism and then blamed it all on Christ - which I have to say, seems to be a favorite pastime of many modern cult-like evangelical churches today.

Nevertheless, secularism - the separation of church and state - is one of the tenets of modern civilization, and something which if applied correctly, favors no religion and prejudices no religion above or below another - and allows for all people to flourish on equal terms without using religious values to impede them. This is key if the world is to avoid any more religious wars in future.
Christina Engela's picture

Leviticans Blow It - The Vuvuzela, Twilight and Star Wars Fiasco

Is the vuvuzela an instrument of the anti-christ? Many people might think so, but most probably just at around 4am during the World Cup. Some however seem intent on taking this pet hate beyond a joke and dragging the idea down a few levels - folks like these, who even compiled a study on the issue. Yes, they actually went into a detailed analysis of the various kinds of animal horns from biblical times and proceeded to defame the harmless looking plastic sports fan accessory (rapidly becoming the infamous new "cultural weapon" of South Africans - and even human rights activists and protesters overseas). SA Rugby bosses (and even New Zealand) have already banned it (but probably not on religious grounds). Pretty soon, the Pentagon will probably label the vuvuzela a "weapon of mass destruction" and set about formulating plans to invade South Africa to destroy this terrorist threat to world peace. LOL, as they say in web-speak.

Honestly, you have to wonder at the level of paranoia and wilful ignorance prevalent in certain circles. The things some people in leadership positions and positions of influence will believe, and promote as "true and factual" - and the people who will summarily believe anything these people will dish up for them as "gospel truth", without bothering to check up on the credibility of either the source or the information - is simply mind-boggling.

So, the vuvuzela - a plastic mass-produced trumpet used by sports fans - is an instrument of Satan. Well, maybe - but I think Seth Blatter might object to being called Satan (some people have already compared Uncle Seth to Darth Vader, just more evil - so don't tempt me on this one). Actually, the thought has crossed my mind (albeit in one of those weird moments when I wonder where the coffee went) that perhaps this is some sort of clever Levitican marketing ploy to sell some new version of the vuvu, utilizing a cunning form of name-dropping to blend bits of Star Wars, Twilight and FIFA? What would it be called? A Vaderzela? A Vuvufang? A Seth-o-phone? What would it sound like? What would it look like? And, most importantly, would it sparkle?
Christina Engela's picture

Bloed Skande

Bloed Skande - in Afrikaans, literally translated, means "blood scandal" - and yes, I think what is being done to the dignity, equality and humanity of gay and transgender people wherever discrimination is being enforced by blood services, is nothing less than scandalous.

I read the linked article "Transgender blood donors in New Zealand" on the topic of discrimination against gay and transsexual or transgender blood donors in New Zealand. The idiotic reasoning employed by the NZ blood service appears to match the callous stupidity of our own here in South Africa - although it must be said that while NZ employs a 5 year ban on such blood donors, SA "only" imposes a 6 month ban - although, no matter which way you slice the pie, if you are a gay male or transsexual or transgender individual who wishes to be a full-time blood donor - you are still expected to remain celibate as long as you intend being a blood donor.

The article was written by a transsexual New Zealander who encountered this prejudice and irrational thinking present in the NZ policy and laid it out in her article. "The 5 year penalty [on transsexual blood donors] was put in place," She said "because until I have my vaginoplasty done, all sex with my [heterosexual] boyfriend is considered homosexual . But upon gaining a vagina, sex with my boyfriend magically becomes heterosexual!"

Here is the clincher: "I asked whether or not I could engage in anal sex after my surgery. The answer was yes, it would be no different to a cis woman having anal sex (i.e. it [anal sex] does not disqualify women from donating blood). Again, the ownership of a vagina magically qualifies me, regardless of how I have intercourse."
Christina Engela's picture

Will The Real Christians Please Stand Up?



I'm sorry if you are a Christian and if you are open-minded and if you take offense to this article, because you may feel this is directed at you. It is. That is, it is directed to you to show you what fundamentalism is and what it does and what it looks like - and why it has to be stopped. Rest assured, I am aware that there are other kinds of Christian - the kind that concern themselves with their own well being - and the well being of their own spirituality. The kind that lives by the words "there, but for the grace of God, go I" - and rightly will not make themselves guilty of passing judgment upon other people - whom they are in no position at all to judge. That is why this article is for you.

No, I don't hate Christians - or Christ - or Christianity. What I stand against is fundamentalism. I will spell it out again - F U N D A M E N T A L I S M.

However, if you are such an open-minded Christian who refuses to judge others, who believes in the principle of free will and refuses to allow harm to come to others simply for their beliefs or for who they are, then I implore you to open your eyes and ears and see the injustices being done in the name of your faith and your God and your savior and YOU as a Christian - and to stand up to these impostors, frauds and false prophets - and say "ENOUGH! NO MORE!"
Christina Engela's picture

Will The Real Ruling Party Please Stand Up?

What the hell is going on in South African politics?

The ANC has been coming apart at the seams since last year, with the split that resulted in the formation of COPE - something that seems to be continuing today with the threats of the President being removed through internal politic. A blood-feud between the ANC, SACP and Cosatu goes beyond threatening to tear their fragile alliance apart - and is actually making good on it. Chaos is a theme these days it appears, with mounting evidence of growing conservatism in the halls of government and a generous infusion of religious fundamentalism to boot.

If you look at the past two years or so, we've had quite a ride. Hate speech in the media by Jon Qwelane - the homophobic bigot journalist expected to appear before the Equality Court for his hate speech, who has been appointed Ambassador to Uganda while having mysteriously vanished at the same time - a curious state of affairs indeed. Next, we shall probably hear he has been in Kampala all along, carrying out duties there on behalf of the SA government (and all the taxpayers whose rights and dignity he publicly defecated on in his article in which he equated to pedophilia, bestiality and incest - and refused to apologize).

Last year, the Minister of Home Affairs threatened to table a bill to place a global ban on pornography - which less savvy people failed to realize would in effect open the door wide for the re-introduction of state censorship of all media. This in the midst of the de facto Government-slash-ruling party take-over of the national broadcasting service.
Christina Engela's picture

It's Our Turn Now

If I can accept into church a straight person who may be a gambler, a closet alcoholic - or a tattoo artist or shellfish salesman, why do some take issues with us for being gay, bi, transgender or intersex?

Did we make ourselves? They believe God made everyone - except us. Somehow, we were supposedly responsible for making ourselves. We are in their eyes, illegitimate - while they see themselves as blessed, righteous and perfect.


I will say it again: HYPOCRISY.

Because they think we will not stand up for ourselves. Because they think nobody else will take our part. Because they have forgotten the church is God's house - and they are NOT God.

Last week I engaged in a spirited debate on a Facebook group set up to support Ecclesia de Lange, a Methodist minister who has been dismissed by the Methodist Church of SA for marrying her long time girlfriend, Amanda in a private ceremony which was performed by another church denomination. I was debating with a man calling himself a Christian, whose argument proved to me that he held no affiliation with the same Christ figure that came to this Earth to love all people abundantly, inclusively and unconditionally.

This argument by Amiel Joshua indicates to me the schizophrenic nature of the Christian religion, not just today, but as it has always been.

If the spirit of Christ is missing from the church, what does that say of the church? Is it still "Christianity" - or is it "Ianity"?

Let's pick up where we left off yesterday.
Christina Engela's picture

Man In White Speak With Forked Tongue


What message are we receiving when religious leaders consciously undermine and criticize human rights protections and equality laws?

This question presented itself to me when I read of the Pope's planned visit to the UK - upon which he has immediately criticized existing UK laws which protect the lives, equality, humanity and dignity of certain groups of people as violating "natural law" and is viewed as an attack on the legal rights granted to women and gay people. It is a de facto defence of faith-based discrimination. Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that Benedict "objects to the fact that religious institutions in the UK can no longer lawfully discriminate at will on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation".

Are we to understand that the Pope feels that women, gay and transgender people should not have rights at all?

Does this example not attempt to completely redefine what it means to be Christian, godly, civilized or human? Does it not paint religion with a fresh coat of hypocrisy, tears and bloodshed?
Christina Engela's picture

Bad Apples


Just a week or so ago, I sent out a request from a pink community related religious organization to the supporters of another pink advocacy group, asking for support in speaking out against the pending Genocide Bill in Uganda. Surprisingly, I got a barrage of outrage from one of the recipients on the mailing list, letting me have both barrels because I dared to associate Christianity with the pink community!  Most confusing of all, this was from a gay man!

It seems, from the lengthy and somewhat disjointed rant, (including a little gem about some pastor who threw him out of church for his sexuality and that he had now embraced Wicca) that this person hates everything to do with Christianity and sees it as an implacable enemy to gay and human rights and cannot in any way comprehend how any gay person could have anything to do with Christianity - even going so far as to label those brave and outstanding GLBTIQ folks who are also clerics, ministers and pastors preaching moderation from a religious perspective, as "traitors" and "enemies"!

Christina Engela's picture

What Is A Bigot?

What is a bigot, I have been asked. Well, what is a bigot?   According to that treasure house of knowledge Wikipedia, "A bigot is a person who is intolerant of or takes offence to the opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from his or her own, and bigotry is the corresponding attitude or mindset.  Bigot is often used as a pejorative term to describe a person who is obstinately devoted to prejudices, especially when these views are either challenged, or proven to be false or not universally applicable or acceptable.

The origin of the word bigot and bigoterie in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of "religious hypocrite" Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views."

Gee, it looks like there have been bigots for quite a long time - and especially religious bigots.
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