I’m Offended By Religion


As a society we’re scared of causing “offense”, and we’re bullied into not doing or saying anything that might offend a specific group – especially if that group happens to be defined by religion.

When someone does claim to be offended on religious grounds, everyone seems to run away scared and sides with the claimant, no matter how ridiculous. In 2004, a pub landlord in Bristol was served with an ASBO (Anti Social Behaviour Order, which carries a 5 year prison sentence if broken!) for displaying a sign in their new car park which read “The Porking Yard” on the grounds that it “could be offensive to muslims” who pray at a mosque in the street. Now you might think that’s ridiculous enough, but it gets worse – the sign was nothing to do with the mosque or the people who use it, but rather it was a nod to the history of the area. The street in fact used to be called Pork Alley and contained a number of butchers shops which were renowned for their pork!

In fact, the pub held a raffle, asking local people to come up with a name for their newly built car park. A number of locals entered, with one person suggesting The Porking Yard since they knew it was the site of the area’s premier pork suppliers before the bombing of the street in World War 2, and as a pun on the fact it’s a “parking yard”. Apparently the court didn’t get it, and issued the 2 years ASBO after a member of the local muslim community complained that the sign was “racially and sexually offensive” (really? Racially and sexually offensive??)

The landlord, Leeroy Trought, commented after the hearing that “To receive an ASBO for this is a joke. We had no intention to cause any offence.” and surely that’s the point – no offence was intended, but the courts seem so keen to handle religion with kid gloves that they felt the need, not only to order him to take the sign down, but to issue a 2 year ASBO.

And what if he had meant to cause offense? Would it really matter? What ever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me”? Isn’t that what we teach kids for Christ’s sake!!! (“blasphemy” intended!)

I read another story not too long ago about a muslim salesman working for Direct Line Insurance who took his employers to a tribunal because they were in the habit of awarding bottles of wine as rewards to staff who met their sales targets. Apparently, he claimed that he felt left out because he was not able to drink the prize!

What? Couldn’t he just accept the gift, and exchange it with a friend, or donate it to a local charity raffle? But no, if religion is involved then it has to cause offence! What if, rather than being offended on religious grounds, he was offended as a recovered alcoholic? Or what if he was allergic to alcohol? Or maybe they only offered French wine, wouldn’t that be racist? Of course, the tribunal would never have happened in any of these cases, but bring someone’s belief in an invisible man who lives in the sky and all of a sudden they have a “legitimate” cause of offence!

Of course it’s not just muslims – far from it. All religions and superstitions are equally to blame. In 2010 a nurse working for the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust took her employers to a tribunal, claiming that taking off her crucifix would “violate her faith”. Never mind the fact that it wasn’t about it being a crucifix, but rather that nurses was not allowed to wear ANY jewellery while on duty as it could present a potential health risk. She wasn’t even told she couldn’t wear it – just that if she did, it had to be worn inside her clothing so that there was no risk of it getting caught in a patient’s dressing, or dangling into an important piece of equipment. Thankfully in this instance the tribunal hearing made the right decision and upheld the trust’s rule, but only after it had made headline news in every newspaper, radio, and TV station in the country.

I’ve cherry picked a couple of examples which stick in my memory, but pick up any newspaper and you’ll find this sort of nonsense day in day out. While sometimes, like in the case above, the ruling goes the right way, more often than not it doesn’t. And to make matters worse, new legislation keeps being brought in which only makes the situation worse. Employment guidelines now actually state that a Jain mustn’t be asked to work at sunset, since that is when they pray. Yet at the same time, it would be illegal not to give a Jain a job which requires them to work at that time of day, since that would be religious discrimination! So if a Jain wants to be a fireman, should they just be left to pray if a call happens to come in at sunset? Hey it’s only a burning building, it can wait right? What if they’re a surgeon in the middle of a heart transplant? What if they’re a pilot in the middle of a Trans-Atlanic flight?

I’ve even read that current UK employment guidelines state that “Important meetings should not be scheduled for 31 October” – because that would discriminate against Pagans, who celebrate the festival of Samhain on that day!!

Well I’ve had enough – I call bullshit on treating religion like it’s in some way special, on people claiming they are “offended”, and on changing the rules for the many in case it might “discriminate” against the few. I say it’s time to refuse to give special respect or treatment to people on the grounds of their personal beliefs. I’m all for freedom of expression and belief – if you want to believe that an invisible man lives in the sky granting wishes, and that he made the Universe in 6 days and then played golf on Sunday be my guest. If you want to believe that the World was created by a giant bowl of pasta, that eating meatballs in tomato sauce is sacred and that you have to sprinkle Parmesan cheese on a prayer mat facing due West 6 times a day then go ahead – I really don’t care. But start claiming special respect for those beliefs, or claiming “offence” or “discrimination” by others who don’t share your personal delusions and expect some backlash.

The Equality Act 2010 changed the laws on religious discrimination. Specifically, section 44 now includes a reference to a lack of religion, and now states that “belief include a reference to a lack of belief”. So I’m claiming offence myself – I’m offended by churches who get automatic tax exemption whether or not they actually do any charitable work. I’m offended by clergy being given protection from criminal investigations, in particular the Catholic church scandals with child abuse. I’m offended by church bells waking me up on a Sunday morning. I’m offended by the fact that there a limitations on Sunday trading hours – I mean seriously, this is 2013 FFS so why are you treating me like a child? If I want to buy a few cans of Special Brew at 9am on a Sunday morning, why should your belief in a diety prevent me from doing so? I’m offended by religious groups being exempt from the laws restricting political lobbying. I’m offended by the church being protected from discrimination laws – how come they can hire and fire at will, but if a secular business tries to fire someone they have to jump through hoops? How come a church can refuse to appoint a member of the clergy on the basis of gender or sexuality, when any non-religious employer would be whisked off to a tribunal at the mere thought of doing so?

But most of all, I’m offended by religion claiming special respect. In my opinion, to state belief in something in spite of a lack of evidence and against reason, to believe in something on faith alone, merits the very opposite of respect – I have very little respect for overt stupidity. So let’s stop giving special respect to religion, and actually treat everyone equally for a change!

You’re not really a vegan, so stop acting like a condesending ****


On the face of it, you have to admire the “idea” of veganism. These people are willing to make personal sacrifices in order to avoid killing or hurting any animal, and that has to be praiseworthy, right? Wrong! In fact, as I’m about to show, I don’t even believe there is such as thing as a “true vegan”, at least not in a modern Western society.

First let’s define the term to avoid confusion. There are really 2 types of vegan – dietry vegans (really just strict vegetarians) who refrain from consuming animal products, not just meat and fish but dairy products, eggs, honey etc.

Then there are “ethical vegans” who carry that philosophy over into other areas of their lives, and won’t do anything or use any product which uses animal resources or harms an animal in any way. It’s this second category which I’m talking about here (while I believe it is possible to live a true “dietry vegan” lifestyle if someone chooses to, I don’t think it’s possible to live a truly “ethical vegan” lifestyle while living in a modern Western country)

But hold on Billy, whey are you having a go at vegans, they aren’t doing any harm and they are trying to live a sustainable and ethical lifestyle?

Yes they are, but they are also in denial. They might claim to be living a purely vegan lifestyle, but as I’m about to show, that is simply not possible. I’m not really going into the health or ethical arguments here (though in my opinion there is a very good case AGAINST veganism in both cases, and I may go into that in a future article… and don’t even get me started on vagan parents who force their children into a vegan lifestyle!!) I mean only to show how and why any person claiming to be a true vegan while living in a Western country such as the UK, Western Europe or the USA is either lying, or in denial, and so has no rights to take the “moral highground” in any discussion about the subject. Full Article > You’re not really a vegan, so stop acting like a condesending ****

Blue Monday Blues


I was very tempted to add a fourth word to that alliterative headline, you know that other B word (hint: it ends in T and has “ullshi” in the middle!) but as this is a new blog I feel that maybe it’s a little early for such bold headlines!

Now, before anyone starts ranting at me for having a go at the seminal Manchester band New Order, this post has nothing to do with their 1983 classic though I will link to the song on YouTube just to keep everyone happy (I highly suggest clicking that link, cranking the volume up, and jumping around the room like a nutter for seven and a half minutes, then come back to read the rest of this post!)

Blue Monday b******t!

If you scanned any of the major news sites today, or glanced at any of the tabloid papers you’ll quite likely to have come across a piece of absolute nonsense on an entirely fictitious phenomenon – Blue Monday.

If idiots like Luke Salkeld, a journalist for the Daily Mail, are to believed (and yes, I’m quite aware that the word idiot is technically redundant if I’m also stating he’s a Daily Mail journalist!) then today (January 21st 2013) is Blue Monday, “the day of the year on which most of us feel at our lowest ebb“.

Of course, Mr Salkeld goes on to back this claim up with official sounding statistics like “79 per cent of us feel that limited hours of daylight has a negative effect on our mood” and cites such a lofty and trustworthy source as a “survey by Anglian Home Improvements” (seriously – that’s his source!), claiming that most of us feel a negative effect on our wellbeing over the winter months, due to reduced daylight… though what that has to do with the specific date of 21st January is anyone’s guess, since the author conveniently forgot to illustrate the connection! Full Article > Blue Monday Blues

Homeopathic Vaccines

Ew – the dreaded first post! There’s something quite sad about it isn’t there, that very first entry on a blog, welcoming you to an empty site? But blogs don’t just spawn out of nothing you know, oh no I assure you that this blog has a creator – me! And since this blog is being created by a human hand and not divine intervention it has to have a first post, so here it is…

Why “Denialists.com”?

To be perfectly honest, there’s no specific reason why I chose that name. I’d like to be able to tell you it has some deep meaning, on many levels, and that I struggled for weeks deciding on the perfect wording but that’s simply not true. The fact is, I didn’t want to waste too much time coming up with a name, denialists.com was available (a rare thing for a single word .com domain these days) and so I snapped it up – I figured I’d rather spend my time writing than deliberating over a name.

I didn’t quite just pick the name out of a hat though, I had an idea of the sort of name I wanted based on the sort of topics I intend to blog about, and in fact denialists fits quite nicely with a lot of the subjects I intend to cover. So let me tell you why I’m starting this blog, and what you can expect to find here, and I’ll do that with an example:

This week I saw an article on BBC News with the following headline:

Homeopathic ‘vaccine pills’ should be withdrawn, says regulator

Wow there’s a sentence that could start a few arguments around the dinner table with the right/wrong people! If you’ve no idea why that headline might have caught my eye then I suggest you hit the back button, because this site is not going to interest you. I suspect you’ll be in the minority though, since these are 2 pretty “touchy” subjects. Full Article > Homeopathic Vaccines