The Shame of Body Shaming

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As a humanist I can not imagine making someone feel badly,  especially for something like weight or height or some other result of their genes, their health and their circumstances but this is an all to common occurrence. In fact ‘fat’ has become a dehumanizing insult, ‘Fat’ is the new ‘ugly’. People in western cultures have a new and terrible way to drag other humans down: ridiculing and bullying based on their body. This is particularly nasty when one considers how many reasons a person may be overweight.

Body Type:

  1. Ectomorph:  Ectomorphs are skinny with a small frame, light build, small joints and lean muscle. Usually they have long thin limbs with stringy muscles, narrow shoulders with a fast metabolism making this body type the most resistant to weight gain.
  2. Mesomorph:Mesomorphs have a medium sized bone structure, athletic body, and they typically have a considerable amount of lean mass.
  3. Endomorph: Endomorphs have a larger bone structure with higher amounts of total body mass and fat mass, and this extra fat seems to resist most efforts to get rid of it. The endomorph body type is solid and generally soft, and gains fat very easily. Source and More Info

There are numerous other causes for a person to be overweight:

  • Energy imbalances can cause overweight and obesity. An energy imbalance means that your energy IN does not equal your energy OUT. (.I.E. lack of exercise).
  • Medical conditions: Some genetic syndromes and endocrine disorders can cause overweight or obesity.
  • Several genetic syndromes are associated with overweight and obesity, including the following.
    • Prader-Willi syndrome
    • Bardet-Biedl syndrome
    • Alström syndrome
    • Cohen syndrome
  • Endocrine disorders: Because the endocrine system produces hormones that help maintain energy balances in the body, the following endocrine disorders or tumors affecting the endocrine system can cause overweight and obesity:
    • Hypothyroidism. People with this condition have low levels of thyroid hormones. These low levels are associated with decreased metabolism and weight gain, even when food intake is reduced. People with hypothyroidism also produce less body heat, have a lower body temperature, and do not efficiently use stored fat for energy.
    • Cushing’s syndrome: People with this condition have high levels of glucocorticoids, such as cortisol, in the blood. High cortisol levels make the body feel like it is under chronic stress. As a result, people have an increase in appetite and the body will store more fat. Cushing’s syndrome may develop after taking certain medicines or because the body naturally makes too much cortisol.
  • Tumors. Some tumors, such as craneopharingioma, can cause severe obesity because the tumors develop near parts of the brain that control hunger.
  • Medicines: such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, antiepileptics, and antihyperglycemics can cause weight gain and lead to overweight and obesity. (source)

All of these are out of a person’s control and don’t take into account lifestyle, cultural upbringing and other life situations a person may be in that has lead them to be overweight. For example some people use food to cope with the bullying they are receiving to begin with.

“The next time you see a fat person, you don’t know whether that person has a medical condition that caused them to gain weight,” Thore added. “You don’t know their mother just died. You don’t know if they’re depressed or suicidal or if they just lost 100 pounds. You don’t know.” (source)

This short list should show why shaming someone for being overweight is so ignorant. The same rules apply to being underweight, tall, short or the multitude of other physical reasons people bully and torment other people for. The lack of empathy and understanding in body shaming is staggering. It can have disastrous consequences such as depression, social anxiety, low self worth,  Anthropophobia (fear of people) and other social phobias, eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia and suicide.

The problem is compounded by electronic communication and cyber-bullying which provides a bully with a virtual anonymity.

Also cultural glorification of unrealistic standards of beauty such as being skinny or big breasted for women or being muscular and have a a full head of hair for men. Beauty standards  very from culture to culture  as well.

In short regardless of what shape or condition a person’s body is in shaming a person for their body is uninformed and cruel. If anyone ever calls you fat in a disrespectful way you are well within your right to retort with an F-Word of your own.

 

 

 

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Muslim community worker ‘warned officers about Manchester bomber five years ago’

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According to Metro news a member of the Muslim community reported the Manchester bomber years ago and nothing was done, that’s because nothing could be done. While communication is certainly one of the key factors in solving the problem with radical Muslims reporting someone for odd behaviour isn’t. In a free country like the U.S. or the UK police usually can’t do anything until an actual crime is committed. The issue then becomes one of getting a person who is talking about hurting themselves or other people the professional care they need but unless a person has been declared incompetent they have to want help.

So while it is noble and responsible to report a potential problem to the professionals there isn’t much anyone can do directly. Until we are perfect beings there will always be violence and neglect that allows violence to happen.  Only due diligence from security and law enforcement professionals can help mitigate it, but we are not completely powerless.  The Global Economic Symposium generated a wonderful, intelligent list of solutions to terrorism in 2008:

  • In dealing with terrorism, place emphasis on the state´s capacity to protect the public, permit the exercise of its freedoms, and maintain public services.
  • If the government succeeds in protecting the public and maintaining public services, then publicize the impact of terrorist violence on innocent civilians, in order to weaken the legitimacy of terrorist groups. At the same time, avoid overreaction.
  • Avoid policies and pronouncements that feed grievance. In pluralistic societies, pursue policies that integrate immigrants, rather than just providing passive welfare support.
  • Initiate a regional security regime for all the states of the Gulf and the Levant, aimed at mutual diplomatic recognition, gradual withdrawal of foreign forces, and nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Govern through inclusive, legitimized political institutions, avoiding instrumental justification of violence.
  • Initiate a comprehensive international initiative to prevent weapons of mass destruction falling into terrorist hands.
  • Strengthen our ability to manage the financial risks of terrorism through a combination of public and private instruments: terrorism catastrophe bonds, mutual insurance pools, and government insurance support.

All of these are great ideas and should be implemented worldwide but they are lofty, and unrealistic at this point in human history. As individuals we can vote for leaders that support these kinds of initiatives and change will happen, even if slowly. On an interpersonal level encouraging those we are concerned with to seek professional help is our only real option. If bad things do happen then supporting the victims and maintaining our freedoms and our democracy guarantees we do not and will not let the bad guys win.

 

Isis-linked militants take priest and churchgoers hostage in Philippines, beheading civilians.

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Never thought I’d be capable of hating anything but Militant Islam has accomplished that. They have declared war on everything not Islam and there is no answer in sight.

Isis militants have previously beheaded Christians in gory propaganda videos filmed in Libya and elsewhere, and a Catholic church was previously targeted by supporters in France. (source)

Pat Condell’s wise word from a few years back. still applies:

He crosses the line a couple of times but his frustration is really representative of how a lot of people are feeling about Islamic militants and Islam in general even still. Attacks like the recent Manchester one is partly why this blog exists. There is something toxic in that and other religions and education is they key to changing that.

Canada’s transgender rights bill could become law before the Summer

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The government of Canada is moving to protect transgendered people by giving them human rights protections. This would seem to be a no-brainer but some naysayers have complained the bill is oppressive, forcing people to speak in a certain way and to use transgender neutral terms. Their thinly veiled discrimination is fooling no one. It’s like they haven’t read the bill:

the legislation does not apply to those who mistakenly use an incorrect gender, but noted that the human rights law would only kick in when someone intentionally and consistently uses an incorrect gender

So, in other words you have to be blatantly and repeatedly discriminatory. Opponents are saying it will compel them to speak a certain way but:

Senator Marc Gold, a constitutional law scholar, noted that the legislation does not apply to those who mistakenly use an incorrect gender, but noted that the human rights law would only kick in when someone intentionally and consistently uses an incorrect gender, regardless of the harm it may cause.

So again the only thing this law is force is basic human decency and respect. It is a shame we need laws to make this happen and opponents ought to be ashamed for making their bigotry apparent.  Thankfully common sense and human rights are still prevailing in Canada and so Kudos to Canada for setting the example yet again

 

Pence Was Right, Sort Of.

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U.S. Vice-President has recently claimed that Christianity is the most persecuted faith. At first glance it seems ridiculous that someone as privileged as Mike Pence would say that his religion is the most persecuted, but is it? The honest approach is to examine the truth of the statement. According the Pew research center Christianity is still the most widespread religion. (source)

How persecuted is each religion?

It’s hard to say, ‘religious restrictions’ are on the increase worldwide but depends on what part of the world you are talking about. The issue is complicated by the fact that Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. It is also hard to find reliable numbers but according to some estimated 90,000 to 100,00 Christians die in violent conflict each year but those numbers are skewed by armed conflicts in which Christians and other faiths are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  When you crunch the numbers it is likely that around the same percentage of Christians are killed as any other religion but again hard to find solid evidence to support this. Assuming Christians do suffer more violence, what about quality of living?

Quality Of Living

This depends where you go. Obviously the more impoverished the country the more it’s population, religious, or other wise suffer a low quality of life. Like this study that shows the most religious restrictions are in African countries that are suffering from poverty and war. By comparing the countries that have the most Christians with standard of living they have we can get some insight into quality of life for Christians worldwide.

 1  United States 230,000,000 71.0% Quality Of Life Rank  19
2  Brazil 175,700,000 91.4%  Quality of Life Rank  46
3  Russia 117,640,000 83.6%  Quality of Life Rank  75
4  Mexico 113,500,000 93%  Quality of Life Rank  51
5  Nigeria 92,281,000 52.8%  Quality of Life Rank  119
6  Philippines 86,500,000 85.8%  Quality of Life Rank  68
7  Congo, Democratic Republic of 68,558,000 95.6%  Unranked
8  Ethiopia 54,978,000 64.5%  Quality of Life Ranking  126
9  Italy 54,070,000 91.5%  Quality of Life Ranking 24
10  Germany 50,000,000       Ranking: 15

(Courtesy of Wikipedia and Pewforums.org) and the 2016 Social Progress Index

Of the top ten countries with the most Christians only two ranked above 20 and three were 75 or lower and The Congo was unranked. The list seems to show the entire spectrum of living conditions for Christians around the world from very good (United States, Germany and Italy) to very bad (Nigeria and Ethiopia and the Congo).

Conclusion:

To say that Christians are the most persecuted is only correct if you also claim that it is likely because they are the most populous. Far more serious research would be needed to conclusively show that they are the most persecuted proportionately, as Pence and many others seem to claim.

Dear Vatican, We Haven’t Forgotten

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With so much Trump, Syria, North Korea and so on it’s easy to forget why many call for the Vatican’s dismantling. Since it’s inception the Vatican has been a center of hate, greed and violence.

Historical Crimes:

  • Crusades: For more then 500 years militant Catholics waged war on Muslims, The Jewish, heretics and pretty well anyone different from them. Millions died, including innocent men, women and children.  The Fourth Crusade alone has a death toll in the thousands.
  • Inquisitions:  in 1232 Pope Gregory established a tribunal whose goal it was to suppress heresy and thus began another few hundred years of violence, subjugation and torture.
  • Pogroms:  In addition to the massacres of the Crusades of which the Jewish were a part of the Jewish also faced regular prosecution and violence from the Catholic church through the centuries. (religious tolerance.org)

the Jews, by their own guilt, are consigned to perpetual servitude because they crucified the Lord…As slaves rejected by God, in whose death they wickedly conspire, they shall by the effect of this very action, recognize themselves as the slaves of those whom Christ’s death set free…” Pope Innocent III, 1205 AD

Nazi Complacency: The Vatican’s relationship with the Nazis during WW2 is no secret.  In fact an agreement called ‘Reichskonkordat’  signed by both the Nazi Germans and the Vatican laid out a formal relationship between the two. The agreement between the them made no mention of the Jewish so it’s hard to say if the Vatican was turning a blind to increasing persecution of the Jewish in Germany at the time or if it just didn’t care. German schools were run by the Catholic Church around WW2. Many of the ways the Nazis persecuted the Jewish mirrored Catholic Church techniques used centuries before. Never once did the church ever officially condemn the Nazis. The Independent did a great piece on the increasing evidence of Vatican complacency of antisemitic Nazism.

Homophobia: The Church has a long and sordid history of homophobic hatred. Allowing, even officially sanctioning all forms of persecution, torture and death.(source). Even today the Vatican still views homosexuals as suffering from some kind of ‘moral disorder’.

HIV in Africa: Before 2010 the Catholic Church was vehemently against condom use in any situation. The preaching against and condemnation of condoms in Africa resulted in millions of Africans getting sick with the disease. They even went so far as to say condoms cause HIV by lulling people into a false sense of security.  Christopher Hitchens said this when he confronted a Vatican cardinal in 2011:

“I think it will one day be admitted with shame that it might have been in error to say that AIDS is bad as a disease, very bad but not quite as bad as condoms are bad or not as immoral in the same way. I say in the presence of his grace and I say it to his face the preachings of his church are responsible for the death and suffering and misery of millions of his brother and sister Africans and he should apologize for it, he should show some shame.” -Christopher Hitchens

Residential Schools: Shortly after settling in North America, violently stealing native territory and murdering, starving, kidnapping and torturing their men women and children the church setup residential schools. The schools stole children from native tribes and forced them into a program intended them to assimilate them into European culture.  This part of the effort to eradicate a culture they viewed as much lesser then their own was brimming with hate, violence, neglect and sexual abuse. Though the Catholic church oversaw three-quarters of Canadian residential schools, it was the last church to have one of its leaders officially address the abuse. (source and brief history)

Sex Abuse Scandals: Several years ago investigative reporting revealed a widespread problem with sexual abuse of children by priests and covering up by Vatican Officials. Typically once sexual abuse was reported the church would simply move the offending priest to another region. Even Pope Benedict himself was caught actively encouraging his bishops to make very effort to keep the scandal within the church. A Google search reveals the depth and scope of the scandal of which only recently did the Vatican begin changing it’s policy to properly address the issue and punish it’s offending priests.

Church Wealth: The Vatican is a multi-billion dollar organization. The entire Vatican city and all the Church property, valuables..etc is worth billions more. Praying for the poor and hungry is just immensely hypocritical while this fact is true.

The Vatican lost its moral authority centuries ago., if it  even ever had it. Throughout time it has been guilty of murder, torture, robbery, rape, greed, lust,hate, subjugation and all of the things it hypocritically preaches as immoral. The Vatican continues to be mired in homophobic hatred, misogyny, greed and other scandals. They come out with apologies far too late and do far too little make amends. The Vatican would like us to forgive and forget but no moral person can do that, its too late for that. The only right thing to do now is for the Vatican to shut its doors and spreads it’s wealth to those in need and until that happens we will not let them off the hook.

 

 

Trump Set To Make This An era of Alternate Facts And Discrimination.

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Trump is set to celebrate Natgional Day Prayer by signing an executive order allowing what the Trump administration is calling ‘greater religious liberty’ while critics say it will open the door to discrimination based on religion. According to leaks the order will include:

  • Require all federal departments and agencies to respect statutes and Supreme Court decisions that make clear the free exercise of religion applies to all people, of all faiths, in all places, and at all times—and that it is not merely the freedom to worship.
  • That religious organizations include all organizations operated by religious principles, not just houses of worship or charities.
  • Instructs agencies, “to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law,” to reasonably accommodate the religion of federal employees, as required by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
  • Instructs the secretaries of health and human services, labor, and treasury to finally grant relief to the Little Sisters of the Poor and others not exempted from Obamacare mandates on contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
  • Ensure that consumers buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges have the option to buy plans that don’t cover abortion or subsidize plans that do.
  • Prohibits the federal government from discriminating against child welfare providers, such as foster care and adoption services, based on the organization’s religious beliefs.
  • Adopts the Russell Amendment, instructing agencies to allow religious organizations to hire in accordance with their faith principles.
  • Effectively rolls back the Johnson Amendment by instructing the Treasury Department to ensure that it doesn’t revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious group speaks on politics.
  • Instructs agencies to refuse to recognize any decision by a federally recognized accrediting body that revokes or denies accreditation to an organization because of religious beliefs.
  • Instructs agencies not to take adverse action against federal employees, contractors, or grantees who express their belief on marriage outside of their employment, contract or grant; and that agencies should reasonably accommodate such beliefs inside of employment, contract, or grant.  (source)

The order, if signed, will provide legal protections for people who are opposed to abortion, pre-marital sex, same-sex marriage and so on. The order is worded so one could indiscriminate for a wide gamut of reasons and hide behind religious freedom. Legal experts do doubt the act’s ability to withstand legal scrutiny:

“This executive order would appear to require agencies to provide extensive exemptions from a staggering number of federal laws—without regard to whether such laws substantially burden religious exercise,” said Marty Lederman, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center and an expert on church-state separation and religious freedom.

The exemptions, Lederman said, could themselves violate federal law or license individuals and private parties to violate federal law. “Moreover,” he added, “the exemptions would raise serious First Amendment questions, as well, because they would go far beyond what the Supreme Court has identified as the limits of permissive religious accommodations.” It would be “astonishing,” he said, “if the Office of Legal Counsel certifies the legality of this blunderbuss order.” (source)

Still however the leaked draft makes discrimination legal and it could effect everyone. Religious conservatives are the biggest hypocrites in modern culture and their leader Trump is pandering to them again. Political moves like this are the reason why all freethinkers must continue to fight religious fundamentalism. Educate, write letters, protest, blog, tweet…whatever it is you do because political moves like this effect everyone and only please the most backwards thinking of modern culture.