A group of radical, fanatical Jihadi Islamic protesters gathered at the Global Atheist Convention on Sunday April 15 2012. Seemingly they felt that atheism was a threat to humanity and their very existence.
Gregory and I had a smooch in front of these whack-jobs and they started howling that we would “burn in hell”.
Our friend Pete Darwin captured the moment with my trusty Nikon and the rest is history.
There’s been a bunch of coverage online:
- AronRa (YouTube) (USA/watch to 1:00)
- Alexander Ryking
- Amerika Bülteni (Turkish/USA)
- Ateist Canavar (Turkish)
- Atheist Republic (Facebook)
- Australian Skeptics Forum
- Butterflies and Wheels
- Dave The Happy Singer (Australian)
- David Icke’s Official Forums
- death + taxes mag
- Democratic Underground
- Dispatches from the Culture Wars
- DNA Magazine (PDF) (Australian/free registration required for online access)
- DV.is (Icelandic)
- European Freedom Initiative
- Friendly Atheist
- Furious Purpose
- Gay News Network (PDF) (Australian)
- Gladly, the Cross-Eyed Bear (Australian)
- Gregory Storer (Australian)
- In Vino Veritas (Australian)
- Joe. My. God. (USA)
- Libertarian Republican
- Newsvine (Grishman’s Column)
- Obama 2012 Election – Blog archive
- Occupy All Streets
- On The Record
- Pharyngula (USA)
- Photo submitted to reddit by Pete Darwin (comments)
- queer.de (German)
- Star Online (Australian)
- same same (Australian)
- The Caudal Lure (Australian)
- the burned over district
- The Raw Story (1)
- The Raw Story (2)
- Thoughts and Cute Things
- UAAR Ultimissime (Italian)
- Wolfies World
If you find any other places that have covered this story, please let me know.
Thanks to Katy Perry for inspiration.
I attended the inaugural Global Atheist Convention in 2010. It was an exhilarating weekend packed with some of the finest speakers from Australia and around the world. There were so many highlights for me, although perhaps the biggest highlight was getting to meet a long-standing idol Robyn Williams, and more recent source of inspiration, PZ Myers.
Stand tuned for the photographs from the second Global Atheist Convention, this coming weekend, April 13-15 2012.
Lastly, recapture some of the excitement from 2010 through the eyes of the Bruce Llama.
In what can only be described as a cliff-hanging turn of events, Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, president of the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia, has come out and admitted in a submission to the Australian Senate inquiry into Marriage Equality that there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of the Torah that has to this day posed as a religious barrier to gay marriage.
In the Senate submission Rabbi Gutnick stated that the traditional interpretation of the Torah has rendered sex between two men problematic, because the translation of the Torah into English was thought to be that a man should not sleep with another man as he would sleep with a woman, with the penalty for doing so that they both be stoned to death.
He felt that this attitude to homosexuality was deeply troubling and discriminatory and so sought advice from a pool of sage rabbis from around the world. These rabbis looked at the original wording in the Torah and felt that maybe there had been a misunderstanding of God’s word and that there was room for a better interpretation, one that offered a more acceptable outcome.
After weeks of collaboration, these rabbis unanimously agreed to reinterpret the Torah and provided an English translation that now states that a man should not sleep with a man as he would with a woman, but rather he should sleep with a man differently to how he would sleep with a woman. However should he be found to be sleeping with a man as he would with a woman, they should both become stoned to a state of holy happiness, except if there’s a dearth of marijuana.
And this is where Rabbi Gutnick has called upon the government to decriminalise the use of marijuana, for strictly religious purposes, to ensure that two men found having the wrong type of sex with each other are dealt with in a more humane and appropriate fashion. The pool of rabbis agreed that each man should be given a bong and a quantity of marijuana and be instructed to smoke the other man’s pipe until each had reached a state of spiritual redemption.
Rabbi Gutnick clearly expressed in the Senate submission that this relaxation of the use of marijuana would only be required for Jewish men and not for gentiles, as gentiles are spiritually unclean, due to not having had a religious circumcision ceremony.
Most unexpectedly, Rabbi Gutnick apologised to the gay community for his earlier claim that he would be opposing gay marriage and noted that since this religious loophole had been found to the previously problematic issue of homosexuality, he now had no issue with gay marriage, and in fact fully endorsed it, claiming that gay men are now encouraged to “shtoop like rabbits, especially on Shabbat”.
The explanation given in the Senate submission was that he realised that if same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, he wanted the Jewish community to have unfettered access to the estimated $161 million dollars of wedding spend likely to be outlaid on same-sex marriages.
He said that it would revitalise the kosher catering and hospitality industry, that kosher food suppliers would feel the surge of business and that all manner of Jewish shops and enterprises would thrive from the rush of gay weddings, especially the Jewish diamond and ring merchants. Rabbi Gutnick went on to say that the kosher butchers would do particularly well because he knew how much gay men liked their meat, and added that the kosher fish-mongers would do particularly well from lesbian weddings. Rabbi Gutnick went to great pains to explain in the Senate submission that his connection to Kosher Australia should not be perceived as a conflict of interest.
Rabbi Gutnick’s new enthusiasm for gay marriage was evidenced by his statement that Orthodox Judaism was particularly sensitive to the needs of single-sex celebrations, because in traditional heterosexual weddings the men and the women were required to be separated by a mechitzah, and so there was an existing culture of men celebrating with men and women celebrating with women. He added that it’s actually a principle feature of the religion that men must spent considerable amounts of time with other men, in close confines, in the absence of women. He said he felt that it was very homoerotic at times, and the headiness of the masculinity in the crowded prayer and study sessions was particularly appealing, especially on those hot days, when the men were dripping with a particularly musky sweat, and were just a little frustrated. He noted that this frustration was most evident when the men were denied sexual gratification with their wives during their periods of uncleanliness, and further exacerbated by the total religious prohibition on masturbatory relief.
In the summary of the submission, Rabbi Gutnick repeated his apology for the long overdue admission that to deny gay men and women the right to equality was in fact an oppresive and persecutory behaviour and that he had looked back at the history of the Jewish people and felt that he was in no place to call for the superiority of heterosexual Australians over homosexual Australians.
An addendum to the submission included a suggestion that Rabbi Gutnick officiate at the first mass Jewish gay and lesbian wedding in Australia, co-hosted by Adam Hills of the In Gordon St Tonight fame, because he said the ABC studios in Elsternwick were at the centre of the ultra-religious quarter of Melbourne’s Jewish community, and that he was particularly proud of the ground-breaking work that Adam Hills had done to break down barriers in the community around gay marriage.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Rabbi Moshe Gutnick (email@example.com)
Photographer, blogger, popular Melbourne gay identity and significant Qmelb contributor, Michael Barnett, is to be featured in a mass gay wedding with his handsome partner. The wedding (and what has been advertised as a stag night / hens night) will be hosted on Australia’s national television network’s by comedian Adam Hills over the next two Wednesday evenings. This will clash with Melbourne’s Queer Film Festival. The wedding will be paid for by Australian taxpayers, a service the ABC has never offered to straight couples. At this stage it is not known whether the ABC or Barnett will be releasing a video of the post wedding celebrations.
(The Gordon St Mass Same-Sex TV Wedding Extravaganza is just around the corner! This inaugural event will happen on March 26 and airs Wednesday March 28 at 8:30pm.)
My name is Elliot London… My passion is making gay cinema…
Today is Valentines Day and I have been working on a beautiful short film (THE WEDDING DANCE) about Equality in a different perspective. I would be so ever grateful if you would take a look at this 3 minute film and consider posting it on this special day where loving one another is important.
The objective with this project is to raise money for our feature film FRIEND. A film about coming out in 2012. A time now when things are so different with social networking. A time now that a child might not have the correct tools to coupe with humiliation in an instant world.
FRIEND is about giving back. Its a movie about accepting and loving oneself but most of all it is about educating. With the proceeds from this film I am going to be donating the profits to groups that help educate at risk youth… If we can raise $10,000 to make our last film with social networking. Than $250,000 can be done. Please take a look at the campaign we have started. Please share this film…
Sound Track to THE WEDDING DANCE is available for .99 on iTunes and we are putting all the funds from the iTunes sales towards the feature film.
My father Merv Barnett penned this cartoon in June 2008 in response to a JCCV advertisement in the Australian Jewish News showing the dozens of organisations represented by the JCCV. Glaringly absent from the tree of community organisations was Aleph Melbourne, or any other organisation representing the interests of GLBT Jews. Needless to say this is still the case. Hopefully 2012 will bring a more positive outlook toward GLBT Jews from the JCCV’s leadership.
Yesterday was Christmas Day. For me it is the culmination of an annoying time of the year when I avoid shopping centres and am surrounded by a peculiar sense of cheer that is predominantly about gift-giving, family coming together and consuming food and wine. It doesn’t seem to me to be a time that most care to reflect on what it is they’re actually celebrating. Not that most these days would want to.
It’s not a time of the year that evokes any fond childhood memories in me, and in fact aside from the pleasure gained from having learnt some of the more traditional Christmas carols at the state primary school I attended, Christmas then was actually a time of the year that made me feel awkward. This was because I had to tell those students at school who got all sorts of fabulous gifts for their Christmas that I didn’t get presents from Santa because my family didn’t celebrate Christmas, a completely incomprehensible concept for them.
I saw my first white Christmas yesterday, not that it mattered an iota to me, although it was unusual for an Australian summer. There was a violent hail-storm over much of Melbourne mid-afternoon. It was stormy all day, and in fact from first thing, before I got up to go to the gym at 7:30am there had been rolling thunder looming. I quite enjoyed the tempest, but I was concerned that my car might have been damaged by the hail. Fortunately mine escaped unscathed, unlike others that I saw had holes through their windscreen in very telling fashion.
Annoyingly, I found my driver side window had been down and a lot of water had come into my car during the storm, which is really weird because generally I don’t leave my windows down when the car is unattended. Today I’m trying to dry out the car’s interior.
What I did enjoy about yesterday was the quality time my partner Gregory and his children spent with their mother Jennie, giving and opening presents in the morning, and then at lunch with Gregory’s sister Angela and her family. It’s been a lovely tradition that I’ve shared in over the past four Christmases.
I had to laugh though, earlier in the day, as I went to collect a cake for a Chanukah party this afternoon that I’m helping organise. I went to Danish Nosh, in Glenhuntly Road, South Caulfield. It’s a cake shop that sells traditional Jewish / Eastern European cakes and delicacies to a predominantly Jewish / Eastern European clientele. Disappointingly, the shop was closed today but it was open yesterday on Christmas Day, so I went yesterday. As I walked in I was greeted with the sound of Christmas Carols on the sound system. After paying for my pear and cinnamon cake the delightful assistant of Asian background wished me a merry Christmas. I suspect the irony of her actions escaped her. It made me chuckle, and made my Christmas Day.
I read with mild amusement that the Jewish community’s Danny Lamm has bought himself a shiny new library. Wonderful.
A library is a place of learning. A home to a collection of accumulated experience, wisdom, joy, suffering, marvel, art, history, mistakes, optimism and other expressions of the human condition.
It is strikes me as unusual that someone who wanted to exclude a support organisation for gay men from the Jewish community should become a philanthropist and major financial benefactor of a library. But despite that blot on his good name I think I’ll let Wikipedia(*) have the last say on the matter of philanthropist Danny Lamm:
Some believe that philanthropy can be a means to build community by growing community funds and giving vehicles. When communities see themselves as being resource rich instead of asset poor, the community is in a better position to solve community problems.
However, some believe the purpose of philanthropy is often tribute and self-aggrandizement, as arguably shown by the prevalence of self-titled foundations, rarity of large anonymous donations, and lack of support for unpalatable causes such as the treatment of diarrhea (which despite being easily treatable is the second leading cause of infant death worldwide.)
* as referenced on July 14 2011.
From: Yoram Regev <yoram dot regev at gmail dot com>
Date: 28 June 2011 19:35
Subject: JBC: Constitution and Membership Form
To: …, Paul Gardner <pgardner at bigpond dot net dot au>, …
Dear all,Please forward the form to as many as you can so our membership starts to pick up. There is also a Friend category which is for supporters who are not members.Should you have any questions please send them to either myself or Paul Gardner, our interim Chairman.All application forms should be sent to me on this address (which appears on the form).
Thanks and regards,Yoram RegevJBC Interim Board member
This year’s “Men on Men” Art Competition at the Laird Hotel in Melbourne is well worth the visit. You’ll find a really wide range of art styles and techniques on display, and an equally diverse range of masculinity being portrayed. There’s definitely an abundance of talent on offer.
I was particularly taken by the larger-than-life scruffy lad overlooking the pool table (and a veritable steal for only $600). Oh, and there’s an extremely clever entry that takes you on quite a journey around Melbourne’s metropolitan rail network (the ticket for this will cost you $450). No guarantees you’ll still have your virginity after you’ve gone that route.
My entry into the competition this year is of a very handsome, somewhat scruffy, bearish guy. You’ll find him well hung in the games room, over the pinball machines. If you can’t get there, stay tuned and I’ll post my entry here after the competition closes.
Come take a look at the art, on display until June 29 at the Laird Hotel, 149 Gipps Street Abbotsford. (Note, the Laird is generally a men-only venue, but gladly welcomes women to view the exhibition from 2-5pm on Saturday June 11.)