Faith and Foolishness

Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful

By Lawrence M. Krauss

….. Religious leaders need to be held accountable for their ideas. In my state of Arizona, Sister Margaret McBride, a senior administrator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, recently authorized a legal abortion to save the life of a 27-year-old mother of four who was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from severe complications of pulmonary hypertension; she made that decision after consultation with the mother’s family, her doctors and the local ethics committee. Yet the bishop of Phoenix, Thomas Olm­sted, immediately excommunicated Sister Margaret, saying, “The mother’s life cannot be preferred over the child’s.” Ordinarily, a man who would callously let a woman die and orphan her children would be called a monster; this should not change just because he is a cleric.

To read full article >> Scientificamerican

Silence is not an option

By Kamran Shafi

Enough is bloody enough! Enough of deafening silence as our people, women, men and children, are mercilessly killed and maimed and widowed and orphaned by cold-blooded murderers and their handlers and motivators. …

Which reminds me. There is an email doing the rounds that tells us that our ISI is the best intelligence agency in the whole wide world. The ranking of the world’s intelligence agencies according to this email is as follows: our very own ISI (and more strength to it, I say), Mossad (Israel), MI-6 (UK), the CIA (US), MSS (China), BND (Germany), FSB (Russia), DGSE (France), RAW (India) and ASIS (Australia). Two immediate questions come to mind. If the ISI is really as good as it is made out to be, how come our country is in the state it is in? Second, if RAW is as bad as to be the 9th worst intelligence agency in the world, how come it can pull off actions as diverse as bombing Data Darbar and R.A. Bazaar in Lahore and Lahore cantonment respectively; arming and provisioning Baloch separatists; and attacking our Ahmadi brothers in their mosques in Lahore? Could it be that RAW is not as bad as the list would have us believe, and the ISI not that good?

Jokes aside, however, we must ask the hard questions and also make demands of our agencies, paid as they are from our taxes and revenue. The very first is to say to them to please secure our own country first and then attempt to project Pakistani power across our borders, say in Afghanistan. It is to say, please use all the significant resources at your command — the list referred to also tells us that the ISI has up to 10,0000 (I kid you not) operatives worldwide — to at the very least open the Thal-Parachinar road so that the poor people who live in Parachinar do not have to get to their homes via Kabul, Afghanistan.

May I say please, sirs, sort out the criminal terrorists in your own country before you attempt to broker peace between Karzai and (some of) the Taliban. May I say please, sirs, if you cannot secure your own country how can you possibly have the gall to boss the neighbourhood around? Look inwards, sirs, at the veritable mess this poor country is in and do something about it. Surely you know that the last time the Parachinar road was opened, 10 men and six women were killed and eight men (all of them our Shia brothers and sisters, please note) were taken as hostages. At least find out where these poor hostages are, and have them released. Surely being number one you can do it.

To read full article >> DAWN

Flood threatens Sindh

Pakistan floods threaten key barrage in southern Sindh

Waters have exceeded the danger level at a key flood barrier in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh.

The Sukkur Barrage flooding means Sindh faces as much devastation as that seen further north in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces, say experts.

Enraged survivors have been physically attacking government officials in flood-hit areas, amid widespread anger at the pace of the relief effort.

At least 1,600 people have died in the region’s worst deluge in 80 years.

With more than 14 million people already affected, the monsoon rains show little sign of abating.

On Monday, a new international radio initiative called “info-as-aid” made its first broadcasts in Urdu and Pashto in an effort to spread information about accessing aid and also about countering disease.

Read more >> BBC