God-blocking web filter ironically hard to find
Wait to download, O ye of little faith
Fed up with evangelicals thrusting their god-bothering ways upon you? Had enough of the religious right setting the agenda when it comes to deciding what you should – or shouldn’t – be allowed to look at on the internet?
Then maybe Godblock is the package for you. For Godblock is the new anti-evangelical utility, "a web filter that blocks religious content". According to the website: "When installed, GodBlock will test each page that your child visits before it is loaded, looking for passages from holy texts, names of religious figures, and other signs of religious propaganda. If none are found, then your child is allowed to browse freely."
As justification for their new software, the promoters of Godblock write: "In the last century, the United States has seen a resurgence of fundamentalist religion. Fundamentalist Evangelicals, Mormons, Baptists, Muslims, and Jews have held back progress in science, human rights, civil rights, and protecting our environment. How can we reverse this trend and join the rest of the world in the gradual secularization of society and government?"
They add: "It [Godblock] is targeted at parents and schools who wish to protect their kids from the often violent, sexual, and psychologically harmful material in many holy texts, and from being indoctrinated into any religion before they are of the age to make such decisions.”
Hang on though: does this software actually exist? As of today, Godblock appears to be still at the vapourware stage. The site offers Mac and Windows Vista/XP versions, but attempting to download either results in the disappointing message: "We're sorry! GodBlock isn't ready yet. But please join the mailing and we'll let you know as soon as it is."
Cheek? Or, as Stephen Tomkins writes in yesterday’s Guardian, sweet irony "that software that's supposed to protect the vulnerable from the deity is as hard to pin down to actually existing as Himself".
Meanwhile, you can support the project by purchasing Godblock stickers at $5 for ten. T-shirts featuring the Godblock logo are also available.
Comment on the site is largely supportive, with at least one contributor observing: "At last, someone thought of protecting the children." Nonetheless, the project has drawn some criticism from the blogosphere, with at least one godless blogger, whose site is dedicated to discussion of religion from the atheist point of view, expressing their reservations.
We asked Media March, a broadly pro-Christian organisation that campaigns for "stronger media regulation and stronger obscenity laws" for their reaction to this site, but at time of writing have yet to hear back from them. ®