May 2002 Archives

May 31, 2002

Ministers vote themselves large pay rise

It must be something about that room - Church of Scotland ministers have voted themselves pay rises of up to 15%, even though the Kirk is in financial trouble. At the moment, the starting salary for a new minister is £18,700, and the rate of inflation is less than 3%. Some ministers objected - Rev. Ewan Aitken told the assembly:

It doesn't look good if we're raising wages way above what poor people, who we're trying to reach out to, could earn.

When the Kirk isn't using it, the Church of Scotland's assembly room is home to the Scottish Parliament. Pennies from heaven for ministers - BBC News, May 31st 2002.

What would Jesus make?

I've been working on a banner for our local Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and I've been using books and web sites on church bannermaking which are full of useful hints and tips. ChristianCrafters is much less useful and the results nowhere near as dramatic. Three empty orange juice cartons become a special Tithing Bank to remind you where to send your money - First, give to God 10% or more for church and missions. Counteract Hallowe'en with a Jesus O'Lantern! Celebrate Christmas by making a Baby Jesus in Wooden Stable, using lollysticks for the manger and a peanut for the baby deity.

When you've exhausted the extensive range of projects on the site, you can always buy some books from them, like this one on Biblically-themed suncatchers:

W.W.J.S.? Gospel Catchers TM Cost:$5.00 (Shipping $1.25 - international orders slightly more). A fun and innovative way for kids to learn to share their faith with their friends! There's something worse than cooties...it's called sin! Now kids can make Gospel Catchers rather than Cootie Catchers! "What Would Jesus Say?" about Your Sin? God's Judgment? His Sacrifice? Forgiveness? The Second Coming? and Eternity? With W.W.J.S.? Gospel Catchers kids will learn what Jesus would say about some of life's most important questions!

(via everlasting blort).

May 30, 2002

Insecure believers bring hate case against author

A French author has been charged with inciting racial hatred for saying, in an interview, that Islam is the most stupid of all religions. Four Muslim organisations have brought the action against Michel Houellebecq and we get to hear their explanation of how Islam is an ethnic religion, whose believers all come from the same 'race' on September 17th.

Houllebecq has also been threatened over the words he put into the mouth of a rather nasty fictional character in his forthcoming novel Platform. The character doesn't appear to like anyone: Every time I heard that a Palestinian terrorist, or a Palestinian child or a pregnant Palestinian woman had been gunned down in the Gaza strip, I felt a quiver of enthusiasm..., the Hong Kong Chinese are recognisable from their filthy manners... spraying bits of food everywhere and blowing their noses between their fingers - they behave quite literally like pigs and Frederick Forsyth is a half-wit.

So scared has the man been, for himself and for his wife, that he has said he will write no more. From his rare interviews, he seems quite terrified. We are back in familiar Rushdie territory. Except on this occasion, the liberal, western European democracy which is Houellebecq's home has connived with his aggressors.

A blasphemy trial out of the 17th century - The Guardian, May 29th 2002.

Kirk apologises for sectarian role

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has passed a motion admitting bigotry in the past and regretting any part played in sectarianism by our church in the past and affirm our support for future moves towards a more tolerant society. That support will include working with the Roman Catholic Justice and Peace Commission to combat bigotry in Scotland. To demonstrate the Kirk's complicity, Rev. Alan McDonald read out part of a report presented to the General Assembly in 1923:

Entitled The Menace of the Irish Race to our Scottish Nationality, he said that it accused the Irish Roman Catholic population of being part of a papist conspiracy to subvert Presbyterian values and of being the principal cause of drunkenness, crime and financial imprudence.

About 40 protestors from the Scottish Reformation Movement picketed in protest at the motion. Led by Pastor Jack Glass (whom a friend describes as like a home-grown Scottish Ian Paisley, but nastier), they claimed that the Catholic Church was responsible for sectarianism. Glass said:

Those people inside have betrayed John Knox by calling the Church of Scotland sectarian. You won't see the Catholic Church betraying their martyrs like that.

Kirk 'regret' over bigotry - BBC News, May 29th 2002.

May 27, 2002

Hate-free hate

Someone changed the English language while I was out. Radio Islam claims it stands for No hate. No violence. Races? Only one Human race. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. The site is multilingual, so what has been added lately in English? Well, there are the proceedings of the lofty-sounding International Conference on Global Problems of World History which took place in Moscow this January. There we learn that the ethnic origin of the World Trade Center's lessees is relevant, especially as they're engaging in the ancient tradition of screwing as much out of the insurance as possible:

In late July, two Jews, Larry Silverstein and Frank Lowy, secured 99-year leases on the towers. They insured the property for more than 3 billion dollars against terror attacks. Silverstein now claims that, as there were two separate attacks, he should receive twice the insured amount, more than 6 billion dollars.

An Austrian, Gerhoch Reisigger, told the conference:

Who are the enemies we will face in this titanic struggle? Nihilism, Materialism, Globalism -- the attempt to create a uni-polar world with a global Orwellian government -, and the paranoia of the Jewish people which considers itself the "chosen" one. May we be able to overcome the "Prince of the World" together with the Orthodox World and Islam! Such an alliance will perhaps be able to delay the coming of the Antichrist.

The attempts by the families of Holocaust victims to retrieve property stolen from them by the Nazis is The blackmail of Switzerland by evil Zionists and the Jews assaassinated Kennedy. Several papers concern themselves with the Holocaust, and how Auschwitz couldn't possibly have been used to kill lots and lots of people.

Other hate-free new additions include Jews and Crime, Hitler should have finished the job (even though he didn't even start it, honest), Jews in the Bush Administration and Jewish domination in pre-Nazi Germany. How loving and charming the people behind this site must be.

May 26, 2002

Loony site of the moment

Stop Child Rape Network is apparently based here in Edinburgh and is dedicated to exposing and solving the problem of the Worldwide Masonic Government Ritual Child Abuse & Murder Network.

Now and then, a fraction of these cases make national headlines because of mass public pressure. However the wholehearted truth of the matter is this - these Masonic government-sanctioned worldwide abuse cases are NOT isolated - most are all part and parcel of the intricate global network of child abuse - run by the CORE OF RAPE within our Government Intelligence Network. Whenever public pressure on these atrocities creates exposure throughout the public domain via the mass media as well as alternative publications and over the internet - it is ALL just the tip of the iceberg - of what is going on - all the time.

Here we learn that the recent child abuse scandal in Wales was not an example of people abusing their positions of authority over the vulnerable but was really Evil Satanists. It must be true - David Icke says so. The site also has an exciting new perspective on the Dunblane massacre:

Did you know that the mass murderer Thomas Hamilton who gunned down 16 children aged 5 ñ 6 on March 13th 1996 in Dunblane, Scotland, was a Freemason Paedophile?
Possibly not, as this knowledge was well censored from the Freemasonic run mass-media. Hamilton was initiated in 1977 and was a member of the Garrow Hill Freemasons Lodge.
He was also known to the police as a paedophile after being "dismissed" from several boys clubs for his "unnatural behavior".
Hamilton was granted a gun license by his "brother" freemason Inspector McMurdo after being consistently refused a firearms certificate prior to his initiation into the Masons. Some insightful researchers believe that the massacre was possibly a covert occult sacrifice, engineered by the Masonic "Core of Rape" within the Intelligence hierarchy.

And for good measure, Waco was a Satanic human sacrifice as well. (via everlasting blort).

May 24, 2002

Burning Desire

A woman has claimed that West Lothian council's decision not to allow her to handfast in a public park is the result of religious discrimination, and nothing to do with the bonfires and flaming brands the couple planned to use. Jessica Turner and her husband hoped to re-enact the handfasting scene fron Braveheart this coming Samhuinn. She claimed other groups would be allowed to use the park:

If this were a Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim ceremony there would be no problem, but for some reason they are afraid because it is a pagan ceremony. In actual fact it is more of a Celtic ceremony than anything else and is exactly like a Catholic wedding except it is outside. These ceremonies are happening in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Peebles - so why not West Lothian?

A representative told the Herald that West Lothian Council had every respect for people's right to reflect their own religion. But Safety implications have to be taken into account. Witch's woe at Wiccan wedding refusal - The Herald, May 24th 2002.

May 22, 2002

Barbie is evil

Iranian police are cracking down on Barbie following a vague proclamation denouncing her as "unislamic", confiscating the dolls from shops. Religious authorities in Iran feel increasingly insecure as the electorate consistently vote for reformists.Despite a ban on direct trade, and official distaste, US products are easily found in Iran. More positively, the Iranian "Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children & Young Adults" has produced its own "Iranian National Dolls", Dara and Sara, dressed in a range of traditional Iranian clothing from different parts of the country.

Dara and Sara are Iranian. They are twins and eight years old. Their mother is a housewife. She is their best advisor and helps them out in their troubles. Their father works in Iran Cultural Heritage Organization. Therefore they have the chance to travel to different parts of Iran with their father, see the sightseeing, know the tradition, wear the customs and learn about that region. Dara and Sara live in an old garden house. There is a small pool in the middle of the yard with lots of gold fish. They also have a hen and chicks and a cat. Their cat is naughty, so they have to take a good care of the chicks and the fish. Sara likes science very much and sometimes carries out experiments in their basement. She is very good at sports. She is a fan of football and plays table tennis. She wishes to became a teacher when she grows up. Dara is also a fan of football, but he also likes wrestling. He is an adventurous boy, In his dreams he becomes an astronaut or an archeologist. It is fun to follow Dara and Sara's adventures.

Iran Casts Dragnet For Barbie Dolls - The Guardian, May 22nd 2002.

Prattle sweep time

How long before fundies start claiming this is a 'proven' case of satanic ritual abuse? A man has been accused of four counts of child abuse in Des Moines. He is alleged to have used "white magic" as a lure, though the rituals bear no resemblence to any known tradition:

The 14-year-old and her 19-year-old sister told authorities that the man said he could cleanse them by performing magic that involved eggs being rolled or broken and rubbed across the body. The man also allegedly told them they had to have sex with someone they did not know to complete the cleansing.

Suspiciously, both sisters had abortions on the same day last month. Back in the early nineties, the closest thing Professor Jean LaFontaine could find to the fundie allegations of vast networks of organised satanic abuse were three cases like this where the perpetrator acted alone (or as a couple in one case), and made stuff up to impress their targets, make them more compliant, or simply to scare them into keeping quiet. Two of the LaFontaine cases were Christian in nature. Suspect allegedly invoked magic - Des Moines Register, May 21st 2002.

May 21, 2002

Star bores

The new Star Wars movie seems to have caused a bit of excitement, but did you know that Jedi Knights and unicorns are one and the same thing?

Now let us summarize the similarities between Jedi Knights and Unicorns. They are both born with their powers, although they often forget who they are and need reminding and training. They were both considered almost extinct, but they were found and then lead the fight against evil with help from others. They both use a glowing rod with mystical powers as their main weapon. They both are closely related to and feel a unity with all living things. They are both guardians of justice. They both believe in the goodness of others almost to a fault. They both are only effective in fighting when they fight in the defense of others without anger or hate. You can see that they are very similar.

And you too could be a Unicorn/Jedi Knight and not know it! You can find out by buying the author's book, or maybe the service offered by star wars : a new hope:

get your star wars astrology scope now horoscope for star wars fans or those who just want information on their future web sites and services for entertainment only sorry no charge card orders please send birth information, payment offer OVER 98% HAVE RETURN FOR MORE

The June horoscope for those with the sun sign 'jar jar binks' (June 22nd - July 22nd) reads:

clone trooper (gemini) and pade amidala (virgo) and the letters E,N,W WILL IMPACT YOUR LIFE ENORMOUSLY OVER THE MONTH OF JUNE 2002 YOUR CONNECTION TO CLONE TROOPER (GEMINI) IS SOME WHAT TRADITIONAL, EXPECTED, AND ROOTED IN THE DISTANT PAST you feel like clone trooper (gemini) really knows and understands the whole you, including your secrets, virtues, and shortcomings this clone trooper (gemini) can be a kindred spirit, and there will be good and helpful communications over the month with padme amidala (virgo) the connection is neighborly, may be a sibling or cousin with whom you might grown up with there can be a connection with long a go studies, hobbies, events at puberty padme amidala plumps for stability, whereas your connection with clone trooper can have some up and downs but most likely these ups and downs are old hat nothing to cause concern the june lunation occurs on the 10th there could be a pall covering events in the distant past venus and jupiter make you magnetic but avoid the limlight til after the summer solstic binks are born moody but firey mars makes them worse the full moon on the 24th forms in your seventh house it is imperative to avoid any temporary falling out with

If you want more, it'll cost you a mere $45 (US) and you can also have special rituals performed for $200. But is the film any good? Alas, The Tarot Reviewer hasn't been updated since March 1999. Here, a four card tarot spread is used to review movies and assess their chances of success. Here's what they had to say about the new version of The King and I:

first card: Death (U) Transformation, A door opening as another closes
Second Card: Six of Cups (U) looking back on fond memories. a new beginning
Third Card: Knight of Cups (R): Trickery, Rivalry
Fourth card: ten of pentacles (U): Family matters, an inheritance, Gain
the Review: The King has transformed himself into a winner. look for this movie to inherit it popularity for the original version. Guaranteed to bring back memories of the original.

It's a pity they didn't keep it up - it would have produced more accurate and useful reviews than the Childcare Action Project. They seem to like Attack of the Clones, despite the serious occult content of the Star Wars films.

Humour breaks out in Northern Ireland

I hope the existence of prodshopping.com is a sign that peace really is breaking out in Northern Ireland. It's

a new organisation aimed at promoting parity of esteem for the true Protestant sons of Ulster when it comes to e-commerce and retail therapy. As we know the taigs have got catholicshopper.com and, until now, the Ulster Protestant had nowhere to turn to stave off this attack upon his or her civil and religious liberties. With this in mind prodshopping.com was born. So Protestants of Ulster be sure to fight back through this site, buy all the old tack and tat you require here and be assured that the money will be going to finance my retirement to an island in the Pacific Ocean. Out there no one cares about a united Ireland.

As well as essential items for Drumcree, such a trebuchet sourced directly from the Middle Ages, weatherproof Union Flegs and the obligatory orange juicer, the site offers real, genuine, Protestant Holy Water

This water has been drawn from the River Boyne. A highly trained team from the 5th Battalion of the Free P. Incursionists staged a dawn raid on the foreign Irish state and brought back some water from the River Boyne. The water was collected from near the spot where the Loyalist Ulsterman King William of Orange defeated the pretender, and well known Sinn Fein member, James the Fenian.

Being sourced from the River Boyne is not enough in itself to make Holy Water. Only Holy Water from prodshopping.com has undergone the vital, and critical, step of having been blessed by the Protestant Pope Rev. Ian Paisley. Rev. Paisley is well known to us all and his position as a holy man with supernatural powers is well documented. Rev. Paisley said I was only too pleased to bless this water for prodshopping.com he went on to add this water now has amazing healing powers.

So, if you have been out all night throwing bricks at the Fenians, and the PSNI, over the peace line in North Belfast this Holy Water is ideal to help heal those cuts and bruises.

Get your amphora of Holy Water drawn from the River Boyne and blessed by Rev. Ian Paisley plus a free Holy Water font (shown below) for only £1,273.95. The amphora is hand made in the Byzantine style and contains nearly half a litre of Holy Water. The water is not safe for drinking and Rev. Paisley says he has no control over bacteria and so accepts no responsibility for the well being of those who may drink this water either by choice or by mistake.

Limits of free speech defined

A US federal appeals court has ruled that the content of the "Nuremburg Files" website, which publishes personal details of doctors who perform abortions in the form of Wild West style "Wanted" posters, amounts to illegal threats and is therefore not protected free speech. The religious campaigners must now pay damages to four doctors who sued, fearing for their lives.

At least three doctors have been murdered after being targetted by the site's creators. One of the defendants, Michael Bray, wrote a book which tried to justify the murders and has served a prison sentence for his involvement in seven bombings. Abortion Site Liable for Threats - Wired News, May 16th 2002.

All fall down

The demise of an old tree has caused a crisis of confidence in India's opposition party. The 125 year old banyan tree stood outside the Congress Party's HQ, but was uprooted in a storm. The falling tree destroyed part of a temple, and some party members fear this means the gods are unhappy.

Newspaper Dainik Ujala claims worried senior party workers are consulting with astrologers and religious leaders to see if the collapse of the tree has any messages.

Decayed roots are likely to be the real problem. Party's low ebb after fall of old tree - Ananova, May 20th 2002.

Bargain of the Day

Nathan Wright has put his soul up for auction on eBay.

His soul, housed in a glass jar that "may or may not" have contained fudge at one time, was going for $5.50 by Thursday afternoon. The bidding started at 99 cents.

The sale is, in part, a publicity stunt for his online magazine monkeycube.com. Wright hopes it doesn't fall into the wrong hands:

Hopefully, the buyer won't be someone who uses it maliciously. I'm not really worried about selling it, unless the devil has an account on eBay. I don't know, maybe that's something he's resorted to.

Iowan offers soul for sale on eBay, and bidding opens at 99 cents - Des Moines Register, May 20th 2002.

Fundies lose eloquent opposition

Palæontologist Stephen Jay Gould has died at the age of 60. Best known as an essayist, his entertaining style and idiosyncratic choice of examples helped make science accessible to the non-specialist. He was a persitant thorn in the side to creationists who campaigned for their religious views to be taught in school biology lessons, but was not afraid to develop the theory of evolution in the light of his own research. Those who prefer superstition to science can rest a little easier tonight. Acclaimed science writer dies - BBC News, May 21st 2002.

May 19, 2002

Divine Gastroenteritis

Lighthouse Baptist Church in Sullivan, Missouri describes itself as **Independent**Fundamental**Premillenial** and as part of its vision to learn and live the Bible, provides some interesting commentary on a well-known 17th century version of that book. As well as arguing that Jesus had short hair, unlike every other Jewish man 2000 years ago, we learn that America Needs to Apologize to Hitler!:

We often criticize Hitler for His massacre of nearly 6 million Jews in his concentration camps when we have abortions performed underneath our very noses.

Note the capitalisation of "His". But the most interesting article is the one on how to make God throw up.

He says that this church was neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm and because of that condition, He will spue thee out of His mouth. What is really interesting is that something must be really, really bad or gross or disgusting for God to literally puke. I am going to explain why I think that this church really made God disgusting.

It seems that God is completely grossed out by Christians:

Our clothes make God puke
Our music make God puke
Our Christian stores make God puke
Our books make God puke
Our offerings make God puke
Our bibles (false bibles) make God puke
Our prayer life make God puke
Our bible reading make God puke
Our soul wining makes God puke
Our churches make God puke
Our hairstyles make God puke
Our jewelry makes God puke
Our conversation makes God puke

May 18, 2002

Religious freedom in France

The Paris chapter of the Church of Scientology and its president have each been fined for violating the privacy rights of former members. Prosecutors said that former members were harassed long after they had left the organisation. Charges of fraud and false advertising were thrown out.

The group is likely to receive close attention under a controversial new French law which allows courts to order the immediate dissolution of any movement regarded as a cult whose members are found guilty of such existing offences as fraud, abuse of confidence, the illegal practice of medicine, wrongful advertising and sexual abuse. Human rights campaigners and religious groups are concerned about the tight focus of the law - it only affects groups deemed to be cults, so if the current child abuse scandal happened in France, the Roman Catholic church would have nothing to worry about. Treating people and groups differently under the law based on their beliefs is contrary to article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which France signed on November 4th 1950, and ratified on May 5th 1974. The article reads, in part:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

Although there is a limitation, to protect the freedoms of others, for public safety, to prevent crime and to protect public health and morals, this doesn't justify treating smaller, less-established religious groups more severely that the major religions when they, or their members, break existing laws. French Court Finds Church of Scientology Guilty Of Breaching Privacy Law - VOA News, May 17th 2002; France arms itself with legal weapon to fight sects - The Guardian, June 1st 2001.

May 17, 2002

Blood libel thriving

United States: The ancient Blood Libel has surfaced in San Francisco, of all places. Four organisations, Associated Students, the General Union of Palestinian Students, the Muslim Student Association and the unidentified WIA have lent their names to a poster which deliberately confuses the Israeli government and Jews in general.

The poster incorporates the two most common elements to this medieval racist slur. It suggests (1)that Jews ingest the flesh and/or blood of children, and (2)that there are rites associated with the Jewish religion which detail how to perform this cannibalism. Note that this vicious racism is not directed specifically at Israel but at Jews, for it reads,slaughtered according to Jewish rites.

Antisemitism at SFSU - Scott Armel-Funkhouser's home page.

In a related story, the Jerusalem Post (which will admittedly be biased) gives its account of a Peace in the Middle East rally and the actions of the counter-demonstrators at the same institution - San Francisco State University. Professor Laurie Zoloth, director of the Jewish Studies programme at the university, circulated her account of what happened when Palestinian supporters descended on a group of 50 students who stayed behind to clean up and conduct a prayer service, after singing Hebrew songs and hearing speeches in support of Israel:

They screamed at us to 'go back to Russia' and they screamed that they would kill us all, and other terrible things...As the counter-demonstrators poured into the plaza, screaming at the Jews to 'Get out or we'll kill you' and 'Hitler didn't finish the job,' I turned to the police and to every administrator I could find and asked them to remove the counter-demonstrators from the plaza, to maintain the separation of 100 feet that we had been promised. The police told me that they had been told not to arrest anyone, and that if they did, 'it would start a riot.' I told them that it already was a riot.

Anti-Semitic riot at San Francisco State University - Jerusalem Post, May 16th 2002.

It's not just those wacky Americans though. Here in Edinburgh, posters have gone up all over town showing a version of a well-known washing powder box with Jewish symbols on it and the phrase Ariel Sharon ethnically cleanses whiter than white - probably the only war crime he isn't guilty of.

'Witch' murderer convicted

A man has been convicted of killing and beheading a woman he though was going to use witchcraft against him. 27-year-old Ivan Sanchez-Lara was found guilty of nine charges relating to the murder of 31-year-old Kathleen Lopez in October 2000. His lawyer had tried to blame drugs for his client's actions. First-degree murder conviction in beheading trial - KOB-TV (New Mexico, US), May 16th 2002.

May 14, 2002

Christian calls to deface historic site

Scotland: A Christian author has proposed putting a gigantic cross on the top of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, and insists he isn't extracting the urine. Harry Reid has written a book on the future of the Church of Scotland (presumably a very short book, if this idea is typical) and sees it as an assertive symbol of Christianity. Even though such a project is guaranteed to offend non-Christians in the city (which, is far more diverse and interesting than David Irving imagines), a representative of the local council felt it would be acceptable. The park is owned by the Queen and managed by Historic Scotland, who are much cooler on the idea:

Given the fact it's a royal park and the wealth of prehistoric sites, sites of scientific interest and sites of environmental sensitivity in the park, it is an unlikely plan.

Hooray for holy rood plan at Arthur's Seat - Edinburgh Evening News, 14th May 2002 (BugMeNot).

May 12, 2002

Fundie entryism in Scotland

"Christian" fundamentalists have tried using the courts to force their views on the people of Scotland. They failed. "Christian" fundamentalists tried spending millions of pounds on advertising to push their homophobic views on the people of Scotland. They failed. Last election, "Christian" fundamentalists formed their own poltical party and tried to get themselves elected to the Westminster parliament. They failed. Now they've decided to sneak into the main political parties and try and make them conform to their narrow view of society via a campaign of entryism, exposed in today's Scotland on Sunday newspaper.

A Scotland on Sunday investigation has established that Christian Action Research and Education (Care), a UK charity with an annual income of £2.4m, has drawn up plans for as many of its members as possible to join mainstream political parties.

Now it plans to escalate its activities by persuading members to join the Labour party, SNP, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Scotland and influence their internal candidate selection procedures.

Noting that selection procedures are now underway for parliamentary candidates, the internet appeal adds: This provides an opportunity for Christians to influence this selection process by joining political parties and asking the potential candidates their views on a range of issues.

In another message, the group claims Britain's political system presents Care with huge opportunities to influence the governance of our society.

It suggests activists join with a friend so that you can support each other in making a difference.

It is illegal throughout the UK for registered charities to engage in political activities. Christians plot political infiltrationScotland On Sunday, May 12th 2002. (if the article has expired, the password for spamtrap@antipope.org is Crail63)

May 11, 2002

They were wrong to trust me

A Canadian Roman Catholic priest found guilty of abusing a teenager has sued the youth's parents, claiming they were negligent in allowing the young man to spend time with him! Priest guilty of abuse sues family - Toronto Star, May 11th 2002.

Witlesses to cover up abuse too

The Roman Catholic Church isn't the only religious organisation with child abuse problems at the moment, nor is it the only one trying to cover it up rather than deal with it. Four Jehovah's Witnesses in Kentucky face expulsion for speaking out against their church's handling of allegations of sexual abuse of children. The church has refused to report the allegations to the appropriate authorities and insists on dealing with it internally - the same attitude which has caused the current scandal in the Catholic Church. Four Jehovah's Witnesses face ouster after criticizing church - Dallas News, May 10th 2002.

May 9, 2002

Book of the month

Prattle favourite Jack Chick has a new tract out. The Nervous Witch is all about a group of witches who curse their uncle because he happens to be a Christian of the annoying, won't-shut-up, variety (I'd have thought a restraining order would be more effective, but...). The uncle tries to evangelise them repeatedly, to the point where a baseball bat would be even more effective than a restraining order, but fails until he assaults one of the women who accepts Jesus as a result of the bullying. When asked how she got into "The Craft", she says:

Through the Harry Potter books! We wanted his powers... so we called for spirit guides. The they came into us. They led us into stuff we found in the Harry Potter books -- tarot cards, ouija boards, crystal balls.

All this is apparently to promote a new video - Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged. What took Chick so long to get round to it? The Nervous Witch, Chick Publications.

May 7, 2002

Manners for evangelists

Last weekend, Memphis hosted the fourth annual National Street Preachers' Convention. Attendees heard about the legal issues involved, using music and dealing with hecklers. Kenneth Lansing, a veteran of 31 years, gave advice to budding street preachers:

Try not to antagonize people. Mr. Lansing said people usually approach street preachers if they're interested in a conversation. When you force a conversation on someone, you've got antagonism, he said ... Hecklers are not something to be necessarily agitated by, Mr. Lansing said. They'll draw a crowd.

How to: Be a street preacher - Dallas Morning News, May 4th 2002.

May 4, 2002

Bargains of the Day: Gadgets For God

Ship of Fools: the Magazine of Christian Unrest is intentionally funny - a Christian site which gently satirises religious excess and silliness. The best bit by far is Gadgets For God - genuine examples of religious tat:

Struggling to find that perfect birthday gift for a loved one? Looking for something theological to impress the new minister? You'll carry on looking after reading the Ship of Fools consumer guide to tacky religious artefacts. Click the links below... and prepare for blessing!

They're fair. The "Clocks & Watches" section includes the Repent! Wristwatch produced by a Mormon company, the Last Supper Wall Clock ("similar to items seen on TV") and the Mosque Clock, a "Gadget for Allah" presented "in the interests of inter-faith dialogue". They missed my favourite bit of neopagan religious tat though: the Stonehenge Watch. I definitely want one of those! (Thanks to Omega for reminding me about this stuff in her posting to rec.arts.sf.fandom).

May 1, 2002

Let's talk it over

I've been over to QuickTopic and set up a number of fora for discussing subjects which come up frequently in the Prattle. So far, these are:
Naughty Vicars - clerical hypocrisy,
Willies,
Loony Fundie Nonsense - religious extremism, and
Forteana - ghosts, earth mysteries, superstitions etc.

Suggestions for more welcome. I'm considering 'Silliness', 'King Kevin' and a general forum.

Hooray, hooray, the first of May

England: The Long Man of Wilmington now lives up to his name with the mysterious overnight addition of a 6m penis. The appendage was noticed this morning by members of the Long Man Morris Men who danced at the site to celebrate May Day. No permanent damage has been done to the chalk hill figure as the whopping willie was simply painted onto the grass and will disappear with the first lawnmower of spring.

Rent-a-quote and self-proclaimed King of the Witches, Kevin Carlyon, complained that it was wrong as he thinks the figure, which previously had no gender-specific characteristics, is a woman. Twenty foot penis painted on ancient hill figureAnanova, May 1st 2002.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh's Beltane celebrations were held on Calton Hill as usual. A single protester from a local evangelical church turned up with placards urging the gathered crowds to obey all of God's laws. He was wearing a wool sweater with cotton trousers! Some American "Christians" tried to heckle the performers but were drowned out by the drums. Beltane Fire Society web site.

Springtime for Hitler?

Barry Manilow has written a musical about the Holocaust. Manilow finds a new harmony - Jewsweek, not dated but late April 2002.

Changing Tombs

A famous ghost is delighted with plans to renovate a 15th century chapel near Preston according to Spiritualist medium Suzanne Burton. The White Lady at Samlesbury Hall is believed to be the spirit of Lady Dorothy who killed herself in the 16th century after her lover was murdered by her brother. Her family were Roman Catholics who considered the Protestant knight an unsuitable match. Keeping up appearances at ghost lady's manor - Lancashire Evening Post, April 29th 2002.

Jesus in the way

A 17ft (5.5m) statue of Jesus belonging to an 83 year old woman is causing headaches for the Texas Department of Transportation. A survey of Evelyn Blazek's property suggests that the statue is in the State's right of way. If the survey is correct, she might have to move her fence too. Blazek claims the survey is wrong and that her "Christ of East Texas" statue should stay put:

It's buried 4 feet in the ground. I don't want it moved. I'm just a little old lady that doesn't know much... They said it was further out on the highway than it should be, they said my fence is on state property. I don't understand it either. They've widened the highway twice. They never told me my fence was on the right-of-way. I would have moved it; I would have moved it back.

Highway officials want 17-foot Jesus moved - Houston Chronicle, April 29th 2002 (via Holy Weblog).

Church policy to break law

The Catholic Church in South Africa has decided that the law on child abuse does not apply to them. The 1993 Prevention of Family Violence Act makes it a crime for anyone who treats, instructs, advises or cares for a child to withhold information about abuse from the authorities but the Church has decided that they should continue to treat it as an internal matter. This is the same attitude responsible for the current scandal in the United States and legal authorities are not impressed. Catholic Church is above SA's abuse law - The Mercury (via IOL), April 30th 2002.

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