September 2003 Archives

September 25, 2003


Redwolf drew my attention to Harry Potter and Wife Of The President at The Green Man. Short form: regardless of what the fundies might think, Mrs. Bush likes Harry Potter.

September 24, 2003

Superstitious minister 'must go'

India: Opposition politicians are demanding the sacking of a Minister who held a reception honouring 51 witch doctors, occultists, sorcerers and faith healers.

Sanjay Paswan should be immediately sacked from the Union ministry for flouting the provisions of the Prevention of Witchcraft Practices Act, 1999 of Bihar and for spreading superstition among the people, [RJD chief Laloo Prasad] Yadav told reporters here.
When the world was laying stress on development of a scientific temperament, Paswan, Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development, is busy patronising superstition in society, he said and described the minister's gesture as part of BJP's 'dhong' (ploy) to befool the masses.

Sorcery row: Laloo demands Paswan's dismissal - The Times of India, 24th September 2003.

September 23, 2003

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Equinox traditions

Today is the Autumn Equinox, and a well-known American supersition has it that this is the only day of the year on which eggs can be balanced on end. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day demonstrates:

This long-standing myth loses much of its mystique after a demonstration that eggs can be made to stand on end during any day of the year. Pictured above, Dr. Phil Plait (Sonoma St. U.) acting as the Bad Astronomer balanced three raw eggs on end in late October 1998. Later, more modestly, his wife balanced five more. The little-appreciated fact that most eggshells have small bumps on them makes this seemingly impossible task achievable. Although, during an equinox, every place on Earth experiences an equal length day and night (12 hours each), this fact has no practical effect on egg stability.

Bargain of the Day: Holy water, holy muck

Ein Gedi Cosmetics specializes in the production and development of Dead Sea Cosmetics & Spa, Essential Oils, Perfumes, Candles, Anointing Oils, and Holy Land Religious Items. Guess what interests us? Holy Water from Jordan River is pretty mainstream, but I have never seen Jerusalen Stones from Jerusalem before - a tiny bottle of holy muck, labelled with a cross. They have gift sets too!

That time of year again.

Searching for a suitable Bargain of the Day led me to this auction for an audio book by David Benoit: Fourteen Things Witches Hope Parents Never Find Out:

For years, witchcraft has been seasonable. It seems every September and October, witches are on bulletin boards, front porches, and windows, as decorations for the upcoming Halloween season.
But, I have news for you. Witchcraft is not just for Halloween anymore. Our children are prime targets of these beliefs. 365 days a year, children are being preyed upon by witchcraft through the promotion of cartoons, toys, and games. There are also professing witches in the field of education. This puts our children in a very vulnerable position.
It has been said, Those who control the youth, control the future. Could there be a plan in witchcraft to control the future of your child? Does God promise to protect Christian homes when parents allow occult items in their homes? No,
Through this tape series, you will hear some alarming evidence. some of the information on these tapes includes: Understanding which witch is which; Is there a difference between white and black magic?; Are trolls, smurfs, mermaids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other cartoon and games safe for your child?; 14 secrets witches hope you never find out; 7 practical ways to prepare your child from getting involved in witchcraft; and 27 scriptural admonitions for protecting your children.

Benoit is the person behind Glory Ministries and has written a number of of books aimed at the sort of Christian who needs to be told how to pronounce his name, mostly about the evils of popular culture. Apparently one to reserve his important words for those who pay for them, the only article on the site is an anti-Harry Potter rant.

No singing in the back

United States: 46 people were injured when their bus rolled over as a result of their over-enthusiastic hymn-singing.

According to police, the passengers on the bus from Hyles-Anderson College -- a baptist school in Hammond, Ind. -- were singing and swaying on board the bus. Their swaying caused the bus to sway and tip over.

Bus Rollover Closes Part Of I-94 - NBC5 (via Gullibility isn't in the dictionary), 20th September 2003.

September 21, 2003

Bargain of the Day: dream pen

Now Charlie need never lose that story idea he had in the middle of the night ever again -- all he needs is this UNIQUE NIGHT LIGHT WRITING DREAM PEN. The vendor sees other possibilities for this product though:

Introducing the Brand New Night-Light Dream Pen!
Use this Blue Night Light Pen to make notes in the middle of the night, or to record dreams and prayers God gives you in the night, WITHOUT having to get up out of bed or disturb others.
Or give it as an excellent unique gift.
This Night Light ink pen is 5.75" long, night light is blue, ink is black, and comes with batteries, its own case, an extra ink refill, and a clip-on attachment.
One quick click, and your pen lights up, lighting your way across the page. Refillable twist-action ballpoint. Smooth writing action.

South African Muti

South Africa: A recent soap episode has highlighted the widespread use of 'muti' to bring luck, ward off bad luck or attract a lover.

In the series Refiloe went to a sangoma to get a potion that would make Bra Zeb love her more. In the beginning it seemed as though it was working, until Bra Zeb got sick. When he found out that Refiloe was putting muti in his food, he kicked her out.

But, of course, it isn't witchcraft, honest, according to Selina Letsoko, a sangoma in Johannesburg's inner city:

Witches work as group and they are the ones spoiling everything. Their muti doesn't help, it kills. Sangomas are there to help, we have ancestors that guide us.

Use of love potions rife in real life - IOL, 20th September 2003.

Human Rites

Greece: Religious freedom is something guaranteed by European human rights legislation, but nobody appears to have told the Greek government, as a recent article on a Neopagan movement in Greece highlights:

One group of Hellenes, led by Panaghiotis Marinis, from the Committee for the Recognition of the Greek Religion Dodecatheon, applied two years ago for the movement to be officially recognised. The Greek government has still to make a decision on the application and, without official recognition, the group cannot build temples, have an office, or hold public ceremonies.

There are plans to take the Greek government to the European Court of Human Rights if they don't act soon. As well as administrative hurdles, such groups suffer intolerance, especially from the Church:

Making Greek society more tolerant will not be easy. According to official figures, 98% of Greeks are Greek Orthodox Christians. And Hellenes report occasional harassment. During one ceremony at a lake near Mount Olympus, Buschbeck recalls, the local Greek Orthodox Christian Bishop and some monks led a group of 100 people to the other side of the lake to oppose them. The Bishop shouted at them through a megaphone, and played cloister music through a PA system to drown out their ceremony.

Pagans fight for divine rights of old Greek gods - Scotland on Sunday, 21st September 2003.


So, which biscuits make the best Stonehenge-style stone circles? This question intrigued 100% Kitten, who promptly organised The hengiest biscuit world record attempt

With the use of a very bad camera and a bottle of high quality booze I decided to investigate, and set up the world biscuit henginess championship to decide once and for all. It would be a hard-fought contest for the ultimate title, and the dramatic unfolding of events at the final battle was no let down. Whilst favourites like the Chocolate bourbon confidently assumed that deliciousness was all, paying scant attention to presentation, the prize was stolen by the outsider, that with the least to offer in gustatory pleasure, but the most to gain from the prestige title.

Christian spell doesn't work

United States: Pat Robertson recently urged his followers to cast a spell, sorry, pray in the name of Jesus to turn Hurricane Isabel away.

On today's broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson gave God credit for turning past hurricanes away in response to prayer.

Praying in the name of Jesus, Robertson said he believes that God will put up a wall of protection.

He added that he and those praying with him command this storm to go out into the sea and to pass land harmlessly.

Robertson has a history of blaming disasters on the behaviour of the people affected, and claiming that they are punishments from God for 'crimes' such as tolerance of homosexuality. As Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell observes:

Remember when Pat Robertson suggested that gay-pride flags in Orlando might incur God's wrath in the form of a storm? How odd, since Isabel is now heading toward Virginia Beach -- where Pat is.

Pat Robertson prays that Hurricane Isabel will turn awayHampton Roads NewsChannel 3, 17th September 2003 (via Stageleft—scroll down to find the story if you appear to have a blank right column—the layout is hosed); Taking Names: Hurricane IsabelOrlando Sentinel, 18th September 2003.

September 19, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Bible bear

Simon the Scripture Bear is a Loveable Brown Bear Helps Kids Memorize 9 Inspirational Bible Verses.

Simon can't wait to introduce your child to these Scripture verses.

Just press one of the nine blue patches on his paws, ears, tummy and feet to hear an abbreviated reference plus a Bible verse.

Simon teaches 9 key Bible passages:
  • Genesis 1:1
  • Psalms 23:1
  • Psalms 118:1
  • John 1:3
  • Acts 16:31
  • Romans 6:23
  • 1 John 4:10
  • 1 John 4:14
  • 1 John 4:19

Simon uses the NIV translation.

When he's not teaching Scripture, Simon's a plush play pal your child will love taking everywhere.

He has a soft, polyester plush body with polyester fill and measures a big 15".

Uses 3 AA batteries, is non-toxic and for ages 3 and up.


Kenya: The Daily Nation has a nice wee article on the history of superstion in football, with some lovely examples.

It has also been reported that a coach at the club used to direct his own bodily fluids through an anatomical organ in his nether regions onto the team goalkeeper's jersey before making the keeper wear it, wet as it was, for matches.
For years Gor Mahia FC players were under strict instructions not to shake hands with women while in training for crucial matches to protect their life-force. On other occasions players at the club were reportedly transported to the banks of a certain upcountry river to wash up before a match. In Nairobi only a Mr Ochido was allowed to handle equipment, touch and treat injured Gor players during games.

Superstition and soccer are for ever intertwined - The Daily Nation, 20th September 2003.

Superstitious organisation calls another a fraud.

United States: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta is having trouble keeping up with the competition, and has filed a lawsuit accusing a rival (Spanish-language) church of falsely claiming to be Roman Catholic. It seems the Roman Catholic Church feels that Hispanic immigrants are too stupid to notice that Capilla de la Fe is somewhet different from the churches they are used to:

In downtown Atlanta, Capilla de la Fe holds services at a Stop Suffering Center, where pamphlets in Spanish tout the cure-all effects of holy water available with a donation.
Some Capilla de la Fe services are unlike anything offered at Roman Catholic parishes, including one focusing on strong prayer to destroy witchcraft, demon-possession, nightmares, curses, envy, bad luck or spiritual problems.

Group Accuses Churches of Being Frauds - The Guardian, 19th September 2003.

September 13, 2003

Bargain of the Day: starve yourself with Jesus

We've had One True Biblical diets before, but never this extraordinary package— The Bible's Way to Weight Loss: NEW $79 VALUE, which appears to be from a Christian version of Weight Watchers:

First Place Member Kit: The Bible's Way to Weight Loss

This kit is needed by every First Place group member to get started on the road to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It contains the Member's Guide, the Choosing to Change book, 13 Commitment Records, 4 motivational audiotapes, the Prayer Journal and the Scripture Memory Verses: Walking in the Word-everything a person would need to learn how to lose weight sensibly and live a healthy, balanced lifestyle by putting Christ in first place. The only thing the member will need to purchase other than the kit ,is the appropriate Bible study

More Canadian politics

Canada: A new challenger has emerged for the Liberal Party leadership, and Madonna-Megara Holloway has the non-specific divine entity on her side!

I feel it is my destiny to do this, Holloway said in an interview Wednesday.
I believe in reincarnation and the law of cause and effect. I believe that it's my destiny because of karmic rights or karmic liabilities - whichever way you want to look at it - that it doesn't matter what happens.

Unknown Liberal leadership hopeful claims divine ally in long-shot bid -, 10th September 2003; Madonna-Megara Holloway's web site.

The terrible effects of caffeine

Canada: Did an Ontario Tory have David Icke in mind when mailing out a press release to news organisations. For Friday's release had something rather odd to say about the Liberal leader: Dalton McGuinty: He's an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet. Without apologising, Tory leader Ernie Eves tried to explain it all away as a failed attempt at humour: I think someone either had way too much coffee this morning or had way too much time. PCs call Liberal leader a kitten eater -, 12th September 2003.

September 12, 2003

Bargain of the Day: even dumber Bible

Darren Barefoot directs us to this remarkable publication.

In focus groups, online polling, and one-on-one discussion, Transit has found that the number one reason teens don't read the Bible is that it is too big and freaky looking. This fashion-magazine format for the New Testament is the perfect solution to that problem. Teen girls feel comfortable exploring the Scriptures and over 500 further-study notes because of the relevant format!

Darren comments: What's next? Gilgamesh as a pop-up book? The idea is not that new. Back in November 2002, the Prattle noted Brio, a well established fundie magazine aimed at teenage girls.

September 10, 2003

Should we tell them about Billy?

Saudi Arabia: Barbie dolls are already illegal there, but Saudi Arabia's religious police have now decided the toy is a threat to morality, and causes little girls to want jeans, rather than a burka. Oh, and they're Jewish, too, apparently. The organisation's website reproduces a poster they have placed in schools and around the streets:

Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful.

Barbie is not the only thing causing offence:

Other items listed as violations on the site included Valentine's Day gifts, perfume bottles in the shape of women's bodies, clothing with logos that include a cross, and decorative copies of religious items -- offensive because they could be damaged and thus insult Islam.

Despite this kind of thing:

The muttawa patrol the streets of the kingdom, preventing men from mingling with women, enforcing strict Islamic dress for women, chasing worshippers late for prayers, and punishing shop keepers who stay open during prayer hours. They sometimes work with a police officer who can enforce legal punishments on people deemed violators.

...the United States has resisited declaring Saudi Arabia a 'country of particular concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act , and against the advice of its own Commission on International Religious Freedom. Saudi police say Barbie dolls a threat to morality - CNN , 10th September 2003; United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Report on Saudi Arabia, May 2003.

Bargain of the Day: ritual rug

Until today, I had never heard of a Goddess Ritual Rug , wiccan pagan, except when lesbian Pagans used the term as a euphemism. Apparently it's a:

Plush shag Lavendar ritual rug with black Goddess, 40" diameter. Great for ritual circle, or for in front of your Altar! Measures 3' 4".

It should show wax and incense stains perfectly!

Well well well...

The North Devon Gazette has an interesting article on Devon's holy wells, which have been neglected by researchers. Holy wells are one of those Christian traditions which seem to build on older pagan ones, and they retained their popularity for a long time:

There used to be nine pubs here to cater for all the pilgrims and the church was known as the 'cathedral of North Devon,' she said. The numbers were such that it was the richest benefice in this part of the world.

Mystery of North Devon's sacred sites - North Devon Gazette and Advertiser, 10th September 2003; Holy Wells in Tarka Country website.

September 8, 2003

Christian compassion

Patrick Nielsen-Hayden raises some interesting points about Mel Gibson, his family and his racism, sexism and homophobia.

According to the News, Gibson reluctantly removed, from his weirdo ultramontaine Jesus movie, a particularly lurid scene involving Jewish high priest Caiaphas. I wanted it in, he said. But, man, if I included that in there, they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come kill me.
Yeah, they. With their hooked noses, their interest payments, and their take-out Chinese food. Will their wickedness ever end? Quite the paragon, Mel Gibson.

Still, there's postitive news. Via the same source is this article about the effects of fundies actually paying attention to the words and actions attributed to Jesus, and becoming radicalised about the treatment of the poor in Alabama. Mel Gibson, Christian. I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick...I want to kill his dog. - Electrolite, 7th September 2003.

September 7, 2003

Bargain of the Day: church box

This is so good that the vendor feels the need to shout about her UNUSUAL SHADOW BOX OF AN ISLAND CHURCH:


Not so SMART

United States: Fifteen years after extensive investigation revealed nothing, and the majority of law enforcement officers and social workers concluded that Satanic Ritual Abuse was nothing more than a cruel hoax, some therapists continue to exploit severely mentally ill patients and convince them that their troubles are the result of the ill deeds they have no memory of (until they've paid the therapist enough, that is), as this exchange from the Stop Mind Control and Ritual Torture Conference demonstrates.

Displaying an assortment of intricately designed knives and other implements, Jeanette Westbrook, a conference speaker from Kentucky, recounts graduating from being a Freemason sex slave to a blackmail agent for the CIA.
My father handed me over to the cult; I was like his gift, Westbrook says. When they realized that I was a gifted split -- split-personality -- the CIA got hold of me for sexual blackmail missions.
Oh, I recognize that, says Julaine, an elderly conference-goer leaning over Westbrook's shoulder and pointing to a wavy steel dagger. That's what we killed the babies with.
We were brainwashed by the cult and made to kill firstborn children, Julaine explains helpfully.
Asked where cult organizers got sacrificial babies she replies blithely, The baby farm.

The results are distressing:

Because ritual abuse has been so widely discredited, Loftus says, accusers like Brick are less of a menace to society. Still, she says most have destroyed their family networks and are perpetuating an unhealthy mental state.
They get together in these groups, reinforce each other, ooze sympathy and empathy, give each other a sense of importance, [Dr. Elizabeth] Loftus [a professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine] says. In the end, they stay unwell and never get help.

Speak of the Devil - Hartford Advocate, 4th September 2003.

September 4, 2003

Cooking utensils?

Egypt: An Egyptian acadmic has announced plans to sue all the Jews of the world for the return of everything they stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless.

If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, [its worth] doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5%. In one ton of gold is 700 kg of pure gold -- and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton. The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758 years, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore, the debt is very largeĀ…

Dr. Nabil Hilmi, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Al-Zaqaziq, assures the Jews that The debt can be rescheduled over 1,000 years, with the addition of the cumulative interest during that period. Dr. Hilmi quotes the Torah as evidence of Jewish ill-deeds - a book which also says that the Jews were being kept against their will as slaves. I wonder how much the reparations for that will be (with interest, of course)? Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for Compensation for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt - (usual caveats apply), 22nd August 2003.

September 3, 2003

Back again

Sorry about the erratic updates. I am now back from Toronto, where one of the major news stories concerned what many Canadians consider to be an excessive mixing of religion and politics: Ontario premier Ernie Eves mentioned that he considered same-sex marriage to be wrong, because of his religion, though he emphasised that that was his personal opinion, adding:

I don't think that I have the right to impose my values on other individuals. That's just a personal belief of mine.

A year ago he told reporters Everybody has their own personal point of view on this issue. My point of view on this issue is that if two people decide they want to be in a union, why would I interfere with that? and mentioning religion as the reason for his shift in opinion seems to have reflected negatively on the Progressive Conservative politician.

Around Toronto, I was surprised by the sheer number of evangelists about town, though most people just smiled sweetly at them and went on their way. I'm not sure how Jews For Jesus thought they would attract any of their target audience on a Saturday afternoon though. Murray Campbell - The Globe and Mail, 27th August 2003; Premier now against same-sex marriage - Toronto Star, 26th August 2003.

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