October 2003 Archives

October 31, 2003

Man murdered over missing member

Gambia: A mob has beaten to death a man they accused of using sorcery to steal a man's penis.

Reports of penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, with purported victims claiming that alleged sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear in order to extort cash in the promise of a cure.
The police spokesman said many men in Serekunda were now afraid to shake hands, and he urged people not to believe reports of "vanishing" genitals. Belief in sorcery is widespread in West Africa.

Penis snatcher beaten to death - Yahoo! News, 31st October 2003.

Happy Birthday

Today is the Prattle's official birthday, and it's 15 today! The first issue came out for Samhuinn 1988.

October 30, 2003

Bargain of the Day: vampire slaying kit

United States: You never know what might sneak up on you this Hallowe'en but one anonymous buyer is safe, though $12,000 poorer. On Thursday, Sotherby's in New York sold an early 20th century vampire killing kit- a walnut box containing a wooden stake, a pistol with 10 silver bullets, a crucifix, a rosary and containers for garlic powder and other useful substances.

A label on the kit says: This box contains the items considered necessary for persons who travel into certain little known countries of Eastern Europe where the populace are plagued with a particular manifestation of evil known as Vampires.

Vampire Killing Kit Sells for $12,000 - Yahoo! News, 30th October 2003.

Warm black pussies.

United States: The Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has dropped its ban on the adoption of black cats during October. The national American SPCA had stopped advising such a ban two years ago after they uncovered no evidence to support suggestions that black cats were under any additional danger in the run-up to Hallowe'en.

I've been checking with people in (the SPCA's) adoption and animal science departments and no, there hasn't been any instance where a witch ... did anything with these black cats, [Deborah] Sindell said.

There's really no evidence.

The executive director of Washington County Humane Society said that he had not seen a single case of adoption leading to torture during his 30 years' experience, and noted that an ill-doer would have a much better supply of animals to be cruel to: Cats are readily available, free on the street. Those are the ones I'm more concerned about.

An anthropology professor questioned the very basis of the urban legend:

Legend says that a cat caught and killed at Halloween was especially powerful for a voodooist, Stevens said, but witches were said to share their powers with cats.

People who were fearful that the black cat was carrying evil - they might be the ones that mistreat the cat, not the witches themselves, Stevens said.

Ban on black cat adoptions at Halloween droppedCapital News Service, 30th October 2003.

October 29, 2003

Unusual guy causes stushie.

The Commission for Racial Equality has called for the prosecution of those responsible for burning effegies of gypsies at a village bonfire party.

Patricia Knight, who was at the bonfire with her seven-year-old daughter, said: A caravan was wheeled down the street which portrayed women and children inside, with 'pikey' written on the back and the image of a scantily-clad woman standing in the door.
I could see other people looking shocked and I could hear shouts of 'racists' directed at the bonfire society and 'shame'.

The bonfire society insist they were misunderstood and were merely highlighting the plight of some travellers who had been evicted from a nearby site recently. Gypsy effigies burnt on bonfire - BBC News, 28th October 2003.

October 28, 2003

Choking on coffee moment.

I cannot find the words to describe this screenshot of an anti-abortion news site found via Pharyngula (who found it via Orcinus).

Le nettoyage ethnique de Hallowe'en

France: A French fast food chain (surely not a very French thing in itself) has put the Auld Alliance at risk by claiming Hallowe'en is Anglo-Saxon. Flunch has replaced the Scottish and Irish festival with their very own invented Celtic New Year.

Gilleron said the Gallic promotion, which features stores decorated with cardboard druids, was in the spirit of French ancestors. The eve of the Celtic New Year was a big event and would be followed by weeks of parties and banquets.

Customers have so far failed to notice. Asterix Spirit Stems Halloween Invasion - Yahoo! News, 28th October 2003.

The Earth does not move!

I owe Ken Macleod a pint or two for pointing me at The non-moving earth & anti-evolution web page... which not only opposes Darwinism, but the evil theories of Copernicus too!

It's the one right under the Creationist's noses, namely, the other Creationist issue against which they continue to stonewall, i.e., the one that involves the question of whether God created a rotating earth that orbits the sun...or whether He created an immovable earth with the sun (not created till the 4th day) going around it...
...For the Creationist leadership to continue not only to turn a blind eye (and a stiff neck ?) toward these indisputable historical truisms, but to compound that dereliction of duty by giving aid and comfort to the heliocentrist granddaddy of all these Bible-basing isms, is a position that is rapidly becoming unacceptable for those in the growing ranks of Creationists who see the folly and hypocrisy of passively accepting further stonewalling against Biblical Geocentrism by the present Creationist leadership.
The time for open confrontation by Holy Spirit led, Truth seeking folks who refuse to be deterred from following the Bible on this issue or any other is approaching the midnight hour. The anti-Copernican Bible Geocentrism issue is the one issue that was perfectly designed by the Perfect Designer (Acts 15:18) to dramatically demonstrate to the churches first (HERE), and then to the world that Biblical Inerrancy and Bible Credibility are not just idle fundamentalist talk!

And who is responsible for all of this? The Jews of course!

This useless g-d that has been pushed on the world by a Theoretical Science Establishment fulfilling a Kabbalic counterfeit of the Bible's creation account, is, at bottom, an anti-intellectual, illogical, and demonstrably ridiculous concept. The destiny of this concept-as prophesied over 1900 years ago-is to have its Satanic origin exposed one hour (Rev. 17:14) after the Talmudic/Kabbalist planners consummate their ancient goal of establishing their version of a Messianic Kingdom, that is to say, a One World Government, under their control, headquartered in Jerusalem (Rev. 11:7,8).
So, having secured their pseudo-scientific evolution-based mythology as the ruling Origins Paradigm in the science textbooks of the world, Kabbalic Judaism is in firm control not only of all Jewish religion, it is just as firmly in control of the most powerful wing of Christian Fundamentalism. More, as noted, through hi-tech Virtual Reality fraud and flim-flamery in space science (HERE - HERE -HERE), all systems are go to put the Bible God out of the Creation business altogether.

Maybe that pint can wait until after I've repaired this keyboard.

Sheep-shagger logic

When some thugs hack off the tails of your horses, who do you blame? Pagans of course. Let's ignore the inconvenient fact that nature-based spirituality tends to atttact tree-hugging vegan hippies in disproportionate numbers. After all, it is nearly Hallowe'en so that must be the reason! HORSE TAILS HACKED IN SUSPECTED CULT RITUAL - Aberdeen Evening Express, 28th October 2003.

Back to the sixties.

United States: A Muslim cleric who wears traditional clothing has started a lawsuit against Greyhound Lines after he was barred from boarding a bus.

Mohammad claims that he purchased a Greyhound ticket on December 13 that was to take him from the Nashville bus station to Jackson. When he attempted to board the bus, however, Mohammad says the driver reacted in a hostile manner and refused to let him board, despite the fact that the bus was only about half full at the time, and Mohammad had a legitimate ticket to board.
I don't want you on this bus, the lawsuit quotes the driver as saying.
...Mohammad also claims that a security guard employed by Greyhound, told him his ticket fare would not be refunded. Mohammad also claims that the security guard held his hand as though he were about to draw [his gun] on [Mohammad] during the conversation.

The bus company faces federal charges of discrimination, and is also accused of offences under the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Bus line sued for service refusal - Nashville City Paper, 27th October 2003.

Sacred sweets.

The demonic St. Matthew has conducted a quick, not-very-scientific poll of some neighbourhood kids to find out what they think Hallowe'en is about. The answers he got mostly concerned sweeties. Then he goes and falls for a spoof while looking for Christian anti-hallowe'en sites to take the mick out of. Fundamentalist Christianity and Halloween! - morons.org, 28th October 2003.

A modest proposal

United States: A mother accused of murdering her children has given a second confession to police in which she says she did it because the family had finiancial problems. The initial statement was much more interesting.

In her first confession to police, [Angela] Camacho said that days before the murders, the children began acting strange and crying a lot.
We felt someone had put some type of spell on our children, she said.
Just as [the father, John Allen] Rubio told police in statements already entered in evidence, Camacho said the children were killed because they appeared to be possessed as the result of witchcraft.
She said the concerned parents rubbed an egg on Julissa and dropped it in a container of water to check for proof of a curse.
The way the egg floated told us something has happened to Julissa, she said.
The practice is common in faith healing when treating a person afflicted with mal ojo, or evil eye."

The defence lawyer noted that she had been a special education student at school. Mother bares other motive in kids' deaths - MySA.com, 28th October 2003.

October 27, 2003

Brazilians spot a good excuse to party.

Brazil: Despite the early influence of Scottish and Irish immigrants (the name 'Brazil' comes from a Gaelic legend), Hallowe'en has never really been marked until recently. A rough translation of an article by Sérgio Augusto includes some information about the Brazilian Hallowe'en and where it comes from (complete with obligatory pseudoceltic nonsense):

Brazilians are natural partiers, but the catholic traditions always kept Brazilians from celebrating the arrival of November with the same happiness enjoyed in Carnival times. Mexican tradition allows for this type of carrying on, since they have made Dia de los Muertos (Finados) their most celebrated holiday. Watching them mix the macabre with a carnival feeling is awe-inspiring. Their Mayan and Aztec roots give way to an incredible comfort level with death, allowing them to enjoy eating foods in the shape of skulls. Every November 2nd, Mexicans creep tourists out by their displays of skeletons and death. In the interior of Mexico, there is still the belief that celebrating the dead will bring rain, better crops and increased fertility, and of course, good luck.
With such tradition, Mexicans should really downplay Halloween, since they also have pranks associated with their Day of the Dead festival, when young adults steal fruit, flowers and corn on the evening of November 1st, honoring all the saints. Witches on broomsticks don't mean anything in Mexico. They didn't mean anything here, either, except in Maranhão, where for some odd reason some celebrate Nossa Senhora da Vassoura, who wipes the bad away with a broom. Well, the rest of Brazil is accepting the traditions of All Hallow's Eve, on the night before November 1st, October 31st.

With extreme Protestant groups making headway among Brazil's poor, there is some opposition, of course. Augusto has a low opinion of them, and their propaganda (the example referred to is a Jack Chick comic).

One group of fascists who are against this party are called the Satanic Panic-ers, who distribute pamphlets and have a comic book called Spellbound. In it, Halloween is described as a satanic ritual where children eat poisonous candies and are kidnapped and sacrificed so that their fat can be used to make the candles that go in the jack-o'-lantern, and so on.
Not even the Celts had devils or deities connected to death in their beliefs. There is no proof that the Celts harmed or killed people other than those who committed crimes and sometimes prisoners of war. Sacrifices, inquisitions and pogroms were, as the Vatican itself shamefully admits, Christian inventions. Another fallacy: the Celts never saw a pumpkin, and they knew that human fat is not a good ingredient to make candles.

Halloween in Brazil - Gringoes.com, 27th October 2003.

Hallowe'en ethnically-cleansed from Moscow schools

Russia: Education authorites have banned the celebration of Hallowe'en in schools because Schools should celebrate holidays according to the basic values of the Russian culture. It seems that authorities are most worried that the festival acknowledges the existence of death, which is apparantly a bad thing to remind children of.

The very fact that Halloween activities contain religious elements (the cult of death, scoffing at death, personification of death and evil spirits, and so on) contradicts the temporal character of education in the state-run educational institutions and produces a destructive effect upon the psychological, moral and spiritual health of students.

There have been a small number of cases of juvenile delinquents using it as an excuse to do things they would have done anyway. Halloween Banned in Russian Schools - Pravda, 27th October 2003.

Bargain of the Day: 3D Prayer in Spaaaaaaaace!

[3D Prayer in Spaaaaaaaace]Just think how wonderful these 3D Lenticular Postcards of Jesus & Prayer would look in those frames you got from IKEA.

Five three-dimensional (lenticular) postcards of Jesus Christ and Prayer. All but one of them have an appropriate Bible verse on the reverse.

All five postcards are 4" x 6" size, unused and in Mint condition. They were probably published in the 1960s or 1970s.

My favourite is 'Prayer in Space'.

A tradition, or an old charter, or something

United States: A notoriously homophobic preacher has been charged with criminal attempt to lure a child into a motor vehicle, and criminal solicitation to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse after he allegedly offered a 14-year-old boy $20 for oral sex.

According to court documents, White approached the teen in a green Ford van and asked if he knew of any strip clubs, adult book stores or shops that sold sexually explicit videos. When then the boy said he did not, White unsuccessfully attempted to lure the boy into the vehicle. White then told the boy he could make some money by letting White perform oral sex on him.

The boy refused, and made a note of the vehicle's registration instead. This is the second similar case recently:

Last week, a Florida preacher was charged with attempting to lure a 15-year-old boy for sex. Police arrested Hewart Lee Bennett of West Palm Beach. He is accused of using a gay Internet chat room to pick up the teen. Bennett who is an assistant youth minister at the First Seventh Day Adventist Church in West Palm Beach says he was using the chat room to talk to young boys and girls about being gay and try to put them on the right path.

Personally, I think attempting to screw the minds of young people is a far worse offence. Anti-Gay Preacher Busted Soliciting 14 Year Old Boy - 365Gay Newscenter, 26th October 2003.

October 26, 2003

Thou shalt... covet thy neighbour's ass

Avedon Carol examines right-wing 'Christians' who are extremely selective about their use of the Bible, and provides a summary of the discussion among Christian bloggers who are baffled that such spin can be placed on Jesus' teachings.

Hoary old chestnut campaigns for vote.

[A black cat today]United States: Dozens of black cats have been condemned to a miserable Hallowe'en thanks to gullible animal lovers who believe they might be sacrificed by Satanists. Rather than being allowed to join loving homes, the moggies will have to stay in their cages at animal shelters.

We are really cautious. This week and next, we will routinely not adopt them out, said Theresa Williams, director of St. Charles County Humane Services. The concern is that people who don't truly want to be pet owners will want a cat as a seasonal prop, or, as has happened in isolated incidents, get a black or white cat to use in ritual abuse.

Despite its definite tone, Williams admitted her statement had no basis in reality, and local animal protection officials said they had not received any complaints. Another 'expert', Nan Stuart, blamed 'dabblers' in Satanism and claimed:

She said, contrary to what some may think, white cats or white German Shepherds are probably most sought for ritual killings at Halloween. You probably won't hear about many of them, she said. I've investigated cases of it.

If she gave any examples of convictions, which would be in the public record, the newspaper chose not to mention them. Instead they observed, just like the Prattle last year (Hoary old chestnut - Prattle, 25th October 2002), the biggest problem is not witches, or even Satanists, but juvenile delinquents. The only remotely hallowe'en-connected cruelty cases have been teenagers torturing and killing animals in highly unritualistic ways.

When asked whether she feared for her life, Frigg (7), Prattle Alley's resident black cat (pictured above), presented her tummy to be tickled, complained about the diet food and asked to be kept indoors while the kids were messing with fireworks. Some shelters protect black cats at Halloween - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 25th October 2003.

New Age authors are from Uranus

Polly Vernon has a look at the massive market in self-help and mind, body and spirit books in today's Observer:

On reaching her flat, she disappeared into the kitchen to make drinks, and he started absentmindedly checking out the contents of her living room, at which point he discovered that her bookshelves were monopolised by upwards of 50 titles from the self-help genre. I'm OK - You're OK. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. The Road Less Travelled. Women Who Love Too Much. Chicken Soup for the Soul. A Course in Miracles. Etcetera. He looked at the books for a millisecond and drew what he insists was the obvious conclusion. He was trapped in the home of a nutter.

Last year, sales of such books generated £38m in the UK alone, and that figure has been steadily increasing, though it includes kook diet books read by those who cannot accept that all they need to do is eat less and be more active. And what of the future - surely this is the best genre to know that?

Alongside the Goddess revival, Danuta Kean predicts a major move towards interest in psychic powers and mediums. Apparently, she says, anything that the Living Channel is endorsing heavily is a very good indicator of forthcoming trends in self-help. The ageing baby-boomers are investing heavily in books that prepare them for old age, to guard against failing mental faculties. And for the younger demographic of readers, teenagers and early twentysomethings, the trend in Wicca persists, fuelled, Kean suspects, by Philip Pullman, Harry Potter, Sabrina, The Teenage Witch and Buffy.

Feel the fear... and read it anyway - The Observer, 26th October 2003.

October 25, 2003

The end which was postponed is nigh again

New Zealand: No-one told Walter Foott about Planet X failing to destroy the world last May (see Annual end-of-the-world post 2003Prattle, 1st January 2003; Planet X - the mundane truthPrattle, 14th May 2003) and so continues to prepare for impending doom.

Mr Foott claimed he and several other members of his group had built fibreglass cocoons and electricity systems on a mountain range in the Waikato province.

The structures were designed to withstand high winds, abrupt temperature changes and meteorite showers, and were sited above potential flood levels.

As evidence, he cites a webcam image taken at by New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences which he says shows an unexplained light, which he explains is Planet X, but which an NZIGNS representative explained was caused by the moon.

Taranaki man ready for the apocalypseThe Daily News, 24th October 2003.


The more beady-eyed of you will have noticed we have a new contributor to this fine organ. Deducing who 'Charlie' might be is left as a (rather simple) exercise for the reader.

Go to hell: the survey

United States: The Barna Research Group in Oxnard, southern California, conducted a poll into American beliefs in the afterlife. Around 100 people were interviewed for the poll which asked opinions in every American state apart from Hawaii and Alaska. The results?

71% of Americans believe in hell, but only 0.5% think they're going to end up there.

Actually, only 5% of Americans don't hold some sort of superstitious belief in an afterlife, but let's not exaggerate the hell business: 39% of those surveyed see hell as a state of eternal separation from God's presence, and another 13% see hell as some kind of unwanted bad outcome after death, leaving only a 32% minority who believe in a hellfire-and-brimstone-is-literally-true place of suffering where Bad People go after they die.

Mind you, 76% of Americans believe in heaven; 30% see it as an actual place of rest and reward and 46% see it as an eternal place of existence in God's presence.

Oh, and 64% believe that they are on the way to heaven after death.

These guys have got nuclear weapons. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Everyone else can go to hell, Americans say - The Guardian, 25th October, 2003.

(Read LiveJournal commentry on this item)

October 24, 2003

Nature's Bounty

United States: Stuck for raw materials for your Jesus O'Lantern? Residents of Tahuya, WA, have no such problem as early floods brought an unexpected gift - pumkins floating down the Skokomish river. Pumpkins Found Floating Along Rivers - Yahoo! News, 24th October 2003.

Take that!

God clearly doesn't approve of Mel Gibson's latest film The Passion of the Christ, and has demonstrated His opprobium in the traditional manner - Jim Caviezel, the actor playing Jesus, has been hit by lightning twice during filming.

Describing the second lightning strike, McEveety told VLife, a supplement of the trade paper Variety: I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears.

Jesus actor struck by lightning - BBC News, 23rd October 2003.

Jesus O'Lantern

Make the scariest pumpkin on your street by following these simple instructions for a Jesus O'Lantern.

October 23, 2003

Dinkity dink.

I probably have something more important to do, so I've spent the day messing with the Prattle. Most obvious is the list of extracts from the five most recent comments in the sidebar. Also, as I hate both cookies and JavaScript pop-ups, I think I've successfully stopped imposing them on people. If you used the 'remember me' cookie on this site, you might as well delete it because it doesn't do anything any more. Your browser should have the same functionality anyway. Hopefully, and I haven't tested it yet, the individual entry archive (what you get when you click on the timestamp/permalink) should list trackbacks as well.

Virgin on the ridiculous

United States: Optimists in a run-down area of New Jersey are flocking to a tree stump in which a simulacrum of the Virgin Mary has appeared. They take it a sign of something generically positive for the future.

The piece of wood, whose shape believers say resembles a veiled Virgin Mary with a bowed head, was noticed by passers-by over the weekend on state-owned land alongside a street that residents say is a hangout for illegal drug users.
Since then, a steady stream of visitors have left candles, flowers and handwritten notes and prayers at the site. It has her form, definitely, said Jackie Cohrs. It looks like her.

Virgin Mary appears in New Jersey tree - Yahoo! News, 22nd October 2003.

Space aliens ate my brain

United States: Dozens of people called the police to report a UFO after they saw flashing lights in the sky over North Carolina. Local astronomers have had to reassure people that what they saw was the Orionoid meteor shower, an annual event which will continue for the next few days. Durham Sighting Meteor Shower, Not UFO - NBC17, 22nd October 2003.

Bargain of the Day (2): Black magic protection

Be warned! Black magic is rife in the Hindu world and evil spells are easy to cast but hard to remove:

Putting a Black magic spell on someone is very easy for those knowing even a little bit of Tantrik siddhis/ voodoo. But to remove the spell and eliminate it's sinister effects needs lot of expertise, continuous & rigorous puja/worship and a combination Siddhis & Sadhna.

But why bother with such a tedious process after some magickal script kiddie has hosed your life? Instead, why not buy a 'Raksha Kavach' for Protection & Cure of Black Magic from godpromise.com?

'Raksha Kavach' is the most powerful Talisman for protection and cure of Black magic. 'Raksha Kavach' eradicates all ill-effects of Black magic, Evil spells, Curses, Ghosts and Spirits. It cures one of evil effects of past attacks and protects one from all future attacks.

The effect of 'Raksha Kavach' never gets reduced. It's protection is life-long, and lasts for as long as it is worn. The moment it is worn, the negative effects start receding and it's protection starts, freeing the wearer from all evil influences which can ruin & destroy one's present and future life.

'Raksha Kavach' is blessed with so much extraordinary energy and power that it can guard and protect an individual against the strongest super-natural forces, negative powers and reverse/break any kind of spell.

The wearer of 'Raksha Kavach' always remains immune from any Black magic attacks.

Not effective against spells for the separation of fools and their money. Does not cure inability to use apostrophes.

Bargain of the Day: rare occult book collection

A huge collection of occult books goes under the hammer at Sotheby's next month. The collection bolonged to artist Robert Lenkiewicz and includes many rarities such as a first edition Malleus Maleficarum.

It includes a 17th century spotter's guide to witches and demons, by Joseph Glanvill. His Saducismus Triumphatus was a desperate attempt to convince sceptics that ghosts and demons were all too real, and included the first-hand evidence of one Elizabeth Styles that the devil had appeared to her in the shape of a handsome Man and after of a black Dog. Then he promised her money, and that she should live gallantly, and have the pleasure of the world for 12 years, if she would with her blood sign his paper ...

Sotheby's to sell rare occult book collection - The Guardian, 23rd October 2003; witchcraft and the occult: selected books from the collection of the late robert lenkiewicz - sale catalogue on Sotheby's web site.

October 22, 2003

Nine days to go...

United States: ...and the loony fundies are complaining about Hallowe'en.

Halloween is a holiday with dark occultic origins, which many people do not realize. Some members in the church will go trick-or-treating, but Sheahan said he recommends those children wear positive-themed outfits, possibly going as Bible characters.
I would not want children dressing in costumes like witches, when witchcraft is actually practiced today right here in Marshfield, and it's a growing danger, Sheahan said. We need to be light in the darkness, not mimicking the darkness.

The Pagan Prattle recommends The Revelation of St. John as a useful source of costume inspiration... Alternatively, a cheap and easy option would be to go as Adam or Eve, prior to the fruit incident. Halloween traditions upset some churches - Marshfield News Herald, 22nd October 2003.

October 21, 2003

Satan's friend nicked my willie!

Sudan: MEMRI's latest Special Dispatch (usual caveats apply) concerns a penis-snatching panic in Khartoum in September. Various press articles discussed a foreigner, usually West African, draining men's virility via a handshake.

Two of the victims agreed to tell their story to the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi. One of them, fabric merchant S. K. A., said that a man from a West African tribe came into his shop to buy fabric, but an argument quickly developed between the two. Then the West African shook the store owner's hand powerfully until the owner felt his penis melt into his body. The store owner became hysterical, and was taken to the hospital.
While the majority of accounts involved handshaking, another victim, who refused to give his name, said that while he was at the market, a man approached him, gave him a comb, and asked him to comb his hair. When he did so, within seconds, he said, he felt a strange sensation and discovered that he had lost his penis. It was also claimed that once 'Satan's Friend' drains a man's virility, he demands that his victim pay him over four million Sudanese pounds (about $3,000) to get it back.

The police and press, on the whole, appear to have been rather sceptical of the whole thing but one journalist concluded That man, who, as it is claimed, is from West Africa, is an imperialist Zionist agent that was sent to prevent our people from procreating and multiplyingÂ…. Panic in Khartoum: Foreigners Shake Hands, Make Penises Disappear - MEMRI, 22nd October 2003.

Green candles are your friends

Norway: A witch has received a business grant worth £5000 to enable her to develop a trade visiting clients in their homes and selling creams and potions.

Skarning said has always been a witch, but needed seed money for her business to take root. She attended a seminar on entrepreneurship and then applied for the grant.
Ove Gahren of the SND insisted the agency wasn't under a spell when it gave her the money.
He said money was awarded for applications that were exceptional, very innovative, and very importantly, offered a new service or created a job.

Witch wins government grant to mix magic potions - Ananova, 21st October 2003.

Bargain of the Day: Miracle snotrag

Cure colds by blowing your nose on this Miracle Prayer Cloth:







October 19, 2003

The president's soul is missing

Thailand: Angry farmers have performed a traditional curse on George W. Bush.

A photograph of the US leader was sealed inside a pot amid black magic mantra chants, then tossed into the Ping River yesterday by demonstrators after they rallied at the US consulate in Chiang Mai, a farm group leader said.
This is a traditional northern Thai ceremony aimed at keeping his spirit down on the riverbed so he could not come and exploit our natural resources or suppress our (farming) brothers with his superior influence, Weerasak Wan-ubol, an executive of the Northern Farmers Alliance, said today.

Bush's 'spirit' cursed, tossed into Thai river - Sydney Morning Herald, 18th October 2003.

The Gospel according to Pat.

Counterpunch lists some Pat Robertson quotes. His famous comment about feminism (a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians) is well-known, but this one has, surprisingly, escaped my attention until now:

How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?

Which leaves me wondering how these homosexuals manage to have sex if they're all 'on top'. The Reverend of DoomCounterpunch, 18th/19th October 2003.

Slow news day

Tanzania: There mustn't be much going on at the moment, as the Sunday Observer has had to go out and ask a few people what they think of astrology to fill space. Having already dismissed those who think it superstious as extremists, Patrick Kisembo seeks out some more reasonable views:

Hashim Madege of Kunduchi-Mtongani doubted whether astrology was acceptable in religious circles. In his view, astrology was a form of devil worship.

He also noted that the problem is that the practice is much carried in towns and cities but not in the villages.

He said the practice was bad because it killed the creative spirit of the believers, who surrendered their whole lives to stars.

But what do the astrologers think?

A popular astrologer, Sheikh Yahya Hussein, was reluctant to comment much on the subject when contacted by this reporter, arguing that it was an old debate dating back to the 1960s.

On why predictions differed from one astrology to another, he said that Those (other astrologers) are small kids with whom it was beneath his integrity to enter into an argument.

Astrology is controversialSunday Observer, 19th October 2003.

Baseball news

United States: The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is about as likely as Hibernian winning the Scottish Cup—it's a tradition or an old charter or something—and it's no surprise that some fans think their team is cursed. It also makes the actions of a Nicaraguan Florida Marlins fan rather pointless:

Your team lost because THE MARLINS PLAYED BETTER, OK? It's NOT because of some curse. The supernatural had nothing to do with it! Unless you count a Miami woman I know named Tina, who's from Nicaragua, and who revealed, after the Marlins beat the Cubs, that during the crucial eighth inning of Game 6 she performed a type of witchcraft called brujería. But that did not violate any National League rule.

THE WORLD SERIES: It's the Marlins against the world - Ledger-Enquirer, 19th October 2003.

Highlighting Indian witch-hunting

A New Zealand woman and her husband are to make a film about witch-hunting in India. In an interview with the Sunday Star Times, Geethanjali Kurian talks about her own unusual background as the child of a Hindu/Catholic couple, and the incidents which inspired the film.

Each year, an estimated 200 women are killed as witches in rural India. They are hacked, hung or burned to death. Their families don't escape either; children's heads are smashed on rocks, husbands are beaten to death. Other women escape death, but have their breasts chopped off, are forced to eat human excrement, or are banished from their homes.
When Simon Kurian stumbled across evidence of such witch hunting 10 years ago, he couldn't have guessed that one day he'd end up making a feature film about the horror that punctuates daily life in tribal India. A documentary maker of 17 years, he was so appalled he decided to give up the objectivity of documentary; he enlisted his wife Geethanjali (Anji) to transform the experience into a film script that would go beyond the bald facts and create a human story.

She also discusses the politics behind the attacks:

Sometimes it is because property is passed on to a woman, and the only way for a male relative to get his hands on it is to get her out of the way. Sometimes it is because the woman has rejected a man's advances. Sometimes it is for political reasons. In recent years Indian and international bodies have tried to change the attitudes that allow this to continue, but ignorance, illiteracy and inflexible tradition have meant there has been little progress.

On the trail of the witch hunters - Sunday Star Times, 19th October 2003.

Christmas is not religious - official

The Department of Trade and Industry plans to ban all large stores from opening on Chirstmas Day, and insists the move is not religious in intent. Ostensibly to protect workers, and allow them at least one day a year with their families, a DTI representative paid lip service to the truth that there are very few Christian nuclear families in the UK today:

There is a diversity of religious groups in this country. But Christmas Day is a major part of the UK's holiday culture, he added.

And just to reassure us,

Employment Relations Minister Alan Johnson said then: Regulation will ensure that the special nature of Christmas Day is preserved and that shop workers in large stores are protected from being forced to work.

The legislation will affect any retail outlet more than 3000 sq. ft. in size which, if that's as small as I think it is*, would force at least two supermarkets I know of in Bradford, and one in Golders Green to observe the festivals of a religion followed by neither the owners, the staff nor the bulk of their customers. Perhaps, to be fair, for perfectly non-religious reasons, and for the sake of the workers, other shops should be forced to close for Eid-al-Fitr, Yom Kippur, Diwali, Chinese New Year, the Birthday of Guru Nanak, Ridvan, Kwaanza, Hogmanay and Hallowe'en. Plan to ban Christmas Day opening, BBC News, 19th October 2003.

* Sorry, I'm crap with Imperial measures (except 568ml, which I know intimately), but this useful site tells me it's 270 sq. m., which is pretty small.

October 18, 2003

Happy Birthday Charlie

Charlie is prone to saying things like this:

It's a good thing I'm an atheist. If I believed in the same God as -- say -- Pat Robertson, I'd have to donate my soul to Satan with no strings attached. [rec.arts.sf.written, 29th June 1999]

But what if he already has? According to Believer's Web, escapism through thrill- seeking ,science fiction, soap operas, or some other addicting hobby/activity is an open door to demon oppression. Alas, they go into no further detail than this. Looking elsewhere, Millennium Madness by E. L. Bynum, a Baptist perspective on Heaven's Gate, warns us Science Fiction Is Dangerous:

I have read some science fiction, and I have watched a little of the science fiction movies that have been on television. I believe that the Lord impressed upon me that this is Satanic. I refuse to read it, or watch it. I heard a conservative movie critic on radio, telling about the movie, Return of the Jedi. He thought the Star Wars movies were great, along with some of the other science fiction movies. He thought they were fine for children. He is an interesting man, but he is an unsaved Jew. I would warn parents to keep this stuff out of your home, and out of the minds of your children. Many, if not all, of the "Heaven's Gate" cult were believers in UFO's, flying saucers, etc. According to Newsweek, they loved the Star Trek movies. On March 3, just a few days before the mass suicide, the cult members went to see "Star Wars." Later they watched the sequels.

But it's still short on the details. Then Great God Ministries came to the rescue with an article Will Aliens Invade the Earth? In it we learn that Satan is trying to convince people that extraterrestrial life exists and is conspiring to destroy mankind and takeover the earth:

Our children are also being subjected to mind-conditioning from an early age. Cartoons, which used to emphasize merely competition and violence in a "friendly" way, have now given way to an almost constant barrage of space invaders. Computer and video games are filled with the same violent extraterrestrials, as are comic books. Children, fascinated with science fiction and futurism, are a ready and willing audience and a high-profit target for purveyors of such satanic mind-conditioning. Parents beware!

And why would Satan do this?

Jesus Christ, the Messiah, with His armies (Revelation 19:11-16) will be seen as an alien force come to destroy the earth and its inhabitants. The nations of the earth, having planned to fight each other, will unite to oppose Christ and His heavenly host, the true inhabitants and possessors of the heavens and the earth.

So there we have it. The Fundies have spoken—Charlie, you're doomed, unless you join their protection racket.

October 17, 2003

Kill Old Nick

Did you know Quentin Taratino's new film Kill Bill is Satanic fetishism dressed up as courageous, inventive entertainment? That's the view of Henry Makow at Conspiracy Planet, who finds much deeper symbolism in what other people might thing is just cold-blooded, gratuitous violence:

Despite the truce, the Black lady has a gun hidden in a cereal box but she misses. Uma then delivers a large carving knife to the Black woman's heart. The child appears but is totally impassive at the sight of her dead mother. She doesn't scream or run away; she acts as if someone had killed a fly...
A narrator, sounding like an oriental sage says something like: In the martial arts you cannot afford any compassion or morality. To accomplish revenge, you must be prepared to prepare to kill God Himself, or the Buddha.
Can they be any more in-your-face? This is the Devil telling us we can have whatever we want, and nothing can get in our way, especially not God. Just so long as our stupidity is accompanied by pretension and style.
This sick, shocking movie causes psychological damage. It portrays the disgusting and repulsive as normal and natural. It is a vicious parody of our vision of happiness and the good life. It makes a mockery of healthy and genuine values.
Kill Bill brutalizes and degrades. How much longer will Americans tolerate this Satanic indoctrination?

Kill Bill: Tarantino's Satanic Indoctrination - Conspiracy Planet, 17th October 2003.

October 16, 2003

New discoveries at Stonehenge

Two carvings of axe heads have been found on stones at Stonehenge using a new laser scanning technique.

Both found on one stone, the axes, which date back to 1,800 BC, are badly eroded and can't be seen with the naked eye. But by sweeping low-powered laser beams at the stones and analysing the data closely, a picture emerged.
The first newly-discovered carving is about 15 cm square and may possibly be two axes, one on top of the other, while the other is about 10 cm by eight.
Only a small part of three of the sarsen stones were scanned by the team and they believe that a full scan of the surviving 83 stones would reveal more ancient carvings.

STONEHENGE SENSATION - SCANNING REVEALS AXE CARVINGS - 24 Hour Museum News, 16th October 2003; Archaeoptics web site (much more information).

Beware the clean-cut young man in a suit.

A man accused of persistently harassing a vicar has told the court that he is a reincarnated vampire who drinks blood because I read in the Bible that blood is the life.

He told the court: I am not a Satanist. I identify myself with Jesus Christ because he was put on trial because he was different to anyone else.
I have been interested in blood drinking - I believe in psychic vampirism.

Self-styled vampire 'drank blood' - BBC News, 14th October 2003.

'Satanist' attack liar dies.

New Zealand: A 39-year-old detective found dead in a parked car near the Bay of Plenty had an interesting past. Seven years ago, he faked an attack by Satanists which destroyed his home.

The Garner home in Oak Cres, Ashhurst, exploded in flames about 4am. Garner, bleeding from criss-cross slashes over his back and bound hand and foot, was found lying in the back yard...
Garner had inflicted the wounds to his back with a scalpel blade held in a stick, which had been destroyed in the house fire.
Police said the elaborate, bizarre and truly extraordinary set of events had arisen because Garner wanted to get the insurance money from the house, leave his wife and two small children, and move in with a civilian police worker.

He claimed that his biggest mistake had been underestimating the abilities of his own profession. Satanist 'attack' detective found dead - Manawatu Evening Standard, 16th October 2003.

Tampon angel ornaments

An ordinary tampon is transformed into a glittering angel with the aid of Suney's Tampon angel pattern - You would never know she belonged anywhere other than your tree!!!! People have to look long and hard to figure out where that little darlin really is from!!! (via Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Imaginary friend no help

United States: Extensive research into the power of prayer has concluded that it makes no difference whatsoever.

Doctors in the United States will today disclose that heart patients who were prayed for by groups of strangers recovered from surgery at the same rate as those who were not.
The three-year study, led by cardiologists from Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, involved 750 patients in nine hospitals and 12 prayer groups around the world, from Christians in Manchester to Buddhists in Nepal...
Names selected at random by a computer were sent to the 12 prayer groups, who began praying immediately for their recovery. Neither the hospital staff nor the patients and their relatives knew who was being prayed for.

The Bishop of Durham is unamused:

He said both the Old and New Testaments said very clearly that you must not put God to the test.

Funnily enough, he doesn't appear to have commented on earlier research done by the same people, which suggested that third-party prayer was helpful. Power of prayer found wanting in hospital trial - Daily Telegraph, 15th October 2003.

Digital photography is the work of the Devil

Canada: A Christian fundamentalist farmer has gone to court to argue that he should be exempt from having a digital photograph on his driving licence because the technology will allow central control over people's behaviour, which the Bible warns us against. George Bothwell shares many people's concerns over the use of biometric data, but it's not just privacy he's worried about:

Bothwell believes that biometrics - the use of physical identifiers such as fingerprints, retina scans and face recognition - is specifically cited in the book of Revelations as the work of agents of the devil.
He believes that anyone who allows their image to be archived by an outside agency bears the mark of the beast and will drink the wine of the wrath of God as a result.

Bothwell apparently does not know about scanners, as his concern does not extend to conventional photography--his old driving licence includes such an image. Government doing devil's work, says Ontario farmer who fears licence photo - Canadian Press, 15th October 2003.

Religious schools and intolerance.

In a recent Guardian editorial, Francis Beckett calls for the abolition of faith schools because they breed only intolerance and isolation.

At the orthodox Jewish school near my home, the playground jokes are often racist ones, mostly about Arab Muslims. At the Catholic school where I was educated, we were especially contemptuous of the Church of England, whose minions, we were taught, had tortured and executed our martyrs under Elizabeth I. We were not taught that, during the previous reign, our priests had done the torturing.

He contrasts this with the education his daughter is getting:

The better alternative is the comprehensive school my daughter attends, whose intake reflects the rich cultural mix of north London. She might find herself sitting beside a Muslim in one lesson, a Sikh in the next, a Catholic in the next. She will grow up understanding and respecting all faiths - except, perhaps, one. Though orthodox Jews form a strong faith community where I live, none of them are at my daughter's school. They are segregated in the faith school down the road, where they mix only with other orthodox Jews.

Teaching tolerance - The Guardian, 14th October 2003.

October 15, 2003

LJ feed improved

Those of you reading the Prattle via LiveJournal will have noticed, firstly, a sudden burst of 15 repeated entries, then that they look better. I changed the RSS 2.0 template to a better-behaved one from Brad Choate. The spurt of repeat entries was caused by the rebuild. Sorry.

Hallowe'en banned in Wrexham

Wrexham Council has banned hallowe'en displays in libraries, and prohibited hallowe'en related activities in schools after what looks like an orchestrated campaign. The council says it has received a number of complaints but insists they only banned the ancient festival because it doesn't relate to any mainstream faith. Christians who mark All Souls' and All Saints' Day will be surprised. Halloween on the shelf - BBC News, 15th October 2003.

Pray with electrons you already have around the house

Tibetan Buddhists now have the exciting opportunity to pray using just their home computer.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, has said that having the mantra on your computer works the same as a traditional Mani wheel. As the digital image spins around on your hard drive, it sends the peaceful prayer of compassion to all directions and purifies the area.

The Digital Prayer Wheel page gives a number of ways of doing this. Firstly, using the disk drive itself:

To set your very own prayer wheel in motion, all you have to do is download this mantra to your computer's hard disk. Once downloaded, your hard disk drive will spin the mantra for you. Nowadays hard disk drives spin their disks somewhere between 3600 and 7200 revolutions per minute, with a typical rate of 5400 rpm. Given those rotation speeds, you'll soon be purifying loads of negative karma.

Alternatively, you can an animated GIF of a prayer wheel, a Java applet or a Javascript scrolling banner reading OM MANI PADME HUNG on your web site. Thirdly, you can download a screensaver--they have them for MacOS, Windows and DOS. (via Grouse.)

More on Jomanda

The Netherlands: Jomanda, the Dutch witch mentioned by Dick Advocaat has her own website, including a biography in English.

At home and abroad Jomanda has meanwhile successfully familiarized people with her method of working during the Healing Service sessions. The cause of disease or ailment may be traced through the medium of Jomanda. Her deceased father is her guide and the intermediary as well for so-called spiritual doctors who can use her as a channel/medium to cure diseases of the body and the mind. Everyone can and may receive the help from the Divine world that is possible for him or her at that moment. But there is always help for everyone who sincerely asks for it and exacts nothing. This can be done by means of Jomanda's hands, voice or entire physical radiation. Healing also take place by means of so-called spiritual operations; directly during the sessions or indirectly e.g. at home and her radio and/or TV programs.

She also publishes a full-colour, 36-page magazine Vrijheid (Freedom) which promises From the medical to alternatives, regular columns from familiar names and the less well-known (my translation -YMMV). Four issues will cost you a mere €22, but she hasn't got online ordering sussed yet, and you need to print out a form and send it to her!

It's only a game.

Ghana: Witchcraft has a strong presence in Ghanain football, according to a former head coach of Okwawu United, who provides lots of in-depth information about local beliefs:

Their powers range from washing the Football Jerseys in spiritual waters and offering prayers to the gods. They produce special concoctions for the players to sprinkle on themselves and to be used on the field of play. They produce powders that on the blast of the first whistle from the Referee are ceremoniously thrown into the air by a player or one of the coaches or official of the club. Objects are provided for the Goalkeeper to place within his defending goal and more noticeable the players are given handkerchiefs which are normally placed around the wrist of every player.

As an example, he described the various superstitions observed by the teams in the recent LG Top Four tournament, involving Ghana's top teams.

Accra Hearts of Oak in their home game against Kumasi Asante Kotoko spent no less than one hour prior to the kick-off in full view of waiting spectators performing a variety of rituals. Concoctions and powder along with other items were disposed of on the field of play. Incessant chanting by the players at the half-way line and every corner flag of the field as well as within the goal post were all designed to ensure victory. The game after 90 minutes actually ended goal less!

As a coach, he's rather fed up with this complete lack of faith in his abilities. Is there football after Juju? The Ghanaian experience. - GhanaWeb, 15th October 2003.

October 14, 2003

The Gospel according to Homer

A Scottish minister is so desperate for congregants that he is basing a series of sermons on episodes of The Simpsons:

Religious leaders believe the adventures of balding family man Homer, whose catchphrase is doh, are a great way to explore moral and religious dilemmas.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: This seems like a wonderful idea.

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD, AND THE WORD WAS DOH! - Daily Record, 14th October 2003.

Keep off the grass

The Netherlands: Dutch football manager Dick Advocaat has joked that it was witchcraft that brought his team a match against Scotland in the Euro 2004 qualifiers, saying Jomanda must have been touching the balls.

White witch Jomanda is a household name in Holland and more famous there than spoon bender Uri Geller is in Britain.
She regularly hosts group healings on radio and TV and claims to receive her mystical powers from her dead father.
The 55-year-old former ballet dancer took up her healing vocation at the age of 21 after being told by another clairvoyant that she had amazing powers.
Jomanda also claims she can cure viewers at home over the TV.

But Advocaat might end up with egg on his face. After all, his once mighty team are reduced to fighting for qualification in the play-offs. SON OF A WITCH, - Daily Record, 14th October 2003.

The devils in people's arses

Roz Kaveney has penned a huge rant about Christianity and homosexuality, which goes via Japan, India, Greece and Rome before arriving here and now:

If the Anglican church suppresses the idea of gay clergy, after an immense struggle, will a single starving child be saved? A single soldier disarmed? A single rich man persuaded to renounce obscene wealth?

Sim-ply Spellbinding

The fundies are sure going to love the latest expansion pack for The Sims - Makin' Magic allows your Sims to harness the supernatural, casting spells with playful or mischievous intentions.

New gameplay includes making, gathering, and questing for ingredients to brew magic spell recipes. Get help around the house from magical minions, turn pesky neighbors into toads, or make that hard-to-get Sim fall in love with you. But watch out, spells can backfire if you're not careful. Either way, the neighborhood will never be the same.

Now all I have to do is wait several æons until Aspyr gets round to thinking about porting it to the Mac.

October 13, 2003

Man murdered over 'stolen' penis

Gambia: A 28-year-old man has been beaten to death after allegations that he used magic to steal another man's penis. Such allegations are common--seven Gambian men were murdered as a result in 1997.

Reports of penis snatching are not uncommon in West Africa, with purported victims claiming that alleged sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear in order to extort cash in the promise of a cure.
The police spokesman said many men in Serekunda were now afraid to shake hands, and he urged people not to believe reports of vanishing genitals. Belief in sorcery is widespread in West Africa.

Suspected penis snatcher beaten to death - Yahoo! News, 10th October 2003.


The Observer discovers that the campaign against gay priests in the Anglican church is being bankrolled by rich American fundies. US millionaire bankrolls crusade against gay Anglican priests - The Observer, 12th October 2003.

Evolution in action

Texas, United States: A group of high school students who stopped to pray on a highway before going on a cross country-run were hit by a car, killing one of them and injuring three others. The driver of the vehicle was not charged. Car strikes praying high school runners, killing 1 - CNN, 12th October 2003.

October 10, 2003

Rock experts baffled

Some newly-discovered Northumbrian rock art is baffling experts as it bears little resemblance to the cup-and-ring marks the area is famous for.

The carvings were found hewn into one, isolated sandstone boulder near Wooler in north Northumberland, close to the Scottish border.
As well as a group of concave spherical shapes around 20 cm in diameter, the carvings include a shape resembling an adult footprint, several deep scores and another shaped like a heart.

Even Stan Beckensall is stumped. ARCHAEOLOGISTS BAFFLED BY MYSTERIOUS ROCK CARVINGS IN NORTH EAST - 24 Hour Museum News, 9th October 2003.

October 7, 2003

God created evolution.

DMD Publishing Co. is the home of Glenn R. Morton, a Christian petroleum geologist who nearly lost his faith completely after years of involvement with young-earth creationism, flood geology and other religiously-inspired pseudoscence.

In order to get closer to the data and know it better, with the hope of finding a solution, I changed subdivisions of my work in 1980. I left seismic processing and went into seismic interpretation where I would have to deal with more geologic data. My horror at what I was seeing only increased. There was a major problem; the data I was seeing at work, was not agreeing with what I had been taught as a Christian. Doubts about what I was writing and teaching began to grow. Unfortunately, my fellow young earth creationists were not willing to listen to the problems. No one could give me a model which allowed me to unite into one cloth what I believed on Sunday and what I was forced to believe by the data Monday through Friday. I was living the life of a double-minded man--believing two things.
By 1986, the growing doubts about the ability of the widely accepted creationist viewpoints to explain the geologic data led to a nearly 10 year withdrawal from publication. My last young-earth paper was entitled Geologic Challenges to a Young-earth, which I presented as the first paper in the First International Conference on Creationism. It was not well received. Young-earth creationists don't like being told they are wrong. The reaction to the pictures, seismic data, the logic disgusted me. They were more interested in what I sounded like than in the data!

Rather than dealing with the problems thrown up by the data, Creationists resorted to name calling; 'like your father, Satan' (Carl R. Froede--I am proud to have this one because Jesus was once said to have been of satan also.). There's lots of interesting stuff to read here, though some of his attempts to reconcile the data with Genesis smacks of special pleading. (via Ken MacLeod).

God's todger

South Africa: The wife of a Dutch Reformed preacher is convinced that the tower leading to her church's entrance is a male sexual organ which is making love to the goddess of the sky.

She wrote a letter to the congregation talking about her vision in which the tower, a structure about 8m high, was unmistakably the sign of the Freemasons and also resembled the image of the sun god of Babel.
According to the church's caretaker, Lukas Marais, the elders of the congregation will now have to decide whether to destroy the tower. It would cost R100 000 [£8676/€12400] to do the work.

Other members of the church were of the opinion that there were more important matters at hand, like poverty and hunger. Preacher's wife causes a stir with vision about phallic symbol - The Mercury, 6th October, 2003 (via Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

How to boost your popularity.

Rune Henning Johansen demonstrates an egregious example of the Church of Scientology playing with Photoshop to make an event look busier than it was. Here's another example of how not to use the clone tool.

'Satanist' killer not sane.

United States: A teenager accused of murdering a former mayor, which had been connected to Satanism, has been found incapable of standing trial and committed to a state hospital. He has a history of mental illness and, should he ever return to a condition where he can understand the charges against him and the proceedings, the case will continue. In that circumstance, his defense attorney plans to demonstrate that his client was insane at the time of the killing. Teen murder suspect incompetent - Denver Post, 7th October 2003.

Gay Sex Protection Week

United States: George W. Bush has declared Marriage Protection Week on behalf of insecure married people everywhere, but in a beautiful example of the separation of church and state, it only refers to the Christian model of marriage. Muslims and Mormons, for example, can piss off.

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage by helping couples build successful marriages and be good parents.

In response, Nick of morons.org has declared Gay Sex Protection Week:

Gay sex Is a Sacred Institution, and Its Protection Is Essential to the continued strength of our society. Gay Sex Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of gay sex and on engaging in hot and wet gay sex in America.
We must support the institution of gay sex and help gays have multiple orgasms. And we must continue our work to create a compassionate, welcoming society, where all people are treated with dignity and respect (unless they're not into that).
During Gay Sex Protection Week, I call on all Americans to join me in expressing support for the institution of gay sex with all its benefits to our porno, our culture, and our society.

But play safe now, and remember to use condoms, dams and other appropriate forms of protection.

October 3, 2003

Burn, baby, burn.

United States: A woman described as a good Christian has been sentenced to five years and two months in prison for causing second degree burns to her daughter. Lasundra A. Harley placed the six-year-old's hand on a lit stove to demonstrate the fires of Hell. Defence lawyers tried to argue that Harley was an honourable and upstanding woman, but the Florida court heard she had a history of abusing her children.

According to Harley's arrest report, the child was scarred from previous beatings with a belt. During Harley's trial, Swett argued that the girl had burned herself accidentally, but the girl told jurors her mother put her hand on the stove.

Her three children are now in care. Woman gets five years for burning daughter - The News Press, 3rd October 2003 (via Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

October 2, 2003

Fundie spotting

Disinfopedia is:

a collaborative project to produce a directory of public relations firms, think tanks, industry-funded organizations and industry-friendly experts that work to influence public opinion and public policy on behalf of corporations, governments and special interests.

Its remit includes religious organisations, often ones pretending to be something else. See the entry on the American Family Association for an example of its contents. (Thanks to Ian Gregory.)


United States: Some Roman Catholics are upset at a statue of a Catholic clergyman, because the traditional mitre on his head looks a bit like a penis. The sculptor was brought up Catholic, and the statue depicts what he imagined was on the other side of the confessional when he was a small boy:

The artist says, I was brought up Catholic. I remember being 7 and going into the dark confessional booth for the first time. I knelt down, and my face was only inches from the thin screen that separated me and the one who had the power to condemn me for my evil ways. I was scared to death, for on the other side of that screen was the person you see before you.

Which is apparently Catholic-bashing at its worst. Clergy statue stirs up campus - The Lawrence Journal-World, 2nd October 2003.

Bloody kids

Serbia: The desecration of a Catholic cemetary, which police initially blamed on a Satanic cult, has turned out to be the work of drunken teeneagers.

The two suspects, a boy and a girl from the local school, destroyed some 80 headstones in the cemetery while under the influence of a large quantity of alcohol, said Novi Sad police chief Bosko Arsenijevic. He ruled out any political or religious motives.

Youths confess to cemetery desecration - B92, 2nd October 2003.

Quote of the Day

This is from a Christian review of a single (probably New Age) book, at the far fringes of the Green movement:

Greens hate progress if it means a better life for everyone on Earth. The Greens worship Gaia, the pagan Earth goddess, not the universal God of mankind.

On the basis of this, it's presumably okay to assert that all Christians are barking mad lunatics, and not just the barking mad lunatic ones. The Green Enemies of Progress - CNS News, 2nd October 2003.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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