December 2003 Archives

December 31, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Bible on a heart

This Bible & Candle display on a Heart is just the thing to impress your true love (after Jesus, of course):

This is a beautiful and unique gift, would be great for Valentine's Day. Antique style reading glasses makes this arrangement even more attractive. Pearl boarder and lace give it that added touch of elegance. Perfect condition, candle has never been lit.

Using Intelligence Instead of Arrogance

Iraq: The US has a lot to learn in the way it allows its officers to conduct business with the citizens of Iraq. The officers arrogance has done much to antagonize the people. Fortunately, there is one beacon of light, Lt Col Alan King is a man who is not only prepared to sit and listen, but does his homework beforehand.

Saving Iraq From Islam

Iraq: First they came under US gun fire, now the locals in Baghdad are under an US-led attack of a different kind. Batten down the hatches, the fundies are about to hit town.

December 30, 2003

Saskatoon accused win case

Canada: Twelve people who were accused of ritually abusing children in the late eighties have won a civil suit against three of the people responsible. The judge agreed that they were the victims of a malicious prosecution.

The case started at the height of the satanic abuse panic and bears all the hallmarks of that period:

Richard Klassen and 11 others were accused more than 12 years ago of ritualistically abusing foster kids - forcing them to eat eyeballs, drink blood, participate in orgies and watch newborn babies get skinned and buried...
...Terry Hinz, a former Crown prosecutor, told court he asked [Saskatoon police Supt. Brian] Dueck to track down the babies who were killed. Dueck told him the killers were brood mares - women who breed children specifically to sacrifice them.

Dueck testified that he had been following a widely recognized protocol to believe that children are being honest when they disclose information about sexual abuse. The children, now in their mid-twenties have publically admitted that they made up the stories. Accused were victims in abuse case, judge rules - Toronto Star, 30th December 2003.

A Lesson in Language

Canada: Michael Neumann, a teacher of philosophy at Trent University in Canada, eloquently argues the problem of the term anti-Semitism being co-opted for political gain by both sides of the fence.

Ruffled Feathers

United States: The gathering of stern men in brightly coloured frocks and funny hats that make up the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has demanded the removal of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals billboard showing the Virgin Mary cradling a lifeless chicken in her arms.

December 28, 2003

Orson Scott Card

United States: One my favourite writers turns out to be a bigoted hypocritic wanker.

I've wanted for a while now to write some kind of posting about what a terrible human being Orson Scott Card is... Fortunately, someone's already done a lot of the work for me; I had no idea he called himself a Democrat, despite being, well, very conservative. But there is much more to his being a terrible human being than just pro-Bush-ism. Pretty much any possible good impression you could get of the man from Ender's Game is in fact totally wrong. Also, he really hates gays.

Sometimes it's best not to meet your heroes, especially if they're going to spew mindless Mormon doctrine at you.

Orson Scott Card - HogBlog, 28th December 2003.

Thank You For Your Concern, Now Please Go Away

Those twisted religious-zealot mullahs in Iran would rather see people in Bam die in the rubble than permit any Zionist group to send trained people to help in the rescues.

Iran said on Saturday it would accept aid from all foreign countries except Israel following the quake...
...Officials in Tehran also stressed the need for sniffer dogs and aid equipment — medicines, blankets and tents — rather than foreign volunteers.

World aid effort gets under way as Iran quake toll rises -, 27th December 2003 (via Dodgeblogium).

I Found Jesus...

...He was behind the sofa the whole time.

How can you pass up an eBay gem like this one? Think of all the fun you could have baiting the fundies in your neighbourhood. Of course, that is making the assumption that they can read.

I FOUND JESUS behind sofa button badge pin - eBay, 27th December 2003 (via Hogblog).

December 27, 2003

Bargain of the Day: Light-up Jesus hat

Let the whole world know about your intimate relationship with an older man with this I LOVE JESUS LIGHT UP HAT:

Awesome Light up baseball -Like Cap. It is white and has a black rim. Fiber optic light and has a 9 volt battery! Brand new and never worn, I have two of these!

This Charming Man (update)

Australia: The Age newspaper has an interview with the Wiccan woman who is the victim of a Christian politician's vendetta, and gives a good overview of the case so far.

Since the claims became public, Ms Watts says she has been subject to attack. On August 16 a gentleman came to my door and asked me if I was the naturopath Cr Wilson was talking about. When I admitted I was, he grabbed me and started hitting me on the forehead saying he was driving the demons out of Casey. He just kept screaming 'Out you demon, out you demon'.

Councillor Wilson claims that his naming of Ms. Watts when he declared a Satanic cult was trying to take over the city, and his call for a day of prayer to counter it, was not to incite hatred, contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Ms Watts. The councillor, the witch, and the tribunal - The Age, 27th December 2003.

...and we don't care!

Australia: Christian religious leaders are in a tizzy because the latest census shows massive increases in the numbers of people describing themselves as Pagan, witches and atheists. Although the numbers are still tiny, National Church Life Survey researcher Ruth Powell, claimed After 2000 years of dominance, some people say we are now moving into the post-Christendom era and said that if churches did not act, the Christian epoch could come to an end.

Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who undoubtedly eats pork and wears mixed fibres, declared people were being lost to a pick'n'mix belief system the goal of which he described as "selfish" inner tranquillity. Christianity's toughest test of faith- The Australian, 27th December 2003.

Exchanging make-up hints

United States: Former televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner will headline a drag bingo benefit for an AIDS charity next month.

But Messner, whose ex-hubby, Jim Bakker, did five years in federal prison for fraud, said her AIDS work is nothing new: Everyone has a right to be who they are. I believe that, she said. I think people are just people. God does not put labels on people. People put labels on people. And it's none of my business what goes on in people's bedrooms.

BINGO FOR A CAUSE -Sun Herald (scroll down a bit), 22nd December 2003 (thanks Steve).

Church leader condemns homophobia

The moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland used his Christmas sermon to challenge homophobic attitudes among Christians.

In his sermon at St Machar's Cathedral, Prof Torrance said that in 2001-2002, there was a 200% increase in cases of syphillis among those having gay sex but that sufferers were still too afraid to seek help.

That fear in turn testifies to a persistent homophobia in society at large.

It is almost 2004 but gay young people in Scotland are four times more likely than others to report a serious suicide attempt, his sermon continued.

We all require a change of heart because the church not least has contributed to the prevailing homophobic mindset.

Perhaps he was thinking of Roman Catholic Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who used an interview with The Scotsman to attack homosexuality, saying that people who tolerated it were getting away with murder. 'Homophobic' church slatedBBC News, 25th December 2003; Cardinal attacks society's 'plummeting' moral standards The Scotsman, 22nd December 2003.

Coming up trumps

A group of evangelists has decided to encourage comments about them talking out of their arses by making themselves fart more. Having noticed that no-one is going to church any more, and especially not young people, Mission Scotland are organising events such as curry nights to to make connections with people who don't have any church background. Our Father, give us this day our daily nan bread - Edinburgh Evening News, 26th December 2003.

Dinosaurs of Eden

United States: I've always wondered how the creationists dealt with scientists constantly digging up critters that aren't mentioned in their book of fairy stories bible. It seems they power up the spin machine a write mountains of dodgy children's books to brainwash their offspring into believing a load of old cobblers.

I should note that some other Creationists are still sticking to the old explanations about how all these extinct and fossilized species were killed off during the Flood. I still haven't figured out how they reconcile this with God's commandment that Noah take all the animals with him on the Ark. Maybe they blame it on the ticket agent.

It's worth having a look at a long, thoughtful, and diverse list of things creationists hate.

Dinosaurs of Eden - Making Light, 21st December 2003.

December 24, 2003

The Ultimate Captive Audience

United States: Always on the outlook for a new captive audience, the evangelical driven InnerChange Freedom Initiative has found the ultimate pool of people to harrass by moving into the business of faith-based prisons.

December 23, 2003

Diverse Families Exhibit Attacked by Pastor

United States: Despite the protestations and threats of fire and brimstone from Steve McCracken, local Bapitist pastor and resident foaming fundie loony, Beaverton School District will press ahead with its plan to present a family diversity photo exhibit that includes images of gay parents.

December 22, 2003

Catholic Priest Distributing Pr0n

United States: A Roman Catholic diocese in western Pennsylvania has become a tad miffed with Reverend John Nesbella. They have ordered the priest to cease and desist distributing Medical Consequences of What Homosexuals Do, an anti-gay sex pamphlet, not because it is blatant fundie propaganda, but because it borders on the pornographic.

The Boss Fighting the Bigots

United States: Replacements, a Greensboro, North Carolina company specialising in discontinued dinnerware scores 100% on the Human Rights Campaign's equality index for its efforts to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered employees can work in an environment free of hostility with equal benefits. And of course, for creating such an environment and supporting equal rights, openly-gay CEO Robert Page receives hate mail from the loony fundies who can wield a crayon through their rabid dribbling.

Is That a Dildo in your Handbag?

United States: Seems the police in Texas have nothing better to do with their time than to mount personnel intensive sting operations to entrap housewives selling sex toys whose only crime was not knowing about a legal loophole.

December 21, 2003

Excuse of the year

Japan: A train conductor facing punishment for smoking on duty has an original explanation for his actions: It was the first time I'd ever done something like this. I was possessed by a demon.

'Possessed' conductor lights up on trainMainichi Daily News, 21st December 2003.

Lonely this Christmas

United Kingdom: There you are, King of the Witches and dead, dead powerful—you know you are because you told the tabloids loads of times, and they printed it, so it must be true. So what do you do with these amazing poweres? Bring about world peace, an end to hunger and a cure for AIDS? How about influencing the pop charts so that one piece of inane tripe is number one at Christmas, at the expense of another piece of inane tripe.

And Kevin [Carlyon, who else?] revealed the witches were also using their powers to try and keep Ozzy's single with daughter Kelly at the top of the charts for Christmas thwarting a rival effort by the Pop Idol finalists.

And for good measure, just to emphasise that you only do white magic, how about cursing Simon Cowell for being rude about Ozzy Osbourne? WITCHES' SPELL ON COWELL FOR OZZY BIKE SLURThe Daily Record, 20th December 2003.

Bargain of the Day: Jesus lighters

The vendor has very little to say about these Jesus Lighters, just that You will Love these 12 lighters with JESUS pictures on them!! and that they are quality disposable lighters with beautiful colorful lables. All with pictures of JESUS on them. There again, 'magickalfairie' doesn't sound like a particularly Christian name to me...

An explanation

According to Peter (alt.conspiracy, 10th December 2003) Freemasons are, in fact, aliens:

The Freemasons are an organization of extraterrestrial beings, closely linked to Zionism, who cross-bred with earth humans long ago. Not all of them actually join the lodge nor make public their association with this organization. They are the descendants of the fallen angels of Biblical lore who cross-bred with the daughters of men creating giants (seemingly human beings with advanced abilities compared to earth humans.)

We can apparently defend ourselves against them by smoking more dope.

December 20, 2003

Jihadi Blues

Pakistan: Fanatically committed jihadis are supposed to awe the infidel with their headlong kamikaze ardor. But what if you've been around the block a couple of times, and you accidentallly survive somehow, and you become a bitter, disenchanted, cynical, grumpy jihadi?

Tacky USB Projects

In this project called Taking Menorah Design into the 59th Century, an amateur hardware hacker uses the $8 commodity USB chipset to brew his own USB-powered menorah, then writes some code to get the shamas to blink arbitrary messages in Morse code.

December 18, 2003

Thou shalt not bear false witness

United States: Fine, upstanding Christians, the American Family Association, have admitted doctoring the results of their poll on same-sex marriage.

An astute observer noticed that unlike votes in places other than Florida and where Diebold machines are used, the number of votes for the answer, I favor legalization of homosexual marriage went down rather than up as the AFA cooked the books. In the first screen shot at 10:57 AM, the percentage is 16.10 (21075 votes); in the second taken at 11:22, it is 14.05 (17985 votes). One person commented in the comments area of the posting at 11:33 that it was down to 13%.

The AFA claims that they were simply removing multiple votes, even though their polling system should prevent that anyway. AFA Marriage Poll Rigged, Results Doctored -, 17th December 2003.

Not So Charming

Nigeria: Ashi Terfa, a traditional doctor in central Nigeria, has been shot dead by a patient, Umaa Akor, who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the herbalist had prepared for him.

To confirm its efficacy, the herbalist tied the charm around his neck and insisted that Akor should fire a gun at him. The experiment proved fatal for the herbalist and his skull was shattered, he [police spokesman Bode Fakeye] added. He died immediately.

'Bullet-proof' man shot dead - News24, 17th December 2003.

December 16, 2003

Bow Before Me You Ungrateful Heathens

United States: Ryan Thompson is a junior loony fundie, firmly believes he has the ability to fire conservative truth from the hip. Alas, he's just another deluded bigot with a chip on his shoulder who likes to mouth off about things he cannot comprehend, such as thorny issue of foreign policy.

Minor enhancement

Hopefully I've changed the templates so that those commenters who have no website will not have their e-mail address exposed to the world. They were anti-spammed to begin with, but now they simply don't show up. You still need to give one to comment though. The addresses will disappear from older comments gradually over time as the site rebuilds.

God issues cease and desist order

God is upset that people are pirating is literary works.

Citing misuse of His word, misquotation, and putting hardworking Bible printers out of work, God said he would now start hunting Bible pirating around the globe. I have to defend both my world-famous brand - the Bible and its distinctive likenesses - and the livelihood of those who create and distribute legal copies of it. Sure, they live not by bread alone, but website hits - someone else's website mind you - don't pay the bills for these folks.

But surely a book that old is out of copyright?

Not so, said God. Look, most copyright laws are based on something like the author's lifetime plus, let's say, 15 years. News flash: I'm still here.

God also points out that 'spreading the Gospel' is not fair use. God Considers Smiting Bible Pirates - BBspot, 15th December 2003.

I Was a Tool of Satan

United States: The life of a political cartoonist is fraught with the perils of fending off attacks from thin-skinned fundies with way too much time on their hands. Doug Marlette discusses the latest influx of affronted loonies as well as battles past.

Perfectly tasteful site of the day brings us the remarkable news that Jesus is Hitler.

Jesus first developed his severe hatred of Jews when he submitted a dreidel with a swastika painted on one of the four sides. The idea was rejected by the Jewish community because they thought the symbol was stupid and this hurt Jesus's feelings. The swastika was later used by Jesus as Hitler and is now known as a symbol of hatred toward Jews.

Needless to say, certain people are most upset by this terrible allegation:


But the site's creators are unrepentent. At the top of the letters page we find a remarkable bit of psychoanalysis:

Appearantly a number of people have expressed some opposition to the undeniable fact that Jesus is Hitler. After going back and checking the facts on our end, we have come to the this conclusion: The following people are Hitlers.

(via Everlasting Blort)

December 15, 2003

A devil of a hand job

Philippines: An anonymous presidential palace official has declared that a hand gesture used by opposition candidate Raul Roco is really an evil, Satanic symbol. He says he got his information off the net. The offending gesture is used in American Sign Language to mean I love you and is widely understood by young Filipinos. A representative for Roco commented:

This Palace official is totally desperate. It's a sign of desperation. It's not within the normal realm of imagination to research on the Internet and link satanism to a hand symbol that's been universally known and accepted as 'I love you,' he added.

Roco camp chides Malacañang for saying hand signal 'satanic' - The Manila Times, 16th December 2003.

Wasting police time

Switzerland: Authorities have decided to do nothing after investigating complaints brought by a fundie group against Marilyn Manson.

The Zurich district prosecutor's office said on Monday it had found no evidence to back allegations that the artist had incited violence and breached Swiss law protecting religion during a concert in the city in February 2001.

Fundies also failed in their attempt to get the group banned from performing in Zurich. They had claimed that the majority would find the act offensive. Manson off the hook, News24, 15th December 2003.

Twinkle, twinkle...

Australia: The outgoing director of the National Museum of Australia, Dawn Casey, has complained that politically-motivated members of the council have behaved in bizarre ways to prevent her doing her job. They seem to have some interesting opinions too:

Mr Barnett distrusts the museum's staff, dislikes its exhibitions and claims still that the museum's architecture was deliberately encoded with sinister messages, she says.
He imagines, for example, that the night sky ceiling of tiny twinkling lights at the entrance to the First Australians gallery is an encoded reference to the Holocaust. This makes just as much sense as saying it endorses astrology or witchcraft. These and other bizarre assumptions have been politely refuted and disproved again and again, but continue to be offered as evidence of the museum's problematic bias - despite rejections of bias by the museum's recent review, Ms Casey writes.

Casey's farewell to 'white-anters' - The Weekend Australian, 15th December 2003.

Bad Mouse, No Bottomless Lederhosen

United States: A loony fundie group calling themselves the Christian Action Network — a name that really should have its own line of action figures — is begging all and sundry for funds to help them stop the evil of Disney. Not the evil of the empire of the mouse in general with it's anything for a buck manifesto, but because it dares to pander to a those nasty homosexuals with its blatant Gay Days.

December 13, 2003

Goodwill to all men

United States: A flyer sent out to thousands of potential customers by a Texan party supplies store contained an unfortunate error:

An ad for Party City was supposed to highlight a sale on Hanukkah items, but it also contained a hateful anti-Semitic message.
The advertisement includes the sentence CC Hates the Jews in large, bold letters.

'CC' is apparently the initials of an employee at a design company who changed the text when the layout artist was otherwise engaged. Clue (MacOS 10.2.4): Apple -> System Preferences -> Screen Effects -> Activation. See the bit that says 'Password to use when waking the screen effect'? Click the radio button marked 'Use my user account password'. MacOS 9 also allows you to specify a password to exit the screen saver. Holiday Ad Has Hidden Hate Message. - NBC5i, 11th December 2003 (via Metafilter; image of 'typo' here).

Fear of New Things Shortens Life

Canada: Animals with neophobia — fear of new things — die younger, suggesting that a lifetime of fearful stress can take an accumulated toll on health.

While the research has so far been confined to animals, it does beg the question; If fundies are innately scared of homosexuals, original thought, fundies from the opposition party or cornflakes, will they be popping their cogs sooner than people who approach life with an open mind?

Fear of new things shortens life - New Scientist, 8th December 2003 (via Opinions of the Wolf: News).

December 12, 2003

Begone Foul Proselytiser

Don't know how I missed the original story about the ram with a distaste for Jehovah's Witnesses, but a search on the topic did turn up a commentary on the story with some suggestions for turning away the hoards of Holy Johs, Mormons, and other evangelists, such as mobile phone salespeople that will be beating a path to your door this holiday season armed with the firm belief that the only way to secure their own place in heaven is to try to flog you a ticket for the journey as well.

December 11, 2003

More fluffy bunnies

United States: The records of the Louisiana Secretary of State make interesting reading:

Charter/Organization ID: 03804630N
Prior Name: THE FOUNDATION FAITH OF GOD ( 8/12/1993)
Type Entity: Non-Profit Corporation
Status: Active

Louisiana Secretary of State Unofficial Detail Record via New World Disorder.

The Fluffy Bunny Goddess

India: Police killed one person, and injured at least ten others, when they opened fire on a mob who wanted to get their hands on a man being held in connection with the apparent sacrifice of a six-year-old boy to Kali. Two men have confessed to the crime.

The statement said Mahavir slashed Munna with a sharp knife in [Godman Khepa] Baba's presence as Thakur, Bhuyian, Shambhu Rajak and Mahadeo held him down. The boy's blood was collected in a bowl and siddhi rituals performed. Baba first offered the blood to Goddess Kali and then advised Mahavir to smear the blood on his chest to obtain supernatural powers.
Bhuyian approached Mahavir when he found it difficult to withdraw the money Central Coalfields Limited at Urimary owed to his father, who died last year. Mahavir, a staunch follower of Baba, told Bhuyian - anxious to obtain his father's provident fund dues - that the godman would help him get the money - only, a human had to be sacrificed for this. Baba is believed to have demanded a large sum of money for this.

Boy sacrificed to propitiate PF god - The Telegraph (Calcutta), 12th December 2003.


Syria/Lebanon: A special Ramadan television program, 'Al-Shatat' (Diaspora), purports to tell the history of the Jews, and contains some very familiar lies indeed, as well as a few surprising ones.

According to 'Al-Shatat,' the Jews have sought to control the world for many centuries, via a secret global Jewish government. Since the 19th century, this secret government has been led by the Rothschild family.
Under this government's leadership, the Jews were directly responsible for the following: starting the Russo-Japanese war; assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo; starting WWI; starting WWII; the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; helping Hitler annihilate the Jews of Europe; helping the Nazis annihilate 800,000 Hungarian Jews in exchange for the release of 2,000 wealthy German Jews; toppling the Ottoman sultan; deposing Czar Nicholas II; starting the Kishinev pogroms; ritually murdering a Christian child in Rumania and using his blood for matzos; torturing and murdering a Jew who married a Christian; murdering Czar Alexander III in Russia; causing the English stock market to collapse following the Battle of Waterloo and again during WWI, in order to make millions of pounds (for the Rothschilds); spying for Germany against France (Dreyfus); inventing chemical weapons (Chaim Weizmann) and selling them to both the Germans and the English; refusing to accept elderly Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis into Palestine; murdering 100 people in Egypt during military training prior to WWI; deposing British prime minister Harold Asquith; sinking a boatload of Jewish refugees en route to the U.S.; murdering emigrating Jews who tried to turn back to Europe; murdering many other characters in the series in a variety of ways; and numerous other catastrophes and criminal deeds.

But it's not just Muslims who are making outrageous claims concerning the Blood Libel. The Political Cartoon Society's Cartoon of the Year is allegedly anti-semitic because it graphically observes that the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon have led to the deaths of Palestinian children.

Mr Brown's cartoon is a parody of the Goya painting Saturn Devouring One of His Sons and depicts Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in the same pose, with the sub-heading 'Whats wrong...You never seen a politician kissing babies before?' Outraged Jewish groups claim the image is anti-Semitic because it alludes to the 'blood libel', which held that Jews preyed on Christian children - a myth spread by the Nazis among others.
Neville Nagler, director general of the British Board of Deputies - which represents British Jewry - said: The PCS's decision to give an award to this offensive, anti-Semitic blood libel is beneath contempt.

The kicker? The president of the Political Cartoon Society, Tim Benson, is Jewish and defended the decision to honour the cartoon, noting that the artist had gone out of his way to leave religious symbols out of it.

But Mr Benson said the cartoon was a criticism of Mr Sharon and his policies, not a harangue against Jews. I'm probably the most hated person in British Jewry now, he said. Jewish groups around the world are up in arms. These hysterical idiots are coming onto my site and calling me a Nazi. Do they not want people to have the freedom to express themselves?
You couldn't meet a nicer guy than Dave Brown. Cartoonists depict George Bush and Tony Blair in exactly the same way. If a cartoonist attacks the Israeli prime minister, it's not necessarily anti-Semitic. Dave left the Star of David off the helicopters in the background.

Al-Shatat: The Syrian-Produced Ramadan 2003 TV Special - MEMRI (usual caveats apply), 12th December 2003; 'Idiots call me a Nazi over cartoon', Hendon and Finchley Times, 3rd December 2003.

Teacher Sues for Right to Teach

United States: Gary Cole, a seventh grade social studies teacher in Maine, has sued the School Administrative District 1 claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression.

It seems the moral moronity of loony fundies have managed to bully the school system into developing a history curriculum that forbids discussion of any non-Christian civilisations or any religions other than Christianity.

Conquer the Sodomites!

Australia: Join us in enjoying the enlightening spiritual updates from the St Jensen's Parish Newsletter:

December 10, 2003

Beyond Gomorrah: America's Culture

United States: Anthony LoBaido is an evangelical fundamentalist with access to a computer and a complete lack of understanding that America and culture are mutually exclusive. He has recently taken a respite from his self imposed exile from the television to enlighten the god botherers on the filth currently being peddled on the box.

A Helpful Guide for Surviving an Australian Christmas

Australia: Hark the Herald angels sing — your complete guide to the festive season Downunder.

December 9, 2003

Whipping up enthusiasm

Japan: Five members of the Panawave Laboratory sect have been arrested in connection with the death of a member who was allegedly beaten to death last August. According to the police, beating members is a regular practice of the group, which believes it helps to raise spirits and had compiled an instruction manual on how to do it.

The police also found that there was a hierarchy in the group, and Fujimori and the other suspects played various roles, with some ordering beatings and others carrying them out.
The police will investigate who compiled the manual and also probe the structure of the group and whether punishment beatings were routine.

5 held over Pana Wave HQ death - Daily Yomiuri, 5th December 2003; Police: Pana Wave wrote manual on how to beat members - Daily Yomiuri, 6th December 2003; Flagellation brought up to date. - The Pagan Prattle Online, 11th August 2003.

Religious freedom in Kyrgystan

Kyrgyzstan: Authorities are painting all non-traditional Islamic and non-Orthodox Christian groups as totalitarian sects...using deceptions, silent methods and obtrusive propaganda in order to attract new members, and have a blacklist which includes peaceful religions such as Seventh-Day Adventism and the Ba'hai faith.

Official and casual opponents accuse the churches of using deceitful methods to attract young people through the so-called "incentive system". Representatives of the Muslim clergy claim the Protestant communities pay $50 each month to those who attend their religious gatherings. Protestant leaders deny such accusations. But in deference to them, many church leaders require children to bring parental consent when they attend mass. For adults as well as children, the dangers of attending church can be powerfully discouraging. My mother-in-law is trying to attract my wife to attend [mass], says Vyacheslav Salimov of Osh. I am very concerned about it. I am Muslim and my wife is Orthodox Christian and we don稚 have any problems in our relations on the basis of religion. However, I am against her visiting these religious masses of the new sect.
In a rare recorded case of religious persecution, more than 100 people reportedly laid siege to the house of two Protestant brothers in Suzak village on December 31, 2000. The crowd demanded that the brothers and their families give up the new religion. In the meantime, the crowd was ready to burn their house with gasoline, which was kept in small containers by people in the crowd. Police were able to defuse the situation peacefully, and produce an official report.


Goddess in search of a new home

Venezuela: A statue of the goddess María Lionza has been standing by a busy road since it was moved there in 1951. She has suffered over the years and, if she is not moved to a more salubroius location, is liable to collapse or suffer from irreversible deterioration. There is some debate over whether the proposed new home, the central Plaza Venezuela in Caracas is most suitable.

Influential architects and urban designers, such as Hannia Gómez and William Niño have spoken out against the relocation, arguiing that the statue of María Lionza has become an integral part of the highway landscape, the site of veneration belongs to the urban spirit and to its devotees. In its new location, it would be exposed to the informality that surrounds the Plaza Venezuela.

The worship of María Lionza is the second largest religion in Venezuela, and her followers often consider themselves to be Roman Catholic as well.

María Lionza is the principal deity of a Venezuelan syncretic cult governed by an ethnic trilogy of spirits, including her companions Guaicaipuro, leader of the indigenous resistance in the Caracas region in the 16th century, and the hero Pedro Camejo, also known as Negro Primero, a much feared spear-thrower in the War of Independence.

Statue of Iconic Goddess Needs New Home - Inter Press Service News Agency, 13th December 2003 (it says here).

Silver lining

England: One of King Kev's acolytes could well have the good fortune to be booted out of his coven after a binding spell on her boyfriend failed to work and, according to Kev, it's the law of return, which he claims only works when you do something negative.

Carrie, 23, a member of the British Coven of White Witches, cast a spell using ancient symbols written on a piece of paper, and left it in the shop.

But the spell failed to work its magic in Campbell, who was jailed after a visit to a brothel.

WITCH AND CHIPSThe Daily Record, 8th December 2003.

Yule (TM)

The Australian gives us a vision of a fully commercial festive season, with a piece about the flotation of Christmas Ltd.

The company has acquired patent protection over a range of Christmas trademarks from the Patent Office of IP Australia and anticipates rapid growth offshore once its applications for IP protection are processed in other jurisdictions such as the US and the UK.

There will, of course, be some changes:

For instance, depictions of Santa Claus, nativity scenes, Three Wise Men and other iconic representations will from next year be accompanied by the distinctive UBS "Three Keys" marque and Macquarie Bank's silver doughnut logo.
Christmas Ltd has also obtained copyright over music such as Jingle Bells, Silent Night and Away in a Manger. It will also receive royalties from the commercial production of any Christmas carols in Australia and New Zealand.

Glib tidings of good cheer - The Australian, 10th December 2003.

God hates own handiwork

Taiwan: Vice president Annette Lu told an AIDS awareness conference that AIDS is God's way of punishing homosexuals and that it was His way of distinguishing between men and animals. Some members of her own party are urging her not to resign. The main route of HIV infection, even excluding Africa, is now via heterosexual sex. Attitudes such as this are part of the reason why. AIDS is God's punishment against gays, says Taiwan politician - News, 9th December 2003.

The unspeakable terrors are going to get you

Who will be eaten first? explains why you need to find Cthulhu, in the style of Jack Chick (thanks Ken).

Groundhog Day

United States: Proving that weird fundy phenomenon of seeing god in a potato, the latest object they have latched onto is a movie; Groundhog Day. The Museum of Modern Art has included it in it's The Hidden God: Film and Faith, retrospective of religious films.

Don't think that it's just one flavour of fundies who believe that the movie beautifully expresses Christian belief, apparently Groundhog Day crossed all religious boundaries. Rabbis are using it because of its illustration of the Jewish faith and the Buddhists are claiming it is quintessentially Buddhist.

Shocking Pots Claim Turner Prize

England: Grayson Perry, accepted the £20,000 Turner Prize at a dinner at Tate Britain last night dressed in a little-girl frock with his blond hair brushed up as his female alter ego, Claire.

His vases typically depict controversial topics such as sex and child abuse. Vases depicting sex scenes and child abuse are, however, quite bland for the Turner Prize. Previous winners have included a soiled bed, a pickled cow and a painting adorned with elephant dung. Last year's winner, Keith Tyson, presented lead casts of every item on a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant's menu.

Transvestite's shocking pots claim victory in Turner PrizeThe Telegraph, 8th December 2003 (via The Green Man).

December 8, 2003

God Wants You to Beat the Hell out of Your Children

United States: Louie Guerrero, who was 11 years old at the time, testified that he was severely beaten with a tree branch by a church pastor and his twin brother, Joshua and Caleb Thompson, to get the devil out of him because he had misbehaved during Bible class.

At one point, the boy said, he was told to pick up the pieces of the tree branch that broke during the beating. He said the beating resumed after one of brothers got a new stick...

Holier Than Thou Politics

United States: As the media circus that is the run up to elections in the US mobilises, the Democratic candidates are playing the holy roller card that has served the Republicans so well.

Democrats Try to Regain Ground on Moral Issues - The New York Times (registration required), 6th December 2003.

December 7, 2003

The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways

Germany: Frithjof Schwesig, vicar in the southwestern town of Lampoldshausen, ordered 300 copies of a video film portraying the life of Christ as told by the gospel according to Luke.

Unfortunately there was a wee bit of a mix up at the Munich video copying plant when they accidentally sent through the wrong movie. At a marathon viewing session that night, the good vicar and his staff established that 200 of the videos were pornographic.

Sorry We Molested You

Ireland: Backed into a corner after being outed by a report claiming that the Catholic Church in Ireland mishandled cases of kiddy fiddling by the clergy, they have promised to do better the next time a priest gets caught with his hand in the altar boy.

A survey, commissioned by the church, showed four out of five people felt it had not dealt adequately with the problem. The research, by the psychology department of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, reported that abused people and their families felt a lack of awareness by the Church of the effects of the abuse, and that the handling of complaints often lacked compassion. It made 19 recommendations for the protection of children, the handling of complaints and the training of priests.

Ireland's Catholic Church apologises for years of abuse - The Independent, 5th December 2003.

December 6, 2003

No, Jesus Is My Personal Savior

United States: Duane and Matt fight it out over just whose personal saviour the lord is:

What? Now you've opened up your soul to Him and made a home for the Lord in your heart, too? Give me a break, Matt. You're just saying that because I told you I'd been born again into new life in the love and grace of our Lord, the Redeemer, Christ Jesus. Let's get one thing clear: Jesus is my personal savior, not yours. I don't want you horning in on my eternal-salvation action.

Battle of the Fish Stickers

Egypt: The stylised fish, long a symbol of Christianity amongst Egypt's Coptic minority, has started a local war of bumper stickers in Cairo. The Copts imported their tacky fish stickers from the United States, while some of the wags in the Muslim community counteracted by selling shark stickers.

If you're after the car emblems, which are the metal car badges rather than the dodgy holographic stickers, Evolve Fish sell a wide range, including the legendary Darwin Fish.

Christian Fish, Muslims Shark Swimming Through Cairo Traffic in War of Stickers -, 28th November 2003.

December 5, 2003

Contraceptive Equity

United States: Religious groups are battling it out in the courts over whether health insurance plans that provide prescription drug coverage must also include coverage for prescription contraceptives.

Fighting the Myths of AIDS

South Africa: South African-based health workers and researchers are struggling to educate the public about safe sex, but it's a tough battle when they are have to combat some of the insane myths about the disease.

December 4, 2003

Go Directly to Court, Do Not Pass Church, Do Not Collect Scholarship

United States: When Joshua Davey graduated from high school in 1999, he won a Washington State scholarship to help pay for his college tuition. But when he declared he wanted to major in theology and become a minister, the state retracted its aid offer.

Not taking this affront to his choice of a future career lying down, Davey did the all American thing and sued. And with every fundie with a grievance over the separation of church and state trying to stick their nose into the case, the only real winners will be the lawyers.

A Case of Faith and College Aid - The Christian Science Monitor, 2nd December 2003.

Not Without Your Male Guardian

Saudi Arabia: Debate is raging over a popular Saudi Arabian television program.

December 3, 2003

Too depressed to come up with a witty headline

Egypt: According to MEMRI (usual caveats apply), a new manuscript museum in the Alexandria Library includes a copy of the first Arabic translation of the fraudulent The Protocols of the Elders of Zion next to a Torah in a display of holy books. The curator explained:

When my eyes fell upon the rare copy of this dangerous book, I decided immediately to place it next to the Torah. Although it is not a monotheistic holy book, it has become one of the sacred [tenets] of the Jews, next to their first constitution, their religious law, [and] their way of life. In other words, it is not merely an ideological or theoretical book.
Perhaps this book of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' is more important to the Zionist Jews of the world than the Torah, because they conduct Zionist life according to it... It is only natural to place the book in the framework of an exhibit of Torah [scrolls].

The best book I've found on the Protocols is Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Amazon link - I'm not an affiliate or anything, this is an honest recommendation) which investigates the history of the fraud, including its probable origins, and examines its role in promoting anti-semitism. Jewish Holy Books On Display at the Alexandria Library: The Torah & the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' - MEMRI Special Dispatch, 3rd December 2003 (via Dodgeblogium).

More stones found at Avebury

A geophysical survey of Avebury has revelaed the locations of at least 15 meagliths which had previously thought to have been destroyed. There are no plans to re-erect the stones, but the ground penetrating radar data will be used to make a virtual reconstruction. Discovery of buried megaliths completes Avebury circle - The Independent, 3rd December 2003; COMPLETING THE CIRCLE OF HISTORY - National Trust press release, 2nd December 2003.

Scaredy cats scared of cats

Israel: You'd think the population of Tel Aviv would have more pressing concerns, but a municipal vet has banned a black cat from the stairwell of a block of flats because some residents are scared of him.

Even if this reaction is based on superstition, people who are afraid of the cat should not be forced to encounter it on the stairwell, particularly when the area is not illuminated, the letter said. It ordered the couple to carry the cat when walking down the stairs.

Kooshi's minions are contesting the order and have contacted an experienced animal rights lawyer, who said that the order is illegal.

The city of Rishon Letzion doesn't have a leg to stand on, he said. A veterinarian can issue an order like this only if an animal constitutes a threat to public health or to public order. Kooshi is clean, he's been vaccinated and neutered, and is extremely well mannered. He's being singled out only because of his color.

Black Cat Banned From Tel Aviv Stairwell - Yahoo! News, 2nd December 2003.

December 2, 2003

Marilyn Manson Used to Promote Fundie Propaganda

Switzerland: No doubt looking to drum up some free press, the Swiss-based fundie group Christians for Truth, displaying a typical lack of understanding between fantasy and reality, have attacked Marilyn Manson.

...the artist [Marilyn Manson] was under investigation for allegedly breaching Swiss law protecting religion as well as making incitements to violence during a concert in the city in February 2001.

I find it more interesting that this particular group of loons, while claiming to be based in Switzerland, are in reality based in South Africa. It's also worth noting that they are happily spouting the Vatican party line on condoms causing AIDS.

Marilyn Manson Faces Swiss Criminal Probe - ABC News, 2nd December 2003.

I Will Never Use the Word Gay in School Again

United States: It's no big shock that the fundies run roughshod over education in the US, there are still a bunch of them trying to force their creationist fairy tale on schools. I'm sure it will come as no surprise that a 7 year old was punished for telling a classmate that his mother was a lesbian.

A teacher who heard the remark scolded Marcus, telling him gay was a bad word and sending him to the principal's office. The following week, Marcus had to come to school early and repeatedly write: I will never use the word 'gay' in school again.

Louisiana school punishes 7-year-old for talking about lesbian mother, ACLU alleges -, 1st December 2003.

Yesterday's leftovers

New Zealand: As it launched a new campaign featuring a nude man, the New Zealand Aids Foundation (NZAF) blamed the closet for a spike in HIV infection on the South Island.

Mr Price said the surge in infections in the South Island was fuelled partly by deeply closeted men who have sex with men living in isolation from any identifiable gay community, which made it difficult to reach them with support and safe sex education...

...An earlier NZAF survey revealed that men who were isolated or too scared to come out and identify as gay were highly likely to practice unsafe sex.

As Mike A. of Ex-Gay Watch points out, this profile matches that of men involved in ex-gay ministries - Christian fundamentalist groups who try to surpress their homosexuality becuase they believe it's wrong, and asks

It may be advisable for ex-gays and other antigay same-sex-attracted individuals to pay closer attention to the role that closeted sexual attractions, antigay values, and unsafe binges play in the spread of HIV. Unfortunately, the Exodus web site offers no AIDS-prevention information, except to reject condoms even as a fallback measure, and to require total abstinence from an ex-gay population prone to unsafe compulsive behavior.

Nude men feature on HIV campaign billboardsThe Press, 2nd December 2003; New Zealand Ex-Gays at High Risk of HIV/AIDS?Ex-Gay Watch, 1st December 2003.

December 1, 2003

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas

United States: There's nothing like Harry Potter to bring the fundies out of the woodwork, as Marshall Field's discovered when they selected the boy wizard as the theme for their 2000 Christmas display. I have to wonder if they are just as miffed over this year's theme of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

It's a given that these intellectual giants are ignorant of that fine Christian tradition of co-opting pagan traditions as their own to convert the heathen masses.

Get your facts straight people. The Christians hijacked the pagan celebration of the winter solstice and the Roman celebration of Saturnalia. These celebrations date back at least 4,000 years, long before the birth of Christ and are responsible for such Christmas traditions as the Christmas Tree and decorations, Mistletoe and Exchange of Gifts. The actual date that was chosen to be the notional birth of Jesus was, in fact, the day celebrated as the birthday of Mithras, the Persian sun god who was popular at the time Christmas was created by the Pope in 320AD. Rather than try to get the peasants to change celebration dates it was decided to use this date even though evidence suggests that Jesus was actually born around midsummer, i.e. June or July.

Harry Potter and The Origin of Christmas - The Green Man, 26th November 2003.

Spot the real Christians

UK charity Christian Aid has urged the Blair government to influence the Bush administration to go beyond its unrealistic abstinence-only approach to AIDS prevention.

Although the US has made a welcome commitment of $US 15 billion to be spent over five years in the fight against HIV/AIDS, fully a third of this money is allocated to programmes promoting 'abstinence-until-marriage'. These programmes do not include sex education and the use of condoms. While abstinence is clearly the most reliable method of avoiding HIV infection, the reality is that most people, especially young people, do not choose abstinence.
In a report published by Christian Aid in October 2003, research showed that good quality sex education reduces the levels of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
In addition, Dying to Learn, exposes the myth that access to condoms increases promiscuity among young people. On the contrary, condom use does not increase the number of sexual partners. More importantly, when used correctly and consistently, condoms are effective in preventing HIV infection among young people who are sexually active.

Bush's preference for fœtuses over adults means the US refuses to fund any organisation which supports abortion in any way, even though the money will not be used for this kind of service.

In Ghana, 697,000 clients of Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana will lose, not only family planning services, but also access to HIV voluntary counselling and testing, and HIV prevention education. This will have severe repercussions in a country with low HIV infections rates and which is working hard to maintain these low levels.

Condoms are crucial in HIV prevention, says Christian Aid - Christian Aid press release, 19th November 2003.

Thailand: A Buddhist monk has set up an AIDS temple in an attempt to both shock people out of complacency, and to fight indifference towards and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.

The first stop on a tour of Wat Phrabaht Nampu temple is a glass-windowed room where 12 formaldehyde-preserved bodies lie exposed on wooden slats. Their dark brown, leathery skin is stretched taut over bones. Snapshots next to each body remind viewers that the remains in front of them were once healthy people, living ordinary lives. They include a sex worker infected by a customer, a woman infected by her husband and a child born with the disease. All were former patients who donated their bodies.

Misunderstandings about the ways HIV is transmiitted has led to families refusing to accept the bones of their relatives, something the temple has dealt with in an interesting manner:

Outside the museum, visitors see a row of sculptures made from the crushed bones of those who have died at the temple. Crafted by an artist whose brother has AIDS, the metre-long sculptures depict various modes of transmission, from a couple having sex to a mother with her child.

The project was a way to deal with the temple's growing collection of bones. Hundreds of boxes with names and identity numbers are still stored in a meditation hall and 7,000 cream-coloured bags are kept outside near a Buddha image. We usually send the bones home to their families, but only 10 percent keep them. They are afraid the bones have AIDS, said Kongkiat

"AIDS" temple aims to shock complacent ThaisL'Express, 1st December 2003.

Virus spreads through risqué lyrics.

Kenya: Anti-AIDS campaigners complain that their efforts to prevent the disease are frustrated by traditional beliefs:

Leaders attending an Aids conference in Kisumu said self-proclaimed cultural experts were using a Kenya Broadcasting Corporation radio programme -- Abila -- to frustrate the fight against the disease by linking it to witchcraft...
...Talks on the Luo culture by some elders are retrogressive. They make people believe that Aids doesn't exist and instead link all illnesses to chira (curse), Ms Oketch said.

Rather then using it as a hook to get people talking about AIDS, the campaigners wish the community would be a little less sex-obsessed:

Moi University Chancellor Bethwel Ogot urged the community to stop some customs which tied sexuality to all important family events such as planting, weeding and harvesting. Such cultures misled people to believing nothing important could be done in a family without sexual intercourse.
The conference blamed Luo musicians for contributing to the spread of Aids, saying a majority of Benga and Ohangla singers composed songs with strong sexual messages that lured their fans to risky sexual behaviour.
Our musicians sing nothing but sex. Women dancers are barely dressed while on stage and this is a setback to the fight, said Ms Oketch .

She did not explain how HIV passes from exposed flesh on stage to the audience. Cultural traits blamed for Aids spread - Daily Nation, 1st December 2003.

It's World AIDS Day

And as usual, we have led Feòrag astray so we can report on religion, superstition and AIDS. As soon as we find out where she lives, we will arrange for the Australian Sisters to importune Red Wolf!

Don't Tell the Pope

El Salvador: Despite of the foolish waffle of an eccentric old cross-dresser in a silly hat, some of the Catholic Church's troops on the ground are more interested in helping people than committing murder in the name of religion.

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