February 2004 Archives

February 29, 2004

Remember, it's only fiction.

The BBC plans to broadcast a drama based on an uncritical interpretation of the therapist-induced fantasies of those who believe they have been ritually abused.

To be shown at primetime on BBC One in the next two months, May 33rd stars Lia Williams as Ella, a young woman whose tortured upbringing causes her personality to fragment into five different people.

Believers hope that it will bring sympathy for their cause, but there are concerns:

But Tom Fahy, a psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, London, argued that many DID cases are the creation of misguided therapists. 'I'm sure there is a link between childhood abuse and DID, but some therapists are slightly naive in their approach and become more interested in the complexities of psychopathology rather than finding a solution. I've seen people with a dozen fully fledged personalities, which can be caused by poor therapy bringing them out.'

Perhaps the BBC might like to consider dubbing this Egyptian drama into English for the summer season. TV drama focuses on ritual abuse - The Observer, 29th February 2004.

Betty Bowers on Mel Gibson

It would have been surprising if Landover Baptist had nothing to say about The Passion of the Christ, and of course Betty Bowers had to review it. I don't think she liked it:

Anyone who saw the Diane Sawyer interview knows that Mel Gibson is a few beads short of a rosary. Mr. Gibson, a serial adulterer who finds piety in not speaking English at Mass, invested $25 million of his own money in this film. Just like Rosie O'Donnell with Taboo, Mr. Gibson broke the Golden Rule of showbiz to put on a show about a man who wore a dress. One might wonder why a director would choose to make a film about Someone whose life has provided inspiration to millions in a manner that borrows less from Jesus' words than it does from a bootleg copy of an Argentinean snuff film. But any Baptist who has slipped into a cathedral to reach out to Catholics by helpfully scrawling Damned Pagan Mary Worshipers on statuary can attest to Roman Catholics' lugubrious preoccupation with the logistical nuances of slowly torturing another human to death. Their apses sport crosses that attempt to outdo each other in the gothic, bloodthirsty enterprise of artistically doting on the macabre specifics of skin lacerations and their effluence. Verily, the Marquis de Sade has nothing on these people when it comes to harnessing pain into ecstasy, religious or otherwise.

February 28, 2004

Bargain of the Day: irreligious tat

Pastor Best forwards me a piece of e-mail he received from the National Secular Society. It seems that atheists need tat too:

DON'T CLUTTER YOUR HOME WITH RUBBISHY KITSCH -- ACHIEVE THE SAME EFFECT WITH OUR MARVELLOUS MERCHANDISE

We know what fashion victims our members are, always on the lookout for the latest trend in this or that. With the current interest in home renovation and decoration (have you seen Channel 4 lately? Do they make any other programmes except about home improvement?), we thought we'd bring to your attention the current fad for clutter. Minimalism is old hat. Those wood-floored rooms with nothing in them are out. What the latest trendies in London are going for is old-fashioned clutter!

Which is why you need to stock up on NSS gifts and souvenirs. You need mugs, teatowels and notelets galore to positively fill your house to overflowing. Artful clutter -- let's have more of it.

And what exactly would irreligious tat be?

Our Heroes of Atheism mugs are decorated with superb line drawings of the six people who, in their own ways, contributed to changing the way we think about the world. Why not collect all six for a stylish set - and get a discount at the same time?

There is also a matching tea towel, with all six heroes, and notelets. The heroes are Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Bertrand Russell, David Hume and Charles Bradlaugh.

"A terrible history"

United States: The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cleveland has stated that 117 priests and one deacon have been accused of the sexual abuse of children in his diocese over the last 53 years.

[Bishop Anthony] Pilla disclosed that since 1989, he transferred about three diocesan priests to new pastoral assignments after he learned they faced abuse allegations, a practice he has discontinued. Over the past half-century, 2,515 priests served the Cleveland diocese, making the abuse accusation rate 4.6 percent.

His statement came in the light of a national survey which revealed that more than 10,000 American children had been abused by Roman Catholic priests in the last 50 years.

The National Review Board's 145-page report said the grievously sinful acts of priests and shameful inaction during the decades of abuse had left the church deeply wounded.
And as a consequence, its ability to speak clearly and credibly on moral issues has been seriously impaired, stated the Board that interviewed more than 85 people including several Vatican officials.

Not that this will stop them, of course.

Just 14 per cent of the accused priests were reported to police by their bishops and 95 per cent of the 4392 errant clerics were never charged with a crime.

SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS - Cleveland Plain Dealer, 28th February 2004; Priests abused 10,000 children - news.com.au, 29th February 2004 (and check out the unfortunate nominative determinism of the journalist)

Asimov's Science Fiction is an Adult Magazine

United States: It seems that in the backwaters of Michigan, conservative is easily confused for stupid. The local muckraking telly station is a mouthpiece for those of a loony fundie persuasion and seems to cast a far wider net when looking for things that could be classed as stroke mags.

The local TV station had been running radio promos for a story about a local school magazine fundraiser that included an adult magazine. It's a conservative area, so we figured maybe they accidentally got order forms with Playboy, or maybe the locals were just throwing fits over FHM and Maxxim.

Nope — the adult magazine in question was Asimov's Science Fiction.

In Which I Discover My Wife's Adult Magazine CollectionBrian.Carnell.Com, 16th February 2004 (via BoingBoing).

Orson Scott Card Shows his Bigotry Again

United States: Orson Scott Card, whose notorious Hypocrites of Homosexuality revealed his revolting anti-gay side, has published a new broadside against gay marriages that dresses up homophobia with more sophistry. Typical loony fundie, but this one bats for the Mormons.

The dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.

It's that desire for normality, that discontent with perpetual adolescent sexuality, that is at least partly behind this hunger for homosexual marriage.

Homosexual "Marriage" and CivilizationThe Ornery American, 15th February 2004 (via BoingBoing).

February 26, 2004

Satan 1, Loony Fundie 0

One of Scotland's most notorious cranks has died of lung cancer. Pastor Jack Glass believed the disease was a direct attack by Satan himself. He was a loving, Christian man:

He hit the headlines after organising a protest to coincide with the Papal visit to Scotland, which he argued violated the British Bill of Rights.
Pastor Glass also picketed Billy Connolly's shows after he was angered by one of the comedian's sketches based on the crucifixion.
An angry pastor was reported to have said: If the Forth was lava, I would throw him in.

More recently, he had fallen for one of popular culture's more obvious trolls and had been campaigning against Marilyn Manson. Pastor Glass loses cancer fight - BBC News, 25th February 2004.

A matter of national pride

The UK is one of the world's most atheist countries, according to research commissioned by the BBC, and a quarter of us think the world would be a more peaceful place if no-one believed in God.

The programme producers said: Overall, the results of our poll show that levels of belief and religious activity in the UK are consistently lower than in most of the other countries polled.

Only Russia and South Korea produced results similar to the UK. The highest levels of belief are found in the poorer nations of Nigeria, India and Indonesia.

Only the United States bucked the trend, being an eceonomically-developed nation with Third World attitudes. UK among most secular nationsBBC News, 25th February 2004.

Lack of Education Spreading Diseases

United States: It seems that the loony fundie penchant for killing off sex education in the US and replacing actual education with lectures on abstinence, has come back to bite them in the arse.

Half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25, perhaps because they are ignorant about protection or embarrassed to ask for it, according to several reports issued on Tuesday.
The reports, publicized by two nonprofit sexual and youth health groups, said there were 9 million new cases of STD among teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 in 2000.
They said the U.S. government's policy of preferring abstinence-only education would only increase those rates.

Spiced Jesus

Various LiveJournal users, pissed off with comment spam for Mel Gibson's movie that no-one likes, have been conspiring and Reddragdiva has posted a possible countermeasure:

All that P*ss**n *f Th* Chr*st spam is apparently just trying for Google hits. This post suggests dealing with them appropriately. Put the following HTML into an entry or comment:
<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079470/">The Passion of The Christ</a>. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079470/">Trailers</a>. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079470/">Good Website</a>. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079470/">Protesting Gibson's Passion Lacks Moral Legitimacy</a>.

This is apparently the same wording as in the original comment spam, with ever so slightly different links, thus: The Passion of The Christ. Trailers. Good Website. Protesting Gibson's Passion Lacks Moral Legitimacy.

February 25, 2004

John Ashcroft Is Insane

United States: Among other things, the recent Vanity Fair article describes how loony fundie John Ashcroft fears calico cats, how he attended opponent Mel Carnahan's funeral against the family's wishes, how Ashcroft's father put him at the controls of a plane with no training at age eight and how parts of Justice Department boilerplate were altered because they conflicted with the Seven Deadly Sins.

At 61, he is a devout member of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal denomination that disapproves of drinking, dancing, and pre-marital sex. As a boy, he never went to the movies, because, he has said, his parents told him, If you pay 15 cents to get into a movie, 7 cents of that will go to support a Hollywood lifestyle we disagree with. But he is not indifferent to power and its trappings — indeed, he harbored strong presidential hopes as late as 1998 — and it is in his nature to combine piety with ambition. In 1995, for example, when he became the junior senator from Missouri, he was anointed by friends (in the style of the ancient kings of Israel, he has noted) with Crisco oil from the kitchen...

Insert extremely obvious headline here

Romania: Six nuns have done a bunk from the convent they ran, leaving behind unpaid bills totalling the equivalent of £10,000.

Most of the debt is to the local electricity company, as well as a construction firm that did some work on the convent and a supplier of religious symbols. They could face fraud charges if caught.
The priest said that the parish church did not have the money to cover the nuns' debts and asked police to help him find them so they could take responsibility for their own debts.

Nuns on the run - Ananova, 19th February 2004.

February 24, 2004

Same old story

United States: A Wiccan family is looking for a new home to escape persecution by some charming, intelligent neighbours:

We have been harassed and tormented by a misconception. Until somebody bigoted faces criminal charges, I don't think it's going to stop, Wiccan shop owner Margie Allen said.
Allen and her daughters practice Wicca. They owned a small store in Kingsland. Allen says their problem started when unwelcome visitors targeted the store last year.
It was a big commotion, started yelling, 'Satanism, Satanism.' There were four or five of them all together. One was doing the yelling. Trying to get them to stop so I could explain, Allen said.

Wiccans Looking For A Safe Home - KXAN, 23rd February 2004.

Gibson nailed

What's the situation with The Passion of the Christ so far? Well God doesn't think much of it, His Chosen People definitely don't like it, and the bit about the Pope liking it has been shown to be a touch of the old False Witness. Could Mel Gibson's only friends be the spammers? Let's check a random fundie site, like Let God Be True!, for example.

Mel Gibson's movie is nothing but a two-hour stream of images graven in celluloid at the rate of 24 frames per second! He has made thousands of graven images and likenesses of God's Son engaged in a divine transaction and spiritual conflict, though Mel does not have a clue as to His appearance on earth 2000 years ago or His present appearance in heaven! What presumption! And he even thinks he knows what Satan looks like!

This isn't looking too good for Mel...

We do not believe Mr. Gibson is intentionally misleading anyone. We believe he is a sincere Roman Catholic blinded by the ignorance for which that church is famous. He is naturally very gifted at his craft, but the devil is using his ignorance of Biblical Christianity to create a manmade Jesus to turn many away from the blessed and only Potentate, Who reigns in heaven at this hour!

Ah, that crafty Catholic hierarchy again. And, of course, the film is in Aramaic, not the 17th century Scots that Jesus spoke:

For audio purposes, a Catholic translated the words into Aramaic. That makes good verbal sense, doesn't it? Take words written in Greek, translate them into English, and then translate them into Aramaic. Whoever read or heard, It is accomplished. These are not the words of Jesus! He didn't accomplish it; He finished it. Of course, he did not use the King James Version, which in its very dedicatory introduction blasts out against the pope and religion of Rome.

So not even barking mad fundies like it.

Conversations With God

United States: Pat Robertson has been having conversations with his invisible friend again.

Pat Robertson says that God has spoken to him and told him that George W. Bush will be re-elected because he deserves to be.

Here's Pat Robertson's exact quote: I think George Bush is going to win in a walk. I'm hearing from the Lord that it's going to be a blowout.

February 23, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Pentagram Clock

No discerning Wiccan can afford to miss this Pentagram Clock:

Our Pentagram clock is a classic design. It is 12 inch diameter chrome based wallclock with a white face that has 4.5" black pentagram in the middle of it and black numbers with chrome hands. It comes with batteries in a white gift box.

Okay, so it doesn't have any useful features like the phase of the moon, but there's a pentagram on it!

A pleasing rant

Garry Otton, whose Scottish Media Monitor examines the treatment of sexuality in the Scottish media and is printed monthly in SCOTSGAY magazine is on form this month:

As the Church disintegrates around us, the voices of its militants become ever more shrill. There was an Almighty fight going on in the playground over campuses shared by Catholic and non-denominational schools. And who had we at the centre of the fight? Well, well, well! If it wasn't our old friend, Religion! Reporter Graham Grant in The Scottish Daily Mail casually described the spat over the bringing together of children of different faiths. Faith is only ever imposed on children. They're not born with one and there's precious little evidence of it bringing anyone together! (Not counting mass graves). Catholic Church militants threatened to pull out of a £150m public-private partnership scheme to create seven shared campuses. Their demands included separate entrances, staff rooms, libraries, and -- I kid you not -- separate Catholic and non-denominational lavatories! Even convent-educated Old Mother (Joan) Burnie gasped in The Daily Record: Is there really a difference between a Catholic and a Proddy willy?

Time to Declare War on Militant Religionists says Garry Otton , Scottish Media Monitor, March 2004.

"Scotland would be a better place without faith schools"

Six Scottish Labour MPs have called for an end to segregated schooling in Scotland. Dr. Lewis Moonie said that separate schooling of children from Catholic families was divisive and added There should be no state-funded faith schools.

Providing faith schools is not the job of the state, as religion has nothing to do with education.

Why should we pay for the Roman Catholic Church to indoctrinate our children? I apply the same logic to separate schools for other faiths.

The Kirkcaldy MP added: Are faith schools divisive? Bloody right they are divisive.

It is not the job of the state at all to do this; it is the job of the church.

Ochil MP Martin O'Neill also called for an integrated, secular education system.

Mr O'Neill said: Personally, I feel there is no place for faith schools in modern society, and I think we are getting near the time where we will have to move on.

I want a secular system of education without any nod towards the direction of religion.

We won't get that just now, because we have a minority that feel it has rights to which it is entitled.

I壇 far rather we address whether religion is a necessary part of the school curriculum.

Others in favour of integrated education included Ian Davidson (Glasgow Pollok), Calum MacDonald (Western Isles), Frank Doran (Aberdeen Central) and Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen North) who pointed out that Aberdeen had ended segregation 30 years ago and the city had much improved community relations as a result. Labour MPs Call for Catholic Schools to Be Scrapped Scotland on Sunday, 22nd February 2004.

February 22, 2004

Paging Occam, your razor is needed

Ireland: A conspiracy theorist, has concluded that serial killers Fred and Rosemary West were part of a Satanic cult and is writing a book about it. Jim Cairns has also written books defaming Wicca, and his website promotes the Satanic Child Abuse Myth (SCAM).

The murders reek of human sacrifice with powerful connections.
The Wests have got all the essential ingredients of ritual killers - their indifference to the suffering of their victims, the murder of their own children and the burying of the bodies under their own house.
The fact that all of the victims had fingers and toes missing, and that the bar they built to entertain Rose West痴 clients was called the Black Magic Bar, just underlines the point.

After all, it couldn't be that they were simply sadistic murderers, could it? And all those other serial killers and mass murderes must have been Satanists, too:

It can't be a coincidence, he said. And the Wests wouldn't be the first serial killers to have satanic connections.
I have no doubt that the likes of Jack the Ripper and Myra Hindley were involved in something similar. Their killing patterns and behaviour reek of the occult, too.

In support of his hypothesis, he cites a report written by SCAM promotor Valerie Sinason, which erceived government funding, ignoring the report by Professor Jean LaFontaine whch the UK government actually published. Of course, with Fred West safely dead, and Rosemary firmly locked away, he can utter whatever bollocks he likes. Fred West linked to the occult - icBirmingham, 22nd February 2004.

What search engines think you'll find here

I'm terribly sorry if you came here expecting tasteful naked women with big breasts (how did Google know?), or because you wanted to know about watching lesbian porn online or what is a pagan.

February 21, 2004

Smile! It can't be that bad.

Karen Armstrong, a writer on fundamentalism, has penned an interesting article in today's Grauniad. She starts with the observation that children know what to read, and it tends to be the sort of stuff parents would rather they didn't.

In fact, the best children's classics have always evoked the dark side of life. Alice's Wonderland reveals the arbitrary demands and heartless craziness of the adult world from a child's perspective. The sinister menace of the Wild Wood is a constant threat in The Wind in the Willows. In the novels of Frances Hodgson Burnett, children are regularly abandoned, bereaved, neglected and ill-treated. Some parents would prefer their children to read books that are more upbeat, but Wilson's success and the endurance of these classics remind us that children know instinctively what is best for them, and find that their worst fears become more manageable when they are made explicit. It seems that many children have not yet succumbed quite as fully as adults to the positive thinking that is fast becoming a social orthodoxy.

She then observes how society doesn't like to cofront pain and suffering--An acquaintance once told me that quite the most difficult aspect of her cancer was her friends' strident insistence that she develop a positive attitude, and her guilt at being unable to do so--before noting that fundies are the worst offenders.

Bargain of the Day: Passion Nail Pendant

This bit of cheap metal on a string isn't overpriced at $25 (US) because it's Mel Gibson New Christ Passion Movie Memorabilia. Not that that means it was used in the film, nosiree.

Nail Pendant on 20" leather cord. Nail is 1-7/8" long, and oval tag near clasp engraved with The Passion of the Christ.

Proof That Insanity is Hereditary

United States: While Mel Gibson is fanning the flames of fundie ignorance with his vanity pic, his father is out there pissing off the Jewish community by claiming that the Holocaust was exaggerated.

Is Your Religion Unsanitary?

United States: Mark Morford is once more encouraging the fundie sheep to think for themselves.

Is your god really, really angry right now?

Is your god telling you, like it tells G.W. Bush every night, that your unwanted unprovoked ultraviolent war against a nearly defenseless nation is not only justified and righteous, but is His deepest wish?

And does your religion tell you, like it tells so many of the Christian Right, that homosexuals are a dire threat to humankind and should be stopped at all costs before the so-called gay agenda sneaks into the playground and the drinking water and the Spongebob scripts and starts covertly converting our blessed innocent hetero children to a life of sin?

Oops

Zimbabwe: Two children have died after a faith healing session went wrong.

It is alleged that the father took his whole family for a church service where he ordered his wife and their three children to return home for a healing session. The self-styled faith healer and the father later took the concoction and gave it to the whole family.
After consuming the medicine, the deceased began to complain of stomach aches and diarrhoea. The two juveniles allegedly died the following morning and their bodies where taken to Musiso Hospital for a post-mortem.

The concoction contained water and an unknown herb, which the police suspectmight have been poison. The faith healer and the father of the dead children have been arrested. Faith healing session ends in tragedy - The Herald (Zimbabwe - via Religion News Blog), 19th February 2004.

February 20, 2004

It's all so romantic... sniff!

United States: Following San Francisco's example, a surprising local authority has started issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples. Two women were first to exchange vows in Sandoval County (population: about 90,000) near Albuquerque, New Mexico. State law defines marriage as a civil contract between two people, and makes no reference to sex.

When [County Clerk Victoria] Dunlop made her decision she said she had not been approached by any same-sex couple seeking a license but after reading about the recent court decision in Massachusetts which has similar laws she became concerned that a refusal could end up in a lengthy and expensive court battle which the county would not win.

This office won't say no until shown it's not permissible, said Dunlap.

Chicago mayor Richard Daley said he would have no problem whatsoever if the county'clerk's office followed in San Francisco's footsteps, and had strong words for those who claim it would undermine marriage:

Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage, he said. You're not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don't blame them for it.

Cambodia: Much further afield, the Cambodian king has said he has absolutely no problem with same-sex couples getting married.

The king said that as a liberal democracy, Cambodia should allow marriage between man and man... or between woman and woman.

He said he had respect for homosexual and lesbians and said they were as they were because God loved a wide range of tastes.

Sihanouk, who is currently in Beijing for medical treatment, also said that transvestites should be accepted and well-treated in our national community.

Such views do not represent the mainstream opinion in Cambodia, but will hopefully prove influential with both parliament (King Norodom Sihanouk is a constitutional monarch, like Queen Elizabeth, with no executive power) and the population as a whole. New Mexico Clerk Issues Gay Marriage Licenses365gay.com, 20th February 2004; Another US state for gay marriage?Gay.com News, 20th February 2004; Cambodian king backs gay marriageBBC News, 20th February 2004.

February 19, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Life of Jesus Cross Light

This delightful Life of Jesus Cross Light is a tasteful addition to any Christian home, and the photos clearly do not do it justice:

Scenes from the life of Jesus decorate an elaborately designed wall cross. At center, Jesus sits behind a mirror and, when switched on, is illuminated by a pale light. Uses two AA batteries, not included. Alabastrite. 11 3/4" x 2 1/8" x 14 1/8" high.

Trainspotting

United States: Dealing with a derailment isn't necessarily a simple operation.

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- The rabbi walked along a side track of the Canadian Pacific Railway in this northwestern Minnesota city of 8,000, making sure things were kosher.

Rabbi Yosef Grossbaum of St. Paul was hired by CPR to oversee the transfer Thursday of kosher canola oil from one big tanker car to another.

The Rabbi was not needed for any special rituals, but to make sure the rules were followed:

How have you used that hose? Grossbaum asked Jon Kumlin of Hulcher Services, CPR's car-moving contractor, about the 4-inch plastic hose that was hooked between the two tankers. Assured it was steam cleaned between uses, Grossbaum moved to a 55-gallon drum of water heated by a propane burner. He instructed Kumlin on how to dip a heavy elbow-shaped fitting into the water to cleanse it for use in pumping the oil out of the damaged tanker.

The water needed to be boiling, to follow biblical rules on kosher liquids dating to Moses' time, Grossbaum said.

Rabbi makes sure derailment cleanup is kosherTwinCities.com, 1st March 2003 (via Tim Hall).

'Fanatical, demented, unstable'

United States: There are some odd religious offshoots out there, and Andrew Gumbel takes a close look at a group of Mormon fundamentalists who might be driven over the edge.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Same-Sex Marriages

United States: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has shown that he has the biggest bollocks in the United States with his move to grant same-sex marriages and in doing so gives the royal salute to Christian fundies and indignant homophobic conservatives everywhere.

No matter what the final outcome, this past week will go down as one of those defining moments, a seminal point in American history. It hearkens back to the civil rights movement and to women's suffrage, though with less screaming chanting effigy-burning marches and beatings by angry cops, and more roses and warm-hearted grins and life-affirming smooches on the steps of city hall.
It was a delicious and heartwarming historic spectacle indeed, and there was simply no way for any person of any elevated consciousness or spiritual awareness — anyone with any heart whatsoever — to witness the huge line of happy, eager same-sex couples snaking around city hall and not be deeply moved, profoundly touched.

February 18, 2004

Kookery, but not on Saturday.

On my travels, I often make use of vegan restaurants run the Seventh Day Adventists. I quite like them really, especially as they seem to spend the effort others waste evangelising on promoting vegetarianism and healthy living. Indeed, if you want to find religious material at one of their establishments, you will probably find it tucked away somewhere under the cookbooks. Imagine my surprise, then, at finding a publication such as Earth's Final Warning at the Country Life restaurant in Boston.

On the surface, it looks like your ordinary conspiratorial rant about how the Papacy plans to bring about the New World Order. But this makes an important point: the rot set in when the Sabbath was moved to Sunday.

The order of things

This illustration of The Pagan Hierarchy or ...who looks down on whom... came to my attention via Teresa's Particles. It missed out the Pagan Prattle right at the top though...

The same source also led me to the Unintelligent Design Network, Inc., which adds to the Evolution/Creation stushie:

But instead of being swayed by either side, we at UDN, Inc. have found a theory that effectively merges the strengths of the two theories without the weaknesses. The intelligent design people say there are too many holes in the fossil record, and that evolution is only a theory; the scientists say there's not enough evidence of intelligent design. So we say, instead, that life has indeed been designed, just not very well.
Miller himself, a biologist, states on of our best illustrations. There have been 23 elephant-like animals in history, and yet only two survive today (and we add, they're not doing very well). Clearly, this is the mark of an all-powerful creator who is stuck on the same stupid idea and can't figure out why the hell they keep dying off. Hmm, perhaps it's because giant, big-eared mammals with huge, prehensile noses are ridiculous? I mean, WTF? A giant, powerful, grasping… nose? It looks like something a preschooler would make up.
But there's more. The fossil record is littered with animals that prove God, er, whatever magical force designed life, is several fries short of a happy meal. I mean, look at the Dodo. Unlike other huge, successful birds like eagles and buzzards, our creator decided the next big thing would be a huge bird with teeny-tiny wings that didn't do squat. Add to this the fact that the stupid things practically jumped into the Portuguese sailors' cooking pots themselves.

Bargain of the Day: Enamel Dogwood Earrings

At first glance, today's bargain seems a little odd. Why should the Prattle have any interest in some rather attractive earrings? But it all lies in the marketing, so what we have here are Enamel Dogwood Ears/ Do You Know The Legend?. In case we didn't, and would have otherwise bought the earrings, the vendor tells us:

THE LEGEND: The legend behind the dogwood is that at the time of the Crucifixation the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus nailed upon it sensed this, and His gentle pity for all sorrow and suffering said to it: Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross--two long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember

And what would modern religious tat be without some gratuitous patriotism? This item is Brand New and Made In the USA at our factory located in Cranston, R.I.,.

The unholy rood.

The Scottish Parliament building is more than just an overdue means of lining developers' pockets, its location is full of mystical symbolism according to a book read by Simon Pia:

After a chapter on Rosslyn Chapel, the author seamlessly turns his attention to the new Holyrood Parliament, pointing out that David I founded the nearby Abbey in 1128, having been rescued by divine intervention from a rampaging deer.
He then asks the obvious question: Is it simply coincidence that Scotland's new parliament is being built in the same mystical location?
Apparently, some people have commented that the building looks like the all-seeing eye of the god Horus, a favoured magic motif of the ancient Egyptians.

Magical mystical tour of Holyrood - The Scotsman, 18th February 2004.

Tourists - please keep going to Glasgow instead.

Edinburgh City Council will let the Beltane Fire Festival go ahead this year, as long as the organisers put it on a commercial footing. The Evening News does not say if the organisers of the Diwali celebrations, which also involve thousands of people and bonfires, in October will also be expected to charge worshippers. Beltane festival fired up for city comeback - Edinburgh Evening News, 18th February 2004.

Nae pufters.

West Lothian council has a record budget of £4.3 million for voluntary organisations this year, but one councillor got very upset about £511 given to the local Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. SNP councillor Eddie Malcolm claimed it was not that he was homophobic, but that if he were gay, he wouldn't want anyone to know!

He said: If I was gay I wouldn't want to be singled out as being gay. It is nothing to do with money.
If we want gay and lesbian people to be integrated into the community, then why pigeonhole them by having a separate switchboard when there are others which offer the same service to everyone?

He neglected to give any examples of such alternative services, and other members of his party were quick to point out that his view was most definitely not SNP policy. Councillor bids to stop £511 for gay switchboard - Edinburgh Evening News, 18th February 2004.

Hate Speech Is Not Free Speech

Canada: A fundie teacher has had his homophobic rant denied the protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by British Columbia's Supreme Court.

Chris Kempling, a teacher and guidance counsellor in a Quesnel high school said the ruling by the B.C. Supreme Court is a significant blow to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, denying Christian teachers the right to speak out on controversial issues. Kempling says he intends to appeal the ruling.

Protestants Only Want Celibate Gays

England: The Church of England came under renewed pressure from its own clergy recently to update its stance on homosexuality and gay priests.

In what appeared to be open defiance of the policy, the Rev Paul Collier, a south London priest, told the synod that his long-term relationship with another man reflected the real world that the church was failing to keep in step with.

February 16, 2004

Buy A Valentine's Day Card, Get Your Head Shaved

India: Not everyone is a fan of commercialised Western traditions aimed at marketing Hallmark cards, but some loony fundies in India have got themselves into a right lather over Valentine's Day.

Hindu nationalists who claim they are fighting against Western cultural influence have threatened to shave young lovers' heads and beat them if they exchange Valentine's Day cards and gifts.

Gifts From the Cheap Bastard

United States: Too cheap for a Valentine's Day gift? The fundies in Texas have the perfect thing, promise your beloved that you'll stop looking at porn. I'm sure that idea's really going to go over well with your other half when you lob up empty handed, you cheap bastard.

Chocolates are always nice, and a diamond necklace would be delightful. But a Dallas-based ministry thinks it has a better idea for Valentine's Day.
Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn, proclaim billboards put up by NetAccountability, a nonprofit software company that aims to help Christians confront the secret sin of pornography.

February 15, 2004

Teaching Children to Question Indoctrination

England: A UK Government report by the Institute For Public Policy Research has suggested that religious education in schools should be renamed spiritual education, with children being taught more about atheism and less about the life of Jesus and the ten commandments. And in doing so, educate children to question their indoctrination into one fundie group or another.

The lessons should be widened to include non-religious belief systems, a report by the Institute For Public Policy Research says. It calls for equal weight to be given to agnosticism and humanism as is given to Christianity. Children should also be taught about cults such as the Baha'i, made famous by the government scientist Dr David Kelly, paganism and even environmentalism...

The New American Dominionist Church/State

United States: Couple of interesting articles about how the loony fundie movement set about taking over America and how they keep the plebs in the dark and begging for more.

February 14, 2004

That nipple again

Satanbusters could well be bettter placed in the Intentional Humour category, but if it is a spoof, it's an accurate one:

On February 1st, as an estimated 130 million unsuspecting Americans tuned in, the Super Bowl half-time show was turned into a perverted Pagan burlesque show. Janet Jackson's X-Rated spectacle is being dismissed as a publicity stunt, but the close examination of the facts reveals something far more sinister.
Super Bowl Sunday, February 1st, was also the traditional Pagan/Satanic holiday of Candlemass or Imboloc. The rites traditionally called for young women to parade around town naked invoking the spirit of Pagan saint Brighid or Brigit (pronounced BREE) in an effort to bring on lactation in farm animals. Brigit was also revered as the goddess of spring and represented by the sun. A close examination of the footage shows a bare breasted Janet Jackson with a strange sun ornament piercing her nipple, both clear references to this Satanic Occult ceremony. The public outcry seems to have largely missed the point. This act was not just about SEX, it was about SATANISM.

And why would this be a problem?

There are millions of practioners of Satanism worldwide. Estimates vary, but it has been suggested that as many as 60,000 people every year are victims of ritualistic satanic murder. With millions of records sold and millions of young minds corrupted, are the Jackson Family America's foremost purveyors of Satanism? Is the Prince of Pop closely aligned with the Prince of Darkness? Was Janet Jackson's halftime show the most highly rated Black Mass in history? The facts speak for themselves.

So there we have it.

Bargain of the Day: Hell Kitty

The attendees at the Other Convention mentioned below were clearly interested in the Hell Kitty I bought in the dealer room, but were too polite (and confused by the simple instructions for the lift) to say anything.

Hello Kitty's got her Halloween Costume on! This time she's wearing a red vinyl devil costume! Bad Kitty! Officially licensed plush toy. Measures approx 6" tall.

In lieu of a postcard

United States: The reason Redwolf appears to have taken over is that I am posting this from a hotel room in Boston, where I am attending a science fiction convention. As well as Boskone, the hotel is filled with delegates to a different sort of convention - the Vision New England (Uniting Christians for Evangelism, Discipleship and Celebration) Congress 2004 asks Do you and your church know their purpose?.

Just Imagine the excitement in your church if everyone was functioning under the same set of life-changing purposes. This weekend will encourage you to look at your life in a new way - through the lens of God's eternal purposes.

To help you acheive this, you have a choice of workshops on topics such as Alienating your neighbours Targeting Your Community for Evangelism & Attracting a Crowd to Worship and the intriguing Empowering Your Core for Ministry. Unfortuantely, as I have just discovered that there was no session on Increasing your understanding of elevators by reading the instructions.

By the way, should anyone be dropping in from Making Light, Teresa says Hello.

Public Transport And A Bag Of Lard

Israel: A loony fundie from Israel has proposed hanging bags of pig fat in buses to deter Muslim suicide bombers who may want to avoid contact with an unclean animal.

The idea — suggested by Rabbi Eliezer Fisher, a rabbinical judge, in a letter to police — signaled the extremes to which some Israelis may be willing to go to stop Palestinian bombers who have killed hundreds of Israelis in recent years.

Judaism, like Islam, considers pigs unclean. But the ultra-Orthodox rabbi has ruled that special dispensation can be given for placing bags of lard in buses and public places in an effort to prevent attacks.

No Sex Please, We're Repressed Bigots

United States: In a curious promotional gimmick aimed at called attention to the fact that America is possibly the most sexually repressed place on Earth, a rapid pack of loony fundies are pushing their Day of Purity nonsense.

Melissa Millis feels bombarded by everyday messages of sexual promiscuity, whether it's Janet Jackson's bare breast during the Super Bowl or her classmates' casual sex talk.

So Millis, a high school senior in Michigan, and thousands of other students across the nation plan to wear white T-shirts to school Friday, the day before Valentine's Day, to publicly show their commitment to not having sex outside marriage. They're calling their effort the Day of Purity, and they will distribute pro-abstinence pamphlets to their peers.

The way sex is talked about, it's so casual, like it's an everyday thing, like going to McDonald's, said Millis, 17.

The grass-roots effort is supported by Christian groups nationwide and organized by Liberty Counsel, a conservative religious rights group based in Orlando. It comes as President Bush is pushing in his budget proposal to double federal funding for sexual abstinence programs.

February 13, 2004

Dealing With The God-Botherers, Go Harass The Neighbours

Israel: Nobody likes being badgered by a happy, shiny, vacant god-bother with a conversion quota to fill. That includes the Israeli Tourism Minister, who suggested that the current flock of evangelical missionaries bugger off and harass the Moslems instead.

[Tourism Minister Benny] Elon told the Christians that Israel would not accept any missionary attempts to convert Jews, but suggested they turn their attention to Muslim militants in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Go to mosques and bring the light to the Muslims. Remind all the Muslim killers that thou shall not kill. Make them good Christians and good people, Elon was quoted as saying in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

Later clarification was added to soften the Minister's rant.

Rotenberg confirmed the minister's comments, but said Elon was referring only to Muslims who preach to kill.

Elon urges missionaries to convert Muslims - AP, 9th February 2004.

At Least He Wasn't Molesting The Flock

United States: Everyone's got to have a hobby and Reverend Arko's was gardening. Unfortunately, the Ohio authorities frown on the cultivation of certain plants.

A Roman Catholic priest accused of growing marijuana in his church living quarters pleaded innocent Friday.

February 12, 2004

Where Popcorn Meets Creepy Blood-Soaked Ultra-Conservative Jesus

United States: Watch with bated breath as a film that bugger all will actually see is artificially bumped up the charts by loony fundies with more money than sense who are buying out the cinemas.

Churches are reserving entire theaters for opening day. A national evangelical organization is helping sell tickets from its Web site. Pastors are planning sermons timed to the movie's Ash Wednesday release...
...The first showing at the Cinemark Tinseltown in Plano, Texas, deep in the Bible Belt, starts at 6.30am and the 20-screen multiplex will feature nothing but The Passion all day.

Bargain of the Day: Dibbuk Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet Box

United States: People actually buy this stuff. You're too late for this thrilling auction, but you can console yourself that some wally parted with US$280 for a box that came with a tall tale.

February 11, 2004

Junior Fundie Parrot Suspended

United States: A mini bimbo, lumbered with the unfortunate moniker of Brandy, who will no doubt grow up to be a clone of her close-minded loony fundie parents, got herself suspended for swearing.

A second-grade girl from Pittsburgh was suspended this week from her public elementary school for saying the word hell to a boy in her class.
But 7-year-old Brandy McKenith says she was only warning the boy about the eternal comeuppance he could face for saying: I swear to God.
I said, 'You're going to go to hell for swearing to God', Brandy was quoted as saying.

Girl Suspended from School for Saying 'Hell' - Reuters, 4th February 2004.

Would You Like Fries With Your Sheep Heads?

Poland: Nothing says black metal stage show like dozens of sheep heads on stakes, a literal blood bath and a naked, crucified woman.

February 10, 2004

Cult Peddling Its Evil To Children

United States: Nick took a trip over to visit the Focus on the Family compound and re-education facility and brought back some of their dodgy propaganda that is pushing their product to children.

Focus on the Family Recruits Children - morons.org, 30th January 2004.

Call Me Crazy, But...

United States: An American Airlines pilot has done his darnedest to prove that the French have the right idea about classing fundies as insane and barring them from positions where their madness could put peoples lives at risk.

February 9, 2004

Domestic Violence Caused by Sex

Spain: Bishops in Spain have once again commented on topics that they have little knowledge or experience with, such as family matters. The men in the dresses have been quick to point the finger of blame for women's deaths and beatings being dramatically higher in Spain. Seems that domestic violence is the bitter fruit of the sexual revolution. The locals are well and truly pissed.

February 8, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Jesus scarf

Be the envy of your church group with this 'I [heart] Jesus' chiffon scarf:

This scarf is black chiffon with gold stamped printing on it. It is 100% polyester and from V.J. Trading Corp. It measures approximately 19"X61". We have sold these at several churches in the area. It would look great with your church suit or your outercoat.

Deaf and dumb

United States: The United States government has decided that people with hearing disabilities are too stupid to differentiate between fantasy and reality. The Depratment (typo deliberately not corrected) of Education has ruled that 200 shows are unsuitable for closed-captioning, and no grants will be given for doing so.

The government is refusing to caption Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie, apparently fearing that the deaf would fall prey to witchcraft if they viewed the classic sitcoms.

The National Association of the Deaf is not amused:

They've suddenly narrowed down the definition of those three kinds of programming without public input, says Kelby Brick, director of the NAD's law and advocacy center. Basically, the department wants to limit captioning to puritan shows. The department wants to ensure that deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are not exposed to any non-puritan programming. Never mind that the rest of the country is allowed to be exposed.

Censor 'Scooby-Doo'? Words fail - Palm Beach Post, 8th February 2004.

February 7, 2004

Antichrist du jour

We've heard before how George W. Bush is the Antichrist, and how Prince William is the Antichrist and reincarnation of King Arthur. But for one day only, marking his 93rd birthday, the folks at GayPornBlog, have declared Ronald Reagan is the Antichrist.

Bargain of the Day: Bible Bobbleheads

Nestled quietly in the Sidelights of Making Light is a link to the only place online... to purchase one, or all three, of the original 2002 Great Heroes of Faith Collection a.k.a. Isaac Bros. Bible Bobbleheads. And if that isn't exciting enough, You can also get a sneak-peek at our one-of-a-kind Comic Books which we insert with every Isaac Bros. Bible Bobblehead. I warn you they're not as interesting as Chick tracts.

February 6, 2004

Conventional treatment

Italy: A Mother Superior, who is a close friend of Pope John Paul II, is being investigated by police after allegations that she mistreated novice nuns under her care. Tekla Familglietti, head of the 650-year-old Daughters of St Brigid order, is said to be a strong character:

Locals have described the mother superior as robust and authoritarian one added: There is always a lot of tension up there between the trainees and mother Famiglietti.
She is known as the General and is one of the most powerful women in the Roman Catholic Church. She knows cardinals, politicians and even Pope John Paul II himself.

Mother Superior accused of mistreating novice nuns - Ananova, 6th February 2004.

Glory

United States: Coming soon to a garage sale near you — future religious tat. Or not. Seems inventor, Senora Melody Downs of Baltimore, Maryland, tried to patent a Christian board game, no doubt expecting to be trampled in the rush from Mattel. The patent office didn't agree, perhaps because the patent application seems to challenge the one sentence per claim rule. Although I'd lean towards the too many exclamation points in an application tag you as an idiot explanation.

Cardinal Says Gays Are Perverts But Brothels Are Okay

Belgium: Cardinal Gustaaf Joos, best buddy of the Pope, was interviewed by Belgian soft-porn P-Magazine. He's not a fan of the gay community, I'd love to know what the distinction between gay and pervert is. And isn't signing things in your own blood one of those Satanist things?

I am prepared to sign here in my blood that of all those who say they are lesbian or gay, at most five to 10 per cent are effectively lesbian or gay. All the rest are sexual perverts, said Cardinal Gustaaf Joos on Wednesday. I demand you write this down. If they come to protest on my doorstep, I don't care. I'm just speaking out on what thousands of people are thinking but never get a chance to say... Real homosexuals don't wander in the streets in colourful suits. Those are people who have a serious problem and have to live with that. And if they err, they will be forgiven.

February 5, 2004

Investigation 101

United States: You are a police officer. You have arrested a couple of 14-year-old boys who allegedly desecrated a Catholic church. Is this because:

  1. They were immature, drunken neds, or
  2. They know Wiccans

The correct answer is the second one, of course.

[The 14-year-old] told police he believes in witchcraft and associates with Wiccans, followers of an ancient European religion who worship nature and believe in magic...
...In a possible connection to the religion, the teens appeared to have been barefoot, a trait commonly associated with Wicca, during their spree. They left footprints in the residue from the fire extinguisher.

Drunken sacrilege: 2 teens charged with defiling Immaculate Conception in Stoughton - The Patriot Ledger, 5th February 2004.

February 4, 2004

Nobody loves me, let's try spam.

What a sad situation Mel Gibson is in. Sensible Christians and Jewish organisations have condemned your new (barking mad fundie) movie, The Passion of the Christ. Even God doesn't like it and keeps trying to bump off the crew. Only that senile old nutter, the Pope, seems to like it. What is a superstitious idiot to do? Well, he need not worry, because the noble, upstanding comment spammers are on his side and spamming LiveJournals with gruesome images from his œuvre.

Christian Foot Soldiers Battle for Bush

United States: An increasingly polarised presidential election appears to be in the offing. One of the fault-lines is religion and, in particular, Bush's evangelical faith and how that guides his political beliefs.

February 2, 2004

Muslim Mosh Pits

Saudi Arabia: Taking part in the fun of throwing stones at the devil is one of the highlights of the hajj pilgrimage. Unfortunately, the brochures tend to leave out the bit about two million other people wanting to take a crack at the devil too.

At least 244 Muslim pilgrims have been trampled to death in Saudi Arabia at the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage, the scene of deadly stampedes in past years.
A similar number of pilgrims was also wounded during the stampede, which lasted 27 minutes, said Saudi Hajj Minister Iyad Madani last night.
The tragedy happened after 2 million pilgrims flocked to Jamarat Bridge in Mena to throw stones at pillars representing the devil.
Police and medical teams said the victims were crushed to death.

244 trampled to death in hajj - The Australian, 2nd February 2004.

No Such Thing As Evolution

United States: School officials in Georgia are trying to find new and interesting ways to educate children without pissing off the loony fundies from the creationist camp. But changing the term evolution to biological changes over time needs a bit more work as the plan has enraged everyone.

February 1, 2004

Bargain of the Day: useless cash

For $1.50 (US) you can buy a penny! But we wouldn't feature just any penny, would we? No, this Cross Remembrance Coin has been damaged just for you:

The coin is an actual United States minted penny with a cross punched out of the center. On the front of the card is The Cross in my Pocket poem and on the back is a brief description of the coin and the process.(Please see photos)

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