May 2005 Archives

May 29, 2005

Wanted: Father Jack Hackett

England: Plans to reform the Roman Catholic diocese of Westminster include some very interesting propositions for attracting new recruits to the priesthood. In particular, the Church plans to target men whose judgement is impaired thanks to alcohol:

The Church is launching a recruitment campaign that will use beermats in pubs and posters on the London Underground to promote the priesthood.

Beer mat ads to recruit priests - BBC News, 29th May 2005.

May 27, 2005

Bargain of the Day: a shell, but not like yesterday's

The Prattle is about 16½ years old now, and in that time it has come to my attention that there are one or two Christian extremists out there who are, well, a little bit violent. This bargain will disappoint them - there's no way it can be used for its original purpose. Today's offering is a DIVINE FIND - SHOTGUN SHELL TURNS INTO POPE'S HAT?!? which was MYSTERIOUSLY FOUND IN PRAIRIE WITH NO TRACES OF FIRE.... Which is good, because the rest of the description implies that there is a class of Darwin-bait that throws ammunition into bonfires:

[Squashed ammo]This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the divine treasure emblazened in a fire, molding itself into the shape of the Pope's hat. How the shell did not burn up entirely is a mystery that will probably never be solved, but the shocking result is a sight to behold. The shell was found after the christening of the new Pope, but it is believed to have been molded into its present form sometime before or at the time of the former Pope's death. Could this shell have been burning into its undeniable shape as the Pope died? Draw your own conclusions as to the meaning of this strangely divine occurrence, but bid now or forever hold your peace. The only reason this one-of-a-kind miracle is being sold is the feeling that it truly belongs to another person, but who is the true owner?

Item is guaranteed 100% authentic. Seller acknowledges that no human was involved in the forming of the item into its present shape. It is believed that the item has been formed as a direct result of divine intervention.

May 26, 2005

Annoy fundies: give them what they want

United States: Religious organisation have made many attempts to undermine science education in some states, by insisting that intelligent design (re-badged creationism) be taught as an alternative explanation to evolution by natural selection. They even had limited success in some states, but David Morris at AlterNet has an idea: let them have their way -- Science teachers can teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution -- and teach meddling school board members a lesson at the same time.

So, how to go about it? It seems that Christian creationism isn't actually specified in any legislation or proposed legislation, because that would be unconstitional. Instead, the requirement is that teachers offer a critique of evolution and suggest alternative theories about the origins of life. So, he suggests teachers start by talking about sex. That should, at least, get the pupils' attention.

Iraqi Christians to American evangelists: Piss off

Iraq: American evangelists have managed to really annoy one particular group of Iraqis—Christians. Patriarch Emmanuel Delly is the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Iraq's largest Christian denomination, affiliated with the Vatican. Delly, who ranks as an archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church and is tipped to become a cardinal, explained his problem with the evangelists that have plagued the country since the invasion in March last year:

Delly told Al-Jazeera News on May 19 that Iraq did not need Christian missionaries because its churches dated back long before Protestantism. He objected to the aspect of trying to convert Muslims and said, You can’t even talk about that here.

According to Delly, the evangelicals attract poor youths with displays of money and then take them out in cars to have fun. Then, they take photos and send them here, to Germany, to the United States and say ‘look how many Muslims have become Christian.’

The (atheist) correspondent at uruknet.info goes on to discuss the role of well-known fundies like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in bringing these pests to Iraq.

Reuters has more detail on the story, and notes that Christians in predominantly Muslim countries tend not to make pains of themselves.

Many Muslim countries consider Christian missionaries as part of a Western campaign against Islam and punish both the preacher and the apostate Muslim severely. Violent Iraqi groups killed at least five evangelical missionaries last year.

At least 20 Iraqis were killed in bombings of Christian churches last year as unknown attackers stepped up pressure on non-Muslims there. Christian minorities in Muslim countries usually keep a low profile and do not evangelise.

JUST WHAT EVERY IRAQI NEEDS: A BIBLE - uruknet.info, 23rd May 2005; Patriarch denounces U.S. evangelicals in Iraq - Reuters, 19th May 2005 (via The Sideshow and The Green Knight).

Bargains of the Day: Holy toast and seashell

Today we have two bargains to tempt you. First up is a Virgin Mary Image on Toast - Found in Arizona Office:

[Some squiggles on toast]This is a piece of bread, toasted in an office break room, that has an image resembling the Virgin Mother Mary. I looked at it for several minutes and showed it to others in the office and we all agree that it is definitely the Virgin Mary.

We immediately photographed this toast and then put it in an air-tight plastic container to keep it in good condition.

The picture says it all. The Holy Mother Mary is respected by many people and is a religious icon to a majority of the world.

Please only bid on this with good intent. I accept Paypal, money orders, and personal checks. Must send payment within 72 hours of auction end. Thank you and God bless.

And if that wasn't enough excitement for one day, we also found this Jesus inside a Seashell, which will no doubt be of particular interest to Methodists:

[Shiny shell]The world is a gift given to us by God, and we are shown a little taste of heaven itself from time to time we just have to be willing to look beyond what our eyes see and look with out heart. Along with the treasures of life I believe that God leaves little signs or clues that He is still alive and knows what’s going on in our lives. Going up for auction on eBay a small wooden curio cabinet approximately 7" x 10" x 2" filled with various types of beans and a simple sea shell in the middle. Look closely and you can see one of God’s little signs, the image of His Son meekly looking down in the middle of a sea shell made by God’s own hand. You never know this could be a sign that God is around and always with us or just the something that someone needs as a little pick me up! Wouldn’t you like to have one of God’s little signs that we are here for a reason and that he is always going be with us no matter what the circumstances?

Please note this item is not grilled cheese, it won’t rot, decompose or shrivel up and wither away; it is an actual sea shell you will be able to cherish forever just as God’s love for us is everlasting.

May 25, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Bring Jesus to your bosom

Jesus decided to get closer to the heart of the the vendor of this Jesus Christ's Image on Mammogram. (Religious). Naturally, she felt the most respectful thing she could do with the One and Only... ORIGINAL FILM! of this moving event was to sell it on eBay.

[Mammongram simulacrum]Jesus Christ's image is clearly visible on this mammogram. I went in for a regular mammogram screening where several x-rays were taken. The doctor thought he had seen something unusual and called me back one week later.

On this second visit, only one image was taken of the area of concern. As soon as the film showed up on the screen, the image of Jesus Christ was clearly visible. The technician and I were astonished and immediately felt a pleasant presence.

Needless to say, I was blessed to find that all was well and I am in good health.

Additional information: Mammogram impression is: 4"x4". (JC image within.)

May 24, 2005

Racists ordered to pay up

United States: Way back when, a bunch of racists lost a trademark suit. They were ordered to pay costs, but neglected to do so. Now a US federal judge has ordered the Creativity Movement, formerly known as the Church of the Creator, to pay $450,000 (plus interest) to the TE-TA-MA Foundation.

The United States appears to have no equivalent of the Trades Descriptions Act, or maybe the white supremacists have a sense of irony in giving such a positive name to their destructive organisation. The members have demonstrated how creative they are as the case progressed.

[U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey] Lefkow ruled in Hale's favor but was reversed by a higher court and ordered to issue fines against Hale for every day his group didn't comply. Lefkow later became a target when Hale solicited a government informant to kill her. Hale was convicted of murder solicitation last year and last month was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He's appealing his conviction while being held in a Colorado maximum security prison.

The issue of attorneys fees also made its way to a federal appeals court, which found Hale's group liable because of accusations that his members left threatening phone messages for opposing attorneys as the case was litigated.

Judge orders Hale's group to pay up - Chicago Sun-Times, 24th May 2005. See also: Nazis lose out to hippies - Pagan Prattle, 3rd December 2002.

May 23, 2005

HUD

United States: Prophet Yahweh, Seer of Yahweh has issued an announcement that will interest all fans of bad science fiction:

For only 45 days, starting June 1st until July 15, 2005, Prophet Yahweh, Seer of Yahweh, will be calling down UFOs and spaceships for the news media to film and photograph. During this time, a spaceship will descend, on Prophet's signal, and sit in the skies over Las Vegas, Nevada for almost two days.

The Prophet claims a talent for this kind of thing and, if you are not sure what to look for, the press release helpfully explains more:

There is a difference between UFOs and spaceships. UFOs are usually small flying objects: glowing orbs, metallic spheres, satellite-type flying machines, etc. And, their flight patterns suggest that they are not of this world.

But, spaceships are large futuristic vehicles that are clearly designed to carry passengers in like you see in the movies.

And his promises are very precise.

Prophet is in direct telephatic contact with his space being friends. They have revealed that they will send UFOs as soon as Prophet starts asking for them to appear.

Also, before the 45 day summoning period has ended, a spaceship will descend and sit in the skies over Las Vegas on Prophet's signal.

The spaceship will hover in the sky, not far from Nellis Air Force base, for almost two days. All Las Vegans will be able to see it, day and night, before it goes back up into space.

MEDIA ALERT: Spaceships Will Appear Over Las Vegas On My Signal - Prophet Yahweh press release via PRWeb, 23rd May 2005.

May 22, 2005

One person cleared of abusing 'witch' girl

England: One of four people accused of abusing an eight-year-old girl they believed to be a witch has had charged dropped after the girl asserted that Kiwonde Kiese had done nothing nasty to her. The case against the other three defendants continues.

Woman is cleared of abusing girl, 8 - Muswell Hill Journal, 19th May 2005. See also Little girl accused of witchcraft - Pagan Prattle, 10th May 2005.

Today's religious spam

The delightful Red Wolf has been looking after the Prattle while I've been living it up in Toronto, and keeping the comment spammers at bay. She doesn't have powers of spam-nuking over my inbox though, so she didn't get to see the following bizarre (and over-familiar) religious Nigerian spam, which I present with my own annotations:

May 15, 2005

Georgia, Where Your First Girlfriend is a Mule

United States: Neal Horsley the kind of bloke that gives other Christians the sudden urge to convert to another religion.

He doesn't like women. He doesn't like homosexuals. He happily proclaims that murdering doctors who perform abortions is a fine thing and he has one of the world's ugliest web sites filled with the insane rantings of your typical ignorant bigot to prove it. This is the warm and fuzzy chap who not only fills his site with hate speech, but posts the names and addresses of doctors who, in his opinion, perform abortions and incites people to kill them. One of his idiot followers took Horsley's advice, killed two people and injured a further 150. Horsley was so proud.

But there is one thing that Neal Horsley does like, aside from insane murderers, that is.

In a recent Fox News radio interview, the less than intelligent Horsley was asked about his background, and he cheerfully admitted to engaging in homosexual and bestiality sexual activities. Yep, this self-avowed savior of our souls is into farm animals.

May 10, 2005

Little girl accused of witchcraft

England: An Old Baily jury has been told that an eight-year-old girl was tortured, and an attempt on her life was in progress when the attack was stopped. The alleged motive was that another child had said that the girl was a witch.

The girl, an Angolan refugee, came to the UK to live with relatives after her parents were killed in the war there.

[Prosecutor Patricia May] told the court the aunt and Ms Kisanga put the girl in a laundry bag, zipped it up and were about to throw it into the New River in Hackney, east London, until Mr Pinto stopped them.

Miss May said Mr Pinto told them: If they did and it was discovered, the law and the rights of children in this country being what they were, they would go to prison.

A search of the house of one of the accused revealed a number of (presuambly Christian) documents on sin, the devil and witchcraft and a diary, one entry including the sentence There was indeed a prophesy she has ndoki (the Lingala word for witchcraft).

The trial has been halted temporarily after the girl became upset and started to cry during the presentation of video evidence. It is due to resume tomorrow.

Witchcraft case halted over tears - BBC News, 10th May 2005; Girl tortured 'for being a witch' - BBC News, 9th May 2005.

May 8, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Glittery moon thing

How about a nice, shiny, glittery moon for the bedroom? Not convinced? Well, this is no ordinary bit of New Age tat, it's a MAKE A WISH AND DREAMS COME TRUE WAND!

[Glittery moon thing]MAKE A WISH ON THIS WAND AND DREAMS DO COME TRUE!

I BOUGHT THIS MAGICAL WAND A FEW YEARS AGO AT A PHYSIC FAIR, AND IT HAS BROUGHT ME AND OTHERS, NOTHING BUT GOOD LUCK!

I AM VERY SERIOUS, THIS WAND WAS NOT BOUGHT AS A GOOD LUCK WAND, BUT THERE IS SOMETHING VERY MAGICAL THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE A WISH, OR SAY A PRAYER, AND HOLD ONTO THIS SPARKLE HALF MOON ON A STICK~

SOME SAY THEY SEE RELIGIOUS FIGURES IN THIS?

DOESNT MATTER HOW YOU HOLD THIS, IT IS SMILING FRONT AND BACK, LET IT SMILE FOR YOU, AS IT DID FOR ME~

As the vendor is obviously in need of the cash, the wand not having granted that particular wish, only the gullible are allowed to bid:

IF YOU DO NOT BELIEVE IN WISHES AND DREAMS DO NOT BID..YOU MUST BELIEVE~

May 7, 2005

Just another day at the office

Ireland: Some people have more interesting jobs than others. A friend of mine works in a shop selling beads, crystals and a handful of New Age books. Not normally a very interesting job, except today:

The phone rang. I answered it. An adolescent male voice asked Do you sell Ouija Boards? No I said. Why not? he asked. We can't get them, I replied. Well, what do you use, then? he asked. Use for what? said I. To summon demons, he replied. He seemed surprised when I told him that we didn't feel any real need to.

A phonecall at work, Pádraig Ó Méalóid's LiveJournal, 7th May 2005.

May 2, 2005

It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385667

Australia: A former Anglican priest has pleaded guilty to a string of sex offences involving boys as young as 12. He had previously been jailed for similar offences back in 1994.

The offences occurred over a 20-year period while Daniels was involved with the Anglican Church in Tasmania, both as a priest and archdeacon and an active member of the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS)...

... In one case, some time between January 1, 1976 and December 31, 1977, a boy aged around 15 woke to find Daniels fondling his penis inside his pyjamas.

Daniels told the boy mutual masturbation was a natural thing to do between mates who cared for each other, Mr Stoddard said.

Years later when the pair were driving home from a church service in the Derwent Valley, Daniels forced the boy to perform oral sex on him, holding his head to stop him struggling.

Mr Stoddard said Daniels had told his victims not to tell anyone.

Former priest pleads guilty to child sex - The Daily Telgraph (Australia), 2nd May 2005.

Monk Impersonates God to Retrieve Magic Turtle

Cambodia: The Buddhists rarely rate a mention in the Prattle, but we'll make up for that oversight with the tale of a dodgy monk who got done for impersonating a god.

Monk Khong Chantha thought he saw a sucker coming when he sold a reputedly magic turtle, with Buddhist inscriptions carved into its shell, to an elderly local woman for $1.25. However, he was more than a little miffed when the little old lady set up shop with her magic turtle, claiming that it invoked miracles. He was so miffed that he returned and tried to reclaim the reptile by force. Understandably not wanting to hand her money-spinner back to the monk, there was a bit of a blue and the little old lady ended up reporting the monk to the local plods.

Tax Office Uses Bible to Shame Christians

Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone has a reasonably small population and an even smaller number of Christians; weighing in at around the 10% mark. So from the newspaper ads the local tax office published, I can only assume that those Christians within the country are both more affluent than their fellow countrymen and less likely to pay their taxes.

Tax officials in Sierra Leone have infuriated Christians by publishing newspaper adverts saying Jesus Christ supported the paying of taxes.

The half-page advertisements said that when Jesus was asked if he was against a law requiring the payment of taxes to the Roman emperor he replied: Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor and pay to God what belongs to God, quoting from the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 22, verses 17-21).

It continued: All Christians should follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. This week: pay your taxes.

May 1, 2005

Beast changes number, no longer at 666

A fragment of the oldest known New Testament has been discovered, and it seems the number of the beast has been mistranscribed in subsequent editions. It isn't 666, but 616.

The new fragment from the Book of Revelation, written in ancient Greek and dating from the late third century, is part of a hoard of previously unintelligible manuscripts discovered in historic dumps outside Oxyrhynchus in Egypt. Now a team of expert classicists, using new photographic techniques, are finally deciphering the original writing.

Professor David Parker, Professor of New Testament Textual Criticism and Paleography at the University of Birmingham, thinks that 616, although less memorable than 666, is the original. He said: This is an example of gematria, where numbers are based on the numerical values of letters in people's names. Early Christians would use numbers to hide the identity of people who they were attacking: 616 refers to the Emperor Caligula.

A representative of the Church of Satan was unfazed. Peter Gilmore told the press By using 666 we're using something that the Christians fear. Mind you, if they do switch to 616 being the number of the beast then we'll start using that.

Revelation! 666 is not the number of the beast (it's a devilish 616) - The Independent on Sunday, 1st May 2005 (thanks, Rick).

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