June 2005 Archives

June 30, 2005

Fundie bampots come in all flavours

Israel: Religious extremists have stabbed three people who were taking part in Jerusalem's Pride parade this evening.

Shortly after the parade began a young man rushed into the marchers on Ben Yehuda Street stabbing a man and a woman. Others in the parade attempted to subdue the attacker. The third victim was a marcher who went to the aid of the other two victims.

The three are reported in stable condition in hospital. The accused attacker is in police custody.

Almost 1,000 protestors lined the parade route. Bottles of urine and bags containing feces were hurled at marchers.

The mayor of Jerusalem had tried to ban the march, but a judge ordered him not to interfere:

The judge ruled that the city had no valid reason for canceling Pride. She said in her decision that Mayor Lupolianski could not act with prejudice against a group of people because he disagreed with their views. She ordered the city to provide security for the marchers, put up Rainbow flag banners along the parade route and pay a portion of the pride expenses - about $6500.

Arad also ordered the municipality to pay an additional $6500 in legal fees incurred by Open House.

Plans to hold World Pride in Jerusalem next year have achieved a politician's wet dream as Jewish, Muslim and Christian fundies have working together. Unfortunately, this harmony is only an attempt to stop the event and seems unlikely to result in peace breaking out in the region.

Jerusalem Pride Turns Violent - 365Gay.com 30th June 2005.

MY VISSION FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

Nigeria: My spam filter doesn't delete spam immediately, but holds it in a special folder for me, so that I can scan it for false positives. Sometimes the subject line tells me that a particular message is spam, but that I really want to read it anyway. Such a message was MY VISSION FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

No.35 Johnson street,
Ikeja-Lagos,
Nigeria.
Tel:234-803-344-0855

Dear in Christ,

There is joy in my heart that I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour,now I am born again.Having received Christ,I also found out that it is a great priviledge to be a financial pillar in the Kingdom of God.Even though I was in the world or acquired my wealth when I was in the world but I have known the truth and the truth have set me free.Now that I am in christ and christ is in me,old things are past away and all things become new.

During my prayers and deliverance moment,the Lord ministered to me to purify my wealth and give it out to a ministry for the expansion of the Kingdom of God for his name to be glorified.I am in search of a faithful and dedicated christain or ministry with great urge to work for God with my wealth.

It is very difficult to work for God faithfully and honestly mostly when it involves money because the love of money is the root of all evil.Do not be carried away,I will like you to pray over it before responding to me.

When I receive your response,I will tell my testimony,I will tell you more about myself,I will tell you about the fund and how you are going to receive it.for security reasons my alternetive email address is (michael_2005@eresmas.com) If you find yourself worthy to utilise the fund,let me have your full names,address and your telephone numbers.

May God bless you as I await your response.

Thanks.

Brother Michael Okechi.

MY VISSION FOR THE EXPANSION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

I've made the e-mail address live, in case any barking mad fundie ministries would like to take advantage of this most excellent offer.

June 29, 2005

Fanning the flames

United States/United Kingdom: It's interesting to see how some of the less respectable elements of the right choose to distort the story about a Metropolitan Police report concerning two very different problems - the unique case of Adam, a boy whose dismembered body was found in the Thames and about whom absolutely nothing is known despite years of investigation, and of the abuse of children whose guardian believe them to be witches, or posessed by demons (a grand total of two cases in the UK).

Let us compare and contrast a report in The Independent with Jim Kouri's retelling of it at MichNews.com.

June 27, 2005

It's a fundie thing

United States: A South Carolina Druid couple have filed a complaint against a police officer who used a traffic stop as an excuse to try and convert them to Christianity.

Accompanying Cpl. Gilbert Lozada in his vehicle was reserve officer Tony Stewart, an unpaid volunteer, according to police spokesman Lt. Cris Varner.

Debra Gainey said during the traffic stop, Stewart began talking with her about his religion and told her she should come to Bible class.

In her letter complaining of a civil rights violation to Reynolds dated Wednesday, she said, Officer Stewart overstepped his bounds in witnessing during a traffic stop.

She also wrote in her complaint that he followed up by sending a letter to their home, which further violated our rights and invaded our privacy.

The officer drew attention to a bumper sticker on the couple's car which read It's a druid thing, and investigators are trying to determine whether the presence of that sticker caused the officer to stop the car, rather than any suspicion that an offence had taken place. According to Debra Gainey, one of the couple:

The interesting part of this incident happened at the back of our car. Officer Stewart asked us if we had put the bumper stickers on or if the car had come that way. I of course told the truth and said I had put them on. The officer wanted to know what they meant so I explained that I was an ordained minister of the Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church. The conversation continued and then Officer Stewart asked me if my church supported me? I asked him to explain what he meant by support and he clarified it as meaning ‘spiritually fulfilling’. He then begins witnessing to me and my husband... At the police station he continued to witness to me...

...Officer Stewart never mentions a reason for being pulled over, such as weaving, speeding, wrong plates or anything like that. He does mention the bumper stickers.

A full account of the incident is given on the Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church web site, including the fill text of Officer Stewart's letter, where he admits he is only works for the Police because of the witnessing opportunities it provides.

Two claim reserve officer violated their rights - The Greenville News, 23rd June 2005; How a Greer, SC Police Officer witnessed for the Baptists - Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church web site, not dated.

June 26, 2005

Media in moral panic shocker!

United Kingdom: The similarity between the current moral panic< over exorcism in evangelical churches, in particular those with African congregations, and the earlier Satanic ritual abuse panic has been noted by the Grauniad:

The front-page headline leaping from the newsstands could not have been more clear: Children sacrificed in London churches, say police. At the same moment, the BBC was reporting that detectives trying to investigate the ritual murder of children accused of witchcraft were facing a wall of silence. Lord Stevens, the recently retired commissioner of the Metropolitan police, was weighing in to damn African churches, which he said were obsessed by witchcraft, exorcism and evil spirits.

We must, Lord Stevens railed in a Sunday newspaper column, stop this madness costing children's lives.

And, just like its predecessor, the evidence is scant indeed.

The police had conducted no such investigation, have scant evidence of ritual abuse of African children and - with the important exception of the young boy known as Adam, whose torso was found floating in the Thames four years ago - have seen nothing to suggest that any child has been sacrificed.

There have been a grand total of two cases where African children have been abused, and in one case killed, because they were believed to be possessed:

To date, however, just two witchcraft abuse cases have come before the British courts. Victoria Climbié, who was brought to London from the Ivory Coast by her aunt, suffered terrible abuse before being taken to a church in south London where the pastor decided that she was possessed. The beatings continued and she died soon afterwards.

Three people are awaiting sentence after being convicted this month of the abuse of an eight-year-old Angolan orphan. They starved the child, who can be identified only as Child B, struck and cut her, and rubbed chilli in her eyes in an attempt to drive out the devil within.

Which, while this is more evidence than exists for secret gangs of Satanists raping and killing children for religious purposes, it's still nothing more than isolated cases and the demonisation of an entire religious tradition seems a little excessive. Implications that there might be ever such a slight racist motivation behind the reaction seem to carry some weight, especially when you discover that in the last two years in Haringey (the borough in which Child B lived):

Over the same period [social workers] have been alerted to about 6,000 cases of children in need, of whom about 650 were children in high need of protection, many of them suffering serious physical or sexual abuse.

How media whipped up a racist witch-hunt - The Guardian, 25th June 2005.

June 24, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Mould

Today's bargain is, well, mingin'. It's apparently an INVITATION TO ABUNDANT LIFE, a TABLET GROWN FROM RECIPE IN BIBLE,Fountain of youth. The information on the eBay auction is rather sketchy:

[Penicillin perhaps?]MORE INFO: www.whothirst.com until now this is something money can"t BUY

PAYMENT ORGANISED THROUGH email Bank Direct whothirst@bigpond.com or PAY/PALS

Let Your SOUL DELIGHT Itself in ABUNDANCE

But fortunately, the linked website is much more informative. For bizarre religious values of informative.

SAINT ANTHONY'S
NEW TREASURE ABUNDANCE


Made from Seven Years Working On Understanding

ISAIAH 55
AN INVITATION TO ABUNDANT
LIFE


ABUNDANCE: Is made with all natural ingredients:
USING: Flowers, Shrubs and Trees


CRYSTALGENICS: Is the art of turning liquid into crystals.
Sought after by Alchemists since the beginning of time.


ABUNDANCE: Grows from liquid, which I call The Waters Of Life
NOTE: When Abundance is dissolved in water, it regrows and multiplies in approximately 4 to 5 days based on 1 to 2ml of water


INTERESTING FACTS: Things found written about recipe while working on recipe.
ISAIAH 55:1 REVELATION 21:6 REVELATION:22:17

available for sale from July 1st, 2005

So, about as clear as one of QuePirate's comments then.

Bampot tags: , .

Get the T-shirt

United States: Bobby Henderson felt moved to write an Open Letter to Kansas School Board after he learned of a hearing to determine whether creationism intelligent design should be taught in the state's schools. His worry? that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design:

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

After presenting a more thorough exposition of this startling hypothesis, and an explanation of the importance of piratical regalia, he offers something that Biblical creationists can't: hard data.

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

(via The Magician).

June 23, 2005

Irony defined

New Zealand: Red Wolf might be convinced all the loons are in Australia, but it seems that the neighbours have religious bampots too. Take 'Bishop' Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church, for example. It seems, as it typical of his type, the presence of out pooves makes him uneasy:

Helen Clark's government bore much of the responsibility for the decline in the nation's moral values, he told the crowd - particularly since the introduction of the Civil Union bill, now the Civil Union Act.

Sodomy had a 10-year prison sentence [in New Zealand] once upon a time.

You thought it was just so a few people in a corner could practise their homosexuality . . . we knew the deeper agenda.

They ordered it law so they could get your child and your grandchild.

I never knew that Christians married children.

After plenty of ranting along this line, and getting upset about the existence of a Muslim MP, he whined that the media were allowed to get away with portraying us as Nazis and haters and a cult. Perhaps his hate speech might have something to do with this?

Homosexual agenda blasted by Tamaki - Rotorua Daily Post, 23rd June 2005; see also The Homosexual Agenda.

June 17, 2005

Pass the rolling pin.

P.Z. Myers gets better evangelical spam than I do. He's got a plug for a book aimed at Christian men who fear that their dithering while waiting for a word from their imaginary friend makes them effeminate. Solution? Start treating women like shit.

June 16, 2005

Superstition in America

United States: Stories like the one below are somewhat less surprising when you learn that three quarters of people in the US hold at least one paranormal belief (excluding God, in which case it would go up to almost 100%!). A Gallup survey found that the most common beliefs were in ESP (41%) and haunted houses (37%). The results are consistent with a similar survey conducted in 2001.

The survey also asked about belief in things which are not necessarily paranormal, including satanic possession (42%), spiritual healing (55%) and that the earth had been visited by aliens in the past (24%). Very little difference was found between vartious demographic groups, though Christians were slighly more likely to be superstitious.

The poll shows no statistically significant differences among people by age, gender, education, race, and region of the country. Christians are a little more likely to hold some paranormal beliefs than non-Christians (75% vs. 66%, respectively), but both groups show a sizeable majority with such beliefs.

Possession by the devil was left out of the final results because it is unclear how many people treat that statement literally, and how many interpret it in metaphorical terms, but 'witches' was left in, even though that single word does not differentiate between belief in the existence people who practice malevolent magic, or belief in the existence of a group of people who consider themselves to be witches.

Three in Four Americans Believe in Paranormal - Gallup, 16th June 2005.

Bampot tags: , .

Tarot fraudster must repay cash

United States: A tarot reader who conned a gullible customer out of $238,715 has been ordered to repay the cash. Paula Marion had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree grand larceny earlier this year and faces five years' probation. Julia Marcellino claimed the sum she was duped out of was nearer $400,000.

Marcellino has said Marion brought her to financial ruin. She said Marion became her friend after an initial card reading and charting in September 2002.

Marcellino said Marion convinced her to turn over money to ward off bad omens and save her family members from illness and death. The con game also involved members of Marion's family, police said.

The defence added another interesting twist to the case, claiming the pair were lovers.

Marion's lawyer, Brian Kelly, argued that Marcellino brought the charges after his client broke off Marion and Marcellino's plan to marry in July. Marcellino has denied the allegation.

We felt that this was a situation between two individuals who were lovers, Kelly said. Gifts were exchanged. Any money given to my client should have been considered gifts. The court determined otherwise.

Tarot card reader to pay - The Journal News, 16th June 2005.

Dare to discipline

United States: A woman has been arrested on suspicion that she drowned then beheaded her six-year-old daughter because she allegedly believed the girl was a demon. But the church in the background to this case isn't the usual bunch of evengelical Christians:

But it's a Sacramento connection that makes the case take a strange twist. In court documents filed by Washington state prosecutors, investigators and family members allege Samara Spann was part of a Sacramento cult that worshipped deceased rap music artist Tupac Shakur.

A family friend who did not want to be identified said: She has Tupac posters, Tupac everything. Like why does she like him so much? ... It was like an obsession.

In the same court documents, Samara Spann reportedly told a Sacramento friend that she thought her daughter was a demon: This friend told her that if the child in fact was a demon, that the mother needed to cut its head off.

In Washington, investigators recovered a blood stained carpet. In Sacramento, when confronted with that evidence, the same investigators say the mother confessed to cutting her own child's head off and then dumping it off a bridge.

Mother Accused Of Killing, Beheading Daughter - KCRA 3, 14th June 2005.

June 11, 2005

Old myth, even older clothes

England: Josie Appleton has written an interesting article about the reaction to the conviction of three people for abusing a child they believed to be witch. In particular she questions the racist assumptions made by the media, social services and the police about the case. It quickly begins to sound as if something very familar indeed is going on.

The case quickly became a careering bandwagon, on to which police, social services and the media leapt. This was understood not as the criminal actions of one woman, but as a sign of the barbarity of Africans in general. Articles speculated about the dozens, even hundreds, of African children being subjected to mystical abuse behind the closed doors of north-east London. The Metropolitan Police has set up a special six-person team, 'Project Violet', to tackle ritualised child abuse in London's African communities.

MP Diane Abbott quickly established a claim to take over the ecological niche left by the late Geoffrey Dickens:

Because the defendants attended an evangelical church in Hackney, their crime apparently implicated the whole African spiritual infrastructure. 'Ban these witchcraft churches', called Diane Abbott in the London Evening Standard on 7 June. According to the Abbott, MP for Hackney North, churches should be registered, opened up for monitoring, and shut down 'the minute any child connected to their congregation is abused'.

Yet there is little hard evidence to justify these wild claims. It seems to be the accusers who are possessed with ideas of mass, ritualised child abuse—not London's immigrant communities.

Appleton then reports on some more familiar-sounding hyperbole:

Questions raised about Christian charity

Scotland: Teachers have discovered that a "Christian" charity which collects Christmas gifts from Scottish pupils to send to children in the developing world, is not concerned with promoting tolerance and diversity. Samaritan's Purse is connected to the American evangelical movement, is endorsed by preacher Franklin Graham, and is reported to be anti-Islam.

According to members of the South Lanarkshire branch of the EIS [a teachers' union], Samaritan's Purse took 30,000 Bibles into Iraq alongside US soldiers at the barrel of a gun...

Kenny Elder, from the South Lanarkshire branch of the EIS, told delegates: It has a very right-wing, racist view of religion. It should be investigated by the union because it has a growing presence in our schools.

The activities of American evangelists have been causing problems for Iraq's long-established Christian community.

Christian charity accused of bigotry - The Herald, 10th June 2005; see also Iraqi Christians to American evangelists: Piss off - Pagan Prattle, 28th May 2005.

Bargain of the Day: House with broomstick landing pad

Scotland: A house for sale in the Borders offers an unusual facility - a ledge for the use of passing witches.

The ledge was designed to allow a stopping place and broom park for witches to help safeguard the house from evil, said James Denne, of Knights Frank, handling the sale of Whiteriggs at Melrose in Roxburghshire.

He said: The witch's ledge was something that was seen in fifteenth and sixteenth century homes.

It was very much a superstition that if you had somewhere in the house that a passing witch could stop and rest then the likelihood was that she would protect you and your house from any harm. So the witch's ledge indicates to a passing witch that she is welcome and she can rest peacefully there.

The site is just outside controlled airspace.

A house that welcomes witches - The Herald, 10th June 2005.

At bloody last.

United Kingdom: 20 years too late, Midge Ure finally gets a gong. Ure was awarded the OBE for services to music and charity in the Queen's Birthday Honours. As well as his work with Band Aid, he has worked with the Princes Trust and a music therapy charity. No, there is no religious connection to this story, though being brought up in sectarian Glasgow has left him with a dim view of the whole matter.

Del Boy knighted in Queen's list - BBC News, 11th June 2005.

June 10, 2005

Read all about it, while it's still legal!

United Kingdom: The Daily Telegraph has inadvertantly demonstrated one of the few good points about the proposed law on incitrement to religious hatred, by printing exactly the sort of inflammatory article which would send the editor to jail.

Extremist religious groups that advocate child abuse will be given protection under a Bill published by the Government yesterday...
The article then notes the protection which would be given to extreme fundies who beat 'demons' out of children, and then observes, suddenly, with no added context:
Satanists, pagans and atheists would be protected.

Having good reason for making insulting comments that could provoke hatred of a particular religious doctrine would be no defence, nor would the fact that they were true.

The paper then quotes an interesting point made by shadow attorney general Dominic Grieve:

Dominic Grieve, the shadow attorney general, said: We are likely to see religious groups trying to get other religious groups prosecuted, which will inflame community tensions rather than make them better.

He said members of groups such as the British National Party could set up religious sects to articulate white supremacist theologies, then demand the prosecution of those expressing outrage at their views.

Such theologies are seen among white supremacists in the US and, unless we want the government deciding what is, or is not, a religion presumably deserve the same level or respect as other belief systems such as Christianity, Islam or belief in the Tooth Fairy.

Now you face jail for being nasty to Satanists - Daily Telegraph, 10th June 2005.

Thou shalt not bear false witness, for it is the law.

United Kingdom: New laws against incitement to religious hatred have received strong criticism, some of it hypocritical. The Racial and Religious Hated Bill would create make incitement to religious hatred an offence, but the definition includes words and behaviour which is likely to stir up religious hatred too.

Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris is concerned that the plans will stifle freedom of expression, and that it is too broad a measure for dealing with what is essentially race hatred. He has put forward an amendment to the Bill with narrows its remit to specifically to outlaw reference to a religion or religious belief or to a person's membership or presumed membership of a religious group as a pretext for stirring up racial hatred against a racial group. The amendment as written makes no provision for dealing with sectarianism - which is analogous to racism as it is really hatred of somone on the basis of the perceived religious beliefs of their parents.

The Conservatives are expected to support this amendment, although their reasons for opposing the legislation are different - it would prevent fundies from lying about minority faiths! Conservative shadow Home Secretary David Davis started off well enough when he pointed out that law would seriously undermine freedom of speech and be massively counter-productive. But he then noted:

Whilst this new law would technically prevent what many people may regard as reasonable criticism of devil worshippers and religious cults.

And presumably prevent reasonable criticism of barking mad fundies who use their religion as an excuse to spread hatred about minority faiths, pooves etc.

June 3, 2005

Three convicted of 'witch' girl abuse

England: Three pople have been convicted of abusing a girl they believed was a witch. One woman, the victim's aunt, was found guilty on four counts of child cruelty at the Old Bailey today. Two other relatives were convicted on various charges of aiding and abetting child cruelty.

The cruelty started at the beginning of 2003 when a boy told his mother that the girl had been using witchcraft.

The child was cut with a knife, beaten with a belt and shoe and had chilli peppers rubbed in her eyes to beat the devil out of her during her ordeal at a flat in Hackney, east London.

The orphan was was brought to Britain in 2002 by her 38-year-old aunt from Angola, was beaten until she was made to admit she had been doing witchcraft.

'Witch' child cruelty trio guilty - BBC News, 3rd June 2005. See also One person cleared of abusing 'witch' girl - Pagan Prattle, 22nd May 2005; Little girl accused of witchcraft - Pagan Prattle, 10th May 2005.

Update: The BBC has added a number of articles providing background to the case. Of particular interest is this description of traditional Angolan witchcraft beliefs, which is compared with the religious beliefs of the abusers, all committed Christians.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2005 is the previous archive.

July 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Resources

About this site
Contact the Prattle
Ego Corner

The Pagan Prattle
c/o P.O. Box 666
Edinburgh EH7 5YW
Scotland

Syndication

Licence

Creative Commons License
The original material in this weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.