August 2005 Archives

August 30, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Le Dolmen de Bagneux

France: The perfect accessory for the well-heeled neopagan is on the market. The Dolmen de Bagneux is located close to the town of Saumur in the heart of the Loire Valley.

[Le Dolmen de Bagneux]The famous Dolmen in Bagneux is probably one of the most majestic French dolmens and the largest of the 4,500 dolmens spread out on about 60 French departments.

The overall length of this dolmen is over 23 meters (75 feet) and its chamber is over 18 meters (60 feet) long. As all dolmens, the 'Great Covered stone" in Bagneux, was a large chamber tomb which must have contained a great number of prehistoric skeletons during the neolithic age, i.e.from 4,000 to 2,000 B.C., that is about 5,000 years ago.

In addition to the domen itself, the sale includes a commercial building currently used as a brewery and restaurant, and two flats.

Free speech applies to all.

United States: Certain fundies are always harping on about the evils of the ACLU, but tend to be strangely silent when that organisation supports the First Amendment rights of Christians, as well as everyone else. Take the case of Shawn Miller, who spent 109 days in jail for quietly preaching to his family, away from others.

My wife, our two children, and I had been going for three months to this same abandoned gas station without any incident. We were simply having a quiet Bible study on Sunday morning. The bank across the street is closed. There are two churches (Baptist & Methodist) on opposite corners from us. There is a minimal amount of car traffic and no pedestrian traffic. We are NOT there to be heard. We are simply there trying to let our light shine. We are NOT yelling at anyone because there is no one around. Sure, cars pass and see us, but there is no way we are disturbing them since we are 15 feet away from the sidewalk. This police officer decided to pick on us that day for some unknown reason. Officer Smart, Officer Wilson, and an animal control officer were in the parking lot adjacent to us at about 9:45 and they stayed for about 20-30 minutes. Then they all left. A sheriff's deputy watched us for about five minutes a week before that day. Many police cars had driven by throughout the previous months WITHOUT incident. Officer Smart then came back at 11:05. I went over to him and extended my hand and said, What is the problem, officer? He said, You need to tone it down. I said, I am preaching to my family and we are not bothering anyone. This is free speech and you can not stop me. He said, We have been getting phone calls about you pointing and yelling at cars. I said, I was not yelling at cars and was not pointing and I was not bothering anyone. This is free speech and you can not stop me. If you have a problem with me being on this property, I will go to the sidewalk.

He is also accused of resisting arrest, because he surrendered to the police.

I was standing on the sidewalk looking at the officers. Officer Smart said, Come back here. I did not want to get arrested for trespassing, so I stayed where I was. I said, No, I am staying on the sidewalk because it is public property. He then came towards me. I have seen the TV show COPS. I thought it best to get on my knees and put my hands in the air to show that I was not resisting arrest.

Comment by Shawn Miller to Common Ground with the Religious RightDispatches from the Culture Wars, 28th August 2005. See also ACLU Defends Another Street PreacherDispatches from the Culture Wars, 28th August 2005.

August 26, 2005

Memo to Charles Clarke: a pair of "preachers of intolerance and hatred"

United Kingdom: Since the London bombings in July, politicians have wasted no time in deciding what to do about religious bampots. British Home Secretary Charles Clarke recently announced plans to crack down on what he describes as preachers of intolerance and hatred. He declaimed:

We must protect the traditions of tolerance that we have established in this country through centuries of struggle and that means cracking down on those who preach intolerance and abuse free speech to justify terrorism, advocate violence or foster hatred.

Spain, Italy and France had already introduced measures to facilitate the expulsion of such preachers after the bombs in Madrid, and Denmark has acted against both Islamist extremists and those who use them as an excuse to whip up hatred against Islam.

So, presumably a few of the Prattle's favourite loony Christian preachers will find themselves unable to enter European countries from now on?

Pat Robertson is surely guilty of advocating violence when he called for the murder of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez?

Mr Robertson, 75, said on Monday's edition of the 700 Club: You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.

Yet have we have yet to hear a word from the Home Secretary about what action he plans to take against The God Channel, which broadcasts The 700 Club in the UK. Surely the best way to not drive young Muslims into extremism is for the government to demonstrate that it will apply the proposed lesgislation against all those who preach hate, not just the Muslim ones?

Fred Phelps would be another candidate for persona non grata status. He's just decided that he and 20 of his congregation are going to make a trip to Sweden next month to hunt down the Swedish king.

We'll hunt down your king, he said ominously to Expressen. It doesn't make any difference where he tries to hide.

Phelps' hatred of the royal family and all things Swedish is linked directly to his equally virulent hatred of homosexuals. He praises homophobic crimes, including murder. When controversial Swedish minister, Åke Green, was convicted of inciting hatred of homosexuals following an anti-gay sermon, Phelps saw red and turned his attention to Sweden.

You're doomed to spend eternity in hell, he continued. All you Swedes and your Swedish king and his family.

But Phelps doesn't seem to have any faith that his god will actually do any such thing.

The minister and twenty members of his congregation from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, are planning to come to Sweden at the beginning of September. They are bringing plenty of placards in order to spread their message that Sweden is the cradle of all evil and that the king rules a nation of sodomites.

King Carl Gustaf is their primary target.

Your king represents your doomed country and we'll find him wherever he may be.

Security around the royal family has been stepped up, though presumably Phelps and his cronies are unlikely to be allowed to enter Sweden after such a rant. And obviously, as he's the sort of preacher Clarke wants rid of, should he come via Heathrow, we will see him packed straight onto the first plane home. Won't we?

Clarke to launch hatred crackdownBBC News, 22nd August 2005;Europe moves against radical imamsBBC News, 6th May 2004; Denmark targets extremist mediaBBC News, 17th August 2005; TV host urges US to kill ChavezBBC News, 23rd August 2005; Minister of hate to hunt down Swedish kingThe Local, 25th August 2005.

August 23, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Photos of spilled coffee

Today's bargain is a set of pictures of an accidental spill made by a child under the influence of a strong, but legal, drug. Or rather, it's a JESUS COFFEE SPILL ANGEL HOLY SPIRIT - set of 4 photos. Unlike other vendors of similar simulacra, the seller here does not make any particularly ludicrous claims and seems to regard it all as a happy accident, rather than an actual work of their imaginary friend.

[An interestingly shaped coffee stain]These are photos of a coffee spill that appears to be in the image of JESUS, an angel, or perhaps an apostle, with arms lifted toward heaven. Tongues of fire or maybe the Holy Spirit are drifting upward.

Every morning my 6 year old daughter just has to have her cup of coffee. So my wife mixes her about a half cup of milk, some Carnation french vanilla creamer, and a splash of coffee. Needless to say, my daughter is not always neat and is quite often spinning her chair around to see Spongebob. Today, about a half hour after she finished, my 10 year old son hurried us into the kitchen to show us JESUS. We were surprised he even noticed it, since the image actually formed upside down - my daughter was sitting at the breakfast bar, facing it. I took the photos from both in front of, and behind the counter. The second picture shows the view from the direction she was facing.

I am being 100 percent honest when I say that this is not a hoax, and that these photos have not been staged or doctored in any way. This is an actual coffee (albeit with lots of milk and creamer!) spill that occurred by happenstance, while my daughter was having her morning cup of java - we even had to wipe some off of her chair (you can see where it dripped over the edge of the counter). I am also being 100 percent honest when I say, that while we are devout Christians, we don't necessarily believe that such things occur by divine intervention or have any specific spiritual meaning, I know that some folks do. That's why I'm offering this set of 4 photos for sale. They will be printed on 4 inch by 6 inch, premium glossy photo paper. There will be one set of these and one set only. That's my solemn promise to the winning bidder.

Public reject religious schools

United Kingdom: Two-thirds of respondents in a Guardian/ICM poll oppose the government's plans to allow more religious schools into the state system.

The survey reveals that following last month's terror attacks, the majority of the public are uneasy about the proposals, with 64% agreeing that the government should not be funding faith schools of any kind.

The main concern was that such schools have a negative impact on social cohesion.

Yesterday Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Commons education select committee, warned that religious schools posed a threat to the cohesion of multicultural communities.

Do we want a ghettoised education system? asked Mr Sheerman. Schools play a crucial role in integrating different communities and the growth of faith schools poses a real threat to this. These things need to be thought through very carefully before they are implemented.

Two thirds oppose state aided faith schools, The Guardian, 23rd August 2005.

August 16, 2005

Religion increasingly irrelevant—official

United Kingdom: Research published today shows that a significant proportion of churchgoers are not believers. Further, an excuse widely used by churches to justify their interference in the lives of non-members—that many people believe without attending church—has also been shown to be a load of old bollocks.

David Voas of the University of Manchester and colleagues report that the number of people who have a real faith is now smaller than the number of people who passively belong to a religion. That undermines a cherished tenet of churches in Britain: that many people implicitly believe even if they don't explicitly belong.

And there’s worse news for anyone hoping to impose their beliefs on their children:

The study, based on a 14 years of data from 10,500 households, found that parents played a powerful role in the transmission of religious belief. But even if both parents held strong beliefs, there was only a 50-50 chance that their children would carry on believing.

In houses where only one parent had strong feelings about faith, children were much less likely to believe. On the other hand, two non-religious parents had no trouble passing on their lack of faith. In effect, attendance fell away steadily with each generation.

Although believers tend to have more children, this rate of failure means they’d need to have at least five children per couple to see even a modest increase in belief. It won’t necessarily be the same beliefs though.

Whatever the parents' beliefs, one child in 12 will join a denomination not supported by either parent.

Study refutes faith in silent majorityThe Guardian, 16th August 2005.

August 13, 2005

We'd never have guessed.

Pakistan: An (Indian?) astologer has predicted troubled times in Pakistan:

Renowned astrologer and palmist Sana Khan has forecast that 2005 would be Shaukat Aziz's last year as Prime Minister.

She said that Pakistan's 59th year would be significant for President General Pervez Musharraf, as it would provide him with an opportunity to demonstrate his skill and abilities.

2005 maybe Shaukat Aziz's last year as Pak PMWebIndia123, 13th August 2005.

Bargain of the Day: mucky spoon

Today we have yet another 'holy miracle' which leads one to assume that the Christian god is a little bit banal and unambitious as deities go. And notice the attempt by the person blessed with such a holy item to mislead people searching for entertainment: Holy Miracle! Mary & Jesus on Spoon! Not iPod, Psp,Xbox. No doubt the tall tale attached to the object for sale is as genuine and honest as the auction title itself.

[Virgin Mary on a spoon, apparantly]I cant believe it. I've been trying to wash this stain off of my spoon for months! I have scrubbed it with a scrubbing pad and put it into the dishwasher countless times. I finally looked at it up-close.......It is a modern day miracle! Amazingly it never washed off! Look for yourself! This is astonishing! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is the true image of the Blessed Virgin Mary......I cant stop looking at it....My friends have been taking pictures of themselves with the spoon. They are as amazed as I am......AND....I know that no one will believe this, but last week I carried the spoon with me....I just put it in my pocket. I then went for a walk with my dog. (He has a very strong leash) Well he bites through the leash and runs directly in front of the traffic of cars passing by.(4 lanes!) Every car stopped.............I know deep in my heart that Mary and Jesus were looking out for me and my best friend...I didnt really think about it until I returned home and pulled it out of my pocket! Jesus was there with me! Now I have the spoon on display for my friends and family to see.....The problem is people I dont know have been calling me to come see the spoon. I dont wanna be the guy that has the spoon that everybody wants to look at...I have a normal job and I would like to keep it that way. This spoon needs to be in a museum, church, or maybe the Vatican for all I know. So here it is. It is the real thing. This kind of thing does not happen everyday. The spoons dimensions are 20cm x 4cm. The bottom of the spoon says IKEA. The pic with the guy holding the spoon and the five dollar bill is Mr.M.Gonzales. He offered me five dollars for the miracle spoon. Thats a pretty good price.But then I thought to put it on eBay. Everyone in the world will have an opportunity to bid on the Blessed Virgin Mary Spoon. The pic of the guy with the tie is Dr.Vaughn. He was truly amazed and wanted his photo taken with The Virgin Mary. The pic of the nice young man with longer hair was the pizza delivery guy. (I think his name was Burt.) He wanted the spoon instead of the tip! The pic with the young woman is a famous personalty. We will call her "Molly" for now.(I can not give up the identification of the famous person in this photo)...She stared at the spoon for a while and said that she saw some flashes of light come from it. The last image is a pic of a Virgin Mary painting...She is beautiful in this painting and I think that the spoon is of uncanny resemblance....................................................Up for auction today is the only Blessed Virgin Mary Spoon that you will ever see in you entire life! Go ahead and bid on the spoon! It will most likely change the Spirit of you and the people around you!(Only the spoon is for sale). Thank you and have a wonderful day!

It would also be unkind of me to suggest a certain similarity between this image and the Velvet Vulva featured a few days ago.

Demented Australian Politician Backs Teaching of Creationism

Australia: Looks like I'm slacking off in the spotting of local loons. This article on another spokestwit for Intelligent Design was sent in by eagle-eyed Prattle reader, Terry Frost.

As Terry states: This guy is the Federal Education Minister, not just the one for a state. It's not quite Bush shooting his mouth off the other day, but from down here in Melbourne, it's scary.

The Education Minister throws open debate on a thorny theory in schools.

The controversial theory of intelligent design has won the qualified backing of Education Minister Brendan Nelson, who says it should be taught in schools alongside evolution if that is the wish of parents.

Intelligent design, which is damned by critics as a front for biblical Creationism, argues that life on Earth is too complex to have evolved purely through Darwin's theory of natural selection. Dr Nelson said yesterday he had met Campus Crusade for Christ, the Australian advocates of intelligent design, or ID, and watched their DVD presentation, called Unlocking the Mystery of Life.

He told the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday that he would oppose replacing evolution with ID in Australia's science classes but said parents should be able to choose that their children learn about it.

August 11, 2005

Hidden dangers of the New Age

Scotland: A fire which gutted three flats in the Marchmont area of Edinburgh is thought to have been started by a crystal ball:

Firefighters believe the blaze was started by a crystal ball which focused sunlight on to a pile of old clothes setting them alight.

The fire quickly took hold and spread through the three flats on the fifth floor. Neighbours downstairs called the fire brigade as those living upstairs tried in vain to put it out.

A 24-year-old man living in the flat where the fire is thought to have broken out was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Dozens of residents were evacuated from the tenement block at Marchmont Crescent as the fire spread across the top floor and smoke filled up the narrow stairwell. Fire fighters using breathing apparatus had to haul a hose up to the top floor of the building in order to start battling the fire.

The entire building has been left uninhabitable because of the extensive smoke damage as well as water damage and a lack of gas and electricity both of which were cut off after the fire started.

Three flats at the top of the building have been completely gutted with electrics fused, windows shattered and everything affected by smoke damage.

The flat where the fire started has been left a burnt out shell with soot covering plants, bed clothes and what little furniture remains. The roof is partially collapsed. Most of the windows were blown out by the heat and shards of glass were littering the back garden.

A Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade warned householders to think about where they placed glass ornaments, goldfish bowls and mirrors on sunny days.

Fire ball guts flatsEdinburgh Evening News, 11th August 2005.

August 8, 2005

Loons Trying to Close Tourist Attraction

Scotland: Churchgoers have officially objected to The Edinburgh Dungeon having its entertainment licence renewed on the grounds that many of its displays are offensive to Christians.

But it is not so much the severed heads or piles of corpses the congregation of the city's London Road Church has objected to — it is the Satan's Grotto.

The kirk session of the church has complained about elves impaled on spikes, roasting robins and Father Christmas boiling in a witch's cauldron. Also under fire is children being asked whether they had been bad rather than good, offered nasty presents instead of sweets and invited to take part in a yucky dip.

The Christians claim the associations with evil are at least corrupting and at worst something that could lead to devil worship.

London Road ChurchWhat is it with some groups of Christians and their obsession with Satanism? Apparently it's bad to have a sense of humour and a grasp of the ridiculous. It all seems a bit silly coming from a group who glorify in the torture of a bloke.

A recent local filler piece on the evening news reported several instances of petty theft through Sydney churches. This isn't new and has gone on forever, but that doesn't make for a good scare-mongering, so the story was taken a sign of the coming apocalypse. Most of the church leaders spoken to were upset but pragmatic about the thefts, but the loony Catholic from Parramatta declared the theft of candles and linen to be a sure sign of satan worship.

Perhaps there's something in the wine.

Edinburgh churchgoers in attempt to close Dungeon, claiming it spreads Satanism - Scotland on Sunday, 7th August 2005.

August 2, 2005

Bargain of the Day: A load of fanny

Today's bargain is a fine example of Neopagan tat. The Velvet Vulva™ is A line of fine purses and magickal bags.

More than a sumptuous Renaissance bag, the Velvet Vulva represents in three-dimensional form the sacred portal to the feminine temple. Each has sumptuous fabric labia and a beautiful button clitoris.

A Velvet Vulva might become your everyday bag; it might always stay on your altar; or it might be acquired for special occasions. (One of the first Vulvas I made was part of the bridal trousseau of a close friend of mine.) Naturally, what you put in your Velvet Vulva can have tremendous symbolic and magickal significance.

The creation pictured at right is a full length medicine bag, intended for ritual and ceremony, as well as everyday use as a purse.

In whatever way the Velvet Vulva is respectfully employed, it will express and honor the Goddess within and without.

As in life, Velvet Vulvas come in various sizes, shapes, and styles. "You will know when you have found a good fit!"

Hats and pillows based on the same design are also available.

August 1, 2005

Bargain of the Day: Dead fictional character on toast

Red Wolf points out an auction which will be of great interest to those who found the Prattle by searching for harry potter porno, harry potter vampires and harry potter porn. Or perhaps not, as it doesn't feature anything vague pornographic or have anything to do with the undead.

But, the auction itself is full of spoilers for the sixth book, so if you intend to read it, do not read any further!

About this Archive

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

July 2005 is the previous archive.

September 2005 is the next archive.

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


About this site
Contact the Prattle
Ego Corner

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



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