March 2007 Archives

March 28, 2007

A cunning plan

Switzerland: The Swiss are really, really desperate to win the Eurovision Song Contest. So desperate that Christian groups have put together a campaign to have the Swiss entry banned—after all, that worked nicely for Finland last year.

The FDU petition accuses DJ Bobo — real name René Baumann — of trivialising hell and Satan and says his occult lyrics are beyond the pale. The offending lyrics include lines such as Free your spirit after midnight, sell your soul and From heaven to hell, enjoy the ride.

The song is bad from our point of view, Thomas Feuz, head of the FDU's petition committee, told swissinfo. We have nothing against DJ Bobo but the song has a destructive meaning and we want it stopped.

The petition also states that the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in May in the Finnish capital Helsinki, has increasingly become a platform for the occult and Satanists.

It makes reference to last year's surprise winners Lordi who wooed fans with their monster rock and also faced accusations of being a satanic group – something they denied.

Unlike Hard Rock Hallelujah, which was quite good, DJ Bobo's effort sounds like what you'd get if Evanescence decided to ditch soft rock for gay disco.

Christians attack satanic Eurovision songSwissinfo, 27th March 2007. See also Lordi! Lordi! Lordi!Pagan Prattle, 21st May 2006.

Heart transplant

United States: Joe Murray used to be a columnist for the American Family Association, but is now strongly critical of their homophobic stance. This interview with him at Pam's House Blend makes interesting reading, and serves as a reminder that not all Christians are hate-filled loons (via Box Turtle Bulletin).

Pam's House Blend mocks all sorts of homophobia, especially fundie homophobia, and has recently featured some gems, such as What is it with Michael Savage and transpeople?—in which we learn that trans people are to blame for the Columbine massacre. The blog subtitle ...always steamin' means something quite different in these parts, though.

March 27, 2007

Rules one, three, five, seven...

Tobago: Church leaders have failed in their efforts to have Elton John banned from the island. They were afraid that his appearance at a jazz festival would pass gay cooties onto young people.

Some Christian leaders on the Caribbean island said that the singer should be banned from performing at the festival in Tobago because his homosexuality could influence young people...

We feel it can have a negative social impact. There are some who may not be sure of their sexuality and one has to be careful about how this can create impressions on impressionable minds, pastor Terrance Baynes told Reuters on Monday.

The story also made reference to a famous Christian who said something I missed last year.

...evangelical Christian pop icon Sir Cliff Richard ... said last year that the churches should stop being obsessed with gays and show a bit more love.

Which is obviously far too Christian a sentiment for many church leaders.

Churches fail to ban Elton John from TobagoEkklesia, 27th March 2007.

God, God, quite contrary

Australia: A man accused of killing his mother and her dog told the police that God made him do it.

I murdered my mother because I believe I was acting out of the will of God and only now do I realise it was God punishing me for disobeying him, he said.

The whole story is a little bizarre, and a terrible case of undiagnosed mental illness:

In what was described as bizarre behaviour the day before the murder, Mr Wright went to Kalgoorlie's Church of Christ and interrupted morning mass, attended by about 200 people.

In a statement read to the court yesterday, youth pastor Mark David Gibb said Mr Wright walked down the church aisle carrying a gold sword in one hand and the Bible in the other. He then went to the front stage and began reading aloud from the Bible...

...In a recorded interview with police played to the court, Mr Wright spoke at length about being the chosen one and having to fulfil a prophecy by killing his mother. He also told officers he was an intellectual genius who was not your average sociopath.

Describing himself as a healer, Mr Wright sang The Lord's Prayer during the interview, before telling officers that my mum had the most awesome death.

I healed her, he said. Even though I might seem to be a callous and cold-blooded murderer, I see things holistically.

In contrast to the United States, where similar religious nutcases are regularly treated by the courts as sane, Wright is expected to be found insane and receive the treatment he needs.

Accused killer 'possessed by God'The Australian, 27th March 2007.

March 26, 2007

Bargain of the Day: cuddly goddesses

Feel safe at night with your very own Goddess Blessing Doll:

Triple goddess dollsSoft bodied Goddess dolls are popular with modern fabric artists and come in all sorts of different forms.Goddess dolls are spiritually inspired by an idea, feeling or concept etc..

My Goddess dolls are shaped in a traditional Goddess form, to evoke her gentle, powerful and healing spiritual energies. They are unique in having a pocket incorporated into the design into which names, hair, herbs, affirmations, spells, crystals, prayers etc…can be placed, to allow her to be used in healing, magical or spiritual workings.

My dolls are intended to connect you to higher spiritual energies as you work with them and create a relationship with the mother Goddess.

I work with my Goddess Blessing doll by writing a wish or affermation on some paper, for example 'May peace prevail on the earth' and placing it within the pocket with a small crystal and a few apropriet herbs (wrapped securely in tissue for easy removal) I then take the doll and channel healing energies and/or chant the affermation as I hold her. If sending healing to someone, I will place their name in the pocket and use the doll as you would a poppet in sympathetic magic or Reiki/spiritual distance healing. There are many ways you can use the Doll, but they are designed to be used only with positive, healing and loving intent.

It seems that neopagans can speak Christian English, too.

Predictable headline

United States: A fire marshall with 22 years service has resigned after admitting he consulted psychics while at work:

Tom Weber, a 22-year fire veteran, was put on administrative leave nine months ago after he was accused of asking an online psychic on a department computer whether he and others would be successful in getting rid of Middleton's fire chief...

Weber said he's resigning effective March 31, and denied working against Harris. But he doesn't dispute contacting psychics on department computers. A computer technician found other communications dating back three years.

One wonders if he'd have been pushed out if he'd been praying for the chief's removal, or checking online Bibles for guidance on the matter?

Everyone is entitled to their spiritual guidance, Weber said.

He said he's been interested in psychics for years.

Psychic chat drives fire marshal to quitThe Charlotte Observer, 25th March 2007.

Grumpy old man

Vatican City: A religious leader in an undemocratic city state has declared that the EU is headed for oblivion, because it doesn't give lip service to his imaginary friend.

Angry that a Berlin Declaration unveiled yesterday listing the EU's achievements and challenges on its 50th birthday contained no reference to the continent's Christian roots, Pope Benedict said that Europe could not be built by ignoring its people's identities.

So no doubt he'll be setting an example to us all by respecting the identities of LGBT Europeans, and those who chose an alternative imaginary friend, or none at all?

No, thought not, but for a change, he's decided to blame women for Europe's woes, not pooves:

In his remarks to bishops gathered for ceremonies in Rome to mark the signing of the treaty that founded the EU in 1957, the Pope declared that the reluctance of women in Europe to have babies and Europe's failure to regenerate itself was putting the continent on the path to oblivion. From a demographic standpoint ... Europe seems set on a path that could lead it to take leave of history, he warned. Europe was losing faith in its own future.

Strangely, it's the countries that most respect him—Poland, Italy and Spain—that currently have their lowest birthrates in history.

As the EU turns 50, Pope says it's on path to oblivionThe Guardian, 26th March 2007.

A better commandment.

If holy books contained directives such as this, I might take them a little more seriously. Pity the example chosen is not an issue of grammar but of style. It would've been better to focus on the evils of forming the plural with apostrophe-s—if the Dutch can get it right when writing in English, then native speakers have no excuse whatsoever (via Arthur D. Hlavaty).

Harry Potter Mo' fans riot over book

Yemen: Riots have broken out after rumours that a French engineer might have 'desecrated' a book by throwing it on the floor with insufficient respect.

After a fight between a French engineer and another who is Yemeni, the Frenchman - to enrage the Yemeni - threw a Koran on the floor in an offensive way, a local official told AFP news agency, requesting anonymity.

The response of the locals suggest they are probably incapable of reading any book:

Hundreds of rioting workers burnt cars and a helicopter at the French-run facility, sources told news agencies.

Unconfirmed reports say four Yemenis and a Frenchman were injured in the unrest and the engineer was evacuated.

The paper on which holy books tend to be printed makes excellent loo roll, by the way.

Koran riot grips Yemeni gas plantBBC News, 25th March 2007.

March 25, 2007

A close shave

Malawi: A witchdoctor's unconventional magic has resulted in a two year prison sentence, with hard labour.

People in Mulanje were going about their daily businesses but for two women and a 13-year-old girl all from the same family it was a morning of lifetime experiences. The three were having their pubic hair shaved with razor blades by a self proclaimed male witchdoctor who promised them the fortune of life.

One by one the three sisters were called into a bathroom a few metres away from their main house where they stripped naked before 21 year old Peter Harawara who sat there touching and shaving their private parts.

The women began to suspect something was amiss when he threatened them with death and demanded sex.

March 23, 2007

Can we mention the war now?

Germany: A judge has been replaced after she used the Qur'an to deny an abused woman a quickie divorce.

The judge, Christa Datz-Winter, said the German woman of Moroccan descent would not be granted a divorce because she and her husband came from a Moroccan cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife, according to a statement she wrote that was issued by a Frankfurt court. That's what the claimant had to reckon with when she married the defendant.

The 26-year-old mother of two had been repeatedly beaten and threatened with death by her husband.

When the woman protested against the judge's decision, Ms Datz-Winter invoked the Qur'an to support her argument. In the court she read from verse 34 of Sura four of the Qur'an, An-Nisa (Women), in which men are told to hit their wives as a final stage in dealing with disobedience. The verse reads: ... as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them.

The woman's lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, protested, saying: When Christians are arguing for a divorce they don't use the Bible.

The decision outraged womens organisations, but also Germany's Central Council of Muslims which quickly issued a statement pointing out Violence and abuse of people are of course naturally reasons to warrant a divorce in Islam as well.

German judge invokes Qur'an to deny abused wife a divorceThe Guardian, 23rd March 2007.

Loony neopagan nonsense: the motherlode

Thank you spiritof1976 for introducing me to the LJ community dot_pagan_snark. Some highlights:

March 22, 2007

Bargain of the Day: Astrology cookbook

Vanity presses will famously publish anything, and their latest offering is Dining by the Stars by Maija Dambis Collins.

For each astrological sign, Collins interprets characteristics in five areas: personal habits; love and romance; the role in the family; circle of friends and colleagues; and seasonal celebrations. The chefs studied this information along with an established list of foods and condiments derived from ancient astrologers who analyzed specific influences for each zodiac sign. Original recipes were then created for each of the five areas listed above. The result: culturally diverse culinary masterpieces that are individually designed to appeal to specific astrological signs.

She must've relied on the stars, rather than Google, when she chose scammers over a respectable self-publishing outfit like Lulu)

Not that failing to rip-off hopeful authors is a guarantee against lunacy, of course.

Wiccan brings unfair dismissal case

England: A Brighton teaching assistant has told an Employment Tribunal that she was sacked because of her neopagan religious beliefs. Sommer De La Rosa, a Wiccan, claims her employers feared she would brainwash schoolchildren, that other teachers shunned her because of her religion and told her not to wear a pentagram necklace.

Her former employers disagree and say she was sacked because of poor attendance record and inappropriate disclosures to schoolchildren.

Employee claims she was unfairly dismissed for being a witchWorkplace Law, 22nd March 2007.

March 21, 2007

Miscelleny

March 20, 2007

Kids think critically; teacher sacked

United States: A teacher has been fired after just eight days in the job for pushing creationist nonsense instead of teaching.

During his eight days as a part-time high school biology teacher, Kris Helphinstine included Biblical references in material he provided to students and gave a PowerPoint presentation that made links between evolution, Nazi Germany and Planned Parenthood.

In his defence, Helphinestine claimed that he only wanted to get the students thinking critically about biased information. The school board did not believe him, and he doesn't seem to have made it clear to his students that that was his intention.

Parent John Rahm told the newspaper that he became concerned when his freshman daughter said she was confused by the supplemental material provided by Helphinstine.

He took passages that had all kinds of Biblical references, Rahm said. It prevented her from learning what she needed to learn.

Ore. Teacher Fired Over Bible ReferencesThe Guardian, 20th March 2007.

Be careful who you lie about

United States: Four Amway distributors have been ordered to pay Proctor and Gamble over $19 million in compensation. The four had spread rumours that the company was involved in Satanism, and the case has dragged on for over a decade. The judge had earlier decided that Amway itself could not be held responsible for the actions of its self-employed distributors.

P&G filed suit against Randy Haugen of Ogden and three other distributors in 1995. The company charged the four had disseminated the devil-worship hoax through Amway's voice-mail system.

P&G said the Amway quartet passed along the false story that P&G's president had told a television talk show that his company was affiliated with the Church of Satan.

That never happened. But the Cincinnati-based maker of laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other products claims the rumors still cost it millions of dollars in sales.

Jury awards Procter and Gamble $19 million over devil worship rumorsThe Salt Lake Tribune, 19th March 2007. See also: Let sleeping myths liePagan Prattle, Summer 1994, for an example of the rumour from Usenet.

March 19, 2007

Compare and contrast

United Kingdom: A BBC survey has revealed that British Christians think they suffer discrimination in the workplace, and in the way they are portrayed in the media, but Christian think tank Ekklesia has told them not to be so paranoid:

Christians are also privileged — for example there are 26 unelected bishops in the house of Lords, and a quarter of state-funded primary schools are run by churches selecting on the basis of people's faith, said Ekklesia co-director Jonathan Bartley on The Heaven and Earth Show this morning.

He also said that when Muslims and Jews faced attacks and desecration of their cemeteries, talk of persecution needed to be put into context.

Meanwhile, down in Dorset, a Druid group has some charming (and almost certainly Christian) neighbours:

After [The Dolmen, a Neopagan band] played one particular gig in Weymouth someone left a dead bird with a noose around its neck on the windscreen.

They also typed the words 'Die Witches' on a piece of paper stuck to it...

Then someone put nails under the tyres of the van as it was parked in Radipole Lane, the night after they had played another gig.

At our last ritual at Maumbury Rings a group of people came along to barrack us for no apparent reason.

BBC survey says Christians feel they are discriminated againstEkklesia, 18th March 2007; Pagans suffer ritual abuseDorset Echo, 17th March 2007. See also today's Jesus and Mo for some topical commentary!

March 11, 2007

WWMGD?

Guatemala: Mayan priests plan to ritually purify an historic sacred site to remove the bad spirits they expect to be left by the visit of George W. Bush.

That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture, Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday....

Tiney said the spirit guides of the Mayan community decided it would be necessary to cleanse the sacred site of bad spirits after Bush's visit so that their ancestors could rest in peace. He also said the rites -- which entail chanting and burning incense, herbs and candles -- would prepare the site for the third summit of Latin American Indians March 26-30.

Priests to Purify Site After Bush VisitWashington Post, 9th March 2007 (thanks, Sister Iona Dubble-Wyde).

March 9, 2007

Making sure.

Serbia: A metre-long stake has been driven through the corpse of Slobodan Milosevic by vampire hunters who wanted to be sure he didn't come back, ever.

...the politically-motivated Van Helsings, led by Miroslav Milosevic (no relation), gave themselves up to cops after attacking the deceased despot in his grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac. Milosevic popped his clogs back in 2006, while on trial in a UN war crimes tribunal for various unsavoury activities connected with the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia.

Miroslav Milosevic said he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to stop the former dictator returning from the dead to haunt the country. His team explained that the wooden stake had been driven into the ground and through the late president's heart.

At least they can be sure he's dead now.

Serbian vampire hunters prevent Milosevic come-backThe Register, 6th March 2007 (via Randy McDonald).

Another miscelleny

March 4, 2007

Sunday shorts

  • Link between belief in God and violence demonstrated. When God Sanctions Killing, The People ListenScience Daily, 24th February 2007.
  • Although abortion is claimed to be the issue, it's obvious that the bigotry of Roman Catholic leaders has attracted the interest of neo-nazis. They have similar views on pooves and women, after all. BNP seeks anti-abortion Catholic votesThe Observer, 4th March 2007.
  • Astrologer sued after predicting a long life for a dead man. Prediction lands astrologer in courtChennai Online, 3rd March 2007.
  • Christian students given prayer room, are shocked that others complain when they break the rules by which all school clubs have to abide, and use a common room instead. Fundies blame a lone Satanist. Strange how such organisations always come to the support of a lone Christian who complains, yet get their knickers in a twist when the complainer is differently superstitious. Falwell-linked group pushes prayer controversyNorthwest Progressive Institute, 2nd March 2007.

March 2, 2007

What would Jesus poo?

We've discussed Christian colonic irrigation on the Prattle recently, but we're going to do so again. I mean, you'd be upset if we neglected to link to a site which includes the words Jesus also explained how to make and do a colonic irrigation. Jesus said that unless you eliminate Satan from your intestines, you can not have perfect health. That statement can be found on the web site of Moinhos Velhos, an holistic health retreat in Portugal.

Obviously Jesus didn't mention colonic irrigation in the Sermon on the Mount, or in anything considered to be canonical, but in an Essene text The Gospel of Peace of Jesus Christ. It is discussed further on the fasting and detoxification page, where the following is attributed to Jesus:

Think not that it sufficient that the angel of water embrace you outward only. I tell you truly, the uncleanness within is greater by much than the uncleanness without. And he who cleanses himself without, but within remains unclean is like tombs that outwards are painted fair, but are within full of all manners of horrible uncleanness and abominations. So I tell you truly, suffer the angels of water to baptize you also within, that you may become free from all past sins, and that within likewise you may become as pure as the river's foam sporting in the sunlight.

We are then told the passage (heh) continues with instructions. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in the linked copy of the book.

Finally, do not click this link.

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