Why do I not update this much? Because it's depressing, that's why. Look at today's news:
Scotland: Parents' outrage as extremist US religious cult hand out creationist books and preach to kids at Scottish school, Daily Record, 6 September 2013.
The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.
The Daily Record found that a so-called Church of Christ, in reality an extremist anti-science and homophobic cult that appears to have nothing to do with any of the actual teachings of Jesus, had been promoting its lunatic theology at an East Kilbride primary school in collusion with the headmistress for at least 8 years.
The Church of Christ have targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission” and have several members helping with classes and giving lessons in religion.
Church members like [Jared] Blakeman - photographed as a scary Pirates of the Caribbean character - were allowed in to work as classroom assistants and help with homework and in other mainstream roles.
Parents were also furious to learn that cash raised by children which they thought was intended for school funds had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.
Parents are rightly outraged, and have demanded the sect be removed from the school.
Rwanda: Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project, The Guardian, 5 September 2013.
A documentary shown at the Toronto Film Festival shows how the famous broadcaster and evangelist took cash aimed at a totally useless and fraudulent project, and diverted it towards his own personal material enrichment. Robertson's Operation Blessing International raised money to send people to get in the way of valuable work being done by the likes of Médecins Sans Frontières. These people would run alongside stretchers (not help carry them, or anything useful like that), haranguing the dying and seriously ill by reading the Bible at them. The Operation also claimed to have supplied medicine to Africa, built schools and hospitals and many other claims of humanitarian aid which were exaggerated. Robertson showed footage of medics in a hospital which turned out to be a MSF establishment having nothing to do with Operation Blessing. So what happened to the cash he raised from his gullible followers? He spent it on a diamond mine.
Robert Hinkle, the chief pilot for Operation Blessing in Zaire in 1994, said he received new orders.They began asking me: can we haul a thousand-pound dredge over? I didn't know what the dredging deal was about,he said.
The documentary describes how dredges, used to suck up diamonds from river beds, were delivered hundreds of miles from the crisis in Goma to a private commercial firm, African Development Company, registered in Bermuda and wholly owned by Robertson. ADC held a mining concession near the town of Kamonia on the far side of the country.
Mission after mission was always just getting eight-inch dredgers, six-inch dredgers … and food supplies, quads, jeeps, out to the diamond dredging operation outside of Kamonia,Hinkle told the film-makers.
On a lighter note, but still insane, is this snippet of election news:
Maldives: Coconut detained in Maldives over vote-rigging claims, The Guardian, 6th September 2013.
A coconut has been detained by Maldivian police on suspicion of vote-rigging in a key presidential election.
The coconut, described asyoung, was found near a school that will be used as a polling station on Saturday on the remote Kaafu atoll, one of the hundreds of islands that comprise the Indian Ocean archipelago state.
Though the population of the Maldives is Sunni Muslim, continuing belief in magic is widespread in rural areas. Coconuts are often used in rituals and inscribed with spells.
But belief in the efficacy of spells is not restricted to remote islands. Back to the UK, and we find ostensibly liberal Christians engaging in a little bit of magic of their own.
United Kingdom: Christians plan exorcism at London arms fair. Ekklesia, 6 September 2013.
A group of Christians, including three Church of England priests, will hold an exorcism ceremony at the site of the London arms fair this Sunday (8 September). ...
By exorcising the demons of the arms fair, the Christians say they will draw attention to the evil of DSEi, while praying for an end to the arms trade. The action will take place at one of the gates to the Excel Centre at 4.00pm on Sunday, which will be marked as Stop the Arms Trade Day of Prayer.
Because casting spells and asking your imaginary friend (one with a history of extreme violence) for help is really going to have an effect.