February 19, 2009

Timing is everything

United States: A man walked into Robert H. Schuller's church, the Crystal Cathedral, and shot himself in front of a cross.

Betty Spicer, a volunteer usher at the famous sanctuary, said she greeted Smick when he entered. She said he handed her a folded note with two cards inside as the man told her: You may want this.

Spicer said he then walked to the foot of the cross. She and Yvette Manson, another volunteer, said they thought Smick was praying when they heard a pop.

The man used a semiautomatic handgun, said police Lt. Dennis Ellsworth.

At the same time, church volunteers were telling a group of visitors about the church's suicide prevention programme, which is based on prayer rather than anything with any basis in the real world.

Man kills self in SoCal televangelist's cathedralInternational Herald Tribune, 19th February 2009 (thanks, Pastor Best OPI),

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December 17, 2008

The schadenfreude is strong in this one

United Kingdom: Perhaps if Woolies had not bowed to fundie pressure, and refused to sell things people want to buy, they might not have been in this mess now.

August 3, 2008

God Hates Phelps

United States: Westboro Baptist Church suffered a small fire, which destroyed a garage and a fence. Members of the church think it was deliberate, though we at Prattle Towers are of the opinion that it's because God hates them.

Small fire strikes Westboro BaptistThe Wichita Eagle, 2nd August 2008.

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July 18, 2008

Cruel vegetable torture

Apparently if you electrocute a non-Christian, they will become Christian, and their arse will glow red and be a really inefficient lightbulb. Or something like that, anyway...

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February 13, 2008

Zap!

Brazil: God has apparently smitten His own son in the traditional manner.

Amazing moment the world's biggest Christ was struck by lightningDaily Mail, 13th February 2008.

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January 11, 2008

Miscelleny

A few headlines for you:

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November 14, 2007

Darwin's Guide to Curse Removal

Two recent stories have highlighted the extremes to which people will go to rid themselves of their imaginary enemies.

New Zealand: A woman was drowned by her relatives in an attempt to rid her of a curse.

Janet Moses, a mother of two, was held under water in an attempt to drive away a makutu, or Maori curse. Containers holding an extensive amount of water were brought into the lounge of the house, in Wellington, for the ceremony...

The exorcism ritual was held because the woman's relatives believed a curse had been put on her after another member of her family stole a taonga, meaning treasured artefact, belonging to someone else.

India: A man has married a dog to help rid himself of a curse he believes he brought upon himself by stoning two other dogs to death.

Fifteen years back Selvakumar was physically fit. But, once he attacked a pair of dogs and thereafter Kumar could not move his limbs freely, the relative, Ramu, told the BBC.

He tried every cure for his ailment but could not be rid of his disability.

“On the advice of an astrologer and others, he decided to marry a bitch to get cured. Then we arranged Selvakumar's marriage with a bitch.

One wonders if such marriages are consummated.

Woman drowns during exorcism ceremonyThe Guardian, 12th November 2007; Man marries bitch to beat curseBBC News, 13th November 2007.

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November 8, 2007

Court Report

The courts have been busy today, it seems.

Scotland: Police attended a séance in an attempt to find the killer of a Dundee woman in 1980. Fortunately, they didn't take it seriously.

Mr Robertson, who was a detective constable at the time, said there had been subdued lighting.

The officers had held hands, although not in an affectionate way.

I can recollect, possibly, at some time the woman was induced through some form of hypnosis to go to a spirit guide who took her to another area, he said.

The medium then gave information which he did not think had any bearing on the case.

I can say it was never considered to be a serious line of inquiry, added Mr Robertson.

He said the séance did not last long because the woman was unable to continue her charade.

Spain: God, it seems, has taken time off from worrying about pooves, and returned to His old trick of telling people to kill one another. In this case, He told a British man to kill and eat his girlfriend:

Following his arrest in 2004, Durant wrote to a British newspaper from his prison cell in Spain, saying that he had been driven to kill and eat Durrell by messages delivered to him by God via his television.

After I killed her I cut her body into small parts, eating what part of her I found eatable. I finally disposed of what was left in small rubbish bags around Calpe, he wrote.

My mental state was breaking down at this stage. I believed God had delivered her to me and I was getting messages from the telly.

Durant admitted manslaughter, and also told the court he had killed two people in the UK, including a man he claims abused him as a child. God's role in these killings was not explained.

Woods murder police 'held séance'BBC News, 8th November 2007; British man faces jail over 'message from God' killingThe Guardian, 8th November 2007.

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July 10, 2007

God disapproves of books about Him.

United States: A man selling religious books is in a coma after being hit by lightning from a clear sky.

Hailu Kidane Marian was working with members of his religious group, selling religious materials door-to-door in a Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhood, when the bolt from the blue struck him down.

I heard a boom, and I looked and the guy jumped back, and he just laid there, stiff, said witness Maria Martinez.

Religious Book Seller Struck By LightningCBS5, July 9th 2007.

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March 27, 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.

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January 2, 2007

God sides with St. Francis

Turkey: God is frequently called upon as a justification for terrible animal abuse, but sometimes the result is that the animal fight back. In Turkey, over 1400 animals resisted being sacrificed as part of the Eid-al-Adha celebrations:

At least 1,413 people ... were treated at hospitals across the country, most suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Four people were severely injured, crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on top of them, the agency reported. Another person was hurt when a crane used to lift an animal tumbled onto him, the agency said.

Three other people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain animals...

Animal Sacrifices Maim 1,400 Inept TurksThe Guardian, 31st December 2006.

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November 8, 2006

Falling for Jesus

Columbia: A man who climbed a 15m high statue of Jesus in search of a miracle cure found himself in hospital with several broken bones instead.

Farmer Alipio Acosta climbed up the statue of Jesus in Ocaca, Columbia in front of a crowd of onlookers — and TV cameras — in an attempt to be cured of his epilepsy. Once at the top of the statue, he prayed for a few moments, then started to climb back down.

Unfortunately, he hadn't planned his descent route terribly well. To add to the problems, it had been raining, which made Jesus quite slippery.

As he tried to negotiate his way around Jesus' outstretched arm, Acosta dangled for a moment, before losing his grip, falling, bouncing off the plinth and then falling some more.

You saw that bit in front of ... TV cameras? Guess what's on YouTube?

Miracle seeker in Jesus plummetMetro, 7th November 2006.

The same article also points us to Jesus image appears on dog.

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Darwin's Gospel strikes again

United States: A 48-year-old woman has died after being bitten by a snake at a church in Kentucky.

Snake handling is based on a passage in the Bible, in the Gospel of Mark, that says a sign of a true believer is the power to take up serpents without being harmed.

Handling reptiles in religious services is illegal in Kentucky, though the quoted penalty of a fine of $50-100 is obviously a serious underestimate.

Woman Fatally Bitten by Snake in ChurchThe Guardian, 7th November 2006.

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October 12, 2006

Not updating the blogroll just yet

Ireland: This morning my LJ friends' page brought the terrible news that David Stewart has died. You will find a link to his blog, Science Friction, under the heading People I've had drinks with. A stalwart of Irish science fiction fandom, he was the sort often to be found beavering away in the background at conventions, before going on to win the table quiz in the evening. My last memory of him in good health was at the 2005 World Science Fiction Convention in Glasgow, which he spent working in the press office getting writers and the media together and fending off any efforts from the tabloids to make it look like a cosplay event.

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August 31, 2006

Getting closer to God

Gabon: An evangelical preacher has drowned trying to replicate a miracle attributed to Jesus.

One eyewitness said: He told churchgoers he'd had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus.

“He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat.

“He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.

MIRACLE IS SUNKThe Daily Record, 30th August 2006.

June 20, 2006

God lies to His representatives

United States: God has apparently being playing games with His followers, at least according to a piece of e-mail which went around Portland, Oregon, recently. According to the message, God was peeved at a forthcoming Pride parade and had decided to do something about it.

--------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 13:15:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Urgent Message: Portland will have disaster in June 18, 2006!

Dear Pastor,

Please pray to God when you receive this message and seek God's guidance to you and your congregation.

3 people from 3 different places and churches received vision from God about this disaster. 3 people include a pastor, a church elder and a church missionary.
Here is the information about the disaster:
1. In June 18, 2006 (the coming Father's Day), there will be a Gay Pride Parade in Portland, Oregon.
2. This Gay Pride Parade will bring the judgment of God to Portland.
3. At June 18, 2006, there will be a huge earthquake happen in Portland area, the earthquake will cause a collapse of Bonneville Dam. A wall of water will flood and destroy Portland.
4. There will be another earthquake happen in the West Coast, cause a Tsunami and the Tsunami will go to Portland from Columbia River. So Portland will be flooded also by the Tsunami. (Portland is about 50 miles away from the sea coast.)
5. There will be a team of terrorists, who will bring automatic weapons (machine guns) and kill as many survivors as they can after the disaster. They kill people before the National Guard will arrive there.
6. Portland and the nearby Willamette Valley will be destroyed.
7. God urge the Christians to leave that area.

According to Scott Moore of The Portland Mercury, the message was based on a series of dreams experienced by Lloyd Day, the pastor of the Beth Tefilah Messianic Congregation, in which God's cronies told him to get out of town to escape the destruction.

My Portland correspondent, Sister Mona Little-More, SPI, was at the parade, and notes that none of the promised destruction has taken place. I am assured that the fine breweries of that city are intact.

Gay Pride? How About Gaypocalypse?The Portland Mercury, 9th(?) June 2006.

Note: This is apparently the 2000th entry in the Prattle.

June 5, 2006

Superstitious man discovers Daniel is just a story

Ukraine: A man who climbed into the lions' enclosure at Kiev Zoo, claiming that God if he exists would protect him got a nasty surprise on Sunday:

A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery.

We at Prattle Towers draw two possible conclusions from this.

Lioness in zoo kills man who invoked GodReuters, 5th June 2006 (via Pharyngula).

March 21, 2006

God punishes birds over gay rights

Israel: A rabbi has declared that an outbreak of bird flu in Israel is the work of God. According to Rabbi David Basri, God is angry with some of the more left-leaning political parties.

The bird flu outbreak stemmed from far-left political parties strengthening and encouraging homosexuality, Rabbi Basri's son quoted him as saying.

One of the parties aired an election commercial depicting two brides kissing. Some campaign advertisements also called for homosexual marriages to be legalized in Israel

Meanwhile, the same rabbi and his son are being investigated by police on suspicion that they are racist as well as homophobic.

According to suspicions, the Batzris allegedly made the racist comments at the conference which was held to rally support against the establishment of a bilingual school for Jewish and Arab students in the heart of the Pat neighborhood.

Rabbi David Batzri said, the establishment of such a school is a despicable and sinful act. An Arab cannot contaminate what is pure. It is forbidden to blend darkness and light. The nation of Israel is pure and the Arabs are a nation of donkeys. They are an evil disaster, an evil devil, and a nasty affliction.

Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri said, The Arabs are donkeys and beasts. They want to take our girls. They are endowed with true filthiness. There is pure and there is impure and they are impure.

Wrath of God behind Israel bird flu?Reuters, 21st March 2006; Mystical sage, son to be probed for suspected racist incitementHa'aretz, 21st March 2006

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March 5, 2006

Kali at it again.

India: That charming young deity, Kali, appears to have been helping Father Darwin with his work, with reports that she is inspiring people to sacrifice children to her. The reports seem to be based around a a tiny number of incidents involving disreputable 'holy men', extremely gullible and superstitious people, plus a mediæval approach to evidence gathering.

She consulted a tantrik, a travelling 'holy man' who came to the village occasionally, dispensing advice and putrid medicines from the rusty amulets around his neck.

His guidance to Sumitra was to slaughter a chicken at the entrance to her home and offer the blood and remains to the goddess. She did so but the nightmares continued and she began waking up screaming in the heat of the night and returned to the priest. 'For the sake of your family,' he told her, 'you must sacrifice another, a boy from your village.'

Ten days ago Sumitra and her two sons crept to their neighbour's home and abducted three-year-old Aakash Singh as he slept. They dragged him into their home and the eldest son performed a puja ceremony, reciting a mantra and waving incense. Sumitra smeared sandalwood paste and globules of ghee over the terrified child's body. The two men then used a knife to slice off the child's nose, ears and hands before laying him, bleeding, in front of Kali's image.

In the morning Sumitra told villagers she had found Aakash's body outside her house. But they attacked and beat her sons who allegedly confessed. 'I killed the boy so my mother could be safe,' Sanjay screamed. All three are now in prison, having escaped lynch mob justice. The tantrik has yet to be found.

The police are aware of a number of similar incidents, and also lay the blame squarely on a lack of education, though they seem perfectly happy to accept the confessions extracted by torture:

'It's because of blind superstitions and rampant illiteracy that this woman sacrificed this boy,' said Khurja police officer AK Singh. 'It's happened before and will happen again but there is little we can do to stop it. In most situations it's an open and shut case. It isn't difficult to elicit confessions - normally the villagers or the families of the victims do that for us. This has been going on for centuries; these people are living in the dark ages.'

The tantriks themselves are concerned that their long-standing good reputation for folk medicine is being marred by a few bampots.

Indian cult kills children for goddessThe Observer, 5th March 2006.

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October 31, 2005

Water and electricity do not mix

United States: a pastor at a Waco, Texas, church has been electrocuted during a baptism. The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, grabbed a microphone while stood shoulder deep in water.

Pastors at University Baptist Church routinely use a microphone during baptisms, [church business administrator Jamie] Dudley said.

He was grabbing the microphone so everyone could hear, Dudley said. It's the only way you can be loud enough.

See what can happen if you neglect basic science education?

Texas Pastor Electrocuted During BaptismBrietbart.com, 30th October 2005.

April 3, 2002

That must sting.

A Catholic convert willingly allowed himself to be stripped, insulted, beaten and tied to a cross last Friday. Lawrence Gitta carried the cross through Luweero, Uganda, for three hours before the bizarre ceremony which was organised by two churches in the town. Born-Again Tortured And 'Crucified' -- Kampala New Vision, April 2nd 2002 (via allAfrica.com).

Meanwhile, 18 people allowed themselves to be nailed to crosses in the Philipines, in spite of official disapproval. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines consideres the practice to be a misrepresentation of the Roman Catholic faith, and just a tourist attraction, rather than a genuine act of penance. The eight-inch nails are sterilised before use. Filipinos nailed to crosses in Easter 'sacrifice' - Ananova, March 29th 2002 (with detailed pictures).
Bishops tell faithful not to crucify themselves during Holy Week -- Ananova, March 25th 2002.

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