May 30, 2009

World's greatest troll, or genuinely obnoxious? You decide!

United States: Fred Phelps has a new enemy: those dirty Yids. He's been protesting at Jewish establishments, handing out flyers blaming the Jews for killing their imaginary friend. Keeping with traditional anti-semitism, the also pretend not to know the difference between Jews in general, and the state of Israel:

Margie Phelps and three fellow church members stood on the sidewalk and held signs stating that God Hates Israel, Jews Killed Jesus, America Is Doomed, Israel Is Doomed, and ADL Jew Bullies. One of the four women had an Israeli flag tied around her waist that dragged on the ground; she stepped on the flag as she walked.

They have also added their own unique flavour of hate into the mix:

While picketing outside the Washington office of the Anti-Defamation League last Friday, Phelps' daughter Margie said that the group is now focusing on the Jewish community because church members have been testifying to gentiles for 19 years that America is doomed and they haven't gotten the message.

Now it's too late, she said. We're done with them.

Margie Phelps added that one of the loudest voices in favor of homosexuality and abortion is the Jews, especially the rabbis.

Anti-Gay Church Turns on JewsThe Jewish Exponent, 13th May 2009. Longer version of the same article here.

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May 6, 2009

WILL LESBIANS TURN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY GAY?

Martin of The Lay Scientist has been hanging around the Daily Mail web site, so that we don't have to. The level of his sacrifice can be judged by a recent article which featured a reconstruction of the first modern European human, who arrived from Africa and looks kind of, well, black. It seems that the BNP supporting types don't like being reminded that humanity evolved in Africa and that white skin is a relatively recent mutation.

Rubbish. Europeans did not come from Africans and never could. This is just more anti-European propaganda, of as much real scientific merit as Piltdown Man.

Others don't like the idea that we evolved at all, and in their comments demonstrate that they never got past the single-celled stage:

We are all descended from Adam and Eve, who were most probably had brown skin and were from the middle east no more than 10,000 years ago.

Daily Mail Readers in Revolt over Black AncestorsThe Lay Scientist, 5th May 2009. Headline courtesy of the Daily Mail-o-matic.

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March 8, 2009

Biggots iz fick: Another face where mine had been

The neo-nazi British National Party has recently produced an anti-immigration poster. They chose to illustrate it with a Spitfire.

But RAF history experts have identified the iconic Romeo Foxtrot Delta Plane as belonging not to Britons but to a group of Polish pilots instead.

The plane was actually flown by the celebrated 303 Squadron of the RAF -- made up of Polish airmen rescued from France shortly before Nazi occupation.

A BNP representative could only come up with WE MENT 2 DU DAT, DUH, ONNIST GUV.

BNP uses Polish Spitfire in anti-immigration poster Daily Telegraph, 4th March 2009.

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February 19, 2009

Git orf moi land!

United Kingdom: The UK government is on a bit of a roll at the moment, what with letting in people with manslaughter convictions who then go on to commit murder, whilst banning obnoxiously opinionated but non-violent politicians, regardless of the opinion of at least one Muslim organisation, which believes in dialogue and was looking forward to an opportunity to engage in such a subversive activity. Meanwhile, an Islamist bampot is being chucked out, but being sent somewhere where he will be tortured.

The latest preachers of hate to be banned from the country are Fred Phelps and his Merrie Men, who wanted to picket a Basingstoke sixth-form college's production of the Laramie Project.

A father and daughter from a US church which preaches hatred of homosexuals have been banned from entering the UK by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith.

Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley Phelps-Roper from the Westboro Baptist Church had urged protests against a play being put on in Hampshire.

Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke is staging The Laramie Project, a play about a man killed for being gay.

So, no opportunity for the London Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to organise sponsorship of the picket, whereby cash is raised for HIV/AIDS or LGBT organisations based on how long the Westboro Baptist Church hangs around, and no chance for the fundie bampots to remind the British public why the nation is not very religious at all. No doubt a tirade against our royal family will follow, just like when the Queen Mum died, seeing as they don't realise that the British attitude to royalty is as far removed from the Thai one as you can get without chopping the monarch's head off (very often).

Anti-gay preachers banned from UKBBC News, 19th February 2009.

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November 20, 2008

Patriotism in action (or, Biggotts iz fick, pt. $BIGNUM)

United Kingdom: SF author Liz Williams also runs a brace of occult shops in Glastonbury and, like many people, is interested in the recent leak of a British National Party (most of whom would have been more comfortable on the other side during WWII) membership list.

Following the leaked BNP list, I acquired a virtual pair of tongs and a face mask and took a look at the BNP's website. It is, not surprisingly, the usual vacuous presentation of some fairly sensible (in theory) policies with, as far as I could see, very little said about actual implementation....

One of these issues was that of buying British. Now, even anticipating the beat of jackboots down Glastonbury High St, this is something I can get behind - we support a lot of local craft people in the shops, but we can't exclusively buy British goods because of cost effectiveness. But there is already quite a lot of very good stuff out there, being made by woodworkers and metalworkers in the UK, and so I perused Excalibur, which is the BNP's online shop....

And lo! A lot of the stuff they sell, especially the Celtic things, is not just like the stuff we sell - it *is* the stuff we sell.

It's made in China.

And more dumbLiz Willams' Journal, 20th November 2008.

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October 9, 2008

What passes for sane in some parts of the world

United States: A 20-year-old male student has been expelled from an adult education college after he poured liquid over his English Literature teacher and threatened her with a lighter and a cigarette. He accused her of being a witch.

Darin Najor of Ferndale is charged with assault and battery, a 93-day misdemeanor in the Sept. 11 incident at Taft Educational Center where he attends adult education classes, Ferndale Police Lt. William Wilson said today. The students had been reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible regarding the Salem witch trials.

This apparently occurred after a class discussion on witchcraft, and what people used to do with witches, said Wilson. After one class, he asked his teacher if she believed in witchcraft and what was done, and she said no. The next thing she knew, he came up behind her and poured some liquid on her out of a bottle and ignited a cigarette lighter, as if he was going to light her on fire.

According to another report, Najor allegedly told police that he was trying to kill her by pouring holy water over her. More detail about the incident is given, suggesting that Najor was inspired by his Christian faith:

Najor asked the teacher if she believed in witchcraft, police said. The teacher told him she did not believe in witchcraft and explained that the events in the play were a metaphor for unjust persecution, police said.

The suspect threw his homework papers on the floor and declared it was all blasphemy, Denmark said. The next day he came up behind her chanting what sounded like religious verses while she was working at her desk.

Najor was briefly detained in a psychiatric hospital, but has now been charged with assault and battery.

Student accuses Ferndale teacher of being a witch and tries to set her on fireThe Detroit News, 8th October 2008; Man accused of assaulting 'witch' at TaftDaily Tribune, 8th October 2008.

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July 30, 2008

Unclear on the concept.

England: A festival promoting religious tolerance has been cancelled because members of one religion objected to the presence of members of others. The Laxfield Festival of Tolerance honoured the life of a local Protestant executed during the reign of Queen Mary, and the legendary reaction of the villagers.

John Noyes, a Laxfield shoemaker, was burnt to death on 22 September 1557, one of 34 executed in the county for his religious beliefs.

Legend has it that almost all the villagers disagreed with his death sentence and tried to put out their fires to stop his execution.

The festival was started three years ago in a bid to remember the execution and spread the message of religious tolerance.

The message flew right over the heads of some, though.

One villager explained his opposition to the festival. He said: I felt there was a drift towards the darker side of things, such as people selling five-pointed stars and other symbols of witchcraft. It didn't uphold the values I see in life.

Just one sentence which demonstrates the need for the festival.

"Intolerant" villagers stop "tolerance" festival The Daily Telegraph, 30th July 2008.

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July 9, 2008

How many panics can you fit into a single short article?

Germany: Some bampot has been killing rabbits in the area around Dortmund and, obviously, it can't simply be someone who enjoys being cruel to animals. Humans are, after all, peaceful bunnyhugging vegans with no tendency towards harming other creatures at all. First up, is the usual suspects: it must be Satanists.

Fear is driving rabbit owners in Germany to lock up their pets at night after a spate of brutal bunny slayings in which pets have been beheaded and drained of blood....

There has been speculation that satanists could be responsible because many of the way the rabbits have been killed.

And if that wasn't enough, the internet is also to blame.

The task force is looking into the possibility that the rabbits were being targeted using the online mapping programme Google Earth.

I'm betting it's a lone nutter, or teenagers.

German police investigate serial rabbit killingsThe Guardian, 9th July 2008.

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June 14, 2008

Biggotts iz fick, part umpty million

England: A criminal genius in the West Midlands has expressed his love of his fellow man by placing a pig's head on a memorial to Sikhs killed while serving in the British forces.

Navreet Singh, 22, who removed the head before taking it to the police, said whoever had tied it to the memorial was "ignorant" and "mindless".... "It's inhuman. This is a war memorial. It's not a Sikh monument, it is a British one. "It seems like someone was trying to attack Muslims. It is ignorance."

Pig's head tied to Sikh memorialBBC News, 13th June 2008.

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February 14, 2008

Christian "love" in action

Scotland: As previously reported, a tiny Catholic extremist organisation has taken aim at HIV/AIDS activists, the Order of Perpetual Indulgence. As part of their vendetta, they published the e-mail address of one of the Sisters and, not surprisingly, that individual has been receiving hate mail. Which she forwarded to me. I expect there's more that got eaten by the spam trap, she notes, but I'm not going to bother looking for it. So, what do members of Catholic Truth have to say in the name of their imaginary friend?

Continue reading "Christian "love" in action"

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January 23, 2008

God incites more child cruelty

England: An evangelical preacher has been convicted on nine charges of wounding and cruelty to his sons. Bradford Crown Court also convicted the boys' mother, a devout Christian, of cruelty.

The evangelical preacher put safety pins through his sons' lips, sliced their mouths with scalpel blades and squeezed the older boy's tongue with sharp pincers.

The court heard that the father used religion as his excuse for the cruelty:

Prosecutor Caroline Wigin had told the court the man, a self-styled preacher and former medical student, may have mutilated the boys as his interpretation of religious teaching.

He had told the children God had had his tongue cut off in the Bible.

The court is still considering further allegations against the parents, who cannot be named because it would identify the children.

Dad guilty of sons' scalpel tortureBradford Telegraph and Argus, 23rd January 2008.

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January 22, 2008

Grotesque statement of the day

Wales: There has been a string of teenage suicides in Bridgend recently. The young people all knew each other, and might have been inspired by the earlier deaths. It's a terrible situation, but one religious nutter knows it wasn't the pressure of school, the lack of employment opportunities, or the impossibility of getting a start in adult life contributing to the record levels of depression and self-harm among young people. As he explained to the Daily Mail:

Teenage suicide doesn't surprise me. Children are taught at school that we are nothing more than animals, descendents of an ape-like creature. When life gets tough why carry on living if our lives are just a freak of nature. Well done to all those who teach our kids that evolution is a fact.

If being more than an animal means being a nasty, hateful scumbag, well I say OOK!

Teenage suicide cult sweeps through town as SEVEN youngsters kill themselves in copycat deathsThe Daily Mail, 22nd January 2008.

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January 15, 2008

Pot, kettle, very dark colour

United Kingdom: Okay, this story is from the Daily Express, but it seems its not only self-styled Christians who refuse to do their jobs and then claim religious discrimination.

According to the Express, a young Muslim assistant at a branch of Marks and Spencer refused to serve a woman trying to buy a book of sanitised Bible stories for children, declaring the book to be "unclean" and declining to touch it. But if the assistant hopes for support from Muslim organisations, she looks unlikely to get it.

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, described the assistant's comments as offensive and called for Marks & Spencer to carry out a thorough investigation.

People who think they are Christian have turned out to be much less reasonable, and have responded, not by turning the other cheek, but by entering into a competition to see who can come up with the most disgusting comment. First up, the woman who was trying to indoctrinate her grandson, who starts with the traditional phrase used when you are about to say something really racist:

I am not racist but I have vowed never to let a person wearing a headdress serve me again. It will be a long, long time before I shop again at M&S.

Then we discover that Shipley in once again in the hands of a really nasty Tory:

Mr Davies, Conservative MP for Shipley, west Yorkshire, said: I find it unbelievable. We are a Christian country. I'm afraid it is no good for people to work in Marks & Spencer and not serve their products.

And then, the Muslim Council of Britian representative pours more fuel on the flames by continuing to be reasonable:

Mr Bunglawala said: This appears to be a very regrettable incident and the 'unclean' remark was clearly very offensive and unacceptable.

“Many Biblical stories complement the teachings of the Koran. We hope that M&S will investigate this incident.

Marks and Spencer have said that the incident does not reflect company policy and that they will investigate.

Personally, I'm wondering how the assistant squares her bigotry with her working for a company with such a solid Jewish heritage.

OUTCRY AS MUSLIM M&S WORKER REFUSES TO SELL 'UNCLEAN' BIBLE BOOKThe Daily Express, 15th January 2008.

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December 16, 2007

Be careful who you tell

United States: A teenager who wrote to the Church of Satan expressing his desire to kill his grandparents in the name of Satan probably didn't expect the reaction he got—the Satanists reported it to the authorities.

According to police, Culver wrote he had access to an arsenal of weapons and wanted to kill in the name of our unholy lord Satan.

Culver sent the message Wednesday to Peter Gilmore, the high priest of the New York City-based Church of Satan, Sayers said. Gilmore alerted the FBI, which notified local police. Culver was taken out of class Thursday and questioned by police, Sayers said.

Teen Held After Threat Sent to SatanistsAssociated Press, 16th December 2007.

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December 11, 2007

Religious family suspected of murdering daughter over hijab

Canada: A 16-year-old girl has been murdered, allegedly because she refused to wear the hijab. The main suspect is the girl's father.

Peel Regional Police arrested a 57-year-old man yesterday morning after receiving a 911 call from a suburban home in Mississauga from a man saying he had killed his daughter. When police and paramedics arrived at the house they found a 16-year-old lying on the floor without any vital signs, police said.

Aqsa Parvez had been choked. Male members of her family had threatened her with violence in the past.

Friends of the teenager, a Grade 11 student at nearby Applewood Heights high school, identified her as Aqsa Parvez and said they were shocked by the attack on the outgoing, likeable girl, but said she had been threatened by her strictly religious family before.

She got threatened by her father and her brother, said Dominiquia Holmes-Thompson, who had known Aqsa since they both started high school together. He said that if she leaves, he would kill her.

Teen girl in critical condition after alleged dispute over hijabNational Post, 11th December 2007; Girl has died, Peel police confirmNational Post, 11th December 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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October 16, 2007

Bringing about world peace by nuking everybody

Just to demonstrate that we at Prattle Towers are fair, we'd like to point out that atheists can be violent, intolerant arseholes too. P.Z. Myers witnessed Christopher Hitchens' speech at the Freedom From Religion Convention this weekend, and was not impressed:

He told us what the most serious threat to the West was (and you know this line already): it was Islam. Then he accused the audience of being soft on Islam, of being the kind of vague atheists who refuse to see the threat for what it was, a clash of civilizations, and of being too weak to do what was necessary, which was to spill blood to defeat the enemy.... We cannot afford to allow the Iranian theocracy to arm itself with nuclear weapons (something I entirely sympathize with), and that the only solution is to go in there with bombs and marines and blow it all up. The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties.

It was simplistic us-vs.-them thinking at its worst, and the only solution he had to offer was death and destruction of the enemy.

This was made even more clear in the Q&A. He was asked to consider the possibility that bombing and killing was only going to accomplish an increase in the number of people opposing us. Hitchens accused the questioner of being incredibly stupid,... and said that it was obvious that every Moslem you kill means there is one less Moslem to fight you … which is only true if you assume that every Moslem already wants to kill Americans and is armed and willing to do so....

Basically, what Hitchens was proposing is genocide. Or, at least, wholesale execution of the population of the Moslem world until they are sufficiently cowed and frightened and depleted that they are unable to resist us in any way, ever again.

And he was apparently sober at the time, too!

FFRF recap: heroes of the revolution, Hitchens screws the pooch, and the unbearable stodginess of atheistsPharyngula, 14th October 2007.

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May 31, 2007

Priest: it's me or the vibrator!

United States: A Catholic priest gave his church's organist and choir director a surprising ultimatum; quit her sex toy home party job or quit the church. He claimed that her sale of sex toys was not consistent with Church teachings.

Linette Servais, 50, played the organ and sung with the choir for 35 years. Much of her work as choir director and organist was done without pay. When her parish priest asked to meet with her, she thought it was to say thank you.

Instead, she was told to quit her sales job with company known as Pure Romance or she would lose her position in the church.

Pure Romance in Loveland, Ohio, is a $60 million per year business that sells spa products and sex toys at homes parties attended by women. It has 15,000 consultants like Servais.

Women are earning a living for themselves and are teaching each other that sex is not a dirty secret. So, obviously it's not in keeping with church teachings, especially since the buggering of small boys was in no way involved. Fortunately, Linette is made of sterner stuff.

She said her decision was not hard: She began working with Pure Romance after a brain tumor and treatment left her sexually dysfunctional. The job allows her to help other women who have similar problems.

After I got over the initial shock, I prayed over this a long time, she said. I feel that Pure Romance is my ministry.

Linette is not the only woman of faith who has made sex toy sales her ministry, more power to them. Alas, it has been mentioned, that the company in question stocks poor quality merchandise. Hopefully, their market will learn from experience. I'm still uncertain of the particular part of the bible that mentions; Thou Shall Not Sell Sex Toys.

Priest Cans Organist for Sex Toy Sales - Philly.com, 30th May 2007 (via About.com: Sexuality).

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May 30, 2007

Time warp

England: A man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a number of Rocky Horror Show fans on their way to a performance in Cambridge.

Kelvin Stevens lashed out after hurling homophobic abuse at a group of men and women who were dressed in fishnet tights, suspenders and high heels for the cult cross-dressing show.

The burly electrician called the group 'a load of fags' before head-butting and punching Barry Giles, who was at a distinct disadvantage as he was tottering on stiletto heels.

But despite the nature of the abuse, the police will not be treating it as a homophobic hate crime as the victims weren't actually gay. I'm sure straight, but different, schoolboys will be really pleased to hear that one.

Thug starts real Rocky Horror ShowMetro, 29th May 2007.

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May 29, 2007

Ugandan discussions on the occult

Uganda: We've all heard loads of loony fundie nonsense about the occult, and their lies fall on stony ground in North America and Europe these days. What's a bampot to do? Why, tell the same bollocks somewhere where they haven't heard it before, or at least not heard the debunking. The Sunday Monitor fell for it this week, printing an article liberally quoting from self-styled ex-Satanists

According to Roger Mugisha whose former life as a Satanist is the inspiration for Battle of the Souls, the fact that one is not aware that what they are wearing as an accessory or the picture on their clothes is an Occult symbol doesn't let the wearer off the hook. The signs will still be significant and the wearer becomes an advocate of the devil. With this statement, Roger Mugisha is shown a recent picture of the Nabagereka, Nagginda Sylvia Luswata at the Kabaka's birthday celebration.

Looking impeccable as usual, the queen of Buganda is wearing a blue dress, which bears a Ying-Yang symbol on the chest area. To a layman's eye and most likely herself, the Ying-Yang sign is only another artistic impression that makes the dress a lot more glamorous. But to one who knows about the occult signs, a Satanist or a former devil worshipper in this case, wearing this dress is no different from proclaiming your discipleship with the devil.

And of course, an anonymous youth pastor had to wade in in Harry Potter, even though he does not know the name of the books' author, nor that of the protagonist.

This youth pastor who declines to be named adds that books like the Harry Porter series, which openly uphold witchcraft and are packaged to sound seductive and fun for our children are also another route of spreading Satanism.

In the process, J.K. Rowlings (the author of the Harry Porter series) has become a billionaire by spreading the gospel of the underworld and also contaminated and probably converted a large number of our future leaders and law makers, he says.

The same pastor is also worried about rock music and goths.

Most young people start by innocently taking to rock music (especially). Before you know it they are emulating rock stars and taking to the gothic lifestyle; wearing only pitch black and scarlet red for clothes, accessories and make up. The numerous body piercing and tattoos come next.

Exactly how many goths are there in Uganda anyway?

The Occult: The signs are still out there...Sunday Monitor, 27th may 2007.

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May 21, 2007

Babies are evil

United States: The wife of a Christian man who microwaved their baby daughter says that he is not to blame. Instead, it was the work of their imaginary enemy, Satan.

Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.

Satan saw my husband as a threat, Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.

He microwaved the child for between 10 and 20 seconds. She was seriously injured and remains in hospital. The mother wants her daughter back but, for once, social workers are being sensible and have said they will allow no such thing.

Woman: Blame devil for infant in microwaveCNN 21st May 2007 (via Pharyngula).

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May 15, 2007

Dead fundies, and other news.

  • United States: Jerry Falwell is dead. As with Andrea Dworkin, I'll stick to my mother's advice about not saying anything if I have nothing nice to say. You may choose to do otherwise. US evangelist Jerry Falwell diesBBC News, 15th May 2007.
  • United States: Wiccan woman on the recieving end of Christian love. Diatribe possible hate crimeTimes-Union, 15th May 2007.
  • England: A Roman Catholic priest is on trial, accused of paying to have an 11-year-old girl groomed for sex. If he's found guilty, let's see how his church can blame this one on pooves. Priest 'paid for girl's grooming'BBC News, 15th May 2007.

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April 20, 2007

The fun begins.

The Virginia Tech massacre, while not generating quite enough junk to qualify for its own Great ... Conspiracy List, has produced some interesting insights, and fortunately the Prattle's readers are very eagle-eyed.

Red Wolf found some of Cho's rant posed on the ABC website. It was rather, well, Christian. (Uni gunman: 'I die like Jesus' )

Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ, to inspire generations of the weak and the defenceless people,he ranted....

Just like Jesus, he criticised the rich:

He also railed against wealthy students: Your Mercedes wasn't enough, you brats? Your golden necklaces weren't enough, you snobs? Your trust fund wasn't enough? Your vodka and cognac weren't enough? All your debaucheries weren't enough? Those weren't enough to fulfil your hedonistic needs? You had everything.

And Cho reminds us of Jesus' suffering:

Do you know what it feels like to be torched alive? Do you know what it feels like to be humiliated and be impaled on a cross and left to bleed to death for your amusement? You have never felt a single ounce of pain your whole life.

Strangely, even though Cho was clearly inspired by the Bible, there have been no calls to ban that particular book.

Alan Braggins pointed out a discussion on the Fox News website: Did the Devil Make Him Do It? Fundies, of course, disturbed by Cho's Christian blathering, say Quick, let's grasp that straw!.

Dr. Richard Roberts, president of Oral Roberts University, shouts an unequivocal Yes!

Based on what I've seen in the news, Roberts said in an interview, there's no doubt that this act was Satanic in origin.

Roberts added that he doesn’'t know if it was Satanic possession or oppression. Possession, he said, occurs when Satan takes over a person's life, and the person's actions are dictated by demonic possession within. Roberts says he's seen this type and has seen the Devil cast out of a person.

Satanic oppression, on the other hand, is that which comes against. It's not in a person, but is coming against them, trying to put evil thoughts in their minds, Roberts said.

He said that the evil thoughts in Satanic oppression can be fairly innocuous, or they can be harmful. And the oppression can be in the form of fear, depression or discouragement, he said, because Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy.

Roberts says we'll never know whether Cho was possessed or oppressed, because the killer has died. But he did leave a note blasting everyone around him, calling them rich kids, and deceitful charlatans, and then blaming them, saying you made me do this.

I thought the name of Jesus was supposed to have power over Satan. How could he possibly have tolerated his posessee shouting it all the time?

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April 18, 2007

Irregular round up

Feeling lazy again. Here are some recent stories I missed:

  • Three Central American governments have banned a man claiming to be the Antichrist from entering their countries. Wear pants, Pope, says banned 'Antichrist'News.com.au, 15th April 2007.
  • A fight between nuns has ended with two injuries and two arrests. The violence broke out between two rival factions residing in a convent in Avdellero, Cyprus.. Nuns come to blows over rights to conventEkklesia, 17th April 2007.
  • Three people have been killed at a publishing house in Turkey that produced bibles, in an apparent attack on the country's Christian minority.. Three killed at Turkish publisherBBC News, 18th April 2007.
  • We have a problem with teenage Goths who go into graveyards at night. Vandals cause £15,000 of damage to two famous capital graveyardsThe Herald, April 2007. Other newspapers blame generic bored, pissed teenagers, rather than those who would simply wallow pretentiously in the dark romance of the graveyards.
  • Disappointment as pundits unable to blame massacre on goths. Trench Coat Mafias, Loners and GunsHuffington Post, 17th April 2007. (and not much sign that we'll have to start a Great Virginia Tech Conspiracy List, either. Oh no, I spoke too soon.)
  • European newspapers are ... implying that Charlton Heston is indirectly responsible for the scope of the killings.. Blaming Charlton Hestonalt.politics.republicans, 17th April 2007.
  • Virginia Tech assassin alive?alt.conspiracy, 17th April 2007.
  • Was VT Mass Murderer Cho Taking Paxil Anti-Depressant?alt.true-crime, 18th April 2007.
  • Early details about the horrific school shooting at Virginia Tech strongly indicate that these events represent a Columbine-style black- op that will be exploited in the coming days to push for mass gun control and further turning our schools into prisons.. Virginia School Shooting: Another Government Black-Op?alt.conspiracy, 16th April 2007.
  • We live in an era when public high schools and colleges have all but banned God from science classes. In these classrooms, students are taught that the whole universe, including plants and animals—and humans—arose by natural processes. Naturalism (in essence, atheism) has become the religion of the day and has become the foundation of the education system (and Western culture as a whole). The more such a philosophy permeates the culture, the more we would expect to see a sense of purposelessness and hopelessness that pervades people's thinking.. How Could a Loving God ... ?Answers in Genesis, 16th April 2007.

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April 2, 2007

Speechless

England: There are some stories I wish were April Fools' Day jokes, but this one is dated 2nd April, so it can't be:

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

I am lost for words.

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending MuslimsLondon Evening Standard, 2nd April 2007.

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March 28, 2007

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.

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March 26, 2007

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.

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March 21, 2007

Miscelleny

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March 9, 2007

Another miscelleny

February 20, 2007

Killer priest sentenced

Romania: A priest has received a 14 year prison sentence for his part in an exorcism which killed a young nun. Daniel Petru Corogeanu led the ritual to cast the Devil out from the woman.

Irina Cornici, 23, died after being starved and chained to a cross at a secluded convent in the north-east.

Four nuns were also convicted of manslaughter and received sentences of between 5 and 8 years. They plan to appeal their sentences, although the Orthodox Church is unlikely to be on their side:

The Orthodox Church, which described the Tanacu incident as abominable, has promised reforms, including psychological tests for those seeking to enter monasteries.

It banned Corogeanu from the priesthood and excommunicated the four nuns.

Priest jailed for exorcism deathBBC News, 19th February 2007.

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Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 12:49 | View blog reactions

British politician opposes veil

United Kingdom: Britain's first Muslim peer has come out against wearing the veil. Lord Ahmed of Rotherham said that they were a mark of separation and defiance against mainstream British culture, and that he felt the way they are used today is contrary to the original intention.

Lord Ahmed, who became the first Muslim peer in 1988, told the Yorkshire Post: The veil is now a mark of separation, segregation and defiance against mainstream British culture.

“But there's nothing in the Koran to say that the wearing of a niqab is desirable, let alone compulsory. It's purely cultural. It's an identity thing which has been misinterpreted.

“They were supposed to be worn so that women wouldn't be harassed.

Some of us would suggest that in these circumstances, it's the men who are at fault and should be kept indoors to stop them causing trouble, but this is a digression.

But my argument is that women, and communities as a whole, are now being harassed because they are wearing them.

He said that the veil was a physical barrier to integration.

He pointed out that Westerners in Muslim countries were expected to dress according to local norms, and felt British Muslims ought to return the courtesy:

The peer said that Muslims in Britain had to become more sensitive to their surroundings, in the same way as westerners walking around Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, would have to wear a head covering and long clothing before they could expect to engage with local people.

He said that he did not want to see a ban on veils, but added: Muslims need to have a debate among ourselves about whether we need them.

Veil should not be worn, says Muslim peerThe Guardian, 20th February 2007.

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February 12, 2007

Robertson in yet another demonstration of Christian love

United States: A bodybuilder has told a court that televangelist Pat Robertson threatened to kill him and his family in an argument over a milk shake.

According to a complaint Phillip Busch filed with the Norfolk police, Robertson made the threat when he entered a room in the courthouse Wednesday to be questioned for a deposition....

Busch is suing Robertson for what he says is misappropriation of his image to promote Robertson's protein diet shake.

Man Claims Pat Robertson Threatened HimThe Guardian, 10th February 2007 (thanks, Red Wolf).

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February 4, 2007

Sunday miscelleny

A handful of stories from the last few days which I was too lazy to write about at the time:

  • Teachers get advice on how to spot signs of ritual abuseThe Guardian, 2nd February 2007. Note the word being repurposed to mean the abuse of children by Christians who believe the child to be possessed or a witch. Many of the signs are a bit crap, and others would apply to more mundane forms of child abuse too.

  • Brought to book: the poo lady's PhDThe Guardian, 3rd February 2007. Ben Goldacre find Gillian McKeith's PhD thesis:
    There are lots of grand statements about research, with nice superscript numbers relating to references in the back. But when you chase to the back of the book to see what these academic documents are, they include such august periodicals as Delicious, Creative Living, Healthy Eating, and my favourite: Spiritual Nutrition and the Rainbow Diet.

    Some of it is plainly absurd. As we get older, she explains, the levels of RNA/DNA decrease. Okay. If you do not have enough RNA/DNA, she goes on, you may ultimately age prematurely. Stress can deplete your DNA, but algae will increase it. And that's not all. Chlorophyll within the algae is a powerful oxygen generator for human beings. Back to GCSE Biology: it'll only make oxygen if there's light inside me, Gillian ...
    I found You are What you Eat frustrating and full of errors—it cited the safe drinking levels which were revised upwards in the early 1990s, for example. There are some good recipes in there, but often they are made needlessly complicated, and use exotic ingredients which would put it out of the price range of mere mortals.

  • New Conspiracy: Israeli Genocide Against Lebanese — With Poison BalloonsThe MEMRI Blog, 1st February 2007. This sort of panic is well recorded, and has a long history. There are examples of similar panics during the First World War, but this one seems to have the added legs of organisations willing to exploit it for political reasons.

  • An indictment that the liberal left is oblivious toThe Guardian, 3rd February 2007, isn't on the web site, presumably due to intense embarrassment about the ungrammatical title. Oliver Kamm alleges that a mysteriously monolithic liberal left puts the rights of religious organisations over that of the individuals they oppress:
    In the past century, material betterment and the steady diminuation of discrimination advanced progressive goals. Much of the left have [grr...—F.] yet to come to terms with this achievement. At the extreme, some who were once on the left have adopted the language and outlook of the right. They argue for what by any objective standards are reactionary positions. These include promotion of religious obscurantism in place of secularism; segregation of the sexes at public events; abridgement of free speech in deference to the sensibilities of those who claim themselves victims of Islamophobia; and, most pernicious, the resurrection in political debate of some highly traditional motifs of anti-semitic conspiracy theory.
    If you can get yourself to the library, it's on page 31.

  • Tolerating intolerance is still this country's besetting sinThe Guardian (Comment Is Free), 4th February 2007. More comment on a related matter to the above.

  • Muslims are now getting the same treatment Jews had a century agoThe Guardian (Comment Is Free), 2nd February 2007. One major difference, which is mentioned, but not dwelled upon, is that 19th century radicals-who-happened-to-be-Jewish were not fighting to impose Judaism on the populace as a whole, nor were they the ones wearing traditional Jewish dress as they had pretty much rejected religion. The tiny minority of violent Islamist fundamentalists claim to be fighting for their faith.

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January 29, 2007

Blair to religious bigots: get used to it.

United Kindgom: The Prime Minister has said that churches who want and exception from anti-discrimination laws for faith-based adoption agencies has said they will not get it. Instead, they'll get a 21 month transition period, in which they won't have to consider same-sex couples, but will be obliged to refer them to other, less superstitious, agencies. After that, they will be bound by the law like everyone else. He also reminded us of whose money it is the churches want to use for discriminatory purposes (emphasis mine):

There is no place in our society for discrimination. That's why I support the right of gay couples to apply to adopt like any other couple.

And that way there can be no exemptions for faith-based adoption agencies offering public funded services from regulations that prevent discrimination.

This is likely to be subject to a free vote in parliament, so it's still worth signing the Prattle's petition!

No exemption from gay rights lawBBC News, 29th January 2007.

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January 21, 2007

Warm Weather Fires Up the Loons

Australia: I have a theory that the warmer weather drags the religious loons out, from whatever rock they've been hiding under, to bask in the sun like reptiles. A quick look at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project to map active US hate groups in 2005 shows a larger number of loons running about in the warmer states of Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and South Carolina. Likewise, a warm week in Australia (it's currently 41°C at Prattle Towers Southern Hemisphere) seems to have encouraged the zealots to disengage their tiny brains and loudly proclaim their love of their fellow man. Provided, of course, that their fellow man is the same race and religion as they are and not actually a man, because that whole homosexual thing seems to make their little heads go asplody.

This week's round up of loons brings us a showdown of stupidity between the Moslems, represented by Sheikh Feiz Mohammed and Sheikh al-Hilali, and the Christians, represented by Bruce Hales of the Exclusive Brethren and Danny Nalliah of Catch the Fire Ministries.

Continue reading "Warm Weather Fires Up the Loons"

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January 18, 2007

Religious killer is nuts: official

United States: A woman who killed her three children by drowning because God had commanded her to sacrifice the boys has been found to be legally insane and has been sent to a mental hospital rather than prison. And, as it traditional, social workers were slacking:

Harris was in and out of mental hospitals six times between February 2004 and August 2005. On the day the children died, her mother warned a social worker that she would hurt the boys, but the social worker did not believe the warning because Harris was such a good mother, according to the defense.

Presumably they were too busy looking for imaginary satanists.

SF Mom Is Insane in Killings of SonsThe Guardian, 18th January 2007.

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January 8, 2007

East Timor: Jumping on the Witch-Burning Wagon

East Timor: Now that they don't have to worry about their neighbours in Indonesia killing them and taking over the country, it appears that this has freed up time for the bampots to find other methods of entertainment. Burning witches has a long history amongst the more religiously insane, so why should a little original thought stand in the way of loony fundies.

Officials say three women accused of being witches have been killed in East Timor before their bodies were burned along with their house in East Timor.

The three women, aged 70, 50 and about 25, were killed on Saturday evening in Liquica, about 40 kilometres west of the capital, Dili.

Alas, the story is little more than a stub pulled off the wire and doesn't have much in the way of details. There is no mention of why the women were accused of being witches, although the usual reasons are independence, free thought and the crime of being a local healer, so expect much the same has happened here. As East Timor is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country, I think we can see where to point the finger.

'Witches' murdered in E TimorABC NewsOnline, 9th January 2007 (via redwolf.newsvine.com).

Beware of the psychopath

Steve Wells, over at Dwindling in Unbelief, wants to know something: How many has God killed? Alas, there are problems with working out just how many: what was the population of the earth at the time of the Flood? How many people lived in Sodom and Gomorrah? First-born Egyptians? None of this is specified, but there are plenty of occasions in the Bible where God kills people and a number is given. His total? 2,270,365, not including rather a lot of women and children.

But we can at least make a reasonable guess as to the real number of people killed by God in the Bible.

Continue reading "Beware of the psychopath"

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Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 21:47 | View blog reactions

December 8, 2006

Grauniad miscelleny

The Guardian has published a number of stories of interest recently.

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November 27, 2006

Peace on earth and mercy mild

United States: A couple of tales of religious tolerance and love.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 14:51 | View blog reactions

October 27, 2006

Mufti Blames Women for Rape

Australia: Australia's most senior Muslim cleric, Sydney-based Sheik Taj Din al-Hilali, has recently jumped on the hate-mongering band wagon.

In the religious address on adultery to about 500 worshippers in Sydney last month, Sheik Hilali said: If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?

The uncovered meat is the problem.

The sheik then said: If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.

He said women were weapons used by Satan to control men.

It is said in the state of zina (adultery), the responsibility falls 90 per cent of the time on the woman. Why? Because she possesses the weapon of enticement (igraa).
Continue reading "Mufti Blames Women for Rape"

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September 15, 2006

Goat to have an alibi

Nigeria: A man accused of murdering his brother has told the police that he only killed a goat. Black magicians, evil spirits, or similar figments of the imagination apparently turned the dead goat into the dead man.

He said that the goats were on his farm and he tried to chase them away. When one wouldn't move, he attacked it with an axe. He said it then turned into his brother, Police Commissioner Udom Ekpoudom told the Associated Press.

Murder suspect: Goat turned into corpseMiami Herald, 15th September 2006.

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September 13, 2006

Good Christian heterosexual marriage.

United Kingdom: Here at Prattle Towers, we are usually sceptical of claims that the media causes crime, but that's because we rarely get to see a case as definitive as that of Michael and Patricia Watson.

The Watsons, a married couple, celebrated Mr. Watson's birthday with a meal and a bottle of wine before settling down to watch some violent pornography, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Magistrates in Bedlington, Northumbria, were told of the events which allegedly followed.

Mrs Watson left the room, and her 44-year-old husband became so upset by the graphic depiction of the Crucifixion that he pulled the leads out of the television and went upstairs.

His wife then decided to watch the God Channel and went to ask him why the television was not working.

Yvonne Jobling, for the prosecution, said that an argument developed, and Watson accused his wife of being evil. He grabbed his wife by the throat and she fell to the floor. She said: His grip was so tight she was unable to speak, but she then managed to say something of a religious nature which seemed to cause him to relax his grip.

Magistrates in Bedlington, Northumberland, were told that Mrs Watson, a 51-year-old care worker, had gasped: I’m anointed by God. You know that, Michael. Do not touch God’s anointed. Mrs Watson, who was left with red marks and soreness to her neck and a grazed forearm, later told police that she had believed that her husband was going to kill her. Watson told the police that everything his wife said about him must be true because she never lied.

'Don’t strangle the anointed one,' wife pleaded in row over Mel Gibson filmThe Times, 12th September 2006.

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September 1, 2006

Careful now!

United States: American readers might be interested in signing a letter to the CEO of Wal-Mart, urging him to be consistent and stop selling a violent and obscene book. (via Pharyngula)

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:00 | View blog reactions

August 30, 2006

An impossible task in Berlin!

Germany: In what might appear to be a blatant case of religious discrimination, a Berlin family has received an eviction notice because they have been praying. But these are no ordinary prayers.

The residents at Franz Stenzer Strasse 71 in eastern Berlin say they need their sleep, Lucifer or no Lucifer. Their nocturnal rest has been disturbed by the regular high-decibel praying coming from the apartment on the second floor. There, a family's religious beliefs mandate that they raise the voices to keep the Evil One at bay.

The deafening devotion began back in October, when Pierre D., his wife and their four children moved into the apartment. They began praying four times daily at volumes that not only appeared to keep Beezelbub at bay, but alienated the other tenants, who had asked them repeatedly to keep it down.

Stentorian Praying Results in Eviction NoticeDeutsche Welle, 17th August 2006.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 01:31 | View blog reactions

August 23, 2006

Situations Vacant

England: Newham Council in London is looking for a child protection officer specifically to work with cases of abused children who are believed to be posessed or witches. The council acknowledges that the number of cases is miniscule, and it's amusing the way they try and avoid mentioning that it's mostly associated with a tiny minority of evangelical Christian churches who exploit African communities in Britain. The local newspaper, on the other hand, seems to have gone out of its way to suggest that it's about witches abusing children, with phrases like witch-hunter and dedicated to rooting out child abuse linked with 'possession' and 'witchcraft'. Obviously the article was being written last night when the journalist ought to have been watching BBC2.

'The witch-hunter' - Officer to root out child abuseNewham Recorder, 23rd August 2006. See also Media in moral panic shocker!Pagan Prattle, 26th June 2005.

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July 31, 2006

Drunken Actor Behaves Like Prat

United States: Mel Gibson has something of a reputation in Australia for his drunken ways. It looks like he's well and truely fallen off the wagon once again.

Gibson, whose controversial 2004 film The Passion of the Christ was a major hit, was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning for allegedly driving speeding along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the beach town north of Los Angeles.
Continue reading "Drunken Actor Behaves Like Prat"

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June 21, 2006

Bloody kids

United States: A young man charged with spaying Satanic grafitti over a Roman Catholic religious site has admitted that he is not a Satanist, and has nothing to do with Satanism - he just did it because he thinks he's a punk, and that that's what punks do. Mick Trevey, a reporter from Today's TMJ4 spoke to the normal-looking 21-year-old Tyler Groth about his motives:

Trevey: Are you religious?
Groth: No.
Trevey: Do you have a problem with people who are?
Groth: No.

Trevey asked him why he sprayed satanic graffiti on these holy shrines.

Groth said, 'cause I'm a punk - that's what I do.

No doubt some will insist that he's just lying, that he really is a Satanist motivated by religious hatred, so the journalist asked him a very telling question:

Trevey: Do you know you spelled Satan wrong?
Groth: No - I'm not aware of that.
Trevey: You spelled it satin - like the fabric.
Groth: See - if I was big into the devil, I would have spelled it right.
Trevey: Do you think that's funny?
Groth: That I spelled it wrong? No - I'm a bad speller.

No Remorse from SuspectToday's TMJ4, 10th June 2006 (thanks, Calyxa).

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.

May 23, 2006

Gay? PM Says All Australians Hate You

Australia: The Australian Prime Minister has never dealt well with questions from non-tame sources, as was recently proven at a Dublin University when one student challenged John Howard to defend his efforts to entrench homophobia in Australia.

The Prime Minister John Howard has described people campaigning for gay marriage as fundamentalists.

Mr Howard says it is not discrimination to deny gay men and lesbians equal marriage status with heterosexual couples...

...Mr Howard replied that his Government had remedied much of the financial discrimination, but said most Australians do not want gay couples to have equivalent status.

According to John Howard it's all fine and dandy for him to discriminate against people based on their sexuality due to his fantasy that everyone else agrees with him. That sounds suspiciously like the turn of phrase all loony fundies use to justify their small-minded prejudices.

Australians don't support gay marriage: HowardABC News Online, 23rd March 2006 (via redwolf.newsvine.com).

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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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March 3, 2006

Another ritual abuse case

Wales: A vicar's son has been jailed for nine years for raping a woman. Before the offence, Nicholas Vann insisted his victim do a bit of reading for him.

Prosecutor Ieuan Morris said: ... He grabbed her head, bent her over the bed and shouted: 'Read the Bible'. He had book-marked a page about women having to be submissive to men.

“He then forced her to have sex with him. He was forceful and perverted.


Judge Hopkins told Vann: You are a controlling, selfish and inconsiderate man - a sexual bully and a sexual deviant...

“You used the Bible to make her submit and she suffered for your beliefs.

Nine years' jail for 'Bible' rapeBBC News, 3rd March 2006.

February 25, 2006

Blaming the hoi polloi

Malawi: It's an old trick used by bigots—excusing your bias as being that of ordinary people, so it's rather surprising when it's used to block a choice made by the ordinary people.

Rev. Nicholas Henderson is an English vicar, with liberal views on matters such as gay rights. He is popular among locals because of development work he has done in the past. Parishoners in the Diocese of Lake Malawi chose him to be their new bishop, a move which has been stopped by Archbishop Bernard Malango, head of the diocese of Central Africa.

The Anglican Province of Central Africa's Confirmation Court, which comprises Malawi, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, said Mr Henderson was deemed not of sound faith because of his liberal views on gay rights...

Anglican leaders in Africa have condemned their counterparts in Europe and north America for accepting gay rights, a conservatism believed to be widely shared by ordinary Africans.

Members of that hotbed of radicalism, the Mothers' Union, are among Henderson's supporters.

However, Gladys Nkanthama, a church elder and secretary of the Mothers' Union in one of the parishes in the Diocese of Lake Malawi, told the Associated Press: We chose him, we voted for him; we are ready for Henderson to be our bishop.

African rebels hail English vicarThe Guardian, 25th February 2005.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 10:22 | View blog reactions

February 15, 2006

Racist MP Hates Women and Muslims

Australia: Australian Federal Liberal MP Danna Vale has decided to drum up some publicity for herself over the current kerfuffle concerning the more intelligent members of parliament attempting to remove the decisions concerning the abortion drug RU486 from the loony fundie Tony Abbott and placing it under the wing of the Therapeutic Goods Administration, the department that assesses and monitors all other drugs for use in Australia.

Danna Vale has decided that Australian women are too stupid to make decisions about their own fertility for themselves and is backing a move to keep the drug under the control of a man with his own tentative grip on reality. But dear Danna has even managed to get her fellow wingnut MPs off-side by mentioning her other concern over the drug.

Continue reading "Racist MP Hates Women and Muslims"

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February 9, 2006

Mustafa Brain

United Kingdom: Loony Muslim fundies have found something new to complain about: an Ann Summers blow-up doll called Mustafa Shag. Apparently al-Mustafa is one of the names of their prophet.

But the Muslim Association — based at Manchester’ s Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre — branded him obnoxious.

Yesterday a spokesman said: This is the name of our Prophet and it’ s very upsetting. This thing should be banned.

In a letter to the store, the Association said: You have no idea how much hurt, anguish and disgust this obnoxious phrase has caused to Muslims. We are asking you to have our Most Revered Prophet’ s name ‘Mustafa’ and the afflicted word ‘shag’ removed.

The Sun does not speculate on how they could possibly have known about the doll. An Ann Summers representative said they would gladly change the name if some punster could come up with an alternative.

Muslim fury at sex toyThe Sun, 9th February 2006.

January 13, 2006

Ritual abuse: London pastor arrested

England: A Londonpastor has been arrested and is being questioned about allegations that he incited child cruelty. Dr Dieudonne Tukala of the Church of Christ Mission in Tottenham is alleged to have accused several children of witchcraft and recommended violent solutions to their parents.

Dr Dieudonne Tukala, 46, from the Church of Christ Mission, is being questioned over claims that he diagnosed several children as witches, advising their parents to beat the devil out of them or send them back to the Democratic Republic of Congo so that he could pray for them to be killed.

Such superstitious beliefs are common within some African Christian churches, and the Daily Telegraph, based on BBC reports, gives several cases which have resulted in convictions or suicide. Not even a fœtus is safe:

The same report also interviewed the former wife of a Congolese man, Nzuzi Mayingi, 26, found hanged in Crystal Palace Park, having committed suicide 18 months after he arrived in Britain as an asylum seeker.

She alleged to the BBC that when she was pregnant with the couple's second son, Dr Tukala had accused her, their son, and their unborn son of all being possessed, known as kendoki. Her husband, who had deeply-held beliefs in witchcraft, beat her then threw her out of their home, she said.

If someone is thought to be kendoki in our country in the Congo, they can kill you. You would die with your children, said the woman, who is now living in the north of England, having reportedly received threats.

A police respresentative was keen to point out that There was no suggestion, ... that the issues related solely to Congolese, or that the issues related generally to the Congolese community. Indeed. The newspaper does not mention a case, also in London, from last year when three people were convicted of cruelty to an Angolan girl. In that case, she 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

Pastor is arrested after inquiry into claims of cruelty to 'child witches'Daily Telegraph, 13th January 2006. See also Three convicted of 'witch' girl abusePagan Prattle, 3rd June 2005.

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January 8, 2006

Tsumani caused by Jews Israel

The Great Tsunami Conspiracy List has just been updated with the addition of a link to a fascinating posting in alt.rush-limbaugh. The posting centres around a CNSNews story, America, Israel, India Caused Tsunami, Conspiracy Theory Says, in which we learn all about the Egyptian version of the Weekly World News:

The Egyptian nationalist weekly Al-Usbu' accused the U.S., Israel and India of carrying out nuclear testing that may have cased the tsunami. Those nations were testing how to liquidate humanity, the newspaper said.

Was [the earthquake] caused by American, Israeli, and Indian nuclear testing on 'the day of horror?' Why did the 'Ring of Fire' explode? Mahmoud Bakri asked in his investigative piece published in the weekly on January 1.

The writer of the CNS piece was sceptical of the allegations. The poster to alt.rush-limbaugh seemed less so, what with him titling his post 1st. Anniversary Of Jewish Tsunami Devistation!. He even managed to tie it in with current affairs, and conspiracy theories concerning earlier events:

The only reason why Israel hasn't unleashed their evil weapon again is because Ariel Sharon has been hospitalized and unable to give the final order! More proof that Israel was behind the Dec. 26 2004 genocide which took 200,000 lives. In fact, the same experts who've testified that Israel used remote control Boeing 757's and a controlled demolition to cause the horror of 9/11, have concluded that no one but Israel has the technology to cause such a devastating wave. Why haven't these criminals been brought to justice?

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January 5, 2006

Predictable response

United States/Israel: In a move which has totally stunned the residents of Prattle Towers, Pat Robertson has declared that a man has suffered a stroke as a punishment from God. The man in question is in his late 70s, is grossly overweight and has an extrememly stressful job, but none of this is relevant according to the televangelist:

The Reverend Pat Robertson says Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke could be God's punishment for giving up Israeli territory.

The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network told viewers of The 700 Club that Sharon was dividing God's land, even though the Bible says doing so invites God's enmity.

Robertson added, I would say woe to any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course.

He went on to observe that a previous Israeli leader, Yitzhak Rabin, had been assasinated and implied that his imaginary friend was the murderer in that case.

Robertson: Sharon's Stroke May Be PunishmentWLTX News, 5th January 2006. (Thanks, Rick).

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December 1, 2005

World AIDS Day: Religious lunatics abound

Although there are many excellent initiatives from religious groups, there are still some who see HIV/AIDS as an excuse to engage in hate speech and victim blaming. And it's not all 'Christians' pointedly ignoring the reported words and actions of Jesus - here's some extracts from a Kashmiri Muslim loon, who thinks that AIDS spreads because the West is all atheist:

We can call it a sexual Glasnost. A world where buggery, bestiality, adultery, incest and all such diabolic deeds of a human being have made even devil blush with himself. The story begins with a fanciful wish of making this world the be-all and end-all of fun and merriment. They had a desire to make it a paradise, it turned hellish even for hedonists hit not by a disease, but by a tragedy, by a punishment, by a fatal, mortal dread we call AIDS. God save them.

FREEDOM UNLIMITTED, DISASTER INDESCRIBABLE, Greater Kashmir, 1st December 2005.

November 20, 2005

Robertson Threatens Pennsylvanian Town With Disaster

United States: The good citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania know stupidity when they see it. After all, these are the people who booted out their moronic school board when the idiots went all swoony over creationism. But while the rest of the world is applauding the town's good sense, I suspect that no one is surprised to hear that Pat Robertson is calling down a hail of toads and spanners. Or whatever it is that loony fundie psychopaths threaten the intelligent with when they throw a hissy fit.

I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city, Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, The 700 Club.

And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there, he said.

And people wonder why church attendances are falling.

Robertson warns Pennsylvania voters of God's wrath - Reuters, 10th November 2005 (via Warren Ellis).

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October 22, 2005

Coming to Britain soon

Egypt: Three people have died after Muslim extremists protested outside a church. Their complaint? That the church had put on a play criticising religious extremism and that this was insulting to Islam.

Entitled I Once Was Blind But Now I See, the drama tells the story of a poor young Copt who is drawn to Islamist militants who then try to kill him.

Coptic Christian leaders have said the play depicts the dangers of extremism, not of Islam.

Copts would never tolerate anyone insulting Islam, Coptic Bishop Armia is quoted by Egypt's official Mena news agency as saying.

Three killed in Egypt church riotBBC News, 22nd October 2005.

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Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 16:19 | View blog reactions

Prediction Dead Wrong

India: Predictions that don't are common fare for The Prattle, but usually it's the bigger doom and gloom variant that catch our attention, so it's time for a change of pace.

75-year-old Kunjilal Malviya, an astrologer who lives south of the Madhya Pradesh state capital Bhopal in central India, had been meditating in his house after announcing he would die Thursday between 3.00pm and 5.00pm local time. Sure it's not earth shattering, but at least there's a chance he could rectify the situation with a little self-intervention if his prediction wasn't up to par. The local cops, fearing just such an action, posted officers nearby on suicide watch.

Continue reading "Prediction Dead Wrong"

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October 7, 2005

Prat of the Year, second nominee: Duncan Maclean

Scotland: An independent councillor, Duncan Maclean, put forward a motion to West Lothian council which would have banned same sex civil unions from taking place in registry offices. Fortunately, no other councillor was willing to second the motion, so it got precisely nowhere. Maclean is unhappy.

He said fellow West Lothian councillors should hang their heads in shame after giving the green light to gay marriage ceremonies.

Cllr Maclean said today: It's political correctness gone mad. As the Bible teaches, 'wrong-doers will not inherit the kingdom of God', and this includes lesbians and gays. If these people want to enter into a formal commitment, why don't they go to a lawyer and get them to sign a formal legal document? Why do these queers have to parade about in public?

He insists that his words could not possibly be offensive: I don't think I am offending any of my constituents as I know for a fact that none of my voters are gay.

Of course, there is only one way he can know this for sure...

Anger at 'parading queers' jibe in row over gay marriageEdinburgh Evening News, 5th October 2005.

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September 17, 2005

Biggot's is fick, number three million and something.

United States: 'Residual Tern' spotted a defaced sign in Honolulu, and felt the urge to take a picture. He then posted it on flickr, so that the entire world could witness the genius of the artist responsible. The sign is in a park, and lists all the things you are not allowed to do, thus:

THE FOLLOWING ARE PROHIBITED:

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
ANIMALS
CAMPING
VEHICLES ON GRASS
GOLFING
LITTERING
OPEN FIRES

To this, our wit had added the word FAGOTT'S.

just so dumbflickr, 14th July 2005.

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Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:32 | View blog reactions

September 12, 2005

They're only Jews, so why bother?

United Kingdom: A committee set up to advise Tony Blair on Islamist extremism has turned out to consists of extremists. They have called upon the Prime Minister to abolish Holocaust Day because they claim it is offensive to Muslims. No doubt they will not demand any kind of reminder of the dangers of intolerance if, in the current climate of Islamophobia, some group decides to do the same to them.

Holocaust Day must be scrapped, say Muslim leaders - The Daily Telegraph, 12th September 2005 (via Religion News Blog

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September 3, 2005

LFL standings

United States: The Loony Fundie League table is currently as follows:

Christians   2
Muslims      1
Jews         1

The Christian team has leapt into the lead after a particularly amusing statement from Rev. Bill Shanks, pastor of New Covenant Fellowship of New Orleans, who not only blames God, but thinks it was a good thing and an example of divine mercy (see, I said God was a psychopath).

New Orleans now is abortion free. New Orleans now is Mardi Gras free. New Orleans now is free of Southern Decadence and the sodomites, the witchcraft workers, false religion -- it's free of all of those things now, Shanks says. God simply, I believe, in His mercy purged all of that stuff out of there -- and now we're going to start over again.

New Orleans is, of course, just as free of loony fundie preachers of hate right now.

New Orleans Residents: God's Mercy Evident in Katrina's Wake - Agape Press, 2nd Spetember 2005.

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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.

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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.

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July 12, 2005

Predictable entry

Whilst sat in the pub last night, I said to my companions I bet Fred Phelps has something suitably obnoxious to say about the London bombings - I should check. So I did, and I was not disappointed, although he seems a little confused and appears to think that it was pedestrian tunnels that were bombed and not the Underground. The title of his article is longer than the rest of it: Thank God for the bombing of London's subway today - July 7, 2005 - wherein dozens were killed and hundreds seriously injured. Wish it was many more.

England: Island of the Sodomite Damned

Tony Blair and his Bitch Barrister Wife

These two have let England to irreversible doom, pushing the fag agenda. It is now a crime to preach God's truth about fags in England. Blair wants to be president (Antichrist) of EU (European Union), whose laws also criminalize Gospel preaching.

I don't quite get how the ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants prevents people from pointing out that smoking is bad for you and makes you stink. He's also failed to notice the biggest gay rights news in the UK -- the legislation allowing civil unions between two people of the same sex, the first of which will happen on the Winter Solstice.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 12:24 | View blog reactions

July 10, 2005

Illiterate vandals attack church

United States: Vandals have started a small fire at a church, and sprayed anti-gay slogans on the wall, apparently because they do not approve of the accepting, tolerant, nature of the Christian denomination to which it belongs.

The outside of the church was vandalized with anti-gay messages and a declaration that United Church of Christ members were sinners. The graffiti’s message appeared to be a reference to the national church’s decision earlier this week to endorse gay and lesbian marriages.

The United Church of Christ’s General Synod voted Monday in Atlanta to approve a resolution that is accepting of gay and lesbian marriages but is not binding on local congregations.

A member of the congregation discovered the graffiti Saturday morning when he stopped by to mow the grass. He went into the church building, and when he opened the sanctuary there was still a small fire.

The congregation are clearly not swayed by such devastating arguments as GAYS LOVER and plan to continue with their 225th anniversary celebrations this weekend.

Middlebrook church set fire; anti-gay messages found - Staunton News Leader, 9th July 2005 (via Chuck Currie and El Coyote Gordo).

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 20:18 | View blog reactions

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.

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June 16, 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 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.

Continue reading "Three convicted of 'witch' girl abuse"
Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 15:52 | View blog reactions

May 26, 2005

Iraqi Christians to American evangelists: Piss off

Iraq: American evangelists have managed to really annoy one particular group of Iraqis—Christians. Patriarch Emmanuel Delly is the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church, Iraq's largest Christian denomination, affiliated with the Vatican. Delly, who ranks as an archbishop in the Roman Catholic Church and is tipped to become a cardinal, explained his problem with the evangelists that have plagued the country since the invasion in March last year:

Delly told Al-Jazeera News on May 19 that Iraq did not need Christian missionaries because its churches dated back long before Protestantism. He objected to the aspect of trying to convert Muslims and said, You can’t even talk about that here.

According to Delly, the evangelicals attract poor youths with displays of money and then take them out in cars to have fun. Then, they take photos and send them here, to Germany, to the United States and say ‘look how many Muslims have become Christian.’

The (atheist) correspondent at uruknet.info goes on to discuss the role of well-known fundies like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in bringing these pests to Iraq.

Reuters has more detail on the story, and notes that Christians in predominantly Muslim countries tend not to make pains of themselves.

Many Muslim countries consider Christian missionaries as part of a Western campaign against Islam and punish both the preacher and the apostate Muslim severely. Violent Iraqi groups killed at least five evangelical missionaries last year.

At least 20 Iraqis were killed in bombings of Christian churches last year as unknown attackers stepped up pressure on non-Muslims there. Christian minorities in Muslim countries usually keep a low profile and do not evangelise.

JUST WHAT EVERY IRAQI NEEDS: A BIBLE - uruknet.info, 23rd May 2005; Patriarch denounces U.S. evangelicals in Iraq - Reuters, 19th May 2005 (via The Sideshow and The Green Knight).

May 24, 2005

Racists ordered to pay up

United States: Way back when, a bunch of racists lost a trademark suit. They were ordered to pay costs, but neglected to do so. Now a US federal judge has ordered the Creativity Movement, formerly known as the Church of the Creator, to pay $450,000 (plus interest) to the TE-TA-MA Foundation.

The United States appears to have no equivalent of the Trades Descriptions Act, or maybe the white supremacists have a sense of irony in giving such a positive name to their destructive organisation. The members have demonstrated how creative they are as the case progressed.

[U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey] Lefkow ruled in Hale's favor but was reversed by a higher court and ordered to issue fines against Hale for every day his group didn't comply. Lefkow later became a target when Hale solicited a government informant to kill her. Hale was convicted of murder solicitation last year and last month was sentenced to 40 years in prison. He's appealing his conviction while being held in a Colorado maximum security prison.

The issue of attorneys fees also made its way to a federal appeals court, which found Hale's group liable because of accusations that his members left threatening phone messages for opposing attorneys as the case was litigated.

Judge orders Hale's group to pay up - Chicago Sun-Times, 24th May 2005. See also: Nazis lose out to hippies - Pagan Prattle, 3rd December 2002.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 14:58 | View blog reactions

May 22, 2005

One person cleared of abusing 'witch' girl

England: One of four people accused of abusing an eight-year-old girl they believed to be a witch has had charged dropped after the girl asserted that Kiwonde Kiese had done nothing nasty to her. The case against the other three defendants continues.

Woman is cleared of abusing girl, 8 - Muswell Hill Journal, 19th May 2005. See also Little girl accused of witchcraft - Pagan Prattle, 10th May 2005.

May 10, 2005

Little girl accused of witchcraft

England: An Old Baily jury has been told that an eight-year-old girl was tortured, and an attempt on her life was in progress when the attack was stopped. The alleged motive was that another child had said that the girl was a witch.

The girl, an Angolan refugee, came to the UK to live with relatives after her parents were killed in the war there.

[Prosecutor Patricia May] told the court the aunt and Ms Kisanga put the girl in a laundry bag, zipped it up and were about to throw it into the New River in Hackney, east London, until Mr Pinto stopped them.

Miss May said Mr Pinto told them: If they did and it was discovered, the law and the rights of children in this country being what they were, they would go to prison.

A search of the house of one of the accused revealed a number of (presuambly Christian) documents on sin, the devil and witchcraft and a diary, one entry including the sentence There was indeed a prophesy she has ndoki (the Lingala word for witchcraft).

The trial has been halted temporarily after the girl became upset and started to cry during the presentation of video evidence. It is due to resume tomorrow.

Witchcraft case halted over tears - BBC News, 10th May 2005; Girl tortured 'for being a witch' - BBC News, 9th May 2005.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 17:48 | View blog reactions

May 2, 2005

Monk Impersonates God to Retrieve Magic Turtle

Cambodia: The Buddhists rarely rate a mention in the Prattle, but we'll make up for that oversight with the tale of a dodgy monk who got done for impersonating a god.

Monk Khong Chantha thought he saw a sucker coming when he sold a reputedly magic turtle, with Buddhist inscriptions carved into its shell, to an elderly local woman for $1.25. However, he was more than a little miffed when the little old lady set up shop with her magic turtle, claiming that it invoked miracles. He was so miffed that he returned and tried to reclaim the reptile by force. Understandably not wanting to hand her money-spinner back to the monk, there was a bit of a blue and the little old lady ended up reporting the monk to the local plods.

Continue reading "Monk Impersonates God to Retrieve Magic Turtle"
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March 31, 2005

Fundies Ban Condoms, People Die

Zambia: Hot on the heels of one story about the problems caused by loony fundies blocking access to condoms is another one, this time from Zambia.

Bush is running a program against AIDS in Africa based on — you guessed it — sexual abstinence and marital fidelity, relegating condoms a distant third. All well and good, aside from the small fact that it's killing people.

The stark reality is that what kills young women here is often not promiscuity, but marriage. Indeed, just about the deadliest thing a woman in southern Africa can do is get married.
Continue reading "Fundies Ban Condoms, People Die"
Posted by Red Wolf in Love Thy Neighbour at 03:38 | View blog reactions

March 27, 2005

Pharmacist to Thank for Teen Pregnancy Rate

Australia: Loony fundies are a funny bunch of people. They don't like people having abortions, yet are more than happy to sneer at teenaged mothers and do their darnedest to cut off all support possible. One particular loony fundie in Merriwa, a small rural town in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, has managed to take his moral and ethical stance one step further and landed the town with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country. The wingnut in question is the proprietor of the town's sole chemist and he refuses to stock condoms or the morning-after pill.

Continue reading "Pharmacist to Thank for Teen Pregnancy Rate"

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March 10, 2005

Catching up: Loony Fundie Miscelleny

Andrew Ian Dodge sent a missive to Prattle Towers with a couple of entertaining links. First we have an amusing photo essay upon the Signs of Satan (which threatens sound, which is bound to be awful, so turn off whatever you use to play MP3s in your browser before visiting). It's clearly convincing evidence if you believe George W. Bush is the Antichrist.

Secondly, it appears that a man accused of a series of gruesome murders is churchgoing family man and Cub Scout leader.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 12:03 | View blog reactions

January 23, 2005

Why you should donate directly to a secular charity

India: A beautiful example of self-styled Christians completely ignoring the reported words of Jesus has come out of a tiny village in Tamil Nadu which was bady affected by the recent tsunami:

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

Heated arguments broke out as the locals forcibly tried to stop the relief trucks from leaving. The missionaries, who rushed into their cars on seeing television reporters and the cameras refusing to comment on the incident and managed to leave the village.

Note that if you donate to the Tsunami fund run by the Disasters Emergency Committee in the UK, your money is divided up between the participating charities, including a number of Christian ones who, while probably not engaging in this kind of behaviour, are definitely hypocrites who ignore the reported words of Jesus in Matthew 6:1-4.

Villagers furious with Christian Missionaries - Yahoo News (via Pharyngula), 16th January 2004.

January 20, 2005

Something you couldn't convincingly put in fiction

Israel: While certain elements of the Israeli government have been screaming about the evils of anti-Semitism in Europe, and urging French, British and German Jews to move to Israel, they seem to have failed to notice a new hotbed of anti-semitic sentiment - Israel. As Haaretz observes, the first Israeli Neo-Nazi web site opened nearly two years ago.

The site is well organized. It has text and pictures showing the activists of the organization, The White Israeli Union, some of them in Israel Defense Forces uniforms on the background of army camps and saluting with a raised arm. The expanded text is divided into sub-sections. There is one on Who we are, where the managers of the site introduce themselves as Ilya from Haifa and Andrei from Arad, and it is related there that the members of the organization are people who have pride in themselves and are sick of living among the dirty bastards. There is a section on Who our enemies are, where all the enemies are extensively documented: the Jews, the Arabs, the immigrants from all Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union, the Moroccans, the foreign workers - in short, the black-asses. In the material about the Arabs there is even a practical suggestion to enlist in the IDF in a combat unit, in order to get weapons and begin to shoot at them in every possible circumstance.

The bampots behind the site are apparently Russians who have taken advantage of a loophole in the 'Law of Return':

...the law under which Jews from the former Soviet Union can immigrate to Germany is close to the restricted definition of Jewish under Jewish law. The Israeli Law of Return, however, is in fact based on the Nuremberg Laws, in which the [Third Reich-era] Germans expanded the definition of who is Jewish in accordance with their own needs.

Anti-Semitism, right here at home - Haaretz, 23rd May 2003 (via Ken Macleod).

January 13, 2005

A straw man argument?

Japan: A man has been arrested on suspicious of breaking anti-stalking laws after the Japenese equivalent of a voodoo doll was sent to a woman.

Investigators said the man from Hamakita, Shizuoka Prefecture, Akira Oshiro, 56, sent a straw doll with a nail driven though it to the woman in mid-July last year.

The doll, which was mailed to the woman's home in Shizuoka Prefecture, had the woman's name on it...

...Straw dolls which have nails driven into them are the Japanese equivalent of voodoo dolls.

Stalker arrested for sending voodoo-type doll to woman - Mainichi Shimbun, 13th January 2005.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 21:52 | View blog reactions

January 12, 2005

Defence lawyer: goth-bashing not hate

United States: Christian thugs allegedly attacked a New York man with a metal pipe because of his Satanist beliefs. According to Daniel Romano, his attackers had been harassing him comstantly for over a month and been spreading malicious gossip about him.

Paul Rotondi and Frank Scarpinito, both 18, allegedly pounced on Romano, who wears black nail polish and an inverted crucifix symbolizing his rejection of Jesus, as he walked to meet his mother at a laundermat.

They spread rumors around the neighborhood that I eat babies and go down to the docks, pick up hookers and kill them, Romano told the Daily News. Ignorance often costs a lot of people their lives.

Romano claims to be a member of the Church of Satan, though the local head of that organisation says that is not true, cast doubt upon the whole story and suggested that Romano is nothing more than a spooky kid. Which contrasts interestingly with something Rotondi is claimed to have said to the police:

You are going to find my prints on there,he told cops at the 104th Precinct stationhouse, referring to the pipe. But then he insisted, I did not hit anyone with it, authorities said.

Meanwhile, Rotondi and Scarpinito have been charged under hate crimes legislation, which appears to apply to all religions without discrimination, whether or not they are members of a church, much to the distress of their lawyer.

This is an abuse of the hate crime law, he said. What's next - the nerds, the preppies ...? Where are you going to draw the line?

Qns. Satanist catches hell - New York Daily News, 12th January 2005.

January 11, 2005

Second deity claims responsibiliy for disaster

The Middle East in general: MEMRI (usual caveats apply) has published English language translations of various Islamic versions of the Tsunami was God's punishment meme. Such as this from Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzan:

These great tragedies and collective punishments that are wiping out villages, towns, cities, and even entire countries, are Allah's punishments of the people of these countries, even if they are Muslims.

Some of our forefathers said that if there is usury and fornication in a certain village, Allah permits its destruction. We know that at these resorts, which unfortunately exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia, and especially at Christmas, fornication and sexual perversion of all kinds are rampant. The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah. It happened at Christmas, when fornicators and corrupt people from all over the world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion. That's when this tragedy took place, striking them all and destroyed everything. It turned the land into wasteland, where only the cries of the ravens are heard. I say this is a great sign and punishment on which Muslims should reflect.

Needless to say, it was also the Jews' fault, according to Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris:

The oppression and corruption caused by America and the Jews have increased. Have you heard of these beaches that are called 'tourists' paradise?' You have all probably heard of Bangkok. We read about it, and knew it as the center of corruption on the face of this earth. Over there, there are Zionist and American investments. Over there they bring Muslims and others to prostitution. Over there, there are beaches, which they dubbed 'tourists' paradise,' while only a few meters away, the locals live in hell on earth. They cannot make ends meet, while a few meters away there is a paradise, 'tourists' paradise.'

Conspiracy Theories Surrounding the Tsunami: It was a Punishment from Allah for Celebrating Christmas and Other Sins; It was Caused by the U.S., Israel, India - MEMRI Special Dispatch Series - No. 842, 7th January 2005. See also: A Warning From God - Pagan Prattle, January 2005; With a God like this, who needs Satan? - Pagan Prattle, 31st December 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 13:48 | View blog reactions

January 5, 2005

Evil or ignorant - you decide

United States: Tom Delay chose his reading from Christian scripture carefully for Tuesday's Congessional Prayer Service (how is that allowed under the Constitution anyhow?), and had an important message for those affected by the Asian tsumami - you are dead because you are not Christians:

"Matthew 7:21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?
23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
24. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
29. For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.

The emphasis was apparently DeLay's.

Choice Words - American Coprophagia, 4th January 2005 (via Cheryl Morgan)

January 2, 2005

A Warning From God

Fred Phelps is a recognised foaming nutball who hates everybody, so stapling his hate-filled message from god to a disaster comes as no surprise to most. However, some of the more mainstream religious leaders have seen fit to jump on the good reverend's bandwagon.

Anglican Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, said the will of God involved His creation of the world but it also involved His judgment on the sinfulness of humanity.

Disasters are part of His warning that judgment is coming, Dean Jensen said.

Australian Federation of Islamic Councils chief executive Amjad Mehboob said it could not have happened unless it was God's will.

You really have to wonder who would want to go to heaven if this is the kind of reception you'd meet. I'm embarrassed enough to have to share a city with the likes of the noxious Jensen.

It was a message from aboveThe Sunday Telegraph, 2nd January 2005.

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December 26, 2004

The devil made her, not me, do it.

United States: A man accused of seriously injuring his 17-day-old son had wanted to claim that his wife had injured the child in a satanic ritual:

[Christopher] Gromiuk was arrested last February after he admitted to squeezing and beating his 17-day-old son Exsavior while in a dreamlike state. The child survived and is in the care of relatives.

Later, during an evidentiary hearing, Rusch indicated he would attempt to defend Gromiuk by shifting the blame for the baby's injuries to his mother. He attempted to introduce evidence that the child's mother was involved with witchcraft and Satanism and the baby was hurt during a ritual but was blocked by the court.

Gromiuk later dropped the witchcraft allegations, which Laura Gromiuk had steadfastly denied, and agreed to plead guilty to hurting his son but had a change of heart before he could be sentenced. Last month he asked the court to allow him to change his guilty plea, arguing that he wasn't thinking clearly when he made the decision to take the state's plea agreement.

Man charged with injuring infant son to get new attorney - Rhinelander Daily News, 23rd December 2004.

December 6, 2004

Shifting the blame

United States: The family of a woman who allegedly murdered her daughter by cutting the child's arms off have decided it was the fault of her church.

By then, though, Schlosser's association with Davidson's church had intensified, Macaulay said.

He said Davidson used violent imagery and told women they possessed a rebellious Jezebel spirit, and that they should submit to their husbands, he said.

I'm not saying that anybody suggested 'Go cut your baby's arms off,' said Macaulay, a mental health counselor who lives with Schlosser's mother, Connie, in Canada. This diminishing of women, this diminishing of women's powers, women's importance, referring to women as jezebels, I think, further undermines an already fragile ego state that Dena's experiencing.

That's absurd, the 72-year-old minister said.

I'm an apostle and I'm a prophet, Davidson said. I only teach what's in the Bible and that's what makes them mad.

Davidson himself has demostrated Christian love in the past:

In September, Davidson was arrested on a public intoxication charge after a couple, longtime members of his church, called 911, alleging the minister attacked them at their home. Davidson said he was only trying to cast the devil out of the wife, who had become rebellious and rejected his teachings. He said he entered the home with the permission of her husband.

This was, naturally, Satan's attempt to discredit him.

Pastor Decried After Child's Arms Severed - The Guardian, 6th December 2004.

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November 20, 2004

Damned Flick Switch On Lights

United Kingdom: A decision to invite punk rockers The Damned to switch on Cambridge city's Christmas lights has sparked controversy among church leaders.

Captain Sensible is due to join Father Christmas and city mayor Roger Dryden for the festive switch-on.

But the decision has led to fury among church leaders.
Continue reading "Damned Flick Switch On Lights"
Posted by Red Wolf in Ho! Ho! Ho! and Love Thy Neighbour at 04:04 | View blog reactions

November 2, 2004

The ultimate censorship

The Netherlands: The director of a controversial film about the treatment of women in Islam has been murdered in Amsterdam. Theo van Gogh, related to the famous painter, was either stabbed or shot - reports vary.

The perpetrator, who's said to have stuck a pamphlet to Mr van Gogh's chest, was reportedly wounded in an exchange of gunfire with a policeman. One arrest has been made.

Both the suspect and a policeman were injured and are in hospital. Ironically, Van Gogh had been working on a film about assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn at the time of his death.

Filmmaker Theo van Gogh killed -Radio Netherlands, 2nd November 2004; Gunman kills Dutch film director - BBC News, 2nd November 2004; see also Dutch MP threatened by religious loons. - The Pagan Prattle Online, 27th September 2004.

October 9, 2004

Confusing loons with Satanists

United States: A convict has been charged with the ritual murder of a teenager who disappeared in 1998. Police say that Robert Anthony Marquez killed and dismembered 16-year old Bryan Thorne because of his belief in Satanism.

How exactly they know this isn't explained, as no trace of Thorne has been found since he disappeared six years ago. Their only evidence seems to be that Marquez's cell was decorated with photos of dismembered sheep and chickens and his body was covered with demon-themed tattoos and Thorne's friends, who insisted that they knew nothing throughout the time Marquez has been safely in prison. Now he is due to be released, they claim that they got stoned with Marquez, who lured Thorne away from the group, stabbed him, chopped him up and put the remains in a bin!

The news reports do not explain how this relates to any known Satanic practice, nor do they discuss how a court will be able to reasonably accept the evidence of people who admit they were high on cannabis at the time.

Convict arrested for 1998 ritual slaying of Brea high school student - Monterey Herald, 9th October 2004.

October 2, 2004

Tales of Love from the Land of Denial

United States: The lovely Feòrag caught this delightful tale from the land of denial as she was heading out the door and sent it along to the satellite office to share with Prattle readers. Leaving aside the tabloid hysterics, we have two women blaming the death of a child on demons.

The mother of the Harlem toddler beaten to death says her lesbian lover did the awful deed — but insists demons made her do it.
But [Zahira] Matos insists she didn't realize the seriousness until it was too late — when she found Yovany near death Sept 19, when she returned home from a beer run.
Continue reading "Tales of Love from the Land of Denial"
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September 28, 2004

Fist Fight in Jerusalem, Priests vs Monks

Israel: This morning I woke up to an amusing story at the tail end of the news, the place where they dump the saccharine and strange. It seems there's been a punch-up in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Roman Catholic and Orthodox clerics have exchanged blows inside Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity's holiest sites.

The punch-up began after Greek and Russian Orthodox believers took offence at a door left open by members of the Franciscan order during a service.

At least five people were injured in the fracas — including Israeli police officers called in to quell it.

The church is shared jealously by six rival Christian sects.

This moronity has been going on for centuries. It was so bad back in the 12th century that Saladin handed the guardianship of the key to the only entrance to the church over to two Muslim families in 1178 in an attempt to stop the six Christian sects squabbling with each other. It seems some things never change.

Jerusalem clerics in punch-up rowBBC, 27th September 2004.

Posted by Red Wolf in Love Thy Neighbour at 00:10 | View blog reactions

September 27, 2004

Dutch MP threatened by religious loons.

The Netherlands: A Somali-born Dutch Liberal member of parliament has seen a controversial film she wrote aired on national television at prime time. Submission confronts the sensitive issue of violence against women:

Hirsi Ali, 34, who grew up as a Muslim but has abandoned her faith, said her purpose was not to give offense but to draw attention to what she contends is widespread but hidden violence against Muslim women, even those living in Europe.

She turned to the power of images, she said, to focus attention on abuse, incest, forced marriages and the suicides of young immigrant women. Despite her writing and speaking on the subject for several years, she felt the subject has remained a public taboo. Muslims deny it, she said, and many Dutch are afraid of taking it on, of causing religious tension, of being called racists.

She has received death threats as a result and one man has already been arrested and charged for sending threats. She moved to a safehouse after her private address was published on an Islamic website. She alleges that police are trying to cover up the level of violence faced by Dutch Muslim women, for fear they will offend the perpetrators.

She already has two round-the-clock government bodyguards, and she says she intends to continue her campaign. She recently spoke before Parliament and demanded that the interior minister order the police to review their definition of murder in cases involving young women. She contends that every year at least a dozen young Muslim girls in the Netherlands are the victims of revenge killings by brothers, fathers or relatives. The police record them as family conflicts, she said.

Police say they want to avoid stigmatizing a group, Hirsi Ali said. I say, we have to know the truth.

Ex-Muslim turns her lens on a taboo - International Herald Tribune, 27th September 2004.

September 25, 2004

Prosecutor lies in court.

United States: A Wiccan man facing trial for murder has been denied bail after a prosecutor claimed that his religion is to blame, apparently confusing Wicca with some of the more loony Christian cults:

Prosecutors at Legette's bond hearing said Legette is a Wiccan and that Wiccans don't believe the government can dispense justice.

Back in the real world, the charges stem from what looks like a tediously traditional argument over a woman, athough one wonders whether the rest of the prosecutors' case will be fantasy as well.

Richland prosecutors claim Wiccan beliefs led to murder - WIStv, 25th September 2004.

September 22, 2004

Off with his head!

Philippines: Someone is chopping the heads and hands off religious statues in the churches of Negros Occidental, and for once, Satanists aren't the main suspects - they're third. Even hacked off bits of statues have value in the antiques trade, and priests suspect that increasing poverty means that people do not respect the statues as much as they did. But there are also a mystical explanation:

The thefts of church relics and images bolstered speculations that they are being used as amulets.
[Bishop Vicente] Navarra, however, insisted these objects do not have magic powers and their purpose is only to arouse devotion and increase the faith of the people.

And where would a story like this be without Satanists, even if they are not named as such?

Asked if the series of robberies on religious images may have been perpetrated by members of a religious cult, [Father Abenir] Pineda said he believes that it was done by a syndicate.
Negrense psychic Willy Tortosa, also a councilor of Cauayan town, claimed that the theft of the hands and heads of statues signal bad omen.
Tortosa said, People on the dark side usually hold rituals in months from July to September, in order to have access to, or to communicate with the evil side of the world.
He added that the collective prayers of devotees to the patron saints may provide more strength to the power seeker.

3rd 'beheading' of religious images alerts Negros priests - ABS-CBN News, 21st September 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 10:35 | View blog reactions

September 17, 2004

Spam just in

Sometimes the spam filter doesn't work. Take this message, for example, which just arrived. I feel the need to share before introducing the spam filter to this particular variety of luncheon meat:

Subject: Jewish Sucks --kill them --peace --alc
From: info-jewishsucks-48309uq@<Obviously spoofed address, as the domain appears to be the Israeli tourist board>
Date: 04:26
To: <Prattle Towers>
Hey afmrq, Israeli's Trying to Control USA in next 12 Years so guys beware now before its too late.
fhrbsruoajzzhatxqzpxozenvcosvgsdrkskvzmopxwwtyciquwomuinrkswybfsjmedlrvtbnytyefopgjavmamzvwncjp qmznrl

And that's it. No dodgy attachment, no link to anti-semitic site.

September 2, 2004

Designing space the Satan way

United States: An arsonist faces prison after admitting starting a warehouse fire. Jerry Walburn has several previous convictions for similar offences. These, he claimed, the Devil made him do, having got in touch through a ouija board.

Another prison term for another fireNewsday, 2nd September 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 16:55 | View blog reactions

September 1, 2004

Stunning display of logic

United States: Local detectives in Knox, Indiana, know why two teenage girls were killed by a train - it's because they had an interest in Wicca.

Sims said that materials found in one of the girls' backpacks have led police to believe that the deaths were suicide.
Knox Community Schools Assistant Superintendent Steve Sailor said Monday evening, The girls did take their own lives, and it appears that some of the decision-making involved wicca and, to some degree, witchcraft.

But clearly they weren't very Wiccan, otherwise why would the local Catholic priest be willing to perfom a funeral mass for one of them?

Deaths of 2 teens believed suicides - Post-Tribune, 31st August 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 02:53 | View blog reactions

August 27, 2004

'Psychic' arrested on fraud charges

United States: A woman described as a Gypsy has been arrested by California police. She is alleged to have scammed an Illinois woman out of $80,000. She has previous convictions for theft, and was on the run from prison.

Demetro is accused of befriending a mother and daughter in McHenry, Ill., who used her services because they were down on their luck and overweight, Gaylor said.

Police say she convinced the older woman that her luck would change if she cleansed her life savings of $80,000. The woman withdrew the money, all in $100 bills, and gave it to Demetro, police said.

During a seance involving vegetables and live lizards, the cash was wrapped into a white handkerchief, Gaylor said. The women were asked to stare at a candle, police said.

They were given back the handkerchief and told to place it under a bed for several days, police said. When they open up the (handkerchief), they find cut-up newspaper, Gaylor said.

Police also wish to talk to her in connection with another incident:

Demetro also is wanted in another Illinois case. She is accused of telling a client that his wife had been unfaithful and he was not the father of their unborn child, police said.

The man paid her with his wedding ring and ended up killing his wife, stabbing her 80 times, police said.

Gypsy arrested on Illinois theft warrant - The San Diego Union-Tribune, 27th August 2004.

August 26, 2004

Bible discussion leads to assault

United States: An Oklahoma woman has stabbed her boyfriend, leaving a 11 cm hole in his stomach and damaging his liver, after they had an argument over the Bible. He is now out of hospital and says he still loves her.

Woman stabs boyfriend in fight over religion - News 9 (via Religion News Blog), 26th August 2004.

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August 18, 2004

Fundie Loon Jailed For Exorcism Murder

United States: In a follow up to the story of a fundie loon who killed an eight-year-old autistic boy during an attempted exorcism, the man in question has been sentenced to 2½ years in jail.

Prosecutors say Ray Hemphill lay on Terrance Cottrell Jr.'s chest for at least an hour while trying to release demons from him, before the boy died August 22, 2003.

It was your unreasonable and reckless conduct that caused this child to die, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jean DiMotto told Hemphill.
Continue reading "Fundie Loon Jailed For Exorcism Murder"
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August 17, 2004

'Christian' animal sacrifice

United States: A parrot belonging to a Wiccan woman who launched a legal challenge to her town's unconstitutional prayers has been slaughtered in a highly ritualistic manner. Darla Wynne, of Great Falls, South Carolina, came home one night last week to find her parrot, Little One, beheaded with his heart cut out. A note warned her she would be next. It is just the latest in a long series of incidents.

Many of the town's 2,200 residents regard Wynne as a witch and disapprove of her pagan faith, she said. The vandalism has ranged from destruction of her cars to several of her animals being poisoned, Wynne said.
No one will say anything, Wynne said. They think they're protecting their own....
...Wynne said she has endured numerous verbal and written threats. She received by mail a booklet, Thou Shalt not Suffer a Witch to Live, and said a man yelled at her, Witch, you're going down.
Twice last week before her bird was killed, Wynne said she received threats in the mail.

Parrot's death latest threat to woman in prayer case - The Herald (Rock Hill), 17th August 2004.

August 13, 2004

An it harm none (except Iraqis)

United States (and occupied territories): Wiccan service people face a number of problems. In one incident, a small circle was pelted with bottles and stones by fellow squaddies while worshipping in Iraq. Military chaplain Patrick McCollum described some of the other problems:

An advisory team became a Pentagon priority when Wiccan military personnel reported problems while conducting rites and religious activities.
The Wiccans said that some chaplains were trying to convert them and that commanding officers made it difficult to practice, McCollum said.
Wiccans also have been pressuring the Department of Veterans Affairs to allow a Wiccan emblem, most likely the pentacle (sic.), for armed forces burial headstones or markers. Mike Nacincik of Veterans Affairs, said the department authorizes 38 emblems, including one for atheists, but none for Wiccans.
The military should honor the beliefs of Wiccans asked to fight and die to uphold freedom of speech and religion, McCollum said.
If these freedoms are taken away while they're defending these values, it creates a paradox.

Interestingly, the Air Force boasts the highest number of Wiccans - perhaps a fast jet is the closest they'll ever get to a broomstick.

Military casts Wicca in the shadows - Contra Costa Times (via Religion News Blog), 12th August 2004.

August 5, 2004

The effect of religion on human evolution

Nigeria: The remains of 50 people have been found by police in 20 locations in the forests around Okija in the eastern state of Anambra. Press reports abound with tales of a secretive cult and traditional ritual killings, but the reality seems to be much more darwinian than that, with the 'victims' all willing participants in a strange form of conflict resolution:

The group is believed to practice a ritual in which parties involved in a personal dispute - often over business deals - are made to drink a potion they are told will kill only the guilty one...
[Police representative Kolapo] Shofoluwe said the basic ritual of swallowing poisons to test guilt is believed to have been practiced for more than a century.
Mr. A goes to the shrine to report to the chief priests that Mr. B has done wrong to him by way of cheating him in a joint business, said Shofoluwe, adding the priests then typically call both parties together to resolve the dispute.

Nigeria Discovers 50 Possible Cult Victims - The Guardian, 5th August 2004.

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Christian 'witch' killers' sentence upheld

Zambia: Two Liberian men have lost their appeal against a 20-year sentence imposed on them for killing a woman accused of witchcraft. The pair had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which was accepted by the court. The killing happened during a prayer meeting after it became apparent that God was not rushing to act - the judge, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala , told them they should have waited for God to answer their prayers rather than killing the woman.

Facts before the court were that on December 18, 2000 at Makaka hill along Kabwe road, Emmanuel and Kolle were part of a group of the Power of Christ church when Phiri was brought to them by people who suspected her of being a witch.
The court heard that the group prayed for her so that the Devil could come out of her and asked her to confess to being a witch but she refused.
Emmanuel and Kolle later took up sticks and started beating her so that the Devil could come out of her, she later died from internal injuries.
In mitigation, the duo pleaded for the court's leniency.
They said the circumstances of the matter did not amount to a 20-year sentence because they wanted to remove the devil from the woman.

Justice Sakala told the court that thinking someone was a witch was no reason to take their life and that the court had the duty to minimise or eliminate the belief in witchcraft.

Supreme Court upholds refugees' 20-yr sentence - The Times of Zambia, 5th August 2004.

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August 4, 2004

My God is bigger than yours

United States: Doug Daniels of The Raw Story went to the Democratic National Convention and spotted some evangelical protestors:

Most noticeable were the Christian radicals and anti- abortion activists who would bark biblical verse through their megaphones at the delegates, demanding that they repent for their sins, and denounce John Kerry as the son of the devil. At one point, hostilities began to escalate between two such protesters, one commanding the crowd to love God, the other warning us to fear him. After a few minutes of this heated, evangelical squabble, the police intervened and told the two lunatics to steer clear of each other.
Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 09:13 | View blog reactions

August 3, 2004

More African 'witch' murders

Tanzania: Seven people have been murdered and another seven injured in a series of brutal attacks towards the end of last month. The victims were all accused of witchcraft.

According to police investigations, a few days before the killings, some villagers conducted a secret ballot to unearth suspects thought to be involved in witchcraft.

The RPC said on July 20 at night, more than ten youths armed with spears, sharp pieces of metal, pangas, and other crude weapons like bows and arrows, invaded Ndapo Village, killing one person and wounding another.

On July 25, the marauding youths attacked Nungu Village at around 10.00 pm and killed three people and wounded four others.

Three people were killed and two others wounded in a similar attack conducted between July 27 and 28 at Kinyika Village, he added.

Villagers also threatened those they think are witches, and several people have had to move as a result. Twenty-two people have been arrested and murder charges are expected to follow.

Outrageous witchcraft murders in MaketeThe Guardian (Tanzania), 3rd August 2004.

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July 31, 2004

God: Thou shalt kill.

Sweden: A Lutheran pastor has received a life sentence after he faked SMS messages from God to his mistress to persuade her to murder his wife. Helge Fossmo also used the same method to try and get the husband of a second mistress killed. The verdict noted that Fossmo ruthlessly made use of Sara Svensson's love for him and her dependency on him as a religious leader. Svensson admitted the killing, but was found to be in need of treatment not punishment.

Fossmo's church was one that other Lutherans would have trouble recognising:

The trial painted a picture of a bizarre religious community, far removed from the liberal and secular society most Swedes would recognize. Life in the sect, an offshoot of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, was controlled by a woman known as "Christ's Bride" after she got engaged to Jesus in a ceremony.
The community's ministers also exercised a controlling influence in the lives of their flock. In Fossmo's case, that included using the latest technology to get his nanny to commit murder. Svensson testified she received anonymous text messages, which she believed to be from God, urging her to kill.
A technology company traced erased messages on her phone to Fossmo, who admitted sending them but said they were intended only to guide the nanny in her faith.
Svensson also said the pastor told her that killing his wife and neighbor was the only way she could please God.

Swedish pastor gets life for text murder messages - Yahoo! News, 30th July 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:48 | View blog reactions

July 28, 2004

'Witch' murderer convicted

India: A court in Orissa has sentenced a man to death for killing six people because he thought they were witches.

[Dileswar] Barik, 25, had killed three men and three women with a sharp weapon in January last year because he suspected that they were practising witchcraft, police said.
He had been captured and handed over to police by the villagers.

Man sentenced to death for killing six people - newkerala.com, 28th July 2004.

July 24, 2004

Praying is suspicious

United States: Security at a New York State shopping mall called the police when they spotted a Muslim family praying in the car park.

[Yasin] Amin said it was just after sundown when he and his brother-in-law stepped out of the mall to pray. He said they specifically chose a spot in the parking lot out of the way so that they wouldn't disturb anyone. It was when they were finished praying that they saw the first security guard.
Back inside the mall Amin said several security guards hovered around him and his family as they shopped. He said it grew unbearable -- so he and his family opted to leave -- but his car was surrounded.

The police were not impressed. Chief Steve Heider told a local news channel It's very unfortunate sometimes we receive these calls. It's based on misunderstandings sometimes, uninformed people.

Family upset over mall incident - Capital News 9, 20th July 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 00:29 | View blog reactions

July 20, 2004

Bigots Invading the Book Stores

United States: Nicholas Kristof wonders what it says about America when racist propaganda is on the best-seller lists.

If the latest in the Left Behind series of evangelical thrillers is to be believed, Jesus will return to Earth, gather non-Christians to his left and toss them into everlasting fire:
Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again.
Continue reading "Bigots Invading the Book Stores"

July 13, 2004

Pyro pastor knobbled by bureaucrats

United States: An Iowa pastor is annoyed because city and county fire codes mean he can't hold a book-burning. The inappropriately named Rev. Scott Breedlove of the Jesus Church in Cedar Rapids wanted to hold his conflagration on July 28th.

We don't want a situation where people are burning rubbish as a recreational fire, said Brad Brenneman, the fire department's district chief.
Linn County won't go for a fire outside city limits, either.
Officials said the county's air quality division prohibits the transporting of materials from the city to the county for burning.

The fire department suggested shredding the material instead but, alas, shredders aren't mentioned in the Bible.

Fire department bars book-burning - Yahoo! News, 12th July 2004 (via Jesus' General).

Hijacker With An Invisible Friend

Australia: A complete and utter wombat who attempted to hijack a plane is claiming that his invisible friend made him do it. Not unlike the Shrub's excuse for going to war really.

The man accused of trying to hijack a Melbourne-to-Launceston Qantas flight last year believed that God had called on him to crash the plane, a Victorian court has heard.
David Mark Robinson, 41, is alleged to have planned to kill the 50 passengers and six crew aboard the flight before crashing it into the Walls of Jerusalem national park in northern Tasmania.

Just to point out for the geographically challenged, Walls of Jerusalem is a national park in Tasmania, that little triangle shaped island under Australia, and not an architectural feature in Israel. Although I guess you could argue it was an anti-semitic attack by a man with the directional sense of child's spinning top.

Continue reading "Hijacker With An Invisible Friend"

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July 6, 2004

Modest store enrages fundies

England: A women-only lingerie shop run by a conservatively-attired Muslim woman has been firebombed by Islamist loons frustrated that they cannot see in. Owner Umm Zakariah opened up her shop in Birmingham because she felt uncomfortable selecting underwear in shops full of men and wanted some privacy.

And most [women] would prefer to give their measurements to a female assistant rather than a man. A lot of women, most of them Muslim, have told us they love the shop.

She has vowed to keep the shop open, which she feels provides a useful service to all women, not just Muslim ones

The shop is for all women, she said. Yes, it's run by Muslims and most of our customers are Muslims but all women are welcome.
We've had black and white women coming in to have a look. The windows are blacked out because we want to keep an air of mystery about what's inside.

Muslim undies shop attacked - Sunday Mercury, 4th July 2004.

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Would You Care For Steak With Your Kidney?

Australia: A group of religious nuts in Australia have managed to run afoul of the authorities in their zeal to donate their kidneys.

The leader of an internet cult today said some members have lied to health authorities so that they could donate their kidneys to Australians in need of a transplant.

In Australia, kidney donations are not allowed for anyone apart from family members, friends or those with an emotional connection, to prevent organs being sold on the black market.
Continue reading "Would You Care For Steak With Your Kidney?"

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July 3, 2004

Fundie suspected in temple vandalism

India: A Hindu temple in Chennai has been desecrated, and the prime suspects are a Christian group which has been engaged in a long campaign of harassment against the temple. A statue was smashed and two others damaged, and a sari decorating the first statue torn up and strewn over a bush. The allegedly Christian group has some very odd practices, though:

The Periamalai area was already sitting on a communal powder keg due to the confrontational and provocative attitude of a Pentecost group that specifically targetted the local Balamurugan temple. The group, which used to be very active on full-moon nights (yesterday was one), has a history of creating trouble for those coming to worship at the temple.
The residents had made several complaints that the cult group had chosen the place to carry out their brazen expansion activities 12 churches have come up in the last few years within the small circumference of Pallavaram.
The religious group also used to gather up at Periamalai (a small hillock) regularly and shout out taunting remarks at Hindus and openly deride Hindu Gods.
Locals say the Christians brought in women, who were purportedly Hindus, and then asked them to throw their mettis and thalis into a fire.

Idol found smashed in suburb temple - News Today, 3rd July 2004.

June 30, 2004

Blood As An Anti-Ghost Potion

India: I suppose there's some bizarre logic involved in the belief that drinking the blood of the people you kill will stop them from haunting you. The particular wingnut is question has finally been nabbed by the local plods.

A man suspected of killing three people and then drinking their blood to ward off their spirits was arrested in north India yesterday, police said.
Hiralal Totia was arrested in Shankarpur village in Uttar Pradesh state, police told the Press Trust of India.
Police said Totia killed a police officer and then sucked his blood. He did the same with two other victims — a taxi driver and a woman, they added.
Totia told police under interrogation that he drank the blood of his victims as he believed this would keep away their spirits.

'Vampire' killings arrest [BugMeNot] - AFP, 24th June 2004.

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June 26, 2004

Church blames Satan for problems it helped cause.

Cyprus: Having successfully scuppered the latest attempt to bring peace and stability to the divided island, the Greek Orthodox Church is trying to blame Satanism for the troubles of its youth.

Father Christoforos Tsiakkas has been involved in dealing with the problems that youngsters face that leave them vulnerable to the temptations of the occult. At a news conference, Father Christoforos presented evidence of the presence of Satanism in Limassol and warned that a satanic temple had already been founded in the city.
There is a circle of monuments around the leadership of five to six people. Their leader was initiated abroad and has founded a satanic temple in Limassol, the priest claimed.

And outrageous claims are being made in an attempt to frighten gullible parents.

Father Christoforos said a school principal had asked for his help in dealing with the mass initiation of school students into Satanism.
They promise them power, energy and they have a solution to all of their problems, he said.
But they are only turned into pawns.

Unlike the long history of free thought promoted by established churches? A government minister has already dismissed the claims, suggesting that the reality is much more down-to-earth.

Church concern over Satanism claims - Cyprus Mail, 26th June 2004; Police ignore crime to chase shadows - Pagan Prattle, 14th March 2004.

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June 25, 2004

Pour encourager les autres

France: So, you are a racist fuckwit and hate Muslims. You think they are unpatriotic scum, so what better way to encourage them to care for their country than to desecrate a cemetary for Muslims who died fighting in the French army?

Vandals have daubed swastikas on the graves of Muslim soldiers in a military cemetery in Alsace, eastern France.
Seven gravestones were also smashed in the attack on the cemetery in Hagenau, north of Strasbourg.
The graves were those of Muslim soldiers who died fighting for France in the first and second world wars.

Jacques Chirac spoke out strongly against the attack, calling it an insult to the memory of the soldiers who gave their lives for our country. This is the latest of a string of attacks on Muslim and Jewish sites in the Alsace region.

Muslim graves defaced in France - BBC News, 24th June 2004.

June 18, 2004

Mormon Assassination Plot and the Ones That Didn't Get Away

United States: Murder, dismemberment, a Mormon cult, the death penalty, and Playboy model Kerissa Fare. Oh, and Rohypnol. What more could you want?

This may be the year of the celebrity trial — Michael Jackson the King of Pop on child molestation charges, the basketball star Kobe Bryant accused of rape, the legendary record producer Phil Spector indicted for murder — but the kookiest, darkest, most grimly compelling court case in America may well be one that is receiving almost no media attention at all.
This week, a jury in Martinez, a small town outside San Francisco, will retire to consider the bizarre, brutally violent cult surrounding one Glenn Taylor Helzer, a lapsed Mormon accused of bludgeoning and dismembering five people in an elaborate extortion racket intended to hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Helzer, a former stockbroker who has already pleaded guilty and faces the death penalty, exerted a charismatic hold over an eclectic group of followers including his younger brother, a former girlfriend turned Playboy centrefold model, and a self-described good witch who once offered to raise money for Armageddon by appearing in porn films.
Continue reading "Mormon Assassination Plot and the Ones That Didn't Get Away"
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June 1, 2004

A discussion over dinner

Ghana: Two 'witches' have appeared in court on charges of assault, after they had a disagreement over a human body they were eating.

Prosecuting, Police Inspector K. Kpoafa told the court presided over by Mr Jacob Boon that in March 2004, a former policeman accompanied [Adwoa] Fosuaa and reported that Vida [Tiwaah] claimed she is a witch and that Fosuaa is also a witch and that they had moved together spiritually to practice their witchcraft.
He said the police was told that Fosuaa is alleged to have killed her sister through witchcraft and shared the meat with Vida, adding Vida claimed that she had repented and no longer practices witchcraft and therefore, wanted to return the meat to Fosuaa.
Inspector Kpoafa said because the ex-policeman wanted to make a formal complaint against Vida for disgracing Fosuaa who was his niece, however, he was told that police could not investigate such a spiritual case. Fosuaa and Oti Awere were advised to institute civil suit against Vida, but they did not heed to the advice, but rather resorted to casting insinuations as well as insults against Vida, which generated into a family feud with Vida on one side against Fosuaa and Awere on the other. Inspector Kpoafa said on April 29, Vida met Fosuaa and told her that since she had refused to come for the meat, they had to resort to physical means to resolve the issue.

The two allegedly began fighting at this point. Two witches clash over human flesh. - GhanaWeb, 31st May 2004.

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May 31, 2004

Nothing wrong with black-clad kids - horror!

United States: Half of a grant given to a town to combat goth has had to be returned because, surprise surprise, there was no problem to begin with.

But $132,000 of the grant was returned because officials never found much of a problem with the Goth culture, which some students called a fad that most people eventually outgrow.

Slightly more than $118,000 of the money was earmarked for therapy, assessment and case management, and the plans also included a series of town meetings to discuss the issue.

It never happened because referring someone for looking, acting Goth is not a concept that ever got imbedded in people's heads, project manager Allyce Ford said of the therapy proposal.

No news as to whether the cash will now be used to provide therapy for the bigots who though it was a good idea to begin with. $132K of Grant to Combat Goth ReturnedAssociated Press (via Yahoo! News), 21st May 2004.

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May 28, 2004

Inhumanity explained

United States: P.Z. Myers has found a stunning explanation for the atrocites committed at Abu Ghraib. According to creationists Answers in Genesis, it's because the majority don't take the conflicting creation accounts in Genesis literally.

We puzzle over how 'nice' people can so trivialize human life, sexuality and suffering in Abu Ghraib, yet we have let our culture tell these same people that they--and their captives--are just evolved animals, randomly reorganized pond scum.

Somehow I doubt Answers in Genesis are radical vegans, despite what it says at Genesis 1:29.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 10:32 | View blog reactions

May 27, 2004

Spot the bigger tory

Former Conservative government minister Norman Tebbit has declared that an excellent form of aerobic exercise makes you fat. He was invited onto BBC Radio 4's Today programme to discuss the problem of obesity in the UK, and instead launched into a homphobic tirade.

The root cause of this problem, like a number of others, is the break down in family life, he said, arguing that families don't so often eat together and that wives are virtually pressurised into feeling they ought to go to work instead of looking after their children.
He said this decline in family life was due to the current government, which he accused of doing everything it can to promote buggery.

Fellow Tory, the slimline Boris Johnson, was quick to disagree: I don't think you can say gay marriage is the root cause of obesity.

Tebbit: buggery to blame for obesity crisis - Gay.com News, 27th May 2004.

May 20, 2004

God neglects His work

Kenya: A 15-year-old boy has died after God ignored the prayers of his parents, who had allegedly locked him in a room for six weeks rather than seek medical attention.

The parents belong to the Kavonokia religious sect. Members of the sect do not subscribe to modern medicine but believe in prayers to heal the sick.

Police said his body bore signs of abuse, and the parents were due in court today to explain why action should not be taken against them. Neglected boy, 15, dies - East African Standard, 20th May 2004 (via AllAfrica.com).

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Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?

United Sates: A Virginia woman has been sent to prison after God told her to pester the staff at a car dealership.

Cole testified earlier this year that she knew she had been ordered to stay away from the car dealership. But she insisted that God ordered her to go there. Cole said she was never rude to employees.

She said that God insisted they give her a free vehicle. Woman Who Claimed God Sent Her Gets Jail Time - ABC 7 News, 18th May 2004 (via Religion News Blog).

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Virtual Devils Curse Internet Church

United Kingdom: The Web-based Church of Fools, an online role playing game that encourages members to part with donations for the collection plate (just like the real thing), is having trouble with some virtual parishioners.

The world's first Internet church has fallen victim to a plague of virtual demons, some of whom have been logging on as Satan and unleashing strings of expletives during sermons.
Continue reading "Virtual Devils Curse Internet Church"

May 17, 2004

Let's be friends, and beat up the other guy.

Bahrain: In case you thought it was only Christian fundies who make up scare stories, the Gulf Daily News reports on the claims of Islamic Enlightenment Society president Shaikh Saeed Al Noori, who is worried that there might be more than 100 Satanists in the country:

This has allowed many to take advantage of our division and everyone knows that Satanism is on the rise with 140 members currently a part of the Bahrain group.
If not stopped soon more will join and the damage will hit the community as a whole.

The Muslim loons have had a few hundred fewer years to perfect their scaremongering, and so did not specify what the alleged Satanists got up to that was so terrifying. On a positive note, Shaikh Saeed's speech was a call for Sunni and Shi'ite to actually get on with one another, although only to gang up on an imaginary enemy. Satanism 'on the rise' - Gulf Daily News, 17th May 2004.

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May 14, 2004

Kiss and make up

Australia: After mediation, the Pagan Awareness Network has dropped its case against Mayor Rob Wilson, and according to the resulting statement, the newspapers have been exaggerating his statements somewhat.

Cr Wilson was incorrectly reported in the Cranbourne Leader on 11 June 2003 as saying that the Casey Pastor's Network should pray against the forces of evil. He did not say this. He asked Casey's church leaders to consider a day of prayer.

He does not believe he made the following statement reported in the Dandenong Journal of 30 June 2003:

Many people and groups... want to set up in Casey. Do Casey families want groups like these, who promote evil, to be part of our community?

The Pagan Awareness Network plans to get on with more important stuff now, such as organising a Full Moon ritual in Casey.

In view of Cr Wilson's statement that he did not intend his comments to incite fear or hatred, PAN Inc has decided to adopt the 'Wilson' approach towards his June 2nd, 2003 media release naming Olivia Watts... 'People can work it out for themselves.'

None of this affects the case relating to the alleged religious vilification of Olivia Watts, which involves separate issues and continues. Mayor does deal with Pagans -- but must still face Witch Olivia (PDF) - Pagan Awareness Network Inc. Media Release, 14th May 2004; Mayor spared a hex debt - Herald Sun, 15th May 2004; see also He knows so much about these things - Pagan Prattle, 10th May 2004; This charming man - Pagan Prattle, 21st August 2003; This charming man (update) - Pagan Prattle, 27th December 2003.

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The stars are wrong

India: A man has allegedly murdered his three-month-old daughter because the timing of her birth was inauspicious.

Nagesh of Dudda village and Radha of Nidudi village in Hassan taluk were married a year and a half ago. Nagesh had met an astrologer to know the future prospects of his daughter, but was told that he would have to face many difficulties. A worried Nagesh decided to kill the child.
He went to Nidudi where Radha was staying with her parents after delivery and injected the baby with a syringe filled with poison when there was no one in the room.

Man kills daughter for better future - Newindpress, 14th May 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 12:29 | View blog reactions

May 10, 2004

He knows so much about these things

Australia: A transexual Wiccan woman has decided to test out Victoria's religious tolerance legislation and is suing the local mayor who ran a vendetta against her on local radio.

Cr Wilson first threw a cat among the Wiccans last June when he blamed a series of council embarrassments on diabolical intervention. He said there was a Satanic cult out to take over Casey and the council's toils and troubles had all the hallmarks of being linked to the occult.
He hit the local community airwaves and outed Ms Watts, who had unsuccessfully run for council, as a witch.

As she has been unable to work due to the distress caused, she qualifies for Legal Aid, which is expected to be worth around $15,000 (£5,848/€8,759). Tony Parsons, of Victoria Legal Aid, considers it money well spent:

Victoria Legal Aid does not fund three-ring circuses. (We have) a long and very worthwhile history of identifying and backing cases where there are areas of the law that need to be tested or explored, Mr Parsons said.

The Pagan Awareness Network is also suing, and Attorney-General Rob Hulls is on their side. Encouraging them to file their complaint, he wrote: We govern for all Victorians -- and that includes witches, magicians and sorcerers. So maybe the Courier-Mail ought to have been a little bit more careful when they described Olivia Watts as a black magic woman?

Civic row bubbles into legal toil and trouble - The Courier-Mail, 11th May 2004. See also Witch Hunt in Victoria - Pagan Awareness Network (timeline, and donation button); The Casey Witch Trials - a web site dedicated to the case; This charming man - Pagan Prattle, 21st August 2003; This charming man (update) - Pagan Prattle, 27th December 2003.

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May 8, 2004

No imaginary enemies this time

Canada: A judge has convicted a 23-year-old man of murder after rejecting his insanity plea. Joseph Jason Chamberlain's defense lawyer called a number of witnesses to testify on the state of his client's mental health:

One doctor said Chamberlain claimed to hear voices -- or psychic powers -- that drove him to kill Burn after convincing him she was somehow responsible for his anguished mental state.
Chamberlain also said the voices told him he was a member of the Royal Family and ordered him to eat human flesh -- claims which raised red flags with another psychiatrist who suspected him of malingering, or feigning his illness.

The judge, Queen's Bench Justice John Scurfield, appears to agree with this psychiatrist and told the court Mr. Chamberlain is outright malingering or, more likely, deliberately exaggerating a pre-existing mental disorder in order to benefit from a not criminally responsible defence.

No defence for murder. Man feigned insanity, says judge - The Winnipeg Sun, 8th May 2004.

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May 4, 2004

Lack of real ale is bad for you

Sweden: One of Sweden's top TV stars has turned down the opportunity to interview Ozzy Osbourne because he is the unofficial Prince of Darkness. Rickard Sjöberg felt uncomfortable with Osbourne's married-with-children lifestyle. No, that can't be right...

To me, Ozzy is so strongly associated with a questionable lifestyle, Satanism and evil messages that I felt I couldn't do the job justice considering the format of these interviews. It would have just strengthened his position, Sjöberg told the newspaper Aftonbladet.

The presenter claims to be a Christian, and that even non-alcoholic beer makes him vomit. Swedish TV Star Refuses To Interview OZZY Due To OSBOURNE's 'Questionable' Lifestyle - Blabbermouth, 2nd may 2004.

Fundamentalists Rush In

Iraq: A rise of religious fundamentalism is terrorising the Iraqi academic community.

After Saddam Hussein's overthrow, university president Taher al-Bakaa gathered his staff, and promised them a university free from oppression and fear. But recently a dispute between a Sunni professor and a group of Shiite students turned into a demonstration that closed the campus for three days. Now, Dr. Bakaa says, religious factions are hijacking the university, and he fears for his life.
If we let the parties interfere with the universities, it will be a bloody situation, says Al Bakaa. Many people are in such fear they are giving up their post, including me. I am in danger.
A rise of religious fundamentalism is terrorizing the Iraqi academic community, and threatening to roll back the gains in academic freedom made by university presidents and their advisers from the United States since the end of the war.
Continue reading "Fundamentalists Rush In"
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April 30, 2004

My Invisible Friend's Better Than Your Invisible Friend

United States: Jimmy Breslin ponders that more people don't find Bush's avowal of conversations with his invisible friend a sign of madness. He has his own chat with an invisible friend to clear things up.

For a year now, our temporal authorities have tried to keep all signs of war dead out of our sight. Act like nobody dies. God is on our side and none of us die. Suddenly, pictures of many coffins with flags on them were published. The country reeled. The president's people said this was a terrible thing, using dead bodies to let the country see that the war is real. God is on our side. You cannot show pictures of the new dead. One of their cheap yes-men, publisher Rupert Murdoch, did not print the picture in his New York Post newspaper, nor allow it on his Fox television network. Thus committing the one most blatant fraud we have had in decades of news in America. Deny it if you can.
All this comes out of a religious crisis in this nation. We have a president who says he talks to God. When he was asked if he had gone to his father to discuss starting the invasion in Iraq, George Bush said, no, I talked to a higher father. What he was saying is that God personally told him it was all right to send our soldiers into Iraq and start the War of the Children.
I can't believe that Bush is so dumb that he thinks he actually talks to God.
Continue reading "My Invisible Friend's Better Than Your Invisible Friend"

April 26, 2004

Interesting Bible translation

United States: The Socastee Original Freewill Baptist Church in Myrtle Beach has a nice, friendly sign outside:

If perverts and liberals can flood the news with homosexual mess - I can say this - they will burn in hell. Romans 1:32.

Church sign reveals unfortunate bigotry - The Sun News, 26th April 2004 (via Internet Infidels Newswire).

What's the wrong/right exchange rate?

South Africa: Rape is a serious crime which carries a heavy sentence most places. But police have so far failed to catch the naked man who ambushes women fetching water from the wells around Moletjie village, and the locals are getting frustrated. One has even gone so far as to use mythology to justify the violent urges stemming from his frustration:

That we have failed to get this man does not mean we intend to forget about him, said community member Eckson Maile...
If we catch him before police do, we'll cut off his penis, because the Bible says if a part in a human being is troublesome, it should be cut off, said Maile.

Cthulhu offers a special service for the extraction of dysfunctional brains... Naked rapist on the loose - News 24, 26th April 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 19:44 | View blog reactions

April 22, 2004

Occam grows beard

South Africa: It's common knowledge that young men are never violent. So, in the case of a 16-year-old who allegedly stabbed his mother 21 times after an argument, it must be because he has a single book on Satanism, and not because he is either suffering from a mental illness, or simply a vicious thug. The police don't explain why a Satanist would bother to confess his crime to a Christian priest. Satanism link probed in mom's brutal murder - IOL, 22nd April 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:36 | View blog reactions

April 20, 2004

'Suspicious' fire destroys occult shop

Northern Ireland: A fire which devastated North Street Arcade in Belfast city centre is being treated as suspicious.

Forensic scientists who have been examining the North Street Arcade on Monday are understood to have concerns about the cause of the blaze.

The arcade, a delightful though somewhat run-down 1930s structure, was home to a number of alternative and arts-based business, including Labyrinth, a small and friendly occult shop. It also included a second-hand bookshop,the upstairs room of which was the motherlode of loony fundie nonsense. The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society has urged the council to try and save the building. Shopping arcade fire 'suspicious' - BBC News, 19th April 2004.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 09:12 | View blog reactions

April 13, 2004

I am God, Now Shut Up and Kill Your Sister

United States: Sometimes, people's beliefs in their invisible friend moves from the badgering of complete strangers onto the less socially acceptable obssession of forming their own cult. Marcus didn't believe in enticing the gullible into his little power trip, he favoured the time honoured tradition of using his family instead. And now several of them are a little dead.

A man accused of murdering nine of his children told them that he was God and ordered the older ones to kill the younger ones and then commit suicide, a Californian court was told.
Marcus Wesson, 57, is said to have sexually molested his daughters and inflicted week-long spankings on them if they broke rules such as not talking to men from outside the family.
Continue reading "I am God, Now Shut Up and Kill Your Sister"
Posted by Red Wolf in Love Thy Neighbour at 02:36 | View blog reactions

April 12, 2004

Mormons Still Rewriting History

United States: A while back we reported on the Mormons fixation with changing history by baptising the dead, the practice got up the noses of more than a few people and the LDS got a rap over the knuckles and promised not to do it again.

As we all know we promise not to do it again and we promise not to get caught doing it again are two entirely different animals.

In 1995, the Mormon church acceded to demands by Jewish leaders that the denomination stop posthumously baptizing Jews. But Helen Radkey, a Salt Lake City researcher, said on Friday that the process still hasn't ended.
She said she has found posthumous baptism records for 268 Dutch Jews killed in Polish concentration camps, which she described as a small sampling. All the death camp victims, incorrectly listed in the Mormon database as dying in Auschwitz, Germany, were posthumously baptized well after the 1995 agreement.
Continue reading "Mormons Still Rewriting History"

Neurotheology

Australia: You play around with brain imaging equipment to try and figure out how the brain works and you're innundated with advertising companies. There's a group in the US using the technology to peek inside to heads of religious extremists.

Continue reading "Neurotheology"

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April 10, 2004

No Foot Fondling For You, Young Lady

United States: Atlanta's head man in the silly hat has managed to get half his parishioners offside by declaring the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual a boys club only activity.

About 100 men and women gathered outside Atlanta's Roman Catholic cathedral Thursday to protest the archbishop's exclusion of women from the Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual.
Contrary to the order from Archbishop John Donoghue, the protesters said the rite should include everyone. Donoghue did not address the protest during Mass Thursday night. He and his staff have refused to comment on the issue.
Continue reading "No Foot Fondling For You, Young Lady"
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April 9, 2004

Why Are They Whipping the Easter Bunny, Mummy?

United States: It's no big surprise that loony fundies tend to be out of touch with the community, but a church in Pennsylvania found itself to be out of touch with its congregation when their Easter play combined The Passion of the Christ with the Easter bunny.

A church in western Pennsylvania trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.
People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, There is no Easter bunny, and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.
Melissa Salzmann, who brought her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped, Salzmann said.
Continue reading "Why Are They Whipping the Easter Bunny, Mummy?"
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April 8, 2004

Catholics Losing Out to Muslims

Rwanda: The locals took a dim view to the part played by priests and nuns during the massacres in Rwanda and are eagerly converting to Islam.

When 800,000 of their countrymen were killed in massacres that began 10 years ago this week, many Rwandans lost faith not only in their government but in their religion as well. Today, in what is still a predominantly Catholic country, Islam is the fastest growing religion.
Roman Catholicism has been the dominant faith in Rwanda for more than a century. But many people, disgusted by the role that some priests and nuns played in the killing frenzy, have shunned organized religion altogether, and many more have turned to Islam.
Continue reading "Catholics Losing Out to Muslims"
Posted by Red Wolf in Love Thy Neighbour at 07:20 | View blog reactions

April 5, 2004

Who hates who?

France: The ban on religious symbols in public schools has been controversial, and forces the liberal-minded to ask some important questions, as World on Fire notes:

So is it obvious that this legislation is merely state-sanctioned racism, an attempt by President Jacques Chirac to immunize himself from the right-wing anti-immigration appeals of Le Pen, the French Pat Buchanan? Or are there other issues, unique to French society, at work here? Are there legitimate reasons to enforce secularism in French public institutions? What does all this have to do with gang-rapes and family murders in the notorious slums of the cité in Paris? And, if this is obvious discrimination, how do we explain the incongruous fact that over 40% of French Muslim women support the ban?
Let's first listen to some of the Islamic women themselves. Across the street from an anti-secular demonstration organized by one of the imams of Paris, Sohaila Sharifa demonstrates for the new laws. The Islamic hijab is enslaving women, not freeing them, she told the Associated Press.
Anybody who says that it (the new law) is removing their religious freedoms, I say this: do you really believe a four-year-old is wearing the headscarf by choice? asks Rachida Ziouche, a journalist, and the daughter of an Algerian imam who has been living in exile in France since fleeing her homeland.

An essay from Open Democracy is quoted relating to an earlier decision not to ban the hijab:

It was on this basis that in 1989 the French Conseil d'Etat (supreme court) stated that the Muslim headscarf is not in itself an ostentatious symbol that could be banned from schools; it could only be forbidden if it were used as an instrument of pressure on girls who were reluctant to wear it.

(via The Sideshow).

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April 4, 2004

Googlebomb du Jour

Okay, you've seen the fun we've been having with The Passion of the Christ, but Norman Geras refers to a disturbing, but expired, Jersusalem Post article:

What is a Jew? Those hoping to find out from a Google search are in for an unpleasant surprise. The first of 1.75 million entries that appear when you type "Jew" into the search engine is an anti-Semitic site.

The solution comes from Jewschool:

For those of you visiting us today with interest in aiding our campaign, you can help by simply placing the following code on your own webpage: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew">Jew</a>

Like this: Jew. (via Ken Macleod)

April 3, 2004

Iraqi fundies now free to murder

Iraq: A Shia Muslim mob has destroyed a city they declared to be 'debauched'.

Hundreds of militiamen from the Mahdi's Army group besieged the town of Kawlia, 10km south of the city of Diwaniya, with mortars and smashed walls with sledgehammers three weeks ago, reducing to rubble the entire village famed for its dancers and prostitutes since the 1920s...
In Diwaniya, a town where women are all but absent on the streets, many younger residents and some policemen praised the Mahdi's Army methods. People would come from all over the south, and even Baghdad to dance with the gypsy girls, said Bassam al-Najafi, a Diwaniya restaurateur. Women were leaving their husbands to work there. They are cleansing the town.

Police asked journalists not to report the attack due to the 'sensitivity' of the news. Shia militia demolish 'debauched' Iraqi village - Financial Times, 2nd April 2004 (via Internet Infidels News Wire).

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March 31, 2004

A heap o' shi'ite

Kuwait: According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Shi'ite cleric has called for the broadcast of The Passion of the Christ because it reveals crimes committed by Jews against Christ. The Center's response, though, does not seem to acknowledge that not all Muslims are extremist loons:

Ayatollah Mohammed Baqer al-Mehri's reasoning makes it clear that his interest is in fostering hatred towards Jews more than anything else, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean and Founder of the SWC. We said all along and it comes as no surprise to us that Moslem countries will do all they can to help this film for the very reason the Ayatollah stated, Hier concluded.

The Center also critiscised the Greek media for publishing cartoons it charges are anti-semitic, though most of them seem merely to be unfunny, in extremely poor taste, and aimed firmly at the policies of the Israeli government, and especially Ariel Sharon, rather than Jews in general.

On March 23rd , Eleftheroptypia published three such cartoons, the first depicting Israel's Prime Minister Sharon and US president George Bush dressed as Nazi officers with swastikas on their uniforms and both shooting pistols. Sharon is portrayed in Der Strumer-like caricuture, while President Bush looks like monkey...
One of the reported cartoons is definitely racist, repeats the notorious Blood Libel, and is possibly inspired by A Certain Film:
The woman in the first box asks: Why did the Jewish Government kill a religious leader?The man answers, They are practicing for Easter.

LEADING KUWAITI AYATOLLAH URGES BROADCASTING OF 'PASSION' - Simon Wiesenthal Center press release, 29th March 2004; IN AFTERMATH OF YASSIN KILLING, WIESENTHAL CENTER: GREEK MEDIA'S ANTISEMITIC ONSLAUGHT CONTINUES UNABATED... TRAVEL ADVISORY TO STAY - Simon Wiesenthal Center press release, 30th March 2004;

March 29, 2004

Conspicuous Compassion

United Kingdom: One of the more annoying fundie traits that shits me no end, is their boundless ability to see someone in distress and use the bandaid of I'll pray for you to give themselves a warm and fuzzy feeling while not getting off their arses and actually helping. Alas it seems this problem is creeping into general society with a plague of conspicuous compassion.

According to a recent study, people who wear ribbons to show empathy with worthy causes and mourn in public for celebrities they have never met are part of a growing culture of ostentatious caring which is about feeling good, not doing good.

The report by thinktank Civitas argues that the trend towards public outpourings of compassion reveals not how altruistic society has become, but how selfish.
Continue reading "Conspicuous Compassion"

March 26, 2004

Pesky Anarchic Gay People

United States: A loony fundie pastor has taken exception to all of those gay people wanting to formalise their love. In his tiny little mind they're nothing but anarchists.

The thousands of same-sex newlyweds who have tied the knot in San Francisco's City Hall in recent days are anarchists, to the mind of Pastor Joseph Fuiten.
This shows a high disregard for America. When you have leaders of government, as in the mayor of San Francisco, flaunting the law, we call that anarchy. This is really an anarchists' movement, says the 54-year-old senior pastor at Cedar Park Assembly of God Church.

Same-sex weddings are 'anarchist' - Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 21st February 2004.

March 25, 2004

Racist attacks linked to killer movie.

Canada: Police and community groups in Vaughan are concerned about a recent rise in anti-semitic incidents.

The York Region Police has arrested two youngsters, aged 13 and 14 respectively, who had harassed several Vaughan residents over the phone with racist comments and threats. One of them will be referred to the Youth Criminal Justice Act Referral Programme, while the other will be charged with uttering death threats and harassment.
Meanwhile episodes of anti-Semitism continue. Last Tuesday the Chabad Lubavitch Centre in Vaughan reported to the police that on the previous Friday some eggs had been thrown against the façade of the synagogue at 770 Chabad Gate in Thornhill.
On Monday several swastikas and other writings had been found on the doors of two schools, Pleasantville Public on Mill Street and St. Elizabeth Catholic High on New Westminster Drive.

The article includes a photograph of a door some genius daubed with the phrase Jewz suk and an (inaccurate) swastika. A local Rabbi noted that the attacks coincided with the release of The Passion of the Christ. Racism in Vaughan causes concerns - Tandem News, March 28 - April 4, 2004.

March 23, 2004

Pest control

Solomon Islands: The defence has asked a court to throw out charges against two young men who are accused of beheading a missionary. A pagan priest who was to testify against the men has failed to turn up at court for the second time. No indication is given as to the alleged motive. Solomons beheading case should be thrown out, says defence - New Zealand Herald, 23rd March 2004.

March 17, 2004

Timmy the Vampire Slayer

United States: Certain fundies will be disappointed to hear that a self-styled 'vampire-slayer', who shot a co-worker twice in the face because he thought he was a vampire, was not a teenager inspired by a popular television program.

Timothy White, 35, who was described by friends as a born-again Christian with an unusual preoccupation with zombies and vampires, was arrested outside of a church after Friday's shooting.
Witnesses said he walked into the pizza shop on Normandy Boulevard and allegedly said David Harrison looked like a vampire. He then allegedly shot Harrison in the face and stomach.

'Vampire Slayer' Shoots Man In Face - Local 6, 15th March 2004 (via Internet Infidels News Wire).

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March 14, 2004

Police ignore crime to chase shadows

Cyprus: Police are insisting on chasing Satanists, despite a lack of evidence that they even exist.

However, a police source yesterday revealed to the Sunday Mail that they have received isolated reports that people were forming groups and gathering together in deserted areas. We have checked them out and on some occasions we have found suspicious evidence such as dolls on the ground. The question of whether Satanic acts are performed in Cyprus has yet to be answered, but we believe that they probably are, said the source.
Theodorou did admit that there had been an isolated incident whereby after a tip off police recovered what they believed to be Satanic symbols in a barren area in Limassol. He added that there had been no concrete evidence linking the symbols to anybody, nor was it established that the symbols were actually related to satanic rituals, so the case was not investigated further.
Theodorou did reassure Papadopoulou that the police were conducting thorough searches in deserted areas for youngsters acting suspiciously, especially on nights where there is a full moon, and that they did view every report they received with the utmost urgency.

Justice Minister Doros Theodorou believes the more credible explanation that young people are gathering to sell and use drugs. The Greek bit of Cyprus enters the EU soon, where freedom of religious belief is guaranteed (though no-one seems to have told the French). Satanism fears groundless, says minister - Cyprus Sunday Mail, 14th March 2004.

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March 12, 2004

Sorry about the bigotry

United States: The head of a Christian organisation has had to apologise after threatening to 'out' legislators he thought might be gay.

[Executive Director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, Michael] Heath says he should not have suggested that the League had any interest in the sexual orientation of state lawmakers.
Earlier, he asked members to send him tips, rumors, speculations and facts that he could post on the league's Web site.

The apology, posted to the League's web site, reads:

I am sorry for indicating that the League is going to keep a list of the "sexual orientation" of public policy makers and leaders. In the midst of fighting for something I feel very strong about I wrote and said things that I should not have written and spoken. I feel terrible that my words and conduct have besmirched the fine reputation and important ministry of the Christian Civic League of Maine. And I apologize to the Legislature and the people of Maine.

Portland Representative John Eder described Heath's actions as completely disgusting and meant to encourage hatred and violence. Heath apologizes for threat to out lawmakers - NewsRadio WMTW, 12th March 2004; I apologize - Christian Civic League of Maine web site, not dated.

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March 10, 2004

No spirits license.

Australia: A Sydney hotelier has barred a Pagan discussion group which met regularly in his bar (and probably made a significant contribution to his profits) because he was scared they might be casting spells!

People found their behaviour strange and threatening...casting spells on bars in the hotel or clearing bars with certain spells, Tony Green, owner of the Greenwood Hotel, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. They talk about casting spells and they brought with them, I believe, a small cauldron. I think they behaved as though they are witches, Green added.

A representative of the group, Suzanne Maxim, pointed out that this was unlikely as the bar wasn't really the right sort of place for rituals: It's not a very sacred space. Aussie publican bars regulars he said were casting spells in hotel - CNews, 10th March 2004.

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March 4, 2004

Girl Scouts Vilified by Fundies

United States: The loony fundies have always got their knickers in a knot over something, but this time the object of their wrath are the Girl Scouts. It seems that the Girl Scouts have been rubbing shoulders with Planned Parenthood and the fundies are terrified that their little angels may actually get a decent bloody sex education and have jumped on their usual wagon of hatred and bigotry.

The furor was started a few weeks ago by the leader of the anti-abortion group Pro-Life Waco, who sent out e-mails and ran ads on a Christian radio station urging people to boycott Girl Scout cookies because of the cozy relationship between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood.

Parents were upset to learn that the local Girl Scout organization had given a woman of distinction award last year to a Planned Parenthood executive. And they were disturbed to find out that the Girl Scout organization has been giving its endorsement for years to a Planned Parenthood sex-ed program in which girls and boys are given literature on homosexuality, masturbation and condoms.

It's not that we're a bunch of activists. We're just a bunch of moms who care about their kids, said Lisa Aguilar, who took her 10-year-old daughter out of her eight-member Girl Scout troop. For us, it's the morality. Where is Girl Scouts going?
Continue reading "Girl Scouts Vilified by Fundies"
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February 26, 2004

Lack of Education Spreading Diseases

United States: It seems that the loony fundie penchant for killing off sex education in the US and replacing actual education with lectures on abstinence, has come back to bite them in the arse.

Half of all young Americans will get a sexually transmitted disease by the age of 25, perhaps because they are ignorant about protection or embarrassed to ask for it, according to several reports issued on Tuesday.
The reports, publicized by two nonprofit sexual and youth health groups, said there were 9 million new cases of STD among teens and young adults aged 15 to 24 in 2000.
They said the U.S. government's policy of preferring abstinence-only education would only increase those rates.
Continue reading "Lack of Education Spreading Diseases"
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February 24, 2004

Same old story

United States: A Wiccan family is looking for a new home to escape persecution by some charming, intelligent neighbours:

We have been harassed and tormented by a misconception. Until somebody bigoted faces criminal charges, I don't think it's going to stop, Wiccan shop owner Margie Allen said.
Allen and her daughters practice Wicca. They owned a small store in Kingsland. Allen says their problem started when unwelcome visitors targeted the store last year.
It was a big commotion, started yelling, 'Satanism, Satanism.' There were four or five of them all together. One was doing the yelling. Trying to get them to stop so I could explain, Allen said.

Wiccans Looking For A Safe Home - KXAN, 23rd February 2004.

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February 22, 2004

Paging Occam, your razor is needed

Ireland: A conspiracy theorist, has concluded that serial killers Fred and Rosemary West were part of a Satanic cult and is writing a book about it. Jim Cairns has also written books defaming Wicca, and his website promotes the Satanic Child Abuse Myth (SCAM).

The murders reek of human sacrifice with powerful connections.
The Wests have got all the essential ingredients of ritual killers - their indifference to the suffering of their victims, the murder of their own children and the burying of the bodies under their own house.
The fact that all of the victims had fingers and toes missing, and that the bar they built to entertain Rose Wests clients was called the Black Magic Bar, just underlines the point.

After all, it couldn't be that they were simply sadistic murderers, could it? And all those other serial killers and mass murderes must have been Satanists, too:

It can't be a coincidence, he said. And the Wests wouldn't be the first serial killers to have satanic connections.
I have no doubt that the likes of Jack the Ripper and Myra Hindley were involved in something similar. Their killing patterns and behaviour reek of the occult, too.

In support of his hypothesis, he cites a report written by SCAM promotor Valerie Sinason, which erceived government funding, ignoring the report by Professor Jean LaFontaine whch the UK government actually published. Of course, with Fred West safely dead, and Rosemary firmly locked away, he can utter whatever bollocks he likes. Fred West linked to the occult - icBirmingham, 22nd February 2004.

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February 21, 2004

Proof That Insanity is Hereditary

United States: While Mel Gibson is fanning the flames of fundie ignorance with his vanity pic, his father is out there pissing off the Jewish community by claiming that the Holocaust was exaggerated.

Continue reading "Proof That Insanity is Hereditary"

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Oops

Zimbabwe: Two children have died after a faith healing session went wrong.

It is alleged that the father took his whole family for a church service where he ordered his wife and their three children to return home for a healing session. The self-styled faith healer and the father later took the concoction and gave it to the whole family.
After consuming the medicine, the deceased began to complain of stomach aches and diarrhoea. The two juveniles allegedly died the following morning and their bodies where taken to Musiso Hospital for a post-mortem.

The concoction contained water and an unknown herb, which the police suspectmight have been poison. The faith healer and the father of the dead children have been arrested. Faith healing session ends in tragedy - The Herald (Zimbabwe - via Religion News Blog), 19th February 2004.

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February 18, 2004

Nae pufters.

West Lothian council has a record budget of £4.3 million for voluntary organisations this year, but one councillor got very upset about £511 given to the local Lesbian and Gay Switchboard. SNP councillor Eddie Malcolm claimed it was not that he was homophobic, but that if he were gay, he wouldn't want anyone to know!

He said: If I was gay I wouldn't want to be singled out as being gay. It is nothing to do with money.
If we want gay and lesbian people to be integrated into the community, then why pigeonhole them by having a separate switchboard when there are others which offer the same service to everyone?

He neglected to give any examples of such alternative services, and other members of his party were quick to point out that his view was most definitely not SNP policy. Councillor bids to stop £511 for gay switchboard - Edinburgh Evening News, 18th February 2004.

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February 16, 2004

Buy A Valentine's Day Card, Get Your Head Shaved

India: Not everyone is a fan of commercialised Western traditions aimed at marketing Hallmark cards, but some loony fundies in India have got themselves into a right lather over Valentine's Day.

Hindu nationalists who claim they are fighting against Western cultural influence have threatened to shave young lovers' heads and beat them if they exchange Valentine's Day cards and gifts.
Continue reading "Buy A Valentine's Day Card, Get Your Head Shaved"
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February 14, 2004

Public Transport And A Bag Of Lard

Israel: A loony fundie from Israel has proposed hanging bags of pig fat in buses to deter Muslim suicide bombers who may want to avoid contact with an unclean animal.

The idea — suggested by Rabbi Eliezer Fisher, a rabbinical judge, in a letter to police — signaled the extremes to which some Israelis may be willing to go to stop Palestinian bombers who have killed hundreds of Israelis in recent years.
Judaism, like Islam, considers pigs unclean. But the ultra-Orthodox rabbi has ruled that special dispensation can be given for placing bags of lard in buses and public places in an effort to prevent attacks.
Continue reading "Public Transport And A Bag Of Lard"
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No Sex Please, We're Repressed Bigots

United States: In a curious promotional gimmick aimed at called attention to the fact that America is possibly the most sexually repressed place on Earth, a rapid pack of loony fundies are pushing their Day of Purity nonsense.

Melissa Millis feels bombarded by everyday messages of sexual promiscuity, whether it's Janet Jackson's bare breast during the Super Bowl or her classmates' casual sex talk.

So Millis, a high school senior in Michigan, and thousands of other students across the nation plan to wear white T-shirts to school Friday, the day before Valentine's Day, to publicly show their commitment to not having sex outside marriage. They're calling their effort the Day of Purity, and they will distribute pro-abstinence pamphlets to their peers.

The way sex is talked about, it's so casual, like it's an everyday thing, like going to McDonald's, said Millis, 17.

The grass-roots effort is supported by Christian groups nationwide and organized by Liberty Counsel, a conservative religious rights group based in Orlando. It comes as President Bush is pushing in his budget proposal to double federal funding for sexual abstinence programs.
Continue reading "No Sex Please, We're Repressed Bigots"
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February 13, 2004

Dealing With The God-Botherers, Go Harass The Neighbours

Israel: Nobody likes being badgered by a happy, shiny, vacant god-bother with a conversion quota to fill. That includes the Israeli Tourism Minister, who suggested that the current flock of evangelical missionaries bugger off and harass the Moslems instead.

[Tourism Minister Benny] Elon told the Christians that Israel would not accept any missionary attempts to convert Jews, but suggested they turn their attention to Muslim militants in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
Go to mosques and bring the light to the Muslims. Remind all the Muslim killers that thou shall not kill. Make them good Christians and good people, Elon was quoted as saying in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.

Later clarification was added to soften the Minister's rant.

Rotenberg confirmed the minister's comments, but said Elon was referring only to Muslims who preach to kill.

Elon urges missionaries to convert Muslims - AP, 9th February 2004.

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February 10, 2004

Call Me Crazy, But...

United States: An American Airlines pilot has done his darnedest to prove that the French have the right idea about classing fundies as insane and barring them from positions where their madness could put peoples lives at risk.

Continue reading "Call Me Crazy, But..."

January 30, 2004

The Ticking Fundie Time Bomb

Iraq: Being badgered by a particular loony fundie whilst at Uni gave Rene Gonzalez a distaste for their kind, especially their dodgy convert the heathens mantra being disguised as humanitarian aid.

It is not a morally right policy. It is racist, arrogant, ignorance, and paternalistic, and the U.S. government should not be collaborating or looking the other way to it. These are the things that later give credence to arguments of chickens coming home to roost. Christian Evangelicals in Iraq are a time-bomb waiting to explode, and you might just be the person near it!

Christian Evangelicals in Iraq: A Time-Bomb Waiting to Explode - Information Clearing House, 25th January 2004.

Fundamentalism has Spawned an Ideology of American Supremacy

United States: George Soros offers an insight into the fundies that run the US.

...At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.
This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.

The US is now in the hands of a group of extremists - The Guardian, 26th January 2004.

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January 29, 2004

Catholic Segregation Scheme

Scotland: In one of the lamest excuses to get out of a commitment, the Catholic Church is threatening to cut and run on a school scheme unless they're allowed to build in segregation.

Senior Catholic Church officials have said they will to call a halt on the project to use seven primary school sites in Lanarkshire unless they get written assurances that there will be separate entrances, staff lavatories and nurseries for the different faiths.

Catholic Church may pull out of school-share deal in Scotland - The Independent, 27th January 2004.

It's Always the Satanic Cult to Blame

Italy: Almost 20 years after the last murder blamed on the Monster of Florence, investigators have reopened the case because they suspect a Satanic cult ordered the killings and kept body parts as prizes — as you do.

The villa was rented by a doctor, thought to have drowned in a Tuscan lake in 1985. But when authorities recently discovered he was a suspected Satanist and had actually been murdered, they reopened their files... Investigators now suspect the doctor was part of a clan that ordered the Monster to kill eight couples.

Storing body parts for 20 years has got to take up some freezer space.

Satanic cult probed in Monster of Florence murders - Reuters, 23rd January 2004.

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January 25, 2004

Funny love

Bisexual, Pagan Livejournal user princesswitch received a tract in the post. Instead of throwing it away immediately, she read it.

I also got a long tract--maybe I should call it a brochure--called When a Loved One Says, 'I'm Gay'. Its meant to tell conservative Christians how to deal with gay children, friends, and spouses. Bob Davies, an ex-gay man who was once an Exodus leader, wrote it. Mike Haley and John Paulk were part of the editing. I finally looked at it two days ago. Some of the advice is actually pretty good. But a lot of it, especially the stuff that relates to kids, shocked me! I shouldn't be shocked, but I was anyhow. They ask people to treat their kid's coming out practically like the kid is dead!

And then she went on to comment on it, at length, and concludes:

And praying that queer loved ones will experience the consequences of sin! Words fail me, but I'll try. What consequences does Davies have in mind? AIDS? STDs? A broken heart? Why does he wish any kind of pain on unrepentant gays and lesbians? (You'll be sorry you didn't listen to me!) Is one supposed to wish terrible things onto other sinners, too? And with prayers like that, why is it that we Witches and Vodouisants are the ones who are accused of dishing out the curses right and left?!
Say what you will, but no P-FLAG brochure or coming-out manual urges that you pray for your unrepentantly homophobic parents to experience the consequences of their homophobia.

Why can't I get a nice letter bomb or death threat in the mail? - Jayelle's Front Porch, 24th January 2004 (via Ex-gay Watch). See also Love Wins Some, Love Loses Some, the article referred to in the original post.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:47 | View blog reactions

January 21, 2004

Undemonising the Child

United States: Looks like another pair of fundies will be pleading the cast out the devil for your own good defence.

A husband and wife have been charged with murdering a 6-year-old girl whose back was broken in what police said may have been an exorcism gone wrong...
Continue reading "Undemonising the Child"
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January 15, 2004

Mormons Posthumously Baptising All and Sundry

United States: Did you know that many of Hitler's victims were actually Mormons? Neither did he (or any of them for that matter), but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making sure of it.

Continue reading "Mormons Posthumously Baptising All and Sundry"

January 7, 2004

US Fundies Pushing Their Own Foreign Policy

Israel: The evangelical fundies, having found the pleasures gained in fleecing the gullible are waning, have started flexing their muscles in the arena of foreign policy. They seem hell-bent on rewriting history to serve their fairy tale belief in the end times, by bringing in about in their own lifetime.

Continue reading "US Fundies Pushing Their Own Foreign Policy"
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Praise the Lord and Pass the Sunscreen

United States: With a long history of prudish behaviour and a culture that glorifies violence and fears sex, Bill Martin may be living in land of wishful thinking with his plans to convert 240 acres of rubbish strewn land about 30 miles outside Tampa into a nudist playground for Christians.

Continue reading "Praise the Lord and Pass the Sunscreen"
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January 6, 2004

Religions Cause War — Except Mine

United States: A recent poll in Minnesota shows that most respondents believe religion, except Christianity, has a role in world conflicts.

Continue reading "Religions Cause War — Except Mine"

January 5, 2004

Pastor Buck

Uganda: An investigation by the National Fellowship of Born Again Christian Churches into a leading pastor has found no evidence that he was a devil-worshipping witch who sacrificed babies. An American woman had made the allegations against Pastor Simeon Kayiwa. He puts her actions down to jealousy, personal disagreements and competition. A police investigation continues. Committee Clears Kayiwa of Murder - The monitor (via allAfrica.com, 3rd January 2004; See also Leading pastor accused of witchcraft - Pagan Prattle, 21st April 2003.

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January 3, 2004

Michael Jackson, Cult Magnet

United States: Rumour has it that officials of the Nation of Islam, a separatist African-American Muslim group, have shacked up with the singer.

Efforts to reach Jackson through his spokesman were not successful, but his lawyer, Mark Geragos, and The Final Call, the Nation of Islam's newspaper denied the claim. Initially invited to the Neverland Ranch near Santa Barbara several weeks ago to provide security for Jackson, members of the Nation of Islam are now restricting access to him and have begun making decisions for him related to the news media, his business affairs and even his legal strategy, Jackson's friends and associates said.

I would have thought that Michael Jackson is more than capable of behaving like a wingnut of his own accord without the aid of yet another bunch of religious loonies.

Dispute in Michael Jackson Camp Over Role of the Nation of Islam - New York Times, 31st December 2003.

December 31, 2003

Saving Iraq From Islam

Iraq: First they came under US gun fire, now the locals in Baghdad are under an US-led attack of a different kind. Batten down the hatches, the fundies are about to hit town.

Continue reading "Saving Iraq From Islam"
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December 30, 2003

Saskatoon accused win case

Canada: Twelve people who were accused of ritually abusing children in the late eighties have won a civil suit against three of the people responsible. The judge agreed that they were the victims of a malicious prosecution.

The case started at the height of the satanic abuse panic and bears all the hallmarks of that period:

Richard Klassen and 11 others were accused more than 12 years ago of ritualistically abusing foster kids - forcing them to eat eyeballs, drink blood, participate in orgies and watch newborn babies get skinned and buried...
...Terry Hinz, a former Crown prosecutor, told court he asked [Saskatoon police Supt. Brian] Dueck to track down the babies who were killed. Dueck told him the killers were brood mares - women who breed children specifically to sacrifice them.

Dueck testified that he had been following a widely recognized protocol to believe that children are being honest when they disclose information about sexual abuse. The children, now in their mid-twenties have publically admitted that they made up the stories. Accused were victims in abuse case, judge rules - Toronto Star, 30th December 2003.

December 27, 2003

This Charming Man (update)

Australia: The Age newspaper has an interview with the Wiccan woman who is the victim of a Christian politician's vendetta, and gives a good overview of the case so far.

Since the claims became public, Ms Watts says she has been subject to attack. On August 16 a gentleman came to my door and asked me if I was the naturopath Cr Wilson was talking about. When I admitted I was, he grabbed me and started hitting me on the forehead saying he was driving the demons out of Casey. He just kept screaming 'Out you demon, out you demon'.

Councillor Wilson claims that his naming of Ms. Watts when he declared a Satanic cult was trying to take over the city, and his call for a day of prayer to counter it, was not to incite hatred, contempt, revulsion or ridicule of Ms Watts. The councillor, the witch, and the tribunal - The Age, 27th December 2003.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:41 | View blog reactions

December 16, 2003

I Was a Tool of Satan

United States: The life of a political cartoonist is fraught with the perils of fending off attacks from thin-skinned fundies with way too much time on their hands. Doug Marlette discusses the latest influx of affronted loonies as well as battles past.

Continue reading "I Was a Tool of Satan"

December 15, 2003

Bad Mouse, No Bottomless Lederhosen

United States: A loony fundie group calling themselves the Christian Action Network — a name that really should have its own line of action figures — is begging all and sundry for funds to help them stop the evil of Disney. Not the evil of the empire of the mouse in general with it's anything for a buck manifesto, but because it dares to pander to a those nasty homosexuals with its blatant Gay Days.

Continue reading "Bad Mouse, No Bottomless Lederhosen"
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December 13, 2003

Goodwill to all men

United States: A flyer sent out to thousands of potential customers by a Texan party supplies store contained an unfortunate error:

An ad for Party City was supposed to highlight a sale on Hanukkah items, but it also contained a hateful anti-Semitic message.
The advertisement includes the sentence CC Hates the Jews in large, bold letters.

'CC' is apparently the initials of an employee at a design company who changed the text when the layout artist was otherwise engaged. Clue (MacOS 10.2.4): Apple -> System Preferences -> Screen Effects -> Activation. See the bit that says 'Password to use when waking the screen effect'? Click the radio button marked 'Use my user account password'. MacOS 9 also allows you to specify a password to exit the screen saver. Holiday Ad Has Hidden Hate Message. - NBC5i, 11th December 2003 (via Metafilter; image of 'typo' here).

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 15:49 | View blog reactions

December 12, 2003

Begone Foul Proselytiser

Don't know how I missed the original story about the ram with a distaste for Jehovah's Witnesses, but a search on the topic did turn up a commentary on the story with some suggestions for turning away the hoards of Holy Johs, Mormons, and other evangelists, such as mobile phone salespeople that will be beating a path to your door this holiday season armed with the firm belief that the only way to secure their own place in heaven is to try to flog you a ticket for the journey as well.

Continue reading "Begone Foul Proselytiser"
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December 11, 2003

The Fluffy Bunny Goddess

India: Police killed one person, and injured at least ten others, when they opened fire on a mob who wanted to get their hands on a man being held in connection with the apparent sacrifice of a six-year-old boy to Kali. Two men have confessed to the crime.

The statement said Mahavir slashed Munna with a sharp knife in [Godman Khepa] Baba's presence as Thakur, Bhuyian, Shambhu Rajak and Mahadeo held him down. The boy's blood was collected in a bowl and siddhi rituals performed. Baba first offered the blood to Goddess Kali and then advised Mahavir to smear the blood on his chest to obtain supernatural powers.
Bhuyian approached Mahavir when he found it difficult to withdraw the money Central Coalfields Limited at Urimary owed to his father, who died last year. Mahavir, a staunch follower of Baba, told Bhuyian - anxious to obtain his father's provident fund dues - that the godman would help him get the money - only, a human had to be sacrificed for this. Baba is believed to have demanded a large sum of money for this.

Boy sacrificed to propitiate PF god - The Telegraph (Calcutta), 12th December 2003.

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December 9, 2003

Whipping up enthusiasm

Japan: Five members of the Panawave Laboratory sect have been arrested in connection with the death of a member who was allegedly beaten to death last August. According to the police, beating members is a regular practice of the group, which believes it helps to raise spirits and had compiled an instruction manual on how to do it.

The police also found that there was a hierarchy in the group, and Fujimori and the other suspects played various roles, with some ordering beatings and others carrying them out.
The police will investigate who compiled the manual and also probe the structure of the group and whether punishment beatings were routine.

5 held over Pana Wave HQ death - Daily Yomiuri, 5th December 2003; Police: Pana Wave wrote manual on how to beat members - Daily Yomiuri, 6th December 2003; Flagellation brought up to date. - The Pagan Prattle Online, 11th August 2003.

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God hates own handiwork

Taiwan: Vice president Annette Lu told an AIDS awareness conference that AIDS is God's way of punishing homosexuals and that it was His way of distinguishing between men and animals. Some members of her own party are urging her not to resign. The main route of HIV infection, even excluding Africa, is now via heterosexual sex. Attitudes such as this are part of the reason why. AIDS is God's punishment against gays, says Taiwan politician - Gay.com News, 9th December 2003.

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December 3, 2003

Too depressed to come up with a witty headline

Egypt: According to MEMRI (usual caveats apply), a new manuscript museum in the Alexandria Library includes a copy of the first Arabic translation of the fraudulent The Protocols of the Elders of Zion next to a Torah in a display of holy books. The curator explained:

When my eyes fell upon the rare copy of this dangerous book, I decided immediately to place it next to the Torah. Although it is not a monotheistic holy book, it has become one of the sacred [tenets] of the Jews, next to their first constitution, their religious law, [and] their way of life. In other words, it is not merely an ideological or theoretical book.
Perhaps this book of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' is more important to the Zionist Jews of the world than the Torah, because they conduct Zionist life according to it... It is only natural to place the book in the framework of an exhibit of Torah [scrolls].

The best book I've found on the Protocols is Norman Cohn's Warrant for Genocide: The Myth of the Jewish World Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Amazon link - I'm not an affiliate or anything, this is an honest recommendation) which investigates the history of the fraud, including its probable origins, and examines its role in promoting anti-semitism. Jewish Holy Books On Display at the Alexandria Library: The Torah & the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' - MEMRI Special Dispatch, 3rd December 2003 (via Dodgeblogium).

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 11:31 | View blog reactions

November 28, 2003

Spelling Bee

United States: Wicca is one of the things parents bother rural school districts about, and they seem to think it's the same as gang violence.

This year and in years past the Sullivan and Bourbon School Districts have dealt with a number of issue's but one issue facing the districts is school violence and in particular recent incidents involving alleged art work and statements known as KTP, Kill The Preps, and reports of a small number of students interested in Wicca, witchcraft.

Reading that paragraph, and the headline of the article, I can spot at least one issue which is not being dealt with, and it's something that's definitely within a school's remit. School Violence Addressed As Local District's Deal With Issue's - Sullivan Independent News, 19th November 2003.

November 27, 2003

Sex and the Holy City

It has been 25 years since Pope John Paul was elected as commander in chief of men who wear frocks and funny hats. While many Catholics are celebrating his reign, millions of women around the world may feel they have reason to regret his long rule — and the global battles he has waged against contraception, abortion and condoms.

In a unique Panorama documentary, Steve Bradshaw investigates how the Pope, who tried to act in the best interests of women, came to be accused by his opponents of ruining so many lives.

Continue reading "Sex and the Holy City"
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November 18, 2003

The new face of terror

United States: A 67-year-old woman has been charged with making terroistic threats after she blew her top at a Santiera priest who publicly sacrificed two roosters. In a letter, Violet Skendarian offered to sacrifice the priest, the mayor and his lawyer

It's time to make human sacrifices to make your ancestors even more happy, read the letter, which was mailed to Mota's religious store in Passaic on Nov. 10. YOU MOTA -- all your family members, your lawyer, Jesus Pena, Passaic Mayor Sammy Rivera are all going to be sacrificed.
The letter also said: Santeria is an evil, pagan, ancient bloodthirsty cult which enjoys killing animals.

So, presumably, Christians have been eating Tofurky at Christmas all these years. Santeria Priest, Mayor Threatened After Animal Sacrifice - WNBC, 17th November 2003.

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 09:11 | View blog reactions

...and get stoned, all in my honour.

United States: Wiccan books were included in a display of drug paraphenalia for nearly a year in a Tennessee sheriff's department. They have since been removed after an enquiry, but no explanation has been given as to why they were there in the first place. Religious books removed from drug items display after inquiry - The Tennessean, 16th November 2003.

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November 2, 2003

Which witch is which?

United States: The Rubio case gets weirder. In support of his insanity defence, lawyers for John Rubio are trying to demonstrate that he thought he was an hereditary witch dedicated to driving evil from the world:

Authorities say Rubio told police that he was the son and grandson of witches who had been called upon to help drive evil from the world. He told police that he and Angela Camacho, 23, sequestered the family in the apartment after seeing a woman with the mark of the beast.
According to investigators, Rubio said his mother had cast a spell on the children and his dead grandmother was occupying the body of the eldest child, 3-year-old Julissa Quezada. Rubio admitted to killing Quezada first, 1-year-old John Esthefan Rubio second, and 2-month-old Mary Jane Rubio last.
Defense attorneys say Rubio believed the children were possessed by evil spirits and that in a moment of insanity he thought the only way to get rid of the spirits was to kill the children and sever their heads.

Countering this, an expert on Mexican culture pointed out that if they really believed this, there would be witchcraft paraphenalia in the house, and none was discovered. EXPERT: NO SIGNS OF WITCHCRAFT IN HOME - Tyler Morning Telegraph, 31st October 2003.

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October 29, 2003

Unusual guy causes stushie.

The Commission for Racial Equality has called for the prosecution of those responsible for burning effegies of gypsies at a village bonfire party.

Patricia Knight, who was at the bonfire with her seven-year-old daughter, said: A caravan was wheeled down the street which portrayed women and children inside, with 'pikey' written on the back and the image of a scantily-clad woman standing in the door.
I could see other people looking shocked and I could hear shouts of 'racists' directed at the bonfire society and 'shame'.

The bonfire society insist they were misunderstood and were merely highlighting the plight of some travellers who had been evicted from a nearby site recently. Gypsy effigies burnt on bonfire - BBC News, 28th October 2003.

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October 28, 2003

Choking on coffee moment.

I cannot find the words to describe this screenshot of an anti-abortion news site found via Pharyngula (who found it via Orcinus).

Sheep-shagger logic

When some thugs hack off the tails of your horses, who do you blame? Pagans of course. Let's ignore the inconvenient fact that nature-based spirituality tends to atttact tree-hugging vegan hippies in disproportionate numbers. After all, it is nearly Hallowe'en so that must be the reason! HORSE TAILS HACKED IN SUSPECTED CULT RITUAL - Aberdeen Evening Express, 28th October 2003.

Back to the sixties.

United States: A Muslim cleric who wears traditional clothing has started a lawsuit against Greyhound Lines after he was barred from boarding a bus.

Mohammad claims that he purchased a Greyhound ticket on December 13 that was to take him from the Nashville bus station to Jackson. When he attempted to board the bus, however, Mohammad says the driver reacted in a hostile manner and refused to let him board, despite the fact that the bus was only about half full at the time, and Mohammad had a legitimate ticket to board.
I don't want you on this bus, the lawsuit quotes the driver as saying.
...Mohammad also claims that a security guard employed by Greyhound, told him his ticket fare would not be refunded. Mohammad also claims that the security guard held his hand as though he were about to draw [his gun] on [Mohammad] during the conversation.

The bus company faces federal charges of discrimination, and is also accused of offences under the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Bus line sued for service refusal - Nashville City Paper, 27th October 2003.

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A modest proposal

United States: A mother accused of murdering her children has given a second confession to police in which she says she did it because the family had finiancial problems. The initial statement was much more interesting.

In her first confession to police, [Angela] Camacho said that days before the murders, the children began acting strange and crying a lot.
We felt someone had put some type of spell on our children, she said.
Just as [the father, John Allen] Rubio told police in statements already entered in evidence, Camacho said the children were killed because they appeared to be possessed as the result of witchcraft.
She said the concerned parents rubbed an egg on Julissa and dropped it in a container of water to check for proof of a curse.
The way the egg floated told us something has happened to Julissa, she said.
The practice is common in faith healing when treating a person afflicted with mal ojo, or evil eye."

The defence lawyer noted that she had been a special education student at school. Mother bares other motive in kids' deaths - MySA.com, 28th October 2003.

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October 27, 2003

Brazilians spot a good excuse to party.

Brazil: Despite the early influence of Scottish and Irish immigrants (the name 'Brazil' comes from a Gaelic legend), Hallowe'en has never really been marked until recently. A rough translation of an article by Sérgio Augusto includes some information about the Brazilian Hallowe'en and where it comes from (complete with obligatory pseudoceltic nonsense):

Brazilians are natural partiers, but the catholic traditions always kept Brazilians from celebrating the arrival of November with the same happiness enjoyed in Carnival times. Mexican tradition allows for this type of carrying on, since they have made Dia de los Muertos (Finados) their most celebrated holiday. Watching them mix the macabre with a carnival feeling is awe-inspiring. Their Mayan and Aztec roots give way to an incredible comfort level with death, allowing them to enjoy eating foods in the shape of skulls. Every November 2nd, Mexicans creep tourists out by their displays of skeletons and death. In the interior of Mexico, there is still the belief that celebrating the dead will bring rain, better crops and increased fertility, and of course, good luck.
With such tradition, Mexicans should really downplay Halloween, since they also have pranks associated with their Day of the Dead festival, when young adults steal fruit, flowers and corn on the evening of November 1st, honoring all the saints. Witches on broomsticks don't mean anything in Mexico. They didn't mean anything here, either, except in Maranhão, where for some odd reason some celebrate Nossa Senhora da Vassoura, who wipes the bad away with a broom. Well, the rest of Brazil is accepting the traditions of All Hallow's Eve, on the night before November 1st, October 31st.

With extreme Protestant groups making headway among Brazil's poor, there is some opposition, of course. Augusto has a low opinion of them, and their propaganda (the example referred to is a Jack Chick comic).

One group of fascists who are against this party are called the Satanic Panic-ers, who distribute pamphlets and have a comic book called Spellbound. In it, Halloween is described as a satanic ritual where children eat poisonous candies and are kidnapped and sacrificed so that their fat can be used to make the candles that go in the jack-o'-lantern, and so on.
Not even the Celts had devils or deities connected to death in their beliefs. There is no proof that the Celts harmed or killed people other than those who committed crimes and sometimes prisoners of war. Sacrifices, inquisitions and pogroms were, as the Vatican itself shamefully admits, Christian inventions. Another fallacy: the Celts never saw a pumpkin, and they knew that human fat is not a good ingredient to make candles.

Halloween in Brazil - Gringoes.com, 27th October 2003.

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October 26, 2003

Hoary old chestnut campaigns for vote.

[A black cat today]United States: Dozens of black cats have been condemned to a miserable Hallowe'en thanks to gullible animal lovers who believe they might be sacrificed by Satanists. Rather than being allowed to join loving homes, the moggies will have to stay in their cages at animal shelters.

We are really cautious. This week and next, we will routinely not adopt them out, said Theresa Williams, director of St. Charles County Humane Services. The concern is that people who don't truly want to be pet owners will want a cat as a seasonal prop, or, as has happened in isolated incidents, get a black or white cat to use in ritual abuse.

Despite its definite tone, Williams admitted her statement had no basis in reality, and local animal protection officials said they had not received any complaints. Another 'expert', Nan Stuart, blamed 'dabblers' in Satanism and claimed:

She said, contrary to what some may think, white cats or white German Shepherds are probably most sought for ritual killings at Halloween. You probably won't hear about many of them, she said. I've investigated cases of it.

If she gave any examples of convictions, which would be in the public record, the newspaper chose not to mention them. Instead they observed, just like the Prattle last year (Hoary old chestnut - Prattle, 25th October 2002), the biggest problem is not witches, or even Satanists, but juvenile delinquents. The only remotely hallowe'en-connected cruelty cases have been teenagers torturing and killing animals in highly unritualistic ways.

When asked whether she feared for her life, Frigg (7), Prattle Alley's resident black cat (pictured above), presented her tummy to be tickled, complained about the diet food and asked to be kept indoors while the kids were messing with fireworks. Some shelters protect black cats at Halloween - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 25th October 2003.

Posted by Feòrag in Hallowe'en and Love Thy Neighbour at 12:29 | View blog reactions

October 22, 2003

Nine days to go...

United States: ...and the loony fundies are complaining about Hallowe'en.

Halloween is a holiday with dark occultic origins, which many people do not realize. Some members in the church will go trick-or-treating, but Sheahan said he recommends those children wear positive-themed outfits, possibly going as Bible characters.
I would not want children dressing in costumes like witches, when witchcraft is actually practiced today right here in Marshfield, and it's a growing danger, Sheahan said. We need to be light in the darkness, not mimicking the darkness.

The Pagan Prattle recommends The Revelation of St. John as a useful source of costume inspiration... Alternatively, a cheap and easy option would be to go as Adam or Eve, prior to the fruit incident. Halloween traditions upset some churches - Marshfield News Herald, 22nd October 2003.

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October 19, 2003

Highlighting Indian witch-hunting

A New Zealand woman and her husband are to make a film about witch-hunting in India. In an interview with the Sunday Star Times, Geethanjali Kurian talks about her own unusual background as the child of a Hindu/Catholic couple, and the incidents which inspired the film.

Each year, an estimated 200 women are killed as witches in rural India. They are hacked, hung or burned to death. Their families don't escape either; children's heads are smashed on rocks, husbands are beaten to death. Other women escape death, but have their breasts chopped off, are forced to eat human excrement, or are banished from their homes.
When Simon Kurian stumbled across evidence of such witch hunting 10 years ago, he couldn't have guessed that one day he'd end up making a feature film about the horror that punctuates daily life in tribal India. A documentary maker of 17 years, he was so appalled he decided to give up the objectivity of documentary; he enlisted his wife Geethanjali (Anji) to transform the experience into a film script that would go beyond the bald facts and create a human story.

She also discusses the politics behind the attacks:

Sometimes it is because property is passed on to a woman, and the only way for a male relative to get his hands on it is to get her out of the way. Sometimes it is because the woman has rejected a man's advances. Sometimes it is for political reasons. In recent years Indian and international bodies have tried to change the attitudes that allow this to continue, but ignorance, illiteracy and inflexible tradition have meant there has been little progress.

On the trail of the witch hunters - Sunday Star Times, 19th October 2003.

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October 16, 2003

Beware the clean-cut young man in a suit.

A man accused of persistently harassing a vicar has told the court that he is a reincarnated vampire who drinks blood because I read in the Bible that blood is the life.

He told the court: I am not a Satanist. I identify myself with Jesus Christ because he was put on trial because he was different to anyone else.
I have been interested in blood drinking - I believe in psychic vampirism.

Self-styled vampire 'drank blood' - BBC News, 14th October 2003.

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October 3, 2003

Burn, baby, burn.

United States: A woman described as a good Christian has been sentenced to five years and two months in prison for causing second degree burns to her daughter. Lasundra A. Harley placed the six-year-old's hand on a lit stove to demonstrate the fires of Hell. Defence lawyers tried to argue that Harley was an honourable and upstanding woman, but the Florida court heard she had a history of abusing her children.

According to Harley's arrest report, the child was scarred from previous beatings with a belt. During Harley's trial, Swett argued that the girl had burned herself accidentally, but the girl told jurors her mother put her hand on the stove.

Her three children are now in care. Woman gets five years for burning daughter - The News Press, 3rd October 2003 (via Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

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October 2, 2003

Bloody kids

Serbia: The desecration of a Catholic cemetary, which police initially blamed on a Satanic cult, has turned out to be the work of drunken teeneagers.

The two suspects, a boy and a girl from the local school, destroyed some 80 headstones in the cemetery while under the influence of a large quantity of alcohol, said Novi Sad police chief Bosko Arsenijevic. He ruled out any political or religious motives.

Youths confess to cemetery desecration - B92, 2nd October 2003.

September 23, 2003

That time of year again.

Searching for a suitable Bargain of the Day led me to this auction for an audio book by David Benoit: Fourteen Things Witches Hope Parents Never Find Out:

For years, witchcraft has been seasonable. It seems every September and October, witches are on bulletin boards, front porches, and windows, as decorations for the upcoming Halloween season.
But, I have news for you. Witchcraft is not just for Halloween anymore. Our children are prime targets of these beliefs. 365 days a year, children are being preyed upon by witchcraft through the promotion of cartoons, toys, and games. There are also professing witches in the field of education. This puts our children in a very vulnerable position.
It has been said, Those who control the youth, control the future. Could there be a plan in witchcraft to control the future of your child? Does God promise to protect Christian homes when parents allow occult items in their homes? No,
Through this tape series, you will hear some alarming evidence. some of the information on these tapes includes: Understanding which witch is which; Is there a difference between white and black magic?; Are trolls, smurfs, mermaids, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other cartoon and games safe for your child?; 14 secrets witches hope you never find out; 7 practical ways to prepare your child from getting involved in witchcraft; and 27 scriptural admonitions for protecting your children.

Benoit is the person behind Glory Ministries and has written a number of of books aimed at the sort of Christian who needs to be told how to pronounce his name, mostly about the evils of popular culture. Apparently one to reserve his important words for those who pay for them, the only article on the site is an anti-Harry Potter rant.

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September 22, 2003

"We are victims of mistaken identity"

United States: Hundreds of Sikh taxi drivers took part in a procession to protest against the murder of one of their colleagues in a suspected hate crime.

Amid a sea of vehicles, the drivers first congregated in three San Carlos parking lots where they rallied in support of the slain driver, pledging to put an end to what they perceive to be hate crimes. Afterward, they followed each other single file to San Jose to attend a memorial for Singh, their cabs winding like a yellow ribbon down Highway 101.

The drivers believe that the murderer saw a resemblance to Osama bin Laden in the victim's beard and turban, and that that was the motive, though police believe it was an attampted robbery. SIKHS SHOW SOLIDARITY - San Jose Mercury News, 19th September 2003.

September 19, 2003

Superstitious organisation calls another a fraud.

United States: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta is having trouble keeping up with the competition, and has filed a lawsuit accusing a rival (Spanish-language) church of falsely claiming to be Roman Catholic. It seems the Roman Catholic Church feels that Hispanic immigrants are too stupid to notice that Capilla de la Fe is somewhet different from the churches they are used to:

In downtown Atlanta, Capilla de la Fe holds services at a Stop Suffering Center, where pamphlets in Spanish tout the cure-all effects of holy water available with a donation.
Some Capilla de la Fe services are unlike anything offered at Roman Catholic parishes, including one focusing on strong prayer to destroy witchcraft, demon-possession, nightmares, curses, envy, bad luck or spiritual problems.

Group Accuses Churches of Being Frauds - The Guardian, 19th September 2003.

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September 10, 2003

Should we tell them about Billy?

Saudi Arabia: Barbie dolls are already illegal there, but Saudi Arabia's religious police have now decided the toy is a threat to morality, and causes little girls to want jeans, rather than a burka. Oh, and they're Jewish, too, apparently. The organisation's website reproduces a poster they have placed in schools and around the streets:

Jewish Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence to the perverted West. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful.

Barbie is not the only thing causing offence:

Other items listed as violations on the site included Valentine's Day gifts, perfume bottles in the shape of women's bodies, clothing with logos that include a cross, and decorative copies of religious items -- offensive because they could be damaged and thus insult Islam.

Despite this kind of thing:

The muttawa patrol the streets of the kingdom, preventing men from mingling with women, enforcing strict Islamic dress for women, chasing worshippers late for prayers, and punishing shop keepers who stay open during prayer hours. They sometimes work with a police officer who can enforce legal punishments on people deemed violators.

...the United States has resisited declaring Saudi Arabia a 'country of particular concern' under the International Religious Freedom Act , and against the advice of its own Commission on International Religious Freedom. Saudi police say Barbie dolls a threat to morality - CNN , 10th September 2003; United States Commission on International Religious Freedom Report on Saudi Arabia, May 2003.

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September 8, 2003

Christian compassion

Patrick Nielsen-Hayden raises some interesting points about Mel Gibson, his family and his racism, sexism and homophobia.

According to the News, Gibson reluctantly removed, from his weirdo ultramontaine Jesus movie, a particularly lurid scene involving Jewish high priest Caiaphas. I wanted it in, he said. But, man, if I included that in there, they'd be coming after me at my house, they'd come kill me.
Yeah, they. With their hooked noses, their interest payments, and their take-out Chinese food. Will their wickedness ever end? Quite the paragon, Mel Gibson.

Still, there's postitive news. Via the same source is this article about the effects of fundies actually paying attention to the words and actions attributed to Jesus, and becoming radicalised about the treatment of the poor in Alabama. Mel Gibson, Christian. I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick...I want to kill his dog. - Electrolite, 7th September 2003.

September 4, 2003

Cooking utensils?

Egypt: An Egyptian acadmic has announced plans to sue all the Jews of the world for the return of everything they stole from the Pharaonic Egyptians gold, jewelry, cooking utensils, silver ornaments, clothing, and more, leaving Egypt in the middle of the night with all this wealth, which today is priceless.

If we assume that the weight of what was stolen was one ton, [its worth] doubled every 20 years, even if the annual interest is only 5%. In one ton of gold is 700 kg of pure gold -- and we must remember that what was stolen was jewelry, that is, alloyed with copper. Hence, after 1,000 years, it would be worth 1,125,898,240 million tons, which equals 1,125,898 billion tons for 1,000 years. In other words, 1,125 trillion tons of gold, that is, a million multiplied by a million tons of gold. This is for one stolen ton. The stolen gold is estimated at 300 tons, and it was not stolen for 1,000 years, but for 5,758 years, by the Jewish reckoning. Therefore, the debt is very large

Dr. Nabil Hilmi, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Al-Zaqaziq, assures the Jews that The debt can be rescheduled over 1,000 years, with the addition of the cumulative interest during that period. Dr. Hilmi quotes the Torah as evidence of Jewish ill-deeds - a book which also says that the Jews were being kept against their will as slaves. I wonder how much the reparations for that will be (with interest, of course)? Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for Compensation for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt - memri.org (usual caveats apply), 22nd August 2003.

August 25, 2003

Well that cured it.

United States: A man is in custody after an eight-year-old autistic boy died during a religious ceremony to try and heal him.

During the hourlong session, the boy's feet and hands were restrained by his mother and other church members who prayed intensely for his violent tendencies to cease, the pastor's wife said.
He just passed away, Pastor David Hemphill said of the boy. God is a mysterious person, and if he wants to call a life back, he does.

But the police aren't buying that:

Circumstances are suspicious because most 8-year-olds don't just die. Unless there's a medical condition -- which we're unaware of at this time.
Haynes added that the boy did not die of natural causes.

The same church, Faith Temple Church of Apostolic Faith in Miwaukee, was investigated in 1998 after a 12-year-old girl suffered cuts and bruises after being hit with a stick by her mother during a service. No charges were brought in that case. Leaders were trying to heal boy who died during prayer, pastor says - CNN (US), 24th August 2003.

August 22, 2003

Keeping the children of the stupid stupid.

Namibia: Parents are threatening to remove their children from a primary school because they are convinced that witches are behind the deaths of three children last year.

It is now believed that the alleged culprits are accused of harnessing the power of an invisible blood-sucking zombie which can cause a sudden death whenever it craves for more blood.

This information was provided by witchdoctors. The appropriate ministry has pointed out its policy that nothing other than educational matters should be brought on the school ground and noted that it did not recognise witchdoctors as any sort of authority. Witchcraft fears at Katutura school - The Namibian, 22nd August 2003.

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August 21, 2003

Witch beliefs in Ghana

Ghana: The Ghanaian Chronicle has published an interesting article about witch beliefs in Ghana, including a interview with a soothsayer and witch-hunter.

Maku stands confidently and elegantly. She is tall and dark, with a piercing pair of eyes and a powerful voice. She covers her body with hundreds of beads, chains, trinkets, bracelets, rings and other heavy ornaments. She wears her hair in natural dreadlocks, either dangling around her waist or wrapped in headgear. Instead of drinking water from pipes, she drinks rain or stream water, which she calls holy water.
My powers were given to me from God. I don't spill human blood. I only cleanse society of evil, she stresses.
A licensed practitioner and government-accredited soothsayer, Maku says she has been practising for over 40 years. She also insists that she is a Christian. To prove it, she recites the Apostles' Creed.

Not everyone in authority approves.

Many people strongly object to Maku's suggestions. They argue that witchcraft is a state of the mind. Ebenezer S.K. Agorvor, who has been a social worker with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development for 38 years, says soothsayers are a nuisance to society and should be jailed for stigmatizing people.
I have worked in 11 local government areas across the country, and I think it is high time the rights of witches were protected, he says. He contends that many of these soothsayers must be stopped before they cause more havoc. When it comes to soothsayers, he says, the watchman also needs to be closely watched.

A profile of a soothsayer - The Ghanaian Chronicle, 20th August 2003.

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This charming man

Australia: A local councillor has declared that a Satanic cult is trying to take over the city of Casey. His evidence? A single Wiccan lives in the area. Rob Wilson read out a statement on local radio urging vigilance, saying the presence of a witch a matter of concern for all Casey residents. When challenged, he told Victorian Premier Steve Bracks in a letter:

If people want me to represent paedophiles or Satanists or drug dealers, I'm sorry, but I want to represent the best interests of the whole community

The woman he has targetted, naturopath Olivia Watts, has filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria. She says she is not looking for sympathy, but stress from the harassment has had a detrimental effect on her health.

I'm just looking for people in authority to realise the personal effect these allegations have, she said. These are real people's lives that they're playing God with.

Cult claims 'torment' - Cranbourne News, 21st August 2003.

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August 17, 2003

Shut up or get out

The Observer newspaper has obtained a Vatican document from 1962, instructing bishops to cover up allegations of sexual abuse by clergy or face excommunication.

The 69-page Latin document bearing the seal of Pope John XXIII was sent to every bishop in the world. The instructions outline a policy of 'strictest' secrecy in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and threatens those who speak out with excommunication.
They also call for the victim to take an oath of secrecy at the time of making a complaint to Church officials. It states that the instructions are to 'be diligently stored in the secret archives of the Curia [Vatican] as strictly confidential. Nor is it to be published nor added to with any commentaries.'

The document was discovered by a Texan lawyer acting on behalf of people abused by Catholic priests, and has been handed over to the US authorities. He said It proves there was an international conspiracy by the Church to hush up sexual abuse issues. It is a devious attempt to conceal criminal conduct and is a blueprint for deception and concealment. Vatican told bishops to cover up sex abuse - The Observer, 17th August 2003.

August 11, 2003

Flagellation brought up to date.

Japan: Police have raided the Panawave Laboratory's headquarters as part of their investigation into the death of a member. Bruises were found on the back of Satoshi Chigusa, a 40-year-old professor who did on Thursday, and an autopsy concluded that he had died of a combination of heat exhaustion and traumatic shock.

Police said they suspect stick beating was a cause of Chigusa's death. According to the police, one of the group's customs was to hit each other mainly with wooden sticks with the intention of protecting their leader, Yuko Chino, and themselves from electromagnetic waves.

Police raid Pana Wave HQ over member's death - Japan Today, 11th August 2003.

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'Witch' hacked to death in India.

India: A man has handed himself into police in Orissa after a 60-year-old man was tied to a tree and hacked to death by people who believed he had caused diarrhœa by witchcraft. Suspected 'witch' hacked to death - Sify News, 11th August 2003.

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August 5, 2003

Mensa candiates at it again

United States: Three men attacked a Sikh family outside their New York home after shouting Go back to your country, bin Laden. Police think it might be a hate crime. 3 men beat NYC Sikh family - Washington Times, 5th August 2003.

August 1, 2003

Using superstition to fight superstition

India: Many parts of India have problems with murders related to witchcraft accusations. Many states are dealing with it through awareness programmes, and improving access to medical services, but in Maharashtra they are different. Instead, they have decided to give credence to the murderers' beliefs and have made witchcraft illegal - instantly declaring that it really is possible to make someone ill through magic - and have banned the informal medicine which is the only sort most people have access to. The bill is being promoted as a measure against superstition, which would be funny if it didn't give official status to the prime excuse used by those who murder women. Ban on black magic in Maharashtra - Sify, 1st August 2003.

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Bits and pieces

The Nielsen Haydens have been busy. First Patrick has a brief rant about the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and its stance on gay relationships:

Yes, you read that right--letting children be raised by gay couples who love them would actually mean doing violence to them. Unlike, you know, raping them and covering it up. Definitely, these guys are just brimming with authority on the subject of doing violence to kids.

Teresa has discovered an interesting take on the book of Mormon.

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July 29, 2003

No mention of whether Kali was involved

India: A woman has been arrested in Haveli for allegedly sacrificing a five-year-old child. The accused, who has apparently confessed to garotting the young girl, has been unable to conceive a child of her own and thought that killing the child would help her do so:

The police said that they decided to question Laxmi after they found her movements suspicious. Laxmi later confessed that she had committed the crime as she believed that Mayuri would take rebirth in her residence.

Woman held for child sacrifice - The Times of India, 29th July 2003.

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July 24, 2003

Delivery from Occam Industries

Ghana: The nearest hospitals to Wulensi constituency are only accessible during the dry season. Even then, the journey takes between five and seven hours on roads which have not been repaired since they were built in colonial times. Not surprisingly, women in labour and snake bite victims die on a regular basis on their way to hospital. But the atrocious state of the infrastructure has nothing to do with it, as far as some locals are concerned. The member of Parliament (MP) for Wulensi, Wumbe Karim, used his maiden speech to explain:

Hear him: Because of lack of a hospital in Naum, these otherwise preventable deaths are often blamed on some poor old women for being the cause of such untimely deaths through witchcraft.
The member regretted that most often, the so-called witches are lynched or maimed while those of them who survive the venom of the aggrieved are banned from the towns and villages and sent to a so-called witches village.
At present, there are three witches' villages in the Wulensi constituency alone whose health status is very precarious.

Money has now been found to upgrade a health centre to a district hospital. Pregnant Women Dying in Wulensi - Ghanaian Chronicle (via allAfrica.com), 23rd July 2003.

Pat Robertson for Dummies

Matt Steams has written an interesting editorial on Pat Robertson, his political activities and how the perception of the televangelist has changed.

But Robertson isn't the significant political figure he once was, according to experts who study religion and politics. That's more because times have changed than because his statements are often perceived as outlandish, they say; his comments always have been way beyond the mainstream.

These sorts of comments are nothing new for Robertson, said John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron who studies the evangelical movement.

In the past, for example, Robertson suggested that America's sinfulness led to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He has argued that feminism encourages women to kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

Republicans trying to find balance with outspoken televangelistKnight-Ridder Washington Bureau, 23rd July 2003.

July 20, 2003

Disappointment

This year's Pride Scotia march went ahead in Edinburgh yesterday. The march would not have happened at all if Tory candidate John Smart had not called for such events to be banned back in April. The march was dedicated to him, and Smart's contribution acknowledged on the website and in the event programme. But, despite his presence at previous marches, armed with Biblical banners, this year the fundie protestors were completely absent.

July 16, 2003

Bugger that for a game of soldiers

The Organisation Formerly Known as the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association has accused broadcasters and film producers of normalising bad language, and they don't mean poor grammar and spelling. Showing a strange devotion to duty, they complain that the word fuck (which they quaintly refer to as the F-word) was used almost 1500 times on terrestrial television during the first half of 2003, which makes a stunning average of 1.6 times per channel per night. With only a couple of exceptions, one of which was news, the shitty language was broadcast late at night. Swearing was unknown before television was invented. TV swearing 'promotes grunt culture' - BBC News, 16th July 2003.

It wasn't me, it was the Jews.

Indonesia: The man on trial on charges relating to the Bali bombing has claimed that it was not a chemical car bomb, but a mini-nuclear device triggered via satellite from the Jewish countries of Israel and the United States. Amrozi blames N-bomb for carnage - The Australian, 15th July 2003.

July 13, 2003

Elegance is begot from a respect of pragmatics

Rational Ministries is a remarkable site, with bad typography, rude words and some interesting ideas. It starts off reasonably enough:

This page is my essay and justification on why we need a PLATFORM FOR A UNIFIED LEFTIST FRONT to factions of labor, consumers, libertarians and nationalists, against the whoring and abuse of our people by aristocracy, and if it smells and sounds like aristocracy... IT IS.

Class warfare isn't really Prattle fodder, but it soon gets much more interesting:

Before you flip the FUCK out, this is an essay on PAX ROMANO, and Jesus was not always so tempered in his essays on pax romano. And you can click here and find out. In the process of criticizing pax romano approaches of today to life, I am going to be explicit towards the Anglo Zionist social order of today. And it is not I that is uncivil or a ruffian, for speaking the ministry of truth. They are the thugs and ruffians, and I am just being honest, when honesty is percieved as unpoliteness, then you must ask what the definition of politeness is, and you see it is consideration, and there is no consideration for THE PEOPLE, in tutelage toward those who walk all over them.

So how is the unified front to be acheived? Through Free Software, of course:

See why OPERATION RED-hat linux (communism) is a viable alternative to keep ruffian cowboy capitalist pig element out of your home or business with Micro$oft's new update to Windows OS called longhorn, with allusion to cowboy culture and Texan rid'em cowboy Bu$h, and capitalist imperialist expansionist revelry and sportsfan mentality and cheerleading. Based on Zionist "Jewish Engineering" the anti-thesis of German engineering of allusion and mass consumer "sell" and marketing and CABAL marketeers. And the supposition that "Jehovah is inside" when you use Intel, and only by Wintel can you battle the "axis of evil" and "axis of lying socialist weasels". ALLUSIONS TO INCREDULITY AND ARGUMENTS OF INCREDULITY, marketing, "sell", "propaganda", "sell", "propaganda" "sell", "propaganda" "sell", "propaganda" I am using RED-hat, so can you, and it is a very fashionable statement.

(via Everlasting Blort)

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July 9, 2003

Pat Robertson not a happy bunny

United States: The Supreme Court has recently struck down the sodomy laws in Texas and Pat Robertson is hoping that God will show His anger by killing off some of the older and physically weaker judges. A People for the American Way newsletter reports that, after complaining about the tyranny of a nonelected oligarchy, he asks God to encourage the retirement of some judges so that non-elected fundies can be put in their places.

Pat Robertson has a long list of people he holds responsible for leading the nation to destruction, said People For the American Way Foundation President Ralph G. Neas. In the past, his list has included everyone from feminists to Harry Potter. Now the Supreme Court has landed at the top of Robertson's list for a ruling that most fair-minded Americans believe reflects the principles of common sense, fairness, and basic respect for privacy.

Robertson disagrees, and he wants God to weigh in. One justice is 83 years old, another has cancer, and another has a heart condition, reads Robertson's note. Would it not be possible for God to put it in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire? With their retirement and the appointment of conservative judges, a massive change in federal jurisprudence can take place.

As Gregster of morons.org puts it: Pat Robertson really does do a good job of making himself look like a fucking idiot himself, so there's not much to say here. Robertson's Rage - There He Goes AgainPeople for the American Way press release, 8th July 2003; Pat Robertson: God Hates Supreme Court; Will Bring Wrath on Americamorons.org, 9th July 2003.

July 8, 2003

No word on whether it was God

United States: Although she definitely drowned her son, Christine Wilhelm has pleaded not guilty on grounds of insanity. The court in Troy, New Tork heard that she had heard werewolves on the night of the killing, and that she believed her husband and satanic cult members were going to torture the children and make them ritual human sacrifices. She had earlier called in Rensselaer County Child Protective Services in September 2001 alleging that her husband had sexually abused the children, but no evidence of this was found. Mother on trial in son's drowning - Newsday, 7th July 2003.

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July 7, 2003

Ritual rumours a load of bollocks

Lothian and Borders Police have unreservedly dismissed speculation that the murder of Jodi Jones was a ritual killing.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: We have found no link between Jodi's death and anything connected with Satanism or black magic. It is not an avenue of inquiry we are following.

Jodi murder police rule out ritual killing - Edinburgh Evening News, 7th July 2003.

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June 26, 2003

Afrikaner Israelism

South Africa: Racist Christian churches are gaining a foothold in South Africa among the more remote white communities. Their theology bears some similarity to British Israelism.

Although far from monolithic, the disparate cults or sects share a common belief that black majority rule is a punishment imposed on the Afrikaner people by God for disobedience, and that one day the white man will be returned to his rightful place as ruler. They see themselves as descendants of lost tribes of Israel, exiled to the region of present-day Iran and Iraq in 700 BC before migrating to Europe to become the white peoples of the world ordained to rule over all races.

But it has a uniquely South African perspective:

[Reverend Willie] Smith, who claims to have 30 congregations numbering about 6,000 worshippers, teaches that God chose whites to rule and forbade them to mix with the other races. But they abandoned God's word, and the ruling African National Congress was sent as a punishment.
We strayed from the teachings of the Bible, he said. Our leaders sold us out. They want us to mix with the other races. But it is not working. The other churches are preaching that you must love all. But we don't want that. We don't want to overthrow the Government. We have to wait for deliverance from the Lord.
We are suffering under this ANC-communist regime. We want blacks, coloureds and the other races to return to their traditions. If we rule, it will be a blessing for all of Africa.

Apartheid Cults On The Rise In South Africa - The Times (via The Statesman), 25th June 2003.

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Racist geniuses at work

United States: Two teenagers have been charged after they allegedly beat up a Hindu man they thought was Muslim.

Saurabh Bhalerao, 24, a Hindu from India and a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth was beaten, burned with cigarettes, hogtied, gagged and ultimately stabbed after delivering a pizza to a New Bedford address late Sunday night, Souza said.
The suspects originally intended to rob Bhalerao, but escalated their assault when they thought he was Muslim, then continued to beat him as he tried to explain that he was Hindu, the chief said.
He pleaded with his attackers, Souza said. They were using disparaging remarks ... and telling him he should go back to Iraq.
The suspects put the victim into the trunk of his own car and drove to Fairhaven. During the drive, Bhalerao managed to loosen his ropes. When the vehicle stopped he emerged from the trunk and hit one of his assailants on the chin with a hammer. The assailant then stabbed Bhalerao before fleeing, police said.

Two others could also face charges. Two men face civil rights violations for alleged beating of pizza delivery man - boston.com, 25th June 2003.

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June 22, 2003

Unclear on the concept

Malaysia: The Israeli government has been behaving really shittily recently, and you want to make some kind of statement about it. You are in a privileged position as you work for the Prime Minister of your country, so what do you do? Do you ask him to throw in his support for international efforts towards brokering a peace deal? Do you suggest he apply whatever pressure he can to persuade the Israeli government to stick with what agreements had been made. Do you do both of the above? If you work for Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, you distribute anti-semitic literature at your party's annual conference:

Officials of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's party gave out copies of U.S. industrialist Henry Ford's anti-semitic book The International Jew to delegates at their annual assembly on Saturday...
Party workers at the assembly's secretariat handed out free copies of an abridged version of Ford's book, translated into Bahasa Malay and published in Johannesburg.
The book, first published in the 1920s, also contained the Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- originally published in Russia in the early 20th century and used down the decades to peddle theories of an international Jewish conspiracy.

Mahathir's Party Hands Out Anti-Semitic Books - Reuters (via Yahoo! News), 21st June 2003.

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June 16, 2003

Gay is the new black

In today's Grauniad, Gary Younge examines the politics of homophobia in the US and how the influence of religious fundamentalists (or 'Christianists', to use a recently-coined term) in the Republican party is keeping them completely out of touch with mainstream opinion.

Moreover, the ramifications of scapegoating lesbians and gays would go way beyond the actual gay voters - who according to the gay advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, comprise just 5% of the electorate. A Republican party that is mean to a few is widely regarded as having the potential to be mean to the many. The issue of sexual orientation may not be as explosive a touchstone as race, but a homophobic campaign would attract few new voters and repel many - particularly among moderates, women and the young. The issue of gay marriage is incredibly divisive. Polls show that while most Americans (51%) are against it, more than a third - a large proportion of whom are women - support it.
The response to last weekend's lingering televised kiss between Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, two gay winners of the Tony awards, also suggests political culture is lagging way behind popular culture. I love this man, said Shaiman. We're not allowed to get married in this world ... But I'd like to declare, in front of all these people, I love you and I'd like to live with you the rest of my life. The audience cheered. Of the 8 million viewers there were just 10 phone calls and 68 emails containing negative feedback.

Gay is the new black - The Guardian, 16th June 2003.

June 10, 2003

Today in History

Salem, Massachusetts: The first execution in the Salem Witch Trials took place on 10th June 1692, when Bridget Bishop was hanged. Religion History for Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - CNSNews.com Religion News, 10th June 2003.

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June 8, 2003

Better toss out Jesus too.

United States: A New York church which rented out space to a synagogue has chucked out its tenants, apparently after threats from a Muslim extremist.

Rabbi Bruce L. Cohen - who was forced to perform a bar mitzvah at his home yesterday after being shut out of Rock Church at 153 E. 62nd St. - said one reason a church official gave him for evicting Congregation Beth-El of Manhattan Messianic Synagogue was because an Arab-looking man had threatened the church to get rid of the Jews - or else.
We think it's morally reprehensible that they said, 'Get rid of the Jews,' and the church just said, 'OK,' Cohen said. It would have been a better example if the Christians had said, 'Over our dead bodies.'

'Terror Threats' put Jews on Street - New York Post, 8th June 2003.

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June 4, 2003

Silver lining to anti-terror paranoia

Florida, United States: The airspace over Walt Disney World has recently become a no-fly zone because of terrorism fears, much to the disgust of an extremist Christian group who are going to court to try and get it overturned. Why? They want to be able to fly over the resort in a plane towing a message promoting their homophobic web site during the forthcoming 'Gay Days' - a private event at the theme park. Christian Group Wants Disney's No-Fly Zone Down For Gay Days - local6.com, 3rd June 2003 (via Metafilter).

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May 25, 2003

Three sentenced over exorcism death

Canada: Two men and a woman have received prison sentences for their part in a gruelling 'exorcism' which resulted in the death of a 19 year old man.

[Walter Zepeda] lost nine litres of fluid as he lay strapped with men's ties to metal chairs in the basement apartment he shared with his family in this western Ontario city. Ultimately he died of dehydration.

Zapeda was bound for seven days.

The three accused and Mr. Fabian originally tried to deceive police into believing Walter had been restrained for only three days but the lie was eventually revealed.
Despite the deception, it is obvious the trio genuinely believed that Walter was possessed, Judge Livingstone said. They only wanted to help him, wanted to save his soul, but the facts of the matter show that despite their prayer and the zealousness of their religious convictions, what they did -- and what they did not do -- caused Walter's death.

But the young man's father, Diego Zepeda-Cordera, and friend Alex Osegueda do not believe the exorcism was botched as their victim returned to Jesus. Parents sentenced for exorcism gone wrong - The Globe and Mail, 23rd May 2003.

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May 16, 2003

Camping it up.

Saskachewan, Canada: A victim of a satanic panic has set up camp on the front lawn of the legislature, demanding a meeting with either the Premier or the Justice Minister. Richard Klassen was one of 15 people cleared on charges of abusing children in Satanic rituals in 1991 after the children all admitted they were lying. Klassen wants the government to admit that the charges were unfounded. Klassen stages tent protest over "unfounded charges" - CBC Saskatchewan, 16th May 2003.

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How to get your client convicted 101

California, United States: Lawyers acting for Scott Peterson, accused of the murder of his wife Laci Peterson, have come up with an unlikely defence: it wasn't their client, it was Satanists.

NBC News has learned that for almost a week Scott Peterson's defense team has been considering a gruesome possibility: that Laci Peterson was not just killed, but actually carved up, and the son with whom she was eight months pregnant was cut from her body, not separated after death, as prosecutors will likely argue.
In April part of Laci's body was recovered about a mile away from where her baby had been found the day before. One of the theories of the defense is a satanic ritual, possibly at the hands of one of the known Modesto cults.
The defense has said they have a credible suspect they are following. And, as they pore through the first half of the 30,000 documents amassed in this case so far, they are already preparing an attack on the police investigation, saying from day one the authorities only looked at Scott as a possible suspect and arguing some of the evidence may have been tainted.

Laci was a bit of a celebrity, and Pop Culture Junk Mail has been following the whole saga ragarding her disappearence and death. Scott Peterson's lawyers suggest Laci died in satanic ritual, not by husband's hand - WIS TV, 16th May 2003.

May 12, 2003

Religious Freedom in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's religious police apparently have a website, where they detail what they've been up to: Saudi Religious Police Launch Website . Note: this translation comes via MEMRI who have a bit of an axe to grind, and only ever seem to provide translations of material which make Arabs look bad.

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Maybe they should fry God instead.

Texas, United States: A woman being held on charges of murdering her two children and seriously injuring a third has told authorities that God made her do it. And going by the account of the local Sherrif, He's not giving her any comfort either:

She goes from a fetal position of crying, to walking around the cell singing gospel music. She stops and prays, then she goes into a crying hysteria, Smith County Sheriff J. B. Smith said. She all of a sudden realizes what she's done, then she'll go into a flatline, blank stare

Sheriff: Mother said God told her to kill sons - CNN, 12th May 2003.

May 11, 2003

Social work victim sues

A woman who was taken into care as a child during the Satanic panic is suing South Ayrshire Council for compensation for her lost childhood. She never claimed to have been sexually abused, and there was no medical evidence to suggest that she was, but social workers took her from her family in 1990 convinced she was the victim of a Satanic cult. She was kept in care for five years.

The woman, who was taken into care with seven other children, all of whom were members of the same extended family, said: I spent five years in homes and with foster families who didn't care for me.

My education suffered badly and I became withdrawn. I still lack self-esteem. I have no confidence in anything I do.

Despite a complete lack of evidence, social workers kept the children in care while they went on a crusade against the imaginary Satanists.

Social workers embarked on a sustained campaign to prove not only that the children had all been sexually abused, but that the abuse might have involved up to 90 adults and contained elements of satanic ritual.

It later emerged that descriptions of a party at which adults had been dressed up in 'sinister' costumes had been a fancy dress event for Hallowe'en.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Britain, and has taken so long to come to court because the Scottish Legal Aid Board had, until now, refused to fund the action. Woman sues for lost childhoodScotland on Sunday, 11th May 2003. See also Familiar names resurface for a case where adults accused of Satanic abuse successfully sued a council which published a report suggesting that they really had committed the crime, even though the Criminal Court acquitted them.

May 9, 2003

It's okay - it's just ordinary animal abuse

Ohio, United States: On 6th May, news sources were reporting on the activities of a gruesome Satanic cult in Lagrange Township. The corpses of two dogs had been found, flayed and their eyes daubed with orange paint. The following day, a reward was offered for information. On 8th May, a more mundane hypothesis prevailed.

Lorain County detectives don't believe it's a Satanic ritual, however. According to Detective Randal Koubeck, the animals believed to be dogs may not be dogs at all.

It looks like we might be dealing with someone who just dropped these carcasses after a hunt, he said.

Officials now think that the animals may be coyotes that were trapped and then their pelts the carcasses left as roadside debris.

So it's just your ordinary sadist killing animals for fun, and nothing religious. That's fine. Meaning Of Orange Paint UnknownNewsNet5, 8th May 2003. (Site slow—try this mirror)

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May 3, 2003

Winning the peace

Iraq: The US government has launched its Arabic-language news service for its occupied territories and has shown a traditional level of respect for the mostly Muslim people there in its choice of partner - a fundamentalist Christian broadcaster dedicated to transmitting the evidence of God's presence in the world today.

Grace News Network proclaims that it will be a unique tool in the Lord's ministry plan for the world, according to the company's mission statement. Grace News Network provides networking links and portals to various ministries and news services that will be of benefit to every Christian believer and seeker of truth.

Some of the station's work is unlikely to be popular in Iraq:

While it's unclear whether Grace News Network actually produces any news, it has produced a documentary movie titled Israel: Divine Destiny which it showed at the National Press Club in September 2002. The film is about Israel's destiny and the United States' role in that destiny, according to Grace News Network.

U.S. Hires Christian Extremists to Produce Arabic News - AlterNet News, 2nd May 2003.

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May 2, 2003

What part of "thou shalt not kill" do you not understand?

South Africa: A murderer who claimed that the Bible allowed him to shoot three black commuters on a bus because they were not human, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by an unimpressed judge.

Jan Gabriel De Wet Kritzinger - allegedly a member of Israel Vision, an extreme white Christian sect - said in his defence that black people are not my fellow men.

Racist SA killer sentenced for life - BBC News, 2nd May 2003.

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May 1, 2003

In my inbox

A correspondent corresponds:

Subject: Seen this?
It's wrong...
There were at least 200 people on the hill - sitting on the acropolis, drumming and watching fire performers from about half three until quite late (we left at about half four).
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April 30, 2003

Happy Samhuinn (last week apparently)

Another cruel attack on a horse has been blamed on Pagans, this time in Northampton.

Jo McGurk, 59, from Kingsley in Northampton thinks the fact that the attack took place sometime between Easter Sunday and Easter Monday is significant.

So, it must've been Christians, right? After all, that's the only religious group which considers Easter to be significant.

The end of the pagan year falls over the Easter weekend and I think that the attack on my horse could be linked with this, says Jo, who approached his local paper, the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, in a bid to highlight the issue.

The sheer ludicrousness of this statement can be exposed by replacing the first six words with "Passover", which, unlike Samhuinn, did coincide with Easter this year. The poor horse suffered serious internal injuries after a broom was inserted in his rectum, though vets are pleased with his progress so far. Horror of 'sex attack' on horse - Horse and Hound, 29th April 2003.

April 29, 2003

Pagans banned in Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Council has gone ahead and wasted lots of money employing a private security firm to ensure that no-one uses the site associated with the festival to celebrate Beltaine. City bans public from Beltane hill - Edinburgh Evening News, 29th April 2003.

Note: I'm tempted to turn up, be refused onto the hill, and so just strip off and hold a ritual by the steps, by the main road.

April 21, 2003

Beltaine politicking

A candidate in the forthcoming Edinburgh City Council elections has sent the following letter to the press:

Having already killed off the popular Beltane Fire Festival, it seems that our City Nannies, supported by local Labour councillor Dougie Kerr, want to shut off Calton Hill to everybody just in case a few individuals wish to celebrate Beltane on their own account.
It seems that religious freedom means nothing to our culturally sensitive councillors - not unless that religious freedom pertains to the more conventional spiritualities.
Karen Hetherington
Liberal Party in Scotland Candidate
Calton Ward

Additional link: Liberal Party website

Posted by Feòrag in Love Thy Neighbour at 18:48 | View blog reactions

Tourists: spend your money in Glasgow instead.

Edinburgh City Council appear to be going to extremes to prevent anyone celebrating Beltaine this year. The Fire Festival has been cancelled and now the Council plans to seal off Calton Hill to prevent people having their own celebration. The official reason is that the dry weather means it could be a fire risk, but the drought has already broken, and it has been pouring down all day in Edinburgh.

City licensing convener Dougie Kerr, who is also the local councillor for the Calton Hill area, said he was concerned about the problem and would be looking into what might need to be done to stop unofficial celebrations.
We'll be looking at measures to ensure nothing takes place there this year. I've no problem with closing it off in the interests of public safety, he said.

Which will also annoy the regular users of this well-known cruising ground. The local council elections will be held on 1st May this year. Calton Hill fire fear on Beltane night - Edinburgh Evening News, 21st April 2003.

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Leading pastor accused of witchcraft

Uganda: A well-known Christian minister has been accused of fraud and witchcraft by an American businesswoman who gave him money.

Pastor Kayiwa also is accused of being proud of his ability to punish (by cursing) those who challenge his power, demanding pornographic movies, selling off donations, and demanding a car when asked to pray for a horse in a £250,000-race.

The interview that never was makes fascinating reading. Pastor Accused of Witchcraft, Fraud - The Monitor (via allAfrica.com), 21st April 2003.

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April 20, 2003

A tricky task for the detectives

West Bengal, India: A man who strangeled and decapitated a 50-year-old woman had been acting on the advice of a witch doctor who told him she had put a spell on his children.

After the village quack failed to cure his children, Kisku was advised by some friends to see a witch doctor who promised to help for a fee of Rs 1,200. [£16/€23]
The poor man arranged for the money and an elaborate ritual was conducted. At the end of it, the witch doctor pronounced that Kisku's worries were because of a woman relative who had cast an evil spell on his children.
The witch doctor warned that he would lose his family if she were not killed.

The man then took her head to the local police station and confessed to the crime. About 70 women are killed each year in West Bengal on suspicion of practising witchcraft. Man beheads 'witch', takes head to police - Hindustan Times, 20th April 2003.

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April 18, 2003

Witch beliefs in Tanzania

Tanzania: A 72-year-old woman is in a critical condition in hospital after a 15cm nail was hammered into her skull by attackers who believed she was a witch. The nail is buried deep in her head and although she has regained consciousness after three days, doctors are pessimistic about her chances of survival.

Killings of elderly people, particularly women, due witchcraft beliefs is rife in Lake Victoria regions of Shinyanga and Mwanza despite efforts being made by the government to stop this practice.

Most of the victims are being killed because their eyes are reddish. This is seen as a sign that they are witches.

However, studies conducted in the areas indicate that the cause of such 'red eyes' is smoke from fuelwood used for cooking.

Head of Shinyanga woman pierced with six-inch nailThe Guardian (Tanzania), 18th April 2003.

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April 17, 2003

Diddums

United States: Notorious Christian anti-gay organisation Focus on the Family has had to slash budgets and make staff redundant because it's short of cash. Anti-gay organisation falls on hard times - gay.com news, 17th April 2003.

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More 'witch' killings

Guwahati, India: Four people have been arrested after three members of the same family were hacked to death by a mob who accused them of witchcraft.

It was believed Naotia was a practicing sorcerer and through his black magic he had cast evil spells on villagers, prompting a group within the village to eliminate them, the spokesman said.

3 hacked to death over witchcraft allegations - Hindustan Times, 17th April 2003.

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April 11, 2003

Bloody kids.

South Africa: 36 schoolchildren are being questioned by police in Kanyamazane after a riot at their school. The riot started after a teacher was accused of using witchcraft to kill three children at the school, who had recently died in a traffic accident. Riot as teacher accused of withcraft (sic.) - iAfrica.com, 11th April 2003.

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April 10, 2003

The thick plottens

South Africa: A man accused of abducting and sexually abusing three children in Satanic rituals has asked to reopen his case to allow an expert witness on false allegations of abuse to be called. And in a strangely familiar twist, it turns out that the children only started to make the allegations after their mother started attending prayer meetings.

Hugo said the children's mother - who described a serious of strange and inexplicable events at her home, including her children going into trances, talking about devils and one of her sons chasing his siblings with an axe - was gullible.
Her prayer meetings to free her children from evil had probably left an indelible impression on them, Hugo argued.

The accused, Robin Malcolm Classen, is heavily tattooed and feels he is being persucuted because of his unusual appearance. He denies he is a Satanist and said that he only has a passing interest in the occult. 'Satanist' may reopen case - News24, 10th April 2003.

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Islamic 'exorcism'

New Zealand: A man accused of killing an elderly cleaner at a mosque has pleaded not guilty due to insanity. Psychiatrists agree that Mohamed Hussein was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the killing. But he took a rather unconventional course of treatment:

He knew he was unwell and asked some Muslim men from Australia who were sleeping at the mosque for help.
In the week before the incident they conducted a number of religious procedures to make evil spirits leave Hussein. The last was done the night before the killing.

Insanity plea over mosque cleaner's killing - NZPA (via Stuff), 11th April 2003.

Anti-semitism in the former Soviet Union

Belarus: Trades unions and Jewish organisations are protesting about the distribution of a newspaper which they claim is anti-semitic and perpetuates the blood libel.

An edition of Russkii Vestnik [Russian Newsletter] appeared at the end of March exaggerating the myth that Jews use sacrificial blood for ritual purposes, the appeal reads. Those making the appeal believe that the newspaper was deliberately trying to cause national and religious hostility and should be punished in accordance with article 130 of the criminal code in Belarus.

Jewish Organisations in Belarus Protest against Distribution of 'Anti-Semitic' Russian Newspaper - Pravda, 10th April 2004.

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Charles and Di were never this interesting

Malaysia: A princess has appeared in court to testify that she did not order a group of witchdoctors to kill her husband's second wife, insisting she only asked them to lift a spell on her husband which had caused him to go cold towards her and behave strangely. One of the witchdoctors admitted manslaughter and is now serving 14 years in prison. The (incredibly bizarre) case continues. Royal fairytale bewitched by sex and vampires - IOL, 10th April 2003; Mat Saad kept spell between his fingers, court told - Utusan Online, 4th April 2003.

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April 8, 2003

God does nothing.

Arizona, United States: A man has gone to court in Tucson to try and claim his brother's body so he can arrange a proper funeral which the widow cannot afford. But it's the background to this sad tale which is interesting. Friends of James Killeen went to the police after they were unable to contact him. When officers entered his house they found members of his church, including his wife, praying over his body for his resurrection. He had been dead for at least three weeks. The cause of death was not directly stated by the newspaper, but they imply rather heavily that he might have starved after fasting as part of his beliefs. Brother in court today to claim Tucsonan's body - Tucson Citizen, 8th April 2003.

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More from Gay.com

Gay.com has a couple of interesting news stories today. Group fights deportation of Palestinian gays concerns the negotiations going on to allow gay Palestinians to claim asylum in Israel.

As in many Muslim countries, being gay in the Palestinian territories is treated as a crime against Islam. In most cases non-state actors, like the family, become the judge, jury and juror to decide a gay person's fate. Reports of Nazi-style treatment of openly gay Palestinians are common.

The article focuses on the case of 'Tarek', who is on trial for being in Israel without a permit and who faces death if he is deported to the Gaza Strip. He told Lior Mencher, the head of Aguda -- the Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered in Israel, I escaped from Gaza and came to Israel to live ? not to be returned to be killed. ? Where is someone to help me?

In the United States, extremist Christians are campaigning to have tomorrow's Day of Silence cancelled.

Organised by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the day involves students, faculty and staff taking a vow of silence to protest that harassment and discrimination can silence gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students in school.

Last year, over 150,000 people in 2000 schools took part. A number of groups who call themselves Christian have gone out of their way to prove the organisers' point. Steve Klein, of Courageous Christians United said:

This silence is ironic considering that sexual deviants, who compromise a tiny percentage of the general population, are among the most vocal and aggressive special-interest groups working to impose their fascist vision of unfettered sexual license on the majority of decent, moral citizens.

Other groups interpret the silence as a means of turning children homosexual! Clearly they believe that gay sex is so much better than the straight variety that anyone getting the slightest hint that it might exist is likely to want nothing else ever again.

Right wing bigots try to cancel Gay Day Of SilenceGay.com, 8th April 2003.

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Phelps fails to protest (again)

Fred Phelps has gone back on a promise to picket a London performance of The Laramie Project for a second time. Over 100 activists, from OutRage!, the NUS, GALHA, Queeruption, Durham LGBTA, Salford LGB, Ladyfest London, and International Wages Due Lesbians were disappointed. "Fags" frighten off PhelpsGay.com, 7th April 2003. See also Phelps fails to protestPagan Prattle, March 12th 2003.

April 7, 2003

Christian Aid

Iraq: A US Army chaplain is refusing to give water to those who need it unless they sit through a long sermon and are baptised first.

In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.
It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity.
It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized, he said.

The chaplain has also hoarded fruit for future use. Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths, Miami Herald, 4th April 2003.

April 3, 2003

Offerings to Darwin

Osaka, Japan: Incense burning on a Buddhist altar has been pinpointed as the likely cause of a fire which killed a 73-year-old woman. Buddhist altar eyed as source of fatal Osaka blaze - Mainichi Daily News, 3rd April 2003.

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April 2, 2003

Witch hunting in Nepal

Nepal: Several members of one familiy allegedly tried to burn a 76-year-old neighbour alive after accusing her of being a witch. Other villagers put the fire out before any serious damage was caused. According to the victim, a member of the accused family had earlier been caught trying to steal from her home. 'Witch-hunters' strike again - Kathmandu Post, 2nd April 2003.

Fluffy bunny Goddess at work

New Delhi, India: A 19-year-old youth has been charged with murder after he beheaded his 10-year-old friend as an offering to the goddess Kali. He told police he was only obeying Her orders. Indian teen sacrifices boy to goddess - IOL, 2nd April 2003.

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How to win friends and influence people

Kenya: An Anglican Bishop has threatened to burn a sacred python believed to be a harbinger of good tidings by the Nyakach. Elders are also upset that their community has been portrayed as devil worshippers by the Church. Instead, they plan to build a park to house the snake and charge admission. Keep Off 'Sacred' Snake, Elders Warn Cleric - The East African Standard (via allAfrica.com), 1st April 2003.

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March 27, 2003

Witchcraft allegation leads to riot

Indonesia: A police officer is among nine people injured in a tribal battle in Papua. The fighting involved around 300 people armed with spears, arrows and rocks.

The riot in Mimika district erupted recently after tribesmen in Banti village descended on the neighbouring Kimbeli village and attacked its people, accusing them of killing a Banti resident by witchcraft.

Nine injured in Papuan tribal violence - Radio Australia, 27th March 2003.

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March 26, 2003

A cross exchange

Kenya: A Christian worshipper has been killed in a fight during a prayer meeting in a church. Joseph Okech, 26, was hit in the nape with a wooden plank yanked off a huge cross standing on the church compound.

Trouble started when a group invaded the church during the sermon, and tried to eject a priest whose leadership they were opposed to.
Witnesses said Mr Okech was felled by a blow to the nape by a member of the invading group who had suffered a beating from his opponents earlier.
The attacker just rose from where he had fallen, broke off the horizontal part of the big cross in the compound and started beating everyone in sight. He reached Okech and hit him on the back of the head with the wooden plank, said a witness who declined to be named.

Fighting in Church Leaves Man Dead - The Nation (via allAfrica.com), 17th March 2003.

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Anti-semitism in France

A group of young French Jews has been attacked by several dozen assailants with metal bars at an anti-war demonstration in Paris last Saturday. The demonstration attracted 90, 000 people (police figure) and was otherwise peaceful. The mayor has condemned the attack.

In the name of Parisians, I want to condemn, as strongly as possible, these unacceptable acts, Mayor Bertrand Delanoe said in a statement. In Paris, everyone must be respected in dignity, no matter what their culture, identity or spiritual faith.

According the the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the attacks were more serious than reported in the press:

In separate incidents, two Jewish youths were hospitalized Saturday afternoon after being stabbed in Paris by individuals who had taken part in an anti-war demonstration. One young man was stabbed and lightly wounded after a group of men noticed his yarmulke. The attackers are believed to have been immigrants from North Africa. After stabbing the young man, they tried to break in to the Hashomer Hatzair [a Jewish youth group] building, but members of the youth group managed to block the entrance. Fifteen minutes later, a 24-year-old youth group advisor exited the building to address a television crew that had arrived to interview him. After exiting the building, he was seriously wounded when passers-by attacked him with metal rods and chains.

There has been a worrying number of anti-semitic attacks in France over the last two years and Jews are becoming afraid of wearing anything which indicates their Jewishness. Tensions in the Middle East have made the situation worse, especially when people have difficulty telling the difference between Jews and the current government of Israel - something to which the Simon Wiesenthal Center contributes with statements like this:

Of course we expect French police to do more to protect its Jewish students, but the ultimate responsibility for this horrific environment lays with the French media who turn a blind eye to Moslem extremists, while fanning the flames of intolerance against Israel and her supporters.

Paris Mayor Condemns Attack on Jews - The Guardian, 24th March 2003; WIESENTHAL CENTER: IN WAKE OF LATEST PEACE RALLY ATTACKS, FRENCH AUTHORITIES AND MEDIA MUST ACT TO END 'OPEN SEASON ON JEWS' - Simon Wiesenthal Center, 24th March 2003.

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March 12, 2003

Dizzy omi

United States of America: Arlon Lindner, a Minnesota State Representative who earlier claimed that gays were not persecuted during the Nazi holocaust now insists that gays were the persecutors. And in trying to justify his claims he's upset African-American and Jewish members of the House as well:

During debate on a bill sponsored by Linder that would strip gays and lesbians of state human rights protections the Republican told legislators: What I'm trying to prevent is the Holocaust of our children [from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases]. If you want to sit around and wait until America becomes another African continent, you do that, but I'm going to do something.

The debate had its moments:

And when Rep. Lynda Boudreau noted that the Nazis exterminated Jews after outlawing possession of firearms, Rep. Phyllis Kahn replied: The first thing the Nazis passed was repeal of legalized abortion.

Linder's beliefs are taken from The Pink Swastika, published by an extreme right Christian fundamentalist ministry in Wisconsin. Holocaust Denier Now Claims Gays Responsible For WWII - 365gay.com, 12th March 2003. See also: The Annotated Pink Swastika from Citizens Allied for Civic Action.

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Phelps fails to protest.

United Kingdom: Fred Phelps failed to picket the opening of The Laramie Project in London last night, even though he'd written to the UK gay press promising to do so. The play is about the murder of gay teenager Matthew Shephard, an action Phelps, and his Westboro Baptist Church, heartily approve of. As their counter-protest was not needed, a group from the National Union of Students handed out leaflets undisturbed.

Homophobic demonstrators stay away from play's first nightGay.com news, 12th March 2003.

Cynical evangelists encourage Satanic panic

Lebanon: Rumours about Satanic cults kidnapping children, removing their hearts and drinking their blood have terrified children so much that they are asking to carry mace to protect themselves, and Christian evangelists have been quick to exploit the situation.

Tele-Lumiere, a private Christian television station, aired a report on devil worship last Sunday, and included a live testimony from an alleged former devil worshipper, who described in detail the orgies and bloody rituals she and her devil worshipping mates would partake in.
The young woman, whose face was blurred, recounted that cult members would strip young girls of their virginity and if an unwanted pregnancy resulted, the unborn baby would be offered as a sacrifice before the mother was due to deliver.

No mention was made of the fact the early Christians were accused of exactly the same thing by the Romans. Apaprently you can recognise a devil-worshipper because they dress in black, look "grungy," have several body piercings, tattoos and long untrimmed hair and beards.

The rumours all focus on one shopping and entertainment centre, and the owners have now filed a complaint with the police.

The most popular rumor involving mysterious devil worshippers, talks of one or more teenagers being found dead in the Dunes Center restrooms with their hearts extracted.
Other rumors involving Dunes also include stories of nails being placed on theater seats, entertainment equipment being destroyed and a girl being raped.
We have closed-circuit cameras everywhere in the center, said Rayess. They are in the elevators, in the movie the aters, everywhere, and we monitor everything.
Rayess also said that the center employs two or three security guards per floor and that they keep a watchful eye on everything.
If these rumors were true, don't you think that the police would have come and sealed off the center and investigated? asked Rayess in frustration.

Non-conventional young people are already suffering harassment as a result. A number of youths have been arrested in connection with the alleged cult but were released. Judicial sources noted that having tattoos was not a crime, but others called for laws banning Satanism. Devil worshipping rumors rife among children - The Daily Star (Lebanon), 12th March 2003.

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A drastic approach to curbing rumours

Tanzania: Mateo Qaresi, Mbeya Regional Commissioner has banned traditional healers from the area in an attempt to stop a spate of witchcraft-related killings. Any healer remaining in the area after the ban comes into effect will be arrested.

Qaresi said the government was waging war against killers of women and rumour mongers who spread reports that body parts of women were needed in witchcraft rituals.

He said the government would make sure that the spate of killings of women in the region would end in two months time from now.

He described as untrue claims that 60 women were needed to be sacrificed for the new Southern African Development Community international airport to be constructed in Songwe area.

Mbeya RC bans traditional doctors from neighbouring regions, countriesThe Guardian (Tanzania), 12th March 2003. See also An African Ripper?Pagan Prattle, 24th February 2003 and African witch-beliefsPagan Prattle, 1st November 2002.

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'Satanists' released

Morocco: Eleven of the 14 heavy metal fans recently jailed have been released on bail pending appeals. They were conviceted of distributing material which undermines good morals and making people listen, with bad intent, to songs which contravene good morals or incite debauchery. During the trial, the prosecution linked the music fans to an organised Satanic cult, but the defense argued that heavy metal subculture has been misunderstood. Public opinion has been on the fans' side, with many fearing a conservative Muslim crusade against youth culture. Moroccan Court Grants Bail for Heavy Metal Fans - Reuters, 12th March 2003.

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What are the odds these folk are fundies?

South Africa: Managing to confuse at least three different religious traditions in one go, a counsellor has claimed:

Hennie Brits, a counsellor, said the area was known as the witches' Mecca. Hundreds of school children are drawn into Satanism and become involved in crime, drugs and prostitution in this manner. The youngest witch that I know of is 12 years old.

Another self-styled "expert", Korbus Jonker, claimed The number of Satanists in South Africa is estimated at about 62 000 and 80% are younger than 18. Up to 14 people are killed in Satanist sacrifices every year and told news sources that initiation involved blood sacrifces and rape. The evidence of this was some brightly-coloured graffiti with the odd goat's head and pentagram.

Even though the news items didn't specifically mention Paganism, the Pagen Federation were put on the defensive, emphasising that Neopagan practice bears no resemblemce to those described and that the only Satanist group they knew of in the area was not open to under 18s.

As far as reports of sex orgies are concerned, added [South African Pagan Federation president the Rev Norman] Geldenhuys,I've been in the game for 28 years, and I'm not averse to being a little naughty, but I haven't found one (orgy) yet.

Teen Satanist cell found - News24, 7th March 2003; Satanism: Pagans spell it out - News24, 12th March 2003.

March 3, 2003

Sometimes it's better to see a religious officiant.

Osaka, Japan: A Chinese student accused of killing his wife has allegedly admitted he did it to remove her evil spirits.

I thought I would removed the evil spirits that had entered her body, police quoted the student as saying. When I held down her throat with my elbow, she stopped moving.

Chinese student kills wife to 'remove evil spirits' - Mainichi Daily News, 3rd March 2003.

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Saying nothing about religion

Lucknow, India: A devotee of Shiva has cut his tongue with a razor and offered it to the deity. No one knows why he did is, as the Times of India observed: Since he was unable to speak, it could not be ascertained what prompted him to take this step. Shiva devotee slashes his tongue - Times of India 3rd March 2003.

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March 2, 2003

Greek authorites shocked by stunningly original depiction of Jesus

Greek police have charged an author, translator and publisher with criminal blasphemy over a comic which shockingly depicts Jesus as a hippy.

Commenting on the decision by the Greek authorities, [author Gerhard] Haderer said: Now we have really gone back to the Middle Ages. It didn't even get that far in Catholic Austria.
Haderer stressed: My book is not an attack on religion or on believers. It is meant for believers to take a more light-hearted look at their faith and through humour become closer to God.

He is considering taking the matter to the European Court of Human Rights. Greek police seize hippy Jesus book - Ananova, 28th February 2003.

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February 28, 2003

Islamic terrorist a phony?

New Zealand: cyanide-laced letters have been sent to the British High Commission in Wellington, ostensibly by an Islamic terroist group calling itself September 11, but police are investigating whether they are an attempt to stir up hatred against Muslims. A linguist and international terror experts have noted that the letter is full of deliberate grammatical errors, as well as errors about Islam that a genuine Muslim believer would not make.

Auckland University School of Asian studies senior lecturer Tim Behrend said the letters seemed very transparent and like an incredibly bad effort.
They don't appear to have been written by a non-native speaker of English or someone who is accustomed to being around non-native English speakers.
What I see here is someone who is mimicking a foreign voice.

The Muslim community in New Zealand and under intense pressure. A number of their religious leaders have already pointed out that the manner in which the letters have been signed make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Chief among them was the signature, Abd Allah September 11. Abd in Arabic means servant and Allah God, but the way this had been written was incorrect.
A Muslim would not write it like this, said an Arab immigrant.
All in a row, Abd Allah September 11. No, nonsense. It's written wrongly. He can't say Abd Allah and later say September 11. It can't be, it makes no sense.
As a phrase the two words are meaningless and it cannot be a name because Muslims cannot take the name Allah.

British diplomats were cyanide target - Stuff, 28th February 2003; Police can't say if cyanide letter 'anti-Muslim stirring' - Stuff, 28th February 2003; Experts say cyanide letter writer pretending to be Muslim - Stuff, 28th February 2003.

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February 24, 2003

An African Ripper?

Tanzania: A mob surrounded a police station in Mbeya demanding a suspect be handed over to them, but police have denied arresting anyone carrying women's breasts in a plastic bag. There has been a series of gruesome murders in the region which have been linked to witchcraft.

Some body parts are reportedly needed for planting special protective charms in business. The killings of women have been linked to witchcraft beliefs. People believe people who have consulted witch doctors do the killings.

The murders themselves sound like the work of a sociopath.

Incidents of killings of women are increasing in Mbeya Region, whereby four women have been killed and their bodies found with breasts, hearts and private parts missing. The women were killed after they were raped.

Police deny arresting suspect carrying woman breastsThe Guardian (Tanzania), 25th February 2003.

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Cleric guilty of soliciting murder

An extremist Muslim cleric has been found guilty of three charges of soliciting murder, two of using threatening behavious and one of distributing threatening material at the Old Bailey. Sheik Abdullah al-Faisal had recorded and sold tapes in which he urged young Muslims to go out and kill non-believers, Americans, Hindus and Jews.

Initially, the defence planned to call another controversial cleric, Abu Hamza, as a witness.

Unknown to the jury, Hamza appeared before the judge during a pre-trial hearing to outline his evidence.
However, the defence decided to drop him as a witness during the month-long case as Hamza's antics caused more and more embarrassing headlines.

He was acquitted on two charges of soliciting murder and one of posessing threatening material. Cleric guilty of spreading hate - BBC News, 24th February 2003.

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Girl killed in place of 'witch' mother

Ghana: A farm labourer has been remanded in custody after he allegedly murdered his four-year-old daughter by butchering her into pieces.

[Afua] Kusasi initially sought to kill his wife Azuma Kusasi, for being a witch, but substituted his daughter Afua when Azuma sneaked out of the house.
The accused, who lives at Acquaye-Allah village in the Aowin-Suaman District of the Western Region, is further alleged to have sacrificed two dogs and two fouls after the incident.

Labourer Butchers Daughter - GhanaWeb General News, 22nd February 2003.

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February 20, 2003

Juvenile delinquency

Twenty-one youths aged between 13 and 17 have been arrested after an elderly woman's house burned down.

Ntobeng Phala, police spokesperson, says a group of about 100 youths approached a 74-year-old woman last night and accused her of witchcraft. The group allegedly set her house alight, burning it to ashes. The woman managed to escape.

More arrests are expected. More than 20 arrested after house is burnt down - SABC News, 20th February 2003.

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Thou shalt not suffer a poisoner...

A South African labourer faces culpable homicide charges after he allegedly supplied a poison to a family which killed two boys and sixteen animals. The deaths were originally blamed on witchcraft. Labourer gave killer chemical - News24, 19th February 2003.

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February 19, 2003

Presidential paranoia

The situation in Venuzuela is getting worse, and according to Gustavo Coronel, the President is going a little batty:

As the economy collapses around us the President has gone into a frantic campaign on national TV. Compulsory "hook ups" are now daily affairs, in which the President will talk about anything, including the attempts made by voodoo witches to do a job on him. The President firmly believes in witchcraft and has developed a personal religion which is a mixture of Catholicism, voodoo and Marxism.

The writer has US connections and his words should be treated with suspicion unless you saw the broadcasts live. This editorial by Ted Rall exposes the level of self-censorship in the US media, and how vital facts are left out of their reports--facts which completely change the story.

The American media has, for example, devoted extensive coverage to political unrest in Venezuela, where mobs loyal to President Hugo Chávez have clashed with striking employees of the state oil company. The crisis sparked an attempted coup d'état in April 2002. To busy Americans, this looks like a simple story of a right-wing Latin American dictator crushing poor workers. That's because three key facts are regularly omitted from the story. First, the oil company strike was called by its wealthy managers, not its workers. Second, Chávez was democratically-elected. Third, the coup plotters were backed by the Bush Administration. We were sending informal, subtle signals that we don't like this guy, said a U.S. Defense Department official quoted in The Guardian, an English paper that has become an important post-9/11 resource for Americans in search of objective reporting. The bully, it turns out, is us--not Chávez, who is standing up for his nation's poor.

A Chronicle of the Dark Ages - VHeadline.com, 18th February 2003; What they don't tell us - Yahoo! News, 17th February 2003.

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February 16, 2003

School to be educated about law

The Pagan parents of a child in Tennessee have sued the local school board after constant harassment, violence and ostracism led their daughter to become suicidal and need treatment for anxiety. The school also forced her to attend (illegal) Bible classes, and constantly tried to persuade her to attend fundamentalist rallies during school hours. Union schools hit with religion-related lawsuit - Knox News, 14th February 2003. Comment on this story can be found at morons.org and Wren's Nest.

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February 6, 2003

Bullets more effective than pins

A man who killed his suicidal spiritual mentor at his own request has been jailed for at least 12 years in Wisconsin. Greg Friesner admitted shooting Santeria high priest Mark Foster in order to inherit his soul and title. The two men also arranged for Foster to collect on Friesner's life insurance. Man pleads guilty in Wisconsin voodoo slaying - Duluth News Tribune, 28th January 2003.

February 5, 2003

Suckers

Malawians are still terrified by tales of government-sponsored vampires roaming the country and murdering people a decade after the leader who was supposed to have sponsored them was deposed.

Many Malawians, especially in the country's rural south, believe in reports that teams of blood suckers are murdering poor people on a nightly basis, draining their blood and selling it to international aid agencies in return for food.

Last month, a member of the ruling United Democratic Front was beaten by residents of a small town after he was accused of harbouring the vampires. The government has said there is no evidence that the vampires exist and has banned spreading of the rumour. But the Central African Presbyterian Church has called for an enquiry, not on how to deal with silly supersitions but to investigate the allegations of blood-sucking. Vampire rumours continue to spread in Malawi - IOL, 5th February 2003.

Child dies after father does nothing.

A nine-year-old Philadelphia boy has died of leukemia because his father chose to pray because he believes that going to a doctor is to serve Satan. The boy's mother died last August as a result of an infection after a miscarriage. Authorities have yet to decide whether to press charges. Northeast Phila. boy died of leukemia; D.A. 'reviewing the facts' - Philadelphia Daily News, 5th February 2003.

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January 27, 2003

Man claims he's a witch, not a racist.

A man who erected a cross on an African-American woman's driveway, scrawled the words This is our property. Tho shalt not take on his house, called her racist names and hanged a black doll by the neck in his window was apparently practising Wicca, and not being a racist. It's a very weird version of Wicca:

On July 26, Dagenais constructed a wooden cross, placed it on the driveway and poured a liquid over the cross. The report says he was wearing a black skull cap and a black turtleneck. Dagenais said that for years he has practiced Wicca, a belief whose adherents practice a form of witchcraft. I put up a cross. I was sitting out there in black trying to scare them, he said. I didn't dress in a white cloak like the Ku Klux Klan.
On Aug. 15, McIntosh's estranged husband was at her house and saw a black-faced doll clothed and hanging by the neck in a porch window of Dagenais' house, facing toward the McIntosh home. The police report stated that a crucifix had been applied to the window with tape, and the garage door was painted with the number 666, a biblical reference to the devil. Subdivision trustees told Dagenais to remove the items. Dagenais said the doll was actually a black cat figure dressed in a brown dress.

FBI may decide whether neighbors' dispute is witchcraft - or racism - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 26th January 2003.

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January 22, 2003

Help oppressed women - keep them out of school.

The Dutch elections are today, and the Lijst Pim Fortuyn (LPF) are not expected to repeat their success, partly because of in-fighting and partly because the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDA) seem to be appealing to LPF voters. In Amsterdam, the CDA has said that it would ban the wearing of a burka or chador in the city's schools and colleges. They say that the garment hinders important non-verbal communication between students and teachers. Gijs Weenink told Het Parool (my translation, YMMV):

A chador or burka hinders communication. A good deal of communication is non-verbal. I am a teacher myself. During lessons, you can tell by looking at pupils' faces if they are paying attention , if they understand the material or if I need to give another example.

CDA wil burka totaal kwijt bij lessen - Het Parool, 22nd January 2003.

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January 21, 2003

Singer's brother arrested for witchcraft.

Projects are under way in many parts of India to counter superstitious beliefs in witchcraft (see Witch-hunting in India - Prattle, 3rd October 2002), but it can't help that some parts of the country still have statutes against it. Raseeq Khan, brother of famous Punjabi singer Kuldeep Khan, has been arrested. Khan is a tantrik guru, and had been called in to help a boy with an illness, his parents believed, caused by witchcraft. He said that the house was full of evil spirits.

Khan told her that he would come to their house and drive away all the spirits. When Khan reached Ravinder's house at 6 pm on Monday, her husband was not at home.
Khan insisted on waiting for him. Ravinder after finishing some household works went to take bath.
She alleged that Khan then barged into the bathroom and had rubbed ash all over her body.

Punjabi singer's brother held for witchcraft - Times of India, 20th January 2003.

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January 20, 2003

Cannibal admits murder.

The Indonesian cannibal (see Eat Thy Neighbour - Prattle, 16th January 2003) now says he has killed and eaten at least two other people in his quest for a 'peaceful soul'.

Sumanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, claimed his goal was to eat at least seven human bodies to gain supernatural powers and ensure a peaceful soul.

He also saved and dried the penis of one man to use as an amulet. Indonesian confesses to cannibalistic quest - IOL, 20th January 2003.

January 17, 2003

Ex-satanist in bomb-plot

The trial is underway of a group of three South African men on charges of sabotage. It is allleged that they planned to blow up the Vaal Dam. The three are described as Boer right-wingers and had, at six stages of the plot, recited an oath:

The oath declares solemnly that the takers will establish a household for God if he should give the Boer people victory in the coming battle.

The plot would have been put into action on the seventh recitation. One of the three men claims to be a former devil worshipper who had been converted by another member of the gang:

It was earlier testified that Peacock converted Rautenbach from Satanism to Christianity after driving his devils out. Rautenbach lived with the Peacock family and was like a son to Leon Peacock, the court was told.

Would-be bombers took 'Blood River' oath - News24, 17th January 2003.

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Child 'sorcerers' abused by churches.

Parents in the Democratic Republic of Congo are accusing their children of witchcraft in increasing numbers when things go wrong, and they end up in the hands of churches who extract outrageous confessions from them before 'exorcising' them.

Nzuzi, an eight-year-old with a sad face, said she was tricked by some class mates.
They gave me some bread at school. It was poisoned and they came to get it back later.
Nzuzi said that when her family slept, she would sneak out to join her friends to fly in the night sky.

The forced exorcisms are often simply abuse. Ange Bay Bay, a children's rights lawyer, told the BBC

There are children who are ironed with a clothes iron, there are others who are not given food for a whole week - there are these unbelievable things going on.

DR Congo's unhappy child 'witches' - BBC News, 17th January 2003.

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Irrelevant information

You would never see an article in a newspaper which started A man and a woman who had an interest in the Bible were arrested for allegedly starting five fires last summer unless it turned out that that book has inspired them to commit arson. Yet somehow, in the case of an apparently Christian couple arrested on similar charges, their interest in Paganism is relevant.

Arson investigators learned that Blair and Van Eddy were close friends who had met while attending a church in San Diego.
From gathering information from them, they are kind of into witchcraft and paganism and stuff, said Eidsmoe, who added that he doesn't know if that was a motive for the arsons.

The possibility of a religious motive for the blazes is ruled out when you discover they are alleged to have set fires in forests. Pair arrested for allegedly starting fiveblazes east of San Diego - San Jose Mercury News, 17th January 2003.

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January 16, 2003

Eat Thy Neighbour

An Indonesian man has been charged after he allegedly exhumed his neighbour and ate her flesh. A psychiatric examination is being arranged after he claimed that eating human flesh would give him supernatural powers. Indonesian law does not recognise cannibalism as an offence, and he will only face up to a year in prison for digging up a corpse. 'Man feeds dead neighbour to unwitting dad' - IOL, 16th January 2003.

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Oh no, not again.

German police are taking seriously the allegations of a 34-year-old woman who claims that babies are eaten and women raped as part of Satanic initiation rituals. Similar stories were circulated by Christian fundamentalist groups in the UK during the late 1980s and early 90s, and many children were taken into care as a result of allegations which proved to be totally groundless. The Times reports that German media are linking this with the recent case of a self-confessed cannibal, although there are no indications whatsoever that he credited his (apparently consensual!) act with any religious significance. German Satanists 'ate babies' - The Times , 16th January 2003 (via the rather excellent Gullibility isn't in the dictionary).

January 15, 2003

Witch murder suspect arrested.

A 32-year old man arrested in Kabompo, Zambia, is believed to be the leader of a gang responsible for the murder of a number of elderly people on suspicion they were practising witchcraft.

[North-Western police chief Innocent] Kalebwe said the suspected serial killer who, had no fixed abode used to be paid by people including young boys to kill suspected witches and wizards in the two provinces.
You know in these areas, there is no normal death. They strongly believe that any death of a young person is caused by witchcraft. So, many people have been killed by hired killers on such suspicions.
We tried to infiltrate the villagers, but we could not capture the suspects because they were liked by the young as they were saved from deaths by the hired killers. Even if they knew where the suspect was, they could not reveal to the police, so it was very difficult.

The suspect is in hospital after receiving a couple of bullet wounds when he tried to flee arresting officers. Karavina Gang Leader Arrested - The Times of Zambia (via allAfrica.com), 15th January 2003.

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January 11, 2003

Exploiting the fear of terrorism

A man has been arrested in Osaka after he allegedly tried to extort money from a camera shop by pretending to be a member of a militant Islamic group.

Hokazono visited Big Camera's Nanba outlet in Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Thursday evening, and handed a letter to a female employee demanding 60 million yen in cash, police said.
I'm a member of an Islamic radical organization. I've set a bomb to go off in your shop. Hand over 60 million yen and I'll tell you where it is, the letter read.
He later made several threatening phone calls to the shop. Police traced a call he made Friday evening, and arrested him.

A small incendiary device was found. 'Islamic radical' plants fire bomb in Osaka camera shop - Mainichi Daily News, 11th January 2003.

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January 9, 2003

Creative Planet rises

A children's art project, which was thrown out of its old venue after church leaders deemed modern dance to be 'pagan', has a new home. Creative Planet was an after-school project, widely supported by parents, but some of those parents have put their money where their mouth is and the new project is a full-time private school combining academic acheivement with creativity. Thirty-five students and several teachers transferred from El Monte Christian School, which had thrown them out, to the new school. Arts Academy opens at new venue - San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 9th January 2002.

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Twelve charged for witch hunt

Twelve people have appeared in court in Namibia on charges relating to an incident in which two women were illegally detained and threatened with death. The mob believed the women had bewitched a man who had recently drowned. 12 in Court for Witch-Hunt - The Namibian (via allAfrica.com, 9th January 2003.

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Satanist eats mother

According to police, a Texas man convicted of murder for beating his mother to death and eating part of her heart claimed he did so because he was a Satanist and was upset that the police had disturbed his sacrifice. 'I'm a devil-worshipper and I ate my mother' - IOL, 9th January 2003.

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'Demon' neighbour killed

A California man has been arrested for allegedly shooting neighbours he believed to be demons. A 67-year old man was killed and his son critically injured during the three hour seige at a house in North Hollywood. Man arrested for allegedly shooting 'demonic' neighbors - Sacramento Bee, 7th January 2003.

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January 8, 2003

Witch murders in India

A two-year old child was one of three people beheaded in Orissa for practising witchcraft. A traditioanal healer had told the accused that he and his family had come under the influence of an evil spirt. Three of them had died in the last two years, and his wife and daughters were ill.

The accused Habili Sidu (28) wanted to avenge the deaths of some members of his family. He believed the deceased were practising witchcraft and thus causing the deaths, police said.

Three beheaded for 'witchcraft' in Orissa - Sify News, 8th January 2003.

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January 7, 2003

Witchcraft in Africa

allAfrica.com brings us a number of recent incidents concerning witch beliefs. In Namibia, thirteen people have been arrested in connection with the New Year's Eve murder of a man accused of witchcra