Feòrag: April 2004 Archives

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.

Church: Make war not love.

Church leaders in Edinburgh are urging a ban on the showing of an historically important collection of early French erotic movies. And it's because the sound quality sucks:

Reverend John Tait, of Pilrig St Paul's Church, said the film sounded disgusting.

Oh, sorry, that's not what he meant? I wonder what he has to say about a film that features a half hour sequence in which a man is gruesomely, and realistically tortured to death? Anger over porn show plans - Edinburgh Evening News, 26th April 2004.

April 24, 2004

Clue needed

United States: Texas state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn is peeved. The Ethical Society of Austin, a humanistic religious organization whose goal is to search for the good in human life, has won the latest court case in its battle to be recognised as a religious organisation, and so be exempt from property and sales taxes. The Texas Supreme Court declined to hear Strayhorn's appeal, and she is unhappy:

But Strayhorn said granting the group religious status will prompt any wannabe cult who dresses up and parades down Sixth Street on Halloween to apply.

She neglected to explain how this is different from a cult dressing up in fancy frocks and waving smoking handbags around. The US Constitution guarantees freedom of religious belief, and separation of church and state, which means a state cannot give privileges to one religious group, and not another.

The case reaffirms that religious protection in the United States extends not just to large, well-recognized religions but to people of all faith, said Pete Kennedy, who represented the Ethical Society for the American Civil Liberties Union.

And unlike certain 'Christians', the Ethical Society really is acting on a point of principle, pays the tax it owes and stands to gain little from winning exemption. Austin group wins round against Strayhorn - Houston Chronicle, 23rd April 2004.

April 23, 2004

Bargain of the day: cuddly Anubis

Keep your plush Cthulhu company with this Anubis, God of the Dead Plush:

Egyptian god of the dead, represented as a black jackal or dog, or as a man with the head of a dog or jackal. After the early period of the Old Kingdom, he was superseded by Osiris as god of the dead, being relegated to a supporting role as a god of the funeral cult and of the care of the dead. The black colour represented the colour of human corpses after they had undergone the embalming process. In the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as presiding over the weighing of the heart of the deceased in the Hall of the Two Truths. His principal sanctuary was at the necropolis in Memphis and in other cities.
This poseable plush stands nearly 12 inches tall. Decked out in gold and jewels, this plush is a true representation of the God of the Dead.

April 22, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Engraved stones

Orand1 sells laser etched stones. But they are not just any old pebble - take this Holy land-engraved pebble from the Jordan river - Cross as an example:

This is a Laser engraved pebble which was picked and sorted by myself at the Jordan river in Israel. Engraving shows a Holy Cross.
Has an amazing smooth feel to it. Keep one in your pocket or give as a present to an important person.
Pebble is about 2" long.
No two pebbles alike - size and color may differ slightly.
Pebble comes in a recycled carton gift box with a certification of authenticity as shown.

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.

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.

April 19, 2004

Suggestion: get the puck in the net.

Canada: The Calgary Flames have made it to the play-offs in the Stanley Cup, but have the same sort of luck as Scotland does in World Cup finals. What to do? Train hard and hone those skills that got the team this far in the first place? Candle magick? Jen Silverhorse, from the Neopgan organisation Diwan Kroaschent, has some suggestions:

One spell requires cleansing hockey sticks belonging to goalies and players with salt water, then smudging them with sage and cinnamon to charge them with positive energy for strength and accuracy.
The next step would require a replica of the Stanley Cup be decorated with a candle and incense. The candle should not stop burning until the end of the playoffs, and if it starts to burn low, it should be used to light another candle before it is blown out.
The flame needs to keep burning to keep the spirit and bring the Stanley Cup here, she says.

The Calgary Herald consulted others - witches, feng shui practitioners, Hindus and Buddhists, but in a rare moment, only the Christian pastor made sense:

We're going to win with skill and hard work, he said.
Forget the curse.

Ending Cup curse just a spell away - Calgary Herald, 19th April 2004.

STOP laughing at them

Canada: It's not only Chinese newspapers falling for stories in The Onion—fundies are too, and they don't have the excuse that English is not their first language, or that they are dealing with material from a culture other than the one they live in.

April 18, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Grandpa's Guardian Angel Visor Clip

Distract an old man while he's driving, with this On the Wings of an Angel Grandpa's Guardian Angel Visor Clip:

This auction features a travel angel visor clip for Grandpa. The clip is of an angel and the saying on it reads Grandpa's Guardian Angel Please Travel Safely. It clips on the visor of a car. This would be a great gift for that special grandparent.

A tradition, or an old charter, or something

United States: A leading creationist's home and businesses have been raided by the Internal Revenue Service on suspicion of tax evasion relating to over $1 million (US) of income. Kent Hovind travels around the world lecturing against evolution, insisting that the universe is all the work of his, apparently incompetent, imaginary friend. He also operates a creationist theme park, and sells books and videos relating to his beliefs.

But in a sworn statement made to obtain the search warrant served Wednesday, IRS agent Scott Schneider said none of Hovind's enterprises has a business license in Escambia County or has tax-exempt status as a nonprofit enterprise.

Since 1997, Hovind has engaged in financial transactions indicating sources of income and has made deposits to bank accounts well in excess of $1 million per year during some of these years, which would require the filing of federal income taxes, wrote Schneider.

The statement is based on financial records plucked from Hovind's garbage from July 2002 through March 2004, statements from a former employee, Internet research and public records.

Hovind insists he is being singled out for his religion and, even though he tries to present his beliefs as science, has claims that his businesses are, in fact, a church. He also faces three charges relating to his refusal to obtain planning permission before building structures on his property. Why am I reminided of Jim Bakker? IRS raids business, home of creationist - Pensacola News Journal, 17th April 2004 (via Christploitation).

Update: P.Z. Myers has provided some interesting background material. It seems he's been in trouble with the tax authorities before, as these extracts from a court decision explain:

In his schedules and statement of affairs, the debtor represents that he is an evangelist employed by God and that he receives no income, has no expenses, owns absolutely no property, and has no creditors except for the IRS with a claim of $10,602.31...

...The evidence presented at the hearing paints a clear portrait of a tax protester whose sole purpose in seeking relief under chapter 13 was to obtain the release of property seized by the IRS... The IRS records reflect that notwithstanding his earning of income during the years in question, the debtor has failed to file any federal income tax returns for those tax years for which the IRS has filed its proof of claim. Furthermore, the IRS has no record of the debtor ever having filed a federal income tax return.

April 17, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Evangelical magic trick

I thought magic, even pretend magic, was forbidden by the Bible, but it seems it must be okay to use it to evangelise at particularly gullible and stupid people if this Ten Commandment Rating Pen is anything to go by:

Description: The Trick's Purpose for unsaved a Non-Christian: Too get the spectator's interest and present the gospel using the WDJD What Did Jesus Do method of evangelism using the ten commandments taught by Living Waters Ministries. Training CD included Hell's Best Kept Secret - taught by Kirk Cameron from the Left Behind movies. Included also is a routine for the Christian audience that reminds them that in Christ they are a perfect.
The 1st Performance: Begin by borrowing a bill from spectator or (use a track like the Jesus bill we included), let them mark the bill, take the bill and stab the pen right through the bill, pull the pen from the bill, hand the bill and pen back to the spectator to inspect, (There is No hole in bill and the pen appears completely normal.
2nd Performance What they see: You begin by showing the pen in left hand and a dime and penny in left hand. You place dime in their hand and ask them to make a fist around this coin. Then you place a penny on top of their fist and tap the penny with your analysis pen and instantly the penny and dime switch places.
Instructions on how to perform and what to say are included. Both performances are simple and easy to do and take only 10 minutes to learn each routine.

It's an interesting message and perfect for convincing the infidel that Christianity is nothing but an inane trick.

Update: Here's a whole catalogue of evangelical conjuring tricks!

April 16, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Bill Stross collectibles

You can find some interesting sites while looking for something completely different. Inspirations Catholic/Christian Gifts and Books claims We offer a wide selection to inspire spiritual growth and beautiful gift solutions to celebrate life's special moments!!, which sounds like a site full of delightful bargains to me. Of particular interest, is the page of 'collectibles' by one Bill Stross (presumably not related) - a collection of sculptures featuring cute kids and their equally saccharine guardian angels. Each is accompanied by an explanation by the artist:

When m wife and I took our two boys into bed at night, I hear echoes of myself as a child in their whispers, Please make sure there are no monsters under the bed. There's nothing to be afraid of, the Angels are watching over you. They nod off to sleep with a simple smile, comforted in that promise. The innocent fears of a child remind me that there really is nothing to be afraid of in life! He's way bigger than the Boogie Man.

Scroll down for other ranges of angel delight.

April 15, 2004

No crystal ball required to see this one coming

United States: Jamiel Terry is the adopted son of Randall Terry, best known for his leadership of the anti-abortion terror group Operation Rescue. These days, Randall has been campaigning against civil rights for homosexuals. So it comes as no surprise to the residents at Prattle Towers to learn that Jamiel just came out, much to the distress of his good, Christian father:

I am still in a state of shock; I have been grieving for days. My son, Jamiel Terry, was paid $5,000 by Out magazine (to appear April 20, 2004, on newsstands) to write a story about being Randall Terry's homosexual son. I pray my following words help other grieving parents and serve as a warning to moms and dads of small children to be unflinchingly and unashamedly diligent to protect their children from predators, and bring a reality check to those exploiting my son.

It seems that his son is a screaming stereotype, too. Surely Randall must have guessed?

Jamiel is incredibly gifted. He is articulate and handsome. He sings like an angel, he plays the piano, he's a great cook, and he's a great debater... People like him. I love him. I've poured 16 years of my life into him.

After complaining at length about financial discussions within the family, Randall has the audacity to whinge He sold out our family's privacy and private discussions for cold cash. Can you imagine a family member doing that to you? Presumably giving it away for free to a fundie website is okay. My prodigal son, the homosexualWorld Net Daily, 9th April 2004 (via Ex-Gay Watch).

Bargain of the Day: Tiffany-style Rapture lamp

Light up the End Times with this Tiffany - style Rapture Accent Lamp RETAIL PRICE: $99.00:

The captivating Rapture lamp has been handcrafted using methods first developed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The beautiful shade contains 375 pieces of stained glass, each hand cut and wrapped in fine copper foil. Measuring 7 inches in diameter, the shade includes vivid colors in light beige, aqua blue, teal green and mauve. Please note that the shades colors will be darker and less vibrant when not illuminated. Standing approximately 11.5 inches tall, the cast metal base has an elegant bronze-tone finish and boasts one candelabra socket to accommodate one 40-watt bulb. A UL approved Line switch cord allows easy operation.

Red Wolf will be proud

Australia: Mel Gibson's sado-masochistic fantasy has failed to impress Australian cinema-goers.

In stark contrast to Kidman's success, The Passion of the Christ is struggling to make a mark down under. Mel Gibson's Gospel picture has been only a moderate success in Australia and notably failed to benefit from the Easter boost that propelled it back to the top of the American box office this week. In fact, The Passion of the Christ could only make number six in the Aussie chart, with its A$805,000 (£332,000) weekend gross easily eclipsed by Starsky and Hutch, which opened on A$3.5m (£1.4m). The theory that there would be a Jesus revival at the flicks at the weekend was a myth, sniffed the Sydney Morning Herald.

In brief: Schrader's Exorcist comes back to life - The Guardian, 15th April 2004.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Zanzibar: The Muslim loons in charge of the East African tourist trap have outlawed homosexuality in an attempt to preserve its culture. Which is a little odd, given that Zanzibar's only cultural export worth mentioning was an openly bisexual, Zoroastrian rock star.

Zanzibar outlaws homosexual actsBBC News, 14th April 2004.

So when do we hear about the Satanic rituals?

United States: It is perhaps unsurprising that money-grubbing parasites would pile on in the aftermath of the allegations against musician Michael Jackson. The latest claim looks like it is a fantasy 'recovered memory' planted in a vulnerable mind by a psychiatrist, and one with an axe to grind at that.

The sources said that Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, who filed a child abuse complaint last year with Santa Barbara County Protective Services against the pop singer, counselled the new victim and helped him remember the alleged assault.

The sources also said that feminist attorney Gloria Allred, a prominent critic of Jackson's lifestyle, was also involved in bringing the recent complaint to police.

Lieberman claims that she is ethically and legally bound to not comment at this time, which means that we don't get to hear how she justifies using an unethical and discredited technique. New Jackson accuser "recovered" memoriesReuters (via Religion News Blog), 15th April 2004.

April 7, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Motorcycle pulpit

I hope this VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE PODIUM/PULPITwas made from a wreck, and not a perfectly good bike:

Actual Front End of a Used Motorcycle.
Horn & Headlight Function off of a 6 volt battery.
Front Wheel Moves Freely & Front Break Works.
AWESOME FOR A YOUTH ROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
GREAT ADDITION FOR ANY ORGANIZATION!!!
Will Bring Out The KID In Anybody!!!!
Shipping Costs: $100.00 Will ship within 2 wks after full pymt is received.
DON'T LET THIS ONE DRIVE BY YOU......BID NOW!

Fundies annoy Christians, too

Sometimes it's easy to forget that religion doesn't turn everyone into a barking mad, hate-filled loon. There is a type of Christian, inspired by the reported words and actions of Christ, with a completely different attitude to others. And they think fundies have missed the point completely, as Jeffrey Ritchie explains:

The Gospel according to St. Luke depicts Christ being crucified along with two other criminals - both of whom it would appear were justly convicted and sentenced for their crime. When one of the criminals asks Jesus to remember me when you come into your kingdom, Christ does something that must appear perplexing and downright unchristian to the right wing. Christ tells the criminal that today you will be with me in paradise.
Say what? Shouldn't Christ have first asked what the criminal's views were on abortion? Shouldn't he have checked to make sure the criminal wasn't gay? Shouldn't Christ have at least - I mean at very least - made sure that the criminal was a Republican?

An Easter Sermon - Democratic Underground, 7th April 2004.

Mystery 'witch' attacks school

Malawi: Pupils are fleeing Blantyre Secondary School after three girls received mysterious injuries in the night.

The assailant attacked the girls as they were sleeping in their dormitory.
We do not know how he or she entered the room because the door was bolted from inside and the windows are such that no one can squeeze through, one of the girls, Veronica Saiwala, said on Tuesday.
Saiwala said the identity of the assailant could not be established.
We believe it was a woman because she had bare breasts and was only putting on pants. She appeared very brown but her face was too dark to be recognised, she said while others remained unsure about the sex of the assailant.

The attacks are popularly believed to be associated with witchcraft or satanism. A similar panic happened in Zimbabwe a couple of years ago. Students flee school on satanism allegations - The Nation, 7th April 2004.

Pastor's wife casts spell on husband's accusor

England: The trial of Pastor Douglas Goodman, accused of one charge of rape, and twelve of indecent assault against four women, has taken a bizarre turn. The Old Baily court heard some unusual evidence:

Erica Goodman, the wife of Pastor Douglas Goodman, exorcised of the 'spirit of witchcraft and Jezebel' from a woman, after the congregation member claimed Pastor Goodman had attacked her.
But after laying her hands on the alleged victim's head to draw out the evil spirits, Mrs Goodman then accused the woman of sleeping with a 15-year-old boy.

Exorcism in the home of 'rape' pastor - Black Information Link, 6th April 2004.

April 6, 2004

Nothing but raspberry leaf tea for you, dear.

United States: A new federal law, allegedly designed to protect pregnant women from violence, is likely to increase the rate of abortion. Why? Because if a women lets her pregnancy continue, she's likely to face criminal charges if anything goes wrong. Lynn M. Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, looked at the effects of similar laws enacted in individual states:

In 1997, South Carolina used this law against a pregnant woman, Cornelia Whitner, who was charged with failing to provide proper medical care for her unborn child. Whitner had given birth to a healthy baby who tested positive for an illegal drug. Based on extrapolation of the state feticide law, Ms. Whitner was convicted of criminal child abuse. At sentencing Ms. Whitner begged for drug treatment. The judge responded, I think I'll just let her go to jail....
In America, we do not punish people for being sick. And courts generally do not permit the arrest of someone merely because they suffer the disease of alcoholism or other drug dependency. Nevertheless, relying on the argument that the fetus is an independent victim, hundreds of women nationwide have been arrested for continuing their pregnancies to term in spite of a drug or alcohol problem that for anyone else would be treated as a health problem. Underlying these arrests is the belief that being addicted to drugs or having another health problem during pregnancy is no different from a man shooting his pregnant girlfriend in the head.

The South Carolina law has been used to punish women who had the temerity to suffer a stillbirth, even where there was no evidence that anything they did contributed to it. And prosecutors warn that they will file charges in such cases, even if pregnant women have been using perfectly legal substances. And though most anti-abortion fanatics have claimed its nothing to do with them, others have been more truthful.

Yes, some of UVVA's sponsors have admitted that it is about abortion, but its most immediate and devastating threat is to women who have no intention of terminating their pregnancies and for many of whom abortion is abhorrent. Far from safeguarding pregnant women or children, the UVVA creates the legal foundation for policing pregnancy and punishing women who carry their pregnancies to term.

The solution for the pregnant woman who wants to avoid the risk of prosecution? Terminate the pregnancy at the first possible oppportunity. TOMPAINE.com - Policing Pregnancy, 2nd April 2004 (via The Sideshow).

April 5, 2004

Be evangelised at, or fail your course

Eire: University College Dublin is investigating students' complaints that they would fail their exams if they did not attend an event held by Catholic extremist group Opus Dei.

Mr Paul Dillon, president of UCD Students' Union, said yesterday his office had received a number of complaints from students at the college's School of Diagnostic Imaging about pressure to attend an Opus Dei event.
This took place last January in Dublin and was called The Richness of the Human Person, according to Mr Dillon.
As far as we're concerned, attendance at the meeting was compulsory, he said. The lecturer noted the names of all those who didn't attend the meeting last January . . . students felt intimidated into going.

A University representative said that the allegations were being taken very seriously as the University is strictly non-denominational. The lecturer concerned has voluntarily stopped teaching while the complaints are investgated. UCD launches inquiry into Opus Dei claims by students - Irish Times, 3rd April 2004 (via Crazysoph).

School indoctrination special

Religion in the school systems, both in the UK and elsewhere, seems to be in the news right now. Firstly, Jon of Maine sends a pointer to a Boston Globe article:

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - A seventh-grade history teacher has been placed on administrative leave, less than four months after he filed a lawsuit alleging the school district violated his First Amendment right to free speech by requiring him to adhere to a European history curriculum that emphasizes only the evolution of Christian civilization.
Citing confidentiality policies, administrators in the school district said they could not discuss the reasons Gary Cole was placed on the paid leave last month. Cole, 60, of Washburn, declined to discuss the lawsuit or the administrative leave, referring questions to his lawyer, A.J. Greif of Bangor. Greif said that if one sues a school district and suddenly finds a more hostile working environment, I think a causal link between the two can be easily inferred.

Presumably the curriculum ignores minor aspects of European history like the Holocaust, and certain events which would explain why Muslim Iraqis object to being policed by Spanish forces. On Friday, the National Secular Society Newsline published a letter from Tom Paine about his daughter, and the policy of her allegedly non-denominational school of having evangelical Christian missionaries take assembly. When challenged, they said the law obliged them to do it.

When we brought the matter up at the Governors meeting we were simply told that it was the law. We looked this up on the internet and found out that since 1944 all school children, with the right of withdrawal, have to attend a daily act of broadly Christian worship (now hidden in The Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998). This feels like a colonial law that now reduces Britain to be its own colony and allows schools to be targeted by evangelical parents / parent governors who select head-teachers who, in our case, allow in missionaries. We sought the advice of a top human rights lawyer who told us that public authorities, and this means schools, have a positive obligation to uphold the Article 9 human rights of all its staff and pupils (the Human Rights Act 1998). As nobody had been told that Christian evangelists were coming into the school; we continually pushed the school to meet its Article 9 obligation and inform the whole school that these assemblies were taking place, so that other parents could protect their children's rights. We were fobbed off with excuses such as, The school governors are going to review the assembly provision soon. This took 18 months to happen. We also complained to Charles Clarke, our MP, our Education Authority and its SACRE (this, if nothing else, embarrasses the school).

The school then broke the law when they failed to respect the parents' request that their daughter not be exposed to the assemblies. A meeting with the governors and a snotty letter later...

Within a week of that unpleasant meeting, our response to it, and another letter from one other parent we were told that the school would no longer be visited by Christian evangelists. This has been an empty victory because we never got an explanation as to why the school thought it was OK for our daughter to sit alone in her class room during the year that she had to endure brain surgery (twice) and radiotherapy for a brain tumour, even though withdrawal was her (happy) choice.

Then yesterday's Observer reported on a legal victory secured by an atheist father:

A former Lancashire policeman has won several hundred pounds' compensation from his local council after being forced for several years to pay for buses to take his atheist daughter to a non-religious school.
The decision by Lancashire County Council is likely to have profound national implications. Children whose parents want them to attend a religious school receive subsidies to pay for their school transport pass. But families who don't want their children educated in a religious school have to pay for their own buses to take them to secular state schools.
But now a council has conceded that non-believers are entitled to the same rights as religious families, in a decision that could have national repercussions.

Teacher who sued is placed on leave - Boston Globe, 1st April 2004; Letters to Newsline - NSS Newsline, 2nd April 2004; Secular college victory for atheist schoolgirl - The Observer, 4th April 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).

Bargain of the Day: haunted Voodoo idol

Fill that annoying gap on your shelves with this HAUNTED POSSESSED VOODOO IDOL HUMAN BONE!

Another fabulous estate sale find. This hideous strange old tribal fetish is made of bone (human?) and hair. Just touching it creeps me out.
Looking for something truly authentic for your haunt or home? Something that will be the envy of your friends and perfectly illustrate your unique and interesting taste? Then this antique statue may just have what you are looking for..
If anyone has info on the origins of this strange little man, let me know.
This was aquired from a Hollywood estate sale where the owner collected macabre antiques!
As for the fetish itself, it's probably worth something. This large unique tribal witchcraft idol it is carved out of bone --yuk!--with primitive carvings . The hair looks realistic - I hope it didn't belong to someone!
This is an impressive piece - primitive and tribal. .
! "I know about all these proven hoaxes around the internet of Haunted Paintings and Haunted items. Yet i have no intention in doing that. I only collect genuine haunted artifacts and hunt for them all over, that is a well proven fact, by many, many people who have bought from me. Yet now claims have turned to proof for me. I did my own investigation on this statue in my lving room, and the results are amazing. My door would close by itself and the lights would often flicker on and off. I think a ghost is either attatched to the statue, or is possessing it to get our attention. Sure it scares me as hell, and at the moment the statue is hidden by me. I just took these snaps and rushed it back into the garage There is nothing as scary as something that is possessed, and after having 3 different witnesses to this, i found it hard to believe, yet now im eating up my own words. Im shocked.
This is a real haunted idol. very freaky buy at your own risk..
This auction is for an antique possessed tribal statue in amazing condition, just a small piece.
My reasoning for listing this is, serious bidders would be interested in an object that could actually be haunted.
!;
!!.
Way too creepy!!!"

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

United in superstition

The Football Association has ruled that a toss of a coin will decide which team stays in which hotel for the FA Cup final. One of the two hotels used, St David's Hotel and Spa in Cardiff, has an unlucky reputation as only one winning team has stayed there. As a result, there have been arguments about who stays where.

A Feng Shui practitioner visited the five-star hotel in August, to try to lift the hotel's apparent football curse.
He scattered incense and sea salt, rang bells, chanting a Buddhist ritual and led a horse around the grounds.

The jinx does not appear to apply to rugby teams. Let us hope Manchester United lose this particular toss. Teams toss for 'lucky' FA hotel - BBC News, 3rd April 2004.

Ulterior motive comes to light

United States: An anti-abortion extremist has been convicted on four counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and one count of lewd or lascivious conduct. John Burt's victim was a 15-year-old girl who was staying at his house for 'unwed mothers'. Each conviction carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. He seems to be associated with some extremely dubious people:

Burt led protests in Pensacola on behalf of two couples that bombed three local clinics on Christmas Day in 1984. Burt was outside the Pensacola clinic when an Our Father's House volunteer, Michael Griffin, murdered Dr. David Gunn in 1993. Griffin's family later claimed that John Burt had manipulated Griffin. Burt is also an associate of Paul Hill, who murdered Dr. Bayard Britton and volunteer escort James Barrett outside another local Pensacola clinic in 1994. Burt is on film helping Paul Hill identify Dr. Britton outside the clinic in the weeks before Hill shot and killed Dr. Britton and his clinic escort.

Anti-Abortion Extremist Found Guilty of Molestation - Feminist Daily News Wire, 2nd April 2004 (via Internet Infidels News Wire).

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).

Bargain of the Day: Used Aluminum Church Steeple

A church is being put to a much better use as a homeless shelter, so there's a 36-38 Foot Used Aluminum Prefabricated Church Steeple up for auction:

In very good condition. Included: 4 All thread bolts used to attach to roof structure platform. Steeple will be removed from roof top on 4/17/04. Seller will have a crane availalble at no charge to place the steeple on buyer's transport unit at that time (4/17/04). Buyer is responsible for pick up and transport. If buyer cannot pick up the steeple on 4/17/04 then the buyer will be responsible for transferring steeple from the ground to their transport unit, at the buyer's expense.

Just the thing for the gothic garden.

April 2, 2004

Why fundies are stupid

Germany: A researcher at the Hamburg Medical Research Institute has discovered that sex stimulates the brain and enhances intelligence.

He said that love making not only excited the body but also the brain and the increased amount of adrenaline and cortisol hormones that are produced stimulates the grey matter, reported magazine Unicum Campus.
Sex makes you more intelligent in that experiences are collected that can be used later on in areas of life not linked to sex, said [Werner] Habermehl.

Orgasm also serves to improve self-confidence. Sex makes you clever - Ananova, not dated but let's guess that it was yesterday morning (via morons.org).

Fleecing the gullible

United States: A 'psychic' who defrauded a woman of $130,000 (US) has been sent to prison for a year and a day. Julia Tan was contacted by the woman to help find a lost cat.

Tan then told the woman she was surrounded by evil spirits but for a $5,000 fee she could get rid of them and return her cat.
Tan later offered to repair the woman's aura and find her a soul mate for $10,000 in cash. The woman complied, and in April 2003 traveled to Philadelphia to meet Tan and give her $10,000.
Tan sought and received more money by telling the woman she needed to buy special candles from Israel and burn them near images of the woman and her cat in order to remove the evil surrounding them, Anderson said.
After the woman returned to the La Crosse area, Tan convinced her to send still more money for gold jewelry that Tan claimed she needed to drive away evil spirits.

The woman eventually contacted the FBI after the cat failed to return. 'Psychic' sentenced for fraud - La Crosse Tribune, 2nd April 2004.

The Shaymen's shaman

England: Halifax Town are doing even worse than usual, and have accepted the services of a psychic who got in touch after reading about the manager speculating that the club must be cursed. Psychic bids to boot out Shay curse - Halifax Courier, 2nd April 2004.

Genii take break from calling Sikhs 'Osama'

England: The Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire have been badly damaged by vandals who poured yellow gloss paint over the stones. There is an extra complication to cleaning them, as the Stones are home to some ancient lichens, and removing the paint could destroy hundreds of years of growth. The stone circle is in regular use by neopagan groups, but a religious motive is not suspected. Vandals daub ancient stone circle - BBC News, 2nd April 2004; Rollright Stones web site.

Silver Cockroach Dung Beetle

Someone calling themselves The Snow Queen is fed up with a particular fashion for names found in the Pagan community, and fluffy Pagans in general.

Fluffy pagans believe that nature is a happy, bouncy place where little bunnies cuddle up with the fuzzy tigers and no one ever gets turned into a goon or, well, eaten. The vast majority of members in the Ministry of Silly Names are more or less fluffy. Yet they continually choose predatory animals for their namesakes! Or even better, carrion birds like ravens. Nobody wants to be a prey animal, no matter how genteel they think the law of the jungle is.

The contributors to this fine publication would like to point out that the rant is neopagan-specific (via Larry).

April 1, 2004

Rabbi full of hot air

Israel: Three members of an Israeli tank maintenance unit have died recently, and not due to the usual things members of the military die of. So, obviously the base must be cursed. A rabbi was called in to perform a Kabbalistic exorcism involving 100 shofars. Although the ceremony took place during the soldiers' own time, one senior officer was not amused.

MK Ilan Shalgi called the event a voodoo ceremony. He said, This puts the IDF in line with the Zulu and Tutsi armies in Africa. Primitive tribes hold such official witchcraft rituals and I suggest that the IDF appoint a senior witchcraft officer instead of its chief rabbi.

Despite the date, the story did not appear until after midday. Rabbis blow shofars to exorcise curse at IDF tank base - Israel Insider, 1st April 2004.

Bugger C*nsorship

United States: The American Family Association is trying to orchestrate a campaign of complaints about an episode of That '70s Show which had a big, grown-up wanking joke in it. To this end, they have provided a link to send the complaints to the relevant authority. Of course, anyone can use it, so Larry did:

Dear FCC Commissioners,
I want to say that the AFA does not understand the import of the first amendment. Furthermore, I am tired of people trying to protect me from things that they don't want their children to see. I am opposed to censorship in any and all forms, especially the ridiculous crackdown that has recently been implemented by the FCC.
If you want to fullfill your mandate and improve the utilization of the electromagnetic spectrum to the benefit of the people of the United States, then break up the broadcasting monopolies and encourage diversity in radio and TV programming.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Fe&ograve;rag in April 2004.

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