Feòrag: May 2004 Archives

May 31, 2004

Schadenfreude ahoy!

United States: Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan recently wrote that Catholics should not receive communion if they vote for politicians who disagree with the church by backing abortion rights and other topics. Now Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has petitioned the IRS to strip his Colorado Springs diocese of its tax-exempt status as Sheridan might have crossed the line into unlawful partisan politicking.

Looked at in context, I believe it is clear that this letter has a partisan political intent,"wrote AU's Lynn to IRS officials. It is designed to endorse Republican candidates who oppose legal abortion, stem-cell research and other 'life' issues. At the same time, it threatens sanctions against any church members who support Democratic candidates who disagree with the church on any of these issues.

AU says the partisan intent of the Sheridan missive is clear when viewed in light of the current political situation both nationally and in Colorado. President George W. Bush and Democratic Sen. John F. Kerry hold opposing views on legal abortion. In addition, a Colorado senate race this year will pit a pro-choice Democrat against an anti-choice Republican.

AU told the IRS that Sheridan's letter appears to run afoul of election-year guidelines issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

There is a precedent for the requested action:

In 1995, the IRS revoked the tax-exempt status of a New York church that ran ads before the 1992 election telling people that voting for Bill Clinton was a sin because of his views on abortion, gay rights and other social issues. The church sued to get the exemption back but lost in court.

IRS Should Investigate Electioneering By Colorado Springs Catholic Diocese, Says Americans UnitedAmericans United for the Separation of Church and State press release, 27th May 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.

May 29, 2004

I drink, therefore flying pink elephants exist.

...Therefore, God Exists is a list summarising arguments 'proving' the existence of God. Some favourites:

6. TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
(1) Check out that tree. Isn't it pretty?
(2) Therefore, God exists.

8. MORAL ARGUMENT (I)
(1) Person X, a well-known atheist, was morally inferior to the rest of us.
(2) Therefore, God exists.

10. ARGUMENT FROM CREATION
(1) If evolution is false, then creationism is true, and therefore God exists.
(2) Evolution can't be true, since I lack the mental capacity to understand it; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be uncomfortable
(3) Therefore, God exists.

18. ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS
(1) Millions and millions of people believe in God.
(2) They can't all be wrong, can they?
(3) Therefore, God exists.

25. ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPREHENSIBILITY
(1) Flabble glurk zoom boink blubba snurgleschnortz ping!
(2) No one has ever refuted (1).
(3) Therefore, God exists.

35. ARGUMENT FROM INCOMPLETE DEVASTATION
(1) A plane crashed killing 143 passengers and crew.
(2) But one child survived with only third-degree burns.
(3) Therefore, God exists.

82. ARGUMENT FROM SQUARE CIRCLES
1) There is no such thing as a square circle.
2) God is not a square circle.
3) Therefore, God exists.

There are 519 of 'em at the moment, so I might be some time. (via Macadamia's Trinkets).

May 28, 2004

Fetch the swingometer

United Kingdom: The European Parliamentary Election will be held soon, but I will be, well, in Europe, so I applied for a postal vote. The ballot paper arrived this morning. There are several parties that I would not even consider voting for, but the one least likely to get my X is this:

Operation Christian Vote "Proclaiming Christ's Leadership"

As well as denying reproductive choice to women, and banning useful research, Operation Christian Vote declares We believe all government to be under the authority of God and that the purpose of government is the maintenance of freedom and justice solely in accordance with biblical principles. Makes the BNP look tolerable in comparison.

Elementary school

Has Disney come up with a challenger to Harry Potter in the Offending Fundies Stakes?

Will. Irma. Taranee. Cornelia. Hay Lin. Together they are W.I.T.C.H. - five ordinary friends with an extraordinary secret - they each have the power to control a natural element. W.I.T.C.H. is the acronym of the first names of the 5 heroines, all of who are 13 or 14 years old and are just like others of their age; they wear trendy clothes, they have fun with their friends, they're classmates.... But they also have magical powers.

And what's worse, unlike Rowling's boy wizard, there are definite references to 'real' neopagan magic:

Will controls energy, Irma commands water, Taranee has power over fire, Cornelia controls earth, and Hay Lin dominates air. The girls use their powers to guard against evil and to uncover the truth behind mysterious portals leading to other worlds.

Unsurprisingly, fundies are not happy bunnies.

Unfortunately, the fantasy that so many people are living is one that's not going to have a happy ending. They will end up in a very real Hell where they won't live happily ever after. One thing is for sure, the Disney Empire and the "Magic Kingdom" certainly have the ability to captivate minds with its fantasy. In an American Culture that thrives on being constantly entertained, The Disney empire has access into the minds of literally hundreds of millions of people.

Better not let them know about Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu (Tweeny Witches), then.

Disney Brings the Magic of Friendship to the U.S. with the Launch of W.I.T.C.H. Books - LPWire, 23rd March 2004; Mickey Mouse leading children to Hell - ac18.org, not dated; Disney leading kids to hell? - WorldNetDaily, 28th May 2004; W.I.T.C.H. site (Flash only); Tweeny Witches fansubs.

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.

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 26, 2004

An unusual skyscraper

India: A Sikh cleric wears what he thinks is the largest turban in the world:

[Major] Singh wears a huge tower-shaped turban using 400 meters of cloth, some 100 hairpins, and embellished with 51 religious symbols made in metal. Needless to say, the saint who wears only a blue frock, attracts attention where ever he goes and is pestered with questions about the weight and height of his big headgear.

His motives are purely spiritual, of course, and he hopes to encourage young Sikhs to wear turbans instead of the caps or short hair they prefer.

We want to keep our tradition alive. Those who have taken the pledge to devote their lives to the Sikh gurus, we will help them. We want to carry forward the virtues of life preached by the Sikh gurus, Singh said.

Such a spiritual quest requires appropriate recognition, so he has applied to The Guinness Book of Records. Holy 'Turbinator' eyes record books - Hindustan Times, 26th May 2004.

Gratuitous free ad.

Edinburgh, Scotland: I have quite a bit of respect for the Metropolitan Community Church, and rather a lot of respect for Bishop Jack Spong, author of Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, and the former is bringing the latter to town!

MCC EDINBURGH invites you to a GUEST LECTURE
The Bible and Prejudice
BISHOP JACK SPONG
author, theologian, retired Bishop of the US Episcopal Church and advocate of LGBT rights
Sunday June 27th 2004, 3.00 p.m. Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1EL
Entry is by ticket only. Tickets can be obtained for £3 each by writing to MCC Edinburgh at the above address. Places are limited so please apply early.
The talk will be followed by a question and answer session. Guests are invited to stay on for refreshments followed by a service of praise at 6.00p.m.

More information on the MCC Edinburgh web site.

May 25, 2004

Watching the goalposts pass by

United States: A Florida school has voted to change its rules on clubs to prevent a 12-year-old pupil starting a Pagan club.

The girl had asked about forming a club based on her pagan beliefs because the school had Christian clubs, her mother said. Bruner officials, however, told her she would have to gather 200 signatures to form such a club.

The existence of the Christian clubs means the school couldn't suddenly get concerned about the separation of church and state, so instead, they insisted on a minimum membership—want to bet that if one of the Christian clubs falls below that, the rule won't be enforced?

Okaloosa school board passes rule to block pagan clubHerald-Tribune, 25th May 2004.

May 24, 2004

Evil Pagans change their calendar

The murders of Holly Wells and Jessical Chapman were the work of a violent nutcase who is now safely banged up, and unlikely to ever see the light of day again, right?

Don't be silly! It couldn't possibly be that simple. And Ellis C Taylor has a much more complicated suggestion - it was a sacrifice to the Goddess. It starts with an assertion that the girls disappeared on the Pagan festival of Lughnasadh, conveniently moved to 4th August - a date which is more significant than can possibly be imagined by us mere muggles non-psychic types as it was also the Queen Mother's birthday!

Ley me down in Milton Keynes

Referring to an earlier post here, Alison Scott makes a startling revelation:

Milton Keynes is designed so that at sunrise on Midsummer's day, the sun is aligned directly with Midsummer Boulevard & is reflected in the mirror finish of the railway station.

Further investigation threw up a 1991 article by respected Earth Mysteries writer Bob Trubshaw. It seems it is much more complicated than that:

May 23, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Singalonga Bible

How could you possibly live without this musical ceramic holy bible?

This piece is absolutely beautiful. It's the holy bible displaying a nativity scene of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus sitting on top of the bible. The Shepard in the front winds up to play the music box that plays away in the manger. It stands 10 inches high and 12 inches wide. This item is in perfect condition with no chips or cracks that I can see. The picture does not do this justice. Would be wonderful to display at Christmas time or any time.

Here comes the sun

India: Prattle readers are probably familiar with sites such as Newgrange and Maes Howe, where the light from the sun hits a particular point on a significant day each year. But such astronomical tricks aren't restricted to the North-west European neolithic - a modern Jain temple has been designed to include a similar phenomenon.

For the past 17 years, thousands of devotees have been converging to a Jain temple in this Gujarat capital to witness the rays of the sun create a 'tilak' on the forehead of an idol of Lord Mahavir.
The phenomenon occurs every year May 22 at 2.07 p.m. and is seen by people as a divine event.

The architect explained:

Hemant Shah, the man behind the design of the temple, said: I wanted to commemorate our religious leader's death in a special way. Maharaj's death also took place at 2.07 p.m. on May 22, the exact time of the sun applying tilak on Lord Mahavir's forehead.
We consulted an astrologer to realise this phenomenon. The first year was a waste, since the sun's rays missed the forehead of Lord Mahavir but the next year, we worked with precision and now the result is here for the world to see.

Thousands witness rare event at Gujarat temple - NewKerala.com, 23rd 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).

Bargain of the Day: mildly pagan wigs

Hurry - you have only three hours or so to buy this Lot of 45,000 wigs (shaitels) new&used perfect condtion, though I suspect the seller is extracting the urine somewhat:

Stock of 45,000 beautiful wigs. Wigs have never been used other than as tools in mild forms of pagan worship, unconventional Indian religious rituals and mild usage in ulra-orthodox Jewish circles. Seller takes no responsibility for any injuries, damage, harm or detriment that may result due to the presence of satanic or modern-orthodox spirits hovering in or around the wigs. These wigs are easy to care for and require nothing more than semiannual cleansing in unfiltered New York City water. Items are currently being stored at a secret undisclosed location and will be shipped via Moishe's moving company upon receipt of payment. Cash STRONGLY preferred. all styles, long, short, hat-falls, falls...full color selection!

The following information was added later:

These high-quality wigs were originally purchased for $1000-4500 each and were sold to us as part of a religious reclamation campaign. Seller would consider bartering wigs for a similar size lot of hats.

"But rabbi, my wife's sheitel is the only part of her that's human."

Israel: Sally Berkovic has written an interesting article about the fuss over the hair used for wigs by Orthodox Jewish women, touching on the rules, the role of rabbis, and the status of women.

Interestingly, this current scandal broke in the same week as It's Your Turn, an hour-long video endorsing the importance of modesty for women, was shown simultaneously in Orthodox communities around the globe. This international campaign championing modesty is promoted by Bnos Melochim (Daughters of Royalty), an organization that has produced a year-long diary with a daily law of modesty for women to study.
Of course, there are many positive aspects of the Orthodox approach to modesty in a world where the prevailing attitude to women's (and men's) bodies is derogatory. But if the rabbis are the captains of the modesty movement, it is the cadre of women lieutenants that leads the battalion of foot soldiers on the way to higher necklines, more severe head coverings, and ankle-length hems.

As well as the coincidental timing (the issue was first raised nearly 15 years ago, and had been conveniently forgotten), Berkovic wonders why the fuss, when there are many more important issues right now:

While terror haunts Israel every day, while anti-Semitism increases around the world, and while thousands of Jews remain woefully ignorant about the basics of their own religion, you have to wonder. How can it be that the great sages of our generation are concerned once again about women's bodies, women's hair, and women's desires?

Is this really about modesty... - Jerusalem Post [BugMeNot], 19th May 2004; see also Rebuilding the Berlin Wall around the Torah - Pagan Prattle , 14th May 2004.

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).

May 18, 2004

Making Revelation happen

United States/Israel: A terrifying article in the Village Voice looks at the influence of evangelical Christians on US policy towards Israel. One group in particular, the Apostolic Congress, is singled out, and their representative in Israel, Kim Johnson, seems particularly interesting. She believes that she was attacked by witchcraft because there was a Harry Potter in the same block of flats as herself:

Two of the three nights in my apartment I have been attacked by a hair raising spirit of fear, she writes, noting the sublet contained a Harry Potter book; at this time I am associating it with witchcraft

Fortunately, as she holds herself to the sumptuary standards of Orthodox Jewish women, so as to better blend in to her surroundings, she's probably far too busy looking for a new wig to cause any trouble. The Jesus Landing Pad - Village Voice, 18th May 2004 (via Eschaton, and thanks to Charlie and PBen for thinking of me when they saw it...).

May 17, 2004

The plastic of the Christ

Don't miss this exciting QuickTime commercial for the Jesus Christ Action Figure (with walk-on-water action!). It's like Mel Gibson's PASSION without all the hassle.... And if you like it, you can buy a DVD with this, and more of the director's work. If you are feeling particularly rich, the actual figure used is for sale on eBay - but it's at $425 and the reserve hasn't been met yet.

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.

I say it was Saddam's aliens

Iraq: The murder of Nicholas Berg wasn't the work of Islamists, but a Satanic human sacrifice, according to Wiolawa Press. And it wouldn't be a proper conspiracy if the Jews weren't involved:

X- symbol of the ILLUMINATI (house of Satan) AKA
CIA/ MO_SS_AD..
NOT BY
IRAQ HUMANS
DOING THE BEHEADING! THE CIA/MOSSAD WANT U TO BELIEVE...

The evidence, as usual, can be found by over-processing JPEG artifacts.

ONE OF THE MAJOR WAYS THE SATANIST REPTILES KILL IS BEHEADING.( in their many SNUFF FILMS THEY SELL). the LEADER IS MARKED WITH AN X( THOSE WHO RULE=72 X 5= 360 PENTA_)and OFFICIATES AT THESE TYPICAL GRUESOME CEREMONIES> TO INSTILL FEAR IN ALL HUMANS (ARABS OR AMERICANS)- simple invert filter.. and enlarged
the next is just enlarged and solarized for more information.. the X dude has a LARGE EYE IMPLANT.. as does the PROBABLE REPTILE ON THE FAR LEFT.. the SECOND to the LEFT.. has a probable LEFT EYE IMPLANT.. and the 4th from the LEFT is probably a SNAKE as his EYES are near the NOSE AREA.. the 5th.. i can see only one eye outlined.. probably the same VINTAGE = REPTILES.. with IMPLANTS.. = MOSSAD/CIA or GUANTANAMO OFFICERS... THE ONLY TWO EYED HUMAN IS BERG!

(via Conspiracy Planet. More relevant questions can be found here.)

Homophobic parish to waste money

A London Anglican parish has decided not to give thousands of pounds to the Church of England, but instead to a cultic group which pretends it can 'cure' homosexuality. Why? Because they don't like pooves, and object to the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as the Dean of St Albans. Naturally, they pretend that this is because they really like homosexuals—they just don't like them being gay.

The Rev Charles Dobbie, the vicar of Holy Trinity, said that his congregation's decision to withdraw the quota and donate funds to True Freedom had been unanimous. I told the diocese that we would be doing this with great regret in protest at the precipitate and divisive appointment of Jeffrey John, he said.

We are donating the money to the True Freedom Trust, a Christian ministry to practising homosexuals, because we love practising homosexuals and we want them to hear the truth from the trust, not falsehood.

The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is not impressed:

The True Freedom Trust is a deplorable organisation that only helps compound the sense of guilt and lack of self-worth that many gay people find themselves experiencing because of all the negative attitudes that churches of Rev Dobbie's persuasion inculcate them with.

The trust would be far more close to the spirit of the Christian gospel if it were to recognise the existence of gay people and affirm same-sex relationships in a positive and holy way.

Rebel parish to fund 'cure' for homosexuals Sunday Telegraph, 16th May 2004.

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.

Rebuilding the Berlin Wall around the Torah

Israel: Ultra-Orthodox Jewish women are in a tizz after a Rabbi warned them that the hair to make wigs might have been used in Hindu ceremonies.

The storm began four weeks ago, when someone told the rabbis that most natural wigs imported from Europe are actually made of Indian hair. Two years ago, rumors had begun circulating that this hair was bought from Indian priests who gathered it up after the women cut it during a Hindu religious ceremony. This would be a serious problem, since Jewish law forbids the use of objects employed in idol worship (which in Judaism means all polytheistic religions). Apparently many wig-sellers concealed the fact that their wigs, though made in Europe, used Indian hair.

Married Ultra-Orthodox women are not supposed to let anyone other than their husbands see their natural hair, and while some prefer to wear headscarves, a more popular choice is wigs of bright blond hair that falls softly to their shoulders. And the letter of the Law is clearly more important in this case than the spirit.

People began running around preparing lists of permitted and forbidden wig shops; others demanded that the sellers of wigs made from Indian hair be tried in a religious court. In Bnei Brak, some people even started collecting Indian wigs and throwing them to the bonfire.

So far, the only Hindu hair-cutting ceremonies the denizens of Prattle Towers have found relate to young boys and comments as to what ritual the Rabbi refers to are welcome. A hair-raising fear of idols - Haaretz, 14th May 2004.

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.

May 13, 2004

English-Fundie phrase book

The Fundie Phrase Dictionary is designed to help further debate on religion and science.

When you debate with a Christian fundamentalist, you may often find that the two of you are going around in circles, almost as if you are speaking different languages. The reason for this is simple: you are speaking different languages.

So the Dictionary provides a handy table listing common phrases, a normal person's definition of that phrase and a Fundie's definition.

Freedom of expression
[Normal person] The freedom to make literature or films without censorship, provided you don't violate someone's rights. For example, child porn violates children, snuff films kill people, etc.
[Fundie] The freedom to make literature or films without censorship, provided you do not offend Christian values.
Alternatively, it is the freedom to express your religious beliefs wherever and whenever you want, in any venue you want, even if it is on someone else's property (eg- public property which is shared by people of all beliefs) or you are a schoolteacher and your job is to be neutral on religion.

(via Pharyngula.)

Bargain of the Day: Jewish bear

Sorry, but this Jewish bear is not a great, hairy, cut man. Indeed, this great gift for Hanukkah or Bat Mitzvah would appear to be a girl.

This cute bear is 12"(sitting) and is wearing a burgundy velvet dress...she is a must to have for every Jewish girl!!!This item is in mint condition with mint tag, from a smoking and pet free enviroment (brand new item). THANK YOU FOR LOOKING!

I must say that she doesn't look very happy.

May 11, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Squishy ball thing

Chaplain Pat had a dream, and the result was not equality under the law, but the PrayBall:

All he wanted was to find a way for people to know the blessings that prayer will bring into their lives by healing from the inside out.

But PrayBall's powers do not extend to healing apostrophes:

PrayBall, is a spiritual device to evoke peace energy in you. Imagine PrayBall as a direct link to the heavens that brings your mind to the present moment, and relaxes your body for prayer, any time you want. PrayBall works on mind and body, as well as spirit, interconnecting you and GOD. The concept is similar to a rosary, prayer beads, and other prayer connecting objects, but it's space age materials, and shape are also a reminder to speak with GOD frequently and comfortably. So, pass the ball to a friend.

Those of you with Flash might like to leave a comment as to whether the Interview with God is as exciting as it sounds.

Engineers trust magic over their own skill

Russia: The once-great Russian engineers have lost faith in their ability to produce huge, reliable space launchers and have been routinely using priests to consecrate rockets prior to launch. They have also admitted making cosmonauts undergo a ritual at a local church. Russia consecrates its spaceships - Pravda, 10th May 2004.

Russian parliamentarians generate excessive levels of evil

Russia: The Supreme Shaman of Siberia, Toizin Bergenov, has offered to cleanse the State Duma, the parliament building, of evil spirits.

Hereditary shaman considers that in the course of 10 years too much negativity has accumulated in the lower chamber. This negativity, apparently, spoils lives of everyone who works in the building, stated head of the Committee.

The building was apparently cleansed and consecrated by an Orthodox archbishop ten years ago, but this was not enough to deal with the levels of evil found in a building used by politicians:

The Shaman really enjoyed the idea of attracting Orthodox priests to fight Duma's evil. According to the shaman, however, one ritual will not be enough to exterminate all negativity in the State Duma, said a Committee's spokesman.
In order to conduct the ritual, Shaman is willing to come to Moscow in the end of June when the Spirit of the Sun is most powerful, according to him.

Siberian Shaman to cleanse State Duma from evil spirits - Pravda, 8th May 2004.

May 10, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Bible perfumes

Genesis Perfumes make scents of the Bible for Christians unhappy with the natural aroma God gave them.

We are excited to offer to you authentic Scents of the Bible TM. We are confident that you will find these perfumes from Biblical times truly Heavenly. All five fragrances are available in a 1oz/30ml Frosted glass bottle w/gold cap. Each is beautifully packaged in a clear display box and is excellent to give as a unique spiritual gift, even to yourself! We hope that you wear them knowing their spiritual significance and use them for your personal spiritual growth, and as a tool for witnessing to others.
Our anointing oils are available in all 5 Scents of the Bible fragrances. Each is available in a 1oz/30ml or 4oz/120ml Amber Boston Round Bottle. All oils are blessed and sealed with a tamper evident cap to assure absolute purity. We use only the finest imported Extra Virgin Olive, Essential and Fragrance oils.

The fragrances are Spikenard, Frankincese and Myrhh, Song of Solomon, Lily of the Valley and Rose of Sharon. They also produce Miracle Serum for those who can't accept that God intended them to age, and room scents for failed Christian housewives.

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.

Rip. mix. take the piss

Pericat has come up with her own improvement on the latest Chick tract. Here's a taster-ette:

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.

May 7, 2004

Remember—God hates shrimp

Jack Chick has a new comic out. The Birds and the Bees continues his obssession with pooves. As one of the characters warns us:

If anyone tries to make you Gay, stay away from them.

The discussion of it over at Pharyngula is worth a few minutes of your time (via Pharyngula).

Update: Based on one of the comments made by 'Steve' over at Pharyngula, I rather too hastily threw this together in Photoshop. He is responsible for the words.

Shaggy bloke story

New Humanist carries an interesting piece on the social and religious history of the beard, but with good humour:

And it is this deep prejudice that can lead to discrimination, according to the flamboyantly bearded Keith Flett, organiser of the Beard Liberation Front. This informal network of beard-wearers defends the rights of those who choose not to shave and collates evidence of their unfair treatment. This month they are urging a boycott of The Passion of the Christ: Mel Gibson's film is a very unsympathetic treatment of beards and we feel fully justified in boycotting it.
They see the invasion of Iraq as an attack on men with beards -- a view echoed by beard-wearing MP Jeremy Corbyn, who specifically denounced in Parliament the racism as well as the general injustice of the war.

Take it on the chin - New Humanist, 4th May 2004.

May 6, 2004

Pastor convicted of indecent assault

A London pastor has been convicted of two counts of indecent assault against a woman in his congregation, plus one attempted sex assault and perverting the course of justice. Pastor Douglas Goodman was cleared of two counts of indecent assaults, and the jury could not come to a verdict on a further seven indecent assault charges, or on one rape charge.

Courtenay Griffiths QC, Goodman's defence barrister, was presumably trying to claim that the attacks were consensual when he compared his client to Bill Clinton and John Major.

Pastor convicted of sex attacksBBC News, 6th May 2004; see also Pastor's wife casts spell on husband's accusorPagan Prattle, 7th April 2004.

Bachelor of Arse

India: Vedic Astrology may be studied in Indian universities after the Supreme court dismissed a petition brought by a scientist.

Joshi has been a staunch advocate that students should be provided a forum to research in Vedic astrology and allied subjects. The Union government argued that Vedic science was part of Indian culture and heritage and formed an important part of our ancient science in which India had made substantial contribution to the world.
The petitioners had questioned the decision to introduce the subject in universities at the graduate and post-graduate levels and also paving the way for research in jyotir vigyan at the M.Phil. and PhD. levels.
Bhargava had contended that the guidelines issued by the UGC were irrational as Vedic astrology could not be held to predict the unforeseen. He also contended that astrology did not qualify to be a subject of study in the university.

Green signal for astrology studies - The Telegraph (Calcutta), 6th May 2004.

Bargain of the Day: Jesus comes 2 play doll

Eric Morecambe will be powering the national grid when he hears about the God Squad and Friends Jesus Comes 2 Play doll:

He Sings! Press his Red Heart and He will sing You Are My Sunshine.
He wears a Cross Necklace! Matching One including for your child too!
Comb His Hair! Just like Yours!
He Prays! His hands can hold together to pray.
He's Soft! And Always Ready to Give a Hug!
His Clothes and Sandals are Removable!

So why would a good Christian child want to do that?

He's Big and 17 inches Tall!
... And Most of All, Jesus Comes 2 Play! is Full of Fun and Love!
Buy Now: $29.95
100% Satisfaction Guarantee

(via Spell Bound)

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.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Feòrag in May 2004.

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