Feòrag: July 2004 Archives

July 31, 2004

Religion vs the real world

The Vatican: Celibacy has its advantages. For one, you need never have to deal with the responsibility of bringing up children. Unfortunately, this also means you have no idea exactly what that might involve, although this won't stop you bringing out a document to tackle feminism. Kathryn Cramer has covered this, so I don't have to.

These are lovely sentiments. But what are God and the Catholic Church going to do to make this so? How, exactly, do they propose that a woman staying home with her kids not be penalized financially for her decision? Perhaps God will strike down a woman's elderly relatives with large bank accounts and make sure she's mentioned in the will. Or is the church offering stipends? Given the Pope's well-known opinions on birth control, I expect that the Vatican has earmarked a hefty sum for this project.
And then there's the plight of working women. First of all, God will add several hours to the working mom's day so she can get some sleep. And the church will pitch in by requiring its priests to become licensed child care providers, massage therapists, and yoga instructors and henceforth will require priests to do day care on weekdays and evenings and will offer free massages and yoga classes with confession. (Shall we break into a chorus of Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?) Or do they have some other plan?

I'm not sure I want the Catholic Church caring for any sprog of mine after Boston, Portland and all the other priestly child abuse scandals.

Bargain of the Day: Fossil plus tall tale

Fossils are a complete pain, what with them giving credence to that satanic evolutionist conspiracy and all. Obviously they can't possibly be evidence of life on Earth from before God created it, so they must be something else. How does MOUNT SINAI STONE WITH IMPRINTS OF THE BURNING BUSH sound?

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Dimensions of these Holy Rocks with leaves of The Burning Bush vary.

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VIEW THE LEAVES OF THE BURNING BUSH.

ALL HOLY ITEMS AND HOLY ICONS WE PRESENT ARE BLESSED AND CONSECRATED WITH HOLY WATER.

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.

July 30, 2004

It's not only the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Malawi: A Catholic nun and a priest have received suspended sentences after they were caught having sex in an airport car park.

The 43-year-old priest and 26-year-old nun were caught in the act in a tinted saloon car parked at Lilongwe International Airport.

It was a bizarre spectacle, the public alerted airport police after noticing the car shaking in a funny way, police spokesman Kelvin Maigwa told the BBC.

The nun accepted responsibility for her actions, but the priest blamed an imaginary enemy:

The nun tearfully told the magistrate she regretted her brief lapse in judgement, while the priest said that as a man of God he accepted Satan had tempted him.

Malawi clerics caught canoodlingBBC News, 29th July 2004 (Thanks, Novice Nun the Wiser).

Move over Jesus, you have competition

United States: A fundie author is to appear at a restaurant in Pleasantville, South Carolina, even though her book appears to claim that she is dead. Evelyn Murray Drayton's vanity published tome, I Had to Die Exposing Witchcraft in Church, looks to be the standard-issue evangelism-by-false-witness type of publication often seen in the more extremist Christian bookshops. In it, she claims to have exposed a terrible conspiracy thanks to a prophecy made by her pastor.

The book details some of her real life experiences -- including combat with a curse of witchcraft sent her way by a church leader whom she respected and a false prophetess, and how she grew spiritually following her chilling experience...
Drayton thinks it is by divine intervention that her book is being published at about the same time various other satanic church activities are being publicly exposed.

DeBordieu teen wins gold in N.Y. (scroll down a bit) - Georgetown Times, 30th July 2004.

Avignon moves a bit

Spain: The real Pope is Gregorio XVII according to himself and his 300 or so followers. He claims to have been ordained by God, because the Vatican is controlled by Satan having been infiltrated by Masons and Communists.

Rome ... is no longer the capital of Christianity; the new Rome is the Sacred Place of El Palmar de Troya, a booklet from Gregorio's church quotes God as telling him.

Mel Gibson would approve of the Church, which has canonised dictator Francisco Franco, as it rejects reforms made in the 1960s and uses Latin. And there will be no debate over succession, as Gregorio's demise will resemble Gibson's sado-masochistic fantasy film:

Followers call 58-year-old Gregorio the last pope, and say he will be crucified. An electronic information package handed out at the church shows gory pictures of Gregorio with bleeding wounds in the hands, torso and forehead similar to those of Christ on the cross.

At the end of his reign the anti-Christ appears and he will put the pope to death, he will crucify him, and then Christ will appear and destroy the anti-Christ and a new era will begin, a middle-aged Irish man told Reuters on his way to mass.

Spanish Sect Leader Says He Is the Real Pope - Yahoo! News, 27th July 2004 (via The New American Revolutionist).

July 28, 2004

Spot the deliberate mistake

['French' Jewish graveyard with 'Juden raus' grafitti]This image and caption appear on the BBC News web site illustrating a story about French Jews emigrating to an allegedly safer Israel.

French Jews emigrate to Israel - BBC News, 28th July 2004.

Bargain of the Day: Eternal Light Cross

What a tasteful testimony to someone who has passed on - a battery-operated solar powered cemetery cross:

This lasting memorial is designed to fit in the vase at graveside for a gentle reminder of the love felt for that person.
A warm glowing light will illuminate the grave each night and give the grieving family comfort in knowing their loved one is not forgotten.
The durable maintenance free cross is made of weather resistant acrylic. It stands 14" tall (not including the ground mount) 10" wide and 3" in depth. The special solar cell allows for the batteries (included) to be recharged everyday.

The light isn't all that eternal though, so don't expect it to do much illuminating of long winter nights:

The Eternal Light Cross will illuminate for 5 hours or more depending on the time of year and amount of sunlight.
Each Eternal Light Cross comes with a one year warranty and a theft replacement offer.

Magical beliefs in Jamaica

Jamaica: Belief in magic is strong in Jamaica, and various illnesses and misfortunes are regularly attributed to obeah. It's good for business too.

Walk into some drug stores downtown Kingston and you will be able to purchase a variety of 'oils'. These oils are chemicals, esters, that are sweet smelling without any real effect. One pharmacist told me that oils account for a significant part of sales. There are oils for success, oils to promote healing, oils to 'tie' someone into a relationship, oil to 'get rid of someone'. Other products include 'compellance powder', 'tan there oil' and 'oil of come back'. Baths, costing up to $10,000, are an important part of these rituals and may be used to cast off evil spirits, to 'wash off' bad luck or promote success.

The author of the article, Wendel Abel, is a consultant psychiatrist and know it's all headology:

My opinion, however, is that although obeah is widely practised in Jamaica, there is no basis for it. People experience personal tragedies every day and a lot of the associations made with someone's experience is both false and coincidental. Contrary to some belief, evil spirits, spells and obeah cannot cause illness. The reality is that there is a number of medical disorders for which there is no adequate treatment or cure. Many persons will turn to the supernatural out of desperation.
For many conditions with psychological bases such as anxiety disorder and depression, healing can take place by suggestion. This is similar to what we describe as 'the placebo effect' in which an individual with pain may get an injection of water and will feel better.

'Dem obeah me!' - Jamaica Gleaner, 28th July 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 25, 2004

Mixed messages

India: Someone in the government is confused. More than 2500 women have been murdered after being accused of witchcraft in the last 16 years, and obviously something must be done. How about increasing the stigma these women face by making that which they are falsely accused of illegal? The decision to ban witchcraft, and do nothing about the murderers, comes on the back of a UN report into the problem:

The central government has moved to declare witchcraft illegal after the UN expressed concern at the number of murders ascribed to witch-hunting.
The UN also released figures of what is said were the victims of witchcraft and black magic around the world. The world body has named India along with countries in Africa, Asia and South America as a high-incidence zone for witchcraft related killings.
According to official figures, 2,556 women were branded as witches and killed in India between 1987 and 2003.

And one very bizarre statistic:

The figure was around 4,000 collectively for Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Australia between 1999 and 2003.

The BBC has very little to say about this apparent epidemic. The closest story they have relates to a male occultist murdered in Yorkshire, but that was not the killers' motive. The result for Australia was even less helpful:

There are no pages about witchcraft murder australia from BBC News .

Perhaps there is a secret conspiracy of fundies going round bumping off occultists to please their God, and no-one knows about it.

Government may make witchcraft illegal - newkerala.com, 25th 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.

Bargain of the Day: Feng Shui paint

Want to create a relaxing environment? Craig & Rose have produced just the thing - a range of Feng Shui paints. As an example, the Crystal Pearl paint

is ideal for introducing Feng Shui into your home or garden. Use on woodwork, furniture, accessories, walls or radiators to enhance your surroundings, and create a beautiful and washable surface. Allow Heaven's Chi (energy) to flow freely by using Crystal Pearl Paint: Its pearlescent surface will reflect Chi and help bring prosperity, health and happy living.

And, should you get stuck, there is always the 9 Star Ki chart for inspiration.

Each of these five elements are associated with certain colour groupings, so once you have identified your ruling element you can use this as a guide as to which colours are likely to enhance harmony in your home, and encourage peace and happiness for you, as well as which colours you are better to avoid as they may disrupt the flow of Chi energy around your home.

July 23, 2004

Vilja a allstór getnaþarlimur?

Even the Vikings were bothered about the size of their willies according to an academic based in Cardiff. Dr Carl Phelpstead of Cardiff University's School of English, Communication and Philosophy told the International Medieval Congress, held in Leeds last week, about the cultural-historical significance of three remarkable accounts of penile problems in the texts know as 'Sagas of Icelanders'.

In the Sagas of Icelanders, as today, a man is expected to have an appropriately sized penis and to be able, when occasion demands, to make it even larger; an unexpectedly small penis or an inability to achieve an erection leads to mockery and humiliation.
In one example, in Grettir's saga, a serving woman bursts out laughing when she sees Grettir Asmundarson naked. She remarks: it seems to me extraordinary how small he is below - I would not have believed it if someone had told me. The defensive Grettir points out that his large testicles compensate for his small penis.

Even the Vikings were troubled by the thought that size matters - News-Medical.Net, 23rd July 2004.

Lighten up, and drink more of the local beer

Scotland: A sub-editor's slip has caused consternation in Innerleithen. A placeholder caption concerning a local tradition where Satan is burned on a bonfire was not replaced before the Southern Reporter went to press.

One of the picture captions ran: Caption, caption about these pious little bleeders and the lady busser doing that interminably boring thing so cherished by Border festivals. What on earth is going on in this picture - these people have got to get out more often for their peace of mind and sanity.

Locals are upset. Norman Scott, the treasurer of the Games Committee told The Scotsman Whoever wrote those words must be at least in league with the devil. The person responsible has apologised, and Scott has shown true Christian forgiveness, pointing out that if the editor turned up at a meeting He'd probably get lynched.

Town's anger as newspaper gaffe sees religious ceremony ridiculed - The Scotsman (BugMeNot), 23rd July 2004 (thanks Tony).

Bargain of the Day: Virgin Mary lamp

[Virgin Mary lamp base]This THE VIRGIN MARY STATUE TABLE LAMP with its DOME GLASS ARTISTIC DESIGNE is another example of tasteful home decoration:

HAVE HERE A VIRGIN MARY STATUE TABLE LAMP. 60 WATT LIGHT, EXCELLENT CONDITION, ROUND PLASTIC BASE, HEAVY GLASS DOME COVER.GOLD TRIM AND FLORAL DESIGN.MEASUREMENTS ARE 18" TALL BY ABOUT 9" WIDE IT WIEGHS ABOUT 10 LBS . VERY CLEAN HARDLY USED. I HOPE THE PHOTOS CAN SPEAK FOR ITS SELF.

July 22, 2004

Hello Kitty is the Goddess

[Hello Kitty in a PVC devil costume]Guatemalan evangelists Juan Pablo and Kathia Leonardo have investigated a Hello Kitty craze in Hebron, and made some disturbing discoveries.

Well now we will see the relationship of the acient cult of cats and this Hello kitty character, as a matter of fact bast is still honored by some pagan cults, and that is not surprising because the greeks called her Artemis and the Romans Diana, which is also semiramis and every other pagan goddess around, Bast is represented as we said by a human body of a woman with a cat's head... that's Hello kitty description also!!, the difference is that it has cartoon non idol appearance, but as Demetrius the silversmith of Artemis, the Silversmiths of Hello kitty, a company named SANRIO (wich in chinese means Lord of the Mount), brings in no little business for her craftsmen, claiming net earnings of 114 billion yen for the fiscal year 2001.

Not only is she bringing Pagan cat worship into Christian homes, but she is doing so in a typically feline sneaky manner:

My so called theory is that there is a dumb spirit behind her, mentioned in Mark 9:16, and our children the children of Hebron are being drawn to destruction for no other reason that for the love of this world, satan Shrewdness brings this so called Toy because he knows Christians would reject Mickey Mouse, Pokemon, but Hello kitty? Oh she's so Cute, Most disturbing is the fact that Pi Beset in hebrew means mouth of loathing.

The depth of our fundagelical friends' research is stunning - it turns out that Kitty-chan's husband, Dear Daniel, is not a boy cat!

Also it is said that bastet is the goddess of the Lesbians, recently Mcdonald's launched a toy collection of Hello kittys dressed as a She and as a He, they came in such couples, of She and She but dressed as He and She, isn't that a repulsive statement of Lesbianism?????

But worst of all, she's leading little children into the occult!

[Hello Kitty with a mouth] Social Communication, without a mouth? How then does it communicate? according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience..... because anything that doesn't brings us an our children to the obedience of Christ, is not other thing but DISOBEDIENCE, And so maybe some contemptuous parents would snap... Are you saying I am exposing my children to witchcraft and sorcery!!!!!! Well maybe this parent should not wait until he sees his children in some sort of pagan practice, since the scripture says that rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. And adds ... Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.! Sam 15:23 And indeed Ephesus the capital of diana, was a city with one particular trait we find in Acts 19:19, .... And a number of those who practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all, witchcraft and ocultism is deeply linked to the goddess diana, artemis or bastet, all the names refer to same evil force... , even we find october 31st to be her day.

Of course, as the above still from 80s cartoon series Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater shows, Hello Kitty does have a mouth, and uses it to communicate using new-fangled inventions called 'speech' and 'language'.

HELLO KITTY OR HELL OF KITTY - Kjos Ministries, 2003.

Letter to the Editor

Sometimes people mail the Prattle, rather then using the comments. Imagine my surprise, upon my return from the pub last night, to find my inbox graced with a missive from the vendor of a recent Bargain of the Day. Unfortunately, like the auction description, it is not in English:

I see my add cought your attention to the point of adding it to your web site - fine by me - but tell me don't you guys see the absolute mathematical certainty of it - I dont mean just the so called circular argument (which I'd like to know what you mean bye that) but the fact that the numbers I describe to add together = 666 is the correct biblical meaning of this number- I'm not selling you anything - I'm anouncing my arrival - see I make all things new!
I'd buy some canned food if I were you. till you all get over the transition Q

The killer mobile app

Nigeria: A new rumour has appeared - that answering phone calls from certain numbers will cause you to drop dead instantly.

A BBC reporter says experts and mobile phone operators have been reassuring the public via the media that death cannot result from receiving a call.
He says that in such a superstitious country unfounded rumours are common.
A list of alleged killer numbers has been circulated but no-one is reported to have died from answering the phone.

Panic at Nigerian 'killer calls' - BBC News, 19th July 2004.

July 21, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Light-up cross pen

Does this Inspiration light-up cross pen help you create illuminated manuscripts?

This auction is for some Inspirational Light-Up Pens. I have five in each color of these beautiful cross pens. These pens glow their respective colors of blue or pink when you write. The batteries come with and already are in the pens so there is no hassle with batteries. There is also a cap to the pen end. The crosses on them have the raised 'pyramid' or 'quilted' effect. They are approximately five inches long and would make a perfect gift for someone who is graduating this year or anyone religious really. Just let me know after you win how many you want and what color and I will do my best.

Hello aliens.

[Hello Kitty crop circle]England: A rather unusual crop formation has appeared in a Wiltshire field. The Hello Kitty crop circle was created by Circlemakers and New York artists surface2air to celebrate her 30th birthday and is approximately 60m in diameter. The photo is by Steve Alexander, whose web site includes a lot of impressive aerial photos of crop formations. (via Simon).

Update: Just noticed this was the 1500th entry in the Prattle. Must be a conspiracy or something...

July 20, 2004

Bargain of the Day: A circular argument

I'm not quite sure what blueking234 is trying to sell us in this eBay auction for Encryption Decoder Device, Breached Internet Security 666 = Internet dismantiling = Novus Ordo Seclorum

Deut 3: 11 + Chad Gad Ya = Exodus 3.14 = 1492 Columbus discovers America

Revelation 13

Prime #s = numerical progression in non discernible pattern

Numerical non-discernible pattern = undecipherable encryption (based on prime #s)

Undecipherable Encryption = un-breach able security system PC/Server w/Internet WWW. = world financial markets/ Wall Street and banking, global positioning satellites, ATMs, credit card billing, utilities and their billing, flight travel, ship routing, police court and DMV records, government office communications including military, radio microwave radar satellite communications, even the big red button.

Decoder of PC encryption = Prime # progression pattern digital function

Prime # Progression Pattern = Enigma Cipher PrimeWay

Enigma Cipher PrimeWay =

12 22 32 52 72 112 132 172 192 232 292 372 ... etc.

1 4 9 25 49 121 169 289 361 529 841 1369 ...etc

p = 3.14925491211692893615298411369

true precision Pi decimals

1a1 7a49 13a169 37a1369

Progressive whole number square roots are progressively greater prime numbers add finitum down the Pi decimal digit places. (The true precision Pi calculation that is.)

Software Update- Handheld scientific calculators with their flyspeck memory capacities can scroll the true precision Pi decimal place calculation to a few dozen decimal places. But this same program installed onto a PC can calculate infinite Pi indefinitely, pre-listing the whole square of an ever-increasing prime number. Graft piggyback onto this ever-advancing Pi calculation, a square root analyzer, sampling the pre-listed ever-advancing decimal numeral for whole square roots. These whole number square roots are the next size prime number in an infinite progression. Ipso facto, prime # progression digital function.

Enigma Cipher PrimeWay = Prime # progression pattern digital function

Prime # progression pattern digital function = Decoder of PC encryption (all!)

Decoder of PC encryption = BREACHED security system PC/Server w/Internet WWW. = world financial markets/ Wall Street and banking, global positioning satellites, ATMs, credit card billing, utilities and their billing, flight travel, ship routing, police court and DMV records, government office communications including military, radio microwave radar satellite communications, even the big red button.

Breached PC security system = Internet dismantling = Novus Ordo Seclorum

4 + 9 + 25 + 49 + 121 + 169 + 289 = 666 3.1492549121169289 Seven of Nine

Launch confirmed � T minus and counting�

Right. Current price? $1.01.

July 19, 2004

Christians to cast spells against crime

Jamaica: How do you deal with a high crime rate? Perhaps you could do something about corruption in the police? Maybe set up a Civic Dialogue Project to allow the whole community to address issues such as crime, violence and unemployment? Or maybe just stop eating and complain to your imaginary friend?

More than 10,000 Christians led by over 200 pastors are expected to converge on the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on August 1, Emancipation Day, for fasting and intercessory prayers asking God to halt the rise in murders, crime and other problems affecting the country.

This isn't the first time this kind of magick has been tried. The first was in 1999. Since then, crime, and murder in particular, has risen in Jamaica.

Christians plan day of prayer to halt crime - Jamaica Observer, 19th July 2004.

July 18, 2004

Bargain of the Day: Bits of dead tree

Inspired Woods of the Bible offer what they describe as Unique, Meaningful, Christian Gifts.

At Inspired Woods: Of The Bible we offer high quality, hand-crafted, Christian gifts that are made in the U.S.A. using woods that are mentioned in the Bible.

Items such as pens, keyrings, pens, magnifying glasses, pens, bookmarks and more pens.

And while explaining what inspired them to do this, they remind us of the hypocrisy of certain televangelists who accuse Muslims of being more committed to their religion than their country:

In Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, he introduces the idea of a spiritual green card and that Christians should carry one to remind them that their true citizenship is in heaven:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ - Philippians 3:20 (NASB)
It is from this thought that these products have been made and Inspired Woods: Of The Bible was born. These items make wonderful Christian or religious gifts for any occasion,

July 16, 2004

The taxman cometh

United States: The IRS has been asked to investigate televangelist Jerry Falwell after he sent out a newsletter urging his supporters to vote for George W. Bush in the forthcoming Presidential election. The newsletter also asked for donations to an organisation which supports Republican candidates. The complaint was made by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Executive Director, Rev. Barry W. Lynn, said Falwell is thumbing his nose at the IRS. He must not be permitted to use a tax-exempt ministry to engage in partisan politics.

Falwell, in his Falwell Confidential bulletin, wrote, For conservative people of faith, voting for principle this year means voting for the re-election of George W. Bush. The alternative, in my mind, is simply unthinkable. To the pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional marriage, pro-America voters in this nation, we must determine that President Bush is the man with our interests at heart. It is that simple.
Falwell continued, However, simply voting may not be enough. I believe it is the responsibility of every political conservative, every evangelical Christian, every pro-life Catholic, every traditional Jew, every Reagan Democrat, and everyone in between to get serious about re-electing President Bush. That is why I am utilizing this column to urge you to support the Campaign for Working Families, which is headed by Gary Bauer. It is the organization that I believe can have the greatest impact in re-electing Mr. Bush to the Oval Office.

Falwell told the New York Times that the message did not come from his religious organisation, but from a lobbying organisation, and that it represented his personal view. But Falwell published it on his ministry's web site, and it was sent out under the auspices of Jerry Falwell Ministries.

July 15, 2004

Look, it's fiction, okay?

United States: A birthday card to Harry Potter has caused chaos at a Missouri post office. The sender, who is old enough to know better, sprinked some white powder on the envelope. As a result, the office was closed for two hours while it was checked out by hazardous material specialists.

The letter turned out to be a birthday card a 16-year-old fan was sending to Harry Potter in England. The teen apparently sprinkled the card with some floo powder, which turned out to be harmless talcum powder. In the books by JK Rowling, floo powder helps wizards travel.

Harry Potter Birthday Card Shuts Down Post Office - NBC San Diego, 14th July 2004.

Cremation Street

Mexico: Tan infinito como el desierto, a soap opera about a series of mysterious murders in Ciudad Juárez has caused outrage because of the way it focusses on lines of enquiry that police have already ruled out.

According to a June 1, 2004 Reuters article the five part series recreates a murder every night of its run and explores a different line of police inquiry into the killings. These lines of investigation include the creation of snuff films, Satanic masses and copy-cat killings based on previous serial murderers.

In reality, the murders are not all linked, and two-thirds of the dead women were victims of all-too-real domestic violence.

In recent years, snuff films and Satanism have not been seen as the likely origins of the violence which has claimed over 300 women's lives since 1993. Many of these women were killed by their spouses or partners. More than 100 were killed in a serial manner which includes abduction and typically rape (which can sometimes not be confirmed from forensic evidence). The primary suspects in these killings include sexual predators, a group of wealthy men and/or drug traffickers.
An article in the Ciudad Juárez newspaper El Diario states that victims' family members have said that they will sue Azteca if they are not reimbursed for the company's unauthorized use of their daughters' names and images.

Juárez Serial-Killing Soap Opera Draws Fire, Newspaper Criticized - Frontera NorteSur, 13th July 2004 (also at Pacific News Service).

Satan-obsessed social workers probed

Scotland: The recent shambles on the Isle of Lewis is to be investigated by the Social Work Services Inspectorate. Charges were dropped against eight people accused of abusing children in Satanic rituals, some of whom now plan to seek compensation.

Probe into collapsed abuse case - BBC News, 13th July 2004.

Bargain of the Day: Christian Healing Spell

Feeling a little under the weather? Out of sorts? Terminally ill? Well, all you need to do is put this magic spell MIRACULOUS PRAYER FOR THE SICK cassette in your walkthing, and soon you will be right as rain.

60 MINUTES OF WORSHIP AND PRAYER FOR THE SICK.
NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, YOU WILL RECEIVE YOUR MIRACLE FROM GOD!
CANCER?, DEPRESSION?, ARTHRITIS?, DEBT?, LONLINESS?, LOSS, GRIEF?, JUST TO NAME A FEW... YOU CAN BE WELL! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO LIVE WITH SICKNESS OR DISEASE! PURCHASE THIS CASSETTE AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS! POWER PACKED PRAYER! TESTIMONIES OF MIRACLES HAVE BEEN RECEIVED! CANCER HEALED! KIDNEYS HEALED! FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGHS! FAMILIES RESTORED! BLOOD DISORDERS CLEARED UP! AND THE LIST IS GROWING... IT IS NOT DUE TO ANYTHING WE ARE DOING. IT IS THE POWER OF GOD MOVING UPON PEOPLE!!! 60 MINUTES OF WORSHIP AND PRAYER-LISTEN TO IT DAILY-SHARE IT!

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).

Christian charity: creationism is bollocks

England: A Christian charity, which plans to take £200m of taxpayers' money to open its own faith-based school will not be teaching creationism which Rev Steve Chalke, director of the Oasis Trust, described as rubbish.

Asked whether the academy would advocate the teaching of creationism, which has been taught alongside scientific explanations of how the world came into being at other academies sponsored by Christian organisations, he said: No. We will develop an open and honest curriculum and we will not impose our views on anyone.
My personal belief is that... those who wish to read into Genesis chapter one that God made the world in six days... are not being honest and scholarly. It won't be taught in the school because I think it's rubbish. It's a bizarre thing to claim the Bible suggests that. Genesis is saying that behind creation is a good God.

Christian charity to open London academy - The Guardian, 13th July 2004.

A chip off the old block

Ghana: A stabbing incident at Kumasi High School was not as the authorities suggested, according to a representative of the school's alumni. Mr. Samuel Oduro told a newspaper that the truth would bring ridicule on the school, which is why it had not been mentioned.

According to Oduro, investigations conducted by the old boys revealed that those students went in for concoction elsewhere, which was believed to be containing cutlass juju power that could make them cutlass proof.
So one morning, he said, these students decided to test the potency of their juju by slashing cutlass on each other. And in the process one of them overpowered the rest inflicting several wounds on them.

Because of this, gossips preferred to spread tales about the Taliban and Al-qaeda operating and the school, and school authorities suggested that it was the Muslim students at fault. It was a composition of individuals who belong to diverse religion, Oduro countered.

Untold story of the stabbing incident at Kumasi High School - Students test their juju powers - The Ghanaian Chronicle, 13th July 2004.

July 11, 2004

This is important

Scotland: A child abuser might never be caught thanks to institutional bigotry against Pagans.

Charges have been dropped against eight people accused of abusing children on the Isle of Lewis, in a case which bore all the hallmarks of the Satanic Ritual Abuse Myth pushed by religious fundamentalists in the late 80s and early 90s. The eight, all incomers, were accused of animal sacrifices, snuff movies, devil worship and the rape of children. They were ostracised by the rest of the community, their property vandalised, their car torched, their greenhouse smashed and bleach poured round their trees, and they received threatening phone calls. The case has so far cost taxpayers over £100,000. Why?

The Sellwoods and Campbells suspect that certain small prejudices may have coloured the investigation. Penny Campbell believes that the police showed blatant religious discrimination, equating paganism with devil worshipping ... Ian and I believe that it was because he described himself as pagan and I didn't that he was charged and I was released.

Vicky Allan, of the Sunday Herald, has spent the past nine months talking to the accused families, and her shocking article was published today.

July 9, 2004

The Protocols of the Elders of Russia

Russia: You thought the Jehovah's Witnesses were merely annoying, with their habit of paying visits at the least opportune moments, but you would be underestimating their true evil. According to Russian TV documentary Protocol, they are in fact the Mafia. But ProFindPages News smells a large rodent. After all

We are not aware of any reports of members of this faith being involved in criminal activities (certainly no more than any average citizen) and they do not show hostility to the law or its agents.
Do they use their power for their own ends? There are just 6 million Jehovah's Witnesses in the world and a little over 100,000 in the whole of Russia. It is unlikely that that such a small number could possibly have any power at all.

Perhaps, just maybe, it could be something to do with the well-documented campaign against religious freedom being fought by the Orthodox Church, and supported by the government?

So what is all the fear about? A group connected with The Russian Orthodox Church have been trying to eliminate this organization for years and it has become nothing less than harassment! The Russian Church will not tolerate sharing a Russian citizen with any other faith and want them all! They have the support of the government to operate in this way, but they must promote government guidelines in exchange for this favour (as they did in Stalin's time).

And the timing is suspicious too.

So why should a program so heavily biased against the Jehovah Witnesses suddenly appear after they are banned in Moscow? We suspect that this is to try and counteract the International pressure that will be coming shortly on this case and to provide public support for "extending" that ban to the whole of Russia.
There is no doubt that other religious groups will also be "leliminated" in the near future and some of the larger ones will also feel some pressure.

And ultimately, that's not good news for the Russian economy.

Russia has shown that it cares nothing for International laws on human rights or the opinion of countries who it hopes to trade with. We have also seen how the government deal with businesses in Russia and the problems that their banking sector have. Hardly a good advert for encouraging investment in the country or attracting people to trade here.

JEHOVAH WITNESSES ARE AMERICAN MAFIA ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN TV CHANNEL! - ProFindPages News, 9th July 2004.

B***** C***********

England and Wales: Home Secretary David Blunkett's proposals for a law against religious hatred have come under scrutiny, and most are sceptical, including the Financial Times. An editorial first notes that incitement to violence, for whatever reason, is already illegal, and then observes

Any new law would probably have the same effect as the more comprehensive incitement to racial hatred clause of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, including inflammatory comments made in public or in the media. While such measures are understandable in the case of race, they would be utterly excessive when applied to religion. Racial origins are an aspect of people's inheritance, but religious creeds are subject to choice. No less than political or social ones, they should be open to critical comment.

The government also gets to define 'religion' and could well discriminate against atheists, and anyone else critical of religion.

Second, any definition of religion is likely to include not only Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, but potentially Scientologists, Druids, or even Satanists. There is no non-arbitrary boundary between religions, creeds, cults and sects. Nor is it clear that this legislation would be neutral with respect to secular commentators or satirists who express disdain for all religious worship. Such criticisms are an essential aspect of any open society.

Bounded tolerance - Financial Times, 9th July 2004.

July 8, 2004

Cop finds conclusion orbiting Mars

United States: There have been a number of cases of vandalism and robbery in Benton, Arkansas, and the main suspect is a goth, so the police are convinced there is a Satanic motive behind the delinquency. Lilith Saintcrow-Murosak is not impressed:

But the police report says that there were numerous symbols of satanic symbols painted in (Pike's) residence. Saline County Sheriff Phil Mask said at a news conference that he suspected Pike of trying to hook kids to join his 'Satanic cult'. Pike also has a band- dressed in the Goth look and has a definite satanic influence.
Oh, really? I doubt an Arkansas policeman has command of the theological niceties to distinguish between Satanist (worshipping Satan, subset of Christianity); occult (hidden, sometimes used for Western ceremonial magic); and Goth (depressed and wearing eyeliner). A personal word to Sheriff Mask: Stick to the facts, ma'am. Did you ask the Goth boy's philosophical and theological standpoint in a polite debate before you went to a news conference and shot your big mouth off? Or did you just see that he dressed like a depressed nancyboy who liked knives and come to a hasty Bible-Belt conclusion?

Satanism In Benton? (Not Really) - Storyhunters: God and Consequences, 8th July 2004.

Take the piss twice daily.

Zimbabwe: Urine therapy is causing a bit of stir, especially the claims that it is helpful to people living with HIV and AIDS. And traditional healers have been quick to point out that it has other benefits too.

Zinatha [Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association] acting manager Mr Hezekias Bhebhe said urine could also be used to diffuse witchcraft by squirting the liquid on the juju or muti. It is also used to cast off witchcraft-induced spells...
...Urine can also be ingested by a person who would have taken poison. It neutralises that poison. If you put droplets of urine in the ear of an unconscious man, he will regain consciousness.
Urine is definitely something we prescribe on a regular basis, Mr Bhebhe said.

Urine As a Therapy to Ailments - The Herald (Harare, via allAfrica.com), 7th July 2004.

Bargain of the Day: Autosnip

A simple medical device might not seem to qualify as a Bargain of the Day, but the SmartKlamp website comes in four languages - English, Arabic, Turkish and Bahassa, and is full of pictures of happy Asian boys, suggesting that a Muslim customer would be particularly interested in the device - a new, one time use only, circumcision tool, which is designed to create, a safer, faster, and smarter way to perform circumcisions. Plus, it requires the foreskin to be pulled back, which would be completely impossible if the device was being used for the traditional treatment of phimosis. (via Gizmodo, who came up with the much funnier name Bris-O-Matic.)

Mystery Princess

Australia: A psychic has predicted a royal wedding at the Holy Trinity Church in Williamstown next February. More stunningly, this is because she has declared that she is really Princess Liala Farouk, the Grand Duchess of Alexandria, daughter of an Italian princess and the Egyptian King Farouk.

Princess Liala said her mother was an Italian 'Anastasia', who was believed to have been killed in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944, but survived.
Liala claims her mother, Princess Mafalda, was given a new identity by Rudolph Hess and left to start a new life in Australia with her three children.
She said her mother had met King Farouk when she was a young woman but travelled to Europe after the war, met him again and married him, bigamously and in secret, shortly before Liala was born.

She claims she has evidence, but won't let it be checked.

Liala said King Farouk was listed on her birth certificate as her father, but she refused to show Star a copy of her birth certificate.

Riddle of the royal bride - The Star, 8th July 2004.

July 7, 2004

Diocese declares bankruptcy

United States: The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Potland, Oregon, has gone into chapter 11 bankruptcy immediately before the start of the trial of a priest accused of molesting 50 boys. The move protects the diocese from its creditors, but gives the courts control of much of its financial affairs. The decision has caused some raised eyebrows:

But Jim Devereaux, one of the plaintiffs who has filed a lawsuit against the Portland church, says he is suspicious of its reasons for filing for bankruptcy.

I think they would have met us in court today, if they'd been facing up to their responsibilities. I think this is just another corrupt tactic of the Roman Catholic Church archdiocese of Portland, he told the BBC's World Today programme.

Sex claims 'bankrupt US archdiocese'BBC News, 7th July 2004.

Note: That should be Portland, but the typo is funny, so it's staying.

July 6, 2004

The first domain of its kind on Earth

Pastor Best forwards me a press release he received today from Gayhoodoo.com. It all sounds terribly exciting:

The new domain will reveal for the first time, innovative new programming and content, devoted exclusively for the gay sexually enlightened, sensually endowed and spiritually empowered.

Arcanum One, Located in Sacramento, California, in association with the world's leading expert in classical Pythagorean numerology, Hans Decoz, will unveil the first re-translations geared to the current vernacular of the gay lifestyle, and gay lifestyle only.

Gayhoodoo will show how to manifest and use naturally occurring influences (the mathematics of nature) on behalf of gay men and women, and will do so for the first time anywhere. Gayhoodoo guarantees this claim with firm, unalterable resolve.

How can they be so certain about this whatever-it-is? Well, they believe that

gays possess unique sensitivities beyond normal society, and have the innate capability to tap into these hidden forces. The time has now come for these abilities to manifest. Gayhoodoo.com, and Gaynumbers.us guarantees these methodologies will not only empower, but enlighten as never before.

And there's more...

To further enliven the experience, Individually prepared potions, spiritual therapy fragrances, and centuries old ritual, based on time tested methods and procedures with an exotic gay slant will inspire and regain faith and belief in unseen forces, sadly overlooked in today's culture. Gayhoodoo will not only be the first to offer gay potions, it will be the only gay website offering private consultation for both gay men and women, using accurate numerical sequencing techniques and trained intuitive numericists.

But, ultimately, it's about shagging.

Another innovative step will offer the first and only gay matching service that does not use sexual intrigue, psychology, or astrology as a means to finding gratifying companionship. Gaynumbers.us will employ profile matching techniques that accurately predicts compatibility on levels never obtained before. This dating service is free, and to gay men and women, transsexuals, and bisexuals only, and will be directly linked to Gayhoodoo.

Hang on, what about the other T-folk who don't identify as transsexual? Can't be real Californian New Age tripe after all!

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.

The House (Witch) Doctor

India: It seems that the imaginary qualities of houses affect their value in India, and some houses cannot be sold at all.

The words used to describe them vary - cursed, jinxed, haunted - but the basic idea is the same.
These properties scare people away, said Sheikh Pervez Hamid, a real estate broker.
The supernatural is deeply embedded in everyday Indian life, and such practices as astrology and numerology are widely believed, not to mention vaastu, a set of ancient Hindu design principles encouraging harmony with nature.
When former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for instance, left his official residence, Indian newspapers reported that he didn't like certain numbers, and had asked that his new house's address be changed from No. 8 to 6A.

Cursed Mansions Stay Empty in New Delhi - The Guardian, 6th July 2004.

Balls

Peru: Eight traditional magical practitioners from all over South America have performed a ritual to bless the teams taking part in the Copa America.

Dressed in a multicolored poncho, rainbow-striped pants and a felt fedora, lead shaman Juan Osco blew mouthfuls of scented cane liquor and threw flower petals at a soccer ball bearing the teams' crests.
With flowers, good perfumes and good wishes we are asking the protective gods that no misfortune befall any player and that above all there are good matches, intoned Osco, Peru's self-proclaimed Shaman of the Andes....
...Osco and his comrades -- each wearing variations of a similar outfit -- chanted, rattled gourds and waved skulls, dolls and even a shrunken head from an Amazon tribe during the half-hour ceremony in front of Lima's Nacional Stadium.

Shamans put good-luck spell on Copa America - Sports Illustrated, 5th July 2004.

July 5, 2004

Oops

United States: Protecting the innocent little kiddiewinks from evil pornography is not as simple as you might think, as 'mjsmitho' observes:

I was watching Fox News, during Greta Van Susteren, during which a promo for Your World with Neil Cavuto came on about protecting kids from porn. Well this is what I saw, a poor attempt to censor porn!!
They clearly blur the tit and apparently miss the big penis and penetration...

Needless to say, if you work for prudes, then the evidence is not suitable for work. I'm surprised anyone could miss a stiffy that big...

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 templeNews Today, 3rd July 2004.

Mickey Mouse born again

United States: Disney is giving away a free Bible study guide to promote thier new film America's Heart and Soul, a political fantasy promoing the non-existent fundie version of the family. Or, as morons.org puts it, a moving compilation of touching scenes from American life, that (and I have seen the trailer) looks straight out of a nauseating Bush campaign ad.

Disney offering free Bible study guides. - Mickey News, 3rd July 2004.

July 2, 2004

Invoking mermaids

Cornwall: Andrew Ian Dodge draws my attention to a news story with the words He was into the occult and he was murdered so...let's make assumptions!. It would be hard to improve on that summary.

Peter Solheim was a parish councillor, and a father of three, and his body was pulled out of the sea by fishermen two weeks ago. There are discrepancies between where his body and his dinghy were found, which leads police to suspect foul play. But the clincher is that he was a druid, and was a bit weird.

He joined a druid sect in St Merryn, Cornwall, several years ago and took part in rituals such as dancing around stone circles. A member said: It became clear that he wanted to go into areas that everyone else felt uncomfortable with. He was always making knives and swords.

And he was a bit of a loner, something which concerned someone calling themselves the arch-druid of Cornwall, who insisted that there's something odd about solitary neopagans.

Ed Prynn, the arch-druid of Cornwall, said: Pagan worship is meant to be a shared experience but he went off on his own to do it.

The arch-druid demonstrated the in-depth knowledge that earned him his title when he spoke to the BBC: I always teach people not to dabble with the occult, the darker side. Clearly a definition of occult gleaned from loony fundie nonsense.

This is, of course, from reasonably sober news sources. What about the tabloids? Well, as far as they're concerned, he was a Satanist. The Daily Mirror shouts

A MURDERED father of three was obsessed with Satanism and cast frightening black magic spells, friends said yesterday...
One sect member said: He became involved with Satanism and liked to perform lone rituals. He was always making knives and swords. We worried about him.

None of which helps determine if he was killed, or just got washed off his boat.

Drowned man linked to occult - Daily Telegraph, 2nd July 2004; Occult link to drowned councillor - BBC News, 2nd July 2004; 'SATANIC SPELLS' OF DEAD DAD - Daily Mirror, 2nd July 2004.

July 1, 2004

Tutu on homophobia and injustice

South Africa: Desmond Tutu, the retired Archbishop of Cape Town, has condemned anti-gay discrimination, comparing it to the apartheid system he helped overthrow. In the introduction to a new Amnesty International book, Sex, Love and Homophobia, he wrote:

We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about -- our very skins... It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given. I could not have fought against the discrimination of apartheid and not also fight against the discrimination that homosexuals endure, even in our churches and faith groups.

He saved his harshest criticism for those who would blame God for their own bigotry:

All over the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are persecuted. We treat them as pariahs and push them outside our communities. We make them doubt that they too are children of God -- and this must be nearly the ultimate blasphemy, he wrote.

We blame them for what they are. Churches say that the expression of love in a heterosexual monogamous relationship includes the physical, the touching, embracing, kissing, the genital act -- the totality of our love makes each of us grow to become increasingly godlike and compassionate. If this is so for the heterosexual, what earthly reason have we to say that it is not the case with the homosexual?

Desmond Tutu: Homophobia as unjust as apartheidGay.com News, 1st July 2004.

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