Malaysia: Police have arrested a 'witch doctor' after he allegedly molested a female patient and ordered her to have sex with him to lift a spell which he said was causing her chest pains. Sex, lies and evil spells, News 24 - 26th June 2003.
Hypocrisy: June 2003 Archives
June 26, 2003
It's not just the Roman Catholic Church, no. 385666
June 18, 2003
Bits and pieces
Patrick Neilsen Hayden comments on religious censorship, and how it doesn't always come from where you expect. In a related matter, some religious conservatives claim that tolerance of homosexuality contributes to the rising divorce rate, so Avram Grumer took a look at US divorce statistics for the last 25 years or so.
If these figures are accurate ... the divorce rate seems to have peaked a little more than twenty years ago, and been steadily decreasing ever since. The rate in 2001 was actually lower than it was thirty years ago!
Why could this be, and what does it have to do with gay rights anyway?
Hey, maybe gay rights are actually good for heterosexual marriages. As society becomes more tolerant of homosexuality, you'll get fewer young gays marrying the opposite sex in attempts to deny their natural sexualities, and therefore fewer marriages that wind up breaking down later on under the pressure of living those lies.
June 15, 2003
The First Amendment and The First Commandment
A bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives to
prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States, is not only unconstitutional, but against the avowed religion of most of the lawmakers themselves according to Andrew Reding.
There is an obvious irony in responding to a threat to freedom by restricting freedom. But it is not just the First Amendment that is under assault. So is the First Commandment of the Jewish and Christian faiths, and the First Pillar of the Muslim faith.
By elevating the flag to an object of transcendent veneration -- an untouchable idol -- the proposed amendment strikes at the core of Jewish, Muslim and Christian belief systems.
And there are other worrying implications, too.
The great danger of turning the symbol of a nation-state into a sacred object is that it implicitly deifies the nation-state itself. The Pledge of Allegiance is taken to the flagand to the Republic for which it stands.If the mere symbol of the state is made sacred, surely the state itself must be sacred. The right to protest the actions of government is placed on shaky ground.
Flag Amendment Violates 10 Commandments, Not Just Free Speech - Pacific News Service, 12th June 2003. (via Patrick Neilsen Hayden)
June 11, 2003
Church pays up for abuse
Kentucky, United States: The Roman Catholic Church has agreed to pay over $25m in compensation to 243 alleged victims of child sex abuse. The Archbishop of the Louisville archdiocese also apologised, saying
no child should ever have experienced what happened to you. I promise we are doing everything possible to prevent child abuse in the church. I apologize again for what we did or failed to do that led to your abuse. Huge payout for sexual abuse victims - The Guardian, 11th June 2003.
June 10, 2003
The rising cost of souls
India: Several Indian states have recently passed laws banning forcible religious conversions, which includes bribery. Christian groups have been among the loudest protestors, which makes one wonder why they feel they cannot get new believers of their own free will. Commenting on the situation in the Newindpress on Sunday, S Gurumurthy has uncovered some interesting figures:
Evangelical literature distributed is in billions. Presently the tally is 4.7 billion scriptures, 187 million Bibles, 5 million booklets, 120000 Mission literatures, 38000 periodicals and 18000 articles. By 2025 this will increase to 8 billion scriptures, 430 million Bibles, 12 million booklets, 195000 Mission literatures, 100000 periodicals, and 80000 articles. The bible density of 1460 millions will increase to 2280 millions. The Church-run Radio and TV stations of 4050 will increase to 5400. This largest information and communication network in the world will become even larger. Even as he should be proud of this huge conquering apparatus, the Pope has his concerns too. Like the rising cost of head hunting for God. Today it costs $349,000, hold your breath, Rs 1.55 crores, to turn a pagan to Christianity. This too will increase to $650,000, that is, again hold your breath, Rs 3.05 crores per head, repeat per head, by 2025!
Note: 1 crore is equal to 10 million and 1 lakh is equal to 100 thousand in the traditional numbering system still widely used in India. See this Wikipedia article on Indian numerals for more information. He is upset. Understandably - Newindpress on Sunday, 8th June 2003.