Love Thy Neighbour: July 2002 Archives

July 30, 2002

One way of finding out.

One Texas man has shot another during an argument over which of them was going to Heaven, and which to Hell. The pair were part of a group which had been pub-crawling and started to argue about religion:

The talk became heated when the subject turned to who would go to heaven and who would go to hell.

Stoker said he would settle the argument and went into a house and returned with a shotgun, which he loaded and placed in his mouth, Alford said the witness reported.

The victim Joslin then took the gun out of Stoker's mouth, saying, 'If you have to shoot somebody, shoot me,' Alford said, citing the witness report.

The shotgun went off, hitting Joslin in the chest and killing him.

Clayton Frank Stoker, 21, has been charged with first-degree murder over the incident. Heaven-or-hell argument ends with shotgun slayingReuters (via CNN), July 29th 2002.

July 14, 2002

Racist vandalism in Wales

Vandals have broken into a Swansea synagogue and desecrated it. They wrote Nazi references on the walls, destroyed valuable scrolls and tried to burn the building down. According to Mike Whine of the Community Security Trust:

A window was forced and the synagogue was entered. The scrolls were taken out into the garden and were destroyed. A swastika was drawn on the walls. There was a big sign saying T4 which we believe is a reference to the Nazi euthanasia programme in the concentration camps. Excrement was left and there was a failed attempt to set fire to the place. People in the community are distressed. It's a very small community, but it's an old community. It's impossible to put a financial value on it. The scroll was very very valuable. It was hundreds of years old. It's a distressing attack on a place of God by people who clearly have no respect for the house of God.

South Wales Police are treating the incident as racially-motivated. Nazi symbols daubed on synagogue - Ananova, July 12th 2002.

July 12, 2002

Excessive religious demands

The Hindu gods seems to be in a bloodthirty mood at the moment. A 20-year-old Lucknow man described as a "Shiva devotee" has offered himself as a sacrifice to the god by cutting his own throat:

The lone eye-witness to the incident, Radhe Lal, the priest at Chandrika Devi Mandir in BKT said that he was offering Pooja around 9:30 am when he spotted the youth entering the temple. Instead of approaching the main temple, the youth walked upto the Shivling besides it. He sat besides the Shiv Ling as if he was offering prayers, Radhe Lal said.

In his early twenties, the youth kept sitting there for quite sometime as I walked out of the temple to the staircase. Minutes later when I returned I found blood gushing out from the slit on the throat of the youth. The victim had embraced the Shiv ling with both his arms as he breathed his last and lay dead. A blood stained knife was recovered from near him.

Shiva devotee sacrifices himself LucknowThe Times of India, July 12th 2002.

A few days ago in Karnataka, South India, a 38-year-old man chopped off his own hand with an axe and offered it to a goddess as penance for beating up his wife and three children. Visitors to the Devi Temple found him praying in front of the deity with his severed hand.

Explaining his action later, Narasimhaiah said: Recently I had a dream in which the god appeared and told me that he was disappointed with the way I had conducted my life so far. She asked me to do something to show that I was sorry for my actions. That's when I thought of giving up the hand. I am now very happy.

Locals later buried the hand and persuaded the man to shed his hair as that was why he was so unhappy. Man offers his chopped hand to deityAnanova, July 9th 2002.

July 10, 2002

Sparing the rod

United States: A Texas pastor and his twin brother have been arrested after allegations that an 11-year-old boy was beaten unconscious during a Bible class.

The alleged beating took place July 3, according to reports. The brothers thought the boy did not take his Bible verses seriously enough during a church-sponsored summer camp for Spanish-speaking students, officials said.

The alleged abuse took place at a private home, said Bobby Taylor, the child's attorney. They ... cut a branch off a tree, made my client lay on the bed, and beat him, Taylor said.

Court records obtained by Reuters alleged that the beating lasted for 90 minutes, broke blood vessels and caused the boy's kidneys to fail. The brothers allowed the child to take a break in the restroom during the reported beating, documents said.

According to the documents, Pastor Joshua Thompson (22) of Capitol City Baptist Church, Austin, beat the boy while his twin brother Caleb held him down. They took the child home and told his parents he needed more discipline. They took him to hospital and called the police instead.

Texas boy beaten, hospitalized over Bible studyCNN, July 9th 2002 (via Wren's Nest on the Web).

Update: if you are wondering, this story has been brought up to date here.

July 8, 2002

Murdered boy 'was the devil'

A Philadelphia man told detectives that he killed his eight-year-old son because the boy was really the devil. George O'Hara told investigators the child had been calling him all kinds of names.

The guy was giving me problems. That is why I kill him. Sir, what if he really is the devil? O'Hara asked homicide detectives, [Assistant District Attorney Jodi] Lobel said.
Do you believe that your son is the devil? Police Detective Raleigh Witcher Jr. asked.
Yes, responded O'Hara, whose shoes, pants and sweater were soaked in his son's blood during police questioning after his arrest, according to investigators.
He is a devil. Don't tell anybody. That is between me and you. But he is a devil, O'Hara said, according to Lobel.

The child was stabbed over 100 times. Man said his son was the devil - The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 3rd 2002.

Signs of distress

Two Siberian men have received shrapnel wounds when the anti-semitic sign they were removing exploded. A hand grenade placed behind the sign was rigged to go off if the notice was tampered with. This is the fifth such incident, and the second time someone's been injured. Russian anti-Jewish sign explodes - BBC News, July 8th 2002.

Thou shalt annoy others

The Church of England has decided that it's a Christian duty to annoy people by actively 'evangelising' people of other faiths. Muslim groups have already expressed concern and Anglicans in interfaith groups can expect to treated with extreme suspicion in future. Church of England agrees conversion crusades - Ananova, July 7th 2002.

July 3, 2002

Crime prevention

How do you prevent the murder of people suspected of witchcraft? Do you make sure people have access to modern medicine and education? Do you make sure the murderers are arrested and dealt with according to the law? Well, if you're the Indian Information Minister, you ask the television stations to stop mentioning it.

The government will appeal to television managements to stop telecasting serials highlighting witch practices like banamati, chetabadi, and other blind beliefs as part of its awareness campaign, according to information minister S Chandramohan Reddy.

In addition, you can blame outsiders for the problem:

Reddy told the public, a majority of whom were students, that some people, particularly those coming from Karnataka, were fooling the people here in the name of banamati. Banamati was also being used by some anti-social elements to settle scores with rivals, and mostly dalits were victimised in such cases, he said. These elements fool people suffering from mental disorders and hysteria that somebody had practised banamati (black magic) on them, he said.

Govt plans campaign against withchcraft (sic.) - The Times of India, July 3rd 2002.

July 1, 2002

Council bans Humanists

A Humanist group in Maryland has been banned from using a county office building for a meeting about whether a monument in a local park depicting the Ten Commandments violates the separation of church and state demaded by the U.S. Constitution.

The commissioners said they wanted to avoid the appearance the county endorsed any views contradicting the validity of the Ten Commandments as a contemporary moral code.

The first two (or one, depending on how you read them) Commandments insist on the worship of the Jewish God and ban the worship of any other. County tells humanists, 'Not here' - The Frederick News-Post, July 1st 2002.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Love Thy Neighbour category from July 2002.

Love Thy Neighbour: June 2002 is the previous archive.

Love Thy Neighbour: August 2002 is the next archive.

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