Superstition and Other Silliness: May 2004 Archives

May 29, 2004

Canadian Fundies Infesting US

United States: Canada has found a novel way to rid itself of the more loony fundie elements in its midst, they ship them to the US where they fit right in.

Two Pentecostals got a tad carried away in New York this week by announcing that the 11 Spetember attacks were a damn fine reason to pray. Perhaps, if you're so inclined, but making a loud declaration on a plane about to take off is probably not the best way to go about it.

Two preachers grounded a flight leaving Buffalo, New York, after they frightened passengers by declaring the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were a good reason to pray, officials said on Thursday.

May 28, 2004

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.

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.

May 25, 2004

Calling All Qualified Sorcerers

Niger: Considering the targets, scantily-clad women enjoying the nightlife, I think the local marabouts have hit the nail on the head. They claim the evil spirits are nothing more than conmen, but the mayor isn't taking chances.

The mayor of Niger's capital has ordered qualified sorcerers to chase away evil spirits reported to be making terrifying appearances at night.
Nightlife lovers in Niamey have repeatedly complained of a woman who appears from nowhere, curses and threatens them before vanishing as if she had evaporated. Young women in skimpy outfits have been particular targets for the evil spirits.

Woman Accused of Witchcraft Murdered

India: There's nothing like ignorance to bring out the loon in people. In today's exciting story, our hero is a total wingnut who needed a reason for the death of his niece. Being a backwoods type, he trotted off to the local witch doctor who nominated a handful of completely innocent women as witches, one of whom is now dead at the hands of said wingnut.

Does anybody see the irony of having a witch doctor accuse people of witchcraft?

It's just two days since Savsinh Makwana and his brother Raman of Jari Bhuzarg village in Dahod killed their their neighbour — a 40-year-old widow. But as he sits in the lock-up of Garbada police station, remorse is the last thing on his mind.
For, he is convinced that he has done the right thing by killing Ditaben Punia Sanghor, who, according to him, is a daakan (witch). His conviction has been reinforced by the fact that when he and his brother hit her on the head with an axe on Friday, she did not bleed.
It is yet another gory tale emerging from the dark world of superstition from the tribal hinterlands of Dahod district. Ditaben was killed by Savsinh and Raman who believed that it was her witchcraft which led to the death of their eight-year-old niece.

May 20, 2004

"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.

Original Sin

United States: You've got to admire the snake-handlers. When they get a clue from their invisible friend via one of his fanged emissaries that it's time to go, they take it in their stride.

A preacher bitten by a rattlesnake as he handled it during an Easter service at a rural church died after refusing medical treatment, authorities said.

May 14, 2004

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.

May 11, 2004

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 6, 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.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Superstition and Other Silliness category from May 2004.

Superstition and Other Silliness: April 2004 is the previous archive.

Superstition and Other Silliness: June 2004 is the next archive.

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