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Go back to sleep, Pat.

13 Jan


Ultra-right-wing Conservative and former Baptist minister Pat Robertson, the raddled Kermit the Frog of Christian Broadcasting Network, has still got it. Though whether anyone would want it is very doubtful. Continue reading


The Devil went down to Georgia, gets no further than South Carolina

25 Jan

Miriam Fowler Smith, a 65-year-old woman from South Carolina, is facing¬† a charge of felony animal cruelty after she killed a Pit Bull Terrier left in her care – for the capital crime of chewing her Bible. Apparently she feared that this “devil” dog (her words) would go on to maul neighbourhood children, so she hanged the poor creature with electrical cord before burning the remains.

While it’s clearly inappropriate to indulge in armchair speculation based on a sketchy news report, I think it’s fair to say that people in their right mind wouldn’t even dream of inflicting such torture on another living thing and certainly not on such a flimsy excuse. Where’s all this love and compassion the Bible supposedly teaches? Whatever happened to “thou shalt not kill” ?

On the bright side, however, at least the authorities are taking proper action over the case; the woman is facing six months to five years imprisonment. Let’s hope she gets the psychiatric treatment she clearly needs.

Though thankfully rare, this is hardly an isolated incident of a person invoking the devil as an excuse for horrific behaviour. Back in 2008, Joshua Mauldin from Galveston, Texas, was sent down for twenty-five years after microwaving his 2-month-old daughter a year earlier. Fortunately little Ana Marie survived (though not unharmed) and has since been placed in foster care.

Even more horrific than the little girl’s ordeal, though, was the reaction from her mother – and I use the term in its loosest sense. She actually excused her husband’s unthinkable actions, claiming that Satan saw him as “a threat” because of his efforts to become a preacher, so manipulated Mauldin’s known mental disabilities.

As Christopher Hitchens says, “religion poisons everything”. It causes otherwise morally upright individuals to commit, and condone, the most inhuman atrocities without batting an eyelid. At least the excuse of “the Devil made me do it” is not yet recognised by the courts.

Oh for God’s sake!

25 Sep

It appears that Reverand Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, is feeling a little chastened by remarks made by his boss last week about the “marginalistion” of British Catholics. He wants that poor hard done by minority to make their faith more visible. How does he envision they do this?

By saying things like “God bless you” and genuflecting more often.

Even the simple step of more regularly using the greeting ‘God bless you’, gently and naturally, would make a difference to the tone we set in our daily lives, as would the more frequent use of the sign of the cross.

In other words, acting like self-aggrandised sanctimonious jerks, of the kind that everyone else would generally avoid. In the old days, you could recognise a Catholic by the way he turned the wheel on the rack you were chained to, or brandished the red-hot iron poker he was about to insert about your person. It was at least honest, and nobody could accuse them of being wet and pusillanimous. Not to their faces anyway.

It seems to me the best way to counter this is to draw attention to it. I can’t speak for anyone else obviously, but the first time I encounter anyone saying “God bless you” purely to rub my nose in their faith, I’ll respond by saying, “I don’t care that you’re a Catholic and I don’t want your blessing, thanks all the same. Save it for someone who’s interested.” I might even ask them which god they’re invoking to perform this blessing:

Agdistis, Ah Puch, Ahura Mazda, Alberich, Amaterasu, An, Anat, Andvari, Anshar, Anu, Aphrodite, Apollo, Apsu, Ares, Artemis, Asclepius, Athena, Athirat, Athtart, Atlas, Baal, Ba Xian, Bacchus, Balder, Bast, Bellona, Bergelmir, Bes, Bixia Yuanjin, Bragi, Brahma, Brigit, Camaxtli, Ceres, Ceridwen, Cernunnos, Chac, Chalchiuhtlicue, Charun, Cheng-huang, Cybele, Dagon, Damkina, Davlin, Demeter, Diana, Di Cang, Dionysus, Ea, El, Enki, Enlil, Epona, Ereskigal, Farbauti, Fenrir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigg, Gaia, Ganesha, Ganga, Garuda, Gauri, Geb, Geong Si, Hades, Hanuman, Helios, Heng-o, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hod, Hoderi, Hoori, Horus, Hotei, Hestia, Huitzilopochtli, Hsi-Wang-Mu, Hygeia, Inanna, Inti, Ishtar, Isis, Ixtab, Izanaki, Izanami, Jesus, Juno, Jupiter, Kagutsuchi, Kartikeya, Khepri, Ki, Kingu, Kinich Ahau, Kishar, Krishna, Kukulcan, Lakshmi, Liza, Loki, Lugh, Magna Mater, Marduk, Mars, Medb, Mercury, Mimir, Minerva, Mithras, Morrigan, Mot, Mummu, Nammu, Nanna, Nanna, Nanse, Nemesis, Nephthys, Neptune, Nergal, Ninazu, Ninhurzag, Nintu, Ninurta, Njord, Nut, Odin, Ohkuninushi, Ohyamatsumi, Orgelmir, Osiris, Ostara, Pan, Parvati, Poseidon, Quetzalcoatl, Rama, Re, Rhea, Sabazius, Sarasvati, Shiva, Seshat, Seti, Shamash, Shapsu, Shen Yi, Shiva, Shu, Si-Wang-Mu, Sin, Sirona, Surya, Susanoh, Tawaret, Tefnut, Tezcatlipoca, Thanatos, Thor, Tiamat, Tlaloc, Tonatiuh, Toyo-Uke-Bime, Tyche, Tyr, Utu, Uzume, Venus, Vesta, Vishnu, Vulcan, Xipe, Xi Wang-mu, Xochipilli, Xochiquetzal, Yam, Yarikh, Ymir, Yu-huang, Yum Kimil, Zeus…

… to name just a few.

As for that genuflecting thing, I’ll simply ask “Are you alright? You seem to have lost control of your hand there.”

And don’t forget: there are plenty of hand and finger gestures available to the truly creative.

There Won’t Be Blood

22 Sep

Just to show that this is an equal-opportunities blog – I distribute my contempt equally – I’m going to shift my focus from the Catholic Church to another ‘get rich quick’ pyramid racket.

Prominent moviemaker Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer/director/producer of such classics as There Will Be Blood and Boogie Nights, was all set to go on his latest venture The Master. He’d assembled his cast, begun rehearsals, and was ready to start filming. Then…

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The AntiPope? Moi?

22 Sep

I hope nobody reading this – either of you – is left with the mistaken impression that I resented everything about Ratzinger’s visit and the virtually blanket TV coverage of it.

Because nothing could be further from the truth.

I must confess to the odd little chuckle every time an announcer said, “And now, Moron the Pope’s visit…”

Papal Perks

21 Sep

Oh dear. It seems that as well as claiming that his publicity tour was a “State Visit” as a way of wriggling out of having to pay for the damn thing, Il Papa also had the ¬£8 congestion charge waived for him. Well, it’s not what you know…

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Holy See, Holy Do

21 Sep

On top of all the Church’s other woes, it’s now been revealed that the Institute for Religious Works – IOR – commonly known as the Vatican Bank is under investigation over money-laundering:

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Down with this sort of thing (careful now)

20 Sep

Well, here beginneth my first ever attempt at a blog.

As our perennially-popular pontiff wends his self-satisfied way back home, swapping the shores of a Third-World nation for a Third-Century city-state, the satellite channel More4 appears to be taking advantage of the sudden lull in the saturation coverage of Ratzinger and presenting a more acceptable face of the Roman Catholic Church – in the shape of the wonderful evergreen classic Father Ted; specifically the episode called “The Passion of St. Tibulus.” For anyone unfamiliar with that episode, the title refers to a controversial film which the (unseen) Pope has condemned as blasphemous; and so, when it arrives on Ted’s home turf of Craggy Island, it falls to him and his cohort to deal with it.

The image of Fathers Ted and Dougal protesting outside the cinema daring to show the banned film, placards warning passersby with the slogans I borrowed for this post’s title, represents a softer, gentler, rather bemused and befuddled type of parish priesthood that perhaps still exists in the world, if only in the public imagination.

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