Egyptissä syyttäjät tutkivat sukuelinten silpomisesta johtuvaa
teinitytön kuolemaa. Egyptin terveysministeriön mukaan 17-vuotiaan tytön
"ympärileikkaus" tehtiin yksityisessä sairaalassa Suezin maakunnassa.
kuoli ilmeisesti voimakkaaseen verenvuotoon. Myös kuolleen tytön
sisaren sukuelimets silvottiin samassa yhteydessä, mutta hän toipuu
Toimenpiteen tehnyt sairaala on nyt suljettu ja sen
henkilökuntaa kuulustellaan. Operaation tehnyt naislääkäri saanee
syytteen, mikäli lopullisessa kuolinsyyntutkimuksessa vahvistetaan
silpomisen osuus kuolemaan.
Myös tyttöjen äitiä on kuulusteltu. Äiti on ammatiltaan sairaanhoitaja ja edesmennyt isä oli kirurgi.
Mayar kuoli äitinsä tietämättömyyden ja vanhanaikaisuuden vuoksi. Hän
piti tytärtään syyllisenä vain koska hän oli nainen, kirjoitti kuolleen
tytön ystävä Rawan al-Jamal Facebookissa al-Masdar-lehden mukaan.
sukuelinten silpominen on kielletty Egyptin laissa vuonna 2008. Tästä
huolimatta tyttöjen sukuelimiä silvotaan yleisesti erityisesti
maaseudulla. Tapaa harjoittavat sekä kristityt että muslimit.
Edellisen kerran teinityttö kuoli Egyptissä silpomisen seurauksena vuonna 2013.
vuoden tammikuussa puolestaan egyptiläislääkäri tuomittiin kahdeksi
vuodeksi vankilaan silpomisen vuoksi. Samassa oikeuskäsittelyssä tytön
isä sai kolmen kuukauden ehdollisen tuomion.
Noin 92 prosenttia
egyptiläisnaisista on joutunut sukuelinten silpomisen uhriksi. Nykyisin
yli 80 prosenttia toimenpiteistä on tehty sairaaloissa, vaikka käytäntö
Noin 200 miljoonaa naista ja tyttöä on joutunut
maailmanlaajuisesti sukuelinten silpomisen uhriksi. Asenteet ovat
kuitenkin muuttumassa vahvasti sitä vastaan niin Egyptissä kuin Saharan
eteläpuolisissa Afrikan maissakin, osoittaa YK:n helmikuinen tutkimus.
kärsivät sekä psyykkisistä että fysiologisista ongelmista. Naisilla on
virtsaamishäiriöitä ja -kipuja, verenvuotoja, voimakasta kipua yhdynnän
aikana sekä jopa kuolemaan johtavia komplikaatioita synnytyksen aikana.
Turkin presidentti: Muslimiperheiden ei pitäisi käyttää ehkäisyä
Naisjärjestöt ja oppositiopoliitikot ovat syyttäneet Erdoğania jo pitkään pyrkimyksistä rajoittaa naisten oikeuksia.
Turkin presidentti Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sanoo, ettei muslimiperheiden pitäisi harjoittaa perhesuunnittelua.
Meidän on lisättävä jälkeläistemme määrää. Muslimiperheet eivät voi
harjoittaa perhesuunnittelua tai syntyvyyden säännöstelyä, presidentti
sanoi turkkilaisen Hurriet Daily News -uutissivuston mukaan.
puhui nuorisoon ja koulutukseen keskittyvän säätiön tilaisuudessa
Istanbulissa. Puhe televisioitiin Turkissa suorana lähetyksenä.
ja oppositiopoliitikot ovat jo pitkään syyttäneet Erdoğania ja hänen
islamistisen AK-puolueensa edustajia pyrkimyksistä rajoittaa naisten
Erdoğan on muun muassa esittänyt, että jokaisen
turkkilaisen naisen pitäisi synnyttää kolme lasta ja että oikeutta
aborttiin pitäisi rajoittaa.
Presidentti on sanonut myös, etteivät naiset voi olla tasa-arvoisia miesten kanssa.
Mikä on huonoa hallintoa?
Erkki Hartikainen 29.5.2016
Yleisradion ulkomaantoimittajien mukaan huonoa hallintoa on se, ettei jonkin kehitysmaan köyhien anneta kuolla nälkään.
Yleisradion mukaan kehitysmaiden köyhille voidaan antaa apua vain sen
verran kuin kristillisten kirkkojen kolehdeissa saadaan kerättyä.
Tietysti avun saannin ehtona on jonkin lajin uskovaisuus.
Malediivit takavarikoi ”rikollisen” pastakastikkeen – sisältää valkoviiniä ja pekonia
Alkoholin ja sianlihan tarjoaminen koetaan loukkauksena saarivaltion 340 000 sunnimuslimin väestössä.
Australialaisen Leggo’sin valkoviiniä ja pekonia
sisältävät pastakastikkeet joutuivat Malediiveilla kielettyjen
tuotteiden listalle. Saariston kalliissa matkailukohteissa alkoholia ja
sianlihaa sen sijaan on vapaasti tarjolla.
takavarikoida Australiasta tuodun pastakastikkeen, kun viranomaisille
selvisi, että kastike sisältää valkoviiniä ja pekonia, kertoo
Malediivien tullilaitos käynnisti tällä
viikolla operaation, jonka tarkoituksena on löytää australialaisen
Leggo’sin ”rikolliset” pastakastikkeet.
ja sianlihan tarjoaminen koetaan loukkauksena Malediivien 340 000
sunnimuslimin väestössä. Saariston kalliissa matkailukohteissa alkoholia
ja sianlihaa sen sijaan on vapaasti tarjolla.
vahvistivat tiistaina yhteisöpalvelu Twitterissä takavarikoineensa
Leggo’sin italialaistyylisen kana-kampasimpukkakastikkeen, kun
sosiaalisen median käyttäjät varoittivat tuotteen raaka-aineista.
Leggo’sin verkkosivuilta löytyvien tuotetietojen mukaan kastike sisältää 5 prosenttia valkoviiniä ja 2,5 prosenttia pekonia.
Maldives Independent -lehden
mukaan viranomaiset ovat perustaneet puhelinpalvelun, johon ihmiset
voivat ilmoittaa havaintojaan kastikkeen myyntipaikoista.
Britannia selvittää sharialain käyttöä – maassa ehkä kymmeniä epävirallisia tuomioistuimia
”Kyseessä on vakava huolenaihe”, arvioi sisäministeri Theresa May.
Britannian hallitus on käynnistänyt selvityksen islamilaisen sharialain käytöstä maassa, kertoo uutistoimisto AFP.
ilmoitti riippumattoman selvityksen alkamisesta torstaina.
Tarkoituksena on saada selville, onko naisiin kohdistunut syrjintää
epävirallisissa shariatuomioistuimissa Englannissa ja Walesissa.
naisten on kerrottu joutuneen shariatuomioistuinten syrjivien
tuomioiden uhriksi. Kyseessä on vakava huolenaihe”, kertoi sisäministeri
Theresa May lausunnossaan.
Siirry Ubuntuun, unohda Microsoft
Se on isänmaallinen teko
Eläkkeellä oleva tietotekniikan opettaja
Microsoftin irtisanomisia vastaan kannattaa protestoida. Yhteiskunnan
pitäisi uusissa tietokonehankinnoissan laittaa käyttöjärjestelmäksi
Ubuntu. Vanhat Windows -ohjelmatkin toimivat Ubuntussa Wine -
emulaattorilla, ja jos kiintolevyksi hankitaan SSD - kiintoley, nopeus
Olen nyt lomalla yrittänyt käyttää Windowsia, jota aikoinaan opetin
vuosikymmeniä. Jo koneen mukana tuli kasa haittaohjelmia. Ilmaiset ja
tavalliset maksulliset torjuntaohjelmat eivät pystyneet poistamaan
niitä. Koko kone oli hidastunut.
Vasta pitkän haun jälkeen löytyi kallis puhdistusohjelma, joka poisti haittaohjelmat ja kunnosti itsensä Windowsin.
Ubuntussa ei ole mitään näitä vaivoja ja Ubuntu ei tarvitse mitään
maksullisia ohjelmia. Ubuntu - yhteisö neuvoo kaikissa
ongelmatilanteissa ja useimmiten jopa suomeksi.
Sveitsi kiristämässä linjaansa – myös muslimioppilaiden on käteltävä naisopettajia
syyrialaisen muslimipojan kieltäytyminen naisopettajan kättelystä on
saanut aikaan suuren kohun Sveitsissä. Nyt yksi maan 26 kantonista
päätti, että kieltäytymisestä seuraa jatkossa ankara sakkorangaistus.
Sveitsissä Basel-Landschaftin kantoni päätti keskiviikkona, että
oppilaalla ei ole oikeutta kieltäytyä kättelemästä naisopettajaa
vetoamalla uskonnollisiin syihin.
Asia nousi runsas kuukausi
sitten kiivaan keskustelun kohteeksi koko Sveitsissä, kun 14- ja
16-vuotiaat syyrialaiset muslimipojat eivät suostuneet kättelemään
Therwilin koulu Basel-Landschaftin
kantonissa yritti aluksi hakea tilanteeseen väliaikaista sopuratkaisua.
Pieni maaseutukoulu päätyi kompromissiin, jossa kaikki oppilaat
vapautettiin velvollisuudesta kätellä opettajia.
Kantonin opetusviranomaiset valitsivat kuitenkin jyrkemmän linjan: opettajien kättelystä ei luovuta.
Määräyksen vastustaminen merkitsee kovimmillaan runsaan 4 500 euron sakkoja.
VAPAA-AJATTELIJAIN LIITON TILINPÄÄTÖS VUODELTA 2015 (24.5.2016)
miksi en ole viime päivinä kirjottanut tänne suomeksi, kerron pari
Ensiksi Interbet - yhteys on omasta GSM- antennista huolimatta huono
Toiseksi jouduin käyttämään melkein koko päivän paikallisen sairaalan
ensiavussa. Lopulta sain tikit kahteen haavaan päässä. Lääkäri sanoi
laiittaneensa tikkejä jopa puolen vuorokauden vanhoina, kun päivystäjänä
on vain yksi lääkäri.
Mitähän SSS-hallitus saa aikaan tulevaisuudessa?
Ehdotan päivystyksiin särkylääke-automaatteja tai vaihtoehtoisesti
jokainen kuljettakoon särkylääkkeitä ja diapamia koko ajan taskussaan.
Viskipuolue-niminen pikkujärjestö, joka ei paljon muualla ole
olemassa kuin paperilla ja Johtajansa Juhani Kähärän ajatuksissa, yritti
vaihtaa nimensä sellaiseksi että ei kuulostaisi enää niin huonolta
vitsiltä kuin tähän saakka.
Nimenvaihtoyritelmä epäonnistui, kuten muutkin järjestöhäirikkö
Juhani Kähärä, järjestöhäirikkö, leikki tietämätöntä että suunnilleen
samanniminen toinen järjestö on jo toiminnassa.
Kähärä olisi ahneudelleen tyypilliseen tapaan halunnut anastaa toisten
jo toiminnassaan käyttämän nimen itselleen ja pikku järjestölleen.
Järjestöhäirikkö Juhani Kähärä tähtäsi tilanteeseen, että vaaleissa sitten
useampi erillinen, mutta aika samanniminen ehdokaslista olisu kukin
näkyvillä vaalimainonnassa ja äänestyskopin isossa luettelossa - jotta
Kähärän pulja saisi sekaantumisen kautta joitakin lisä-ääniä omille
ehdokkailleen, sllä eivät kaikki äänestäjät kiireissään
äänestystilanteessa tule tarkistaneeksi luettelossa olevien eri ryhmien
nimien eroavaisuuksia kirjain kirjaimelta. Järjestöhäirikkö Juhani
Kähärä pyrki toimimaan samalla tavoin kuin laskutushuijarit ja
tavaramerkkihuijarit. Sekaannuksiin tähtäävällä toiminnallaan Juhani
Kähärä häiriköi järjestöjä.
Helsingin Sanomat on
Lehti ilmoittaa, että Suomen ja Viron välimatkaa pitää lyhentää, mutta
ei ilmoita, miten välimatkoja lyhennetään.
Vajarit eivät tunnusta,
että kaikki elämänkatsomustiedon oppikirjat löytyvät Internetistä ja
ovat opetussuunnitelmien mukaisia
Erkki Hartikainen 19.5.2016
Jos et usko oppikirjojen olemassaoloon, tutki tämän lehden oikeaa
palstaa, sieltä kaikki oppikirjat löytyvät ilmaiseksi Internetistä.
Sieltä löytyvät myös lukion filosofian oppikirjat, jotka pätevöittävät
melko lailla elämänkatsomustiedon opettajaa.
Mainittakoon, että elämänkatsomustiedon opettajakoulutusta on kaikissa
niissä yliopistoissa, joissa opetetaan filosofiaa. Elämänkatsomustiedon
opettajien koulutus on ensisijaisesti filosofian opiskelua.
Erkki Hartikainen 19.5.2016
Vajarit, etenkin sekopää sössöttäjä Esa Ylikoski, kantavat minulle
vieläkin kaunaa siitä, että YK:n Ihmisoikeustoimikuntaa apuna käyttäen
hommasin yli 30 vuotta sitten tähän maahan elämänkatsomustiedon
opetuksen. Jos kuulut vajareihin eroa ja käske tuttujesikin erota.
Etenkin humanistit edesmenneen agnostikko Pekka Elon johdolla ajoivat
kaikille pakollista Ruotsin mallin mukaista uskontojen opetusta kaikille
Niille, jotka eivät usko, että Pekka Elo oli agnostikko, voin näyttää
Pekan asiaa koskevan käsin allekirjoitetun paperisen kirjeen.
Agnostikoille pitäisi kelvata nykyinen Suomen evankelis-luterilainen
pikkumusta oli liikaa katsojille – joutui pukemaan villatakin ylleen
Nykyään katsojapalaute tulee nopeasti
tv-esiintyjille myös suorassa lähetyksessä. Sen sai tuta
Los Angelesissa toimivan tv-kanavan KTLA:n meteorologi Liberté Chan joutui kesken suoraa tv-lähetystä
varsin hämmentävään tilanteeseen.
Chan oli pukeutunut säätiedotustaan varten kauniiseen paljetein
koristeltuun, naruolkaimiseen pikkumustaan. Yhtäkkiä kuvaruudun oikeaan
laitaan ilmestyi harmaata neuletakkia roikottava käsi.
Häkeltynyt Chan ei heti ymmärtänyt mitä oikein tapahtuu, mutta käveli
ojennetun käden luo.
– Mitä tapahtuu? Haluatko, että puen tämän ylleni? Miksi? Siksikö,
että on kylmä? hän kysyi ihmeissään.
– Saamme paljon sähköposteja, miesääni vastasi.
Chan ei ollut uskoa korviaan, mutta puki kiltisti neuletakin ylleen.
– Näytän nyt ihan kirjastonhoitajalta, hän sanoi hieman pettyneenä.
apulaisoikeusasiamies Jussi Pajuoja on antanut puolustusministerin
pyynnöstä lausunnon 31.3.2015 (Dnro 1131/5/14) kenttäpiispan
esittämästä ratkaisumallista, joka koskee puolustusvoimien eettisen
koulutuksen sekä hartauksien ja niille vaihtoehtoisten tilaisuuksien
uudelleen järjestelyitä apulaisoikeusasiamiehen 28.12.2010 ja
30.12.2013 tekemien päätösten pohjalta.
selvitysosassa apulaisoikeusasiamies kirjoittaa: ”Kenttähartauden
sijasta voidaan kuitenkin pitää myös jumalanpalvelus ennen paraatia
(kohta 397). Tällä tavoin järjestettyyn paraatiin olisi kaikilla
mahdollisuus osallistua samalla tavoin kuin alokkaat osallistuvat
ohimarssiin sotilasvakuutuksen antamisen jälkeen (kohta 443).
apulaisoikeusasiamies pitää ”hyvänä ja ongelmattomana sitä, että
jumalanpalveluksien ja hartauksien järjestellyissä tultaisiin
noudattamaan samoja periaatteita kuin nyt valan ja vakuutuksen
sijaan sotilasparaatin ja siihen liittyvän kenttähartauden järjestely
ei esityksessä näyttäisi seuraavan samaa mallia. Yleinen
palveluohjesääntö tuntee jo nyt sen vaihtoehdon, että jumalanpalvelus
ja sille vaihtoehtoinen toiminta järjestetään erillisenä tilaisuutena
ennen paraatia. tässä tapauksessa voitaisiin siis valan ja vakuutuksen
tavoin järjestää kaksi erillistä tilaisuutta ja niiden jälkeen
yhteinen paraati. tätä vaihtoehtoa ei käsittääkseni ehdoteta.
yhteydessä on merkittävää, että toisin kuin jumalanpalvelus ja
hartaus, sotilasparaati ei ole ensisijaisesti uskonnon harjoittamista.
Paraatin tarkoitus on sotilaallinen. Tästä näkökulmasta olennaista on,
että katselmusjoukot esiintyvät yhtenä kokonaisuutena. Jos
vaihtoehtona olisi, että kuka tahansa voisi uskonnon harjoittamisen
perusteella jäädä paraatista, siitä saattaisi aiheutua paraatin
järjestämisen kannalta ongelmallisia tilanteita, jos poisjääntejä
kysyä, voitaisiinko paraati järjestää uskonnollisesti neutraalilla
tavalla samalla tavoin kuin sodan ja rauhan eettisiä kysymyksiä
käsittelevät oppitunnit on tarkoitus järjestää. Tällöin
kenttähartauden sijaan voitaisiin esittää esimerkiksi eettinen
puheenvuoro ja sen voisi pitää soveltuvan koulutuksen saanut henkilö.
10 kohtaa käsittelevää oppituntikokonaisuutta ”Sodan ja rauhan
eettiset kysymykset” varusmiehille järjestettävissä oppitunneissa
apulaisoikeusasiamies tarkastelee ensin tilannetta ja esittää sen
tulee kenttäpiispan esityksen mukaan määrittelemään, mitkä muut
puolustusvoimain henkilöstöryhmät pystyvät koulutuksensa puolesta
pitämään kysymyksessä olevia oppitunteja. Esityksessä mainitaan muun
muassa sotatieteen maisterit ja sosiaalikuraattorit.
lääkärit, psykologit ja muut vastaavat riittävän koulutuksen saaneet
henkilöt saattaisivat tulla oppituntien sisällöstä riippuen
kysymykseen. Ratkaisevinta on opetuksen sisältö eikä se kuka sinänsä
ammattitaitoinen henkilö sitä antaa.
kirkollista opetusta koskevaa asiaa on 11.3.2014 esitelty myös
järjestettäviä oppitunteja käsiteltiin 10.3.2014 eduskunnan
puolustusvaliokunnassa. Valiokunnassa esitettyjen argumenttien
perusteella ei ole estettä sille, että oppijakso ”Sodan ja rauhan
eettiset kysymykset” voitaisiin suunnata kaikille varusmiehille
uskonnollisesti neutraalisti toteutettuna. Estettä ei ole myöskään
sille, että oppijaksoa opettaisi teologian maisterin tutkinnon
suorittanut henkilö, mutta jaksoa tai sen osaa voisi luennoida myös
moni muu keskustelussa esiin noussut ammattiryhmä. Nämä
puolustusvaliokunnalle esitetyt kannanotot vastaavat omaa käsitystäni
Pääesikunnan antamassa käskyssä keväällä 2015 nämä näkemykset
Puolustusministeri Haglund ei rohjennut antaa selkeää ministeriön
ohjetta Puolustusvoimille. Pääesikunnan käskyssä oppituntien pito
määrättiin vain sotilaspapeille, Paraatikatsselmuksista pitää
niiden, jotka eivät osallistu paraatihartauteen, poistua kesken
tilaisuuden paraatikatselmuksen muodosta taka-alalle, odottamaan
Jumalharhaa arabiaksi on
ladattu yli 10 miljoonaa kertaa
Jumalharha (engl. The God delusion, 2006) on eläintieteilijänä,
evoluutiobiologiaan keskittyneenä tietokirjailijana ja ateistina
tunnetun Richard Dawkinsin kirjoittama uskontokriittinen kirja.
Dawkins esittää teoksessa persoonalliseen jumalaan uskomisen olevan
järjetöntä ja sen aiheuttavan yhteiskunnalle vahinkoa.
Kirja julkaistiin englanniksi 2006 Bantam Booksin kustantamana ja
suomeksi 2007 Terra Cognitan kustantamana Kimmo Pietiläisen
Arabiankielisen käännöksen on tehnyt Ruotsissa asuva
irakilaispakolainen Bassam Al-Baghdadi.
kivitys on osa uskoa
Työhuoneessaan vastaan ottaa moskeijan puhemies Oussama El-Saadi. Hän, 26 vuotta Tanskassa
asunut palestiinalainen, hymyilee läpi haastattelun lempeästi ja
El-Saadi korostaa, ettei hänellä ole tarvetta peitellä moskeijan
kantoja. Esimerkiksi juuri kivittämistuomio on hänen mukaansa osa
islamia. Kohun synnyttäneessä dokumentissa asia on silti esitetty turhan
kärjekkäästi, El-Saadi sanoo: Ei kukaan moskeijalla usko, että
kivitystuomiot voisivat toteutua käytännössä Tanskassa tai juuri missään
muualla. Islam näet edellyttäisi useita ehtoja, jotta tuomio voitaisiin
langettaa. Yksi niistä on, että neljä todistajaa näkisi aviorikoksen
yksityiskohtaisesti. Mikään peiton liikkuminen ei riitä, El-Saadi sanoo
ja pahoittelee graafista luonnehdintaa.
Jos ehdot kuitenkin täyttyisivät, olisiko kivitys oikein?
”Kyllä. Kyllä. Mutta ei kyse ole minun ajatuksistani. Kyse on
uskonnostani”, El-Saadi sanoo.
Toisin kuin Raamatussa, kivitystä ei edes
mainita Koraanissa. Se kuitenkin esiintyy muissa islamin pyhissä
teksteissä ja on laillista joissakin sharia-lakia noudattavissa maissa.
Elina Lepomäki: Kirkko
Kokoomuksen puheenjohtajuutta tavoitteleva kansanedustaja Elina
Lepomäki kannatti vaaligalleriassa valtion ja kirkon erottamista
Puheenjohtajakandidaatti halusi lakkauttaa kirkon verotusoikeuden.
Kirkon olisi pärjättävä seurakuntalaisten jäsenmaksuilla.
Kristinusko ja ahneus
Erkki Hartikainen 9.5.2016
Onko sattumaa, että ns. kristilliset maat ovat maailman rikkaimpia?
Ei ole. Kristinuskoon on rakennettu sisään ahneus. Uskovaiset kristityt
ovat niin ahneita, että he haluavat elää vielä kuolemansa jälkeen, mikä
onneksi on mahdotonta.
humpuukia nimeltä kulttuuri
Erkki Hartikainen 8.5.2016
Ihmiset, joilla olisi rahaa oman maun mukaiseen elämään, mutta joilta
puuttuu oma maku.
Kidutusta ja tappoja –
afrikkalaisten filmien festivaalien yksi elokuva kertoo homofobian
Vida on homo. Aha, jaa-a.
No, hän menettää työnsä kotikaupunkinsa johtavassa mainostoimistossa,
oman asuntonsa ja jopa ihmisarvonsa yhteiskunnassa.
Näin siis Ugandan pääkaupungissa Kampalassa, itäisessä
Nyt African Film -festivaalilla esitettävä Outed
– The Painful Reality -elokuva kertoo Vidan, oikealta
nimeltään John Alex Kigozi, kohtalosta. Vuonna 2014
paikallinen juorulehti julkaisi hänen nimensä ja kuvansa etusivullaan
sensaatiohakuisella paljastusotsikolla ”Ugandan 200 kärkihomoa”.
Maassa olivat astuneet voimaan ankarat
anti-gay-lait, joiden rikkomisesta voitiin tuomita elinkautiseen
vankeuteen. Alkuperäisessä lakiesityksessä mukana oli jopa
kuolemanrangaistus. Maan presidentti Yoweri Museveni mylvi, ettei
homoseksuaalisuus ole ihmisoikeus.
Julkaisu väitti Vidan kuuluvan kaupungin ”huippuhomoseksuaaleihin” ja
viettävän aikaa HLBT-yhteisössä (seksuaali- ja sukupuolivähemmistöihin
viittaava lyhenne tarkoittaa homoja, lesboja, biseksuaaleja ja
transihmisiä). Itse hän ei ollut koskaan maininnut seksuaalisesta
suuntautumistaan kenellekään, koska pelkäsi seuraamuksia äärimmäisen
Vidalta vietiinkin vapaus, häntä kidutettiin
ja ystäviä tapettiin.
Syrjinnän, vihaviestien ja väkivallan lisäksi tapauksesta seurasi
laajamittaista julkista keskustelua, mutta samanlaista ahdistelua
tapahtuu yhä edelleen Ugandan lisäksi esimerkiksi sen rajanaapurissa
Keniassa. Vaikka HLBT-ihmisten oikeuksia puolustava järjestö on
hakenut korvauksia uhreille, se ei ole estänyt juorulehtien toimintaa.
Ohjaaja Hassan Kamoga oli suunnitellut elokuvaa
salassa jo useita vuosia, mutta rohkeni toteuttaa sen vasta, kun
vihainen väkijoukko tappoi hänen hyvän ystävänsä vain sen takia, että
tämän nimi oli mainittu lehdessä.
Helsinki African Film Festival 10.–15. 5.
Kino Sherylissa (Arabiankatu 8). Outed – The Painful Reality ke
11. 5. klo 19.55. Liput 8 e. Lisätietoa ja ohjelmisto:
Intiassa uusi keino lapsiavioliittojen
estämiseen: Vuokrafirma ei anna häätelttaa
Maailmassa on 700 miljoonaa naista, jotka ovat päätyneet vaimoiksi
alaikäisinä. Erityisen paljon heitä on Intiassa, vaikka laki sen
Intiassa Rajasthanin osavaltiossa viranomaiset ja yrittäjät ovat
sopineet keinosta, jolla yritetään vähentää lapsiavioliittojen
määrää. Rajasthan kuuluu Intian alueisiin, joissa alaikäisten
avioituminen on yleisintä.
Rajasthanilainen teltanvuokrausfirmojen liitto on alkanut vaatia
morsiamelta ja sulhaselta syntymätodistusta iän osoittamiseksi,
ennen kuin mikään liittoon kuuluvista yrityksistä toimittaa
Rajasthanissa eletään parhaillaan häiden huippusesonkia, hindujen
Akha Teej -juhlan aikaa, jota pidetään erityisen suotuisana
avioliiton solmimiselle. Hääjuhlaa vietetään usein värikkäissä
Ongelma on suurin köyhällä
Intian lain mukaan morsiamen on oltava vähintään 18-vuotias ja
sulhasen täyttänyt 21. Avustusjärjestö Girls Not Brides arvio kuitenkin, että
Rajasthanissa jopa 65 prosenttia tytöistä naitetaan ennen
18-vuotispäiväänsä. Koko Intiassa osuus on 47 prosenttia.
Vaikka lapsiavioliitot ovat myös poikia koskeva ongelma,
enimmäkseen avioliittoihin päätyvät tytöt, sillä usein sulhanen on
paljon morsianta vanhempi.
YK:n lastenapujärjestö Unicef arvioi, että maailmassa on 700
miljoonaa naista, jotka ovat avioituneen ennen 18-vuotispäiväänsä.
Tyttö kuolee synnytykseen
todennäköisemmin kuin nainen
Tytölle avioituminen tarkoittaa usein koulunkäynnin keskeytymistä,
ja nuori vaimo on usein altis parisuhdeväkivallalle ja
Tavallisimpia lapsiavioliitot ovat maaseudulla ja köyhien
keskuudessa, jossa moni tyttölapsi joko nähdään taloudellisena
taakkana tai varhaisen avioliiton uskotaan suojelevan häntä
seksuaaliselta ja muulta väkivallalta.
– Siitä ei ole kyse, etteivätkö ihmiset tietäisi lapsiavioliitot
laittomiksi. He vain sanovat, että ne ovat traditio. Siksi jokainen
pienikin korjausliike auttaa, myös teltanvuokraajien panos.
käyttö vähentynyt Pohjoismaissa selvästi
Helsingissä vieraili viime viikolla tanskalainen väitöskirjatutkija
Sidsel Kjems, ja hän oli esitykseensä 28.4. pidetyssä tilaisuudessa
koonnut monia mielenkiintoisia tietoja enemmistökirkkojen asemasta
Pohjoismaissa sekä Englannissa ja Skotlannissa. Tässä poiminta
Vuodesta 2004 vuoteen 2014 on on kaikissa Pohjoismaissa tapahtunut
merkittäviä muutoksia kirkollisten siirtymäriittien käytön ja
Kasteiden osuus väheni
Ruotsissa 69 prosentista 46 prosenttiin,
Tanskassa 76 prosentista 64 prosenttiin,
Norjassa 77 prosentista 63 prosenttiin,
Suomessa 86 prosentista 72 prosenttiin.
Konfirmointien osuus väheni
Ruotsissa 38 prosentista 29 prosenttiin,
Tanskassa 73 prosentista 70 prosenttiin,
Norjassa 68 prosentista 63 prosenttiin,
Suomessa 89 prosentista 84 prosenttiin.
Islannissa lukema oli 83 % vuonna 2010.
Kirkollisten vihkimisten osuus väheni
Ruotsissa 54 prosentista 33 prosenttiin,
Tanskassa 41 prosentista 34 prosenttiin,
Norjassa 49 prosentista 38 prosenttiin,
Suomessa 64 prosentista 49 prosenttiin,
Islannissa 81 prosentista 74 prosenttiin.
Kirkollisten hautajaisten osuus väheni
Ruotsissa 89 prosentista 76 prosenttiin,
Tanskassa 90 prosentista 83 prosenttiin,
Norjassa 94 prosentista 90 prosenttiin,
Suomessa x prosentista 92 prosenttiin.
Islannissa vuonna 2014 osuus oli 95 %.
Kirkon jäsenyyksien väestöosuus laski
Ruotsissa 78 prosentista 65 prosenttiin,
Tanskassa 83 prosentista 78 prosenttiin,
Norjassa 85 prosentista 74 prosenttiin,
Suomessa 84 prosentista 74 prosenttiin,
Islannissa 86 prosentista 75 prosenttiin
Parhaissa Ruotsin luvuissa huomiotani kiinnitti se, että kasteiden osuus
on lähellä Tanskaa ja Norjaa, mutta konfirmoinnit rajusti alempana.
Valtaisa ero on myös pysynyt samanlaisena.
pahoinpideltiin hengiltä islamia aiemmin arvostellut hinduräätäli –
viides samanlainen surma huhtikuussa
Poliisi ilmoitti lauantaina tutkivansa, liittyykö räätälin surma
esimerkiksi johonkin sukuriitaan. Räätälin Nikhol Chandra Joarderin oli
kuitenkin väitetty loukanneen profeetta Muhammedia vuonna 2012, mikä oli
silloin herättänyt kohua.
Ainakin kaksi miestä silpoi hindulaisen
räätälin hengiltä veitsillä Bangladeshissa lauantaina, uutistoimisto AFP
Kristinuskoon on koko
historiansa ajan kuulunut ajatus sen omasta ylemmyydestä muihin
uskontoihin ja uskonnottomuuteen verrattuna. Vaikka Suomi onkin
viimeisen vuosisadan aikana maallistunut päätä huimaavaa vauhtia, niin
edelleen valtauskonnon edustajilla on jäljellä keinoja alistaa ja
nöyryyttää toisia suomalaisia. Yksi merkittävin näistä on suvivirren
laulaminen koulujen kevätjuhlissa.
Koulujen tulisi olla
uskonnollisesti puolueettomia oppimisympäristöjä, joissa jokainen
oppilas voi omista ajatuksistaan (ja kotitaustastaan) huolimatta tuntea
itsensä tasa-arvoiseksi yhteisön jäseneksi. Suvivirsi, kuten myös kaikki
muut selvästi uskonnollisen taustan omaavat piirteet koulujen
tilaisuuksissa, ovat selvä viesti luterilaiselta kirkolta ja
opetusministeriöltä, jolla halutaan sanoa, että suomalaisessa
yhteiskunnassa on yksi ainoa oikea tapa ajatella ja se on kristillinen
Koska kysymys on koulun
juhlista, tämä viesti on erityisen painokas. Koulujen tehtävä on
kasvattaa lapsia ja nuoria ihmisinä kohtaamaan maailma ja antaa heille
tietoja ja taitoja, joiden avulla he voivat löytää oman paikkansa
yhteiskunnasta. Siksi yksittäisen uskonnon tapojen ja perinteiden
korostaminen muiden uskontojen ja uskonnottomuuden kustannuksella omaa
suuren symboliarvon: näiden perinteiden tuomisella koulujen juhliin
halutaan nimenomaan näyttää "kaapin paikka" muille kuin valtauskonnon
edustajille ja osoittaa heidän oman maailmankuvansa arvottomuus.
toivomme, että seuraava eduskunta ottaa tehtäväkseen poistaa koulujen
juhlista ja arjesta kaiken sellaisen toiminnan, missä jokin
uskonnollisuuden muoto korostuu toisten uskontojen tai uskonnottomuuden
Toivomme, että eduskunta
säätäsi lain (joka sisältyisi mielellään perustuslakiin), joka
yksikäsitteisesti määrittelisi koulut ja muut valtiolliset ja
kunnalliset laitokset uskonnollisesti neutraaleiksi. Viime kädessä tässä
on kysymys ihmisoikeusasiasta ja uskonnonvapauden ja tasa-arvon
ei näytetä muille eikä luovuteta
Turkki vaikea maa medialle
Turkki on yksi maailman vaarallisimmista maista toimittajille. TIR:n
lehdistövapausindeksissä se on sijalla 154, kun järjestö on kartoittanut
179 maata. EU:kin on kovistellut Turkkia, kun sen dokumentintekijöitä on
Soini Jeesus-marssin vappupuhujaksi
Perussuomalaisten puheenjohtaja, ulkoministeri Timo Soini on
kristillisten järjestöjen organisoiman vapputapahtuman pääpuhujana
Helsingin Senaatintorilla. Vapputapahtuma on nimeltään Rukous Suomen
Perussuomalaisen puheenjohtaja Timo Soinin puhe huipentaa vapaiden
suuntien eli evankelis-luterilaisen kirkon ulkopuolisten seurakuntien
tunnetuksi tekemän Jeesus-marssin Helsingissä. Soini itse on
rovastikunnalliset ja valtakunnalliset tilaisuudet, osallistujamäärä
Savon Voima tunaroi
Erkki Hartikainen 20.4.2016
Asun entisessä kotitalossani kesäisin yhteensä noin puolitoista
kuukautta. Talvella virta on poikki. Tästä huolimatta minulle tuli
tammi-maaliskuulta huiman iso sähkölasku. Yhtiön asiakaspalvelu soittaa
epämiellyttävää sävelmää, eikä sisään pääse millään.
Viime syksynä yhtiöstä soitettiin, ja minulle sanottiin, että mittari
näyttää huimia lukemia, vaikka olen itse pannut sähköt pois päältä.
Yhtiö arveli, että mittari on rikki. Se on näitä kaukoluettavia
Sovimme, että yhtiö katkaisee sähköt talosta ja että soitan
toukokuussa, kun olen paikalla, uudestaan.
Ilmeisesti virran katkaisu on unohdettu, ja lisäksi on unohdettu se,
Pitäisikö minun tehdä näistä kepuleista rikosilmoitus? Älä koskaan
Erkki Hartikainen 19.4.2016
on joukko muinaisten paimentolaisten säädöksiä, jotka edelleen
aiheuttavat kärsimyksiä miljardeille ihmisille.
on itämaista taikauskoa, joka edelleen aiheuttaa kärsimyksiä
on kahden edellisen pahin mahdollinen yhdistelmä. Muhamettilaisuus
tuhoaa lopulta ihmiset tältä planeetalta - ja hyvä niin.
on vallankumousoppi, joka on lopullisesti tuhonnut ihmiskunnan
mahdollisuuden kommunistiseen yhteiskuntaan.
Kommunistinen yhteiskunta, jossa jokaiselta vaaditaan kykyjensä mukaan
ja jossa jokaiselle annetaan tarpeidensa mukaan, olisi ollut
mahdollinen, jos marxilaisuutta ei olisi syntynyt.
Sen sijaan sosialidemokraattinen yhteiskunta, jossa jokaiselta
vaaditaan kykyjensä mukaan ja jokaiselle annetaan ansioidensa mukaan, on
epäoikeudenmukainen. Entinen Paperiliiton puheenjohtajakin
sosialidemokraattina väitti, että johtajat
ovat ansainneet kohtuuttoman suuret palkkansa.
on sekavien kehäpäätelmien joukko, joka on tuhonnut ihmiskunnan
mahdollisuuden ymmärtää todellisuutta.
He eivät unohda mennä yli sieltä, missä aita on matalin.
ovat aivan tavallisia kunnon ihmisiä,
eikä minulla ole mitään juutalaisia ihmisiä
vastaan. Aatteet ovat aivan eri
asia, ja aatteista minulla on oikeus
olla eri mieltä.
Erkki Hartikainen 18.4.2016
Koska olen toiminut kaksi kolmasosaa työurastani opetustehtävissä,
katson oikeudekseni kirjoittaa koululaitoksesta, jonka piirissä olen
ollut vielä pitempään.
Toisen maailmansodan jälkeen Suomeen olisi tullut L. Arvi P. Poijärven
komitean ehdottama peruskoulu. Sosialidemokraatit pettivät silloinkin,
ja peruskoulu tuili vasta vasemmistoenemmistöisen eduskunan toimesta
Oli enemmän tai vähemmän sattumaa, että minut pantiin oppikouluun, ja
huolimatta kaikin puolin surkeasta elämästä selviydyin maisteriksi asti.
Siitä oli se onneton seuraus, että olen ollut pitkään koululaitoksen
Oppiaineista laulu, leikki, laskento; tupakkatunti ja uskonto,
tarpeellien olisi vain laskento.
Peruskoulusta olisi aikoinaan voitu tehdä vain kahdeksanvuotinen, ja
ainoat tarpeelliset aineet olisivat olleet matematiikka, fysiikka,
kemia, tietokoneen ajokortti, biologia, terveystieto ja englannin kieli.
Ne olisi saatu opetettua hyvinkin laajasti kahdeksassa vuodessa.
Lukemaan ja tietokoneella kirjoittamaat lapset pitäisi opettaa
jalkapallomaajoukkueen maalivahdin Waleed Abdullahin hiukset
saksittiin kentän laidalla.
Saudi-Arabia on alkanut puuttua
urheilijoiden anti-islamilaisiksi tulkittuihin kampauksiin.
Paikallisen Arriyadiyah-sivuston mukaan Saudi-Arabian nuorisojärjestön
johtaja pyysi tiistaina maan urheiluliittoja ja olympiakomiteaa
tuomitsemaan ”qazaa-ilmiön”. Termillä hän viittasi irokeesikampauksiin,
joita jotkut jalkapalloilijat suosivat.
Saudilehti Al-Jazirahin kommentaattori kirjoitti, että hiustyyli on
islamin ja saudiperinteiden vastainen. Hän kehotti maan
jalkapalloliittoa rankaisemaan loukkavasti käyttäytyviä pelaajia, joiden
”omituisia kampauksia heidän koululaisfaninsa matkivat”.
Saudi-Arabian joukkueissa pelaa paljon ulkomaalaisia jalkapallon
Tulipalo temppelissä Intian Keralassa
– Ainakin 100 ihmistä kuollut ja noin 300 loukkaantunut
Ainakin 100 ihmistä on kuollut ja noin 300 loukkaantunut
temppelipalossa, joka sattui eteläisessä Intiassa Keralan maakunnassa
sunnuntain vastaisena yönä, kertovat viranomaiset. Kuva Reuters.
Ainakin 100 ihmistä on kuollut ja noin 300 loukkaantunut
temppelipalossa, joka sattui eteläisessä Intiassa Keralan maakunnassa
sunnuntain vastaisena yönä, kertovat viranomaiset.
Ihmisiä perheineen oli saapunut temppelille tuhatmäärin seuraamaan
hindujen uudenvuodenjuhlaa ja siihen kuuluvaa ilotulitusesitystä.
Paikalla otetussa televisioaineistossa näkyy sarja suuria räjähdyksiä ja
ilotulituksia ja ilma täyttyy savulla kello kolmen aikaan paikallista
aikaa, eli noin puoli yhden aikaan yöllä Suomen aikaa
paljastivat Afrikan eliitin veronkierron – pimeät rahat moninkertaisia
Maanosa menettää vuosittain kymmeniä
miljardeja dollareita veroparatiiseihin
Added April 11, 2016
Niin sanotut Panaman paperit ovat paljastaneet, että myös Afrikan
eliitti on hallinnoinut sijoituksiaan veroparatiisien kautta.
Varojaan veroparatiiseihin ovat piilottaneet muun muassa Kenian
korkeimman oikeuden tuomari, Ruandan entinen tiedustelupalvelun johtaja
sekä YK:n entisen pääsihteerin Kofi Annanin poika, kertoo verkkojulkaisu
Teollisuusmaiden yhteistyöjärjestö OECD
on arvioinut, että ”laittomat rahavirrat” Afrikasta ovat kolme kertaa
suuremmat kuin maanosan saama virallinen kehitysapu.
Tax Justice Network -järjestö on puolestaan laskenut, että rahavirtojen
suuruus olisi jopa kymmenen kertaa suurempi Afrikan saamaan apuun
nähden, todetaan YK:n raportissa.
Raportin mukaan Afrikka menettää vuosittain 30–60 miljardia dollaria
laittomien rahavirtojen vuoksi veroparatiisiyhtiöihin esimerkiksi
Panamalla, Neitsytsaarilla sekä Seychelleillä.
Panamasta vuodettujen yhtiötietojen mukaan kymmenillä afrikkalaisilla
eliitin edustajilla on ollut sijoituksia veroparatiiseissa. Quartz
Africa listasi tunnetuimpia nimiä, joilla tiedetään olevan yhteyksiä
Kofi Annanin poika Kojo Annan
Kojo Annan käytti Niuen saarella olevaa yhtiötä ostaakseen asunnon
Lontoosta yli puolella miljoonalla dollarilla. Annanilla on yhtiöitä
myös Neitsytsaarilla. Annanin asianajajien mukaan kyse ei ole mistään
Joseph Kabilan sisko Jaynet Désirée
Kongon demokraattisen tasavallan presidentin siskolla, kansanedustaja
Jaynet Désirée Kabila Kyungulla on yhtiö Niuen saarella. Hän omistaa
myös mediayhtiö Digital Congon.
Kenian korkeimman oikeuden tuomari
Kalpana Rawalilla on yhteyksiä 11 veroparatiisiyhtiöön. Rawal on
käyttänyt miehensä kanssa yhtiöitä ostaakseen asuntoja Britanniassa.
Rawal on todennut toimiensa olevan ”täysin laillisia” Britannian lakien
Egyptin entisen presidentin Hosni
Mubarakin poika Alaa Mubarak
Alaa Mubarak omisti Neitsytsaarille rekisteröidyn Pan World Investments
Kun Mubarak syrjäytettiin arabikevään kansannousussa 2011, Euroopan
unioni jäädytti yhtiön varat. Alaa on tuomittu veljensä kanssa valtion
Miksi EU vastustaa
Erkki Hartikainen 11.4.2016
Siitä syystä, että lääkkeiden käyttö heikentää EU-maiden kilpailukykyä.
EU:n tärkeimmissä kilpailijamaissa Yhdysvalloissa ja Kiinassa köyhät
eivät saa mitään lääkkeitä, ja on tietysti aivan väärin, että EU:ssa
jopa pidennetään köyhien ihmisten elinaikaa lääkkeillä. Niinhän ei tehdä
Onneksi Suomi ei kuitenkaan hyväksy EU:n lääkepolitiikkaa.
Ikävä kyllä eräs läheinen sukulaiseni on joutunut Suomen
lääkepolitiikan uhriksi (Minulle itselleni on erehdytty antamaan
Suomessa tätä tapausta ei voida ratkaista edes rahalla. Perheellä,
johon uhri kuuluu, ei ole paljon rahaa eikä mahdollisuutta matkustaa
Yhdysvaltoihin, jossa tarpeellista lääkettä saisi heti isolla rahalla.
EU on hyväksynyt viimein tarpeellisen lääkkeen viime vuoden lopulla,
mutta Suomen lääkintäviranomainen ei aio hyväksyä EU:n päätöstä Suomeen,
koska hänen mielestään lääkettä, jota lääketehtaan omat kokeet väittävät
erinomaiseksi, ei missään tapauksessa saa hyväksyä Suomeen. Suomessa
myös muutaman tuhannen ihmisen otoksilla tehdyt viranomaisten
tutkimukset eivät kelpaa, koska sellaiset otokset ovat SSS-hallituksen
mielestä liian pieniä.
Kukahan ampuisi tämän viranomaisen? Älkää ihmeessä ampuko, SSS-hallitus
löytää tilalle vielä pahemman.
Harvinaista sairautta sairastavat joutavat SSS:n mielestä kuolla, ja
hyvä perustelu on se, ettei Suomesta edes löydy riittävän suurta määrää
sairaita, jotta lääkkeen teho voistaisiin hyväksyä.
Katolinen kirkko tuomitsee
Paavo Franciscus ei muuttanut kirkon tulkintaa homoseksuaalisista
Franciscuksen mukaan samaa sukupuolta olevien suhteita ei voi rinnastaa
”Jumalan suunnitelmaan avioliitosta ja perheestä”, kertoo AFP.
Erkki Hartikainen 9.4.2016
Ruotsalaisviranomaisia on kohdannut erikoinen ongelma. Maassa
käytettävät henkilönumerot ovat loppuneet joidenkin päivämäärien
kohdalta, kertoo ruotsalaislehti Dagens Nyheter.
Ruotsin numero koostuu kymmenestä numerosta. Ensimmäiset kuusi
numeroa kertovat syntymäajan (vuosi, kuukausi, päivä, vvkkpp) ja
viimeiset neljä ovat varmistusnumeroita.
Ruotsalaiset eivät ole älynneet, että varmistusnuneroissa voitaisiin
käyttää esimerkiksi 16 -järjestelmää.
16-järjestelmään siirtyminen voisi tapahtua siten, että aluksi vain
ensimmäinen numero olisi 16-järjestelmää. Kaikki jostain ajankohdasta
eteenpäin menevät numerot alkaisivat kirjaimella, ja koska ensimmäiseksi
numeroksi käyvät numeroiden 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 lisäksi numerot
A, B, C, D, E ja F, kestäisi kauan ennen kuin näin saadut numerot
Suomessahan viimeinen tunnuksen osa on numero tai
kirjain, joten Suomessa numerot eivät lopu pitkiin
Mikä on mätämätämaa?
Erkki Hartikainen 8.4.2016
Sen entinen nimi on Suomi.
Ruotsiksi Suomi on ollut Finland eli Hienomaa. Hieno Suomi on tietysti
ollut vain ruotsalaisille miehittäjille ja heidän upporikkaille
Koska ruotsin kielistä nimeä ei ole nykyään syytä keksiä ollenkaan,
annetaan maalle suoraan englanninkielinen nimi Rottenland.
Ihmisiä teloitettiin eniten neljännesvuosisataan
Maailmassa teloitettiin viime vuonna
eniten ihmisiä neljännesvuosisataan, kertoo ihmisoikeusjärjestö
Amnesty Internationalin raportti.
Teloitusten määrä kasvoi rajusti. Viime vuonna teloitettiin ainakin
1 634 ihmistä, kun edellisvuonna vastaava määrä oli 1 061.
Kaikkiaan ihmisiä teloitettiin Amnestyn mukaan 25 eri maassa. Teloitetuista ainakin yhdeksän oli alle
Eniten teloituksia tehtiin Kiinassa,
Iranissa, Pakistanissa, Saudi-Arabiassa sekä Yhdysvalloissa. Koska
teloitukset luokitellaan Kiinassa valtionsalaisuuksiksi, ei Kiinan
teloituksista ole virallista tietoa. Amnesty kuitenkin arvioi, että
Kiinassa teloitetaan vuosittain tuhansia ihmisiä eli enemmän kuin
kaikissa muissa maissa yhteensä.
Kuolemanrangaistuksen toimeenpanoa odotti viime vuoden lopussa yli
20 000 ihmistä. Kaikkiaan 102 maassa kuolemanrangaistus ei ole
enää käytössä. Viime vuonna rangaistuksen poistivat Fiji,
Madagaskar, Kongon tasavalta sekä Surinami.
Ihmisiä teloitettiin viime vuonna
kaulan katkaisemisella, hirttämällä, myrkyttämisellä sekä ampumalla.
Amnestyn mukaan monissa maissa
tuomitut eivät saaneet reilua oikeudenkäyntiä, ja tunnustuksia
saatiin kiduttamalla. Näin toimittiin ainakin Bahrainissa,
Kiinassa, Iranissa, Irakissa, Pohjois-Koreassa sekä
maan ensimmäisen vankilatuomion abortista
annettu tietävästi ensimmäinen tuomio aborttipillerien käytöstä
Pohjois-Irlannissa on annettu tietävästi ensimmäinen tuomio
aborttipillerien käytöstä, Irish Times -lehti kertoo. 21-vuotias nainen
sai Belfastissa kolmen kuukauden vankilatuomion.
Nuori nainen osti netin kautta aborttipillereitä, koska hänellä ei
ollut varaa lähteä Englantiin, Skotlantiin tai Walesiin tehdäkseen
Pohjois-Irlannin tiukka aborttilainsäädäntö sallii raskauden
keskeytyksen ainoastaan niissä tapauksissa, kun äidin henki on
vaarassa. Britannian perhesuunnitteluyhdistyksen mukaan
yli tuhat naista matkustaa joka vuosi Pohjois-Irlannista Englantiin
Pohjois-Irlannin aborttilaki on peräisin vuodelta 1861.
Tuomion saanut nainen jäi abortista kiinni, kun hänen
kämppäkaverinsa löysivät verisiä tarvikkeita, joita nainen
todennäköisesti oli käyttänyt keskeyttäessään raskauden.
Huonetoverit löysivät myös sikiön roskapöntöstä, ja ilmoittivat
Nainen oli 19 vuoden ikäinen tehdessään pillerien avulla
Pohjois-Irlannin perhesuunnitteluyhdistyksen johtaja Mark Breslin
sanoi Irish Timesille tuomion olevan törkeä.
– Häntä on rangaistu siitä, ettei hänellä ollut taloudellisia
keinoja tai resursseja matkustaa Englantiin saamaan turvallinen ja
laillinen abortti. Häntä ei olisi alun perinkään pitänyt panna tähän
asemaan, Breslin sanoi.
johtajat ajavat täyttä aborttikieltoa – vastustajat lähtivät kaduille
Katoliseen kirkkoon kytköksissä oleva Laki ja oikeus -puolue haluaa
kieltää abortin jopa raiskauksen ja insestin uhreilta.
osoittivat mieltään uutta aborttilakiehdotusta vastaan Varsovassa
Tuhannet mielenosoittajat kerääntyivät
sunnuntaina Varsovassa parlamenttitalon edustalle vastustamaan uutta
ehdotusta, jonka mukaan abortti kiellettäisiin Puolassa kokonaan.
”Kädet irti kohdusta!”
”Minun vartaloni, minun asiani!” mielenosoittajat huusivat uutistoimisto
Keskustelu aborttilainsäädännössä leimahti jälleen viime viikolla, kun
katolisen kirkon piispat kirjoittivat lain tiukentamista ja käytännössä
täydellistä aborttikieltoa vaativan kirjeen.
Maata johtavan konservatiivisen Laki ja oikeus -puolueen (PiS) johtajat
riensivät heti tukemaan ehdotusta. Puolueen johtaja Jarosław Kaczyński sanoi, että katolisena
hänen täytyy noudattaa piispojen vaatimusta. Myös Kaczyńskin
ohjailtavissa oleva pääministeri Beata Szydło sanoi tukevansa ehdotusta.
Liberaalimpia arvoja kannattavat ja
naisten oikeuksista huolestuneet puolalaiset seuraavat järkyttyneinä,
kun viime syksynä vaalit voittanut, katoliseen kirkkoon tiukasti
kytköksissä oleva PiS luotsaa Puolaa yhä konservatiivisempaan suuntaan.
Puolassa on jo tätä nykyä yksi Euroopan tiukimmista aborttilaista
Irlannin ja Maltan ohella.
Abortti on sallittu ainoastaan siinä tapauksessa, että naisen henki on
vaarassa, raskaus on seurausta rikoksesta kuten raiskauksesta tai
insestistä tai jos sikiö on vakavasti kehitysvammainen tai
parantumattomasti sairas. Lääkärit voivat kieltäytyä abortin
tekemisestä, eikä heidän edes tarvitse ohjata naista tässä tapauksessa
Jos piispat saavat tahtonsa läpi, abortti kiellettäisiin jopa
raiskauksen tai insestin uhriksi joutuneilta. Abortin voisi saada vain,
jos naisen henki on vaarassa. Laittomia abortteja suorittaville
määrättäisiin entistä pidempiä vankeusrangaistuksia.
”Jopa Iranin aborttilait ovat liberaalimpia kuin tämä ehdotus”, sanoi
sunnuntain mielenosoitukseen osallistunut Marta Nowak Reutersille.
Puolassa tehtiin vuonna 2014 noin 1 800 laillista aborttia. Saman
verran abortteja tehtiin sitä edeltävänä vuonna.
Vuosittain kymmenet tuhannet naiset joutuvat turvautumaan joko
laittomaan aborttiin tai matkustamaan ulkomaille saadakseen
Kaczyński ei aio pakottaa puolueensa
kansanedustajia äänestämään abortin kieltävän mahdollisen lakimuutoksen
puolesta. Hän kuitenkin ilmoitti uskovansa, että suurin osa heistä tukee
Käytännössä Kaczyński ja pääministeri Szydło saavat läpi minkä tahansa
haluamansa lakiesityksen, sillä PiS-puolueella on 460-paikkaisessa
Puolan parlamentissa 235 kansanedustajan enemmistö.
Uusi hallitus on muun muassa päättänyt lopettaa julkisen rahoituksen
kirkon syntinä pitämiltä keinohedelmöityshoidoilta kesäkuussa 2016. Tämä
tarkoittaa, että hallitus tuomitsee puolalaisperheitä lapsettomuuteen,
sillä alle tuhat euroa kuussa keskimäärin ansaitsevilla puolalaisilla ei
käytännössä ole varaa kustantaa hoitoja omasta pussistaan.
Hallitus myös suunnittelee, että jälkiehkäisypillereiden antaminen
apteekista ilman reseptiä kielletään.
Kaczyńskin luotsaama PiS on viemässä
Puolaa juuri siihen suuntaan, jota puolueen vastustajat ja EU-johtajat
Maan johto on ajautunut törmäyskurssille EU:n kanssa ja kiristänyt
otetta vallasta monin tavoin antamalla siivoushuiskan viuhua muun muassa
oikeuslaitoksessa, tiedustelupalvelussa ja mediassa.
Toimitus: Älä osta
Pitääkö häkäpönttö keksiä
Erkki Hartikainen 5.4.2016
Eilinen Helsingin Sanomat oli laatinut melkein koko aukeaman jutun
häkäpöntön uudelleen keksijästä.
Toisen maailmasodan aikaan oli puute bensiinistä, ja autot saatiin
kulkemaan ns. häkäpöntöllä. Pöntössä oli haketta, joka poltettiin
vähällä hapella ja saatiin syntymään häkää CO.
Häkäkaasulla tavallinen bensiinimoottori saatiin jonkinlaisella teholla
Helsingin Samat on keksinyt, että 3000-4000 asteen lämpötilassa
hakkeesta saadaan syntymään vetyä ja häkää. Tähän kohti juttu olisi
voitu lopettaa ja todeta, että saatu vety ja saatu häkä ovat käypiä
polttoaineita (vetyautokin on keksitty ja on siitä hyvä, että sen
pakoputkesta tulee pelkkää vettä).
Vetykaasun keveydestä johtuen vedyn erottaminen syntyneestä kaasusta ei
tarvitse separaattoria kummempaa laitetta.
Kaupunkilaisautot voitaisiin panna kulkemaan vedyllä ja maalaisautot
häkäkaasulla. (Maalla kasvit voisivat käyttää syntyvän hiilidioksidin CO2).
Biodieselin ja biobensiinin tuottaminen on vain energian tuhlausta.
Biopolttoaineet ovat yleensä hyvin kalliita, koska niiden tuottamiseen
tarvitaan paljon (todennäköisesti fossiilisilla polttoaineilla
Hölmöläisten maton jatkamista tuo vihreä kemia.
Korkein oikeus sallii
lapsen sukupuolielinten silpomisen
Nykyisin lainsäädäntö suojaa lasta luunapeilta ja tukistamiselta, mutta
lapsen sukupuolielinten silpominen nähdään korkeimmassa oikeusasteessa
lapsen edun mukaisena.
Kysymys: Millä saa
tarraliimat irti lasista Vastaus: Rikkihapolla
oikeusasiamiehelle ruokarukouksista uskonnollisten
järjestämistä koskevissa Opetushallituksen ohjeissa sekä itse
George H. Smithin ontologinen ateismin
Ateismi on väite: jumalaa tai jumalia ei ole olemassa
Tässä määritelmässä on määritelty olemassaoloa koskeva eli
ontologinen käsitys. Jumala joko on olemassa
tai ei ole olemassa. Mitään olemassaolon ja olemattomuuden
välimuotoa ei ole.
Teismi on väite: jumala tai jumalia on olemassa
Deismi (jumala on olemassa, mutta ei puutu
maailmanmenoon) ja panteismi (jumala on sama kuin maailmankaikkeus)
ovat tämän mukaan teismiä
Inhimillinen tieto siitä, mitä on olemassa, on vajavaista. Joku
saattaa pitää varmana, että jumalaa tai jumalia ei ole olemassa.
Joku toinen saattaa pitää varmana, että jumala tai jumalia on
olemassa. Joku kolmas voi olla epävarma siitä, onko jumalaa tai
jumalia olemassa vai ei.
Ateisti on henkilö, jonka mielestä
ateismi on tosi.
Agnostikko eli jumalaongelmainen on
henkilö, joka ei mielestään tiedä, onko ateismi tosi vai onko teismi
Uskonto on järjestäytynyttä teismiä.
Ne käsitykset joissa ei ole jumalia, eivät ole tämän määritelmän
According to this report, the Singapore teenager was again arrested on May 11 and released on bail of S$5,000 (£2,478.00).
The charges Yee faces are for allegedly wounding the religious
feelings of Muslims and Christians. These charges are under Section 298
of the Penal Code.
Two further charges are for allegedly failing to show up at Jurong
Police Division on two occasions, despite a notice from Assistant
Superintendent of Police Doreen Chong and a magistrate’s order to do so.
These charges are under Section 174 of the Penal Code.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelvin Kow asked the judge to fix an early trial date, noting that Yee is:
Obviously escalating his offensive behaviour in a bid
to gain attention. He has upped both the tempo and offensiveness of his
While the prosecution did not object to Yee being out on bail, DPP
Kow also asked the judge to warn Yee of the potential consequences if he
commits further offences while out on bail.
To that, Yee responded:
If the prosecution insists, no problem.
Yee was not represented by a lawyer, but said he would “do his best” to find one.
If convicted of deliberately wounding the religious feelings of
others, Yee faces up to three years’ jail and a fine. He also faces up
to a month’s jail and a fine of up to S$1,500 (£743.00) for failing to
report to the Jurong Police Division despite an order.
A pre-trial conference has been set for next Monday, May 30.
In Egypt, This Is What a Muslim Mob Did To a 70-Year-Old Woman of the Wrong Religion
are a minority in Egypt, making up only about 10 percent of the
population. As we’ve seen so often, religious majorities tend to
roughshod over numerically weaker faith groups… and so it was in this case.
A 70-year-old Christian woman [below, center, meeting with church elders] [was] stripped naked, beaten and paraded through the streets by a mob of around 300 Muslim men in a village in southern Egypt.
The mob also burned down seven homes belonging to Christian families,
according to an unusually outspoken statement issued by the local
Orthodox Coptic church, after rumors circulated in the village that a Christian man was having a relationship with a Muslim woman.
The woman who was stripped naked was reported to be the mother of the man involved in the rumored affair. … The
violence is representative of the tensions between the two religions in
the province south of Cairo, where extra-marital affairs between
Muslims and Christians are strictly taboo.
plenty of Egyptian Muslims want nothing to do with this kind of
atavistic, tribal violence. In the past, there’ve even been instances of
local Muslims offering to act as human shields so that Christians could worship without being attacked.
no such help was available for the septuagenarian victim. Nor did law
enforcement officers come to her aid when it still might have made a
difference. The local diocese said police didn’t respond for two hours,
until after the mob rage had burned itself out.
Christianity’s rapid decline makes the UK better for most
Added May 30, 2016
The Spectator, in an editorial this week,
reports that, for the first time in recorded history, Britons declaring
themselves to have no religion have exceeded the number of Christians
in the UK.
And it asserts:
Christians, for their part, should not automatically
associate a decline in religiosity with a rise in immorality. On the
contrary, Britons are midway through an extraordinary period of social
repair: a decline in teenage pregnancies, divorce and drug abuse, and a
rise in civic-mindedness.
The editorial reveals that some 44 percent of us regard ourselves as
Christian, eight percent follow another religion and 48 percent follow
The decline of Christianity is perhaps the biggest
single change in Britain over the past century. For some time, it has
been a stretch to describe Britain as a Christian country. We can more
accurately be described now as a secular nation with fading Christian
Just 15 years ago, almost three quarters of Britons still regarded
themselves as Christians. Five years ago, the number of people
professing no religion was only 25 percent.
The editorial goes on:
Remarkably, the overall decline of religion in
Britain has coincided with the arrival of three million migrants who
tend to have more religious belief than British Christians. In
particular, the visual impact of Islam, most obviously expressed in the
proposal for a 9,000-capacity ‘super-mosque’ in east London that was
rejected by planners last year, might give the impression that migration
has brought a religious revival to Britain. Yet neither the growth of
British Islam nor the huge influx of Christian immigrants from Africa
and Eastern Europe has spurred a revival in public Christianity.
It is possible that the rise of Islamism has made casual
believers less inclined to ally themselves with any kind of organised
faith. Say ‘religious’ to many Britons and the next word that pops into
their heads is ‘extremist’, or perhaps ‘bigot’ or ‘homophobe’.
To the growing population of secularists, religion has become
something to be treated with suspicion. Politicians who are religious
find their faith used against them. Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of
Work and Pensions was known by his critics as the Department of Worship
and Prayer, the joke being that his reforms were inspired by a desire to
save lives rather than money.
In government, to be a Christian can be seen as a personal
failing. The ambitious minister keeps his or her faith under wraps. It
is unthinkable now that a Prime Minister would do as Mrs Thatcher did on
arrival in Downing Street 37 years ago, and quote St Francis of Assisi.
All Cameron has dared to say, quoting Boris Johnson, is that his faith
comes and goes like the reception of Magic FM in the Chilterns.
The eclipsing of our national religion has deep implications for
those who do retain faith, especially those who wish to pass it on to
their children. They must now face the reality that they, no less than
Muslims, Jews and Hindus, face being treated as oddballs.
As for the church itself, it is no use pretending there is a
Christian majority whose non-attendance at church is just down to
laziness. If church leaders wish to keep their buildings open, they will
have to start from the beginning – with missionary work to recruit
parishioners in a now-sceptical country.
Inevitably, the question of what is to be done about our national
Christian institutions will arise. Is it appropriate that we are still
invited to swear on the Bible in court? (Many new MPs routinely refuse
to do this in the Commons.) Is it right that the Lords Spiritual should
still have a role in the Upper House, or that church and state should
have any formal connection at all?
The British regard for tradition will see that such roles are
preserved, but for nostalgic reasons. The aesthetics of Christianity –
the architecture, the choral singing and so on – still pull in crowds,
even if little of the liturgy is inwardly digested.
The Spectator concludes:
We cannot discount the possibility of a Christian
revival; the Christian faith specialises in defying the odds. But it
seems more likely that Britain will continue to muddle along as a
post-Christian country with quaint customs that derive from its history
as a deeply religious country. Some will find this sad, others as a sign
of progress, but the greater majority will view it with indifference.
Saudi cleric says Islam forbids folk being pictured with cats
Added May 29, 2016
The delightful picture above accompanies an article in the Daily Sabah about the ‘peaceful cohabition’ between worshippers and cats in an Istanbul mosque.
But please don’t let Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, see it.
He’d have kittens!
For, according to this report, the prominent cleric insists that
photographs of people with cats and other animals are “prohibited”.
In a televised broadcast, Al-Fazwan was told that:
A new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.
What?! What do you mean pictures with cats? Taking
pictures is prohibited. The cats don’t matter here. Taking pictures is
prohibited if not for a necessity. Not with cats, not with dogs, not
with wolves, not with anything.
Footage of the televised broadcast was published on YouTube on April 17 and translated here by the Middle East Media Research Institute monitoring group.
Under the country’s strict, ultraconservative brand of Islam, known
as Wahhabism, many things that are normal in Western daily life are
outlawed. In January, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti allegedly ruled that
chess is forbidden in the kingdom as it encourages gambling. Sheikh
Abdulaziz al-Sheikh said that chess was:
A waste of time and money and a cause for hatred and enmity between players.
Another game to be banned in the country is the Pokemon franchise,
with the grand mufti saying that it promoted other religions, such as
Christianity or Judaism because of the crosses or the Jewish Star of
David that were displayed on the cards.
Tennessee pastors arrested for seeking under-age sex
Added May 28, 2016
Pastors Jason Kennedy, 46, left, and Zubin
Parakh, 32, were among 32 men and women arrested by the Tennessee Bureau
of Investigation (TBI) last week for seeking to have sex with an
under-age girl in Tennessee.
According to this report, they had answered an online ad to have sex with an under-age prostitute.
Kennedy responded via text to an ad placed by an undercover agent. He
agreed to pay $100 for half an hour of sex with two girls, one of whom
was 15 years old.
He went to an arranged meeting place, handed over the money, and
removed his trousers. He was then arrested, and charged with human
trafficking and patronising prostitution.
Kennedy was a children’s minister at Grace Baptist Church in Karns,
Tennessee. He was fired on May 20 when news broke of his arrest.
A statement from the church said:
The children’s pastor of Grace Baptist Church has
been terminated as a result of an arrest in a police sting related to
prostitution and human trafficking. The actions of the children’s pastor
for which he has been arrested were part of his life outside the
church, and we have received no questions or concerns related to his
conduct within the church or its ministries.
The children’s pastor was hired two-and-a-half years ago. The
church’s background check turned up no issues that indicate any previous
problem. In fact, the children’s pastor in his application affirmed
that he had no issues in his background of a criminal or other nature.
We are praying for his family and will continue to provide the services of our ministry to them.
Senior pastor Rev Ron Stewart said the news of Kennedy’s arrest had shocked his congregation.
He did it, but it’s like a tsunami that can cover a whole island. His tsunami has come across our whole church.
Parakh is creative pastor at Lifehouse Church in Oak Ridge. TBI
director Mark Gwyn said Parakh responded to ads indicating that he
wanted to have sex with under-age girls. He has also been charged with
patronising prostitution and trafficking.
Both men are due for preliminary hearings on May 31.
Swiss Guards get ‘powerful’ weapons: ‘combat rosaries’
Added May 27, 2016
The Freethinker, UK
Catholics are just … weird. I know this because I keep getting emails from the National Catholic Register, which keeps me abreast of the mainly bizarre but often comical antics Catholics get up to.
But the one I received today really had me blinking in disbelief after it led me to a blog run by Fr
John Zuhlsdorf, who is beside himself with glee over that fact that the
Swiss Guards were recently presented with “combat rosaries” by a fellow
priest, Fr Richard Heilman.
Heilman has a neat little on-line business called Roman Catholic Gear,
where you can buy the “combat rosaries”, and much more besides – such
as the “Benedictine Camelbak Chute Waterbottle”, “The Pope Francis
Purple Nalgene Waterbottle”, and “St Joan of Arc Green Widemouth
Bottles” in green and blue. Of course, there’s also a wide range of
cheesy figurines of chaps like Jesus, St Francis and St Michael.
Reporting on the presentation of the “combat rosaries”, Zuhlsdorf said:
At my prompting Fr. Heilman sent the gun-metal
rosaries to all of the Swiss Guard … During his address to the new
recruits about to be sworn in, the Commandant held up one of them during
his address and told them that training and arms are necessary, but
‘the most important weapon is the ‘combat rosary’.
Is that not cool?
Zuhlsdorf reported that the Commandant told the Swiss Guards:
It is important that we recover the way of prayer,
especially the prayer of the Rosary. Our life, our works and our actions
are in the hands of God. This doesn’t mean, however, that we can give
up arms and drills. God uses us as instruments to thwart evil in certain
situations. For this we need a firm faith, trust in God and prayer.
Commenting on Zuhlsdorf ‘s blog post, one “combat rosary” devotee, Jeff Liss, wrote:
Unsolicited product endorsement: I have carried a
combat rosary in my pocket every single day for two years – right in
there with car keys, loose change, a phone, and whatever candy wrappers
and goodness-knows-what-else one of my kids manages to deposit in there.
While I sometimes regret the indecorum of Our Lord on the Cross
rattling against my phone when it’s on vibrate, I’m glad to have a
rosary that can be my constant companion because it is INDESTRUCTIBLE. I
have not made a single deposit to the family Repository of Broken
Rosaries since purchasing it.
I remember, when I first received it, taking it out of the
package and being impressed by its solidity and heft. It feels like a
weapon – like fine Toledo steel…in bead form. Dubious metaphors aside, I
highly recommend it.
Me? I’ll stick to my Fenix TK16 tactical torch, which I successfully deployed to see off a would-be mugger in Brighton a few weeks back.
People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales – study
Added May 26, 2017
Proportion of population who identify as having no religion rose from 25% in 2011 to 48.5% in 2014, surveys show.
The number of people who say they have no religion is rapidly
escalating and significantly outweighs the Christian population in
England and Wales, according to new analysis.
The proportion of the population who identify as having no religion –
referred to as “nones” – reached 48.5% in 2014, almost double the
figure of 25% in the 2011 census. Those who define themselves as
Christian – Anglicans, Catholics and other denominations – made up
43.8% of the population.
“The striking thing is the clear sense of the growth of ‘no religion’
as a proportion of the population,” said Stephen Bullivant, senior
lecturer in theology and ethics at St Mary’s Catholic University in
Twickenham, who analysed data collected through British Social
Attitudes surveys over three decades.
“The main driver is people who were brought up with some religion now
saying they have no religion. What we’re seeing is an acceleration in
the numbers of people not only not practising their faith on a regular
basis, but not even ticking the box. The reason for that is the big
question in the sociology of religion.”
The report did not examine data from Scotland or Northern Ireland. Last
month a Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that 52% of the
population said they were not religious, compared with 40% in 1999.
In Northern Ireland, which has long been the most religious part of the
UK, 7% said in the 2011 census that they belonged to a non-Christian
religion or no religion.
The new analysis will fuel concern among Christian leaders about
growing indifference to organised religion. This year the Church of
England said it expected attendance to continue to fall for another 30
years as its congregations age and the millennial generation spurns the
institutions of faith.
According to Bullivant’s report, Contemporary Catholicism in England
and Wales – which will be launched at the House of Commons on Tuesday,
both the Anglican and Catholic churches are struggling to retain people
brought up as Christians.
Four out 10 adults who were raised as Anglicans define themselves as
having no religion, and almost as many “cradle Catholics” have
abandoned their family faith to become “nones”.
Neither church is bringing in fresh blood through conversions.
Anglicans lose 12 followers for every person they recruit, and
The vast majority of converts come from other Christian denominations,
rather than non-Christians or people with no religion. “There’s a kind
of denominational musical chairs,” said Bullivant. “No one is making
serious inroads into the non-Christian population.”
The proportion of the population who describe themselves as Anglican
plunged from 44.5% in 1983 to 19% in 2014. Catholics made up 8.3%,
other Christians 15.7% and non-Christian religions 7.7%.
The analysis throws up striking regional variations. London has the
smallest proportion of people identifying as “nones”, at an average of
40%, accounted for by the capital’s large minority ethnic population.
In contrast, 59.5% of people in Wales say they have no religion.
Half of all Christians in England and Wales are over the age of 55,
although Catholics have a younger age profile. Of those describing
themselves as Christian, 58.6% are women.
More than nine in 10 Christians are white, which is slightly higher
than in the general population. Far more Catholics (27.5%) than
Anglicans (8.9%) attend church once a week or more.
The report is intended to fill a gap in reliable up-to-date statistics
about the state of Christianity, and particularly Catholicism. It drew
on data from British Social Attitudes surveys between 1983 and 2014.
“Churches need to take this kind of data very seriously,” said
Bullivant. “When analysing data you see patterns that you might not
necessarily notice otherwise. This can flag up areas for further
research or groups that need particular pastoral attention.”
A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “The increase in those
identifying as ‘no faith’ reflects a growing plurality in society
rather than any increase in secularism or humanism. We do not have an
increasingly secular society as much as a more agnostic one.
“In a global context, adherence to religion is growing rather than
decreasing. Christianity remains the world’s largest religion with over
2 billion adherents. In the UK the latest census found the overwhelming
majority of people to have a faith.”
The Catholic church did not respond to a request for comment.
The 84-year-old is accused of 19 counts of indecent assault over four
decades while he was working at St Vincent de Paul Church in Norden,
A jury at Minshull Street Crown Court heard last week how one of the
alleged victims, who was nine at the time, claimed Stanley, who was born
in Limerick, came up behind him while he was getting changed.
He allegedly covered his mouth and nose with a handkerchief soaked in a
Chloroform is a volatile liquid once used as an anaesthetic.
The alleged victim says he then passed out, slumped over a shelf.
He told the court when he woke up he was partially dressed and Stanley
– still partially wearing his church robes – was sexually assaulting
The witness, who can not be named, said:
I started coming round and lifting my head. That’s when I
remember the arm coming around again, he still had the tissue and
tried to put it in my face again, but I managed to lock my arm out.
I’m pretty sure I was going through the motions of sex, but at my
age I didn’t know. Everything was drugged, my body was numb.
He added that Stanley – who is now living in Ballybunion in Kerry –
quickly dressed then returned with smelling salts stating that he had
The boy fell ill before going to bed, still dazed with a “banging
The court also heard statements from two priests who worked with
Stanley around the time the alleged offences took place.
Priest Bernard Kealey, who began working at St Vincent’s in 1984, said:
The girls would sometimes be sat on his knee.I noticed they would
be rather familiar with him.
Former priest James Sweeney, who lived with Stanley at the presbytery
between 1988 and 1989, added:
I had noticed that Father Stanley had a lot of primary school
children in the presbytery. Father Stanley would often have the
girls sitting on his knee or be tickling them.
Stanley denies all charges.
Miami, you will soon be able to get a degree in atheism
Added May 24, 2016
Thanks to a generous donation of $2.2 million from
retired businessman Louis Appignani, 83, above, the University of
Miami is to introduce America’s first academic chair for the
study of atheism, humanism and secular ethics.
Appignani – former President and Chairman of the modeling school
Barbizon International – has given grants to many humanist and secular
causes, though this is his largest so far, says The
New York Times.
The university, which has not yet publicly announced the new chair,
will appoint a committee of faculty members to conduct a search for a
scholar to fill the position.
Said Appignani, whio lives in Florida:
I’m trying to eliminate discrimination against atheists. So this
is a step in that direction, to make atheism legitimate.
Religion departments and professors of religious studies are a standard
feature at most colleges and universities, many originally founded by
ministers and churches. The study of atheism and secularism is only now
starting to emerge as an accepted academic field, scholars say, with its
own journal, conferences, course offerings and, now, an endowed chair.
The university was commended by Professor Richard Dawkins, above:
I think it’s a very bold step of the University of Miami, and I
hope there will be others. It’s enormously important to shake off
the shackles of religion from the study of morality.
The percentage of Americans who claim no religious affiliation has
risen rapidly in a short time, to 23 percent of the population in 2014,
up from 16 percent in 2007, according to a report by the Pew Research
Center. Younger people are even less religious, with 35 percent of
millennials saying they identify as atheist, agnostic or with no
religion in particular.
Secular Americans are beginning to organise themselves politically.
Next month, non-believers are headed to Washington to lobby Congress and
hold a “Reason Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial to showcase their numbers
and promote the separation of church and state.
With atheists still often stigmatised and disparaged in the US, it took
some persuading for the University of Miami to agree to create a chair
with the word “atheism” in the title, according to Harvey Siegel, a
professor of philosophy who has helped to broker the arrangement. He
said that more than 15 years ago, when he was chairman of the philosophy
department, he and Mr. Appignani first began discussing the idea for a
chair to study atheism and secularism.
There was great reluctance on the part of the university to have an
endowed chair with the word ‘atheism’ in the name, and that was a
deal-breaker for Lou. He wasn’t going to do it unless it had the word
atheism in it.
The university had reason to be cautious, Thomas J. LeBlanc, Executive
Vice President and Provost, said in an interview.
We didn’t want anyone to misunderstand and think that this was to
be an advocacy position for someone who is an atheist. Our religion
department isn’t taking an advocacy position when it teaches about
Catholicism or Islam. Similarly, we’re not taking an advocacy
position when we teach about atheism or secular ethics.
Asked whether he anticipated any backlash, LeBlanc said:
This is an area where people can get overly excited if they don’t
actually look carefully at what’s happening. The idea that there are
non-deity approaches to explaining our surroundings is not
controversial in the academy.
Appignani said he rejected a last-minute proposal from a dean to call
it a chair in “philosophical naturalism”.
Instead, he and the university leaders worked out the title, broadening
the scope by including humanism and secular ethics.
Appignani was raised a Roman Catholic in the Bronx by Italian immigrant
parents. His father was a clothing presser in the garment district. He
attended Catholic schools and said he became a non-believer at the City
College of New York when he discovered the work of Bertrand Russell, the
British philosopher and Nobel Prize winner.
With the money he made from the Barbizon school, he said, he created
the foundation that has given grants to groups like the American
Humanist Association and the Secular Coalition for America, and the
Appignani Humanist Legal Center.
Over the years, he has sponsored two public lectures by Dawkins at the
University of Miami. The discussions about a chair gained momentum last
year with the arrival of a new university President, Julio Frenk, Siegel
Pitzer College, a liberal arts school in Southern California with about
1,000 students, became the first to begin a programme and major in
secular studies five years ago. Phil Zuckerman, a sociologist of
religion who founded the programme, said:
There is a real need for secular studies. As rates of irreligion
continue to rise, not only here in the USA but all over the world,
we need to understand secular people, secular culture, and
secularism as a political and ideological force.
meant to feed poor kids was stolen by ‘Prophetess’
Added May 23, 2016
Jeanette Jives-Nealy looks like she’s not short of a dollar or
two in the above picture. And she wasn’t, because she’d
managed to con Tennessee’s Department of Human Services out of
thousands of dollars, promising that the money would go to feed
children from low income families.
But instead of feeding children, Jives-Nealy spent tens of thousands of
dollars on retail items and travel and a shedload of bling, and
transferred more than $25,000 into a savings account.
According to The
Friendly Atheist, Jives-Nealy (aka “Pastor Prophetess”)
has been indicted on theft charges, after an investigation revealed she
misappropriated $162,165 in taxpayer monies intended for meals.
Jives-Nealy had pulled this scam before, in Florida. Her name is easy
to find on the Internet, attached to a 2007 Florida indictment. She was
subsequently convicted for
multiple counts of racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering, forgeries
and theft after stealing $200,000 from a school food voucher programme
for kids with disabilities.
The Friendly Atheist commented:
But running a 20-second Google search was too much of a
burden for DHS, and so the self-styled prophetess took full
advantage of the government agency’s ineptitude, cashing big
checks to the tune of $162,000.
In 2011, after Nealy was released from prison, she and her son moved to
Memphis to open Kingdom
Dominion Worldwide, a Christian ministry. The pair then contracted
with the Department of Human Services to receive cash advances to serve
meals to children. On the KDW Facebook site, Jives-Nealy wrote last
He [God] wants your gifts and talents on display. Use them.
The DHS paid Jives-Nealy $122,000 in advance of June and July 2014
after she pledged to serve 33,800 children for each of
those months. She received an additional $40,000 after claiming
Kingdom Dominion had actually served more than 40,500 meals in July
2014. DHS paid the advances even though Jives-Nealy was serving a
10-year probation, in which she was banned from applying for any state
or federal funding.
Kingdom Dominion is one of several instances in which out-of-state
operators who had racked up a string of offences in other states were
able to easily move to Tennessee and bilk taxpayers of hundreds of
thousands of dollars intended to buy food for kids in poverty, a
Tennessee investigation found in September.
It’s all but assured that Jives-Nealy will return to prison, but
in fairness, one or more criminally negligent DHS
bureaucrats who supplied her with easy money should end up in
the cell next to hers, for a spell.
Meanwhile, it’s reported here
that another embezzler – Jon S Petersen, 55, of Cedar Rapids Iowa
– nicked almost half a million dollars in donations to his
Christian charity, World Ambassadors, Ltd, and blew the money to
fund his a sex addiction.
Petersen pleaded guilty this week to one count of filing a false tax
return. He was released from custody pending a sentencing hearing, which
hasn’t been scheduled.
He is the longtime president of World Ambassador, a non-profit outfit
he founded with his wife in 1993 to provide a Christian outreach to
international students on college campuses.
In his plea deal, Petersen admitted that he moved $475,000 in donations
from the charity to his personal checking account between 2010 and 2014,
draining virtually all of its funding.
The guilty plea concerned his personal 2013 tax filing, when he failed
to report $114,000 diverted from the charity as taxable income. The
charge carries up to three years in prison, and Petersen may be required
to pay restitution to donors.
Petersen said he struggled with a sex addiction over the last decade
and used the donations to pay for it — along with credit card debt and
home equity lines of credit, prosecutors said. They didn’t go into
detail about what he bought with the money.
The IRS yanked the group’s tax-exempt status in 2010 after it
repeatedly failed to file a required annual disclosure on its income and
spending, records show. Nonetheless, it was still registered as a
non-profit corporation and in good standing with the Iowa Secretary of
Petersen didn’t immediately return a phone message Tuesday. His
attorney was out of the office and didn’t immediately return an email
message seeking comment.
heard ‘son of God’ told young Canadian to kill five
Added May 19, 2016
At the start of a murder trial in Calgary this week, a court
heard that Matthew de Grood, 24, above, admitted in a statement that
that he fatally stabbed five young people at a house party in April
2014, believing they were “Medusas” and “werewolves”.
According to this
report, after carrying out Calgary’s worst mass killing, de Grood
told police he didn’t take pleasure in it. He said in the statement:
I stabbed people in the house … I tried to do it mercifully. I
aimed for their heart. They put up a struggle which made it hard,
but so you know it wasn’t sadistic or anything.
I didn’t enjoy killing at all. I said sorry, but the son of God
was controlling me.What I did may seem atrocious but I was killing
De Grood’s lawyer, Allan Fay, pleaded not guilty on his client’s
behalf. Fay told reporters he plans to argue his client was not
criminally responsible for the killings.
Rathwell, 21, Lawrence Hong, 27, Kaitlin Perras, 23, Jordan Segura,
22, and Joshua Hunter, 23, died after being stabbed at the party in
Calgary in 2014.
Prosecutor Neil Wiberg spent more than an hour reading out the agreed
statement of facts that contained details from de Grood’s interview with
police. The judge also lifted a publication ban on material submitted by
police to obtain search warrants.
The unsealed documents detailed how de Grood, the son of a high-ranking
Calgary police officer, was “a good boy, kind and compassionate” until
his personality began to change about a month before the stabbings.
It’s reported here
that De Grood’s father, a 30-year veteran of the Calgary Police Service,
considered swearing a mental health warrant in the days before the
killings as he and his wife had become increasingly concerned about
their son’s apparently deteriorating mental health.
He began spending time alone and became quiet and withdrawn. He added a
number of unusual posts on Facebook, including quotes from Mega Death
lyrics, quotes from the Bible and ramblings on reincarnation.
A childhood friend invited de Grood to the party. De Grood had just
finished a shift at Safeway and wore his uniform. The friend noted how
de Grood was acting strange. He made a number of odd rambling
statements, including “Obama was the Antichrist”.
He has been undergoing treatment at the Southern Alberta Forensic
Psychiatry Centre since his arrest.
The victims’ families made a statement on the courthouse steps before
the start of the trial in which they urged people to focus on their
loved ones. De Grood’s parents, Douglas and Susan de Grood, were also in
court and sat in the front row.
Greg Perras, Kaitlin’s father, said:
The priority for us during this trial is to ensure that our loved
ones will be given the full and just attention that they deserve.
All we ask is that you remember how they lived – with purpose, with
life, with goodness and love for their friends and family.’
The statement said the last two years have been extremely difficult,
incredibly long and anxiety-ridden for the families.
schools are unsafe and provide sub-standard education
Added May 18, 2016
report earlier this month that New York rabbis are strongly
resisting official attempts force ultra-Orthodox schools to provide
pupils with a proper education, the
BBC reports today that more than 100 suspected illegal schools
are being operated in the UK.
Half are religious in nature, with a third of those being Islamic and
the rest Jewish or Christian, according to education watchdog, Ofsted.
Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, above, said that
evidence gathered during a short investigative period:
Firmly reinforces my belief that there are many more children
hidden away from the view of the authorities in unregistered schools
across the country than previously thought.
During the inspectors’ visits, which took place last month, 350
children had been found on the premises of these schools, Sir Michael,
adding that such schools provided a sub-standard education, placed
children at risk and undermined the government’s effort to ensure all
schools promote British values.
He pledged swift and decisive action against those who are operating
illegal schools, and thereby putting children at risk of harm.
In New York, officials investigating ultra-Orthodox schools were
accused of being manipulated by “worthless snitches” in the community by
Satmar leader, Hasidic rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum.
In response to the city Education Department’s apparently half-hearted
investigation into schools failing to teach secular subjects as required
by law, the rabbi said in a speech:
These are bad times for us Jews. We need to pray to God that
(city officials) should not interfere with the upbringing of our
The New York Education Department last summer announced that it is
investigating more than a dozen private schools to ensure their
curriculum follows secular education standards.
That review remains ongoing nearly a year later.
Advocates contend the Education Department is just stalling.
Said Naftuli Moster, who founded Young Advocates for Fair Education, a
group advocating for yeshivas to meet secular standards required by
This speech is concerning in many ways. Most concerning is the
apparent collusion between community leaders and the (department)
which might explain why the city investigation stalled early on.
July last year, according to theNew York Times, Teitelbaum’s “worthless snitches – 52
parents, former students and former teachers sent a letter to New York
City’s Education Department saying that 39 yeshivas were violating state
law by not providing students, particularly boys, an adequate education
in secular subjects like English, math and science. The Education
Department said then that it would conduct an investigation of the
yeshivas, located in Brooklyn and Queens.
in April, the group behind the letter held a news conference in front of
City Hall to express its frustration with the lack of any apparent
progress in the investigation.
eight months later, and there’s no sign of a serious investigation
taking place. In fact, all indications are that the DOE. is just
stalling us. In the meantime, tens of thousands of boys — we
estimate around 30,000 — are not getting a basic education.”
group’s lawyer, Norman Siegel, a longtime advocate for civil liberties,
said he believed the reason the investigation was stalled was that city
officials did not want to cross ultra-Orthodox leaders.
It’s about people putting politics over
the rule of law.
priest exposed after using gay dating app
Added May 15, 2015
Father Rory Coyle, 35, of Armagh, about 40 miles from
Belfast, has taken a leave of absence after being caught with a
According to this
report, an unnamed whistleblower who engaged with the priest,
contacted a local Catholic newspaper , Thinking Catholic, and
revealed he’d exchanged texts with Coyle more than once.
He spoke to me on Grindr a few times and kept wanting to come
to my mum’s house for sex with me while she was at work. He sent
me lots of naked pics of himself, too. When I realised who he was
I sent them to a journalist along with the screenshots of his sex
The man stated that, though he was an adult now, he had been a
student at Saint Catherine’s College, where Coyle is a chaplain.
He’s just a hypocrite. Denouncing gay people from the pulpit
and then shagging guys when no one is looking.
Coyle admitted in his texts that he had participated in orgies, gone
to gay beaches and rented rooms by the hour for trysts. His profile
included identifiable photos and even his cell-phone number, but he
didn’t mention he was a priest, merely a “lecturer”.
Soon after the screenshots were sent to the paper, Coyle’s Grindr
account and his Facebook page were deactivated. His photo was also
briefly removed from the Armagh Parish’s website.
News reported yesterday that there “has been
support for the well-known Catholic priest”, who has been absent
from clerical duties since March when he asked for some time off to
reflect on his future.
Originally from Drogheda, Coyle has been a curate in Armagh for the
last six years. In 2010 he was master of ceremonies during the funeral
Mass of Cardinal Cahal Daly.
He is also on the board of governors of St Malachy’s Primary School
and is chaplain for St Catherine’s College in Armagh.
There is no suggestion of any illegal behaviour.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Armagh said on Thursday:
Early in March, Father Rory Coyle asked Archbishop Eamon Martin
for time off to obtain personal and spiritual support. Following
this, on March 22 he asked the Archbishop to extend his leave so
that he could ‘engage in a period of personal discernment and
receive further help’.
Father Coyle’s request was granted and he is currently on leave
The priest also published a message in the Armagh parish bulletin at
the end of March confirming he was on extended leave and asking to be
kept in parishioners’ prayers.
Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh MLA Cathal Boylan said on Thursday night
that people would wish Fr Coyle well:
Fr Rory Coyle is well respected by the community in Armagh and
known for his dedication and work promoting Gaelic games. I’m sure
I’ll not be alone in wishing him well at this difficult time.
Witness ‘fixes’ the cult’s vile anti-gay video
The video, below, fixed by “Trixie Firecarcker TV” – a former member
of the cult – describes loving gay parents as “awesome”. It has
notched up over 190,000 views and received just 28 down votes.You can
see the original here,
which has been seen by 857,000 people and got almost 11,000 down
In a delicious hatchet-job, Lloyd Evans, of JWSurvey, explained
earlier this month that it was in the of summer 2012 that JWs
around the world were first introduced to Caleb and Sophia, the
Governing Body’s freshly-minted animated poster kids.
Since they first burst on to our screens, Caleb and
Sophia have been taught by their troubled parents
that Jehovah is pedantic enough to hate certain kinds of
plastic action figures, that he wants kids to give their ice cream
money to Watchtower, and that failing to pay sufficient attention
at kingdom hall meetings can carry the death penalty.
But Watchtower apparently isn’t done with stripping JW kids of
all innocence and individuality. Now the Governing Body wants
them to challenge any classmates with gay or lesbian parents,
and remind them that if mommy and mommy (or daddy and daddy)
don’t change their ways they will lose their tickets to
It’s hard to know where to start in verbalizing one’s
revulsion at the proud ignorance and homophobia on
open display in this CGI monstrosity, but I will do my best.
Firstly, Sophia’s bewilderingly-orange mother
manipulates her daughter with a metaphor that entirely
misrepresents both homosexuality and Watchtower’s views regarding
it. Sophia is asked to picture a man traveling with a bag, the
contents of which trigger the airport security systems
because he is carrying a prohibited item.
Homosexuality is explained as being the forbidden item the
man must surrender before being allowed to travel on to his
desired destination: paradise earth.
The video presents a misleading metaphor that misrepresents
both homosexuality and Watchtower’s teachings about what awaits
homosexuals Anybody remotely in tune with reality understands that
homosexuality is not a ‘choice’, as so often portrayed by
Christian fundamentalists. Straight people are born straight, and
gay people are born gay …
Secondly, the metaphor implies that if the traveller chooses
against surrendering the forbidden item, the worst that will
happen is that his ticket will be cancelled and he will be forced
to browse the duty free before hailing a cab and making his
way back to the hotel. But that is not how it works according to
Jehovah’s Witness teachings.
If the metaphor were accurately and fully followed through, we
would see the traveller being bundled away by security and thrown
into a 1940s cattle cart, along with all others deemed
undesirable by the Governing Body, before
being dispatched to the great extermination camp of
This is not a case of “follow us, or don’t fly,” this is a case
of “follow us, or die.”
But this doomsday aspect of Jehovah’s Witness theology is so
repugnant to most ordinary people that Watchtower must do its best
to obfuscate it wherever possible.
Even most JWs you may encounter on the street, if pressed
on the matter, will deny that literally billions of people,
including children, are in line for mass slaughter if their hopes
and expectations come to fruition. Their continued state of
subservience to their religion depends on them not thinking
things through to their fullest, most grisly conclusion.
All that deception and mischaracterization aside, arguably the
most repugnant and disturbing aspect of this vile cartoon is that
it sets out to recruit JW children to impose the organization’s
homophobic bigotry on any classmates who happen to
have gay or lesbian parents.
When I was growing up as a JW I recall being indoctrinated into
believing that homosexuality was to be condemned. But I don’t
remember once being told to actively seek out homosexuals, or
children of homosexuals, to badger them with my beliefs. All that,
apparently, has now changed. Watchtower has thrown its hat in with
all the other sickly Christian evangelicals whose crusade is to
stamp out homosexuality wherever it surfaces.
civil unions a major blow to Catholicism in Italy
Added May 13, 2016
When the Italian Senate – the upper house – approved a civil
unions bill, Roberto
de Mattei, above, historian and Catholic hardliner,
wrote that ‘the approval of homosexual pseudo-marriage in the
Senate … is the last stage in the process of dissolution of Italian
society which began with the introduction of divorce (1970), then the
legalisation of abortion (1978) and has as its next, imminent step,
the legalisation of euthanasia.’
Until Wednesday’s vote Italy had been the last major Western democracy
not to legally recognise gay partnerships. MPs in the lower house voted
369-193 for the government, ensuring that the civil unions bill will
Ahead of the vote, Mr Renzi wrote on Facebook that:
Today is a day of celebration for so many.
After many delays the civil unions bill was watered down in order to
secure the necessary support.
The civil unions bill:
• Does not go as far as civil union laws elsewhere in Europe, the US
and Canada, critics say
• A clause that would have enabled gay people to adopt a partner’s
biological children was dropped
• There is no blanket ban on adoption, but family judges will decide on
a case-by-case basis
• Requirement for gay couples to pledge loyalty was dropped to make a
civil union less like marriage
• Gay couples get the right to take each other’s names and receive
deceased partner’s pension
De Mattei, in hss blast against the Senate, wrote of the bill:
[It is] iniquitous and unacceptable, not only as it introduces
homosexual pseudo-matrimony, but also because it gives rights to
homosexuals for being homosexual. According to Catholic doctrine,
but even before that, the natural law, homosexuality, or sodomy, is
a vice that subverts the principles of the moral order.
The law approved by the Senate is a serious defeat for all
Among other opponents was Nunzio Galantino, Secretary General of the
Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), who called the civil unions bill:
A defeat for everyone.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy had
violated human rights by failing to offer enough legal protection for
The bill’s main sponsor, Democratic Party (PD) Senator Monica Cirinna,
called the compromise version a “hollow victory” and only “a first
And the head of the Italian Arcigay campaign group, Gabriele Piazzoni,
The glass is half full.
He said the text contains the recognition and protection many gays and
lesbians have been waiting for all their lives but that that the
omissions from the law “leave a bitter taste”.
In a Facebook post, published before the confidence vote, Renzi spoke
fondly of a party colleague, Alessia Ballini, who died of cancer aged
41. While serving in Renzi’s Florence administration, before he became
Prime Minister, she campaigned for gay rights and against homophobia.
In these crucial hours I keep close to my heart the thought and
memory of Alessia. And that’s enough for me. Because laws are made
for people, not for ideologies. For those who love, not for those
who make declarations. Let’s write another important page for the
Italy that we want.
is reported from Germany that the country is set to annul the
convictions of gay men under a law criminalising homosexuality that was
applied zealously in post-war Germany.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas is to overturn the convictions and create a
“right to compensation”.
About 50,000 men were convicted between 1946 and 1969, under a
19th-Century law that the Nazis had sharpened.
Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1969, but the legislation was not
taken off the books entirely until 1994.
We will never be able to eliminate completely these outrages by the
state, but we want to rehabilitate the victims. The homosexual men who
were convicted should no longer have to live with the taint of
Arabic Translation of The God Delusion Has Reportedly Been
Downloaded 10 Million Times
I’m not sure about the legality, but if Richard Dawkins
isn’t bothered by the copyright ramifications, then neither am I.
An unauthorized PDF translation of Dawkin’s The God Delusion,
by Iraqi emigrant Bassam Al-Baghdadi, who lives in
Sweden, has reportedly
been dowloaded ten million times,
… with 30 percent going to Saudi Arabia. Bassam
said that there were over 1,000 downloads on the very first day after
he uploaded it, and the numbers only climbed as the translation was
picked up and shared on the blogs, websites and forums of prominent
Arab atheists. The book has prompted unprecedented controversy
and debate in the Arab and Islamic worlds.
The translator received…
… you’ll never guess this!…
… death threats and accusations of
conspiring with the Zionists to corrupt the youth. He was
forced to close his social media accounts and stop posting for a
In the Arabic translation of The God Delusion, under the
title, Bassam added the words: “This book is banned in Islamic
countries.” It is fortunate and wonderful that the banning of
books in the Arab and Islamic worlds is no longer feasible in our
new age of information. I was able to read the book while I
was still in Morocco, where I was born. Some atheist friends
even managed to get hold of the book in Saudi Arabia. The
dark times of censorship, in which knowledge for the people was
confined to carefully curated books and resources, are gone and will
According to Kacem El
for the Huffington Post, Dawkins was unaware of the
translation until El Ghazzali brought it to his attention at a 2014 skeptics
conference in Switzerland. It’s to the great
biologist’s credit that he apparently raised no big stink about it.
As for El Ghazzali, who was born in Morocco but now makes his home in
Switzerland, he says he owes
… a tremendous debt of gratitude to Richard Dawkins, and to others
who guided my journey from the hells of religious dogma
to the oasis of free thought and enlightenment.
If you’d like a copy of the Arabic God Delusion, you can
download it here.
a decision that almost cost the young man his life
Added May 11, 2016
In the first of a chilling two-part expose, the Des
Moines Register reports on how a faith-based treatment
organisation run by two Assembly of God pastors persuaded the
26-year-old from Iowa to immediately stop taking the medications he
was prescribed for anxiety and depression. Within days of entering
the programme run by the Dream Center, Alex Jacobsen tried to slash
his throat with a boxcutter.
Ten days before his suicide attempt, Jacobsen agreed, over his
family’s objections, to abruptly stop taking the medications
his doctors prescribed and skip an evaluation for outpatient
treatment at University of Iowa Hospitals. At the urging of his
pastors, he says, he would entrust his recovery to them and
The free discipleship programme Jacobsen was determined to try
offered to heal people of substance abuse, anger, depression and “the
emotional residue left by mental, physical and sexual abuse” through
prayer, Scripture memorisation and building a closer relationship
Jacobsen says he had his doubts that the programme would work. But he
wanted to try trading in his anti-depressant and anti-psychotic
medication for a regimen of Bible study, amino acids and supplements
to reduce stress.
He says his close friend of about a year and a half, the Rev Kevin
Grimes, pastor and founder of the Spencer Dream Center in
Spencer, Iowa, had convinced him that:
Medicine alone wasn’t going to be the answer to my problems.
Grimes, above, who struck up a a friendship with Jacobsen on
Facebook, believed that placing the young man in a safe environment,
where he could get closer to God, could be life-changing. The pastor
In my mind, Alex’s anxiety was environmental. I knew he was
stressed out. But I also knew he was taking all kinds of meds.
The contract Jacobsen signed required participants to certify they
had no medical conditions that would keep them from participating. The
agreement also released the Dream Center and its affiliates of :
Any liability whatsoever arising as a result of death, injury
The rules mandated that those in the programme:
Withdraw from any and all substance dependence voluntarily and
without the use of medication.
Jacobsen now says now he believes his suicide attempt was prompted by
the abrupt withdrawal from drugs he was taking.
Medical professionals who treated Jacobsen told the family he
could have died from suddenly quitting benzodiazepines such as
Klonopin, often used to treat seizures or panic disorders.
Sweating, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, psychosis and suicidal thoughts
are other withdrawal symptoms, according to research from the Society
for the Study of Addiction. Many of the same symptoms also can occur
from stopping Cymbalta, a drug for depression, and Latuda, the
anti-psychotic he was taking.
Looking back, Jacobsen also questions his relationship with
Grimes. Some of the communications between the pastor, a
father of two, and himself now seem odd, he says.
I kind of feel like he was grooming me that whole time for some
other reason than being my friend.
In response, Grimes says only:
We were friends. We joked around.
But Jacobsen’s suicide attempt underscored that his small,
faith-based programme is not equipped to treat mental illness, the
Alex was right. We didn’t know the depth of his issues.
Grimes says he and his non-profit board have since changed the
programme’s rules. Now, a doctor will have to assure them that a
potential participant has been off mood-altering medications for
at least a year before joining the discipleship programme.
Dave Jacobsen holds Grimes and and others involved in the
programme responsible for what happened to his son, and wants to know
how a programme claiming to provide drug treatment could be exempt
from an Iowa law that requires licensing of such facilities.
And he questions how a faith-based treatment program can operate
without clinical expertise.
They do not have the medical or psychological training to do
what they’re doing. If the state doesn’t require some sort of
oversight, this will happen to other families.
rights activist Khurram Zaki, 40, shot dead in Pakistan
Added May 10, 2016
The former journalist and blogger died at the weekend when two
gunmen opened fire on him and a journalist friend, Rao Khalid, at a
Khalid and a bystander, according to this
report, were critically wounded in the attack.
Zaki was an active campaigner for human rights and edited the website
and Facebook page “Let Us Build Pakistan (LUBP)”, which claims to
“spread liberal religious views”.
LUBP Editor in Chief Ali Abbas Taj offered condolences “to the
Pakistani nation on the martyrdom of Zaki” and said he was second from
the editorial team of LUBP to be killed by Deobandi militants.
For the last year, Zaki was a target of a systematic hate campaign by
Deobandi fanatic Shamsuddin Amjad of the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan in
collaboration with the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP).
Taj said “hateful and violence inciting posters” against Zaki had been
published recently by the Facebook page run by the pro-Taliban fanatics
According to his Twitter profile, Zaki was the former head of current
affairs for TV Channel News One, where he looked after infotainment and
Zaki’s website Lubpak.com is currently blocked in Pakistan.
Zaki was last in the media limelight alongside activist Jibran Nasir in
a campaign against Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, above, for
inciting hatred against Shia Muslims. The campaigners had managed to get
a case registered against Aziz.
According to social media, Zaki was also a research scholar, blogger as
well as human rights activist.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) condemned the killing and demanded
the immediate arrest of the murderers.
LUBP described Zaki as a staunch critic of the systematic attacks on
Shia Muslims, Sunni Sufis Muslims, Christians and other communities in
Pakistan at the hands of Deobandi militants.
His death is the grim reminder that whoever raises voice against
Taliban and Jamaat-e-Islami Deobandi mafia in Pakistan will not be
spared. And when they have to murder, they never fail.
The body of 65-year-old Mohammad Shahidullah, a Sufi Muslim spiritual
leader, was recovered at the weekend in a mango orchard in Tanore,
located in the country’s Rajshahi district, according to Mohammad
Nisharul Arif, superintendent of the district police.
Arif said Shahidullah was murdered as he left a meeting organised by
his disciples. Shahidullah called himself a pir, a term for a
Sufi spiritual guide.His body bore the hallmarks of previous attacks
carried out by radical Islamist activists, including deep cuts on the
shoulder and with his throat slit.
However, police are not sure “if the murder had any link to the
previous murders of bloggers, secular activists and pirs,” Arif said.
vicar who abused women and children is jailed
Croydon Crown Court heard that Curtis – “a genuinely religious
and spiritual man” – ran a “cult” in which “spiritual discipline” was
used to strip victims naked and spank them. He claimed his methods it
would cure depression, boost their sex lives and drive out evil
spirits. He even spanked a woman’s genitalia.
In jailing Curtis, who was convicted of six counts of sexual assault
and two of child cruelty, Judge Peter Gower QC said:
These are serious offences involving a gross abuse of trust
that was bestowed on you in your position in the church. Immediate
custody is inevitable.
Referring to the experience of one victim, the judge said:
You got [her] to take down her trousers and pants and lie
forward onto the stairs and then beat her repeatedly with the palm
of your hand. She said you did it 20-30 times with full force,
causing her to become upset and bruising her badly.
You convinced her into thinking what you were doing was in her
best interest and it was in a spiritual basis.
In practice it was sexual abuse performed for your own
Another victim he repeatedly spanked, claiming it was “Christian
domestic discipline”, to punish her for what he perceived was a lack
of femininity and also to apparently improve her sex life.
Judge Gower said:
You put forward different reasons for doing what you did which
included the untidiness of her flat, her own untidiness, and her
lack of femininity.
The “bullying and controlling” minister spanked the woman, who was at
times completely naked, on up to 20 different occasions and she
described the practise as sending her into a “trance-like state”.
The judge said Curtis smacked the woman’s private parts telling her:
It would release a frigid spirit from inside her. The final
occasion to which you disciplined her was on the first of July,
2013. On that occasion you beat her harder than you had done
before and carried on after she told you to stop, reducing her to
He also spanked two churchgoers’ children, bruising one of them, for
which he was found guilty of child cruelty.
Judge Gower also described how Curtis turned a child “black and blue”
after smacking him in an attempt to stop him crying without the mum’s
It wasn’t until later when the mother went to change his nappy
when she saw red marks under that nappy that turned into black and
blue bruises over the next days.
During the trial Curtis tried to justify the spankings by citing the
bizarre example of Smith Wigglesworth, a Victorian Pentecostal “faith
Wigglesworth, who died in 1947, claimed to be able to cure cancer by
In mitigation, Julia Flanagan said:
He is in many respects a genuinely religious and spiritual man.
It’s how he has lived his life. He wants me to say to the court he
is sorry his actions have caused harm or upset to anybody.
He was cleared of one count of actual bodily harm, two counts of
indecent assault, two counts of assault on a child and one count of
Curtis, of Bloxworth Close, Wallington, south London, was also
cleared of a charge of assault by penetration.
in Spain is casting out demons that cause autism
Added May 9, 2016
People in Barcelona have been warned to steer well clear of a
lunatic evangelical group founded in Denmark by Torben Sondergaard,
above, which is staging several ‘spirituality seminars’ this weekend
in in the city.
The warning, according to this
report, was sounded by Ireland’s Fiona O’Leary, of the group
Autistic Rights Together (ART) who herself has two autistic children.
She said that Sondergaard’s “The Last Reformation” outfit is:
Really dangerous. They are terrifying vulnerable people and
autistic children by telling them they are possessed with demons.
They believe they can free the demons from your body by
administering baptism. They refer to it as being ‘delivered’ or ‘set
They seem to target vulnerable people; many people with serious
conditions are being targeted by The Last Reformation.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that cannot be cured but
sometimes parents are not receiving the proper support they need and
they can be taken in by groups like The Last Reformation.”
They also claim they can ‘cure’ gay people, it is truly
horrendous what this group are doing.
Sondergaard claims to have driven demons out of a nine-year-old
autistic child in Australia.
The group’s activities in Barcelona include performing “miracles” and
healing the sick on the streets, according to its seminar programme.
Sandergaard said that the his three-day event in Barcelona was open to
We don’t ask for money. But we welcome donations because we have
to pay for the venue. Those that can make a donation.
It is a three day course to teach people how to heal, how to pray
and how to cast demons out. Demons are with us as much as they were
two thousand years ago when Jesus walked among us.
O’Leary, above, added:
Spaniards should be very wary of The Last Reformation and I
strongly advise people against attending these dangerous workshops.
The Last Reformation are touring the world with their brainwashing
scam and I am told that there are already 400 people attending at
their workshop in Spain.
The Church needs to address this issue also as these cults are
abusing and lying to vulnerable people in the name of God.
In other Spanish news, is it reported here
that the University College of Barberán and Collán (Colegio Mayor
Universitario Barberán y Collán) staged an exorcism seminar on Thursday.
The seminar, called “The Evil” and led by Father
José Antonio Fortea, above, author of such works as Summa
dæmoniaca – a treatise on demonology which includes a manual for
exorcists – covered:
The fields related to the devil, exorcisms, being possessed and
Attendance by the college’s 196 students – all members of
military families – was said to be “obligatory”.
The college receives funding in two ways: from monthly fees from the
students, and through a subsidy from the Defence Ministry.
shows that 60% believe Islam has no place in Germany
Added May 8, 2016
Conducted by the newspaper Bild together with
research institute INSA, the poll shows a dramatic change in the
attitude of the German population to Islam over the past year.
According to this
report, in January 2015, 37 percent of people said that Islam
had a place in Germany, but the figure in this latest poll dropped by
15 percentage points to just 22 percent.
But the negative attitude towards Islam does not directly translate
into mistrust toward those adhering the religion. Less than 30 percent
said they would not like to live alongside Muslim people, while almost
half said they were fine with it.
An orthodox form of Islam that does not respect our laws or
even resists them, and makes a claim to be the only valid religion
does not correspond to our legal system and culture.
Antipathy towards Islam is spreading among members of other parties
as well. Only supporters of the Green party were more in favour of
Islam than against it (42 percent vs 39 percent).
Among other things, the AfD wants to ban the construction of mosques
and public wearing of the burqa. Sixty percent of the country’s
citizens agree with the AfD, according to the poll.
Critics accuse AfD of playing the xenophobic card and preying on
people’s fears. The Council of Muslims in Germany has compared the
party’s ideas to Nazi ideology. Still, the AfD won elections in three
Germany is among the European countries hit hardest by the ongoing
refugee crisis. Last year, over one million asylum seekers arrived in
the country from the Middle East.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government declared an open door policy
towards refugees, but as problems and costs associated with the inflow
of impoverished foreigners started to escalate, the EU sought help
from Turkey to curb and reverse the influx. Brussels promised
financial aid and political concessions to Ankara in exchange for
halting the flow of refugees and agreeing to take back those whom the
Europeans want to deport.
Outed: The Painful Reality
Added May 7, 2016
On 25th February 2014, based on no evidence, a Ugandan tabloid
published names and photographs of the people they perceived to be
the "Top homosexuals" in the country.
This outing not only provoked widespread hate messages towards
people perceived to be of LGBTQ orientation but also instigated
widespread debate among the Ugandan society.
Based on a true story, the film looks into the life of John Alex
Kigozi aka Vida who appears on the front page of the tabloid despite
the fact that he had never disclosed his sexuality to anyone.
Following the outing, Vida's life turns woeful when he consequently
loses his job, his house and so much more.
A film by Kamoga Hassan (aka Miracle)
Uganda, 2015, Feature narrative, 66 Min.
Cast: Agaba Jeffrey, Mutabazi Phillip, Ssenfuka.J.Warry, Nkooyoyo
The film was made on a shoe-string budget of under 10 million
Ugandan shillings (about US $3,400).
Harry Kroto was a passionate advocate of science who, by the way, delighted
in calling himself “a devout atheist.”
Born in England, Kroto eventually settled in the United States
where he spent the last decade of his professional life at Florida State
University. The brilliant chemist was a frequent and prominent foe
of the kind of unscientific dumb-assery promoted by
evangelical legislators. On this blog, he made an appearance
for his opposition to the misuse of the word “skeptic,” after he
signed on to the following statement issued by the Committee
for Skeptical Inquiry:
We are concerned that the words “skeptic” and “denier” have been
conflated by the popular media. Proper skepticism promotes
scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in
examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is
foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other
hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective
He also told
the Associated Press, some years earlier, that
“The lawmakers of Louisiana are a laughing stock as far as
the scientific community is concerned,”
after that state allowed public-school teachers to supplement
scientifically solid textbooks with their own materials — including
amateur content about Creationism and Intelligent Design.
The New York Times‘ obituary of
Kroto makes no mention of his skepticism or atheism, so for that aspect
of the man’s legacy, we’ll instead look to Richard Dawkins‘ remembrance about his
colleague and friend.
I didn’t know him particularly well, but we spent time together at
the 2014 STARMUS Festival in Tenerife. We were thrown together by his
confiding in me, on the first day of the conference, that he had just
been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease. I think I was one of few
people there who knew, and we had many conversations,
touching on this shadow hanging over him but mostly about science
and his passionate hatred of religion, as we walked the
grounds and had meals together during the course of the conference. …
[Nine years ago,] I invited Harry to Oxford to give the 2006 Charles
Simonyi Lecture. His arresting title was “Can the Internet Save the
Enlightenment?” The lecture included a splendid, thundering broadside
against the Templeton Foundation [see here,
TF] and its well-heeled, soft-soap mission to subvert science.
Notwithstanding my reputation for hostility to religion, I
would never have dared aspire to such outspoken invective,
and I was silently cheering him on while feeling a little
apprehensive as the sponsor of the lecture. Was he going too far?
But Harry had the eminence, and the charm, to get away with it.
That made me laugh out loud — the often opprobrious Dawkins, who
isn’t known for the finely tuned filter between his brain and his
tongue, getting nervous about whether Kroto is going too far.
His hatred of religion was matched by — I think largely
inspired by — his equally passionate love of science and
his commitment to sharing his enthusiasm. He set up the Vega
Science Trust, a charity devoted to producing films to teach
science, including a series of short vignettes in which he encouraged
scientists, including many Nobel prizewinners, to communicate their
love of science to young people.
The U.K. Telegraphnotes
that Kroto once confessed to being
… “bewildered” by people who still believed in God.
“However,” he explained, “I can see that the promise of
infinite immortality is a more palatable proposition than the
absolute certainty of finite mortality which those of us
who are subject to free thought (as opposed to free will) have to look
forward to, and many may not have the strength of character
to accept it.”
That’s neither a kind nor a very skeptical assessment (statements
proclaiming “absolute certainty” in metaphysical matters rarely are),
but I can appreciate the candor and clarity.
boy’ allegedly starved and beaten by RCMP officer
The boy’s dad and stepmother, both free on bail, are each charged with
aggravated assault, forcible confinement, and failure to provide
necessities of life. Neither can be named to protect the child’s
The father, 44, is also charged with sexual assault causing bodily
harm, and three counts of assault with a weapon (handcuffs, wooden
stick, and a barbecue lighter). The stepmother, a 36-year-old federal
government employee, is also charged with assault with a weapon (a
In his testimony, the Mountie said:
I thought the devil’s inside him. I saw his eyes and heard his
The chilling detail was revealed under questioning by lawyer Anne
London Weinstein, who is defending the Mountie’s wife.
It’s not clear when the exorcism was performed, but it was sometime
before September 2012, and before the Mountie allegedly started
torturing and starving his son in their darkened Kanata basement.
The Mountie has admitted to burning his shackled, naked son with a BBQ
lighter as a form of punishment for misbehaving and refusing to do
It was the Mountie’s third day on the stand and when asked about the
exorcism, he said his son reminded him of the girl in the 1973 horror
film The Exorcist.
The boy, now 14, told investigators he thinks the exorcism was
performed in his home because he recalls his father and the priest using
a crucifix from the kitchen wall.
The Mountie, who has presented himself as a victim, said he had run out
of options to control his “out-of-control” son. He also rationed his
food to the point that the boy weighed only 50 pounds on the day –
February 12, 2013 – that he escaped his chains in search of water while
his family was out shopping. Doctors, some of whom cried at the sight of
his emaciated, tiny frame, said he almost starved to death.
The priest in question testified in December at the child-torture
trial, and defended the disgraced Mountie, but provided inconsistent
testimonies under oath.
He told court back then that he had memory problems due to his
“professional habit”, and that he had trained his brain to flush away
facts after so many years of hearing confession.
The prosecutor, at the time, reminded court that the case had nothing
to do with confession and firmly established the boy had never exhibited
any out-of-control behaviour in the priest’s presence. The reality, the
prosecutor said, was that the abused boy’s father exaggerated his son’s
behaviour to justify the boy’s torture.
The trial continues with the Mountie now under cross examination.
Turkish journalists jailed over Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Added May 2, 2016
Turkish journalists Hikmet Cetinkaya, left, and Ceyda Karan,
are to appeal two-year jail sentences imposed on them yesterday for
fomenting ‘hatred and enmity in the people via means of the press’ by
republishing cartoons of the ‘prophet’ Mohammed from the French
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
According to this
report, the cartoons in Cumhuriyet, an opposition
newspaper, sparked outrage in sections of Turkish society when they were
published in January last year as a gesture of solidarity with Charlie
Hebdo, days after a massacre at the Parisian office by Islamist
The case was pressed by lawyers linked to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the
Turkish president, and several members of his family. Erdogan – “the
thinniest-skinned President in the World” – was himself was jailed
for “inciting religious hatred” in 1998, after reciting a poem
attributed to the Ottoman writer Ziya Gökalp.
It was not immediately clear whether Cetinkaya and Karan would serve
time in jail. Turkish courts frequently issue suspended sentences for
such violations, meaning the convicted are free unless they repeat the
The sentencing comes amid a mushrooming crackdown on Turkish and
international news media within the country. According to PEN
International, some 28 writers and journalists were either detained or
imprisoned in Turkey at the end of 2015 while more than 100 remained on
trial, most for national security offences.
Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief, Can Dündar, and the paper’s
Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gül, are currently on trial on trial behind
closed doors on charges of revealing state secrets and could face
multiple life sentences if found guilty.
International trial monitors and press freedom groups have condemned
those proceedings, describing the case as an instance in which
“journalism is on trial”.
In recent months, Turkey’s media crackdown has become increasingly
intertwined with Europe’s attempts to cooperate with Ankara as part of a
pact designed to prevent the mass movement of refugees into the
Germany’s Prime Minister, Angela Merkel, has been criticised for
allowing a case to be pursued against a German comedian, after Turkey
filed a formal complaint under a rarely used German law that prohibits
insulting foreign leaders.
The Dutch foreign minister, Bert Koenders, also warned on Tuesday that
the Netherlands could not guarantee the safety of citizens travelling to
Turkey if they have been critical of Turkish leaders.
and female teachers segregated at Muslim schools
Added May 1, 2016
Last year Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw, above, wrote to the
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan expressing ‘serious concerns’ about
segregation among teachers in Muslim independent schools.
Now he has written
to her again, warning that segration continues to “actively
undermine” equality in schools.
In his Wednesday letter, Sir Michael told Morgan that inspectors had
expressed their concern about Luton’s Rabia Boys and Girls School,
where, at an initial meeting with inspectors:
The school insisted on segregating men and women through the use
of a dividing screen across the middle of the room. This meeting was
not carried out in a religious setting but in a classroom.
Sir Michael said inspectors, visiting the independent school earlier
Gathered evidence that male and female staff are segregated
during whole-school staff training sessions. Male staff sit in
and the session is simultaneously broadcast to female staff in
another part of the school.
Inspectors were so concerned, they told the school’s proprietor that:
The school would remain in the inadequate category despite
improvements being made elsewhere.
Such gender division is against equalities regulations and the
requirement for “fundamental British values”, he adding that this
requirement is being “flouted” by some independent schools.
Any form of segregation, without a good educational reason, is
likely to lead to an inadequate inspection judgement for leadership
The private school was set up in in Luton in 1996 to provide an Islamic
education for young Muslims in Luton.
The report from inspectors said that such separation of male and female
staff does not:
Demonstrate equality and respect.
However, the school, which serves more than 300 pupils aged five to 16,
was commended for providing:
A good understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen
in modern, democratic Britain.
The inspection report says that pupils have a chance to engage with
people from other religions and:
Pupils demonstrated tolerance of other people’s ways of life,
even when their own religion views these differently.
A Department for Education spokesman said:
It is completely unacceptable for women to be treated less
favourably than men, and the advice note we have received from
Ofsted on Rabia Girls’ and Boys’ School is extremely concerning.
We will consider carefully the inspection report on the school to
determine what action to take against any potential breaches in the
independent school standards.
Atheist in Yemen Has Reportedly Been Shot and Killed
A young man in the southern Yemeni city of Aden has reportedly been
shot dead by religious extremists. Omar
Mohammad Bataweel had been accused of being an
atheist due to several Facebook posts deemed by some Yemenis to
be “critical of Islam”. He was abducted outside his home in
the Crater district of Aden on Sunday evening, al-Bab
reported. The next day his body was found in the Sheikh
Othman district by local residents.
A source close to Bataweel told
local media the young man had received death
threats from extremists because of comments on social media
that some viewed as critical or against Islam. Yemeni
Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman condemned the brutal
murder saying it was carried out by extremist vigilantes.
“The crime of Omar’s murder in Aden for apostasy is a
heinous act of terrorism that will happen again if takfiri ideology
is not combated. The local authorities and government must
find the killers and put them on trial,” she said on
Renouncing Islam or apostasy is a crime punishable by death
in Yemen as well as Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates,
but not commonly implemented by authorities.
Ain’t Islam grand?
Child Died of Meningitis After Receiving a Sham Treatment; A Jury Just
Found His Parents Guilty
In March of 2012, 19-month-old Ezekiel Stephandied of
meningitis — a disease involving the inflammation of the membranes
surrounding your brain and spinal cord. Very serious problem. The
condition can sometimes be treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs,
but even then, it’s a long shot for full recovery.
What’s appalling is what his parents did as he was suffering.
David Stephan and wife Collet Stephan,
who live in Alberta, Canada, gave their
son a series of home remedies:
In a bid to boost his immune system, the couple gave the boy — who
was lethargic and becoming stiff — various home remedies, such as water
with maple syrup, juice with frozen berries and finally a mixture of
apple cider vinegar, horse radish root, hot peppers, mashed onion,
garlic and ginger root as his condition deteriorated.
Court heard the couple on tape explaining to the police officer that
they prefer naturopathic remedies because of their family’s
negative experiences with the medical system.
The Stephans run a nutritional supplements company called Truehope
Nutritional Support Inc. out of Raymond, Alta.
The Stephans didn’t give their son the vaccine that normally helps
Normally, when we hear stories like this, of children whose parents
neglect to take them to a doctor when they’re clearly in need of help,
it’s because the parents belong to some religious sect that forbids
outside medical help.
I’ve never heard of parents who let their child die because they
thought maple syrup would cure his debilitating disease.
More than a month ago, the Stephans explained their all-bullshit
approach to medicine to a jury.
The maximum penalty for failing to provide the necessaries of
life is five years in prison.
Justice Rodney Jerke did not set a sentencing date. That’s to be
decided at a court appearance on June 13. The Stephans were not taken
“This case is not yet over, but a big chapter has come to a close,”
He noted that you only had to look at the faces of the jurors to tell
“this was a difficult case.”
Crown prosecutor Lisa Weich said the charge of failing to provide the
necessaries of life ensures that people who cannot care for themselves
receive the minimal standard of care expected by society.
“They definitely, definitely loved their son but as stated in
our closing arguments, unfortunately sometimes love just isn’t
enough,” Weich said outside court. “Parents still have to follow a
standard of care as set by criminal law.”
Let’s hope they get the maximum sentence; it may be the only way to
send a message to other parents like them that their children need
proper medical help instead of their superstitious, evidence-free
more killed by Islamic terrorists in Bangladesh
Added April 28, 2016
Xulhaz Mannan, right, a top gay rights activist and
editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only LGBT magazine, was
hacked to death yesterday together with another man associated with
the publication, Tanay Mojumdar, left.
According to the
BBC, the US ambassador to Bangladesh condemned the killing of
Mannan, who had recently worked at the US embassy. Marcia Bernicat said:
I am devastated by the brutal murder of Xulhaz Mannan and another
young Bangladeshi. We abhor this senseless act of violence and urge
the government of Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the
criminals behind these murders.
News reports that Bangladeshi police have detained a
college student and claimed to have found some “important evidence” in
connection with the savage killings.
The two men were killed two days after a university teacher was hacked
to death by suspected Islamist militants.
So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility – but the
Bangladeshi government insists there is no IS presence in the country.
BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan,
a magazine and activist group for the LGBT community that had not been
condemned by the government and received some support from foreign
embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not
believed their lives were at risk.
Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that
they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.
A British photographer who knew Mannan and Mojumdar, said they and
other friends had set up Roopbaan with the aim of spreading
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Bangladesh and remains a highly
sensitive issue in society.
Both men were openly gay and believed that if more gay Bangladeshis
came out then the country would have to accept them, the photographer
said. They were also were behind the annual “Rainbow Rally”, held on
Bengali New Year, April 14, since 2014. This year’s rally was banned by
police as part of widespread security measures.
The photographer said:
Both were extremely gentle, non-violent and aware that being
openly gay and active in their work was a personal danger.
Their killings were likely to spread fear among Bangladesh’s gay
community, he added
Until a year ago the only threat to coming out was shame of the family
and having to start a new life elsewhere in Bangladesh. Now it’s one of
Meanwhile Bangladesh’s best known blogger said he had received a death
threat on Sunday.
Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013
against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that
he would be killed “very soon”.
Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi law student who had expressed secular
views online died when he was hacked with machetes and then shot in
Last year, four prominent secular bloggers were also killed with
The four bloggers had all appeared on a list of 84 “atheist bloggers”
drawn up by Islamic groups in 2013 and widely circulated.
There have also been attacks on members of religious minorities
including Shia, Sufi and Ahmadi Muslims, Christians and Hindus.
Two foreigners – an Italian aid worker and a Japanese farmer – have
also been killed.
Muslim-majority Bangladesh is officially secular but critics say the
government has failed to properly address the attacks.
Editor of Bangladesh's first and only LGBT
Added April 27, 2016
Xulhaz Mannan hacked to death in country where several
academics and bloggers have been brutally murdered.
The editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine has been killed in the
latest of a series of horrific murders of bloggers and activists.
Xulhaz Mannan was one of two people hacked to death in an attack in
the capital, Dhaka, police said, by a gang posing as couriers in order
to gain access to his apartment in the Kalabagan area of the city.
Mohammad Iqbal, the officer in charge of the local police station,
confirmed that about six people had entered the apartment building and
hacked Mannan and his friend to death in a first-floor flat. Two other
people were seriously injured.
person came with a box identifying himself as courier service
personnel. Xulhaz took him upstairs to his flat,”
Mannan, 35, was the editor of Roopbaan, the country’s only magazine
for the LGBT community and also worked at the US development agency
USAid. The magazine had been launched in 2014 to promote greater
acceptance of LGBT communities in Bangladesh.
A security guard at Mannan’s building said the group had identified
themselves as courier company officials when they arrived at around
an hour later, I heard shouting and shooting sounds from the flat
and went to look into the incident,”
he told the Dhaka Times.
assailants then attacked me with knives.”
Police said they had found the box, but did not divulge its contents.
Marcia Bernicat, the US ambassador to Bangladesh, condemned the
“I am devastated by the brutal murder of
Xulhaz Mannan and another young Bangladeshi,”
abhor this senseless act of violence and urge the government of
Bangladesh in the strongest terms to apprehend the criminals behind
The deaths of Mannan and his friend adds to a series of horrific
murders of bloggers and academics in the country. It comes two days
Karim Siddique, 58, an English professor, was hacked to death
with machetes as he walked from his home to a bus station in the
north-western city of Rajshahi.
Earlier this month, Nazimuddin
Samad, 28, an atheist blogger was murdered near Jagannath
University, where he was a law student.
Mannan, as well as being editor of Roopbaan, had been behind an
annual “rainbow rally” in Dhaka, which since 2014 had been held on 14
April, at the beginning of the Bengali new year. It was cancelled this
year on police instruction.
A close friend of Mannan’s who lives in the US said Mannan had told
him on Facebook that after the rally was cancelled four participants
were arrested and only released after their families had been informed
“that their sons were homosexuals”.
Homosexual relations are criminalised in Bangladesh and many LGBT
activists have been forced into exile.
The friend described Mannan as
elder brother, friend, guardian, mentor”.
He said the two had known each other since becoming friends through the
online LGBT group Boys of Bangladesh, where members would talk about
their daily struggles and challenges.
would make friends there, virtual friendship under pseudo names as
no one trusted nobody … insecurity was high in that group, but he
shared a series of photographs on Dhanmondi Lake on a winter morning
and posted them under his real name Xulhaz Mannan,”
was the first openly gay person I had known. He was out to his close
university and school friends, out to his colleagues, and everybody
loved him to bits … he introduced me to a world where straight
people did not care what my sexual orientation was.”
Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s south Asia director, said:
“There have been four deplorable killings so far this month alone. It
is shocking that no one has been held to account for these horrific
attacks and that almost no protection has been given to threatened
members of civil society.
authorities have a legal responsibility to protect and respect the
right to life. They must urgently focus their energies on protecting
those who express their opinions bravely and without violence, and
bringing the killers to justice. The authorities must strongly
condemn these horrific attacks, something they have failed to do so
Rashed Zaman, a professor of international relations at the
University of Dhaka, said. “This is unacceptable. People may have
belief and orientation but at the end of the day everyone has their
own individual rights to live the life they want.
firmly believe in spite of the many difficulties I think our law
enforcement are more than capable enough to unearth these cases if
they put in effort.”
Geographic’s ‘atheism is a religion’ article slammed
Added April 26, 2016
Prominent US biologist and atheist Jerry Coyne has had it up to
here with National Geographic, which, since it’s acquisition
by the Murdoch empire:
Has been turning into a religously-infused tabloid rather
than the educational nature/anthropology magazine that I loved of
Bullard’s journalist ethics, and efforts, are reprehensible. It’s
And he said:
In several posts I’ve documented its [NG’s] increasing tendency
to coddle religion, and it’s only going to get worse since the
magazine was taken over by Rupert Murdoch.
Now the magazine has hit its lowest point yet … While
starting off as a decent bit of reportage about the rise of
non-belief and secularism, it suddenly descends into slander
and clickbait, highlighting the ‘privilege’ of non-belief, the
dominance of atheism by white males, and accusations that the
‘leaders’ of atheism (whom they name) are misogynists.
The NG article says:
Religion has a place for women, people of color, and the poor. By
its nature, secularism is open to all, but it’s not always as
welcoming. Some of the humanist movement’s most visible figures aren’t known
for their respect toward women.
Prominent atheists Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins have awful
reputations for misogyny, as does the late Christopher Hitchens.
Bill Maher, the comedian and outspoken atheist, is no (nonexistent)
Coyne sent the NG article to “Grania”, one of the active
members of Atheist Ireland who
pointed out, among other things, that:
It is completely skewed to claim that because there are only a
small group of people who have become global household names
in atheism (at least on the Internet) this is therefore
representative of atheism as a whole.
If you look at atheist and humanist groups around the world (who
have nothing at all to do with Dawkins et al), they have plenty of
women both as leaders as well as members. Although there is often a
gender imbalance, it would be tendentious, and probably
dishonest, to claim that this was all about sexism.
Instead of complaining that there aren’t enough women in atheism,
they could try promoting the existing women in atheism. Increased
visibility of the thousands that are already there would probably
attract more women.
These women include Jane Donnelly of Atheist Ireland, Shappi
Khorsandi of British Humanists, Jen Peebles of Atheist Community of
Austin, Sarah Haider (co-founder of the Ex-Muslims of North
America), and Inna Shevchenko, anti-religious activist and head of
I do think that non-belief spreads when people are no longer
so destitute, oppressed, or laden with feelings that society doesn’t
care about them that they turn to God for succor. That was Marx’s
thesis, and I agree with him. Religion will largely disappear when
societies learn to take better care of their members – something
instantiated in the nations of northern Europe. This is noted in
the National Geographic piece.
But the oppression, despair, and destitution that keep minorities
religious is not the fault of atheists, and we
should not see atheist ‘privilege’ as something that we need to
expiate or be ashamed of. Indeed, some religions gain power from
trying to keep the disenfranchised satisfied with a substandard
life, promising that the next one will be better (cf. Mother
I believe that to rid the world of religion, we need to raise the
water level to float everyone’s boat: create the kind of ‘successful
societies’ (à la Greg
Paul) that eliminate the need for religion. This is
where atheism and humanism make common cause. But the
religiosity of the oppressed, and of minorities, can in no way be
pinned on the non-religious, or on their supposed failure to welcome
Islamic State claims it
killed Bangladeshi academic
Added April 25, 2016
Prof Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, hacked to death in Rajshahi in attack
similar to murders of other secular and atheist activists
Bangladeshi professor Rezaul Karim Siddique taught at Rajshahi
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for hacking to death a
university professor in Bangladesh for “calling to atheism”. The claim
was reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi
websites. No further details were available.
Professor Rezaul Karim Siddique, 58, was attacked from behind with
machetes as he walked from his home to a bus station in the
north-western city of Rajshahi, where he taught English at the public
university, police said.
“His neck was hacked at least three times and was 70%-80% severed,” said
the Rajshahi police commissioner, Mohammad Shamsuddin. “By examining the
nature of the attack, we suspect that it was carried out by extremist
Nahidul Islam, a deputy commissioner of police, said Siddique was
involved in cultural programmes and set up a music school at Bagmara, a
former bastion of an outlawed Islamist group, Jamayetul Mujahideen
Bangladesh (JMB). “The attack is similar to the ones carried out on
[atheist] bloggers in the recent past,” he said.
Sajidul Karim Siddique, a brother of the victim, said the academic was a
“very quiet and simple man” who focused on studying and teaching. “So
far as we know, he did not have any known enemies and we never found him
worried,” he said. “We don’t know why it happened to him.”
Sakhawat Hossain, a friend and fellow English professor from the
university, said Siddique played the tanpura, a musical instrument
popular in South Asia, and wrote poems and short stories. “He used to
lead a cultural group called Komol Gandhar and edit a biannual literary
magazine with the same name. But he never wrote or spoke against
religion in public,” he said.
Police said Siddique was the fourth professor from Rajshahi university
to be murdered. In February, a court handed down life sentences to two
Islamist militants for the murder of Prof Mohammad Yunus.
The killing on Saturday triggered a protest by the university’s teachers
and students, who blocked a major road and demanded the immediate arrest
of the killers.
Bangladeshi Islamist militants have been blamed for a number of murders
of secular bloggers and online activists since 2013, most recently in
the capital, Dhaka, early this month. Police said that in each of the
attacks, unidentified assailants hacked the victim to death with
machetes or cleavers. The killings have sparked outrage at home and
abroad, with international rights groups demanding that the secular
government protect freedom of speech in the Muslim-majority but secular
Eight members of the banned Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), including a
senior cleric who is said to have founded the Islamist group, were
convicted late last year for the murder of atheist blogger Ahmed Rajib
Haider in February 2013.
Ansar al-Islam, a Bangladesh branch of al-Qaida in the Indian
Subcontinent, this month claimed responsibility for the murder of
26-year-old Nazimuddin Samad, a law student who was killed on the
streets of Dhaka, according to the US monitoring group SITE. Police,
however, blamed the ABT for the murder.
Authorities have consistently denied that international Islamist
networks, such as al-Qaida or Islamic State, which recently claimed
responsibility for the murders of minorities and foreigners, are active
in the country.
circumcision ruling welcomed by secular medic
After Mrs Justice Roberts said that the boys should be able to make the
choice themselves, Lempert described the ruling as a small but:
Welcome step towards safeguarding children from forced genital
Religious requirements, he added:
Should not be allowed to override a person’s most fundamental
right to grow up with an intact body and to make their own choices
about permanent bodily modifications. It is a procedure that
permanently removes healthy, erogenous and functional tissue from
the most intimate part of a person’s body without that person’s
consent and for no medical reason.
That it should take a parental disagreement in court for a child
to be protected from forced genital cutting remains a serious
concern from a child safeguarding perspective.
The judge said that the boys’ mother was “resolutely opposed” to having
the children circumcised and ruled that:
There is no guarantee that these boys will wish to continue to
observe the Muslim faith with the devotion demonstrated by their
father, although that may very well be their choice.
They are still very young and there is no way of anticipating at
this stage how the different influences in their respective parental
homes will shape and guide their development over the coming years.
James Chegwidden, who acted as junior counsel for the mother in the
case, said that while he could not comment on the specifics of the case,
the ruling was:
An encouraging step towards the legal protection every child
He said that the decision was:
A reminder that, together with the freedom to practice a religion
or philosophy for oneself, comes the necessary obligation not to
impose that religion or philosophy on others.
But he warned that the case revealed:
Just how limited our current legal protection of our children is.
Bodily autonomy is a right of every child – it cannot be reduced or
ignored simply because both its parents happen to be religious. For
a right so fundamental as bodily autonomy for a child to depend
totally on the whim of an adult is simply unacceptable.
The court has still yet to classify infant circumcision as
‘significant harm’, despite the significant evidence that male
genital cutting is at least as invasive as some forms of FGM.
The father, an Algerian-born Muslim who has lived in England for
fifteen years, is now separated from the boys’ mother, whom he had met
ten years ago and subsequently lived with. He entered the UK using false
travel documents but was subsequently given a British passport.
The couple separated after the mother, from Devon, and the two boys had
to flee their home when he violently attacked her in 2012. He was
An increasingly controlling and violent individual who sought to
impose restrictions on how she lived her life.
Justice Roberts said that the father was a “devout Muslim” committed to
ensuring that as part of his son’s “dual heritage” they “grow up as
Muslims observing all the tenets and practices” of Islam.
The children are currently aged six and four, and the judge said that
she had reached a “clear conclusion” about the “irreversible procedure”
and that the children should have the right to choose for themselves.
I am simply deferring that decision to the point where each of
the boys themselves will make their individual choices once they
have the maturity and insight to appreciate the consequences and
longer-term effects of the decisions which they reach.
There are risks, albeit small, associated with the surgery,
regardless of the expertise with which the operation is performed.
There must be clear benefits which outweigh these risks which
point towards circumcision at this point in time being in their best
interests before I can sanction it as an appropriate course at this
stage of their young lives.
The judge’s warning about the risks of circumcision came as a medical
tribunal heard the case of Dr Muhammad Chaudhary, above, who
is accused of bungling a circumcision on a two month old baby. He
then allegedly tried to bribe the child’s family into dropping a claim
In an attempt to stop action being taken against him, he reportedly
told the Muslim family that:
Litigation in Muslim culture is not usually a route to adopt
especially in ritual matters.
Chaudhary failed to repair the damage he had caused during four further
surgeries. After he failed to fix the damage he had caused in the
initial operation, he advised the family to:
Treat him [their son] like the Quran and be gentle.
The child was finally referred to a specialist surgeon and had to
endure three additional operations in a hospital.
Lempert said these cases occurred with:
Nauseating regularity. There are practically no restrictions on
who can perform forced genital cutting on young (male) children in
the UK. The procedure is almost wholly unregulated in the UK. The
reality is that we simply don’t know the extent of harm caused to
young children by ritual circumcision. We do know that many such
children turn up in A&E and some need treatment in paediatric
Intensive Care Units as a direct result of non-therapeutic
Dr Chaudhary is being investigated because he is a doctor who is
alleged to have behaved dishonestly. Ironically, should Dr Chaudhary
be removed from the medical register, he would no longer be required
to satisfy even the limited requirements of the GMC in this matter
and would be free to continue cutting young boys’ genitals.
priests arrested for sex offences in separate incidents
April 23, 2016
The Rev Joshua C Scheil, 28, left, and pastor Stephen Glenn
Charest, 66, were arrested this week for alleged sex offences in
Oshkosh,Wisconsin, and at Lake Fannie in Florida.
Scheil, according to this
report, was charged in Winnebago County Circuit Court, where
Commissioner Bryan Keberlein set a $10,000 cash bond.
He faces charges of attempted child enticement, using a computer to
facilitate a child sex crime and causing a child 13 years old or younger
to view or listen to sexual activity.
According to a news release from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s
Office, Scheil contacted an undercover crime analyst who was posing
as a 13-year-old girl from the Oshkosh area. Scheil said he would be in
the Oshkosh area April 11 to 13 and would be staying in a hotel.
He sent sexually explicit messages several times, saying he wanted to
have sexual relations with her when he came to town. He also sent an
In a follow-up message, he was in town and asked to meet. When Scheil
showed up for the meeting, authorities arrested him.
Scheil serves as a pastor at Hope Lutheran Church in Twin Lakes,
according to the church’s website.
The South Wisconsin District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod held
its spring pastors conference April 11 to 13 at the Best Western Premier
If convicted on all counts, Scheil could face a maximum sentence of 71
years in prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 2.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office says Charest was arrested and charged
with one count of solicitation to commit lewdness after the incident
happened near the Lake Fannie boat ramp.
According to the undercover deputy’s report, Charest, who is a pastor
at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Lake Wales, walked into a wooded area
near the ramp, and because of recent reports of lewd activity nearby,
the deputy followed.
Then after some casual conversation I asked the unknown male what
he was doing in the wooded area. The defendant stated the following,
‘I want you to [expletive describing a lewd act]’.
The affidavit goes on to say that the deputy questioned Charest’s
intentions at least two more times before his arrest.
The sheriff’s office says Charest was booked into the Polk County Jail,
and then later released after posting a $250 bond.
votes to scrap law that protects faith healers
Added April 22, 2016
When Jacqueline Crank, above, was
convicted in 2012 for child neglect after choosing faith healing
rather than medical help for her cancer-stricken daughter, the case
drew attention to a Tennessee “spiritual treatment” law, enacted in
1994, that that protected faith-healing believers from prosecution.
The reason Crank was prosecuted because she went down the “wrong”
The Tennessee law says that a child shall not be considered abused,
neglected or endangered solely because the child’s illness is treated
with prayer rather than surgical or medical care. The law shields
parents and others from prosecution if a child:
Is being provided treatment by spiritual means through prayer
alone, in accordance with the tenets or practices of a recognized
church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner.
Crank’s “mistake” was to involve an unaccredited healer:
Ariel Ben Sherman, who called himself the “spiritual father” of
15-year-old Jessica Crank, who died ten years earlier from Ewing’s
Sarcoma. Testimony showed Sherman was accredited by the Universal
Life Church, which will accredit anyone who fills out an
Crank testified in court that even after Jessica died, she and others
prayed and laid hands on the girl in an attempt to resurrect her.
Sherman was convicted along with Crank of misdemeanor neglect in 2012.
Both appealed the conviction, but Sherman died before the appeal was
Crank’s attorney, Gregory P Isaacs, pictured above with Crank, said his
client had continued to fight her conviction despite her very minor
sentence (11 months and 29 days, suspended to unsupervised probation)
because she did not want others who rely on faith healing for their
children’s illnesses to be prosecuted as she was. He added:
She was treated very harshly by the criminal justice system. She
was charged with a felony and given a high bond. They took her
daughter away, and her access was limited as her daughter was
battling cancer and dying.
Isaacs said Crank did not neglect her daughter.
She wanted to heal her in the way she thought was best.
Well, Tennessee’s exemption to the state’s child abuse and neglect
statute that protects some faith healers but not others is now to be
According to this
report, a repeal bill, Senate Bill 1761, was sponsored by Senator
Richard Briggs, above, a cardiac surgeon, and Representative Andrew
Farmer, a lawyer. It won unanimous Senate approval in March and an 85-1
vote last Thursday in the House and now goes to Governor Bill Haslam,
who’s expected to sign it into law.
Briggs said representatives of two groups that he wouldn’t identify
came to talk with him against repealing the exemption.
They were arguing both on religious and parental rights, that
even if a child dies, the parent has a right to do what they want to
do. I told them they had just made a great case for abortion,
because the right to life does not stop at birth. The right to life
is for the entire life. Part of your parental rights, duties and
responsibility includes obtaining medical care when your child needs
They also said a group should be able to practice their religion
and government should not be able to interfere even if it results in
that. I told that group, you just made a great case for sharia law
in the United States, and do we really want women stoned to death in
the streets in the United States of America?
One of the groups changed their mind and supported the bill. The
FFRF sues over cross in
California public park
Added April 21, 2016
The lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of California, San Jose Division.
FFRF, the plaintiff organization, is a national association of
freethinkers (atheists and agnostics) that works to keep religion out of
government. It has 23,700 members, including more than 3,100 in
The defendants are the city of Santa Clara, Santa Clara City Council,
Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Vice Mayor Teresa O'Neill and other members of the
city council. Santa Clara, which bills itself as "The Mission City," is
about 45 miles southeast of San Francisco.
The 14-foot granite Latin cross at Memorial Cross Park that FFRF and
DeFaria are suing about officially commemorates a 1777 Spanish Catholic
mission. The prominent Christian edifice was donated by the Santa Clara
Lions Club in 1953, with the city maintaining the cross and the park ever
since. FFRF contends that the city's decision to accept the cross and its
subsequent display and maintenance "amounts to the advancement of
religion," specifically Christianity.
FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert first complained in April 2012
to the city's then-mayor, Jamie L. Matthews. The city indicated two months
later that it looked forward "to resolving this matter in an expeditious
and responsible manner."
In the past three years, on at least 12 occasions, Markert and other FFRF
employees have followed up on the status of the cross's removal. But the
city's only action to date has been to remove a sign reading "Memorial
DeFaria, who lives in Santa Clara, has encountered the cross at the park.
"As a nonbeliever in any religion, he finds the cross on public land
objectionable," the lawsuit says. DeFaria now avoids the park, and even
the street on which the park is located, so he won't have to encounter his
city's endorsement of the Christian religion.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and DeFaria are asking the court to
declare the city cross in violation of Establishment Clause of the First
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as well as the No Preference Clause of
Article I, § 4 of the California Constitution.
"It should not be necessary to sue over such an obvious and blatant
establishment of religion," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
"We waited four years for the city to act in good faith and divest itself
of this unconstitutional endorsement of religion, and were left with no
recourse but to go to court."
FFRF v. City of Santa Clara is being litigated on behalf of FFRF by David
J.P. Kaloyanides, with FFRF attorneys Rebecca Markert and Madeline Ziegler
serving as co-counsel.
airline stewards want the right to refuse to fly to Iran
Now, according to
this report, some of Air France’s gay flight attendants are
attempting to use the momentum generated by the decision by taking
a stand against flying to Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by
More than 26,000 people have signed a Change.org petition, created by
someone known only as “Mr Laurent”, which seeks to give gay flight
attendants the right to refuse travel to the country. The petition is
addressed to the CEO of Air France, Frédéric Gagey, and
France’s Minister of Transport, Alain Vidal.
Laurent said in the petition.:
It is inconceivable to ask someone to go to a country where his
kind are condemned for who they are.
Jean Marc Quattrochi, Secretary General of Union des Navigants de
l’Aviation Civile (UNAC), the union representing
French flight and cabin crews, said his organisation is unaware
of Laurent’s identity. While the union is “sensitive to the
problem” of LGBT stewards not wanting to fly to Iran, creating special
assignments based on sexual preferences, skin color or religion “is not
acceptable for our union,” he said.
During the headscarf debate with Air France executives our
demand was to allow all crew members to refuse this particular
destination. For the sexual inclination the problem is totally
different and does not only concern this destination.
Iran is not the only country Air France flies to that has strong
punishments against homosexual behavior. In Nigeria, sexual activity
between two people of the same sex is illegal, as are same-sex marriages
Being identified as gay is also illegal in Saudi Arabia, and the
kingdom is reportedly considering whether to execute individuals who
come out as gay online.
Still, says Quattrochi, gay flight attendants have a choice whether
to publicly display themselves as gay. Women don’t have that
The fact for a woman is that we surely know she’s a woman, it’s
written on her passport. When she arrives in Tehran, she will be
forced to wear the scarf. For a gay person, nobody knows that he is
When one steward is holding the hand of another steward in the
streets, it’s his choice.
The resumption of Air France to Tehran from Paris three times a week –
cancelled since 2008 – are part of a warming of relations between Iran
and the international community in the wake of the nuclear deal struck
Still, human rights haven’t improved in the country: Last Thursday,
United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
called on Iran to halt executions for drug offences after five men were
hanged last weekend. Last year, 966 people were executed in Iran, mostly
for drug offences; four of them were minors, according to the UN.
Personn’Ailes Association, the LGBT Union for Air France/KLM,
said in a statement that it also disagrees with the petition.
Sébastien Gidon, the union’s President, said Air France/KLM and
its subsidiaries are required to fly to many countries
where LGBT rights are virtually non-existent, and:
Where repression is exercised even up to the death penalty.
While the human rights situation in Iran is “terrible” and “shocking,”
the union does not want to create
Internal lists of persons based on their sexual orientation.
Quattrochi says UNAC is asking Air France executives to extend to men
and women across the company the measure allowing female flight
attendants to opt out of the Tehran route,
But we understand that it’s difficult to reach that goal.
For now, the mysterious Laurent’s petition continues to gather
signatures from around the world.
Added April 19, 2016
scientist helps Christian cult to promote creationism
Added April 18, 2016
The Jehovah’s Witness bagged themselves a Big One when they
Raj Kalaria, above, to speak about his belief in creationism
in a new video posted online by the cult.
Keralia is currently a deputy director of the Newcastle Centre for
Brain Ageing and Vitality, Newcastle, and a professor of
neuropathology at Newcastle University, UK.
Reach out to Newcastle University to find out whether it
endorses the academic’s stance on evolution, and found myself
in a rather frustrating email exchange with Helen Rae,
the Media Relations Manager at the University’s Faculty of
Medical Sciences .
After much to-ing and fro-ing, an official statement was
finally forthcoming …
Please see the comment below.
A Newcastle University spokesperson
said: ‘Academic freedom, which is written into Newcastle
University’s statutes, allows all academic staff freedom to put
forward opinions that do not necessarily represent the
Best wishes, Helen.
Thank you Helen.
Forgive me, but do you have any
comment on Professor Kalaria saying ‘we’, thereby implying the
support of his colleagues for his findings?
And does Newcastle University
support Professor Kalaria’s anti-evolution views, or not?
We have nothing further to add
other than the statement provided.
Though I can understand Helen’s awkward position as someone who
shares a payroll with Professor Kalaria, I do feel saddened that,
in this age of political correctness, Newcastle University is not
able to be more robust in distancing itself from a piece of
propaganda aimed at indoctrinating an entire generation to view
science with suspicion.
In the video – which also features Ukrainian zoologist Yaroslav
Dovhanych, above – Kalaria, born into a Hindu family, said he could
not get his head around the battalions of gods that form the basis of
Hinduism, so, after reading the Bible, decided that there could only
be One True God, and this was the one that created things as complex
as the human brain. Also:
The Bible also gives us peace of mind and a purpose in life.
Meanwhile, Dovhanych claims that the Bible is “very old … thousands
of years old” yet:
It’s contents are accurate and authentic to this day. And the
Bible contains many prophesies which history confirms have been
fulfilled exactly as the Bible foretold. So these predictions must
have been made by someone whose abilities are far greater than
of faith-healing parents wants them prosecuted
Added April 17, 2016
A disabled 20-year-old Idaho woman who was born with a hole
in her heart that was ignored by her faith-healing parents wants
According to this
report, Mariah Walton, above, relies heavily on an oxygen
tank and may have to undergo a dangerous heart and lung transplant –
hardships that could have been avoided if her parents had allowed
doctors treat her when she was an infant, or even when she was a
But the fundamentalist Mormon parents said no.
Yes, I would like to see my parents prosecuted. They deserve
it. And it might stop others.
But that won’t happen, at least at the moment. Under Idaho’s
child-injury law, parents can’t be prosecuted for using “prayer or
spiritual means alone” to treating ailing children.
Idaho is one of six states US with such a law.
If Walton’s parents had allowed doctors to close the congenital hole
in her heart after she was born, existence would have been completely
Instead, they prayed and relied on “alternative” medicine, believeing
that faith and prayer can conquer illness and disease.
Walton did not have a social security number or a birth certificate
until she left home two years ago.
After suffering many health problems as a child, Mariah was told two
years ago she had pulmonary hypertension, which is a kind of high
blood pressure that impacts the arteries in your lungs and the right
side of the heart.
Walton recently said in a panel discussion titled “Medical Neglect
and Childhood Mortality in Idaho:
When I got back to my parents, my mom didn’t even want to look
at me. She said, ‘Don’t talk about it, I don’t want to hear about
Mariah has spent much time in the hospital and has nearly died, but
as she said in the panel discussion, her parents:
Were legally allowed to let me get to this point.
I feel it is not OK for people to be allowed to ignore modern
science that saves lives.
There may be a change in the law soon, as Idaho Governor Butch Otter
is calling on state politicians to examine the issue. Two children in
the state died in 2012 without proper treatment.
If you’re starting to explore atheism, it might be tough to know
where to begin, in part because, outside of the God question, 100
different atheists may believe 100 different things.
Andrew Sneddon, a professor of philosophy, has
written a primer on godlessness just for that audience. He covers
various topics, in a dictionary-like way, introducing them to
strangers who may never have considered them from an atheist
perspective. It’s called A Is for Atheist: An A
to Z of the Godfree Life (Pitchstone Publishing, 2016):
In the excerpt below, Sneddon explains Holidays and Hope:
This was followed by a nationwide campaign that urged people to stop
giving money to churches.
The result, according to this
report, was startling. Almost 3,000 baptised Danes cancelled their
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark is among several churches in
Europe subsidised by a Church tax. Although the tax is voluntary in
Denmark, at a rate of around one per cent, church members are
automatically signed up and have to opt out rather than opt in.
Almost eight in 10 Danish people are members of the Church of Denmark,
known as “the People’s Church”. The Church is both Protestant and
episcopally-led. Everyone who is baptised automatically becomes a
member. Just 2.4 per cent of members attend every week.
The monarch is supreme authority of the church and has to be a member,
although not the monarch’s spouse. However, Mary Donaldson converted
from Presbyterianism when she married Crown Prince Frederik in 2004.
Atheist Society spokesman Anders Stjernholm said:
We are very pleased with the preliminary results. While our bus
campaign calls for a broad debate about the foundations of faith,
the withdrawal campaign targets the many Danes who have long
considered leaving folkekirken, but have been putting it off because
the process is too cumbersome.
One vicar, Lena Kjems, who lost 14 members, said:
We can see that in most cases these are young men aged 18-25, and
so we, as a city parish with many students, have been hit especially
Stephen Evans of the UK’s National Secular Society:
It’s not at all surprising that Danish citizens are cancelling
their church membership. Nobody should be auto-enrolled into a
religion, particularly when it comes with the imposition of a church
tax to fund an institution that you may not support.
In secular democracies churches have to learn to stand on their
own feet and not rely on unwilling citizens or the state for
financial support. That goes as much for the Church of England here
as it does the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark.
An eye for
an eye: Iran sentences 27-year-old to have eyes GOUGED OUT after
damaging sight of another man in street brawl
Added April 13, 2016
A man has been sentenced to have his eyes gouged out in Iran
after damaging the sight of a man during a street fight, it has been
The horrifying 'eye for an eye' sentence
was handed down to a 27-year-old man, referred to only by his first
It is punishment for unintentionally
injuring a man's eye during a brawl in March 2011, when he was just 23
According to the National
Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which translated the story
from Iran's official state-run newspaper, Hamad told the court: 'It was
around midnight and I was sitting at home when my mother called me and
said that my father had gotten into a car accident.
'I rushed to the scene to help my dad, but
I really didn’t intend to injure anyone's eye.'
He was sentenced to eye-gouging in the
Iranian regime's fundamentalist court on August 1.
Following the sentence, Farideh Karimi, a
member of the NCRI and a human rights activist, said: 'It is deeply
regretful that European governments are not protesting such cases of
barbarity in Iran.
'These savage acts which constitute
torture are enshrined in the Iranian regime’s laws.
'There has been a steep rise in executions
in Iran during (President) Hassan Rouhani’s tenure in the past two
'In the past month alone the regime has
carried out two hand amputations and issued a sentence for a person’s
eyes to be gouged out.'
Yesterday, a man's right hand and left
foot were severed by the authorities, NCRI has claimed. A second
prisoner is awaiting the same sentence imminently.
Barbaric: The horrific sentence was handed
down in the Iranian regime's fundamentalist court (archive photo)
Since Hassan Rouhani came to office in
2013, more than 1,800 people have been executed and hundreds more have
been subjected to degrading and inhumane punishments such as
amputation and flogging in public, NCRI has reported.
In March, an Iranian man who permanently
disfigured another in an acid attack received a similar punishment.
The man, only identified as Hamid S.,
poured acid over victim Davoud Roshanaei in 2005, causing him to lose
an eye and an ear.
An Iranian court sentenced him to qesas,
'retribution in kind' and he had his eye and ear surgically removed at
a prison in Karaj.
And last year a judge sentenced a
Christian man to have his lips burnt with a cigarette for eating
during the day in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
After tax authorities in Australia and New Zealand revealed they
would be probing clients of a Panama-based law firm at the centre of a
massive data leak for possible tax evasion other jurisdictions are
expected to look into their countries for those in the report.
The leak is said to consist of more than 11.5 million documents
from the files of law firm Mossack Fonseca, based in the tax haven of
Panama and in them, seven African countries are implicated.
African leaders associated with the report include, former President
of Côte d'Ivoire, Laurent Gbagbo and his banking
executive associate Jean-Claude N’Da Ametchi who is in the Mossack
Nephew of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma,
Clive Khulubuse Zuma is in the data based on questionable oil field
deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Khulubuse Zuma's spokesperson, Vuyo Mkhize was quoted in the Daily
News, on Monday morning saying that Zuma did not have an
offshore banking account and never had one.
Adding: “He was associated with a company that was set up and
registered offshore in [the] British Islands. The extent of that
association is that he was authorised to sign on behalf of the company
that was doing business in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
John Addo Kufuor, eldest son of Ghana’s former
president, John Agyekum Kufuor, is seen in the report as having an
offshore company which controlled a 75,000 dollar bank account for
former president Kufour and his mother.
The report also shows that Mamadie Touré, widow of former dictator
and president of Guinea, Lansana Conte, was
granted the power of attorney to Matinda Partners and Co., which was a
“conduit” for a lot of the money paid to Toure.
Others in the report are, personal secretary to the King of Morocco,
Alaa Mubarak is an Egyptian businessman and
the eldest son of ousted former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and
lastly former president of Sudan, Ahmad Ali
The leak, dubbed the "Panama Papers", covers a period of over four
decades, from 1977 until December 2015, allegedly shows that some
companies domiciled in tax havens were being used for suspected money
laundering, arms and drug deals and tax evasion.
African politicians and public figures also implicated in the report below
another good man dies at the hands of Islamists
Added April 10, 2016
Bangladeshi secularist Nazimuddin Samad, 28, whose family live
in London, was killed by machete-wielding assailants last night, the Guardian
Samad, 28, had been on a hit list of 84 bloggers drawn up by Islamists.
He was hacked to death and then shot.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Dhaka today to demand the
capture and punishment of those responsible for the murder of the law
student who criticised Islamism on his Facebook page.
His murder was the latest in a series of killings of secular activists
and bloggers in the country.
Syed Nurul Islam, the deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan
At least four assailants hacked Nazimuddin Samad’s head with a
machete on Wednesday night. As he fell, one of them shot him with a
pistol from close range. He died on the spot.
It is a case of targeted killing. But no group has claimed
He said police were looking into whether Samad was murdered for his
The Dhaka Tribune said the assailants shouted Allahu
Akbar (God is great) as they attacked Samad on a busy road near
Protesters urged the Bangladeshi authorities to take the killing
seriously, accusing them of having fostered a culture of impunity.
Last year, suspected militants hacked to death at least four atheist
bloggers and a secular publisher in one of a series of targeted killings
in the Muslim-majority country.
Samad was known to have been critical of state religion in the
Bangladeshi constitution. In the first two lines detailing his religious
views on Facebook, he said:
Evolution is a scientific truth. Religion and race are [an]
invention of the savage and uncivil people.
Imran Sarker, who leads Bangladesh’s largest online secular activist
group and is the head of the Bangladeshi bloggers association, said
Samad had joined nationwide protests in 2013 against top Islamist
leaders accused of committing war crimes during the country’s war of
He was a secular online activist and a loud voice against any
social injustice. He was against Islamic fundamentalism.
Amnesty International said the killing was a reminder that authorities
in Bangladesh are failing to protect people exercising their right to
freedom of expression.
Said Champa Patel, Amnesty’s South Asia director:
There can be no justification for the brutal killing of
Nazimuddin Samad, who has apparently paid with his life for nothing
but being brave enough to speak his mind. This is not just a
senseless murder, it is a blatant attack on the right to freedom of
The Bangladeshi authorities must categorically condemn these
killings and take serious steps to end this horrific cycle of
violence. Those responsible for the killings of secular activists
must be held to account.
Mustakur Rahman, 26, became friends with Samad after meeting him at
college in Sylhet in 2007. He had warned Samad about his social media
posts, which were critical of Islamism and religion.
Whatever he posted, I would see as fun. But people are taking it
seriously and taking revenge. As a friend, I warned him about the
posts, I don’t want anyone to die early. But he said he can’t change
his opinion against any religion.
He didn’t kill anyone. To me, he’s a good person. He didn’t do
anything wrong. He wrote something about a particular religion. I’m
a believer, but he wasn’t a believer and maybe he was trying to
express what he thinks about religion. It is a free world, why
should he be killed?
So I’m very, very shocked. But in Bangladesh it is a common issue
nowadays. So many atheists are being killed … For every single
occasion, there is protest. But after there is nothing. There will
be protest, we protest, we write on Facebook. But that’s it. No
justice is coming out.
shopkeeper was killed for ‘disrespecting’ Islam
Added April 9, 2016
Tanveer Ahmed, the man accused of murdering Glasgow shopkeeper
Asad Shah, above, has
issued a statement saying he carried out the killing because he
believed Shah had “disrespected” Islam.
Ahmed, 32, from Bradford, is accused of killing Shah outside his shop
in Glasgow a fortnight ago.
In the statement he denied the incident had anything to do with
Ahmed claimed Asad Shah had “disrespected” Islam by claiming to be a
Shah, who had moved from Pakistan to Glasgow almost 20 years ago, was
found with serious injuries outside his shop on Minard Road in Shawlands
on 24 March. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
He was killed just hours after he posted an Easter message on Facebook
to his customers.
The message said:
Good Friday and a very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian
During the police investigation officers claimed the incident was
“religiously prejudiced” and confirmed both men were Muslims.
Shah was a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect known for its
non-violence and interfaith concerns.
Ahmadiyya are banned by the constitution of Pakistan from referring to
themselves as Muslims.
Tanveer Ahmed made no plea during a private court appearance, where he
was charged with Shah’s murder.
He was remanded in custody and is expected to appear at the High Court
at a later date.
Ahmed’s highly unusual statement was made through his lawyer,
John Rafferty after his second appearance at court before sheriff Brian
The statement said:
My client Mr Tanveer Ahmed has specifically instructed me that
today, 6 April 2016, to issue this statement to the press, the
statement is in the words of my client.
This all happened for one reason and no other issues and no other
Asad Shah disrespected the messenger of Islam the Prophet
Muhammad peace be upon him. Mr Shah claimed to be a Prophet.
When 1,400 years ago the Prophet of Islam Muhammad peace be upon
him has clearly said that ‘I am the final messenger of Allah there
is no more prophets or messengers from God Allah after me.
‘I am leaving you the final Quran. There is no changes. It is the
final book of Allah and this is the final completion of Islam. There
is no more changes to it and no one has the right to claim to be a
Prophet or to change the Quran or change Islam.’
It is mentioned in the Quran that there is no doubt in this book
no one has the right to disrespect the sayings of the Prophet
Muhammad peace be upon him and no one has the right to disrespect
the Prophet of Islam Muhammad Peace be upon him.
If I had not done this others would and there would have been
more killing and violence in the world.
I wish to make it clear that the incident was nothing at all to
do with Christianity or any other religious beliefs even although I
am a follower of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him I also love
and respect Jesus Christ.
World, in an article highlighting the bitter divisions
between the Ahmadiyyas and orthodox Muslims, reported that leading
Scottish human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, above, has received death
threats over his calls at Glasgow Central Mosque last week for unity in
the Islamic community following the killing of Shah, as well as the
terror attacks in Brussels and Lahore.
According to this
report, the threats have been made by phone and text. Anwar has
also received torrents of abuse on social media, with posters accusing
him of waging “a vendetta” and “smear campaign” against the Glasgow
Mosque in an attempt to shut it down.
To describe a convicted terrorist as a ‘true Muslim’ or draw
parallels with the ‘French resistance fighting the Nazis’ is
There can be no moral or religious justification for remarks
which glorify murder.
It is of deep shame that Scotland’s most senior Imam has
expresses ‘immense pain’ for the plight of a convicted terrorist,
but said nothing about a 71-year-old Mohammed
Asghar from Edinburgh on death row for blasphemy or
Christians murdered over blasphemy laws.
Every time a terrorist attack happens, the Muslim community is
asked to justify our very existence even though we bear no
Comments promoting the virtues of twisted psychopaths claiming
to act in the name of Allah will only harm our community.
Let’s be clear Mumtaz Qadri was no ‘true Muslim’ or ‘martyr’
and the grotesque views expressed by this Imam must be condemned
Survey Finds Majority of People in Scotland Have No Religious
Congratulation, Scotland! You’re the latest country in which the
majority of people have no
religious faith! Furthermore, two thirds of the people who were
raised with religion no longer attend religious services.
Two thirds of people in Scotland who say they belong to or
were brought up in a religion “never or practically never” attend
religious services, new research published today by ScotCen
Social Research has revealed.
… The results also show that over half of people in Scotland are not
religious; 52% of people say they do not belong to a religion,
compared with 40% in 1999.
Most of this decline has happened in relation to the Church of
Scotland. In 1999 over a third of people (35%) said that they belonged
to the Church of Scotland but that has fallen to only a fifth (20%)
Ian Montagu, Researcher at ScotCen, said “Today’s findings show that
Scottish commitment to religion, both in terms of our
willingness to say we belong to a religion and to attend religious
services, is in decline. However, this change doesn’t
appear to be affecting all religions equally. Affiliation
with the Church of Scotland is in decline while levels of
identification with other religions remain relatively unchanged. As
fewer Scots are acknowledging even a default religious identity, it
is affiliation with the national church that is the hardest hit.”
This isn’t surprising to anyone who’s been following the trends.
gay marriage in 2012 despite opposition from the Catholic Church
and the Church of Scotland. There’s also been an uptick
in percentage of Humanist wedding ceremonies — more people than
ever before want the Church to have no role at all in that
And when the 2011 census figures were released in 2013 and found that 36.7%
of the population had no religion — higher than any other subgroup
— the Humanist Society Scotland pointed out that their demographic was
highly underrepresented because of the way the question was
asked: “What religion, religious denomination or body do you belong to?”
That implied you were supposed to have a religion. It’s
possible many people put down the religion they were brought up in,
which may not necessarily be an accurate reflection of what they believe
The question in the new survey
was much more open-ended: “Do you regard yourself as belonging to any
particular religion?” It’s much easier to say “No” when you phrase it
While there have been other years where the percentage of non-religious
Scots topped 50%, there has never been a year in which 66% of the
population admitted to “never or practically never” attending religious
services even when they grew up in the religion (or currently practice
It’s a sign that the power is shifting away from the Church, just as it
Stop it, Scotland. You’re making me jealous.
Christian arrested, another jailed for abusing children
Added April 7, 2016
The principal of a Seventh-day Adventist Church Washington
state, Douglas J Allison, 55, left, has been charged with
sexually assaulting two female students, while in the UK C of E
priest Stephen Crabtree, 59, has been jailed for three years for
sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
According to this
report, Allison was the principal and one of just two teachers at
the Mountain View Christian School that has just a dozen students. He is
charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl and her
classmate, aged 11, who came forward during the investigation.
Prosecutors say that Allison even claimed that one of the young
girls had “asked for it”.
His wife, Judy, who is not under investigation, was the school’s sole
The school’s website has since been suspended, but a cached version
shows it billed itself as one:
Committed to providing quality education in a Christ-filled
The Mountain View Christian School family exists to show children
Jesus, nurture their love for Him and others, teach them to think,
and empower them to serve. We believe that true education develops
the spiritual, mental, and physical powers of each student.
In a conversation with police, which was videotaped after his arrest,
Allison allegedly confessed to touching the girls over their clothing
and “digitally penetrating” one of them while the class was studying. He
also allegedly confessed to making the 11-year-old touch his genitals
and let him place his penis in her mouth.
Allison is charged with 12 counts of child molestation and child rape.
The judge set Allison’s bond at $100,000.
Meanwhile, it is reported here
that Crabtree was allowed to continue ministering for over a decade,
despite having confessed to his bishop.
Crabtree formed an “inappropriate relationship” with a 15-year-old girl
between 1992-1993 after the breakdown of his marriage.
He admitted six charges of indecent assault and was jailed for three
years, and placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Lincoln Crown court heard the victim told the Bishop of Grimsby in
2000. The Rt Rev David Rossdale then met with Crabtree but no further
action was taken.
He met with Rossdale again in 2008, where he confessed to the sexual
assault again, expressing remorse. Again, nothing further was done.
Crabtree continued in his role in the church, by this time as rector of
the parish of Washingborough and chair of governors at the local primary
school, until 2014 without any further investigations.
Details of both meetings were kept on record in the Diocese of Lincoln,
but it was not until the appointment of a new safeguarding officer that
anything was done.
The officer conducted a review of historic complaints, leading to the
victim being contacted and details of the complaint forwarded to police.
This led to Crabtree’s arrest.
Judge Michael Heath expressed concern that the Church failed to contact
police when they heard about the incidents.
The case is currently the subject of a Church of England inquiry and
the current Bishop of Lincoln, Rt Rev Christopher Lowson, has issued an
The child had every right to expect to be safe in his company,
and the devastating effects of his crime were compounded by the
position of trust he held at the time.
I am very sorry indeed that it has taken so long for proper
justice to be served. I struggle to imagine the impact that such a
serious crime has had on the life of the survivor of Crabtree’s
abuse and on the survivor’s family.
I wish to pay tribute to their enormous courage and
determination, and I hope that today they begin to feel that justice
has been served.
Shehada Khalil Issa, 69, has been charged with one count of
premeditated murder as a hate crime. Police are still investigating
the death of Amir Issa’s mother, who was also found dead in the family
The dead man was a devout Christian who was a member of the Seventh
Day Adventist Church, which is set to benefit from his death.
Below is an extract from a lengthy post he placed on Facebook on
March 19, complaining about “inhumane treatment” by his family.
The man’s father told police he shot his son in self-defence, after
finding his wife’s dead body in his home in LA’s North Hills area.
According to Detective John Doerbecker:
He claimed [the son] was armed with a knife, and there was no
knife to be found [there].
On 1 April the LA County district attorney’s office said Issa had
previously threatened to kill his son because he was a homosexual. In
a statement, the DA’s officer accused Issa of intentionally firing “a
shotgun, which caused great bodily injury and death” and that “murder
was committed because of the victim’s sexual orientation”.
According to the DA’s office, LA police went to Issa’s home after a
series of emergency calls had been made. There, officers discovered
Amir’s body outside the property and his mother, dead, inside the
Doerbecker also said that Amir had vandalised Issa’s home, and that
Issa and his wife were in the process of evicting their son.
report adds that Amir Issa’s Facebook page also included a video
where he speaks with two people he says are his parents and argues
with them about his sexuality, demanding to know if they had ever had
At points during the video his presumed father calls him a pervert
and says he should be castrated.
Los Angeles County jail records indicate Shehada Khalil Issa is
currently in custody pending a $2,000,000 bail.
The FBI recorded that there were 1,302 “anti-gay hate crimes”
directed at men during 2013 in the US. That year the New York
Anti-Violence Project (AVP), an advocacy and support group for the US
LGBT community, recorded 18 anti-gay homicides.
In an open letter published on March 1, 2015, AVP said it had
recorded 14 homophobic murders during the first two months of that
year. Official hate crime statistics from the FBI for 2014 and 2015
have not been released at this time.
Muslim jailed for keeping his wife in a state of slavery
Added April 4, 2016
In what is believed to be the first trial of its kind in
Britain, Safraz Ahmed, 34, above, pleaded guilty to keeping his
wife, Sumara Iram, in domestic servitude, subjecting her to
‘violence, intimidation, aggression and misery’.
According to this
report, Ahmed was jailed for two years and was given an additional
eight-month sentence for assault causing actual bodily harm for breaking
her nose. The sentences will run concurrently, meaning he could be free
within 12 months – less than half the time that Iram lived under his
Prosecutors and police said they hoped the case of Ahmed, a mechanic
from south London who abused, demeaned and taunted Sumara Iram over a
two-year period, could see more potential victims come forward.
Ahmed subjected Iram to “physical and mental torture” after she came to
the UK from Pakistan in late 2012 for an arranged marriage into which
she entered willingly and with initially high hopes, Woolwich crown
court was told. She came from a well-educated, liberal background, the
Ahmed struck his wife, threw tins of cat food at her, sent streams of
abusive and demeaning text messages, and once told her to jump in front
of a vehicle or into a river, the judge, Christopher Hehir, was told.
In her victim impact statement, Iram said:
Because the beatings happened regularly and for such small things
I felt worthless. I was not allowed to do what I wanted to do, I was
never allowed to step out of the house alone and I was not allowed
to make friends, which means I was never allowed to socialise; I
felt like their prisoner.
I cooked, I cleaned, I washed, I ironed, looked after other
people’s children and when things were not to the liking of the
family I was punished by beatings. I felt that there was only one
purpose of my life and that was to serve this family.
Said Damaris Lakin, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service:
This is a ground-breaking case which demonstrates how far we have
come in tackling modern-day slavery. We believe this is the first
conviction in England and Wales of a husband for holding his wife in
Lakin added that prosecutors were:
Committed to working with the police and other partner agencies
to bring the perpetrators of modern day slavery to justice and
support victims to help them through the prosecution process and
beyond in the hope that they can rebuild their lives.
Outlining the prosecution case, Caroline Haughey said the pair had
married in Pakistan in 2006 when Iram, now 29, was a teenager. After a
delay caused by her studies and visa issues she flew to London in late
An harmonious household where she was an equal.
Told her he had married her so she could look after his mother
and his home.
Haughey described the physical and mental abuse Ahmed meted out, which
she said had left Iram, who has an MA in Islamic studies, with
post-traumatic stress disorder. She was forced to cook, clean and carry
out other domestic duties in days often lasting from 5am to midnight.
It was an atmosphere of fear, constantly punctuated by violence.
Ahmed had once hit his wife for, as he viewed it, failing to tend
properly to his sister, the court heard. If the family told her to
“stand on one leg” she should do it without question, she said.
Iram came to police attention in February 2014 after neighbours saw her
outside the family home in just a dress and flip-flops, before her
husband dragged her back inside by her hair.
Officers realised she had a broken nose and black eye and arrested
Ahmed, but they released him the next day when Iram signed a document
asking for him to be freed, saying she was not under pressure.
Following the conviction police accepted they could have removed Iram
then, sparing her another 18 months with her husband.
DS Pal Singh of the Metropolitan police said:
There are always lesson that the police can learn to improve
their practices. With the benefit of hindsight, this case could have
perhaps been better placed for the victim if it had started in
February 2014, when she first came to police attention.
She eventually left the house in August 2015 after an incident where
she tried to kill herself. She phoned the police, who persuaded her to
go to a refuge.
Polly Harrar, the founder of the Sharan Project, which helps victims of
forced marriages from south Asian communities, said the conviction
suggested there were large numbers of victims living similarly
restricted lives in the UK.
This case will open the door to more prosecutions. This woman was
restricted in terms of going outside the home. She was brought here
to be a slave in effect. This is just the tip of an iceberg. We have
dealt with many similar cases. This case is really good for raising
awareness of the problem.
Offering mitigation for Ahmed, Cathy Ryan said he changed his mind
during the gap between their marriage in Pakistan and her arrival in the
UK. He was frustrated at the marriage, Ryan said, adding:
It’s right to say that Sumara bore the brunt of this frustration.
Singh, who led the investigation after Iram finally fled the family
home in Charlton, south-east London, said it was likely many more such
cases existed, and appealed for victims to contact police.
We can help, and as the judge said today, the courts do not
accept cultural differences for offending. Neither should the
Police have asked the media to not print images of her lest she face
Most atheistic countries
Added April 3, 2016
For the first time ever, Norway now has more people who do not believe in God than do - with
39 per cent of atheists versus 37 per cent of believers.
China has by far the highest percentage - and even then not quite
half - of convinced atheists out of all the world's countries.
According to Win/Gallup, between 40 and 49.9 per cent of Chinese people
identify as having no agnostic tendency when it comes to believing in a
One of the country's oldest philosophical worldviews, Confucianism, is
also noteable for its lack of a belief in a supernatural deity.
Hijab wearers are like
‘negroes who accepted slavery’
Added April 2, 2016
France’s women’s rights minister Laurence Rossignol, above,
is at the centre of row for comparing Muslim women who choose to
wear the headscarf to ‘negroes who accepted slavery’.
Rossignol, according to the BBC,
appeared on French TV criticising fashion brands that market
shariah-compliant clothing as “irresponsible”.
She later said using the word “negro” had been a mistake, but
insisted she had only used it in connection with the works of an 18th
century thinker, Baron de Montesquieu.
But Rossignol, a founder of the French anti-racism group SOS Racisme,
admitted that she had not foreseen the wider reaction and said the
word should not be used:
Even when it is authorised in reference to slavery.
Thousands have signed a
petition for her to resign. According to the Guardian,
the petition reads:
It is with anger and exasperation that we have been once again
confronted with the verbal violence of a political leader. Asked
about the false debate on ‘Islamic fashion’ she came out with
scandalous propositions that feed the confusion and stigmatisation
of Muslim women and the millions of transported slaves.
The headscarf has long been a vexed issue in France, which defines
itself as a secular society.
France has banned both teachers and pupils from wearing the headscarf
in state schools, and public servants are also prohibited from wearing
It has also banned the full face veil, known as the niqab, under
legislation that says nobody in a public space can wear clothing
intended to conceal the face.
On social media, some posters said Rossignol’s comments amounted to
“state racism”, while others expressed surprise that arguments were
still raging over what women choose to wear.
Rossignol had been appearing on BFMTV to discuss the growing Islamic
fashion market (in French), worth about $230bn according to some
She said the growing influence of a hard-line or “salafist” version
of Islam in some communities in France meant that women were being
seen less and less frequently on the street and in cafes.
Developing Islamic fashion products for the Western market was
“irresponsible”, she said, because it puts Muslim women
In a position where they have to wear it.
As the row grew, a former French fashion mogul, Pierre Berge, lent
the embattled French minister his support.
Berge told Europe 1 radio station that brands developing clothing
aimed at Muslim women were taking part in:
The enslavement of women.
He said fashion existed to “give women their freedom”, not to
collaborate with a “dictatorship” that sought to:
Hide women and make them live a hidden life. Renounce the
money and have some principles.
has ancient roots and is not ‘modern invention’
Added April 1, 2016
Atheism is not a modern invention from the western Enlightenment, but
actually dates back to the ancient world, according to a new book by a
Cambridge academic – which challenges the assumption that humanity is
naturally predisposed to believe in gods.
In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh, professor of Greek culture at
Cambridge University, lays out a series of examples showing that atheism
existed in polytheistic ancient Greece. It is, according to its author,
partly “an attempt to excavate ancient atheism from underneath the rubble
heaped on it by millennia of Christian opprobrium”.
Early atheists were making what seem to be universal objections about the
paradoxical nature of religion. Disbelief in the supernatural is as old as
the hills. It is only through profound ignorance of the classical
tradition that anyone ever believed that 18th-century Europeans were the
first to battle the gods.
“We tend to see atheism as an idea that has only recently emerged in
secular western societies. The rhetoric used to describe it is
hyper-modern. In fact, early societies were far more capable than many
since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered
normal,” said Whitmarsh.
“Rather than making judgments based
on scientific reason, these early atheists were making what seem to be
universal objections about the paradoxical nature of religion – the
fact that it asks you to accept things that aren’t intuitively there
in your world. The fact that this was happening thousands of years ago
suggests that forms of disbelief can exist in all cultures, and
probably always have.”
In the fourth century BC, he points to Plato, as the philosopher imagines
a believer chastising an atheist:
“You and your friends are not the
first to have held this view about the gods! There are always those
who suffer from this illness, in greater or lesser numbers.”
“We may balk at his disease
“but Plato was surely right in his
general point. There have been many throughout history and across all
cultures who have resisted belief in the divine.”
Because you disbelieved things that are not unbelievable, your name from
now on shall be Disbeliever (Apistos)
The god Asclepius, to a man who mocked miracle cures
These range from Carneades, head of the Platonic academy in the second
century BC, who argued that
“belief in gods is illogical”,
to the Epicureans, who were often called atheoi in antiquity, and the
atheistic writings of Xenophanes of Colophon.
Whitmarsh argues that the diversity of ancient Greece’s polytheistic
societies meant there was no such thing as religious orthodoxy, and no
clergy laying out how people should live. This meant, he said, that while
atheism could be viewed as mistaken, it was usually tolerated – although
not in the case of Socrates, who was executed in Athens for “not
recognising the gods of the city.
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Elämänkatsomustieto on eräs lukion reaaliaineista. Elämänkatsomustiedon
ainereaalissa kokelas valitsee vastattavakseen kuusi kysymystä
Reaaliaineiden sijoittuminen koepäivien kesken: Samana koepäivänä
järjestetään evankelis-luterilaisen uskonnon, ortodoksisen isen
uskonnon, elämänkatsomustiedon, yhteiskuntaopin, kemian, maantieteen ja
Suomen Ateistiyhdistys ry. kannattaa kaikkien mielipideaineiden
poistamista kouluista. Erityisesti oman uskonnon opetus on
Suomen ateistiyhdistys vastustaa kuitenkin jyrkästi kaikille
yhteiseen "elämänkatsomustiedon" opetukseen siirtymistä lukioissa. Se
merkitsisi Ruotsin mallin mukaista uskonnon opetusta eli sitä, mitä
Kulosaaren yhteiskoulussa nyt opetetaan.
Kulosaaren yhteiskoulun kaikille pakollisen opetussuunnitelman löydät
Koska peruskoulun järkeistäminen on Suomen äärivanhoillisessa
mielipideilmastossa mahdotonta, ehdotamme että järkeistäminen
Kun oman uskonnon tai elämänkatsomustiedon opetusta on peruskoulussa
9 vuotta, on kohtuutonta, että sitä on lukiossa.
Koska lukion elämänkatsomustiedon opetus oli aikoinaan filosofian
opetusta ja nykyään huuhaata, ehdotamme, että oma uskonto ja
elämänkatsomustieto poistetaan lukiosta ja muutetaan filosofian
opetusta niin, että lukioissa filosofian nykyiset kurssit 2, 3 ja 4
ovat pakollisia. Samalla on päätettävä, että näiden kurssien sisältöjä
ei muuteta lisäämällä niihin uskontotietoa.
Koska lukioissa on paljon evankelis-luterilaisia uskonnonopettajia,
ehdotan, että heitä varten luodaan lakkautuspalkkajärjestelmä
siirtymisajaksi. Vastaavasti teologikoulutusta vähennetään niin, että
lukioiden evankelis-luterilaisen uskonnon opettajat voivat siirtyä
joustavasti evankelisluterilaisen kirkon tehtäviin.
Nykyisin pätevät elämänkatsomustiedon opettajat katsottakoon
päteviksi lukion filosofian opettajiksi.
Siirtymäajaksi myös opettajakoulutusta vailla olevat, joilla on
yliopistossa suorittettu vähintään keskimmäinen oppimäärä
filosofiassa, katsottakoon päteviksi lukion filosofian opettajiksi.
Lakkautuspalkka lisää menoja, mutta teologikoulutuksen keskeyttäminen
Kun joukko teologian professoreja joutuu lomautetuiksi, tämä on vain
osoitus siitä, että kansalaisia lomautetaan tasapuolisesti kaikissa
Todellisiä hyötyjiä ovat lukiolaiset.
Mainittakoon, että ylempää löytyvät täysin ilmaiset lukion filosofian