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30th September   

Updated: Get Off My Land and Find God!...

Farmer censors Rihanna in topless/bikini shoot for a music video
Link Here

Only Girl In The World Farmer Alan Graham was so 'shocked' to see Rihanna in his barley field wearing a red bikini or less that he pulled up his tractor, objected to her inappropriate state of undress and called a swift halt to proceedings.

While a meeting with Rihanna would be the stuff of dreams for most red-blooded males, Graham instructed her to brush up on her Bible reading before sending her on her way. He said:

If someone wants to borrow my field and things become inappropriate, then I say, 'Enough is enough'. I felt Rihanna was in more of a state of undress than a bikini top.

And indeed one photograph of the shoot appeared to show her topless.

Graham, a devout Christian, thought it time to impart some advice: I had a conversation with Rihanna and I hope she understands where I'm coming from. Everybody needs to be acquainted with God and to consider his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his death and Resurrection.

The Democratic Unionist Party alderman for North Down Borough Council had given permission for the filming on his 60 acres of land in Clandeboye, outside Bangor.

Offsite Comment: Looney has a knock at Rihanna

30th September 2011.  See article from dailymail.co.uk by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

As a liberal [oh yeah!] and a Muslim who lives in London, I confess it is unlikely I would have much in common with farmer Graham, with his faith or his politics. It is possible I wouldn't even like the man much.

But that's not the point. I hugely admire what he did. In his small, humble way, this farmer demonstrated a kind of strength and conviction that used to be commonplace in society, and which, to our shame, has almost disappeared. He had the chance to make a tidy sum of money from one of the most successful pop singers on the planet, but was not prepared to sell out his principles for a fat cheque from anyone, however famous or important they might be.

Instead, Mr Graham made a brave stand against two of the worst excesses of modern life: the sexualisation of society and our celebrity culture. Rihanna is a good singer and performer, but that is not enough for the mindless followers of popular culture.

So she acts out the semi-pornographic and self-demeaning behaviour that is expected of so many female celebrities today; behaviour the music industry cynically tries to pass off as stylish.

The truth is the pop world has become a contaminated landscape where young women, even those born with exceptional talents, act suggestively to sell records and encourage their worship by fans.

...

Why is it that the national conversation about the degradation of our natural world and physical environment is considered so respectable and urgent, while anyone who questions the degradation of our moral and social environment is treated like a leper or a lunatic?

...Read the full article

 

30th September   

Updated: A Miserable Voice...

Stephen Green has a whinge at LoveHoney's first TV advert for a sex toy store
Link Here

lovehoney tv advert Having watched Lovehoney's teaser ad, I'd say that if people's sexual happiness depends on buying Lovehoney's products then they might be better looking for a psychological or spiritual remedy first.

Many of us have given up on regulators like Ofcom, where the politically-correct liberal agenda rules OK. I cannot remember the last time they upheld a complaint over morality or decency.

[...err how about yesterday when Ofcom whinged at 50 Cent's music video with a trio of topless ladies].

Some will say that the adverts should be shown after the so-called watershed but I am not convinced that the watershed is either observed or that it is logically defensible.

Surely if children shouldn't be viewing sexual images because they are corrupt and corrupting then adults are compromising themselves as well. Since when did a need to watch or read pornography or listen to bad language become a mark of being an adult? Just as surely as good art exalts, evil art debases.

Pornography and brutality have no place in the culture of a vibrant society, and every civilisation which has exalted sex as we are doing today has been one in its death throes.

...Read the full article

Comment: More Nutter Comments

30th September 2011. See article from dailymail.co.uk

family education trust logoDirector of the Family Education Trust, Norman Wells, condemned the decision to allow the adverts, saying:

Sex is an intimate expression of lifelong commitment between a man and a woman, not a commodity to be advertised and sold like washing powder or a mobile phone.

Sexual intimacy belongs in private and is cheapened when it is paraded on television and used as a tool to entice viewers to visit and make purchases from an online shop.

Many viewers will find this advert very distasteful, not because they are prudes who disapprove of sex, but because it divorces sex from its proper context and further adds to the sexualisation of society with all its damaging consequences.

Comment: And on a Brighter Note

30th September 2011. See article from dailymail.co.uk

LoveHoney has a relationship with sex therapist Tracey Cox, who sells a range of products through the site. She said the commercial was tame in comparison to the music videos which appear regularly on daytime TV. She said:

If you look at the ad and compare it to any music video clip -- like Rihanna for example -- this is pre-school. What they get away with in music videos is crazy

One in two marriages is failing and a way of dealing with that is to use sex toys. We should be encouraging it.'

 

30th September   

Update: Violent Intolerance...

Terrorist bomb attack kills at least one Indonesian churchgoer
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Indonesia...Muslim group targeting Indonesian churches

burning churchAt least one person has been killed and several injured by a suicide bombing at a church in Central Java, Indonesia.

Witnesses said the terrorist struck as people were leaving the Bethel Injil Sepuluh church in Keputon, Solo after a Sunday service.

Militant Islamic groups have carried out a number of deadly attacks in recent years.

Indonesia's security minister Djoko Suyanto said two people had been killed - one at the church and one who died of their injuries in hospital. It is unclear if the two included the bomber.  Earlier, Suyanto told El Shinta radio that nothing could justify the inhuman attack: It is the task of everybody to overcome this act of terrorism .

A hospital official said 20 people had been injured, three seriously, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Update: Another Bomb

1st October 2011. See article from christianpost.com

The day after the suicide bomb attack wounded 28 at a church in Indonesia, affiliated with Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback megachurch, explosives were found in front of another church in a different district, exposing the magnitude of the threat to minority Christians.

This is in a series of bombs that we found there [in Ambon], the Jakarta Globe newspaper quoted National Police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam as saying. All are homemade bombs, they are all similar. So the maker is the same.

Ambon Island in East Indonesia has been religiously tense since Sept. 11 when a clash between Muslims and Christians erupted over rumors that a Muslim motorcycle taxi driver who suffered a fatal traffic accident was killed by Christians. The ensuing violence left at least eight people, three Christians and five Muslims, dead.

It is being suspected that Sunday's attack on the church in Central Java was an act of revenge for the latest spate of violence in Ambon, which has witnessed several deadly sectarian clashes for over a decade. Over 9,000 people have died in those clashes.

 

30th September   

Update: Having Trouble Spelling 'Civilised'...

Nasty blasphemy accusations in Pakistan over a schoolgirl spelling mistake
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

Pakistan flagA teenage Pakistani Christian girl who misspelt a word while answering a question on a poem written in praise of Mohammed was accused of blasphemy and expelled from school.

Faryal Bhatti, an eighth grade student at Sir Syed Girls' High School near Abbottabad, misspelt the word in an Urdu examination. She misspelt the word naat (hymn) as laanat (curse). This was an easy error for a child to make as the written versions of the words are similar, the Express Tribune daily reported.

The error led to accusations of blasphemy against Bhatti and uproar among local religious leaders.

According to the school's administration and religious leaders who took exception to the student's mistake, the error was serious enough to fall within the realm of blasphemy.

Bhatti's Urdu teacher Fareeda Bibi noticed the error while collecting answer sheets from her students. She reportedly summoned Bhatti, scolded her and beat her.

When Bhatti's classmates learnt of the alleged blasphemy, the teacher brought the matter to the notice of the principal, who in turn informed the school's management.

The news also spread through the Pakistan Ordnance Factories colony. The next day, male students of the school and some religious leaders organised a rally and demanded the registration of a criminal case against Bhatti and her expulsion from the area.

 

29th September   

Prayers for Cash...

Noor TV asked to donate 75,000 to Ofcom in return for the chance of continued business health
Link Here

noor tv logoOfcom has imposed a statutory sanction of £ 75,000  on Al Ehya Digital Television Ltd ( the Licensee ) in respect of its service Noor TV.

Noor TV is a general entertainment and Islamic education channel broadcast on the Sky platform. The channel is aimed at Muslims living in Europe.

Saturday Night Special was a programme which mainly consisted of a presenter taking calls from viewers who donated money to the channel in return for prayers for themselves or for their relatives.

Ofcom had previously found the programme had breached the following Code rules:

  • 2.1: (generally accepted standards)
  • 2.2: (materially misleading)
  • 4.6: (the exploitation of susceptibilities of the audience by religious programmes)
  • 10.3: (promotion of products and services)
  • 10.15: (appeals for funds)

Ofcom considered that the inducements which were made in this programme, i.e. the receipt of a special gift for a donation of £1,000, and the offer of a prayer that would improve the donor's health, wealth, success or good fortune carried the risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been persuaded to donate money to Noor TV when they would not otherwise have done so. In particular, the appeal focused heavily on religious beliefs, which Ofcom considered had created an additional risk that susceptible viewers would have been more likely to make donations than they otherwise would have done.

Ofcom was also extremely concerned that although viewers were told that their donations were for the purpose of funding Noor TV's programming, the funds donated via the Mohiuddin Trust website, were not in fact received by Noor TV and therefore were not used for their stated purpose.

 

29th September   

Update: Dangerous Words...

Turkish cartoonist on trial for a cartoon with hidden comment denying the existence of Allah
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Turkey...Blasphemy repressing Turkish people

turkish dangerous cartoonA Turkish cartoonist will be put on trial for a caricature he drew in which he renounced god, daily Haberturkreported .

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office charged cartoonist Bahadir Baruter with insulting the religious values adopted by a part of the population and requested his imprisonment for up to one year.

Baruter's caricature depicted an imam and believers praying in a mosque. One of the characters is talking to God on his cellphone and asking to be pardoned from the last part of the prayer because he has errands to run.

Within the circled wall decorations of the mosque, Baruter hid the words, There is no Allah, religion is a lie.

The cartoon was published in the weekly Penguen humor magazine.

Turkish Religous Affairs and Foundation Members' Union and some citizens filed complaints against Baruter.

 

29th September   

School Lesson in Easy Offence...

Simon Wiesenthal Center overreacts to naive Nazi parade at Thai school
Link Here

thai naziA Jewish campaign organization has called for Thailand's Christian leaders to condemn a parade at the Sacred Heart School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in which participating students wearing Nazi uniforms performed Sieg Heil salutes.

Parade participants carried a Swastika flag, performed Nazi salutes and donned SS uniforms, while others dressed as Adolf Hitler complete with moustache.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, based in Los Angeles, denounced the event, claiming it was glorifying Nazis. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the images made it clear that the event could not have taken place without the knowledge and cooperation of the school administration:

It is difficult to calculate the hurt such a display inflicted on survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and the families of all victims of Nazism. There can be no justification for such an outrage to emanate from place of learning.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged those responsible for the school to take immediate action against the individuals who promoted and facilitated the event.

A school director apologised: We, the entire Sacred Heart School [personnel] are deeply saddened by this incident, and explained that the sports day activity involved groups being differentiated by colors, the Red group having used Nazi symbols.

Nazi Germany is not well covered in the Thai school syllabus and it is very unlikely that any of the participants understood much about the significance of their regalia.

 

29th September   

Updated: Driven to Despair...

Repression of women taken to extremes in Saudi
Link Here  full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves

floggingA court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a woman to 10 lashes for breaking the country's ban on female drivers.

The woman, identified only as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July.

Women2drive, which campaigns for women to be allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, says she has already lodged an appeal.

Two other women are due to appear in court later this year on similar charges.

Update: Revoked

29th September 2011. Based on article from washingtonpost.com

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has revoked a sentence of 10 lashes given to a Saudi woman for driving her car.

The news came in a tweet from Princess Amira Al Taweel, wife of the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who wrote: Thank God, the lashing of Sheima is cancelled.

Arab news channel Al Arabiya confirmed that the sentence had been revoked, but no official statement from the government or royal court has been released.

 

29th September   

Offsite: At Least they were Warned...

Doctor's surgery warned that patients would be regaled with religious nonsense
Link Here  full story: Religion on the NHS...Medical practictioners talk religion with patients

cross and stephoscope There's something wearying about the seemingly endless procession of religious discrimination cases coming before courts and employment tribunals. But the case of Dr Richard Scott, currently being heard by the General Medical Council, is really a remarkable one. The accusation against the Margate GP is that he inappropriately discussed religion with a patient, a vulnerable and depressed 24-year old. To be more specific, having first gained the patient's consent to broach the topic, he explained that Christianity might be of greater benefit than the religion (unspecified) to which the patient currently adheres. Becoming a Christian, it was implied, might help him get better.

Dr Scott can at least not be accused of springing Christianity on his patients without due warning. He belongs to a Christian-oriented practice, the Bethesda Medical Centre in Margate. Until recently, the official NHS website carried a profile of the surgery which stated:

The 6 Partners are all practising Christians from a variety of Churches and their faith guides the way in which they view their work and responsibilities to the patients and employees. The Partners feel that the offer of talking to you on spiritual matters is of great benefit. If you do not wish this, that is your right and will not affect your medical care. Please tell the doctor (or drop a note to the Practice Manager) if you do not wish to speak on matters of faith.

...Read the full article

 

28th September   

Get Off My Land and Find God!...

Farmer censors Rihanna in topless/bikini shoot for a music video
Link Here

Only Girl In The World Farmer Alan Graham was so 'shocked' to see Rihanna in his barley field wearing a red bikini or less that he pulled up his tractor, objected to her inappropriate state of undress and called a swift halt to proceedings.

While a meeting with Rihanna would be the stuff of dreams for most red-blooded males, Graham instructed her to brush up on her Bible reading before sending her on her way. He said:

If someone wants to borrow my field and things become inappropriate, then I say, 'Enough is enough'. I felt Rihanna was in more of a state of undress than a bikini top.

And indeed one photograph of the shoot appeared to show her topless.

Graham, a devout Christian, thought it time to impart some advice: I had a conversation with Rihanna and I hope she understands where I'm coming from. Everybody needs to be acquainted with God and to consider his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and his death and Resurrection.

The Democratic Unionist Party alderman for North Down Borough Council had given permission for the filming on his 60 acres of land in Clandeboye, outside Bangor.

 

28th September   

Update: Witch Hunt in Lebanon...

Eight charged with witchcraft
Link Here  full story: Witch Hunts...Witches still hunted even in modern times

Lebanon flagMilitary Judge Saqr Saqr charged eight members of a supposed devil worship group with blasphemy.

Their case has been referred to Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghida who will interrogate them.

Despite it being a potential criminal offense, there is little known, though no shortage of rumors, about devil worship and Satanism in Lebanon. In 2003, more than 50 individuals were arrested on similar charges. Only a handful were ever convicted.

 

27th September   

Update: Cover Charge?...

Women fined for wearing burkhas in public in France
Link Here

France flagTwo French women who continue to wear the full-face veil in defiance of a new law banning it in France have been fined 150 euros each by a court.

Hind Amas and Kenza Drider were caught wearing the niqab in public outside Meaux town hall, eastern Paris, in May.

They become the first of 91 women stopped by French police to be handed the 150-euro ( £ 130) fine.

The women say they will appeal against their punishment the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

 

26th September   

Update: Child Beating...

Religious book on the subject of chastising children cleared by New Zealand censor
Link Here  full story: To Train Up a Child...Religious book advocating beating children
Train Up Child Michael Pearl A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair has been submitted to the New Zealand book censor.

The Censorship Compliance Unit assessed the book, written by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, and decided not to ban or restrict it.

A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which the office and unit belong to, said while the book was contrary to section 59 of the Crimes Act, which stated a parent or guardian could not use any force on a child for the purpose of correction , that wasn't sufficient reason to justify restricting or banning the 20-year-old book.

The complainant could, however, ask that the Office of Film and Literature Classification also investigate the book's content.

To Train Up A Child courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed its instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.

 

25th September   

Update: You Can't Do That!...

Police threaten to prosecute christians for anti-gay insults
Link Here  full story: Religious Gay Discrimination...Hotelier denies double room to gays

WatchWORD Testament Contemporary English Version Another story that repeats and confirms that freedom of speech has been overruled by police and political correctness. And in cases of conflicting views, the police resolve issues by siding with those that shout loudest.

The pattern

  1. Religious people feel that they have a god given right to berate gays and promote historic nonsense that is insulting to gay people
  2. Someone is inevitably easily offended by the insults.
  3. The police immediately take sides with complainants, regardless of other considerations such as human rights, tolerance and people just trying to get by.
  4. The police ignore the parliamentary legislation that was intended to arbitrate in exactly this conflict of interest.
  5. Instead, police fall back on the corrupted and abused 'Public Order Act' that now criminalises minor insult.
  6. Religious people are left feeling aggrieved, due to the bullying police and authorities, for the insults that could easily just have been left ignored.

Police tell cafe owner: Stop showing Bible DVDs, or we will have to arrest you

See article from dailymail.co.uk

Jamie Murray was warned by two police officers to stop playing DVDs of the New Testament in his cafe following a complaint from a customer that it was inciting hatred against homosexuals.

Murray was left shocked after he was questioned for nearly an hour by the officers, who arrived unannounced at the premises. He said he had turned off the Bible DVD after an aggressive inquisition during which he thought he was going to be arrested and frog-marched out of the cafe like a criminal .

The Salt and Light cafe in Blackpool has for years repeatedly played the entire 26-hour-long Watchword Bible , a 15-DVD set produced in America in which a narrator reads the whole of the New Testament, on a small flatscreen TV on the back wall. The sound is turned down but the words flash on to the screen against a series of images.

Murray said he had been given no indication of who had complained or which verses of the New Testament had caused the offence, but he guessed it may have been a reaction to the Book Of Romans that had been playing the week before. The Book takes the form of a letter from the apostle Paul to the people of Rome, in which he rails against all manner of godlessness.

In verses 26-28 of Chapter One he says:

God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural.

Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish

Lancashire Police said they had received a complaint from a female customer who was deeply offended by the words she had seen on the screen. A spokesman said they were duty bound to respond to the complaint and had concluded the cafe could be in breach of Section 29E of the Public Order Act.

...Read the full article

Update: Apologised

6th October 2011. Based on article from bbc.co.uk

Lancashire Police said it had to act on complaints but has now apologised for their misinterpretation of public order law.

[Why are complainants automatically considered above everyone else. Is it British law that those who shout loudest get their way].

A force statement said: It appears that the officer has misinterpreted the Public Order Act and we have apologised to the cafe owner for any distress we may have caused.

Street Preacher In Court After Telling Gay Couple That They Will Rot In Hell'

See article from mag.bent.com

A preacher has appeared in court after shouting in the street at two gay men and telling them that they would rot in hell.

Street preacher Michael Overd was apparently spreading the word of the lord in Taunton when he saw couple Craig Manning and Craig Nicholl approach. Overd is alleged to have told the couple that homosexuality is a sin and that they were evil people and would burn in hell.'

Overd is charged with two counts of a public order offences. He is on unconditional bail and is due to go to trial on February 9 2012.

...Read the full article

 

25th September   

On Yer Bike...

Malaysian film censors re-clear comedy ghost film accused of insulting islam
Link Here

hantu boncengMalaysian censors have cleared the hit comedy-horror Hantu Bonceng . They were called on to re-evaluate the film after complaints from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

The PAS had claimed that the film, which was released in 80 theatres on 31 Aug, contained elements that insulted Islam.

Directed by Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, the film is about a man haunted by the ghost of a woman killed when riding on his motor bike.

The film was approved by the Malaysian Censorship Board without cuts before release, but the PAS complaints caused the Malaysian Islamic Development Board (Jakim) to take another look. After review, the board said that the film's dialogue was not insulting to islam.

The censor board chairman Raja Azhar Raja Abdul Manap said that censors weigh up all films according to four criteria: public security and order; religion; socio-cultural aspects; ethics and etiquette.

 

25th September   

Update: In the Year 2011 PC...

BBC changes the way it refers to years previously tagged AD or BC
Link Here  full story: Politically Correct Common Era...Calender terms AD and PC become CE and BCE
judge dredd 2000ad

  Don't mess with my heritage!

The BBC has replaced the familiar Anno Domini (the year of Our Lord) and Before Christ with the terms Common Era and Before Common Era.

Some of the BBC's programmes, including University Challenge and Radio 4's In Our Time , are among the shows using the new descriptions.

The BBC's religious and ethics department claims the changes are necessary to avoid 'offending' non-Christians. It states:

As the BBC is committed to impartiality it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians.

In line with modern practice, BCE/CE (Before Common Era/Common Era) are used as a religiously neutral alternative to BC/AD.

Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, said:

I think this amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history. These changes are unnecessary and they don't achieve what the BBC wants them to achieve. Whether you use Common Era or Anno Domini, the date is actually still the same and the reference point is still the birth of Christ.

Several of the BBC's most well-known presenters said they saw no problem with the established system of AD and BC. John Humphrys, who presents Radio 4's Today programme and TV's Mastermind, said: I will continue to use AD and BC because I don't see a problem.

The BBC said:

The BBC has not issued editorial guidance on the date systems.

Both AD and BC, and CE and BCE are widely accepted date systems and the decision on which term to use lies with individual production and editorial teams.

 

25th September   

Love Thy Neighbour...

And for a change...violent religious intolerance in Mexico
Link Here

Mexico flagAbout 70 Protestant Christians lived in the village of San Rafael Tlanalapan, Puebla state, Mexico...until Sept. 12, when they faced a frightening ultimatum -- leave immediately or be crucified or lynched.

Traditionalist Catholics in the village, near the municipality of San Marti'n Texmelucan about 60 miles from Mexico City, reportedly threatened to burn down or otherwise destroy their homes.

The Protestants left.

Tensions reached a crisis level two weeks ago, when local priest Ascension Benitez Gonzalez reportedly said in a Sept. 4 sermon that his parishioners should pressure the Protestants to leave for good. Although their number has grown to 70, the evangelical Protestants have been allowed no place of worship.

On Sept. 7, the village's assistant president, Antonio Garcia Ovalle, reportedly met with the Protestants. The evangelicals promised to leave, though the 200 traditionalist Catholics present sought to beat them and expel them right then.

The evangelicals' departure date was set for Sept. 12.

 

24th September   

All Out...

Gay activists petition PayPal to close accounts of anti-gay religious groups
Link Here

all out logoGay activists have launched a petition aimed at asking PayPal, an online payment service, to stop handling donations made to a group of organizations that promote traditional family values, and which are battling the gay agenda.

The group All Out is 'demanding' that PayPal immediately suspend the online accounts of 10 mostly Christian organizations it calls anti-LGBT extremist groups.

PayPal officially states that its users 'may not use the PayPal service for activities that ... promote hate, violence, racial intolerance,' begins the petition, but PayPal has become a favorite payment service for anti-LGBT extremists all over the world. PayPal must act immediately to shut down their accounts and ban all sites that promote anti-LGBT hate.

Among the groups All Out has targeted for elimination from PayPal's client list are: Abiding Truth Ministries; Truth in Action Ministries; Last Days Watchman; Faithful Word Baptist Church; the Family Research Institute; Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; and the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property.

Thus far, claims All Out, its effort has garnered nearly 37,000 signatures in support of its campaign.

In response to the demands, PayPal said through a spokesman that while the company bans groups and individuals who promote hate and violence:

We also take into account the rights of free speech and freedom of religion. Balancing these conflicting rights is often difficult, and so we assess possible infringements objectively against our Acceptable Use Policy.

Nonetheless, as reported by LifeSiteNews.com, PayPal quickly followed up on the homosexual petition drive by contacting several of the organizations in question, asking them to explain the presence of the PayPal donation button on their websites and how they were using the donations they received through the site.

 

23rd September   

Update: Believing Any Old Nonsense...

US religious investors set to protect the London Olympics from the marauding band of trafficked sex workers
Link Here  full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated

christian brothers investment services logoUS religious organisations are gearing up to save London from the mythical hoard of 40,000 trafficked sex workers that travels the world's major sporting events.

The prime movers in the Olympic initiative are Christian Brothers Investment Services, a US fund manager that specialises in investing the money of Catholic institutions.

The project is also backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a broader US Christian coalition that speaks for investors, and, in the UK, the Church Investors Group, which encompasses the investments of the Church of England and Church of Ireland.

At the heart of their 'concerns' is the mostly mythical issue of human trafficking, which 'often' takes place for the purposes of prostitution. Major sporting or cultural events tend to bring in an influx of visitors and these periods have been linked with increases in trafficking, prostitution and sexual assault.

At last year's football World Cup in South Africa and at the US Super Bowl this year, Christian Brothers and the Interfaith Center fired off letters to publicly-quoted hotel and leisure groups asking them to detail their policies for avoiding association with this sex trafficking thing. After the South African campaign, hotel chains Hyatt, Accor, Carlson and NH Hoteles introduced training programmes for staff; and Accor, Carlson and NH signed up to an industry code of practice on countering sex trafficking.

At a meeting in Paris last week, Christian investor groups from around the world agreed to work more closely together. The London campaign will be one of their first joint initiatives. The UK and Irish churches have agreed to begin writing to UK-listed hotel groups - along similar lines to the previous South African and US campaigns.

In a statement announcing the tie-up, Richard Nunn, the chair of the Church Investors Group, said: It is important we use our voice as investors to hold companies to high ethical standards.

 

23rd September   

Out of Line...

Study shows that religious views on homosexuality are unacceptable to social media sites
Link Here

nrb logoThe National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), an organization representing the interests of Christian broadcasters and ministries, has released a report showing that social media websites are actively censoring Christian viewpoints.

According to an NRB press release, the group's study examined the practices of Apple and its iTunes App Store, Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as Internet service providers AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, The findings, said the NRB's senior vice president and general counsel, Craig Parshall, were ominous.

The NRB found that among the major players in new media, only Twitter had shied away from Christian opinions.

One of the most conspicuous examples of censorship the NRB found was that targeting viewpoints that challenged the notion that homosexuality is a normal and healthy lifestyle.

As reported by The New American, over the past year Apple has bowed to pressure from homosexual activists to pull two iPhone apps, one by Exodus International, a group that helps individuals leave the homosexual lifestyle, and another that included the text of a Christian document entitled the Manhattan Declaration, which among other things, makes a strong declaration of the sanctity of life, the scriptural view of traditional marriage, and the importance of religious liberty. The NRB study found that of the 425,000 or so apps available through Apple's iTunes App Store, only these two were taken down solely because of the viewpoints they expressed on homosexuality.

Among the other findings of the NRB study, part of its John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech:

  • Facebook has indicated that it will delete all instances of content that it considers to be anti-homosexual.
  • The Google for Non-Profits web tool includes a policy that excludes churches, ministries, and other faith groups that consider religion or sexual orientation in their hiring practices.
  • While virtually all major new media platforms ban what is generally referred to as hate speech, what that definition generally boils down to is unacceptable viewpoints on such issues as homosexuality.

 

23rd September   

Update: Cartoon Plot...

Norwegian police arrest man suspected of attempting to murder Kurt Westergaard
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Norway flagA suspect has been arrested in Norway in connection with an alleged plot to murder the Mohammed Cartoon artist.

The suspect is a well-known to police and has been previously linked to organized crime gangs with close contacts to Islamic extremists.

The suspect was detained after Norwegian intelligence discovered Kurt Westergaard was the target of an assassination plot involving automatic weapons and explosives, according to the Dagbladet daily.

Update: Charged

28th September 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

Prosecutors in Norway have charged three men with conspiracy to commit terrorism in connection with the 2005 Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy. The three are accused of planning to attack Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and the newspaper Jyllands-Posten, which published his cartoons.

They had allegedly acquired bomb components and tried to buy a gun. The three are expected to be tried next month.

 

21st September   

Divorced from Modern Life...

German court allows religious employers to inflict their nonsense rules on employees
Link Here

Germany flagCatholic-affiliated institutions have the right to fire employees for breaking church rules regarding marriage, according to a judgment issued by the Federal Labour Court in Erfurt.

The ruling came after a Catholic hospital in the west German city of Dusseldorf fired a doctor for marrying a second time. In that specific case, however, the labour court made an exception and ordered that the doctor be reinstated. In their ruling, the judges said the doctor's firing was illegitimate because the hospital had issued equal work contracts to Catholic and Protestant employees but did not fire Protestants for cases of divorce and remarriage. The hospital also failed to issue a warning to the doctor after it learned he was living with his partner outside of marriage. The judges said that the hospital weakened its case by not disciplining the doctor when he was cohabitating and by not enforcing similar rules on non-Catholic employees.

We are advised that churches in Germany are allowed to use their own rules for hiring and firing according to principles enshrined in the country's Basic Law, equivalent to a constitution. The secular courts are apparently not allowed to decide whether or not Catholic Church principles are legitimate, only if they are applied fairly and not arbitrarily.

The ruling comes a year after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a Catholic church in Essen had to reinstate an organist who started a relationship with a woman after separating from his wife, arguing that signing a work contract did not give the employer control over a person's life. German courts have ignored the ruling, arguing that the ECHR rulings only apply to German cases filed since 2006.

The near impunity of the German churches to employment law is especially serious given the 2 1/2 million (sic) employees they have in faith-based welfare.

 

20th September   

Update: Losing Facebook...

Pakistan high court orders blocking of Facebook in a long running reaction to the Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Facebook logoThe Lahore High Court has ordered Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Technology to block access to all websites in Pakistan especially American social networking website Facebook, spreading religious hatred on internet and to submit a compliance report by October 6.

The judge, however, made it clear that no search engine including Google would be blocked.

The court issued this order while hearing a petition seeking a permanent ban on the access to American social networking website Facebook for hosting competition featuring supposedly blasphemous caricatures of Mohammed.

Muhammad & Ahmad, a 'public interest' litigation firm, filed this petition for a permanent ban on access to Facebook for hosting a fresh blasphemous caricature drawing contest world over under a title 2nd Annual Draw Muhammad Day-May 20, 2011 . The petitioner pointed out that Islamic values are being derogated in the name of information that is hurting feeling of billions of Muslims. He said despite order of the court, ministry of information technology did not block websites spreading religious hatred.

 

20th September   

Update: Dark Ages...

Saudi authorities behead man found guilty of being a witch
Link Here  full story: Witch Hunts...Witches still hunted even in modern times

Photographic PILGRIMS PROGRESS Mary Evans Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Sudanese man by sword in the western city of Medina after he was convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Abdul Hamid al-Fakki practiced witchcraft and sorcery, which are illegal under Saudi Arabia's Islamic sharia law, claimed the ministry.

In October last year, Amnesty International said it had appealed to King Abdullah in a letter to commute Fakki's death sentence.

 

20th September   

Bus Botherers...

Complaints as mormons use Lancaster buses as recruiting grounds
Link Here

lancaster busLancaster bus operators, Stagecoach, have asked the Mormon church to stop its missionaries trying to convert bus passengers.

Stagecoach is taking action following complaints from passengers and drivers in Lancaster.

Rick Seymour complained to Stagecoach and said that he had been engaged by Mormons on two previous occasions while travelling on a bus, and in a letter said:

I firmly believe that the Mormon Church is using your service as a place where the public cannot escape the attempt to indoctrinate them.

Stephie Barber, operations manager for Stagecoach in Lancaster said that bus drivers had recently reported similar incidents:

We do not permit any commercial or other organisation to promote their products, services or views through direct engagement with passengers on our services.

Robert Preston, England Manchester Mission President for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, said he considered the 140 young people in the north west of England actively engaged in trying to convert people as persistent and courageous :

They will sit next to someone, and they will introduce themselves and try and have a good conversation to explain a point of view that someone might never have heard before. We do encourage this, but we would not want people to feel intimidated.

If it becomes clear that someone does not want to hear that message they should move away.

 

20th September   

Update: Rejecting the West's Core Values...

Netherlands government proposes a burkha ban
Link Here

NetherlandsWomen wearing the Islamic burqa or niqab (face veil) in public in the Netherlands may soon be subject to a maximum fine of 380 euros.

A burqa ban formed part of the minority Dutch government's programme agreed with the Freedom Party (PVV) on whose parliamentary support the cabinet relies. The PVV had actually called for a burqa ban to be punishable by higher fines and even imprisonment. It describes the garment as an expression of the rejection of the West's core values .

The senior partner in the coalition, the conservative VVD, is in favour of a general ban on people wearing clothes that cover the face including not only burqas but also balaclavas and helmets with opaque visors. On the VVD website, it is argued that people can find such clothing threatening.

 

20th September   

Update: Unappealing Intolerance...

Five Iranian christians jailed for apostasy
Link Here

Iran flagLast week, five Iranian Christians were sentenced to a total of five years in prison despite the fact that they were exonerated of all charges by a lower court. They were retried because the prosecutor had objected to the initial verdicts.

According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the Appeals Court of Fars Province has handed down a one year prison term for Behroz Sadeq Khanjani, Mohammad Belyad, Nazli Kamarian, Parviz Khalaj and Mehdi Forotan.

Mathias Hagh-Nejad who was recently released on a bail approximately equivalent to $28,000 confirmed the verdicts against these individuals and said he and two others were awaiting trial on similar charges.

 

19th September   

More Harm than Good...

Half Canadians surveyed are sceptical about the worth of religion
Link Here

Canada flagThe majority of Canadians surveyed in a new Ipsos Reid poll say religion creates more questions than answers in the search to explain life and the world around them.

In addition, half of the respondents agreed that religion does more harm than good .

We have a generation completely split on the reliability of religion. When over half a survey group claims they believe in God, and 50% declare religion only confuses things, there is a need for discussion, says Lorna Dueck, host of TV show Context with Lorna Dueck .

The survey commissioned by Context also reveals that while Canadians identify themselves as belonging to a religious faith, most have lost touch with what it means to be religious, lacking confidence to apply their beliefs to their every day lives. For example, while a slim majority of Canadians believe in God, only 13% of respondents attend a weekly church service. Interestingly, 28% of Protestants, 33% of Catholics, and 23% of those who attend weekly religious services do not believe in God.

 

18th September   

Update: Pride for Some, Scary for Others...

Apple removes database of celebrity's religion from App store in France
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

jew or not jewApple Inc has removed an app, called Jew or Not Jew? , from its online App Store in France. The app let users consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine if they are Jewish or not. The app was selling for 0.79 euro.

Its removal follows a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened to sue Apple. SOS Racisme had argued that the app violated France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent. Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is illegal.

In a statement, SOS Racisme had called on Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the app from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the app did violate local law, so it was removed from the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently sells for US$1.99 through Apple's US App Store.

App developer Johann Levy said he developed the app to be recreational :

As a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there's nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not. On the contrary, it's about being proud.

 

17th September   

Ripper...

Atheist group set to rip up the nasty bits of the Bible
Link Here
Holy Bible King James Version 22:14 I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid

22:15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:

22:20 If this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:

22:21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die.
 

  Deuteronomy 22:14,15,20,21

An Orange County, California. atheist group plans to put on a demonstration on Saturday in which they will rip up sections of the Bible that they deem immoral.

Though they won't be tearing pages straight out of a book, members of Backyard Skeptics, OC's largest atheist organization, plans to rip up photocopies of the Scriptures on the Huntington Beach pier.

Bruce Gleason, the founder of the organization, shared several examples of what he perceives to be immoral biblical practices to The Christian Post.

One Old Testament example he gave was Deuteronomy 22:14-31, which says that a woman who is not found to be a virgin on her wedding night should be stoned to death.

It's really a public education program...we're not trying to desecrate the Bible, we're just trying to let others know that there are certain portions of the Bible that they would probably agree with that they don't live by, he said.

We're not trying to offend people, though I will acknowledge that people will be upset simply because we're taking passages out of the Bible.

 

17th September   

Update: Secular Public Space...

Paris puts an end to mass prayers in the street
Link Here  full story: Praying in Paris Streets...Paris muslims spill out into the Paris streets

paris fridays logo A ban on street prayers, a practice by French Muslims unable to find space in mosques, has come into effect in the capital, Paris.

Interior Minister Claude Gueant has offered believers the use of a disused fire brigade barracks instead.

The phenomenon of street prayers, which see Muslims spreading mats on footpaths, became a political issue after far right protests.

Speaking earlier this week to Le Figaro, Gueant said about 1,000 people were using two streets in the capital's multi-ethnic Goutte d'Or district for prayers.

He said an agreement had been reached with two local mosques for the state to rent out the disused barracks on Boulevard Ney for three years.

It's the beginning of a solution, Sheikh Mohammed Salah Hamza told Reuters news agency: The faithful are very pleased to be here.

 

15th September   

Update: Starved of Tolerance...

Egyptian church under duress
Link Here

st georges church egyptChristians in the Upper Egyptian village of Elmarinab, Aswan province, have been forbidden to leave their homes or buy food until they remove the dome of St. George's Church, which was rebuilt in its previous location.

Village Muslims, backed by Muslim Salafists from neighboring villages, have threatened to demolish the church on Friday September 9 after prayers and use it as a mosque.

Despite the presence of security forces, Muslims have blocked the roads to the village, refusing passage of any Christians under any circumstance.

The military governor in Aswan was contacted as Christians were starving in their homes. Security officers were sent and accompanied two Christian youths to buy food for the villagers. Muslims at the entrance of the village tried to stop the two security cars. Failing that they threatened that this would be the last time, said one villager. It was heart-breaking to see the elderly running with the children to get a loaf of bread.

On Friday September 2, a reconciliation meeting was held under the auspices of security between Muslims and Christians in which the Christians were forced to give in to the Muslim demands of the new church being stripped of crosses, bells and outside microphones (which churches never have).

For the sake of peace we agreed to their demands, said Father Makarios Boulos, although the approved permit included crosses, bells and domes.

On Tuesday evening, the same Muslims who attended the reconciliation meeting started to congregate near the church demanding the removal of the six small domes, which would, according to the church's priest, make the whole church collapse if removed. Muslims also demanded removal of any signs of it being a church. It has to be called a 'hospitality home,' Father Makarios said.

Confronted with escalating Muslim demands, the Bishop of Aswan, Anba Hedra, refused and warned those who incite sectarian violence, pointing to the fact that the church was rebuilt legally, and any concessions on the part of the church was done for the love for the country, which is passing through a difficult phase. The military council was asked to send troops to protect the village against Muslim violence

Early this morning two army tanks arrived at the village, manned by officers. The military governor paid a visit to the village together with area heads of security to solve this crisis.

They listened to the Muslims, who insisted the previous church was not a church, but a hospitality home. The Coptic side was represented by Father Makarious Boulos, Father Salib Elias of the Aswan Coptic Diocese and lawyers representing the church, who presented all valid documents.

Muslims chanted Allahu Akbar (Allah is the greatest) and said they want the church razed. Mikhail said Security tried to calm them down but fearing the situation would turn for the worse, the meeting was recessed with the promise that the army and security representatives will come to a solution acceptable to both parties before they leave the village.

The authorities demanded that no construction be carried out or services held in the church, and Muslims to refrain from violence.

 

14th September   

Fundamentally Challenging...

Researchers find that fundamentalist christian beliefs correlate with low IQ
Link Here

university of edinburgh logoThe more religious you are, the less likely you are to be intelligent, a new scientific study has found. According to researchers, Christians - particularly fundamentalists who believe the Bible is God's word - have a lower IQ than those who are less religious.

A possible reason behind the finding was a tendency for more intelligent people to challenge religious claims, said one of the researchers, New Zealand psychologist Professor Tim Bates: If you believe in religion, you haven't really questioned things, he said. Brighter people were less likely to feel that religion plays a dominant role in their life.

To reach the conclusion, researchers from the University of Edinburgh compared the results of responses from 2300 adults with varying levels of religious belief. They rated themselves on a scale of one to five in response to a range of statements about their spirituality, religious identification, practices, support, mindfulness and fundamentalism.

To measure intelligence, researchers carried out tests on recall, memory, verbal fluency, processing and reasoning. For example, participants were asked to recall a series of digits backwards and recite a list of words after a delay. The researchers found higher IQ scores were significantly associated with lower scores on five of the six measures of religiosity - all except spirituality.

Intelligence was an inoculation against fundamentalism , with each 15-point increase in IQ making people about half as likely to have strong fundamentalist views, said Bates.

The findings of the University of Edinburgh study were a bit hilarious , said Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn. The suggestion that the less intelligent you are the more religious you would be seems to be degrading and insulting, he said. Many devoutly religious people, including business leaders, judges and school teachers, were highly intelligent, said Bishop Dunn.

Research Abstract

See article from sciencedirect.com

The relationship between intelligence and multiple domains of religious belief: Evidence from a large adult US sample

By Gary J. Lewis, Stuart J. Ritchiea &  Timothy C. Bates

Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

High levels of religiosity have been linked to lower levels of intelligence in a number of recent studies. These results have generated both controversy and theoretical interest. Here in a large sample of US adults we address several issues that restricted the generalizability of these previous results. We measured six dimensions of religiosity (rather than just one or two), along with a multi-scale instrument to assess general intelligence. We also controlled for the influence of the personality trait openness on facets of religious belief and practice. The results indicated that lower intelligence is most strongly associated with higher levels of fundamentalism, but also modestly predicts central components of religiosity such as a sense of religious identification and private religious practice. Secondly, we found that a higher level of openness -- often assumed to lead to lower religiosity -- is weakly associated with reduced fundamentalism but with increased religious mindfulness, private religious practice, religious support, and spirituality. These new results provide a framework for understanding the links between reasoning and faith.

Highlights

  • We model the association of religiosity with intelligence and openness.

  • We use a large adult US sample, and six measures of religious belief and behavior.

  • Lower intelligence was significantly associated with higher levels of faith.

  • Lower intelligence was most strongly associated with increased fundamentalism.

  • Higher openness was associated with lower fundamentalism.

 

13tht September   

Update: In Close Proximity to Repression...

7 unmarried couples fall victim to Indonesia's religious police
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Aceh...Inhuman sharia punishments in Aceh

Indonesia flagThree Indonesian soldiers were among 14 people arrested for illegally being in close proximity to unmarried members of the opposite sex during raids in Banda Aceh.

More than 100 policemen from the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), police and Indonesian Military swooped on locations throughout the provincial capital, including a burger stall, Ulee Lheu beach and three boarding houses, he said.

A total of seven couples were caught.

Mayor Illiza claimed that the public had demanded the raids be carried out: We have received a lot of reports about people selling alcoholic drinks and prostitution in some areas of Banda Aceh .

 

12th September   

Jersey Post Offends Churches...

Jersey postal workers refuse to distribute Bibles on grounds that they could be offensive
Link Here

King James Bible 400th Anniversary Postal workers have refused to deliver CDs of Bible readings after deciding they were offensive material . Several churches had paid for discs with recordings of St Mark's Gospel to be produced to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

They were due to be delivered to all households on the Channel Island of Jersey, but church leaders were told postal workers would not handle the 45,000 CDs.

Rev Liz Hunter of St Helier Methodist Centre said:

Initially Jersey Post seemed quite positive about helping us deliver the CDs. But then a couple of weeks ago somebody from their marketing department phoned to say they would be unable to deliver them on the grounds that they could be deemed offensive. They said there were guidelines about mass material that is sent out across the island and that religious recordings could offend people.

The CDs are now being delivered by volunteers.

 

11th September   

Update: Street Intolerance...

Indonesian mayor bans church from being built on the grounds of the street's islamic name
Link Here  full story: Religious Intolerance in Indonesia...Muslim group targeting Indonesian churches

Indonesia flagIn a test case of religious intolerance, an Indonesian mayor is defying court rulings by pushing for a decree to block Christians from opening churches on streets with Islamic names.

Members of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church in the West Java town of Bogor are, after three years, still forced to worship on the sidewalk outside their building, protected by police.

The administration of Bogor mayor Diani Budiarto revoked the church's building permit and sealed the building as the street had an Islamic name.

Local Muslim cleric Muhammad Mustofa, whose father is the street's namesake, has publicly stated that he has no objection to the church. Islam in Indonesia ... has always interacted with Buddhism, and Christianity. We are ready to live side by side with anyone, he told the Al Jazeera news network.

 

10th September   

Offsite: Gagging Us Softly...

A remorseless assault on free speech throughout the west
Link Here

After America Get Ready Armageddon In this anniversary week, it's sobering to reflect that one of the more perverse consequences of 9/11 has been a remorseless assault on free speech throughout the west. I regret to say that, in my new book, I predict this trend will only accelerate in the years ahead.

...Read the full article

 

9th September   

Updated: Miraculously Easily Offended...

Christians and advert censors whinge at Phones 4 U advert featuring cartoon Christ
Link Here

phones 4 u jesus advertTwo versions of a national press ad for Phones 4 U on 21 April 2011 featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ grinning broadly and winking, pointing a finger with one hand and displaying a thumbs-up sign with the other. The Sacred Heart was featured on his chest. Headline text stated Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy AndroidTM phones .

Ninety-eight complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because the depiction of Jesus Christ and the Sacred Heart, the use of the term miraculous in that context and their publication during the Easter period were disrespectful to the Christian faith.

Phones 4 U said the ads were not intended to be disrespectful of the Christian faith nor were they intended to cause offence to Christians. They explained that their intention had been to run a press ad incorporating what they understood to be a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image of Christianity relevant to the Easter weekend. They said that with the benefit of hindsight, they understood and regretted any offence the ads had caused to some Christians and they apologised to anyone who was offended by the ads.

They explained that they had received some complaints directly and had promptly issued individual responses and apologies to those complainants. They said they withdrew the ads as soon as the negative reaction became apparent and confirmed they had no plans to run the ads again in their current form or in any similar form.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that Phones 4 U had not intended to cause any offence and we welcomed their explanation that the ads had been withdrawn following the receipt of negative feedback. We noted that the ads featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, and the Sacred Heart, a sacred symbol central to the Christian faith. We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text Miraculous deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ's resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs. We therefore concluded that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians.

The ads breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We welcomed Phones 4 U's assurance that the ads had been withdrawn and would not be run again in the same or similar form.

Offsite Comment: Prawn Brained Censors

9th September 2011. See article from newstatesman.com by Nelson Jones

A King is PrawnIn the past few years, the ASA has been taking an increasingly strict, some would say humourless, line on suggestions of religious offensiveness. It has, for example, banned a series of ice-cream adverts featuring pregnant nuns and gay priests, and even one for curling-tongs which employed the slogan, a new religion for hair . One of the adverts deemed likely to cause serious or widespread offence triggered a mere six complaints. The decision led the National Secualar Society to accuse the ASA of surreptitiously re-introducing the blasphemy law.

At the very least, the ASA seems to have an alarmingly low threshold as to what constitutes offence where religion is concerned. An advert, it seems, need not be objectively outrageous; it's enough that someone somewhere might potentially take exception to it. The ASA's code, it is true, states that particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. But it does not explain why this should be necessary, and it's hard to see why advertising should be subjected to restraints that would be considered intolerable in literature, film, art or even television.

...Read the full article

 

8th September   

Not So Big Welcome...

Berlin rejects large billboard posters welcoming the pope
Link Here

blank billboardAuthorities in Berlin have rejected the use of large election billboards to welcome the pope, suggesting they would make the town look ugly and could cause accidents by distracting attention.

The 9.4-square-metre billboards are currently being used for an election campaign but would give way to pope posters for his visit on September 22.

Local authorities in the central district of Mitte objected to the large billboards saying they could only be put up for election campaigns, or reasons of overwhelming public interest which they alone decide.

A court has ruled in favour of the local authority, but the Catholic Credo association said it would appeal the decision.

 

6th September   

In the Year 11 APC (after Political Correctness)...

Australia renames calendar terms
Link Here  full story: Politically Correct Common Era...Calender terms AD and PC become CE and BCE

embrace diversity

  Time to be rebaselined at 2000>
years after will be called After PC (APC)
years before will be called Before PC (BPC)

Australia is to remove the birth of Jesus as a reference point for dates in school history books.

Under the new politically correct curriculum, the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) will be replaced with BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era).

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, condemned the move as an intellectually absurd attempt to write Christ out of human history . He described the phrase common era as meaningless , and compared it to using festive season instead of Christmas.

The changes, introduced by the government, were supposed to be pushed through next year, but have been delayed by the row.

The terms CE and BCE became popular in academic and scientific publications in the late 20th century. They were used by publishers to emphasise secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians, but both still use the Gregorian calendar and the year-numbering system revolving around BC and AD.

 

6th September   

Complete Protection...

Norway's child protection Ombudsman comes out against the circumcision of young boys
Link Here  full story: Religion for the Chop...Campaigning against the religious circumcision of boys

Norway flagNorway's Children's Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann says there should be a minimum age for circumcisions for boys. That age should be either 15, when Norwegian children can make decisions regarding religion, or 16, when they can make health-related decisions.

Hjermann says he's received negative responses from religious leaders. He said he also spoke with youth. We've had a meeting with four circumcised boys from the Middle East and Africa, and three of them think a minimum age is proper. At the same time, they said that the parents' generation will be opposed to a minimum age. They thought the procedure didn't have to do so much with culture but mostly with religion.

Norwegian Jews responded very negatively to the Ombudsman's attitude. A minimum age is in practice a ban on us, who circumcise our children on the 8th day. Circumcision is an existential questions, and therefore the Children's Ombudsman's proposal is dramatic and serious for us, said Ervin Kohn, head of the Jewish Community in Norway.

 

4th September   

We Shall Never Forget...

Kid's colouring book causes colourful 'outrage'
Link Here

Shall Never Forget Coloring Book A children's coloring book that depicts the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has Muslim leaders 'appalled', saying the book has a blatant anti-Muslim bent.

Dawud Walid, the director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called the book disgusting. Walid told AFP: It's silly to think that a young person who colors that book who has no contact with Muslims would come away with anything but fear of Muslims and thinking that Muslims are bad people. Every time the word Muslim or Islam is used, it's followed by the words terrorist or extremist.

The publisher of We Shall Never Forget , defends the book and calls the Muslim outcry inappropriate. Wayne Bell, the book's publisher and head of Really Big Coloring Books, told FoxNews.com said orders for the book have been surging and his company is publishing new books every day to keep up with the demand.

But he also said security has been increased at his St. Louis office due to Middle Eastern news outlets' interest in the book: The book was built to educate, not to offend . This is a totally manufactured event.

 

4th September   

Or Else!...

Senior Al Qaeda figure demands that Saudi expels all non-muslims
Link Here

Saudi flagA senior Saudi member of Al-Qaeda warned the interior minister that he should expel non-Muslims from the country, among other demands to stop considering him a target. He was alluding to an incident earlier this month when a gunman fired at Prince Nayef's palace near Jeddah.

Ibrahim al-Rubeish, a former Guantanamo detainee, addressed Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz with seven measures which he considered essential for reform in the ultra-conservative Gulf state and for the prince's own safety.

The measures included expelling non-Muslims, repealing all man-made laws and instituting sharia-based governance. They also included releasing prisoners, allowing preachers to speak with impunity and removing themselves as obstacles to those who wish to support Muslims in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.

 

3rd September   

Unacceptable Religious Tolerance...

Indonesian TV cancels film in response to islamist demands
Link Here

question markThe Indonesian Broadcasting Commission criticised a major television station, SCTV, for giving into Islamists' demands that a film on religious tolerance be pulled.

The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had threatened to storm SCTV headquarters if it broadcast a movie titled ? directed by Muslim filmmaker Hanung Bramantyo.

We regret SCTV's decision to not air the movie. The movie has passed the censorship requirements and it doesn't violate any regulations, broadcasting commission official Ezki Suyanto told AFP. It seems the station is just afraid of the FPI. SCTV should not have given in to them. This is a bad precedent for other groups to do the same to TV stations.

FPI secretary-general Sobri Lubis said the movie tried to incite hatred toward Islam and disgraced the religion by suggesting Muslims could live together harmoniously with people of other faiths in one country: The movie supports the idea of pluralism and that the unification of many religions is acceptable. We rejected this dirty and damaging movie from the start.

 

2nd September   

Updated: Not So Complete...

New UK DVD release for South Park Season 14 is totally missing the 2 controversial episodes featuring Mohammed
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

South Park Complete Fourteenth Season South Park Season 14 i s a US 2010 TV cartoon comedy. See IMDb

A version with just 12 out of the 14 episodes was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Paramount R2 DVD for release on 19th September

The two controversial episodes titled 200 and 201 have been omitted entirely.

The US release is cut and MPAA Unrated for:

The controversial 2 part episode titled 200 and 201 have at least been included, but censored as per the latest TV version.

Originally the religious figure of Mohammed was depicted as a teddy bear when shown in episode 200. After kicking off a bit of a fuss, in the second part, 201, all shots of the character were obscured by a black silhouette marked CENSORED. Every mention of Mohammed was also bleeped out.

The two part episode in question features a typically convoluted plotline in which Tom Cruise (previously pilloried as gay and for being a scientologist) rounds up 200 other celebrities who have been targets of the show's satire in order to launch a class-action defamation suit against the town of South Park. Cruise also wrangles Muhammad into his scheme, secretly motivated by a desire to harness the prophet's goo , which grants immunity to ridicule. Throughout, Muhammad is dressed in a bear suit, an ironic nod to the prohibition on showing images of Islam's founding father. and the blasphemy accusation against a British teacher in Sudan who let her class of kids name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Update: Bonus Episode

2nd September 2011. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The 'Complete' Fourteenth Season of South Park has been resubmitted to the BBFC, this time with a 'bonus episode' on Disk 3.

It is not yet clear what the episode is, maybe one of the 2 missing episodes?

 

2nd September   

Update: Continuing Nastiness...

Son of murdered Pakistan politician kidnapped
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Pakistan...Blasphemy laws used for personal vendettas

shahbaz taseerThe son, Shahbaz Taseer, aged in his 20s, of slain Pakistani governor Salmaan Taseer, who was murdered by his police guard earlier this year, has been kidnapped on Aug. 26, 2011 by unidentified gunmen in Lahore, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Salmaan Taseer was known for liberal views and publicly opposed the nation's controversial blasphemy law amid a growing divide in Pakistan society over what role religion should play in government. The law allows a maximum punishment of death for anyone found guilty of a blasphemous act toward Islam.

Liberal Pakistanis, many of them wealthy urbanites, say the law has been used to cower minority religious communities. But Pakistan's more conservative citizens cheered Taseer's assassination and hailed the security personnel who killed him as a hero.

The Taseer family has since received threats by radicals, family friends and police say.

According to the UCA News of Aug. 30, although no terrorist group has claimed responsibility, Church workers fear it is an attempt to influence the trial of a bodyguard who allegedly killed the governor for vocally opposing the blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile religious parties continue to support the alleged assassin of the late governor. He is a hero, we want more like these , said Hafiz Abdul Rehman Makki, head of political affairs at Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a religious group linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

 

2nd September   

As Demanded by the EU...

Turkey to return properties seized from christians and jews
Link Here

Turkey flagTurkey's government is returning hundreds of properties confiscated from the country's Christian and Jewish minorities over the past 75 years in a gesture to religious groups who complain of discrimination that is also likely to thwart possible court rulings against the country.

A government decree returns assets that once belonged to Greek, Armenian or Jewish trusts and makes provisions for the government to pay compensation for any confiscated property that has since been sold on.

Their return is a key European Union demand and a series of court cases has also been filed against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights.

Some properties were seized when they fell into disuse over the years. Others were confiscated after 1974 when Turkey ruled that non-Muslim trusts could not own new property in addition to those that were already registered in their names in 1936.

 

1st September   

Falling Out...

Fracas at theme park as headscarves banned from rides as a safety hazard
Link Here

roller coasterAbout 3,000 Muslims from New York travelled to Rye Playland to celebrate the end of Ramadan. But women among the group were barred from some rides due to health and safety rules.

They were told by staff from the park that all headgear was banned in case it fell, presumably whilst riding upside down on the roller coasters.

The announcement prompted furious protests as dozens of people queued up to obtain refunds. Two park rangers were injured, prompting colleagues to close down the park. Almost 100 policemen were called in and 15 people, including three women, were charged with disorderly conduct and assault in the ensuing chaos.

Update: Violence with Impunity

31st January 2012. Based on article from minivannews.com

Fifteen Muslims won conditional dismissals of charges stemming from an amusement park disturbance that started when women were told they couldn't wear religious headscarves on some rides.

A Rye Town Court judge told the defendants their cases would be dropped if they stayed out of trouble for two months. Most had been charged only with disorderly conduct, but the charges ranged up to second-degree assault.

 

1st September   

Update: Should be Beheaded and Burned...

Religious police in Indonesia threaten lesbian couple
Link Here  full story: Sharia in Aceh...Inhuman sharia punishments in Aceh

Indonesia flagReligious police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forced two women to have their marriage annulled and sign an agreement to separate.

The women had been legally married for a few months after one of them passed as a man in front of an Islamic cleric who presided over their wedding. But suspicious neighbours confronted the couple and snitched to police.

The two women were forcibly separated and are now under surveillance by the Islamic police.

The local Sharia police chief told them Islam said they must be beheaded and burned for what they had done.