People are flocking to collect ‘Holy Water’ from a statue of Jesus, in a village near Mumbai in India, that has started crying. Police have had to be called in to control the crowds.
The last time this happened at church in Mumbai, in 2012, Sanal Edamaruku came along to disprove the miracle and proved that the source of water was a blocked drain. Instead of thanking Edamaruku for protecting their health, the people turned against him and a number of blasphemy charges were brought against him. Edamaruku is well know for exposing fake miracle workers. After death threats were made and a fellow activist was murdered, he sought refuge in Helsinki, Finland and remains there to this day.
To ban or not to ban? That is the question. You would think that the artistic board of Newtownabbey council would have learnt from the ridiculous banning of The Life of Brian back in 1980, but no. Last week they banned a play of the Reduced Shakespeare Company entitled “The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged)” on grounds of blasphemy. Some council members claimed it mocked Christianity. However they later came to their senses with other members claiming the decision made them look like a laughing stock and they reversed the decision. So if you can’t be bothered to read the Bible (and let’s face it not many can), why not catch their show tomorrow night or the night after in Newtownabbey. The show promises to address great theological questions including whether Adam and Eve had navels. Check out their website for more information.
When I first heard that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) were blocking text messages containing the word Jesus, I thought it was a delayed April Fool Day joke. I was wrong, they are serious. In a misguided attempt to limit spam and bullying via text messages, the PTA have supplied telecom operators with a list of over 1,000 English words and asked them to block any text message containing them. Most of the words are swear words and slang for certain body parts, but many are genuine words that can be used in normal speech such as Jesus, Back Door, Breast, Devil, Fairy, Finger Food, Gay, Harder, Hole, Idiot, Joint, Kill, Laid, Oui, Queer, Screw, Slant, Slime, Spit and xxx. So if you text your partner and ask them to phone the joint and order finger food, maybe breast of chicken to be laid out, that’s a fourfold infringement. I add xxx to the end of many texts, I guess that would have to stop. Strangely masturbate is not on the list, but the incorrect spellings Mastabate, Mastabater, Masterbate and Mastrabator are included. Maybe they are trying to encourage better spelling. This approach is proven not to work and will just annoy genuine users while spammers have fun deriving spellings not on the list. Now the chairman of Ifhamul Quran International has said that banning Jesus is offensive to both Muslims and Christians. He has appealed to the President and Prime Minister to find out which official drew up this list and have them prosecuted under the blasphemy law. He also added that those who want to ban Jesus Christ (pbuh) from text messages do not understand the Holy Quran. Well I think there is quite a lot more that they don’t understand.
Full list here
Well no surprise that Americans didn’t appreciate the sense of humour displayed by Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. He made swipes at Charlie Sheen for liking alcohol too much, Hugh Hefner for liking 24-year-old women too much and scientologists for disliking gays too much. What caused the most outrage however, was his closing remark.
“Thank for everyone in the room for being good sports, to NBC and the Hollywood foreign press, thank you for watching at home, and thank you God for making me an atheist.”
By the following day, NBC had received dozens of complaints from all over the United States. The Corpus Christi group in Texas wanted to know why the blasphemy had not been bleeped out. The reason, apparently, is that organisers did not believe they would have to warn a professional presenter about being disrespectful to God in a family show being broadcast on the Sabbath. They were completely thrown by the remark, which on the European side of the Atlantic would not have raised an eyebrow. Many Americans are very touchy about religion and it can trigger fights with an almost zero tolerance policy.
The sensitive subject of religion in the US is also responsible for a premium advertisement being rejected for airing during the Super Bowl. The JESUShatesOBAMA.com website, a shop for selling products bearing the slogan “Jesus hates Obama”, created a video with bobbling head miniatures of Jesus and Obama. The frowning Jesus grins after Obama falls into water. It’s hardly blasphemy and you can see it on their website, but it was enough for Fox to ban the advert and in so doing generate even more leads for the online store. Seemingly the store has made enough money from selling these products to persuade a Venture Capitalist to fund the advertisement. A 30 second advertising slot during the Super Bowl costs around $30 million. Well as the TV evangelists know, “There’s money in religion.”
Ireland extends blasphemy laws. If you say religion is important, I may find that offensive to my apathistic beliefs and sue you.