Religious laws, usually stupid
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.
Ireland votes on gay marriage this Friday. Many are creating a fog of war to distract from the simple question, should gay marriage be recognised in law? The bible is quite clear about heterosexual marriages in Deuteronomy 22:13-21. If a man marries and discovers his wife is not a virgin, her parents must provide proof that she was. If they do this the husband pays 100 silver shekels to his father-in-law for slander, but if they can’t she will be stoned to death. Perhaps we should change the law to only allow marriage between two virgins and preserve the sanctity of marriage.
It’s official! Building snowmen is un-Islamic. After a snowstorm in the North of Saudi Arabia, people built snow camels. A question asking if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children, led to Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid issuing a fatwa saying that the religion prohibits building a replica of an animal. It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun. How sad.
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.
Not to be outdone by the Satanists, a Hindu organisation also wants to place a monument on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol. The proposed monument is of Hanuman, a monkey-like Hindu deity. Hanuman statues are very common in India, the highest of which is 135 feet high. Politicians haven’t been as quick in dismissing the Hindu deity as they were with the Satanic monument. Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is continuing with a lawsuit to have the 10 commandments monument removed, which caused all this in the first place. It’s all quite amusing. Maybe we should propose a monument to Apathy? No, I think you have to care too much.
When the mother and father of a new born child in Tennessee could not agree on which surname the child should have, they went to court. However, when the judge heard that his first name was Messiah, she ordered that it be changed to Martin and include both surnames. The judge explained that only Jesus Christ had earned the right to that name. Many people of other religious beliefs might disagree. In other states, it is possible to call your son Messiah. The name has risen from 633 most popular in 2010 to 387 in 2012 according to the official website of the US Social Security. Arya has risen most among female names, probably due to the popularity of “A Game of Thrones”. There are laws in many countries prohibiting people from giving certain names to their children. Originally Sweden introduced the law to prevent commoners giving royal names to their offspring. Life was so much easier when you could tell a person’s rank from their name. Sweden has used that law to prevent parents calling their children Metallica and Superman. New Zealand too controls what names parents can bestow on their fortunate children. They have turned down Lucifer, Messiah, Queen Victoria, Christ, President and *. However, they did slip up a few times and allowed twins called Benson and Hedges and an unfortunate child called Number 16 Bus Shelter. Back in Tennessee, the mother of Martin, formerly known as Messiah, is appealing the case. She should get a t-shirt made stating “I have not the Messiah” on the front and “I’m a very naughty girl” on the back.
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
Americans in the state of Alabama have come up with a great idea to boost church attendance and save money on running the prison service simultaneously. The new program grandly called Operation ROC (Restore Our Community) allows criminals found guilty of minor non-violent crimes to choose between serving time in prison, paying a fine or attending church services on Sunday. The town in question, Bay Minette, does not contain any mosques or synagogues so only Christians need apply. The town police chief, Mike Rowland, claims the program is primarily a cost saving measure saving over $500 a week for each potential inmate who turns to Jesus. The American Civil Liberties Union is strongly against the operation and called it blatantly unconstitutional. The American constitution prohibits the state forcing participation in religious activity. The police chief denies that anything is being forced as it is a free choice. I think most would agree that it really isn’t much of a choice. The operation which was originally to start operating yesterday has been delayed while lawyers check the legality of it. If the city attorney gives his approval, it will go live after the next court day on October 11th. If it does go ahead, I can’t wait until Muslims somewhere in America get in on the act.
I thought all parents had an unlimited license to name their children whatever bizarre name struck their fancy like Harper Seven, but not so in New Zealand where the name Lucifer is growing in popularity. There were three requests there for babies to be given that name, but all were turned down along with Messiah and many other strange names like * and /. Previously however, they did allow Violence and Number 16 Bus Shelter, so it seems a bit inconsistent. Is there a ban on just some biblical names? Would Herod be allowed, or how about Jezebel? I presume Jesus is allowed. I really like the name Jezebel, along with the bad girl connotations but strangely it has never been very popular. They say that having a crazy name can lead to trauma in later life, so perhaps it is a way of protecting children from their crazy parents, but surely there should be clearer guidelines on what is not acceptable.
Pastafarianism has come a step closer to becoming a recognised religion in Austria, after a citizen, Niko Alm, won a three-year battle allowing him to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driving licence photo. After finding out that headgear was allowed in photos for confessional reasons, he claimed the sieve was a requirement of his religion. In response to his application, he was asked to submit to a psychological assessment of his fitness to drive. Following the three-year delay, he finally has his new driving licence complete with the photo of him wearing the unusual headgear. He has told the Austrian news agency APA, that his next step is to apply to the authorities to have Pastafarianism recognised as an official religion in the country. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that we are making some progress.