Christ Almighty: Catholic Children Throw Molotov Cocktails at Protestant Minority in Derry City

The Troubles may be coming back in Northern Ireland.

Kevin Campbell, the mayor of Derry City, told a local news team that

dissident (Catholic) republicans were manipulating mobs of up to 50 children and having them throw dozens of petrol bombs at the minority Protestant community after the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher last week.

The Protestant enclave, the Fountain Estate, consists of 400 families surrounded by a two-to-three mile security barrier in the mainly Catholic west of the city.

Mr Campbell said the attacks on the estate were “absolutely disgraceful”. He added: “There must be a sinister element involved when 25 petrol bombs are thrown — children aged nine to 15 would not know how to make petrol bombs.”


Resident William Jackson said petrol bombs have been coming within 2-3 feet of his house. “After seven nights of mayhem we have seen only one arrest,” he said. “We feel under siege 24 hours a day. … They call us Orange Huns and say things like, ‘We are going to burn you out’. I get phone calls at 2-3am saying they are going to burn me out, shoot me in the head and watch my family cry. They are not going to be happy until we are out. It is ethnic cleansing, just sectarian thuggery.”

The “Orange Huns” moniker refers to a battle the Protestants fought alongside Dutch Prince William of Orange against Catholic English king James II — in 1690.

In matters of politics and religion, grudges may hibernate, but they rarely die.

[art by Bansky via UK Street Art]

Muslims Lose Their Shi(r)t, Christians Follow Suit

Egyptian prosecutors are filing criminal charges against 13 religious brawlers who were arrested after

fighting erupted in the village of Dahshour when a Coptic Christian man who irons clothes for a living and one of his Muslim customers became entangled in a brawl after the Christian accidently burned his client’s shirt.

The fight escalated, drawing more people, and left one Muslim, Moaz Mohamed Mohamed, dead.

Over a shirt. And of course, over whose god is better.


More than 120 Coptic families living in the area left the town, fearing they would be violently expelled.

The defendants in the sectarian incident are nine Muslims and four Coptic Christians, and [they] are charged with murder, the possession of explosive materials, and assaulting security forces.

[photo by Eric V. Santos via flickr]

Church Gives Talking Congregants a Little Taste of Hell — By Intentionally Burning Their Legs

If you don’t shut up in church, what’s the worst that could happen? Getting shushed? Being asked to leave? God doing some righteous smiting?

In Zimbabwe, your fellow believers could roast your legs.

Six True Gospel Apostolic Faith church members, including the leader, have been arrested in Chitungwiza on allegations of burning the legs of two other members as punishment for talking during a church service on Sunday morning. The injured, who are aged 21 and 14, were yesterday still admitted to Chitungwiza Central Hospital, while the six are assisting police with investigations.


“The two were accused of talking while the church leader, Nguni, was addressing at the church service yesterday (Sunday) at around 9am in Chitungwiza,” Asst. Inspector Dube said.

As punishment, they were then forcibly held close to — and possibly pushed into — an open fire, such that the 21-year-old received burns on both legs, and the 14-year-old on one. The investigation continues.

Priest Uses Hot Iron Rod on ‘Possessed’ Woman

A Hindu priest in India, Krishna Kant Tiwari, pressed a hot iron rod into the flesh of a follower in order to drive out the ghost that he claimed possessed her.

BHOPAL: A priest branded a ‘possessed’ woman with a hot iron rod in a bid to “rid the 20-year-old of a ghost” at Bhadrana village in Sagar district late on Monday night. The priest was arrested on Tuesday evening after the investigations, said police. The injured woman, Rajni Rajak, is undergoing treatment at the district hospital. …


“The priest claimed that if the woman was under the control of deity, she would not feel the pain. Having said this, she was branded with the hot iron rod in the presence of villagers,” [police officer] Tiwari said.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

When Liberal Democrat Mark Smith decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania recently, the amateur guitarist might not have counted on the votes of his conservative Christian bandmates. But what his musical friends had in store for him astonished Smith. The other members of the up-and-coming group, One Floor Away, told him he’d have to quit making music with them — unless he changed his position on marriage equality.  

Smith has spoken up for marriage equality on the campaign trail and on Facebook. He refused to renounce his support, and lost the opportunity to play music he loves for a band that is recording its first album and seems to be going places in the Christian rock scene.


“It sort of blew my mind,” Smith said. “It was like a smack to the side of the head.” He said the band’s record producer and a couple of his band mates gave him the ultimatum late last month as they were meeting in Ithaca, N.Y. for a recording session. 

The other band members declined to comment on the affair, other than to say “What we do with our band, we prefer to keep quiet.” The group aims to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Smith says he was on board with that.

One Floor Away recently recorded a single featuring Smith that was released on iTunes; at Smith’s request, it is being re-dubbed with a substitute part. He explains he “can’t support them any more than they support me.”

He also built the group’s website, Smith says. It’s unclear whether One Floor Away will redesign it so as not to benefit from creative contributions by the insufficiently pious.

[image via]

Assault Charge For Baby-Dick-Sucking Mohel

[Attention — first three links in German]

A German children’s advocacy group called MOGiS and Friends is pressing assault charges against a Jewish orthodox circumciser.

Last month, at the bris (circumcision ceremony) for the son of Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, the mohel practiced metzitzah p’beh, which involved him placing his mouth on the baby’s freshly-mutilated genitals to suck away the blood. The ritual is controversial, in part because hygiene is by definition poor, as the mouth-to-penis contact can transmit STDs such as herpes.


The chair of the European Rabbinic Conference, Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, advises against mouth-suctioning and recommends that mohels use a medical pipette instead.

He says that some orthodox Jewish communities erroneously believe that they have de facto immunity against herpes and the like, because

they don’t practice pre- or extra-marital sex, nor homosexuality, nor do they use illicit drugs. But some of their own violate these communal rules.

In the U.S., since 2000, there have been at least 13 cases of herpes associated with metzitzah b’peh, including two infant deaths. Two other babies contracted herpes infections that led to permanent brain damage.

[image via Berliner Zeitung]

Gay Teacher Fired Over Partner’s Name in Obit

Teachers at Catholic institutions in Ohio may be fired for “immorality.” Sounds all right, until it comes to the definition of that word.

Actually, recognizing disgusting behavior isn’t a problem at all for the easily piqued religious authorities who terminated Carla Hale. Hale is a physical-education teacher who lost her job when her mom died and she included her female partner’s name in the obit.

She’s taught at the school for two decades.

Now, I agree that’s a great example of immorality. But whose? Hales’, or the Church’s?

Students and others are rallying behind a teacher who they say was fired from a Catholic school in Clintonville [Ohio] after listing her female partner’s name in her mother’s obituary.


A petition posted yesterday on seeks the reinstatement of Bishop Watterson High School physical-education teacher Carla Hale. It has gained more than 4,000 signatures.

“It’s unfair that someone who cared so much about her students and her job should lose them on the basis of something she cannot even control,” the petition says. “The school claims its mission is to teach its students about love, acceptance, and tolerance, and yet it did none of this in the way it treated Ms. Hale.”

[image via outlook columbus]

Box Office Success? Despite Prayers, Not Today.

The credits that run at the end of the new movie Not Today list an unusual job: prayer coordinator.

The film, about a wealthy young American who finds God when he travels to India and is affected by the plight of the poor, is an indie Christian endeavor whose $1.6 million budget was raised with collection-plate contributions from the members of Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California.


About the prayer coordinator, the church’s Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz explains that the job was vital to the project.

“For us at the church, having people praying from the very beginning of this project and even up to today and this opening weekend has been a huge part of it,” Martz said. “We believe that God led us into making this film, and he’s ultimately responsible for it, and so every bit of this journey has been covered through this prayer team, and they’ve been so faithful to pray for all us during the writing and during the production and during the post-production and now during the marketing and PR.”

Whether all the earthly beseeching of the Creator of the Universe has been effective remains to be seen.

The plentiful praying certainly didn’t stop director Jon Van Dyke from filing a federal lawsuit, alleging fraud by church leaders. Van Dyke’s version of events involves a biblical deluge of internal bickering, cheating, and outright fraud. He was director of the Friends Church media department when he wrote the movie script. To hear him tell it, Martz, his boss, demanded a co-writer credit he wasn’t really entitled to, or he would fire Van Dyke. The young director says he was terminated when he raised concerns after the movie wrapped, including a claim that

the budget was “significantly inflated to include numerous illegitimate and improper expenses” in an effort to dilute profits.

According to Martz, the profits from the movie are intended to build hundreds of schools for children from India’s Dalit caste. But box office revenue this past Friday through Sunday — opening weekend, when the movie was shown on 41 screens — was only $96,347. Under a typical indie distribution deal, the producer (essentially, Friends Church) will get maybe 40-50 percent of that.

More revenue should come in from TV rights and rentals, presumably. Will it be enough to generate fat profits so that Dalit children may get an education? Let’s hope so, and let’s also hope that the lawyers don’t gobble up al the money.

If the project stays awash in red ink, I suppose the church could always hire additional prayer coordinators to get those schools built.

Priests’ Parking Brawl: One Bites Off Other’s Ear

I’ve known some clergymen who can chew your ear off, but here’s one who does it literally. And all it took for Father Thomas Byrne to go all Mike Tyson on a colleague was a contested parking space.

An 80-year-old retired priest allegedly bit an ear off another elderly clergyman during a fight over a parking space. The punch-up broke out outside an apartment block, which houses three retired Catholic priests, in Perth, Western Australia.


Father Thomas Henry Byrne [photo, left] has appeared in court charged with grievous bodily harm over the incident involving his neighbour, 81-year-old Father Thomas Joseph Cameron Smith.

If that’s not bizarre enough for you, try this on for size:

According to police, after the brawl Father Byrne told Father Smith to pick up an item up on the ground. It was not until Father Smith returned to his flat that he realised the item he had picked up and put in his pocket was his right ear. Father Smith wrapped his ear in a tea towel and drove to Dianella Medical Centre, where staff phoned for an ambulance and alerted police. He was taken to Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital where he underwent surgery to save the ear.

Father Byrne eventually extended his apologies, while Father Smith offered forgiveness.

The ear-biter’s attorney used a temporary-insanity defense, telling the court that his client is a kindly old man whose flesh-ripping attack was “uncharacteristic” and brought on by dementia. The prosecutor downgraded the charges and the judge imposed only a $1,000 fine.

Wrathful God Is Bad For Believers’ Mental Health

If god is good, is he also good for you? It depends on whether you believe in a kind and benevolent superbeing, or in a compulsive rager who is a candidate for anger management.

Psychologists led by Nava Silton of Marymount Manhattan College tried to determine

…how one’s perception of God — as punitive, benevolent, or indifferent — was associated with five different psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion.

Respondents’ characterizations of God were gleaned from their opinions of how six adjectives — absolute, critical, just, punishing, severe, or wrathful — applied to God. A numbering system was used to gauge the degree to which the subject viewed the adjective as an accurate descriptor of God (very well = 4; somewhat well = 3, not very well = 2, etc.). In a similar fashion, respondents answered queries designed to measure the five aforementioned psychiatric symptoms.


The researchers found that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Conversely, belief in a benevolent God was associated with reductions in those four symptoms. Belief in an indifferent God was not linked to any symptoms.

It’s a nice-to-know conclusion that probably won’t surprise anyone. Or, as one snarky commenter noted,

It doesn’t take a scientific study to conclude that there is something seriously wrong with people who smile gleefully as they describe their rapture, when they’ll be whisked away in a blissful twinkle of an eye, and the rest of humanity will suffer all manner of death and torture for not heeding their proactive told-ya-so.

[image via flickriver]

In Iraq, Sunni Muslims Assassinate Their Own

Part political, part religious, all sectarian. Via the New York Times:

In the first Iraqi elections since the American troop withdrawal, Sunni candidates are being attacked and killed in greater numbers than in recent campaigns, raising concerns in Washington over Iraq’s political stability and the viability of a democratic system the United States has heavily invested in over years of war and diplomacy.

At least 15 candidates, all members of the minority Sunni community, have been assassinated — some apparently by political opponents, others by radical Sunni militants. Many others have been wounded or kidnapped or have received menacing text messages or phone calls demanding that they withdraw.

By going after members of their own sect, radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are effectively seeking to destabilize the Shiite-led government, making an already angry and alienated community fearful to participate in national governance. At the same time, it appears intra-Sunni rivalries are inadvertently aiding the radical cause, as Sunnis kill political adversaries in their quest for power.

[photo by Mohammed Ameen via the New York Times]

Devotees Beat Hindu Priest Over Idol Mix-Up

A Hindu priest in India was beaten bloody by angry devotees who accused him of trying to recreate a religious statue in wax. The crowd presumed he wanted to sell the original.

Enraged with the priest’s act of duplicating the idol of the presiding deity —  Lord Kurmanatha — with wax, the locals staged a protest at the temple. … Chamarla Murali Krishna received blows on his face, leaving him bleeding from the nose, and severe injury to his left eye. [It appears to be his right eye unless the image was flipped —TF]


Devotees felt that the priest was trying to create a duplicate idol hurting their sentiments and sanctity of the temple. They also alleged that the priest tried to sell the original idol to some Bangalore-based smuggler and install a duplicate one at the sanctum sanctorum. … Police had to swing into action after some agitated devotees pelted stones at the priest.

The accosted man claims it was a misunderstanding, explaining that a Hindu worshiper “wanted to gift silver armor to the idol and asked me to manufacture a wax copy and I did it. There are not any ill intentions behind it.”

[image via Deccan Chronicle]