Tag Archives: Christian law

Religious Weirdo Marries 10-Year-Old Niece

Story here.

Fall, now 58, saw nothing wrong with the fact that the bride was his niece or that she was 10 when they “married,” according to Mound police.

He told the girl that it was God’s will that they marry. He told police this justified their union, legally and morally.

“He absolutely believes what he’s saying,” said Jami Wittke, a detective with the Mound Police Department, who interviewed Fall. “He said the Bible tells him that it’s OK to have a relationship with your niece, to marry someone” that young.

“The Bible,” you say? We ought to look into that.

Part of the reason for Fall’s confidence in his own righteousness, say people who know him, is that he sees himself as being chosen by God.

“I’ve talked to family members and more than one has said Jim Fall believes he’s a prophet of God, of Christ,” Wittke said. “They were afraid of him.”

“Everything is permissible for me,” from First Corinthians 6:12, was one of Fall’s favorite passages, police said.

“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband,” from First Corinthians 7:4, was another.

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Stories for the Weekend

1. Benighted wasteland Texas provides two stories, elected official Louie Gohmert, (R-Texas), reveals his understanding of a fiendish plot whereby terrorist pregnant ladies give birth in the US, then whisk their babies back to the Axis of Evil to rear them as Manchurian candidates…much like Barack Obama, himself.

…And it appeared they would have young women, who became pregnant, would get them into the United States to have a baby,” said Gohmert. “They wouldn’t even have to pay anything for the baby. And then they would turn back where they could be raised and coddled as future terrorists. And then one day, twenty, thirty years down the road, they can be sent in to help destroy our way of life.

“Coddled”? And by the way, why wouldn’t they have to pay anything for the baby? I mean, babies are free, in the sense that they just come right out of your body, but usually there are at least hospital bills involved.

Rep Gohmert is apparently climbing aboard the “ignore the 14th amendment” bandwagon that is gaining ground among Constitution-loving Americans.

2. Which reminds me to post a link a to this cool campaign by United Farm Workers. You think Mexicans are stealing your jobs? Apply for those jobs here.

3. Also in Texas news, taking a page from shariah law, the state GOP includes recriminalization of oral sex in its party platform.

I assume somewhere it also says it wants less government interference in people’s private lives.

4. Israel has seized seven oxygen machines that were donated to the Palestinian authority.

Israel confiscated seven oxygen machines en route to hospitals in the West Bank and Gaza based on the claim that there was a chance the generators attached to the machines would not be used for medical purposes, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported Saturday.

5. Real Middle East expert Juan Cole is getting tired of dealing with fake Middle East experts. Also, this:

More recently I have provoked the ire of a burly former Israeli military prison guard at the notorious Ketziot detention camp during the first Intifada, who is among our foremost journalists of the Middle East and given a prominent perch at The Atlantic magazine–Jeffrey Goldberg.

Goldberg has not only not exactly been at the forefront of the peace movement, he has argued and agitated against doing anything practical to achieve this increasingly unlikely goal. He is the Rottweiler of ideologues when it comes to making sure that no Israeli policy is ever criticized by anyone without his branding the critics bigots and even genocidal. Since, as noted, Goldberg is possibly still an Israeli army reservist and actively served in the Israeli Army as a prison guard during the first Intifada or Palestinian uprising, I can’t understand why anyone takes him seriously when he lashes out at critics of Israeli policy. I mean, what would you expect? If an Arab-American had served in the Palestine Authority police, would anyone give him a perch at The Atlantic and routinely bring him on CNN to denounce critics of Mahmoud Abbas?

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Parade of Pious Polygamists

Polygamy isn’t just limited to religions that start with M (Muslims, Mormons). Here are a couple polygamists from other, bigger faiths who have been in the news lately:

Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, a proud Christian polygamist who runs a whole, big country! No low profile there. It looks like he’s currently married to just three women, with one ex-wife and one late wife, who committed suicide in 2000. In 2005 the man who would later become president was charged with rape, but he was found not guilty in 2006. What a colorful character.

And this brings up the question, what do you call a second and third First Lady?

One spouse, Kate Mantsho Zuma, committed suicide in 2000, leaving a note that life with her husband was “hell.”

And according to this news article, there may be a fourth and fifth First Lady before long:

Zuma reportedly has 19 children. He is also engaged to a Durban woman, Gloria Bongi Ngema, who works for IBM — and South African media have reported unconfirmed rumors of the president’s interest in a Swazi princess.

Jacob Zuma isn’t just a casual Christian, he’s a Bible-thumper. Here’s an article addressing Zuma’s religiosity.

Zuma might not believe he is God, but he is certainly capable of drawing a parallel between his own personal narrative and that of the New Testament. In an interview in March 2006 Zuma said he was “like Christ”, that the media and his detractors wanted to nail him to the cross, like Jesus; and that certain newspapers had sought to “crucify him”.

And his utterances about God, Jesus and the ANC certainly indicate that he believes he and the ANC are not answerable to the electorate or a given constituency. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made that, for Zuma, the law comes a distant third to both the ANC and his religious beliefs.

For Zuma, the ANC is sanctioned (“blessed”) by God, a notion which carries with it a series of profound implications for those who stand in opposition to the ANC, because “to oppose governments that rule by divine right is to be a traitor; to attempt to dislodge them, even through the ballot box, is a declaration of war.

During the March 2004 election campaign [Zuma] told a gathering of ANC supporters that those who vote for the ruling party will be “blessed on earth and in heaven”.

October 2006, Zuma described his philosophical outlook as follows: “I start from basic Christian principles. Christianity is part of what I am; in a way it was the foundation for all my political beliefs.”

By way of illustration, as the ANC’s internal divisions were starting to turn ugly, Zuma pleaded with around 5 000 worshippers at the Ethiopian Holy Baptist Church in Zion over Easter last year to join the ANC en masse, and to pray for it, in order to fix the organisation. Later he suggested that religious people should challenge government if they felt legislation conflicted with the Bible, that “Church leaders should be able to tell government leaders if they are straying and their laws clash with the teachings of the Lord”.

This most recent such declaration is nothing new – at least twice before Zuma has said something similar. In the run-up to the 2004 election, Zuma told a crowd that “the ANC will rule South Africa until Jesus comes back”[14] and, in 2007, he declared that “we believe it (the ANC) will be in power forever until the son of man comes back”.

And then there’s Goel Ratzon, a Jewish polygamist, just arrested in Tel Aviv on suspicion of rape, slavery, and incest.

From Times Online UK:

Residents of Tel Aviv’s quiet Hatikva neighbourhood were shocked yesterday to discover a self-styled Jewish sage living in their midst with a harem of 30 women kept as “slaves” in squalid apartments.

They were shocked, shocked! Somehow they all missed the documentary program on tv about him and his harem.

From NY Daily News:

Ratzon made no secret of his unusual living arrangements, and was featured in a documentary broadcast last year, where he claimed to have fathered 89 children by more than 30 women.

In the documentary, the women were seen to be wearing tattoos of Ratzon’s name and face. When asked why young, attractive women would be part of his group, he replied, “I am perfect. I have all the characteristics that a woman wants.”

I guess when the documentary aired, and before it, and up until now, people figured live and let live with their wacky polygamist neighbor who ruled his multiple consorts with an iron fist and kept them out of the sight of, well, anyone who might explain their rights to them.

“The evidence shows the suspect controlled his women with a firm hand, including their possessions and their money,” police said. Mr Ratzon even wrote a list of commandments to ensure that the women were kept in “conditions similar to slavery”, police said.

In addition to turning over all their wages, the women were forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to men other than Mr Ratzon. If they broke the rules they would pay a fine or receive physical punishment.

Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said that Mr Ratzon convinced his victims that he had godlike status. “The women didn’t really understand what their situation was, they didn’t understand what freedom was,” Mr Rosenfeld said.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits from a Jerusalem Post article:

In the film, the women can be seen showing the camera large tattoos bearing Ratzon’s face and name on their arms and neck. All of the children conceived by the women and Ratzon are named after him, like Tehilat Ratzon (Ratzon’s Glory), one of his daughters, and Goel Goeli, one of this sons.

The women usually dressed in an extremely conservative manner to ensure no part of their body was exposed.

Um, okay, I’m having more and more trouble believing that neighbors were shocked, shocked! by the news of this group living in their neighborhood:

Despite the quiet, noise levels would rise dramatically when the women, always quick to take offense at criticism of their “master,” became confrontational with neighbors who had a bad word to say about Ratzon.

“The police have been called here many times to calm things down,” a neighbor said. “At one point someone threw fire crackers at their home,” she added.

The silence was also shattered periodically by the parents of the women, who came to the house to plead for their daughters to come back. “It would happen routinely,” the neighbor said. “The parents filed many complaints with police and social services,” she added.

“Whenever I saw the kids, they were quiet,” the neighbor said. “Sometimes I heard them crying. They always had long clothes on.”

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Children in the Hands of an Angry God

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”–Exodus 22:18 (for a long and interesting story about how “witch” here should be “poisoner,” check here).

MSNBC reported in October:

EKET, Nigeria – The 9-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.

His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.

A month later, he died.

Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of “witch children” reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.

Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Renegade branches, huh? How convenient that Christians can get away with pulling out the No True Scotsman fallacy every time and get away with it. Christ is the Prince of Peace, notwithstanding his saying, “I bring not peace, but a sword,” whereas Islam gets stuck trying to explain that no, actually, Islam specifically forbids that kind of behavior, but nobody listens.

For their part, the families are often extremely poor, and sometimes even relieved to have one less mouth to feed. Poverty, conflict and poor education lay the foundation for accusations, which are then triggered by the death of a relative, the loss of a job or the denunciation of a pastor on the make, said Martin Dawes, a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund.

Good luck with that excuse, Mr Dawes. Nobody ever buys that female genital mutilation, for example, is a regional tradition and has nothing to do with Islam, so it’s only fair that nobody believe that Christianity itself isn’t the cause of killing and mutilating young children.

“When communities come under pressure, they look for scapegoats,” he said. “It plays into traditional beliefs that someone is responsible for a negative change … and children are defenseless.”

The idea of witchcraft is hardly new, but it has taken on new life recently partly because of a rapid growth in evangelical Christianity. Campaigners against the practice say around 15,000 children have been accused in two of Nigeria’s 36 states over the past decade and around 1,000 have been murdered. In the past month alone, three Nigerian children accused of witchcraft were killed and another three were set on fire.

Nigeria is one of the heartlands of abuse, but hardly the only one: the United Nations Children’s Fund says tens of thousands of children have been targeted throughout Africa.

Church signs sprout around every twist of the road snaking through the jungle between Uyo, the capital of the southern Akwa Ibom state where Nwanaokwo lay, and Eket, home to many more rejected “witch children.” Churches outnumber schools, clinics and banks put together. Many promise to solve parishioner’s material worries as well as spiritual ones — eight out of ten Nigerians struggle by on less than $2 a day.

“Pray your way to riches,” advises Embassy of Christ a few blocks away.

It’s hard for churches to carve out a congregation with so much competition. So some pastors establish their credentials by accusing children of witchcraft.

I hope this doesn’t catch on in the United States.

The Nigerian church is a branch of a Californian church by the same name. But the California church says it lost touch with its Nigerian offshoots several years ago.

I love this article because it’s not afraid to proclaim that Christians, evangelicals specifically, are killing and torturing and maiming children. The word “pastor” appears 19 times.

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On a completely different note, I recommend reading this article by Glenn Greenwald in Salon: The Joy of Airstrikes and Anonymity.

Excerpt:

Yet over and over and over, it turns out that these anonymous government assertions — trumpeted by our mindless media — are completely false. The Big Bad Guy allegedly killed in the strike ends up nowhere near the bombs and missiles. Sometimes, the very same Big Bad Guy can be used to justify different strikes over the course of many years (we know we said we killed him four times before, but this time we’re pretty sure we got him), or he can turn up alive when it’s time to re-trumpet the Al Qaeda threat (we said before we killed him in that devastating airstrike, but actually he’s alive and more dangerous than ever!!). Just like the “we killed 30 extremists” claim or the “we got Al Qaeda’s Number 3” boast, this is propaganda in its purest form, disseminated jointly by the U.S. Government and American media, and it happens over and over, compelling a rational person to conclude that it’s clearly intentional by both parties.

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Let me also a link to this post over at Gawker: US Economy Crippled by Churches.

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Cop Killer Thought He Was Jesus; Christian Law to Kill Gays

Maurice Clemmons Christian Terrorist Extremist

No sooner did a photo of alleged cop-killer Maurice Clemmons appear in the news than the screeching began. “He’s a Muslim” “He was radicalised in prison” “He’s another domestic terrorist!” Presumably this is because his visage is swarthy and he’s not smiling a genial smile, although the smile wouldn’t be necessary if he were paler in hue.

Once it became apparent that the late Maurice Clemmons was a Christian, nobody cared anymore. Most news article failed to mention it. Those that did buried it several paragraphs down the page. Because somehow when a American who practices Islam mows down soldiers, it’s terrorism, extremism, and an indictment of Islam, but when an American who practices Christianity mows down police officers, it is none of those things. And Mr Clemmons wasn’t just a cultural Christian, he thought he was Jesus.

“The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report said.

Clemmons was charged in Washington state earlier this year with assaulting a police officer and raping a child, and investigators in the sex case said he was motivated by visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse.

Within a couple days after the Fort Hood shooting, we knew more about Major Nidal Hasan than we’ve ever known about any spree killer, ever. The media gave us its analysis of a PowerPoint presentation he gave to his colleagues, encouraged us to gasp at his email exchange with an American imam in Yemen (and I still haven’t heard a single peep from anyone complaining that we spied on an American citizen’s correspondence with an American citizen–which was judged by the FBI to be innocuous), and found a blog comment on the internet that sounded like he might have written it and attributed it to him. I imagine there are hundreds or thousands of people posting on the internet every day who say things that sound like something I would say. Please don’t attribute them to me. Thanks.

Christian evangelical minister ex-governor Mike Huckabee did not actually pardon Clemmons, so what I wrote the other day is not accurate. Huckabee recommended clemency, basically making him eligible for parole. Huckabee was prudent enough not mention the religious angle in any explanation for this clemency, so we can’t actually know that Huckabee gave Clemmons another chance because he felt he had truly repented and accepted Jesus into his heart.

Salon article on Huckabee’s dealings with Maurice Clemmons.

Huckabee has proudly declared on many occasions that he disdains the separation of church and state, insisting that his strict Baptist piety should serve as the bedrock of public policy. Nowhere in his record as governor was the influence of religious zeal felt more heavily than in the distribution of pardons and commutations, as his own explanations have indicated. During those years he granted more commutations and pardons than any governor during the previous four decades, many of them surely justified as a response to excessive penalties under the state’s draconian narcotics laws. But others were deeply controversial, especially because so many of his acts of mercy appeared to depend on interventions by fellow Baptist preachers and by inmate professions of renewed Christian faith.

No doubt word spread among the prison population that the affable governor was vulnerable to appeals from convicts who claimed to be born again. Clemmons too was among those who benefited from Huckabee’s tendency to believe such pious testimonials. “I come from a very good Christian family and I was raised much better than my actions speak,” he explained in his clemency application in 2000. “I’m still ashamed to this day for the shame my stupid involvement in these crimes brought upon my family’s name … I have never done anything good for God, but I’ve prayed for him to grant me in his compassion the grace to make a start. Now, I’m humbly appealing to you for a brand new start.”

New York Times article about Huckabee’s clemency issues.

Mr. Huckabee, who rode a brand of prairie populism to finish second in the Republican presidential primaries in 2008, granted more than 1,000 pardons or clemency requests as governor. As his reputation for granting clemency spread, more convicts applied. Aides said he read each file personally.

In most cases, he followed the recommendation of the parole board, but in several cases he overrode the objections of prosecutors, judges and victims’ families. And in several, he followed recommendations for clemency from Baptist preachers who had been longtime supporters.

Robert Herzfeld, then the prosecuting attorney of Saline County, wrote a letter to Governor Huckabee in January 2004, saying his policy on clemency was “fatally flawed” and suggesting that he should announce specific reasons for granting clemency. Mr. Huckabee’s chief aide on clemency wrote back: “The governor read your letter and laughed out loud. He wanted me to respond to you. I wish you success as you cut down on your caffeine consumption.”

After the Fort Hood shooting, public figures called for ousting Muslims from the US military. They shouted that Maj Hasan was allowed to remain in the Army due to “political correctness” and claimed that Muslims are a protected class in the United States. As if Maj Hasan wouldn’t have been able to shoot anybody if he’d been kicked out of the army, which by the way he had been trying to leave for years, to no avail. As if any Muslim can commit any kind of crime in the US without his religion making the headlines.

Meanwhile, some Christians in America are howling that they are the underclass, that everyone makes fun of them, that public entities sometimes acknowledge that there is some religious diversity in America. The “war on Christmas” is a good example.

Here’s a scientific study whose conclusions will come as no surprise to most:

For many religious people, the popular question “What would Jesus do?” is essentially the same as “What would I do?” That’s the message from an intriguing and controversial new study by Nicholas Epley from the University of Chicago. Through a combination of surveys, psychological manipulation and brain-scanning, he has found that when religious Americans try to infer the will of God, they mainly draw on their own personal beliefs.

Obviously, this is what Huckabee was drawing on when he was pardoning Christians and what Bush was drawing on when he decide to war on Muslims and when he looked into Putin’s eyes and “saw his soul.”

And along those lines, let’s talk about religion and its pernicious effects on the law. Take Uganda. It has no state religion, but the majority religion makes up 84% of the country and influences the legal and political system there. On top of that, a powerful and wealthy foreign country dominated by coreligionists has been exporting religious materials of the most extreme flavor to Uganda, and foreign fundamentalists attended a conference there earlier this year that led to an anti-homosexuality bill that if passed would impose the death penality for “aggravated homosexuality.”

Many speakers at that conference think that homosexuality is an illness that can be cured. One wrote a book that equates Nazism and homosexuality and one works at a foundation which ostensibly “cures” homosexuals.

“They told us all things are going wrong because the family is being neglected. Not having more children is one of the things that they said are going wrong. Homosexuality is a way of stopping us from having more children,” said Senyonjo.

Macauley, who fled Nigeria last year after receiving death threats for hosting a gay-friendly church, added that the harsh law comes in a context of perceived challenges to men’s role in society. Women’s increased agency, including deciding whether to have children and how many, is experienced as a threat by some men. A relationship between two men raises the fear that one of the men will behave “like a woman” in the household, which undermines any supposedly natural definition of men’s position in society.

One of these imported fundamentalists probably also met with a number of Ugandan parliamentarians.

A bill has since been drafted and was tabled on Oct 14 in Uganda’s parliament, legalising not only the persecution of lesbians and gays but also of straights that “support” them. The bill applies to Ugandans inside and outside the country. It nullifies Uganda’s ratification of any international treaties that support LGBTI human rights and explicitly rejects the notion that homosexuals have human rights.

Any parent who does not denounce their lesbian daughter or gay son to the authorities face fines of 2,650 dollars or three years’ imprisonment. Any teacher who does not report a lesbian or gay pupil faces the same punishment.

Senyonjo believes that the Ugandan law stems from the urge to protect patriarchal arrangements: “It is men who want the law. They have a very loud voice. The church is still very patriarchal. They want the man to be the head of the family. Even at weddings they say the man is the head and the woman has to be obedient.”

Shariah Christian law truly is harsh and blood-soaked. If only the close-minded fundamentalists who can’t get it enacted here in the US wouldn’t export it to the rest of the world. We excoriate Saudi Arabia for funding fundamentalist schools around the world, but turn a blind eye to Christian proselytizing of the most foul kind.

Alhamdulillah we have a wall of separation between church and state here in the US! Let’s hope politicians such as Huckabee, Palin and Bachmann are never able to tear it down.

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For readers outside the US who may not know who Mike Huckabee is, he is a former candidate for president who in a Gallup poll published in early Nov 2009 was the Republican frontrunner for a presidential run in 2012.

71% of Republicans say they would seriously consider voting for Mike Huckabee.

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Christian Terror, Political Correctness, Etc.

More on this story when I get a chance to blog, this afternoon, I hope.

[Cop-massacre suspect pardoned by evangelist governor Mike Huckabee, Maurice] Clemmons was charged in Washington state earlier this year with assaulting a police officer and raping a child, and investigators in the sex case said he was motivated by visions that he was Jesus Christ and that the world was on the verge of the apocalypse.

So happy the occasional news source will come through with the information after a few days. Not quite like when the shooter is a Muslim, but at least it showed up buried down the page a few days later.

Funny that on some blogs people no sooner saw his picture (dark-skinned man) than they assumed he was a Muslim who had become “radicalized” in prison.

“The whole time Clemmons kept saying things like trust him, the world is going to end soon, and that he was Jesus,” a Pierce County sheriff’s report said.

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UPDATE: I won’t have time to blog this today. It may have to wait until the weekend. I also want to add something about Shariah Christian law in Uganda, where homosexuals will likely soon face the death penalty.

Some of the obstacles identified as standing in the way of dialogue between LGBTI people and clergy were: ignorance about sexuality; scriptural interpretations; silence and invisibility of LGBTI people in religious communities; taboos on discussing sexuality in some African societies; hierarchical church structures; and oppressive laws.

Senyonjo believes that the Ugandan law stems from the urge to protect patriarchal arrangements: “It is men who want the law. They have a very loud voice. The church is still very patriarchal. They want the man to be the head of the family. Even at weddings they say the man is the head and the woman has to be obedient.”

How backwards!

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