People Unclear

This is number 57 of a series

I have a variety of Facebook friends of differing world views. Sensitivity to being challenged has driven most of the ultra-religious and the politically conservative away. Thankfully, some remain. They are the true heroes. They are the ones who do not perceive any difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama. They are among those people still unclear. Here is a posting from one:

So… Trump is totally different from Obama? [Emphasis added]

Only to those who don’t realize the hold the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has on >> any << administration.

Here’s one example, a video which directly compares Obama’s “We must attack Syria” speech with Trump’s.

I’m open to your showing me the differences:

https://youtu.be/Ox4vfBH5xpU?t=3879

What I will bear down on are two critical lines—Trump totally different from Obama and showing the differences. Where to begin:

  • Donald Trump has, from all appearances, committed numerous major crimes. Obama not so much.
  • Trump has a distant relationship with the truth. Obama more or less embraces it.
  • Trump thinks there were some very nice people marching and shouting, “Jews will not replace us.” Obama refuses to give those people a pass.
  • Trump met in private in the Oval Office with Russian agents and confided secret information obtained from Israeli intelligence sources. Obama tended to keep sensitive information close to the vest.
  • Trump employed in his campaign and in his personal life a gallery of convicted criminals. Obama has been reluctant to do this.
  • Trump has been married to three different women, each time humping other women while married to the previous or current wife. Obama leads a deadly dull existence by comparison.
  • Trump phoned a newspaper editor and called one of his reporters a cunt. Obama apparently missed any such opportunity.
  • Trump calls a number of countries in the world shit holes. Obama uses more diplomatic language.
  • Trump seems to have had no formal training in constitutional law. Obama obtained a law degree from Harvard, was for a time editor of the Harvard Law Review, and also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago.
  • Trump promised that, if elected, he would work to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Obama failed never even made an attempt.
  • Donald Trump has suggested that Jewish people might be committing anti-Semitic hate crimes to make himself look bad.” Obama took a pass at any opportunity to go down that path.

Hey, Dan, I have half a basket full more of these. Would you like for me to post them?

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 21 of a continuing series

Yes, readers, wacko right wing religious fanatics really do say the darndest things. Enough time has passed, and I can now return to right wing religious fanatic Rick Wiles. This from Right Wing Watch:

Rick Wiles Warns That if Democrats Gain Power, They Will Slaughter Christians by the Thousands

“This Marxist-communist Antichrist revolution that is in full bloom in the United States of America, this thing is anti-Christian,” Wiles said. “They hate God. These people are against God. These people love to abort babies. They love to promote sexual immorality. Everything that drives them is in opposition to God and his moral laws. That is the centerpiece of their agenda.”

This is your heads up, comrades. He’s on to us. It looks like we are going to have to change our plans. Instead of slaughtering thousands of Christians, I suggest we snuff only a hundred or so. Better yet, let’s forget our snuff plans altogether. Let’s just moon them. I guarantee you, they will never get over it.

BTW, Right Wing Watch is a worthy source, and they are soliciting your monetary support. Since I use a lot of their material to feed this blog, I’m going to make a contribution. You are invited to contribute, as well.

People Unclear

This is number 55 of a series

There are times I just look, and I say to myself, “What were they thinking?’ Let’s start with the scene below, a screen shot taken from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, streaming on Hulu this morning.

It’s a picture of people of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh burying their dead. This after a presidentially-inspired gunman arrived there on Saturday, shouting anti-Jewish rhetoric, and murdering 11 members of the congregation. That given, let’s take it back a few months:

US President-elect Donald Trump told the Israel Hayom Hebrew-language daily that he intends to go through with his pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, saying that “clearly I did not forget” the promise made on the campaign trail.

American commitment to Israel has at times been a contentious issue. The United States was the first country to extend recognition of Israel on its formation in 1948. This support has been with reservations. The United States has, throughout the years, insisted on fair treatment for Arabs in the region, especially since Arabs now mostly occupy portions of the former Palestine not now incorporated into Israel. This balanced stance has been a point of contention with hard-line Israelis, many of which would opt for complete expulsion of the Palestinians.

Israelis and American Jews have not been the only ones favoring support for the hard-liners. (Fact is, a bulk of American Jews do not side with the hardliners on this matter.) American evangelical Christians support the hard-liners from a quaint, religious motivation. These are people who buy into the prophecy of the Apocalypse, the second coming of Christ, when all true Christians will vanish from the physical world and be transported to Heaven. According to the prophecy, the Jews have to be in power in the Holy Land for this to happen. Jews out, Arabs (Muslims) in, then it’s not going to happen. My view: there appear to be some Christians who spew anti-Jewish rhetoric while supporting Jewish domination of the Holy Land.

Two years ago candidate Trump was playing this card to garner the support of evangelical Christians. See the above.

So now I have to wonder how many American Jews also bought into Trump’s support for Israel and voted for him over Hillary Clinton, who made no such promises and lost the election. In particular, did any members of the Tree of Life congregation vote for the man who also informed us that American Jews instigated attacks as a means of undermining his agenda:

After days in which he refused to comment on a spate of anti-Semitic attacks, Mr Trump broke his silence to repeat an neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that has claimed that the attacks are “false flags”. Supporters of that belief – who include leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke – believe that such attacks are being perpetrated by Jewish people in order to undermine the White House.

Squirrel Hill is a pleasant neighborhood in Pittsburgh, home of a significant Jewish population. Whether any in Squirrel Hill residents ever voted for candidate Trump, the climate is much changed since Saturday:

Whoops! I don’t get this kind of reception when I show up for a creationist meeting. If not before, definitely now a hostile environment for President Trumps right-wing verbiage.

Jesus! If the midterm elections could be held this day in this neighborhood, then Republican candidates would be shopping for assisted living facilities tomorrow. What were they thinking?

The National Divide

Number 3 of a possibly infinite series

As I previously mentioned, our nation is divided, and, furthermore, I am comfortable with that. There is a segment of this country, and there is a class of thought and activity, that I want to keep compartmentalized. Let’s start with this:

PITTSBURGH — Armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 congregants and wounding four police officers and two others, the authorities said.

Fortunately we have a president who abhors this kind of activity and who works tirelessly to unite the country. But, I jest.

President Trump defended the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville on Tuesday, saying they included “some very fine people.”

Some very fine people:

The words that go with these images are telling:

They immediately went after the Jews. At their Friday night rally at the University of Virginia, the white nationalists brandished torches and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans, including “blood and soil” (an English rendering of the Nazi “blut und boden”) and “Jews will not replace us” — all crafted to cast Jews as foreign interlopers who need to be expunged.

President Trump, whose daughter married a Jew and has converted to Judaism, does not embrace this kind of rhetoric and never has:

Wednesday 1 March 2017 02:22

Donald Trump has suggested that Jewish people might be committing anti-Semitic hate crimes to make himself look bad.

After days in which he refused to comment on a spate of anti-Semitic attacks, Mr Trump broke his silence to repeat an neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that has claimed that the attacks are “false flags”. Supporters of that belief – who include leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke – believe that such attacks are being perpetrated by Jewish people in order to undermine the White House.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, said that he had spoken to the President about a wave of threats to Jewish community centres. And Mr Trump said that they had been designed to make “others look bad”

A uniter, not a divider.

But not always.

It really is best that our nation is divided and that we know where the line is.

Dying to Believe

Number 128 in a series

Posted on Facebook by a religious “friend”

This series previously reported on the campaign by Seth M. Asser and Rita Swan “To evaluate deaths of children from families in which faith healing was practiced in lieu of medical care and to determine if such deaths were preventable.” Swan was motivated by her own experience with faith healing as practiced by the Christian Science sect:

Rita Swan of Sioux City, Iowa, a former Christian Scientist, has led the campaign for such prosecutions after being convinced that her reliance on spiritual healing was largely responsible for the death of her infant son. ”I’m sure the church has never faced a challenge like this in its history,” she said. ”The church has been so sophisticated and so smooth that coroners and prosecutors and social workers have just assumed that Christian Scientists have the right to do this.”

Mrs. Swan resorted to spiritual healing when her 2-year-old son, Matthew, took sick in November 1976. Christian Science practitioners attributed the boy’s illness and his failure to improve to Mrs. Swan’s decision to have surgery a few months earlier to remove a cyst – which had failed to respond to faith healing – as well as on a feud she was having with her father.

The boy died of meningitis in July 1977. Within days, Mrs. Swan broke with the church, and in 1983 she founded Child, an organization whose name is an acronym for Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty.

As the Times article reports, the church expends money and energy to defend against legal prosecutions for child neglect, citing religious liberty as the basis for their right to refuse treatment for children.

May Jesus have mercy on their souls.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 134

The reason we are plagued by gun violence is because we have removed God from our public life. That I have been told. I have also been told it’s because we have removed God from our schools. It’s a good thing we have not yet removed God from our churches:

Gunman fatally shoots Pennsylvania churchgoer after fight over seat at Sunday service

All of which leaves us to ask, “What gun would Jesus choose?”

Dying to Believe

Number 127 in a series

The world of Christian Science is rich to mine when I’m assembling stories of people killed by faith. Here is one more:

Elizabeth King, a 12-year-old in Phoenix, developed a tumor near her knee in the fall of 1987. Her parents called in a Christian Science practitioner. By the time the local authorities learned of the girl’s condition, the tumor had ballooned; one nurse compared it in size to two watermelons. She died four weeks later. Her parents pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless endangerment.

Think about this whenever you ponder the story of Abraham being commanded by God to murder his son. There really are people like that.

Dying to Believe

Number 126 in a series

Christian Science, a Christian sect established by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. The term is an oxymoron, since the words “Christian” and “science” would not normally appear in the same sentence. “Death by oxymoron” is not something you should want on your gravestone:

BREWSTER Nancy Anne Brewster, 7, died September 29, 1963 at her home in El Paso, Texas, after a 2-1/2 year battle with “Malignant tumor right side of neck”, “probably malignant lymphoma”, “(microscopic pending)” (quotes from Certificate of Death). Nancy never had an obituary in El Paso and there was never any service to honor Nancy when she died. This is her first obituary. Nancy was my little sister by 13 months. My mom used to dress us like twins. Nancy went to Putnam Elementary School like I did, but after the first grade she was too sick to go to school anymore. The first time Nancy and I went horseback riding she rode a little white horse named Frosty and I rode a great big one named Redwood. We went to Disneyland, Western Playland, the zoo, and played Pik-Up Sticks and dolls together. Nancy liked swimming, playing tag and kickball before she got sick. Nancy also enjoyed climbing trees with me and reading books. She loved tacos, ice cream and bananas. Her favorite book was The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson by Dare Wright. She got it for Christmas from my father’s parents in 1962. I still have the book, along with Nancy’s other personal possessions that my mother gave me. Her Easter muff, her locket, a tiny ring, a little bracelet, and letters and cards Nancy wrote to me and our parents are a few of those treasured possessions. Nancy was very brave and strong when she got sick, and she gave new meaning to the word courage. Her valiant struggle with her illness remains an inspiration to me today. She endured a 2-1/2 year battle with the cancer that finally took her life without so much as an aspirin, a comforting hand or soothing words, a cold rag on her forehead when she was vomiting, which she did frequently.

There is additional detail on another site:

Nancy Brewster

Age: 7
El Paso, Texas

Died (untreated cancer)
September 29, 1963
She got a lump on her neck at 5 and soon was too sick to go to school. A Christian Science practitioner prayed for her and said the illness was an illusion. When she died there was no funeral and the family never spoke of her again.

Not so much as an aspirin.

Dying to Believe

Number 125 in a series

Christian Science is a religious sect founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. The consequences survive to this day, even though many of its followers do not:

In February 1984 4-year-old Shauntay Walker developed flu-like symptoms and then a stiff neck. Her mother, Laurie Walker — a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist — had the child treated with prayer rather than medical care. (To Christian Scientists, disease is a result of errors of the mind, and medicine only perpetuates those errors.)

The course of treatment involved a Christian Science prayer practitioner and a Christian Science nurse. Shauntay Walker died on March 9, 1984, of acute purulent meningitis. During her 17-day illness she received no medical treatment at all.

Death by ignorance may be one of death’s cruelest forms.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 20 of a continuing series

Some things leave me breathless. Where do we get these people? Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Here’s Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, possibly the largest such congregation in the nation. Read:

President just delivered the strongest speech to the United Nations of any president in history—Democrat or Republican. His bold and courageous address is another reminder of why he was elected president—and others weren’t.

“Why he was elected president—and others weren’t.” Breathless. Really! Really? Why he was elected president and other weren’t? Pastor Jeffress overlooks the small matter that more people voted against Donald Trump than voted for him. If that is supposed to be a ringing investment, then I hope I never receive such a ringing endorsement. While I’m at it I need to make an urgent request. Robert Jeffress, please never give me one of your endorsements of any kind, ringing or not.

There may have been a time when Christian morality stood for something, but that thing is becoming hard to find. You won’t find it in the mouthings of Pastor Jeffress. From all appearances the shadow of Christian morality has been traded for crass political power. Robert Jeffress agrees to pass over Donald Trumps lack of morality in exchange for the administration’s support of his own political aims. The race to the bottom may have been won. Goal Pastor Jeffress!

Media Research Center

Number 7 in a series

Repeating myself: I tap into conservative media streams to bring you stuff you might otherwise miss. Here is something that reveals what conservative readers find worth their concern. It’s from CNS, which seems to be an arm of the MRC. That CNS is pushing the story indicates it’s something that gets conservative readers up in the morning:

By Patrick Goodenough | September 21, 2018 | 4:42 AM EDT
Right. We’re talking Christians and Muslims here, folks. Spit out your chaw and pull on your boots. The world is about to change. Here’s more of the story.

(CNSNews.com) – The proportion of Christians to Muslims among refugees from around the world admitted to the United States has changed significantly in FY 2018, with Christians comprising seven in ten new arrivals, and Muslims fewer than two in ten.

With ten days of the fiscal year to go, a total of 21,561 refugees have been resettled since October 1 last year, of whom 15,278 (70.8 percent) are Christians and 3,333 (15.4 percent) are Muslims, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

The story features a photo of “Christian refugees from Syria and Iraq, in Jordan.” But wait. These people don’t look like you folks from the mid-west. They are dark complected and they’re wearing strange clothing. Better stay on the alert.

(Of the 53,716 refugees resettled in FY 2017, 56 percent arrived during the Obama administration and 44 percent during the Trump administration.)

And in FY 2016, 44.5 percent of the 84,994 refugees resettled in the U.S. by the Obama administration were Christians and 45.7 percent were Muslims. That was the first time in a decade that the total refugee intake from around the world included more Muslims than Christians.

People, this is what American conservatism is about. It’s something that does not seem to have changed in my lifetime, stretching back to the 1940s. Are we ever going to be able to advance the clock?

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 19 of a continuing series

Yeah, we get a lot of that. It comes from all directions. Here is Islamic nut case Zekir Naik:

The Moon Reflects sunlight, its a miracle

He continues on the theme of modern science in the Quran, and strives to be even sillier. He next claims humans only discovered that the moon reflected sunlight 100-200 years ago. Er no, that has been known for thousands of years prior to the existence of the Quran. The Greek philosopher Thales wrote about the moon reflecting the sun in 585 BC.

There’s more. It’s proof that American evangelical Christians don’t hold a lock on stupid.

Dying to Believe

Number 124 in a series

An all to often gift of unreason is early death. The Friends of the Truth Church in Japan provides a tragic reminder:

Apparent Mass Suicide Stirs Japan

By John Burgess

November 3, 1986

An apparent group suicide by seven Japanese women that followed the death of the founder of their small religious cult has dominated newspapers here and drawn attention to the role of suicide and cult religion in Japanese society.

A man out for a morning walk discovered seven charred bodies yesterday morning on a beach in Wakayama prefecture. Nearby was a plastic container of kerosene, which police surmised the woman used to immolate themselves.

The women were identified as members of a tiny church called the Friends of Truth, which is headquartered about 500 yards away from where their bodies were found. They ranged in age from 25 to 67, included the wife of the cult leader, and by some accounts were each related by blood to her.

We could consider these people were mentally ill, but then the same would have to be said of the billions who daily invoke unseen and unheard beings to direct their lives.

Wacko Right Wing Religious Fanatics Say The Darndest Things

Number 18 of a continuing series

I keep seeing stuff like this show up on my Facebook feed. Every now and then I figure i need to check one of them out. Here’s a recent one:

Mark Taylor: ‘Satan’s Frequency’ Is Making People Unable To See How God Is Using Trump To Save America

Last week, we highlighted “firefighter prophet” and right-wing conspiracy theorist Mark Taylor’s belief that the Illuminati and the Freemasons are using a special frequency to change people’s DNA in order to make them oppose President Trump.

On Friday, Taylor appeared on “The Sharpening Report” where he expanded on this theory, explaining that people who have had their bloodlines corrupted by sins committed by their ancestors are now being targeted by Satan via a frequency that is making them unable to see how God is using Trump to save America.

“People are picking up on the frequency of Satan right now,” he stated. “The goal of the Freemasons, the goal of the Illuminati, the goal of the globalists is to change your DNA. They want to change your DNA, they want you to hear what they want you to hear, see what they want you to see and speak what they want you to speak, act like they want you to act. They’re wanting to totally control you and the only way they can do that is through the bombardment of these frequencies.”

My first reaction was, “No way! Nobody is that stupid.” Of course I’ve been wrong before. From YouTube:

movies the news media you know they’re
04:17
throughout 440 Hertz versus 444 Hertz
04:20
which was God’s created over God’s
04:22
created frequency basically and that’s
04:24
what’s causing the agitation that’s
04:26
what’s causing health issues is causing
04:28
paranoia is causing fear
04:52
unemployment and the the economy worsens
04:56
he could have undermined the messaging
04:58
so much that he can actually control
05:01
exactly what people think you know the
05:07
instruments in our churches right now
05:08
are tunes that been detuned to 440 Hertz
05:11
and this all originated back in World
05:13
War one
Yeah, I think you need to watch the video.Of course, there is the possibility that Mr. Taylor doesn’t believe any of this—that he’s spewing it out to keep his audience going. That would be really cool. But then I remember, “Oh, yeah. There’re a bunch of people out in believer land sucking it up and swallowing it whole.” And that’s what keeps me awake at nights.

Dying to Believe

Number 123 in a series

Belief is strong, and people sometimes follow it all the way to the grave. For example:

On Sunday morning, 11 members of a family were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Burari area of North Delhi. Hours after the bodies were discovered, police found two notebooks in the house with details on how to “end life in order to attain moksha (salvation)”. “It contains a step-by-step account of how to surrender life; how the human body is temporary, but the soul continues to live on; how to cope with fear and pain by covering the mouth and eyes with tape or cloth, and tying hands… The last entry on June 25 refers to one of the dead, Lalit, and how everyone must jump off the stools they would stand on at his signal,” said a police source to The Indian Express. The discovery of the two notebooks has led to the suspicion that the deaths are associated with some form of occult practice.

This year is the 40th anniversary of the most horrific mass suicide of modern history. Keep reading. There will be more.

Son of Snake Oil

Number 2 of a Series

It’s back.

Actually, I think it never left. In fact, this outdates that good old American snake oil by centuries. It’s Qigong, and it’s here to save your life.

I have a number of email accounts, and one of them is devoted to matters skeptical. Here I receive all manner of challenges for the North Texas Skeptics paranormal prize and also a bunch of stuff relating to alternative medicine—AltMed. Qigong (chee gong) is not new to the Skeptics. At the CSICOP conference we hosted in 1992 they had a presenter come all the way from China to fill us in. It works like this. From Wikipedia:

The theories of ancient Chinese qigong include the Yin-Yang and Five Phases Theory, EssenceQiSpirit Theory, Zang-Xiang Theory, and Meridians and Qi-Blood Theory, which have been synthesized as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM focuses on tracing and correcting underlying disharmony, in terms of deficiency and excess, using the complementary and opposing forces of yin and yang (陰陽), to create a balanced flow of qi. Qi is believed to be cultivated and stored in three main dantian energy centers and to travel through the body along twelve main meridians (Jīng Luò 經絡), with numerous smaller branches and tributaries. The main meridians correspond to twelve main organs (Zàng fǔ 臟腑)). Qi is balanced in terms of yin and yang in the context of the traditional system of Five Phases (Wu xing 五行).[13][14] A person is believed to become ill or die when qi becomes diminished or unbalanced. Health is believed to be returned by rebuilding qi, eliminating qi blockages, and correcting qi imbalances. These TCM concepts do not translate readily to modern science and medicine.

The above image is from the site linked in the email I received Saturday. So is this one:

You are going to click on the images of satisfied patients to obtain additional information. Here is what they offer:

Feeling stressed? Having trouble unplugging from your full — sometimes too full! — life?

You might be looking for a simple practice that can help you find more balance… physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Or maybe your energy is low, you feel rundown, and you’re vulnerable to illness — or you have a chronic condition — and your go-to remedies and practices aren’t enough to turn things around.

It’s time to take your health into your own hands.

A daily Qigong practice, available to everyone, can immediately lower stress, increase energy, prevent illness, and support you in rejuvenating your body, mind, and spirit.

With Qigong, you can learn to bring healing energy — known as “Qi” — to particular parts of your body to transform anxiety, stress, and disease into self-confidence, inner peace, and optimal health.

As your body responds by doing what it’s designed to do (heal and re-balance itself), blockages in your flow of Qi disappear and your full life force energy moves smoothly, radiating out into all aspects of your daily life.

During The Qigong Global Summit, some of the world’s foremost Qigong teachers — including Master Mantak Chia, Daisy Lee, Lee Holden, Dr. Effie Chow, Dr. Roger Jahnke, Master Mingtong Gu, Pedram Shojai, Sifu Ama Lia Wai Ching Lee, Robert Peng, and others — will show you simple yet powerful practices to cultivate abundant Qi flow for your health, healing, and daily life.

These Qigong teachers, masters, and doctors in the first-ever Qigong Global Summit will share insights into the practices of Qigong, Tai Chi, Martial Arts, and Traditional Chinese Medicine — as well as how Qi is the foundation of all of these ancient arts, and more.

Through beautiful, high-quality video, they’ll illuminate both the philosophical and practical components of working with Qi — and offer simple practices you can use right away.

Our highly esteemed teachers will offer their wisdom on how to discover your inner healing potential, and perspectives on how to flow with the challenges of daily life.

That next to last paragraph is a winner. Qigong is all about managing your qi:

Believers of qi (chee) describe it as a vital energy whose flow must be balanced for health. Qi is a pseudoscientific, unverified concept, which has never been directly observed, and is unrelated to the concept of energy used in science (vital energy is itself an abandoned scientific notion).

I am not an authority on acupuncture, but those knowledgeable tell me it is based on managing your qi:

You may have heard the words “qi” or chi” with regard to acupuncture and alternative medicine. But do you even know how to pronounce it, let alone understand the concept? If you’ve ever wondered: “What is (qi) chi energy?” then read on. Understanding this important concept will help you better comprehend how Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture work.

The basics of understanding Chi | AMC Acupuncture School Miami

Qi or chi — pronounced “chee” — is the energy flow created along the pathways that connect the acupuncture points on the body. The pathways between the points are called meridians, which also connect to internal organs in the body. Using acupuncture needles, pressure or heat to manipulate a point or two separate points on the body can improve a person’s qi — which is also thought of as one’s life force — and relieve the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, including chronic pain, digestive issues, respiratory problems and more. This understanding of the human body comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is thousands of years old. It’s a different way of thinking about how the body works than conventional Western medicine.

I was thankful to receive this particular piece of mail. It reminded me that foolishness is not not a modern invention. It is a human tradition that stretches back to the time when ignorance was an excuse.

Coming next: feng shui. I guarantee, you’re going to love it.

Dying to Believe

Number 122 in a series

We all know that Jesus saves. However, when things don’t work out, there can be deadly consequences:

At least 924 members of a doomsday religious sect in Uganda have died. The number of bodies increases daily and is expected to exceed 1,000 after the last compound belonging to the destructive cult is examined:

  • About 530 in an intentionally-set fire that gutted their church in Kanungu, Uganda on Friday, 2000-MAR-17. Police have counted 330 skulls in the church; however, some bodies had been converted to ash. Almost all were burned beyond recognition. The dead included at least 78 children. The precise number of the dead will never be known.
  • In the days following the tragedy, police discovered five pit latrines covered in fresh cement. One was opened. Public health officer Richard Opira said: “we found five bodies on the surface and when we shone a torch there were more underneath…They haven’t been wounded so we think they were strangled or maybe poisoned.” By MAR-21, six bodies had been removed: three had had their stomachs slit open; one had a crushed skull. Dr. Sam Birungi explained: “Some were beaten, some were burned, some were chemically poisoned then their bodies were dumped down in the pit.”
  • 153 bodies were discovered in another compound belonging to the religious group in nearby Buhunga.
  • 155 bodies were unearthed in a mass grave in a sugarcane field in Fr. Dominic Kataribabo’s estate at Rugazi. Some of the latter had been stabbed; others had pieces of cloth wrapped tightly around their throats. They appeared to have been dead for at least a month.
  • Another 81 bodies, including 44 children were discovered on the farm of lay leader Joseph Nymurinda.
  • A fifth compounds belonging to the religious group has not been investigated. As of 2000-APR-3, the police are waiting until they had collected proper equipment. They are asking for international aid in the form of expert forensic pathologists.

It was a good time to be a sinner.