Kill LGBTQ people preacher unwelcome in Amsterdam


This 30 July 2018 BBC video from Britain says about itself:

The American Preacher Spreading Hate

Director Hannah Livingston spends six months tracking two of America’s most radical Christian hate groups – a notorious pastor from Arizona who has been banned from the UK and a network of preachers who take their extremist message directly to the streets.

This film shows how America’s constitutional right to free speech allows these groups to spread homophobia and Islamophobia in an increasingly polarised and divided political climate. Drawing on a literal interpretation of the Bible, the pastor opens new churches in America and influences people around the world by broadcasting his sermons over the internet.

On 24 April 2019, NOS TV reported that the majority of the Dutch parliament want the government to ban United States homophobic Baptist preacher Steven Anderson from coming to the Netherlands to preach in Amsterdam.

An MP of the right-wing VVD party tweeted, translated:

This dangerous ‘preacher’ thinks, eg, that gays should burn

According to Anderson, LGBT should mean Let God Burn Them.

He is also vehemently anti-abortion, anti-condoms and advocates killing ex-president Obama.

and that the bloody attack on a gay bar in Orlando was ‘good news’. …

GroenLinks MP Buitenweg tweets that while freedom of expression is an important right, the line is crossed when calling for hatred, violence and intimidation.

Dutch LGBTQ organisation COC calls on the State Secretary to deny Anderson access to our country as an unwanted alien. Anderson has previously been refused entry or has been deported by, eg, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Botswana and Jamaica.

“He calls for hatred. He wants governments to kill LGBT people and wants LGBT people to shoot themselves through the head“, said Philip Tijsma of COC Netherlands this morning in the NOS Radio 1 Journal.

Holocaust

The Center for Documentation and Information on Israel agrees with the COC call. According to Anderson, Jews lied about the Holocaust … . The CIDI points out that denying the Holocaust is punishable in the Netherlands.

Anderson intends to preach in Amsterdam on 23 May. He keeps the location a secret, as he does not want LGBTQ people to protest against him there.

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290 people killed in Sri Lanka bloodbath


This 22 April 2019 AFP news agency video says about itself:

St Sebastian’s church: A day after Sri Lanka explosions

Authorities comb through St Sebastian’s church in Sri Lanka’s Negombo as the death toll from Sunday’s bomb blasts that ripped through churches and luxury hotels in the country rose dramatically Monday to 290.

By K. Ratnayake in Sri Lanka:

At least 290 killed in terrorist bomb attacks in Sri Lanka

22 April 2019

At least 290 people have been killed and around 500 injured in a series of powerful bomb blasts yesterday in Sri Lanka. In a co-ordinated attack between 8.45 a.m. and 9 a.m., unidentified terrorists struck three Christian churches and three luxury hotels frequented by tourists. Among the dead are some 35 foreigners, including from the US, European countries, China and Japan.

The three churches—St. Anthony in Colombo, St. Sebastian in Negombo to the north of the capital and the Zeon Church in Batticalao on the east coast of the island—were packed for Easter Sunday services. The blasts ripped off the roofs and left body parts strewn among the rubble. The hospitals, particularly in Negombo where the death toll was the highest, were overwhelmed by the large number of injured, many of whom are in a serious condition.

People recovering dead bodies in Katuwapitiya Church

The three luxury hotels—the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury—are all in Colombo. Two further blasts in the capital several hours later claimed more lives—one in the suburb of Dehiwela killed two people and the second in Dematagoda killed seven, including three police officers.

The Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka) unequivocally condemns this barbaric murder of innocent people, including children and women. Whoever is responsible for this heinous crime and whatever their motives, it will be exploited by the political establishment to strengthen the state apparatus and further attack basic democratic rights.

The government immediately imposed a nationwide block on social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Viber, claiming that they had been used to circulate “false news reports.” While saying the shutdown would be temporary, it is part and parcel of moves by governments internationally to censor the internet so that only government-approved news is readily available.

Dutch NOS TV reports today (translated):

Internet organization NetBlocks regrets the move, because legitimate news sources now also cannot be disseminated and rumours will circulate faster.

The K. Ratnayake article continues:

No organisation or individual has so far claimed the responsibility for the terrorist attacks. State minister for defence affairs and media, Ruwan Wijewardena, said the government knew the “identity of the culprits” but would not elaborate. The police have arrested 13 people but have not revealed their identity. Even the nature of the bombings is not clear, but there is some evidence that suicide bombers were involved.

Agence France Presse has reported that the Sri Lankan government and police had received a warning 10 days before that suicide bombers planned to attack prominent churches. The intelligence alert to top police officers declared: “A foreign intelligence agency has informed that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jamma’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian High Commission in Colombo.”

Neither the police nor the government took any action to warn the public of an impending attack. Nor there is any evidence that the police took any measures to prevent the bombings. Yet the alert was quite specific and Easter is an obvious time when churches would be full.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday acknowledged that there had been a warning from an unnamed foreign intelligence agency. He claimed, however, that he and his ministers did not know about the alert. He indicated that there would be an inquiry as “there had not been adequate attention [paid] to the information.”

National Thowheeth Jamma’ath is an Islamist organisation based in Sri Lanka that is suspected of having links to Islamic extremists internationally. At this stage, however, one cannot rule out other possibilities.

The Colombo political establishment, which waged a brutal three-decade long war to defeat the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has close connections to Sinhala Buddhist supremacist groups, which have a history of attacks on Christians and Christian churches, as well as the island’s Tamil and Muslim minorities. In many cases, the police have simply turned a blind eye to such attacks.

The government is desperate to deflect rising anger over the bombings. In his comments, Wickremesinghe hinted that President Maithripala Sirisena was responsible for not taking action to prevent the attack. Sirisena took over the law and order ministry, which includes the police, last December as part of the bitter rivalry between himself and the prime minister. The president, as defence minister, already has control of the country’s three armed forces.

The opposition, led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse, yesterday condemned the attack but sheeted home the blame to the government. The Rajapakse government was responsible for the brutal end to the war against the LTTE which involved the killing of tens of thousands of civilians in the final military operations, as well as hundreds of “disappearances” by military-connected death squads.

Rajapakse has defended the “war heroes” against any charges of war crimes and is looking for the military’s support in his bid to return to power. Yesterday, he declared that the attack was a “dire consequence that innocent people have to face because the government has paralysed the intelligence officers and officers of the three-armed forces.”

Both the governing and opposition parties, however, were responsible for prosecuting the communal war against the island’s Tamil minority and for vastly expanding the military and state apparatus as well as its police state powers. The government will undoubtedly exploit yesterday’s bombings to ram through its Counter Terrorism (CT) Bill, which replaces the notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act and retains the bulk of its sweeping, anti-democratic powers.

In separate statements, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe urged people to be “calm” as the security measures were put into force—after the bombings. As well as the block on social media, police special task force officers were deployed to guard Colombo railway station, Katunayake International Airport and other places. Several hundred soldiers have been deployed onto the streets of Colombo and a curfew has been imposed.

World leaders yesterday rushed to denounce the terrorist attack. US President Donald Trump condemned the “horrible terrorist attacks,” offered “heartfelt condolences” and declared that the US stood “ready to help.” British Prime Minister Theresa May also decried the attacks saying the “violence was truly appalling.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that “there is no place for such barbarism in our region.”

Hypocrisy knows no bounds! The US and its allies are responsible for criminal wars in the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa that fueled Islamic extremists, if they were indeed responsible for yesterday’s bombings. Washington backed successive Colombo governments that waged the island’s brutal war that created communal tensions and hatreds that Sri Lankan elites continue to stir up and manipulate.

Amid a rising tide of working-class struggles, the ruling classes internationally are whipping up anti-immigrant xenophobia and deliberately nurturing fascist parties and organisations. Last month, the Australian fascist Brenton Tarrant shot dead 50 people, including women and children, in mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Despite Tarrant’s connections in far-right circles internationally, the police and intelligence services claim that they had no forewarning. The response of the government in Wellington has been to blame the internet and censor websites.

The government in Sri Lanka will use yesterday’s bombings for the same purpose. Over the past year, there has been a wave of strikes by workers and protests by students, farmers and the poor against the government’s austerity measures. The police-state measures put in place on the pretext of fighting terrorism will inevitably be used against the working class.

Aegean sea journey, 18 April


Aegean sea, 18 April 2019

Before telling how we left Kos island in Greece after our 18 April 2019 arrival there, first this photo through an airplane window from just before our arrival: Greek Aegean sea islands to the north of Kos.

All photos of this blog post are made with a cell phone.

This June 2018 about the harbour of Kos island in Greece says about itself:

Kos City is the capital of the island, has the largest port and is the tourist and cultural center. Close to the harbour is the 14th century Neratzia Castle, built in 1315 by the Knights of St. John of Rhodes. In the center of the city is an old market place, an agora. The ancient Asklepieion is located between Kos Town and the Dikeos.

This February 2019 video says about itself:

Island hopping Greece

We had a great trip from Rhodes to Kos. The ferryboat stopped in Chalki, Tilos and Nisyros. All places were amazing. Enjoy!

After our arrival on Kos island on 18 April 2019, our ferry traveled in the opposite direction: from Kos to Nisyros to Tilos.

Kos-Tilos ferry. 18 April 2019

This photo shows our ferry from Kos to Tilos.

I had crossed the Aegean sea once before: from Turkey to Lesvos island. I had seen Scopoli’s shearwaters and bottlenose dolphins then.

What would we see this time?

We did not see as much wildlife as that earlier time. Mainly a yellow legged gull flying just above the sea. This ferry was a catamaran, sailing much faster than the Turkey to Lesvos ferry. It was windy as well, making it harder to use binoculars.

Greek flag, 18 April 2019

The Aegean sea: in ancient times, there were various explanations for the name Aegean. The Athenians said the name referred to their King Aegeus, of 1000 BCE, or longer ago. When Aegeus was king, the son of King Minos of Crete was murdered in Athens. Hand over my son’s murderers to me, Minos demanded. But King Aegeus did not know who had murdered the Cretan prince. Then, King Minos said, once in seven years you have to send seven young men and seven young women to Crete. These young people were fed to the Minotaur, a half-human half-bull monster living in the underground Labyrinth in Crete.

Theseus, Aegeus’ son, wanted to stop this human sacrifice. When the ship to Crete had to sail again, he traded places with one of the seven young men. He told his father: I want to talk to the Minotaur to stop his killing. If the monster is unwilling, then I will try to kill it. If I succeed, and all fourteen young Athenians will be alive, then, when the ship will arrive again in Athens, its sails will be white. If the sails will be black, that will be a sign that the Minotaur has killed me and the others.

When Theseus arrived on Crete, King Minos’ daughter Ariadne fell in love with him. She said: Theseus, you are strong and courageous. Maybe you can kill the minotaur. However, then you and the other Athenians will still die. You won’t be able to find your way out of the Labyrinth. Therefore, I give you this ball of thread.

As Theseus entered the Labyrinth, he tied one end of the string to the door. He found the Minotaur and killed it. Then, he followed the thread out of the Labyrinth. All the young Athenians boarded their ship. So did Ariadne, who had saved Theseus’ life and whom he loved.

The ship landed on Naxos island to get drinking water. As Theseus slept, the goddess Athena woke him up. She said: You must sail early in the morning. And no, you cannot take Ariadne along. Naxos is the island of Dionysus, the god of wine. Dionysus has fallen in love with Ariadne. She will become Dionysus’ wife.

Athena tells Theseus to leave Ariadne

On this Greek vase painting, Athena tells Theseus (left) to go to his ship, leaving Ariadne. Hypnos, the winged god of sleep, makes sure that Ariadne does not wake up.

Theseus obeyed the gods. But he felt so sad that he forgot to change the black sails to white sails. In some versions of the myth, Theseus voluntarily abandoned Ariadne, not really loving her. However, then his forgetting to change the sails to white ones becomes unexplainable.

As the ship approached Athens, King Aegeus was on the lookout on Sounio cliff. He saw the black sails. ‘My son and the thirteen others are dead!’ In despair, Aegeus jumped into the sea and drowned. And that, according to the Athenians, is why we still call it the Aegean sea.

There is also another explanation, based on another person who supposedly drowned long ago. Aegea was said to have been a queen of the Amazons. She supposedly wanted to bring an army of women warriors from Libya to help the Trojans in their war against the Greeks. However, she drowned; and the sea where she died was named after her.

Tilos, 18 April 2019

After about 90 minutes of sailing, our ferry-boat approached Tilos island.

Tilos, on 18 April 2019

We landed in Livadia, the harbour village of Tilos.

Tilos wildlife: see here.

Donald Trump’s Islamophobia, video


This 14 April 2018 video from Democratic party Congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard in the USA says about itself:

Trump foments religious bigotry for political gain

Trump is shamelessly trying to foment religious bigotry against Representative Ilhan Omar & all Muslims based upon the horrendous actions of a few individuals claiming to be Muslim. This is the very definition of religious bigotry & Trump is fomenting it for political gain. Dangerous & sad.

US televangelist preaches bloody war on Vuvuzela … err… Venezuela


This 12 April 2019 video from the USA is called Pat Robertson Recommends Droning Vuvuzela.

As fundamentalist televangelist Pat Robertson does not know the difference between the South African music instrument vuvuzela and the oil rich country Venezuela, which is in the crosshairs of Robertson’s fellow Republican Donald Trump.

To help the bloodthirsty ‘reverend’ Robertson, here is a video about vuvuzelas.

The 14 June 2010 video shows vuvuzelas played by football supporters during a Netherlands-Denmark international match.

The Pentagon has been ordered to draw up military plans “aimed at deterring Russian, Cuban and Chinese influence” in Venezuela, CNN reported late Monday: here.

United States policeman son’s racist church burnings


This 11 April 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Church Arson Suspect Arrested, You Won’t Believe Who His Dad Is

Police arrested the 21-year-old son of a sheriff’s deputy in connection to fires at three historically black churches in one Louisiana Parish in just 10 days. The fires were devastating to the St. Landry Parish community.

Investigators arrested suspect Holden Matthews Wednesday evening. He was charged Thursday morning with three counts of simple arson of a religious building. The maximum penalty for each counts is 15 years in prison. …

Records show Matthews lives in Saint Landry Parish, where the churches burned just a few miles apart.”

Sheriff’s deputy’s son took an interest in black metal and pagan social media pages, which had connections to neo-Nazism and white supremacy: here.

By Aaron Murch in the USA:

Arrest made in connection with church burnings in Louisiana

12 April 2019

Three historically black churches in St. Landry Parish, in south-central Louisiana, have been set on fire in a span of ten days. On Wednesday, April 10, Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a St. Landry sheriff’s deputy, was arrested as the suspected arsonist behind the fires.

The string of arsons began on March 26 in the town of Port Barre, where the St. Mary Baptist Church burned down under suspicious circumstances. One week later, in nearby Opelousas, two more churches caught fire, the Greater Union Baptist Church on April 2 and the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church two days later.

The churches were empty at the time of the fires and no injuries have been reported, but given the region’s dark history of racist attacks by whites against black churches local parishioners were concerned about a possible racial motivation behind the burnings.

The Democratic governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, gave a press conference laying out the tone of the investigation: “I don’t know what this young man’s motive was, I don’t know what was in his heart, but I can say it cannot be justified or rationalized,” Edwards said, “It has been especially painful because it reminds us of a very dark past of intimidation and fear.”

According to the latest Census data, St. Landry Parish, west of Baton Rouge, is home to over 83,000 people. Located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole community St. Landry’s population is about 56 percent white and 42 percent black. Holden Matthews is white.

Given that the churches targeted were historically black—St. Mary’s in particular has been around for 126 years as an African American Baptist Church—the Southern Poverty Law Center is classifying these burnings as a hate crime. The sheriff’s department has not explicitly declared the burnings a hate crime and prosecutors have not yet brought hate crime charges, which carry with them harsher sentences.

According to authorities, Matthews’ truck was caught on camera leaving one of the churches and a specifically branded gas can used in the burnings was found in his possession.

While it is unclear if racial hatred was a major motivating factor, Matthews, a musician in a local metal band, has made comments on Facebook praising black metal artists known for burning churches in Norway in the early 90s. According to his profile Matthews is a fan of “black metal”, a subgenre of hard rock, which in some areas has attracted advocates of white nationalism and neo-Nazi ideologies.

Matthews’ father Roy Matthews is a deputy at the local sheriff’s department but was not involved in the investigation. He claimed he was unaware of his son’s activities and did not know of any racist bias his son may have had.

The New Orleans division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms led the investigation into the attacks, claiming to advocate a “zero tolerance” approach to the case. “These were evil acts,” Governor Edwards said at the news conference.

The NAACP called the burnings “domestic terrorism” …

Whatever his motives in the church burnings, and their connection to far-right, neo-Nazi ideology, Matthews’ actions are a warning sign of a greater social crisis in a region which is impoverished and has had public education virtually gutted in recent decades under both Republican and Democratic leadership.

The Lafayette area has itself seen a steady decline in good paying manufacturing and oil jobs over the years. In St. Landry Parish the most common job available is custodian, at extremely low pay.

Holden Matthews‘ arrested for allegedly burning down three historic Black churches in Louisiana came on Wednesday. But the suspected white supremacist was still getting sympathy in mainstream media coverage. The Associated Press made sure to report early on in its story Friday that Matthews’ friend said the man accused of racist arson was actually “a really sweet guy”: here.

‘Hate’ May Have Driven Suspect Holden Matthews To Burn Black Churches: here.

Ex-pope Benedict blames gays for child abuse


This video says about itself:

Gay kiss protest near the pope in Barcelona – no comment

8 November 2010

Gay couples kiss in protest over discrimination against gay people as Pope Benedict left Barcelona’s archbishopric in his Popemobile.

Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad today:

Pope Benedict XVI has retired, but he is now the center of a riot in the Catholic Church. The German has published an essay in conservative German media in which he blames sexual abuse within the Catholic Church on the sexual revolution of the 1960s and … church laws that protected gay priests.

Critics think his analysis is totally irresponsible, even catastrophic, because he is obstructing his successor. Pope Francis tries to lead the church out of the abuse crisis.

,,Why did pedophilia reach such proportions? Ultimately, the reason for this is the absence of God”, writes Benedict

Dear ex-pope Benedict: Of course, not only some believers in various religious organisations abuse children; some atheists do as well. However, unlike with child abusing conservative Dutch bishop Gijsen, if an atheist abuses a child from an atheist family, then there will be no fear of burning in hell forever as punishment for denouncing the perpetrator as that perpetrator is supposedly ‘a man of God‘. And there will be no atheist hierarchy covering up the culprit’s crimes.

in the 6,000-word essay published today in the German monthly magazine Klerusblatt, the Catholic News Agency, and other conservative media. According to Benedict, the germ of the abuse lies in the early 1960s. … Benedict saw the formation of homosexual cliques” in seminars “that acted more or less openly and significantly changed the climate”. …

Penance

When he retired in 2013, Benedict wanted to devote the rest of his life to penance and prayer.

There is plenty about which Pope Ratzinger should do penance. Eg, his abuse of Christmas for a homophobic attack. But I doubt whether he means that.

His successor, Francis, would be given every opportunity to lead the church. …

Church historian Christopher Bellitto wonders if Benedict, who will turn 92 next week, is being manipulated by others. The essay lacks conclusions that the Roman church already drew earlier after the abuse summit in February: the abuse also took place before the sexual revolution in the 1960s; and homosexuality has nothing to do with pedophilia. “The essay essentially ignores what we have learned there.”

The essay is welcomed by some on the right. …

Caricature

Massimo Faggioli, theologian at Villanova University, argues that Benedict’s analysis is meager because he actually attributes the abuse to the sexual revolution and ignores major issues before that time. “It’s a caricature of what happened.”

Eg, the ex-pope’s essay, at least the synopsis by the NOS of it, ‘forgets’ the abuse of hundreds of boys in a religious children’s choir, led by Pope Ratzinger’s own brother.

From Spain, 3 April 2019:

The Bishop of Alcalá de Henares is under investigation after it emerged that conversion therapy courses which told homosexuals to “pray away the gay” were being held in his diocese.

These pseudo-therapies practised also on minors, have allegedly taken place since 2009 when Juan Antonio Reig Pla became the city’s bishop.

Catholic school sex abuse case goes to trial in Barcelona: here.

Spanish victims of sex abuse priests speak out: here.