American religious fundamentalist threatened to murder scientist Stephen Hawking


This video says about itself:

24 September 2014

The renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has labeled himself as an atheist, clearly stating that he doesn’t believe God exists at all.

Hawking reportedly made the announcement in an interview at the start of the Starmus Festival taking place at Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper, was able to get an exclusive interview with Hawking and headlined the story with the scientist’s statement about his beliefs.

Hawking is quoted in the interview saying: “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

But this isn’t the first time that Hawking has mentioned his lack of faith in a divine higher power.

In his book entitled The Grand Design, he says that the laws of science are in place and do not require a creator to have started everything.

Hawking has also previously said he doesn’t believe in heaven or an afterlife.

When asked in the interview if he thought space exploration was a good thing to invest billions of dollars in, he said that colonizing other planets might be humanity’s only hope for insurance of our long-term survival.

From daily El Pais in Spain:

US woman held in Tenerife for death threats against Stephen Hawking

“I am right next to you and I can kill you,” read one of the messages sent by the suspect, who traveled to the Spanish island to be near her target

Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 1 JULY 2016 – 16:55 CEST

Spanish police have arrested an American woman for issuing death threats against the astrophysicist Stephen Hawking at a science event on the island of Tenerife.

The 37-year-old suspect was detained in the municipality of Arona, on the most populous of the Canary Islands, on Wednesday – the same day that Hawking delivered his first lecture at the Starmus International Festival.

The woman, who has no prior record and had traveled to Tenerife by herself, could be facing a six-month prison sentence and immediate deportation for harassment and issuing serious threats against the famous scientist, legal sources told the Efe news agency.

The same sources said that one of the cosmologist’s children alerted authorities after detecting over 100 threatening messages on Twitter and in e-mails on Tuesday. The messages contained sentences such as “I am going to kill him.” …

Police investigators who searched her hotel room found a collection of esoteric items linked to religious extremism and contrary to Hawking’s theories denying the existence of God. They also found notes and documents detailing the scientist’s residence and workplace, and notebooks outlining precise plans on how to approach her target.

Hawking’s Wednesday address had attracted long lines of people at the science and arts festival. The astrophysicist arrived on stage flanked by two members of the Spanish National Police, an unusual sight that caused some alarm among members of the audience. Outside the venue, other officers checked visitors’ bags.

That same day, the police arrested the alleged stalker at a hotel located very near the festival venue, the Pirámide de Arona, which contains one of the biggest auditoriums in Europe.

The woman had apparently been issuing threats against Hawking for years, but the situation got out of hand in recent days, when the threats proliferated over e-mail an in the social media.

“I am going to kill you.” read one of the messages. “I am right next to you and I can kill you,” said another.

The e-mails included specific plans to end the scientist’s life, the police said.

According to this source, the suspect is 41 years old.

According to La Opinión de Tenerife, the suspect is Jenny Theresa C. These names sound Christian to me. If the suspect would have had a Muslim name like Fatima, then probably she would have been all over the Murdoch and other corporate merdia, not just in this Canary Islands local paper.

Catholic church should apologize to LGBTQ people, pope says


This 2008 satiric video says about itself:

Headzup: Pope Benedict And The Crime Of Being Gay

Pope Benedict is asked about the Vatican opposing a UN resolution urging nations to decriminalize homosexuality.

Read more about it here.

That was then. Now, about Pope Benedict’s successor.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Pope Francis: Church should apologize to gay people

Today, 02:53

Pope Francis believes the Roman Catholic Church must apologize to homosexuals for the way they have been treated. On the papal plane he again told reporters that the church has no right to condemn gay people and that they deserve respect.

Francis is on his way to Vatican City from Armenia. According to the prelate forgiveness should also be asked to other groups that are excluded or ignored, such as women, the poor and children who have to perform slave labor.

Sinful

The pope made his remarks after he was asked on board of his plane if he agreed with one of his advisers, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx. Who said after the shooting in the nightclub Pulse in Orlando that the church owes an apology to homosexuals.

It is not the first time that Francis himself remarks about homosexuals. He said earlier that they should not be condemned or marginalized. The official church teaching is that homosexual feelings are not sinful but homosexual acts are.

And as long as that official teaching is not changed …

Fundamentalist Pat Robertson claims Orlando massacre victims ‘deserved it’


This video about a right-wing fundamentalist Christian in the USA says about itself:

Pat Robertson:Let Them Kill Themselves‘ In Jesus Name, Amen

15 June 2016

Today on “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by making the absurd claim that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned themselves with radical Islamists and are now reaping what they have sowed.

Read more here.

See also here.

Orlando homophobic massacre applauded by Christian fundamentalists


This video from the USA says about itself:

Pastor On Orlando Massacre: ‘These People All Should Have Been Killed

13 June 2016

Pastor Steven Anderson, whose hate knows no bounds, celebrated the deaths of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in a 4-minute mini-sermon that cited the Bible as justification for why they needed to die.

Read more here.

The ‘Reverend’ Anderson is not alone. The infamous bigots of the Westboro Baptist Church likewise applaud the mass murder of LGBTQ people in Orlando.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Muslim Denounces Terror, Promptly Called ‘Pig’ & ‘Scoundrel’ Anyway

13 June 2016

A Florida Imam who went on CNN Sunday morning to express condolences to the victims and families of the horrific shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando is now on the receiving end of threats and attacks on social media.

Read more here.

U.S. GUN DEATHS IN A WORLD OF THEIR OWN In Japan, your chances of dying from a gun are the equivalent of being killed by a lightning strike in the U.S. [NYT]

RECORD DONATIONS FOR ORLANDO “A GoFundMe initiative to raise money for the victims and families of the mass shooting at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, raised $1 million faster than any campaign in the platform’s history.” [HuffPost]

Glenn Greenwald on homophobia and Islamophobia: here.

Ultra-orthodox Israeli ban on girls riding bikes


Girls with their bikes in Israel. Photo by dnaveh/ iStock

As this blog has pointed out repeatedly, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where it is illegal everywhere for women to drive cars (even though officially there is no law against it).

Are Saudi religious misogynists unique in the world? Unfortunately not.

In London, England Jewish ultra-religious extremists decided to ban women from driving cars. They also decided that children driven to school by women would be banned from school classes.

Though women cannot drive cars in Saudi Arabia, recently they were allowed to ride motorbikes and bicycles (though only in restricted recreational areas).

Even that small concession to women’s rights seems to be too much for some religious fanatics in Israel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ultra-orthodox Israeli rabbi bans girls over five from riding bikes because it is ‘provocative’

Ruling is latest in series of restrictions imposed on groups of Haredis

Kayleigh Lewis

Friday 3 June 2016

An ultra-orthodox Jewish leader has reportedly banned girls aged five and older in some areas of Israel from riding bicycles – claiming it is “immodest”.

The rabbi of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Nahloat distributed the stringent decree to his followers in synagogues across the area.

He had said young girls riding bicycles could “cause serious damage to their modesty” and that bicycle seats caused young girls to sit in a way men found “provocative”, according to the Arutz Sheva 7 website.

The ruling said: “We inform parents that they are obligated to forbid their daughters from age five and up from acting in this illegitimate way.”

Those affected by the ruling are members of the ultra-orthodox Haredi branch of Judaism.

In December ultra-orthodox rabbis requested women in Israeli city Bnei Brak refrain from studying in higher education, according to Yeshida World News website.

They claimed institutions which teach secular subjects presented a real danger, and that girls and women should not study.

Haredi leaders have also attempted to effectively ban the internet from their communities, even declaring smartphones non-kosher.

However, studies suggest this interdict has had little effect, with ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel using the internet just as much as anyone else, according to the Washington Post.

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis ban women from going to university in case they get ‘dangerous’ secular knowledge: here.

Puerto Rico Archbishop Calls for End to Island’s ‘Colonial Status’

Image


Archbishop Gonzalez

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

Source:  TeleSUR
June 8 2016

  • Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez talking about Puerto Rico
    Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez talking about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.
    | Photo: Twitter / ‏@Eric_LeCompte
teleSUR spoke to Eric LeCompte, a key advocate in Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, about the Archbishop’s comments.

Ahead of the House vote this week, Puerto Rico’s Roman Catholic Archbishop, Roberto González Nieves OFM has announced his support for Puerto Rico’s debt crisis legislation, according to a press release issued by Jubilee USA Network.

ANALYSIS: 5 Ways the US Treats Puerto Rico Like a Colony

In an op-ed in The Hill, Archbishop Gonzalez noted the crisis is rooted in Puerto Rico’s “colonial status” and called on the people of the island to come together.

Self-determination

“Fundamentally, Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States,” wrote Gonzalez. “Before our island faces the next crisis, we must self-determine who we want to be and our relationship with the United States.”

View original post 155 more words

Christian fundamentalist schools teach misogyny, homophobia


Textbooks seen by The Independent depict biblical passages and advice among science and maths worksheets (Image from Accelerated Christian Education textbook)

A passage from an Accelerated Christian Education textbook about the role of a 'homemaker' woman

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Christian fundamentalist schools teaching girls they must obey men

Former pupils reveal homosexuality is being taught as unnatural, while Creationism is favoured over evolution in science lessons

Siobhan Fenton

Sunday 5 June 2016

Christian fundamentalist schools are teaching children creationism is fact, that gay people are “unnatural” and that girls must submit to men, according to a series of claims.

Former pupils and whistle-blowers have told The Independent that the schools, which originated in the US but are now dotted around the UK and registered as independent or private schools, teach children at isolated desks separated by “dividers” from other students. It is thought more than a thousand children are being taught at dozens of schools, although little is known about them.

“No one outside the schools knows about what happens inside them, that’s why they’ve been able to go on like this for so long,” a former pupil said.

More than a decade after leaving, she says she is now horrified at the education she received.

Called Accelerated Christian Education schools (ACE), the schools originate from an education system developed in southern Baptist

The Southern Baptist church in the USA originated because white southern Baptists did not like criticism of slavery by northern Baptists.

states in the US which has developed off-shoots around the world including in Britain. Between 20 and 60 pupils aged between four and 18 attend each one.

The Independent can reveal a number of serious concerns have been raised about the schools, including allegations that children are given no formal educational qualifications beyond “Christian certificates”, thereby failing to equip them for opportunities and employment beyond the Church.

Former pupils claim a key aspect of the schools’ ethos comes from a belief in individualistic self-salvation, whereby people must actively accept God’s salvation to enter heaven.

By extension, it is believed that children must teach themselves in order to get closer to God. Children are therefore expected to spend the first half of each school day teaching themselves by reading textbooks in silence, while facing the classroom walls in specially designed booths, which mean they cannot see children around them or interact with them. …

Former pupils say this self-teaching format resulted in poor education standards, with pupils who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia often particularly struggling. A number said they felt socially isolated by the segregated booths and failed to develop social skills by interacting with peers.

One former pupil said: “By the time I left the school, I hadn’t really learnt anything that was of any relevance. I was taught facts and figures from reading the books, but there was no social learning in terms of interaction.”

The textbooks used by the schools have also been criticised for providing allegedly inappropriate material. A number of textbooks seen by The Independent and which are reportedly used in schools appear to include worrying content about gay people, women’s rights and also appear to teach creationism as fact.

One textbook says: “Homosexual, adjective: having unnatural sexual feelings towards one of the same sexHomosexual activity is another of man’s corruptions of God’s plan.

Accelerated Christian Education textbook which former pupils say are used in the schools

Textbooks say of the role of women and girls and society: “God has given both the husband and the wife certain areas of responsibility in the home. The husband is to be the leader of the home, loving his wife even as Christ loved the church… The wife is to obey, respect and submit to the leadership of her husband, serving as a helper to him… She is available all times day or night.”

A section titled ‘Testimony of a Homemaker’ in one textbook reads: “God desires for me to submit to my husband, train up my children, see that my house is properly supplied, pray without ceasing, teach other women to love their husbands and children, and be discreet, pure and a keeper of my home.”

Former pupil Cheryl Povey who attended an ACE school in Bath, said: “I came across a lot of sexism. I remember as a girl finding it quite shocking. We were taught that if you’re a woman, you should be subservient to men; your husband, your pastor and other male figures.

“There was a strong culture of men being revered and women being dangerously sexual and having to cover up. It made me self-conscious of being a woman.”

Dr Pocock said attitudes towards women and ethnic minorities in the ACE curriculum also worried him. He said: “It taught me men were superior to, and should be in charge of, weak women, that the various different ethnic and social groups were ordained by God to have different roles and positions.”

Another textbook warns that anyone who has sex outside marriage “will someday face God’s judgement”.

Other textbooks seen by The Independent, and which the former pupils claim were widely used as part of the curriculum during their time at ACE schools, appear to state creationism as fact and describe evolution as “absurd”.

One biology textbook states: “Although man’s characteristics are unique, evolutionists still insist that man descended from apes. Even from a strictly scientific standpoint, the theory of evolution is absurd. …

Another textbook states as ‘scientific fact’ that the sun is six thousand years old and the world was created in six days.

Former pupil Peter* (name changed to protect identity) said: “A huge amount of time and effort was given over to arguing against evolution and for creation, it’s a fundamental building block of the curriculum. The curriculum is stuck in the past like the rest of the fundamentalist southern Baptist churches it was born out of.”

Another concern raised about the schools is that the children are allegedly not entered for formal education qualifications such as GCSEs or A-levels.

Former pupils say they are instead taught towards an ICCE- an International Certificate of Christian Education. The ICCE is not an officially recognised qualification meaning those who hold it can struggle to find employment or to be accepted into higher education such as university. Former pupils say this disadvantages children and deprives them of opportunities later, unless they retrain as adults to gain additional, mainstream qualifications as well as the ICCE.

Jonny Scaramanga is a writer and campaigner who has extensively researched the ACE school system. He is a former pupil of an ACE school in England and recently completed a PHD thesis about ACE at the UCL Institute of Education, which included analysis of the ACE textbooks illustrated throughout this article.

He told The Independent: “I have read numerous Ofsted reports in the course of my research, and the issues most commonly raised by former ACE students are almost never mentioned, let alone satisfactorily addressed. In allowing ACE schools’ failings to go unchecked for decades, the government has failed in its duty of care to students in ACE schools. In future, inspectors should be specially briefed on the issues frequently found in ACE schools.”

He added that he is concerned by the ‘Christian certificates’ children sit instead of official qualifications, telling The Independent: “Since 2014, the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against ACE schools for exaggerating the acceptability of the certificates [International Certificate of Christian Education] they offer. I have met numerous former ACE students who have had to return to college as adults to gain qualifications that they would have earned as a matter of course in mainstream schools. All English secondary schools should be required by law to prepare and enter students for qualifications recognised by Ofqual, the exam watchdog.”

When The Independent contacted forty UK universities to ask whether they have or would accept pupils on the basis of ICCE awards, none of them said they officially accept the qualification other than in exceptional circumstances or if a student had other additional qualifications such as GCSEs or A levels to support their application.