Dutch cartoonist Peter van Straaten dies


Child abuse, cartoon by Peter van Straaten

This 2011 cartoon is by Peter van Straaten from the Netherlands. It is about sexual child abuse in the Roman Catholic church. It depicts a praying child, abused by a crucifix.

Peter van Straaten died this week, 81 years old.

Van Straaten said about some of the reactions to that cartoon:

I got a huge load of hate mail and even death threats. I’m not used to that at all, it really scared me. … But apparently there were a lot of outraged Catholics. On the advice of my wife, I even removed our nameplate from the front door.

Pope gives in to homophobes


This video says about itself:

Pope Says Gay Marriage Threat to Human Existence

7 January 2013

The Pope indicates that gay marriage is a threat to the future of humanity, rather than wars, climate change, or anything else.

Another video, no longer on YouTube, used to say about itself:

Dec 21, 2012

The Pope decided to use his annual Christmas speech as a platform for his over-the-top, anti-gay agenda. Tis the season!

These videos were about Pope Benedict XVI, the predecessor of the present Pope Francis I. A pontiff under whom one often was better off as a child abuser than as a LGBTQ person.

Has Pope Francis I brought improvements? Some improvements. But not enough.

By Antonia Blumberg, Associate Religion Editor, The Huffington Post in the USA:

The Pope Just Approved A Very Troubling Document On Gays And Priesthood

The Vatican declared that “persons with homosexual tendencies” can’t be admitted to seminaries.

12/07/2016 08:12 pm ET

The Vatican has reaffirmed its position that gay men are barred from entering Catholic seminaries.

In a document entitled “The Gift of the Priestly Vocation,” published online Wednesday, the church outlined a wide range of guidelines for priestly formation. One section addressed “persons with homosexual tendencies,” who it said cannot be admitted to seminaries or to the priesthood.

“The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture,’” the document stated.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy drafted the 90-page document, which reinforces a position first iterated by the Congregation for Catholic Education in 2005. Pope Francis approved the document, dated Dec. 8, 2016, and ordered its publication, according to a conclusion signed by Cardinal Beniamino Stella.

The document’s tone stands in contrast to Francis’s famous response to a question about gay priests in 2013. “Who am I to judge a gay person of goodwill who seeks the Lord?” Francis said during an on-flight press conference.

“The new document on priestly formation is a profound disappointment,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of LGBT Catholic group DignityUSA.

“What does Francis really believe about LGBTQI people? The signals are ever more mixed,” she told The Huffington Post.

Duddy-Burke called the document “a slap in the face” that “entrenches [gay people] as second or third class citizens of the Church.”

The rhetoric surrounding gay people and the priesthood emerged shortly after the clergy sexual abuse scandal broke in the early 2000s, noted America Magazine. Prominent Jesuit priest Rev. James Martin argued in a 2010 HuffPost blog that such language may have been an effort by church leaders to blame the scandal on gay priests.

Martin noted that he knows “scores” of priests who are gay, and who lead pious, chaste lives like their straight peers. Since the release of the 2005 document, he said, many gay priests and seminarians have chosen to keep their sexual orientation to themselves ― and some seminaries simply operate on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis.

Even Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said after the document’s release that a gay man with a strong vocation to become a priest “shouldn’t be discouraged.”

Wednesday’s document, however, acts to further strengthen the church’s attitude toward prospective priests who happen to be gay. But Francis DeBernardo, executive director of LGBT Catholic organization New Ways Ministry, said in a statement that it isn’t too late for the Vatican to change course.

“It’s not too late for the pope to retract this document,” DeBernardo said. “That would be a healing balm to many who are surely going to be pastorally hurt by this step, and many others who are sure to leave the Catholic Church because of it.”

Viagra discovered in South Korean presidential offices


South Koreans have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations against their president, Ms Park. AFP photo

In the USA many people demonstrate against president-elect Donald Trump, with the slogan ‘Not my president’. Something similar happens in South Korea, as this photo shows.

From the BBC today:

Viagra found in South Korean presidential offices

The scandal in South Korea involving President Park Geun-hye has taken an unexpected twist with news that Viagra has been found in her offices.

Authorities found the pills – usually used to treat erectile dysfunction – while investigating corruption allegations against Ms Park.

The South Korean leader is accused of allowing her friend, Choi Soon-sil, to influence her decisions.

The presidential office confirmed it bought 364 Viagra and similar generic pills to deal with altitude sickness on official trips to East Africa, … .

The BBC’s Stephen Evans in Seoul says the discovery of Viagra will add an air of remoteness to the president. Many Koreans believe Ms Park is living in a “different world” which will exacerbate political pressure on her to resign.

Some early rumours among Koreans alleged Ms Park could have been involved with cultish rituals with her friend Ms Choi.

Ms Choi, a long-time friend of Ms Park’s, is the daughter of Choi Tae-min, a shadowy quasi-religious leader [of the Church of Eternal Life] who was closely linked to Ms Park’s father, then-president [dictator] Park Chung-hee.

South Korean Political Crisis Hits President’s Approval Rating, Consumer Confidence. President Park Geun-hye’s approval rating fell to 4 percent amid a deepening political crisis, marking an all-time low for any democratically elected leader in the country: here.
11/25/2016 12:18 am ET

Kill gays, Israeli Chief Rabbi says


This video says about itself:

Orthodox Jews threaten violent reaction if gay parade goes ahead

Jerusalem – 1 November 2006

1. Wide of Israeli policemen mounted on horses chasing demonstrators
2. Policemen arresting Ultra Orthodox protester
3. Ultra orthodox gathering during protest burning tires

FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
4. Gay Parade in Jerusalem
5. Various of people marching in gay parade
6. Back shot of two women
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
7. Mina Fenton, Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council sitting at desk
8. Sign reading (in English) “Yes to Jewish values – No to gay pride
9. SOUNDBITE: (English) Mina Fenton, Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council:
“The pride parade has nothing to do with rights and equality it is just provocation; hurting, not taking in consideration the other people.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
10. Various of religious protesters
11. Protester holding sign reading (in English) “homo (homosexual) sex is immoral”
12. Various of religious protesters shouting (in Hebrew) “Aids carriers-out!”
13. People marching in gay parade
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
14. Sa’ar Nathaniel, openly gay City Council member, sits down
15. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sa’ar Nathaniel, openly gay City Council member:
“I think what this (gay) parade is doing is putting a mirror in front of the Israeli society and the people in Jerusalem and ask them a very simple question – do you want this city to be Tehran, completely Tehran? Do you want this city will have an ally with Kabul? This is the capital of Israel. Israel, the last time I checked was still a democratic country.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
16. Ultra orthodox man being arrested after stabbing several marchers
17. Various of man injured from stabbing
18. Women injured from stabbing
AP Television
Jerusalem 2 November 2006
19. SOUNDBITE: (English) Yehuda Levin, Rabbi from Brooklyn, New York:
“If someone comes to my house or even my neighbourhood; attacks my wife, my daughters, my children, my bible, my God and everything that religious life is all about, you ask me, am I going to respond in a very strong way? Is there going to be violence?’ I don’t even think I have to answer that question.”
FILE: AP Television
Jerusalem – 30 June 2005
20. Religious protesters chanting
21. Ultra orthodox man being dragged along by policemen
22. Two women marching at gay parade kissing
STORYLINE:
A week before a gay pride parade hits the streets of Jerusalem, the city’s religious Jews warned that it will spark a violent reaction and a government minister said the march might have to be cancelled altogether in order to keep the peace.

Gay rights activists fear the parade could be similar to last year, when three marchers were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox protester, or worse.

“The pride parade has nothing to do with rights and equality it is just provocation; hurting, not taking in consideration the other people,” said Mina Fenton, an Orthodox member of Jerusalem’s city council who has led the fight against the parade.

More than 100-thousand people will attend a counter-demonstration on the day of the march should it be allowed to go ahead, she said, and violence was certainly a possibility.

Notice boards in Jerusalem were plastered with posters condemning the march and prominent rabbis issued calls to prevent it.

In one, Shlomo Amar, one of Israel’s two chief rabbis wrote that by ignoring religious laws prohibiting homosexuality the march “threatens the existence of the people of Israel in its land” and was more destructive than “Nebuchadnezzar and Titus,” referring to two historical figures who sacked Jerusalem.

This has not helped calm opposition, which now includes hardliners from abroad.

By Omri Ariel in Israel:

LGBT community shocked by Rabbi’s remarks that homosexuals should be killed

Several members of the LGBT community have filed police complaints against the rabbi for incitement to murder, after he said in an interview that the Torah obligates killing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Nov 17, 2016, 9:27PM

Members of the LGBT community in Israel have filed numerous police complaints against Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar over remarks he made in a recent interview, in which he called LGBT people “a cult of abomination” and said the Torah obligates putting them to death.

Rabbi Amar told Yisrael Hayom that he refused to attend the funeral of 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox man during last year’s Jerusalem pride parade. “They call it an orientation, but it’s nonsense,” he said. “A person can overcome his desires if he wants to.”

Shirley Kleinman, a transgender LGBT activist, filmed herself filing the complaint and encouraged others to do the same. “An influential public figure, who gets his salary out of my pocket, has just called for the murder of my brothers and sisters,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“Exercise your right as a citizen and file a complaint, even if you’re not part of the community,” she added. “Let’s make sure this man doesn’t remain in a public position. This is not an anti-religious debate. I have nothing against religion. I only care about protecting my right and yours for life.”

MK Michal Rozin said statements such as these “strengthen and inflame violent attacks against the LGBT community.”

Rainbow flag outside Chief Rabbi Amar's office

Young Meretz activists in Jerusalem decorated the entrance to the office of Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar with a gay pride flag in protest against his harsh comments regarding the LGBT community. Nov 20, 2016, 10:30AM: here.

Donald Trump’s Islamophobia


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump‘s General: Islam Is A Cancer

19 November 2016

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn thinks that Sharia law is taking over Texas. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), a Donald Trump adviser who was floated as a potential running mate before the GOP nominee eventually picked Mike Pence, delivered a speech in Dallas on Wednesday at a gathering for the group ACT! for America.

Flynn, who serves as an adviser to the anti-Muslim group, told the audience that Islam is “a cancer” and “a political ideology” that “definitely hides behind being a religion,” while also pushing a bogus rumor about creeping Sharia in Texas.

The Dallas Morning News reports:

The contents of Flynn’s book, How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, was a main topic of discussion. He took special interest in discussing what he called the dangers of Shariah law in Texas.”

Read more here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

How YOU Can Fight Trump’s Muslim Registration Plan

19 November 2016

A viewer made a great suggestion on how Americans can fight back against Trump’s Muslim registration plans. Cenk Uygur and John Iadarola, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Donald Trump’s policy advisers are discussing plans to establish a registry for Muslim immigrants in the US, a man believed to be a key member of the President-elect’s transition team has revealed.

Kris Kobach, the secretary of state for Kansas, said the President-elect’s advisers were looking at how to implement a proposal suggested by the billionaire businessman that would force immigrants from Muslim countries to register on a database.

Mr Kobach, who helped devise tough immigration laws in a number of US states and claims to have participated in regular conference calls with Mr Trump’s immigration advisers, also said the Trump administration could push ahead rapidly on construction of a US-Mexico border wall without seeking immediate congressional approval.”

Read more here.

Judge Tells New Citizens They Can Leave The U.S. If They Don’t Like Donald Trump. “He will be your president and if you do not like that, you need to go to another country”: here.

Washington DC, USA: Approximately 300 protesters were gathered outside of the Reagan building, to voice their concern with the National Policy Institute, a group that has been called Anti-Semitic, racist, and xenophobic: here.