United States religious fundamentalist blames gay people for drought


This video from the USA is called Crippling Drought in the Golden State: California Soul.

Not so long ago, in January 2014, there was flooding in Britain. Then, a politician of the far right Ukip party blamed LGBTQ people for those floods.

Now, there is an extreme right religious fundamentalist in USA, also blaming LGBTQ people for natural forces. This time, not for too much, but for too little water.

From EcoWatch in the USA:

Gay Marriage to Blame for California’s Epic Drought, Bill Koenig Claims

Anastasia Pantsios | May 8, 2015 10:56 am

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Obergefell vs. Hodges. The decision in that case, expected in June, could legalize marriage equality across the country in the dozen states that have not done so on their own.

But as that possibility inches closer, opponents have become more desperate and outlandish. Blaming gay marriage for everything wrong in the country seems to be their go-to explanation, even when things are wildly disconnected—such as climate change. When they’re not busy denying climate change exists, they just say it’s happening because God is angry that gay people aren’t being persecuted enough.

The latest to step forward with this explanation is commentator and White House correspondent Bill Koenig of the conservative World Watch Daily, which lists its beats as “wars and rumors of wars, economic news, military buildups, terrorism, political situations, difficult relations between countries, famines, natural disasters and drastic or record-breaking weather.”

It’s the last that Koenig recently connected to the move to assure equality rights for LGBT people. Talking to hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger on the evangelical radio show Understanding the Times, which pushes the idea that all the conflicts and controversies in the world are part of God’s plan for what they see as the Biblical “end times,” Koenig claimed that gay rights in the U.S. are angering God so much he created the drought in California.

Breaking: rain in southern California: here. Also because of LGBTQ people!? [sarcasm off]

Evolution biology on trial in Tennessee, USA


This video from the USA is called The Scopes Monkey Trial Explained in 5 Minutes: US History Review.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Primate witness: the monkey trials go on

Thursday 7th May 2017

PETER FROST is amazed that, 90 years after the famous Tennessee trial, the evolution versus creationism argument still rages

ON MAY 5 1925, 90 years ago this week, a group of thinkers in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, are discussing a newspaper announcement.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is looking for someone to challenge the new Butler Act passed by the state to outlaw the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools. This law bans the teaching of any theory that denies the literal truth of the biblical creation of man.

One of the men, 24-year-old science teacher and football coach John Thomas Scopes, says he will be willing to be indicted to bring the case to trial. Scopes has only taught biology as a substitute teacher and later says he isn’t sure he covered evolution in his classes.

On May 25 John Scopes was brought to trial for teaching evolution. The case, forever known as the Monkey Trial, made world headlines and is still talked about today.

Scopes agreed to purposely incriminate himself so that the case could have a defendant. He knew such a trial would draw intense national publicity to the argument. The world’s press flocked to Dayton. To make room for the many journalists and observers the trial was convened in the open air. This proved a blessing in the stifling Tennessee heat.

Defending Scopes was Clarence Darrow, already a famous lawyer. He would go on to become the best-known and most revered defence lawyer in US jurisprudence.

Darrow had made his reputation as a labour union lawyer and had defended many militant heroes of US working-class strikes and struggles — many of them framed on trumped-up charges. These included many members of the US Communist Party charged with treason. Leading the prosecution of Scopes was William Jennings Bryan, Bible scholar, rabid creationist and three-time Democratic candidate for US president.

Bryan’s argument was simple. He declared the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all other human knowledge. Judge John T Raulston made no pretence at neutrality. He started each day with a hymn and a prayer. The judge ruled that the many scientists who wished to speak in Scopes’s defence could only give their evidence in writing.

British novelist H G Wells was asked if he would join the defence team. Wells replied that he had no legal training in Britain, let alone in the US, and declined the offer. The ACLU opposed the Butler Act on the grounds that it violated the teacher’s individual rights and academic freedom, and was therefore unconstitutional.

Darrow and the judge frequently clashed and there were several threats of action for contempt with Darrow forced to apologise. Darrow attacked the literal interpretation of the Bible as well as Bryan’s limited knowledge of other religions and science. He scoffed at Bryan’s horror that human beings were descended “not even from American monkeys, but from old-world monkeys.”

Darrow took the unorthodox step of calling Bryan, the chief prosecutor, to the stand as a defence witness. Darrow asked him questions such as: “If Eve was actually created from Adam’s rib, where did Cain get his wife?” The confrontation between Bryan and Darrow lasted approximately two hours before Judge Raulston’s announced that he considered the whole examination irrelevant to the case. He ruled that it should be struck from the record. Darrow closed the case for the defence without a final summing up. Under Tennessee law, when the defence waived its right to make a closing speech, the prosecution was also barred from summing up its case.

Scopes was found guilty and ordered to pay a $100 fine. He addressed the court for the first time. “Your honour, I feel that I have been convicted of violating an unjust statute. I will continue in the future, as I have in the past, to oppose this law in any way I can. Any other action would be in violation of my ideal of academic freedom — that is, to teach the truth as guaranteed in our constitution, of personal and religious freedom. I think the fine is unjust.”

The appeal court set aside the conviction because of a tiny legal technicality: the jury should have decided the fine, not the judge, since under the state constitution Tennessee judges could not set fines above $50, and the Butler Act specified a minimum fine of $100. Appeal judge Green added: “We see nothing to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case.”

The Butler Act stayed on the statute books until 1967. In reality this bizarre case and the arguments that caused it are still being debated. Strangely despite logic and scientific proof, the ideas of creationism are still gaining ground on both sides of the Atlantic.

When the Con-Dem coalition established free schools in 2011, three such schools — each teaching creationism — were approved by the then education secretary Michael Gove. Today free schools in Britain are no longer allowed to teach creationism as if it were fact. Now such teaching is confined to religious education classes and not presented as a valid alternative to established scientific theory.

Yet surveys show that, amazingly, one in three US citizens doesn’t believe in evolution. They think humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. White evangelical Protestants, particularly in the Southern Bible belt — states like Tennessee — are most likely to not believe in evolution and ridicule Darwin’s ideas.

Both Tennessee and Louisiana allow the teaching of creationism in school science classes. Currently, less than half of Republican voters, just 43 per cent, believe in human evolution. Only 67 per cent of Democrats think Darwin’s theory credible.

Worse, US opinion is shifting and the numbers doubting evolution and supporting creationism are growing every year. Nearly a dozen states are considering legislation to either outlaw the teaching of Darwinian evolution or to give equal space and time to creationism in school science classes.

In Tennessee the law defines controversial issues including biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning and seeks to ensure schools also teach what the Bible has to say on the subjects.

Tennessee law wrongly suggests the scientific community is divided over these issues. It is not, but the law has now made it significantly harder to ensure that science is taught responsibly.

Muslim girl expelled from French high school for maxiskirt


This video from Uganda says about itself:

14 April 2014

Kilifi county assembly speaker Jimmy Kahindi has dismissed a motion set to be tabled at the county assembly that seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts in the county. The motion has elicited mixed reactions among religious leaders and the general public. The mover of the motion, Marafa ward representative Renson Kambi has come out to defend his bill which seeks to ban the wearing of miniskirts among women and sagging of trousers, by men.

After the banning miniskirts in Hungary and elsewhere … it might look like a safe option to wear a maxiskirt? Forget it. Long or short, repressive authorities will always find stupid ways to punish women for their clothes.

By Anthony Torres in France:

Muslim girl expelled from French high school for wearing long skirt

4 May 2015

A high school girl from northeastern France was expelled for wearing a skirt that school authorities considered too long and an ostentatious sign of her religious beliefs. The affair points to the anti-Muslim atmosphere that now predominates in official circles in France.

The teenager was expelled from her high school for nine days by the principal. The ministry of education defended the decision: “In this case, it was considered that the student was carrying out religious propaganda. It is not an expulsion that was put in place, but a dialogue that has been opened up with her family. And it is noteworthy that her mother made a statement to ask for the situation to be handled calmly.”

The absurd and reactionary treatment meted out to the student reflects the sharp rightward evolution of the French political establishment over the last decade. The school expelled the student based on the 2004 law outlawing all “ostentatious” religious symbols, even though the young woman was not wearing any visible religious sign.

The high school student’s case is not isolated. Last year, 130 similar cases took place and 20 this year, according to the Collective against Islamophobia in France. The number of anti-Muslim actions has sharply risen this year, moreover, since the Kouachi brothers’ terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo.

The goal of such Islamophobic laws is to divide the working class, attack democratic rights, encourage racist and anti-immigrant sentiment, and to push through unpopular policies of austerity and war in France and across Europe. The young high school student is the victim of a sharp turn to the right that has developed over decades in Europe.

The 2004 law was voted amid rising social anger with the anti-working class policies of French President Jacques Chirac. It was part of a strategy to divert working class opposition to the social crisis and a governmental agenda of cutting pensions, attacking social services, and intensifying police repression. The law was initially put forward as teachers were on strike to defend their pensions and public education spending more broadly.

This attack against Muslims in France encouraged a series of Islamophobic attacks across Europe. Several years ago, a law was voted in Switzerland to ban the construction of minarets. Over the last year in Germany, marches were organized over several weeks by the far-right Pegida movement to oppose Islam in Europe.

For years, the ruling elite in France has encouraged collective hysteria against Islam in order to attack the working class.

In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy launched a debate on “national identity” and a law against wearing the burqa. This law was part of Sarkozy’s strategy of appealing to neo-fascist voters who had voted for Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential elections.

The law against the burqa and the “national identity” debate provided political cover for the French ruling elite to legitimize the neo-fascist National Front over the ensuing years, as well as an escalating series of imperialist wars against Muslim countries. The anti-burqa law in particular encouraged hostility to resistance to NATO’s imperialist occupation of Afghanistan, which was cynically presented as a struggle to defend women’s rights.

The entire political establishment bears responsibility for Islamophobic laws in France. The law against the burqa obtained the support of Manuel Valls, the current Socialist Party (PS) prime minister …

By supporting laws targeting Muslims, these parties of the affluent middle class demonstrate their hostility to democratic rights and to the struggle to unify the working class.

The 2004 law against the veil has encouraged employers to victimize Muslim workers, such as when a Muslim worker was fired for wearing a veil at the Baby-Loup day care center.

As for the 2009 anti-burqa law, it has escalated social tensions and police repression in immigrant suburbs across France. A riot broke out in Trappes in 2013, after police violently arrested a woman wearing the veil and then beat and insulted her husband.

It is in this atrocious political atmosphere that a high school student can be expelled for no other reason than claims that her skirt is too long.

United States religious fundamentalist abuses Nepal disaster for bigotry


This video says about itself:

Nepal earthquake 2015 worst ever in 81 years

25 April 2015

A strong earthquake of magnitude 7.9 on Richter scale and a series of aftershocks struck Nepal on Saturday. The quakes also jolted parts of North and Northeast India. Widespread damage has been reported from Nepal.

Aftershocks hinder rescue efforts as Nepal quake death toll passes 2,500: here.

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The death toll from Nepal’s earthquake rose to 3,218 on Monday, two days after the massive quake ripped across this Himalayan nation, leaving tens of thousands shell-shocked and sleeping in streets: here.

OVER 3,700 DEAD IN NEPAL EARTHQUAKE The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers attempt to reach secluded mountain villages after the devastating 7.8 earthquake Saturday. Check out these maps of the damage, as well as photos of Nepal’s landmarks before and after the earthquake. Footage was captured of the horrific avalanche that swept through a Mount Everest base camp after the quake, and dozens are still trapped on the mountain. [AP]

NEPAL DEATH TOLL COULD SURPASS 10,000 The death toll currently stands at 4,349. Take a look at this map of the horrific damage. [Reuters]

RESCUERS dug with their bare hands yesterday and bodies piled up in Nepal after an earthquake devastated the Kathmandu Valley on Saturday: here.

Nepal was made vulnerable by more than its violent geology, by Shaheen Chughtai. The country is crippled by poverty and poor infrastructure – when the long-feared earthquake hit, devastation was inevitable. The challenge of providing aid will be huge: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Nepal earthquake: US Pastor Tony Miano sparks outcry by suggesting Nepalis should not rebuild their ‘pagan shrines’

Self-styled US pastor has previously been accused of homphobia

Andrew Buncombe, New York

Sunday 26 April 2015

A former Los Angeles police officer and self-styled preacher, has sparked outcry by suggesting that Nepalis should not rebuild their “pagan shrines” and instead convert to Christianity.

Tony Miano, an outspoken conservative who has previously been accused of homophobia, triggered angry responses when he posted a series of messages on social media, expressing sympathy for the people struck by devastation in Nepal, but suggesting God was angry.

Tony Miano

Praying 4 the lost souls in Nepal. Praying not a single destroyed pagan temple will b rebuilt & the people will repent/receive Christ.

Santa Clarita, CA

Mr Miano, who is based in California, describes himself as an open air preacher. His website says he established the Cross Encounters Ministries to provide a platform for his preaching and evangelism.

Nepal, which has a population of around 28m people, is around 85 per cent Hindu. There is a significant population of Buddhists, followed by several other minority communities, including Muslim and Christian.

United States child abuse cover-up bishop resigns


This video from the USA says about itself:

Catholics in Kansas City urge Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn

17 February 2014

James McConnell and Jeanne Christensen, Sisters of Mercy Justice Advocate for Human Trafficking, spoke about petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph during a press conference outside the Catholic Center, 20 East 9th Street in Kansas City.

From Associated Press:

Pope Francis accepts resignation of KC Bishop Robert Finn

04/21/2015 7:12 AM

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2012. Ever since, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been removed for covering up for guilty clergy.

Finn remains the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations. The Vatican’s failure to sanction or remove him had fueled victims’ complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the “zero tolerance” pledge of Francis.

Even Francis’ top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had said publicly that Francis needs to “urgently” address Finn’s case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process and must be spared “crowd-based condemnations.”

The Vatican last fall sent a Canadian archbishop to Finn’s diocese as part of his an investigation of his leadership. But until Tuesday, there had been no word about what the pope would do.

Finn’s resignation comes as Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, amid an unprecedented outcry over his longtime affiliation with Chile’s most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Karadima’s victims say Barros witnessed their abuse decades ago. He has denied knowing anything until he read news reports of Karadima’s crimes in 2010. The Vatican has defended the appointment. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Earlier this month, members of the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission came to Rome in an unscheduled session to voice their concern about Barros.

O’Malley subsequently told the pope that the Vatican must come up with “appropriate procedures and modalities to evaluate and adjudicate cases of ‘abuse of office’ ” when bishops fail to protect children.

Marriage equality in Ireland


This video says about itself:

Marriage Equality: Bring Your Family With You

15 April 2015

Irish LGBT youth and parents coalition call for a Yes vote in the forthcoming marriage equality referendum. The BeLonG To lead coalition call on everyone to talk to their family and friends about why marriage equality is so important and to work for a Yes vote

The coalition includes: Barnardos, Headstrong, Youth Work Ireland, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, EPIC – Empowering Young People in Care, Children’s Rights Alliance, Childline – ISPCC, Foróige, Loving Our Out Kids, Yes Equality

By Timothy McGrath:

This video will make you wish you could vote for gay marriage in Ireland

April 16, 2015 @ 5:00 PM

In the mood for a feel-good cry? We’ve got your back.

Ireland’s voting next month on whether to legalize same-sex marriage, and BeLonG To Youth, an Irish LGBT group, has just released a campaign ad that seems likely sway people on the fence and get marriage equality supporters to the polls — if they can stop sobbing and holding their loved ones.

Things are looking good for the “Yes” camp. A recent poll by the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI found that 74 percent were planning to vote to legalize same-sex marriage, while just 26 percent said they were voting “no.”

The referendum, which takes place on May 22, is likely to be a much tighter contest, the Times warns. Conservatives will ramp up their campaigning in the final weeks, and current poll numbers could be skewed if some opponents of gay marriage have been reluctant to share their true opinion with an unknown pollster.

There’s also the question of demographics. Support for marriage equality in Ireland — like in many Western countries — is strongest among young people and weakest among elders. The same Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI found that 85 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 supported legalization, and only 10 percent said they were against it. The gap narrows as the people surveyed get older and flips once respondents are 65 or older. They plan to vote “no” by a margin of 43 percent to 37 percent, with 14 percent undecided and 5 percent saying they won’t vote at all.

That explains why the theme of BeLonG To Youth’s ad is simple. Young people: Bring your older family members to the polls.

If it works, and the referendum passes in Ireland, it will be the first time in history that a country has legalized same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

That’s a huge deal.

An Irish Pastor has defended making the comparison between homosexuality and rape, as well as adultery. Pastor Craig Ledbetter of the Bible Baptist Church in Ballincollig, in Cork, made the comments to the Irish Examiner in an interview regarding the build-up to the marriage equality referendum taking place on May 22: here.

While liberal Roman Catholic priests and nuns are defying their bishops to urge a yes vote on Friday, religious leaders in the evangelical Christian community are now placing their congregations on the frontline of the battle to persuade Ireland to say no: here.