Tag: Religion

In Case You Were Wondering Just How Toxic the BJP Is………

It appears that the veneration of Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi, is now a thing in India.

I would argue that India is further down the road to Fascism and genocide that Trump ever got, and that the opposition, though careerism and incompetence, cannot seem to do anything to stop it:

Last Sunday, in a nondescript building in the India city of Gwalior, 200 miles south of Delhi, a large crowd of men gathered. Most wore bright saffron hats and scarves, a colour evoking Hindu nationalism, and many held strands of flowers as devotional offerings.

They were there to attend the inauguration of the Godse Gyan Shala, a memorial library and “knowledge centre” dedicated to Nathuram Godse, the man who shot Mahatma Gandhi. The devotional yellow and pink flowers were laid around a black and white photograph of Godse, the centrepiece of the room.

On 30 January 1948, Godse stepped out in front of Gandhi and shot him three times at point-blank range. A fervent believer in Hindu nationalism, Godse thought Gandhi had betrayed India’s Hindus by agreeing to partition, leading to the creation of Pakistan, and by championing the rights of Muslims. In 1949, Godse was hanged for Gandhi’s murder.

In the following decades, Godse was widely decried as a terrorist and traitor, the murderer of the “father of India”. Yet, in recent years, as Hindu nationalism has moved from an extremist fringe to mainstream Indian politics – the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) has a Hindu nationalist agenda at their core – Godse’s public reputation has steadily shifted from being condemned as traitor to being venerated as a misunderstood Indian patriot.

Meanwhile, Gandhi’s vision of a secular India with equal rights for all religions has been eroded and subjugated since the BJP came to power in 2014.

“Godse did the right thing by killing Gandhi,” said Devendra Pandey, 53, national secretary of Hindu Mahasabha, the Hindu nationalist organisation behind the memorial library. He was vocal in his belief that India should be declared “a country rightfully for Hindus” and that its 200 million Muslims should move to Pakistan.

“Godse considered Gandhi as his father, so to kill him must have caused him great pain but he had a very real reason,” he said. “Godse took action because Gandhi betrayed India – this library will teach the next generation how Godse was a true nationalist martyr.”

At some point there will be a reckoning in India over the country’s embrace of bigotry and its increasingly aggressive attempts to expel and subjugate Muslim Indians.

Ha Ha!

Now that the scandal-plagued Jerry Fallwell, Jr. has been driven from his post as dictator of Liberty “University”, the students are trying to remove one of his more pernicious legacies, his blatantly political, Trump felching, “think” tank, the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty.

Falwell, who does not have a degree in divinity, and Charlie Kirk, ditto, founded the organization which worships Trump first, and Jesus second, and a petition from the students at the “Christian” “University” is asking for it to be shut down, or at least removed from the campus:

Hundreds of former and current Liberty University students are calling on the evangelical Christian school to shutter the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, a campus “think tank” known for promoting conservative political causes.

More than 450 students and recent graduates have signed a student-led petition demanding the university-funded center be dissolved, according to Matt Morris, a Liberty freshman who created the online petition last month.

“The Falkirk Center constantly preaches the message that the church needs to defend Donald Trump at all costs and rescue western civilization,” the petition reads. “Falkirk is wrong. Associating any politician or political movement with Christianity bastardizes the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”



Falwell, who stepped down as president and chancellor of Liberty in August following a string of personal scandals, was a prominent early supporter of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Trump rewarded Falwell’s loyalty by delivering a commencement address at the university in 2017.

The Falkirk Center, which unlike other research institutions has published no academic studies, openly waded into the 2020 presidential election and other races this campaign season to bolster conservative candidates and causes.


The center’s partisan nature has prompted dozens of former faculty members, current students and alumni to publicly speak out against the institution, including members of Liberty’s student leadership.

I believe that if this were to be set to a song, it would be “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.”

Your Monolith Update

The “whacko, my parents are first cousins, X-Files wannabe, black helicopter, tinfoil hat wearing, stupid, dim-witted, thinks pro wrestling is real,” has weighed in on this whole monolith thing.

I suppose that it was inevitable that the Christo-Fascist right would decide that we were being too nice to aliens.

No, I don’t mean foreigners, I mean that they are bigoted against, “With her pink antenna and her polka dot skin And the 24 dimples on her chinny chin chin, And the hydrogen sulfide of her hair,” people.

They tore down the metal menhir, and erected a wooden cross.

I guess we should be grateful that they did not set the cross alight:

The new California monolith was torn down overnight by a group of right-wing young men who livestreamed their vandalism in a grainy video posted on the blockchain streaming site DLive.

In the video, a group of three men are seen pushing the statue over and chanting “America First” and “Christ is King.” The men, one of whom was wearing a “Make America Great Again” headband, called part of the monolith’s construction “gay” then replaced it monolith with a wooden cross. It is a decidedly bleak turn in the ongoing monolith saga that has generally been a delightful distraction for a world wracked by a pandemic.

“Christ is king in this country. We don’t want illegal aliens from Mexico or outer space,” a man in the video says. “So let’s tear this bitch down.”

Seriously, this monolith has had the shortest life cycle of any meme ever.

A Shanda Fur Die Goyim

After health authorities came down on like a ton of bricks on plans for a 10,000 person wedding of the grandson of the chief rabbi of the Satmar ultra-orthodox sect, the wedding of the grandson of other chief rabbi of the Satmar sect held a huge wedding in direct contravention of Covid-19 rules. (Yes, other chief rabbi. Some sort of schism whose details I do not know, or care to learn of) 

Fines is not enough.  People need to be jailed over this:

The city is investigating a wedding in the Satmar Hasidic community that reportedly drew thousands of people to an indoor celebration in Brooklyn without masks, in violation of pandemic social distancing restrictions.

Thousands of guests, most of them men, gathered earlier this month for the wedding of the Satmar Grand Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum’s grandson, Yoel Teitelbaum, according to videos obtained by the New York Post. The videos appear to show wedding-goers packed inside the Yetev Lev D’Satmar synagogue in Williamsburg on Hooper Street, singing and dancing with no face coverings.


Last month, rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum’s rival (due to a longtime feud and split within the Satmar sect) Grand Rebbe Zalman Leib Teitelbaum planned to hold a large wedding for his grandson in which an estimated 10,000 guests from Brooklyn and Rockland County were expected to attend.

After pressure from officials and news coverage of the event, the synagogue’s leaders announced it would only be attended by close family members following what a spokesperson called “unwarranted attacks.” The state health commissioner issued a pre-emptive order to limit the number of guests.

This wedding, however, was planned in secret, according to the Post, citing a Yiddish-language newspaper, Der Blatt. The newspaper reported the wedding was planned by word-of-mouth to avoid “ravenous press and government officials,” according to the reports.

“If that happened, it was a blatant disregard of the law,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday when asked about the wedding. “It’s illegal. It was also disrespectful to the people of New York.”

“If it turns out that because we stopped that wedding, the reaction was, ‘Well, we’ll have a secret wedding,’ that would be really shocking,” Cuomo added. “I’m sure [the city] will be able to figure it out, and then we’ll bring the full consequence of legal action to bear.”

Here is a Shocker

It has been obvious for decades, ever since the child abuse scandal broke in the Catholic church, that John Paul II, in addition to aggressively embracing murderous right wing dictators, was wilfully blind about priests f%$#ing kids in their charge.

In response to scandals involving defrocked cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Pope Francis commissioned a study to find out what happened, and they determined that Pope John Paul II ignored repeated and credible warnings about the former priest

This is not a surprise.  Ignoring this sort of thing was a direct outgrowth of JPII’s view of the church and spirituality.

His successor, Benedict, was found to have been insufficiently forceful in dealing with this:

An unprecedented Vatican internal investigation has found that Pope John Paul II knew about and overlooked sexual misconduct claims against Theodore McCarrick, instead choosing to facilitate the rise of an American prelate who would be defrockedand disgraced two decades later.

The Vatican’s reportamounts to a stunning play-by-play of the kind of systemic failure that the Catholic Church normally keeps under wraps, describing how ­McCarrick amassed power and prestige in the face of rumors, and sometimes written evidence, of his sexual misconduct with seminarians, priests and teenage boys.

The report devotes a good deal of attention to John Paul II and the pivotal years of McCarrick’s rise, but it also portrays Pope Benedict XVI as trying to handle the cardinal quietly and out of the public spotlight, and Pope Francis as assuming that his predecessors had made the right judgments. It shows how U.S. bishops sanitized reports of what they knew and all but ensured that warnings would arrive at the Vatican unsubstantiated or dismissible. In Rome, church leaders found every rationale for believing a “good pastor” over a victim.

For a church that has grappled for a generation with its sexual abuse crisis, the report— 449 pages, and two years in the making — goes further than any previous effort in naming names and providing details of a coverup. Such assessments have been long requested by victims of abuse, but they are nonetheless fraught for the church, because revelations have the potential to recolor the reputations of major figures within the faith, including John Paul, who was named a saintin 2014.

Son of a Bitch, He Stole My Line

What Robin Williams said

Pope Francis has made statements supporting civil unions for LGBT couples in a documentary.

But for my brother beating me to the punch on Facebook, I’d be calling this, “Fabulous.” 

I am not sure if this will end up being a matter of official doctrine, but it is a welcome development.

I expect to that many of the conservatives in the church to push back against this hard.

They tend to follow the Pope only it is convenient for them:

Pope Francis expressed support for same-sex civil unions in remarks revealed in a documentary film that premiered on Wednesday, a significant break from his predecessors that staked out new ground for the church in its recognition of gay people.

The remarks, coming from the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, had the potential to shift debates about the legal status of same-sex couples in nations around the globe and unsettle bishops worried that the unions threaten what the church considers traditional marriage — between one man and one woman.

“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” Francis said in the documentary, “Francesco,” which debuted at the Rome Film Festival, reiterating his view that gay people are children of God. “I stood up for that.”


His conservative critics within the church hierarchy, and especially in the conservative wing of the church in the United States, who have for years accused him of diluting church doctrine, saw the remarks as a reversal of church teaching.

“The pope’s statement clearly contradicts what has been the longstanding teaching of the church about same-sex unions,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., adding that the remarks needed to be clarified.


Francis had already drastically shifted the tone of the church on questions related to homosexuality, but he has done little on policy and not changed teaching for a church that sees its future growth in the Southern Hemisphere, where the clerical hierarchy is generally less tolerant of homosexuality.

The remark “in no way affects doctrine,” the Rev. Antonio Spadaro, a Jesuit priest and close ally of Francis, told the television channel of the Italian bishops conference on Wednesday evening.


In 2010, as Argentina was on the verge of approving gay marriage, Francis, then cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, supported the idea of civil unions for gay couples.


“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” Francis says at another point in the documentary. “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.”

Church teaching does not consider being gay a sin, but it does consider homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” and by extension holds that a homosexual orientation is “objectively disordered.”

Church doctrine also explicitly states that marriage is between a man and a woman, a teaching Francis unwaveringly supports.

Francis’ predecessors had also expressed their opposition, though, to civil unions.

The important question is whether or not Francis will follow through.

If he does not make an effort to add an official imprimatur these statements will mean nothing.

About Damn Time

I understand that a wedding, particularly the wedding of the grandson of a prominent rabbi, will traditionally be a time of celebration, but authorities were correct to shut down a wedding in the Hasicic community that would have had over 10,000 guests.

After the debacle that was the Sturgis rally, where thousands, if not tens of thousands of cases resulted, it is clear that these sorts of large social events are a clear and present danger to society.

The one of first steps to mending the world (תיקון עולם) is not to spread disease during a pandemic:

New York State health officials have taken extraordinary steps to shut down an ultra-Orthodox wedding planned for Monday that could have had brought up to 10,000 guests to Brooklyn, near one of New York City’s coronavirus hot spots.

The state health commissioner personally intervened to have sheriff’s deputies deliver the order to the Hasidic synagogue on Friday, warning that it must follow health protocols, including limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people.

On Sunday, the synagogue, the Congregation Yetev Lev D’Satmar, accused state officials of “unwarranted attacks” on the wedding, where a grandson of Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, the synagogue’s rabbi, was to be married. The congregation said that the ceremony and meal would have been restricted to “close family members,” while the public would have been invited to participate only “for a short period of time.”

The wedding will continue, the synagogue said, but will be limited to a smaller group of family members. “It’s sad that nobody verified our plans before attacking us,” Chaim Jacobowitz, the congregation’s secretary, said in a statement.

The state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, took the rare step of issuing what is known as a Section 16 order, which can carry a daily fine of $10,000 if violated. The state has issued dozens of Section 16 orders during the pandemic.

A wedding involving 10,000 guests is insane even when you are not in the midst of a pandemic.


From Friday to now, over $150,000 in fines from 62 summonses were handed out by City agents in the Red, Orange and Yellow zones, including 5 to non-compliant religious congregations.

— City of New York (@nycgov) October 11, 2020

New York is finally enforcing tanctions against people who violate social distancing and mask mandates.

Notably, this includes members of New York’s Ultra-orthodox Jewish community, who have been been notorious for ignoring rules against mass gatherings.

I get that these communities have a lot of political pull, but their reckless behavior needs to be checked:

Authorities cracked down this weekend on some of the city’s coronavirus hot spots, issuing more than 60 summonses and tens of thousands of dollars in fines to people, businesses and houses of worship that did not follow newly imposed restrictions on gatherings or mask-wearing and social-distancing requirements.

Among those issued a summons by the New York City sheriff were a restaurant and at least five houses of worship in the city’s “red zones,” where coronavirus infection rates are the highest. Each of those locations was given a summons that could result in up to $15,000 in fines, said Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

That means some of these were synagogues.

There are certain things that only can be done in a group in Jewish worship, but you only need 10 people, a minyan, to do that.  You don’t need 200 crammed together in a synagogue, it can be 10 folks in a living room.

In total, officials issued 62 tickets and more than $150,000 in fines during the first weekend the new restrictions were in effect, the New York City government Twitter account said on Sunday.

The city is wrestling with its most acute pandemic crisis since the virus first swept through the five boroughs in March. Since mid-August, city and state officials say large gatherings and lax social distancing have caused a surge in new cases in pockets of Brooklyn and Queens, many of them in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods. The spike prompted Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to issue new restrictions on large gatherings and nonessential businesses in certain parts of the city.


One of the Orthodox Jewish men who led protests against the restrictions, Heshy Tischler, was taken into custody by the police department’s warrants squad Sunday night, a police official said. Mr. Tischler, a talk radio personality, is expected to be charged with inciting a riot and unlawful imprisonment in connection with an incident in Borough Park, Brooklyn, last week in which a Jewish journalist, Jacob Kornbluh, was attacked by a crowd during a protest.

The sense of entitlement in this community is mind boggling.

Jews are supposed to be a light unto the nations, not a group of self-important thugs.

Adventures in Dad Humor

I was in the Sukkah, doing kiddush, and it came time to say a blessing on the bread.  (Hamotzi)

After that, I asked where the knife was to cut the roll, and Sharon* said, “Just tear up the roll.”

So, I scowled at the roll, and shouted at it, “You’re ugly, and your mom dresses you funny.”

Minor mirth ensued.

*Love of my life, light of the  cosmos, she  who must be obeyed, my wife.

Of Course This Drops Just Before Kol Nidre

The New York Times has gotten its hands on more than 20 years of Donald Trump’s income tax returns, and it appears that this is the real deal*, revealing a pattern of massive losses and next nothing in taxes paid.

I’m about to eat, and then fast, so I have barely had a chance to glance at the article.

The nickel tour appears to indicate that he’s a money loser who cheats on his taxes. 

This raises the question:  How has the Trump Org continued to be a going concern over all of these years?

My answer is that he’s been laundering money for the mob, whether it is US, or, as is more likely, foreign organized crime.

To quote Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

*As opposed to Rachel Maddow’s widely mocked expose of a handful of Trump’s tax documents in 2017.

A Handmaiden’s Justice

As promosed, Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg. This woman is a serious right wing nut-job.

Donald Trump’s pick for America’s highest court, Amy Coney Barrett, is an “ideological fanatic” who threatens abortion rights, healthcare and the environment, activists warned on Saturday, before Trump unveiled his third supreme court nominee in the White House Rose Garden.

Barrett is the ideological opposite of the woman she will succeed if confirmed, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died earlier this month aged 87.

She’s a member of a group called People of Praise, whose ideas of gender roles is exemplified by the fact the highest role for a woman in the group was called for a long time called a “Handmaids”.

 As Anna Russel would say, “I’m not making this up, you know.”

Just when I think that I have been inured to the vacuous evil of the Trump administration, they take it up a notch.

Arizona, It’s the New Florida, Man!

In Tucson, Arizona, a “Christian” group has organized protests at a McDonalds against a statue of a dinosaur, because ……… Ummmm ……… It’s not in Genesis, I guess?

This is not The Onion:

A Tucson landmark won’t be going extinct anytime soon. Attempts to remove a fiberglass dinosaur statue outside of a McDonald’s have been thwarted.

A group called Christians Against Dinosaurs denounced the T. rex statue on its Facebook page and called for its followers to rally in an effort to remove the statue.

“Please help! This McDonald’s has this dinosaur and refuse to remove it!” according to the Arizona Daily Star. “This is in Tucson, Arizona. Call the manager and demand the removal of this blasphemy!”


When reached via Facebook, Christians Against Dinosaurs told Patch that the group’s mission is no joke.

“We’re fed up with everybody acting like the people of Tucson are imbeciles and we want to help,” a spokesperson for the group said. “Having a big dinosaur outside a cultural hub like McDonald’s makes Tucsonians look like they’re mentally deficient and that isn’t right.”

No, YOU are making, “Tucsonians look like they’re mentally deficient.”

A New Opiate for the Masses?

Caitlin Johnstone has a very interesting take on QAnon.

Specifically, she thinks that it is a deliberate attempt to sideline the. “Revolutionary Impulse,”.

If you subscribe to Marx’s theories on religion, there, as Zathras would say, “Symmetry.” There is an astonishing level of similarity between the tin-foil hat brigade and the more extreme religions:

The U.S. president has moved from tacit endorsement and evading questions on the toxic QAnon psyop to directly endorsing and supporting it, telling reporters “I don’t know much about the movement other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate,” and saying they’re just people who love their country and don’t like seeing what’s happening in places like Portland, Chicago and New York City.

Asked about the driving theory behind QAnon — that Trump is waging a covert war against a satanic pedopheliac baby-eating Deep State —Trump endorsed the idea but reframed it by saying that he’s leading a fight against “a radical left philosophy.”


I write against QAnon periodically for the exact same reason I write against the plutocratic media: it’s an obvious propaganda construct designed to manufacture support for the status quo among people who otherwise would not support it. It presents itself as an exciting movement where the little guy is finally rising up and throwing off the chains of the tyrannical forces which have been exploiting and oppressing us, yet in reality all it’s doing is telling a discontented sector of the population to relax and “trust the plan” and put all their faith in the leader of the US government.

As the United States becomes less religious over time, classic Marxist analysis would suggest that something else would take its place, and that capital would support this to distract the masses.

QAnon does seem to check all the right boxes.

Handmaiden’s Tale, SCOTUS Edition

Two rulings today.

In the first, the Supreme Court ruled that teachers at religious schools are “Ministers” and as such can never sue their employer for discrimination:

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that a doctrine known as the “ministerial exception,” which bars ministers from suing churches and other religious institutions for employment discrimination, prohibited a lawsuit filed by a teacher at a Lutheran school who was also an ordained minister. Today, by a vote of 7-2, the court held in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru that the exception also forecloses lawsuits by two teachers at Catholic elementary schools in southern California. Although the teachers were not ordained ministers, the schools had argued that the exception nonetheless applied because they played a key role in teaching religion to their students, and the court – in an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito – agreed.

Today’s decision came in a pair of cases, both filed by fifth-grade teachers against parish schools in the Los Angeles area. Agnes Morrissey-Berru taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Hermosa Beach for nearly two decades before she was told that her contract would not be renewed. Morrissey-Berru went to federal court, where she claimed that she had been the victim of age discrimination. The district court threw out the lawsuit, agreeing with the school that the ministerial exception applied.

The second plaintiff, Kristen Biel, sued St. James School in Torrance when – not long after she disclosed that she was being treated for breast cancer – the school failed to renew her contract. Biel claimed that the school had discriminated against her because she had cancer, but the district court agreed with the school that Biel’s lawsuit was barred by the ministerial exception.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reinstated both teachers’ lawsuits. It reasoned that the ministerial exception normally applies when an employee plays a “religious leadership” role, but that Biel and Morrissey-Berru played a more limited role, mostly “teaching religion from a book.” The schools went to the Supreme Court, which today reversed.

This is a horrible ruling, and when juxtaposed with the court’s recent ruling in in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue,it means that taxpayers are going to be forced to pay for discrimination.

I agree with Sotamayor’s dissent that this is a, “Simplistic approach has no basis in law and strips thousands of schoolteachers of their legal protection.”

I expect to see a return to the segregation academies of the bad old days, and I am inclined to believe that for at least some of the justices, this was an unstated goal.

The other opinion is that the Trump administration’s moves to make it possible for pretty much any employer to claim a religious exemption and not provide birth control coverage:

The Affordable Care Act’s birth-control mandate requires most employers to provide their female employees with health insurance that includes access to certain forms of contraceptives. In 2017, the Trump administration issued new rules that expanded an exemption from the mandate to allow private employers with religious or moral objections to opt out of providing coverage without any notice. Today, by a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania rejected a challenge from two states that had argued that the new rules violate both the ACA itself and the federal laws governing administrative agencies. The ruling was an important victory for the Trump administration, but the battle over the exemptions and the mandate is likely not over yet.

Margaret Atwood weeps.

This is the Most 2020 Story of the Year (So Far)

A Spanish porn actor has been arrested in connection with the death of a photographer as the result of a bizarre ritual involving toad venom.

I don’t think that this will remain at the top of the pile, 2020 has a lot more sh%$ to toss our way, but right now, this story encapsulates the year almost perfectly:

Spanish police have arrested three people, including a well known pornographic actor, in connection with the death of a photographer who is thought to have died after inhaling toad venom during a shamanic ceremony.

The Guardia Civil did not name those detained, but the fatal ceremony, which took place in the Valencian town of Enguera in July 2019, allegedly involved the Spanish porn actor Nacho Vidal, and resulted in the death of a fashion photographer, José Luis Abad.


“Officers began the investigation after the death of a person during a mystical ritual involving the inhalation of vapours from the venom of the bufo alvarius toad,” the statement said.


It also warned that the alleged ritual was considerably more dangerous than people might think.

Yes, the dead photographer would indicate that there was an element of risk in snorting toad venom.

Genocide is the Goal of Missionaries

Even if the inevitable plagues that evangelizing clerics bring to isolated indigenous tribes don’t wipe them out, it is the goal of missionaries to destroy the culture and way of life of these people.

It has been the not particularly subtle policy Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to practice genocide against Brazilian first peoples, witness his appointment of a former missionary to head the country’s missionary protection agency.

Well, now a judge has ruled that the plague ridden missionaries have to stay out of indigenous reserves.


A Brazilian judge has banned a group of Christian missionaries from entering a vast Amazon indigenous reserve with the world’s highest concentration of isolated tribes, citing risks from the coronavirus pandemic as one of his reasons.

Indigenous leaders and activists hailed the decision as “historic” and expressed hope that it could prevent a genocide in the Javari valley, a remote reserve the size of Austria on Brazil’s western borders.

“Facing with this new coronavirus pandemic we wanted to guarantee the rights of indigenous people to isolation,” said Eliesio Marubo, an indigenous lawyer who sought the ruling on behalf of Javari’s indigenous association Univaja.

Federal judge Fabiano Verli banned three missionaries, Andrew Tonkin, Josiah McIntyre and Pastor Wilson de Benjamin, from the reserve, along with the controversial missionary group New Tribes Mission of Brazil which recently bought a helicopter to convert isolated peoples in the region.

The judge referred to recent articles about isolated groups’ vulnerability to common diseases that decimated their populations in the past and authorised police and army to expel any of the missionaries found in the reserve. Brazil has so far seen three confirmed Covid-19 deaths among its indigenous population.

These missionaries would rather see 90% of these people dead if the remainder were baptized, so keep them away forever.

Pope Frank has a Future in Standup

Upon greeting a class of priests, Pope Francis was presented with a bottle of Scotch whiskey, and he joked, “Scotch whiskey was the real holy wate.” 

I am amused:

Scotch whisky fans didn’t need any spiritual confirmation that their drink of choice is divine indeed.

However, it doesn’t hurt that Pope Francis has actually declared Scotch whisky to be ‘the real holy water’. It’s important to note that he did say it as a light-hearted joke to the Scottish student priests who offered him a bottle as a gift at a reception in the Vatican.

Though the moment was captured on video last year, the story gained attention recently, as the piece of footage censored by the Vatican was for a soon-to-be-released BBC documentary about seminarians at the Pontifical Scots College in Rome. In a Daily Record article, documentary director Tony Kearney described the scene:

“He was really down to earth with them all [the student priests] and when they handed him the bottle, instead of just handing it to his assistant as he normally would with a gift, he held it up and said ‘Questa e la vera acqua santa’, which means ‘This is the real holy water.’”

As for the specific whisky he was commenting on, it was a bottle of Oban, from the west coast of Scotland (both the 14 and the 21 year old are superb whiskies, by the way).

Somehow, I don’t think that we’d ever here such humor from Southern Baptist.