Archive for March, 2015


genocide

Roots Of Modern Terrorism And Religious Fundamentalism

By G. Asgar Mitha

– Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity – Pope Benedict III – Pope from 855 – 858 AD.

– Fear is the basis of the whole – fear of the mysterious, of defeat and death. Fear is the parent of cruelty and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand – Bertrand Russell

I‘ve quoted Bertrand Russell after reading his rather interesting essays titled Why I’m Not a Christian delivered on March 6, 1927 to the National Secular Society, South London Branch and that inspired me to write this article.

The horrors of the Catholic Church are well documented while even today the modernists, historians and politicians are turned off to discuss those horrors and are involved in discussing the horrors of a Muslim civilization. No civilization has been without its dark ages. Europe and America burnt people alive by tying them to stakes after accusations of witchcraft. Ancient Egypt used to cut off the limbs of their citizens from opposite ends and then crucify them. Rome too crucified their citizens. All kinds of horrors have been recorded in history books. One of the best movies I’d seen was The Name of the Rose starring Sean Connery regarding the Holy Inquisition involving the Church. The procedures of the Holy Inquisition involved examination of charges of heresy by the Church. Even those innocent were not spared by trumped up charges. Such was the terrorism due to religious fundamentalism within the European religious system that the Church reaped wealth, mainly from the poor and destitute while protecting the wealthy aristocrats. The Church was not only a religious entity but it also embodied politics.

The Spanish Inquisitions from 1474-1834 AD were held under Pope Sixtus IV mainly against the Jews and Muslims but also against Christian heretics. Those refusing to take up Catholic faith were led to the stake to be burnt alive in a ceremony known as auto-de-fe (act of failth) and their properties confiscated to the Church.

The horrors of the Catholic Church are provided in brief in the above paragraphs. However the roots of current situation of Muslim terrorism and fundamentalism need to be examined. The basis of all terrorism and fundamentalism is not religion (as correctly postulated by Karen Armstrong) which condemns both but rests in politics and powers of the state and the religious authorities. Both politicians and clergy have used religion to consolidate their power over the weakest of their audience condemning them as heretics and kafirs (heathen unbelievers).

While I was growing up in Pakistan until 1968, there was harmony and religious tolerance among the Shia and Sunni sects. Christians and Hindus too were accepted and tolerated and there were no Islamic laws that discriminated them. Hotels used to serve alcohol and advertise striptease shows of women from many countries. After having completed my education in the US, I returned to Pakistan in 1977 under the martial law rule of President Zia-ul-Haq only to find a Pakistani society devoid of all tolerance and one of extreme religious fundamentalism but not yet of visible terrorism. It was in the germinating stages. Zia was a diehard Saudi supporter who closely held the Wahhabist-Salfist belief of forcibly imposing religion upon the people. In exchange Zia received large Saudi monetary aid to breed religious extremism among the Taliban (students) in madressas (religious schools) operated as seminaries to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan. The Saudis in turn received the political support from the US. The students were not taught true Islamic values which are based on knowledge and free learning that benefits mankind. The Wahhabist teachings are instead based on fear aptly described by Bertrand Russell.

The other Wahhabist-Salafist fundamentalist Saudi citizen, Osama bin Laden, led the Afghan Mujahideen (holy warriors) and Taliban against the Soviets under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda (the base). He was supposedly killed in Pakistan in May 2011 by the Americans. The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted over nine years from December 1979 to February 1989. Zia died in August 1988 in a mysterious plane crash. He’d served his masters well and the Americans and Saudis rewarded him with a plea to God to open the doors of Heaven for him and for the houris (female angels) to entertain him. Unfortunately I perceive the same fates for other current Pakistani leaders who are serving their masters.

IS (Islamic States), for example, has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with fear, cruelty, politics and religious intolerance. IS does not represent Islamic moderation, tolerance, respect and knowledge. The IS Jihadists being recruited from Europe and N. America are most likely not mainstream Muslims but lunatics and converts in a society they hate. They could well have been victims of political and extremist religious brainwashing similar to the Taliban. Just like al-Qaeda and Taliban were recruited against the Soviets, the IS may have been created to plunder the Arab countries. The IS is conducting inquisitions against everyone regardless of their minority (Christians and Yezidis) or sectarian beliefs (Shias and Sunnis) and their methods of torture and murder (beheadings and burning) are as horrifying as was practiced by the European Churches.

Following the war’s end, Afghanistan was in ruins and those same political parties (the seven party Jihadists) that had allied against the Soviets engaged in trivial disputes and fighting among themselves. America abandoned Afghanistan and Pakistan only to return in 2001 with a war against the former and military threats and promises of monetary aid for the latter. The Taliban returned victorious to Pakistan after having defeated the Soviet infidels. They now believed they were God’s chosen people and like Zia, it was their bounden duty to forcibly impose Wahhabism upon a nation. Terrorism and fear became their instruments and many of these Taliban also infiltrated the political parties in Pakistan in order to gain power and wealth similar to the norms of the Christian Church of the dark ages. America watched and learnt how hyenas fight over a carcass. Pakistan and Afghanistan were ushering in the dark ages. The lessons were going to be applied throughout the Muslim world with the objectives of once again gaining not only power but control of the precious black gold resource.

Saudi Arabia and other Monarchist Arab Wahhabist countries have been natural economic allies of America and its European vassals as they are weak and in need of protection. America continues to support the Saudis in exporting their perverted religious dogma across the Muslim countries in order to breed religious intolerance, cruelty and terrorism. Some of the countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria and Palestine have been war victims, others like Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt have survived upon American and Saudi aids. Iran is the only Muslim country where America and the Saudi monarchy have failed for exporting terrorism and religious extremism and both fear it as a regional power. Iran has adopted values of democracy, tolerance, moderation, justice, knowledge and learning – the hallmarks of Islam. The roots of Wahhabism are based on an extremist form of Islam, of intolerance of all religions, injustice and implementation of fear by their religious police known as mutawwas supported by the monarchies which the west supports. The one thing common among the Arab monarchies and the western ‘democracy’ is deep hypocrisy.


Are Christians more Violent than Muslims?

predator-drone

Are Christians more violent than Muslims?

What does the record say?

Murder rate: White America, like most Christian countries in the Americas, Africa and Eastern Europe, is markedly more violent than most of the Middle East (murders per 100,000 population):

  • 0.6 Bahrain
  • 0.7 Oman
  • 0.8 United Arab Emirates
  • 0.9 Qatar
  • 1.0 Saudi Arabia
  • 1.2 Egypt
  • 1.7 Cyprus
  • 1.8 Jordan
  • 2.0 Iraq
  • 2.1 Israel
  • 2.2 Kuwait
  • 2.2 Lebanon
  • 2.3 Syria
  • 3.0 Iran
  • 3.3 Turkey
  • 3.4 WHITE AMERICA
  • 4.1 Palestine
  • 4.2 Yemen

Terrorist attacks: According to the FBI, only 6% of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were carried out by Muslim extremists. Even Jewish extremists carried out more (7%).

War: Wars with at least a million dead:

Christian wars:

  • years: name: conservative body count in millions
  • 535-554: Gothic Wars: 5.0m
  • 790-1300: Reconquista: 7.0m
  • 1096-1272: Crusades: 2.0m
  • 1337-1453: Hundred Years’ War: 3.0m
  • 1562-1598: French Wars of Religion: 3.0m
  • 1568-1648: Dutch Revolt: 1.0m
  • 1618-1648: Thirty Years’ War: 3.0m
  • 1655-1660: Second Northern War: 3.0m
  • 1763-1864: Russian-Circassian War: 2.0m
  • 1792-1802: French Revolutionary Wars: 2.0m
  • 1803-1815: Napoleonic Wars: 3.5m
  • 1830-1903: War in Venezuela: 1.0m
  • 1882-1898: Conquests of Menelik II of Ethiopia: 5.0m
  • 1910-1920: Mexican Revolution: 1.0m
  • 1914-1918: First World War: 20.0m
  • 1917-1922: Russian Civil War: 5.0m
  • 1939-1945: Second World War: 41.5m (European deaths only)
  • 1946-1954: First Indochina War: 1.0m
  • 1950-1953: Korean War: 1.2m
  • 1955-1975: Vietnam War: 1.1m
  • 1998-2003: Second Congo War: 2.5m

Muslim wars:

  • 1370-1405: Conquests of Tamerlane: 7.0m
  • 1681-1707: Conquests of Aurangzeb: 5.0m
  • 1967-1970: Nigerian Civil War: 1.0m
  • 1980-1988: Iran-Iraq War: 1.0m
  • 1983-2005: Second Sudanese Civil War: 1.0m
  • 1989-2001: Afghan Civil War: 1.4m

Seven times more people have died in Christian wars: 113.8 million compared to the 16.4 million who died in Muslim wars.

There are more Christians, but only about 50% more, nothing like seven times more.

Western history is Eurocentric, so we know more about wars in Christian lands than in Muslim ones. But not for wars since 1900, and there the imbalance is even worse: 73.3 million compared to 4.4 millon – 17 times more dead in Christian wars.

Some blame technology, yet the Muslim world has all the weapons the West had to kill over 100 million people. And yet it did not.

Democide: counts those who died not through war or street crime but through the wilful in/action of government, like genocide or Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

Christian democides of a million or more (does not count communist democides):

  • 940-1917: Russia (tsarist): 2.1m
  • 1095-1272: Crusades: 1.0m
  • 1451-1870: European slave trade: 17.3m
  • 1492-1900: Latin America: 13.8m Amerindians
  • 1600-1900: Caribbean: 10.0m slaves worked to death
  • 1618-1648; Thirty Years War: 5.8m
  • 1651-1987: British Empire: 1.1m (not counting slavery)
  • 1800-1900: Brazil: 1.5m Amazon rubber companies
  • 1900-1920: Mexico: 1.4m
  • 1933-1945: Germany (Nazis): 20.9m
  • 1945-1948: Poland: 1.6m

Muslim democides of a million or more:

  • 400-1900: Iran: 2.0m
  • 1110-1918: Ottoman Empire: 3.9m
  • 1958-1987: Pakistan: 1.5m
  • 1983-2005: Sudan: 1.9m Nuer, Dinka, Christians, Nuba, etc

Christians have killed eight times more people in democides than Muslims: 76.5 million compared to 9.3 million. Almost the same rate as for war.


CUFI Leader John Hagee confirms Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic

Ben Norton

Evangelical pastor John Hagee, the leader of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the US’ largest pro-Israel organization and the most powerful group in the Christian Zionist movement, has adamantly insisted that Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic.

WorldNetDaily (WND), a far-right website published an article in March 2015 about the “Blood Moon Prophecy,” an end-of-times theory that lunar eclipses are a sign that the world is on the brink of destruction and that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is near. The lengthy piece is about Hagee’s film Four Blood Moons, which endorses the eschatological theory. Toward the end of the article, WND quotes a spokesperson for Hagee:

“WND falsely claimed that Hagee does not believe that Jews need Jesus to be saved. In fact, Hagee never made such a claim and years ago directly denied assertions that he holds a dual-covenant theology,” he wrote. “In addition, while WND acknowledges that Hagee rewrote sections of ‘In Defense of Israel’ to clarify his relevant position, WND failed to note that the associated video promotion was also changed to accurately reflect his theology.”

Translated: WND claimed that Hagee believed the Jewish people could be saved by God without abandoning Judaism and converting to Christianity. Apocalyptic Christian Zionist John Hagee censured the publication for spreading a lie and defensively clarified that he does indeed believe that the Jewish people are going to burn in Hell for all of eternity unless they abandon Judaism and convert to Christianity.

In short, Hagee firmly insisted that Christian Zionism is anti-Semitic, and that the reason CUFI so obsessively and blindly defends Israel is not because they care about Jews (who, in their mind, will face eternal damnation unless they renounce their religion and become Christians) but rather because they genuinely believe the world is on the verge of total annihilation and the Bible supposedly tells them they must do so.

Christian Zionism

Christian Zionism is the belief that God gave the Jewish people the land of Israel in historic Palestine. Christian Zionists hold that this is part of a biblical prophecy, and is a necessary prerequisite before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the ensuing Day of Judgment.

This is not a view shared by all Christians, yet is very common among Evangelicals and conservative Protestants. In recent years, it has gained prominence in the US, particularly in the Bible Belt. A late 2013 Pew Research study found 82% of white evangelical Christians in the US believed God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people, while only 40% of US Jews believed the same.

John Hagee is the leader of CUFI, the most powerful Christian Zionist organization in the US, and likely in the entire world.

Some Jewish and Zionist organizations have criticized Hagee and the Christian Zionist movement. Eric Yoffie, former president of the Union for Reform Judaism, publicly proclaimed that, vis-à-vis “Israeli-Palestinian politics, John Hagee and the CUFI are extremists.” Yoffie “called for Reform congregations to not participate in CUFI’s events and to continue to call for public condemnation of inflammatory and bigoted statements from Christian Zionist leadership.”

Many Jewish and Zionist organizations, however, see Hagee and CUFI as important allies. At the CUFI 2013 Summit, Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations—a coalition of 51 US Jewish groups, including some of the most prominent—voiced support of biblical Christian Zionist prophecies. “The prophets were not prophets of doom but prophets of hope; you just have to read it right,” he told them. “Here’s my advice: Don’t bet against the Jews. And the ‘Jewish lobby’ is a myth, but it’s our job to make it a legend.”

Israel itself has been more than happy to support CUFI. Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the US, spoke glowingly of the organization at its 2014 summit. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also enthusiastically supported the group, and has spoken at several of their annual summits.

Hagee’s History of Extreme Views

Hagee, who thinks we are the last generation of humans, is no stranger to controversy. In late 2014, he claimed that Ebola (along with the civil rights protests in Ferguson and elsewhere) was God’s way of “punishing” America, because Obama was trying to “divide” Israel.

The pastor has even gone so far as to essentially defend Adolf Hitler.  In a 2005 sermon, Hagee asserted that God sent Hitler as a “hunter,” in order to “hunt them [Jews] from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks … to get them to come back to the land of Israel.”

Once again, these are the views of the leader of, in CUFI’s own words, “the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States with over two million members and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world.”

The Washington Post indicates that CUFI “can boast that it has members from every congressional district in America.” Foreign Policy included John Hagee in its list of the 50 Republicans with the most influence on foreign policy. The evangelical Christian Zionist was a much sought-after figure by the Republican Party in the 2008 presidential election. He ended up endorsing John McCain.

WND’s founder and CEO Joseph Farah responded positively to Hagee’s firm insistence on his Christianity-rooted anti-Semitism. “I’m happy to hear that Hagee no longer subscribes to those anti-biblical positions,” he said. “But we never asserted what Hagee believes, only what he said on videotape. I’m gratified he has repudiated all of that. It’s time for him to clean up another mess.”

Like Hagee, Farah resolutely maintains that Christian Zionism is, in its very essence, an anti-Semitic ideology, as, in his view, it is an “anti-biblical position” to claim that Jews are not automatically damned to eternal suffering in a lake of fire merely by virtue of their being Jewish.

 


ayaan_hirsi_ali_nancy_drew
Exposing Anti-Islam Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Latest Deception

One of America’s most prominent Islam bashers has a long history of making things up.


cruz.insane
Rafeal Cruz: ‘Atheism Leads To Molestation’ And 4 Other Crazy Things He Said

Now that Teapublican Texas Senator Ted Cruz has officially tossed his clown hat in the 2016 presidential ring, examining this man’s extraordinarily insane background and comments is going to be easier than spearfishing out of a barrel.

Enter Ted Cruz’s Christian Taliban dad, Rafael Cruz.

Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s father, is slowly proving my theory that bat shit can be entered into one’s DNA. The rabidly right-wing preacher often makes extremist comments in support of his moronic right-wing fundamentalism. Relying on wacky Dominionist teachings, the batshit whisperer and father of our newly anointed 2016 republican presidential candidate, previously described his son as being the “self-anointed king of society.” It’s quite interesting how these fundamentalists are so vigorously pro-life when you consider everything they say makes pro-choice the greatest argument.

Here are 5 of the Craziest Things Said by Rafael Cruz, Ted Cruz’s Preacher Daddy:

Giving a talk at OK2A, an Oklahoma Second Amendment advocacy group (Jesus loves AR-15s), Rafael Cruz said that atheism leads to sexual abuse of children:

1. There is no moral absolute, which means we operate by situational ethics, which unfortunately is something being taught in every high school in America. This means that right and wrong is dependent upon the circumstances. Of course, without God there is no value to life. That leads to immorality, that leads to sexual abuse, and there is no hope. They live without hope, because there is nothing more.”(Raw Story)

2. We have our work cut out for us,” Cruz said “We need to send Barack Obama back to Chicago. I’d like to send him back to Kenya, back to Indonesia.” He went on to say, “We have to unmask this man. This is a man that seeks to destroy all concept of God. And I will tell you what, this is classical Marxist philosophy. Karl Marx very clearly said Marxism requires that we destroy God because government must become God.” (MySanAntonio.com)

3. Cruz lying bout Obama on abortion: “Do you realize,” he asked a room of conservatives, “the first bill President Obama signed into law was to legalize third trimester abortions?” (The first law Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, according to The New York Times.)(MySanAntonio.com)

4. “Socialism requires that government becomes your god. That’s why they have to destroy the concept of God. They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government. That’s what’s behind homosexual marriage. It’s really more about the destruction of the traditional family than about exalting homosexuality, because you need to destroy, also, loyalty to the family.” (MySanAntonio.com)

5. On anti-gay discrimination: “The left is trying to redefine the issue as a civil right, not as a personal choice. They have gone to the extent to even try to make it illegal for counselors to administer to these people that have certain sexual tendencies to try to work with them from the Christian, biblical standpoint,” Cruz said. (MySanAntonio.com)


'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

Exorcism, The Vatican Death Cult and Mental Health

There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here?

The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition.

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain.

–Beagle

'There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness and conditions such as epilepsy, which cause alarming seizures in otherwise healthy individuals. When society did not understand the cause of conditions that science has learned to identify and treat, people turned to religion to cope, and the results were at best scarring for the individual and at worst, deadly.

A young German woman that had suffered seizures all of her life was killed after ten months of exorcisms because her family believed that she was possessed by demons. Denied food and water, subjected to violent rituals, the 23 year old died horribly and needlessly at the hands of people blinded by their own ignorance.

Another epileptic in Pakistan was tortured by a witch doctor after his family asked that he be exorcised of his demons. He was attacked with iron rods and his fingernails pulled out all because he had suffered several seizures. By the time his family decided that he needed medical help, he succumbed to the injuries.

The two cases I’ve cited might easily have come from medieval texts or church records from another century, but they did not. The first case might be familiar to many, for it occurred in 1975. The victim’s name was Anneliese Michel and the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was based on her case. It was this tragedy that prompted the Roman Catholic Church to offer exorcists medical training in order to distinguish between a medical condition and a demonic possession.

The second case occurred in 2010, and the victim, Asif Qadri sparked a murder investigation, but it was too little too late for him. A father of two whose only crime was epilepsy died miserably because of religious superstition.

The sad fact is that people in the modern world are using exorcism as treatment for epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bi-polar disease. This is not happening in primitive villages in remote places. This is happening in modern Europe, Asia and North America. An east London exorcist told BBC Newsnight in 2012 that demons can “deceive doctors” into treating possession as mental illness.

See the backwards thinking here? 

 The Catholic Church, known for exorcisms, claims to perform the ritual only when the person in question has been cleared of any medical conditions. This is still not acceptable, because it is always a medical condition. The only evil possessing the victim of mental illness or epilepsy are those that deny a person proper medical care in order to partake in a superstitious ritual that has no place in modern society. Outside of Catholic clergy, the people performing exorcisms are being paid thousands in order to abuse a human being.

What does it say about our society when something like this is legal? Vatican approved or not, exorcism involves denying an epileptic medication that could prevent seizures. It involves terrifying a mentally ill person that may already dealing with something frightening within themselves and causing irreparable damage. It involves physical abuse, including beatings, asphyxiation, starvation and methods of torture last seen in Spanish dungeons during the Inquisition. 

The moment a vulnerable person is subjected to this sort of cruelty is the moment that religious rights to mete it out should no longer apply. There is absolutely no justification for this sort of brutality. Until a better effort is made to educate people and it is made illegal, people will continue to suffer and die in the name of nonsense, and the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and other conditions people mistake for demonic possession will remain. 

--Beagle'

French Cartoonist Zeon Arrested for Anti-Zionist Art

In ostensibly free European countries, you can get in a lot of trouble for the wrong kind of humor – not just (deadly) trouble from jihadists “avenging” their prophet, but trouble meted out by government agencies and police officers.

For instance, in the Netherlands, in 2008, the home office of cartoonist Gregorius Nekschot, a poison-pen critic of Islam,

… was raided by a team of ten police officers who had been dispatched by the Openbaar Ministerie, the federal Dutch DA’s office that works in conjunction with the Netherlands Justice Department. The cops confiscated Nekschot’s computer, his sketchbooks, and other materials, then took him to a detention facility where he spent 30 hours in a concrete cell before being released without charges — but after he had been made to promise to remove eight cartoons from his website.

In January of this year, a week after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala (above), whose humor dances on the edge of anti-Semitism and sometimes well over it, was arrested on suspicion of

… “incitement of terrorism,” for appearing to offer a [written Facebook] gesture of solidarity with Amedy Coulibaly, the Islamist gunman who murdered four hostages in a kosher grocery store in Paris last Friday, apparently in concert with the terrorists who carried out the massacre at Charlie Hebdo’s offices two days earlier.

Now it’s the turn of a French cartoonist who goes by the name of Zeon. I just learned that one day last week, at 7 a.m., four police officers of the ominously named Brigade de Répression de la Délinquance aux Personnes (BRDP)

… woke the cartoonist to take him before the judge [at] the High Court … of Paris [link added, TF]. A complaint appears to have been filed by the BNVCA (National Bureau of Vigilance against Anti-Semitism).

The complaint focuses on these political drawings:

The judge has indicted the cartoonist [for] incitement to racial, religious hatred, by speech, writing, picture or means of electronic communication. Zeon refused to answer [any] questions. He was set free in late morning.

The Charlie Hebdo cartoons – though often crude and insensitive — didn’t break the law, and it would be hypocritical of the French prosecutors and bien pensants to treat Zeon’s work any differently.

The cartoon with the scale, which Zeon drew in 2009, had been the subject of a legal complaint before, but on that occasion the judge ruled that the statute of limitations had run out. It’s not clear to me why the new complaint would fare any better. Perhaps the goal of the complainant is not to score a legal victory, but to judicially harass the artist.

You don’t have to like the Nekschot, Charlie Hebdo, or Zeon drawings in order to condemn what’s been done to their creators. The fact that all this work is controversial is only more reason to protest the attempts to muzzle these gadflies. People who say uncontroversial things don’t have to rely on free-speech protections; by definition, that valuable shield only benefits those who speak harshly or outrageously.

I would’ve expected the authorities in the land of Voltaire to understand that, and to act accordingly.