Richard Branson: “Boycott Uganda Over Anti-LGBT Law”

British billionaire Richard Branson called for a boycott of Uganda. The African nation’s parliament passed a bill that proposes a life sentence for certain homosexual acts. The bill also makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people to the police.

The bill is awaiting the signature of Ugandan president President Yoweri Museveni, it was opposed by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on the grounds that there was no quorum.

Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group (travel, telecom, entertainment) and a philanthropist who supported charities set up by South Africa’s first black President, Nelson Mandela, says he was seriously considering investing in Uganda and had been courted by officials there.

But the passing of this bill because of its

witch hunt

of LGBT people. (He declined to mention the witch hunts of alleged witches which result in the torture and death of both children and adults, and how this fear of witches and LGBT is fueled by evangelical fundamentalist missionaries, but hey…)

Branson went on to say:

I would urge other companies worldwide to follow suit. Uganda must reconsider or find it being ostracised by companies and tourists worldwide.Governments must realise that people should be able to love whoever they want.

Yes, governments should realize this. Will a boycott help Uganda figure things out more quickly? Or will progressives stranding the country in poverty make Uganda more vulnerable to more repressive investors? Will the government not pass this bill to get investment funds, and then turn a blind eye to the treatment of LGBT and other human rights abuses? (more…)

Britney Spears: Anti-Pirate Siren Songs Make for Good PR Pre-Album Release

Britney Spears is a not-so-secret weapon against Somali pirates. Apparently the once-troubled pop princess’ early hits “Oops! I Did It Again” and “Baby One More Time” repulse the sea-going marauders.  British merchant navy officer Rachel Owens revealed:

Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most. These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect.

To keep the crew from getting dosed with Spears’ music, the ship’s speakers can be aimed solely at the pirates. In 2011 there were over 175 armed pirates attacks on ships in the Horn of Africa.

Steven Jones, of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry adds:

Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music.  I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention.

Conveniently, this story hit around the same time as Spears revealed her new album cover (she’s topless on the front) and released her first single, “Work Bitch.” Spears became a child star and teen sensation before two bad marriages and a very public nervous breakdown.  She has been under the conservatorship of her father, Jamie Spears, for the past five years. Britney returns to the stage this time with a Las Vegas engagement beginning December 27,  right around the time her album hits.

I doubt it will sell in Somalia. Though it may get pirated.

Killing for Christ on Safari for Jesus

 

What a great opportunity to kill things and preach the Gospel! Frikkie du Toit offers the Provider for Christ seven-day safari adventures in South Africa at $2395 per person:

to support the creation of new and more energized Providers for Christ, and the families of men and women based on Biblical principals.

Because shooting impala, blesbok, blue wildebeest– all upgradable and additional animals available–with big guns after worship and Christian seminars by local ministers will make you feel real good. Want to feel even better? Bring your own minister, church, organization, or business group for a private worship seminar. And then, after you’ve shot the game and it’s been skinned, salted and prepared for shipping back to your local taxidermist?

Minister to the poor at an orphanage and squatters camp with a Christian organization. This will involve bringing your meat to the camps and using your other talents to help the children. Feel free to bring needed items such as candy, clothing, sports equipment, and medical supplies. These are always in short supply and greatly appreciated.

You will be invited to worship with the people in the camps. They are learning to love Jesus Christ and will be energized by your support. If you have special talents and want to use them, let us know and we will try our best to facilitate you in using them for God.

Frikkie du Toit also offers non-Jesus-based hunting, including rhino darting, which allows you to

down a rhino without harming them.

It’s stuff like this that gives Christians a bad name. If the people need food, clothing, and supplies and you can provide it for them, that’s a wonderful and kind thing. But to stuff it down their throat with a dose of cultural and religious imperialism–revolting. And using a religion as a justification for an expensive sport shooting vacation is just creepy.

The rise of child, elder, and LGBT abuse/deaths in Uganda and other African nations has been directly linked to American evangelicals preaching a violent, hate-filled form of Christianity (which sorta goes against the idea of Jesus being the Prince of Prince and loving thy neighbor).  Add to that the loss of indigenous culture and tradition and wildlife–that’s not “progress,” it’s cultural extinction. Minister to the poor, help the needy, but don’t freaking shoot things and then evangelize and seek to covert by being Bwana.

HT: newsvandal.com

Ignorant Rick Warren’s Ugandan BFF is Dangerously Crazy

In a pre-election video, Rick Warren,who says he would never endorse a candidate but on moral issues makes it really clear whom he prefers–once again fondles a favorite rotting corpse of lies, that "for 5,000 years in every religion marriage has been one man and one woman." Then in an astounding leap of linguistic faith Pastor Rick says that:

There are about 2% of Americans who are homosexual or gay and lesbian people. We should not let 2% of the population change the definition of marriage.

This is not even just a Christian issue. It’s a humanitarian and human issue.

WTF?!  You wanna talk humanitarian issues, Pastor Rick? Let’s talk about your BFF  and partner in the fight on AIDS in Africa, Martin Ssempa who has appeared on stage at Saddleback Church twice and who moved your wife to tears as she declared

You are my brother, Martin, and I love you. 

Ssempa has burned condoms in the name of Jesus, called on newspapers to publish the names of known homosexuals and urged the imprisonment of gays.  And Ssempa is hugely crazy, one of the many evangelized African pastors dangerously obsessed with witchcraft.

As Max Blumenthal writes, Ssempa, who has a room set aside for exorcisms–when interviewed by  Dr. Helen Epstein, author of The Invisible Cure: Why We’re Losing The Fight Against AIDS In Africa–told the public health expert

that Satan worshipers hold meetings under Lake Victoria, where they are promised riches in exchange for human blood, which they collect by staging car accidents and kidnappings.

Blumenthal reports that Ssempe is a close friend with Uganda’s First Lady Janet Museveni, who on New Year’s Eve 1999 rededicated the country to the "lordship" of Jesus Christ during a stadium revival meeting. She was joined on stage by a pastor who announced:

We renounce idolatry, witchcraft, and Satanism in our land! 

Sounds a bit like Kenyan pastor Thomas Muthee who cast out witchcraft for Sarah Palin in her Wasilla church.

Last May in Kissii Kenya, 11 elderly people were killed and 50 houses torched as a mob went looking for witches. Residents accused the witches of causing their children to perform poorly in school.  Njoroge Ndirangu, the commissioner in charge of Kisii Central district said:

These people identified who is to be killed by accusing their victims of bewitching their sons and daughters.

Both a part of the continent’s history, traditionally "witchcraft" in Africa differed from sorcery. Witchcraft was an accidental inability to control magical powers, an involuntarily wandering evil eye, while sorcery was directed magic.  There were–and still are–also "witch doctors," sorcerers who cure people of both bewitchments and provide cures for illnesses using local herbs–and yes sometimes these are the same thing. And of course there are charlatans who claim magical powers and like many pastors, will take a fee for removing curses and witchery.

Since the 19th century, evangelical Christianity, which has grown more frantic and fanatic since the influx of billions of dollars in HIV funding, has muddied the difference and witches are seen everywhere.  Pastors tell parents that their children, some as young as nine months, who have fevers or cry are possessed and need to be delivered from witchcraft at a price.

Often pastors promise that children and women afflicted with witchery can be "delivered,"  that exorcised of the ability to bewitch, for  a price. But many times the children are abused and abandoned.

Helen Ukpabio, a wealthy Nigerian evangelist filmmaker and president of Liberty Gospel Church, claims to have done 20,000  "deliverances"  in Nigeria and America.

If you don’t deliver a witch, the family can never be at peace. Let us deliver the people who are witches. We should not allow sentiments to come in here, because witchcraft is real…Witchcraft in not only practised in Nigeria. When I went to North Carolina in the United States, there were very many witches. They came to me asking, "Please can you deliver me? Can you deliver me? Please deliver me."

Ukpabio made a popular video showing children allegedly eating corpse and being inducted into a coven.  She told AllAfrica that the film

warns parents to beware of the greed in their children as greedy children who receive everything they see from other children at school or the playground can easily be contaminated.

"Contaminated" by witchcraft. And how does witchcraft tie into HIV/AIDS education and prevention? Pastor Joe Ita, the preacher at Ukpabio’s Liberty Gospel Church explains:

But we cannot attribute all things to witches, they work on inclinations too, so they don’t create HIV, but if you are promiscuous then the witch will give you HIV.

HIV/AIDS activist Reggie Jerrison of Nata Botswana claims he was resurrected from death by Bishop Dr. Barnabas Lekganyane. Jerrison–who takes antiretrovirals after being diagnosed with HIV and works as a peer counsellor advocating condoms and testing–refuses to admit that he got HIV through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion and needle sharing. He says he got HIV through witchcraft.

"I have not been infected by this virus because I had an affair. It is all witchcraft. It is not because I slept with an HIV positive person."

Even after intense questioning on why he blames his infection on witchcraft, he is adamant that someone has bewitched him.

Western church groups need to continue educating people about the real causes of HIV/AIDS–and those causes aren’t witchcraft. European and and American churches working on African HIV/AIDS education–hello, Pastor Rick!–need to turn African evangelicals away from the insanity of riculous accustations which lead to the repulsive abuse of children and the elderly, often at a profit by pastors. To use Rick Warren’s words:

 This is not even just a Christian issue. It’s a humanitarian and human issue.

Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

 (WARNING:  EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGES)

Christian religious extremism hits the American psyche when a fundamentalist church– Assemblies of God, which thinks Harry Potter is the gateway to Satanism, while facing charges of child abuse requests a $500,000 earmark from the federal government.  Or when Sarah Palin is cleansed of witchcraft by a Kenyan Assemblies of God minister

This form of religious extremism when exported to Africa is killing people and causing rampant child abuse.

For decades, fundamentalist evangelical churches have sprung up throughout Africa. Some are affiliated with American congregations, while others are a bit more free form; all claim belief in Jesus. Many of them of share a common hysterical belief in "witchcraft."

"Witch" gets misinterpreted as anyone who is different, weaker, who can be scapegoated for one’s troubles. Heck Sarah Palin and her pals "prayed a witch" out of Alaska. And the prayer group gleefully recounted the results.

In Akwa Ibom State, the center of the Nigerian child witch hysteria, the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, lamented:

The church will torture children and some of the churches will pretend to use oil to try and remove witchcraft from a child. So far we have we have 165 children some of them are not up to 9 months old who have been thrown away by their parents because the church said those children will bring them misfortune.

The Governor  has taken a firm stance, declaring

The churches are busy deceiving people in many aspects including avoiding deaths. We have to do something to re-strengthen the Child Right Law. We must fight against the abuse of children and ensure proper education for them.

AllAfrica news service reports:

Analysts trace the phenomenon to poverty which drags parents to Churches and other spiritual centres to seek prosperity…Further investigations show that such parents are usually ready to pay anything to the spiritualists to "deliver" their children from the "grip of the devil."…In some cases, all that is needed for parents to begin to suspect their children of witchcraft, is a manifestation of certain "strange" behaviour. Others are "identified" any the presence of an "inexplicable" illness afflicting them.

Strange behaviors for the Assemblies of God?

Smoking
Drinking
Drugs
Homosexual behavior
Staying in room alone
Dressing in black (fingernails, lipstick)
Body piercings
Demonic symbols on jewelry & clothes
Music (Marilyn Manson, Godsmack, Korn)
Books (Majick, Harry Potter)
Unusual scars and burns on right hand

 Time to send Trey or Tiffie to Teen Boot Camp.

Or time to crack down on religious abuse of children at home and abroad.

Imagine: John Lennon Speaks From Beyond the Grave for One Laptop Per Child

Okay this is sorta creepy: John Lennon, who was shot and killed 28 years ago, has been resurrected to speak out for the first time since his death. And the subject: One Laptop per Child, a campaign to deliver solar-powered XO laptop computers to the world’s poorest children (no word yet whether internet accessibility will be filtered). The ad which digitally synthesized Lennon’s voice and face, was approved by Yoko Ono.

The reconstituted Lennon, whose image is seen briefly speaking, says:

Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world .

A spinoff from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the One Laptop per Child Foundation started producing the XO laptop late last year at a manufacturing cost per machine of less than $200.  They’d like folks to donate to provide kids everywhere with a computer. Which is real nice, except potable water, food and vaccines are a more pressing concern for kids in under-developed and developing nations.

Melissa Etheridge Writes About Warren

melissaetheridge300.thumbnail.jpgOn the heels of her wife Tammy Lynne Michaels’ blog about Rick Warren, Melissa Etheridge posted her feeling about Pastor Rick on HuffPo.

After eloquently explaining the struggle for equal rights and her preconceptions of Pastor Rick, Etheridge describes her phone conversation with Warren:

He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn’t want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman. He said he regretted his choice of words in his video message to his congregation about proposition 8 when he mentioned pedophiles and those who commit incest. He said that in no way, is that how he thought about gays. 

She goes on to say that maybe instead of marching on his church

we can show up en mass [sic] and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world. Maybe if they get to know us, they won’t fear us.

Well, okay…not to nit pick, but his church doesn’t believe in condoms or family planning for HIV/AIDS prevention, and works hard in Africa to proselytize his message of Jesus and abstinence, using HIV outreach as an evangelical tool. His church believes that gays who are actively practicing homosexuality are not welcome as members. And Warren says gays should suppress their urges the same way other people suppress anger or shyness.

Melissa, Warren and his ilk aren’t "afraid" of gays: They think gays are sinners who are convertible to their belief system, which includes no gay sex and straight sex only in marriage. 

If you can get Warren to believe that civil marriage equality  does not mean a religious marriage..right on. If you can get him to expand his vision to have marriage be more than just a religious concept, that would be awesome. And, btw, he’s wrong about 5,000 years of marriage being solely between one man and one woman. There are plural marriages still in Islam, as there have been for 1500 years, as well as in the past history of the Mormon church and in current Mormon sects which allow for polygamy…

Many pray daily that closed minds like Warren’s are opened, that the scales will fall from the eyes of Pastor Rick and his ilk. But thinking that "they" are afraid is a wrong move. This type of Christian think they are right, and that (their) God is on their side. And there’s too much at stake in terms of worldly power and wealth to make a sudden sea change. But I do share Melissa’s view that:

…we are headed in the direction of marriage equality and equal protection for all families.

I just don’t share her views that Rick Warren could be a vehicle for that. But hey, if he gets Divine Revelation and sees the light–halla-freakin’-lujah!


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