Category: Religion

Faith healing.

Do not click on this link unless you want to be enraged at the stories of parents who unconscionably refuse medical treatment for their children. Dr. Harriet Hall of SBM tells the story, of, among others, the incredibly courageous Rita Swan, a former Christian Scientist who quit the church after her son Mathew died of untreated bacterial meningitis. Swan then became a heroic campaigner for the rights of children to be treated even if their parents belong to faiths that prohibit “modern” medicine. She founded CHILD (Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty), which meticulously documented cases of deaths and suffering brought on by their parents’ neglect and misplaced faith.

Let me be clear: if these deluded shitwits want to end or shorten their own lives by avoiding medicine, I’ve got no problem with that. In fact, more power to them. But they DO NOT have the right to commit manslaughter.

I’d like to call for the laws that protect these monsters to be repealed, but I’m sanguine enough to know that it will never happen.

The link herein contains graphic photos, terrifying stories of unrelieved suffering, and infuriating tales of preventable deaths. Also various members of fringe sects trying to justify their homicidal actions.


Kosher makeup.

Classic Sasha, from May 2003.

A few days ago my web-wanderings brought me to Kosherline, a website which, as the name implies, sells supplies to observant Jews to aid in keeping the Shabbat. Most of what I saw I expected, but there was one section which truly intrigued me, being a true-blue makeup buff: kosher cosmetics.
Now I’d heard of kosher lipstick because of the possibility of ingestion, but I honestly never knew that blush, foundation, eyeshadow et. al. needed to be kosher. Not only that, but there are even Halachic guidelines for makeup. Here they are, reprinted from the Kosherline website, as per Rabbi Abraham Blumenkranz:
All cosmetics used on Shabbat must be powder, so use the back of the brush to break them up into fine powder. (See #2 below)
1. Face must be dry and clean from any other makeup. Spray moisturizer spray and allow to dry.
2. When using the powder, turn the container over and use the loose powder from the cap. The powder may not be picked up with the brush from above the cake.
3. You must use a separate brush for every color so you are not blending two colors. No sponges, applicators or fingers may be used. OUR BRUSHES ARE CUSTOM MADE TO ENABLE THE BEST RESULTS.
4. You cannot blend two colors together to create a new shade.
5. You cannot use one product over another. Use the blush first and then the broken powder foundation around it.
6. You can reapply the same color with its own brush as often as you like. Spray moisturizer sprays again to moisten and set.
7. You can remove makeup with makeup remover or wash your face with the diluted cleanser only (without cotton or pre-soaked pads). Rinse off with water, dry with a paper towel, and then with a towel.

Who knew?


Marvelous column by Dennis Prager, urging liberals to grow a thicker skin:
Liberal American Indian spokesmen and other liberals regularly tell us how offensive Indian names of sports teams are. The latest polls show that most Indians have no problem with such names, but liberals are still offended on their behalf. To make the point of how offensive the name “Indians” is for the Cleveland baseball team, one liberal caller once asked me, “How would you feel if a team were named ‘Jews’?” I told him that it would be a great day in Jewish history — for 3,000 years, Jews have been looking for fans.
UPDATE: In the same spirit, Rowan “Mr Bean” Atkinson is standing up for the right to make jokes about religion:
“To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion – that is a right. That is a freedom,” he said.
“The freedom to criticise ideas – any ideas even if they are sincerely held beliefs – is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.
“And the law which attempts to say you can criticise or ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
“It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended.
“The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness – and the other represents oppression.”

Junk Judaism

A while back I wrote about Kabbalah and its long tradition of use by non-Jews. However, is the Kabbalah Centre (devotion of choice of Madonna, Britney, etc.)’s Kabbalah really Jewish? Or has it become completely divorced from the sacred Judaic and Hermetic practices of the past to become the chic cult du jour?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach thinks so. He writes:
The Kabbalah Centre, with its use of ridiculous red strings to ward off the evil eye, is preying on people’s fears. Judaism has always believed in the evil eye. But its meaning is that people should maintain a meek and contrite spirit so as not to elicit jealousy. Societies are undermined through boastfulness, which sows enmity and slowly erodes human cohesiveness. Humility is only way to ward off the evil eye. The red string is pure snake oil.
Listen to ‘the kabbalist’ on the Kabbalah Centre’s website: “The Red String protects us from the influences of the Evil Eye. Evil Eye is a very powerful negative force. It refers to the unfriendly stare and unkind glances we sometimes get from people around us. Kabbalah teaches us that we can remove intrusive negative influences by using tools such as the Red String!”
This, of course, is pure drivel and the writer robs kabbalah of a moral or ethical dimension. Are we really to believe that we ward off people’s envy not by living modestly, but by driving our overly expensive cars while wearing a red string?

It all goes back to the “spirituality versus religion” thing. A lot of people nowadays claim to be “spiritual but not religious”. I daresay that the KC’s Kabbalah is not really Judaism, but New Age spirituality with Jewish trappings to make it look more legitimate.
Here’s another good article about the KC from the Village Voice.

Too bad

A few weeks ago I received this comment from “Becca” in response to a post from a year ago, talking about how Buffy and Harry Potter have reignited (pun intended) interest in paganism:
Just because you do not belong to the church of Satan does not disqualify you from practicing Satanic “practices.”
You may be laughing, but God is not.

Well. Where to begin?

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The Papal Apology Tour 2004

The next stop on the Papal Apology Tour, Turkey.
The Pope recently expressed, “sorrow over Constantinople.”
Not Istanbul, but Constantinople.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Much like the Crusaders couldn’t resist some rape and pillage during the sacking of the city in 1204. The Pope thought it had been a bad idea, and wanted to apologize to Orthodox leaders while Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians, was in Rome this week.

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Speaking of the Inquisition…some people go to the opposite extreme and object to churches exerting any kind of corrective discipline whatsoever over their members. In any private organization those who break the club rules can be stripped of office, certain member privileges, or membership itself. It’s no different in churches. But some people fail to distinguish between this sort of thing and the Inquisition’s levying of criminal penalties for ecclesiastical offenses.
On July 21, 2002, I blogged on an issue of church discipline that arose in the Church of England. The C of E is a strange creature, a public-sector institution that, for the most part, must play by private-sector rules. And when it does so, idiotarians panic and start seeing witches Torquemadas under every rock.
(A reference to Bishop Shelby Spong as an “archbishop” was corrected in a later post.)

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