The religious of various persuasions have been indulging in a few shenanigans and dust-ups recently. A few weeks ago Police in the US state of Ohio were investigating a rare violent feud in the Amish community, in which members have had beards and hair cut off. (Amish men grow beards but not moustaches which they believe have military connotations. Women do not cut their hair). Spiritual differences were said to be behind the attacks on more than half a dozen men and women, according to the police. Amish folk rejected by the mainstream community are suspected of having carried out the attacks. The Amish reluctance to help the police in their enquiries led Sheriff Fred Abdalla to say, ‘You see this crime being committed, and I'm sitting here with my hands tied’. The victims have included a 13-year-old girl and a 74-year-old man. The feud is thought to involve 18 Amish families, most of whom are said to be related, some having broken away to become members of a cult. Violence in an Amish community is extremely rare though, in another incident, if incident it can be called, a man of 32 entered a school and having let the boys leave opened fire on a number of girl pupils, causing deaths and injuries and devastating the community. Nobody can fathom out his motive. Neighbours describe the man and his family as ‘ordinary Christians’.
Several Christian parishes in the Indian state of Kerala have begun offering incentives to couples to have more children; ten thousand rupees for the fifth child as though the world, and India in particular, aren’t already over-populated. Evidently the number of Christians is on the decline but then so are Hindus whereas Islam is growing apace. I really don’t know how you reverse the trend by producing more kids. I suppose it’s like the American fundamentalist sect who believe the more kids they produce (ten or more in some cases) the more future Christians there will be to spread the good word. Just how they guarantee their kids growing up the way they want or expect is something they obviously haven’t considered. Jesus saves and all that.
Still on the subject, a doctor in England has been suspended for bringing Jesus into the consulting room. Evidently it was more than a spatula he rammed down people’s throats. A proselytizer will proselytize wherever he may be.
At least three people in London with HIV have died after they stopped taking life saving drugs on the advice of their Evangelical Christian pastors. The women died after attending churches in London where they were encouraged to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs in the belief that God would heal them.
"I've only seen that once, but it has happened," said Prof Jane Anderson, director of the Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIV, in Hackney. "We see patients quite often who will come having expressed the belief that if they pray frequently enough, their HIV will somehow be cured," she added.
HIV prevention charity African Health Policy Network (AHPN) says a growing number of London churches, for example “The Synagogue Church Of All Nations” (I’m surprised it doesn’t end with an Inc.) may be involved in telling people the power of prayer will "cure" their infections. The church is headed by Pastor T B Joshua, Nigeria's third richest clergyman, according to a recent rich list. "HIV-Aids healing" is listed on the church's website among "miracles" it says it can perform. "Cancer healing" and "baby miracles" are also advertised and there is a miracle elixir called ‘anointing water’ which will do the trick if God is deaf to your prayers. Talk about snake-oil. Those carpetbaggers had nothing on this lot. Evidently by using the anointing water "you are positioned for healing". But what’s new? Isn’t there a sect that bans blood transfusions even when it is needed to save life? Could it be Christian Scientists? Could it be Adventists? I don’t remember.
In Tunisia a mob tried to storm and torch a TV station that had the temerity to broadcast a prize winning film because they considered it blasphemous. Evidently it contains a scene that has God talking to a young girl.
In the states the question is ‘will religion harm Mitt Romney’s hopes’? An Evangelical pastor has claimed that Romney is not a Christian and belongs to a cult because he is a Mormon. Hey-ho! There is obviously no chance this in-fighting is ever going to cease.