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August 25, 2013

Saudi Arabia declares war on witchcraft

They have nine anti-witch crime bureaus across the country and they take this seriously. It doesn't appear to be code for attacking atheists or gay people. Though it may be really about persecuting women and outspoken men. From the outside it looks like these people actually believe this horseshit. Bit how could they? You only have to think about how literal some American Christians take the idea of demons, devils, and (nonexistent) Satanic cults and realize that if these loons were in charge of their own country they also might lock up or execute hundreds of people for demonic taint. Saudi Arabia's War on Witchcraft - Ryan Jacobs - The Atlantic
The sorceress was naked. The sight of her bare flesh startled the prudish officers of Saudi Arabia's infamous religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), which had barged into her room in what was supposed to be a routine raid of a magical hideout in the western desert city of Madinah's Al-Seeh neighborhood. They paused in shock, and to let her dress. The woman -- still unclothed -- managed to slip out of the window of her apartment and flee. According to the 2006 account of the Saudi Okaz newspaper, which has been described as the Arabic equivalent of the New York Post, she "flew like a bird." A frantic pursuit ensued. The unit found their suspect after she had fallen through the unsturdy roof of an adjacent house and onto the ground next to a bed of dozing children. They covered her body, arrested her, and claimed to uncover key evidence indicating that witchcraft had indeed been practiced, including incense, talismans, and videos about magic. In the Al Arabiya report, a senior Islamic cleric lamented that the incident had occurred in a city of such sacred history. The prophet Muhammad is buried there, and it is considered the second most holy location in Islam, second to Mecca. The cleric didn't doubt the details of the incident. "Some magicians may ride a broom and fly in the air with the help of the jinn [supernatural beings]," he said. The fate of this sorceress is not readily apparent, but her plight is common. Judging from the punishments of others accused of practicing witchcraft in Saudi Arabia before and since, the consequences were almost certainly severe. . . . By 2011, the unit had created a total of nine witchcraft-fighting bureaus in cities across the country, according to Arab News, and had "achieved remarkable success" in processing 586 cases of magical crime, the majority of which were foreign domestic workers from Africa and Indonesia. Then, last year, the government announced that it was expanding its battle against magic further, scapegoating witches as the source of both religious and social instability in the country. The move would mean new training courses for its agents, a more powerful infrastructural backbone capable of passing intelligence across provinces, and more raids. The force booked 215 sorcerers in 2012. . . .

August 19, 2013

Onanism has nothing to do with masturbation

What Onan did wasn't masturbation, it was breaking the law and denying his sister-in-law any economic stability. That's his sin. That's why god murdered him. He refused to take care of his family, a childless widow who, at the time, could not support herself or own anything without a husband or a son. To put it more simply: We have a responsibility to take care of each other. The Onanism of ‘teavangelical’ Republicans
Onan’s name has also lived on in a flagrant misreading of this story. “Onanism” became something of a euphemism for masturbation, and this text has been, for centuries, cited as forbidding masturbation. Onan’s name has been invoked in warning juvenile boys not to behave like juvenile boys. If they spilled their seed like Onan did, they were warned, they might go ow-ow-out like a blister in the sun. That use of the story abuses the text worse than any juvenile boy has ever abused himself. Onan wasn’t masturbating — he was having sex with his sister-in-law. The story cannot be twisted into teaching that masturbation puts one in danger of being put to death by divine intervention. (Apart from contradicting the text, the idea that anyone who masturbates might be struck dead by God is obviously wrong anyway — disproved by the continuing existence of the human race.) It’s equally mendacious to abuse this story by trying to force it to say something else it refuses to say: that sex must always be for the purpose of procreation. That’s not what the text says. That’s not something the story itself will allow you to say this story “teaches.” The story absolutely does not say that sex must always be for the purpose of procreation. The story says, rather, that sex with your dead brother’s childless widow must always be for the purpose of procreation. And to understand what that’s all about in this story, we have to discuss the howling anachronism here. . . .

August 15, 2013

Creationist explains that dragons are real because . . . the bible

This is just hilariously dumb. Creationist explains why dragons are actually real creatures