Strange news drifts in and piles up on my virtual desk. Some of these things practically defy comment. At the Sikh Temple in Vancouver (BC) a slate of relatively youthful “fundamentalist” candidates defeated the older “moderate” incumbents handily. At issue: the use of chairs and tables instead of the traditional mats in the community dining area. The incumbents had introduced the use of these heretical modern innovations, and the younger generation were having none of it. People in wheelchairs, apparently, are exempt from the mat requirement. [Vancouver Sun, Surrey Leader, The Globe and Mail]
In Nigeria witch-hunter Helen Ukpabio has filed suit in federal court against Leo Igwe, the Center for Inquiry’s representative there.
Ukpabio is seeking damages of 200 billion Nigerian Naira, more than $1.3 billion, for supposedly unlawful and unconstitutional infringement on her rights to belief in “God, Satan, witchcraft, Heaven and Hell fire” and for the alleged unlawful and unconstitutional detention of two members of her church.It seems that she’s been crusading against an epidemic of witches among the women and children of the lower classes, and she feels that her efforts are being impeded by rationalists who deride her efforts as superstitious nonsense.
The suit also seeks to prevent law enforcement from arresting or detaining any member of the Liberty Gospel Church for performing or engaging in what they say are constitutionally protected religious activities. These activities include the burning of three children, ages 3 through 6, with fire and hot water, as reported by James Ibor of the Basic Rights Counsel in Nigeria on August 24, 2009. The parents believed their children were witches.The witch-hunter led an angry mob to attack Leo Igwe last July; presumably this also would be a constitutionally protected religious activity. [Center for Inquiry; h/t Ed Brayton]
And, of course, as we all know now, Uganda is lined up to pass a law mandating the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”, and the people behind it have been aided and encouraged by the American lobbying group known as The Family, an outfit that has some of our most regressive politicians as members.
Sometimes I feel as though I were living during the time of Richard IV of England, when the legendary Lord Blackadder flourished.