A Rare Appearance

By Rick Paulas

Israel is a tricky one for this column. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are easily the least-mentioned of the Big Three faiths in this space, but since the state was founded entirely because of religion, every move they make has to be shaded in that particular way. So, the report that they're throwing nukes on submarines, well, that's freaking me out. Not helping matters: 1. Israel continues to just build and build like cah-razy on that disputed West Bank area, adding more flames to the fire; and 2. Iran decided to not not continue trying to make nukes.

It's not so much the worry that Israel will go nuts and use nukes willy-nilly. But if they're meant as deterrents—which all nukes are—and the people they're trying to deter are Islamist fundamentals who don't give two fucks about being dead, then the deterrent is kind of falling on deaf ears. Using them are more of an eventuality than anything else. 

Plus, for the past however-many years, folks from Southern Sudan have been trying to escape the violence in their country by making the trek up to Israel. (Think: Mexican migrants into America, but instead of running from no jobs, they're running from machetes.) As is the case with any race-crossing migration, violence against incoming Sudanese has been a regular phenomenon, the most recent a devastating arson attack. Which is all backstory to this week's news that an Israel court decided to force-deport a whole bunch of Sudanese back to their homeland.

And then a Palestinian soccer player who's been on hunger strike in an Israeli prison for the past 80 days is near death. Amnesty International took a gander at the recent spate of hunger strikes and detainments without charges and decided Israel is “guilty of torture.”

Man, you had a shit week, Israel.

Onto the roundup!

- Doozy of a week in Afghanistan: Nato planes engaged in a fire fight with “top Taliban commanders,” killing eight in the process. But, also, they took out at least 18 civilians gathered for a wedding. Later that day, two Nato officers died in a plane crash, and at least 20 people died near Kandahar Airport after two suicide bomber motorcyclists blew themselves up. A few days later, four Nato soldiers were killed while fighting with insurgents.

- How about this jerk-off Paraguayan president, who apparently spent the a good part of his previous life as a Catholic bishop impregnating some of his eventual constituency?

- Know those drone strikes Obama's been going nuts with in Pakistan? Turns out, the “morality” and “legality” of having a weekly “kill list” kind of “raises questions.” No shit.

- Meet Caiden Cowger. He's a 14-year-old whose role models include Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. He idols those two so much, in fact, that he's started his own conservative talk show. Among what he's telling his tens of listeners: Obama is making children gay. To back up his claim, of course, he quoted scripture.

- In northwest Pakistan, a bomb probably planted by the Taliban killed 18 government employees and civilians.

- Religious mob riots overtook west Myanmar last week, leading to between 20 to 30 deaths. The craziness started when Rohingya Muslims began hurling rocks at the Rakhine people (a type of Buddhist) which riled the Muslims into becoming firestarters.

- A Danish court found four Swedish Muslims guilty of planning a terrorist attack on a newspaper after said newspaper published those cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad a few years back. 

- After hearing Sister Margaret Farley, a nun teaching Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, was attempting to present a “theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation, and remarriage after divorce”—in other words, two things that “good Christians” are going to do anyway, and a third that only terrible bigots don't agree with—the Vatican went ahead and officially “denounced” her. As Dan Savage points out, this isn't the first time this bunch of jerks have been on the wrong side of history.

- A Christian academy in Cincinnati rescinded a job offer to a music teacher for being gay. Which pretty much means they're never going to be able to hire any music teacher, ever. 

- So, you know that northern section of Mali that was captured by Islamic rebels who decided to put the entire region under “sharia law?” One of those laws includes that if “young people of the opposite sex” are seen hanging out together, they are forced to “marry on the spot.”

- Instead of getting actual medical help for their three-day-old infant, a couple in Texas prayed over the child for 15 hours. The infant died.

- And Our Person(s) of the Week: Mormons! Who'd have guessed?! Some 300-plus members of the LDS decided to march in Salt Lake City's Gay Pride Parade. One of the leaders declared they did so because “we are huge supporters of human rights, civil rights.” Let's hope this kind of anti-bigotry somehow filters through not only through the rest of Mormania—who have a lot'o'splainin' to do after their massive donations to pro California-based Prop-8 factions—but also the rest of the religiosity.

Previously - Gotta Serve Nobody