A pregnant 16-year-old girl from the Dominican Republic whom the media nicknamed “Esperanza” passed away because she had leukemia and doctors weren't legally allowed to administer chemotherapy. Thus are the strictness of the country's anti-abortion laws, written by religious fundamentalists in positions of power, ostensibly protecting life at the moment of conception. You'd think that "pro-life" would mean just that, but in this case the cell clusters won out over the actual living, breathing human creation. It's not shocking that anti-choice proponents would value the former over the latter, seeing as they have yet to develop the brain function to question the legitimacy or call out the hypocrisy of it all.
- The former pastor of the Pella's Covenant Reformed Church in Indiana was convicted of “illegally exploiting his female parishioners for sex,” a fancy way of saying he used his role as spiritual comfort giver to let his penis go on a shopping spree for damaged and vulnerable ladies.
- Israeli President Shimon Peres stressed to an ethics committee in Germany—who are reviewing the whole act of circumcison and whether or not the mutilation of child genitals for religious reasons should be allowed—that Jewish folks just got to be allowed to cut their dicks!
- During Mass, Roman Catholic priests throughout Scotland read aloud a letter from Cardinal Keith O'Brien, their leader, condemning the country's plan to allow gay marriage.
- Easily the best story of the week: An elderly woman in Spain with "good intentions” took it upon herself to restore a century-old painting of the Jesus that'd been hanging on the walls of a local church. The results are, well, let's say, not entirely perfect?
- A representative from Pakistan went to the U.S. Embassy and officially filed protest about the ongoing rash of drone strikes on militant/insurgents. The mostly symbolic protest has about as much chance at bringing about change as when a baseball manager does it, as evidenced by the 18 left dead by a drone attack the very next day.
- A group of ultra-conservative pro-Sharia Law Islamist fundamentalists in Libya got their hands on a bulldozer and destroyed a mosque in broad daylight in the center of Tripoli. The mosque contained a bunch of Sufi graves, which the conserva-folk found to be “un-Islamic.”
- In Tel Aviv, at least ten Israeli kids were arrested for the “attempted lynching” of four Palestinian children. The big news out of this, which the media is for once correctly focusing on, is that during the attack, dozens of bystanders stood there and did nothing.
- According to this intriguing report from The Economist, things are not looking so hot in the books of the Catholic Church. “The financial mismanagement and questionable business practices,” they say, “would have seen widespread resignations at the top of any other public institution.”
- Activists in Russia, reminding us a week after the Pussy Riot debacle that they still suck, have filed a lawsuit against Madonna for the equivalent of $10.5 million because she was outwardly supporting gay rights at a concert in St. Petersburg.
- Well this story's all sorts of terrible: In Pakistan, a Christian girl somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16, and probably mentally handicapped, was imprisoned after she was accused of burning pages of the Koran, a punishable offense due to the country's ultra-strict blasphemy laws. Scary thing is, the police didn't find evidence of the Koran being burned--they felt she was safer in their custody than among her fanatical neighbors.
- Also in Pakistan, an Islamic man “boasted” of killing his wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law in a so-called “honor killing,” the religously justified murder of women who are being unfaithful or disobedient.
- The Republican candidate for a position as county sheriff in New Hampshire would totally use “deadly force” in order to stop abortions.
- When discussing this whole Todd Aiken/“legitimate rape” controversy that's going on, it's important to keep in mind that Aiken is someone who casually uses statements like, “That's what's made America such a unique country—it's because we believe that life is something that comes from our Creator. We're made in his image.”
- Remember the shooting last week at the Family Research Council by the dude with a bunch of Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his backpack? Well, FRC's leader Tony Perkins blamed the shooting on the rhethoric of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who've publicly deemed the FRC a “hate group” to be watched. Perkins and their ilk are aghast at this categorization, which makes it's a good time to point out that Perkins himself has been a big supporter of white supremacists and a KKK Grand Wizard for years.
- And our Person of the Week: Jerry DeWitt, who was profiled in New York Times Magazine regarding his transition from pastor in deep Bible Belt Louisiana to born-again atheist. DeWitt lost his job, wife, and pretty much all his friends because of his inability to believe in something without any evidence. Pretty harrowing story, and a good reminder to, if you have the means, move out of right-wing believers-only realms as quickly as possible.
Previously - Cold Politics