'Magic Belt' Fails
Initial Testing
by Cliff Walker

August, 1998

Ivory Coast army Colonel Pascal Gbah, 49, decided to test a "magic" belt, made by his cousin Andre Gondo, that was supposed to protect the wearer from gunfire.

Gbah strapped on the special belt and handed his service pistol to his cousin's 20-year-old son, who obediently shot and killed the Colonel.

Cousin Gondo was arrested, but the nephew fled the scene. Gondo, who made the belt, insisted that its protective powers were real, provided the user abstain from sex while wearing it.

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They Flood His Mind
With Secret TV Messages

Tennessee Man Sues
Local News Anchors
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Kingsport Times-News

September 18, 1995

Alex Troy Fersner of Johnson City, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit in federal court charging that three news anchors (two male, one female) at WJHL-TV, Channel 11, have been flooding his mind with secret messages of "perverted lust and distracting TV illusions" that they "scream" and "breathe loud" at him. He said the harassment has caused the loss of facial hair as well as hair "in the back."

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Old Time Gospel Hour

Jerry Falwell Unplugged:
Too Sexually Explicit
by Cliff Walker
from various sources

August 17, 1994

A television station in Jacksonville, Florida, which had been carrying Rev. Jerry Falwell's "Old Time Gospel Hour," suspended the show, and threatened to cancel it altogether, because of Falwell's sexually explicit references describing the latest charge of gubernatorial philandering filed against President Clinton. Parents discovered that their kids were getting off on some highly explicit TV gospel when the youngsters started asking questions about oral sex.

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Cultural Diversity
Where Church Equals State

Iran Pressured To
Outlaw Western TV
by Chuck Shepherd

August 21, 1994

The New York Times reported on the increased pressure from Muslim mullahs in Iran to outlaw the satellite TV dishes that bring in Western programing, which is more popular among many people than the three religious channels available locally. Among the most popular shows is "Baywatch," quite an alternative in Iran, where even a woman's ankle cannot be exposed.

Said one businessman, "We are addicted to shows like 'Donahue.' Today, Donahue had on a guy who has an open relationship with his girlfriend.... We couldn't believe it. We never hear or talk about this kind of thing."

Iran permitted "live" broadcasts of World Cup soccer matches this year from the U.S., but only after deleting summer crowd scenes, which featured much female skin, and substituting winter crowd scenes, in which spectators were bundled up.

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Jamaican Witch
Doctor's Advice

Magic Voodoo Potion
Doesn't Hide Pot
From Customs Dogs
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Chicago Sun-Times

June 10, 1994

Customs officials, aided by drug-sniffing dogs, arrested Mary Gray, 43, of Chicago at O'Hare Airport as she returned from Jamaica with 27 pounds of marijuana in her suitcase.

She said she thought the marijuana would be undetectable because it was sprinkled with a "magic voodoo potion" that she had bought from a witch doctor in Jamaica.

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Telephone Psychic's Advice

Firefighters Extinguish
Voodoo Doll In Oven
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Youngstown Vindicator

November 30, 1993

Firefighters in Canton, Ohio, rushed to the home of Lisa M. Ash, 24, to extinguish a fire.

They pulled out of her oven a smoldering voodoo doll, made from cloth and twigs, that she said she was using to cast a spell against someone, based on advice she said she received from a telephone psychic line.

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Witch Doctor "Mr. Emmanuel"

Man Fears Hex,
Taps Woman's Phone
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Newport News Daily Press

November 17, 1994

Leroy Byrd, 48, was convicted in Gloucester, Virginia, of illegally wiretapping his ex-girlfriend's phone. Byrd's defense was that the wiretap was necessary because he thought that a Richmond, Virginia, witch doctor, "Mr. Emmanuel," and the ex-girlfriend were preparing a hex against him and that he needed evidence so that police could take action.

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Chiropractor from Hell

Chiropractor's Methods
Become Unorthodox
After Alien Abduction
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Lowell Sun

July 12, 1995

The Massachusetts board that regulates chiropractors considered revoking the license of Ronald Goldstein after testimony from former patients that he touched them sexually during examinations, tried to market a hypnosis service for breast enlargement, and talked to them about his having been abducted by space aliens.

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Least Competent People

Wildmon Fears 'Click'
of Elite Media Mongers
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Folio Weekly

March 29, 1994

The "Director's Message" column of the March newsletter of the Florida chapter of Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association referred 14 times to an inside group of "journalists, reporters, and media mongers" by the term clique, which was misspelled each time as "click."

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Rail Against Women's Wigs
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Washington Post

May 28, 1995

The Washington Post reported that a religious campaign on women's wigs is being waged in Jerusalem, with "ultra-Orthodox" Jews declaring that the wig is an insufficient covering for the head of a married woman and that a woman wearing a wig is "preparing herself for hell," in the words of one public slogan. Another wall message announces, "When the Messiah comes, the first thing he will do is eliminate the wig."

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He's Just Dead, Jim!

Palestinian Muslims
Suffer From
'Martyr Inflation'
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Wall Street Journal

May 15, 1995

According to a May Wall Street Journal article, Palestinians intent on improving their personal religious standing now suffer from "martyr inflation" -- terming any relative who passes away to be a martyr.

Muslims believe that a martyr goes straight to paradise, sits with God, is absolved of all sins, and enjoys 70 virgin brides.

According to a Palestinian journalist, "It's not easy to come to a family and say, 'Your relative is not a martyr. He's just dead.'"

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Government Bans Celebrations

Islamic Fundamentalists:
No Fun On New Years
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Globe and Mail, AP

December 31, 1994

In Islamabad, Pakistan, the government banned New Year's celebrations after Islamic fundamentalists threatened to smash the cars of people suspected of having any fun.

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Meatless Friday Rule

Vicar: No Corned Beef
on St. Patrick's Day
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Daily Freeman

March 15, 1995

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Albany, New York, rejected requests that good Catholics be allowed to eat the traditional corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's Day this year, since it fell on the non-meat day of Friday.

However, the vicar general of the adjacent Archdiocese of New York said he would make an exception this year and not urge his parishioners to abstain from eating meat on that day.

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Assembly Of God Ministers' Advice

Lottery Ticket Burns
So Christian
Won't Have To
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Tuscaloosa News, AP

November, 1994

Acting on a warning from her priest in Fortaleza, Brazil, unemployed maid Maria Benoiza Nascimento, 39, burned a winning $60,000 lottery ticket because she feared going to Hell.

Nascimento's husband is unemployed, and four of their seven children are seriously ill, but her Assembly of God minister told her not to take "the devil's" money.

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Biblical Position Against Women

Seminary Bans Women
Pastors; Women Win
Top Preaching Awards
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Christian Century

April 7, 1995

Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, endorsed their president's position that new faculty hires must adhere to the belief that the Bible prohibits female pastors. One week later, to the trustees' chagrin, in the Seminary's annual Francisco Preaching Awards competition, the top three finishers were Ms. Kimberly Baker, Ms. Mary Beth McCloy, and Ms. Dixie Petrey.

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No Erotic Thoughts Needed

Catholic Church Lauds
Sperm-Gathering Machine
by Chuck Shepherd
source: National Catholic Reporter

March 1, 1994

As of early 1994, according to the National Catholic Reporter, a machine was available to gather sperm for medical purposes that would sidestep the Church's two objections to masturbation (direct stimulation of the penis and presence of erotic thoughts).

Experimenting with a machine that attaches to and vibrates the testicles, researchers at the University of the Sacred Heart in Rome okayed the device for further tests and eventual commercial use. [In These Times -- National Catholic Reporter, 3-1-94]

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Cryogenics Society:
Church to Clone Jesus
from Turin Shroud DNA
by Chuck Shepherd
source: George Washington University Hatchet

November 11, 1993

Dr. Avi Ben-Abraham, president of the American Cryogenics Society, told an audience in Washington, D.C., that several high-ranking Roman Catholic Church leaders support human embryo cloning, despite the Church's public stance against such research. According to Ben-Abraham, those Church leaders hope to reproduce Jesus Christ from DNA fibers found on the Shroud of Turin.

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Tel Aviv Conference Held

Jewish Law: Bad Breath
Grounds For Divorce
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Hartford Jewish Ledger

June 18, 1993

Last year, Tel Aviv University and the Warner-Lambert Company sponsored the First International Workshop on Bad Breath. Shlomo Goren, former chief rabbi of Israel, told the conference that Jewish law makes bad breath a legitimate ground for divorce.

One study by the Kyushu Dental College in Japan used human sniffers to categorize the smells in the mouths of 2,600 subjects.

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'Put That in the Minutes'

'Screw the Buddhists,
and Kill the Muslims'
by Chuck Shepherd

May, 1997

At a public South Carolina Board of Education meeting, board member Henry Jordan, 52, was arguing for the right of students to post the Ten Commandments in public schools when opponents told him it might offend those of other religions. According to a tape recording of the meeting obtained by the Columbia State newspaper, Jordan then said, "Screw the Buddhists, and kill the Muslims. Put that in the minutes."

Explaining his comments a few days later, Jordan said, "Both of those religions aren't really religions. They're cults, if you define a cult as someone who worships someone other than Jesus Christ."

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'Screw the Buddhists'
Remark Defended
by Conrad Goeringer

June 6, 1997

In Alabama, Judge Roy Moore -- a vocal exponent of the notion that American civilization rests on a religious foundation -- is very specific about which religion (and which god) he is referring to. Moore added to his reputation as a religious xenophobe when he recently declared that HIS god is the Christian variety, not some Muslim or Hindu flavor.

So, we weren't surprised when another item crossed our news desk, that reported on the antics of a South Carolina state board of education member who recently advised, "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims." Dr. Henry Jordan reportedly made that remark during a board committee meeting which was discussing the issue of posting the Ten Commandments throughout the state's public schools. USA Today noted that "When someone expressed concern about non-Christian faiths, Jordan made the comment. 'Everyone laughed. I was laughing when I said it,' said Jordan."

Governor David Beasley has stepped forward to defend Dr. Jordan, who was appointed to the Board last April. Jordan has declared that while he "respects" other religions, "this is a Christian nation."

Gov. Beasley, of course, has expressed his support for Judge Roy Moore, and his statement that the U.S. is founded upon Christian religious principles.

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The Decalogue:
First Amendment
or 'Majority Vote'?

'Student Approved'
Proposal Stalled
by Conrad Goeringer
from AANEWS by American Atheists

April 14, 1998

A South Carolina proposal that would permit students to vote on displays on the Ten Commandments in public school classrooms has been tabled pending further action. Last week, members of the state Board of Education refused the give the necessary two-thirds approval to bring up the resolution for a full review. But the measure, introduced by Board member Henry Jordan, could be raised at next month's meeting.

Jordan attracted condemnation and controversy last year, when he introduced a similar proposal. When informed that display of the Ten Commandments might offend non-Christians, he belligerently responded "Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims."

Last Wednesday, Jordan's brother, Rep. Brad Jordan (R-Anderson) induced the state House of Representatives to pass a resolution supporting the Ten Commandments display scheme, and recommending Board passage. That raised concerns on the Board of Education, though, that legislators were "passing the buck" on a politically volatile issue. Board member Robert Owen complained to reporters, "Why the hell [do] they want to give it back to us? All they're doing is opening us up for litigation... Suppose I said 'I'm an atheist' or 'I'm an agnostic, what are you doing for me?' There's no end to it."

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