Ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionists Repudiate Neturei Karta

The Boston Globe reports on the travails of Neturei Karta, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish group that took part in Ahmadinejad’s recent Holocaust denial “conference”:

Now, the ultra-Orthodox group is being ostracized on three continents, denounced by rabbis, banned from synagogues and harassed in the streets.

Other religious anti-Zionist groups are among those appalled:

…”They brought shame on the Jewish people,” said Rabbi Shimon Weiss, a leader of the Eida Haredit, an umbrella group of anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Jews based in Israel. “If they come to a synagogue, they will be kicked out. They disgust us.”

…The Satmars, a Hasidic, anti-Zionist group seen by some as their spiritual cousins, lamented in a statement that “the unavenged blood of the millions of Jewish victims cries out in pain and abhorrence, to these reckless outcasts, ‘How can you sink so low?'”

However, one of those who attended, Rabbi Ahron Cohen, from Manchester (UK), remains bullish:

“We know what we have done, we know the value of what we have done, and we think that in the course of time that will come out clearly.”

Neturei Karta’s stated purpose was that it was attending the conference in order to offer a corrective to the Holocaust deniers, although a photo of Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss warmly embracing Ahmadinejad was hardly an encouraging start. Meanwhile, Khaled Mahameed, a Palestinian who runs a Holocaust museum in Nazareth and who wished to attend specifically to challenge the deniers’ claims, was denied a visa – no doubt because he couldn’t be used as a propaganda tool by the Iranian regime.

So what did the Neturei Karta delegation actually do? The latest Searchlight (Feb. 2007, p. 26, article not online) describes an incident that occurred during a speech by British anti-Semite Michele Renouf:

…During the course of her rambling and rather dull anti-Semitic speech Rabbi Moishe Freidman, head of the Orthodox Neturei Karta sect in Austria, got up to leave the hall only to be told by Renouf, “I’m sorry for those who feel thay have to leave the room in order not to hear de-conditioning!” Amid peels [sic] of laughter the pliant rabbi politely returned to his seat.

Searchlight goes on to note that Iran has decided to establish “The International ‘Holocaust’ Research Committee” (quotes around “Holocaust” in original)

…to determine the penalties to be imposed upon those found guilty of having perpetrated the “Holocaust”; in case the “Holocaust” is found to be a lie, to determine the reparation to be paid to those who have been unjustly sentences and to determine the form of punishment for those who are found to be liars.

The Committee will consist of Renouf, Christian Lindtner, Bernhard Schaub, Serge Thion, and Freidrich Töbin, under the direction of Iranian anti-Semite Mohammad-Ali Ramin.

(Hat tip: Bulldada Newsblog)

Eau de Toilette

The BBC World Service’s Reporting Religion draws attention to the “Perfume of Resistance”, a new Lebanese product that is supposed to reflect the sanctity of Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah (23:15). The New Republic‘s Annia Ciezadlo answers questions on it:

It’s got a picture of an Israeli boat on fire. Does it smell like that then?

Actually, the guys who made it got a couple of calls asking if it smells of blood or gunpowder. No, actually…it smells quite nice.

The perfume appeared in December, and has had some coverage since then which passed me by. The Daily Star has some background:

“We thought it was a catchy idea, as now the perfume is more than something that smells nice, it is a political statement,” said Mohammad Dekmak, who heads Bint Huda, a chain of stores in Beirut”s southern suburbs that started selling the perfume this month. The $1 perfume is being marketed as a unisex product, but is mainly popular with men. According to Dekmak, the perfume’s designer and producer, Hajj Ali Aaqil Khalil, dropped by the store several weeks ago, carrying 40 samples of the perfume in a plastic bag – and sold them all within minutes

…Several attempts were made by The Daily Star to contact Khalil – who, according to Dekmak, once sold “Hajj Perfume” – but none were successful. Hizbullah “didn’t give license” for the perfume…

According to Reporting Religion, the designer is now pondering a Muqtada al-Sadr perfume.

Although Hezbollah seems happy with this product, Nasrallah’s supporters are not keen on having his name taken in vain: last June, a television satire on him led to riots.

Yoga Ceremony in Indian Schools Protested by Christians and Muslims

Regional government promoting Swami Ramdev

Catholic news service AsiaNews reports from India:

The proposal by the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to have schools salute the Sun in a modern form of Sun worship is “disturbing to non Hindu communities, because ‘worship’ is a loaded term and [therefore] inappropriate, especially because the government has other more pressing issues to deal with,” Mgr Pascal Topno, archbishop of Bhopal, told AsiaNews. He was referring to Surya Namaskar or ‘Salute to the Sun,’ a ceremony the state government wants performed in all state school this coming January 25, ostensibly to promote the practice of yoga among the population.

Muslims are also unhappy; the IANS reports:

Last week a Muslim delegation met Governor Balram Jakhar to seek his intervention to block the move.

The delegation, led by Jamia Islamia’s Nazim Maulana Mohammad Ahmed, National Minority Front president Sahabzada Abdur Rashid Khan and others, argued that the plan would have an adverse effect on Muslim students.

“It is yet another attempt by the government to hurt our religious sentiments. We are not going to abide by it under any circumstances,” said Mufti Shahar Syed Babar Hussain of Darul Ifta, a Muslim religious body.

However:

The government has now clarified that participation in “surya namaskar” was not compulsory.

School Education Minister Narottan Mishra said that the hue and cry was meaningless as the programme was aimed to inspire the youth to know about yoga and its benefits.

Those who do not wish to participate can stay off school, but Muslims complain that this is divisive.

The actual procedure of the surya namskar can be seen here; I would probably do myself a serious injury, and the website asks readers to “Please Do not Practice Without Expert Guidance”.

AsiaNews adds:

…The government wants the ceremony to be followed by a yoga programme and has called on all students to follow the teachings of guru Baba Ramdev. Audio and video links will thus be set up to connect all educational institutions.

Ramdev is seen as a “living symbol of Hindutva” by the BJP government, and he believes that yoga will bring particular glory to the region of Bharat:

Renowned Yoga Guru Swami Ramdev has declared that Bharat will become a super power by the year 2011. He was speaking at a function held at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar to welcome him after his return from the UNO. He said poverty could be removed from the entire world through yoga and Ayurveda. Swami Ramdev was brought at the Har ki Pauri through a grand procession where he also performed the Ganga aarti organised by the Ganga Sabha.

Swami Ramdev said the Hindu culture is unique and the whole world would accept its greatness. “Bharat will be recognised in the entire world in the fields of yoga and Ayurveda and the world will start acclaiming the greatness of Hindu culture. No force can prevent Bharat from shining in the world for its message of Sarve bhavantu sukhinaha, sarve santu niramaya.

A couple of weeks ago, Ramdev was the subject of a BBC profile:

…for millions across the country, there can be no bigger trendsetter in recent years than Swami Ramdev, also known as Baba Ramdev.

…In a country full of religious gurus and saints, Swami Ramdev does not even claim to be God’s messenger or a God man.

If anything, he condemns all superstition and retrogressive beliefs.

“I don’t believe in destiny. Palmistry and all this talk about the lines on your hands deciding your future is nothing but nonsense. So is this talk of sun signs and auspicious and inauspicious time and place,” he says.

This is because God “is everywhere and all the time”.

…Baba Ramdev offers you something more immediate – you do not have to die to benefit from him.

That is why he is modern India’s material guru.

Last summer, he spent a month spreading his message of yoga in the UK; his itinerary included a Buckingham Palace garden party. He has also received a Mahaveer Award for “contribution towards promotion of Indian culture and values”.

Ramdev was the subject of controversy last month, when he declared that yoga could be used to treat AIDS:

New Delhi: Baba Ramdev has stated  that yoga can increase the immunity power of an AIDS patient. He says he has evidence to prove his claim.

Just a week back the Union Health Ministry served him a notice and an NGO, called People’s Health Organisation, threatened to take him to the court over “claimed that he could cure AIDS”, the yoga guru claimed in Bhubaneswar on Monday that he has evidence to prove his claim.

Ramdev, who is currently in Bhubaneswar to conduct the weeklong Yoga Science Camp, told journalists that he has “sufficient evidence” to show that yoga can increase CD-4 count in blood of an AIDS patient.

He has also claimed that yoga can treat other diseases.

One prominent critic of Ramdev is communist MP Brinda Karat, who a year ago claimed that Ramdev’s Ayurvedic medicines contain human body parts, and that conditions in his medicine factory break labour laws. Ramdev denied the allegations, and Karat’s effigy was burnt by offended VHP nationalists.

Meanwhile, the Science & Rationalists’ Association of India casts a sceptical eye over Ramdev’s claims here.

“Sanhedrin” (Allegedly) Implies that Israeli Maj.-Gen Should be Killed

The Israeli far-right’s revived “Sanhedrin” is back in the news; the Jerusalem Post reports:

A group of rabbis have issued a halachic opinion implying that OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh deserves to be killed.

The rabbis, all connected with a movement to resurrect the Sanhedrin, the ancient Jewish governing body, said in their halachic ruling this week that Naveh was guilty of being a moser, a Hebrew word that can be roughly translated as an informant or traitor. Literally, it means someone who transfers another’s property or person to enemy authorities.

…Naveh’s supposed treason consists of signing administrative orders prohibiting approximately 20 right-wing extremists who live in Judea and Samaria from returning to their homes and families for an indefinite period.

…Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem and a former IDF rabbi, signed the decision together with Rabbis Reuven Hass, Yehuda Edri and Ido Elbo, and Prof. Hillel Weiss of Bar-Ilan University.

The signers have since claimed that the report was a “distortion”.

The “Sanhedrin” was set up as a theocratic force in Israeli politics in 2004; its membership includes figures ranging from the respected rabbinic teacher Adin Steinsaltz through to clowns like Vendyl Jones (a pseudo-archaeologist who periodically plays the media by telling lazy hacks that he’s about to find the Ark of the Covenant) and Kahane associate named Yosef Dayan, who believes he is the rightful king of Israel.

The “Sanhedrin” also now has an English-language website, where it pronounces on various legal matters. Here’s an extract from its warning to police detailed to assist at the recent gay rights march in Jerusalem:

Providing assistance to those who commit a legal offense, as the law says “Thou shalt not … put a stumbling-block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14)… A police officer who participates in securing the parade, [commits a crime not punishable by the courts but which can indirectly] bring – G-d forbid – exile to the Jewish people as the law says “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do… That the land not throw you out.” (Leviticus 18:3,28)… In consideration of the above, any police officer that participates in the security operations for the parade is committing a criminal act, breaking Jewish law and assisting those who would commit a crime.

The “crime”, of course, being getting in the way of thugs with murder in mind.

When the “Sanhedrin” was set up, one cheerleader was Christian Zionist Hal Lindsey, who devoted a WorldNetDaily column to the subject:

…Sanhedrin member Rabbi Yisrael Ariel is the most ardent believer that the Temple is to be rebuilt in this generation. He is the former Yeshiva head, founder of the Temple Institute, and one of the paratroopers who took part in the 1967 liberation of the Temple Mount.

…The fact that a re-established Sanhedrin is now considering the rebuilding of the Temple after 2,000 years is extremely important to students of Bible prophecy. I believe that we are very near the final climactic events that end with the Second Coming of Christ.

As I noted at the time, in his enthusiasm Lindsey forgot to tell his readers that Ariel wants all non-Jews expelled from Greater Israel, and that in the 1980s he belonged to a group that sought to blow up the Dome of the Rock.

Naveh, meanwhile, is currently in the news over his plan to forbid Israeli drivers in the West Bank from giving rides to Palestinians; peace activist Uri Avnery calls him “a friend of the settlers”. He has also forbidden Peace Now activists from entering Hebron to protest against far-right settlers in the town, while allowing settlers to protest against local Palestinians. If Naveh is a traitor to the cause of Israeli expansionism and supremacy, one can only marvel at how much the “Sanhedrin” must hate ordinary Israelis, let alone Palestinians and the rest of the human race.

(Hat tip: Failed Messiah)

X Rated by Saudi Vice Commission

One of my all-time favourite films is the 1969 political thriller Z, set in a fictitious Mediterranean country loosely based on the Colonels’ Greece. The film famously ends with a narrator listing the various things banned by the repressive regime:

…Concurrently, the military banned long hair on males; mini-skirts; Sophocles; Tolstoy; Euripedes; smashing glasses after drinking toasts; labor strikes; Aristophanes; Ionesco; Sartre; Albee; Pinter; freedom of the press; sociology; Beckett; Dostoyevsky; modern music; popular music; the new mathematics; and the letter “Z”, which in ancient Greek means “He is alive!”

And now, nearly forty years on, the New York Sun gives us the headline

Will Saudis Ban the Letter ‘X’?

The story describes Amru Mohammad Faisal, a Saudi businessman who wanted to trademark a service with the name “Explorer”, and who consequently came up against the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice:

…experts who examined the English word “explorer” were struck by how suspicious that “X” appeared. In a kingdom where Friday preachers routinely refer to Christians as pigs and infidel crusaders, even a twisted cross ranks as an abomination.

So after waiting a year, the Saudi businessman, Amru Mohammad Faisal, got his answer: No. But, like so many other Saudi businessmen who suffer from the travesties of the commission, he seemed more baffled than angry. He wrote letters to Saudi newspapers to criticize the cockamamie logic. An article he wrote appeared with his photograph on some Arabian Web sites. It sarcastically invited the commission to expand its edict to the “plus” sign in mathematics and accounting, in order “to prevent filthy Christian conspiracies from infiltrating our thoughts, our beliefs, and our feelings.”

However, Faisal’s article was published in November 2003 (as noted by blog The Marshian Chronicles), so the Sun report should perhaps really have been headlined ” Hack finds old report on Internet”.

Meanwhile, Austrian newspaper Die Presse mentions the case of two (unnamed) Muslim mothers who do indeed supposedly object to the “+” sign:

In Oberösterreich protestierten die Mütter zweier moslemischer Taferlklassler: Ihre Kinder würden auf keinen Fall mit dem Pluszeichen addieren, denn dies sei das Christenkreuz!!!!

This kind of thing is also easy to find in Israel; the New York Times reported in 2004:

For the ultra-Orthodox, [Catholic patriarch spokesman Wadie] Abunassar said, “Jesus is not just a bad Jew, but almost Satan’s messenger. They avoid writing his name. Some won’t wear neckties, to avoid making a cross around their neck, or use shoelaces. In math, instead of the plus sign, a cross, they use an upside-down T.”

The late Israeli dissident Israel Shahak claimed that this was more widespread:

Until the early 1970s two different sets of arithmetic books were used in Israel. One for the secular schools, employing an inverted “T” sign. In the early ’70s the religious fanatics “converted” the (Labor) Party to the great danger of the cross in arithmetic, and from that time, in all Hebrew elementary schools (and now many high schools as well) the international plus sign has been forbidden.

An Israel-based commentator on one discussion board defends the practice:

…This wasn’t hatred Christians or Christianity. It was the fact that some parents in the public religious schools felt their children should not be writing a religious symbol (the cross is a religious symbol) of another faith. If the international sign for minus was a pentagram, it would be the same deal. That’s not hatred, it’s taking precaution against using symbology of another faith. So you know what they did ? They lopped off the bottom part of the + sign so it looks like an upside-down T. No hatred, just respect for ones own religion and the concern of some religious families about using religious symbols of another faith.

So where does this leave the Church of the Subgenius and its famous “X-Day” events?

(Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog)

Man Creates Woes for Televangelist with “Former Husband” Claim

A bizarre scandal has engulfed a Kenyan televangelist. The Nairobi Nation reports:

Renowned tele-evangelist Margaret Wanjiru yesterday disputed claims by a man who says he married her in 1979 under common law.

She said her wedding to her South African fiancee [sic] would go on as planned on February 10.

…Mr James Kamangu Ndimu, 51, made the claims just days after the tele-evangelist introduced to her congregation a South African, Mr Samuel Matjeke, as her fiancee.

…But Mr Kamangu claimed he is Bishop Wanjiru’s husband as per Gikuyu customs, having paid Sh3,000 dowry in the late 1970s. Mr Kamangu said the two lived together as man and wife between 1978 and 1983, when they separated following domestic rows.

Bishop Wanjiru, who was a witch before becoming an evangelist, responded in bullish mood:

…Appearing stung by the reports carried exclusively by NTV and the Sunday Nation yesterday, Bishop Wanjiru told a cheering congregation at her Jesus is Alive Ministries that she would not “take any nonsense from anybody. I can twist their necks like that of a chicken.”

The Nation followed up with witnesses:

Bishop Wanjiru’s former neighbours at Gachie as well as people who claimed to be her relatives by customary marriage, told Nation that they knew she was Mr Kamangu’s wife.

“Not once but many times did she run to my home and seek refuge after she was beaten by Kamangu,” said Mrs Nelly Wainaina a retired Telkom employee.

Also:

…Kamangu…got records from Pumwani Maternity Hospital in Nairobi, indicating that Bishop Wanjiru at one time used the name Kamangu as the father of at least one of her sons on an official document.

But when told about the document, the preacher laughed it off on the telephone and said: “As my son said at the press conference, the matter rests there.”

The East African Standard gives a bit of context:

Before one “jigger-infested man” came to the scene recently, Wanjiru’s degree of honesty was almost legendary. It was unquestionable.

What else can you say of a woman who readily confesses of having been a witch? Witchcraft, whether as a current or past profession, is one of the worst things anyone would like to be associated with.

She recently told the world that she was a mother of children whose father’s whereabouts she did not know – in fact she was not sure whether he was alive or dead. Wanjiru confessed of loneliness and said she would unveil a man she plans to tie the knot with and live happily thereafter.

The bishop advised Ndimu to go hang on the nearest tree “and we will do a funeral”. She made reference to his not-well-off status and observed that he looked like a man that jiggers have been making a meal out of. Wanjiru should have known better.

In a country where more than three quarters of the population live below the poverty line, mocking ones mean’s – or lack of it – is not only an insult to the targeted individual, but it is also an affront to millions of others who belong to the same category.

Wanjiru went on to offer an apology to the Kenyan people, but the PR disaster just keeps getting worse:

The mind-bending saga of the private life of multi-millionaire Bishop Margaret Wanjiru turned messy and chaotic on Wednesday.

Other than a sudden unexplained power blackout at her church – during which she sneaked out of it – her minders molested a photojournalist sparking off mayhem at a press conference she had called to apologise to Kenyans.

A bodyguard has now appeared in court:

Bishop Margaret Wanjiru’s bodyguard, Mr Michael Thuku Kaunga, has been hauled before a city court on charges of assaulting a photojournalist.

Kaunga, who was arraigned before Nairobi Senior Principal Magistrate, Mrs Rosemelle Mutoka allegedly assaulted Ms Rebecca Nduku, of The Standard and injured her…

Wanjiru claims that she was once a Satanist; the Standard again has the background details:

…She brags how she once bewitched a woman who had attempted to mess up her business: “One woman tried to play poker with my business enterprise, the same woman who had introduced me to Black Magic. I bewitched her and she went bonkers.”

…She said the woman had attempted to use Black Magic on her unaware she had graduated into White and Red witchcraft.

…Her fortunes kept rising: “I was swimming in money, with luxury cars. But there was a born-again business rival whom I wanted cleared out of my way.

“The members of my Red witchcraft group said to me: ‘You will surrender your soul to the devil 100 per cent, irreversibly. You have one week to decide’.”

She says it was during this time that she encountered a Nigerian evangelist and accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour in March 1990.

Further details appear in Charisma magazine:

…Still spiritually hungry, Wanjiru next attended a deliverance seminar. During the service, to her dismay, the preacher prophetically stated: “There is a woman here. You are involved in satanism, and you have cursed another woman with madness. Come forward!”

Wanjiru waited until the end of the meeting to approach the preacher. “I know someone who has done what you said,” she said to him. Wanjiru had herself done it to a woman who used to work for her.

“Look for the woman you have bewitched,” the preacher told her. “Say to her: ‘In the name of Jesus Christ, be healed,’ and she will recover.”

Amazed that the preacher knew what Wanjiru had done, she did as he had instructed.

“My former employee instantly regained her mind.” Wanjiru said. “She even remembered what I owed her in salaries and benefits.”

A couple of months ago, Wanjiru announced her political ambitions, in an interview that showed refreshing honesty:

Tele-evanglist, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru Kariuki of the Jesus is Alive Ministry, says her goal in entering politics is to seek the presidency.

Wanjiru said she hopes to use the Starehe parliamentary seat as a stepping-stone for her presidential bid.

…”It does not matter which party I use. The end will justify the means, but you can be sure I will be in the ruling party. I cannot spoil my image by joining a losing party,” declared Wanjiru.

Maria Sung Visits Zambia

The Times of Zambia reports on a visit to the country by Maria Sung, the Korean wife of former Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo:

Ms Sung said Archbishop Milingo was enjoying good health in America.

“He actually looks younger now and he has new black hair. I am happy that we are together and our marriage is in one piece,” she said.

…Ms Sung was received at the airport by International Inter-religious Federation for World Peace chairman Malimba Masheke and executive director Adamson Musonda.

Masheke is a veteran military man and politician, and he has served as the country’s Prime Minister. He’s also an enthusiast of Rev Moon, and last year he welcomed Moon’s wife to the country with gushing praise:

I cannot measure the benefit of Mother Moon’s visit to Zambia. Such a very , very tremendous blessing. When we look around the world from the Middle East to Korea, we see the conflict and struggle, and can see how important is the message we received.

Adamson Musonda, meanwhile, is a founder of Zambia Hope International, a respected charity that battles HIV/AIDS in the country.

And the International Inter-religious Federation for World Peace, of course, is one of many organisations controlled by the Unification Church. Musonda recently delivered a New Year message on behalf of the IIFWP:

Secretary General Adamson Musonda said the outside world envied Zambia’s Christian foundation which he said was good for steering economic, social and cultural development.

…He invited political, religious, academic and media leaders to join the federation in celebrating God’s Day, Monday, at the Adventure city, in Lusaka.

I looked at Unificationist activities in Israel last month. I have blogged on Milingo’s association with Rev Moon here and here.

Ellison the Second Muslim in Congress?

OneNewsNow, the new incarnation of Agape Press, wheels in “Christian historian” David Barton to put the Keith Ellison election into some supposed perspective:

He says the media got their facts all wrong when they declared that Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress…”Keith Ellison is second,” the author insists; “The first guy [of Muslim faith to serve in Congress] was John Randolph of Roanoke,” he says.

…”Now, significantly,” the WallBuilders spokesman says, “in that case — and again, it was a national issue because we were fighting Muslim terrorists at the time — it ends up that after several years in Congress, John Randolph of Roanoke got led to Christ by Francis Scott Key, the guy who [wrote the words to what became] the Star Spangled Banner.”

So where did Barton dig this one up from? Let’s ride the crest of the meme, and consult Henry Adams’ 1882 biography. Adams has only one reference to the subject (p. 26):

…He read Voltaire, Rousseau, Hume, Gibbon, and was as deistical in his opinions as any of them. The Christian religion was hateful to him, as it was to Tom Paine; he loved everything hostile to it. “Very early in life,” he wrote thirty years afterwards, “I imbibed an absurd prejudice in favor of Mahometanism and its votaries. The crescent had a talismanic effect on my imagination, and I rejoiced in all its triumphs over the cross (which I despised), as I mourned over its defeats; and Mahomet II himself did not more exult than I did when the crescent was planted on the dome of St. Sophia, and the cathedral of the Constantines was converted into a Turkish mosque.”

Adams adds some context, and some acid commentary:

This was radical enough to suit Paint or Saint Just, but it was the mere intellectual fashion of the day, as over-vehement and unhealthy as its counterpart, the religious spasms of his later life.

Perhaps Barton has some other sources at his disposal (I haven’t been able to consult Russell Kirk’s 1978 biography), but the context looks as though he is stretching things somewhat.

Barton is, of course, a notoriously unreliable ideologue. A number of his claims have been critiqued here.

Unnamed “Western Institutions” Back War on Science in Kenya

The East African Standard carries an update on the war against science in Kenya:

The priceless National Museums of Kenya (NMK) fossils pointing to man’s evolution risk being relegated to the abyss as a section of the Church renews its war on science insisting that the evolution theory contradicts the biblical story of creation.

Bishop Boniface Adoyo of Nairobi Pentecostal Church (NPC), Christ is the Answer Ministries, is championing the ‘hide-the-fossils’ campaign, which has left scientists and historians perplexed.

I blogged on this a few months ago. Adoyo stated then that churches would “force” the museum to comply. The Standard now carries a number of quotes from the bishop, which I will collate:

I’m worried that children will believe we evolved from monkeys. Yet this is not the truth that’s killing our faith…These are just speculations yet we believe in them…Man is uniquely created; there is nothing concrete about the evolution theory and that is why we as Christians are uncomfortable with the museum’s plans to display the hominids and narrate the story of evolution as if it is the truth…These people should know that palaeontology is an old science. Richard Leakey and his group are afraid that their only source of survival and fame is rightly being put into question…These are the people who want to believe that life ends at death so that they can’t be held accountable in the end…Even Darwin on his death bed expressed surprise that people believed his theory…The advent of DNA testing has helped us to trace the origin of man to Adam and Eve…

Thus speaks the Chairman of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, which has six million members.

Adoyo’s campaign against evolution is just his latest venture: in the 1990s he claimed there was widespread Satanism in Kenya among the “elites” (meaning those opposed to President Daniel arap Moi). In 1999 he demanded that Kenya should change its motto on the grounds that it has Hindu origins, and claimed that this was the reason why Asians dominated the Kenyan economy.

The Standard also carries one particularly interesting detail:

Saturday Standard has learnt that the alliance has enlisted a number of Western institutions to raise funds for anti-hominid campaigns in the media and through religious sermons.

Unfortunately, no names are given. Answers in Genesis is perhaps not involved; according to their website (links in original):

…we agree with Bishop Adoyo that evolutionary indoctrination—which comes through both public schools and museums—is a danger to children and can result in a fatalistic mindset (and the consequences of such a mindset) when students accept that life is just an accident. But while we oppose evolutionary indoctrination, we do not believe students should be prevented from hearing the sad story of evolution…

Zion Oil Opens AMEX for 2007

Company founded by Christian Zionist is first new listing of the year

President claims spiritual beliefs “have been confirmed by the science”

From dBusiness:

NEW YORK — Eugene A. Soltero, Chief Executive Officer of Zion Oil & Gas, Inc., of Dallas, Texas and Caesarea, Israel, announced today that the company has issued 436,907 shares of common stock in the first round of its initial public offering. Mr. Soltero and Richard Rinberg, Zion’s President, rang the AMEX opening bell today to commence trading as the first new listing of 2007. Zion’s ticker symbol is “ZN.” Zion’s offering is being underwritten on a best efforts basis by Network 1 Financial Securities, Inc. of Red Bank, New Jersey. The shares were issued at $7 per share, and the amount raised in this initial round was $3,058,349.

Zion Oil & Gas, as readers of this blog may recall, was founded by an American businessman named John Brown, who believes that the Bible prophesises that he personally will be the man to discover huge oil reserves in Israel. Brown also claims that that Bible contains the information needed to find the oil; Christian Zionist supremo Hal Lindsey agreed, and explained the supposed Biblical basis for oil in the Holy Land to his credulous WorldNetDaily readers:

[Genesis 49] predicts [Jacob’s] great blessing [to Joseph] will come from “the deep that lies beneath” his land. And specifically on “crown of his head.” The land that was allotted to Joseph’s two sons forms the profile of a man’s head.

Now listen to another prophecy about the blessing of another of Jacob’s sons whose land adjoins Joseph’s.

Moses proclaimed blessings on Jacob’s sons just before he died. He predicted concerning Asher:

Asher is most blessed of sons; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him dip his foot in OIL. – Deuteronomy 33:24

What Lindsey didn’t mention when puffing the company (and which was revealed exclusively on this blog), was that his cousin Ralph DeVore was a major shareholder. However, a few months later DeVore left Zion in acrimonious circumstances, and Hal has been quiet about the subject since then.

The Zion Oil website links to an AMEX video clip of Soltero and Rinberg ringing the AMEX bell, followed by a brief interview with Melanie Jacobus. Apparently there are now 2,400 shareholders in Zion Oil, and Rinberg is confident that Brown’s Biblical guide to oil discovery is accurate. As he told Jacobus:

[Brown’s] original spiritual beliefs have been confirmed by the science.”

 Given that Zion has so far drilled only one well, with underwhelming results, that could be seen as a slight overstatement.

The quest for an oil bonanza in Israel has been going on for some years now; the Skeptical Inquirer has an article on a previous effort, here.

(Pic via Jesus’ General)