Gotthard Base Tunnel Opening Ceremony Prompts Satanic Panic

Ibex manFrom the BBC:

From the World Cup to the Olympics, it is not a significant event if you don’t have an unusual opening ceremony to go with it.

This was also the case when the Gotthard base tunnel, the longest and deepest in the world, was inaugurated on Wednesday.

Here are some of the most striking moments from the ceremony – we have tried to explain what is going on as far as possible. It was not always possible

The ceremony “represented different aspects of Swiss culture”: elements included a milk float; “a topless woman decked as a bird” who “hovered above actors representing the nine construction workers who died during the building of the tunnel”; ” lots of people rolling around in white underwear”; and a man dressed as an ibex, native to the Alps.

The show (sorry, “artistic actions”) was staged by Volker Hesse, a German theatre director “known in Switzerland from his tenure as director of Theater Neumarkt in Zurich from 1993 to 1999 and through his work on productions in Bern and Basel and large-scale amateur theatre projects in Central Switzerland”. Attendees included Matteo Renzi, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

The ibex figure, and the less prudish elements of the display, have now exercised the feverish imaginations of conspiracy theorists. A site called Vigilant Citizen observed:

Attended by Europe’s most powerful people, the opening ceremony of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland was a dark, disturbing, weirdly satanic ritual.

…As I discussed in my article on the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics, the occult elite enjoys putting on full display its agenda and philosophy symbolic, dramatic displays which are reminiscent of dramas re-enacted in secret society rituals. Furthermore, there is no better way to showcase sheer power than putting the “Illuminati stamp of approval” on massive mega-projects such as the Olympics or major constructions.

This article was then picked up by Michael Snyder, author of The Economic Collapse Blog and a frequent contributor to Charisma News, which is run by the Strang evangelical media empire. Snyder, who previously warned that a plan to reconstruct an ancient Syrian arch in London and New York would open a portal to Baal, inevitably asked: “Was the Gotthard Base Tunnel Opening Ceremony an Illuminati Ritual Intended to Honor Satan?”. Synder’s article in turn inspired WND‘s Leo Hohmann, who reported on the “bizarre ‘demonic’ ceremony”. Hohmann also discerned an embrace between two female actors as being a simulation of “lesbian sex”.

Also unimpressed with Hesse’s efforts is the John Birch Society, which has uploaded a rumination on the “Satanic Ceremony at Opening of Swiss Gotthard Base Tunnel” by its CEO, Arthur R. Thompson. Thompson suggests that the show is an example of “how crazy the Europeans have become”, and that this is another reason for Britain to vote in favour of leaving the EU.

Vigilant Citizen previously caught the attention of Dorian Lynskey, the Guardian‘s music writer. Noting the site’s obsession with finding occult references in pop music videos, Lynskey observed in 2010:

Although the Vigilant Citizen insists he is neither a political conservative nor a religious fundamentalist, he is heir to such off-piste 60s pop critics as the Reverend David A Noebel, author of Communism, Hypnotism and the Beatles, and Gary Allen, who theorised that post-Rubber Soul Beatles material was so technically sophisticated that it must have been “put together by behavioural scientists in some think tank”.

Christian Bookshop Row over “Anti-Catholic” Claim

From the religious news desk of the Daily Express:

AN UNHOLY row has broken out after the Protestant owner of a Christian bookshop refused to sell a bible to a woman – because she is CATHOLIC.

Muriel Swan, 61, was told she should “get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her” after she was turned away from The Mustard Seed Christian Bookshop.

She went to the shop to look for a gift for her eight-year-old grandson Cameron for his first Holy Communion.

But she was left cross when, she claims, staff told her they didn’t stock Catholic literature and goods – despite advertising themselves as a Christian bookshop.

…Defiant owner Chris Stala defended her store and said Muriel should “get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her”.

The story has trickled up to the national media from the Nottingham Post, which has posted a short video of Swan making her complaint outside the shop. According to Swan, the shop’s owner specifically stated that the Mustard Seed is “anti-Catholic”. However, Post also carries Stala’s response:

“We are not anti-Catholic in anyway. I am a Christian and she is too but we are part of different sects. You would not get Jehovah’s Witnesses coming here either.

…”She should get the Pope to open a few bookshops for her because he has plenty of money.”

The Express appears to have introduced a couple of distortions into the story. First, the shop did not “refuse to sell a Bible” to Swan: clearly, Swan was looking for a Catholic Bible, and probably one with a special decorative features relating to First Communion. In other words, she asked for a particular edition of the Bible that the shop did not stock. The Times, in what appears to be a further exaggeration, has headlined its own article “‘No Catholics’ in Christian bookshop”, and stated that “A woman has claimed that the Protestant owner of a Christian bookshop refused to serve her because she was a Catholic.”

Second, the Express seems undecided as to whether Swan was indeed told to “get the Pope to open a few bookshops”, or if this was a comment Stala made to the media afterwards; but the earlier Nottingham Post story makes it clear that the comment came later. However, for some reason the Express has edited out the “because he has plenty of money” part of her quote, which appears to be a jibe and is suggestive of a hostile perspective on Catholicism.

Journalistic interest in the “unholy row” (one of the most annoying clichés in journalism) does not appear to have extended to anyone actually entering the shop to browse the shelves (I haven’t been able to read the full Times article, but it seems to be derivative). It would have been fairly easy to determine if the shop has an anti-Catholic perspective; in particular, such shops tend to have a section on “cults”, and any anti-Catholic polemic will probably be found there.

The Express also quotes Swan as saying

“I’ve since found out although they are a Protestant shop but they also stock Jewish things too.”

That is not as odd as it may sound. First, there are at least two Messianic congregations in the Nottingham area; Messianic Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah and are accepted as Christians, but their style of worship retains elements of their Jewish heritage. Second, there is a trend by which some evangelicals appropriate Jewish cultural items, as an expression of philo-Semitism and in the belief that it brings their devotional practices closer to the religious world of Jesus.