Dear Ms Christ,
We have analysed your mysterious sperm sample...
Congratulations...you have discovered Higg's boson.
Dear Ms Christ,
We have analysed your mysterious sperm sample...
And the heavenly father is...
Richard Dawkins of Londinium
A church billboard showing a shocked Virgin Mary gasping as she examines a pregnancy testing kit has sparked 'outrage' in New Zealand.
The large poster outside St Matthew's in the City, a prominent Anglican church in Auckland, was designed by an advertising agency and depicts Mary in the style of a classical Renaissance painting.
A caption competition on the church's website has already drawn some questionable responses.
Yay! I hope it's a girl
Now, which way to the abortion clinic?
If I say I'm a virgin, mum and dad won't kill me.
Defending the poster, the vicar, the Rev Glynn Cardy, said:
Although the make-believe of Christmas is enjoyable, with tinsel, Santa, reindeer and carols, there are also some realities. It's about a real pregnancy, a real mother and a real child. It's about real anxiety, courage and hope. Mary was
unmarried, young and poor. She was certainly not the first woman in this situation or the last.
Lyndsay Freer, a spokesman for the Catholic diocese of Auckland, was unimpressed:
Once again, St Matthew's shows us that they have moved away from traditional Christianity, even though their hearts might be in the right place.
It is true that Christmas is real and celebrates a real pregnancy. It is also true that the anxiety and needs of young solo mothers today need to be addressed with compassion and care.
But in making this point, St Matthew's ignores the gospel account of matters surrounding the pregnancy and birth of Jesus, in which Mary is not a shocked solo mother but a young woman who has given her assent and trust to God.
Arthur Skinner, a member of a nutter Catholic group in New Zealand, is unrepentant over his slashing of a billboard depicting a shocked-looking Virgin Mary clutching a positive pregnancy test.
The scissor-wielding nutter of the Catholic Action Group removed a section of the poster at the weekend, then took part in a 100-strong prayer service outside the St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church, which was responsible for the billboard.
He said he would destroy the poster again if it was replaced. He spewed:
This is Satanic, this is the ultimate Satanic attack, when Lucifer attacks his worst enemy, the Blessed Virgin. This particular church -- so called -- is run by a gay, feminist-type lobby. They claim to be Christian and yet they put up a
blasphemous image of the Blessed Virgin, attacking her virginity and the fact that she was the mother of Christ, the God-Man.
The Florida Family Association is a small and little-known evangelical organisation which for the past two decades has mounted campaigns against everything from strip clubs to gay rights and the teaching of evolution in schools.
One of the groups supporters happens to be Robert Niblock, the CEO of Lowe's, one of America's largest DIY chains.
The Florida Family Association have been rallying against a TV reality show called All-American Muslim , which seeks to portray the Islamic community as normal everyday Americans being positive, and just getting on with life.
But the Florida Family Association have interpreted this normality as propaganda and claimed in a letter Niblock that this was clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic
fundamentalism and Sharia law.
The CEO appears to have taken the organisation at its word, apparently without bothering to actually watch an episode, and immediately announced that Lowe's would pull all of its advertising. In a statement, the firm claimed that the programme
had become a lightning rod for strong political and societal views.
But Niblock's views have failed to find resonance with roughly one million viewers of the show. Many felt that Niblock and the Florida Family Association were spouting bollox.
Several politicians, celebrities, and Islamic faith groups have roundly condemned the DIY firm. Petitions calling for a boycott of its stores had 25,000 signatories and counting, while 22,000 people had posted on the subject on the firm's
Ted Lieu, a Californian state Senator, branded Lowe's bigoted, shameful, and un-American. Keith Ellison, one of the few US Representatives who is a practicing Muslim, said it had chosen to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and given in to intolerance.
Mia Farrow, the actress, used Twitter to call for a big effort to boycott the company, and hit Lowe's where it hurts. The comedian Kal Penn asked fans to sign a petition against the firm, joking that his next movie would be
called: Harold and Kumar do not go to Lowes. Russell Simmons, the hip-hop impresario, said that he had purchased all the newly-vacant advertising slots on All-American Muslim.
Protesters descended on a Lowe's store in one of the country's largest Arab American communities on Saturday. About 100 people gathered outside the store in Allen Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where All-American Muslim is
filmed. Protesters including Christian clergy and lawmakers called for unity, held signs that read Boycott bigotry and chanted God bless America; shame on Lowe's during the rally, which was organized by a coalition of
Christian, Muslim and civil rights groups.
Elsewhere, David Caton, the leader of the Florida Family Association, shrugged-off suggestions that it is a fringe hate group, telling the Associated Press that it exists to defend traditional American biblical values. He has previously
lobbied against Degrassi , a teen show on the Nickelodeon channel, alleging that it promotes the transgender lifestyle.
The German Press Agency have reported that Dutch ambassador Susan Blankhart was summoned by the Egyptian Foreign Minister in November to explain anti-Islamic comments by Geert Wilders.
According to diplomats, Egypt says it is unable to ignore Wilders unacceptable behaviour.
In early November, Egypt refused to issue a visa to Freedom Party MP Raymond de Roon after De Roon accused Cairo of the ethnic cleansing of Christians Copts. As a result a parliamentary foreign affairs delegation of Dutch MPs cancelled a working
visit to the Arab country.
A spokesperson for the Dutch Foreign Ministry says various issues were discussed at the meeting on 21 November including the publication of Wilders' book.
The Book is titled: Marked for Death: Islam's War Against the West and Me. It is by Geert Wilders and is slated for release on 1st May 2012.
The ambassador told the Egyptian authorities that freedom of speech is a right in the Netherlands and everyone is at liberty to write a book. The book believed to be about the history of Islam and argues that the religion is an ideology.
In response to the news Wilders said:
Fortunately we have freedom of opinion here. The Egyptian military regime should concern itself with the rights and protection of Christians in Egypt and preventing further bloodshed rather than worrying about me.
New player in South Africa's pay-TV market, TopTV, has announced that it had made an application to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) for permission to launch three adult content channels.
The latest bid to get porn on to South African television screens follows leading pay-TV broadcaster MultiChoice who some while ago, decided to can its foray into adult TV after widespread objections from the public.
Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said depending on the nature of the submissions, it may hold public hearings before it decides whether to give TopTV the go-ahead. Maleka said such a public hearing would most likely be held next month , but could
not say when the process would be finalised.
TopTV last week announced its intention to launch porn channels, while distancing itself from a company called African Satellite Installations, which had indicated that French porn channel PSatTV would soon be available in SA via the TopTV
TopTV's holding company, On-Digital Media , said the porn channels would be separate from its bouquets and would carry a strictly enforced adult restriction. They would only be accessible as a secure, encrypted and separate subscription package
on the pay-TV platform. Potential subscribers would need to provide proof that they were over the age of 18, and viewing of the channels would require a unique, four-digit PIN code.
A spokesman said content for all three channels would be provided by Playboy TV, with one being a soft porn channel and the other two having more raunchy content. It would cost R199 a month.
Some Christian organisations plan to boycott TopTV after it announced it would launch 24-hour pornography channels next year, said the Family Policy Institute.
The institute's director Errol Naidoo said:
The Christian denominations and church affiliations support the view that the broadcasting of hardcore pornography on television degrades and objectifies women [strange, this is done so much more effectively by some religions] and exposes
children to harmful content.
Millions of Christians will be encouraged to join the mass boycott of TopTV by not paying their subscription fees and cancelling their contracts with the pay channel.
TopTV's advertisers and sponsors would also be targeted by the boycott, said Naidoo.
About six Christian organisations have affiliated themselves with the boycott, including the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa and the Methodist Church of South Africa.
The Theatre du Rond-Point's staging of Golgota Picnic is the latest target in a wave of demonstrations across France One of Paris's most prestigious theatres was being protected by riot police and guard-dog patrols after it became the
latest target in a wave of Catholic protests across France against so-called blasphemous plays.
The head of the the Champs-Elysees theatre complained of death threats in the run up to the premiere of the play by Rodrigo Garcia. Two men reported to have links to fundamentalist Catholic groups were arrested at the weekend while attempting to
disable the theatre's security system. Civitas, a lobby group that says it aims to re-Christianise France, has called for a large, peaceful street demonstration against Christianophobia this weekend. The archbishop of Paris will lead
protest prayers against the play at Notre Dame Cathedral.
Golgota Picnic, which takes place on a stage strewn with burger buns, has several religious references including readings and a crucifixion scene. But Paris theatre critics said it was absurd to call it anti-Catholic or blasphemous and questioned
whether its religious critics had actually seen it.
Paris city hall's art supremos defended the theatre community against what it said was fundamentalists holding art to ransom, saying a silent minority of Catholics did not share the notion of making threats or stifling freedom of
Update: Judge refuses to censor theatre performance of Golgota Picnic
One day before the opening night Golgota Picnic , a Paris judge has refused to sign an interim ruling prohibiting the opening of the show. Judge Magali Bouvier decided not to destroy a work of art which, she writes, will only be
seen by a few hundred spectators, regardless of its offensive content and messages of hate against all Christians.
An emergency proceeding was introduced on these grounds a few weeks ago by the French and Christian rights defense group, AGRIF (Alliance generale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l'identite francaise et chretienne).
In French law, emergency proceedings are intended to put a stop to situations which disrupt the public order . AGRIF's counsel argued that the showing of Golgota Picnic would do that on several counts.
The play's Hispano-Argentian author, Rodrigo Garcia, expresses hatred towards Christ throughout the play, accusing centuries of Christian art of being directly responsible for sex abuse of minors by priests and religious, violence, and more
generally all that is wrong with the world. Christ Himself is portrayed as a selfish, antisocial fraud and covered with verbal abuse calling him a devil whore or the messiah of AIDS .
The play visually attacks Christians' central, treasured beliefs about all things related to the Crucifixion. Hundreds of bread burgers cover the scene in a parody of the Multiplication of the Loaves; the actors, five male, one female, repeatedly
mock the Crucifixion while endlessly reciting rambling prose, then sing and dance the last words of Christ to strident guitar music.
Another scene showed three actors, two male and one female, scantily covered and soaked with blue and red paint to evoke classical paintings of Golgotha, entwining in sexual positions. After this they all undressed completely, facing the public
or moving about the stage for at least five minutes. AGRIF argued that this scene, among several others, constitutes sexual exhibition which is prohibited by law, and should at the very least justify banning Golgota Picnic from
being shown to minors under eighteen.
All the demands of the AGRIF were rejected by judge Magali Bouvier. The judge went on to charge AGRIF for court costs of 3,500 euro (over 4,600 USD) legal expenses incurred by the Theatre du Rond-Point for its defense.
French law does not prohibit blasphemy, but it does affirm all believers' right to freedom of religion and to the respect of their beliefs.
Around 2,000 Roman Catholic traditionalists demonstrated Sunday in Paris over the staging of what they consider a blasphemous play depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Holding banners with slogans such as France is Christian and must remain so, and That's enough Christianophobia, the demonstrators marched on the Theatre du Rond-Point to denounce Golgota Picnic , a play by Argentinian
playwright Rodrigo Garcia that premiered last week.
Police estimated around 2,000 people took part in the demonstration. The organizers estimated there were double that number.
As they marched, a few hundred people on the other side of the Seine River held a counterdemonstration against what they called an attempt by Christian traditionalists to impose a moral order. No to censorship, all for culture, and Our
freedom against their moral order, they chanted.
Reacting to Sunday's protests, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand said that while he was very attached to the Christian tradition in France, the right to freedom of thought and the separation of church and state needed to be
protected at all costs.
One of the world's largest and most respected humanitarian groups in the world is showing it has a nutter side. The International Committee of the Red Cross is investigating whether the Geneva and Hague conventions should be applied to the
fictional recreation of war in video games.
If they agree those standards should be applied they may ask developers to adhere to the rules themselves or encourage governments to adopt laws to regulate the video game industry.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. That includes war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants. The
question they debated this week is whether their mandate should be extended to the virtual victims of video game wars.
While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating international humanitarian law, according to the event's
description. Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of international humanitarian law in video games.
The outcome of the discussion though has not actually been published as yet.
Wound up by a newspaper advert, the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) has said it plans to stall the release of a horror film this month unless it is satisfied it shows the Church and the religion without distortions.
The group has taken objection to an advertisement of Who's There? that shows Jesus Christ on the cross and a man sticking a knife into him.
Such an advertisement is mischievous. Nobody shows Allah or Krishna being stabbed like this, said CSF general secretary Joseph Dias. The advertisement was published with a caption saying This time evil will win, which mocks the
Christian faith, the CSF claimed, adding no religious figure must be used to sell a film or draw audiences for commercial profit.
The CSF has filed a complaint with the local police and the Central Board of Film Certification regarding the advertisement and is planning to meet the Censor Board to discuss the issue.
The group is demanding a special screening of the film before its release to ensure it does not misrepresent Christianity in any way and will take legal recourse if the advertisement is not withdrawn and apology is not issued for the same.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) took note of the complaint and found out that the advertisements were unauthorised, it directed the producer of the movie to tender an apology and withdraw the offensive advertisements
The CBFC has also brought the matter to the notice of the Home Minister of Maharashtra, for taking appropriate action against the producer for unlawful exhibition of the poster.
The horror film is scheduled for release on November 18 and has been rated A for adults only.
The Catholic Secular Forum asked for a special screening of the film and asked the censor board to order cuts in the film. cuts in the film which it considered offensive. The censor board has now agreed to the cuts in the film.
The Mumbai Police last week arrested the director, producer and publicist of Hindi movie Who's There for posters that showed the picture of Jesus Christ on the cross being stabbed by a man.
The three were arrested on charges ranging from hurting religious sentiments, malicious common intention to insulting religious beliefs and for violations of the Cinematograph Act for not printing the UA certificate on the promotional materials.
Christians last month had raised objections to the movie's posters as well as its anti-Christian contents, and had registered a complaint with the Censor Board.
Conviction of the accused should not be difficult as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), Film Makers Combine and the Indian Motion Pictures Association (IMPPA) had in their statement to the police said that the offensive
advertisements of stabbing Jesus Christ on the Cross were unauthorised, said Joseph Dias, the head of Mumbai-based Christian group Catholic Secular Forum.
The film, which is scheduled for release on November 18, has been categorized as a horror film.
The US nutter campaign group have written a glowing report about the animated TV show Allen Gregory:
The Parents Television Council celebrated the removal of Allen Gregory from Fox's upcoming broadcast schedule and thanked advertisers who responded to its concerns over the program's graphic content.
Fox announced that beginning January 15, the Sunday evening program will be replaced by Napoleon Dynamite.
The title character in Fox's animated Allen Gregory is a pushy, egotistical seven-year-old boy who drinks alcohol, engages in graphic sexual fantasies centered on his school principal, boasts about a sex tape, and uses harsh profanity. Following
the show's premiere episode, PTC executed a behind-the-scenes advertiser campaign to communicate the deplorable content that the sponsors were supporting. The program also earned PTC's worst TV show of the week label twice.
With so many horrific news reports of children allegedly being sexually exploited by teachers and school administrators, we roundly condemn a television program like 'Allen Gregory' that makes light of a seven-year-old child's aggressive
sexual pursuit of his school principal. We are thrilled that this program does not appear on the Fox midseason schedule, and we applaud all the sponsors who shared our concern and chose to shift their media dollars elsewhere. We hope the economic
pressure led Fox to a quicker replacement of the program, which never should have graced the public airwaves, said PTC President Tim Winter.
The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) has been been banned by the Australian Classification Review Board (ACRB).
The review was the result of an appeal against the previously uncut R18+ certificate awarded by the Classification Board. The appeal was requested by Australia's Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor, reportedly on the advice of the New South Wales
Attorney General Greg Smith.
The film has already opened at select cinemas a fortnight ago, including Melbourne's Cinema Nova, which advertised the film with a prophetic see it before it's banned motto.
From the ACRB's official press statement:
A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the film The Human Centipede II (full sequence) is classified RC (Refused Classification).
In the Review Board's opinion, The Human Centipede II (full sequence) could not be accommodated within the R 18+ classification as the level of depictions of violence in the film has an impact which is very high.
In addition, the film must be refused classification because it contains gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact and cruelty which has a high impact.
Films classified RC cannot be sold, hired, or advertised in Australia.
The Review Board's reasons for this decision will appear on the Classification website when finalised.
Ros Phillips, national research officer for FamilyVoice Australia, said:
We congratulate the Classification Review Board for its unanimous decision to classify the torture porn film The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) as Refused Classification,
Earlier this year we were shocked to learn that the uncut version of this horrific film had been passed by Australia's Classification Board as R18+ - but had been banned by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Phillips said.
On behalf of Australian families, we thank the Board for its unanimous agreement. Pornography based on human torture has no place on Australian screens.
FamilyVoice provided the Classification Review Board with a substantial submission, explaining in detail why Australia's classification guidelines require scenes in Human Centipede 2 to be Refused Classification.
FamilyVoice describes itself as: A Christian Voice for family, faith and freedom. They obviously have got themselves about the concept of 'freedom'. Perhaps A Christian Voice for family, faith and censorship, would be a more honest
A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain has found changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men after one week of
game play. The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to users has raged for many years, making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. But there has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a
prolonged negative neurological effect.
For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home, said Yang Wang, M.D., assistant research
professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.
For the study, 22 healthy adult males, age 18 to 29, with low past exposure to violent video games were randomly assigned to two groups of 11. Members of the first group were instructed to play a shooting video game for 10 hours at home for one
week and refrain from playing the following week. The second group did not play a violent video game at all during the two-week period. Each of the 22 men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, with follow-up exams at one and two weeks.
The results showed that after one week of violent game play, the video game group members showed less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional task and less activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during the counting
task, compared to their baseline results and the results of the control group after one week. After the second week without game play, the changes to the executive regions of the brain were diminished.
These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning, Dr. Wang said.
Coauthors are Tom Hummer, Ph.D., William Kronenberger, Ph.D., Kristine Mosier, D.M.D., Ph.D., and Vincent P. Mathews, M.D. This research is supported by the Center for Successful Parenting, Indiana.
Game Politics points out that the Center for Successful Parenting, Indiana is in fact a nutter group with a website that is designed for parents to learn about the negative side effects of violent video.
The Parents Television Council (PTC) has published a new report ranking major TV advertisers by the type of programming that they support.
The PTC assigned the companies a point value based on the programs they supported, according to the PTC's traffic light rating system. The traffic light' system ranks television programs as green, yellow, or red based on the amount and
frequency of sex, violence, and language they contain. Points were added to companies when their products appeared on green-lighted shows, and deducted when they appeared on red-lighted shows.
Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education at PTC, said the report has an impact on both consumers and companies. She said:
All other choices being equal, if you have the ability to go with a company that supports your values, that upholds values you believe in, then we would hope people would make their buying decisions accordingly.
The PTC's Top Ten Advertisers for the 2010-11 television season are as follows:
The Australian retail chain Kmart withdrew a youth line of underwear for girls that carries slogans such as call me and I love rich boys after the store was accused of sexualising teenagers.
The underwear is part of its popular Girl Xpress range, after it was the target of a Twitter campaign led by the easily 'outraged', who described the slogans as disgusting and sleazy .
Melinda Tankard Reist, a spokeswoman for the group Collective Shout, which campaigns against the sexual exploitation of woman, said the slogans were completely inappropriate and Kmart should know better.
Why else would you put this sort of thing, such as 'call me' on underwear if you were not encouraging young women to flaunt their sexuality? Tankard Reist claimed.
A spokeswoman for Kmart told Fairfax Media that it had received one complaint about the underwear. Due to the fact that it has been brought to our attention that there may be some concerns with the item, we have decided to remove it from our
stores, the spokeswoman said. She said Girl Xpress was aimed at the female youth market but did not define what age that market was.
The federal MP for Moreton, Graham Perrett, hit out at the retail giant for stocking the underwear after being sent photos of some of the pieces in the range: It sickens me, he said. It makes me cry to see that sort of stuff out there
in our stores. It sends the wrong message entirely.
Father Gabriele Amorth, who for years was the Vatican's chief exorcist and claims to have cleansed hundreds of people of evil spirits, said yoga is Satanic because it leads to a worship of Hinduism and all eastern religions are based on a
false belief in reincarnation .
Reading JK Rowling's Harry Potter books is no less dangerous, said the 86-year-old priest, who is the honorary president for life of the International Association of Exorcists, which he founded in 1990, and whose favourite film is the 1973
horror classic, The Exorcist.
The Harry Potter books, which have sold millions of copies worldwide, seem innocuous but in fact encourage children to believe in black magic and wizardry, Father Amorth claimed.
Practising yoga is Satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter, he told a film festival in Umbria this week, where he was invited to introduce The Rite , a film about exorcism starring Sir Anthony Hopkins as a Jesuit
It's a theory --- if one can call it a theory --- that is totally without foundation. Yoga is not a religion or a spiritual practise. It doesn't have even the slightest connection with Satanism or Satanic sects. Giorgio Furlan, the founder
of the Yoga Academy of Rome, said yoga had nothing to do with religion, least of all Satanism. Whoever says that shows that they know absolutely nothing about yoga, he said.
The Catholic church in Germany is to sell Weltbild, its bookselling arm, after the unit admitted last month to publishing erotic novels.
Weltbild is one of Germany's major book publishers. Catholic leaders were outraged that the profitable company's book range included steamy pulp novels with titles like Boarding School for Sluts and The Lawyer's Whore and
advice on how to practise esoteric superstitions.
Germany's 27 bishops met this week to press the 12 bishops who co-owned Weltbild to end the investment after Weltbild defended its commercial policy of publishing whatever books met market demand.
Weltbild said it welcomed the decision to seek new ownership without delay .
The head of Nessuna TV has appeared in court in Tunis on charges of undermining sacred values, undermining decent standards and causing trouble to public order.
The case, which has been brought against Nabil Karoui and two of his employees by 140 lawyers, follows the broadcast by his private TV station of the film Persepolis on 7 October.
The animated film, based on Marjane Strapi's novel about the 1979 revolution in Iran, supposedly 'offended' many Muslims because in one scene it depicts their god as an old man with a beard. Literal images of their god are forbidden by Islam.
Karoui apologised for the scene, but anger at its transmission erupted into street demonstrations in the Tunisian capital last month, culminating in Karoui's home being firebombed.
He told AFP that he will plead not guilty to the charges. The hearing was adjourned and will resume in Tunis on 23 January 2012.
Nutters of the Parents Television Council attended a Microsoft shareholder meeting to urge the company to use its television advertising dollars to support more nutter friendly programming.
Peter Wick III for the Parents Television Council was invited to submit their case in writing. Wick responded accordingly:
I wish to bring your attention to television shows Microsoft has supported with its advertising budget, and what we as shareholders have helped air with our investment dollars.
Recently, Microsoft sponsored an episode of the show Allen Gregory , where Allen, a seven-year-old cartoon character, attempts to make a sex tape with his elementary school principal. Allen is heard describing sex in one scene and
fantasizes about having sex with his principal in another.
Microsoft has also sponsored an episode of Two and a Half Men , where one of the characters receives a penis pump in the mail, and then gives it to his teenage son because the teen feels inadequate about his manhood.
Another show sponsored by Microsoft was an episode of The Hard Times of RJ Berger . The show's central character is RJ Berger, a 15-year-old who has an exceptionally large penis. In this episode, RJ's father, Rick, and his best friend
encourage RJ to have 'birthday sex.' His father even offers to pay for a motel room for RJ and his girlfriend.
Microsoft has also sponsored and placed advertisements on many other television shows that consisted of explicit sexual humor and profanity, such as The Vampire Diaries, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy, Glenn Martin, DDS, and American
Exposure to graphic violence, explicit sex and profanity on television is unhealthy for children in their social and emotional development. Microsoft may not have produced these shows, but their advertising dollars support this content, which
makes it possible for these types of programs to air in our homes, and accessible for children to watch, especially cartoon-based shows.
According to a Harris Poll, Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they did not purchase a certain brand because they did not like a program or event sponsored by the brand. I say to the Microsoft executives and shareholders, let's not
give people this reason to avoid purchasing Microsoft products and services, or investing in this great company.
I plead with you on behalf of millions of Americans to bring higher standards to Microsoft's advertising practices.
Jerusalem's secular mayor, Nir Barkat, has pitted himself against the city's swelling ranks of ultra-orthodox extremists by demanding that local police enable women to reclaim their position in the public domain.
Over recent months, women's faces have disappeared from billboards across the city amid mounting pressure applied by the powerful ultra-orthodox lobby, who find the female image offensive.
Advertisers that do not fall in line with the standards of the extreme ultra-orthodox have frequently fallen victim to direct action. Across Jerusalem, female figures have been blacked out of billboards with spray-paint, or vandalised with
graffiti branding the image illegal . Other posters are simply torn down.
On Sunday, Barkat wrote a letter to district police commander Niso Shaham in which he said: We must make sure that those who want to advertise [with] women's images in the city can do so without fear of vandalism and defacement of billboards
or buses showing women.
The battle over Jerusalem's billboards is only one manifestation of an alarming trend towards gender segregation across Israel driven by the religious right. Activist Hila Benyovich-Hoffman was spurred to take action by reports that nine male
cadets in the Israeli Defence Force had walked out of an army event in September because women were singing. Four were expelled from an officer's training course for refusing to apologise. Benyovich-Hoffman said:
This was the final straw for me, that these cadets could humiliate female soldiers because some rabbi has told them that a woman's voice is indecent. The army used to be a source of pride because women served alongside men as equals. But more
and more, rabbis are influencing army behaviour.
She organised a series of demonstrations last Friday in which hundreds of women gathered for singalongs in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheva to demand their right to a public presence. She says much more needs to be done.
The Benetton clothing company has withdrawn a website advert featuring Pope Benedict XVI kissing a top Egyptian imam on the lips after the Vatican denounced it as an unacceptable provocation.
Benetton had said its Unhate campaign was aimed at fostering tolerance and global love. The campaign's fake photos feature a half-dozen purported political nemeses in lip-locked embraces, including President Barack Obama and
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
The photo of the pope kissing Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo's al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, had been on Benetton's website all day but was pulled about an hour after the Vatican's protest.
Al-Azhar suspended interfaith talks with the Vatican earlier this year after Benedict called for greater protections for Egypt's minority Coptic Christians.
Update: Whatever happened to the christian code: 'turn the other cheek'?
The Vatican has threatened legal action against Italian clothing company Benetton for its use of a doctored photograph in which Pope Benedict XVI appears to be kissing a top Muslim imam on the mouth.
The Secretariat of State has instructed its lawyers to take on, in Italy and abroad, the appropriate action to prevent the circulation, including through the mass media, a photomontage created as part of the Benetton advertising campaign, the
Vatican said in a statement.
The ad was damaging to not only to dignity of the pope and the Catholic Church but also to the feelings of believers.
Christian groups have condemned a provocative Spanish play about Jesus called Golgota Picnic , due to premiere in France.
Christian fundamentalists are expected to protest publicly outside the Garonne Theatre in Toulouse on Wednesday, while a counter-demonstration in support of freedom of speech is being organised by leftist groups.
In a message carried by the Toulouse diocesan website, Archbishop Monsignor Robert Le Gall said:
Mr Rodrigo Garcia wants to denounce forcefully all forms of fundamentalism and rebel against an all-powerful God he has feared since childhood - that is not the God Christians proclaim... Is it right to foul the faith of many believers, to
attack them in their devotion to Christ? I do not think so.
Another senior Catholic cleric, Bishop Dominique Rey of Frejus-Toulon, condemned what he said was Garcia's depiction of Christ as madman, dog, pyromaniac, messiah of Aids, devil-whore, no better than a terrorist .
The theatre's manager, Jacky Ohayon, insisted Rodrigo Garcia's play was not blasphemous and pointed out it had run for six months in the Spanish capital Madrid with no trouble .
A bid by Catholic groups to have the play banned was rejected by the regional authorities in Toulouse.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Nintendo commented on PETA's claim that Mario is pro-fur.
Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games. These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different
abilities and make his games fun to play.
The different forms that Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves.
Hundreds of hardline Islamists protested peacefully outside France's embassy in Cairo after prayers on Friday against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo that published cartoons of Mohammed, the state MENA news agency reported.
The news agency quoted Khaled Said, the spokesman of the Salafi group that organised the protest, as warning of an escalation in peaceful measures against French interests, including a boycott of French goods.
The Islamist said his group demonstrated after the French government described the affair as a freedom of speech issue.
Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia
24-27th November 2011.
Two Sexpo billboards have been vandalised in the run up to this month's sexuality lifestyle show in Melbourne. A large banner across a freeway and a standard billboard were both slashed with a sharp object on Wednesday night amid the chaos of the
storm front that hit Melbourne.
Sexpo organisers have replied to the attacks in a Christian manner by turning the other cheek and offering the perpetrators a free stand to publicise their beliefs to Sexpo patrons.
Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that when freedom of speech and expression was under attack the best response was one that involved offering more freedom rather than less. We will not prosecute those who damaged the signs and
there will be no reprisals, only the chance for these people to increase their free speech opportunities , she said.
Ms Patten said that the attacks were indicative of a more intolerant Australia. Racial, sexual, religious and lifestyle intolerance are increasing in Australia as more politicians seek to stamp their personal views on the people they
represent , she said. These attacks on sex and lifestyle choices by religious and feminist extremists are a concern for the future direction of Australia .
Brooklyn Museum, New York
18th November 2011 to 12th February 2012
The art exhibition Hide/Seek cam to the public's attention courtesy of nutter rants targeted at David Wojnarowicz's 1987 short film A Fire in My Belly.
Predictably, the Christians' crusade continues as local groups are now pressuring the Brooklyn Museum to remove the late artist's film from the exhibition.
Both the Christian Post and Daily News note that the Brooklyn Museum has received many complaints from members of local groups outraged by the shortened, 13-minute version of the 21-minute original's ten-second segment in which ants crawl over a
In reaction to the forthcoming exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, Director Arnold Lehman said he received thousands of pre-programmed emails from a Catholic group. Lehman said the film is an important piece of American art history. He told
the Daily News: For a city that prides itself on diversity and creativity, there couldn't be a better exhibition.
Brooklyn's Catholic Diocese has also requested that the work be censored from the show.
Meanwhile Pastor A. R. Bernard, who leads Brooklyn's Christian Cultural Center said: What is the point? I think this is the piece in the Hide/seek collection they really need to hide.
Undeterred, the museum plans to show every piece in the Hide/Seek exhibition, which opens November 18 and remains on view through February 12.
The pope has called for an end to prostitution and pornography, saying the practices denigrate women and represent a serious lack of humanity.
The pope made the remarks as he welcomed Reinhard Schweppe as Germany's ambassador to the Holy See Nov. 7. The pope's talk focused on the church's role in defending human dignity... and no doubt the issue that the catholic church owned publisher,
Weltbild, has been spotted publishing erotica.
The pope said:
A relationship that does not take into account the fact that a man and a woman have the same dignity represents a serious lack of humanity.
With the materialistic and hedonistic tendencies that seem to be gaining space in the West, there is a growing form of discrimination against women.
The moment has come to energetically halt prostitution as well as the widespread distribution of material with an erotic and pornographic content, including through the Internet in particular.
The pope said the Holy See would encourage and assist the Catholic Church in Germany so efforts against these types of abuse would be more decisive and clearer.
After provoking all the above with last week's special edition guest edited by the prophet Muhammad, entitled Charia Hebdo, the publication is set to raise a few more hackles with this week's edition.
On the front page of the latest edition is a drawing of a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist passionately kissing a Muslim man, under the headline: love is stronger than hate.
In the background of the cartoon are the ashes of the magazine's offices, completely destroyed in an arson attack last week. Unlike the previous edition, there is no suggestion that the character on the magazine cover is Mohammed.
Since the arson attack, the magazine's staff have been given a temporary home in the offices of France's leading leftwing daily newspaper Liberation, which has also been subject to threats from the Turkish hackers.
The attack on the magazine and on free speech has been widely condemned. Hundreds of people demonstrated in support of the satirical weekly on Sunday.
The president of SOS Racism was among the supporters, declaring that: In a democracy, the right to blaspheme is absolute.
The editor of Charlie Hebdo said: We need a level playing field. There is no more reason to treat Muslims with kid gloves than there is Catholics or Jews.
Also attending the demonstration were the editor of Liberation, the Mayor of Paris, a presidential candidate, and the novelist Tristane Banon.
After screenings at international film festivals, Marathi film Deool (Temple) has drawn the ire of Hindu right wing activists. They have registered a complaint with the Censor Board demanding a song in the film, allegedly insulting a Hindu
deity, be deleted before the film's release.
We are demanding that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) cancel the film's certification or at least delete the denigrating song before its release, said Shivaji Vatkar, Mumbai and Thane coordinator for the Hindu Janajagruti
He added that the organisation will undertake constitutional means of protest, including roping in the support of the several thousand Datta Bhagwan temples in the state and requesting all Maharashtrians to boycott the film. Vatkar claimed the
song Phoda Datta Naam insults the deity Datta.
Electronic Arts' recently released Battlefield 3 allows players to shoot hundreds upon hundreds of human characters but it also features the horrific and brutal snuffing out of a small and innocent life.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have issue a press release in Germany saying:
The realistic computer game Battlefield 3 treats animals in a sadistic manner. The game gives players the option to kill a rat with a combat knife in the back in order to then lift it by its tail, then toss it away.
Killing virtual animals can have a brutalizing effect on the young male target audience. There have been repeated cases of animal cruelty in Germany, where young people kill animals. Inspiration behind these acts often came from movies and
Six women met in Jerusalem to be photographed so their pictures can be hung from balconies throughout the city to counteract what appears to be the attempt to keep women out of advertising in the capital.
A group that calls itself Yerushalmim ( Jerusalemites ) and focuses on issues of pluralism is behind the initiative.
The idea is to return the city space to its natural state and turn the appearance of women into something boring, that no one notices, one of the originators of the idea, Rabbi Uri Ayalon, a Conservative rabbi who created a Facebook page
called uncensored, through which the women signed up to be photographed.
The six volunteers met at the Jerusalem home of activist Shira Katz-Winkler. One of them, Idit Karni, says: A minority can't take over the city and cause women and girls to disappear. I have four daughters, and I don't intend to leave them a
city that has lost its sanity.
Another of the volunteers, Tzafira Stern-Asal who is the director of a dance school, says she has had personal experience with the difficulty of putting women in advertising in the capital when trying to advertise her school. I finally had to
limit myself to a shoe or some sort of fluttering material, which certainly reduces the attraction of the ad, she says.
In the first phase of the project, 100 posters of the women will be hung throughout the city, focusing on the downtown area.
The women believe the problem lies with advertisers, who self-censor out of fear of the ultra-Orthodox. Now we'll see the skies won't fall. I don't say it will pass quietly, but people will breathe easier when they see pictures of women
returning to billboards.
The French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, whose office was firebombed after it printed a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, has reproduced the images in a special supplement distributed with Liberation, one of the country's leading newspapers.
The weekly defended the freedom to poke fun in the four-page supplement, which was included with copies of the left-wing daily on Thursday, a day after an arson attack gutted Charlie Hebdo's Paris headquarters.
The offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris have been destroyed in a petrol bomb attack.
It comes a day after the publication named the Prophet Muhammad as its editor-in-chief for its next issue. The cover of the magazine carried a caricature of the Prophet making the comment: 100 lashes if you don't
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has described the petrol-bombing as an unjustifable attack on the freedom of the press.
The editor-in-chief of the magazine, Stephane Charbonnier, said Islam could not be excluded from freedom of the press. He said: If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the
consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.
Charbonnier said the magazine had received several threats on Twitter and Facebook before the attack: This is the first time we have been physically attacked, but we won't let it get to us,
Inside, there is an editorial, attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and more cartoons - one showing the Prophet with a clown's red nose.
Charlie Hebdo's website has also been hacked with a message in English and Turkish attacking the magazine.
Offsite Comment: The dangers of mixing satire and Islam
In a world that has been getting safer, one religion is stubbornly holding on to a violent past. I'm not going to call for ordinary Muslims to denounce terror. They do, fairly regularly. But it would be nice to think that one day in the
not-too-distant future we in the newspaper industry can make bad jokes about Mohammed as often as we do about Christ, without fear of brutal reprisals. In fact, the right note to end on is to congratulate Christianity worldwide for leaving its
savage past behind: let's hope Islam can follow.
Members of an Islamic party have called on Malaysia to ban a concert by Elton John, claiming that the gay singer promotes hedonism .
Shahril Azman Abdul Halim Al-Hafiz, an official with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), said the concert at the Genting Highlands resort on Nov. 22 would corrupt young Muslims because of John's homosexuality: It's not good. In Islam
homosexuality is forbidden . What he is doing is hedonism. Hedonism is not good in Islam. Shahril is the chairman of the PAS youth wing of eastern Pahang state.
But the show, part of John's Greatest Hits Tour , is expected to go ahead in the resort.
PAS often protests concert by Western acts, saying the artists promote a promiscuous lifestyle and corrupt youngsters' minds. But despite protest threats, most concerts have gone ahead without incidents.
South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has instructed a TV advert depicting angels falling from heaven because they are attracted to a man's deodorant, to be withdrawn, as it could offend Christians.
A viewer who complained to the ASA about the advert said the suggestion that angels - God's messengers - would literally fall for a man wearing this deodorant was incompatible with his belief as a Christian, according to the rulin.
The advert for Axe deodorant depicts winged, attractive women crashing to earth in what appears to be an Italian town, and then being drawn towards and sniffing a young man who has used the deodorant. The text at the end of the ad reads: Even
angels will fall .
The directorate was concerned that the angels were depicted falling and, secondly, being attracted to a mortal man.
As such, the problem is not so much that angels are used in the commercial, but rather that the angels are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires. This is something that would likely offend Christians in the
same manner as it offended the complainant.
The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) will make its Australian debut at the Brisbane International Film Festival on Saturday 5th November.
It has been labelled a mad orgy of depravity and gore, a movie so disturbing and sickening it was banned in Britain [for a while].
But this week the film scuttles into Brisbane cinemas, untouched by censors and courting inevitable moral 'outrage'.
Queensland was once infamous for its movie censorship, with the state banning an average of five films a year until former premier Wayne Goss disbanded the review board in 1990. But now the state's Arts Minister Rachel Nolan is wisely refusing to
intervene, saying it's up to federal classifiers to approve films: This is the new Queensland and the Government and I, as Arts Minister, are not going to be some kind of moral censor.
However the Classification Review Board is set to examine the film's R18+ rating after a request from the NSW Attorney-General. A total of eight complaints have been made to the film censors. But the review will not be conducted until
November 28, allowing the film to premiere at the festival.
Christian lobby group Family Voice Australia is preparing a submission to the review board and is calling for the film to be banned in Australia.
Films like this are really promoting a very demeaning image of women and children, claimed national research officer Roslyn Phillips, urging Brisbane organisers to ditch the movie from its program.
Meanwhile University of Queensland psychology researcher Brock Bastian provided a puerile and generalised sound bite for the newspaper article. He claimed violent media, including films, could affect the behaviour of their viewers: It's not
the most healthy or best way to be spending your time and it may transfer into your interpersonal interactions in subtle ways . [perhaps having the occasional urge to molest a centipede].
The Brisbane International Film Festival runs from November 3 to 13. Tickets and more information are available via
the BIFF website .
It appears that graphic artists and public relations professionals in Jerusalem have recently developed a fetish for shoes. A glance at billboards and posters pasted around the city shows that Jerusalem is draped in shoes.
In Jerusalem, a shoe is not just a shoe, says Uri Ayalon, a Conservative rabbi who promotes religious pluralism, and who recently established an uncensored Facebook group that protests against the elimination of women from public
spaces. Shoe images, he says, are used to obscure the fact that in Jerusalem women are rarely pictured on public posters and billboards.
It takes time to grasp that something is missing in public spaces in Israel's capital. But once you notice it, it's hard to fathom how you didn't pay attention to this fact earlier. It appears that in recent years, and in an escalated fashion in
the past several months, women have disappeared from advertisements in Jerusalem.
This fact does not refer to scantily clad models, who were purged from signs and posters in the city several years ago as a result of campaigns waged by the ultra-Orthodox - struggles that sometimes included the burning and destruction of
billboards and bus stops. The purging of women from publicly displayed pictures in Jerusalem applies to images of females in regular dress and daily situations. Pictures of women in family settings and advertisements of women using face cream or
being connected to food or fashion products are hard to come by in this city.
Jerusalem municipality officials adamantly deny that there has been a change in the city's advertising policy, and they refer to several advertising campaigns that featured images of women. However, figures in the city's public relations industry
admit that women have been entirely removed from public billboards and pictorial advertisements.
It seems that this trend is being led by private advertisers who prefer to conceal women rather than deal with ultra-Orthodox anger. For instance, a hamburger company that promoted its product around the country with a picture of happy family
members choose in Jerusalem to show only images of its burgers. In Jerusalem, a campaign for regional radio stations dropped the image of radio presenter Ofira Asayag, which was featured everywhere else in the country.
This becomes a process of self-censorship, explains Rabbi Ayalon. You decide in advance not to use a photograph of a female dancer, so that nobody sprays it. You decide not to confront anything, and that's the position adopted by the
Morality in Media nutters run their usual yearly rant
WRAP Week runs Sunday, Oct. 30, through Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. Moarility in Media have organised anti-porn events throughout the week and also ask supporters:
What You Can Do To Combat Pornography
Morality in Media asks every American concerned about the floodtide of pornography pouring into our nation's communities, homes, and children's minds to participate in White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week.
Here are Action Steps you can take during WRAP Week and throughout the year:
Wear or display a White Ribbon during WRAP Week. People will see the White Ribbon and ask why you're wearing or displaying it. That's an opportunity!
2. Distribute copies of What You Can Do To Combat Pornography to family, friends, members of your church and other sympathetic organizations and to the general public.
Ask your state and local public officials to issue a PROCLAMATION in conjunction with White Ribbon Against Pornography Week.
Ask your state prosecutor to enforce state obscenity laws.
Ask your pastor or other religious leader to address the pornography problem in your church or other religious body and in your community.
Paris police arrested around 20 Christian fundamentalists who burst into a theatre and threw stink bombs shouting: Enough Christianophobia!. They were protesting against a play featuring the face of Christ drizzled with fake excrement.
Police made the arrests at the Theatre de la Ville, during a performance of On the Concept of the Face, Regarding the Son of God, directed by Italian Romeo Castellucci.
The play is the story of an incontinent man being looked after by his son. A copy of a huge portrait of Christ by Renaissance artist Antonello da Messina hangs at the back of the stage and appears to be covered in excrement towards the end of the
France's ministry of culture blamed the demonstration on members of the Institut Civitas. Civitas head Alain Escada said: Our mission is to spread the word about this performance and to organise a response. Civitas has called for a mass
demonstration in Christ's honour . It's insulting at the end of a scatological play to sully the portrait of Christ by making people believe that it's faecal matter that has dirtied it, wounding so many believers.
Update: Further Protests
2nd November 2011. From minivannews.com
For the past week, throngs of Catholic fundamentalists have been brandishing crosses, chanting in Latin, and dropping to their knees in prayer outside a popular Parisian theatre to protest against a play featuring the face of Christ allegedly
covered with fake excrement.
Outraged by what they consider blasphemy and Christianophobia , over a thousand protesters (and up to 5,000, according to protest organisers) gathered on Saturday in front of the theatre, hurling eggs and oil at the building and
theatre-goers entering it. Two days earlier, police arrested 20 people for breaking into a performance of the play and planting stink bombs.
A rock chick Barbie doll with dyed pink hair and a chest and neck covered in tattoos has been criticised by parents' groups.
Mattel, the manufacturer, described the Tokidoki Barbie doll as a funky fashionista who is ready for fun in fashion.
But parents and commentators across America have criticised the image it portrays to children. Professor Joel Bakan, the author of Childhood Under Siege , described it as a cynical exercise : This is a calculated attempt to play
on young girls' natural desire to appear older. This is something to be resisted.
The doll was created with tokidoki, a Los Angeles-based fashion label, and carries a bag bearing the company's logo.
Holly Lebowitz Rossi, a writer for parents.com, said: For those who look to Barbie as a role model for strong, empowered girls, the tokidoki doll is overly-sexualised and inappropriate.
Pope Benedict praised the Dutch government for tackling drug abuse and prostitution while warning against too liberal an approach which could see individuals harm society.
He somehow omitted to mention the enormous amount of harm caused by his own 'no sex' approach, both to his own priests, and to the young victims abused by the priests who get screwed up the 'no sex' approach.
Addressing the new Netherlands ambassador to the Vatican, Benedict said he was
encouraged by the steps that the Dutch government has taken to discourage drug abuse and prostitution. While your nation has long championed the freedom of individuals to make their own choices, those choices by which people inflict harm on
themselves or others must be discouraged, for the good of individuals or society as a whole.
However he did admit to there being a problem with the priesthood but somehow sees the problems as priests not being able to live up to the rules, rather than the rules themselves being the problem.
The pope said the Roman Catholic Church recognises with humility that her own members do not always live up to the high moral standards that she proposes but urged all people to act in accordance with justice and right reason .
The pope then warned that religious freedom is threatened not only by legal constraints in some parts of the world, but by an anti-religious mentality within many societies , and called on the government to be vigilant .
Well if he is going to praise those who remove people's freedom and enjoyment of life, then he should expect the deserved 'anti-religious mentality' to continue unabated.
Catholic and Jewish groups have called on actress Susan Sarandon to apologise after being easily offended by a statement at Hampton's Film Festival.
Raised in New York as a Roman Catholic, she said at the festival that she had sent a copy of the book on which one of her movies, Dead Man Walking , was based to the pope. She then clarified which pope: The last one. Not this Nazi one
we have now.
Formerly Joseph Ratzinger, German born Pope Benedict XVI was briefly a member of the Hitler Youth in the early 1920s when membership was compulsory, according to the Vatican. Also he deserted the military during the Second World War.
According to Newsday, interviewer Bob Balaban gently chided Sarandon for the remark and repeated what she had said.
The New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called for Sarandon to apologise to the Catholic community after branding her statement obscene , saying that her ignorance is wilful .
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which fights against anti-Semitism, also called on Sarandon to apologise to the Catholic community. A spokesman for ADL said in a statement: Ms Sarandon may have her differences with the Catholic Church, but
that is no excuse for throwing around Nazi analogies. Such words are hateful, vindictive and only serve to diminish the true history and meaning of the Holocaust.
Police in Tunis used tear gas to try to disperse hundreds of muslim extremists who were attacking them with stones, knives and batons.
The Islamists were protesting a decision to broadcast animated film Persepolis which they said denigrated Islam. They were also protesting against a ban on women who wear the niqab, or full-face veil, enrolling in university.
This was the biggest clashes over religion in the Tunisian capital for several years.
Tunisian extremists have firebombed the home of a TV station chief. About a hundred men, some of whom threw Molotov cocktails, lay siege to the home of Nabil Karoui, the head of the private television station Nessma late on Friday, the station
reported in its evening news bulletin.
Sofiane Ben Hmida, one of Nessma's star reporters, told AFP the station chief was not at home when the attack on his house took place. But his wife and children were. About 20 of the protesters had managed to get inside. The family managed to get
out the back and are safe. The attackers wrecked the house and set it on fire.
Interior ministry spokesman Hichem Meddeb told AFP around a hundred people had turned up outside the house, forced their way inside, broken the windows and torn out two gas pipes. Five people had been arrested, he added.
This was the most serious incident yet in an escalating series of protests against the station's broadcast of Persepolis on October 7. The globally acclaimed animated film on Iran's 1979 revolution 'offended' many Muslims because it
depicts an image of God as an old, bearded man.
Earlier on Friday, police fired tear gas at demonstrators as some of the protests against the station degenerated. The main demonstration began peacefully at a central Tunis mosque after Friday prayers, with men and women chanting slogans against
Nessma. Thousands of people, many of them Salafist Muslims, were present.
Karoui has already apologised for having broadcast the film.
Update: 3000 Protest in defence of freedom of expression
Around 3,000 people peacefully demonstrated in the capital of Tunisia Sunday in defence of freedom of expression, two days after a violent protest against the broadcast of an animated and supposedly blasphemous film Persepolis .
The demonstration was meant as a riposte after the violent protests that followed the broadcast last week by Nessma TV, a private channel, of the film about the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
The film by French-Iranian director Marjane Satrapi, based on the autobiographical graphic novels of the same name, show the author as a young girl chafing under the clampdown on civil liberties and discussing her frustrations with God.
We're demonstrating against extremism, for freedom of expression, including artistic freedom, Semia Mahfoudh, a high school teacher, who attended Sunday's demonstration, told dpa. She said she feared that if Ennahda came to power,
Tunisia's tradition of secularism and commitment to gender equality would be jeopardized.
Proximity to schools has become a fashionable 'justification' for easy offence. Not just in Britain, but in Australia too.
A bus shelter ad showing a kissing couple next to a packet of condoms is causing nutter controversy in Brisbane, supposedly due to its proximity to a Catholic primary school. Some reports said that couple in the ad appeared to be naked, with
clothes painted on.
Australian Christian Lobby's Wendy Francis claimed the new poster was sexually offensive and contained no positive message about safe sex, deeming its placement across the street from the school as inappropriate.
The ACL Queensland branch director said members of the school community were 'distressed' by the poster, and that AdShel had promised to remove the poster within an hour of receiving her complaint. Francis said:
she was totally opposed to this pathetic advertising.
I cannot see why you would place this ad outside a Catholic primary school, where school children catch their bus from, she said.
I object to the highly sexual imagery in the ad, and the poster's message, 'zero or nothing', it's pathetic, it doesn't even have safe-sex message, and all it does is show that money matters more than our children.
Hindus in Australia, America and India have been 'outraged' by an Australian play that depicts the Hindu god Ganesh taking on Adolf Hitler in a swashbuckling fight over the use of the swastika symbol.
Ganesh Versus the Third Reich is yet to open at the Melbourne Festival, but news of its storyline has caused consternation among the Indian community.
In the play, which has been described by its producers as rambunctious fable brimming with humour, the elephant-headed Hindu god rampages through Germany on a quest to reclaim the ancient Hindu symbol of goodwill from the Nazis.
Promotional material for the play reads
The Nazis stole the swastika, an ancient icon of Hindu culture. Ganesh wants it back. Gods, like elephants, don't forget.
Only Geelong's bold Back to Back Theatre (Food Court, Small Metal Objects) could conjure an epic journey of an elephant-headed Hindu god who seeks to go one-on-one with Hitler. As our hero Ganesh cuts a swathe through Germany we embark on a
wildly inventive ride through history, where sacred icons and rituals become weapons of theatrical production.
Yadu Singh, president of the Council of Indian Australians, said that using Ganesh, the revered god of wisdom, learning and good luck, as a cheap form of entertainment was unacceptable:
Lord Ganesh is one of the most important gods or deities for the Hindu religion and they are making fun of him, making money out of him.
Nevada's self-proclaimed Hindu statesman , and perennial whinger, Rajan Zed, issued a statement declaring that the Lord Ganesh was meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be made a laughing stock on theatre stages.
Zed's statement snowballed into a flurry of protest, mainly from the US, but also from within Australia, again by people who had neither seen the play, nor read the script. Before long, Back to Back Theatre was receiving a virulent stream of
emails, with some messages so abusive it became clear that the company had to take the matter seriously.
A meeting was called at the Office of Multicultural Affairs, attended by representatives of Victoria's Hindu community, Back to Back Theatre, and relevant government agencies. A person in attendance told me that many of the Hindu community's
older members were moderate in their approach and felt that it was wrong to protest before having seen the play. Some younger Hindus, though, wanted the play banned, or, at the very least, the script vetted.
Back to Back refused to cancel the play or allow the script to be vetted. However, the company did resolve to remove inappropriate references from its website and promotional material and to display warnings alerting theatre patrons to the play's
content. It also invited Hindu community representatives to attend the play's opening night - the invitation was accepted.
But it remains disconcerting that some religious people feel it is their right to sabotage creativity and censor thought. They demand respect for their beliefs, but seem to show little for those of others. Their over-reactions play directly into
the themes of this show - which explores abuses of power, and asks who has the right to tell certain stories.
After just three episodes, NBC has canceled their new TV series The Playboy Club as a result of low ratings and nutter 'outrage', drawing praise from many family organizations and faith-based groups that avidly sought to close the club.
The drama, based on the chain of Playboy nightclubs started by Hugh Hefner in the 1960s, drew strong opposition before it premiered on September 19.
Though the first episode debuted to 5 million viewers, the ratings fell dramatically thereafter, eventually leading producers to cut the show.
Groups like Morality in Media and the Parents Television Council campaigned aggressively to bring what they claimed to be a demeaning and pro-porn show to an end quickly.
Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media, said in a statement:
It is great news that The Playboy Club is canceled after just three episodes,
Clearly viewers are not interested in supporting the brand that normalized pornography and caused immeasurable harm to women, children, and to the men who became addicted to porn.
For the Parents Television Council, President Tim Winter said:
We're pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women Bringing 'The Playboy Club' to broadcast television was a poor programming decision from the start.
We are grateful to every member of the public who responded to our call to take action against this attempt to mainstream a brand that is synonymous with the pornography industry. We hope other broadcasters heed the important lessons of this
Ricky Martin's tour to Honduras has angered Catholic and evangelical nutters who have asked the government to bar his entry because he's a gay dad.
Honduras Minister of Interior, Africo Madrid, told local newspaper El Heraldo that the religious leaders have solicited that he deny a visa to Martin in order to protect the moral and ethical principles of our society .
Madrid claims that the religious leaders particularly object to Martin's non-traditional family: His nuclear family is not the type of family that Honduran society, and laws, approve of.
Politicians and bishops across Poland are 'shocked' by the presence of a Satanic rock star on a popular television talent show.
National television station TVP has appointed Adam Nergal Darski, the lead singer and guitarist of death metal group Behemoth, as judge for a talent show for singers. From October onward, Nergal will work as a coach supporting the 12
singers now competing in The Voice of Poland.
Nergal became a hate figure for many Polish nutters after tearing up a Bible during a concert in September 2007. He was just recently acquitted of violating blasphemy laws in connection with the Bible tearing performance.
Nutter clergy are collecting signatures after Sunday masses for a petition against Nergal being on the program.
Bishop Wieslaw Mering wrote to TVP, complaining that:
the engagement of a self-confessed Satanist ... on public television surpasses all limits of decency.
In September, a parliamentary commission dealing with culture and the media adopted a resolution by the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party condemning the board of TVP for hiring a Satanist who publicly offends Christian values.
The resolution was passed by a comfortable majority as members of the governing liberal-conservative Civic Platform party failed to show up at the commission meeting.
Parliamentarian Jan Dziedziczak from the Law and Justice party said:
It is unacceptable that Christians can be insulted in this Catholic country. We demand that this is forbidden in Poland, and definitely not allowed with our money and our licence fees.
In a TVP interview, Nergal said:
I don't think of myself as the messiah of death metal who only stands for the extreme, he said. I simply love music.
Russian orthodox church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin, spokesman for the Moscow patriarchate, called for novels by Nabokov and Garcia Marquez to be banned.
Chaplin's demand that Russia's government investigate and limit the use of the books was his church's latest attempt to impose religious norms on the Russian people.
Chaplin discussed Nabokov's Lolita and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude on Ekho Moskvy radio, accusing both of justifying paedophilia .
The priest later elaborated in comments carried by Interfax, saying the authors' works should not be included in high school curriculums as they romanticise perverted passions that make people unhappy . Obviously, the popularisation of
these novels in schools will not make our society more morally happy.
Mikhail Shvydkoi, a Kremlin envoy for international cultural co-operation, disagreed, saying such action by authorities would badly hurt Russia's image.
Nabokov published Lolita in English in 1955. The book, which describes a relationship of a middle-aged intellectual with his 12-year-old stepdaughter, was briefly banned in several European countries. The Colombian novelist Garcia Marquez was
awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a complex historical cum adult fairy tale acclaimed as a masterpiece.