The Halo Halo! column from the March 2016 issue of the Socialist Standard
There’s no clear winner amongst the various religions to have their absurdities recorded in the Standard this month. Despite the usual stiff competition from Islam, the followers of Jesus have again fought back to prove that Allah does not have the monopoly on stupidity. And as it’s been such a close thing, this month we’re including some of the most moronic examples from both over the last few weeks.
We start with a couple of examples of devotion to Allah by his young followers. One aged 20 in the city of Raqqa in Syria, and one by a 15 year-old in Pakistan.
In January one of Allah’s 20 year-old, bumfluff-bearded Isis fighters in Syria, who, after being warned by his mother that Isis would probably be wiped out and being encouraged to leave, came to the conclusion that this amounted to the crime against Allah of apostasy, and publicly executed her with a rifle.
And in Pakistan, during an event praising Muhammed with songs and poetry, the mullah challenged anyone who did not love the prophet to raise their hand. One fifteen year-old boy, mishearing the question raised his hand and was denounced by the cleric as a ‘blasphemer who was liable to be killed’. The boy rushed home in tears, hacked off his hand and returned to the mosque and presented it to the mullah to show his remorse. The mullah was arrested, but released after pressure from other clerics. The boy’s father said he was proud of his son’s actions. Devotion to Allah, it seems, knows no bounds.
Back here in the UK the ‘worship leader’ of the New Chapel Unitarian meeting place in Denton, Manchester was preparing to carry out their first transgender baptism. (Yes, we’ve come across this before in the Halo-Halo column, see July 2015 issue). But this time it concerns a 10 year-old child. Yes, baptisms are regularly carried out on small children, we know, but a transgender baptism being inflicted on a 10 year old?
If consenting adults choose to do this in the privacy of their own home, then that’s no-one's business but their own. But exposing a ten year old to the sexual hang-ups of an imaginary old man with a beard who lives in the sky surely amounts to child abuse.
And in Peckham, home turf of Del boy and Rodney, a ‘Fake Archbishop’ has been flogging budget supermarket olive oil as miracle cure for cancer, said an article in the Sun (25 Jan 2016). Gilbert Deya, or ‘The Bishop of Peckham’, as his flock know him, apparently charges £5 for the Aldi £1.99 olive oil.
This wonder oil not only cures cancer, it seems, but also the HIV virus, broken arms and legs, and makes debts disappear. Oh, and The Archbishop of Peckham is apparently also wanted in Kenya on baby stealing charges.
The Sun seems to have missed the bigger story here though. If a ‘fake’ Archbishop can dress up in robes and a silly hat and convince his punters that his cheapo olive oil has miraculous powers, consider the superior magical skills of the ‘genuine’ bishops, vicars and priests who, up and down the country, week after week splash ‘holy water’ about, turn wine and wafers into the blood and body of Christ, and feed it to their flocks. Now that, as Paul Daniels would say, is magic. This ‘fake’ Archbishop is clearly a bumbling amateur.