God Made Them Do It (Jan/Feb 2001)

God sent attackers. Two Rastafarians who set a cathedral ablaze and killed a nun in St. Lucia in the Caribbean, told police they were sent by God to combat corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. Source: Associated Press/Lincoln [NE] Journal/Star, Jan. 2, 2001

Bible made him do it. A court in Cranbrook, British Columbia, rejected defendant Darryl McDowell’s plea that the bible gave him the right to discipline his family with a 30-inch wooden rod, finding him guilty of assault in early November.

God’s warrior nabbed. A Pennsylvania man who said God called him to be a “warrior” by killing abortion providers and who claimed “the Lord made me invisible” once when escaping from police was convicted in Illinois of various federal charges. Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 7, 2000

Religion dangerous for mental health. Mississippi mother Sharon Cross Gray told neighbors that Jesus and God told her to stab her 2-year-old daughter on the front steps of her church. The condition of the toddler was not reported. Gray’s sister was found innocent by reason of insanity for killing her son, 11, by slitting his throat in 1998. Source: [Macon] Telegraph, Nov. 29, 2000

Muslim tragedy. San Francisco-area police have charged Kenneth Earl Tyson Jr., with killing girlfriend Naima Melody Johnson the day after she removed her traditional Muslim headdress and put on makeup to serve as maid of honor at a friend’s wedding. Source: AP/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin [Ontario, CA], Dec. 15, 2000

Couple acquitted. A faith-healing couple was acquitted of child abuse charges for waiting hours to seek medical help after their 2-year-old son died from brain-swelling after being stung 432 times by yellow jackets. Prosecutors were forbidden to tell the jury that Whylie and Kelly Johnson, Melbourne, Fl., belong to a Christian sect equating medicine with sorcery. Source: Los Angeles Times, Aug. 4, 2000

Ouch! Convicted Brazilian rapist Flavio dos Santos Cruz, 23, sliced off his penis and flushed it down the toilet, saying the amputation would bring him closer to God, citing instructions from the Sermon on the Mount. Source: Reuters, Jan. 5, 2001

God is a nudist? An agitated man apprehended by police in Oshkosh, WI, for walking naked down a street explained “I am God,” and recommended that “all people should get undressed.” Source: Capital Times, May 24, 2000
Ashcroft: “Jesus Is King”

Former Missouri U.S. Senator John Ashcroft, expected as of presstime to be approved as U.S. Attorney General, was handpicked by the Religious Right, according to a news story in the Jan. 7 New York Times. The Times noted that if confirmed, Ashcroft “would reach the highest office ever attained by a leading figure of the Christian right.”

In response to media pressure, Bob Jones University, where Ashcroft accepted an honorary degree in 1999, released the video transcript of his remarks there. Ashcroft told the segregationist college:

“Unique among nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus.”

In a statement, the Foundation noted: “The founding fathers who threw off the yokes of kings and monarchies likewise ensured through our founding document that government and citizens would not be yoked by the tyranny of religion. . . .

“Ashcroft’s intemperate, inaccurate and inflammatory remarks at Bob Jones University raise a red flag that should alarm any thoughtful individual. Many U.S. citizens are unbelievers, Jews and other nonChristians who do not recognize Jesus as ‘king,’ nor do the vast majority of nominally religious, unchurched Americans.”
BSA, UW Tie Leaves “Sauer” Taste

The Freedom From Religion Foundation contacted the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January over its concerns about UW men’s hockey coach Jeff Sauer fundraising for the Boy Scouts of America on UW time. The local Boy Scouts of America, in a news release announcing a $3.5 million fundraising drive, said Sauer would “kick off” the fundraising at a UW hockey game.

“We believe that Mr. Sauer is free to aid the Boy Scouts as much as he likes–but only on his own time and property,” Annie Laurie Gaylor wrote Chancellor John Wiley.

The University responded that Sauer would not be allowed do a fundraising pitch at the game. However, officials said any groups that sell group tickets at a discount are introduced before the game. The troop was also given use of a suite where Sauer greeted ticketholders prior to the game.

Gaylor censured the University for failing to join the many cities, public schools and corporations that have have cut off ties with Boy Scouts.

The Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing the leadership of Reform Judaism, sent a memo in January to Reform Congregations nationwide urging them to sever ties with Boy Scouts because “of values and ethics that conflict with ours.”

Churches and rightwing groups are threatening to overturn anti-gay ordinances in Broward County and Miami-Dade County, Florida, in response to cut-offs of public aid to Boy Scouts.

Freedom From Religion Foundation