Hey, Skepchick readers! I’m back with lots of links to interesting news items for you to catch up with your skeptical news from around the world. For this edition I had a lot of help from you guys, so thanks for sending in links! Check out what we came up with after the jump.
POLAND (from jes3ica)
I bet fundies haven’t considered one potential pro of living under a communist regime: less demonic possessions. Hey, I didn’t make that up! Father Aleksander Posacki, a professor of philosophy, theology and leading demonologist and exorcist in Poland says the free market capitalism that substituted atheist communism is to blame for the rise of occultism (which leads to demonic possessions, obviously). The problem is so bad that even with the increase in the number of exorcist priests from 4 to 120 since 1989, there’s a three-month waiting list for exorcisms in Warsaw. Fortunately, Catholic priests are not going to let the demons win and are launching Exorcist magazine, a monthly publication devoted to all things demon-expel-y. “Authentic exorcisms” are free, said the priest, but the magazine will cost about 3 dollars. That, my friends, is fighting
zlotis with zlotis fire with fire.
COSTA RICA (partly from Sasha Pixlee)
Costa Rica is famous for being a peaceful country with amazing tropical forests and volcanoes. It has beautiful beaches, no army, an almost perfect human rights record, and, most importantly: SLOTHS. What’s not to like about Costa Rica, right? Turns out, they are facing trial in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the doubtful honor of being the only country in the world where in vitro fertilization (IVF) is illegal. The procedure was perfectly* legal until 2000 (*if by “perfectly” you mean only available to married couples. WTF, right?). But some devout Catholics didn’t think this was restrictive enough and got the Supreme Court to ban the procedure, stating that discarding fertilized embryos is a violation of the right to life. People affected by the ban decided to take the issue to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which sided with the claimants and gave Costa Rica two years to change the law. Some efforts were made to amend the law, but no agreement was reached and they are now in court. The ruling is expected for mid-November.
Get your act together, Costa Rica. You’re on my douchy-country-list until you correct this, even if you do have adorable Sloth Money:
PALESTINE (from Stacey)
A group of women in Hebron have united to form an all-female list for the upcoming municipal elections, the first in 35 years. Their aim is to prove that women can lead as well as men and, if they succeed in getting support, form a political party. They are campaigning door to door to reach directly to their target audience, other women. Although there are women in Palestinian politics*, only 16% of women in the West Bank are in the workforce, so even if they don’t succeed in getting elected, they believe their effort challenges the taboos ingrained in Hebron society.
*Including this 15 year old girl who was chosen to be the Mayor in a West Bank town for two months as part of an initiative to empower youth and involve them in the decision-making process.
CANADA (from myriadwords)
The town of Morinville, near Edmonton, finally got a public (and secular) school. Until last year, the town of 8,500 people only had schools operated by a Catholic school district, with a faith-based curriculum and no way of opting out of mass or prayer. Parents demanded a secular option, so the neighboring school division stepped in last year and started a school in temporary facilities. This year they have their own building and a fire-breathing green dragon as a mascot.
MEXICO (from Bug)
The city of Oaxaca has installed 250 security cameras to make the city center safer, and has hired deaf personnel to do the monitoring. The guy in charge of the program (with a name and title you’re not interested in and which would occupy more space than this sentence) claims that their “very developed sense of sight” allows them to better detect what is happening on the screen. As far as I could find, there is no conclusive evidence that deaf people have enhanced visual skills, but being able to read lips and probably having better attentional processing of the peripheral visual field. does sound like an advantage for this job. I sincerely hopes this works out and extended to other places.
The Granada Laica (Secular Granada) Association has filed a noise complaint against a convent of cloistered nuns. Sadly, the noise is not caused by wild parties, but by the bells they toll to call the 7 nuns that live in the convent to mass. At 6:00am! The area has plenty of other churches that do the same thing, violating the city’s noise regulations, but this one was clearly the loudest and the neighbors were complaining. The Mother Superior has agreed to look into other ways to call to mass, (might I suggest a wake up call service?), and added:
“Now a days, since people don’t believe, even the bells are a bother, they have always been the voice of God”.
Well, God should keep it down and get off my lawn!