Global Quickies: 2012.11.24

Happy Primate Pride Day everyone! What is Primate Pride Day, you ask? Is a holiday started by the Colombian atheist blog Sin Dioses in 2010 to celebrate that we are proud to be related to apes and to promote the teaching of evolution. So stick your opposible thumbs up for this holiday and go celebrate! But first, read the news items I found for you for this edition of the Global Quickies after the jump:


The Good: A Colombian Catholic priest ordained in Canada has been marrying gay couples in Colombia. The local clerics are not happy about this, and say he doesn’t have permission to perform the rites in the country. I’m sure he’s giving a lot of comfort to the religious same sex couples he’s marrying.
The bad: a 30 day old infant is said to walk and laugh like an adult in the state of Cordoba. Some of the townspeople believe he is possessed, while others say it’s a miracle. The mother confirms this is happening and says she sometimes finds the baby under the crib, in a suitcase, in the washing machine, or inside the fridge. Some say his little body breaths fire, as burns have been seen in his legs and in the crib, but they’re most likely matches thrown by criminal asshole neighbours. The authorities have been called to check on the situation.
The Terrible: A 4 day-old baby girl from the embera-chamí indian community was taken to the hospital in critical condition after a botched FGM procedure. Since it was discovered that some indian communities perform FGM, the UN has led the efforts to eradicate the practice. It was just this October that representatives of all indian communities confirmed their agreement to stop performing FGM. This little girl, who is now stable, is the 10th girl from that state to end up in the hospital this year.

The good: A federal prosecutor for the state of Sao Paulo has filed a motion to take out the phrase “Deus seja louvado” (praise god) from banknotes because it violates the rights of non-Christians and non-believers. The phrase was introduced the in currency in 1986 during the José Sarney presidency, and was kept with the change of currency in 1994 by the then Minister of Finance (and later president), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, because it was “tradition”. Sarney, now Senate majority leader, says this proposal was made by people who have nothing better to do, and that he feels sorry for people who don’t believe in god. Brazil is a secular country and there is no law authorizing the inclusion of the phrase, but the central bank has responded by saying that the phrase should stay because it’s not referring to a specific religious doctrine.
The ridiculous: Catholic priest says the church prohibits masturbation even when done for testing purposes. If you really want your semen tested, there are moral alternatives, like surgery or retrieving it from your wife’s vagina.

The bad (from blakut): When cartoonist-turned-politician Bal Thackeray died a few days ago, the city of Mumbai shut down almost completely. Thackeray was an advocate of Hindu nationalism, and the founder of the powerful Shiv Sena nationalist movement. He was divisive and was said to cause tensions between Hindus and Muslims. On Saturday, a 21 year old woman noted on her Facebook page that “People like Thackeray are born and die daily and one should not observe a ‘bandh’ [shutdown] for that.” For this, she and a friend of hers who “liked” the comment were arrested. Why am I talking about it on Skepchick? The women were accused of “hurting religious sentiments”. You can add political repression to your “This Is What’s Wrong with Blasphemy Laws” list. (I know it was already in there, but just go ahead and double-underline it).
The god-awful: The police stopped a baby from being sacrificed by five tantriks and the baby’s parents. Four of the tantriks were arrested, but one of them escaped with the baby. The baby had been sick for a few days and the treatment had not been effective, so the parents consulted a tantrik (soothsayer) who proposed a sacrifice that would relieve their son of suffering and that could lead to them finding gold in their house. The parents agreed and the other tantriks were called in. It was some of the villagers who saw the sacrificial pit and called the police.
A ten-year-old was killed last month in another town because a tantrik told some villagers that sacrificing a child would help them find a treasure.

As you probably already know, women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive and cannot leave the country without their husbands (or guardian’s) permission. Now, according to tons of reports with the same information apparently from the AFP (I couldn’t find the original story from AFP, they all link back to an article from the RawStory with the click-hunting title of “Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women”), Saudi men started receiving SMS alerts informing them when a woman in his custody is leaving the country, even if they are traveling together. The story broke when Manal al-Sherif, the woman behind last year’s campaign defying the driving ban, started talking about it on Twitter. According to this blogger, the system has been in place since 2010, but before a few days ago, you had to sign up for the service. (This guy thinks the outrage is about receiving an unsolicited SMS- because, really, this new system allows men to give their permission to their dependents to leave the country electronically instead of having to sign a “yellow slip”. It just saves time for everybody! Besides, this not only applies to wives, it also applies to other women dependents, children, and foreign workers in their custody, so it’s not misogyny!).
Edit: I just found the original story from AFP here.

JORDAN (From Portokali)
The Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Languages at Jordan University, Professor Rula Quawas, was dismissed from her post after a video made by her Feminist Theory students as a class project caused controversy on the media. In the video, female students hold signs with the catcalls and harassment they have suffered in the university campus. Professor Quawas received a call from the Vice President of the University of Jordan, furious that the video damaged the university’s reputation. Professor Quawas learned from the press of her dismissal from her post a few days later. Read the letter sent by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association to the President of the university for more details, where you can also find the official response from the University.

Here’s the video.

Please keep sending those links through our contact form!

Featured image from Blog Sin Dioses.


Born and raised in Mexico City, Daniela has finally decided to abdicate her post as an armchair skeptic and start doing some skeptical activism. She is currently living in Spain after having lived in the US, Brazil and Italy. You can also find her blogging in Spanish at

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  1. Daniela,

    A priest in Columbia is marrying gay couples? I can imagine why the local clerics are upset about that.

  2. Daniela,

    I should take the time for a few things:

    1) Thank you for this article directed to the English-speaking rationalist comunity, regarding the Primate Pride Day. It’s good to be heard in that big community, specially when our modest proposal (initially an idea of the biology specialist amongs our editors, Ferney Rodríguez Vargas but heartily embraced by many atheists and rationalists in the Latin-American countries) has already started creating ripples in several countries, where the corresponding parades have started appearing.

    2) I have to say that the blog is not “Colombian”. Not only, at least :D. Originally created by Juan Carlos Cisneros (from El Salvador) and Glenys Álvarez (from Dominican Republic), now the main contributors are Ferney (he’s Colombian, yes), Glenys and myself (from Argentina). And our intention is having a blog as neutral in national matters as possible, including news and information in Spanish as neuter Spanish as possible.

    3) It’s also worth pointing out that is our news-oriented publication. For more science-oriented and not so “moment-to-moment” but with a more “stable” attitude, our main site it’s also worth a look. In there you can find, among other things, a monthly science/opinion column by Glenys, biology topics, reflections on religion, and even some heathen literature. A page stating who we are and where we live can be found at

    Thank you again for your article.

    1. Thanks for the clarification! You guys do a great job with your blog. And please send in any news items that you think might be good for Global Quickies! I’m always on the lookout for stories that might be interesting for Skepchick readers.

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