Global Quickies: Apostasy, Exorcisms, and Martians

A Sudanese court has sentenced a woman to hang for apostasy for abandoning her religious faith after she married a Christian man. You can listen to Heina talk to the BBC about this and leaving the Muslim faith on this link.

Two witch doctors in Tanzania have been arrested after a woman with albinism was hacked to death.

A doctor will stand trial for the first time in Egypt on charges of female genital mutilation after the death of a 13-year-old girl last year. The girl’s father, who took her to the clinic, is also being tried in the landmark prosecution.

A man died during an exorcism that involved making him inhale smoke from a pot as the baba recited verses and moved an amulet.


Three family members brutally killed a woman with a sickle for marrying a man from a different caste.

A survey found that Uganda has suffered an alarming rise in attacks on gay and lesbian people since it passed an anti-homosexuality law late last year. The survey recorded 162 incidents since the legislation was passed by parliament. By comparison, Sexual Minorities Uganda recorded only eight incidents in the rest of 2013 and 19 in the whole of 2012.

The new president raised the rainbow diversity flag in the presidential residence and other public buildings in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The Catholic and Evangelical churches have, of course, criticized this action.

In a homily delivered Monday, Pope Francis said he’d totally baptize Martians if they showed up at the Vatican demanding to be baptized.

Featured image: The diversity flag flies next to the Costa Rican flag for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Lindsay Fendt/The Tico Times


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 esceptica.org.

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  1. Daniela,

    With few exceptions, I doubt many aliens would want to be baptized. I do have to give the new pontiff credit though for being open minded enough to accept the fact that they could exist. There was once a time when the church would put you to death for even suggesting that there could be worlds out there other than Earth. Giordano Bruno would be amazed by how much things have changed.

    Giordano Bruno

  2. Regarding the Pope and Martians, that’s actually a dogma within the Catholic Church, that if aliens exist, the Church must witness to them and be willing to accept their conversions.

    It’s a direct result of a few things. First, the Church has been on the wrong side of science wrt: astronomy so many times *cough*geocentrism*cough* that they actually are open to the idea of being wrong. And secondly, it relates to the old debate between Bartolomé de las Casas and Juan Gines de Sepulveda wrt: whether or not Indians could be considered human. (De las Casas, of course, won that debate, though his ad hoc hypothesis as to our origin is now pretty much only believed by Mormons.)

    That said, I always said that an Mormons see Indians in LDS as Jews for Jesus, but Indians see Indians in LDS as aliens from the Andromeda Galaxy who believe Earth is the center of the universe.

    Yeah, you’d be surprised at the treatment of albinos in Tanzania. It’s thought that the bones of albinos have medicinal properties.. But what’s the harm? (Spoiler alert: Every time I say “What’s the harm?”, it’s rhetorical.)

    1. I think what the Pope was trying to say was that they shouldn’t discriminate when it comes to baptism. He wants priests to stop denying rites to the children of unwed couples, single parents, LGBTQ people, etc. Which makes sense, they are losing followers and those populations are growing. I would think that the fact that he mentioned martians was incidental, but this Pope really knows what he’s doing when it comes to marketing. We wouldn’t be talking about it if he hadn’t talked about baptizing E.T.

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