June 12, 2019
Short answer – No.
Long answer – Of course not.
Throughout each hurricane season, locals leave candles and say prayers at The Grotto at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, hoping they can pray away a storm striking the island.
Throughout each hurricane season, locals leave candles and say prayers at The Grotto at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, hoping they can pray away a storm striking the island.
Kay Thomas knows she can’t do much when a hurricane is approaching the Florida Keys.
She can stock up on supplies, evacuate from the island chain, or ride it out like she did during 2017’s Hurricane Irma — which spared her hometown of Key West but severely damaged Keys neighborhoods to the north.
But there is one thing she does at the start of each hurricane season: pray.
“That’s about the best I can do,” Thomas said. “I feel better even though I know that just me alone, I’m not moving mountains.”
Every June 1, locals like Thomas flock to an Old Town church in an effort to pray away storms from directly striking the island.
The candles flicker in an outdoor space at The Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea, 1010 Windsor Lane, called the Grotto.
Thomas, who describes herself as a spiritual seeker rather than religious, offers a prayer every month, from June 1 through the end of November.
“I light one at the beginning and then as they begin to manifest the Grotto gets extra candles,” Thomas said. “It makes me feel like I can do something.”
The Grotto is formally called Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, which dates back to 1922 and honors Sister Louis Gabriel.
Key West lore says the candle prayer ritual works when it comes to staving off hurricanes from the tiny island. A major storm hasn’t struck the island since the Grotto was created.
Hurricane Wilma swamped the island in 2005 and Hurricane Georges came across in 1998. But the island has been spared — so far.
At the time of the Grotto’s installation, Sister Gabriel had lived on the island since 1897 and had survived three major hurricanes, including the 1919 direct hit that left destruction across Key West.
Apparently, Sister Gabriel always said that as long as the Grotto was standing, “Key West would never experience the full brunt of a hurricane.”
After one horrible season in the early 2000s, one local shop put up a sign that read, “Canes 0, Grotto 3,” locals remember.
Still, plenty of Key West residents know from experience that prayers aren’t always enough to keep hurricanes at bay.
Dina DiMartino lost her home and her entire neighborhood to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when she lived in a New Orleans suburb, St. Bernard Parish, where the levee system failed.
“The biggest part was losing where I grew up,” DiMartino said. “I go back and visit, but St. Bernard will never be the same. It’s such a small community like Key West. All the other stuff was just stuff.”
DiMartino, 48, a Louisiana native who taught school for 12 years before Katrina and then ran a security business, learned about the Grotto when she moved to Key West in 2012.
“I go with my three candles and make a donation and pray hard to keep our community protected,” she said. “I’ve done that every June 1. But I have to say, the days before Irma I went there a little bit more.”
The numbers of praying locals grew larger as Irma approached, she remembers.
“I grew up Catholic but have explored other thing,” DiMartino said of her spirituality. “I’m open-minded, not deeply religious. I’m a very superstitious person. I don’t know if that comes with growing up in New Orleans.”
What the fuck does that mean? What’s the difference between being religious and being superstitious?
May 18, 2019
An American pastor from New Jersey backed by a British former clairvoyant is running a network that gives up to 50,000 Ugandans a “miracle cure” made from industrial bleach, claiming drinking the toxic fluid eradicates cancer, HIV/Aids, malaria and most other diseases.
The network, led by pastor Robert Baldwin and part-funded by Sam Little from Arlesey in Bedfordshire, is one of the most extensive efforts yet to distribute the “miracle cure” known as MMS, or “miracle mineral solution”. The Guardian has learned that poor Ugandans, including infants as young as 14 months old, are being given chlorine dioxide, a product that has no known health benefit and can be extremely dangerous.
Baldwin, 52, is importing bulk shipments of the components of MMS, sodium chlorite and citric acid, into Uganda from China. The two chemicals are mixed to produce chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleach used in the textile industry.
The American pastor has “trained” about 1,200 clerics in Uganda on administering the “miracle cure” and each in turn uses it to treat about 50 congregants, usually after Sunday service. As an inducement, Baldwin is offering smartphones to those clerics who are especially “committed” to spreading the bleach cure.
Baldwin operates under a ministry he founded called Global Healing. The “church” advertises itself as “using the power of Almighty God … to greatly reduce the loss of life” in Africa.
Yet in a phone conversation with Fiona O’Leary, a campaigner against quack medicine who spoke to him while posing as a freelance journalist, Baldwin said he distributed the bleach through churches to “stay under the radar”.
“We don’t want to draw any attention,” he said during the call, a recording of which has been heard by the Guardian. “When you draw attention to MMS you run the risk of getting in trouble with the government or drug companies. You have to do it low key. That’s why I set it up through the church.”
He added that as a further precaution he uses euphemisms on Facebook, where he raises money through online donations. “I don’t call it MMS, I call it ‘healing water’, to protect myself. They are very sophisticated. Facebook has algorithms that can recognize ‘MMS’.”
Baldwin, who trained as a student nurse and is understood to have no other medical expertise, said he chose Uganda because it was a poor country with weak regulation. Speaking from New Jersey, where he is based, he told O’Leary: “America and Europe have much stricter laws so you are not as free to treat people because it is so controlled by the FDA. That’s why I work in developing countries.”
He added: “Those people in poor countries they don’t have the options that we have in the richer countries – they are much more open to receiving the blessings that God has given them.”
Asked how babies and children were treated with MMS, he said the dose was reduced by half. “Little tiny infants can take a small amount, they will spit it out. It causes no harm – they just get diarrhea.”
The Guardian contacted Baldwin by phone in New Jersey and asked the pastor to explain his work in Uganda. He said: “We use natural healing therapies to help people – that’s something Christians do.”
Then he said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea to be talking to the media right now.”
Asked what doses of bleach he was using in Africa, he abruptly ended the call.
March 24, 2019
Sex convict rabbi Eliezer Berland promises he can revive people who were officially declared brain dead, if family members pony up some NIS 20,000 ($5,400), according to a television report on Thursday that exposed the working of the miracles-for-cash services offered by the shadowy leader of the Shuvu Bonim community.
Berland has long been known to offer “pidyonim,” or kabbalistic benedictions, to the ill, whereby they receive a blessing after donating money. In late-night visits, and surrounded by dozens of followers, Berland frequently shows up at Israeli hospitals across the country, unattended by staff, to bless the sick, according to footage uploaded by his followers.
Israeli journalists from Channel 12 news, seeking to unearth how it works and after encountering victims of Berland’s scheme, invented the case of a 35-year-old woman, “Yael,” who was declared brain dead.
They contacted Berland’s aide Natan, who was initially circumspect, saying he would have to check as it was a case of brain death. “If it wasn’t brain death, I would promise you that he would revive her,” he tells them, tacitly acknowledging the irreversible loss of all cognitive functioning.
But getting back to them after consulting with Berland, Natan says his mentor is confident he can do it. It would cost NIS 20,000, he says, vowing that the woman will be brought back to life. “At least once a week, the rabbi revives the dead in all sorts of ways in the hospital,” the Berland aide reassures them.
After they balk at the price, Natan puts Berland on the line.
“Bring NIS 20,000 within an hour, at 1 a.m. I’ll be at Rambam [medical center in Haifa],” the rabbi tells them.
“Wait, but Rabbi Berland, the doctors said she’s brain dead,” interjects Channel 12 reporter Yoav Even.
“The rabbi knows this,” replies Natan the aide.
“Yes, I can revive her. I’ve already revived people who were brain dead, who were totally paralyzed, people with cancer… against which they didn’t stand a chance,” Berland says, adding that he performed “total miracles, total miracles.”
“If you bring me NIS 20,000, she’ll wake up. There will be a miracle. Her brain will start to work, you’ll see her brain starting to work,” said Berland.
Natan later updated the journalists that Berland would offer the blessing remotely after the money was transferred, and wouldn’t show up at the hospital.
In a statement to the TV station, associates of Berland insisted that his religious services do not cost money.
“There is a matter of pledging money to charity during a time of suffering. The rabbi himself blesses and prays and doesn’t deal with money at all. If the money comes, it’s immediately distributed to the needy,” a statement from his associates said.
“We are witness to hundreds and thousands of stories of people who were saved by the blessings of the rabbi, which are supernatural,” the statement added.
Activists who have spoken to The Times of Israel in the past have cited several cases of followers who, they say, have sold their houses or have been plunged into debt for these benedictions, in what they argue is tantamount to extortion by a cult-like leader with undue influence over his followers.
The donations — provided by ostensibly consenting adults for a religious service — are not illegal under Israeli law.
In a recording recently obtained by The Times of Israel, which is punctuated by derisive laughter by his followers, Berland boasted of exploiting a woman who donated tens of thousands of dollars.
Long considered a cult-like leader to thousands of his followers, Berland fled Israel in 2013 amid allegations that he had sexually assaulted several female followers. After evading arrest for three years and slipping through various countries, Berland, 81, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in November 2016 on two counts of indecent acts and one case of assault, as part of a plea deal that included seven months of time served. He was freed just five months later, in part due to ill health.
He can raise the dead but can’t cure his own health problems. Hmmm.
Since then, he has resumed his activities as the leader of the Shuvu Bonim community, an offshoot of the Bratslav Hasidic sect that has been disavowed by the broader Bratslav dynasty.
July 23, 2018
The Turin Shroud is a fake. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
That is the verdict of Catholic Bishop Pierre d’Arcis who has written to tell the Pope it was “a clever sleight of hand” by someone “falsely declaring this was the actual shroud in which Jesus was enfolded in the tomb to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them”.
Admittedly, since Bishop d’Arcis was writing in 1390, to Pope Clement VII rather than Pope Francis, this is not exactly new news.
But since some have refused to believe the bishop’s findings, or the 1988 carbon dating showing the shroud was from the medieval, not the Biblical era, or the subsequent debunking of claims disputing the carbon dating, scientists today are still studying the Turin Shroud.
And they are still concluding it is fake.
Some believe the Turin Shroud shows the face of Jesus – claims it is a forgery date back to at least 1390 (Shutterstock / I. Pilon)
In the latest, but almost certainly not final instalment, they have used modern forensic techniques to show that apparent blood spatters on the shroud could only have been produced by someone moving to adopt different poses – rather than lying still, in the manner of a dead and yet to be resurrected Messiah.
Forensic scientist Dr Matteo Borrini of Liverpool John Moores University and Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia used a living volunteer and real and synthetic blood to try to simulate possible ways that the apparent bloodstains could have got onto the shroud.
They concluded that two short rivulets of possible blood on the left hand of the shroud’s ghostly figure could only have been formed by someone who was upright with their arms at an angle of about 45 degrees.
This could be consistent with someone who had been crucified with their arms held in a Y shape. Unfortunately for shroud believers, however, the forearm blood stains would require the dead body to have been wrapped in the shroud with their arms in a different position – held almost vertically above their head, rather than at an angle of 45 degrees.
The researchers, whose findings have been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, formed the opinion that the supposed blood spatters seem to have fallen vertically and almost randomly from someone who might well have been standing over the cloth, rather than lying in it.
When it came to the supposed lance wound, their article A BPA [Blood Pattern Analysis] Approach to the Shroud of Turin concluded: “The BPA of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) shows that the shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position while the stains at the back—of a supposed post-mortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse—are totally unrealistic.”
July 23, 2018
Pastor Attempting To Walk On Water Like Jesus Is Eaten By Crocodiles In, I Kid You Not, ‘Crocodile River’
September 5, 2017
Three very disrespectful, but no longer hungry, crocodiles.
Jonathan Mthethwa was killed by three crocodiles as he carried out a religious demonstration in Zimbabwe.
Shocked witnesses said the clergyman had “prayed the whole week” before the stunt went tragically wrong.
He had also fasted in the lead-up to the attempted miracle, which was inspired by a Biblical tale of Jesus walking on water during a storm.
Horrified members of the Saint of the Last Days Church said the pastor was completely devoured in a “couple of minutes”.
He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten.
He had waded around 30 metres into what was known locally as ‘Crocodile River’. At this point he had promised his congregation he would rise up above the water. Ah, Zimbabwe, the Mississippi of Africa.
Instead he was brutally attacked by a group of crocodiles who had been hidden in the deep water.
Deacon Nkosi said: “The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week.
“He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten by three large crocodiles in front of us.
“We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week.”
No one can understand what could have gone wrong. The pastor waded into the ‘Crocodile River’ and got eaten by, of all things, crocodiles. Go figure. No one could have seen that coming. Right?
October 29, 2015
Jesus spotted in a brain scan, but the patient’s doctor doesn’t see it.
A scan of a stroke victim’s brain following emergency surgery reveals what her husband claims is a sign of divine intervention. A “figure” in the MRI looked to them both like an apparition of Jesus Christ.
When Tamaha MacDonald and his wife Jennifer Lougee Mingramm returned home from the hospital after Lougee Mingramm suffered a stroke, they started looking through a pile of X-rays taken during her treatment. The pair, who live in Mexico City, spotted an unusual image in an X-ray of Lougee Mingramm’s brain.
“We were both convinced we could see a face,” MacDonald said.
Although their doctor did not spot the resemblance, MacDonald, Lougee Mingramm and her family were convinced that an image at the centre of the scan depicted Jesus Christ.
After careful examination and a few hits on the ol’ bong, we at FuckThePope.com have concluded that the image is probably that of Artimus Pyle from the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
October 26, 2015
A rash of Jesus sightings have appeared recently in mudslides and coffee cups, on marmalite lids, tacos, treestumps and burned frying pans.
Our favorite sighting was this one from the UK –
Sarah Crane, from Orpington, was stunned when she hung her laundry out to dry and discovered the face of Jesus staring back at her from a crumpled sock. The 44-year-old said the image immediately renewed her faith in God.
Miss Crane was so impressed by the clarity of the face she even built a shrine to the holy image.
‘I called my boyfriend over straight away – we could both clearly see the face of Jesus in the sock. There is a straight-on face, and a side profile too – we couldn’t believe it.’
Oddly enough, neither could we,
If you are a theist of any persuasion, ask yourself if your own beliefs are somehow less ridiculous than this.
Claims The More You Pay The More You Pass
Sure, cheating is a Christian value, right?
October 21, 2015
Harare, Zimbabwe – A Local prophet is raising more questions than answers after selling ballpoints to congregants during his church service on Sunday, claiming that they are anointed.
Prophet Sham Hungwe of House of Grace International Church, who operates at Machipisa Shopping Centre, distributed hundreds of pens to people who are about to sit for exams.
The pens which cost at least 15 cents were being sold for different amounts ranging between US$1 and US$20 depending on what you can afford.
Prophet Sham said those who are sitting for their exams only needed faith and the anointed pen to pass. “It is anointed and I declare passes when your children sit for exams; when you sit for your exams ,” he said.
With the ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level examinations around the corner, the pens sold like hot cakes and congregants were seen scrambling to the pulpit to get them.
“They (pens) are said to work for anyone who is sitting for any test. My son is not very bright and I think this will help him. With the knowledge he has acquired and this pen from the man of God, I think it is going to work.”
One female congregants parted ways with more than US$10 for a pen as they were told the more they give, the more their faith and the more their children will pass.
One of the congregants testified that he scored 14 points at ‘A’ Level last year after using the pen he was given by Prophet Sham.
Prophet Sham went on to perform a number of miracles before thousands of worshippers who attended the service. A number of people gave testimonies of deliverance after getting prayers and anointing water from the man of God.
Wow, how does he do it???
February 15, 2015
Today in Starkville, Alabama an image of the Virgin Mary appeared on a potatp chip, much to the amazement of Harlene Klepner, single mother of four. “I almost bit into it but when I realized that I was looking at a genuine miracle I put it on the table and fell to my knees in prayer. I think it’s a sign that my husband will return. He went out for a newspaper eleven months ago and hasn’t come back. Now that I have the Mother of God on my side I’m sure things will work out. Just in time because I’m pregnant again.”
Ms. Klepner said that she will put the potato chip for sale on Ebay. “I think I could get as much as fifty dollars for it. Who wouldn’t want to own an image of the Virgin Mary? I sure would.”
On the very same day in Price, Utah the image of a potato chip appeared on a statue of the Virgin Mary in the local, but poorly attended, Catholic Church. Father Patrick Kelly, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Misery Church said,”I certainly never expected a miracle of this magnitude to occur in our modest parish. It’s mostly Mormons around here, so I sort of expected that if there were any miracles they would happen in their church or temple or whatever the hell those heathens call it. Route 191 to Price will soon be jammed with the cars of the faithful as they come to see the ‘Ruffles Virgin’. You’ll see,” said Father Kelly with a manic gleam in his eye.
Was it a coincidence that these two miracles occurred on the same day? We think not.