"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Monday, May 23, 2016

Signs of the Times (May 23, 2016)

Signs of the Times (May 23, 2016)
Here is the latest madness from the modern world... I wish I were making this news up
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Holds First Official Marriage
 Legally recognized as a religious organization in New Zealand, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster cooked up its first official wedding this weekend. Marriage is the latest step members of this untraditional spiritual group have taken to be recognized as belonging to a legitimate, religious entity.

Toby Ricketts and Marianna Young of New Zealand got married this weekend, and they owe eternal happiness to a divine mass of noodles in the sky. At least that’s what they claim to believe. Both are devotees of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is legally recognized as a religion in New Zealand.
The couple boarded a charter vessel decorated as a pirate ship on Saturday. An FSM “ministeroni” gave them her blessing. The newlyweds also welcomed aboard friends, family, and fellow “pastafaris” as the church calls its followers.
"I wouldn't have got married any other way,” Young told Radio New Zealand. “A conventional marriage just didn't appeal."
Karen Martyn, who oversaw the ceremony, says the church has several weddings including same-sex marriages planned for New Zealand. The country legalized gay marriages last year.
"We will marry any consenting legal adults who meet the legal requirement," Martyn told DW.com.
Although some find the church to be downright silly or a hoax, Martyn insists the FSM church is not satirical and it will strive to be recognized as a legitimate religion worldwide.
Its next mission is to secure the right for its followers to wear colanders on their heads for driver’s license photos. The colander is one of the church’s staples along with celebrating “International Speak Like a Pirate Day.”
The FSM church was founded in Kansas City in 2005, where it grew out of protest. Founder Bobby Henderson wrote a letter to the local school board denouncing its implementation of creationism in the public school curriculum.
He argued that believing a giant spaghetti monster in the sky created the universe was no less valid than what public schools were teaching


Televangelist Benny Hinn Says Heaven Is an Actual “Heavenly Planet’

Televangelist Benny Hinn, best known for his “Miracle Crusades,” couldn’t help but talk about the beauty and grandeur of heaven after his mother Clemence passed away a day before Mother’s Day last Sunday. “By now, you have undoubtedly heard the news of my mom’s home-going. What a blessing it has been to receive so many wonderful messages of encouragement and comfort, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart,
on behalf of the entire Hinn family, for all that you have meant to us,” he wrote on his website. Some people may doubt the existence of heaven, but Hinn strongly believes the place exists because it is fashioned by God Himself. Hinn also assured Christians that God has wonderful things in store for them in heaven, adding that the Bible could help them get a glimpse of heaven. READ MORE

Street Fighter Protestant Televangelist Edition-


‘Transgender’ Preacher Tells Baptist Gathering ‘Angel of Reason’ Helped Affirm Desire to Be Woman

The nation’s first “transgender” Baptist preacher spoke to a national Baptist gathering on April 8, explaining that the doctor who delivered him as a baby was wrong in declaring him a boy, and that it was an “angel of reason” that caused him to accept his inclinations to identify as a woman. Daniel Robinson, who goes by the name Allyson Robinson, had been studying to be a pastor at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in 2005 when he began to wrestle with his gender identity as never before.
He had struggled with his desire to be a man since childhood. “I have known my entire life that the world was wrong about me, that on the day I was born, when the doctor took a cursory glance between my legs and authoritatively declared ‘It’s a boy,’ he was wrong—dead wrong,” Robinson told the Alliance of Baptists in St. Louis this month. READ MORE

Appeals court rules that teenagers have a right to use opposite sex’s showers, locker rooms 

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has decided a teenage girl has an inalienable right to use the boys' showers, locker rooms, and restrooms at her high school.

The American Civil Liberties Union brought suit against Gloucester High School in Virginia on behalf of Caitlyn Hope Grimm, a girl suffering from gender identity disorder. Grimm, who now goes by Gavin, asserts that she has the right to use the boys' bathrooms and facilities.
The ruling, which refers to Grimm as as a male, reverses U.S. District Court Judge Robert George Doumar's order disallowing Caitlyn to use the same facilities as teenage boys.
The federal appeals court granted a preliminary injunction against the school's policy of restricting high school facilities to members of the same sex but setting up other facilities for transgender students.  The school policy is now suspended until the case is decided in district court, where the case has been remanded.
The Obama Department of Justice intervened in the case, filing a "statement of interest" in support of gender-confused teens using opposite sex bathrooms and showers.
In 2014, the Obama Administration declared that Title IX law, which include anti-discrimination conditions for federal tax dollars, applies to transgender individuals, although the law does not cover them.  Obama's Department of Education, in turn, ordered all public schools to allow students to use the facilities based on their gender identity, rather than their biological sex.
The Fourth Circuit ruled that Judge Doumar “did not accord appropriate deference to the relevant Department of Education regulations.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which filed an amicus brief in the case, criticized the Fourth Circuit ruling, saying it “prevent[s] a Virginia school district from enforcing its policy that protects students’ privacy and safety by reserving restrooms and changing areas for members of the same biological sex, while providing an alternative private facility for students uncomfortable using a facility that corresponds with their biological sex.”
ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said, "Protecting students' privacy while using the restroom, showers, or locker rooms and not forcing them to share intimate settings with members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it's an important duty of officials who watch over our children."
"Federal courts across the country, including the 4th Circuit, have consistently upheld this constitutional right of privacy," Sharp noted.  "That's why it was so disappointing to see the 4th Circuit refuse to recognize the multitude of ways that its ruling would cause violations of that right."
“Title IX, the federal law that this lawsuit cites in its attempt to overturn the school district’s policy, does just the opposite of what the ACLU is arguing: Title IX specifically authorizes schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls,” Sharp said. “The policy is good because it accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”
The Fourth Circuit has jurisdiction over North Carolina, where Governor Pat McCrory recently signed a law striking down city ordinances demanding that businesses allow patrons to use the restrooms of the gender with which they identify.
McCrory panned the decision as “bad precedent.”
"The way I think we should have done it is to allow the high schools to make the appropriate arrangements for those students who have unique circumstances,” he said. “But this is the federal government, very similar to the Charlotte government, forcing brand new standards, that we’ve never seen before.”

"So, we have to evaluate the impact of this court ruling on existing legislation, on existing policy that we have throughout North Carolina, and I will do just that."


‘There was no love in this kid’s life’: Parents fed hot-dog smoothies to starving 6-year-old

In pictures, the 6-year-old boy seemed tall — but way too thin — donning a bulky orange T-shirt that read, “Halloween,” no doubt a costume for the day.
It was October 2013, prosecutors said, when the boy’s father, Christopher Sefton, and Sefton’s fiancee, Lori Lloyd, began to abuse and starve him, according to Seattlepi.com. The boy later told police that he had been surviving on “shakes” that, his father said, mashed together bread, carrots, hot dogs, water and vegetable oil for extra calories.
Medical personnel said that the boy’s abdomen was swollen, that his rib cage was flared and that the skin around his stomach was thinning — signs that he suffered from malnutrition and starvation, according to court records.
“There was no love in this kid’s life,” senior deputy prosecutor Cecelia Gregson said last month at the end of a months-long trial, according to Seattlepi.com.
Sefton and Lloyd, 31-year-olds from Auburn, Wash., were convicted of assault and criminal mistreatment. They were sentenced last week to 20 years in prison.
Gregson told Seattlepi.com that the judge deemed the sentence appropriate because the case “was exceptional in every way.”



Employee is suing his boss because his job was too boring

Bored at work? Try suing your employer.

That's what Parisian Frederic Desnard is doing. He has taken his former employer Interparfums to court because his job was too boring.
He is demanding 360,000 euros ($415,000) in damages for the distress.
Desnard, 44, worked for the company between 2010 and 2014. He claims his dull job, from which he was made laid off 18 months ago, caused him to suffer a "bore out" that led to serious emotional and health issues.
"He suffered from a critical depression and had a traffic accident linked to an epileptic seizure...he fell into a coma and was on a sick leave," said Montasser Charni, Desnard's lawyer.
Desnard was paid 3,500 euros per month ($4,000), for doing -- he said -- nothing.
His official job title was "general service director," but he claims his superiors called him "the boy" and asked him to do their personal chores, including picking up kids from sports lessons.
He said that eventually there was so little for him to do that his bosses simply told him to go home and come back when they call him. The phone call never came, he claimed.
Related: France says 'non' to big auto exec pay packages
Desnard's lawyer said "bore-out" is a form of harassment.
"It can be defined as a moral exhaustion due to the total lack of caseload, (and) it comes with a feeling of shame of being paid to do nothing," Charni said.
The company disputes Desnard's claims. "We refute all these charges," said Cyril Levy-Pey, the company's communication director. He said Desnard was never called "the boy" or any other humiliating names.
"He wasn't so motivated after several years and despite our attempts to give him more missions, he was missing (for) more than six months...That's why he was dismissed in 2014," he said.
The case is now being considered by a labor tribunal in Paris, with the decision expected in late July.

Israeli man files for restraining order against God

His prayers will now certainly go unanswered.
An Israeli man who believes God has been unkind to him asked a court for a restraining order, but the judge tossed out his request calling it “ludicrous,” the Times of Israel reports.
The man, from the northern port city of Haifa, represented himself in court. He said he'd been trying to get the restraining order from police for the last three years. Instead, they sent patrol cars to his home roughly 10 times, the Walla news site reported.
The man claimed God exhibited a negative attitude toward him. Local reports didn't explain exactly how he knew that.
Bizarrely, the notes did state that God did not appear in the courtroom.


Universities Across America Look To Mainstream Polyamory

Universities across the country have begun actively pushing polyamory on campus, encouraging students to be more “affirming” of non-monogamous relationships and instructing them to view polyamorous relationships as an acceptable lifestyle choice. Just this March, Portland State University hosted an event on polyamory as part of “Sex Week,” sponsored by the university’s Queer Resource Center.
Students were invited to attend a discussion titled “Exploring Non-Monogamy.” The event was hosted in partnership with PSU’s “Polyamory Alliance,” a pro-polyamory student group. According to the group’s description, the Polyamory Alliance “advocates, educates, and provides support and community to those who are polyamorous or those who identify as monogamous but would like to show support to the polyamorous person in their life.” READ MORE


An Indian teen was raped by her father. Village elders had her whipped. 

In a scene captured on a cellphone video, one of the men wags his finger angrily at her. He rages: This girl must be punished.
A villager ties her waist with rope, holding the other end, and lifts a tree branch into the air. She bows her head. The first lash comes, then another, then another. Ten in all. She lets out a wail.
Eventually the crowd starts murmuring, "Enough, enough," although nobody moves to stop the beating. Finally, the man throws down his stick. It's over.
She is 13 years old. Or maybe 15. Her family doesn't know for sure. She has never set foot in a school and has spent most of her life doing chores at home, occasionally begging for food and performing in her father's acrobatic show, for which she is given 20 rupees, about 30 cents.

Her crime? Being too scared to tell anyone her father raped her.
Misogyny tough to shake
India is a country of 1.2 billion people, with a growing economy, a young population and an energetic prime minister eager to sell the country on the world stage. A generation of women are taking stronger roles in the workforce, in colleges and online who aren't afraid to push against outdated misogyny - be it acid attacks, rape and sexual harassment, or the portrayal of women in movies and advertisements.
Yet patriarchal prejudices ingrained for centuries have been tough to shake loose despite a growing clamor for change - and continue to affect life from the village water pump to the judicial system and beyond.
Male-dominated village councils have existed in India for centuries to resolve disputes between neighbors and serve as enforcers of social mores in the country's stratified caste system. Although elected village bodies were established by the Indian government in 1992, unelected clan councils continue to operate with impunity throughout rural India, issuing their own edicts in the name of preserving harmony.
Five years after the Supreme Court said such councils should be illegal, the central government and some states are only beginning to pass or contemplate laws that would limit their behavior.
These councils often prevent or break up marriages and love affairs between couples from different castes, and they have instigated honor killings. Women typically receive the harshest punishments.
They also intervene in cases of sexual assault - mediating resolutions between two families, attempting to smooth over devastating wounds with a few hundred rupees and even in some cases forcing a victim to marry her rapist. Amid international outrage about the 2012 fatal gang rape of a Delhi student, laws were passed to make it easier for rape victims to file charges. But the road to the police station is still a long one.
"In rape cases, their role is underground and not officially or publicly acknowledged," said Jagmati Sangwan of the All India Democratic Women's Association, a longtime critic. "They will ask the family of the victim to go for a compromise, go for mediation, and that suppresses the interests of the victim."

Sube Singh Samain, a leader for an association of clan councils in the northern state of Haryana, said they serve a vital role in a county with an overburdened justice system and where legal cases can be costly. He said that village elders have banned the sale of meat, restricted mobile phone use by youth and even prohibited loud music at weddings. ("The music is so bad the cows and bulls fall over and run away," he said.) They also step in to smooth things between families, sometimes urging people to withdraw police complaints.
"We say, 'Let's not go to the courts; let's resolve it,' " he said. "We encourage them to go back to the police if a [complaint] has already been filed and say, 'I was not in a right state of mind; I want to take back my statement.' "
Some of the most brutal decrees have garnered international headlines.
In 2014, for example, a clan council in the state of West Bengal ordered the gang rape of a woman as punishment for having a relationship with a man outside her tribal community - with a leader allegedly urging the council to "go enjoy the girl and have fun," according to a police complaint.
In Maharashtra, representatives from an advocacy group called the Committee for Eradication of Blind Faith work with about 100 people a year who have been victimized by caste councils - called panchayats - most of them female.
Women are forced to retrieve a coin from a vat of boiling oil to prove their purity. One woman was forced to walk, scantily clad, through the forest while the panchayat members threw balls of dough straight off a fire at her back.
"You can't have a parallel judiciary that's completely unaccountable and gives arbitrary punishments - many of them barbaric," said Hamid Dabholkar, the head of the advocacy group. "That is what happened in this case where the girl was beaten when she herself was a victim."
Hard life takes darker turn
Before she died, Anusuya Chavan's existence had been as precarious as the tightrope she walked in her husband's acrobatic shows. For the most part, she was able to shelter her two younger daughters from their father's rages, but eventually her own drinking and battle with tuberculosis caught up with her. She died last year.
At the time, her teenaged daughter begged to go live with one of her older siblings, but the father, Shivram Yeshwant Chavan, told her no. He needed someone to cook, keep house and earn money for him.
Up until then, the girl's life had not been easy, but there were small comforts. She had no friends, but she liked turning handstands in the dirt with her sister, Laila, 7. Or buying a snack of spicy puffed rice or kulfi, a frozen dessert, with pocket change her father slipped her.
Then one night in January, her father came home from his job playing a steel drum in a wedding band, drunk on local hooch. She was sound asleep on the ground in their home, her sister curled up tight next to her. He got down on the ground, too, and put his hand over her mouth.

In early March, a farmer and local labor activist named Sachin Tukaram Bhise was headed to a nearby village to find day laborers for his wheat and sugar cane farm when he heard a village council was to be called by members of the local Gopal community, near Mauje Jawalwadi. Shivram Chavan's sons did not know the whole story but feared the worst and had ostracized their father; he was ready to confess.
The Gopals are a largely illiterate, impoverished group who were once nomads making their living as cow herders and itinerant street performers. Many have since settled down to menial jobs in the fertile farming region in the shadow of the basalt crags of the Sahyadri mountain range.
As Bhise watched, villagers from around the area gathered in the main square of the village amid tin-roofed sheds. The teenager and her father were brought to kneel before the member council.
Chavan bowed his head and admitted what he had done, Bhise recalled, and said he was ready for whatever punishment the council would give him. Then the elders turned to the teenager and began to berate her.
"They said it was the girl's fault. That the father was drunk and he was not in his senses," Bhise said. "I got angered at the whole thing. How could a girl invite such an act? The 'panch' said, 'You're useless,' 'You're the culprit.' She was crying."
Bhise took out his cellphone camera and surreptitiously began to film as the council issued its verdict - a fine of about $67 and a whipping of 15 "sticks" for the father, five "sticks" for the girl. They would be whipped until each of the thin tree branches broke.
Bhise took his evidence to the police, who later arrested all seven members of the council, charging them with conspiracy, extortion and assault. The father was held on child abuse charges.
'They beat me very lightly'
"It did not hurt me because they beat me very lightly," the teenager said quietly about a month later.
She was curled up on a tarpaulin outside the place where she now lives with her brother and his family - a hut of pieces of fabric stretched over bamboo poles, secured by rocks. It sits on a ridge overlooking a sweeping mountain vista.
As she spoke, the girl began to cry, tears slipping easily from her eyes. She touched the feet of a Marathi-speaking visitor, a gesture of respect, and says she has only herself to blame.
"I asked them to beat me because I was at fault," she said. "The fault was I did not tell anyone about this at home. I told them my father just held my hand. That was my mistake."
Her sister-in-law, Jaya, who was sitting with her on the tarpaulin, agreed that she had been wrong.
"If she had told them, the brothers would have beaten the father. There would have been no panchayat and the matter would have been resolved at home," she said. "If the brothers hadn't beaten him, then the sisters-in-law would have."
Now, the woman said, the young girl just wants to close the case and put it behind her. Since the attack, she has been interviewed by a female police officer, given a medical examination and a small amount of money from the state's victims' fund.
Last month, the state government of Maharashtra approved a measure that prohibits the gathering of village councils to impose a "social boycott," one of the most common - and devastating - punishments. It effectively banishes an individual or family, cutting them off from communal water pumps, stores or the local temple.
Some in the Indian government have called for other states to follow suit, and the government has tightened its laws to prohibit social boycott in some cases.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that he had pushed through the bill because of a rising number of disturbing cases of caste panchayats acting improperly.
"We cannot allow atrocities against any individual or groups," he said. "We will not allow parallel institutions of justice by non-state actors, and we cannot compromise on the dignity and rights of individuals."
And in April, the Gopal community decided to disband the panchayat system and take criminal matters directly to the police from now on, community leader Dilip Dinkar Jadhav said.
Marry the rapist?
For a while it seemed that the members of the panchayat, or at least the man who administered the beating, did not want to be found. A trip to his village - a few families living on a narrow dirt lane near a small yellow Hindu temple - turned up nothing.
"We don't know him," one of the neighbors said.

But after a flurry of telephone calls, Arun Jadhav agreed to meet. He appeared with Dilip Jadhav at a roadside restaurant on the area's busy National Highway 4, studded with expensive auto dealerships that cater to the area's prosperous farmers and white-collar workers. Arun Jadhav, 45, an illiterate trumpet player, was reserved, a Nike ball cap pulled low over his eyes. Dilip Jadhav, 45, a wedding-band manager with a gold-tone watch and a neat checked shirt, had an air of a man used to sorting problems.
Arun Jadhav, who is not directly related to Dilip Jadhav, said he had been called to the village that day to attend a memorial service for the teenager's mother that evolved into the panchayat meeting.
"Somebody asked me to take responsibility for hitting these people and that's what I did. I had tea and then I left," he said.
Both men agreed that the teenager deserved the beating because she hid the truth about the assault.
Dilip Jadhav said it has fallen upon him to secure a future for the young girl, which will be difficult.
"If something like that happened to my daughter, then we would get her married off to the rapist," he said. "We don't go to the police station. If they take the kids to the police station everybody knows about her and she is a bigger liability. It's better if she gets married to him."
He thinks he has found a match for the teenager, though - a young widower of 20, maybe 21, also a musician, whose wife recently died. Within six months she'll be married.

Secret life of the 'human pups': Weird world of the grown men who enjoy dressing up as DOGS in roleplay craze sweeping the nation 

·  Around 10,000 people in the UK enjoy the pet play craze
·  Men tend to prefer dressing as dogs while women identify more as kittens
·  Channel 4 met and filmed some of the 'human pups' for its documentary
·  One of them, Tom, won the coveted Mr Puppy UK title as 'Spot'

Puppy play is definitely not about sex, it is a form of escapism,' says Kye, a 28-year-old Oxford graduate who enjoys dressing up as a dog.
Around 10,000 people follow the pet play craze in the UK, according to a TV documentary which explores the phenomenon. 
Channel 4's Secret Life of the Human Pups focuses mainly on men like Kye but he says: 'Females who are into pet play are usually into kitten play as they identify more with kittens than pups.'