Monday, February 11, 2008


I go to right-wing Web sites and I'm told that all religiously reactionary fanatics have olive skin -- but apparently the pink-cheeked have a few problems of their own.

First, here's Mike Huckabee. A few weeks ago, he told us that "we need to ... amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards." Yesterday, at Jerry Falwell's church, the possible next vice president of the United States reiterated his support for Christian sharia law:

..."Frankly, we really don't need a lot of law if we are people of morality," he said to the congregation of over 7,000. "There are only ten basic laws that we need. If you think about it, the Ten Commandments cover it all."

"The reason law gets more complicated is because we try to figure out clever ways around those ten," he said to applause....

“I hope you know Jesus Christ personally…because the level to which he rules you and governs you, you need less and less of man’s law to tell you how to live and that is what our Founding Fathers understood and we must understand.”

Meanwhile, in Poland -- where they host conferences for American religious-right groups and still question the sexuality of Teletubbies -- today's Washington Post informs us that it's time to go back to the Middle Ages, with the Vatican's approval:

...The Rev. Andrzej Trojanowski, a soft-spoken Pole, plans to build a "spiritual oasis" that will serve as Europe's only center dedicated to performing exorcisms. With the blessing of the local Catholic archbishop and theological support from the Vatican, the center will aid a growing number of Poles possessed by evil forces or the devil himself, he said.

...Although a Vatican official denied reports in December of a campaign to train more exorcists, supporters said informal efforts began under Pope John Paul II -- himself an occasional demon chaser -- and have accelerated under Pope Benedict XVI. A Catholic university in Rome began offering courses in exorcism in 2005 and has drawn students from around the globe.

One of the recruits is the Rev. Wieslaw Jankowski, a priest with the Institute for Studies on the Family, a counseling center outside Warsaw. He said priests at the institute realized they needed an exorcist on staff after encountering an increase in people plagued by evil.

Typical cases, he said, include people who turn away from the church and embrace New Age therapies, alternative religions or the occult. Internet addicts and yoga devotees are also at risk, he said.

Bloody hell -- yoga? Yup:

In 1989 the Vatican issued a document saying the practice of Eastern traditions like yoga "can degenerate into a cult of the body," warning Catholics against mistaking yoga's "pleasing sensations" for "spiritual well-being." It was signed by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger--now Pope Benedict XVI. In a 2003 document the Vatican further distances itself from New Age practices, including yoga.

More from the Post:

...Jankowski cited the case of a woman who asked for a divorce days after renewing her wedding vows as part of a marriage counseling program. What was suspicious, he said, was how the wife suddenly developed a passionate hatred for her husband.

"According to what I could perceive, the devil was present and acting in an obvious way," he said. "How else can you explain how a wife, in the space of a couple of weeks, could come to hate her own husband, a man who is a good person?"

Um, he's violent and she's justifiably decided she can't maintain a brave face anymore, and she naively thinks she's in an environment where her words will be taken seriously?

(Or, alternately, she really is being irrational, but only because she's experiencing the onset of mental illness, which means she needs the help of contemporary doctors, not witch doctors?)

Jankowski said that an archbishop granted him the authority last October to perform exorcisms and that he's been busy ever since. As for the afflicted wife? "We're still working with her," he said.

Oh, how fortunate for her.

By the way, in their search for demonically possessed people in Poland who need spiritual healing, do you suppose these priests ever wandered over to Poland's CIA interrogation prisons?

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