by Josh Bunting
February 2, 2011
lies, hypocrisy and exploitation of some of the most
egregious pseudo-religious groups.
This story first appeared on the Buffalo Beast.
A common response to criticisms of
religion is that its adherents can sometimes do good things, even if
it’s for irrational reasons.
That’s fair enough, but at the same time
it’s useful to remember that while some good can be mixed in with
the bad, sometimes religions create institutions of pure evil.
Here are a few of them:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Mormons were sheltered human barnacles desperately
clinging to a nostalgic vision of the past which never actually
happened? Well, they are, but that’s nothing compared to their
even-more-inbred fundamentalist counterparts in the FLDS.
If you’ve ever asked a Mormon about polygamy, you’ve probably heard
that the mainstream church discontinued the practice in the early
20th century, following a manifesto by then-Church President and
“prophet” Wilford Woodruff.
The manifesto is now considered to be
prophecy - the word of God translated by the Dear Leader of the
Warren Jeffs was the President/Prophet of the FLDS Church, but
since 2007 he’s been busy tending to the matter of his 10 years to
life sentence for being an accomplice to rape. Church leaders
currently won’t tell who is the President, probably because that
would be a pretty strong indication of who’s been filling the role
of dungeon master/“marriage” arranger since Warren Jeffs has been
And most recently, this past week a former FLDS member testified in
court that waterboarding infants to get them to stop crying is
“quite common” amongst the community. They call it “breaking in,”
which I thought was a term usually applied to boots and horses.
Look, I hate babies as much as the next guy, but you can’t torture
You just can’t. No. STOP IT.
But that’s their “family values,”
Sri Ram Sene
Sri Ram Sene translates to “Army of the Lord Ram.”
right-wing Hindu nationalist group in India which was founded by a
politician named Bal Thackeray. In the late 1960s, Thackeray started
a “Maharashtra is for Maharashtrians” campaign against non-Hindus
migrating to Mumbai.
And in 2002, he infamously called for Hindu
suicide squads to fight those darned Muslims.
See, America’s not the
only place where right-wing whackjobs get off on hating Muslims.
Here’s a nice quote from him in the Asia Times:
“Trouble-making Muslims should be wiped out from the country … kick
out the four crore [40 million] Bangladeshi Muslims and then the
country will be secure,” the Shiv Sena leader said. Urging Hindus to
start calling India “Hindu rashtra” (Hindu nation), he maintained
that only “our religion [Hinduism] is to be honored here” and then
“we will look after other religions.”
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, so far Thackeray has failed to take
his own advice and start up his own suicide squad.
In August of 2008, Sri Ram Sene sent some vandals to smash up an art
exhibit by controversial artist Maqbool Fida Husain. They didn’t
like his artwork because it depicted Bharathmata nekkid and depicted
other Hindu gods in a way they considered derogatory. So apparently
the only thing they could think to do in response was to smash up
his art, leaving notes explaining why they did it on the off chance
that somebody missed the point.
Even Bill Donahue has the decency to
limit his anti-art fuckwittery to press releases.
In October of 2008, Sri Ram Sens activists attacked the offices of
the democratic socialist Samajwadi Party. Someone at the SP had
insulted a police chief the Sena liked, so they ransacked their
central offices, damaging cars, furniture, and “hoardings,”
according to the Sena’s own national general secretary Binay Kumar
This last tidbit about the Sena has a happy ending, but it starts
out pretty ugly. Like the Saudi religious police (I’ll get to them
later), they have a real problem with Valentine’s Day.
Muthalik, the group’s leader, sent out a memo in January 2009
claiming that they would send their goons on patrol on February 14
to forcibly marry any couple who expresses their love in public:
“Our activists will go around with a priest, a turmeric stub and a
‘mangal sutra’ on February 14. If we come across couples being
together in public and expressing their love, we will take them to
the nearest temple and conduct their marriage,” he said.
couples resisted the move, the girl would be forced to tie a ‘rakhi’
to the boy.
But instead of that, what actually happened was that outrage over
his comments was so widespread that Muthalik and about 140 of his
Sena buddies had to be taken into preventative custody on
Valentine’s Day, 2009.
And the very best part was the international
success of a Facebook campaign to send Sena members pink underwear
which Indians call Chaddi.
Here in the US we call them ‘granny
For the past few years, journalist Jeff Sharlett has been covering
C Street Family whose shady dealings have, among other
things, included ties to Uganda’s proposed legislation which would
punish homosexuality, including capital punishment in some
Lord’s Resistance Army wasn’t behind that. The “kill the gays”
bill is too mild for them. They just want straight-up theocracy in
Uganda, with laws based on a mix apocalyptic Christianity focusing
on the Ten Commandments and traditional Acholi spiritualism, and
they’re doing pretty much everything they can do in order to make
The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed "spokesperson of
God" and “spirit medium.”
That means he hears voices in his head and
thinks that it’s a deity talking to him. Under his leadership, the LRA has abducted some 30,000 children to use as soldiers, kept women
as sex slaves, attacked and raped civilian populations, all of which
has caught the attention of INTERPOL and the International Criminal
In the meantime, children find a new place to sleep every
night in order to avoid getting mutilated, forced into sexual
slavery or into Kony’s Christian militia.
Army of God
It’s so typical of the American anti-abortion terrorists on the list
to be the ones with the least creative name.
Army of God is a
group which even the worst doctor murderers will not normally
associate with. Usually what happens is that one of them will flip
out and shoot or blow up a bunch of people, and the AoG will step in
and claim the perpetrator as one of their own.
When Eric Rudolph blew up an abobo clinic and a gay nightclub in
1997, it was the AoG who sent handwritten letters voluntarily
claiming responsibility. When Paul Hill murdered the abortion
provider John Britton and 2 of his co-workers, the AoG wrote up a
statement calling that mass killing “morally justified.”
And some of the anti-abortion terrorists reach out to the AoG on
Shelley Shannon who had tried to murder George Tiller in
1993 is one example. She is now serving a sentence for attempted
murder and is projected to be released in November 2018.
2001, Clayton Waagner sent abortion providers over 500 letters
containing white powder in the wake of the Anthrax scare that year.
He had previously escaped from jail and robbed a bunch of banks, so
he won’t be getting out until around 2046.
Michael Bray is unfortunately not currently in prison, but he also
associates himself with the AoG.
If you haven’t seen this interview
of him, it will sum up what he’s all about.
the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice
The CFPVPV is,
also known as the Mutaween
also known as هيئة الأمر
بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر
also known as the Saudi Religious Police
According to author Lawrence Wright, an imam named
Turki bin Faisal
Al Saud began secretly monitoring CFPVPV members after one of them
insulted his sister.
He found that most were criminals who were
given light sentences because they had memorized the Quran.
The CFPVPV is tasked with the duties of enforcing Sharia law in
Saudi Arabia. That means making sure everyone prays at the proper
time, keeping men and women separate so Allah doesn’t get cooties,
arresting the gays, preventing the corrupt Western practice of
selling cats and dogs, and that sort of totally normal thing. And
that’s just they’re supposed to be doing.
So you might imagine how
bad they can get when they go above and beyond the call of duty. If
you did, knock it off because I’m going to get to that next.
In May of 2007, a 28 year old man in Riyadh named Ali Al-Huraisi had
a run-in with the CFPVPV. Because they believed that he possessed
alcohol, they broke into his house, arrested his entire family,
handcuffed him, and then beat him to death. Ta-da!
In August of 2008, a member killed his own daughter for converting
to Christianity. He burned her to death. Apostasy does have a death
penalty associated with it in Saudi Arabia, but as in the case of
Ali Al-Huraisi the role of the organization according to Saudi law
is to apprehend suspects of religious “crimes” and hand them over to
Besides confiscating things which are banned and
detaining people, they aren’t supposed to have the power to actually
carry out much punishment on their own.
And the worst of the worst of this organization’s crimes has to be
how they responded to a 2002 fire at a girl’s school in Mecca.
going to have to quote news sources here because every time I try to
start to write about it in my own words I worry that I’ll just end
up bashing my head through the keyboard and into my desk in a futile
effort to dull the rage and disgust that builds up in the form of a
terrible headache and violent twitches.
So here’s the BBC:
Saudi Arabia’s religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a
blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic
dress, according to Saudi newspapers…
One witness said he saw three policemen “beating young girls to
prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing
The school was locked at the time of the fire - a usual practice to
ensure full segregation of the sexes.
I have a question: What’s more evil than that?
Seriously, even in all of fiction it’s
difficult to find a close contender. I was against the US wars in
the Middle East before they even began, but even a pinko peacenik
like me would have no problem with sending some Special Ops guys
over there just to specifically target these people.
When you’re an adult ex-con fighting
girls and forcing them into a burning building because you’re
offended by what they’re wearing, you have to lose any possibility
of sympathy from anyone with an ounce of sense in them.