Halo Halo & Tiny tips

Halo, halo
‘It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics’

Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love, 1973.

As if flying wasn’t stressful enough, two instances have been reported of aircraft passengers being subjected to close encounters of the weird kind on American air transportation. Is it a mania brought about by, in their own minds, being twenty thousand feet nearer to the North Korea in the sky to which they aspire? Remember, Jesus and his dad ‘love’ you, but only if you give them blind, unconditional, fanatical, eternal praise and devotion, otherwise it’s ‘off to the gulag with you laddie and lassie’.

On Delta airways an American female gospel singer was in an altercation with a flight attendant after she attempted to perform and proselytise to the passengers. ‘I’m doing what the Lord is telling me to do,’ she said. Voices in the head; isn’t there a term for that? At least those who used to stand on the street wearing a sandwich-board that said ‘Repent! Judgement is at hand’ could be more easily ignored. As could Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Mormons appearing on your doorstep. Two steps backward and a shut door in that instance prevent further unwanted disruption to your life. But imagine if you’re captive in an aeroplane and…

…here we go again. A woman is having what’s described as a ‘huge meltdown’ on a Frontier Airline’s flight. A beanie-wearing female passenger shouts that the breakdown is being caused by a ‘real devil that wants to kill each and every one of y’all including your family members’. Isn’t she getting her religions mixed up? ‘She’s possessed!’ The devil is real, beanie woman shouts. ‘She needs help! I’ll tell you right now, Jesus Christ is the way, there’s nobody that’s gonna come to God, the Father, without Jesus Christ.’ ‘Who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ?’ (educate yourself; read the surveys, more and more every day), the woman demands as people mutter. ‘If y’all don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, I suggest you find one.’

It’s not reported whether this suggestion was politely declined or whether other suggestions of their own came from the passengers subjected to this unwanted tirade (MailOnline 12 and 22 November).

These ladies have been missing a trick, which is, this sort of thing with a television audience of many more than a plane full can earn you loads of bucks.

The Guardian (4 November) reports that the new American House of Representatives Republican Speaker, Mike Johnson, has an ‘inerrant biblical truth leading him to reject science. Johnson was a ‘young earth creationist’, holding that a literal reading of Genesis means that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and humans walked alongside dinosaurs’.


Tiny tips
A bottle of Scotch whisky billed as ‘the most sought-after’ in the world sold Saturday for almost 2.2 million pounds ($2.7 million), an auction record for a bottle of wine or spirits (tinyurl.com/bddhj34b).

We often assume that religious beliefs are no different in kind from ordinary factual beliefs—that believing in the existence of God or of supernatural entities that hear our prayers is akin to believing that May comes before June. Neil Van Leeuwen shows that, in fact, these two forms of belief are strikingly different. Our brains do not process religious beliefs like they do beliefs concerning mundane reality; instead, empirical findings show that religious beliefs function like the imaginings that guide make-believe play (tinyurl.com/2fn4t4zf).

Margot Friedländer, the 102-year-old Holocaust survivor, recently offered a few important words during an appearance on one of Germany’s most-watched political talk shows. ‘There is no Christian blood, no Muslim blood, no Jewish blood,’ she said. ‘”It is all human blood. We are all equal.’ And further: ‘I believe there is something good in every person. Take the good and forget the bad. It’s so easy to be human.’ Perhaps Greta Thunberg should have a sit-down with Friedländer. It might be a good start for getting back on the right track (tinyurl.com/yc57wx9h).

‘Queers for Palestine’ attempts to meld LGBT advocacy with Palestinian liberation, a juxtaposition that has precipitated a whirlwind of criticism and ridicule, since LGBT rights scarcely exist within the Muslim world; and the Palestinian territories are no exception. The slogan has been widely satirized. Variations like ‘Chickens for KFC’ and ‘Blacks for the KKK’” highlight its proponents’ basic lack of awareness of just how incompatible the values of the Western left are with those of the Islamic right they so readily champion (tinyurl.com/mtaj4dvv).

They Survived Hell – but for Some, They’re Only a Means of Production
We were shocked to discover that mere days after being rescued, the migrant workers were pressured to return to work, including through threats to withhold their passports and their salaries. In some cases, they were required to return to work in the Gaza Envelope – near the killing fields they had just escaped (tinyurl.com/2uj65hwc).

The Pacific Institute, which regularly updates its Water Conflict Chronology, reported that at least 228 water conflicts were recorded in 2022—an 87 percent increase over 2021—driven in large part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian forces attacked water pipelines and supply systems in a number of Ukrainian cities after invading in February 2022, targeting water resources a total of 56 times since the war began (tinyurl.com/mrypy7yx).

A majority of American adults (72 percent) would not be willing to serve in the military were the U.S. to enter a major war, polling from Echelon Insights found, while public confidence in the armed forces also appears to be waning. It comes as all branches of the armed forces have struggled to meet their recruitment targets. Since 1987, the number of active-duty personnel has fallen by 39 percent (tinyurl.com/3n4hprka).

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