Biblical plague London Earlier this year, Britain’s favourite fundamentalist, Stephen Green of Christian Voice, was gloating that Tesco’s poor financial performance over the Christmas period was due to God punishing the supermarket giant for making a donation to London Gay Pride.
Now Green, who appears to be devoting much of his time to Tesco-watching, has expressed joy at the news that a branch of the store in London’s Covent Garden has had to close due to a mouse infestation.
“Nothing has gone right for Tesco since they decided to support ‘gay pride’,” writes Green on his website. “Their only hope is to repent of that decision and put their trust in God.”
Rentokil were unavailable for comment.
Pontifical whiff Rome An Italian perfumer has developed a special brand of cologne for Pope Benedict XVI’s personal use. Called “Water of Faith”, the cologne is “infused with lemon tree blossom and the smell of Spring grass”, with the aim of evoking “the German pontiff’s love of the forests and animals in his native Bavaria, as well as peace and tranquillity”.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Il Messagero, Silviana Casoli explained how she settled on the scent: “I realised that an essence like this had to have at its core something pure and clean, recalling the idea of peace. I thought of the smells the Pope would smell when praying at the Grotto of Lourdes.”
Shattered dreams Manchester A former semi-professional footballer is suing the British arm of the Baptist World Alliance, claiming that the 19 years he spent as a “fervent evangelist” in the Baptist faith deprived him of the chance to play for Manchester United.
Forty-six-year-old Arquimedes Nganga, who now lives in Forest Hill, London, but used to play for a Third Division side in his native Portugal, converted to the faith in 1989, and quit football two years later at the age of 25, devoting himself to his new religion. He is now suing the church, accusing it of “destroying his social life, causing him ‘psychological harm’ and defrauding him of money through compulsory donations”.
Nganga earned £200 per week playing semi-professionally, but says he could have earned £20,000 at a top English club had he not been deceived “into following false beliefs”. “I could definitely have had a long career in the Premiership,” he explained. “I see many players playing today who I amnot inferior to – and perhaps even better than. Most midfielders are either defensive or attacking but I was both. I had something new.”
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Going Gaga Jakarta Pop superstar Lady Gaga has been troubling Islamic scholars in Indonesia, after tickets for the Jakarta leg of her world tour sold in just two hours. Indonesians snapped up the 25,000 tickets for the 3 June gig, but it would seem the singer’s fan base in the world’s largest Muslim country does not extend to religious leaders, who have condemned the event as haram, or forbidden. While admitting that he had never actually seen or heard a Lady Gaga performance, Cholil Ridwan, chairman of the influential Indonesian Council of Ulema, warned that the concert could have a damaging effect on the country’s Muslims:
“The concert is intended to destroy the nation’s morality. She is from the West, and she often shows her private parts when performing.”
Ridwan’s condemnation of Gaga received the backing of a local imam, Ali Mustafa Yaqub. “Perform naked only in front of your husband,” he said, explaining that on-stage nudity is forbidden in Islam.
MAY JUNE 2012 New Humanist 7