Should The State Pay?

Inmate Sues Self:
Violated His Own
Religious Beliefs
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Austin American-Statesman

April 8, 1995

Chesapeake, Virginia, inmate Robert Lee Brock filed a $5 million lawsuit against Robert Lee Brock -- accusing himself of violating his religious beliefs and his civil rights by getting himself drunk enough to engage in various crimes. He wrote, "I want to pay myself five million dollars [for this breach of rights] but ask the state to pay it in my behalf since I can't work and am a ward of the state."

The lawsuit was dismissed.

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Kidnapper Warns Authorities:

A Curse On Your
Private Parts!
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Phoenix Gazette; USA Today

April 23, 1993

Cody Judy, 27, charged by police with holding a Mormon Church official hostage in Salt Lake City, told reporters in April to expect that God would send earthquakes, eruptions, and pestilence in retaliation for his arrest and that law enforcement officials would experience "baldness to your heads and a curse on your private parts."

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews
Fear Personal Computers
by Cliff Walker
from wire reports

June 2, 1998

Jerusalem -- Ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders warned followers to keep personal computers out of their homes, fearing the machines will be used to watch forbidden television and videos.

Rabbis issued a warning letter titled "Protecting the Purity of Our Children," which was published Monday in the religious daily Yated Neeman, saying: "Naive parents think that computers are just an electronic game, and don't know at all that today some computers are used to screen films."

Some rabbis are considering banning computers outright as they have done in the past with televisions and video players because they could contain immodest or immoral images.

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Unclear on the Concept

"Maximum Sex"
-- for the Celebate!?
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Alberta Report

November 1, 1993

A presentation at the Central Pentecostal Church in Edmonton, Alberta, on the virtues of abstinence for the unmarried, was called "Maximum Sex."

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Exploiters Work Crowds

Sorcery Feared
by Chuck Shepherd

December, 1996

An ancient fear of penis-shrinking sorcery periodically surfaces in Ghana, the latest instance in December.

Mobs beat seven men to death in Accra and injured others in Tema, all on rumors that the men had the power to make others' genitals disappear by a mere touch.

Police said the rumors were spread by criminal operatives so that crowds of hysterical men would gather, making it easier for the criminals to pickpocket wallets.

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More Penis-Shrinking
Sorcery Reported
by Chuck Shepherd

August, 1997

Another News of the Weird recurring theme involves the latest fatal beatings in Africa of so-called sorcerers who are suspected of making men's penises shrink or vanish with a mere handshake, in Dakar, Senegal.

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Patients Hadn't Been Breastfed

"Re-Parenting" Technique
Leads To Charges
by Chuck Shepherd

December, 1996

Dr. William D. Cone, 71, went on trial on 19 counts of sexual assault in West Plains, Moissouri, allegedly committed against a 37-year-old female patient. According to the patient, Cone's "re-parenting theory" of counseling (i.e., regressing the patient to the age when parental flaws are prominent and then overcoming them) required him to play the role of her mother and to allow her to suckle him to compensate for her not having been breastfed.

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Gypsies Exercised Restraint

Portland Hospital
Ejects 60 Gypsies
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Oregonian

March 7, 1995

The visitors' policy at Providence St. Vincent hospital in Portland, Oregon, is similar to many: no more than 2 at a time in a patient's room, 2 waiting outside, 4 waiting in the lobby. The hospital ejected 60 Gypsies who had come to help heal a 55-year-old woman.

Her nephew said he thought the Gypsies were exercising restraint by not bringing along all 200 family members.

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The Barking Pumpkin

Students Carve
Parents Sue School
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Albuquerque Journal

May 22, 1995

Jose and Maria Tercero filed a lawsuit against the Santa Fe, New Mexico, School Board and various officials for unspecified injuries suffered by their son, Jesse, from the act of carving a jack-o'-lantern last October. The Terceros said forcing Jesse to carve the pumpkin violated his religious freedom because he does not celebrate Halloween.

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Responds To Public Outrage

Minister Withdraws
Suit Against Blind Man
by Chuck Shepherd
source: St. Petersburg Times

August 9, 1995

Carolyn J. Christian and her minister-husband filed a $160,000 lawsuit against a school that trains guide dogs after a blind man, learning to use one of the school's graduates in a Bradenton, Florida, shopping mall, stepped on the woman's toe, possibly breaking it.

A few days later, the Christians withdrew the lawsuit, citing public outrage.

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The Downside of
Islamic Polygamy Laws

Cairo Polygamist
Commits Sucide
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Arizona Daily Star

June, 1994

The German press agency Deutsche Presse Agentur reported in June that a businessman in Cairo committed suicide because he was too heavily in debt from support payments to his 26 children, 35 ex-wives, and four current wives.

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The Downside of
Islamic Polygamy Laws

Unable To Please
Three Wives,
He Kills Himself

November 23, 1998

Bangkok (Reuters) -- A Thai man, depressed by his inability to keep harmony among his three warring wives, jumped to his death from a hospital building, police said Monday.

Police said Amornthep Kongkham, 26, from southern Samut Sakorn province, jumped off the sixth floor of the hospital Saturday, within hours of an earlier unsuccessful attempt to kill himself with poison.

Police said Amornthep killed himself after his wife refused to permit two women he took home Friday to live with them, even though he said they also were his wives.

In another incident, police said undergraduate Pisek Harnpanit plunged to his death from the 12th floor of a Bangkok apartment block Sunday, apparently because he was having difficulty meeting a thesis deadline.

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Polygamy and
Fertility Drugs
Don't Mix

Saudi 'Couple' Can't
Support Septuplets
by Chuck Shepherd

February, 1998

Police in Abha, Saudi Arabia, threatened new parents Adbullah Mohammed Ali, 55, and Hasna Mohammed Humair, 40, with arrest if they did not come soon to the hospital and get their septuplets, who were born January 14 and almost all of whom no longer need hospitalization.

Hasna said she took a fertility drug only to regulate her menstrual flow and had no idea this would happen.

Abdullah has two other legal wives and nine other kids, but is employed as a cab driver and does not believe he can support the new ones.

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Charged With Bigamy

Elvis Impersonator
Wedding Is No Joke
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Associated Press

June 22, 1994

In Dallas, Texas, lawyer Brian Loncar defended against his indictment for bigamy by saying he did not believe his second marriage was valid because the wedding was performed in Las Vegas by an Elvis Presley lookalike, that it was a "phony deal." Countered the prosecutor, "Not necessarily. Not in Las Vegas."

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The Downside of
Christian Monogamy Laws

Bigamist Pleads Not Guilty
by Chuck Shepherd

January, 1997

Fernando Magana-Rodriguez, 24, pleading not guilty to bigamy in Kelowna, British Columbia: "I'm Mexican. I never knew you could go to jail for marrying two women, or I never would have done it."

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Isn't that big of me?

Congressman, a Theist,
Responds to Bigamy Charge
by Chuck Shepherd

February, 1997

Honduran Congressman Julio Villatoro, reacting to the bigamy charge filed by his wife:

"[I] have problems with my wife, even though she knows a handsome man is not for one woman but for several. God gave me a physique attractive to women, and I take advantage of it."

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Married Five Times;
Threatened Girlfriend

'Family Values' Leader
Owes $20k Child Support
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Sacramento Bee

July 25, 1995

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported in July that Jim Harnsberger, 40, a Republican party operative who founded the local Center for Family Values, has been married five times and owes almost $20,000 in child support.

According to the newspaper, a former girlfriend said of Harnsberger, "He said he would cut me up into little pieces and throw me into the ocean and no one would ever know."

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The Downside of
Pre-Marital Sex Taboos

Surprise! Mormon's
'Wife' Was Really a Man
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Salt Lake Tribune

July 14, 1995

After filing a missing persons report in April on his wife, Leasa, Bruce Jensen, 39, learned that Leasa was really feminine-looking Felix Urioste, 34, who had convinced Bruce to marry him in 1991 after a single sexual encounter during which Urioste remained clothed.

Said the devout Mormon Jensen, to the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, "There's no way to describe this feeling [of learning he was married to a man for almost four years]."

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The Downside of
Celibacy Vows

Roman Catholic
'Father' Reappointed
by Chuck Shepherd
source: San Francisco Chronicle

October 28, 1994

Oakland, California, Catholic Bishop John Cummins, facing a shortage of clergy, reappointed Fr. John Gilmore as a parish priest despite knowing that Gilmore secretly fathered two children in the 1980s.

Fr. Gilmore has since taken another vow of celibacy.

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The Upside of
Being a Bishop!

Bishop: Bridal
Necklines Too Low
by Woody Johnson

August, 1997

Manila -- A Roman Catholic bishop announced that necklines on bridal dresses were dipping dangerously low, and insisted that brides be more discreet: "There are times when instead of saying 'the body of Christ,' I am tempted to say 'Christ, what a body!'"

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The Downside of the
Islamic Four-Wife Limit

Preacher Jailed For
Having Ten Wives
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Chicago Tribune, AP

July 13, 1995

Preacher Abdul Talib Harun, 35, was sentenced to two years in prison in Kuala Lampur for having 10 wives, which is six more than permitted under Muslim law. All ten, with whom he has 17 children, strongly supported Harun during his year-long trial. The four lawful wives were also sent to jail for a month for permitting the illegal cohabitation.

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