Mercy Ministries has changed it’s name in New Zealand to A Girl Called Hope but it’s still the same old Mercy.

I can’t see any reason they would do this other than to try and hide from the negative publicity now associated with the name Mercy Ministries in Australia.

As the official A Girl Called Hope website states this ministry still has “strong ties” to Mercy Ministries and Nancy Alcorn. Clearly this is just Mercy Ministries with a different name. Perhaps Mercy thought that simply rebranding their product would be enough to silence it’s critics? The official website goes on to say:

“A Girl Called Hope is based on the work of Mercy Ministries which was founded by Nancy Alcorn in America in 1983. Having worked with troubled youth for eight years; Nancy gained insight into the reasons why social problems exist, particularly in young women.

The first home was opened in Monroe, Louisiana, this then extended to Nashville, St. Louis and Sacremento, California in the United States. Mercy Ministries has expanded internationally with homes in England, Canada and here in New Zealand.”

There is no mention at all of the Australian homes they’ve opened and then closed; no mention of the compensation payout; the lies they told the media; the thousands of women who’s lives were damaged; or the fact they only changed the name after the Australian home closed.

I’m sure any woman turning to A Girl Called Hope for help would like to know these important facts.

Regular readers will have read my views on Mercy Ministries and their abhorrent methods. It is still the case that most of the information out there about Mercy Ministries is their own PR rubbish. All over the world people are not being told about the many, many women who were made WORSE by Mercy instead of better.

So I have created The Truth About Mercy as a place where people can read about some of the harrowing experiences of those who’ve been to Mercy.

I couldn’t possibly watch last nights documentary “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” without passing comment. The programme showed how young gypsy couples are married, usually at 16 years old, in a ridiculously ostentatious ceremony that Katie Price would be proud of.

The documentary highlighted the kind of life gypsy women are expected to live and it’s one the religious (especially Muslim’s) will be familiar with. Gypsy women must be chaperoned at all times and must not drink prior to marriage. This rule, not surprisingly, does not apply to gypsy men. Women are expected not to work and must fulfil the role of dutiful housewife; pandering to their husband’s needs. They are also encouraged not to pursue education.

The most worrying aspect of the programme was the “courtship” ritual practised by gypsy families. Young girls must stay in a group with their female friends and are not allowed to approach boys. When a boy likes a girl he will approach her and ask for a kiss; if she refuses then he can grab her and twist her arm until she agrees to kiss him. It made me sick to watch a 15 year old girl pinned up against a wall begging the gypsy boy to let her go while he’s trying to kiss her.

The fact that the parents of these children allow this to happen is appalling. To allow teenage boys to forcibly touch teenage girls is sexual assault. In any other group it would be reported to the police. I dread to think how many times it’s gone further than kissing. The worst part was hearing the girl talk about how she felt uncomfortable but there was nothing she could do. Where are the people protecting these children?

This week’s news, that the homophobic couple who refused a gay couple entry to their hotel have lost their court case, is a victory for common sense. In 2011 the law is ruler. Not religion; not an ancient superstition; not the ideas of our ancestors; the law! I am so thankful that our lawmakers have created provisions to protect people like the gay couple in question.

At the heart of this case is a very simple question: should the rights of gay people be more important than those of the religious? In short, my opinion is that YES they should be. Basing your life on an ancient book is clearly a choice whereas sexuality is a natural part of who we are.  I know the religious try and claim that their religion is part of “who they are” but there’s no escaping the fact that they have chosen to follow it. If I choose to follow the ways of witchcraft do I have special rights? Of course not. Religion is extra special apparently.

The fact remains that this Christian couple have chosen to use their home as a hotel and invite the public in. In doing so they surrender their right to pick and choose who they let in and under what circumstances.  Nobody is forcing them to allow things they don’t agree with to occur in their home. They are more than free to stop using their home as a hotel should they not be able to do so without compromising their dark age beliefs.

It’s great this has happened in the UK for in most other countries the church still has an iron grip on the judiciary and the religious would have probably won. Before moaning about how they are nearing financial ruin, perhaps these narrow-minded bigots should consider stopping being homophobes and take a look how stupid their defence is: “Excuse me Mr Judge, but I broke the law because the book told me to!”


Facebook Response

Posted: December 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is a response to Joshua Zmarko:

With all due respect it makes no sense to quote the bible when trying to talk to an atheist as to everyone but those who “believe” it holds no credibility. So to base your definition of faith on the bible is a little misguided. Faith is the belief of something in the absence of any credible evidence.

You said: “Now this is what I can’t understand…. WHY people today put all their FAITH into a THEARY!!! That makes NO SENSE…. And this theary is younger than ANY RELIGION on the whole PLANET…… And by the way…. the whole concept of this idea comes from…..THE BIBLE… which was written over 7000 years ago….”

As you say you can’t understand hopefully I can help you understand: I’m not sure what theory you’re referring to but I think you mean evolution. While Darwin didn’t work out everything the general concept of evolution has been proven, it is no longer a theory. This is the view of the scientific community and the only people who claim it is still a “theory” are those for who it conflicts with their religion. Gravity was once a “theory” but the evidence clearly proves it is real. The evidence for evolution has been WELL documented so if you choose to ignore it that’s your choice but it’s akin to choosing to believe the sky is green.

Nobody is putting faith in evolution because by definition faith requires a lack of evidence and so, since science is based on the study OF evidence and there is mountains of evidence for evolution it’s not an issue of faith.

The age of the “theory” has no relevance at all. Do you realise what you’re saying? That they were more likely to have gotten it right 7,000 years ago when they wrote the bible? Since the bible was written thousands of years and billions of hours of scientific study and research have passed. The result of which is evidence that much of what the bible says is incorrect; that we CLEARLY don’t descend from “Adam & Eve”; that Noah didn’t build an ark and the earth didn’t flood; that there was no parting of the sea; etc etc.

Discussing any of this is impossible if you simply pretend the evidence hasn’t been discovered.

Those who know me closely will vouch for my unwillingness to tolerate anybody of a witless nature. They will also know that I have no time for cretins who litter their speech with expletives and I believe, quite strongly, that too many people in this day and age have a peurile grasp of the English language. I am always trying to expand my vocabulary and thanks to the wonders of the digital era I am never too far from a dictionary.

So when I discovered 365 Days Of Vocab, which teaches you a word everyday, it instantly struck a chord with me. If you’re reading this and are retarded I would highly recommend you put this site in your bookmarks (Ctrl+D if you don’t know how and are on Windows. If you needed me to tell you that then I know you won’t own a Mac). This site is especially for you if you’ve had problems understanding any of the words in this post.

You will definitely find it interesting even if you’re not one of the brain dead people who can’t string a sentence together without using the word “homie”. Courtesy of this blog I have now added mephitic to my vocab😀

For the dummies: Move your cursor over the link below and then click.

Logo used by Wikileaks

Image via Wikipedia

Escaping the furore surrounding the latest leaks from Wikileaks is seemingly impossible unless you are a Shaolin monk living high up a mountain in China. Reaction to the leaks seems to vary from outright anger and contempt to utmost respect and praise. As is often the case when a major news story is doing the rounds I’ve been asked by various people on which side of the debate I sit and so I have decided to wade in and join the debate and offer my opinion on this whole affair.

Some people see Wikileaks as  a vital force for accountability and freedom of speech. To others it is a dangerous organisation that needs shutting down. Many are now asking have Wikileaks gone too far? Those who sit on opposite sides of this debate seem to argue their point with as much conviction as the religious and atheists do when discussing matters of faith.

In short, I think Wikileaks has done far more good than harm to the world and as such is vital to continuing free speech and keeping governments and massive corporations accountable for their actions. In my opinion this is evident when you look at some of the past things Wikileaks have been responsible for.

The first major release by the website was evidence of an order to assassinate Somali officials in 2006. Another notable leak was evidence of corruption  by Daniel arap Moi whilst leader of Kenya. Wikileaks have also published the hacked Yahoo email account of Sarah Palin which showed her illegally using it for official purposes and thus trying to avoid a record of her communications being kept. By far one of the most well known releases by Wikileaks is the infamous “Collateral Damage” video which shows US helicopter troops using unrestrained force and killing unarmed civilians in Iraq. This, coupled with the recent leak of US military documents paints a very contrasting picture of the wars in the Middle East when compared with what the US say in public. It is with leaks such as the ones above where I believe there is a genuine benefit to the public interest in releasing such information. Were it not for these releases we would probably have never known that US troops had murdered innocent civilians in such a cold blooded way, that Sarah Palin was trying to circumvent public record laws, or that the US weren’t reporting civilian deaths accurately.

But, and it is a big but, I believe Wikileaks has gone too far with some of the latest releases. Yesterday’s release of a list of worldwide sites viewed as “critical” to US national security genuinely puts the US at risk. It is essentially a list of places the US government feel were they to be attacked would cause significant damage to the infrastructure of the country. I cannot possibly see what benefit to the public there is in making this public and would go so far as to say it could put the public in danger.  Likewise with some of the other releases which could seriously strain diplomatic relations across the world.

When considered in the context of Wikileaks being solely a force for free speech and accountability some of these leaks raise serious questions about the judgement of Wikileaks and it’s founder Julian Assange. It doesn’t take a great deal of intellect to work out the potentially damaging nature of some of this information and with much of it the public benefit is hard to see. So, to understand why Wikileaks has leaked this information, I think it is important to look a little closer at Julian Assange himself, what he stands for and how Wikileaks is releasing the information.

Assange gained slight fame before Wikileaks was founded in 2006 as a computer hacker. His targets were often ethically motivated and his mantra was

“Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information”

Assange also spent time as a computer programmer where he created a “deniable encryption” service aimed at helping human rights workers protect sensitive information in such a way that their passwords could not be extracted through torture.

These ventures go some way to highlight Julian Assange’s motivation and demonstrate that he feels strongly about injustice, human rights and freedom of information. This ties in with the general aims that most people associate with Wikileaks.

There is a problem though. If Wikileaks sole aim is to protect public interest then why have they released the potentially damaging information they have? The answer to this, I believe, lies in the philosophical views of Assange.

In 2006, shortly before Wikileaks launch, Assange, writing on his now defunct personal blog, wrote a number of essays on what he thought about government corruption and the effect information leaks have on them.

In the essay “State And Terrorist Conspiracies” he said

“To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not”

And on his blog he said

“the more secretive or unjust an organisation is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. … Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.”

In an essay titled “The Road To Hanoi” Assange draws a parallel between the way a small pothole gets bigger and bigger and eventually renders a road useless and how political “potholes” can do the same to a government. This essay is worth reading as, when read in conjunction with the above essay, it gives a good insight into the way Assange thinks.

The above quotes, in my opinion, clearly shows Assange’s motivation. He is not simply out to put valuable information into the public domain but to go a step further and attack what he sees as a corrupt and unjust form of government and force regime change. This explains why Wikileaks have not just released all 250,000 documents at once. By releasing them in small batches they are able to maximise the impact and damage. Whilst the world’s leaders scramble to repair the damage done by each leak Wikileaks are waiting in the sidelines ready to strike again. Like soldiers waiting and firing when the enemy leave their cover to collect the wounded. Wikileaks have made it clear they have even more secret information stacked up ready to be released, including leaks that could “take down” some major banks. Why are they waiting? So that they can strike at a time that causes maximum damage. They would not be concerned with this if their intentions were purely journalistic.

This is where I have a major problem. If Wikileaks want to be viewed as a credible journalistic outlet with a noble aim then they should remain free from political ideologies. The nature and the way this information is being released puts them into muddy water. This gives credibility to the USA’s claim that the leaks are an attack on their country and weakens Assange’s defence.

As I close let me make this clear. I support Wikileaks in theory and commend much of what they have done but as this affair gains momentum they have to be very careful how they conduct themselves if they are not to be accused of “cyber terrorism”. But I also think the authorities need to be careful. If they successfully prosecute Assange (which, incidentally, will be very difficult) they run the risk of making him a martyr for freedom. The public love a Che Guevara type figure willing to take the law into his own hands for the greater good. Prosecution will not stem the flow of leaks. Assange has made it quite clear that the mechanisms are in place for Wikileaks to continue in his absence.

I leave you with this: is there really much difference between what Wikileaks do and what the rest of the media do when they publish damning stories that governments try and stop? I don’t think so.

(For the record, and to dispel accusations of simply lifting information from Wikipedia, I opted to use the above quotes after reading Julian Assange’s essay and blog before I noticed they were on Wikipedia!)