France may dissolve Church of Scientology

Up next, Islam? :D

France may dissolve Church of Scientology

PARIS — In a groundbreaking case, a Paris court will decide for the first time whether to dissolve the Church of Scientology in France, which is facing charges of organized fraud.

The demand was made by French prosecutors on Monday as they wrapped up their case against the church’s Paris headquarters and bookshop. If found guilty, the institutions may also face a nearly $6 million fine.

Six members of the church are also on trial, and may also face heavy fines along with prison sentences if convicted.

The plaintiffs, two former Scientologists, claim the church conned them into spending tens of thousands of dollars in bogus products in the 1990s, including an “electrometer” that the church says can measure energy levels.

But the church, which claims a membership of 45,000 in France, rejects the accusations and claims it is being persecuted.

The plaintiffs, are “apostates who … want to criticize their ex-religion,” Fabio Amicarelli, a European Scientology representative, told French media recently.

While the charges pose the most serious challenge to the French church to date, they are only the latest clash in a nearly two-decade long battle against Scientology. Several fraud cases have already been judged and several members convicted of embezzlement in France, where Scientology is viewed with deep suspicion.

In one case, the head of the church’s Lyons chapter was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 1996 for his role in a member’s suicide.

Founded in 1954 by late American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the church is considered a religion in the United States with adherents that include Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

The French government, however, lists Scientology as a sect, reflecting an official intolerance of unorthodox religions. Indeed, the government even has an official sect watchdog body — known as MIVILUDES, the Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances.

A government report published in May said the number of religious sects had tripled in France over the past 15 years to at least 600 different movements.

Rabbi probed for circumcised infants’ herpes

Interesting Tidbit: Apparently it’s normal for a rabbi to suck a baby’s penis after circumcising it… that sound totally normal; doesn’t it?

Rabbi probed for circumcised infants’ herpes – Baby died from disease after undergoing procedure

City health officials are investigating the death of a baby boy who was one of three infants to contract herpes after a rabbi circumcised them.Ten days after Rabbi Yitzhok Fischer performed religious circumcisions on twins last October, one died of herpes and the other tested positive for the virus, according to a complaint filed by the health department in Manhattan Supreme Court.

The complaint, reported in Wednesday’s edition of the New York Daily News, also said health officials later found a third baby who had contracted herpes after being circumcised by Fischer in late 2003.

Under Jewish law, a mohel — someone who performs circumcisions — draws blood from the circumcision wound. Most mohels do it by hand with a suction device, but Fischer uses a practice rare outside strict Orthodox groups where he uses his mouth to draw blood after cutting the foreskin.Herpes can cause potentially severe complications for infants because of their undeveloped immune systems. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that the rare ritual puts newborns at serious risk of contracting herpes simplex virus and shouldn’t be performed as part of the circumcision procedure.

Fischer’s lawyer, Mark Kurzmann, told the Daily News that Fischer was cooperating with the investigation, although it’s unclear whether Fischer submitted to the city’s request for a blood test.

“My client is known internationally as a caring, skilled, and conscientious mohel,” Kurzmann said.

Religion Of Peace

Islam and the Myths of Unity and Peace

The so-called Islamic world is in crisis because many see enemies all over the place, be it democracy, Westernization, liberalism, socialism, and so forth. While alternative faiths are frowned upon, therefore, Christian and Buddhist missionaries must be aware for merely talking about your faith can mean either prison or death. Yet the real threat to Muslims and minority Muslim groups within various different nations is their fellow co-religionists, so why are outsiders hated so much when the real threat is Islam itself?

After all, since 1970 approximately 5 million Muslims have been killed by fellow Muslims, however, one mention of Israel, and we hear about the Muslim unity card. However, the real “Muslim unity card” is a non-starter and this applies to the very foundations of Islam itself because the majority of early Muslim caliphs were killed by Muslims. Therefore, the current situation is similar to the past because it is based on internal tensions and mutual hatreds which run deep.

The Kurds are a prime example because the majority of Kurdish people follow the Islamic faith, most are Sunni. Despite this, the Kurds, irrespective if Sunni or Shia, face persecution in modern day Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. The Kurds, ironically, have much greater freedoms in mainly Christian Armenia where a minority reside or throughout the European Union where many have fled because of persecution in the Middle East.

Therefore, the Kurds, the biggest stateless people in the world are marginalized and persecuted by fellow Muslims throughout the Middle East where they reside. Yet Muslims in the Middle East often speak-out for the Palestinian cause, however, the very same people often remain silent about the Kurdish cause. Therefore, it is clear that double standards are at play and Israel is a very easy scapegoat.

After all, look at recent history and the reality of the modern world. For since 1970 at least 5 million Muslims have been killed by their co-religionists on the grounds of Sunni-Shia divisions, ethnic tensions, political tensions, and other issues.

This applies to the Iran-Iraq war; the persecution of African Muslims in Darfur by the Arab Muslim dominated government in Khartoum; Kurdish persecution in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey (deaths have been a lot lower in Syria but persecution does take place); Pakistan-Bangladesh war; Algeria, Somalia, Syria (1982); Tajikistan; Yemen; and other nations. Also, roughly 150,000 Shia Muslims have been killed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, by Sunni Islamic fanatics.

Despite this reality we have world leaders like President Obama of America appealing to the so-called Muslim world for a fresh start. Yet surely an internal fresh start is needed first, however, it seems most unlikely because the spiral of hatred runs very deep.

Therefore, do Shia Muslims in America, France, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and other mainly non-Muslim nations reside in fear? Of course the answer is no. Yet Shia Muslims have been targeted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and other nations, by Sunni Islamic zealots. Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia it is clear that Shia Muslims are second-class citizens because the Sunni elite do not believe in religious equality.

Then if we look at one Muslim branch, the Ahmadiyya’s, and the Bahai’s which is an offshoot from Islam (but an independent religion), it becomes apparent that internal Islamic hatred and persecution is strong. After all, the Bahai community in Iran and the Ahmadiyya community in Pakistan, suffer enormous persecution.

Therefore, many Bahai’s and Ahmadiyya’s have fled both Iran and Pakistan respectively, but if either fled to Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, or other conservative Muslim nations, then they would suffer persecution once more. Given this, many Bahai’s and Ahmadiyya’s have fled to mainly non-Muslim nations because they have much greater freedom.

Then if we focus on al-Qaeda (al-Qaida) and Osama Bin Laden and fellow Sunni Islamic zealots, then we see a similar pattern. For when al-Qaeda emerged in Afghanistan they took their deadly sectarian ways with them and Shia Muslims were murdered in cold blood by forces loyal to al-Qaeda. The same happened when al-Qaeda entered the Iraqi civil war because once more they slaughtered Shia Muslims at will and moderate Sunni Muslim leaders were also killed by Sunni Muslim fanatics who had been brainwashed.

Given this, it is clear that Muslim unity is not only a sham but it is based on lies and sadly many elements within the mass media are ignoring this reality. Yet if Israel kills Palestinians in self-defence or during a military operation, then the usual mantra of Muslim brotherhood and Muslim persecution is raised.

However, the real reality is very different because the vast majority of Muslims who are killed throughout the world are killed by their co-religionists.
Therefore, the biggest persecutor of Muslims in the modern world is being done by their own co-religionists. At the same time, the deniers of democracy, religious freedom, female emancipation, and other important issues, are Muslim elites in many Muslim majority nations.

Also, it is abundantly clear that America and other nations are not anti-Muslim. After all, you have had three wars in Europe involving Muslims and Orthodox Christians in recent times. This applies to Cyprus, Bosnia, and Kosovo (Serbia), and every time America supported Islam against Orthodox Christianity. Just like America supported Indonesia despite countless massacres of Timorese people in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s.

However, when the Arab dominated regime in Khartoum, Sudan, was killing millions of mainly African Christians and Animists in southern Sudan did mainly Muslim nations enter Sudan to stop the bloodshed. Of course they did not and many African slaves in Sudan were sold internally but the outcry was very silent in the so-called Muslim world.

Despite everything, the President of America, Obama, is offering an “olive branch” but surely it should be the other way around. For in America people have the right to follow any religion they want or to have no religion. Yet in the land of Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia) you are not allowed to have one single Christian church, Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, or any other non-Muslim place of worship.

Therefore, what is the real agenda? Is it that Saudi Arabia can do whatever it likes because of their massive amounts of oil reserves? For this nation is spreading radical Sunni Islam to Afghanistan, Chechnya (Russian Federation), Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and many other nations, without any fear. Or is it that political correctness means we have to be pro-Islamic to show how nice we are, therefore, minority Muslim branches, Christians and other non-Muslims are allowed to be “lambs to the slaughter of Islam?” Or is it a mixture of both or collective amnesia?

Maybe I will always be in lament because Israel is the easy scapegoat and of course many Muslims appear to believe that they are victims. However, the real truth couldn’t be further away because the biggest threat to minority Muslim groups and to the freedom of Muslims, is being done in the name of Islam by either radical zealots or despotic rulers who invoke Sharia Islamic law in order to preserve their respective power bases.

The mass media should take a long look at itself and start to question the so-called House of Islam, Arab unity, Muslim brotherhood, and so forth. For Arab unity ignores both Arab disunity and the many non-Arab groups who reside in Arab dominated nations. While the House of Islam was divided within a short time of the death of Mohammed and Muslim brotherhood is based on unreality.

Church camps closing amid declining use, economy

Recession, religion’s one enemy (well, besides logic.. reason..  science.. etc)

Church camps closing amid declining use, economy

GALLANT, Ala. — Camp Sumatanga has meant Bible stories and softball games for generations of Methodist families. Young and old alike come to the old church retreat for renewal in its quiet coves and chapels.

Today, though, the 1,700-acre retreat is in danger of shutting down.

Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, it’s among hundreds of church camps nationwide that are on the critical list. Years of declining usage and the recession have forced administrators to consider closing or cutting services.

The president of the Christian Camp and Conference Association, Bob Kobielush, said dozens of camps nationwide ceased operating in the last three years, and this could be the last summer for many more.

“I think this fall through Christmas we will see as many as 10 to 15 percent of camps decide they no longer can continue operating,” said Kobielush, whose organization has about 950 member camps. He estimates there are about 3,000 church-affiliated camps nationwide.

Leaders say Camp Sumatanga, operated by the United Methodist Church in north Alabama, could close at the end of the summer without $300,000 to make up a budget deficit. The possibility worries longtime visitors like Carol Glover, of Trussville.

Glover, 47, fondly recalls summers at the camp as a youth, and her 7-year-old son Kent now enjoys hiking there. Glover’s ties to Sumatanga run still deeper: Her 70-year-old mother, Anita Alldredege, helped raise money to build Sumatanga when she was young.

“The feeling of godliness is everywhere at Camp Sumatanga. It’s so peaceful, quiet and beautiful,” said Glover. “You can really feel God’s presence.”

Not enough people are sharing in the experience to make the camp economically viable, however.

“What we offer here is quiet, a place to be quiet,” said the Rev. Bob Murray, a former banker who has worked as director at Sumatanga for 18 months. “Not everyone values that as much as they once did.”

Construction began in 1948 at Sumatanga, located about 55 miles northeast of Birmingham. Religious camps were being built all over the country around the same time as World War II veterans started families and Christian churches flourished.

“There was a period of huge growth,” said Kobielush, who estimated that as many as 70 percent of the nation’s church camps were built in the late ’40s and 1950s.

The Baby Boom turned into a bust for the camps, though, and many began losing visitors as religious denominations began contracting, TV replaced the campfire and kids’ schedules were filled with Little League practices, music lessons and dance recitals. Declining revenues meant renovations and repairs never happened at many camps as they aged, Kobielush said.

Rather than relying solely on summer youth camps for revenue when bills had to be paid yearround, many camps built nice retreat centers to lure adults for church conferences and other gatherings.

At Sumatanga, the summer camp program for children and youth is healthy, leaders say. The money problems are linked mainly to sparse usage by adults and groups during the rest of the year.

Other U.S. church camps are having a tough year, too.

In Minnesota last month, directors of a 50-year-old United Church of Christ camp, Pilgrim Point, voted to close after summer because of declining use and the collapse of financial markets, which slashed its income from endowments. Supporters hope to save the camp through fundraising, but its future is cloudy.

Presbyterians in West Virginia this year formed a nonprofit group to support Bluestone Camp & Retreat, which also was threatened with closure.

The situation is brighter at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, located in central Florida, but the camp is facing an operating deficit this year, said director Don Sawyer.

“The economy is affecting everyone,” said Sawyer, president of the Southern Baptist Camping Association. “The larger (camps) may have to do some cutbacks and find ways to streamline things, but I don’t think they’re in danger of closing.”

No one knew how bad things had gotten at Sumatanga until recently.

A study that began last year after Murray’s appointment revealed a $300,000 annual budget deficit and a 30 percent drop in visitors since 2000. When the economy worsened, both churches and other groups quit coming as often, making the situation worse.

With a new business manager and the camp’s first-ever marketing director in place, managers at Camp Sumatanga are trying to improve services, renovate facilities and increase reservations, particularly at its modern, 62-room retreat center.

They’re also overseeing a long-term capital campaign and an emergency fundraising drive that has brought in $125,000 just to keep the doors open beyond summer.

“Every bit of money that comes in buys us a little more time,” said marketing director Bart Styes, who is preparing to move to a job in a Birmingham-area church while searching for a replacement at the camp. “Ultimately this money is a Band-Aid; it’s not fixing the problem. We’ve got to get more people here.”

Rebecca Anne Renshaw Brooks, 33, is pulling for the old camp. A resident now of Washington state, she grew up in Alabama and has fond memories of what it meant to her as a youth.

“I was an outcast, a loner in school,” she said. “But when you’re at camp, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, or anything else that plagues kids day to day. We all come together as one in that place.”

Argentine Priest Convicted of Sexually Abusing Boy

Argentine Priest Convicted of Sexually Abusing Boy

A Roman Catholic priest who won fame running an Argentine foundation for poor youths was convicted Wednesday of sexually molesting a boy who participated in the program. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

A three-judge panel found Father Julio Grassi guilty of one count of sexual abuse and one count of corrupting a minor. He was acquitted of 15 other charges alleging abuse of two other boys at his “Happy the Children” Foundation. All the alleged crimes occurred in 1996.

Grassi, 52, continued to proclaim his innocence, saying he was “the victim of an injustice.”

“I feel ashamed for justice, not for me,” he said after the verdict.

Outside the court, protesters demanding Grassi’s imprisonment scuffled with the priest’s supporters. Two people were detained by police.

Grassi became widely known in Argentina after starting the “Happy the Children” Foundation in 1993, opening several homes for poor children and doing other charitable work.

Through television appearances and other appeals, the priest raised millions of dollars (euros), many of the donations coming from important public figures who distanced themselves from the priest after the allegations.

A lawyer for one of the alleged victims said it was good that Grassi was sentenced, but he criticized the priest’s acquittal on most of the charges.

“We are going to appeal the verdict because there are facts that have not been considered,” attorney Juan Pablo Gallego said.

The court withheld the identities of the three alleged victims.

Grassi was the third member of the Argentine church to be convicted of sexually abusing minors.

World’s oldest Bible published in full online

Quick question: if the Bible is the word of god, why are there different versions of it? Why does the book of Mark make no mention of the resurrection? Is it not completely obvious that this book has been modified and re-written numerous times, each subsequent version being more and more self aggrandizing in order to serve those peddling it? ‘Word of god”, my ass.

World’s oldest Bible published in full online

More than 800 surviving pages and fragments from the The Codex Sinaiticus, which was written in Greek on parchment leaves in the fourth century, have been reunited.

Last year The British Library put The Book of Psalms and St Mark’s Gospel online, and now the remaining pages have been made free for public use for the first time.

Along with the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus is considered the oldest known Bible in the world. Originally more than 1,460 pages long and measuring 16in by 14in, it was written by a number of hands around the time of Constantine the Great.

It offers different versions of the Scriptures from later editions of the Bible, notably in St Mark’s Gospel which ends 12 verses before later versions, omitting the appearance of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

The reunification of the book is the culmination of a four-year collaboration between the British Library, Leipzig University Library in Germany, the Monastery of St Catherine in Mount Sinai, Egypt, and the National Library of Russia in St Petersburg, each of which hold different parts of the manuscript.

They hope that by bringing together the digitised pages online, the project will help scholars worldwide to research in depth the Greek text, which is fully transcribed and cross-referenced.

“The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world’s greatest written treasures,” said Dr Scot McKendrick, Head of Western Manuscripts at the British Library.

“This 1,600-year old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation. The project has uncovered evidence that a fourth scribe – along with the three already recognised – worked on the text; the availability of the virtual manuscript for study by scholars around the world creates opportunities for collaborative research that would not have been possible just a few years ago.”

To mark the reunification, the British Library is also holding a new exhibition, open today that tells the story of the book.

Professor David Parker from the University of Birmingham’s Department of Theology, who directed the team which made the electronic transcription of the manuscript said the four-year process was a “huge challenge”.

“The transcription includes pages of the Codex which were found in a blocked-off room at the Monastery of St Catherine in 1975, some of which were in poor condition,” he said.

“This is the first time that they have been published. The digital images of the virtual manuscript show the beauty of the original and readers are even able to see the difference in handwriting between the different scribes who copied the text. We have even devised a unique alignment system which allows users to link the images with the transcription. This project has made a wonderful book accessible to a global audience.”

Will more Americans shun Harry Potter?

Will more Americans shun Harry Potter? Daniel Radcliffe is atheist and likes Richard Dawkins

It is no secret that people have long protested not only the Harry Potter books but the movies as well. Many of those people who protest do so with their religious conviction in mind. Back in 1999, an Associated Press writer reported that a group of parents wanted the books kept from classrooms.

One parent, Elizabeth Mounce, was quoted as saying, “‘The books have a serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil.'” At the time, the school principal, Jerry Locke, asked teachers to stop reading the books in classrooms until the issue was resolved. He said, “‘It’s questionable whether every parent wants their child to read or be exposed to books having to do with magic and wizardry.'”

Back in late 2002, there reportedly was an Anti-Harry Potter Conference in Lewiston, Maine. About 100 people attended to watch a minister cut up a copy of a Harry Potter book. They also watched a film that drew parallels between Harry Potter and “‘real'” witchcraft. The minister, Rev. Douglas Taylor, said, “‘I’m against Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz. I’m against any kind of movie or book that has a kind of magical or cultish theme to it.'” (Ahem, what about the Bible?)

Back in 2006, in Atlanta, Laura Mallory was said to think that “Harry Potter [was] something far more sinister than a fictional character.” It was also reported that “as far as [she] is concerned, the books help foster the kind of culture where school shootings take place. She believes that wouldn’t happen if students were reading the Bible instead.” (Has she actually read the Bible? It is rich with violence!)

So, the detest for anything Harry Potter has been well established here in the states. But, now, it seems, religious folk may have yet another reason to hate Harry Potter if all their other reasons weren’t enough. At least Daniel Radcliffe thinks they might.

Though many people have suspected that Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist for some time now, he confirmed it in an interview with Esquire according to a report published on the Telegraph Web site. The Harry Potter star said:

I’m an atheist, but I’m very relaxed about it. I don’t preach my atheism, but I have a huge amount of respect for people like Richard Dawkins who do. Anything he does on television, I will watch.

He went on to say jokingly:

There we go, Dan, that’s half of America that’s not going to see the next Harry Potter film on the back of that comment.

Billy Graham | Atheism is a fad only fools follow

Billy Graham | Atheism is a fad only fools follow

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Why does atheism seem to be growing so much in recent years? I guess there have always been people around who didn’t believe in God, but atheists seem to be in the public eye a lot more than they used to be. — M.M.

DEAR M.M.: Yes, atheism has been in the public eye more in recent years, largely because of a few atheists who’ve captured the public’s attention through their books. They aren’t large in number, but they do tend to be aggressive in promoting their ideas.

Why have they drawn so much attention? One reason, I believe, is because they know how to use the media very effectively. They also appeal to people who want to be free from God or any moral restraints. Like the philosophers of Paul’s day who were constantly looking for new ideas to debate, many people today eagerly latch on to the latest fad (see Acts 17:21). Atheism attracts their attention, at least for a while.

In reality, however, modern atheists have very little new to say. In fact, atheism has been around for thousands of years; even the Psalmist, writing hundreds of years before Christ, referred to them: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ ” (Psalm 14:1).

Don’t be misled by those who claim God doesn’t exist, because he does. And the ultimate reason we know it is because he came down from heaven and walked on this earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ was God in human flesh, and he proved it by rising from the dead.

Parents in faith-healing case never considered calling a doctor

Parents in faith-healing case never considered calling a doctor

OREGON CITY — Carl and Raylene Worthington told detectives that they never considered calling a doctor, even as their 15-month-old daughter deteriorated and died.

“I don’t believe in them,” Carl Worthington said of doctors. “I believe in faith healing.”

Raylene Worthington said that her religious beliefs do not encompass medical care and that she would not have done anything different for her – daughter, who died at home of pneumonia, a blood infection and other complications.

In Clackamas County Circuit Court on Wednesday, prosecutors played videotaped police interviews with the Worthingtons, who are accused of criminal mistreatment and manslaughter for failing to provide medical care for their daughter. Ava Worthington died March 2, 2008, after her parents and other members of the Followers of Christ tried to treat her with faith healing.

Ava’s father, who goes by Brent, his middle name, described what happened:

Ava came down with what appeared to be a cold or the flu on a Tuesday. By Saturday, her breathing became labored and the family turned to its traditional faith-healing rituals, praying, fasting, anointing the body with oil, administering diluted wine and laying on of hands.

By Sunday, Brent Worthington said he thought there was “a possibility” his daughter was so sick she could die. Then, after a final session of laying on of hands at about 5 p.m., “she perked up,” he said. She grabbed her bottle and “took some food.”

“She was peaceful; she was rested,” Worthington said.

Two hours later Ava was dead.

The interviewers, Detectives Michelle Finn and James Rhodes of the Clackamas County Sheriff Office’s child-abuse unit, asked pointed questions, and Brent Worthington provided details about his, his family’s and his church’s beliefs and practices.

He said no one in his immediate family has ever been to a doctor or used prescription or over-the-counter medicine. “It’s not something we believe in.”

The detectives also asked about the growth on Ava’s neck, which swelled during the last days of her life. Prosecutors allege the lump — a benign cystic hygroma — impeded her breathing.

The soft lump became more noticeable two months before Ava died and started to get “tight” the day before her death, according to the Worthingtons.

Brent Worthington said he had ultimate responsibility for Ava’s care. “I’m the head of the house; it falls to me. The wife follows the husband.”

He said he confers with his wife but did not consult with anyone else about treating Ava’s illness. Raylene Worthington did not dispute the decision to rely on spiritual healing, he said.

Asked if she would have taken Ava to a doctor if she knew her child was dying, Raylene Worthington said, “I don’t know.”

Brent Worthington said that forgoing medical treatment is probably difficult for outsiders to understand. For him, medical treatment “is not a question. It’s not even thought.”

When the detectives told Worthington that the law requires a parent to provide adequate medical care, he said he had provided care.

“I did everything I could do for her,” Worthington said. “What I was doing was working,” he said. “She was getting relief.”

Dr. Christopher Young, the deputy state medical examiner who conducted the girl’s autopsy, disagreed. “The absence of action led to her death,” said Young, who testified after the jury saw the interviews.

Ava’s cyst first appeared when she was a few months old.

By Christmas 2007, the cyst was swollen and likely interfered Ava’s with breathing, Young said. “That’s the time when a reasonable parent” would have taken a child to a doctor, he said.

Ava’s various medical conditions were easily treated, and antibiotics and a simple medical procedure could have saved her right up to the day she died, Young said.

The cyst could have been drained with a needle, providing temporary but instant relief, Young said, and antibiotics could have dampened the infections.