Sorry about the tardiness of this week's column, but I had a prior commitment to attend: My sister's full-blown, honest-to-goodness Catholic wedding! Tip: If you've ever been invited to a loved one's Catholic mass, make sure to bring something Reader's Digest-size to stick into the prayer book.
Onto this week's roundup!
- Somewhere in the muck of North Carolina, in a town called China Grove, an eccentrically-named hamlet with a population just over 3,000, a 20-year-old with a double-barreled shotgun broke into a woman's house, demanded the $70 she owed him, and forced her to pray and read her favorite scriptures at gun-point. And there's the opening act of your next horror screenplay.
- Perhaps this is your second act: Brazilian cannibal religious sect hears voices telling them who's evil, kills them, makes them into tasty empanadas!
- In what's being called a “preemptive move” because of the country's current cultural climate, Arizona passed a bill that will protect state workers from losing their licenses if they refuse to help someone because of their own religious beliefs. Insane theoretical this opens: Arizona cops who are also followers of a Warren Jeffs-like creepy polygamous rapist can refuse to arrest him.
- An Israeli soldier used the butt of his rifle to smack a pro-Palestinian protestor in the face, with video of said smacking landing on the YouTubes. That certainly won't calm things down over there.
- Speaking of everyone getting all cah-razy about that little piece of land, last Tuesday hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails went on an open-ended mass hunger strike to celebrate/protest/learn-from-example(?) Khader Adnan's release from prison, who went through his own 66-day-long hunger strike before he was finally let go.
- In Pakistan, a suspected Islamic militant threw a hand grenade into a school and killed a six-year-old.
- A man working for the Library of Congress was fired after missing 37 consecutive days of work. That's a legit reason! But he supposedly missed those 37 days because his boss was continually harassing him with religious propaganda after the man had “liked” a gay-friendly page on Facebook. That reason is no longer legit!
- Photos taken in 2010 featuring a bunch of American soldiers in Afghanistan posing next to the torn-apart bodies of suspected suicide bombers were leaked. There's really no “winner” in this situation, which is essentially the net outcome of any religious-based war.
- Iraq has its worst day of violence in quite some time, as 14 car bombings (“mostly within Shia neighborhoods”) left at least 35 people dead. The Islamist State of Iraq, the Iraqi branch of those pesky al-Qaeda assholes, have claimed responsibility.
- One Million Moms, the terrible Christian organization of moms with nothing to do but fear for the continual onslaught of progressive values in society, continued issuing consumer protests that, truly, do nothing. This time, they're worried about an Urban Outfitters ad that shows two women kissing.
- So, here's Pat Robertson breaking down anti-Semitism for you: It's the work of Satan, trying to somehow claim Israel back himself. Which sounds like he's kind of pro-Jew. Until he gets into the fact that the stupid Jews are just way too stupid to understand this. Because they're stupid. Yes, it's all very confusing.
- Tennessee is about to pass a bill that would ban the teaching of any kind of sexual activity in schools, giving the parents a right to sue if their precious children are exposed to said sex-teaching.
- Former members of Bain Capital, the investment firm you're going to hear a hell of a lot about in the next few months since it was co-founded by Mitt Romney, have sued, claiming they were canned just because they weren't Mormon.
- Bishop Daniel Jenky, speaking to his “flock” in Peoria, Illinois, just went up and “Hitler'd” Obama in his homily. Which, you know, would be a big deal, if everyone hadn't gotten there already.
- Over at The Awl, I made a list of the 12 items that are currently being sold on eBay simply because they kind of resemble Jesus. Tostitos corn chips, pieces of stone, sweet potato fries… those kinds of things. While it does serve as a nice cross-section of religious crazy, it's a nice sign that only one of the items are actually being bid on.
- And finally, our Persons of the Week: It was reported this week the Vatican hired an American bishop to reprimand and “rein in” the Leadership Conference of Women Religions, a group of nuns that have “challenged the church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood” whilst promoting “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Who knew? So, way to go nuns! Keep on kicking ass, and don't let this sure-to-be-a-jerk bishop get in your way!
Previously - So Long, and Thanks for All the Froth