A few days ago, I mentioned that evangelical Christians in the Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) wanted to censor two performances of a comedy play called “The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (abridged)” because they felt it was too blasphemous:
After Being Cancelled by Christian Politicians in Northern Ireland, Satirical Bible Play is Back On and Sold Out
Vampires, Common Thieves, Satanic Kidnappers? Blood of Pope John Paul Stolen: Perhaps, Church Says, for Ransom
We’re not even in February, but I think this is a potential winner in the category “Bizarre Whodunnit of the Year”:
Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said on Monday.
Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.
Franca Corrieri told Reuters she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.
One of Christianity’s more unsettling practices is the veneration Catholics have for the body parts — and bodily fluids — of their purported saints.
Nothing is too ghoulish to turn into a religious object. Jesus’s foreskin. The finger of Doubting Thomas (the one he poked into the gash in Christ’s side). The breast milk of the Virgin Mary. The thumb and head of St. Catherine of Siena. St. Fiacre‘s semen-encrusted sock.
OK, I made that last one up, but is it really any crazier than the preceding relics?
A Georgia Republican Legislator Wants To Legalize Prayer During Morning Announcements, Football Games, and Graduation
Last year, Mississippi’s Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that made student-led, administration-supported proselytizing perfectly legal in the state’s public schools.
On the surface, the bill appeared to be useless — as one Americans United lawyer said of similar legislation, “This bill is a solution in search of a problem.” It said students could “express their beliefs about religion in homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments free from discrimination”… even though they could always do that. It said students could form religious clubs that met before or after school… which was also never in doubt.
Kirk Cameron, Protector of the Family, Defender of the Faith, and Speaker of the Bullshit, took to Facebook today to announce that the mass-wedding at last night’s Grammy Awards during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘ performance of the pro-LGBT song “Same Love” was an “all out assault on the traditional family.”
And there’s only way to defend against that assault: Buying Kirk Cameron’s new movie:
Humanist Group Fights Back Against School District That Held Graduation in Church with Christians Prayers in Ceremony
Last year, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center found out that administrators at Mountain View Elementary School in Taylors, South Carolina held their “graduation” ceremony inside of a church.
To make matters worse, the program for the event very clearly listed two separate prayers — both of which were led by students. Furthermore, both were Christian prayers that referred to “Jesus” and both were approved by a school official before the ceremony:
It’s possible to hold a public school graduation in a church — other districts have gotten away with that — but even Christian administrators who want to sneak prayers into the ceremony know well enough to call them “invocations” instead of giving away the game and they make sure school officials are not linked to the prayers.
The AHA sent the district a letter warning them of the consequences, but the school’s response didn’t quite indicate how they would change the ceremony in the future other than reiterating that “the school will not endorse the use of prayer by students”… which left the door wide open for prayers to continue without the school’s public support.
After another round of back-and-forth, the district took a stand and said they would not stop student-initiated prayers, leading the AHA to file a federal lawsuit on behalf of a family in the district.
Unfortunately, December’s court hearing was a mess. The judge, Ross Anderson, said things that no one with a strong knowledge of the facts should have said, a claim the AHA suggests in a recent court filing: