What the Frack? Why is the Pope Talking About Environmental Issues?

Earlier this week, Pope Francis met with environmental activists from Argentina to discuss concerns about water contamination and hydraulic fracturing — that’s “fracking” for short. After the meeting, the pontiff appeared in photographs with two of his guests, Juan Pablo Olsson and Fernando “Pino” Solanas, displaying T-shirts bearing Spanish-language anti-fracking slogans. The Pope mentioned that he has begun work on an encyclical exploring the connections between “nature, humans, and environmental pollution.”

For those who are accustomed to papal pronouncements of a different sort, this sudden eco-consciousness is a bit perplexing. Is the Vatican going green?

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Indian Temple Where Buddha Renounced Material Wealth is Being Adorned With $12 Million in Gold

There’s nothing quite like a big display of ostentatious, costly excess to celebrate a holy man’s asceticism and humility.

Via the Huffington Post:

The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India, marks the spot where Buddha renounced material wealth along with emotions like anger and envy, according to author Thubten Samphel. Despite its spiritual significance, the King of Thailand, along with some others, has donated 660 pounds of gold to create a shiny new temple dome that will be inlaid with the precious metal.

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So How Badly Do Christians Tip, Anyway?

This year, the phenomenon of restaurant customers writing aggressive, even hateful “Christian” messages on credit card receipts in lieu of a tip seems to have reached, well, a tipping point. We’ve also seen that it’s common in some circles to leave, rather than a gratuity, a fake ten-dollar bill with a Bible verse printed on the back. And a few years ago, we got reports that some Christians who go out to dine on Sunday tell the wait staff they won’t tip … because they don’t approve of people working on the Christian Sabbath.

How did it get like this? Maybe there’s some copy-catting going on here; bad behavior can be contagious. Perhaps it was always this widespread, and the spread of camera phones and social media just makes this kind of douchebaggery more visible.

Before I dive a little deeper, I guess it’s time to toss in my own story about Christian tipping here.

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Pennsylvania Legislator Proposes Resolution to Celebrate Addition of ‘Under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance

Pennsylvania legislators just can’t get enough of God in the government.

These are the Republicans who have sponsored legislation promoting the “Year of the Bible” and the “National Day of Prayer” and putting up the words “In God We Trust” in every public school in the state.

Now, they want to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the words “Under God” being added to the Pledge of Allegiance. The proposed resolution will be sponsored by Republican Rep. John McGinnis:

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With Prayer, Rebecca’s Badly Burned Hand Healed In Just 15 Hours (See Photo). It Wouldn’t Be a Lie, Would It?

Miracles happen every day, a woman named Rebecca exclaims on her Facebook page.

For instance? Behold, the curious vanishing of Rebecca’s awful burn wound:

She offers no further information, so we are left with questions.

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