Thursday, January 29, 2004


In the even-a-stopped-clock-is-right-twice-a-day catagory, a federal appeals court has upheld Florida's same-sex adoption ban:
A federal appeals court yesterday upheld Florida's ban on same-sex adoptions, ruling the landmark Texas sodomy case does not establish a right for homosexuals to parent displaced children.

The Florida legislature properly judged it is not in the best interests of its displaced children to be adopted by individuals who engage in voluntary homosexual activity, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said.

The court said it "found nothing in the Constitution that forbids this policy judgment. Thus, any argument that the Florida legislature was misguided in its decision is one of legislative policy, not constitutional law."

Encouraging news, especially when taken with the court's slam against judicial activist:
"The legislature is the proper forum for this debate, and we do not sit as a superlegislature to award by judicial decree what was not achievable by political consensus," it said.

How did these guys ever get on an appeal's court? I say promote the lot of them to the Supreme Court immediately!

A Texas minister who doubles as a florist has developed a creative outreach program:
A Texas minister is compiling a list of all the porn shop customers in his town, before contacting them and asking them to attend church.

Pastor Jim Norwood of the Oakcrest Family Church says he photographs the customers' cars outside the XXX-store in Kennedale, and sends them the picture with a note.

The notes, which include a timetable of church services and classes on sex addictions, read: "Observed you in the neighbourhood. Didn't know if you were aware there is a church in the area. Please stop by next time. We'd love to have you visit."

It's the sick who need a physician.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


The Jewish Anti-Defamation League's Abe Foxman lied to gain entrance to an advance screening of Mel Gibson's movie 'The Passion'. But it wasn't his fault. You see, Mel made him do it:
Foxman said he had no choice but to lie. "I am sorry we had to engage in stealth tactics, but only because he (Gibson) forced us to," he told the Orlando Sentinel. Foxman told The New York Times he initially felt bad about sneaking in, but then changed his mind.

"I decided yesterday, `Why am I uncomfortable? Let him (Gibson) be uncomfortable.' For him to say, `You can only see it if you love it'? I felt it was my moral duty to see it," he said.

Other Jewish leaders who saw the film last week said they went in openly. David Elcott, interfaith director for the American Jewish Committee, saw the film in Chicago and said he was "completely upfront" about his affiliation and was welcomed warmly.

Foxman, who registered as a Christian pastor in order to see the fillm, found its portrayal of Jews "painful to watch."

No word on whether the crucifixion of the Son of God was painful to watch.

In a groundbreaking decision, the Russian Orthodox Church has declined to label chess a 'work of the devil':
Archbishop Wikenti from Yekaterinburg told the Itar-Tass news agency: "Chess is a quiet, intelligent game that encourages people to think. It's not a sin."

A young churchgoer led a campaign and organised a petition claiming chess was the work of the devil.

Archbishop Wikenti rejected the request, but added that "passionate games and arousing games that cause confusion, anger and irritation" are banned by the Church, including computer games.

He failed to say if this included chess played on a computer.

I guess we can cancel that scheduled chess board bonfire...
Sabine Barnhart finds that "It Takes More Than a Village". Society--people--needs the stabilizing influence of God and religion.

Friday, January 23, 2004


Russian mathematicians have allowed us all to breathe a sigh of relief--the Israelite crossing of the Red Sea actually was possible:
Russian mathematicians have determined the legendary parting of the Red Sea that let the Jews flee Egypt was possible, the Moscow Times reported.

The study, published in the Bulletin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, focused on a reef that runs from the documented spot where the Jews escaped Egypt, which in Biblical times, was much closer to the surface, according to Naum Volzinger, a senior researcher at St. Petersburg's Institute of Oceanology, and a colleague based in Hamburg, Alexei Androsov.

The mathematicians calculated the "strong east wind that blew all that night" mentioned in the Bible needed to blow at a speed of 67 miles per hour to make the reef, said Volzinger, who specializes in ocean phenomena, flooding and tidal waves.

Amazingly, God was able to perform the parting even prior to having Russian confirmation it was possible.

[Link via Drudge]

It's no surprise they're telling their story. The surprise is where they're telling it: on federally owned land:
Tens of thousands of people come here each year to a granite-walled nook in the hills just off the old pioneer trail to hear the tale of the lost Martin Handcart Company of 1856 and how a party of poor Mormon converts faced down death in a howling blizzard.

The place, called Martin's Cove — an uninhabited hollow of sand and sage surrounded by sheer cliffs that block the wind — sits on federal land 50 miles southwest of Casper, part of the vast Western domain of the Bureau of Land Management. But the story is not told by bureau employees. Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dispatched on six-month assignments and brimming with faith, are the trail and museum guides.

Now "a brief provision tucked into an energy appropriations bill" will hand the land into Mormon control for the next 25-years, with plans for automatic renewals after that. The Mormon Church has already purchased the land surrounding the federal site.

The Mormons claim they're "very careful" to tell the dramatic Martin's Cove story honestly:
"We're very, very careful," Mr. Christensen said. "This is not a proselytizing mission, but if people have questions, we're very interested in helping."

What happened at Martin's Cove, named for the group's leader, Edward Martin, was unquestionably harrowing. The 600 converts were poorly equipped with handcarts made of green wood that split in the desert air. And the company of travelers was fatally late, reaching what became Wyoming as the first snows fell, in October 1856, three months later than trail wisdom dictated. About one in four died from starvation and exposure.

One survivor later wrote in anguish about her prized possession: a fine pair of scissors she had carried from England. As hardship deepened into disaster, she used the scissors to amputate the frostbitten fingers and toes of her children. The cove became a place of death, the bodies left in the snow for wolves. The company was finally saved by a rescue party from Salt Lake City.

It does indeed sound like a dramatic, powerful tale. And perhaps the arrangement with the Latter-Day Saints church allows a historically interesting site (the actual location of which is in dispute) to be seen by a public who otherwise would not have access. This historian is unsure whether I want to hear the Mormon account of events, however.

[For an alternative view of the Mormons, try Jerald & Sandra Tanner's site]

Thursday, January 22, 2004


Peggy Noonan finds Vatican denials of the Pope's endorsement of Mel's 'Passion' movie odd, to say the least.

[Link via Drudge]

Mel Gibson continues to screen his film 'The Passion' to select audiences, most recently to 5,000 ministers:
Famed film actor and producer Mel Gibson told 5,000 pastors yesterday that "there will always be opposition" to films on the Gospel, "but you have to stand your ground and slug it out."
Mr. Gibson also told the gathering of evangelical and charismatic Christian clergy at Calvary Assembly of God Church that he was grateful for their "spiritual support." The pastors had assembled for a showing of his soon-to-be-released film "The Passion of the Christ."
"I think this work can change things," Mr. Gibson said. The film officially opens in 2,000 movie theaters nationwide on Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday.

The movie will be rated 'R', which will serve as a barrier to much of Gibson's natural audience, many of whom do not attend 'R' movies on principal. I think his guerilla, underground strategy is a good one. He's by-passing the critics and Hollywood establishment and taking it directly to those who can positively influence those who might see it.

I think you're going to see the movie be something of a surprise hit. Don't hold your breath for Oscar recognition.

[Link via WorldNetDaily]

Ohio's legislature has passed one of the most far reaching bills banning 'marriage' for homosexuals:
The bill is considered among the most far-reaching in the nation because of the benefits ban, which applies to unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples.

The Senate passed the legislation on an 18-15 vote Wednesday. The House has already approved the bill and Gov. Bob Taft has said he will sign it, pending a legal review....

Ohio's measure is particularly restrictive because it would prohibit benefits for state employees' unmarried partners, said Seth Kilbourn, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based gay and lesbian lobbying group. Nebraska has a similar ban.

Thirty-seven states have passed legislation defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman. The backlash against the homosexual 'marriage' movement continues, including the President's remarks in the State of the Union where he hinted at a possible push for a marriage amendment. As I've said before, there is a window of opportunity here to act. The cultural elites have long decided the other way on this one (just ask Druid Hills!--see below!). A Constitutional Amendment is the only way to go, it seems to me. Of course, we know how closely American judges like to follow the Constitution.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Atlanta's swanky Druid Hills Golf Club has been sued by two homosexual members demanding the club extend benefits to 'domestic partners':
The private club's bylaws allow members' spouses to play without guest fees and inherit membership when their husbands or wives die. And while it welcomes openly gay members, it doesn't extend spousal benefits to unmarried partners, gay or straight.

The club stands by its rules, and though Georgia doesn't recognize same-sex unions, Atlanta's Human Relations Commission (search) issued a unanimous ruling that Druid Hills is in violation of the city's non-discrimination ordinance.

So a private club that is following state law in not recognizing homosexual (or heterosexual) 'domestic partnerships' is nonetheless still guilty of discrimination?

They wax worse and worse.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


After widespread coverage of the Pope's endorsement of Mel Gibson's movie on the death of Jesus, "The Passion", the Vatican now denies the Pope said anything of the kind:
Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to John Paul throughout his 25-year papacy, confirmed the pope had seen the film.

"But I told the producers the Holy Father did not make any judgment, because he does not make judgments of that kind," Dziwisz told The Associated Press. "He said nothing of the kind."

Dziwisz's denial was first reported by the Catholic News Service (search), which is affiliated with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It said he had met with co-producer Steve McEveety and with assistant director Jan Michelini after the screening, but had not passed on the pope's judgment.

The papal secretary rarely speaks to the press; his remarks were an apparent indication of concern over alleged papal endorsement of a film that has stirred controversy for months before it has been viewed by the general public.

No word if the Pope saw "Master & Commander".

Conservative Episcopalians, upset over the appointment of homosexual bishop Gene Robinson, are starting a new network:
Conservative Episcopalians opposed to a gay bishop's consecration and other liberal trends were on track to establish a nationwide protest organization by the close of a two-day meeting today.

Planners insist the budding Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes is not a schism or denominational split but a "church within a church" whose backers will remain Episcopalians.

Just watching as it all self-destructs.

The impending Olympics have sparked frenetic archaeological digs throughout host city Athens:
The 2004 Games have been a boon for archaeologists, bringing the biggest single antiquities treasure hunt in Athens and surrounding areas. Experts rushed in trying to beat the bulldozers at dozens of Olympic-related sites ? from sports venues to highways.

The finds so far range from prehistoric settlements to 2,500-year-old cemeteries to ruins from the Roman period, when Emperor Theodosius abolished the Olympics in A.D. 394. Christianity had taken root, and he deemed the games to be pagan.

''I don't believe there was ever such a large-scale archaeological excavation in Athens,'' said Dina Kaza, who heads the dig at the old seaside airport.

Sounds like it's about time for a large scale dig in one of the world's richest sites.

Steve Weizman has an interesting article on the home of Israel's National Antiquities Collection:
Some of the most breathtaking items are in smaller, climate-controlled upstairs rooms.

A bronze lion's face, one of a set of Byzantine coffin-handles and exquisite pieces of gold jewelry from various historical periods are stored near delicate Phoenician glassware, molds used to shape early Christian communion wafers and delicate flakes of gold, some of which Litani said may have decorated the diadems of noblewomen.

Other gold pieces, however, had a very different purpose in the myth-filled Hellenistic culture of 323-30 B.C.

"They were put in the mouths of the dead," she said, "to pay the ferryman of the underworld to take the deceased person across the river Styx to the afterlife."

As they point out, the building is a warehouse, not a museum. In other words you and I can't just drop by. Why isn't all this stuff on display?
New excavations in archaeologically rich Israel take place all the time, and there is enough material in the Israeli Antiquities Authority labs still undergoing testing and classification to fill another warehouse, said storerooms director Michael Sebanne.

"It's a bottomless pit," Litani said. "It just keeps coming."

What a wonderful embarrassment of riches!

Monday, January 19, 2004


The Communist Chinese have refused to air 'Friends on Chinese state TV:
"I had thought the play focused on friendship, but after a careful preview I found each episode had something to do with sex," said Qin Mingxin.

The characters' attitudes would not be accepted by Chinese audiences, he said.

You're in pretty bad shape when atheistic Communists think you're too smutty.

Shmuley Boteach reacts with understandable disgust at Michael, Britney and the rest:
Michael Jackson's contemptuous display outside the Santa Barbara district court on Friday is indicative of all that is wrong with the celebrity culture. While you and I were raised to respect the law, the idols of the celebrity age believe they are above any kind of law. As are all gods.

You and I may have been raised to have a modicum of respect for the institution of marriage. But for a celebrity like Britney Spears, it's just something to do when you get drunk.

And why do celebrities act this way? It's our fault:
There is a greater chance that the Mars Rover will find life on the red planet than we here on Earth will find a wholesome celebrity. There are many reasons why our famous people are so damaged, but here's an uncomfortable truth that most of us refuse to acknowledge: Celebrities behave without restraint because we allow them to.

We, the public, not only tolerate, but are entertained by these disgusting displays. Rather than finding their virtual wife-swapping – as they marry and divorce each other within days or weeks – disgusting and outrageous, we pay to read about it in Us Weekly.

He's right, of course. If we stop celebrating the celebrities and instead hold them accountable, their pocketbooks will demand they stop their behavior. At least they'd be discreet when they act this way.

Continuing a long standing trend, fewer people are going to church in Britain:
The number of people going to church on a Sunday fell by nearly 40,000 in 2002, according to provisional figures released by the Church of England.

The average number of people attending a Sunday service dropped by 4% to just over 1 million - 39,000 fewer than the previous year.

The UK and the Continent, once a bulwark of church goers, has slipped into a totally secular society. The established churches are old and tired, floating along with secularism--teaching the same thing with a veneer of religion. Perhaps they are ready for a Biblical revival.

Friday, January 16, 2004


"Chief rabbis" from Israel want to search Vatican storerooms for long lost Temple artifacts:
When Israel's chief rabbis meet Pope John Paul II today, they will seek permission to search Vatican storerooms for artifacts such as the huge golden menorah that stood in the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago....

When the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD 70, they took Temple treasures with them. Legend has it that religious articles from the Temple, including the menorah, were among them. Amar said the Vatican has already denied the menorah is there....

An aide to the rabbi said the Vatican was not likely to permit a search. The Vatican will allow the rabbis to view rare Jewish manuscripts in its possession, Amar said. He said if the rabbis were to come across "other objects," they would be happy to bring them home.

While I'd love to go poking around the Vatican storerooms, too, I'd say that menorah was destroyed long, long ago. They might as well search for the Ark (in either Ethiopia or that big, big warehouse in Washington, DC).

Of course the ultimate motive for the search is clear:
Some Orthodox Jews believe the restoration of the menorah and other holy vessels to Jerusalem would be the first step in rebuilding the Temple, whose site is now occupied by the Al Aqsa Mosque, a Muslim shrine.

American evangelicals would be happy for that, of course. Such a scenario plays into their premillenial fancies. And I think you'd have several thousand Muslims raising, um, objections to the Temple's rebuilding.

Cashing in on the homosexual trend, Showtime is preparing to launch 'The L Word', a show featuring glam lesbians:
Comparing itself to "Sex and the City (search)," with the ad campaign "Same sex, different city," "The L Word" stars Jennifer Beals of "Flashdance" fame, whose character is trying to have a child with her partner. Their circle of beautiful, stylish lesbian friends often meets at the coffee shop to dish about career, family, friends, and of course, sex.

The show doesn't shy away from steamy scenes, one of which takes place between Marina, who is a lesbian, and a "bi-curious" Midwestern woman who moves to Los Angeles to live with her boyfriend.

Shockingly, viewers aren't going to see lesbians who look like, say, Rosie O'Donnell, but lesbians who look like, well, Jennifer Beals:
[Robert] Peters [of Morality in Media], however, said the look of the cast, who could give the “Sex and the City” gals a run for their money, sends a message to teenage girls that sexual experimentation is cool. He said the show is part of a "propaganda campaign" to change public opinion about homosexuality.

"These women are all knockouts," Peters said. "This is for heterosexual men who want to watch women having sex."

But Taylor [, a lesbian,] is unfazed by the "lipstick lesbian" look of the cast.

"Sex sells and I think it was a smart marketing strategy that they use that," she said. "Perhaps after they get people hooked they'll integrate some more realistic-looking lesbians."

And while homosexual groups are beside themselves with joy over the new show, perhaps the fundamental disagreement between lesbians and male homosexuals will be exposed. Lesbians argue that their homosexuality is a choice while male homosexuals insist that they're just genetically programmed to be that way. But the bottom line is, the show is just another effort to show homosexuality is "cool and sexy".

Thursday, January 15, 2004


A Zambian man attacked by a snake killed it with nail-clippers:
A 24-year-old Zambian man saved himself from being crushed to death by a python by killing it with a pair of nail-clippers.

Morgan Mulenga, from Mkushi, was attacked by the snake as he relieved himself behind a bush on his way home from selling fish in local villages.

The python coiled itself around his waist but Mr Mulenga's left arm was free and he managed to get his nail-clippers out of his pocket.

He stabbed the snake with the clippers until it was dead and then ran to the nearest village for help.


Despite her recent 55 hour marriage ending in annulment, Britney Spears really is a supporter of marriage:
I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, I totally do," Spears told MTV's "Total Request Live" in a telephone interview Wednesday. "[But] I was in Vegas, and it took over me."...

The pop superstar says she can't understand the fuss.

"We landed on Mars that day -- why aren't they talking about that?" she asked, referring to the Mars Rover (search) launched by NASA.

Yeah, "what goes on here stays here".

Wednesday, January 14, 2004


The folks at the National Park Service have become the objects of controversy (and thousands of emails) on how the Grand Canyon was created:
Causing the flow of e-mail is the controversy over a book for sale at the Grand Canyon that claims the famous area was formed by the Old Testament flood Noah survived and can be no older than a few thousand years. That contention has some scientists calling for the book to be pulled from store shelves. Traditional secular science contends the canyon is millions of years old.

Depending on who you ask, the book is either shining the light of truth on the subject or dragging American into the Dark Ages:
"The Grand Canyon was formed millions of years ago," said William Ausich, president of the Paleontological Society, according to Religion News Service. "It is the job of the National Park Service to present the best scientific information possible to the public, and the book is complete pseudoscience."

Mark Looy disagrees, saying the canyon is much younger. Looy is vice president of Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization that contributed essays to the book.

"The canyon was formed as a result of the aftereffects of Noah's flood, a worldwide global flood," he said. "Most of the canyon was formed by a lot of water over a relatively short period of time."

You like to see scientists supporting the free exchange of ideas.

is 'Meglomaniac', er, 'Evangelist' on the top ten dream jobs:
9. Evangelist. Apparently we're a spiritually needy people. Witness America's several "great awakenings" and the role religion plays in politics even today, and wherever there's a need there's an exploitable market. Enter the evangelist, who enjoys all the power and prestige of a captain of industry or big-time politician but without having to answer to a pesky board of directors or the electorate. Choose your role model from among Cotton Mather, the Billys (Sunday and Graham), Reverend Ike and Jim and Tammy Faye.
Downside: The sense of megalomania you develop may lead to embarrassing if not fatal consequences (see Jim Jones and David Koresh), and don't forget the Internal Revenue Service.

Yes, my power and prestige are practically unlimited.

[Thanks to Susanna of cotb for the link]

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Tom Cruise connects the spiritual dots by explaining the roots of scientology:
Tom Cruise, who stars in Edward Zwick's "The Last Samurai", praised eastern religion saying "Buddhism is the grandfather of scientology" and climbed up on a chair to show off his new-found strength and flexibility in the making of the film.

The 41-year-old star, sporting short hair and a grey suit, waxed lyrical on Buddhism during a Paris news conference at the Ritz hotel held to promote the release in France of the movie next week.

"I was struck by the code of Bushido (the way of the Samurai). It's powerful, it talks about compassion, helping others, responsibility, integrity ... timeless values, ways I identify with," said Cruise, who has practised scientology for 20 years.

I think Cruise is dead on on this one. And while he sees it as a compliment, I think that it condemns both. Both Buddhism and Scientology are rejections of God and an unholy elevation of 'self'.

"Professing to be wise, they became fools."

Monday, January 12, 2004


An Argentine artist has decided to test religious tolerance by displaying himself in the all-together in front of houses of worship (WARNING: link will take you to a picture of said artist):
Luizo Vega told Las Ultimas Noticias: "I want to test all religions and see their level of tolerance. I will go to each and every place of worship."

His first stop in his Faith Project was the Catholic church of Guadalupe, in Buenos Aires.

Mr Vega said: "I was born on December 24 and when I turned 24 I realised I had a special kind of bond with the spiritual world."

Yes, he needs more to do.

Biblical expert and reinvigorated Christian Howard Dean somehow missed the point of the parable of the Good Samaritan; he's now picking and choosing his neighbors:
Dale Ungerer, a retiree from Hawkeye, Iowa, lectured Dean for nearly three minutes near the end of a forum....

''Please tone down the garbage, the mean-mouthing, the tearing down of your neighbor and being so pompous,'' Ungerer told Dean. ''You should help your neighbor and not tear him down.''

''George Bush is not my neighbor,'' Dean replied.

''Yes, he is,'' Ungerer said, to which Dean responded: ''You sit down. You've had your say, and now I'm going to have my say.''

I suppose Dean would have passed by on the other side, too.

Friday, January 09, 2004


We learn how Australia wasn't really worthy of top Anglican Peter Carnley from Midwest Conservative Journal:
Australian evangelical Anglicans are fundamentalist homophobic fools who hate women. No wonder Pete bailed. Let's all pray(assuming you actually believe this stuff), says Jim, downing the last of his Foster's, that they don't give the primacy to...shudder...Peter Jensen....

But on the plus side, a Jensen primacy would give the Australian left someone to scare their kids to sleep. "Settle down and go to bed," they'll say, "or Peter Jensen will get you in the night."

Our generation can watch while the once mighty Anglicans are hoisted upon their own liberal petard throughout the world.

Sarah Hinlicky Wilson tells of an encounter with a man desperate to know a secret:
Why do some people chase after heresy, seek out cults, accept bizarre religious dogmas, experiment with wacky rituals? Nine times out of ten it isn't because of a profound and intellectual departure from the traditional doctrine of the church. It's because the heretical thing fills some need, and the orthodox thing touches some weakness or pain.

This poor man got tripped up by the lust for gnosis, the spawning ground for heresies old and new. Gnosis, the secret knowledge hidden from the ordinary folk, sets the bearer apart and above. It's an infatuation with mystery taken to a prideful extreme. I remember well even at the age of five the extreme satisfaction I felt in knowing for certain of three people in hell: Judas, Pilate, and Hitler. Gnosis flatters human vanity and polishes it with the luster of spiritual authority.

Once while teaching a class on Revelation I saw a hand from the back pew way back in the far corner of the auditorium.

"Do you think there's a lost code book to Revelation?"

Somewhat stunned, I managed to answer, "Well if there was God apparently intended that we not have it or He would have protected it for our use."

Ever since then I've wished that my response had been: "Yes, I do, and I have a copy in my office!"

Ah, the lure of inside information.

Alabama's Chief Justice Roy Moore, removed last year by an ethics panel, has appealed the decision, desiring reinstatement:
"I've been removed from public office — the highest judicial office in this state — by an unelected, politically appointed body, and they did not question why I did not obey an unlawful order of the federal court," Moore said at a news conference. "Basically, I was given the choice to fail to acknowledge God or keep my job."

I wouldn't hold my breath for him to be reinstated, but I think he knows that.

Thursday, January 08, 2004


Following the path of McDonald's, Frosted Flakes and Camel cigarettes, condom manufacturers are hipping up their wrappers to sell condoms to kids:
"Basically, what we've tried to do here is make it the cool thing to do, the 'in' thing to do, to protect yourself," said Harry Terrell, CEO of Common Ground USA (search), which produces the condoms.

Maybe they can package them with some Joe Camels for afterward. Just sick.

Kim Hone-McMahan sees a distrubing trend with Britney's nuptials:
Akron Family Institute therapist Etta Brooks has witnessed a disturbing view among some young folks.

"One of the things I see happening is older adolescents, or individuals in their early 20s, moving into first marriages with the mentality that there's a possibility that they're not going to work,'' she said. "And they are calling them 'starter marriages.' ''

That's terrible.

"Yeah, it really is,'' Brooks said ``And this (Spears' short-lived marriage) just kind of reinforces that mentality.''

You can have your starter marriage in your starter home together with a starter car and maybe even a starter kid or two. If it doesn't work out, well, all that stuff can be upgraded can't it?

[Thanks to David P. for the link.]

From the man whose favorite New Testament book is Job and left the Episcopal Church over a bike path comes this pronouncement:
"From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

Or maybe since in His revealed word it says homosexuality is a sin, we could infer the opposite: that homosexuality is a behavioral choice. Just a thought, doctor.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004


Fred Reed bemoans our loss of proper English standards:
The unworthy like to argue, almost as if they had some slight idea what they were talking about, that any language is acceptable provided that it communicates. The problem with unschooled and degraded English is precisely that it doesn’t communicate well. In an America that has embraced the tastes and standards of the black ghetto, I occasionally see it written that Ebonics is a language to be respected as much as English. Oh? It is an unwritten language, which might seem to put it at some slight disadvantage to a language that has had a rich literature since at least the fourteenth century. (I’m not sure that pre-Chaucerian English is quite what I think of as English.)

And I think we must recognize that the Internet, instant messaging and blogging have all contributed more than their share to the decline.

Monday, January 05, 2004


That non-stop jokester Britney Spears and a childhood friend tied the knot in a 'joke' wedding, but have since, of course, had it annulled:
“It was just crazy, man,” the 22-year-old [groom] told “Access Hollywood” in an interview at his home Monday morning. “And we were just looking at each other and said, 'Let’s do something wild, crazy. Let’s go get married, just for the h*ll of it.”’

The two made the "wise decision" (according to attorney David Chesnoff) and ended the marriage. With an annulment, it never even happened:
“Plaintiff Spears lacked understanding of her actions to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to the marriage,” the annulment petition said.

I think "lacked understanding" is the understatement of this young year. And we wonder why the divorce rate is so high.

The Anglicans are playing hardball in their quest to normalize homosexuality. An Anglican church in Canada refused to accede to the demands of its bishop to accept same-sex unions and promptly was shut down:
An Anglican church in Canada has been closed for refusing to support same-sex unions in defiance of its bishop.

But the Rev James Wagner said he would celebrate Mass on Christmas as planned despite the decision by Bishop Michael Ingham to "terminate" the Holy Cross church in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

"As far as the diocese is concerned, we do not exist. We are a non-entity," Wagner said, "but I will not abandon these people. I will continue to pastor and pray for them in the midst of this crisis."

Meanwhile, the Archbishop of York thinks those opposed need to stop fussing about it:
The intense row over sexuality in the Anglican Church has risked it losing sight of its world priorities, the Archbishop of York has warned.

Dr David Hope, in his annual Christmas sermon at York Minster, called on the Church to live "together with and in difference" with one another....

Dr Hope said: "Many quite outside and beyond the Church have looked on in disbelief wondering quite what all the fuss is about and asking whether in so focusing on this one issue (human sexuality) almost to the exclusion of all others we have not lost sight of more pressing and vital priorities for our world and its peoples."

That's right you people who dare believe in Biblical morality--just stop fussing!

The Anglican and Episcopal split is well under way.

Everyone's favorite angry candidate Howard Dean has stuck his foot in his mouth again. Dean has gotten Jesus lately, and was asked what his favorite New Testament book is:
Asked his favorite New Testament book, Dr. Dean named Job, adding: "But I don't like the way it ends." "Some would argue, you know, in some of the books of the New Testament, the ending of the Book of Job is different," he said. "I think, if I'm not mistaken, there's one book where there's a more optimistic ending, which we believe was tacked on later."...

An hour after his comments, Dr. Dean returned to the clutch of reporters, saying he realized he had misspoken because Job is not in the New Testament.

"Many people believe that the original version of Job is the version where there is not a change, Job ends up completely destitute and ruined," he said. "It's been a long time since I looked at this, but it's believed that was added much, much later. Many people believe that the original ending was about the power of God and the power of God was almighty and all knowing and it wasn't necessary that everybody was going to be redeemed."

Asked again about his favorite part of the New Testament, Dr. Dean said, "Anything in the Gospels."

A much safer answer.

Dean's press secretary assures us that Dean is not really an expert on these things (no kidding!):
His press secretary, Doug Thornell, telephoned late Friday night to say that Dr. Dean did not mean to imply he was some kind of expert.

"He obviously has read the Bible and knows the passages fairly well," Mr. Thornell said, "but just in terms of having a theologian's knowledge of the Bible, he doesn't want to pass on the impression that he does."

That's not the way the good doctor had portrayed it earlier, of course:
Touring with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Dr. Dean also visited Galilee, where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. "If you know much about the Bible — which I do — to see and be in a place where Christ was and understand the intimate history of what was going on 2,000 years ago is an exceptional experience," he said.

But it all shows the dangers of becoming religious because of tracking polls. Dean's religious past is certainly less than stellar:
Dr. Dean grew up spending Sundays in an Episcopal church, and attended religious boarding school, but became a Congregationalist after the Episcopal church he belonged to in Burlington, Vt., refused to yield land for a bike path around Lake Champlain that he championed. His wife is Jewish and their children observe both traditions, though the family stopped attending services years ago after scolding sermons about once-a-year attendees.

The campaign has brought Dr. Dean back to the pews, clapping along with hymns in African-American churches from Harlem to San Francisco. At a Hanukkah party for his staff last month in Manchester, N.H., Dr. Dean proudly chanted the blessing over the candles in well-accented Hebrew and then repeated it for an Israeli television crew.

The best part of the whole thing is to know there's some good preaching going on at the synagogue!

I read this to a good round of chuckles at my Bible class on the Captivity and Return last night. At least Dean's good for something.

[Scrappleface sees Dean's gaffe as a golden opportunity.]

[Original link via Drudge]