Happy Saturday, imonkers. Those of us in the states are in the midst of March Madness, that time of year when athletic teenagers make obscene amounts of money for tv networks. And Monday was St. Patrick’s Day, of course. Did you wear green? Drink green beer? You know, if you were Hindu, the day would have been more colorful, for March 17 is the Holi festival (you know, where the participants throw colored powder on each other). Which U.S. state held the biggest Holi festival? Utah, of course. Where else?
You might have missed this story. None one of the major news outlets reported on it (shockingly) but the Vatican, working with Anglican and Muslims, has launched The Global Freedom Network to battle modern-day slavery. “Objectives include getting the G20 to condemn modern-day slavery, persuading 50 major corporations to commit to slavery-proofing their supply chains and convincing 160 governments to endorse a seven-year, $100 million fundraising effort to implement anti-slavery programs globally.”
The always informative Christian Post had an exclusive on the “ten fittest Christian leaders“.
A Florida woman is facing felony charges and up to five years in the big house for performing a C-section on a Rottweiler without using anesthesia.
From the freedom of speech is only for us department comes the story of a philosophy professor who argues that anyone funding and promoting a denial of climate change should be jailed. Of course, he breezily notes, “My argument probably raises an understandable, if misguided, concern regarding free speech. We must make the critical distinction between the protected voicing of one’s unpopular beliefs, and the funding of a strategically organized campaign to undermine the public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions.” In other words, your freedom of speech stops when your wallet comes out. If you feel you have the right to promote your opinion then you are “misguided”. It’s a good thing we can totally trust people like this professor to determine things like what is a “strategically organized campaign”, what constitutes “undermining”, and when such activity threatens the “public’s ability to develop and voice informed opinions”. The comments on the site are interesting, at least those not “removed by moderator”.
Speaking of intolerance, did you see this quote? ““Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Who was this person equating right-to-life with “extreme” conservatism, and wishing to banish these extremists from the state? Some left-wing blogger trying to scare up comments? A radical talk-show host attempting to juice ratings? No, this statement was uttered by none other than Andrew Cuomo, who serves as Governor of the state in question.
By the way, I noticed Gallup’s latest poll on abortion has more people in the U.S. describing themselves as pro-life (48%) than pro-choice (45%). That’s a lot of extremists.
Bill Gates gave a long interview to Rolling Stone, and mentioned at the end that he and his family are practicing Catholics. He also noted that he is sympathetic to some atheist arguments, “But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there’s no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don’t know.”
First Things asked the question: “As a post-biblical vision of sex, gender, and marriage gains the upper hand in our society, should our religious institutions get out of marriage? Should priests, pastors, and rabbis renounce their roles as deputies of state authority in marriage?” Eight religious scholars (Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Baptist and Jewish) give their opinion. You’re probably not a religious scholar, but we’d love to hear your take on the question anyway.
Did you know that Pope Francis’ reforms are making the mob “very nervous”? Nervous enough that one anti-mob prosecutor has warned the Vatican of possible mob hits against the pope? Undeterred, Francis will preside over a prayer vigil dedicated to victims of mob violence in Italy and their families.
Their nickname means, “Western education is forbidden.” And now the Islamic extremist Boko Haram terrorist network has forced Nigeria’s Borno state government to close all high schools indefinitely amid fears of terror attacks. 85 schools will be closed, affecting nearly 120,000 students in an area that has the country’s worst literacy rates.
Russell Crowe got to meet the Pope. Kind of. He failed, however, to talk Francis into endorsing Crowe’s upcoming Noah movie. President Obama is set to meet with Francis next week, while today the Pope meets with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan — who supports Nigeria’s criminalization of homosexuality. Goodluck Jonathon will be accompanied by his wife, Patience Jonathon. Really.
Perhaps Francis and Obama can discuss last week’s list in Fortune Magazine of the 50 greatest leaders in the world. Francis tops the list. Obama isn’t on it. By the way, Bono comes in at 8 and Angelina Jolie at 21. And Chaplain Mike? Like POTUS, completely snubbed!
The Florida Lutheran Pastor was only joking. But now he has to pay for a dozen tattoos (of the church logo) on his parishioners.
Well, this surprised me. The NIV has been the best-selling bible translation for decades. But when surveyed about which Bible they actually read, the King James Version not only came out on top, it wasn’t even close. 55% said they read the KJV, versus only 19% for the NIV. Other translations scored in the single digits.
A church in Russia was closed by the government for not registering its Sunday School Class.
A new law in the works in Iraq (it was passed by the cabinet and sent to the parliament) would allow the marriage of eight year old girls. It would also give husbands the right to have sex with their wives without consent, give custody of children over age two to the father, and forbid women from leaving the home without her husband’s permission.
The always classy Urban Outfitters sold a “drunk Jesus” t-shirt for St. Patrick’s Day. Forbes notes, “Now aside from the Irish, Urban has also managed to offend Jews (thanks to a T-shirt with what looked like a Nazi emblem); Blacks (with Ghettopoloy, a boardgame replacing Boardwalk with Cheap Trick Avenue); and Native Americans (by infringing on patents for the word “Navajo”). Just earlier this year, it irked millions more with its slim, gray v-necked women’s shirt with “Eat Less” emblazoned on it.” Wow.
Finally, did you know Italy has a version of The Voice (the musical competition show)? The judges had a bit of a surprise when they turned around their chairs. We’ll end with that video.