Football Temples, 4,000 year old dinosaurs, The Church of Beyonce, and the return of the firing squad. Happy weekend, fellow imonkers.
Did you know that in the history of the International Religious Freedom Act, there is only one person ever banned from entering the U.S.? His name: Narendra Modi. His occupation: He was just elected prime minister of India in the largest democratic election in history of the world. Problem?
Speaking of American religion, a new survey finds that there are more people in the U.S. who say they never go to church than those that claim to go weekly. At least, that’s what they say when they’re not being asked by another person. The survey found many people, Christians and unbelievers both, will exaggerate about attending worship in live phone interviews. However, when asked in an anonymous online questionnaire, people will answer more realistically. On the phone, 36 percent of Americans report attending religious services weekly or more, while 30 percent say they seldom or never go. But online, a smaller share (31 percent) of people surveyed said they attended church at least weekly, while a larger portion (43 percent) admitted they seldom or never go. The study also compared actual attendance with claimed attendance in previous polls, and found this result: “Actual church attendance was about half the rate indicated by national public opinion polls.”
Last week we reported on the startling number of people around the world who agree with anti-Semitic stereotypes. Some of us wondered why these stereotypes are still around and so pervasive. Thankfully, we have the “rapper” Macklemore (the performer of the “Same Love” pabulum so adored at the last Grammies) to illustrate the problem: That’s right, Mackelmore donned this fake schnooz, a wig and beard to grace his audience with the profundity of a song called, “Thrift Shop”. Oh my. The really sad thing is that the audience apparently had absolutely zero problem with this. But as pictures surfaced, the tweets began. My favorite was from Seth Rogen: “Hey Macklemore, first you trick people into thinking you’re a rapper, now you trick them into thinking you’re Jewish?” And what was the rapper’s response: “A fake witches nose, wig, and beard = random costume. Not my idea of a stereotype of anybody.” Oh, I see. You just … randomly threw some random items together from the random prop store for your random costume. You had absolutely no idea how anyone could possibly interpret this random randomness as some sort of stereotype. Obviously, the only way someone could call you anti-Semitic when you perform a song called Thrift Shop while looking and dancing like this:is if they were stupid enough to read some symbolism into your innocent and totally random collection of props. Wait….Is that really your story here? I realize your fans may not be the brightest tools in the shed, but c’mon, man. Give the rest of us a little credit. By the way, just in case you don’t feel sufficiently insulted and depressed yet, you can find the lyrics to Thrift Shop here. Enjoy.
The story of the almost 300 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram is heart-breaking and on-going. It’s not clear if the militaries from either Nigeria or some western country will go after the kidnappers. But a group of spiritual hunters is already on the trail.
First we had Yeezianity. Now we have the Church of Bey. That’s right: a new religion dedicated to worshipping Beyoncé. Apparently some 200 women (and no men so far) meet together to hear founder Pauline Andrews read from the Beyble. But Andrews is a little bummed that more have not seen the light. “We are very disappointed in the failure of the public to recognize the existence of a divine Deity walking among them. Deity’s often walk the Earth in their flesh form. Beyoncé will transcend back to the spirit once her work here on Mother Earth has been completed.”
A Republican congressional candidate in Arizona said during a primary debate Saturday that the vast majority of mass shootings in the United States are committed by Democrats. Full quote from Gary Kiehne: “If you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people. So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.” Mr. Kiehne did not specify the [no doubt quite rigorous] methodology he used to make this sociological claim.
So a wax museum is making a figure of Mick Jagger. Because apparently his real face isn’t scary enough.A billboard in Mobile was removed last week, after a few protests. What was its message? Minnesota became the first state to ban anti-bacterial soap. It won’t be the last.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary stirred up some controversy among its fans by admitting its first Muslim student.
Chaplain Mike’s favorite educational institute, the Creation Museum, has a new display: a 30 foot Allosaurus. Most scientists would date the Allosauros as having lived about 150 million years ago. The Creation Museum differs slightly on this: they date it at 4,300 years ago, and say it died in Noah’s flood.The death penalty has received a lot of attention lately, especially after Oklahoma’s recent botched lethal injection. The problem is a shortages of available drugs for lethal injections, which is leading some states to consider alternative drugs. Or, a state could just avoid the whole mess and go old school. Which is exactly what Wyoming and Utah are considering. Lawmakers in those two states are debating bringing back firing squads for capital crimes. Wow.
The Bus War is continuing in Washington, D.C. After a pro-Palestinian group bought anti-Israeli ads on public buses, a pro-Israel group responded with an ad of it’s own: I didn’t run across any great videos this week, but I did run across a photographic technique I had not seen before: time-stacking. It’s something of a cross between a long exposure photo and a time elapsed video. You can see one man’s use of it here, but I thought I would post a few of his shots also: