Welcome to the weekend, fellow imonkers. If any of you even thinks of mentioning the Pacers-Heat series I will look up your ISP and hunt you down. And do … really bad things. As soon as I can think of what they are. You have been warned.
Did you know that 33 cities have implemented (or are considering) laws prohibiting people from feeding the homeless? Daytona Beach, Florida, for example, recently fined a married couple and their friends 2,000 dollars for setting up a feeding station in a local park. Daytona Beach leaders argue that the couple’s work worsens homelessness by coaxing impoverished people away from centralized, city-run programs, and they complain that during the couple’s feedings some homeless people mistreated the park and frightened other patrons. what do you think? Do city officials have a point, or are they just playing Scrooge?
“Honoring predator Harvey Milk on a U.S. postage stamp is disturbing to say the least. Harvey Milk was a very disreputable man and used his charm and power to prey on young boys with emotional problems and drug addiction. He is the last person we should be featuring on a stamp.” This from the American Family Association, speaking out against the new stamp honoring the former San Francisco mayor. But since the deed is done, what can be done: “Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write ‘Return to Sender” on the envelope and tell your postman you won’t accept it.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis appeared to have a momentary disagreement. “Jesus was here, in this land. He spoke Hebrew,” Netanyahu told the Pope at a public meeting in Jerusalem. “Aramaic,” interjected the Pope. “He spoke Aramaic, but he knew Hebrew,” Netanyahu shot back. Francis then poked Netanyahu in the eye and put him in a headlock, igniting a hilarious slap-stick bout of fisticuffs, culminating in the two of them wrestling in a large vat of kosher jello. I may have made that last sentence up…
People seeking sex-reassignment surgeries may now be able to have the procedure covered by Medicare, following a groundbreaking decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board on Friday. The ruling in question came in favor of 74-year-old Army veteran Denee Mallon, of Albuquerque, who was born as a man but now identifies as a woman.
“Celibacy is not a dogma. It is a rule of life that I appreciate very much and I think it is a gift for the Church but since it is not a dogma, the door is always open.” This was Pope Francis’ answer to whether Roman Catholic priests will ever be able to marry.
Pope Francis left a note in the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It was the Lord’s prayer. Extra points if you can guess the language without the link.
The Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, saw membership decline for the seventh straight year in 2013, according to an annual report released Wednesday. Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s public policy arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has said recently that Southern Baptists can no longer pretend to be the moral majority and should instead seek to be a “prophetic minority.”
We have all heard about the growth of the “nones”: those who did not belong to any religious group, never attended church, and said religion wasn’t important in their lives. Interestingly, less than one out of five “nones” call themselves an atheist:Also, does atheism have a gender gap? The percentage of men in the above graph who call themselves atheist is almost double the percentage of women. The recent sexual harassment scandals in the more prominent atheist groups probably falls into play here as well.
“I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it.” These are the words of Pakistani Mohammad Azeem, who along with his sons and about a dozen other male relatives, used bricks and clubs to murder his pregnant daughter, 25-year-old Farzana Parveen, outside a courthouse. The woman had refused to marry the cousin the family had picked out for her. While the public nature of the stoning was unusual, the honor killings are not. Last month, the private Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported that 869 women were victims of honor killings in 2013. Another Pakistani rights group estimates that about 1,000 Pakistani women are killed each year by their families. But the true figure is probably many times higher because the census is based only on newspaper accounts of honor killings.
Update on the above: It is now being reported that the groom of the murdered woman confessed to killing his former wife so he could marry Farzana. “I wanted to send a proposal to Farzana, so I killed my wife,” he said. The man had been arrested in 2009 for this crime, but the charges were dropped when the woman’s family “forgave” him. As the AP notes: “Under Pakistani law, those charged with a slaying can see their criminal case dropped if family members of the deceased forgive them or accept so-called ‘blood money’ offerings over the crime.”
“After accounting for cardiovascular risk factors, people with the highest level of cynical distrust had 2.54 times greater risk of incident dementia, compared with the people with low cynical distrust.” That is the result of a large study published in the journal Neurology, which found that highly cynical people were much more likely to develop dementia.
“People go to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee, not because it’s the best coffee, but because it’s the most convenient. In a similar way, this is a port of entry for somebody to begin to connect with God in an intentional kind of way.” This was the argument put forth by Jeff Bills, Pastor of Hope United Methodist Church in Voorhees, Pennsylvania. He was describing why the church purchased a defunct bank building and began advertising drive-through prayers. The cars drive up, roll down the window, and describe a worry or concern. The volunteer offers a prayer on the spot. The whole process takes a minute or two, and patrons remain anonymous. Christian Piatt, a Christian author, is not a fan: “It emphasizes the individual, which is counter to the fundamental message of Christianity. It also reinforces this idea of prayer being more like a vending machine. We drive up to the window, make our selection, put in our order, and get our request fulfilled. That’s a self-serving distortion of the Christian experience.” I believe Piatt hits the nail on the head. Your thoughts?
Sheriff James Voutour sent his deputy to investigate reports of vandalized flags at a New York cemetery. 31 American flags were missing from veteran’s graves. The deputy caught the culprit in the act. It was a groundhog. The deputy watched the animal take the flags, break them with its front paws, and take them into its den. No word on if charges were filed.
Oh, and Darth Vader is running for mayor of Kiev. He had lost his presidential campaign, strangely. Vader tells reporters if elected, he won’t remove his helmet, keeping his anonymity a secret.
We are approaching wedding season, which also means anniversary season. So we will close with a friendly PSA for all our married male readers: