Dogma Alert

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Theologian calls for response to 9/11

By Samara Kalk Derby
April 19, 2005

David Ray Griffin asks the tough questions about Sept. 11, contending U.S. officials had some knowledge of what was coming and possibly orchestrated the attacks.

Griffin, whose book, "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11," came out a year ago, drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from the majority of the 400 or so people who packed his lecture Monday night at Bascom Hall.

A retired Christian theologian, Griffin, 65, taught for more than 30 years at the Claremont School of Theology in California.

His comments Monday night were directed at religious people, who he said need to respond to Sept. 11 - and the American empire that has ensued - based on the moral principles of their religious traditions.

Drawing laughter from the crowd, Griffin said he had in mind principles like: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors' oil" and "Thou shalt not murder thy neighbors in order to steal their oil."

While Griffin noted that his books and talks have not received attention from the mainstream media, C-SPAN had a cameraman at the event and plans to air the lecture at a future date. Madison's public access cable television station, WYOU-TV/Channel 4, meanwhile, will air the talk at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Americans interpret the events of Sept. 11 in one of four ways, Griffin said:

• A first group accepts the official interpretation that Sept. 11 was a surprise attack by Islamic terrorists. It is easy for these people "to think of America's so-called War on Terror as a just war," Griffin said.

• A second group accepts the official line but thinks Sept. 11 has been used opportunistically by the Bush administration to extend the American empire. People who hold this view often believe that America's response to Sept. 11, which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, is far worse than the attacks themselves, he said.

• A third group believes the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming and let them happen. It shows the government as "deliberate and cold-blooded," advancing its imperial designs while hypocritically portraying itself as promoting a "culture of life," Griffin said.

Although there has been no national survey, a Zogby poll taken last year indicated that almost half of the residents of New York City share this view, he said.

• A fourth group believes that the government orchestrated the attacks. While no poll shows how many Americans believe this, polls in Canada and Germany have found as many as 20 percent of those populations do, Griffin said.

In his follow-up book, "The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions," Griffin examines the questions that he and others in the "9/11 Truth Movement" charge were never examined by the federal government's 9/11 Commission.

Evidence to support the theory that U.S. officials had at least had some foreknowledge of the attacks comes from David Schippers, the chief prosecutor for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, who reportedly received warnings from FBI agents about the attacks six weeks earlier, Griffin said.

Other government officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, would not respond to the warnings, he added.

There was the extraordinarily high volume of "put options" purchased in the three days before the attacks, Griffin said, with investors betting that stock in United and American Airlines - the two airlines used in the attacks - would go down. There were also a suspiciously high number of put options for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which occupied 22 stories of the World Trade Center.

"U.S. intelligence agencies monitor the market, partly to look for signs of impending attacks," Griffin said. "One wonders how information could be much more specific than this."

Griffin then made a case that government officials planned and executed the attacks.

For one, the United States military neglected to send fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes. Such interceptions usually occur within 10 to 20 minutes after the first signs of trouble and are routine, happening about 100 times a year, Griffin said.

It seems implausible, he said, that the Pentagon was struck by Flight 77, since it is "surely the best defended building on the planet." The U.S. military has the best radar systems in the world and "does not miss anything occurring in North American airspace," he added.

Griffin also made a case that the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was brought on by thousands of explosives placed throughout each of the buildings. They went straight down, at free-fall speed, as in controlled demolitions, and many people in the buildings reported that they heard or felt explosions, he added.

"High-rise steel-frame buildings have never - before or after 9/11- been caused to collapse by fire," he said.

Sue Adams, 50, introduced herself to Griffin after the talk, calling him heroic. "I think some day we may really know the truth," she said, adding that it will likely be after the Bush administration is gone.

Orion Litzau, a UW freshman studying engineering, agrees that the answers the government put out through the 9/11 Commission were more than a simple deception.

"They were not only partly false but a complete, bold face lie," he said. "David Ray Griffin brings out interesting points about what could be the true story behind the 9/11 attack."

Jim Goulding, 67, who teaches religious studies at Edgewood College, admitted at first he wondered whether Griffin was a crackpot, but instead found he had a "tremendous reputation as a theologian."

Goulding has read both of Griffin's Sept. 11 books.

"I think he makes a convincing case - well documented, well footnoted," he said.

Comment (from Signs of the Times): Griffen's book The New Pearl Harbor is an excellent introduction to the problems raised by the official story, probably the best choice to recommend for someone who, while still believing that 19 Arab terrorists hijacked four planes and avoided the most powerful national defense system in the world to carry out their attacks, is open to learning more. Obviously, the card-carrying Bushists will never believe a word spoken against their Commander-in Chief.

Griffen's book is low-key and well-reasoned, not offering any answers, but simply putting forward a wealth of detail about the holes and contradictions in the story we have heard from the government mouthpieces in the media. The sheer accumulation of facts is impressive and may well crack the façade of belief of an open reader.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Loosening Religious Grip at Air Academy

The school launches a sensitivity course in response to complaints about evangelical Christians infringing on other faiths.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In a crowded room on the edge of the Air Force Academy, Chaplain Melinda Morton was doing her bit for culture change.
She dimmed the lights and rolled the video.

It was Mel Gibson in a scene from the film "We Were Soldiers" addressing his troops on the eve of battle. "We are moving into the valley of the shadow of death," he said solemnly. "Where you will watch the back of the man next to you, as he will watch yours, and you won't care what color he is, or by what name he calls his God."
Morton stopped the tape, and flicked on the lights.

"In past years we have had incidences of spiritual insensitivity here at the academy," she told the 25 civilian and military personnel in the room. "Sometimes it was out of ignorance but sometimes it was out of maliciousness. Respect is essential for mission success."

Morton was teaching an RSVP — Respecting the Spiritual Values of all People — class, a 50-minute exercise in trying to stop what critics called a culture of intolerance on campus. Over the last four years, there have been 55 complaints of insensitivity, many dealing with alleged harassment of religious minorities by evangelical Christians.

Cadets and employees are being told they can't proselytize on campus, use government e-mail to send religious messages, put up posters with religious themes or use positions of authority to endorse a particular faith. They must also attend one RSVP class.

About 90% of cadets here are Christian and many of them, as well as teachers and high-ranking officers, are evangelical.

Academy Commandant Brig. Gen. Johnny Weida is a self-described born-again Christian. Last year, football coach Fisher DeBerry hung a banner in the athletic complex that said, "I am a Christian first and last … I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." He later removed it and underwent sensitivity counseling.

When the film, "The Passion of the Christ" came out, some cadets hung posters and sent hundreds of e-mails on campus computers urging people to see it.

Lt. Col. Edie Disler, an English professor who helps run RSVP programs, said some Christians questioned the value of the classes. "They have said: We are in the majority, why do we have to do this?"

Mikey Weinstein, an academy graduate and lawyer in Albuquerque, has a son who is a sophomore at the school. The cadet has been called a "filthy Jew," among other things, Weinstein said.

"This is not a Jew-Christian thing, it's an evangelical versus everyone else thing," he said. "I am calling for congressional oversight and for the academy to stop trivializing the problem by calling it nonsystemic. If they can't fix it and Congress won't fix it, the next thing to do is go to the federal court and file a lawsuit alleging a violation of the Constitution and civil rights."

Members of the Yale Divinity School, who visited the academy last year to observe pastoral care on campus, were surprised by the overtly evangelical tone they found.

During Protestant worship services, the report said, cadets chanted, "This is our Chapel and the Lord is our God." They were encouraged to proselytize to others and "remind them of the consequences of apostasy."

"Protestant cadets were reminded that those not 'born again will burn in the fires of hell,' " the report said. "Protestant cadets were regularly encouraged to 'witness' to fellow Basic Cadets."

Kristen Leslie, an assistant professor in pastoral care at Yale, led the team.

"There was a religious arrogance," Leslie said. "It suggested that you would have to learn a whole different way of being to survive in that environment if it wasn't your faith tradition."

She was lukewarm about the RSVP program.

"It is geared toward cadets," she said. "I think it should be geared more to those who can effect change."

Accusations of religious chauvinism come as the academy struggles to recover from rape and sexual assault scandals that erupted two years ago. A number of female cadets said that they had been ignored or threatened with punishment when they tried to report rapes.

Col. Debra Gray, vice commandant, arrived in 2003 to help repair the damage done by those scandals and change the culture of the place. She began hearing anecdotes about religious harassment that matched concerns voiced in student surveys.

"I believe we have a few individuals who were a little out of the box in terms of how they were sharing their faith," she said. "I never perceived it as pervasive or systemic but to someone who feels persecuted maybe their perception is that it is systemic."

Gray said no one had been punished over the complaints but some had been talked to by school officials and could face more serious consequences if their behavior persisted.

"The RSVP classes are a kick-off," she said. "This gets the dialogue going and raises the collective consciousness."

Back in the classroom, Capt. Paula Grant, a law professor, told participants they must balance their right to exercise their religion with the right of others not to be intimidated or harassed.

"We are not trying to stamp out religion," Grant said. "It's a matter of how you go about it. You cannot use your uniform to further your personal agenda, whether it's religion or sports or anything."

So far 1,500 of 4,300 cadets have taken the class and eventually all 9,000 employees and military personnel at the academy will complete it.

As the class ended, one participant, Lt. Col. Marcia Meeks-Eure, paused before leaving.

"I think this sort of thing is very good because it underscores what we are supposed to be doing," she said. "I am Baptist but I won't talk about my faith unless someone asks."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What a friend we have in Jesus

When all else fails in politics, here's whatcha do: Get right with God, and fast

Published April 26, 2005
Charles M. Madigan

In the distance, I see a gospel train full of true believers comin', and with his firm and certain hand on the throttle, I see a Republican, could be House Majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, just a drivin' that train to glory.

Get on it or get under it. Or at least get ready. If you are a Democratic candidate, get right with God, and fast.

As the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth showed us last year, reality need not get in the way of a political campaign. You can do whatever you want. If you say it enough, some people will believe it.

Say what you will about John Kerry, that Democratic loser, it's hard to imagine that Vietnam-era medals could become a disadvantage. But they did, thanks to the swift boaters and the numbing foolishness of one slice of the American electorate.

So now, a congressional contest approaches with Republicans in control in the House and Senate.

If you were Tom DeLay, up to his eyes in ethical trouble of his own making but still the most powerful GOP majority leader in recent history, what would you do?

I know what I would do. In times of trouble, we have been told, it's best to turn to the Lord for help.

The Lord doesn't particularly care, I suspect, about our political problems or Tom Delay's political problems or much of anything else connected to American elections.

But politicians certainly care about the Lord, if not directly as a role model, then at least as a campaign prop. Playing the Jesus card this time around makes great political sense.

Here is why.

Congressional races are mostly safe events where those already blessed, the comfortable incumbents, don't have to spend much time worrying about re-election.

But in some races, contests are won on the margins by politicians smart enough to manipulate the themes and interests that will draw traditional non-voters to the polls.

You may well be thinking, "But they wouldn't use Jesus to do that, would they? Isn't anything off limits?"

Actually, no, nothing is off limits. All you need is deniability. ("It was completely independent of my campaign committee, although, I just want to note, I certainly do agree with everything Jesus ever said.")

Chief presidential political adviser Karl Rove is a genius at this kind of thing. In many a campaign over his long years with President Bush, unrelated groups have popped up to present just the message the Bush camp needed, with none of the messy connections that could make the process smell bad. Perhaps the House Republicans will borrow from the Rovian playbook. Or maybe he is already writing a plan.

Here is how it might happen.

With the Terri Schiavo case as the most recent public cause, an organization of mysterious funding takes shape over the next five months or so to unite anti-abortion, anti-stem cell, anti-let-Terri-die groups into a coalition of believers.

Ads start showing up on TV. DeLay says, "Not my group. I don't know anything about it, but I happen to believe life is sacred."

"Could you kill someone just like that?" the ads ask.

They show something that looks like a feeding tube being snapped from a vaguely identifiable body. "The Democrats did." (Paid for by Scary Train, a non-profit, etc. ...)

You, Mr. Congressman (D-Nowhere), assume you are safe in your contest against a virtual unknown, also from nowhere. Unexpectedly, a mailing from "Scary Train, a non-profit, etc ..." shows up in your district. It says, "Your congressman is a murderer" on the outside, with no other identifying marks. Inside, it says, "Won't you join us in protecting life?"

It is followed by a whole series of mailings depicting aborted fetuses, seniors on life-support systems, a whole range of very emotional situations, all of them tied to the slogan, "Your congressman is a murderer."

Where it goes from there, who knows?

Some people would be moved by a campaign like that. And you only need some, a few in every precinct, to turn an election around. Think of the impact.

Take Barney Frank, the congressman from Massachusetts who is gay, for example.

Hmm. Barney Frank (D-Mass). Hmmm. "D." Doesn't that really stand for D-E-V-I-L? Maybe your own member of Congress, "D" for D-E-V-I-L for supporting abortion rights. As for the Republicans, well, the "R" would stand for R-I-G-H-T-E-O-U-S! (This would be particularly beneficial in Illinois, where the "R" currently stands for R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S!)

I don't think there are any limits anymore. Democrats should gird for battle and look for prayer breakfasts to attend. Or at least invent an ideology before it's too late.

What can work can happen. And you know me, Charles M. (Could the "M" just be for ... for ... Mephistopheles? No. It's Martin.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

U.S. evangelicals rally for change

Demand more conservative judiciary
Judges called out-of-control `oligarchy'

Apr. 25, 2005. 06:42 AM

SEVERN, Md. - America's evangelical leaders teamed with the top Republican in the U.S. Senate last night in a fiery national appeal to churchgoers to help put social conservatives on American courts.

In the latest salvo in the ever-burning U.S. culture wars, judges were condemned in a simulcast from Louisville, Ky., as an arrogant, out-of-control "oligarchy'' in black robes who are thwarting the majority's wishes.

The 90-minute appeal was broadcast over the Internet, made available to Christian broadcast networks and beamed into churches such as Living Hope Church in this tiny Maryland community south of Baltimore where about 30 people gathered to applaud and shout encouragement to speakers on a large screen.

"Democrats in this country are seeking vetoes for people of faith,'' said Charmaine Yoest of Laurel, Md., who came to the small evangelical church to listen to Focus on the Family leader Dr. James Dobson and Senate Majority leader Bill Frist.

"It's not right to say that if you bring religious ideology into the public square that you are not qualified to serve," Yoest said. "That's not the American way.''

Pastor Paul Schindler said it was only proper to bring politics into his church because religion drives morals and values in America.

"When the liberals rally their troops it doesn't seem to make news,'' he said, "but when conservatives do it seems to ruffle feathers. It's a bit of a double standard.''

Dobson, the country's most influential evangelical leader, warned that everything from same-sex marriage to replays of the death of an innocent like Terri Schiavo are at stake if "unelected, unaccountable and imperious'' judges continue to make law in the United States.

The 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the U.S. led to 44 million deaths over the past 32 years, "the biggest holocaust in world history,'' Dobson said.

Last night's event was organized by the Family Research Council but it was the appearance of Frist, expected to be a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, that sparked the most controversy.

He broke from House Majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who has called for impeachment of judges.

Frist said he will speak out when judges rule outside the U.S. mainstream, but said they deserve "respect, not retaliation.''

This attack on the judiciary will have long-range ramifications for Americans because it is a foreshadowing of a congressional battle over U.S. President George W. Bush's conservative judicial nominees that some observers here believe could essentially shut down all federal legislation.

Frist is leading the charge to change rules, dubbed the "nuclear option," that would allow the Senate to confirm Bush's judicial choices with a mere 51 votes, not the requisite 60, which allows a minority party — in this case the Democrats — to block nominees by using the filibuster, a tactic used for years in the U.S. system.

If the Republicans can get the rule change through the Senate, they will be well placed to ease the way for Supreme Court nominations that could begin as early as the end of the spring session when illness and age could create at least one vacancy for Bush to fill.

Democrats, who stand accused of blocking some of Bush's nominees in the last Congress because the judges had strong religious beliefs, have vowed retaliation by slowing or halting day-to-day legislative business.

"For years, activist courts aided by liberal interest groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, have been quietly working under the veil of the judiciary like thieves in the night to rob us of our Christian heritage and our religious freedom," Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said in promoting last night's simulcast.

He expanded on that yesterday in an interview with Fox News Sunday, saying courts have taken prayer out of schools, prevented prayer before school football games, have stripped the Ten Commandments from public buildings and paved the way for same-sex marriage.

People For the American Way yesterday released an ad it first aired in 1980, written by Norman Lear, showing a hardhat at a construction site complaining about the church picking and choosing "good" Christians based on their political views.

"Here come some preachers on the radio and TV and in the mail, telling us on a bunch of political issues that there's just one Christian position, and implying if we don't agree, we're not good Christians," says the hardhat.

"Maybe there's something wrong when people, even preachers, suggest other people aren't good Christians, depending on their political views."

Ralph Neas, president of the PFAW, said the ad was never more relevant in the face of a direct attack on the decision by U.S. founding fathers to establish an independent judiciary as the ultimate check on government power.

The NARAL Pro-Choice America organization also launched a national campaign to counter last night's message, telling Frist and "radical" Christians that one can be a Christian and still support a moderate, independent judiciary.

"I don't recognize the God Senator Frist and company speak of," said Rev. Katherine Ragsdale, a NARAL board member.

"The God I know does not ask the government to impose one person or group's moral beliefs on all others," she said. "The God I know would not have us pit believers against one another in the service of a purely political agenda."

Even some Republicans were leery of last night's appearance by Frist.

"I would call (on these groups) to not go down the road of saying that the Democratic senators are not people of faith or (saying) that they're religious bigots,'' said Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina.

"I don't think that helps the country, and I don't think that's fair.''

There are 55 Republicans in the Senate, but to "go nuclear'' they will only need 50 plus the vote of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, who pledged Friday to break a tie in favour of the rule change if needed.

The vote, expected as early as mid-May, will be close.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Prophecy: Next pope to see world end

There's been a lot of chatter on the internet about the latest coronation of Pope Benedict XVI and how the passing of John Paul during an eclipse fits in nicely with the prophecies of St. Malachy. While story below is typical mainstream media fluff, there are writers on the internet who have put together some very intersting clues about this 12th century mystic. St Malachy and The Toil of the Sun is one such article written by Laura Knight-Jadczyk who, in another related article, also dissects the real connection between the da Vinci Code novel and the alchemist Fulcanelli. Worth checking out!


April 21, 2005
By Dan Sheehan
Of The Morning Call

By now, you probably know plenty about Pope Benedict XVI — his life, his teachings, his vision for the Catholic Church.

What you may not know is that his pontificate is predicted to be the next-to-last before the Second Coming.

That prophecy is attributed to an Irishman — a saint, no less. St. Malachy, a 12th century archbishop, is said to have composed a list of the 112 popes who would reign from his time until the end of time. He assigned each a Latin phrase meant to reflect something of the pontiff's character, background or style of rule.

According to the list, Benedict will be followed by Petrus Romanus — Peter of Rome — who will lead the church as the world ends and Jesus returns.

Most scholars dismiss the prophecies as a Renaissance forgery. The list was ostensibly written in 1140 but lost in the Vatican's archives until 1590, when the manuscript was rediscovered.

Debunkers point out that the Latin phrases are far more descriptive of the popes who reigned prior to that rediscovery. After that, matching popes to phrases is an exercise in broad interpretation, similar to discerning meaning in the prophecies of a more renowned seer, Nostradamus.

''It's been suggested that it was someone's idea of a joke,'' said Sandra Miesel, a Catholic author and historian whose most recent book, ''The Da Vinci Hoax,'' is a refutation of Dan Brown's best-selling Vatican-conspiracy potboiler, ''The Da Vinci Code.''

That hasn't stopped prophecy and conspiracy buffs from excitedly discussing Malachy's list on dozens of Web sites devoted to occultism, mysticism and end-of-days studies. Hal Lindsey, the author best known for a 1970s apocalypse-themed bestseller called ''The Late, Great Planet Earth,'' is among the cyberspace scribes calling attention to the prophecies.

Many of Malachy's descriptors seem rooted in the symbolism of family heraldry, but that art was virtually unknown in the saint's time, Miesel said.

She pointed to the description of Leo XI — translating to ''a billowy man'' — as a typically meaningless phrase.

Still, some of the descriptors are startling. For example, the 109th pope on the list is described as ''de medietate luna,'' meaning ''of the half-moon.''

Albino Luciani, born in Belluno (beautiful moon), Italy, under a half-moon in 1912, was elected pope in August of 1978 and took the name John Paul I. His reign began under a half-moon and ended 34 days later — about one moon cycle.

Clement XIII, an 18th century pontiff, was called ''Rosa Umbriae'' (the Rose of Umbria). Clement had been governor of Rieti in Umbria; the symbol of Rieti was a rose.

John Paul II — ''de labore solis,'' meaning ''of the labor of the sun'' — was born on the day of a partial solar eclipse, and buried on the day of another.

Spooky, no?

Well, no, Miesel said. Most of the phrases are so vague as to be meaningless. The one that applies to the 18th century Pope Benedict XIV translates to ''rural animal'' — an odd appellation for a man who was one of the most scholarly and sophisticated occupants of the Chair of Peter.

Miesel said phrases that seem to fit particular popes hardly bolster the arguments of the end-times peddlers who promote the prophecies. ''Even Nostradamus was right some of the time,'' she said.

Prophecy buffs were intrigued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's choice of the name Benedict, because it ties, albeit loosely, into the Malachy legend. The saint identifies this pope as ''Glory of the Olives.'' The Benedictines, whose monastic order includes a branch called Olivetans, have traditionally said this pope would come from their ranks.

Ratzinger was a diocesan priest, not a Benedictine monk, but may have been honoring the order's founder, St. Benedict, with his name choice. That's apparently close enough for many Malachy partisans.

The Rev. John Trigilio, a priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg who is well-known to national audiences through his regular appearances on EWTN, a Catholic television network, said he isn't surprised by the enduring popularity of the prophecies.

''I think it's the same reason why some people were so gullible to believe what's in 'The Da Vinci Code,''' he said. ''People like conspiracy. They like the idea of hidden prophecies. They don't like to trust completely in God, that the future is in his hands.''

Friday, April 22, 2005

Church's choice has smell of fear

Apr. 20, 2005. 07:54 AM

VATICAN CITY—God bless Pope Benedict XVI.

And God help the Roman Catholic Church.

She will undoubtedly need some divine succour and soothing under the new pontificate that emerged with such shocking haste here on just the first full day of the papal conclave.

With brocaded stole around his shoulders and white silk zucchetto on his head, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany appeared from behind the velvet curtains on the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica shortly after 6:30 p.m.

The massive crowd that had streamed into the panoramic piazza, pouring through the curved arms of the colonnade — drawn there with such urgency by the basso clanging of a colossal bell that tolled the new pope tidings — applauded warmly.

Holding up crucifixes, clutching rosary beads, waving flags from across the globe, the gathering roared its greeting. It was love, without reservation, that washed over the small white-haired man — turned 78 just last Saturday — as he raised his own arms and clasped his hands in the classic prizefighter's pose.

He is a fighter, a pugilist of the pulpit, however beatific that beaming and so rarely seen smile appeared in his debut as 264th successor to St. Peter.

A "simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," he told the throng, in a brief Italian address preceding the traditional Latin blessing, Urbi et Orbi.

But a severe disciplinarian and a hard-line doctrinaire.

The enforcer of fundamentalist theology for his predecessor and bosom friend.

Jesus sat at the right hand of God. Ratzinger sat at the left hand of John Paul II.

Number 2 man in the Vatican for the last 24 years, the undisputed spine of the Curia, and the bane of progressive priests in all corners of the earth.

In the first conclave of the third millennium, the College of Cardinals could have embraced a fractured church, started to bind wounds that do bleed, appealed to the spirit and soul of Catholics who long for a leadership that feels their bewilderment.

Instead, the Princes of the Church — by a rapid two-thirds-plus-one majority — fastened onto an individual who has been formidably divisive, fiercely conservative and very much a top-down strongman brooking no diversity of opinion.

He's the defender of the faith.

Latin America, which provides ballast for the church with its overwhelming number of Catholics, may not be pleased. Africa, where an "inculturated" Catholicism incorporates indigenous cultures, may not be pleased. North America, where evangelism is the Christianity-du-jour, may not be pleased. Europe, so increasingly secular, its parishes emptying and pulpits unfilled, may not be pleased.

Not a Latin, not black, not Italian, not collegial, not open-minded. Definitely not charismatic.

The elector cardinals had an opportunity here to breathe life into the faith, to make the church more relevant, not so much of an anachronism. They chose, rather, to dig the church more firmly into its ideological entrenchment, electing an archconservative who had, on occasion, promoted policies and edicts that raised the eyebrows of even John Paul, no flabby moderate.

It has the odour, I think, of fear.

This beleaguered church, lashed on all sides by scandal and criticism, diminished by abandonment of the faithful, clearly intends to batten down the hatches and shore up the ramparts, at least for however long this elderly pope lasts.

It suggests a faith under siege, untrusting of its own core strengths and frightened by the modern world.

Presumably, the red-hats feel safer this morning. They certainly looked proud of themselves, as they squeezed shoulder-to-shoulder on the Basilica's balconies once the newly minted pope had retreated.

At this point, the cardinals would have already filed before Pope Benedict XVI, kneeling to pay homage to the Supreme Pontiff as he sat on a small stool, as per ritual. But then they would be accustomed to genuflecting before Ratzinger-as-cardinal.

There were attempts by commentators last night to reinvent this pope, rewrite the biography, buff the jagged edges of a sharp and caustic ideology.

His influence under Pope John Paul, however, has been too vividly chronicled for revisionism now. Indeed, a Holy Father of such unbending orthodoxy may be just what the Catholic Church and its 1.1 billion adherents need. But I have my doubts.

There will surely be no room in this papacy for married priests, female clergy, homosexuals, divorced people who ache for the sacraments, the majority of Catholics who use contraception, advocates of condoms to reduce the pandemic of AIDS, infertile couples who seek in-vitro treatment and those who pray for the promise of stem-cell research.

Even a couple of the Pope's compatriot cardinals — progressive fellow Germans Karl Lehmann and Walter Kasper (who famously jousted in print with Cardinal Ratzinger over the authority of local dioceses) — must be feeling demoralized today, along with their gently liberal colleagues. It is likely that even modestly independent bishops will be brought to heel, unless Ratzinger undergoes an abrupt reversal of style.

Since the actual electoral tally is unknown, it's impossible to say how muscular Ratzinger's support was, inside the chapel commissioned 530 years ago by Pope Sixtus IV. But it's fairly clear he won on just the fourth ballot — the second quickest election in a century — and that the much-rumoured attempt to block his ascendancy never got off the ground. Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals until a week ago, went in as the favourite and came out the victor.

Yet it still comes as rather a surprise. The alacrity of the decision is itself remarkable, suggesting the pro-Ratzinger faction must have converted a considerable number of the iffy and that the 20 Italian cardinals — the largest single voting bloc — had failed to coalesce around a sturdy challenger. Such prompt agreement smacks more of clever politicking and powerful preparation than honest consensus and sober reflection.

Around the world, countless hearts must have sunk.

I cannot imagine a million young people doing the wave for Pope Benedict XVI and shouting PAPA! PAPA!

There is a chiaroscuro to this pope, a darkness and a light.

He is without question a brilliant theologian and scholar, for nearly a quarter-century a Curia insider and long removed from the pastoral phase of his career as archbishop of Munich.

His defenders claim that he is warm and personable, gracious in private dealings, a person of both humility and refinement.

But the curriculum vitae is worrisome, at least for those who live in the real world, a harsh place, outside the cradle of Vatican City.

One of only three current cardinals not appointed by John Paul — though their friendship went back four decades — Ratzinger is a razor-sharp intellectual, widely published, a master of church history. He has no difficulty defending the stridency of his Catholicism.

On Monday he delivered a stinging homily at the pre-conclave mass, railing against the seduction of secularism and the "dictatorship of relativism." It was a stunning last-word-in before the cardinals were sequestered in the chapel but it must have heartened those who believe — as does this pope — that the church needs to put even more lead in its pencil, stare down those whiny, noisy reformers, carry a big stick.

How far removed Ratzinger is from his younger, decidedly liberal self — the Hitler Youth childhood is not significant, since he would have had no choice in the matter — when he arrived in Rome as a theological adviser to reform-minded Cardinal Josef Frings at Vatican II.

Clergy ossify, in the hermetic environment of the Vatican. In those salad days, Ratzinger had some compassion for divorced Catholics, was willing to listen to those who argued in favour of allowing them the sacraments. He had even campaigned, once upon a time, on behalf of theologians under investigation from Head Office, arguing that they were entitled to counsel and should be allowed to view the files that had been amassed on their objectionable conduct.

That Ratzinger disappeared, by and by.

Not long after his election, Pope John Paul II named him to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the portfolio originally known as the Office of the Universal Inquisition.

From that lofty position, his increasingly bossy and obstructionist rule not in the least curtailed by John Paul, Ratzinger set himself to disciplining all purveyors of false doctrine. The consummate enforcer.

From the Vatican, he reached into the smallest of far-flung parishes, where females were participating in the mass; on to university campuses where academics were daring not to toe the theological line; into dioceses where bishops were permitting the dissemination of information on birth control. Under his encouragement, the Vatican adopted policies whereby dissent was forbidden and some subjects of dispute were not even allowed expression.

He quashed liberation theology movements in Latin America, although they had admittedly fallen into disrepute, cleaving too closely to Marxism and wielded for singularly political purposes.

He condemned homosexuality as an "intrinsic moral evil," said Muslim Turkey didn't belong in Christian Europe as Ankara sought European Union membership, and authored a document — Dominus Iesus — that alarmed even his most conservative brethren, with its claim that the one true way to heaven is through the Catholic Church and all others faiths are somehow deficient.

Although John Paul read out that statement, it seemed to fly in the face — a slap to the face — of the Pope himself, who'd so vigorously pursued ecumenism, and so respectfully reached out to other faiths, becoming the first pontiff to visit a synagogue and a mosque.

It was, further, Ratzinger who was put in charge of handling the legal fallout of the sex abuse scandal in the United States, a betrayal of epic proportions but one that has had few repercussions outside of North America. He blamed the media for hysterical reporting on the crisis.

In cardinal corners, he was applauded for that.

And he was applauded yesterday — because it would be unthinkable to do anything else.

Josephum Ratzinger — Benedictum XVI.

Let us pray.

Nostradamus predicts death of Terri Schiavo?

Pope JP II has shed his mortal coil, only to be replaced by a more conservative, rigid and dogmatic version in the form of Pope Benedict XVI. Much has been published on the net recently regarding the prophecies of Nostradamus and St. Malachy, solar eclipses and the end of the world as we know it (more on this later). Interestingly, while I was searching through many of the various websites dealing with papal predictions, I came across a blog entry about Nostradamus, the Pope and 9-11, from Steel Magnolia that found a Nostradamus quatrain that seems to deal directly with the highly manipulated and unnecessary death of Terri Schiavo recently in the U.S.

Quatrain 6,72

Par fureur feinte d’esmotion diuine,
Sera la femme du grand fort violee:
Iuges voulans damner telle doctrine,
Victime au peuple ignorant immolee.

Through feigned fury of divine emotion
The wife of the strong one will be violated:
The judges wishing to condemn such a doctrine,
She is sacrificed a victim to the ignorant people.

It seems that in this particular case, Bush and company could have easily intervened at any time to save this woman's life, but even though they made a big show of concern for her predicament, allowed her to die alowly and painfully for their own nefarious political purposes.

By all accounts, it appears that Terri was not brain dead and was actually quite cognisant of the media frenzy surrrounding her case. By allowing her feeding tube to be removed and then blaming it on the judiciary, Bush and his handlers were setting the stage for further concentration of control in the hands of his administration.


Pentagon Strike video ruffles a few turkey feathers

Well, It seems the "powers that be" have gone into high gear trying to do some damage control over the Pentagon Strike video that has been making the rounds over the internet.

According to a recent entry on Catalytic Coverter, Mark Robinowitz of may be sending out mass emails to anyone who features the Pentagon Strike Video (see sidebar) on their blog. He seems to be doing this deliberately in order to quell the massive interest that this little video has been generating over the last year.

Although I personally have yet to receive this mailing from Robinowitz, I do wonder if it will show up after I post this entry.

Anyway, part of his email critique goes like this;

Stumbled upon your site -

the "Pentagon Strike" video has been debunked by many of the best
writers on 9/11 complicity issues - such as the author of the
911research site you list. [...]

Now compare this with the following BBC story that appeared on Wednesday, 20 February, 2002 which essentially states that the U.S. has been active deliberately planting propaganda and misleading stories in the international media.

Could it be that Mr. Robinowitz is a conscious agent of this American propaganda black-ops program?

What could it be about the Pentagon Strike video that has the PTB so upset that they would hire or engage the help of useful idiots to go around debunking all the sites that deal with the "no plane hit the pentagon" theory?

Perhaps it is because misleading 9/11 researchers like Robinowitz and Ruppert know that the attack on the Pentagon is the weakest link of the official verison and any serious investigation into this area suggests with a high degree of probability that 9/11 was an inside job.

Consider this interesting piece of information from an article entitled; David Beckham and Flight 77 in Paris...

Another interesting event in this timeline was the creation of a website with the domain name This site lists what it calls "Bogus 9-11 Websites" saying:

The three biggest stories used to alienate the public from 9/11 truth

1. No Planes on 9/11 (Pentagon, North Tower WTC, "pod plane" at South Tower, Pennsylvania)

2. The Jews Did It (Israel had foreknowledge and possibly played a role, but that doesn't justify anti-semitism and Holocaust Denial)

3. The Victims' Phone Calls Were Faked (a way to keep the 9/11 families and the skeptics from working together)

why are there bogus 9/11 websites? a mix of malice and incompetence, but both make real evidence harder to find

Considering the very good case for the involvement of MOSSAD in 9-11, the very good case that the victims phone calls WERE faked, not to mention what I have discovered about satellite photos on 9-11, it sure does look like the Oil Empire Website is a "plant," so to say. So I did a whois lookup. Here's what I found: [...]

The site is claimed by a Mark Rabinowitz even if it was "prepared for use" as early as February of 2003. That, in itself, is rather suspicious. Seems that this was right about the time that the Meyssan book was making a splash.

Robinowitz was posting on usenet as far back as 1994 in regards to an auto free DC. He's on a few dc.biking threads on usenet.

Rabinowitz then did some reporting for the Institute of Global Communications based in MD.

He then moved to Eugene, Oregon by the looks of things and is into permaculture. He appears to be coming from a "green" perspective. He got into the Y2K hysteria for a bit and now it appears he's onto the "Peak Oil deal" via Ruppert.

Do a Ruppert- Robinowitz search on google and you'll see what I mean in regards to the Ruppert promotion.

So it DOES look like Ruppert - who has been quoted as promoting the "no plane theory" but has now advised everybody to just "forget 9-11 and concentrate on Peak Oil" - has a strange bedfellow with Rabinowitz.


So, it seems that because of the popularity and effectiveness of the short but very important message contained in the Pentagon Strike video, the powers that be have pulled out all the stops in order to ridicule and debunk anyone who dares share this link showing that it was NOT a 757 that crashed into the Pentagon on Sept 11th, 2001.

So, if I may impart the tiniest bit of advice; please do yourself, your friends and the world a huge favour by spreading the link to the Pentagon Strike video far and wide. The more people see it, the more chance the truth will come out.

Or so it seems to me.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The ubiquitous faces of Jesus and the Virgin

From the "what will the Jesus-freaks see next" department...

Chair with 'Jesus image' draws low bids
Canadian Press
Apr. 17, 2005 05:27 PM

CALGARY - The owner of a wooden rocking chair with a knot that bore a likeness to Jesus has pulled the item from EBay, saying the bids weren't high enough.

After getting just one bid of $5,000 for the chair, Jonathon Fenton decided to keep it after all in a Calgary furniture store.

"It's a heck of a chair and people are coming in to see it," Fenton said. "Unless we get more, we'd rather keep it in the store. It's kinda cool to have it as our special mascot."

Fenton was amazed earlier this month when a customer spotted what appears to be a side-profile of Jesus Christ on the seat of a chair at the shop.

Soon after, the store became an attraction for the curious. Fenton said most visitors concede to seeing the spiritual spot, and some are outright moved by its presence.

"We've had people rubbing the chair and crossing themselves with their eyes welling up with tears," Fenton said. "It's taken on a life of its own."

Fenton's chair, which was originally priced at $650, got 17,000 hits on EBay.

He is still a little cross an old grilled-cheese sandwich, said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary, sold for $28,000 recently on the auction site.

"This is a lot nicer than a cheese sandwich, and it's functional."

Other noteworthy sightings include this edible monstrosity...


ST. PAUL, Neb. -- A honey-mustard pretzel that the seller, the Naylors, of St. Paul, Neb., believe is in the shape of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, shown in March 2005, in St. Paul, sold on eBay on Wednesday, March 9, 2005, for $10,600. Machelle Naylor's 12-year-old daughter, Crysta, said she discovered the pretzel while snacking and watching television with her family on Feb. 27. (03/09/05 AP Photo/The Grand Island Independent)

And for you da Vinci Code fans, Jesus appearing on an oyster shell makes one heck of an aphrodisiac...


Jesus on the Half Shell

Here's another image-of-God-appears-in-food story. The BBC reports that a Swiss bar manager, Matteo Brandi, has found an oyster shell that bears the spitting image of Jesus Christ, though to me it looks more like what I imagine the Sea-God Poseidon should look like. Mr. Brandi said he found the shell when "The oyster stuck to his hand as if God was calling him." He also points out that his oyster shell is unique because, unlike the Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it is "the work of nature." That's true. A few hundred years ago Mr. Brandi's shell would have been referred to as a Lusus Naturae. Mr. Brandi doesn't need any encouragement to sell his holy oyster shell online. That's already his plan.

As well as our lady of concrete stain (before & after)...



Faithful see Mary on underpass wall

By Jennifer Lebovich
Tribune staff reporter
Published April 19, 2005

For some in crowd at Kennedy viaduct, seeing is believing

Obdulia Delgado turned toward the on ramp of the Kennedy Expressway when she saw something in the middle of traffic that made her stop.

She saw the image of the Virgin Mary in a large yellow and white stain on the concrete wall at the Fullerton Avenue entrance last week.

"I was so stunned I couldn't move. People were honking," said Delgado, 31. "It was a dream. I don't even know how I got home."

By Monday morning, dozens had gathered to see what they believe is the image of the Blessed Mother on the wall of the underpass. Groups of people filtered past the site all day, some lighting candles and leaving flowers, others praying the rosary. Most snapped pictures with digital cameras and cell phones.

To some who saw it, the image appeared as a white outline of the Holy Mother's face wearing a shadowy cloak. To others, it looked like an ivory pawn from a game of chess.

As believers came to the spot throughout the morning, police put up temporary barricades to prevent people from driving and parking in the area on the north side of Fullerton Avenue.

Delgado said she had been praying to the Virgin Mary to help her pass a final in culinary school when she saw the image.

"There are many people here who believe in her. She's here for a reason," she said. "For me, it's not a watermark, it's the Virgin Mary."
It is not unusual for people to claim to see an apparition of the Virgin Mary or Jesus in unusual places.

In November 2004, a piece of popcorn shaped like the Virgin Mary was auctioned on eBay. A Canadian woman also said she saw the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus on a Lay's Smokey Bacon Chip. Thousands of Greek Orthodox flocked to Athens in 2001 to see a "bleeding" Virgin Mary statue.

For now in Chicago, the image will be allowed to stay on the wall, surrounded by less identifiable water stains and paint marks.

"We're treating this just like we treat any type of roadside memorial," Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Claffey said. "We have no plans to clean this site."

Apparitions of Mary hold different meanings for believers, but people may draw connections to current events, like the death of Pope John Paul II, said Cristina Traina, an associate professor of religion at Northwestern University.

"Most often, the people who see the image interpret it as a sign of affirmation of an event or behavior or a condemnation of an event or behavior," she said. "What is miraculous is that a natural event like a stain from leaking water and a supernatural event like seeing Mary converge."

Michael Grzesik, who leads people on religious pilgrimages, said that when he first looked at it, he saw nothing unusual.

"I was looking at it and thought it might be an oil spill. But as I got closer it resembles Our Lady," he said. "It really struck me . . . I think Our Lady is always with us, and this is another sign she is with us."

Grzesik compared the image under the expressway to an apparition of the Virgin Mary that appeared more than a century ago in a grotto in Lourdes, France.

"This is like Our Lady appearing in Chicago in a grotto under the Kennedy," he said.

But he was also light-hearted about the image: "There's a little graffiti around that says `Go Cubs,' so it looks like Our Lady is rooting for the Cubs."

The Archdiocese of Chicago has not received any requests to authenticate the image, spokesman Jim Dwyer said.

"These things don't happen every day," Dwyer said. "Sometimes people ask us to look into it. Most of the time they don't. [The meaning] depends on the individual who sees it. To them, it's real. To them, it reaffirms their faith."

Victor Robles, 36, who got a close look, remained skeptical.

"I see just a concrete wall and an image that could happen anywhere," he said. "It makes me feel good that there are people with faith . . . If that image helps more people feel closer to God than maybe that is a good sign."

Irene Munoz, 30, walked past the crowd before deciding to see what everyone was looking at.

"It's very emotional," she said. "It's very real. I never believed anyone who saw these things. But I believe now."

As word of the image spread, a teacher from Holy Trinity High School sent students to look.

"If you look, you see her face popping out and the veil and her hands," said 17-year-old Luis Flores. "That's the image that's portrayed in the Bible. Many miracles have happened, but this is one that just appeared."

Some of those who gathered felt the appearance of the image had special significance as the papal conclave meets in Rome.

"It's amazing it's the same day they're picking a pope," said Juan Soria, who rushed to the site with his family. He saw the image as "a message from above. It's a cry for peace and hope to get rid of tyranny in the world."

And here our saviour seems to be getting a well-rounded education...

Students See Jesus Image in Wall Spot

CULVER CITY — Some students said Friday they see the image of Jesus Christ in a wet spot on a dark concrete wall at Culver City High School administrators said has been there for years.

"I see a head ... arms ... kind of like Jesus," one male student told ABC7.

A girl disagreed.

"I don't see nothing," she said.

Administrators said they have no intention to cover it up, and don't mind the sudden interest in the dark spot in the concrete, according to ABC7.

"I really don't see a face," said principal Franca Dell'Olio. "Maybe I'm not creative enough. Maybe I'm not imaginative enough. Maybe the sun is not shining on me the way it should. But you know, everyone sees something different there. I don't see it."

In honour of the recent Papal passing...


Pope Chicken Breast

The latest 'face seen in food' on eBay is the Pope Chicken Breast. The seller even has their own website devoted to it already. The real question is how much Golden Palace is going to pay for this thing. Here's the description of the item:

As I was about to dig into my usual lunch of my dorms "baked chicken," I quickly stopped in my tracks as my eyes met this wonderful relic. I have the utmost respect for Pope John Paul II and I could not believe the resemblance I saw between my piece of chicken breast and him. I am deeply touched that I was chosen to receive this possible visit from the Holy Father. I would now like to share this beautiful likeness of Pope John Paul II with you. And unlike all the unoriginal grilled cheese and Pope hat chips, this is the Only celebrity chicken breast on eBay at the time of listing.

Don't forget to grease up our Lord when using this nifty number...


Man Sees Image Of Jesus In Frying Pan

POSTED: 10:25 am EST February 1, 2005

Some people will tell you that the Good Lord can show up just about anywhere, and lately there seems to be no shortage of religious images seen on commonplace items.

A Texas man he saw this image in his frying pan while he was cooking breakfast for his mother. ( See More Images Of Frying Pan)

Remember the Virgin Mary grilled cheese sandwich? Well, now it's the Jesus frying pan.

Juan Pastrano, of Prairie Lea, Texas, said he was cooking his mother breakfast on Sunday when he looked close and saw what looks like the face of Jesus etched in his frying pan.

There's no word yet on if the family plans to sell the pan. But if they do, it could really bring in the bacon. A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary recently sold on eBay for $28,000.

And then there's the infamous Virgin Mary Cheese Toast that sold on Ebay for 28 grand, which is great for washing away sins but is horror for your cholesterol...


‘Virgin Mary grilled cheese’ sells for $28,000

Online casino wins eBay auction for 10-year-old 'holy' snack

E-Bay put the 'Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese' sandwich back on sale after temporarily pulling the item last week.

The Associated Press
Updated: 1:17 a.m. ET Nov. 23, 2004

MIAMI - A woman who said her 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bore the image of the Virgin Mary will be getting a lot more bread after the item sold for $28,000 on eBay., an online casino, confirmed that it placed the winning bid, and company executives said they were willing to spend “as much as it took” to own the 10-year-old half-sandwich with a bite out of it.

“It’s a part of pop culture that’s immediately and widely recognizable,” spokesman Monty Kerr told The Miami Herald. “We knew right away we wanted to have it.”

Photos posted on eBay show what can be viewed as a woman’s face emblazoned on the sandwich, a bite taken out of one end. Bidding closed Monday. [...]

Look every one it's Jesus, appearing through the modern age...

Look everyone, it's... JESUS!

Stay Free! tracks everyone's favorite deity as he leapfrogs across America

Mario Rubio is rolling a burrito when she notices skillet burns on the tortilla resembling the mournful face of Jesus Christ. Shortly thereafter, 8,000 curious pilgrims trek to the Rubios' small stucco house in rural New Mexico to view the sacred icon. Mrs. Rubio leaves her house unlocked so that visitors may freely enter and examine the tortilla. (Newsweek, Aug. 14, 1978)

Oklahoma evangelist Oral Roberts spots a 900 foot Jesus straddling a hospital complex he is building next to his university. Roberts, interpreting the divine image as a plea for financial assistance, appeals to his followers and nets millions of dollars in donations. (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8, 1992)

Christ appears, crucified, on a garage door in California and draws 8,000 visitors in one weekend. The image is later found to be caused by reflections from two street lights that had merged with shadows of a bush and a real-estate sign. (USA Today, April 12, 1989)

In Fostoria, Ohio, Jesus is found on the side of a soybean oil tank. A month after the image is reported, vandals attack the tank with paint balloons. (USA Today, April 12, 1989)

Jesus appears on the chimney of a suburban bowling alley. The four- foot high image is formed from rusting metal. Local truckers are split on whether the rust pattern on the chimney means anything other than it's time to buy a new chimney. Some say it looks like Popeye; others say it is Christ. A bowler at Town and Country Bowl had spotted the figure and immediately notified a Chicago television station. Town and Country owner Irwin Korzen says he and his employees noticed it months earlier but didn't think it was a big deal. (Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1987)

In Lubbock, Texas, members of a small Roman Catholic Church see visions of Mary and Jesus in the clouds during an outdoor Mass. The diocesan report that follows takes a cautious stand and draws no conclusions. (USA Today, April 12, 1989)

Thousands of believers flock to a home in northeast Harris County to view a linoleum table top that mysteriously reflects the images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary. Sources aren't quite sure. (Houston Chronicle, April 12, 1992)

Jesus makes national news as the centerpiece of a Pizza Hut billboard in Atlanta. Joyce Simpson spotted the face of Christ in the advertisement immediately after praying for a divine sign. She couldn't decide whether to stay in the church choir or quit and sing professionally. The shadowy image of Jesus' face in strands of spaghetti hanging from a fork meant she should stay with the choir. John Moody, a marketing director for Pizza Hut, said the picture, one of 35 put up in the area, is a standard food photograph that the Wichita headquarters provides franchises. Moody said several people, however, called his office to say they see other notably less religious images in the picture: deceased rock star Jim Morrison, a puppet and Willie Nelson. (Chicago Tribune, May 23, 1991)

Jesus is discovered, on a cross, in the gnarled bark of a sycamore tree in New Haven, CT. (The Hartford Courant, Sept. 19, 1992)

Approximately 3,000 people line up outside an apartment building in upper Manhattan to witness apparitions of Jesus Christ on the frosted-glass window of a 5th floor bathroom. The Rev. Jose Aquilar, a Catholic priest from St. Judes Church several blocks away, claims the source of the apparition is a dirty double-paned window and a little moisture. Upon Aquilar's suggestion, police remove the window and have it taken to a hardware store and scrubbed with Brillo - an act some residents called sacrilegious. (Newsday, Aug. 7, 1993)

Cartoonist cleared of 'blasphemy'


ATHENS (AP) - An appeals court Wednesday overturned the conviction of Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer for blasphemy over a comic book portraying Jesus as a marijuana-moking hippie.

Haderer, 54, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in January for "maliciously insulting the Orthodox Church" and his book The Life of Jesus was banned in Greece - causing protests from European human-ights groups and other cartoonists.

The book, published in several European countries, portrays Jesus as a hippie surfer who enjoys smoking marijuana with friends and celebrities including Jimi Hendrix.

"He has been cleared and the book is no longer banned," Haderer's lawyer, Maria Marazioti, said. "We all agreed it's not something that special to have the book published in the Greek market, and that the artist had no intention to insult Christianity. Everyone understood that, even the priests."

The three-member court was unanimous in its ruling.

Haderer was not present at the hearing Wednesday. He was informed of the ruling from his lawyer by phone.

The Greek edition of Haderer's book was first published in 2003.

The powerful Orthodox Church wields considerable influence in public and political life in Greece, where nearly 97 per cent of the native-born population is baptized into the church.

Marazioti argued Haderer's conviction violated the human-ights conventions of both the European Union and the United Nations.

"The prosecutor acknowledged . . . a mistake was made in the first trial which had to be corrected," she said. "The judges also saw the problem immediately."

The Vienna-based South East Europe Media Organization, affiliated with the International Press Institute, had sent a letter to Greece's prime minister and president in February condemning the conviction as "a clear attack on freedom of expression."

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe also complained to the Greek government. The book has been published in several other European Union countries.

Great Gobs of Green Goo

Hello Readers,

It has been almost three weeks since my last entry into this blog. Major renovations to my house combined with being sidelined with a major respiratory infection has left me with little time or energy to update my blog on a regular basis.

Fortunately, it seems the course of my sickness has reached it's zenith yesterday, and after a good night's sleep, I feel well enough to continue with this project. There has been a lot of interesting things happening in the religious world as of late, and hopefully over the next few weeks, you will be able to read about some of them here.

So, my apologies to all.

It's good to be back.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Jesus Christ Superstore


One thing it seems that fundamentalist Christians sorely lack these days is a good sense of humour, especially when it comes to satire and parody of their cherished Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So, when a friend sent me this link to the latest in lighthearted Christ-related merchandise, I decided to take a search around the net to see what other similar sites were available.

As they say on the Jesus Christ Superstore website;

"Putting the FUN back into fundamentalism and the LAUGHTER into sectarian slaughter"

So, what better place to start than the infamous "Buddy Jesus" dashboard statue from the movie Dogma;


Then there is this picture from Threat Alert Jesus;

CHRIST IN THE KITCHEN - 11/24/2003 - Food Network, the television cooking channel, has just announced a new show aimed squarely at Christians. "Cooking with Jesus" will be hosted by the Son of God himself, and each week will feature culinary specialties from holy places around the world. In the first episode, "J" as he likes to be called, will turn plain tap water into Merlot with the help of his new Pur water filter attachment, and will show how to feed an entire family of twelve with just two loaves of bread and a fish.

If successful, the show's producers hope to run live holiday specials, a phone-in question & answer series, and are planning a number of product endorsement deals, including a set of cookware "J-Ware", which will feature a new 'miracle' non-stick coating.

If the industry buzz is right, "J" is set to become the next Emeril, and even has his own catch-phrase, "Healed!".

Some other related websites of interest;

Ask Jeez!


Cheesy Jesus


Jesus Dress Up

Jesus of the Week