Monthly Archives: July 2011
I thought all parents had an unlimited license to name their children whatever bizarre name struck their fancy like Harper Seven, but not so in New Zealand where the name Lucifer is growing in popularity. There were three requests there for babies to be given that name, but all were turned down along with Messiah and many other strange names like * and /. Previously however, they did allow Violence and Number 16 Bus Shelter, so it seems a bit inconsistent. Is there a ban on just some biblical names? Would Herod be allowed, or how about Jezebel? I presume Jesus is allowed. I really like the name Jezebel, along with the bad girl connotations but strangely it has never been very popular. They say that having a crazy name can lead to trauma in later life, so perhaps it is a way of protecting children from their crazy parents, but surely there should be clearer guidelines on what is not acceptable.
An image of Jesus has now appeared on a Walmart receipt in the USA. From the CNN photo it looks remarkably clear, leading to some speculation that the image may have been enhanced. Of course, every time a bearded face appears in an unlikely place, people jump to the conclusion that it must be Jesus performing this miracle. Could it not be Bin Laden, Rasputin or even Frank Zappa trying to reach us from beyond the grave? What is the message and what does it all mean? Yeah, I don’t care either.
Following his closing joke on the Golden Globes, where he thanked God he was an atheist, Ricky Gervais is teaming up with Clyde Phillips, of Dexter fame, to develop a new comedy provisionally called Afterlife. It deals with a situation where an atheist dies and goes to heaven. Like the movie Ricky directed, The Invention of Lying, the idea really appeals to me. I think Atheists and Apathists alike would have a far greater chance of entering heaven than many proclaimed religious people. Sounds promising, but we will have to wait to find out how good it is. It is at a very early stage and will most likely air next year. Congratulations also to Ricky for being nominated for an Emmy for hosting the Golden Globes. Read more on his blog.
Pastafarianism has come a step closer to becoming a recognised religion in Austria, after a citizen, Niko Alm, won a three-year battle allowing him to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driving licence photo. After finding out that headgear was allowed in photos for confessional reasons, he claimed the sieve was a requirement of his religion. In response to his application, he was asked to submit to a psychological assessment of his fitness to drive. Following the three-year delay, he finally has his new driving licence complete with the photo of him wearing the unusual headgear. He has told the Austrian news agency APA, that his next step is to apply to the authorities to have Pastafarianism recognised as an official religion in the country. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that we are making some progress.
It’s July 4th and many Americans are at war within their own country, arguing whether they should be one nation under God, or just one nation. Originally the United States was founded with a clear separation of church and state. However in 1954, the Pledge of Allegiance was amended through legislation to have the words “under God” added to the end. There have been growing calls to remove them again and when NBC recently edited them out of a broadcast there was uproar. American Atheists have sponsored planes to fly today pulling banners stating “GodLESS America!” and “Atheism is Patriotic”. They are only flying in 26 states, as many companies have refused to pull the banners. A company in North Carolina stated “I’m not going to Hell flying that sign!” The Atheists would of course argue that they will not be going to Hell, or Heaven, in either case. American Atheists say that is exactly the sort of bigotry they are fighting. You can see the schedule of flights on their website. God bless America.