Kristi Rhimes in Oklahoma, who claims to be married to Jesus Christ, was stood up last Friday after having food and drinks at the El Chico restaurant in Lawton. She claimed her husband, Jesus Christ a famous religious leader, would be along to pay the bill. When Jesus failed to show up (as usual), and Kristi had no other method of paying the bill, she was arrested for fraud. Strangely enough the next day in Louisville, Kentucky, just 800 miles away, a man claiming to be Jesus Christ was arrested for assaulting a woman in her eighties. The old woman was dragging herself across the street on her hands and knees, when Jesus, also named Calvotte Brooks, clearly saw she was the devil in disguise and threw a glass plate at her head. With her right cheek bleeding and bruised, she was visibly shaken and unable to give her name to the police. The police, failing to recognise that this was in fact Satan in disguise, arrested Calvotte and charged him with assault. In court on Monday, during a heated exchange with the Judge, Calvotte revealed that he is in fact head of Homeland Security. In light of this the judge upgraded the charge to attempted murder and set bail at half a million dollars. Both Jesus (Calvotte) and his wife (Kristi) remain in custody.
When the mother and father of a new born child in Tennessee could not agree on which surname the child should have, they went to court. However, when the judge heard that his first name was Messiah, she ordered that it be changed to Martin and include both surnames. The judge explained that only Jesus Christ had earned the right to that name. Many people of other religious beliefs might disagree. In other states, it is possible to call your son Messiah. The name has risen from 633 most popular in 2010 to 387 in 2012 according to the official website of the US Social Security. Arya has risen most among female names, probably due to the popularity of “A Game of Thrones”. There are laws in many countries prohibiting people from giving certain names to their children. Originally Sweden introduced the law to prevent commoners giving royal names to their offspring. Life was so much easier when you could tell a person’s rank from their name. Sweden has used that law to prevent parents calling their children Metallica and Superman. New Zealand too controls what names parents can bestow on their fortunate children. They have turned down Lucifer, Messiah, Queen Victoria, Christ, President and *. However, they did slip up a few times and allowed twins called Benson and Hedges and an unfortunate child called Number 16 Bus Shelter. Back in Tennessee, the mother of Martin, formerly known as Messiah, is appealing the case. She should get a t-shirt made stating “I have not the Messiah” on the front and “I’m a very naughty girl” on the back.
Americans in the state of Alabama have come up with a great idea to boost church attendance and save money on running the prison service simultaneously. The new program grandly called Operation ROC (Restore Our Community) allows criminals found guilty of minor non-violent crimes to choose between serving time in prison, paying a fine or attending church services on Sunday. The town in question, Bay Minette, does not contain any mosques or synagogues so only Christians need apply. The town police chief, Mike Rowland, claims the program is primarily a cost saving measure saving over $500 a week for each potential inmate who turns to Jesus. The American Civil Liberties Union is strongly against the operation and called it blatantly unconstitutional. The American constitution prohibits the state forcing participation in religious activity. The police chief denies that anything is being forced as it is a free choice. I think most would agree that it really isn’t much of a choice. The operation which was originally to start operating yesterday has been delayed while lawyers check the legality of it. If the city attorney gives his approval, it will go live after the next court day on October 11th. If it does go ahead, I can’t wait until Muslims somewhere in America get in on the act.
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.
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.
Levon Sarkisyan claims that a light from above told him to break into a home in Farmington, Connecticut. He used a poker to smash statues and a marble table, claiming that God wanted him to help the world. He took a shower and dressed in the clothes of a former deceased resident of the house. When the home owner tried to call the police and the phone did not work, Levon claimed it was divine intervention and God would not allow the phone call. Police eventually did arrive and he was charged with burglary and criminal mischief.
If a fourteen year old girl has sex with her forty year old male cousin, who is to blame? If members of the man’s family then beat up the fourteen year old, what should happen next? The reports are confusing, she may have been fifteen and she may have been having an affair or it may have been rape. The girl, named Hena, lived in Bangladesh, so she was handed over to the village court, or Sharia Committee, who locked her up. The following day she was accused of immoral sexuality before marriage and sentenced to 100 lashes. After almost 80 lashes she passed out and was taken to the local hospital where she died days later.
Last July the Bangladesh government outlawed such fatwas, but it didn’t prevent this death or a similar one in December in which a woman died after receiving 40 lashes for sleeping with her stepson.
At least this time the government has taken action and arrested a Muslim cleric who sat on the Sharia Committee and three villagers, including the wife of the man involved in the incident.
Meanwhile, the government in Iran executes on average two people every day to implement Islamic law. Crimes subject to the death penalty include Apostacy, Murder, Armed Robbery, Drug Trafficking, Adultery and Rape. One of the latest people to fall foul of these laws was Abdolreza Gharabat. He claimed to be God and had succeeded in attracting a number of followers in the Khuzestan province. He was convicted of Apostacy and hanged on Wednesday. Surely his mental health must have been in question, to declare himself God in Iran and he should have received medical help instead of a death penalty. On the other hand, if he rises from the dead, he will certainly have a convincing argument.
Let us also remember the 35 people killed in clashes between Muslims and Christians last week in Nigeria and over 100 killed in another stampede at an Indian religious festival just over two weeks ago. Then there are the people of questionable sanity like Muzzammil Hassan and Miriam Smith. Mizzammil, on trial for the murder of his wife in 2009, claims that God gave him extra courage to kill her. Miriam was minding her nephew’s dog, a one year old pit bull, when it chewed her bible. She claims God told her it was a devil dog that had to be killed. She hung it from a tree, doused it in kerosene and set it on fire.
It all goes to show what can happen when people take religion too seriously. Thank God for Religious Apathy.
Ireland extends blasphemy laws. If you say religion is important, I may find that offensive to my apathistic beliefs and sue you.
Drop those stones, the Malaysian court allows everyone call God Allah. Well thanks be to Allah.
Malaysian court postpones decision on whether Christians can call God Allah. Ok, who said Jehovah? Anyone for fake beards?