Christians are ‘Jerks,’ The New Scopes Trial, Pastafarians’ Rights

In Memphis, Michigan* some residents have taken umbrage with the sign outside a local Baptist church. It reads “God calls pastors to have their own wife thus avoiding fornication!” Some residents feel that the sign targets Catholics. Others just don’t like the use of “fornication” in public.

A church billboard in Texas admits that Christians are “jerks.” A church in Charlotte, North Carolina won’t allow a Mormon couple to serve as leaders in their Cub Scout troop because they don’t consider them “real Christians.”

A giant statue of Jesus is being built in a small town in Poland. At over 50 meters tall, it will be the largest statue of the Nazarene in the world.

Florida’s Qur’an (not) burning pastor wants a New Jersey car dealer to make good on his promise to give him a Hyundai if he didn’t burn the books. A deal is a deal, I guess. The Justice Department has lent its support to the controversial mosque being built in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Meanwhile, the county’s hearing over the mosque’s construction is becoming a poor man’s Scopes trial.

More Americans see Christianity as an important part of being “truly American.”

If Christine O’Donnell blew a church-state dog whistle, then Minnesota Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson is playing a church-state bugle. The Republican candidate denies that it’s possible for there to be a separation between church and state: “I mean it just does not exist, and it does not exist in America for a purpose, because we are a Christian nation.”

A student in North Carolina has been suspended from school after repeatedly attending in full pirate regalia. The student claims the pirate gear is part of his Pastafarian religion.

A Catholic bishop in Chicago had his online identity stolen by email scammers. The scammers used the Bishop Joseph Perry’s email address and a fake Facebook page in his name to scam victims out of money for an orphanage in Africa that had supposedly burned down. The Catholic Church has canonized the first Australian-born saint. Some are calling Mother Mary MacKillop the Patron Saint of Whistleblowers for her brief excommunication in the 19th century for denouncing clerical abuse of children. One American Catholic observer thinks the Vatican should make her the patron of the abused.

The times they are a’changin’. The synagogue where Bob Dylan had his bar mitzvah is for sale.

While the Vatican may say Homer and Bart Simpson are Catholics, The Simpsons’ producer disagrees. The cartoon family regularly attends Rev. Lovejoy’s First Church of Springfield “which is decidedly Presbylutheran.” Meanwhile, apparently it is impossible to officially leave the Catholic Church. And the Archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis says he doesn’t want any “lukewarm” Christians in the church.

The Unification Church held its second mass wedding of the year. The Rev. Sun Myung Moon married 7,200 South Korean and foreign couples.

The end of the world might be farther off than once expected, at least according to the Mayan calendar. From Qumran to dot-com: the Israel Antiques Authority and Google are working together to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls and make them available to the public.

Finally, did the Berenstain Bears become practicing Christians?

*This post has been corrected. The church is located in Memphis, Michigan, not Memphis, Tennessee. The First Baptist Church of Memphis (Tennessee), by all appearances, promotes a positive engagement with community, like interfaith dialogue. RD regrets the error.