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The News You May Have Missed

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Born Believers?

Scientists are now trying to explain away religious belief, and some are contending they have scientific evidence. The lead story from the February 4 issue of New Scientist introduced a theory that belief in God is due to evolution: Because humans have evolved just so, a man’s brain is attuned to believe in a supernatural entity, even if it hasn’t been suggested to him. This way, groups of people with shared belief participated in “reciprocal hunting and caring,” thus ensuring their own survival. In other words, belief in God is evolution’s way of preserving the species — no actual God required.

Move Over, Milk

Holy cow: A new soft drink made with bovine urine is being developed in India. If that country’s leading Hindu cultural group has its way, the beverage will be marketed as a “healthy” alternative to Coke and Pepsi. The soft drink, called Gau Jal — Sanskrit for “cow water” — is undergoing lab tests and could be launched “very soon, maybe by the end of this year,” Om Prakash, the head of India’s cultural group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, told the London Times (Feb. 13). “Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine, and it will be tasty, too,” he added. Hindus revere cows as sacred animals. Many also consume bovine feces and urine in drinks and spice mixes for their “health giving” properties. Porridge, toothpaste, and tonic drinks are some of the products to which Indian health-food companies already add cow feces and urine (New York Daily News, Feb. 13).

Elevating the Bible

Librarians in Britain are being told to move the Bible to the top shelf in their stacks to avoid giving offense to followers of Islam. Muslims have complained of finding the Koran on lower shelves, saying it should be put above commonplace things. So officials of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council have responded by issuing an official “guidance,” backed by politicians, that all religious texts should be treated equally and go on the top shelf together. Thus, the Bible will be kept out of the reach and out of sight of most readers. The same new library “guidance” also made it clear that pornography can and should be offered by libraries — preferably at eye level (Daily Mail, Feb. 18).

St. Barack?

A San Francisco novelty shop has received criticism from local Catholic clergy for selling votive candles depicting President Barack Obama as a saint. The candles, which sell for $15 apiece, feature Obama’s haloed head superimposed onto the body of a crucifix-holding St. Martin de Porres, the half-black, half-Spanish Dominican known for his miraculous cures and feats of bilocation. In the St. Philip the Apostle parish bulletin, Fr. Tony La Torre called for a boycott of the Just for Fun shop, saying that he was “appalled” that the retailer would “mock and ridicule the Catholic/Christian faith” just to “make a buck.” Undeterred, shop owners Robert Ramsey and David Eiland, who’ve sold more than 700 candles since Christmas, posted a copy of the parish bulletin in their store window, right next to a king-size, two-foot-tall version of the candle. So far, the strategy has worked: demand for the candles has increased. “Tomorrow, I got 72 more coming,” Ramsey told the San Francisco Chronicle (Feb. 15).

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