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Homosexual activists have designed a variant of the rosary to contemplate what they call the “Relational Mysteries.” According to California Catholic Daily (Sept. 29), Eugene McMullan, founder of a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality, taught a two-part class on “Praying the Queer Rosary” at an event for the New Spirit/Metropolitan Community Church in Berkeley. The announcement for the class said it is “based on stories from the bible [sic] which depict Queer Families or Relationships.” These “Relational Mysteries” are listed as fidelity (Ruth’s pledge to Naomi), grief (the parting of David and Jonathan), intercession (Esther intercedes for her people), restoration (the raising of Lazarus from the dead), and discipleship (two disciples encounter Christ on the road to Emmaus). California Catholic Daily reports a habit among religious homosexual activists of interpreting the relationship between Ruth and Naomi as a lesbian one. Episcopal priest John Kirkeley, a nominee for Bishop of Los Angeles, has characterized the relationship between Saul, David, and Jonathan as a “Biblical Love Triangle,” while Fr. Donal Godfrey, executive director of University Ministry at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, in a homily described the story of Lazarus as “the call to come out.”
An art exhibit in Washington, D.C., marked the first-ever International Blasphemy Day, September 30, at the Center for Inquiry DC near Capitol Hill. Atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, and free-speech advocates around the world marked Blasphemy Day by mounting their soapboxes — figuratively and literally — and uttering words and displaying images that generally cause offense. Headlining the art exhibit was a painting called Jesus Does His Nails, depicting dripping red nail polish around the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet, an irreverent riff on the crucifixion wounds. Artist Dana Ellyn says her “Blasphemy” paintings are a tongue-in-cheek expression of her lack of belief in God and religion. The self-described “agnostic atheist” — she doesn’t believe in the existence of any deity but can’t say for sure one doesn’t exist — says her introduction to religion came in a college art-history class. “My point is not to offend, but I realize it can offend, because religion is such a polarizing topic,” Ellyn said of the exhibit (Religion News Service, Sept. 24).
A Chinese student is selling her own hand in marriage for $25,000 in a bid to save the life of a classmate. Dan Dan, 22, who studies at a university in Dezhou, Shandong province, made the offer online, reports Guangzhou Daily (Sept. 25). Her friend Zhang Yuemei has been diagnosed with encephalomyelitis, a disease of the brain and spinal cord. She has no money for the treatment she needs, without which she will deteriorate into a vegetative state. Dan Dan says she will marry any man prepared to donate the equivalent of $25,000 to cover Zhang’s medical treatment. Critics have accused her of using her friend’s plight to find a wealthy husband, but she is being supported by the chief surgeon at Jinan Qilu Hospital.
A Jedi church leader is considering legal action after he was asked to leave a store for wearing his hood. Daniel Jones, who founded the International Church of Jediism, claims that a Tesco supermarket in Bangor, North Wales, victimized him for his beliefs, reports the U.K.’s Daily Post (Sept. 18). Jones explained that one important tenet of the Jedi religion is that one’s hood must be worn in public — at all times. Jones said he’d gone to the store to buy something to eat during his lunch break but was told by staff to leave unless he took off his hood. “They said: ‘Take it off’ and I said: ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.’ I gave them a Jedi church business card,” he said. A Tesco spokesman said, “Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.”
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