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Free Inquiry

by Matt Cherry

The following articles are from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 18, Number 4.

Wise Guy

Politicians can say some pretty stupid things. But it is rare for them to come right out and explicitly attack intelligence and education. An exception to this rule is James Traficant, Jr., Congressman (Democrat) for the 17th District in Ohio. Commenting on the report that only 7% of top scientists believe in God, on August 3 he made the following learned contribution to the House of Congress: "Mr. Speaker, a new report says only 7 percent of scientists believe in God. That is right. And the reason they gave was that the scientists are `super smart.' Unbelievable. Most of these absent-minded professors cannot find the toilet. "Mr. Speaker, I have one question for these wise guys to constipate over: How can some thing come from no thing? And while they digest that, Mr. Speaker, let us tell it like it is. Put these super-cerebral master debaters in some foxhole with bombs bursting all around them, and I guarantee they will not be praying to Frankenstein. "Beam me up here. My colleagues, all the education in the world is worthless without God and a little bit of common sense." Rep. Traficant is on the House Science Committee. Unbelievable.

The Holy Tooth

In April, Taiwan celebrated the arrival of a tooth, allegedly from the mouth of Buddha. Monks escorted the holy tooth, encased in a miniature pagoda, around Taipei airport to bring luck to the planes. Wu Poh-hsiung, an advisor to Taiwan's president, said worshiping the tooth was "by no means superstitious." I'm glad he cleared up that potential misunderstanding.

Raving Robertson

The Reverend Pat Robertson is ranting and raving again. The Christian Coalition President has allowed America another glimpse of his bizarre and hate-filled worldview. Denouncing Orlando, Florida, for its gay day celebrations - during which the city tied rainbow flags to its lampposts - he said, "You're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

Predicting hurricanes in Florida is a fairly safe bet. Robertson was a little more imaginative in threatening that Orlando's tolerance would bring "terrorist bombs, earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor." Robertson - one of the most powerful religious leaders in the United States - made the comments on his weekday television show "The 700 Club."

The Arms of the Lord

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a bullet for a bullet? A July 1998 law has made it legal for Kentucky ministers to carry concealed weapons in their churches. It remains illegal for parishioners to take guns into church. In a pungent sound bite criticizing the new law, the Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper, Executive Director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, said, "Jesus would puke."

It is a fad among young Christians to wear jewelry with the initials "WWJD" to encourage themselves to ask, "What Would Jesus Do?" Maybe they can now also wear "JWP" bracelets to remind them of Reverend Kemper's answer.

Send interesting news items and tidbits to Sidelines, Free Inquiry, POB 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0644, or e-mail to: aszalanski@centerforinquiry.net

Matt Cherry was formerly the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism.

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