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Free Inquiry Sidelines


The following articles are from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 19, Number 4.


FUNNIER THAN A BARREL OF MORMONS

by Erin Vaughn

The recently published volume of Mormon jokes, "Best Loved Humor of the LDS [Latter Day Saints] People," has been making waves among the more pious members of the Mormon community. The book includes such raucous jocularities as "How are bishops chosen? Answer: The leaders find the most righteous person in the ward-and then they call her husband."


MR. FAMILY VALUES

by Chris Mooney

Arkansas Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson, a Southern Baptist minister, has called the breakdown of the American family one of the nation's greatest problems. Hutchinson recently filed for divorce.


JESUS CHRIST, SUPERSPORE

by Austin Dacey

When a custodian found a consecrated host on the floor of Ascension of Our Lord Church, Father Benny Piovan placed it in holy water to dissolve. He soon discovered a strange growth on the host. At the request of the archdiocese, a DNA analysis was conducted. Apparently the host grew "mold or fungus" but did not turn into human flesh.


JESUS ONLY A PRICK AWAY

by Chris Mooney

Some born-again Christians have recently taken to tattooing themselves to cement their relationships with Jesus. Members of the newly formed Christian Tattoo Association say that having Christ's image imprinted on their flesh helps their faith. One tattooed evangelical commented: "Usually, I pray about it before I get a new tattoo. I'm just waiting on the Lord now to see if he wants me to get another one."


STRAIT-JACKETED AT SINAI

by Gabriel Carlson

The symptoms are unmistakable. After spending time in Jerusalem, victims are overcome by delusions of being biblical characters, scream psalms at passers-by, and run about dressed like shepherds in bedsheets from their hotels. Dr. Yair Barel, who has named the mental condition "Jerusalem Syndrome," treats sufferers with a few tranquilizers and calls home. He predicts that about 40,000 millennial pilgrims might suffer from religious delusions, although other sources place the figure much higher.


ONLY BEGOTTEN SONY

by Gabriel Carlson

According to residents of the remote Japanese town of Shingo, the New Testament is more fallible than many Christians believe. Shingo inhabitants claim that their town is the site of Christ's true burial, insisting that it was not Jesus who died on the cross but his little-known half-brother. The true Jesus, they maintain, fled across Siberia and the Sea of Japan, changed his name to Daitenku Taro Jurai, married a local woman, and fathered three girls before dying naturally at the age of 106.


POPE CONDEMNS CONDOM SPICE

by Gabriel Carlson

Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (Geri Spice) was recently blasted by the Catholic Church for her promotion of contraceptive use in the Philippines. Working as a UN goodwill ambassador, Halliwell told residents of Manila that everyone deserves to have control of their lives, including "control over your fertility." According to Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, spokesman for the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines, sending Haliwell to the predominantly Catholic nation was like "sending Salman Rushdie as an ambassador of goodwill to a Muslim country."


STRAIGHT-ARROW THINKING

by Derek Araujo

Robin Hood was gay, says Stephen Knight, professor of English literature at Cardiff University. After studying 14th-century ballads, Knight concluded that 16th-century authors added Maid Marian to straighten out the famous outlaw. Knight is confident in his reasoning in part because the ballads' "references to arrows, quivers, and swords make it clear."


STONED AT STONEHENGE

by Amanda Chesworth

New Agers, Rock-n-Rollers, and Neo-Druids had themselves a rumble to celebrate the summer solstice this year. The battle took place at Stonehenge in Salisbury, England, and was fought between those who wished to perform sacred rituals, hold a music concert, and use the ancient monolith as a backdrop for the latest in four-wheel drives. Fortunately no large rocks were thrown.


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


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