Friday, April 28, 2006

Daily Double

1). For the second year in a row, students across the nation joined together and observed the Day of Truth yesterday. Students in junior high, high school and college were asked to wear a T-shirt that reads “The Truth cannot be silenced” and to pass out cards that say, in part, “I am speaking the Truth to break the silence.” What are these bright eyed and bushy tailed students demonstrating about?

A. The promotion of homosexuality in schools and to stand up for biblical values
B. The lax dress codes at schools around the country that promote promiscuity and to stand up for biblical values
C. Being forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to stand up for biblical values
D. Sex education classes that some believe encourage youngsters to become sexually active and to stand up for biblical values

2). The Day of Truth was designed as a response to The Day of Silence, which began on a small scale in the spring of 1996 and is now observed by tens of thousands of students annually at hundreds of schools and colleges across the country. The Day of Silence asks students to refrain from speaking for one day to:

A. Illustrate the isolation and harassment that gay and lesbian students experience
B. Protest being pressured to say the Pledge of Allegiance and to stand up for the separation of church and state
C. Protest the lack of funding and the resulting mediocrity of the public education system
D. Promote mandatory sex education classes so that young people are aware of the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS, and how to protect themselves

1). A: The promotion of homosexuality in schools and to stand up for biblical values. The second annual Day of Truth was sponsored by the Christian legal group Alliance Defense Fund. The first Day of Truth saw students from 350 schools participate, and ADF organizers hoped to have twice that number this year. Mike Johnson, an ADF attorney from Shreveport, La., said organizers were unsure how many students would participate in the Day of Truth, but expressed hope it would grow in coming years as more people learned about it. Johnson continued that the event is meant to be “peaceful and respectful,” but made clear it is motivated by belief that homosexuality is wrong. “You can call it sinful or destructive — ultimately it’s both.”

2). A: The isolation and harassment that gay and lesbian students experience. Since 2001, Day of Silence observances have been coordinated by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a New York-based organization that also has worked to support gay-straight alliances at high schools across the country.
Kevin Jennings, GLSEN’s executive director, said he doubted the Day of Truth would gain a following and stature of any significance.
“The Day of Silence was an event conceived of by students themselves in response to a very real problem of bullying and harassment they saw on their campuses,” Jennings said. “The Day of Truth is a publicity stunt cooked up by a conservative organization with a political agenda; it’s an effort by adults to manipulate some kids.”

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Unnatural Law

1) Just when you think the culture wars couldn’t get any stranger, comes word that a Republican-backed bill introduced in South Carolina is seeking to have the state outlaw WHAT?

A. Viagra
B. Sex toys
C. Thong underwear
D. Push-up bras
E. The Playboy Channel

2) Under this proposed new law, those found to be selling the outlawed item face what potential punishment?

A. A $500 fine
B. 90 days in jail
C. A $1,000 fine and one year in jail
D. A $10,000 fine and five years in jail

1) B: Sex toys. If passed (which appears unlikely), South Carolina would also join Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas as states with similar laws.

2) D: Under the proposed law, those convicted of selling sex toys could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rock the Congregation

From the We Swear We’re Not Making It Up Department…

Looking to shake up their congregations, while at the same time appealing to new, younger congregants, Episcopal parishes from coast to coast have begun hosting special communion services highlighted with songs and video clips of WHAT band?

A) U2
B) Eminem
C) Green Day
D) Creed

A) U2. These so-called “U2 Eucharists” weave the band’s tunes (at least those with biblical references) into the liturgy, complete with dancing, singing — and earplugs for those who want them.

Among the U2 songs typically played at these events are ”Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Peace on Earth” and “40.”

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

God Made Me Do It

With Iraq spiraling into civil war, retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld’s head on a stick, gas prices soaring and the Commander in Chief’s approval rating circling the drain, WHICH White House decision maker recently said the following:

“I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true … One, I believe there’s an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody’s soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free … I believe liberty is universal. I believe people want to be free. And I know that democracies do not war with each other.”

A. George W. Bush
B. Donald Rumsfeld
C. Dick Cheney
D. Condoleeza Rice


A: Yeah, that was an easy one, but we couldn’t resist. Is Bush blaming the debacle that is now Iraq on the Almighty who he apparently believes is guiding his presidency? A new CNN poll released this week shows President Bush with his lowest approval rating in any poll so far, at an abysmal 32%. Is God trying to tell him something?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Breaking with Tradition

We at Holier Than Thou are seldom surprised by the antics of the Catholic Church. But, when we read this one, we nearly dropped our morning coffee.
Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a senior Italian cardinal and the former archbishop of Milan, was one of the front-runners to become pope after the death of John Paul II. That simple fact makes the statements he made in a recent interview all the more shocking since they are in opposition to the official position of the Vatican. In the interview with the magazine L'Espresso, the 79-year-old Jesuit Cardinal said the following (hint: there is more than one answer):

A. Using frozen embryos to enable a woman to get pregnant, even if she does not have a partner and would be a single mother, was a “lesser evil” than destroying the embryos.
B. The legalization of abortion was a “positive” development in the sense that it had “contributed to reducing and eliminating illegal abortions.”
C. There are times when God’s justice must be administered on Earth. “The death penalty, when humanely administered, is acceptable. Keep in mind, the Bible states plainly that an ‘eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’”
D. It is acceptable for Catholics to use condoms to prevent AIDS. “Certainly the use of condoms can, in certain circumstances, constitute a lesser evil.”


A, B and D. Cardinal Martini, the head of the Roman Cathol ic Church’s liberal wing, has often raised new ideas and is considered to be a free spirit within the Catholic Church hierarchy. He does not hold any post of responsibility within the Vatican.
In the interview, he went on to say that the role of the Church was to “develop (people’s) consciences” and help them “tell good from evil in all situations.” The Vatican declined to comment immediately on the views Martini expressed in the interview.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Keep on Passing the Collection Plate…

Yesterday, we took pleasure in gloating over the financial difficulties of the Christian Coalition.

Today we’re turning our attentions to the financial difficulties of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, which recently opened its books to the public.

As if to prove that crime doesn’t pay, can you match the dollar figure to its corresponding fact?

1) $46 million
2) $68 million
3) $135 million
4) $150 million

A. The Church’s current operating budget deficit
B. The amount paid in settlements related to sexual abuse by priests
C. The unfunded pensions for Church clergymen
D. The amount the Church raised by selling the archbishops residence and other administrative buildings.

1) A: The Church’s budget deficit is $46 million
2) D: It raised $68 million by selling Church property
3) C: It is on the hook for $135 million in clergymen’s pensions that are currently unfunded
4) B: And it has paid $150 million in sexual abuse settlements

Said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, “I think it’s quite obvious that our situation is urgent, is dire.”

So, just why was the Church so forthcoming about it’s financial problems? It is hoping that by pleading poor, parishioners will start to give more at the collection plate!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pass the Collection Plate

My how the mighty have fallen.

You might remember how the Christian Coalition, founded in 1989 by the Rev. Pat Robertson, was once the leading political and fundraising force of the Christian Right.

Now that same group is in debt to creditors to the tune of:

A. $100,000
B. $500,000
C. $1 million
D. $2 million

D: $2 million. The situation at the Christian Coalition has become so dire that its chapter in Iowa — one of its biggest and most effective — left the Christian Coalition and reincorporated itself as the Iowa Christian Alliance.

Says Stephen L. Scheffler, ICA’s president, “The credibility [of the Christian Coalition] is just not there like it once was… We believe, our board believes, any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion.”

To which we can only say, Amen!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Courting Falwell

It just wasn’t evangelist Jerry Falwell’s day. On Monday he lost a U.S. Supreme Court appeal. In a nutshell, this man of the cloth is in a lather because:

A. A gay man from New York City draws people to his web site by using a common misspelling of the reverend’s name as the site’s domain name.
B. A synagogue near Falwell’s Virginia-based Christian ministry has erected a huge banner on its grounds visible to all that reads, “The Religious Right Is Wrong.”
C. Members of a lesbian volleyball team refuse to stop posting leaflets saying Falwell is intolerant and not very Christianly on his ministry’s property.
D. The federal government is threatening to revoke Falwell’s ministry’s tax-exempt status if the evangelist holds a series of political conferences denouncing Democrats as “minions of the devil.”


A: Christopher Lamparello’s site — — contends that Falwell is wrong in preaching that gay people are sinners who could become heterosexual if they wished. At the top of the site a disclaimer reads: “This Web site is NOT affiliated with Rev. Dr. Jerry Falwell or his ministry” and there is a link to the Falwell Ministries’ site. In addition, Lamparello’s web site does not have photos and does not have items for sale.

Falwell’s camp maintains that Lamparello’s domain name is nearly identical to the trademark bearing Falwell’s name and could confuse web surfers.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Lamparello is free to operate his “gripe site” about Falwell’s views on gays and that he “clearly created his Web site intending only to provide a forum to criticize ideas, not to steal customers.” The Supreme Court has now refused to take Falwell’s appeal of that ruling.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cable Ready?

The FCC, in bowing to longstanding complaints by members of Christian-backed “family” groups, has been putting increasing pressure on cable networks and carriers to remove what is deems as “indecent” content from many cable TV shows.

Thus, the cable companies thought they had struck a good compromise by offering up “family friendly tiers” — packages of networks that carry G-rated programming — which would allow such like-minded viewers to block all “objectionable” shows from entering their homes by focusing exclusively on family-friendly networks. Networks typically included in such tiers include children-oriented fare like Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, and some adult-minded networks like HGTV and Food Network.

Thus, one can’t blame the cable companies for feeling a bit betrayed at a recently industry trade show when FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said such “family friendly tiers” may not prove to be a practical solution to the indecency concerns of conservative viewers because of WHAT?

A) The “family friendly tiers” typically do not include religious networks like TB.
B) The “family friendly tiers” typically contain PBS, which airs “Tellitubbies” and “Sesame Street” — two shows that promote the homosexual lifestyle
C) The “family friendly tiers” do not block out objectionable content in commercials on such networks, such as ads for birth-control pills or underwear
D) The “family friendly tiers” are boring, and few people will actually want to order them

D) That’s right, the same people who want to keep the rest of us from watching our “Nip/Tuck” and “Big Love” don’t want to purchase just family-friendly-only cable packages themselves.

Why? Could it be that they are watching “The Shield” too?

Another complaint is that no one will want to purchase these packages because they don’t offer sports channels — despite the risk of future wardrobe malfunctions.

Monday, April 17, 2006

A Murder in Toledo

Sometimes we get no pleasure in writing this blog — and this is one of those days.

Today, jury selection will begin in Toledo, OH, in the murder trial of a man accused of strangling and stabbing to death a local nun some 26 years ago.

On April 5, 1980 — the day before Easter that year — 71-year-old Sister Margaret Ann Pahl’s body was found in the sacristy of the chapel at Mercy Hospital.

She had been strangled and stabbed at least 30 times. And though she hadn’t been raped, her body and clothing had been positioned in such a way to make it look like she’d been sexually assaulted. She was found covered with a white altar cloth.

The case remained cold until a tipster came forward in 2003 with information that ultimate lead to an arrest in the case.

Who is now on trial accused of murdering the nun?

A) Dennis Rader, who confessed last year to being the infamous BTK killer
B) Joshua O’Connor, now an adult, who was 14 at the time of the murder and who is believed to have been sexually abused by a local parish priest as a youngster
C) Tyrel Porter, a church congregant who it is believed was caught stealing cash out of the Church’s donation box by the nun
D) Father Gerald Robinson, a local priest who helped preside over Pahl’s funeral Mass

D) Father Gerald Robinson, now 67, who was 41 at the time of the killing.

Police suspected Robinson early on, but other than finding a letter opener in his apartment that seemed to match Pahl’s stab wounds, didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with the crime.

Then in 2003 an unidentified woman came forward and said that Father Robinson was part of a group of priests who sexually molested her and forced her to take part in unspecified rituals.

Robinson is on leave from the church and out on bail. His trial starts today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Good Friday!

Well dear reader, we had a quiz for you today, but we didn't have the heart — or the stomach — to publish it on Good Friday. It's just too, too depressing. So in the spirit of the day, we'll suspend our quiz and return Monday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Judge Not

Ruth Malhotra, a 22-year-old conservative Christian and senior at the Georgia Institute of Technology, went to court last month to sue the school. Why?

A) She wants Georgia Tech to honor Sunday as the official Sabbath and have all activities on the campus suspended that day, including closing the library, not allowing the janitorial staff to clean and having all sports activities rescheduled.
B) She’s demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy because her faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality.
C) She’s demanding that the Georgia Tech student store stop carrying “lascivious” merchandise like cosmetics and perfumes because they promote promiscuity and aren’t compatible with a Christian lifestyle.
D) She wants Christians to receive a cut in their tuition because minority groups of other faiths qualify for financial aid and scholarships so easily.


B: Malhotra is suing for the right to be intolerant. She says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality, but the Georgia Institute of Technology bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation. Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression, so she’s demanding the school revoke its tolerance policy.

With her lawsuit she joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Pat Answers

Everybody’s favorite Christian broadcaster, Pat Robertson, has written a new book called “Miracles Can Be Yours Today.” According to Robertson, the book’s basic thesis is that there is an all-powerful God in heaven who wants to help people and that He will answer prayers and do miraculous things in their lives. To illustrate this, Robertson details miracles he’s experienced.

One of the more bizarre stories in his book is about a woman with asthma who Robertson met on a trip to the Holy Land. Her illness was so severe, her friends thought that she was possessed by a demon. As her condition worsened, Robertson went to her hotel room with his wife to discuss her ailment. When he prayed with the woman, he silently asked, “Lord, what’s wrong with her?”

And according to our man Pat, the Lord told him to:

A) Anoint her head and feet with oil from an olive tree near the birthplace of Jesus.
B) Yell at and threaten the woman until she cries and confesses her covenant with Satan.
C) Command her to cut her hand with a knife to let the evil flow out of her body.
D) Ask her about her sex life.

D: Apparently, the Lord and Dr. Ruth Westheimer have more in common than we ever thought. The woman admitted she and her husband had had a happy but sexless marriage for the last two years, which is when her asthma began. She felt guilty that her husband was impotent, but Pat assured her that she wasn’t at fault, prayed and voila! Her asthma miraculously disappeared. We don’t know if her husband’s situation was so easily cured.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Polls Apart

A new Gallup poll recently asked Americans about their beliefs on the origins of man.

So, today we ask you to match the belief to the percentage of Americans who believe it.

1) God created man exactly the way the Bible describes it
2) Man did evolve, but God guided that evolution
3) God had no part in the evolution of man
4) Other

A) 4 percent
B) 12 percent
C) 31 percent
D) 53 percent

1) D: 53 percent say God created man just the way the Bible says
2) C: 31 percent say the God guided man’s evolution
3) B: 12 percent say that God had no part in the evolution of man
4) A: 4 percent chose other or do not know

The report went on to note that, not surprisingly, those with lower levels of education, church-goers, Republicans and older Americans are more likely to believe in the Bible’s story of the creation of man.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Good Book

From our “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file…

Pastors Mike Foster and Craig Gross of Corona, Calif., were disappointed to learn that their order for Bibles imprinted with their ministry’s slogan had been denied by the American Bible Society.

Seems the large publishing company turned down the two young ministers because they wanted to have WHAT printed on the covers of the New Testament?

A) “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”
B) “Turn the Other Cheek”
C) “Jesus Was a Jew”
D) “Jesus Loves Porn Stars”

D) Yes, it seems that the two — whose ministry is geared toward anti-pornography efforts — wanted to print their “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” slogan on some 10,000 Bibles they had ordered.

Then again, since their online ministry can be found at, perhaps the request doesn’t seem that strange after all.

Still, the American Bible Society turned down the order, noting that, “the wording is misleading and inappropriate for a New Testament.”

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pucker Up

Ah, spring is in the air. The flowers are blooming. The birds are singing. And GOP presidential hopefuls are sucking up to the Religious Right.

Can you match the Republican presidential hopeful to his act of Conservative Christian ass kissing?

1) Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas
2) Sen. John McCain of Arizona
3) Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts
4) Sen. George Allen of Virginia

A) As a featured speaker, railed against the “push for euthanasia in our culture and in our society” at the one-year anniversary of Terri Shivo’s death
B) Will deliver the commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University next month
C) Flew to Rome on a special invitation by the Vatican
D) Suggested promoting Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin — who earlier ran into criticism for saying that the war or terrorism was a Christian fight against Satan and idol-worshiping Muslims — to head the U.S. special operations command

1) A: Sen. Brownback spoke at the Terri Shivo anniversary
2) B: Sen. McCain will speak at Liberty University’s commencement
3) C: Gov. Romney had an invitation to the Vatican
4) D: And Sen. Allen wants to put the general — who thinks the war on terror is a Christian crusade — in charge of the U.S. special operations command.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

With Friends Like These

What great Republican Warrior for Christ defended his religion — and the role it plays in politics — by saying the following: “Our faith has always been in direct conflict with the values of the world. We are, after all, a society that…treats Christianity like some second-rate superstition.”

A) Tom DeLay
B) Jack Abramoff
C) Randy “Duke” Cunningham
D) Bill Frist

A) That was Tom DeLay defending his faith and the role it plays in his politics — just days before he was forced to resign from Congress with an increasing number of charges and scandals stacking up against him.

Ironically, in announcing his resignation, DeLay noted that he made the decision to step down after seeking spiritual guidance from God through fasting.

Perhaps he should have consulted the Man Upstairs before playing fast and loose with campaign contributions in his home state of Texas where he is now facing criminal charges, and before cozying up with Jack Abramoff, who was recently convicted of bribing congressmen.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Patient, Heal Thyself!

Earlier in this space, we have discussed the failure of scientists to find any proof of the “healing power of prayer.”

Now comes a new study, published in the American Heart Journal, that looked at how prayer affected the recovery of more than 1,800 heart bypass surgery patients at six U.S. hospitals.

Not only did the study find that the prayer — which was conducted by two Catholic groups and one Protestant group — did not help to speed recovery, but it also found out WHAT about those patients who knew they were being prayed for?

A) They recovered more slowly than those who didn’t know they were prayed for
B) They converted to Christianity at a higher rate than those who didn’t know they were prayed for
C) They stayed in the hospital longer
D) They actually liked the hospital food

A) Some 59 percent of patients who KNEW they were being prayed for had post-op complications — compared to the 52 percent of patients who only thought they were being prayed for.

In other words, not only did the praying not help, but knowing that they were being prayed for actually seemed to hurt the patients.

Researchers could find “no clear explanation” for the phenomenon.