So Noah Built an Arky, Arky…

New Noah’s Ark in Ky. aims to prove truth of Bible

HEBRON, Ky. (AP) — Tucked away in a nondescript office park in northern Kentucky, Noah’s followers are rebuilding his ark. The biblical wooden ship built to weather a worldwide flood was 500 feet long and about 80 feet high, according to Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry devoted to a literal telling of the Old Testament.

It’s an expansion of the ministry’s first major public attraction, the controversial Creation Museum. It opened in 2007 and attracted worldwide attention for presenting stories from the Bible as historical fact, challenging evolution and asserting that the earth was created about 6,000 years ago.

“The ark is really a different approach” than the museum, Mark Zovath (the project director) said. “It’s really not about creation-evolution, it’s about the authority of the Bible starting with the ark account in Genesis.”

Zovath said the ark will have old-world details, like wooden pegs instead of nails, straight-sawed timbers and plenty of animals — some alive, some robotic like The Creation Museum’s dinosaurs. He said it has not yet been determined how many live animals will be in the boat during visiting hours, but the majority will be stuffed or animatronic. At their count, Noah had anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 on board.

State officials are banking on the park’s success and the 900 jobs it is expected to create, by making the project eligible for more than $40 million in sales tax rebates if the Ark Encounter hits its attendance marks.

Tying state incentives to a religious theme park has also attracted some criticism, though notably less than The Creation Museum, which received no state support. That facility was built on private donations.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington-based group, has said the park would run afoul of constitutional law.

“Noah didn’t get government help when he built the first ark, and the fundamentalist ministry behind the Kentucky replica shouldn’t either,” the group said in a statement. But so far they have taken no legal action.

Kagin said challenging the project in court would likely be a losing battle because of the way the tax incentives are structured.


What Would Jesus Order?

It’s been said many times recently that the GOP is living in a parallel universe, with their own set of facts that have nothing to do with reality as the rest of us know and understand it.

Here is proof, in living color.

These photos were taken at Rick Perry’s Prayerpalooza on Saturday, where he called for seven hours of intense prayer and fasting.

Apparently, the good folks who were in attendance didn’t know that fasting means not eating anything.

Either that, or they have applied the Michele Bachmann Rule of Denial and believe, even as you can “pray away the gay,” you can eat nachos and still call that fasting.

Photos courtesy of  http://s1124.photobucket.com/albums/l567/thanks_imjustlurking/Prayerapalooza%208-6-11/ via Juanita Jean’s blog.

Click on the link for more, including some great protest signs!

I’m guessing the nachos were heavenly.


Boy, Is She Barking Up the Wrong Tree

You’ll remember a while back I was approached through email by a “Cecelia Frazier,” a woman who was at death’s door and allegedly had no one to pass her millions on to except for me.

(See “Drenched in Tears and Rolling in Dough” if you missed that one.)

I thought that request was a hoot then:

I am drenched with tears while writing this short message to you. It was
heartbreaking news to me few  days ago when my doctor notified me on
complications on my health condition which he officially made known to me. He
further stressed that the complication I had in my human mechanism as a result
of a secondary liver cancer which have destroyed all the organs in my body
system.  According to him, he said that this complication will lead to my
imminent death since no medication can alleviate the high system of deformation
I am encountering at this time in my system.

But this new email pretty much takes the cake for sheer chutzpah:

Dearest in Christ Jesus.

My name is Mrs. Mary Rufus. I am married to Mr. Anetor Rufus. Who worked with Kuwait embassy here in Mali for nine years before he died in the year 2008. We were married for eleven years without a child, He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days and before his death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($ 5 MILLION U.S.A DOLLARS) in the Security Company here in Bamako capital city of Mali.

And recently, My Doctor told me that I would not last for the next six months due to my cancer problem (cancer of the lever and stroke). Presently this money is still in the Security Company. Having known my condition I am in need of a honest Hearted Individual Christian or Church that will utilize this fund the way I am going to instruct herein.
I want somebody that will use this fund according to the desire of my late husband to help Less privileged people, Orphanages, Widows and Propagating the word of God. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this fund, And I don’t want in away where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision to hand you over this fund. I am not afraid of death hence I know where I am going.

I want you to always remember me in your daily prayers because of my up coming Cancer Surgery. Write back to me as soon as possible because any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another person for this same purpose, Hoping to read from you soon.

With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company. I will also issue you an authorization letter that will prove you the present beneficiary of this fund as soon as i hear from you.

May God Bless You,
Mrs. Mary Rufus.

First off, I don’t know how my name got on a list of good Christian folk to contact for this request.  (Again, see my post “The Orthodox Agnostic” for further explanation.)  Somebody’s database needs updating in Mali.

I do love the fact that, like Cecelia, Mrs. Rufus went for the heartstrings by mentioning Less Privileged people, Orphanages and Widows.

Propagating the Word of God….eh, we’ve got enough of that in Texas, thanks to Gov. Rick Perry and his upcoming Perry-Palooza on Aug. 6 where only Christians need apply.  Not so fast Muslims, Jews and The Undecided.

Again, much like Cecelia, Mrs. Rufus has some interesting physical problems going on.  Cecelia had a complication in her “human mechanism” due to secondary liver cancer, but Mary goes her one better with her cancer of the lever (as opposed to cancer of the fulcrum?) and stroke.  Nice touch, Mary.

It sounds like Mr. Anetor Rufus had a deathbed conversion, as did the missus at the same time.  Did Anetor do that so Mary wouldn’t marry again?  It seems like their  version of Christianity forbids remarrying after the death of a spouse.   Maybe Mary needs to re-read her Bible.

I think Anetor pulled a fast one on you, honey.

And I love how Mary puts the squeeze on me for a speedy reply by threatening to “source another person for this same purpose” if she doesn’t hear from me right away.  Mary would have made a good used car salesperson.

“I’ll have to talk to my credit manager.”

And Mrs. Rufus has upped the ante here.  Cecelia was only offering 4.8 million, but Mrs. Rufus is dangling a cool 5 million in front of me.  However, she doesn’t want it used in any “ungodly way,” so that pretty much leaves out the Temple to Athena that I was planning to build on the back forty.

I have almost gotten to the point where I look forward to receiving these emails.  They’re kind of addicting, like a soap opera.

I think Mary’s role should be played by Susan Lucci.


Sticker Shock

We live in a very red part of a very dyed-in-the-wool red state, politically speaking.  So I’ve become accustomed to seeing bumper stickers that don’t exactly reflect my way of thinking. 

One that particularly gets my goat (if I had a goat) is the one with a waving, smiling George W. Bush who’s asking the question, “Miss Me Yet?” 


My answer to that, to quote John Boehner, is “Hell, no!” 

 But I guess I’m in the minority around these parts.  With only 1800 voters in our county who considered themselves Democrats in this last mid-term election, I feel like we’re an endangered species. 

Put us on the list along with Abdulali’s Wrinkled Frog, the Maroon-chinned Fruit-dove, and the Wattle-necked Softshell Turtle.  (Oh, wait…isn’t that Mitch McConnell?)

But today I spotted a bumper sticker that I hadn’t seen before on a truck in front of the post office.  This is it:

Now, just what the hell is that supposed to mean?  I know the good folks in Oklahoma recently voted not to allow Muslim Shariah law to be implemented in their fair state. 

I’m sure they acted just in the nick of time on that one.

And I read the other day that FreedomWorks, chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, continues to make the case for state House Republicans to dump incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, R- San Antonio, who just happens to be Jewish.   

In an email exchange Tuesday between two members of the State Republican Executive Committee—Rebecca Williamson and John Cook, Williamson sent a fact sheet to SREC members defending Straus. 

Cook responded by dismissing her claims, saying:

“We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”  Since the SREC governs state Republican Party affairs, this marked the first time an elected party leader had semi-openly called for a “Christian conservative” Speaker. 

“When I got involved in politics, I told people I wanted to put Christian conservatives in leadership positions,” explaining that he only supports Christian conservative candidates in Republican primary races.

“I want to make sure that a person I’m supporting is going to have my values. It’s not anything about Jews and whether I think their religion is right or Muslims and whether I think their religion is right. … I got into politics to put Christian conservatives into office. They’re the people that do the best jobs over all.”

Help me out here.  We’re encouraged to “vote Biblically,” but only from the part of the Bible that came much, much later.  Is that it?  I guess all that stuff about Moses and those ten whatchamacallits don’t come into play at all unless you buy into the whole enchilada.

So with that in mind, here’s an ATC I created awhile back which still stands the test of time, unfortunately.


All the Single Ladies

From the Associated Press:

Pope Benedict XVI says in a new book that condoms can be justified for male prostitutes seeking to stop HIV, a stunning turnaround for a church that has long opposed condoms and a pontiff who has blamed them for making the AIDS crisis worse.

The pontiff made the comments in a book-length interview with a German journalist, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,” which is being released Tuesday. The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday.

Church teaching has opposed condoms because they’re a form of artificial contraception although it has never released an explicit policy about condoms and HIV. The Vatican has been harshly criticized in light of the AIDS crisis.

Benedict said that for male prostitutes — for whom contraception isn’t the central issue — condoms are not a moral solution. But he said they could be justified “in the intention of reducing the risk of infection.”

He called it “a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way of living sexuality.”

How convenient that it only applies to men. 

I guess all the ladies who want to prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are out of luck.


Paging Max Von Sydow…

Catholic bishops: More exorcists needed

NEW YORK — Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are sponsoring a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, starting Friday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

“Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult,” DiNardo said in a phone interview. “The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite.”


Suffer the Little Children…

The ever-expanding sexual abuse scandals involving the Catholic church have been in the news for days now. 
It’s time to re-post part of a piece (“A Tale of Two Pedophiles”) in which I wrote about my encounter in the late 1980′s with Father Oliver O’Grady. 
Unfortunately, it seems nothing has changed in the wake of that scandal:


Thoughts of Jaycee Dugard brought up my brief brush with one of the worst pedophiles the Catholic church has known to date.  His name is Father Oliver O’Grady, who spent years being shuttled from one diocese to another even though the hierarchy of the church knew he was molesting children.  He finally wound up as the parish priest in a small town in Calaveras county, California.  I was working as a dental hygienist for a local dentist and Father O’Grady happened to be one of our patients. 

The dentist I worked for was a devout Catholic.  My employer was, on the whole, a nice fellow who felt strongly about his convictions.  He had anti-abortion posters hung quite visibly in his lab where patients would see them as they were escorted to their dental chairs.  Some patients took offense at being subjected to something like that in a dental office and angrily left the office–and in some cases they left the practice itself.  To me, this dogmatism on his part was like wearing a pair of blinders which allowed you to see only what you were supposed to see.

Often the dentist, his assistant and I would have lunch at a nearby sandwich shop.  On some occasions the dentist’s wife would join us.  At one of these informal lunches we were talking about water wells; a common topic in rural areas where having a good well is essential to life itself.  I happened to mention that a neighbor of mine, whose father was half Native American, taught me how to dowse for water with a forked branch.  The usual term for that was “water witching”, a skill that even the men who worked for our local electric company, PG & E, knew how to do.

My employer turned to me and said, very serious and straight-faced, “Isn’t that witchcraft?”  At first I thought he was kidding, but quickly realized he wasn’t.  I was nonplussed and stammered something about “No, it’s just something you feel.”  The dentist’s wife was in our little group and she tried to smooth things over a bit, but I have to say I was taken aback that someone in our modern age would bandy about the charge “witchcraft.” 

Now, post-Palin anti-witchcraft blessing ceremonies, I’m no longer surprised.

I mention all of this in regard to Father O’Grady only to make the point that while my employer was looking behind the dental chair for imaginary witches, here we had a man who was actually doing unspeakable things with children.  Father O’Grady was a figure of authority and power, as was the diocese that sent him to this unsuspecting little hamlet.  Everyone in my office fell all over himself in deference to this man when he came in for his appointments.  It was “Father this…” and “Father that…” but no one had the slightest clue that he had been molesting children for years and the powers that be knew about it, but kept it hidden.  

The sadly laughable thing about it was that he was such a little milquetoast of a man when I finally did meet him.  I took an immediate dislike to him because he would not look me in the eye.  What kind of a priest won’t look you in the eyes?  Aren’t the eyes windows into the soul?  Father O’Grady’s soul was hidden from view.  There was too much ugliness there.

Father O’Grady as he looked sometime around when I met him.


It was several years after I left that practice that the whole story surrounding Father O’Grady came to light.  I could only imagine what they thought at my old dental office.  Had real evil replaced the imaginary?  I somehow doubt it.  Excuses were made all along the line for the transferring of O’Grady from one place to the next, without punishment or warning.  The man involved in Jaycee Lee Dugard’s abduction seems to have had every break in the books also.  It shouldn’t have taken so long in either Garrido’s case or Father O’Grady’s for someone to step up and put a stop to the abuse. 

The kids deserved better.