Yizzeree, SD: Saint Agatha's Elementary school looks like most other Catholic schools: classrooms, desks, chalkboards, READ posters, crucifixes above the doors, kids in plaid uniforms.
They have one more thing that sets them apart from the rest: giddy parents.
"Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how happy that decision made me. I got down on my knees and started crying," gushed Mary Ellen Yubish, mother of 2nd grader Catherine. The decision she refers to? No classroom supply lists.
Beginning this week, listeners who donate to National Public Radio member stations will have more than the usual organic cotton tote bags and “Car Talk” bumper stickers to choose from as thank-you gifts. Now, they can opt for an official NPR “Kick a Catholic!” t-shirt as well.
“We’re always looking for new incentives for our pledge drives,” said NPR promotions director Frank Byast. “People like things that are a fun twist on the news, so we think the ‘Kick a Catholic!’ thank you gifts will be a big hit. No pun intended.”
The shirt and mug were inspired by NPR’s “Kick a Catholic Week,” the brainchild of NPR reporters forced to cover the controversy generated by the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraceptives and abortifacients.
“We thought, ‘Okay, we can’t ignore this anymore, so how can we have fun with it?’” said Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. “That’s the nice thing about a story like this. When one side is so clearly wrong, you’re a little less concerned about being fair and balanced. It’s like covering the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. You’re not going to ‘balance out’ your coverage by interviewing Nicolae Ceaușescu, right? It’s the same with the Catholic bishops.”
Washington, DC, April 19, 1847: The U.S. administration, after considering a conscientious objection exemption for religious institutions, decided that Catholics institutions must pay a “forced servanthood fee” for employees who wish to own slaves, up to $1,000 a slave per year.
“It is the law of many states that slavery is legal, and white men are free to own slaves. Indeed, most white men want to own slaves, seeing how abolitionists are treated like village idiots. So it seems natural and fully American that we should force Catholic institutions in slave states to facilitate owning others, and potentially killing them if they do not fit their needs. We won’t make parishes comply because we don’t think they own slaves anyway, but every other Church affiliated institution, you have a year to change your entire moral system to suit,” argued the Secretary of Health and Human Slavery, Mr. Charles Moore.
Catholic Bishops responded with outrage, arguing the mandate trespasses the freedom of religion clause in the constitution, by forcing them to act in opposition to their doctrine. However, many people on Twitter said “They just hate slave owners and the Southern way of life, grow up #freaks”, so that must be true.
Humor will save the world. or at least remind us that we're human.
Newsweek asked people to tweet reactions to its new cover story on "Muslim rage." Using the hashtag, #MuslimRage, hundreds of people responded, with many poking fun of the magazine's underlying premise. Author Reza Aslan tweeted, "Memo to those few violent MidEast protesters, this is how you fight Islamophobia. You make fun of it."
Here's a sample of a few of the funniest tweets. [click for full article]
Hebron, Israel: Biblical archeologists announced last week that a new book of the Bible has been found on a preserved scroll in a remote cave three kilometers from the current site of Hebron, Israel.
"Fascinating material," pronounced American Benjamin Tandelli, the lead excavator. "Clearly a dark vision, apocalyptic in tone, full of despair and doubt, and lyrical in trusting the grandeur of God. It seems to me a worthy companion to recent discoveries of biblical era material, such as the Gospel of Judas and other secret texts."
Tandelli's enthusiasm was brought to a screeching halt two days later when the unnamed scroll was identified as the Book of Habakkuk, which is already in the Old Testament.
Heaven: By definition, everything is good and right in heaven. But it doesn't mean that saints don't have feelings.
That's the message that has been leaked by Slavonic members of the heavenly chorus this February 14th: although they don't begrudge the honoring of Saint Valentine this day, the communion of saints think Cyril and Methodius would like a card or prayer or two.
"The thing is, we all know Valentine. And he's a great man, a martyr and a great saint. But you know, Cyril and Methodius were great evangelists who brought the liturgy to the Slavic peoples at great costs. Cyril even created the Cyrillic alphabet, for Pete's sake, and they promoted Mass in the vernacular about 1000 years before it was popular. We all know they have received their reward, but they may like a fancy card too, don't you think?" said a saint who preferred to remain anonymous in order to give the glory to God alone.
New York, NY: The gasps in the home office quickly turned into an internet roar.
The Delilah and Bill Johnson family's Christmas card-- 4' x 6', gilt-edged, and glossy-- has on its front a picture of the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus.
What disturbed recipients was the 10 point bulleted section on the inside, titled "Why I am not sending you a picture of my family and you shouldn't either".
The points begin softly, noting "1. I just saw loads of your pictures on Picasa," "2. Little Joey is having a bad hair month" and "3. I never know when I can take your picture off my fridge and not feel guilty about it anymore, so I'm begging you to take my feelings into account."
But people began sputtering over some of the others: "6. In an age of self-glorification, I can do without saying I'm so obviously the reason for the season." "8. Look at an icon, for crying out loud. It's a freaking RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY" and "10. Joy to the World! The Lord Has Come! Wait, where's Jesus? Oh right, I CAN'T SEE HIM BECAUSE I'M FLOODED WITH PHOTOSHOPPED CHRISTMAS PICTURES OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS DRESSED IN MATCHING RED AND GREEN SWEATERS!"
RICHMOND, Va. — Tom Riley and his Apple-fanatic ministry buddies joked for years about inspiring the same loyalty for Jesus as people have toward their iPhones and iPads.
Finally, Riley decided to take the logical step.
He gave his church a temporary make-over, putting the Apple symbol behind the pulpit and hanging a banner outside dubbing it “Apple Church.” The gimmick was meant to last a month and generate community interest. But Riley says the more they integrated Apple products into the church life, the more comfortable everybody felt, including the pastoral staff....
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