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Location: Tallahassee, Florida, United States welcomes all opinions from any religion or viewpoint in the common appreciation of Chick tracts. This blog, however, will highlight religious events and controversies that would be of special interest to regular Chick readers. You don't have to agree with them or each other, but if you read Chick tracts or Battlecry, you might expect these type stories to be addressed. (Sorry, no personal attacks allowed.) All main postings are from writers and any responses are from the public

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nut Blames God For Making Him Steal

A man accused of breaking into a Farmington, Conn., home used one of the oldest excuses in the book -- make that the Good Book.

That's right -- suspect Levon Sarkisyan allegedly said God made him do it.

The victim of the break-in came home Sunday and discovered the front door had been kicked in. Inside, Sarkisyan, had allegedly caused more than $10,000 in damages by smashing a Roman statue and marble table, the Hartford Courant reported.

During his spree, Sarkisyan also showered and dressed himself in the clothes of a deceased former resident of the house, according to investigators.

When confronted by the resident, Sarkisyan allegedly said "a light from above told him to do this," and that God wanted him to help the world, according to Farmington police Sgt. Stephen Egan.

Cops charged Sarkisyan with burglary and criminal mischief, and bail was set at $50,000.

Sarkisyan, 27, has a history of bizarre run-ins with the law. This week's alleged home invasion would only add to his body of work.

He was arrested in 2008 for threatening Kappa Sigma fraternity members at the University of Connecticut, according to the Courant.

The dispute stemmed from a trip to Miami for two fraternity brothers and another man, paid for by Sarkisyan. While on the jaunt with them, he provided the trio with jewelry, cocaine and a prostitute, but told them to keep quiet about it.

The secret got out and another Kappa Sigma member asked Sarkisyan about the wild adventure, which triggered the threats. From there, Sarkisyan became increasingly menacing to fraternity members, which eventually prompted UConn police to provide several days of protection for the victims.

Sarkisyan got a suspended sentence and two years probation for the conflict.

Hindu Won't Bath

Some say cleanliness is next to godliness, but not Guru Kailash Singh who quit bathing 37 years ago, because he believe he'd be rewarded for his sacrifice.

Kailash, 65, a farmer from India, stopped using soap and water in 1974, after his wedding. He also hasn't cut his dreadlocks, according to the news agency Barcroft.

It wasn't because he no longer needed to attract the ladies that he let himself go. Kailash reportedly abandoned washing because a priest told him it would help him produce a son.

With seven daughters born since then, he's still waiting for a male heir.

Each evening, Kailash winds down the day with a "fire bath" ritual of smoking marijuana, praying to the Hindu god Shiva and dancing around a campfire.

There was one failed attempt by his family to force him into a stream.

‘He fought us off and ran away,’ his wife Kalavati Devi, 60, told Barcroft. ‘We’ve tried several times since to force him to have a shower but he puts up such a fuss.

‘He says he’d rather die than take a bath and only a son could change his mind. It has been so many years now I’ve got used to it.’

The taunts neighbors in his village about his smell don't faze Kailash.

‘Children tease and shout that I don’t wash when I ride my bicycle through the village,’ he told Barcroft.

‘There are many people who have a poor character that mock me for not washing. They do not understand my decision but I will not change my mind as it is God’s choice, not mine.

See Chick's THE TRAITOR.

Profit Motive for NYC Gay Marriage Surfaces

Activists say New York "Did the right thing" by legalizing gay marriage, but now it looks like the politicians had another motive: gay tourist dollars.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to reveal a campaign in the coming days to promote New York City as a gay-marriage destination for couples around the country, Bloomberg News reported on Monday.

On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed gay marriage into law, making it the largest state in the country to do so, Reuters reported.

The "NYC I Do" campaign is meant to create "millions of dollars in additional economic impact" for New York City's $31 billion tourism industry, a spokesperson for Mayor Bloomberg's marketing office told Bloomberg News. In a 2007 report, former city Controller Bill Thompson found gay marriage would pump $142 million into the economy of New York City alone.

A recent report by the Independent Democratic Conference estimates that about 63,000 gay and lesbian couples will marry in New York within the next three years, with two-thirds of them coming from out of state for a "destination wedding." The law will go into effect on July 24.

The infusion of cash would help an economy that continues to struggle in the aftermath of the recession, especially with the state unemployment rate having declined only eight percent during the past year, to 7.9 percent from 8.6 percent. On top of that, the New York state deficit has been a major problem confronting the state government, and the legislature has remained in deadlock over how to fix it. See Chick's DOOM TOWN.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Miss USA Affirms Evolution

A Christian Miss Tennessee told Miss USA judges she strongly disapproves of the
burning of sacred texts, including her own, during a challenging final question
round that led to the crowning of Miss California, a self-professed "science
geek" and believer in evolution.

When asked if the burning of any religious article should be protected by the
First Amendment the same way burning the flag is protected, Tennessee's Ashley
Elizabeth Durham, a journalism student, answered, "Absolutely not."

Durham disclosed her Christian faith with the audience and said she would be
upset if the Bible were burned. She then urged for mutual respect for the Bible
and any other religious text, including the Quran.

"You should also respect other religions," she proclaimed. Burning either the
Quran or the Bible, she said, is "just a line that you do not cross."

The question was posed by Rocco DiSpirito who, without naming names, cited
Florida Pastor Terry Jones’ controversial action of burning a Quran. Jones had
announced plans last year to burn copies of the Islamic holy book on the
anniversary of 9/11. He canceled the 9/11 event after much outcry from the
public, but later continued with the burning on March 20 of this year despite
sweeping condemnation over his plan.

A 24-year-old Muslim man later desecrated the Bible at the gates of Saint
Anthony's Catholic Church in Lahore, Pakistan, in March to avenge the Florida

After answering the question, Durham was named the first runner-up. Miss
California, Alyssa Campanella, was named Miss USA.

Campanella told judges during the pageant that she would legalize marijuana for
medical use only.

"It's abused today, unfortunately; that's the only reason why I'd be a little
bit against it," she reasoned.

Campanella is not against evolution in schools, however. During the preliminary
online questions, she was asked whether evolution should be taught in schools.
She responded, "I was taught evolution in high school. I do believe in it. I'm a
huge science geek ... I like to believe in the big bang theory and, you know,
the evolution of humans throughout time."

The online questions, which touched on evolution and nudity, were fraught with
controversy from public figures who feared conservative contestants would be
ostracized for their answers.

"They witnessed with Carrie Prejean (the former Miss California) how a firestorm
can create a road kill, and nobody wants to be part of a situation like that
again," Keith Lewis, state pageant director California, New York and New
Hampshire, told Fox News. Prejean sparked debate when she stated her belief in
traditional marriage during the 2009 pageant.

While many pageant contestants this year expressed an openness to include
evolution in public schools, some also expressed their desire to see the other
side – such as creationism – given equal time in the classroom. One contestant
completely rejected evolution as a school subject.

"I do think evolution should be taught in schools," said Durham in her video.
"Personally, that's not my belief, but I do believe all ideas should be put out
there for people to decide for themselves."

Online fan favorite for the quarter-finalist round Brittany Toll of New Mexico
also said of evolution, "I think evolution should be taught in schools because
evolution is based off of science and I think science is a huge thing that we
need to continue to enrich our schools with."

Miss Alabama, Madeline Mitchell, was the third runner-up, and Miss Texas, Ana
Christina Rodriguez, placed fourth at the 2011 Miss USA pageant.

New York Senate Narrowly Passes Gay Marriage

By just a two vote majority, the New York Senate passes Gay Marriage. The 2nd vote was essential, because whichever Republican cast the deciding vote would face a firestorm of controversy in the following election. But that didn't stop the activists from celebrating their victory Friday night.

"Now that we've made it here, we'll make it everywhere," said prominent activist Evan Wolfson, who took up the cause of marriage equality as a law student three decades ago.

With a historic vote by its Legislature late Friday, New York became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage since Massachusetts led the way, under court order, in 2004.

With the new law, which takes effect after 30 days, the number of Americans in same-sex marriage states more than doubles. New York's population of 19 million surpasses the combined total of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Iowa, plus Washington, D.C., where same-sex marriages are legal.

The outcome, a product of intensive lobbying by the new Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and funded heavily by gays, as well as divorce attorneys who foresee a gold mine in future business, will have nationwide repercussions. Activists hope the New York vote will help convince judges and politicians across the country, including President Barack Obama, that support of same-sex marriage is now a mainstream viewpoint and a winning political stance.

"This will be a big boost to our efforts nationally," said Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights. "It will help in the pending court cases to show that more states are adopting same-sex marriage, and it will help in the court of public opinion."

The New York bill cleared the Republican-controlled Senate by a 33-29 margin, thanks to crucial support from four Republican senators who joined all but one Democrat in voting yes. The Democratic-led Assembly, which previously approved the bill, passed the Senate's version that added more protections for religious groups that oppose gay marriage and feared discrimination lawsuits. Cuomo swiftly signed the measure into law.

Gay rights activists have been heaping praise on Cuomo for leading the push for the bill, seizing on an issue that many politicians of both parties have skirted. Yet the Senate vote marked the first time a Republican-controlled legislative chamber in any state has supported same-sex marriage, and several prominent Republican donors contributed to the lobbying campaign on behalf of the bill.

For those engaged in the marriage debate nationally, recent months have been a political rollercoaster.

Bills to legalize same-sex marriage failed in Maryland and Rhode Island despite gay rights activists' high hopes. However, Illinois, Hawaii and Delaware approved civil unions, joining five other states _ California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington _ that provide gay couples with extensive marriage-like rights.

Adding those eight states to the six that allow gay marriage, more than 35 percent of Americans now live in states where gay couples can effectively attain the rights and responsibilities of marriage. Just 11 years ago, no states offered such rights.

For now, gay couples cannot get married in 44 states, and 30 of them have taken the extra step of passing constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Minnesota's Republican-controlled Legislature has placed such an amendment on the 2012 ballot.

Brian Brown, president of the conservative National Organization for Marriage, vowed to seek defeat of the New York Republicans who helped the marriage bill pass. He also predicted victory for the amendment to ban gay marriage next year in Minnesota, and said this would belie the claims that the same-sex marriage campaign would inevitably prevail nationwide.

"We've won every free, fair vote of the people," Brown said Saturday. "Backroom deals in Albany are not an indication of what people in this country think about marriage." See Chick's SIN CITY.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Atheists At It Again

A group of New York City atheists is demanding that the city remove a
street sign honoring seven firefighters killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks
because they say the sign violates the separation of church and state.

The street, "Seven in Heaven Way," was officially dedicated last weekend in
Brooklyn outside the firehouse where the firefighters once served. The ceremony
was attended by dozens of firefighters, city leaders and widows of the fallen

"There should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public
domain," said Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists. "It's really
insulting to us."

Bronstein told FOX News Radio that his organization was especially concerned
with the use of the word "heaven."

"We've concluded as atheists there is no heaven and there's no hell," he said.
"And it's a totally religious statement. It's a question of separation of church
and state."

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, agreed and called on the city
to remove the sign. "It implies that heaven actually exists," Silverman told FOX
News Radio. See Chick's THE TRIAL.

Guru Found Guilty

They came in search of spiritual enlightenment, using the
sweat lodge as a way to break through whatever was holding them back in life.
James Arthur Ray told his seminar participants that it would be “hellacious” and
that they would feel like they were dying, but would do so only metaphorically.

But three people, including a State University College at Geneseo graduate, did
die following the October 2009 ceremony, and on Wednesday, Ray was found guilty
of three counts of negligent homicide. He could have been convicted on an option
of manslaughter, but the jury of eight men and four women decided on the lesser
charge instead.

The self-help guru faces a sentence ranging from probation to nearly 12 years in
prison. But wherever he is headed, it will be a marked change for a man whose
multimillion-dollar self-help empire landed him in the 2006 Rhonda Byrne
documentary The Secret, on The Oprah Winfrey Show and on Larry King Live.”

Ray used free talks to recruit people to expensive seminars like the Sedona
retreat that led to the sweat lodge tragedy. Participants paid up to $10,000 for
the five-day program intended to push their physical and emotional limits.

More than 50 people participated in the two-hour sweat lodge, a sauna-like
ceremony typically used by American Indians to rid the body of toxins. It was
meant to be the highlight of Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” seminar near Sedona. Two
people were pronounced dead at the scene; a third died after spending more than
a week in a coma; 18 others were hospitalized.

Witnesses described the scene after the ceremony as alarming and chaotic — like
a “battlefield” — with people vomiting and shaking violently, while others
dragged “lifeless” and “barely breathing” participants outside. Volunteers
performed CPR.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys disagreed over whether the deaths and
illnesses were caused by heat or unknown toxins. Ray’s attorneys maintained they
were a tragic accident. Prosecutors argued Ray recklessly caused the fatalities.

They relied heavily on Ray’s own words to try to convince the jury that he was
responsible for the deaths.

“The true spiritual warrior has conquered death and therefore has no fear or
enemies in this lifetime or the next, because the greatest fear you’ll ever
experience is the fear of what? Death,” Ray said in a recording played during
the trial. “You will have to get a point to where you surrender and it’s OK to

Prosecutors said a reasonable person would have stopped the “abomination of a
sweat lodge” when participants began exhibiting signs of distress about halfway
through the ceremony.

Ray quickly left the courtroom with his family after the hearing, and did not
offer a comment. See Chick's HI THERE.

New York Delays Gay Marriage Vote 24 Hours

After hours of closed-door meetings, the Republican-controlled New York Senate gave up for the night on same-sex marriage, promising to return to the contentious issue Friday morning.

The sticking point remains exemptions to protect religious groups from civil lawsuits if they refuse to preside over or host same-sex ceremonies.

At the moment, 31 lawmakers in the Assembly – 29 Democrats and 2 Republicans – say they’ll vote for the same-sex marriage bill. But that’s one vote short of the necessary majority, and supporters would like to have more than 32 so that no single senator would be seen as casting the deciding vote.

"If there is an announcement prior to the vote, it will not be just one senator. No one wants to be the 32nd vote," Dan Weiller, a spokesman for Empire State Pride Agenda, New York's largest gay-rights group, told Reuters.

Coincidentally, as New York lawmakers were trying to work out a deal on same-sex marriage, President Obama was at a New York fundraiser for gay, lesbian, and bisexual supporters.

It’s a big part of his political base. Some exit polls show that as many as 70 percent of gay voters voted for Obama in 2008. Obama openly supported gay marriage as a Senator, then flip flopped when he became a Presidential candidate and wanted to appear more in the center.

Over time, support for same-sex marriage has grown throughout the electorate – especially among younger voters who were taught in public schools that gay sex was normal – to the point where it is essentially evenly split. In New York State, a recent Siena poll found 58 percent in favor of same-sex marriage. See Chick's THE GAY BLADE.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gays Crash S.B.C.

A coalition of gay rights groups staged a protest at the meeting of the Southern
Baptist Convention on Wednesday, June 15.

As part of an umbrella organization called Faith in America, Dr. Jack McKinney
had announced earlier that his group would hold a "teach-in," followed by the
presentation of a petition (with some 10,000 signatures) to SBC leaders. He said
they would be seeking an apology for harm caused by Southern Baptists to the
lesbian, gay, bi and transgender community. Mr. McKinney (who is not gay) said
in a press release:

''We call on the Southern Baptist Convention to stop misusing the Bible to
promote religion-based bigotry and start recognizing the enormous pain and
suffering caused by its mistreatment of LGBT people, particularly vulnerable
youth.... History has not been kind to the Southern Baptist Convention's record
on minorities and it is making the same awful mistake today by perpetuating
abuse against gay people.''

SBC president Bryant Wright invited the group and the press to a half-hour

Baptist Press reports that McKinney did ask Wright for the apology, which he
likened to a different apology put forth by SBC 16 years ago to African
Americans for its historical support of slavery and racist Jim Crow laws. SBC's
Wright replied that the two issues could not be compared. He insisted that SBC's
disdain for homosexuality was based on its beliefs about "sexual purity" -- that
sex outside of marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals is "sinful" (Baptist

''Just as we have people attending our local church that are engaging in
homosexual activity, we have people attending our church who are engaging in
adultery. I don't hate those people when I speak about adultery. I am just,
hopefully, loving them enough to speak the truth about what God desires for the
best for that person.''

Wright asked the nine for respect for his views, and again invoked Jesus' name
after saying "...we're not going to be able to come to common ground."

Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary delivered another
message. According to a brief AP report, he said homosexuality is a sin
in the Bible, but it's "wrong to say it's just a choice," then added:

''Only the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ gives a homosexual person any hope of
release from homosexuality.''

The Convention voted overwhelmingly to adopt a
resolution supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, and called for
an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution banning marriage for gay and lesbian
couples (Baptist Press Blog):

Mohler's stated solution: indoctrinate "young people" who are not part of
Baptist families. Perhaps this is the motivation behind other news that SBC's
members voted to welcome more "ethnics" and to be more supportive of paths to
citizenship for illegal immigrants. See Chick's WHY NO REVIVAL.

Baptists Evoke Affirmative Action for Black Positions

Southern Baptists meeting in Phoenix adopted a plan Tuesday to try to boost
minorities in their top leadership posts and elected an African American pastor
as first vice president for the first time in the denomination's history.

Rev. Fred Luter Jr., was elected Tuesday as first vice president of the Southern
Baptist Convention as the denomination struggles to reach out to minorities.

Members of the nation's largest Protestant denomination, which is facing
declining membership, backed the recommendation for intentionally including
minorities as nominees for positions, speakers at the annual meeting, and staff
recruited for its seminaries and mission boards. Exactly ow they would proceed
with their Affirmative Action goals was not spelled out.

Before the vote, Executive Committee President and CEO Frank Page acknowledged
the need for "measurable information" to help Southern Baptists evaluate their
progress on ethnic relations.

"I believe we are living in a day and time where there will be increased ethnic
involvement and increased sensitivity to ethnic diversity within our
convention," Page pledged to the more than 4,000 Baptists at the Phoenix
Convention Center.

"In the principle of honesty, I tell you we have not done as we ought."

The move toward greater diversity comes as the predominantly white denomination
grapples with a 2010 baptism rate that was down 5% from 2009 and a 0.15% drop in
membership — the fourth consecutive year of decline. Blacks, however, reproduce at
much higher levels. See Chick's WHY NO REVIVAL?

Catholic Charity Cancels Hooters Event

St. Patrick Center, a Catholic charity that provides assistance to homeless
people, has canceled a Thursday fundraising "Dine and Donate" event with a
downtown Hooters restaurant after drawing complaints that such a collaboration
wasn’t in keeping with the Christian faith.

Some opponents felt the Hooters image of scantily clad waitresses serving food
clashed with a charity that bills itself as ascribing to "traditional social
teaching of the Catholic Church."

Kelly Peach, a spokeswoman for St. Patrick Center, said Wednesday the charity
decided to cancel the event after receiving "a few dozen" complaints.

"I would say the complaints were ... would you call them religious-based
complaints? Essentially the people who complained did not think St. Patrick
Center should be associated with Hooters restaurant," she told

St. Patrick Center, a member of a federation of Catholic charities that fall
under the umbrella of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, serves about 9,000 people a
year, providing food, clothing, shelter, job training and other services to
people in need.

For years, "Hooters Girls," as they are known, have helped out with the charity,
volunteering to serve meals (in proper attire) to the homeless and donating food
to the charity's sports championship trivia fundraising event.

But the idea of St. Patrick Center holding a fundraising event at the
restaurant, with waitresses clad in their revealing uniforms, rankled more than
a few Catholics. See Chick's ARE ROMAN CATHOLICS CHRISTIAN?

NBC apologized after the network twice omitted the words "under God" from a clip of students reciting the Pledge of Allegiance as part of its coverage of the U.S. Open.

Speaking on the air, commentator Dan Hicks issued the following apology:

“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

The omission was immediately noted across Twitter and various blogs, with many viewers irate at NBC. See Chick's THE TRIAL.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Convention Resolves There Is A Hell

At their convention in Phoenix this past week, Southern Baptists issued a resolution asserting their “belief in the biblical teaching on eternal, conscious punishment of the unregenerate in Hell.” … Or, as the resolution's title succinctly puts it, “On The Reality Of Hell.”

The document's raison d'etre is cited in its very first line: Evangelical pastor Rob Bell's best-seller, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, “called into question the church's historical teaching on the doctrine of eternal punishment of the unregenerate.” The Southern Baptists didn't exactly like the book.

Their resolution hardly came out of the blue. In April, Jon Meacham explored the controversy surrounding Bell in TIME's cover story, “What If There's No Hell?” He quoted R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, as saying that Love Wins is “theologically disastrous. Any of us should be concerned when a matter of theological importance is played with in a subversive way.”

The new proclamation not only affirms the existence of “a literal Hell" for non-believers, it also calls on Southern Baptists to — “out of our love for Christ … and our love for lost people and our deep desire that they not suffer eternally in Hell” — spread the bad good news.

And then there's Bell. “When we get to what happens when we die, we don't have any video footage,” he says in the TIME story. “So let's at least be honest that we are speculating, because we are."

In his article, Meacham also notes that “the dominant view of the righteous in heaven and the damned in hell owes more to the artistic legacy of the West, from Michelangelo to Dante to Blake, than it does to history or to unambiguous biblical teaching.” Michelangelo, Dante, and Blake did not, however, receive any shout-outs in the resolution.

See Chick's HI THERE.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NY Pet's Can't Have Humans Buried With Them

Bad news for pets and their beloved owners: New York's Division of Cemeteries
has instructed animal cemeteries to stop burying the ashes of pet owners
alongside deceased Lassies and Patches. And as you can imagine, owners who have
been affected are none too pleased about it: "Suddenly I'm not at peace anymore.
You want to be with the people you are closest with, your true loved ones. The
only loved ones I have in my life right now are my pets, which I consider my
children." Bronx resident Rhona Levy told NBC.

Levy had prearranged to have her ashes interred there along with five pets, four
of whom are already buried at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester—her dog
Snow, cats Putchke, Pumpkin, Twinkie and Shaina (who is still alive). The pet
cemetery has long allowed people to be buried with their pets, as long as their
pets were buried their first, and they were cremated. Hartsdale has an estimated
700 humans interred with about 75,000 animals; they add approximately 10-12 new
people each year.

Cemetery director Edward Martin told the Post that its lawyers have always
maintained that the human ashes "are no longer human" and therefore could be
placed anywhere. But the state is cracking down after an AP article about the
practice came out earlier this year. According to state law, any cemetery
providing burial space for humans must be operated as a not-for-profit
corporation, which they say Hartsdale isn't. Martin told NBC that it was
ridiculous that they can't accomodate owners now: "As of now, we've suspended
the human part of it, but it's our position that they don't have the authority
to do this."

And in the meantime, families will have to deal with the fallout. Law professor
Taylor York said the state order has prevented her uncle, Thomas Ryan, from
being buried with his wife, Bunny, and their two dogs BJ I and BJ II (though
there is still space for the still living BJ III). "My uncle wants to be buried
beside his wife and what he considered to be his children and I'm not letting
anyone stand in the way. His love for those dogs was just as real and just as
strong as any parent's for any child," she said. See Chick's GOING TO THE DOGS.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

California Judge Who Overturned Gay Marriage Ban was Gay

A U.S. judge's same-sex relationship is no reason to toss out his ruling backing same-sex matrimony, another federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The decision by Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware backed the prior ruling overturning California's gay marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco last year struck down California's same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8, and supporters of the ban now say his ruling was compromised and should be vacated. (The Judge was secretly gay and hid that information during the trial.)

The case was immediately appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case could set national policy if it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and is being watched throughout the nation, where same-sex marriage is legal in only a handful of states, and only those in which the general population could not vote on the measure.

In a written ruling on Tuesday, the Judge Ware said Walker's same-sex relationship was no reason to throw out his decision. Ware took over the case after Walker retired earlier this year.

"It is not reasonable to presume that a judge is incapable of making an impartial decision about the constitutionality of a law, solely because, as a citizen, the judge could be affected by the proceeding," Ware wrote.

Shortly after Walker retired, he discussed his homosexuality in the press for the first time, saying he is in a 10-year relationship with a physician. Only then did the majority of Californians who voted for the ban realize why the law they approved was undone by judge who had his own agenda. See Chick's SIN CITY.

Former UK PM Admits Being Fan of Koran

Former British PM Tony Blair was notoriously reluctant to discuss religion while Prime Minister, with his
chief spin doctor Alastair Campbell famously commenting: ‘We don’t do God.’

But since leaving Downing Street in 2007, Tony Blair has become increasingly
open about the importance of religion.

Mr Blair, who converted to Catholicism months after leaving Number 10, has now
spoken of how he reads the Koran every day.

Reading the Islamic religion’s holy book - considered by Muslims to be the exact
words of God - ensured he remained ‘faith-literate’, the former Labour leader

In an interview with the Observer magazine, published yesterday he said: ‘To be
faith-literate is crucial in a globalised world, I believe.

‘I read the Qur’an [Koran] every day. Partly to understand some of the things
happening in the world, but mainly just because it is immensely instructive.’

Mr Blair believes that a knowledge of the faith informs his current role as
Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the United Nations, United States, European
Union and Russia.

The former PM’s work, which has cost British taxpayers more than £2million, aims
to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Blair has previously praised the Muslim faith as ‘beautiful’ and said the
Prophet Mohammed had been ‘an enormously civilizing force’.

In 2006 he said the Koran was a ‘reforming book, it is inclusive. It extols
science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and way ahead of
its time in attitudes to marriage, women and governance’.

But Mr Blair has also faced the devastation wreaked by violent jihadists who
interpret the Koran as a call to arms.

Mr Blair said reading the Islamic religion's holy book - considered by Muslims
to be the exact words of God - ensured he remained 'faith-literate'

He was Prime Minister when the July 7 suicide bombers attacked London in 2005,
murdering 52 innocent people.

Not only does reading the Koran support his peace envoy role, it also gives him
something in common with sister-in-law Lauren Booth.

Journalist Miss Booth - Cherie Blair’s half sister - raised eyebrows after
announcing last October that she had converted to Islam after what she described
as a ‘holy experience’ during a visit to a shrine in Iran.

Mr Blair also used the Observer interview to dismiss claims he was on a
Christian ‘crusade’ when taking Britain into the highly divisive war in Iraq.

Man Convicted for Passing Out False Predictions

In the first reported court case related to Harold Camping's May 21 Judgment Day
campaign, a man from Malawi was convicted for distributing false leaflets.

Saduki Mwambene was given a six-month suspended sentence after he was arrested
for handing out documents that proclaimed Judgment Day would come on May 21, a
court official told AFP Sunday.

"Police opened a case for him for circulating false documents that threatened
the peace and security of citizens," the official told AFP.

The sentence was handed down on Saturday after the 39-year-old man pleaded

The false leaflets were published by Camping of Family Radio, based in Oakland,
Calif., who launched a multimillion advertising campaign last year to warn the
public that true believers would be raptured on May 21 while the rest of the
world suffered the beginning of Judgment Day.

Doomsday billboards were seen across the U.S. and around the world, including
Malawian cities.

Many contributed to the ad campaign, with some of Camping's followers spending
their life savings, trusting that the Christian broadcaster's prediction was

Camping, 89, had predicted several times before that Judgment Day would come.
Regarding the May 21, 2011, date, he maintained that the Bible guarantees it.

Though he expected to be swept up to heaven along with just two percent of the
world's population, the day passed quietly and Camping was again left to explain
why he was wrong.

The only mistake he admitted to was that he thought Judgment Day would come on
the world in a physical manner. But it actually came in a spiritual sense, he
said. He also moved the rapture date to Oct. 21 – the day he originally
predicted to be the end of the world. Rather than five months of suffering on
earth between May and October, he said everything will now happen in one day
(Oct. 21) – the rapture and the apocalypse.

Camping's continuous false predictions have been deemed by Christian leaders as
not only silly but dangerous. They have maintained that no man can know the day
or the hour of Judgment Day or Jesus' return.

Surprisingly, some of his followers have continued to show support and continue
to believe in his predictions.

In Malawi, meanwhile, Mwambene told police that he would never be influenced by
false prophets again, as reported by AFP. See Chick's WHO'S MISSING.

Monday, June 13, 2011

VP Visits Pope

Vice President Joe Biden met with Pope Benedict XVI in an unannounced, closed-door meeting at the Vatican on Friday.

No details were given about what the two men discussed. But the White House released a photo of Biden speaking to the pope on Friday. Biden was in the country to celebrate Italy’s 150th anniversary.

Biden, a pro-abortion rights Roman Catholic, grew up in an Irish Catholic family and was educated at a Catholic prep school. The former six-term Democratic senator from Delaware even shared that he briefly considered joining the priesthood.

But Denver Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput said in 2008 that Biden should refrain from receiving communion because of his stance on abortion. Chaput has also suggested Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) either be denied participation in Communion or not present himself for the Eucharist because of his support for abortion rights.

It cannot be confirmed if the pope chastised Biden about his stance on abortion, since neither the White House or Vatican is willing to release information about the private meeting.

But in 2009, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited Pope Benedict XVI and was scolded for her position on abortion.

The Vatican statement released after Pelosi’s visit said the pope spoke to the Democrat politician about the “requirement of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics …”

The Catholic Church is firm on its teachings about abortion, and the Vatican has strongly spoken out against the practice. See Chick's THE POOR POPE.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dangerous Times for Doomsday Celeb

Harold Camping, the Doomsday radio preacher who sparked international
media attention by predicting the end of the world last month, has been
hospitalized after suffering a stroke at his Alameda home Thursday night.

The 89-year-old radio evangelist and president of the Oakland nonprofit Family
Radio was taken by ambulance from his house Thursday night, a neighbor said, but
his well-known, gravelly voice that led many believers to donate millions of
dollars to his cause may never be the same.

"He had a stroke, it was on his right side," said the neighbor, who declined to
give her name but said she and her husband helped and comforted Camping's wife,
Shirley, as the drama unfolded Thursday night.

Her husband spoke again with Shirley Camping on Friday. "His speech appears to
be a little bit slurred but otherwise he's OK," the neighbor said. "(Shirley)
said he was doing good ... and the only thing that's affected is his speech."

There was no answer at the door of the Camping home Saturday afternoon and all
of the curtains and blinds were drawn. A GMC pickup with a Family Radio
bumpersticker and a white Buick sat in the driveway.

Charles Menut -- the regional manager for Family Stations Inc., Family Radio's
parent company, and the station manager and chief engineer for an affiliated
station in West Orange, N.J. -- posted a Yahoo group message early Saturday
morning reporting Camping's stroke to Family Radio supporters.

"Please just pray for him and do not try to contact anyone at his home or Family
Radio," Menut wrote. "He and Shirley have enough family members to handle the
situation. I'm sure we'll be able to publicly update everyone on Monday."

Menut could not be reached at his home or office Saturday.

"We will be praying for Mr. Camping and his family," one supporter wrote in
reply to Menut's posting. "The Lord has been so merciful to allow Mr. Camping to
faithfully teach the scriptures for over 52 years. I'm sure Mr. Camping is
thinking right now that He wants God to receive all the glory the for the
ministry of Family Radio."

Camping gained notoriety in recent months as the calendar closed in on May 21,
the Saturday on which the doomsday prophet said Judgment Day would occur and
true believers would be taken to heaven.

That attempted prophecy gained the world's attention primarily because Camping
wanted it that way. Family Radio, an empire of more than 70 radio stations that
was worth $72 million in 2009, spent more than $100 million over the past seven
years publicizing the Rapture. Billboards guaranteeing the end of the world were
present throughout the world and some followers drove RVs all over the United
States to alert people.

But Camping was mocked nationally by talk-show hosts and the subject of
protests, both by believers and non-believers alike. Some Christians called
Camping a false prophet, and the American Atheists paid $27,000 for five weeks
of billboard space in San Francisco, denouncing the Rapture, along with hosting
a party that May 21 weekend.

Camping said he took his wife to a hotel during the weekend of the predicted
Rapture and that the phone in his Alameda home rang constantly and strangers
knocked on his door. It was, he said, "a very difficult time for me."

When the world did not end, Camping told reporters that the world would instead
end Oct. 21 and argued that despite no physical evidence to the contrary, his
point of view was correct. See Chick's WHO'S MISSING?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dirty Weiner Tries To Ignore Calls For His Resignation

Embattled New York Rep. Anthony Weiner's prospects for political survival dimmed precipitously on Wednesday with the appearance on the Internet of an X-rated photo said to be of the congressman – and the first calls from fellow Democrats for him to step down.

"In light of Anthony Weiner's offensive behavior online, he should resign," Pennsylvania Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a member of the party campaign committee's leadership, said in a statement that was quickly followed by similar expressions from other Democrats.

Separately, as the political scandal increasingly roiled the Democratic Party, several officials said that Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, was pregnant. Meanwhile, another woman has stepped forward claiming to be a target of the Congressman's sex chat. An official at the State Department, where Abedin serves as deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, had no comment. Abedin was traveling with Clinton on an official trip to the Mideast and Africa.

Weiner, 46, has admitted sending explicit photos and messages via the Internet to about a half-dozen women over the past three years. He vowed at a news conference on Monday to remain in office, and one lawmaker who spoke to him on Wednesday said Weiner indicated he still hopes to ride out the furor and remain in Congress. That lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity, saying it was a private conversation.

But the appearance of a photo of a man's genitals added yet another aspect to what appears to be a sex scandal without actual sex in the age of social media. According to conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, Weiner sent the picture of himself to one of the women with whom he corresponded online.

The Associated Press has not been able to independently confirm that the photo is of Weiner. On Wednesday, spokeswoman Risa B. Heller noted in a statement that Weiner had said at a news conference on Monday that he "has sent explicit photos. To reiterate, he has never met any of these women or had physical contact with them."

The photo made its way to the website Gawker by a circuitous route, after Breitbart showed it to the hosts of Sirius XM radio's "Opie and Anthony Show."

One of the women whom Weiner sexted, Lisa Weiss, a 40-year-old blackjack dealer from Las Vegas, said the online relationship started as flirtations, and he escalated the graphic comments.

"Yes. I was very shocked at the beginning. ... I would want to talk politics," she said in an interview on Inside Edition. "But he would turn it creepy."

By day's end Wednesday, at least six House Democrats had called for Weiner to step down.

Schwartz was the first, and politically the most significant because of her position as a senior leader on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Weiner's predicament has rocked the Democratic Party, particularly the women who hold leadership posts and have faced a choice between calling for a resignation or hoping that refraining from doing so would lead him to quit without being told.

In the interim, few pass up the chance to signal to Weiner that he should step down.

The head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Patty Murray, told reporters during the day that Weiner's troubles "of course" complicate the party's efforts ahead of in the 2012 elections.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. said, "I just view it with great surprise and dismay. That's all I can say."

Feinstein and Murray were first elected to the Senate in 1992, the so-called Year of the Women that was a watershed in Democratic political history.

The party's leader in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California has called for an ethics committee investigation to see whether Weiner's actions violated any House rules.

Pelosi and the party's chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, declined to respond directly on Tuesday when the Republican chairman, Reince Priebus, urged them to say whether they believe Weiner should step down.

The Democratic National Committee has adamantly refused to comment, while a spokesman in Wasserman Schultz's congressional office has said only that she supports Pelosi's call for an ethics investigation. By contrast, the former Democratic Party chairman, Tim Kaine, has urged Weiner to quit. Kaine is running for the Senate in Virginia.

While declining to make any public comments since Monday, Weiner has been on something of an apology tour by telephone. He has contacted fellow House members and former President Bill Clinton, who officiated at the congressman's wedding to Abedin nearly a year ago (and caused a similar sex scandal while he was in office). See Chick's BUSTED.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Werewolf Drunk Arrested

After a harrowing encounter with a wolf, whenever the moon rises over the woods of Ohio, a 20-year-old man undergoes a shocking transformation into... a drunk?

That's what investigators say they encountered in Lorain County, where an under-aged drinker growled at deputies and explained that he "goes on the attack when the moons [sic] out," according to a police report obtained by AOL Weird News.

Deputies received a call at around 12:30 a.m. on May 27 from a friend of the werewolf, who said his pal was being "very violent" with people and animals at a campground where they share a trailer.

When authorities arrived at the scene, the werewolf's friend claimed his pal had been fighting with other campers and kicked a dog cage before passing out.

Instead of letting sleeping dogs lie, cops awoke the suspect, who was reportedly passed out amidst "numerous knifes, swords and other edged weapons," according to the incident report.

The man -- identified as Thomas Stroup -- smelled of alcohol and "wouldn't open his eyes, then he began to growl at deputies," officers noted.

Speaking in a "thick Russian like accent," the suspect allegedly slurred his words and told a deputy: "I'm going to kill your cousin, Keith." See Chick's THE THING.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Senator John Edwards Indicted

A federal grand jury indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday over $925,000 spent to keep his mistress and their baby in hiding during the peak of his 2008 campaign for the White House.

The case of USA v. Johnny Reid Edwards contains six counts, including conspiracy, four counts of illegal campaign contributions and one count of false statements.

The indictment said the payments were a scheme to protect Edwards' White House ambitions. "A centerpiece of Edwards' candidacy was his public image as a devoted family man," the indictment said.

"Edwards knew that public revelation of the affair and the pregnancy would destroy his candidacy by, among other things, undermining Edwards' presentation of himself as a family man and by forcing his campaign to divert personnel and resources away from other campaign activities to respond to criticism and media scrutiny regarding the affair and pregnancy," the indictment added.

The indictment and an arrest warrant were filed in Greensboro, N.C., which is in the district where his campaign was headquartered.

Negotiations between Edwards' attorneys and federal prosecutors to settle on a charge to which Edwards was willing to plead guilty continued through Thursday, but proved fruitless, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. Prosecutors had insisted on a plea to a felony, which would endanger his ability to keep his license to practice law.

A centerpiece of Edward's campaign was large entitlements to the poor because it was a "moral obligation" of Americans to help others. The liberal Democrat's slogan was "Help is on the way". Now it seems the man who brow beat others to fulfill their moral obligations for political gain is facing jail time for his own moral shortcomings. See Chick's BUSTED.

"Dr. Suicide" Dies at 83

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the controversial assisted suicide advocate, has died at a Detroit-area hospital at the age of 83.

Kevorkian's attorney and friend, Mayer Morganroth, told The Associated Press that he died early Friday morning at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where Kevorkian had been hospitalized for kidney and respiratory problems.

"He says nurses played classical music by Kevorkian's favorite, Johan Sebastian Bach, before he died," the AP reports.

An official cause of Kevorkian's death is not yet known.

Kevorkian, a proponent of "right-to-die" legislation, earned the nickname "Doctor Death" after a string of assisted suicides in the 1990s.

He was released from a Michigan prison in 2007 after serving eight years of a 10 to 15-year sentence for second-degree murder. (Kevorkian was acquitted in three earlier trials; a fourth ended in a mistrial.)

In the 1999 case, Kevorkian administered a deadly combination of drugs to Thomas Youk, who was suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, the devastating neurodegenerative disease that can lead to paralysis. It was captured on video and broadcast on "60 Minutes."

"It's not necessarily murder," Kevorkian told Mike Wallace in an interview. "But it doesn't bother me what you call it. I know what it is."

Kevorkian, who was trained as medical pathologist but stripped of his medical license, admitted to being present in at least 130 suicides of terminally ill patients between 1990 and 1999. He also developed a suicide machine, which according to WIRED, was essentially an automated drip hooked up to an IV needle that patients could personally trigger.

Many groups and individuals were vehement in their opposition to Kevorkian and his views. In 1995, the American Medical Association called him a "reckless instrument of death" who "poses a great threat to the public," The New York Times reports.

But others hailed Kevorkian as a hero.

"I think that Dr. Kevorkian was a man who sought out humanity," said Frank Kavanaugh, a member of the board of directors of the Final Exit Network, a non-profit and right-to-die organization. "He was a very controversial figure, but I think even critics would agree that because of that, hospice care has really boomed in the United States."

Kevorkian's attorney told the Detroit Free Press that he was present at the time of his death, as was his niece.

"It was peaceful," he told the paper. "He didn't feel a thing." See Chick's NO FEAR.