Graven Images

At the behest of the religious right, local governments have erected tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments at courthouses and other public buildings. Next, taxpayers or the ACLU sues to remove the images, and a federal court invariably rules that they violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment. That’s what happened in Alabama, Indiana, Nebraska, Maryland, Kentucky, Colorado and Tennessee. So then the local authorities are stuck with the job of disposing of the tablets and paying the legal bills. In Chattanooga, where they owed $8,900, the county commissioners figured out an ingenious solution–auction off the tablets. Despite legal setbacks, the tablets keep coming. In Haines City, Florida, the Rev. Mickey Carter heads a plan to install a Foundation Rock in the taxpayer-funded Polk County Administration center. He apparently thinks he can outwit the ACLU by displaying documents of other cultures, such as Hammurabi’s Code, as well as the Bill of Rights. But Hindus and Muslims need not apply. “If they want to go to India or Pakistan and put up their own rock, that’s fine,” Reverend Carter said.

Mooning the Saint

Saint Goncalo has been attributed the power to heal hemorrhoids. Sufferers flock to a church in Murtosa, Portugal, his birthplace. For maximum efficacy they are said to expose their behinds to a statue of the saint. The statue is also considered a cure for acne. One badly afflicted woman wanted to pray naked in the church, but the local priest put a stop to that.


The Mary Watch

Sightings of the Virgin Mary were reported recently in four remote villages in northern Saskatchewan. Details were sketchy, but Bertha Durocher of Beauval said Mary’s face appeared in her picture window. One of the most famous Canadian sightings was back in 1998 at Tim Horton’s doughnut shop. The Holy Mother has been making appearances for centuries, of course. According to Reuters, she has showed up “in media as diverse as glass, water, a burrito and a Camaro.”


His Mysterious Ways

Many athletes these days publicly thank God, Jesus or the Virgin Mary for enabling them to win the Super Bowl or whatever. But Jon (Sherlock) Kitna, quarterback of the Cincinnati Bengals, gave thanks for his team’s 2-14 season, saying it was all part of God’s plan: “For whatever reason right now, this is what’s best for us.” Meanwhile, the Bengals hired a new coach.