Tag Archives: religion

Religious people love torture

Pax Arcana

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that the more people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture. And you’re never going to guess which group is most supportive of torture.

Oh, did you guess white evangelical protestants? Then I suppose I underestimated you. Please don’t waterboard me.

church_tortureRoughly half of all respondents — 49 percent — said it is often or sometimes justified. A quarter said it never is.

The religious group most likely to say torture is never justified was Protestant denominations — such as Episcopalians, Lutherans and Presbyterians — categorized as “mainline” Protestants, in contrast to evangelicals. Just over three in 10 of them said torture is never justified. A quarter of the religiously unaffiliated said the same, compared with two in 10 white non-Hispanic Catholics and one in eight evangelicals.

There are two obvious explanations for why 60 percent of white evangelical protestants are such torture-lovers. The first is that they are so fixated on the afterlife that they are more ready to forgive crimes against the corporeal body. The second is that they are by and large sanctimonious fucks.

Either explanation works for me. Though having grown up in an extended family filled with white protestant evangelicals, I probably have more sympathy for them than most. I think maybe they have just evolved a different understanding of what constitutes torture. Have you ever been to a wedding reception where the guests think drinking and dancing are sinful activities? It’s like Chinese water torture with mayonnaise and awkward handshakes.

Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful [CNN]


Filed under religion

May God have mercy on your seasonings


Pax Arcana

Have you ever thought that kosher salt, despite possessing a near-perfect balance of size, shape, and texture, was just too jewy or something?

If so, you’re an idiot. And congratulations, idiot, now you have options!

Meet Joe Godlewski, who was just durned tired of hearing all those fancy pants chefs on the TV recommending kosher salt:

“I said, ‘What the heck’s the matter with Christian salt?'” Godlewski said, sipping a beer in the living room of his home in unincorporated Cresaptown, a western Maryland mountain community.

By next week, his trademarked Blessed Christians Salt will be available at http://www.memphi.net, the Web site of Memphis, Tenn.-based seasonings manufacturer Ingredients Corporation of America.

Blessed Christian Salt will be blessed by an Episcopal minister, Godlewski says, and at least some of his highly unlikely profits will go to Christian charities. Meanwhile, at least one rabbi says Godlewski completely misunderstands why kosher salt is called kosher salt. It’s not that it’s been blessed by a rabbi, says Sholem Fishbane:

He said coarse-grained kosher salt is named for the way in which it was traditionally used – to draw blood from freshly butchered meat, because Jewish law prohibits consuming blood. Chefs often favor kosher salt because it’s crunchy and easy to pinch.

Still, though, Godlewski wants more Jesus on your french fries:

“This is about keeping Christianity in front of the public so that it doesn’t die. I want to keep Christianity on the table, in the household, however I can do it.”

See, it’s not that Godlewski is explicitly anti-Jewish. He’s just pro-Christian. Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with his approach.

Oh wait a minute. Scratch that:

If the salt takes off, Godlewski plans an entire line of Christian-branded foods, including rye bread, bagels and pickles.

I wonder if the rye bread is baked over a burning cross.

Christian salt seller hopes to shake up market [Baltimore Examiner via Boing Boing]


Filed under food

Boston College is wasting valuable time

Pax Arcana

crucifixOver at the Boston Herald, Richard Weir reports that Boston College has installed crucifixes in nearly every classroom and science lab on campus. The act predictably riled up many faculty members, who see the crucifixes as insensitive to the many non-Catholic students and professors there:

In an interview with the college newspaper, The Observer, which broke the story, Hoveyda described the crucifixes as “offensive” and the university’s actions as “anti-intellectual.”

“I can hardly imagine a more effective way to denigrate the faculty of an educational institution,” he is quoted as saying. “The insult is particularly scathing, since such symbols were installed without discussion . . . in a disturbingly surreptitious manner.”

Of course the administration of the university sees things differently:

BC spokesman Jack Dunn said college President Rev. William P. Leahy decided to install crucifixes in the university’s 151 classrooms as a means of reconnecting the school with its “Catholic mission.”

“As a Catholic university, we view the crucifix as a sacred symbol and its placement reflects our commitment to our religious heritage. We hope that those who do not share our faith tradition can respect our intentions,” he said.

I say they are all wasting valuable time.

Crucifixes are well-known for their ability to turn back vampires — which is an admirable quality but not one we’re likely to need anytime soon. Some devout Catholics believe the crucifix even thwart attacks from demons and succubi.

Great. Awesome.

But not once in the entire 2009-year history of the crucifix has it ever proven effective in the ongoing war on zombies. In fact, in almost every single zombie attack ever caught on film, a priest is shown meekly waving a crucifix at the shuffling mass of undead as it subsumes him.

This is science, people. Pay attention.

Unfortunately Boston College doesn’t see it this way. The administration has failed to reply to multiple pleas to install head-splitting battle axes in each classroom and to stock the natatorium with flying shark vikings.


I suppose it’s only a matter of time before Chestnut Hill is overrun.

Boston College in the crosshairs [Herald]


Filed under zombies

God is losing his touch

Pax Arcana

Look, I’m not saying he should be removed from office or anything, but the bearded one has been doing the same job for at least 4,000 years. People get bored, you know? One day you’re firing on all cylinders and taking on all comers. The next day you’re hitting the snooze alarm three times and spending two hours at Costco just to get away from the office.

Most of us just miss a few meetings or lose a few clients when this happens. For the big fellow, the stakes are higher.

That’s my only guess as to why God killed the Willard Scott who once presided over the U.S. Military Academy at West Point while sparing the Willard Scott who blends equal parts xenophobia and pedophilia on live television:

I’m guessing He misread His own handwriting.

Former West Point leader Willard W. Scott Jr. dies [Boston.com]


Filed under religion

Austrian Christmas is scary

Pax Arcana

The Christmas tradition in North America is a month-long carnival of love and giving, with dozens of smaller traditions (the indoor tree, the mistletoe, the fat guy in the suit) built around those central components. Sure, we murder wassails by the thousands — and occasionally we trample minimum wage workers — but for the most part our Christmas traditions are as peaceful as they come.

They do things a little differently in Bavaria Austria.

Say hi to the Krampus:


Apparently, Bavarians Austrians like to combine Christmas and Halloween into one giant scary festival of gruesome masks, presents, heart attacks, family, and spanking.

That’s right, I said spanking. The major thrust of the Krampus tradition is that young men dress up like the charming fellow above and roam around public markets scaring the piss out of local children. Apparently the ghoulish figures are supposed to be the alter egos of St. Nick roaming the streets and yelling to scare away St. Nick. And they like to spank women.

After the jump, more photos of the fun. For a complete slide show, check out this site.

Continue reading


Filed under Germany

Jesus was eating eels

Pax Arcana

Probably the most disturbing Bible story — at least to high-minded epicureans food snobs like Pax Arcana — is that of the transubstantiation. According to mainstream Christian dogma, Jesus turned the wine and bread served at the last supper into his blood and body. (And lo did his disciples say unto him “Aw, gurrrg, awww… what the F Jesus?” as they did spit bits of soft tissue and coagulated hemoglobin upon the ground).

But what about the other stuff? In Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper, bread and wine are not the only victuals on the table. There are plates of heretofore unidentified dishes scattered about the table-top. The rapid decay of the painting — writings from as far back as 1517 had already noted that it “had begun to spoil” — rendered many of the finer details of the work, including the actual type of food on the table, impossible to discern.

According to an article in Gastronomica (via Boing Boing), the mystery has now been solved. The 1997 restoration of The Last Supper has revealed that Jesus — at least in DaVinci’s imagination — spent his final evening pounding not only bread and wine, but also grilled eels.


Turns out the possibly-vegetarian DaVinci was likely inserting a bit of his own culture into the scene:

The eels in the Last Supper may or may not have been on Leonardo’s diet, but they certainly enhance the realism of the representation. Eels were especially popular in Renaissance Italy because they could survive out of water for days and be easily transported in grass-filled baskets or, once dead, be preserved in brine.15 According to Bartolomeo Scappi, the best ones came from Comacchio, near Ferrara. G.B. Rossetti, another sixteenth-century author, gives thirty different recipes for preparing them.

What is most remarkable about all of this is how it confirms my belief that I am an artistic visionary on par with DaVinci. In my own artistic interpretation of the life and meaning of Jesus, I also intimated that he ate eels before his crucifixtion.

OK, so they were electric eels. What are you, some kind of art critic now?

Last Supper Menu revealed: mmm, delicious eels [Boing Boing]
At Supper With Leonardo [Gastronomica PDF]

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Filed under food

The Renewed Mind is the Key

Pax Arcana

Good morning, brothers and sisters. I trust you arrived at your workplaces comfortable in the knowledge that there is a God above who loves you (unless you’re a Phillies fan, naturally).

What’s that? You’re not sure about this God business? Seems a little silly to align your entire belief structure around a supernatural being first conceived of by desert nomads 2,000 years ago?

Well in that case, please accept my invitation to renew your motherfucking mind. Quickly, before they take down this hilarious video:

Nope. Not creepy at all.

Hat tip to Dr. French Fry


Filed under videos

Rick Reilly is an astute theologian

Pax Arcana

Last night I watched in awe as Josh Hamilton — a recovering heroin and cocaine addict — slugged a record 28 home runs in the first round of the MLB All-Star Game Homerun Derby. I love this guy more and more every time I see him play.

Hamilton says he was saved from his addiction by committing his life to Christianity. I say whatever keeps you out of the morgue works for the rest of us — and who am I to judge someone else’s religious choices?

I’m certainly not Rick Reilly, the maudlin hack that ESPN is apparently paying $2 million a year for watered-down Borscht-belt jokes, who diagnosed Hamilton’s performance — live on the air — with his signature mix of whip-smart humor and self-awareness:

“It’s a lousy night to be an atheist,” he said.

So take heed, atheists — multi-millionaire drug addict athletes are airtight proof that God hates you with a fucking passion. Sunday school is now closed. Be sure to leave a tip in the offertory.


Filed under baseball

The Gospel According to Ray: Credit God for the Wins, Blame Officials for the Losses

raylewis.jpg“Life is about making a stand. Making one stand that I know things won’t always be the way I want them to be, but I got faith enough to know that whatever it is, I’m OK with it because I know God is willing our mind… You don’t run from losses. You go through them, because when you go through them, that’s what builds a man, that’s what builds integrity, that’s what builds character – going through things, not around them.”
– Ray Lewis, 10/7/07

*”This was Sean’s win. And it’s embarrassing the referees took it away” – Ray Lewis, 12/3/07

All class as usual.

* This quote has been corrected from the original post. The wording, as reported by Rachel Nichols, is slightly different than what Pax Arcana heard on the teevee last night. The meaning is exactly the same.


Filed under sports

Breaking: Black people are not the bi-product of cursed Ham

Pax Arcana is a committed Pastafarian, but we are officially tolerant of all religions and beliefs. In fact, we like to praise — and repeat — the teachings of other religions when appropriate.

Like today, whereupon we come across what must be the high point of Christian philosophy (and just in time for the holidays!). This article goes a long way to achieving global racial harmony by addressing a central concern in many parts of the Christian world:

Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?

The answer, you will be happy to learn, is an emphatic “No”:

The belief that the skin color of black people is a result of a curse on Ham and his descendants is nowhere taught in the Bible.

Furthermore, it was not Ham who was cursed, but his son, Canaan (Genesis 9:18, 25, 10:6). Furthermore, Canaan’s descendants were probably mid-brown skinned (Genesis 10:15-19), not black.

False teaching about Ham has been used to justify slavery and other non-biblical racist practices. 

W.E.B. DuBois: Not descended from smited lunchmeat

So black people are decidedly not the result of a curse on Ham. Unfortunately for the Uzbeks, it is true that they were created by God to be zombie food upon the advance of the mighty zombie army. Sorry, Uzbeks.

Are black people the result of a curse on Ham? [ChristianAnswers.net]


Filed under religion