Baptist and Quaker blend

Richard M. Nixon
Memorial Church
to Expand
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The State (Columbia)

December 28, 1994

In Columbia, South Carolina, Rev. Noel Vande Grift revealed plans to expand his 20-member [Richard M.] Nixon Memorial Church, a congregation blending Baptist and Quaker preachings. Vande Grift said the inspiration to name the church after the former president came during a prayer. He told reporters the church would be the largest in the South by the year 2010.

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School-Prayer Supporter
Threatens Clinton's Life
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Kansas City Star, AP

April 9, 1994

Michael Stokes, 37, of Elsmore, Kansas, was charged with threatening President Clinton's life because Clinton refused to support prayer in public schools.

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Christian Burglars
See Omen; Return Loot
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Santa Maria Times

August, 1994

Cindy Hartman, 26, startled a burglar when, upon encountering him in her home in Conway, Arkansas, she dropped to her knees and began to pray for him. The man apologized and called to his partner outside, "We've got to [give back] all of this. This is a Christian home. We can't do this." The two burglars brought back the items they had stolen and even left their gun with her.

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Burglary: 81 Counts

Sunday School Teacher
Stole From Friends
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Quad City Times, Kewanee Star Courier

November 20, 1994

Police in Kewanee, Illinois, charged "model citizen" Roger Harlow in October with 81 counts of burglary. The insurance agent, and part-time Sunday school teacher, was accused of entering the homes of friends and townspeople over a 10-year period when he knew they would be away and stealing about 1,000 valuables.

According to police, Harlow once was late to a golfing foursome because he stopped off to burglarize the homes of the other golfers, and once he excused himself midway during a lunch date, allegedly dashed away to burglarize his companion's home, and returned as the main course was being served.

He also allegedly stole from hospitalized friends' homes during hospital visiting hours.

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Goat Dropped From Church Belfry

Ceremony Barred;
Townspeople Riot
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Baton Rouge Advocate

January 26, 1992

Police tried to prevent the ceremonial opening of the religious festival of St. Vincent near Manganeses de la Polvorosa, Spain, which calls for dropping a live goat from a church belfry. Even though the goat [usually] falls to a tarpaulin and walks away safely, animal rights activists had obtained an injunction calling for a $5,000 fine per goat dropped. In retaliation for the injunction, the 1,300 townspeople attacked police and the journalists who had descended upon the festival.

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Villagers Hurl Goat
from Belfry at Fiesta
by Cliff Walker

January 26, 1998

Villagers in Manganeses de la Polvorosa, in northern Spain, ignored the pleas of animal rights groups on Saturday and hurled a goat from the top of their church tower during an annual religious festival.

Hundreds of people descended on the sleepy village to witness the annual "San Vicente de Martir" festival, a ritual in honor of the local patron saint.

Lorelay the goat escaped the fate some of her predecessors have met, emerging unscathed from the 50-foot plunge after drunken revelers caught her in a sheet of canvas. The celebrators and paraded her through the tiny village on their shoulders.

Animal rights groups were livid: "They should throw an inanimate object, or better still one of themselves," Eva Vallejo, spokeswoman for the National Association for the Defense of Animal Rights, said.

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Shades of William Tell,
William S. Burroughs

"Mountain Men Anonymous"
Initiation Backfires Big-Time
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The Oregonian

May 5, 1993

In Grants Pass, Oregon, in early May, Michael Kennedy tried to shoot a beer can off Anthony Roberts's head with a bow and arrow in what Roberts later described as an initiation rite for "Mountain Men Anonymous." Kennedy missed, and the arrow went through Roberts's right eye, penetrated eight inches of brain, and came within a millimeter of severing major blood vessels that would have caused instant death. Roberts never lost consciousness, was later fitted with a glass eye, and suffered no diminution of brain function from that which he had before the accident occurred.

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Dirty Deeds, Done Dirt Cheap!

The Fight for
Better Education
by Chuck Shepherd
source: The San Francisco Chronicle

February 1, 1993

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that a six-year-long feud between two officials in the small Emery Unified School District, adjacent to Oakland, has produced numerous lawsuits, $123,000 in school attorneys' fees, and hundreds of hours of police investigation time, with the police so far finding no basis for charges. School superintendent Peter Corona said former school board member Rita Dixon tried to put out a contract on his life and once tried to get a witch doctor to put a spell on him, and said Dixon's daughter accused him of running a prostitution ring in the school.

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Pollution Agency Stops
Book-Burning Ceremony
by Chuck Shepherd
source: USA Today

May, 1994

Dayton, Ohio, government officials warned the Spirit of Life Christian Center that its upcoming immoral-book-burning ceremony could not take place because its municipal pollution-control permit allowed it to burn only clean, dry wood.

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Undesirable Christian Sect

Pollution Agency:
Klan Can't Burn Cross
by Chuck Shepherd
source: San Francisco Chronicle

February, 1996

A government agency in Modesto, California, announced it would take action against the Imperial Wizard of the California [Ku Klux] Klan, Bill Albers, for a February 10 cross-burning.

The agency is the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which plans a civil lawsuit because the diesel-soaked cross-burning violates local air pollution laws.

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DJ Wouldn't Play Song;
Christian Station Burned
by Chuck Shepherd

September 29, 1994

Christian-oriented radio station WKID in Vevay, Indiana, was burglarized and set afire in September, probably by the man who became angry earlier in the day when a DJ refused to play his request.

[Editor's Note: The song was "Don't Take the Girl" by Tim McGraw. DJ's seeking to avoid trouble are advised to honor all requests to play that song.]

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Pro-Life Minister Taught
Toddler to Shoot Doctors
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Church and State Journal, Fall 1994

May, 1994

According to a videotape of the May meeting of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Party, guest speaker Rev. Matthew Trewhella told the audience that church congregations should be prepared to fight physically against legalized abortions.

Trewhella said he had trained his 16-month-old son to identify which finger is his trigger finger and told parents not to play "pin the tail on the donkey" but rather to substitute the exercise in which a child is blindfolded and learns to take a gun apart and put it back together.

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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Jesus Saves,
But the Pope Sells
by Paul O'Brien, Seth Stevenson,
Beth Kwon and Victoria Scanlan Stefanos

July 5, 1999

Nike has Michael, but the Vatican has Il Papa. Prepping for Holy Jubilee Year 2000, the Vatican will soon open a theme store in New York, selling John Paul II sheets, china and other church tchotchkes, as well as replicas of Italian art treasures. Eventually, the church hopes to have 400 outlets worldwide. "There's no better brand in the world," says the pope's licensing chief.

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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Cellular Antennae
On Church Steeples
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Seattle Times

July, 1994

The Catholic Church in the Netherlands announced it had reached an agreement with cellular telephone companies to sell space on church steeples for the companies' antennas.

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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Catholic Cardinal Blesses
Chevron Station
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, AP

December 29, 1995

The owners of a new Chevron gas station in Oakhurst, California, received an official blessing by their neighbor, Catholic Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles, which included the pumps, a snack area, and an advertisement for Marlboros.

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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Orthodox Father Blesses
Coca-Cola Plant
by Chuck Shepherd
sources: Dallas Morning News, AP

December 29, 1995

Father Matvei of the Russian Orthodox Church blessed the $30 million expansion of the Coca-Cola plant in Moscow.

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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Nuns in Investment Dispute
by Chuck Shepherd

February, 1997

In Montreal, the Sisters of Our Lady of Good Counsel, an order of nuns in Chicoutimi, Quebec, filed a lawsuit against the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, an order of nuns in Quebec city, over a $30 million (Cdn) investment dispute about a shopping center.

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Where Church Influences State

Condoms Banned:
Violate Bible Teaching
by Chuck Shepherd

May, 1997

The chief of the Ekhupeleni area in northern Swaziland banned the use of condoms, citing the teachings of the Bible on the waste of reproductive fluids.

He said contraceptive pills are okay.

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Such Logic!

Man Shoots Self
With Nail Gun;
Credits God
by Chuck Shepherd

March, 1997

In an Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News (Texas) story, service technician Eddie Golden, 28, attributed his recovery from brain surgery to divine intervention.

In October 1996, Golden had accidentally shot himself above the ear with a nail gun, embedding a 1-1/4-inch brad, avoiding death by about an eighth of an inch. After a doctor pulled it out, he suggested an MRI to assure there was no further damage. The MRI revealed a brain tumor, which has now been treated.

Said Golden, "God's got a reason ... or he wouldn't have put that nail in there."

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"Not Intending to be Sacrilegious"

Catholic Motif
Dance Club Opens
by Chuck Shepherd

May, 1997

The Convent nightclub opened on Armitage Street in Chicago, a traditional dance club but themed after the Catholic Church.

The non-Catholic owners, sisters Surita and Shar Mansukhani, feature restrooms labeled Hymns and Hers, house drinks called "Holy Water" and "Confessionals," waitresses in typical Catholic schoolgirl outfits (plaid skirt, white blouse, knee-high stockings), and bartenders in priests' collars. The VIP rooms are Heaven (upstairs) and Hell (lower level).

Said Surita, "We're certainly not intending to be sacrilegious in any way."

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Who Is He Stumping For?

Financial Prognosticator
Uses Prayer
by Chuck Shepherd
source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

December 25, 1994

John M. Templeton, head of a family of mutual funds, wrote in a religious magazine that prayer is the most important part of his success in financial forecasting.

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Madagascar's Famadihana Celebration

How To Commune
With The Dead
by Chuck Shepherd
source: World Press Review, Financial Times

September, 1995

According to a September report from Madagascar in Financial Times, the Randrianaivo family's "famadihana" celebration was a success. In famadihana, every five years or so, a respected family member is disinterred and communed with, supposedly to help the soul's transition into being a spirit for the living family members. Bones are wrapped in white shrouds, caressed, and danced with.

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