|The first two stories are depressing, |
so I added this bunny to lighten things up.
I was reading this week's Economist and found two articles to share. And for those of you who must absolutely know everything about me, I have a new iPhone. I got the Wall Street Journal app and found an interesting story concerning zombies...
It was only a matter of time before the Jesus-industrial complex set up shop in Africa. Unsurprisingly, it bears many of the same noxious characteristics with its American counterpart.
“It doesn't matter how many people come to services,” says Temitope Joshua, pastor of Nigeria’s Synagogue Church of All Nations. “It’s about how many people are being saved.” But it is the sheer size of his flock in Lagos that marks out Mr Joshua, better known as Prophet T B Joshua, who runs one of Africa’s mega-churches; 15,000 people attend his services every Sunday. A lot more watch his channel, Emmanuel TV.15,000 congregants on a Sunday sounds like typical attendance for well developed theocratic states -- like Texas, for example.
The trend is most marked in Nigeria, which hosts Africa’s largest Christian population, 80m-strong. Nigerian churches such as Faith Tabernacle and Christ’s Embassy are expanding into Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most have publicity machines behind them, with jazzy posters advertising spiritual and other benefits. Many of the popular new pastors claim the gift of prophecy and teach a “gospel of prosperity”, which encourages their disciples to pay a tithe (10% of their income) to the church in return for even greater riches from God.Something tells me that Jesus is running a pyramid scheme (or Ponzi scheme for those of you old-school types) in Nigeria. Regardless, I doubt that the return on your 10% tithe is insured by the Nigerian government.
In March David Oyedopo, reckoned to be Nigeria’s richest pastor by Forbes, a business magazine that puts his wealth at $150m, added an airline to his empire. Such money and fame bring political clout too. Presidents and parliamentarians pick their church with care, in the hope of a holy endorsement.Of course they are. The only thing more certain than David Oyedopo eventually being found in a men's room someday soliciting gay sex is that politicians will want his seal of approval until that time.
I knew that Islamic militants were in control of northern Mali, but had no idea that they were in control of so much of the country. A picture is worth a thousand words.
The Islamists obey the Second Commandment -- not to bow down to images -- seriously and are out to destroy the cultural sites in their control.
... In its heyday Timbuktu was a hub of learning that grew rich on duties from the trans-Saharan trade in gold, ivory, salt and slaves. When the mysticism of wandering Sufis fused with pre-Islamic beliefs, it became known as the “City of 333 Saints”.The Saints are supposedly buried in the city. The Jihadists don't like those tombs at all.
Two armed groups that dominate the town—Ansar Dine and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known in security circles as AQIM—reckon such reverence is unIslamic idolatry. “All of this is haram (forbidden),” scolded a militant spokesman, who threatened to destroy every tomb in the city “without exception”. Irina Bokova, head of UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, has called the demolition “an attack against the physical evidence that peace and dialogue are possible.” Scholars fear that tens of thousands of brittle manuscripts collected in the city in its zenith, arguably Africa’s greatest ancient literary heritage, are at risk too.Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any international will at this time to defeat AQIM. It makes me think that there should be a version of the French Foreign Legion for atheists -- with the obvious exception that we would need our Godless Legion to win battles and not simply die heroically.
I just want to say that this is not some fake news story that I made up and threw into the mix. Click on the above link and you'll see the story in its entirety.
KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind.— Daniel Smith had run over hills, scrambled through streams and climbed over walls on a recent hot Saturday here, when he came face-to-face with his greatest obstacle yet: a field full of zombies.See, if I had made the story up, I would have made the people playing the zombies the local homeless that the sheriff had rounded up. But the guys running Zombie Romp actually have a functioning business model.
Mr. Smith, who runs high school track and cross-country, paid $87 for the privilege, while the zombies chasing him paid $25—and got a free makeup job and, for those over 21, a complimentary beer at the end of the race.I don't know, I would want to be paid to play a zombie, and I'd want some kind of paintball gun to shoot the critters in the head.
Runners wade through pools of fake blood, duck under electrified wires and try to avoid letting zombies steal their "health flags" worn on a belt around the waist. A runner with no flags left is ruled dead—or is it undead?—and isn't eligible for awards at the end of the five-kilometer race. Crossing the finish line alive is no small feat: Only about 20% of racers make it with at least one of their three flags left.Can't make it to Indiana? There will be zombie runs coming to a town near you!
Reed Street Productions, a company based in White Marsh, Md., and formed by two friends in their 20s, is making a killing on the races. It held its first race just last year near Baltimore and unexpectedly drew 12,000 people, the company said. It will hold a total of 13 similar events in cities from Boston to Los Angeles this year. Next year, it hopes to double that. The company said it expects revenue of $18.8 million this year, but declined to disclose its profits. Between 3,000 and 10,000 people participate in the races, with about 5,000 at the event here