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image Lots of people are linking to this floating Baby Jesus head that squeaks plaintively, occasionally moans 'WHY', and constantly demands 'WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?' One look at the URL told me that it was a spoof, because it's part of the Objective: Christian Ministries (O:CM) site, probably the most elaborate anti-fundamentalist parody site on the internet. But apparently not everyone is aware of O:CM, so they're getting creeped out thinking the floating Baby Jesus head is supposed to be taken seriously.

O:CM has been around for a while. I first became aware of it in mid-2003, but it's older than that. I think it's a spinoff of Landover Baptist Church (note the many links to Landover Baptist on the O:CM site). For a while back in 2003 O:CM was frequently changing servers and domain names. In fact, for a brief time it conned its way onto an actual Christian webhosting service (which gave it a veneer of authenticity), but then got booted off that service once the Christian webhost realized what O:CM was. A Boing Boing reader notes that O:CM is registered to IdeaFlood, a company owned by Brian Shuster, a porn website operator who also owns a patent on pop-up ads.
Categories: Religion, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Dec 07, 2004
Comments (7)
image According to urban legend there was once a department store in Japan that, shortly after the war, displayed a smiling crucified Santa at Christmas, mistakenly believing that that was how Santa was supposed to be displayed. In different versions of the legend the crucified Santa was either a small miniature or an 'enormous effigy'. There's no evidence that the Japanese crucified Santa ever existed. But people here in America have, of course, deliberately stuck Santas up on crosses. Here's an article that refers to a guy who delighted his neighbors back in 2002 by placing a crucified Santa in his front yard:
A unique holiday display in Boise has prompted mixed reactions from neighbors and passersby. Residents of a home in the 6300 block of Ustick Road have erected a cross with a full-size, stuffed Santa Claus attached. Chili Ciluaga got the idea to build the crucified Santa in his front yard while watching a TV commercial. He said the display conveys the message that the holiday season has become over-commercialized.
Categories: Religion, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 03, 2004
Comments (18)
image Following the $28,000 sale of that Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich, it seems like it's been loony season on eBay (if it was ever NOT loony season on eBay, that is). Among the more memorable Grilled Cheese Mary Wannabes have been the Jesus Fish Stick, the NutriGrain cereal that looks like ET, and the piece of popcorn that looks like the Virgin Mary holding Baby Jesus. Buck Wolf, in his weekly column on ABC News, points out some miracle foods from years past that have beguiled the public, including the Tennessee Nun Bun (a cinnamon bun that looks like Mother Teresa), the Miracle Tortilla of New Mexico (a tortilla that looks like Jesus), and the Holy Eggplant of India (an eggplant that spells out 'Allah' in urdu script).
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 01, 2004
Comments (12)
Earlier this month 'spiritual teacher' Sri Chinmoy lifted a 5,322lb airplane off the ground. And the guy is 73 years old. I know there's got to be some trick here. How exactly did he lift that much weight? Was he using a lever of some kind? This weight-lifting success follows on the heels of a little 3,100 mile jog he and some of his followers did. Not a cross-country jog, mind you. No, they jogged around a city block in Jamaica, Queens. It took them seven weeks, running for 18 hours a day. The jogging I'm perfectly ready to believe. The weight-lifting, I'm not so sure about.
Categories: Religion, Sports
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 19, 2004
Comments (9)
image This doesn't appear to be a church for those that worship Tom Jones. Instead, it's just a church for those who enjoy listening to Tom Jones music (I think the former would have been slightly more interesting). Also, I don't think it's a joke. Or maybe it is, and I don't get it. Pastor Jack, the guy who runs the church, seems to have been spooking around for quite a while. He boasts that in 1997 he was voted Strangest Person in America. That would be something to put on a resume. (via Holy Weblog)
Categories: Celebrities, Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 18, 2004
Comments (10)
image The auction of a ten-year-old grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary has been pulled from eBay. The sandwich was put up for sale by Diana Duyser who claims that in the ten years since she made the sandwich and took one bite out of it (before noticing the face of the Virgin), it has miraculously never grown any mold. eBay pulled the auction because it claims that it doesn't allow joke listings (that's news to me). Looking at the sandwich, I can definitely see a face, but it doesn't look like the Virgin Mary. To me it looks more like a movie star from the 30s or 40s. Myrna Loy, perhaps. She should have said it was haunted. Would have been no problems then, because eBay definitely allows haunted stuff.
Update: Here's another virgin mary sandwich on eBay.
Update 2: And here's the original Virgin Mary Sandwich, back up for sale. Most of the bidding must still be a hoax, because who's really going to pay $69,000 for an old cheese sandwich?
Categories: eBay, Food, Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 16, 2004
Comments (33)
Sometimes I wonder how much the Ananova news service can be trusted, especially when I come across stories like this. Apparently a new church has opened in a shopping mall in Chile and has forged some unusual ties with local businesses. For instance, confessing your sins at the church will score you a coupon that you can use at the nearby McDonald's (hopefully your sins don't include gluttony). And the person who prays the loudest wins a discount at the Dockers store. It's so weird it has to be true.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 07, 2004
Comments (2)
image The British government's decision to ban hunting is encountering stiff opposition from pro-hunting groups. While I was over there this issue was constantly on the news (especially when a group of hunting advocates managed to disrupt a session of the House of Commons). But now British hunting enthusiasts have adopted a novel defense of their pasttime. They've formed the Free Church of Country Sports, which is an ecumenical group that views hunting as a form of worship. Therefore, they claim, a ban on hunting would violate their religious rights. They're also arguing that a hunting ban would be racially discriminatory since, as this article puts it, "those who take part in country sports are sufficiently culturally different to be considered a social group with an ethnic identity." So far, the British government doesn't seem to be buying these arguments. But then, it was also slow to recognize Jedi-ism as a religion, wasn't it?
Categories: Religion, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 29, 2004
Comments (3)
Since I fall into the demographic group of cynical, urban, over-educated, non-church-goers, when I saw this site urging people to 'Fast for George W' I chuckled and assumed it had to be some kind of joke. But no. It doesn't seem to be a joke. The aim of the site is to organize people "to fast and pray for the holiness of President George W. Bush." Okey Dokey. It even urges people to "please take this seriously" (they must get a lot of people like me snickering at them). As weird as the idea seems to be, I suppose it can't hurt. Maybe it could even be expanded to include 'Wear a Hairshirt for George W' or 'Self-Flagellation for Bipartisanship'. (via J-Walk)
Categories: Politics, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 29, 2004
Comments (8)
Despite what you may have heard, South Africa hasn't cancelled Christmas. The South Africa Sunday Times ran a headline warning that the government was thinking of cancelling Christmas, since there were too many public holidays already and Christmas couldn't be considered off-limits considering the country's numerous religions. But the Home Affairs Minister has reassured the public that such reports are a hoax.
Categories: Politics, Religion
Posted by Alex on Wed Aug 11, 2004
Comments (2)
Once upon a time it required years of study to become a minister. Then it got a bit easier when all you had to do was respond to an ad in the back of a magazine. But now, thanks to the internet, becoming a minister is dead easy. Just go to the website of the Universal Life Church and in five minutes you'll have the right to be referred to as Reverend. I think I actually became a ULC minister years ago (back when you had to send away for the form) because a friend signed me up as a joke. According to the Contra Costa Times, the ULC has ordained 18 million ministers since 1959. But the article warns that becoming a minister doesn't make your income nontaxable, though it does give you the right to marry people or exorcise demons. Interestingly, 90-95% of the people who sign up as ULC ministers identify themselves as Christians.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 27, 2004
Comments (1)
Most people have probably heard that old urban legend about a guy who shares a drink with a stranger at a bar and then wakes up in a bathtub full of ice the next morning without a kidney... the victim of kidney harvesters. But the following case is almost the exact opposite. Members of the 'Jesus Christians' cult are lying and scheming in order to get rid of their kidneys, even though the medical authorities don't want them. The leader of the cult, Dave McKay, encourages his followers to donate their kidneys. He considers the donation to be a kind of sacrifice to Christ. The problem is that Australia, where the cult is based, doesn't allow kidney donations from strangers because they don't want to encourage a black market in organs. Therefore the Jesus Christians are resorting to deception in order to fob off their kidneys. So what would happen if you shared a drink with a stranger in a bar... who turned out to be a Jesus Christian? I don't even want to think about it.
Categories: Body Manipulation, Religion, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 07, 2004
Comments (12)
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