2005 Outrageous Quotes of the Week

on December 31, 2005

Week of December 11 – 17

“Of all the elements of Christianity, the most repugnant is the notion of the Christ who took our sins upon himself and sacrificed his body in agony to save our souls. Did we ask him to?”

– Polly Toynbee, columnist for The Guardian (U.K.), in a review of the movie adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.


Week of December 4 -10

“We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people.”

– Statement by Christian Peacemaker Teams in response to the abduction of four of its members by the Islamic terrorist group Sword of Righteousness Brigade.


Week of November 13 – 19

“I, the undersigned Pavel M, currently jailed at Timisoara Penitentiary serving a 20 years sentence for murder, request legal action against God, resident in Heaven, and represented here by the Romanian Orthodox Church, for committing the following crimes: cheating, concealment, abuse against people’s interest, taking bribe and traffic of influence.”

– “Pavel M,” an inmate in a Bucharest, Romania prison.  The inmate has initiated a lawsuit against God for breach of contract, claiming that God has failed in his promise “. . . that I would be rid of problems and have a better life.”


Week of November 6 – 12

“Speech for the children of Abraham – that is Jews, Christians and Muslims – speech is the medium of divine self-disclosure. And it is in response to God’s word variously spoken – that is the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran – that different patterns of worship and ways of behaving and being in the world develop and evolve.”

– The Most Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, speaking at the Cathedral Church of St. John in Taipei, Taiwan, October 30, 2005 (empasis added).


Week of October 30 – November 5

“We believe, even based on the most optimistic of scenarios, that this would be the equivalent of de facto ethnic cleansing.  It would make their way of life unsustainable.”

– The Rt. Rev. Mark McDonald, Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Alaska, comparing the proposed drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to genocide.


Week of October 23 – 29

“There is a campaign of deliberate disinformation, distortion and misrepresentation taking place about the so-called misuse of the United Methodist Building Endowment Fund. The claim that the income is being misspent is the great urban legend of the United Methodist Church.”

– Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, responding to IRD’s reports on the agency’s spending of the Methodist Building Endowment’s trust funds.


Week of October 16 – 22

Ireland’s largest bookmaker, Paddy Power PLC, withdrew a billboard campaign Wednesday that portrayed Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper table, playing poker and roulette alongside the slogan, “There’s a place for fun and games.”  The offending billboards were replaced Wednesday with new Paddy Power ads that said: “There’s a place for fun and games. Apparently this isn’t it.”


Week of October 9 – 15

“They are the modern version of the Tupperware party and they are a natural way for women to meet. They can lead to a discussion of themes such as Adam and Eve and relations between people and God.”

– The Rt. Rev. David Gillett, The Bishop of Bolton (Church of England), supporting the idea of using lingerie parties as a tool for outreach.  He is quoted in the Daily Telegraph (London), in support for a newly released book, Open the Door.


Week of October 2 – 8

“It’s almost like a great awakening, I would say,”

–  The Rev. Jay Johnson, programming and development director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, comparing the decision of the United Church of Christ to support same-sex marriage to the “Great Awakening” spiritual revivals of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.


Week of September 18 – 24

“We are not saying that Christians should take up armed struggle or be Communists, although there are similarities between Communism and Christianity. This is a vehicle to convey the message that Christianity actually is revolutionary.”

–  Francis Goodwin, Chairman of the Churches Advertising Network (CAN) in England. CAN has created an advertising campaign for Christmas 2005 with the face of an infant Christ superimposed on a poster evoking South American guerrilla fighter Che Guevara.  (Click on image for full-size.)


Week of September 4 – 10

“A lot of the problems in classrooms have been from teachers overreacting to things like swearing.”

– Eleanor Coner, spokeswoman for the Scottish Parent Teacher Council. A new policy at the Weavers School in Wellingborough will allow students to use the “f-word” as frequently as five times a lesson without reprimand. If the class exceeds the limit, the students will be “spoken to” after the lesson has been concluded.


Week of August 21 – 27

“If there is anything that we need to convert, it is the mentality of people to become true human persons.  Our common missionary vocation is to transform the world to be truly human, to recover our common humanity.”

– Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, addressing the “Critical Moment in Interreligious Dialogue Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.


Week of August 14 – 20

“The Episcopal Church is a questioning community. … It also is a church which has lived with open-ended questions. It doesn’t need to reduce things to absolutes. We can deal with shades of gray, we can deal with paradox and ambiguity without feeling that we are being unfaithful.”

– The Most Rev. Frank Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA, responding to a question from a reporter on what he would like people to know about the Episcopal Church.


Week of August 7 – 13

“We Asian Christians would no longer see the other as the mortal enemy, or as the unsaved doomed for hell, or as the poor heathen to convert. We would instead look at them as brothers, sisters, partners, whom God also loves, to whom God has also revealed truths, from whom we can learn about life, living and relating, and in whom we can also find the image of God.”

– Hope S. Antone, executive secretary for Faith, Mission and Unity of the Christian Conference of Asia, in a press release of the World Council of Churches, announcing the International Day of Prayer for Peace on September 21.


Week of July 31 – August 6

“Mary of Nazareth was unmarried when she chose to have her child, Jesus.  She dedicated her choice and her child to a radical overthrowing of the conventional order.”

– Rev. Nancy Rockwell, a United Church of Christ minister, writing in the National Coalition for Reproductive Choice pamphlet, “How Good Women Make Wise Choices.”  The article later declares that “[her] moral and..sexual decisions were not clearly right or wrong.


Week of July 24 – 30

The Conference on Spiritual Activism in Berkeley, CA (July 20-23) began with a “visualization exercise” where participants were encouraged to “remember the Sacred, however you envision it.”  Among the wide range of personages invoked were the archangels, Adam and Eve, various Hindu deities, Socrates and Aristotle, Moses and Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Leonardo DaVinci, White Buffalo Woman (a figure in Sioux mythology), anthropologist Jane Goodall, environmentalist Rachel Carson, Gandhi, Anne Frank, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama.


Week of July 17 – 23

A June, 2005, National Council of Churches (NCC) fundraising letter (signed by NCC General Secretary Robert Edgar) implies that if IRD got its way, “gleaning for the poor on private farms after harvesting would be encouraged.”  According to Edgar, IRD would also eliminate minimum wage law, social security, government regulation, public education and welfare.


Week of July 10 – 16

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a liberal group within the Southern Baptist convention, has altered its constitution so that it no longer specifically refers to “Jesus Christ” by name.  The first sentence of the constitution originally read, “…to bring together Baptists who desire to call out God’s gifts in each person in order that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be spread throughout the world in glad obedience to the Great Commission.” The new first sentence adopted at the fellowship’s annual meeting reads, “…to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.”


Week of July 3 – 9

“The bicycle is symbolic of an ecologically responsible lifestyle, so when we’re blessing the bicycle, we’re acknowledging that cyclists have made a conscious choice to live in an ecologically responsible way.”

– Rev. Paul Borthistle, an Anglican Priest in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Borthistle took part in a ceremony on the steps of Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver where bicycles were “blessed” by the application of WD-40 lubricant to the bike chain.  Riders were blessed by an application of suncreen on their noses.  The blessing ceremony included a collective ringing of bicycle bells to “sanctify and promote” bike riding as an ecological choice.


Week of June 26 – July 2

“John Paul II prepared a five-year plan, on the eve of the third millennium, Christianize the world. His address in 1995 was based on the assumption that by the year 2000, the entire world would be Christianized. Since the plan was not accomplished, the World Council of Churches assigned this mission to the US in January 2001, since the US is the world’s unrivaled military power. They named the decade between 2001-2010 “the age of eradicating evil” – “evil” referring to Islam and Muslims.”

– Egyptian Historian Zaynab Abd Al-Aziz, speaking on Saudi Iqra TV on May 26, 2005.  The entire transcript of the interview is available at www.memri.org


Week of June 12 – 18

“I have wondered specifically about the Supreme Court in the case of Bush vs. Gore where, astonishingly, I believe the majority–five out of nine justices–were engaged in an evil act. And I wonder how that could happen without Satan hanging around.” (more)

– M. Scott Peck, author of the popular book The Road Less Traveled and a new book, Glimpses of the Devil. He was quoted by Salon.com


Week of June 5 – 11

“I believe this cathedral is called to be a major voice of a faith that is firm at the center and soft at the edges…a faith that embraces ambiguity, that honors other faiths…a faith that insists that Christ’s values be embodied in the social order.”

– The Very Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd, the new dean of Washington National Cathedral, speaking during his homily at his installation service on Saturday (April 23). He was quoted by The Washington Post.


Week of May 22 – 28

“He (Pope Benedict XVI) is perhaps the biggest homophobe in Europe.  We couldn’t have had worse news. This man is taking us back to the days of the Inquisition.”

– Rev. Mel White, Founder and Executive Director of Soulforce, a homosexual lobby group.  Rev. White is a minister in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC).


Week of May 15 – 21

“We have always seen the Pope, and will always see him, as a friend who was concerned for the poor, who fought neo-liberalism and strove for peace.”

– Cuban foreign minister Felipe Perez Roque on the death of Pope John Paul II


Week of May 8 – 14

“What we need–and we aren’t seeing–is a firm stand by moderates against religious extremism…. America isn’t yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren’t sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.”

New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman


Week of May 1 – 7

“‘Christocentric’ persons are not content to be saved in themselves, and to allow other individuals the right to a different pathway. Their salvation depends on the damnation of those who are not saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Their one true faith automatically divides people into superior and inferior in-groups and out-groups-and sets the psychic stage for evangelizing and domination ‘in Jesus name,’ or in the name of ‘freedom.’ A super religion displaying tendencies similar to Hitler’s super race with its fascist ideology of superiority.”

– Rev. William E. Alberts, United Methodist/Unitarian Universalist minister, hospital chaplain, and columnist


Week of April 10 – 16

“In Pakistan, the United States is deeply concerned with the madrassahs, that is, the private fundamentalist Islamist schools. Here we have so-called Christian academies and home schooling, our own form of madrassahs.”

– Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society


Week of March 13 – 19

“Of all the promises that God made, perhaps the most lamentable in its failure is the promise to Abraham: ‘In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ A more accurate prediction would have been: ‘Shared ancestry won’t prevent your claimants from waging endless war on each other and cursing the lands they occupy.'”

– Episcopal Priest and Syndicated Columnist Tom Ehrich


Week of February 20 – 26

“Dealing with the right-wing’s religious/political lifestyle and its evangelistic agenda is like dealing with an alcoholic or hard drug user…. Like all addictions, when right-wing religion dominates one’s life obsessively, it tells people how to feel rather than getting in touch with their real problems. It also prevents the addicts from understanding the harm they are doing to those around them.”

– Dr. Robert N. Minor, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas.  Dr. Minor is the founder of the “Fairness Project,” and author of a syndicated column on religion.


Week of January 9 – 15

“While dominant society has embraced a binary gender system (male-female), Ms. Mouse believes this is only a construction.  Gender is a fluid and mutable category, open to a range of emotion and identity.  We cross the boundaries of the traditoinal binary gender system all the time in our daily lives.  In short, Ms. Mouse is a transgendered mouse.  She believes that what you look like to others doesn’t matter, it’s how you identify that counts.”

– “Chapelle (nee Chap) Mouse” – a transgendered puppet used to promote chapel activities at Episcopal Divinity School (Cambridge, MA).  Ms. Mouse “came out” in a column in Common Fare: The Newsletter of the Episcopal Divinity School, where she was promoting the upcoming Queer Week at the school.

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