This week, soft-shell crab sandwiches brought a mild controversy to Maryland. A bill in the Maryland senate that would make soft-shell crab sandwiches the official state sandwich passed 43-1. The lone dissenter, Dolores Kelley, said that she felt that, since the sandwich wasn’t kosher and since Maryland had such a large Jewish population, it wasn’t really the best idea to make that sandwich the official state sandwich. She added that, “I think this stuff is kind of silly anyway.”
Speaking of Judaism, if you want a Jewish interpretation of the “Batman” trilogy, look no further than the latest installment of Rabbi Herb Cohen’s “Kosher Movies” project. Speaking of pop culture, if you want a religious analysis of the morality of Tyrion Lannister versus Ned Stark in Game of Thrones, Religion Dispatches has you covered. Would you prefer an article about killing God in video games? The Huffington Post has one for you as well.
Lots of news about Islam this week. So much that it required a separate article. But there’s even more below.
Critics of a Star Wars “Jabba’s Palace” LEGO set that they say was racist against Muslims declared victory after the toy was pulled from shelves. It’s not really LEGO’s fault that Star Wars is Orientalist, though.
Evil horrible person Pamella Geller is running ads in San Francisco subways that have quotes from conservative Muslim leaders about gay people. It’s basically offensive both to Muslims and to the intelligence and sensibilities of gay people. Leave to old Pam to go 2 for 1.
Critics of growing Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh have been arrested.
In Pakistan, drone attacks are still very much a thing. And apparently, the CIA made a really shady deal with Pakistan in order to get their permission to use drones.
A leaked United States Military training slide lists “evangelicals” and “Catholics” amongst religious extremists. While I’m not sure that the slide is really accurate (there’s a lot of Catholics/Evangelicals who aren’t extremists, etc.) the right-wing over-reaction to this has been truly stunning. Some far-right Christians are actually concerned that the military will turn against them, which is hilarious for at least three reasons:
- See the statistic two paragraphs above this. Who do you think the military is made up of? European atheists?
- Extremist Christians are actually a huge domestic terrorist threat, and probably more deserving of a mention than, say, Muslims.
- Given #2, the level of anger coming from these people, who are always saying that we need to “speak the truth” about Islam for our “safety”, is truly one of the most stunning displays of hypocripsy I’ve ever seen.
If you don’t believe that people of any religion can be a potential terrorism risk, why not check out this report from a Wichita, Kansas abortion clinic?
Timothy Dolan celebrated April Fools Day by saying that gay people might not be that bad, actually. No, it wasn’t a joke, but it also wasn’t really a reversal of position – Dolan was basically saying, “we still don’t accept you, but I guess you have some rights and stuff.” Speaking of April Fools, the Westboro Baptist Church pretended it wasn’t homophobic for April Fools Day. HI-LARIOUS.
Don Imus thinks Jesus might have been gay. Which is interesting not because Imus is a credible scholar or even a person whose opinion on anything matters at all, but because it shows that even the extreme right is trying to wrap their head around issues of homosexuality. So I guess that’s something.
Pope Francis said that the Catholic Church must act decisively on sex abuse. And then he did, and everything was great! Actually, I’m not that pessimistic, but I’m going to wait to see some actual actions before I celebrate.
Speaking of the Pope, the Pope’s Twitter is the most interesting thing about the Pope, right? So here’s an article about the people who make that Twitter happen.
Roger Ebert died this week. He was a pretty incredible guy, what with his incredibly prolific reviewing, and his struggles with alcoholism and cancer. He also had interesting, complicated views on religion, an article on which is available here.
Lastly, we learned this week that God smells indescribably good.