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crows nest
By Stephen Tomkins
More Crow's Nests here
Hot under the dog collar
March 2005

O Spongebob Squarepants, you really had us going for a minute there.

Great was the pricking up of ears here in the Nest, when we heard that the US "family values" campaigner James Dobson had outed the absorbent cartoon rectangle. How our eyeglasses scoured the seven seas of faith when we heard reports that Dobson was protesting about the spunky little fellow holding hands with his dim friend Patrick the starfish.

You can imagine our disappointment then when it turned out that Dobson was merely protesting about the supposed pro-gay agenda of some educational material that happened to feature SpongeBob and some of his "friends". Oh well. At least Tinkywinky's still gay.

What amusing issues are genuinely getting Christians hot under the dog collar at the moment then?

There was a promising tip-off from our New Zealand correspondent: "Presbyterian Church Protests Pokies," proclaimed the Challenge Christian Weekly Newsletter. You'd assume the Pokies were a fluffy kids-TV family with two daddies, or at the very least a new playground craze that risks permanent damage to the kidneys. But sadly, they are poker machines. Church leaders consider them a bad thing and are questioning the amount of money they themselves receive from gambling proceeds, which is even more disappointingly sensible than the God Hates SpongeBob thing.

There is better news from Britain, where Christian voice, the Carmarthen Taliban, are still in the news. Having focused on Jerry Springer: The Opera, they are now taking a stand against the forthcoming marriage of Charles and Camilla. Judging by their previous tactics one assumes they'll be picketing cancer charities that receive money from the Prince of Wales Trust. Their director Stephen Green declares, "We're saying to the Prince of Wales: 'You cannot have your brother's wife'", which I suppose is true, but, as nobody is suggesting he wants to marry Sarah Fergusson as well, probably irrelevant.

It doesn't take Jesus in a nappy to upset Russian Christians, who are protesting the ballet Rasputin because it depicts Czar Nicholas II – predictably enough, you might have thought, being a ballet – in tights. Nicholas was canonised by Russian Orthodoxy in 2000 for being executed in the Russian revolution, generously overlooking the fact that he caused a revolution himself by opening fire on peaceful protesters against the 76-hour week.

"Czar Nicholas was a martyr," protested Dimity Baibakov, an official of the local Yekaterinburg synod. "But he is not dancing in a czar's costume, but in tights! Is it necessary to make fun of saints?" It's encouraging to know that Christians, wherever in the world they may be, are united by their failure to understand the basic principles of the art forms they criticise.

A retired schoolteacher known (to me) only as Ms B is leading a protest against the lack of Catholic exorcists in Norwich, Connecticut. She has been demonstrating in front of Norwich Diocese, against the "unpardonable neglect" of herself and fellow demoniacs. Waiting lists for deliverance must be terrible, because B claims to have waiting 6 years for her own 19 spirits to be cast out.

Rather more English demonstrations from Rev. Christopher Mulholland, the rector of St Lawrence's, Didmarton, in Gloucestershire. He recently took a bus full of parishioners to London protesting against – of all the pressing issues facing people of conscience today – the ban on fox-hunting.

As they were missing Sunday worship, Rev. Mulholland (who happens to be Prince Charles' vicar, small world) led prayers on the bus, and they sang 'Fight the good fight' and 'Onward Christian soldiers'. Well, you can see why he didn't choose 'All things bright and beautiful'. But why not 'Ride on, ride on'? Or, for that matter, 'Go work! Go work!' ("There are foxes to take, there are wolves to destroy"). Or, then again, more realistically, that Moody & Sankey fave, "It is Finished! Yes indeed."

Finally, what news of our old friend and barking spiritual Nazi Rev. Fred Phelps? Crow's Nest is thrilled to announce that the minister of Topeka, Kansas, and the putrefied brains behind GodHatesFags.com, has recently taken on the entire Swedish nation. Or, in his own inimitable words, "the faggot hellhole of sodomy, bestiality and incest".

"You are drippings from the Devil's own penis," he explains, "a veritable sperm bank for Satan's queers." Just look at their royal family: "The King looks like an anal-copulator, and his grinning kids look slutty and gay!"

The Phelps take on the tsunami? God's judgment on the "20,000 filthy, faggot Swedes" in Thailand. So obvious when you think of it, but do you know that never even occurred to me before?

Ah, Fred Phelps, five minutes on your site, and Satanism seems quite irresistible.
also see
hubris 2
Mark Howe's regular rant about Internet culture
strangely warmed
Andrew Rumsey's regular column about the religious life
loose canons
Stephen Tomkins' regular round-up of the saints of yore who were one wafer short of a full communion
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