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Free Inquiry
Sidelines

by Matt Cherry


The following article is from Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 18, Number 1.


Playing Tag

Free Inquiry has a new tagline: "Celebrating Reason and Humanity." Here are a few of the suggestions that didn't quite make it:

A Magazine for the Religiously Challenged

Everything Your Mother Warned You Against

Enjoying the View on the Road to Hell

Just Say Know

Fifty Million Souls Lost

Just Another Name for Nothing Left to Lose

Resistance Is Futile

In God We Distrust

Proudly Serving the Faithless Community for 17 Years

Kurtz Till It Hurts

Please send other suggestions for taglines - serious or not - to Sidelines.


Hope Springs Eternal

A recent survey asked Americans who they thought was likely to go to heaven. In reverse order: only 19% thought O.J. Simpson would make it, 40% think Newt Gingrich is heavenbound, and 47% back Pat Robertson. Believe it or not, 52% think Bill Clinton will get past the pearly gates, 65% back the saintly Oprah Winfrey, and 79% believed Mother Teresa was a shoo-in. But guess who was top of the polls to get into Heaven: 87% of those surveyed believed they themselves would make it. Perhaps the pollster should have reminded them that pride is considered a sin.


Jesus Will Save You from Aliens!

A church group at the University of Texas at Austin is promoting Christian faith as the best way to avoid abduction by aliens. At a campus meeting of the Calvary Chapel group, it was claimed that only nonChristians were forcefully abducted by aliens. Church member Frank Dorian stated, "We believe that if you want to stop smoking, get rid of vices or get rid of the pesky aliens, you need to find God."


Robertson Advocates Stoning UFO Believers

The secularist newsletter Freedom Writer reports another bizarre and frightening pronouncement from Pat Robertson. On a July 8, 1997, broadcast of "The 700 Club," Robertson launched into a diatribe against people who believe in aliens. In a rambling discourse, he claimed that if UFOs exist they are simply demons trying to lead people away from Christ: "Can a demon appear as a slanty-eyed funny-looking creature? Of course he can." Robertson quoted scripture (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NKJV) demanding that anyone who follows demons should be put to death by stoning. (Personally I think he got it the wrong way 'round: it's not that people should get stoned because they see UFOs, but that people see UFOs because they get stoned.)

Pat Robertson is the founder and chairman of the Christian Coalition.


According to a 1996 survey by Newsday, 48% of Americans believe UFOs are real, and 29% believe we've made contact with aliens. Another 48% think there's a government conspiracy to cover it all up.


Action Hero `Is Reincarnated Lama'

The movie star Steven Seagal has been recognized as a reincarnated lama (that's "lama, noun, Buddhist monk or holy man" not "llama, noun, big dumb hairy critter"). According to His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, Supreme Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, Seagal is the reincarnation of the seventeenth century "Hidden Treasure Revealer Chungdrag Dorje of Palyul Monastery."

In his previous incarnation, the spirit we now know as Steven Seagal founded a Buddhist monastery in Eastern Tibet. In his Hollywood incarnation, the action hero is famed for his strength, limited vocabulary, and long hair. Hmmm ... perhaps that should be "reincarnated llama" after all.


Send interesting news items and tidbits to Sidelines, Free Inquiry, POB 664, Amherst, NY 14226-0644, or e-mail to: aszalanski@centerforinquiry.net.  


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