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 Offbeat News

This section of Religion News Blog highlights religion-related news stories that may tickle your funny-bone, leave you flabbergasted, or at least scratching your head wondering: What were they thinking?

These items are not intended to ridicule or otherwise poke fun at those involved.

Wednesday December 28, 2011
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
priests fight Scuffles have broken out between rival groups of Greek Orthodox and Armenian clerics over a turf war in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity.

Bemused tourists looked on as about 100 priests fought with brooms while cleaning the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas, on 7 January.

Wednesday December 8, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Is software licensing theft still a problem? Is the Pope a Catholic? Or perhaps more aptly, is the Pope a pirate? The answers are yes, yes and probably not.

That said, when security software vendor AVAST decided to track down exactly where one 14 user enterprise software license had ended up after it was discovered on a file-sharing site, it must have been somewhat surprised to find that it cropped up a couple of times in Vatican City.

Thursday November 18, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Add another temptation for the faithful to resist: Facebook. The world’s biggest social network can lead married people astray, says the head of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, N.J. So, in his Sunday sermon, the Rev. Cedric A. Miller will announce that married church leaders have to log out for good, or get kicked out. This thinking runs counter to churches that are embracing social media to reach their flocks.

Wednesday November 17, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Evangelical Christians in Brazil have apparently banned the use of USB connections after claiming the technology is the mark of Satan-worshippers, the Guardian reports.

Apparently the revelation came after the evangelists noticed that the USB symbol resembles a trident. Presumably they’re not great fans of Britain’s ballistic missiles either.

Tuesday October 5, 2010
JudaismOffbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Jewish law allows women to sleep with the enemy in order to get intelligence vital to Israel’s security, a rabbi was quoted as saying in a Israeli newspaper Monday, AFP reports.

The mass-selling Yediot Aharonot quoted an academic article by Ari Shvat, an expert in Jewish law, in which he said it was acceptable to have sex with “terrorists” in order to obtain information leading to their arrest.

The advice appeared to be directed at Israel’s Mossad spy agency, and is an exception to the traditional religious prohibition of deception and sex outside of marriage.

Monday September 20, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
The restored grave of the last known “sin-eater” in England has been at the centre of a special service in a Shropshire village churchyard.

Campaigners raised £1,000 to restore the grave of Richard Munslow, who was buried in Ratlinghope in 1906.

Sin-eaters were generally poor people paid to eat bread and drink beer or wine over a corpse, in the belief they would take on the sins of the deceased.

Frowned upon by the church, the custom mainly died out in the 19th Century.

Saturday July 17, 2010
HinduismOffbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
An Indian court has ruled that Hindu gods cannot deal in stocks and shares, reports said Saturday, after an application for trading accounts to be set up in their names.

Two judges at the Bombay High Court on Friday rejected a petition from a private religious trust to open accounts in the names of five deities, including the revered elephant-headed god, Ganesha.

“Trading in shares on the stock market requires certain skills and expertise and to expect this from deities would not be proper,” judges P.B. Majumdar and Rajendra Sawant said, according to Indian newspapers.

Friday July 9, 2010
Catholic ChurchOffbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
A Catholic priest in New Hampshire plans to visit a Candia water park to see if he can see the face of Jesus in the park’s lifeguard flag.

Incidentally, the ability of people to recognize familiar patterns in random images, such as cartoon characters in the clouds, is a phenomenon of perception called pareidolia.

Wednesday July 7, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
A preacher and two congregants would be a full house in the church near here built by retired construction worker Bruce Larson.

The 6-foot-square exterior of the little white chapel translates into 4,032.25 square inches of interior floor space. That’s 767.75 square inches less than a queen-size bed, 1,272.13 less than the bed of a 2010 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup, and almost 350 square inches bigger than a Twister game mat.

The structure in Sundet Cemetery about four miles northwest of Nielsville could be the smallest functional church in the world.

Thursday July 1, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
What do the Bible, a parachute and a pair of handcuffs have in common? Escape Artist Anthony Martin

Martin, a nationally-recognized escape artist turned evangelist, has announced plans to attempt a “Leap of Faith,” in Ottawa, Ill., July 13, at 2 p.m. Martin will be handcuffed by an area locksmith before donning a parachute and leaping from an aircraft at 14,000 feet. He will have to free his hands in order to deploy the parachute and save his life.

The film of the stunt will be shown at Martin’s evangelistic outreaches.

Wednesday June 30, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
A nurse believes she has received a sign from God after a picture of Jesus appeared on her drainpipe.

Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
Dangerous religious icons, which could go up in unholy smoke, are on sale in Newham, UK.

Worshippers are warned to be on alert for the faulty artefacts, which could electrocute them or catch fire.

Tuesday June 29, 2010
Offbeat NewsRNB's Religion News Blog:
What happens when you put a bunch of old Jews on a soundstage and invite them to crack wise? Thirteen hours and about 140 video clips later, they’re still funny — and they’ve eaten all the pastrami sandwiches and cookies.

The concept behind the wildly popular Web site Old Jews Telling Jokes is simple. It basically involves everybody’s bubbe and zeyde telling their time-tested jokes in front of the camera.

Thursday June 24, 2010
IslamOffbeat News:
Breast milk Many were stunned when Saudi cleric Sheik Abdel Mohsen Obeikan recently issued a fatwa, or Islamic ruling, calling on women to give breast milk to their male colleagues or men they come into regular contact with so as to avoid illicit mixing between the sexes.

But a group of Saudi women has taken the controversial decree a step further in a new campaign to gain the right to drive in the ultra-conservative kingdom, media reports say.

Thursday June 10, 2010
IslamOffbeat News:
Breast milk A Saudi cleric finds himself in the hot seat after issuing a decree permitting unrelated women and men mingle so long as the guy drinks the woman’s breast milk.

Sheik Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, a scholar and a consultant at Saudi Arabia’s royal court, has called for women to give men breast milk to establish maternal relations and get around the ultra-conservative kingdom’s ban on mixing between men and women who are unrelated.

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