Baptist preacher condemns Game of Thrones — viewers should gouge their eyes out!

A pastor in Minneapolis has condemned HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, taking issue with the show’s use of nudity and calling Christian fans “hypocrites.”

In an opinion piece written for online Christian magazine Desiring God, Baptist pastor John Piper chastises Game of Thrones creators, actors and fans, going as far as to accuse all parties of “recrucifying Christ.”

In response to his own question “Am I re-crucifying Christ [by watching Game of Thrones]?” Piper writes, “If we choose to endorse or embrace or enjoy or pursue impurity, we take a spear and ram it into Jesus’s side.”

“Seeing naked women — or seeing naked men — causes a man or woman to sin with their minds and their desires, and often with their bodies. If Jesus told us to guard our hearts by gouging out our eyes to prevent lust, how much more would he say: ‘Don’t watch it!'”

Piper does not take issue with the fantasy drama’s perpetual violence — including castration, season-long torture and almost regular disembowelments — because unlike nudity, it is simulated…

Piper explains…”Violence on a screen is make-believe; nobody really gets killed. But nudity is not make-believe. These actresses are really naked in front of the camera, doing exactly what the director says to do with their legs and their hands and their breasts. And they are naked in front of millions of people to see…”

Game of Thrones is HBO’s highest rated show since David Chase’s iconic slice-of-life mob drama, The Sopranos.

Hmm. Does this say something about the reality of how high Christianity is rated in the daily lives of Americans. Are we going to catch up with the rest of the educated world and rate old-time religion as something to be studied in Anthropology 201?

And the “moral” pastor. I have to wonder how many times he’s put his heavenly feet on the ground in front of troops leaving for one of our imperial wars. Has he ever stood up for the thousands of innocents around the world killed by American “pacification”? Naked because their clothes were burned off by American weapons.

Egypt court obediently finds Al Jazeera journalists guilty

A judge on Monday convicted three journalists of conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast false reports of civil strife in Egypt.

Two of the journalists were sentenced to seven years in prison, and the third was given 10 years, the three additional years apparently for his possession of a single spent bullet. The case has drawn condemnation from international rights groups and Western governments because there was no publicly available evidence that the journalists had either supported the Brotherhood or broadcast anything inaccurate.

In a potentially embarrassing turn for the Obama administration, the verdict came a day after Secretary of State John Kerry visited Cairo in a show of renewed partnership with the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the former general who led the military takeover here last summer. Declaring that the Egyptian president “gave me a very strong sense of his commitment” to “a re-evaluation of human rights legislation” and “a re-evaluation of the judicial process,” Mr. Kerry expressed confidence that Washington would quickly resume the $1.3 billion a year in military aid to Egypt that the administration had partially suspended after the takeover…

Just in case anyone out there actually thought the United States had changed foreign policy since the days of Joe McCarthy and John Foster Dulles.

The three journalists convicted on Monday are respected professionals who were reporting for Al Jazeera’s English-language network at the time of their arrest and who had previously worked for established international news organizations. Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen of Egyptian descent, previously worked for CNN and The New York Times; Peter Greste, an Australian, previously worked for the BBC and had spent only a few days in Egypt at the time of his arrest; and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian, previously worked for the Japanese news organization The Asahi Shimbun.

All three have been in jail since their arrest in December after a raid on Al Jazeera’s makeshift studio in a Marriott Hotel, and they have been described in the state-run and pro-government Egyptian news media as “the Marriott cell.”

Rights advocates have described the charges as farcical…When asked by the court to screen the allegedly false news reports obtained from the defendants’ laptops, prosecutors showed images that included Mr. Greste’s family vacation, horses grazing in a pasture in Luxor, Egypt, and a news conference by the Kenyan police that Mr. Greste had covered in Nairobi…

Several students were also convicted and sentenced along with the journalists, apparently on charges that they had collaborated with the journalists to generate inflammatory news reports of student protests against the takeover.

Outside the courtroom, the British, Australian and Canadian ambassadors all denounced the conviction as a blow to freedom of the press, and all pledged diplomatic pressure to free the imprisoned journalists.

The military junta governing Egypt behaves as expected. The United States behaves as expected. In general, Western democracies will do what can be done through diplomatic channels to try to reverse the phony findings of the Egyptian court.

Meanwhile, Uncle Sugar will resume pouring our tax dollars into the pockets of the thugs in power.

Student gets stuck in giant vagina

What was meant to be a funny dare turned into an utter embarrassment for an American exchange student, who found himself trapped in a giant stone vagina in Germany.

Firefighters had to be called in to deliver the man, head-first, to safety after his feet became trapped in the large marble sculpture at Tubingen University in Germany.

The unnamed man is believed to have been dared to climb inside the sculpture, which sits outside the university’s institute for microbiology and virology.

But his legs soon became wedged in the carving and, despite labouring to free himself, the experts had to be summoned…

A total of 22 firefighters, five fire engines and a number of paramedics were sent to the scene, and quickly freed the man “by hand without use of equipment”, the newspaper reported… “The fire department was not really amused, and he was really embarrassed.”

The sculpture, by Peruvian artist Fernando de la Jara, has sat outside the university for 13 years and was not damaged.

The few students of Freudian psychology remaining in the world get to use their smug looks.

Thanks, Honeyman

7 percent of people approve of Congress

Gallup released a new poll last Thursday revealing that only seven percent of Americans have any real confidence in Congress. It’s an historic low, and probably one that 93 percent of Americans think is still higher than it should be.

But, then, seven percent of Americans think all sorts of things. Seven percent is, by definition, a minority of the country, but, even so, it’s an interesting group. We skimmed news reports to try and figure out what else set 7 percent of America apart.

RTFA for all the comparisons.

Memorable? Well, 7% of Americans think the moon landings were faked.

V838 Light Echo — The Movie

Click to enlarge

What caused this outburst of V838 Mon? For reasons unknown, star V838 Mon suddenly became one of the brightest stars in the entire Milky Way Galaxy. Then, just a few months later, it faded.

A stellar flash like this has never been seen before — supernovas and novas expel a tremendous amount of matter out into space. Although the V838 Mon flash appeared to expel some material into space, what is seen in the above eight-frame movie, interpolated for smoothness, is actually an outwardly moving light echo of the flash. The actual time-span of the above movie is from 2002, when the flash was first recorded, to 2006.

In a light echo, light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant ellipsoids in the complex array of ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star. Currently, the leading model for V838’s outburst was the orbital decay and subsequent merging of two relatively normal stars. V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of Monoceros, while the largest light echo above spans about six light years in diameter.

Thanks, Ursarodinia