Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp. (and the world’s fifth-richest person, according to Forbes magazine) is a big basketball fan and was reported in April to have an interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Clippers NBA team. An Ellison associate told the Wall Street Journal, for example, that Ellison has basketball courts on at least two of his yachts and shoots hoops for relaxation on the open water. To retrieve his errant shots that go overboard, Ellison hires a ballboy in a powerboat to trail the yachts.
Speaking on a popular Christian Internet podcast in March (reported by Houston’s KHOU-TV), Pastor John Benefiel of Oklahoma City’s Church on the Rock described how, in a 2007 blessing, he might have prayed “too hard.” He was attempting to help drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma by using a specific prayer message (the “Baal divorce decree”), but that inadvertently resulted, he said, in “every lake” in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri rising above flood stage, causing thousands of people to lose their homes and 22 to lose their lives.
In his March 23 sermon (according to Huffington Post), Phoenix, Arizona, pastor Steven Anderson of the Faithful World Baptist Church explained in detail why women in the congregation must refrain from speaking during services. Citing 1 Timothy 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 14, Anderson said the woman should learn only “in silence.” “Now obviously, before the service begins,” he conceded, “there’s chatting and talking going on that’s perfectly legitimate. (And when) we all sing praises to God, of course the ladies should also lift up their voices. But when it’s learning time, it’s silence time (for females).” (Also, he said, since the comment “Amen” means “That’s true,” it would be inappropriate for females to utter it.)
At one Hindu temple in India’s Kerala state, the religious gift of choice — both for offerings to the deity Lord Muruga and for distribution from the deity to devotees — is the chocolate candy bar, which visitors bring in cartons, according to a March report by the Press Trust of India. (Muruga is the son of the lord Shiva and was originally worshiped as a child, leading to speculation that he would respond to chocolates.)
An unnamed British inmate published a letter in a prison newspaper in April alleging continuous religious discrimination against him by guards and officials. The man claims he is a practicing Jedi (and of course cannot reveal his name because he fears retaliation “from the dark side”) and complains that Jedi-ism, though officially recognized as a religion in the UK (the 7th-most popular, according to the census.
Copenhagen Zoo aroused worldwide ire in February when it slaughtered and publicly dismembered a healthy young giraffe (“Marius”) in order to feed a hungry lion. Then, in March, the Zoo killed four healthy lions to make room for a new male. By contrast, reported Vice.com in April, Denmark has no law against humans having sex with animals.