Headlines (December 15)

Sailor Refuses To Doff Hat – How’s that for a headline? The Canadian military has decided that it cannot force atheists to remove their hats in ceremonies that honor God. Lieutenant (this is Canada and for some reason in the Canadian military it is pronounced LEF-tenant rather than LOO-tenant) Darryl Scott, an atheist, refused to remove his hat while his unit’s chaplain recited a prayer at a military parade. While “Obedience to lawful orders is essential to maintaining necessary discipline in the military,” the court ruled that in this case there was no clear military purpose in forcing the solider to remove his hat. I assume that what most people find most shocking about this article is that Canada does, indeed, have a military. You can read more here.

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Can’t Buy Happiness – Weird Al once penned the words “if money can’t buy happiness, then I guess I’ll have to rent it.” I’m not so sure either one is a viable option. Two years ago Jack Whittaker won the largest undivided jackpot in American history, an astounding $314.9 million, though he elected to take his winnings in one $113 million lump sum payment (after taxes). “I wish all of this never would have happened,” Jewel Whittaker, Jack’s wife, told a local newspaper. “I wish I would have torn the ticket up.” Since winning, her husband has twice been arrested for drunk driving, has been charged with assault and is embroiled in two lawsuits for making trouble at a nightclub and a racetrack. He has had hundreds of thousands of dollars stolen from him. An 18-year old friend of his granddaughter’s was found dead in his home and just recently his granddaughter disappeared. This article was longer when I read it yesterday, but you can still get the pared down version here.

Still No Hockey – Talks between the NHL Players Association and the League have, once again, broken down. Some may see this as a great tragedy, but I find myself not missing hockey at all. I suppose it is fun to watch Don Cherry for fifteen minutes on Saturday nights, but over the past few years I have grown tired of the game. Perhaps a one-year hiatus from all hockey action will do me good. The question is, what will be left of the league after a year’s absence? Or what if the strike drags on into a second year? Wake me up when it’s over.

The Da Vinci Code – Apparently The Da Vinci Code has now sold over 17 million copies. Maclean’s, Canada’s answer to Time or Newsweek, says the following, “Some of Brown’s errors are actually deliberate distortions, necessary to his story. It’s simply wrong, and easily disproved, to write that Christians thought Jesus an ordinary mortal until the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. What the bishops assembled there decided was how Christ was divine — in what way God and man mingled in him. A handful thought Jesus’s divinity was somehow different from that of God the Father; they were overwhelmingly outvoted. Hence those parts of the Nicene Creed, still recited in most Christian churches, that only theologians understand these days: “true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one substance with the Father.”” The problem with the novel is that Brown does not really indicate what is truth and what is fiction. I had a talk with a friend just a few days ago who is planning a trip to Europe to see some of the paintings and sites Brown writes about. She is entirely convinced that most of the book is factual. The author of the article concludes, “The Da Vinci Code is just a novel after all, and a badly written, error-strewn one at that. But its amazing success is not based on the thriller element alone — the sheer number of copies sold make it a cultural straw in the wind. For most readers it marks their first encounter with ideas and themes that have hovered on the edge of mainstream Christianity for years. And many of them, Christian or not, clearly like what they see.” It’s a pretty good article which you can read here.