11th Hour IC News June 30th, 2007

(News graphic & background designed by Nysie)









NORTHEAST -- An unnamed elderly priest, said to not be affiliated with any of the local Catholic or Episcopalian Churches, and an unnamed young redheaded woman, have been reported regularly proselytizing on street corners, including during the GWU Virginia Tech vigil. Their frequent appearance has sparked furious debate on both sides of the religious rights issue, from those pushing Freedom of Speech and Religious Freedom, to those claiming to be concerned that they are being harassed excessively by the pair.

The pair has been reported recently preaching outside several nightclubs and similar businesses in Northeast and the new Atlas District, including Bound.

There have been several calls to DCPD from both local businesses and patrons who felt the preaching pair was an impediment to their businesses as customers were put off by the religious pressuring and fervent lecturing. On the other hand, ACLU representatives have been tracking their appearances and showing up in support to vehemently protest that the pair are protected under the First Amendment, like it or not.

Sources have been unable to establish the couple's identity at this time. A random sampling of local churches in the city has not found any parish that backs the couple's deeds.

Proselytism is the practice of attempting to convert people to another opinion, usually another religion. The word proselytism is derived ultimately from the Greek language prefix 'pros' (towards) and the verb 'erchomai' (I come).

Historically in the New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a person who had converted to the Jewish religion. Though the word proselytism was originally tied to Christianity, it is also used to refer to other religions' attempts to convert people to their beliefs or even any attempt to convert people to another point of view, religious or not. Today, the connotations of the word proselytism are often negative but this article will use the word neutrally to refer to any attempts to convert a person or people to another faith.
Many Christians consider it their obligation to follow what is often termed the Great Commission of Jesus, recorded in the final verses of the Gospel of Matthew: "Go to all the nations and make disciples. Baptize them and teach them my commands." The early Christians were noted for their evangelizing.
Most self-described Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which in whole or in part includes proselytism of people of other faiths (including sometimes other variants of Christianity) or none.

Groups noted for their extensive proselytism include:

  • Southern Baptist Convention

  • Jews for Jesus

  • Jehovah's Witnesses

  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormonism)

Some Christians make a distinction between proselytism (illegitimate) and evangelism (legitimate). An Eastern Orthodox writer, Stephen Methodius Hayes has written: "If people talk about the need for evangelism, they meet with the response, 'the Orthodox church does not proselytize' as if evangelizing and proselytism were the same thing."
The difference between legitimate proselytism and illegitimate proselytism may not be definable. What one person considers legitimate, another may consider improper or even illegal. Views on the propriety of different types of proselytism differ radically. Some feel that freedom of speech should have no limits and that virtually anyone, anywhere should have the right to talk about anything they see fit. Others see all sorts of proselytism as a nuisance and an intrusion and would like to see them restricted (either completely or to a limited arena).
Religious groups also draw lines between what they are willing to do or not do to convert people. For instance the Roman Catholic Church in Ad Gentes states that "The Church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing people by worrisome wiles." In Islam, the Qur'an states "Let there be no compulsion in the religion: Surely the Right Path is clearly distinct from the crooked path." (Al-Baqarah, 2:256) which is taken by most Muslims that force should not be used to convert someone to Islam.

The gentleman of the pair is described as wearing priest's attire, but the Catholic Church is not in favor of street evangelism.



Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The annual celebration of cultural diversity turns the National Mall into a global bazaar, with music, dancing, crafts, demonstrations and informative exhibits exploring different cultures throughout the world. Themes for this year's festival include "Rediscover Northern Ireland," "Mekong River: Connecting Cultures," and "The Roots of Virginia Culture." June 27 - July 1, July 4-8.


Phantom Once Again Haunts Washington


The musical theatre classic "The Phantom of the Opera" returns to The Kennedy Center June 20 - August 12. Andrew Lloyd Webber's longest-running Broadway production traces the tragic love story of a shadowy figure that haunts the Paris Opera and his muse, an enchanting opera singer.





A Gate-Crasher's Change of Heart

The Guests Were Enjoying French Wine and Cheese on a Capitol Hill Patio. When a Gunman Burst In, the Would-Be Robbery Took an Unusual Turn.

By Allison Klein, Washington Post Staff Writer Page B01

CAPITOL HILL -- A grand feast of marinated steaks and jumbo shrimp was winding down, and a group of friends was sitting on the back patio of a Capitol Hill home, sipping red wine. Suddenly, a hooded man slid in through an open gate and put the barrel of a handgun to the head of the 14-year-old daughter of a guest.
"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he demanded, according to D.C. police and witness accounts.
The five other guests, including the girls' parents, froze -- and then one spoke. "We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, blurted out. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"
The intruder took a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry and said, "Damn, that's good wine."
The girl's father, Michael Rabdau, 51, who described the harrowing evening in an interview, told the intruder, described as being in his 20s, to take the whole glass. Rowan offered him the bottle. The would-be robber, his hood now down, took another sip and had a bite of Camembert cheese that was on the table.
Then he tucked the gun into the pocket of his nylon sweatpants. "I think I may have come to the wrong house," he said, looking around the patio of the home in the 1300 block of Constitution Avenue NE.
"I'm sorry," he told the group. "Can I get a hug?"
Rowan, who lives in Falls Church and works part time at her children's school, stood up and wrapped her arms around him. Then it was Rabdau's turn. Then his wife's. The other two guests complied.
"That's really good wine," the man said, taking another sip. He had a final request: "Can we have a group hug?"
The five adults surrounded him, arms out.















Reznor adopts unusual Web campaign for new Nine Inch Nails album


By Michael Paoletta

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Trent Reznor could have just given a few interviews to explain Nine Inch Nails' new album, "Year Zero." But instead, he's using a multifaceted Internet scavenger hunt, and in some cases, his own rabid fans, to help gradually build the story of the project.
Dystopian, apocalyptic themes are pervasive on the album, echoing topics the group has explored since 1989's classic "Pretty Hate Machine."
Neither Reznor, his management nor representatives at his Interscope label would speak to Billboard about the campaign, which has encompassed everything from cryptic phrases on T-shirts to Orwellian Web sites to MP3s found on USB drives in bathrooms at NIN concerts. But a source with knowledge of the project says Reznor may very well perceive it all not as a marketing campaign, but as "a new entertainment form."
Indeed, the source says the campaign forms the body of the "Year Zero" experience: "It is the CD booklet come to life. It precedes the concept album and the tour. And it will continue for the next 18 months, with peaks and valleys."
The source continues, "No one has assembled the full story yet. The new media is creating the story as it goes."
"Year Zero" came to life in early February when Web-savvy fans discovered that highlighted letters inside words on a NIN tour T-shirt spelled out "I am trying to believe." Savvy fans added a ".com" to the five words and, voila, located a thought-provoking, eerie Web site ( www.iamtryingtobelieve.com ). Other associated sites created by 42 Entertainment were soon discovered, including www.bethehammer.net  , www.anotherversionofthetruth.com and www.churchofplano.com , where a dark future reigns supreme.
For instance, errant clicks on sites like www.anotherversionofthetruth.com result in interception by the Bureau of Morality, which will then e-mail warnings that the user is "A CONSUMER OF DISSIDENT MATERIAL . . . Any further attempts to view, consume, or distribute un-american (sic) content will result in the loss of citizenship increments and/or the imposition of fines, penalties, or imprisonment. You have choices. Make the RIGHT ones."
For further instructions on making good choices, the creepy note instructs the e-mail recipient to visit www.thepriceoftreason.net . And another mind game begins anew, with its own set of rabbit holes.
Within days of discovery of the sites, the blogosphere was rich with anxious NIN fans sharing their experiences on message boards.
According to one post, a male fan, allegedly by happenstance, found a USB drive in a bathroom stall during a NIN concert at the Coliseum in Lisbon, Portugal. This flash drive (yes, Reznor's idea) contained an MP3 of album track "My Violent Heart." Additional USB drives were purportedly found in Barcelona and Manchester, England; they included MP3s of album tracks "Me, I'm Not" and "In This Twilight," respectively.
Excited fans then began swapping and sharing these music files online. Another Web posting alleged that all this activity resulted in entertainment blog Idolator and other sites receiving e-mail from the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA), demanding that they remove the MP3s from their sites. A representative for the RIAA, the lobby group for the major U.S. labels, confirms this seemingly mind-boggling move.
Meanwhile, another tour T-shirt contained a highlighted Cleveland-area phone number that, when dialed, played a snippet of lead single "Survivalism." The song currently ranks at No. 2 on the airplay-based Modern Rock chart.
By late February, a "Year Zero" trailer was made available at yearzero.nin.com . Near the trailer's end, an extended arm, known by fans as "the Presence," appears. The Presence is a recurring theme throughout the campaign and is featured on the album's cover.
Ironically, with its numerous pirated downloads available, the whole album has not leaked yet. According to a source, the only leaks are the ones Reznor approved himself.
With his unveiling of "Year Zero," Reznor may, whether he realizes it or not, be building a new option for presenting music that augments the existing CD/tour scenario.
"It's not about slapping something on top of an existing experience," the source says. "It must be its own entity. Make the experience as immersive as possible for fans."








Headless corpses raise ritual killing fear

By John Zodzi
LOME (Reuters) - Six grisly murders in Togo in which the victims were decapitated and drained of their blood have raised fears of a resurgence of ritual killings ahead of parliamentary elections in the West African state next month.
The serial killings occurred last weekend in the southern Vo and Lacs prefectures, east of the capital Lome. The victims included a 12-year-old boy and a 63-year-old woman and their severed heads were carried off by the killers.
The discovery of the headless corpses has shocked Togolese and triggered a wave of speculation that the killings were ritual murders. This is a practice still found in parts of Africa in which people kill to obtain body parts and blood in the belief they will bring social success and political power.
Police announced the arrest of four suspects, including one from neighboring Benin, the West African home of the ancient Voodoo religion, who confessed to killing the 12-year-old boy.
Togo holds legislative elections on October 14, and international observers hope they will strengthen the weak grip of democracy in the small former French colony, which like Benin is wedged between Nigeria and Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea.
In a society where traditional beliefs still have influence, some Togolese saw a link between the killings and the ambitions of aspiring candidates for next month's polls. "Some of these deputies are ready to do anything to keep their seats and you hear that they're carrying out sacrifices," said Joel Attigan, a geography student.
Others saw the murders as linked to a desire for social advancement. "There are too many young rich people in Togo these days. These crimes are linked to these kind of people, who sometimes use human sacrifices to obtain their goals," said Da Mensa, the manager of a bar and restaurant in Lome.
Togo's media have joined the feverish debate, blaming shadowy religious sects in Togo and Benin. "We are in Africa, and spilled human blood can reveal many things," the newspaper Le Magnan Libere said, referring to the witchcraft practice of using blood or body parts for divining or influencing the future.
The police have been cautious about confirming the ritual killing hypothesis. But they said the arrested Benin citizen, Roger Kodjo Hounguiya, had confessed that he was working for a fellow countryman, Jean Goudjo, wanted in Benin for grisly murders involving mutilation.
The European Union, which froze most of its aid to Togo in 1993 citing the poor democratic record of then President Gnassingbe Eyadema, is sending electoral observers to the polls next month. Eyadema died in 2005 and his son is now president.

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Entertainment and Gossip

From regular columnist

Kitty Whittier 





It's a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here on my own... and so I must do something to pass the time. Welcome back, dears.

It's been a quiet month, in truth, so the smallest victories seem that much more important.

All we have to report of note so far is that the Duchess, onstage wayward Victorian vixen and bard, is showing signs of a vigorous honeymoon, though I must tsk at some of you naysayers who claimed that a bun in the oven was her motive for winter nuptials last year. Timing shows that only just recently is Mme. Wentworth Bryce sporting a baby bump, and it's all so terribly cute. She has been seen millie-ing about in her husband's notorious curio shop, The Final Word. A due date has not been confirmed but speculation runs to Fall of this year.

I should run before I catch a case of motherhood. Toodles!






Monica Garrett


Dear Monica,

My husband and I have been married for 35 years.
The first 30 were pretty much devoted to raising children. Now that we are both retired and empty nesters, I realize just how focused our lives have been on family issues. While I have developed many interests, "Fred," has none besides solitary activities. He isn't interested in most of the things that I enjoy, but offers no alternatives. Consequently, I've learned to make social plans that do not include him.
I do spend a good deal of time at home with him, but I am feeling increasingly detached. I would like to have more of a life with Fred, but must I give up the relationships and activities that have provided a needed balance in my life in order to revive our marriage?



And what's to guarantee that if you give up your friendships and activities that your marriage will be "revived"? Marriage is about compromise. Before this situation goes any further, you and Fred should talk to a counselor about the state of your union.
People who are anti-social may be extremely narrow in their range of interests, or they could be depressed. I'm advising you to find out now into which category your husband falls before you sever your social contacts.

It is very unhealthy for the members of a couple to have no interests outside of one another. It is also acceptable for them to have outside friends, and alone time. To deprive you of this, Fred is going to end up creating damaging resentments, if he has not already.