UNNAMED PRIEST AND WOMAN PROSELYTIZING ON CITY STREETS;
SPARK FIRST AMENDMENT FUROR
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
Groups noted for their extensive proselytism
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
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
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
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
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."
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
"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
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
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 (
Other associated sites created by 42 Entertainment were soon discovered,
including www.bethehammer.net ,
www.churchofplano.com , where a
dark future reigns supreme.
instance, errant clicks on sites like
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
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
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."
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
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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From regular columnist
It's a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here
on my own... and so I must do something to pass the time. Welcome back,
It's been a quiet month, in truth, so the
smallest victories seem that much more important.
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
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
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?
MRS. COUCH POTATO
DEAR MRS. POTATO,
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