Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry was the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a now-dormant site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He was the Editor-in-Chief of two Manhattan-based magazines until he decided to give up commercial publishing for professional photography... with a lot of blogging on the side. These days, he lives in an old seaside farmhouse in Maine with his wife, three kids, and two big dogs.
Come for the animatronic dinosaurs, stay for the zip-lines! That seems to be the new message of Kentucky’s Creation Museum. In an effort to stanch the, um, exodus of visitors, museum officials have installed more than two miles of zip-lines and “sky bridges” outside the building. They acknowledge that these have nothing to do with the Creation fable, but maintain that the add-ons don’t change the core message in the slightest. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Since the long-gone days of the Burma-Shave billboard, the art of putting up ever-changing public messages on roadside signs has been largely left to churches. Church signs frequently display aphorisms, quotes, and announcements, and some of them can be pretty funny. I can’t help reading them whenever I pass by. But why give churches the monopoly on entertaining signs? What’s preventing you or me from putting up a sign with our message of the day? That’s what Ayden Byle thought. A couple of months ago, he was a newcomer to Toronto’s Cedarvale neighborhood. He didn’t know anyone there. But he made friends quickly after he got noticed by a lot of people who walked or drove by his house. It was because of his sign. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Austrian priest Helmut Schüller is an Unruhestifter — a troublemaker, but the kind you have to admire. He’s trying to reform the deeply ossified Catholic Church with his Call to Disobedience, leading a movement that … recognizes the Holy Spirit among the laity and calls for inclusive and transparent changes to Church governance, including women, LGBT persons, and married priests. He also wants the Mother Church to relax its stand against divorce. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addressed the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Houston recently. The ex-pastor and ex-presidential candidate told his rapt clergy audience that the pastorate once was … a wonderful, respected position, but not anymore. [Click headline for more…] Read more
The 24th of June in 1973 was a Sunday. For New Orleans’ gay community, it was the last day of national Pride Weekend, as well as the fourth anniversary of 1969’s Stonewall uprising. You couldn’t really have an open celebration of those events — in ’73, anti-gay slurs, discrimination, and even violence were still as common as sin — but the revelers had few concerns. They had their own gathering spots in the sweltering city, places where people tended to leave them be, including a second-floor bar on the corner of Iberville and Chartres Street called the UpStairs Lounge. That Sunday, dozens of members of the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the nation’s first gay church, founded in Los Angeles in 1969, got together there for drinks and conversation. It seems to have been an amiable group. The atmosphere was welcoming enough that two gay brothers, Eddie and Jim Warren, even brought their mom, Inez, and proudly introduced her to the other patrons. Beer flowed. Laughter filled the room. Just before 8:00p, the doorbell rang insistently. To answer it, you had to unlock a steel door that opened onto a flight of stairs leading down to the ground floor. Bartender Buddy Rasmussen, expecting a taxi driver, asked his friend Luther Boggs to let the man in. Perhaps Boggs, after he pulled the door open, had just enough time to smell the Ronsonol lighter fluid that the attacker of the UpStairs Lounge had sprayed on the steps. In the next instant, he found himself in unimaginable pain as the fireball exploded, pushing upward and into the bar. [Click headline for more…] Read more