Disaster capitalism: Blackwater USA, which the Iraqi government now wants to throw out of Iraq for killing innocent civilians, was hired to protect FEMA operations at the cost of $950 a day per guard. Blackwater has used revenue from these government contracts to build up its own paramilitary infrastructure.
A Christian nation? According to an annual poll measuring American attitudes about freedom of religion, speech and the press, 55 percent believe that the country’s founders wrote Christianity into the U.S. Constitution (Chicago Sun-Times, September 12).
Smokin’ hymns: The Anglican Church in Jamaica is adding to its hymnals some tunes by reggae stars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, including Marley’s hit “One Love” and Tosh’s “Psalm 27.” Both men were Rastafarians—a group that mixes Old Testament prophecy, Afrocentric social advocacy and the sacramental smoking of marijuana (RNS).
Foiled by do-gooders: After a man robbed a bank in Marietta, Georgia, one Saturday morning, he attempted to blend into a group of volunteers outside a church who were unloading food for distribution to other churches. When he started losing bills tucked under his shirt, two of the volunteers confronted the robber and held him until police arrived (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 12).
Mooned: The pastor of Times Square Church is trying to get a state court to block a billboard company from displaying certain ads on the Broadway building that houses the church and its school and day-care center. The ads are for a bidet company, and they show naked backsides with smiley faces on them (Redeye, July 10).