Lead Story

A Cincinnati woman recently accused a 42-year-old man of sexually assaulting her after taking advantage of a medical condition which usually causes her to faint when she hears the word “sex.” Allegedly, the man accosted her in her apartment building, uttered the magic word, and then attacked her when she fell to the floor. In a court appearance in July, the woman fainted twice when prosecutors used the word “sex” in explaining her condition.

He Works in Mysterious Ways

The Calvary Baptist Church in Salem, Virginia, charged Harvey and Pauline Richardson, ages 82 and 74, with trespassing when they tried to attend Sunday services in February. The charge was the latest round in a feud that started when the church denied the Richardsons, members for 39 years, the right to vote on church business because they had missed services for eight months beginning late last year, mostly due to various illnesses.

In April in Phoenix, Arizona, 26-year-old Paul Vernon Johnson stopped sexually molesting a 13-year-old boy when the boy cried out, “Jehovah, help me.” Johnson said he was once a Jehovah’s Witness, and he regarded the boy’s cry as an “omen.”

The Wilmington, North Carolina, Star-News reported in April that some parents in Gaston County had demanded that Africa and Germany be removed from maps and globes in local classrooms because they believe those places are anti-Christian. They also called for the suppression of Greek letters from the curriculum because they believe their use constitutes an endorsement of homosexuality.

The London Daily Telegraph reported in November that the new state-of-the-art telescope operated by NASA and the Vatican Observatory in Arizona will be used to search distant galaxies for signs of intelligent life, and that if any humans are discovered the Catholic Church will be prepared to baptize them.

In June the 40,000-member Christian Motorcyclists Association held its annual national fund-raiser, “Run for the Son,” in Sedalia, Missouri. CMA’s purpose, said an organizer, is to ride “the highways and byways to promote the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Later in June, the weekend-long “Christian Woodstock” rock music festival “Creation ’93” was held near Mount Union, Pennsylvania. It featured a “fringe stage” for bands that, wrote an Associated Press reporter, sound like mainstream punk rock but make clear Biblical references in their lyrics. Also in June, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman profiled local rock concert organizer Blanche Pall, who promotes Christian heavy-metal acts with names like Mortification and constantly argues with ministers over whether or not the music is satanic.

A floating shrine in the Bocaue River in the Philippines capsized in July, drowning more than 300 worshipers who had boarded it in prayer as part of the annual nine-day religious festival in the town of Bocaue.

Oral Roberts University withdrew its City of Faith complex from the Tulsa, Oklahoma, real estate market in June after failing to attract a buyer in more than a year and a half. The three towers (one 60 stories high, unusually tall for Tulsa), once ORU’s medical school, were built after Mr. Roberts revealed that God told him to build them.

Postal carrier George Yoerger of Moville, Iowa, resigned in June after refusing to deliver copies of Time and Newsweek because the covers featured sexual themes. “As a follower of Jesus Christ,” Yoerger said, he had no choice.

Tough Times for Men

Over a recent three-month period, four men were reported to have suffered injuries to their genitals. In a widely reported incident in Manassas, Virginia, in June, a woman sliced off her husband’s penis after he allegedly raped her. In July in Waynesville, North Carolina, Cynthia Mason Gillett, 28, was charged with setting her husband’s genitals on fire while he slept. In April 31-year-old Jose Dogelio was shot in the penis by a woman he was “flashing” on the street in Dasmarinas, Philippines. And in Ransomville, New York, on July 4, a 28-year-old man was injured when a firecracker fell back to the ground and bounced up into his shorts before exploding.

The Weirdo-American Community

Kenneth Morseon, 36, was arrested for robbery in Portage, Indiana, in June after he forced a service station employee to sell him, after closing hours, three quarts of oil, which he then poured on himself in order to ward off evil spirits.

Least Competent Person

Fernando Rivera, 28, was arrested in July in New York City after he allegedly attempted to rob an elderly woman in line at a bank. Police surmised that Rivera was at that bank because he failed to acquire the $1,000 he had expected from robbing another bank: he had left off a zero in the holdup note, and the teller had dutifully given him only $100.

I Don’t Think So

Lars Christiansen, 19, and Michael Peters, 25, charged in a German court in May with killing three men last year in a right-wing political firebombing, admitted they were members of the neo-Nazi movement in Germany. Peters had even left a “Heil, Hitler” phone message for the police after the firebombing. However, both men said they didn’t hate anyone and had joined the movement for the friendship and “free beer.”

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.