Religion Lately: Meet the Gods by Wearing Levis, The Church of Harry Potter, and Galileo Proved Wrong!

By Kenny Smith

Looking for a complex symbol to decode, demystify, and historicize?  The new and improved Statue of Liberty should keep you busy for some time.  

The emergence of explicitly religious traditions from popular Hollywood images continues apace, this time with the Church of Harry Potter, where “we believe in the words of wisdom from all characters in the books of Harry Potter.” Speaking of Hollywood-generated images, a new book by Elaine A. Heath, The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex and God offers a thoughtful critique of the gendered theological and social messages offered in the Twilight series: interesting theology, but unfortunate gender blueprints, she seems to say.  

In Florida, Pastor Mike Stahl argues for the mandatory registration of all atheists with state authorities, just as convicted sex offenders are publicly monitored.   In Ohio, atheists were blamed for a billboard announcing, “There Is No God!,” though in fact it was paid for by a local minister. 

A very small but growing number of conservative American Roman Catholics, it seems, have concluded that Galileo was wrong and the medieval church correct: the earth, not the sun, they say, lies at the center of the universe, and the Bible proves it.  

What was once the sad fate of nerds (e.g., computers and comic books), one author argues, now dominates American culture as its “secular religion.”  Speaking of which: “go forth, meet the gods, transcend death, wear Levis!”


Feel like getting religious about your financial debt as well your Levis, though in a more sectarian manner? Check out Christian Loan Consolidation, because “God really does want you to be free” economically speaking, as well as saved.  

In Alabama (yes, Alabama) the Church of Scientology Disaster Response hosted a dinner and ceremony to recognize those who have come to Alabama to assist in relief and rebuilding efforts following this past Spring’s devastating tornado outbreaks.  The dinner was, apparently, attended by several other religious organizations, Adventist, Catholic, Mennonite, and Lutheran, among others.  In Australia, the Church of Scientology may be forced to pay its employees years of allegedly overdue back-pay and subsequent taxes on those payments, a move that could “bankrupt” the Australian Church.  Scientology’s Freedom magazine is fighting back against what it perceives as unfair treatment by the New Yorker by issuing its own parody of the world-famous magazine.  

Some have argued that the recent riots in London show the need for more religion (of the conservative variety, one suspects) in the world. Hmmmm…. 

Despite heavy government surveillance, many Muslim Americans report feeling “very satisfied” with their lives in America, and continue to think in very moderate (that is, non-radicalized) terms. 

For a highly imaginative history of Satan watch this YouTube video.   


At Playland, a New York amusement park, a “scuffle” or “riot” (depending upon whose version one accepts) ensued, to which local police apparently responded en masse, when female Muslim customers were banned from a ride due to their “headgear.”  

“Go Topless Day” demonstrations came to Asheville, N.C. last week, with plenty of faithful “wearing the Raelian swastika/Star of David emblem on chains around their necks,”  and evangelical counter-protestors denouncing the protestors as “pagan,” to which it was argued, “Pagans go around naked”; we’re just topless.   While many find Raelian philosophy to be ridiculous, the issue of who gets to go-topless and where is actually garnering attention as a social issue.

Filed Under: Around the WebFeaturedKenny Smith


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