Folklaw 21 January 2005
The Lord’s name, in vainFour Christians in Philadelphia are facing a potential jail sentence of 47 years for the heinous crime of reading the Bible in public.However, their actions were not as
The Lord’s name, in vain
Four Christians in Philadelphia are facing a potential jail sentence of 47 years for the heinous crime of reading the Bible in public.
However, their actions were not as innocent as they may sound — the pious quartet had selected quotations from the Bible on the basis that they supposedly proved homosexuality is a sin.
Nor was it just ‘any old’ public they were preaching to, but participants in a gay pride event, Philadelphia’s OutFest national coming out day block party.
The four have been charged with three federal “hate crime” felony charges: possession of instruments of crime (a bullhorn), ethnic intimidation, and inciting a riot.
Another seven were charged with the misdemeanours criminal conspiracy and disorderly conduct, failure to disperse under official order and obstructing the highway.
All members of Repent America (an organisation that encourages Christians to proclaim the word of God to sinners), the group blocked a public street and went about reading their select quotations, trying to ensure that nobody present would have any fun whatsoever.
OutFest security workers surrounded the preachers, used whistles to drown out their words and held up styrofoam boards to block them from view before police officers brought the confrontation to an end.
The religious warriors claim these actions violated their right to freedom of speech, but Folklaw believes the law may just have worked to prevent the abuse of that right and the far more offensive act of using religion as a justification for peddling prejudices.
For what it’s worth, it is expected that the accused will more likely face suspended sentences and probation than jail time. Praise the Lord!
A felon in nappies
It just wouldn’t feel like a real Folklaw page without another wacky tale from our friends in Romania. This time, our attention is drawn to a small child, earmarked as the perpetrator of theft in the Arges county of Albestii de Muscel. Mayor Ionel Naftanaila was shocked to find he was required to assist police in investigating theft by a person born on 27 February 2004.
“I had a big surprise when I received the piece of paper and at first I didn’t know what to believe,” he said. “It was really funny too.”
But, all laughs came to an end when it was realised that, despite appearances, an eleven month old had in fact not been involved. All could be blamed on a simple typo, and the year should have read 1972 instead.
Minus a leg, to boot
A German professor has discovered there are worse things to dampen a holiday than losing your luggage.
Professor Ronald Jurisch, 50, from Dessau in Sachsen-Anhalt, recently woke up in an airport departure lounge to discover his leg had been amputated.
Jurisch was on holiday in Costa Rica when he was forced to visit a San Jose hospital because of an extreme swelling in his left foot.
Arriving at the hospital, he was told to lie on a bed, and distinctly heard the word “amputate”.
“I tried to protest,” Ronald later told media, “but before I knew it they had given me drugs to black me out, and when I woke up I was at the departure lounge”.
But at least he had his luggage — someone had gone to the trouble of retrieving his suitcases and left them by his side.
They had, however, taken the initiative to remove nearly A$500 from Ronald’s wallet, replacing the notes with a receipt for the amputation.
Understandably, Jurisch is now seeking to take legal action against the hospital.
Fraudster on the line
If only all criminals would admit they were in the wrong. Or, even better, if they dobbed themselves in to save us all a bunch in time and energy, and of course police work and court fees.
But Chilean police must have felt a little like someone had snatched the wind from their sails when a con-man called them up to tell them it was he who had stolen goods worth more than A$8,000 through forgery and deception.
The Santiago ‘gentleman’ asked police to pick him up from his home, according to reports in Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper. He told them he had bought hundreds of products online using stolen credit cards, a result of his own financial problems, he said.
His conscience began to get the better of him, though, and eventually he felt he had better dob himself in, seeing as no one else seemed to be picking up on the misdemeanours. He hoped his wife and sons would forgive him for his wicked ways.
Police were understandably surprised when they received the call. “We thought it was a prank when he called and he had to tell his story many times before we took him seriously,” they said.
New crime prevention strategy — hang on
An American man has thwarted thieves’ efforts to steal his car by holding on to the back of the sports vehicle as they drove off at speeds of up to 128 kilometres per hour in Flint, Michigan.
Amazingly, Tony Young, 35, also managed to call 911 on his mobile and not only report the theft of his Ford Mustang Coupe, but provide police with a running commentary of where it was headed.
The vehicle had been stolen once before, and Young told the Flint Journal he wasn’t about to let it go again.
“That car’s my pride and joy,” he said.
When Young realised the car had been stolen, he got a friend to give him a lift, and spotted the car at a stop sign.
When the car sped off he jumped on the back and managed to hold on to the rear spoiler, despite the car speeding up and swerving back and forth.
At one stage he was holding on to the back of the car and skiing with his feet in the snow, but Young admitted he thought he was going to die when the car turned onto a motorway.
The thief finally stopped the car and fled on foot, but was caught by police within 10 minutes.
Miraculously, Young was left unhurt — despite having recently undergone back surgery and being sick and away from work.