Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Arizona

chapter of the Satanic Temple is suing the city of Scottsdale, Ariz., for allegedly violating the group’s First Amendment rights by refusing to allow members to deliver an invocation before a city council meeting. According to the suit, members of the religious group approached the council in 2016, asking that they be allowed to perform an invocation of Lucifer during the council meeting’s opening prayer. The head of the local Satanic Temple chapter was initially given clearance to deliver the invocation in July of that year, but was later told by the city that a Christian pastor would be performing the prayer instead. The group reportedly used the state’s open records law to obtain emails exchanged between Scottsdale city officials that allegedly used discriminatory wording to describe the group. According to the Temple’s spokesperson Lucien Greaves, the emails also appeared to reveal personal bias as the council’s motivation for barring the group from delivering the invocation. City officials have denied that the decision was made based on any religious bias, and told ABC News that the Temple was denied because it did not have a “substantial connection to the Scottsdale community.” The Satanic Temple is a nontheistic religion that promotes “benevolence and empathy among all people.” They received national attention in 2012 for attempting to erect a statue of the goat-headed deity Baphomet on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capitol building to promote separation of church and state. In 2013, a chapter of the group performed a “Pink Mass” at the gravesite of the Westboro Baptist Church founder’s mother, allegedly with the purpose of causing her spirit to become a homosexual in the afterlife.

Dateline: Nevada

Exotic dancers in Las Vegas are reportedly accepting Bitcoin tips through
QR scan code tattoos. Bitcoin.com reports that the Legends Room, a strip club in Las Vegas, Nev., has fully embraced the cryptocurrency Bitcoin by installing a bitcoin ATM allowing patrons to buy cryptocurrency at the club and giving dancers the option of wearing temporary tattoos with QR codes. Customers can scan the codes using their smart phones to tip performers with Bitcoin instead of using cash. The club has also developed its own wallet application for the VIP room and services. The Legends Room’s founder, martial arts trainer Nick Blomgren, says using the cryptocurrency is particularly advantageous in this situation because it can be done completely anonymously. Some dancers at the club have requested to receive their paychecks in Bitcoin as well, citing complications with banks who allegedly frown upon careers in the adult entertainment industry. The Legends Room also accepts traditional forms of currency.

Dateline: Vatican City

The Vatican is reportedly
setting up an exorcist training course to deal with a rising demand for demon specialists. According to to Sicilian priest Benigno Palilla, there are about 500,000 cases requiring exorcism—the removal of a demonic spirit through prayer and ritual—in Italy each year. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Palilla said the demand for exorcisms in Italy has risen threefold over the last few years. The priest says he is now offering training courses on conducting exorcisms with the blessing of the Bishops’ Conference. Experts on demonology, possession and the occult are slated to give guest lectures. According to the Palilla, the need for exorcisms has arisen because of a growing number of people who visit fortune tellers, which he claims “opens the door to the devil and to possession.” He also noted that younger priests seem less enthusiastic about training as exorcists.

Dateline: Zimbabwe

A Chinese condom manufacturer is considering adding new size options to their product line after Zimbabwe’s health minister complained they were too small. Last week,
New Zimbabwe reported that while speaking at an event promoting HIV/Aids prevention, Health Minister David Parirenyatwa criticized the country’s practice of importing condoms made in China instead of manufacturing their own. Parirenyatwa told the group gathered that young Zimbabwean men have been complaining that the condoms are too small. In response, Zhao Chuan—chief executive of Beijing Daxiang and His Friends Technology Co—told South China Morning Post that the condom manufacturer is planning to introduce a larger variety of sizes in their product line. To that end, the company has begun conducting surveys in different areas of the world to determine customer needs. Zhao told reporters that Chinese men desire thinner condoms, but are less concerned with their size. He also noted that North Americans seem to prefer softer condoms. China reportedly has around 300 condom manufacturers working within the country. Zimbabwe has an estimated 13.5 percent of its adult population infected with HIV/Aids, and condoms are one of the leading preventative measures against the disease. Zimbabwe has become one of the world’s top importers of the contraceptive as a result.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.

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