One thousand six hundred seventy-eight people from 19 countries entered a contest called "Jesus 2000" sponsored by the National Catholic Reporter, an independent weekly based in Kansas City, Mo. What did the contestants have to do?
Send your answer by noon ET Tuesday to email@example.com.
Thursday's Question (No. 355) "Top 11 List"
"It suspiciously tracks the Ten Commandments," says ACLU lawyer Kenneth Falk about the 11 rules the Scott County, Ind., School District intends to post in every classroom. Name one of these "Common Precepts To Promote a Virtuous and Civil School Community."
"I am the Scott County, Ind. School District, your school district. Thou shalt have no other school district before me."--David Seldin
"Your stuff is your stuff, and someone else's stuff is their stuff. Until we open your locker with a bolt-cutter and confiscate your stuff."--Floyd Elliot
"Thou shalt not kiln. (For the art room, mostly.)"--Brooke Saucier
"Please, please audition for the spring musical, especially if you're a guy, cuz we're, like, desperate for chorus members."--Matt Heimer
"I am Chris Whittle, the one true God. Thou shalt not bow down before any other school-targeting marketers other than me. (This precept sponsored by Coca-Cola. Always Sacrilegious, Always Coca-Cola.)"--Steven Kiefer
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Original Top 10:
1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5) Honor thy father and thy mother.
6) Thou shalt not kill.
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8) Thou shalt not steal.
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness.
10) Thou shalt not covet.
It is striking how many of the commandments are taken up with God's vanity. One through four--40 percent of the list--are just me, me, me; God, God, God; I'm the best God; I'm No. 1; no pictures please, and don't forget my special day. You'd think being God would give him some confidence, but no; he goes on and on about himself. Despite his widespread popularity--people do worship him--he's as jittery and insecure as Marilyn Monroe.
At least he could relax in the United States of America, a country as God-obsessed as any in the Middle Ages, where Christian fundamentalists (our Taliban) never shut up about his opposition to gay rights and abortion or his enthusiasm for capital punishment, the flat tax, and an anti-missile system to be built in Trent Lott's district. It's a country where nearly everyone goes to church each week, and nearly every candidate flaunts his involvement with God the way Trump flaunts his with second-tier fashion models.
I've not actually seen the Lord in a clinical setting, but I've got to believe that Prozac couldn't hurt. At least it might keep him from acting out in such anti-social ways. Like that Venezuelan flood. Just trying to get attention, no matter how many people get hurt.
End Run Around the Constitution Answer
All New and Putatively Secular Top 11:
1. Trust in God.
2. Respect authority.
3. Honor your parents and family members.
4. Treat your classmates, teachers, and school staff with respect.
5. Speak kindly to and about others.
6. Resolve conflict without using violence.
7. Tell the truth.
8. Save sex for marriage.
9. Stay drug- and alcohol-free.
10. Leave other people's property alone.
11. Avoid being jealous of what others have.
Scottsburg, Ind., Point-Counterpoint
"Every one of us on the school board believe in that God. We're not going to turn our backs on him. You've got to draw a line in the sand somewhere. "--Rod Colson, car dealer and school board president
"It's not the school's job to tell students to believe in God."--Jonathan Wakeman, pilot
Fun With Subjects and Predicates Ongoing Extra
Participants were asked to eliminate the bad news that fills our front pages and create a happier world by swapping subjects and objects from a pair of actual headlines.
"South Koreans Lose Patience as Politicians Keep Beer
Bored By Vodka, Russians Find More Style in Fighting"--Francis Heaney
"Former Playboy Model Attacks Chechen Capital From Three Sides
Russia Wins Right To Use the Terms 'Playboy,' 'Playmate,' and 'Playboy Playmate of the Year 1981' To Promote Their Web Site"--Emily Pugh
"EgyptAir Plane To Crash Macau Party
Falun Gong Takes Off Again After Bomb Hoax"--William Vehrs
"A Microsoft Settlement Repels Restaurant Patrons
Poor Service Seems Remote"--Mary Fee
"Wild Yak Brigade Runs Into Trouble in an Illinois High School
The Tough-on-High-School-Violence Trend Rides to the Rescue of a Rare Tibetan Chiru"--Mary Fee
Misunderstanding the Elegant Form but Nonetheless Amusing
"(Lewinsky Testifies Against Tripp in Wiretap Case) + (Canadian PM Says Quebec Leader Creating Fake Crisis) = Lewinsky Testifies Against Tripp Creating Fake Crisis"--Marc Germain
Sex + guns = high school.