Federal District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. said it "had the effect of advancing religion through government-sponsored religious indoctrination." What did?
Send your answer by noon ET Wednesday to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday's Question (No. 356) "Jesus 2000"
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?
"Take a leper to work."--Neal Pollack
"Raise Kevin Costner's career from the dead."--Andrew Milner
"Oh, yuck, is that the spitting thing?"--Floyd Elliot
"Two thousand laps around the city of Bethlehem in really souped-up cool cars."--Merrill Markoe (Marshall Efron, Steven Davis, and Adam Bonin had similar answers.)
"This is one of those tricky SAT math questions, right?"--Ellen Macleay
Click for more answers.
Tim Carvell's Wrap-Up
Our week of Christmas quizzing continues, and in the spirit of the holidays I'm giving the wrap-up to Tim Carvell, who might be able to exchange it for something he really wants, if he saves the receipt.--R.C.
"Today's question reminds me of the one and only time I went to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Pageant, at which, among other things, they offer something called the Living Nativity. Rockettes dressed as Joseph and Mary hunker down in a stable in the center of the stage, as more Rockettes, garbed as the Wise Men, lead donkeys, horses, camels, sheep, and maybe some geese, onstage. Then they all freeze perfectly still for, like, a minute, as the music swells and we are presented with a shockingly good recreation of a kitsch Nativity painting. At which I was mightily impressed, but still troubled by one nagging thought: Don't they have an Easter show? And, if so, I hope that their major show-stopper isn't what I think it is."--Tim Carvell
Jesus A-Go-Go Answer
Contestants painted a new portrait of Jesus.
Much the way the women personifying Betty Crocker, Aunt Jemima, and Columbia Pictures have been redesigned recently, participants drew an updated Jesus, logo of the popular religion Christianity.
The winning portrait, "Jesus of the People," was painted by Janet McKenzie of Vermont, using an African-American woman as her model. It can be seen along with four other finalists at http://www.natcath.org.
The contest was judged by Sister Wendy Beckett, the British art critic and TV host. She was particularly impressed by the way neo-Jesus gazes at viewers with "ineffable dignity, with sadness but with confidence."
Augmented Quotation Extra
Final sentence added by News Quiz.
"I can't get the e-mail. Damn those miserable bastards at Shining Path."--astronaut John Grunsfeld aboard the space shuttle Discovery
Sermon Summary Extra
Actual roundups of actual sermons preached in actual New York churches this past actual Sunday--a service much like Slate's "Pundit Precis," or "Chat Show Cliff Notes" or whatever that thing is called where they watch television for you, but with this difference: I didn't actually hear any of these sermons so what follows is only empty conjecture.
- "A MANGER FOR THE MILLENNIA IV: A PLACE TO WEEP"--A sequel to "A Manger For the Millennia III: A Place To Kick Hebrew Butt." (First Presbyterian Church)
- "THE BETHLEHEM STAR IN YOU"--Probably includes no real Bethlehem Stars, just a lot of crummy look-alikes from some drag review whose Mary Magdalene is a ringer for Ernest Borgnine. (The Unity Center of Practical Christianity)
- "ACCEPTING GOD'S GIFTS"--Something about how even if your aunt gives you a really ugly sweater, you've still got to wear it because she's your aunt and got the sweater from God or on sale, but either way she can't return it? (Third Church of Christ, Scientist)
- "LOVE BADE ME WELCOME"--Maybe one of those hip churches that's very pro-sex, within the bonds of Christian marriage, which means that after a passionate act of love, the wife has to go get the husband a sandwich and a beer while he just lies around sweating and praying. (Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church)
- "THE ANGEL WITH BUCK TEETH"--God loves him just as much as the attractive angels. Another ploy from an HMO to discourage clients from getting their kids expensive orthodontics. One of those new sponsored sermons. (Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church)
- "COMING IN AND OUT OF THE COLD" --You could catch your death. And go to hell. For all eternity. Unless you really believe. And wear a scarf. (All Souls Church)
- "MILLENNIUM MATURITY"--A panicky Y2K thing where a glitchy Jesus turns water into gasoline, and there's a horrible fire and widespread panic and, eventually, a lot of litigation. It's a metaphor for our vainly putting our faith in modern technology instead of centuries-old superstition. (St. Luke's)