News of the Weird (press releases): on Sept 12, 2004, in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Churches will sponsor a premiere screening of Davey and Goliath’s Snowboard Adventure. This is not a joke. Which is what makes it funny. And kind of sad. / CORRECTION: A reader writes: “Your sarcastic put-down of the preview of the new DAVEY & GOLIATH production is an indication of your weirdness (or ignorance.) D&G is not a movie. It is a children’s animated TV series that was very popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which produced the original series, is producing a series of new programs. The original series was widely praised and honored by TV industry, religious groups, parents groups etc. and is remembered as one of the most successful non-exploitative uses of electronic media by any religious group.” Ok. We’re sorry. But we still think making Davey a snowboarder, and Goliath his dog, is kind of funny. And sad.

An editorial in the Canadian National Post considers the human rights case of Harold Derksen, a B.C. adherent of the Christian Churches of God (CCG) fired because he refused to work on the new moon, which is a monthly religious observance in the CCG. Grouping the “obscure” church with Paganism and Wicca (a comparison the author seems to think speaks for itself), the Post comes to this conclusion: “There is a distinction to be made between legitimate religions and all the rest. It is not a distinction that we feel comfortable vesting in governments — or even in ourselves. But it is one that ordinary people are equipped to make in their collective judgments concerning what companies are fit recipients of their labour and patronage. And it should be on this basis that employers decide which holidays to respect and which to ignore.”

With just days to the third annual Christian Game Developers Conference in Portland–which will feature numerous faith-based entertainment options for the video-gaming set–Andrew S. Bub at GamerDad wonders whether the gospel can can find a similar outlet in the world of role-playing games. At present, Bub writes, “while religion and spirituality add a lot to a game world, they often aren’t used effectively.” For example: “The Masquerade-Redemption’s spiritual thrust was that it cast a nun as your vampire character’s main love interest.”

India bucks world trends with the decree that no religious symbols, no devotional music as “hold music” for callers, no sacred threads and no statues of deities are allowed in the Indian Army, in a bid to ensure that the army’s secular credentials are not questioned.

Israeli movie-goers wishing to see Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ–which still hasn’t been released in Israel–may have to make do with controversial filmaker Assi Dayan’s The Gospel According to God: an alternate passion-play that transports a reluctant Jesus (described by Reuters as “lonely, lovesick and very human”) to modern-day Israel to re-enact His crucifixion and resurrection, which His Father hopes will finally bring peace on Earth.