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Making Dallas Even Better

Dallas Has the Most Christians

A Pew Research study of America’s religious landscape shows that of the country’s largest metropolitan areas by population, Dallas-Fort Worth has the largest percentage of people (78 percent) who identify as Christian and the fewest people who claim no religious affiliation (18 percent). Also we’ve got the most evangelical Christians (38 percent), plus the least Catholics (15 percent) anywhere other than Atlanta.

Of course, it’s another matter all together asking how many of those folks you’re actually going to see at church this Sunday.

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Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Garland Attack

So reports the BBC about the Islamic terrorist organization that controls parts of Syria and Iraq:

It said that “two soldiers of the caliphate” carried out the attack at a conference centre near Dallas.

IS’s al-Bayan Radio news bulletin said the exhibition “was portraying negative pictures of the Prophet Muhammad”.

Both suspects were shot dead after opening fire at the contest on Sunday.

Correspondents say that it is believed to be the first time that IS has claimed to have carried out an attack in the US.

Of course, ISIS (or ISIL, or IS, or whatever you want to call them) might just be opportunistically taking credit for an operation it had nothing to do with. Does this news change how safe you feel from terrorist attacks?

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Anti-Muslim Sentiment in Irving (And the Imam Who Has To Tolerate It)

In the paper today, Avi Selk has a lengthy story about some anti-Muslim foolishness going on in Irving. It centers on a religious tribunal that is supposedly going to usurp the U.S. Constitution and ruin America. (I’m exaggerating only a little bit.) Last night, the City Council voted 5-4 to support a bill authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) that would forbid such tribunals from using foreign law in their rulings (which is already illegal).

I wrote about all this for the April issue of D Magazine, which won’t mail to subscribers for another three days. So I’m posting the article here. Before I wrote my story, I spent some time with Imam Zia ul-Haque Sheikh, the head of the Islamic Center of Irving and a man who has far more patience and compassion than I do. For your edification:

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: The Devil, Doyle Davidson, and Dena Schlosser

It’s hard not to have a visceral reaction to reading about what Dena Schlosser did to her own child one morning in 2004. While the sound of hymns filled her Plano apartment, she went to the kitchen, got out a 9-inch knife, walked to baby Maggie’s crib, and cut off her daughter’s arms.

She believed that God wanted her and Maggie to go to heaven.

In his June 2006 article, one of the 40 greatest stories ever published in D Magazine, Paul Kix wrote about the church at which Schlosser worshipped — Water of Life in Plano — and of the domineering pastor whose influence, particularly in pushing for prayer rather than medication and blaming mental illness on demonic possession, may have contributed to a worsening of the postpartum psychosis Schlosser was suffering at the time of her crime.

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: A Visit to the Hole

I’m afraid I’m now being kept in the Seagoville federal prison Special Housing Unit, or SHU, known more informally as “segregation” and even more informally as “the hole.” Several of my fellow jail unit inmates and I were brought here in the wake of a June 17 incident that the Department of Justice is billing as a “semi-disturbance” for which we are to be investigated and perhaps punished — though not necessarily in that order. One awaits one’s disciplinary hearing in the hole, and if one if found guilty, one is sentenced to … the hole. More than a week after being confined, I’ve yet to even be charged with an infraction.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Death in a North Dallas Cult

As with the Von Erich family saga, this week’s newest entry in our 40 Greatest Stories series, is a piece that happens to have been written before the saga at its center was anywhere near complete.

In 1982, George Rodrigue — now managing editor of the Dallas Morning News — told of Terri Hoffman, a self-styled spiritual adviser whose followers had a habit of dying shortly after leaving their estates to her. But the mysterious deaths among those involved with Hoffman’s Conscious Development movement were just getting started.

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The Barrett Brown Review of Arts and Letters and Jail: More Like George Bernard Flaw

The other day I was holding forth to one of my fellow inmates about the perfidy of the federal justice system and what have you, noting that the great majority of its “offenders” are guilty of nothing more than consensual crimes like selling drugs and crossing national borders.

“Yeah, they shouldn’t be going after the drug dealers, but they have to crack down on these illegals because they’re wreaking havoc on the economy,” said the inmate who robs armored cars for a living.

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Ole Anthony Teaches Joe Bob Briggs About God

This week in our ongoing 40th anniversary victory lap, featuring the 40 greatest stories ever told in the pages of D Magazine, we have muckraker Ole Anthony of East Dallas’ Trinity Foundation giving that old-time religion to the guy behind Monstervision.

John Bloom, who has performed for years in the guise of redneck movie reviewer Joe Bob Briggs, wrote in the December 1999 issue of D Magazine of his long relationship with Anthony, which began when the two of them worked (and in the case of Anthony, lived) in the same Oak Lawn office building in the late 1970s.

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Ted Cruz’s Dad Says ‘the Bible Tells You Exactly Who to Vote For’

As the Raw Story notes, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz, GOP rock star Rafael Cruz, explained to a crowd in Massachusetts on Friday that the Bible outlines four qualifications for leaders:  “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.”

So there you have it: Vote King Solomon, 2016

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Defrocked Pedophile Priest Hid From His Past in Oak Lawn Apartment

Philadelphia Daily News has a story today about James Brzyski, a priest who was defrocked due to his sexual abuse of 17 boys in the 1970s and 1980s. Until last month he was living in an apartment complex in Oak Lawn.

At first his neighbors accepted his backstory of being a friendly retired Xerox employee when he moved there in October 2012, but they became suspicious after they saw him playing with young boys in the pool. He also bragged to them about going online to find males who looked underage, and that he liked “fat boys.”

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Dallas County is More Catholic, More Religious Than Most Its Neighbors

The other day the Washington Post ran this post featuring several maps created from data of the 2010 Religion Census, the work of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. The maps show the level of religious participation and diversity in each of country’s counties. Here’s what we learn about Dallas County.

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Santorum Flick Short of Opening-Weekend Goal

Last month, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, now CEO of Dallas-based EchoLight Studios, said the outfit was hoping for opening-weekend receipts of $2 million for its first national movie release, titled The Christmas Candle. Two million, Santorum said, would be like “hitting a home run.” Well, preliminary results for the film’s Nov. 22-Nov. 24 opening […]

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Romo Boosts Santorum’s First Big Film Venture

“This was easy,” Tony Romo was saying last night. “I love movies. I love Christmas. I love Jesus.” The Dallas Cowboys quarterback was explaining why he’d shown up at West Plano’s Cinemark Theater, where a new movie called The Christmas Candle was being premiered. The feature flick is the first national release from a Dallas […]

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