A friend who lurks on a conservative religious web forum sent me the following entry he saw there today, for a chuckle:

I do not believe in shaking hands. I especially will not shake hands with the heathen. This is an absolutely outrageous custom. If you do not know them and they are most likely not even spiritual, but are rather like the average citizen of the kingdom of darkness, then why on earth would the servants of God want to shake hands with them? Handshakes transmit energies into the bodies. Also, most of the heathen males masturbate daily with their right hand. But if you do not shake hands with them then they will not accept you into their dark world of “professionalism” (i.e. service of demons). They even have a whole way of judging you by your handshakes, whether it was firm and assertive and trustworthy, or whether it was weak and that you are therefore somehow a lesser person. This is absolutely crazy! Does anyone else believe this?

Woo! Don’t even get this dude started on the kiss of peace during church!

I think we can all recognize that this guy is — what’s the theological term? — a professional nutter. Something tells me there’s a whole lot of projection going on in that posting. When I shared this with an Episcopalian friend, he wrote back:

I sure hope no one from oldline Protestant churches sees that thread. I can already imagine study papers like “The Justice-Love of Self-love by Right-handed Heathens: A Neglected Mission Field.”

Which not only made me snort, but gave me the idea for a contest on this blog. Imagine that you are a professor at the Episcopal Divinity School, Union Theological, or some other bastion of mainline liberalism. Let’s say you read this Internet poster’s harangue against demon-serving, masturbating heathens, and the thought of the pain that these poor souls endure from being rejected by the church is overwhelming. So you decide to organize a course or seminar to train the next generation of right-thinking clergy to do outreach to this population. What do you call the course?

“Radical Autonomy: Loving and Self-Loving the Autoerotically Marginalized”

“The ‘Sin’ of Onan? Spilled Seeds of Contemplation about ‘Heathenism’ and Hospitality”

“Hand in Hand: Reaching Out in Trust to the Self-Pleasuring Community”

“Tissues of Lies: Breaking The Religious Right’s Grip on Male Spirituality”

Et cetera. Go!

UPDATE: Take that, o ye of little faith.