As all citizens of the United States are doubtlessly aware, last week was National Bible Week -- the annual, interfaith, government-sanctioned tribute to the best-selling work of fiction in history. In honor of the Bible's extraordinary influence on contemporary life (an influence rivaled only by the cotton gin, MTV, and gravity), Last Days devotes this week's column to the bossy, bloody, woman-hating pages of the Good Book. Amen!

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22 Blessed are those who kill their own children, then kill themselves. The week begins with this morbid tale from Rochester, Washington, where today police discovered the bodies of the Briggs family (father Thomas, wife Dawn, kids Jesse and Deona) in their Thurston County home. The Seattle P-I reports that investigators initially viewed the deaths as a standard murder-suicide, with Thomas Briggs killing his wife and two children -- aged seven and 10 -- before shooting himself in the head. (As the children's bodies showed no signs of trauma, they are believed to have been poisoned.) But the investigators' later discovery of notebooks filled with biblical references and writings about death (as well as the butchered remains of the family's two cats and three guinea pigs) suggests darker dealings. "We are still looking at it as a murder-suicide," said Thurston County Detective Lt. Brad Watkins, who declined to comment on whose handwriting was in the notebooks as well as on the notebooks' specific content. Still, as anyone with more than five minutes of Sunday school experience can tell you, this tragedy was classic biblical role-playing, with father Thomas stepping into the role of Abraham, and the rest of the family portraying the sacrificial son Isaac.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23 Blessed are the vandals, who shield the eyes of the innocent. In the wake of yesterday's painfully strange story, here's a relatively sane item from Vienna, where a portrait of Adam and Eve in an Austrian church was defaced this week by an unidentified vandal. "The genitals were cut out," a police spokesman in the southern town of Villach told Reuters today. Apparently the contemporary portrait did not portray the traditional image of Adam and Eve discreetly hiding their privates with fig leaves, thereby enraging the slash-happy vandal, who performed the impromptu genital mutilation and fled undetected, obviously under divine protection.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24 Blessed are the freaks who make Bible Week possible. For the record, National Bible Week didn't just spring fully formed from God's butt; like the Bible, it was created by the hand of man -- many men, actually, who tweaked and yanked and reinterpreted the event to suit their own ends since its inception in 1941. This year, National Bible Week is spearheaded by one William E. Simon, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury and current private merchant banker. As part of his (volunteer) duties to inspire the lethargic masses to pick up the Word, Simon suggests favorite Bible passages "as nourishment for daily life." Simon's Wednesday pick: Colossians 3.17: "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Upon reading Simon's inspirational verse, Last Days immediately lied to a telemarketer in the name of the Lord Jesus, ate a handful of Wheat Thins in the name of the Lord Jesus, then had sex with a surprisingly limber intern in the name of the Lord Jesus.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25 Blessed are those who hunger for justice. The Old Testament's Book of Exodus received a thrilling reenactment in Seattle this week, as a King County Superior Court ruled against the use of "permatemps." As some of you know, Exodus recounts the freeing of the Israelites from slavery, thanks to the politicking of Moses and the generosity of Pharaoh. As more of you know, "permatemps" are full-time "temporary" employees who perform the same tasks as permanent employees -- only without health insurance, sick leave, or pension benefits. In this week's Exodus replay (reported in today's Seattle P-I), the role of Moses was assumed by attorney Judith Bendich, who pleaded the case of enslaved permatemp Susan Coles to the ruling Pharaoh/Superior Court Judge Kathleen Learned. Upon hearing of worker Coles' five years of unbenefitted "temporary" service as a county employee for Metro, Judge Learned ruled that such permatemp practices were (duh) illegal -- a decision that will affect hundreds of workers and could require King County to pay a million dollars or more in damages.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26 Blessed are mothers who use legal means to protect their children's genitals. In a court-mandated slap in the face to Abraham's covenant with God (as well as the teachings of the Koran), today a British Court of Appeal ruled that a Christian woman could stop her Muslim ex-husband from subjecting their five-year-old son to ritual circumcision. In the first case of its kind to reach British courts, Judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss declared that "the decision to circumcise a child is a very important one" that should only be performed for "the welfare of the child, not the religious wishes of the parents," reports Reuters. Following the ruling, the enraged Muslim father was dragged from the courthouse after diving at his son with a carrot peeler.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27 Blessed are those who attempt to make us laugh, even when they fail. Today in The Seattle Times, columnist Reverend Dale Turner attempts to shed light on "one of God's greatest gifts": humor. As every intelligent Bible reader knows, the Good Book is loaded with God's comedy, from the scene in Genesis where Lot's daughters repeatedly get their dad drunk and take turns having sex with him, to the entire book of Leviticus. Unfortunately, Reverend Turner ignores these in-house bits of humor, choosing instead to pontificate on the "tonic effect of laughter," and offering a prayer for the ability to recognize a joke. Turner also refers to the brilliant wit of Jesus, but fails to offer one traceable example, of which there are many. (Our favorites: Jesus' perpetual mindfucking of the masses with deceptively simple tenets, and his tricking that ho into washing his feet with her hair.)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28 Blessed are those who defend themselves against naked, Samurai sword-wielding freaks by brandishing instruments of worship. In the latest act of church-based violence, today in Surrey, England, a naked man with a Samurai sword ran amok during Mass at St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church, slashing at churchgoers' throats and faces and injuring 15 people, reports the Associated Press. But the real story is in the rescue: In an act of quick-thinking, pragmatic heroism, off-duty Police Constable Tom Tracey (who had been singing a psalm) ripped out an organ pipe and struck the attacker over the head, while another member of the congregation protected himself with a big metal cross. There are no clues yet as to why the swordsman was naked.

Bible Week is over, thank God. Send your secular Hot Tips to or phone the Hot Tips Hotline at 323-7101 ext 3113.