And you thought the pedophile priest scandal was bad

I hear the Episcopals are accepting new members.

Jesus: 'I was crucified for this!?!'

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With Troy McClure as the rich man AND Lazarus

“We’re here in Israel,” Ireland says into the camera during one recent promotional video shot on the Dead Sea, “because of our faith, our family, our loved ones, nonprofit work. And also, Israel is home to our brand partners E.L. Erman and Kathy Ireland Skin Care!” It’s unclear if she has won converts, but Kathy Ireland Worldwide claims $1.4 billion in annual sales.

Ireland is among a growing number of celebs not famous or notorious enough for “Dancing with the Has-Beens” but widely known nonetheless. The name Lisa Whelchel may not ring a bell, but if you’re 30 or older you’re probably familiar with Blair from “The Facts of Life.” Whelchel is now a best-selling author of a series of worship guides for busy mothers (and women who spend their nights picking up old men at the Chugalug bar).

At least she’s no longer acting. The “stars” of faith-based film include Lee Majors, Kristy Swanson, Gavin MacLeod, Kevin Sorbo and the Brando of cinema veritas, Kirk Cameron. Are we to believe Jesus is like Mexico, 10 years or so behind the cultural curve? And doesn’t a deity deserve better than Steve Austin and Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

I’m reminded of the Dennis Miller line: “No one ever finds Jesus on prom night.” Likewise, no one seems to find their way onto the J[esus]-List until their career has been reduced to hawking bionic hearing aids. Dontcha know Lee Majors Fawcett would tell the producers of “The Passion” prequel to find themselves another Joseph of Arimathea if the hot new reality series “Cooking with the 70s Superheroes” ever called.

I hear Elliott Gould is available.

Starbucks segregates

Yet another example of an American company choosing commerce over principal:

I hadn’t seen a Starbucks in months, but there it was, tucked into a corner of a fancy shopping mall in the Saudi capital. After all those bitter little cups of sludgy Arabic coffee, here at last was an improbable snippet of home — caffeinated, comforting, American.

I wandered into the shop, filling my lungs with the rich wafts of coffee. The man behind the counter gave me a bemused look; his eyes flickered. I asked for a latte. He shrugged, the milk steamer whined, and he handed over the brimming paper cup. I turned my back on his uneasy face.

Crossing the cafe, I felt the hard stares of Saudi men. A few of them stopped talking as I walked by and watched me pass. Them, too, I ignored. Finally, coffee in hand, I sank into the sumptuous lap of an overstuffed armchair.

“Excuse me,” hissed the voice in my ear. “You can’t sit here.” The man from the counter had appeared at my elbow. He was glaring.

“Excuse me?” I blinked a few times.

“Emmm,” he drew his discomfort into a long syllable, his brows knitted. “You cannot stay here.”

“What? Uh … why?”

Then he said it: “Men only.”

Starbucks isn’t alone in bowing to totalitarian regimes:

The “virus of internet repression” has spread from a handful of countries to dozens of governments, said the group.

Amnesty accused companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo of being complicit in the problem.

Google wants to control your life

And they’re not shy about it:

Google’s ambition to maximise the personal information it holds on users is so great that the search engine envisages a day when it can tell people what jobs to take and how they might spend their days off.

Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said gathering more personal data was a key way for Google to expand and the company believes that is the logical extension of its stated mission to organise the world’s information.

Asked how Google might look in five years’ time, Mr Schmidt said: “We are very early in the total information we have within Google. The algorithms will get better and we will get better at personalisation.

“The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ”

Has privacy become a quaint, foregone notion?