- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2014

IF YOU BUILD IT

Eat your heart out Smithsonian, the Museum of the Bible is headed for construction.

Officials with the Museum of the Bible announced this week that the project is scheduled to open in fall 2017, while construction on the 430,000-square-foot facility is set to start this season.

The museum is the creation of Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, and will house thousands of biblical artifacts that are part of the vast Green Collection. It’s taking over the former Washington Design Center in Southwest.

Visitors will get to walk through a replica of ancient Nazareth and take a spin on what officials are calling a “high-definition sensory ride.”

“From explorations of the Bible’s striking narratives to keen, scholarly engagement with some of the world’s rarest biblical treasures, there will be something at Museum of the Bible to engage everyone,” Mr. Green said.


SEE ALSO: Sandra Cano, the ‘Mary Doe’ of landmark abortion case, dies


HOLY HOTTIE

Pastor-to-the-stars Rich Wilkerson Jr. is getting his own reality show, according to E! Online.

Mr. Wilkerson, he of the great hair and smoldering stare, reportedly is getting a series on the Oxygen channel that will focus on his ministry with wife DawnChere at Trinity Church in Miami.

Mr. Wilkerson, son of televangelist Rich Wilkerson Sr., made headlines — and not a small clutch of fans — when he appeared nattily dressed in photos at Kim Kardashian’s and Kanye West’s wedding, which he officiated.

Tentatively titled “The Wilkersons,” the show would join Oxygen’s two other preacher series, “Preachers of L.A.” and the newly announced “Preachers of Detroit,” the Detroit News reported.

“Even though he preaches to the A-list, his true passion is sharing his faith with the world and being part of a movement of young believers,” Oxygen said in a statement.

TURBULENCE

A Chicago woman has started a petition asking Israeli airline El Al to provide a special seating section for ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who do not want to sit next to women.

Sharon Shapiro’s petition was posted to Change.org shortly after an El Al flight last week from New York to Israel was delayed for hours when a large group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers refused to sit next to women before take off, Shalom Life reported.

“One person’s religious rights do not trump another person’s civil rights,” Ms. Shapiro stated. “If El Al Airlines wants to truly accommodate all of its passengers, it will reserve a few rows of separate sex seating on every flight, where for a fee, those passengers who need such seating can pre-book their seats and not annoy or coerce other passengers before take-off to change seats with them — thereby avoiding arguments, bullying, and delayed take-off.”

By Thursday the petition had more than 3,100 signatures.

BATTLE OF THE BEARD

U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments are scheduled to start Monday in the case of Gregory Houston Holt, aka Abdul Muhammad, who is fighting for the right to grow a half-inch beard after declaring himself Muslim.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing Holt, who first filed a lawsuit in 2011 to get permission to grow his beard while serving a life sentence for stabbing his girlfriend.

Attorneys for the state of Arkansas say even a short beard can hide contraband and weapons that could be dangerous to others in the prison.

The Arkansas Department of Correction “takes religious freedom seriously, but it takes seriously its paramount interests in safety and security, too,” court papers state.

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