250 Anecdotes About Religion

Animals

  • Lawyers aren’t always necessary to resolve disputes between neighbors. When country comedian Jerry Clower was growing up, some cows broke out of a neighbor’s field one night, got into his stepfather’s cornfield, and caused considerable damage. The next morning, Mr. Clower’s stepfather went to the neighbor and said, “Your cows stayed in my field all night.” The neighbor apologized: “I’m sorry. My cows broke through the fence. I didn’t know they were in your field.” The neighbor then said, “I tell you what let’s do. Let’s go get an impartial person living in the community, a member of our church, and ask him to walk over the field to determine the damage. Then he can tell me how much corn he believes those cows ate and I will put that much corn in your corncrib.” That’s exactly what they did. They agreed on a fair and honest man to serve as judge of the damage. He walked through the cornfield, then said, “Twenty bushels is what’s due.” Later that afternoon, the neighbor drove up and unloaded 20 bushels of corn into Mr. Clower’s stepfather’s corncrib.[1]
  • In the summer of 1984, a small black dog began to come to the Catholic Church in Uvalde, Texas, where Msgr. Vincent Fecher serves. The dog arrived with its master, then stretched out on the lawn of the church. When the master left after Mass and went home, the dog stayed on the lawn, buried in the tall, cool grass, and it moved only to stay in the shade of a tree. At the end of the day, it went home until the following Sunday. Father Vincent says about the dog, “I always thought that its presence there, facing towards the sanctuary, was a silent sermon to everybody that even a dog had sense enough to come to church on Sundays.”[2]
  • Rabbi Stephen Wise met a man who boasted about a horse he had recently purchased. The horse could go as fast or as slow as you wanted. It could do any work to which it was put. It was gentle, but it had spirit. It went when you wanted it to go, and it stopped when you wanted it to stop. It had no bad habits, plus it came immediately when called, and it didn’t run off when confronted with something strange. Dr. Wise admired the horse, saying, “I wish that horse were a member of my congregation.”[3]
  • Buddhist texts say that animals should not be slaughtered for food, and Buddhist monks in Tibet make a vow not to kill any conscious being. While in his palace above the Tibetan capital city, Lhasa, the 14th Dalai Lama noticed people bringing in yaks for slaughter. By buying as many as he could, he saved 10,000 yaks from being slaughtered.[4]

Anti-Semitism

  • During the Middle Ages, an anti-Semite falsely accused a Jew of killing a Christian, who had accidentally drowned in a well. However, the anti-Semite said that he would let God decide whether the Jew was guilty. He would write “guilty” on one slip of paper and “innocent” on a second slip and let the Jew choose one. Whichever slip of paper the Jew chose would determine whether he would go free. However, the Jew knew that the anti-Semite would write the word “guilty” on both slips of paper. Therefore, he chose a slip of paper, but he quickly put it in his mouth and swallowed it. “Look at the other slip of paper,” he said. “That will tell you what the slip of paper I swallowed said.”[5]
  • Sherry Britton was a Jewish stripteaser. During World War II, an American soldier sent her a photograph of herself that he had taken from a dead Nazi soldier. Ms. Britton says, “If the German had known he was carrying around a picture of a Jewish girl, he wouldn’t have had to be killed. He would have committed suicide.”[6]
  • Oscar Strauss was Jewish and rich—and happy to be both. Long ago, while vacationing in Lakewood, New Jersey, he saw a house that rented rooms. In front of the house was this sign: “No dogs or Jews allowed.” A few minutes after he saw the sign, he bought the house and ordered the sign torn down.[7]
  • Hadrian saw a Jew, who greeted him. Hadrian said, “Should a Jew see Hadrian and greet him? Cut off his head.” Hadrian’s soldiers carried off the Jew and beheaded him. Hadrian then saw a Jew, who did not greet him. Hadrian said, “Should a Jew see Hadrian and not greet him? Cut off his head.”[8]
  • Soviet Jews suffered from anti-Semitism. In one underground joke, several Communists go to Heaven, form a party cell, and then discuss who should be the secretary. One of the Communists nominated God, but another Communist objected, “We can’t elect Him! He had a son in Israel!”[9]

Baseball

  • Sandy Koufax was a great Jewish major league pitcher. Umpire Tom Gorman was shocked to learn that Gene Oliver had hit .330 against Mr. Koufax, since Mr. Oliver was a left-handed hitter with a .220 batting average. He asked Mr. Oliver how he had managed to get so many hits against Mr. Koufax, and Mr. Oliver answered, “I’ll tell you, but it’s a secret. Don’t tell anybody. He thinks I’m Jewish.”[10]

[1] Source: Jerry Clower, Life Everlaughter, pp. 163-164.

[2] Source: Msgr. Vincent Fecher, “The Lord and I”: Vignettes from the Life of a Parish Priest, p. 30.

[3] Source: Henry D. Spalding, Jewish Laffs, pp. 88-89.

[4] Source: Whitney Stewart, The 14th Dalai Lama: Spiritual Leader of Tibet, p. 54.

[5] Source: Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Jewish Humor, pp. 150-151.

[6] Source: Tim Boxer, The Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame, p. 270.

[7] Source: Joey Adams, The Borscht Belt, p. 144.

[8] Source: Nahum N. Glatzer, editor, Hammer on the Rock, p. 107.

[9] Source: John Kolasky, collector and compiler, Look, Comrade—The People are Laughing …, p. 51.

[10] Source: Tom Gorman and Jerome Holtzman, Three and Two!, p. 77.

 

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