John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Also, Oklahoma City outlaws Michigan sportswear and a face-kicking preacher is turned away from the U.K.
Welcome back to our weekly look at what's been outlawed in cities across the world (last week's edition here):
RISKY DOGGY DANCING, IN THE U.K.
(The setting for this dance-off is probably not England.)
Britons who love nothing more than dancing with their puppies got a shock this week when the nation's prestigious Kennel Club allegedly banned the practice for being “humiliating and degrading for the dog,” according to this report in the Global Post. Waltzing with hounds is a common and much-loved “sport” in the realm of dog showmanship – it goes under the name “heelwork to music.” In fact, this year Ashleigh Butler and her four-legged pet Pudsey became the first inter-species boogieing sensation to ever win “Britain's Got Talent.” But the crackdown on canine cavorting wound up being overblown: The kennel club has since clarified that it is only concerned about “extreme moves” that could cause “harm or injury” to animals. Reports the Post: “This may include routines such as the Moonwalk or the Twist, which are particularly challenging for dogs.”
A FACE-KICKING PREACHER, IN ENGLAND
In a different twist on cruelty to animals, the U.K.'s Home Office has banned a preacher from entering the country because his gospel happens to include a belief in knocking people the eff out. A British government source said that a visit from Canadian minister Todd Bentley, who is gearing up for a European tour, was “not conducive to the public good.” Why's that? According to the The Telegraph:
The former drug addict, who describes receiving "prophetic and miracle-healing anointing" from God, has previously used his shows to "cure" cancer by kicking his followers in the face or stomach.
In clips, he is heard telling an audience: "And the Holy Spirit spoke to me, the gift of faith came on me. He said, 'kick her in the face with your biker boot'. I inched closer and I went like this – bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God."
Bentley has fired back against the media with a statement explaining that he does “not expect a secular audience or even many Christians to understand these isolated moments of healing through a gift of faith.” He says the kicking incident was a one-time thing that happened 13 years ago, and that... well, here's the reverend himself:
While operating in the gift of faith, I felt I was to kick a woman in the face as a step of obedience. I do not understand it but she was healed and not injured! This is one of several isolated accounts where I have prayed in an unorthodox manner for individuals, but I do not consider it violence when no one is injured and it is the gift of faith operating.
MICHIGAN, IN OKLAHOMA
Students in Oklahoma city don't have much of an option when it comes to showing off their sports fandom: It's Go, Oklahoma! all the way. This dismal fact of life was dragged into the spotlight recently when a local principal spotted a kindergartner wearing a University of Michigan shirt, and forced him to turn it inside out. And this was completely okay, because the city's public schools follow a strict “dress and grooming code” from 2005 that is supposed to prevent people flaunting gang affiliations. Item No. 6 in this code legislates against any clothing “bearing the names or emblems of all professional and collegiate athletic teams (with the exception of Oklahoma colleges and universities).” As per the code, wearing an out-of-state shirt is on par with wearing mini-shorts, tops that reveal a bare midriff, and “satanic cult dress.” The University of Michigan's athletic director has since promised to bring young Cooper Barton – he of the inside-out shirt – to a football game, and “put him up on the big screen.”