Needless to say, wrong, wrong and wrong. Haman was the first minister, not the king (Esther 3:6). Achašveroš (probably Xerxes, though some insist it's Artaxerxes) protected the Jews and in the end punished Haman for what he attempted to do (Esther 8:7). And just in case anyone would choose to believe that bit about how Persians hate the Jews and vice-versa, just remember Cyrus the Great and the fact that Isaiah 45:1 refers to him as "God's annointed", מְשִׁיחַ.
So you understand the nervous twitch I get everytime I spot a language or linguistics-related article in SME. And oh boy, it's two-for-one day at SME Plaza! Just look at the title of this report on a petition put forward by Slovak Rusyns:
"Rusíni chcú návrat staroslovienčiny do liturgií"
"Rusyns Demand Return of Old Church Slavonic Liturgy"
I don't even need to read the article to spot two examples of grade-A BS:
1. Old Church Slavonic hasn't been in use as a language of liturgy in Slavic countries for several hundred years. Some time in the 12th century (possibly much later), it was replaced by Church Slavic.
2. Rusyns cannot even demand the return of Church Slavic since it was never abolished. To my knowledge, Slovak Greek-Catholic (Uniat) Church still gives the priests and the congregations the choice of using either Church Slavic or Slovak in liturgy. True, the use of Church Slavic is in decline (and it's my fault, too), but it is by no means uncommon, let alone something that the worshippers must demand.
It gets better after that. Contrary to the impression given by the title, the first paragraph claims that the focus of the petition is not the return of Church Slavic, but that the undersigned request the return of the use of the newly codified Rusyn language in liturgy. Confused? You ain't seen nothin' yet. To my knowledge, Rusyn has never been officially used as a liturgical language. And indeed if you read the actual text of the petition, you will find that the undersigned voice their dissatisfaction with the fact that most Greek-Catholic priest were trained in Slovak, not Rusyn, that there are no translations of Gospels, prayer books and textbooks into Rusyn and that neither priests nor bishops are willing to deliver sermons and read from the Gospels in (codified) Rusyn. In other words, the petition requests that the Rusyn faithful be given the same rights as every other ethnic group recognizing the authority of the Pope which is to worship in their own native language. But you wouldn't learn that from the article. And that's a pity, because neither the text of the petition nor the article and those interviewed for the article make it clear what the relationship between Church Slavic and Rusyn should be according to the Rusyn Academy. Now there is a question I'd love to see answered.
Did I mention how much I hate journalists?
Oh and if you can read this, it means that the technical problems plaguing me have been at least partly resolved and we will resume our regularly scheduled programming shortly.