By now almost everyone knows about the nutcase who disrupted the Olympic Marathon:

ATHENS, Greece – A man wearing a brightly colored costume bolted from the crowd and grabbed the leader of the marathon Sunday, about three miles from the finish. The intruder wrestled Vanderlei Lima of Brazil to the curb and into the crowd. Police tackled the intruder and freed Lima.
Lima, whose lead had been slowly shrinking, was able to get back into the race. But he lost several more seconds, and eventually was overtaken by Stefano Baldini of Italy.
The intruder, who police said was from Portugal, was arrested. His name was not immediately available.

Portugal threw me off entirely, as I looked at the picture and thought the guy was dressed as Christopher Columbus and had tackled the Brazilian as a bizarre way to protest colonial Imperialism.
Well, it turns out he wasn’t Portuguese; he’s a well known, defrocked priest from Ireland.
A Kerry priest!
If you think I am kidding, read this:

THE Kerry priest who brought the British Grand Prix to a halt last week has been remanded in custody for a further two weeks.
Scartaglin-born Fr Neil Horan?s second application for bail was refused at a hearing at Northampton Magistrates Court on Monday.
Fr Horan, 56, who is now residing in Nunhead, London, was arrested by Northampton police after he ran onto the Silverstone track during the Grand Prix on Sunday, July 20. Wearing a kilt and a tam o?shanter on his head, Fr Horan waved a banner that read “Read the Bible ? the Bible is always right”.

I just knew there had to be a Kerry connection! (Aren’t they busy enough with the Republicans in New York?)
Seriously, though, Father Horan is a serious man with a serious message, and some serious, um, issues:

?Remember it took only 20 minutes to destroy the Twin Towers on September 11. The end is closer than we think,? Horan predicted recently.
Fr Neil Horan, aged 56, from Scartaglen, County Kerry, has been making grim predictions for many years, but sees himself as an agent of peace in a troubled world. Dressed in a kilt, he has been stepping it out and dancing around the globe for peace. He also believes the rich cultural heritage of his native Sliabh Luachra, famous for its traditional music and dance, is guaranteed a place in the post-Armageddon world.
?Music will play a huge part in lifting the human spirit after the Final War,? says the London-based cleric who describes himself as a Catholic priest on sabbatical.
?I took up step dancing when I was studying theology in St Peter?s College, in Wexford, mainly because I can?t sing,? adding that he?s no Michael Flatley, but still wants to use his talents in the best way he can.
Ordained in 1973 by Bishop Eamon Casey and posted to England, his talent came in useful when he started working in multicultural parishes, mainly in the London area. ?Dance is a powerful way of bridging the gap between different nationalities. Language barriers tend to come into a song, but dance is visual. Dancing introduces a lighter side to things.?
Fr Horan believes that war will be instrumental in the formation of what he terms the New Kingdom. He says that suffering is the price to be paid for the ?joyful? post-apocalyptic world, which he feels should come into being in the next 10 years or so.

I have no problem with dancing as a way to save the world, just as I have no problem with protests. But there is such a thing as time, place and manner. (As I hastened to point out again in the last post.)
This Father Horan is not new to the blogosphere; Anthony Wells has posted about him at least twice.
Sports columnists like stuff like this, of course.
Father Horan is also a published author of at least two books — Christ Will Soon Take Power From All Governments, and The Bible And The Grand Prix Priest (the latter refers to his dancing on the racetrack; can dancing against NASCAR be far behind?) — both of which are available here:

Even the most hardened cynic will get that prickly feeling down the back of his neck as he reads this book.

Definitely my kind of book!
Is God speaking to us through this man?
Before you laugh, bear in mind that Father Horan has some serious supporters:

One can only admire the man, who describes himself as a priest on sabbatical, for having the courage to risk life and limb to highlight his beliefs but, in that respect, he has been ploughing a long furrow for decades. In keeping with our policy of giving a voice to individuals or groups that find themselves in a distinct minority, this newspaper has been charting the life and times of the Scartaglin-born priest for many years.
We have reported faithfully on his one-man crusade for world peace, his peace dance at the House of Commons, his correspondence with world leaders and his heartfelt belief that the end of the world, as we know it, is fast approaching and will be replaced by “a glorious new world”. Fr Horan?s publicity campaign has stemmed from a genuine belief that the end is nigh and, dear reader, who are we to dispute his stance or dismiss his predictions? His decision to race onto the track at Silverstone while the British Grand Prix was in full flight was the act of a man desperate to get his point across and it confirmed that he was willing to risk his own life be true to his convictions.

Creative dancing? Religious zeal? Or mental illness? One of the reasons why unstable people escalate is because (as in the case of Michael Marcavage) they’re encouraged and enabled by people who see them as shock troops for their own cause.
I think it’s just as well that Horan wasn’t Portuguese, or dressed as Columbus, because he’d be attracting more supporters.
It hasn’t escaped my attention that many who claim to oppose religion in politics (except fundamentalist Islam, of course) are in their behavior at least as sanctimonious, as glazed in the eyes — and even as messianic — as the religious zealots they condemn. (Messianic photo-link via Glenn Reynolds.)