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There's No Low-Hanging Fruit When Covering Conservative Christians
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In 2014, I wrote a post about an insane restaurant in Colorado called “Shooters” that was catering specifically to customers who brought guns onto the premises. The owner made a point of advertising her Christianity and said how excited she was to be “throwing guns and Jesus all over the place.”
Should I have written about that? You might argue it was low-hanging fruit and I was elevating a relative nobody, unfairly suggesting she represented a larger group of Christians. That would be a fair critique, I think. A Christian saying or doing something ridiculous isn’t necessarily news on its own. The circumstances matter.
But when someone uses religion to justify right-wing lunacy, in a way that’s arguably hypocritical, I don’t think it should be ignored. It’s not going away just because you’re not looking. And in this case, I was proven right because the owner of that gunstaurant, Lauren Boebert, was elected to Congress in 2020.
Sometimes the craziest right-wing Christians end up on even larger stages. They’re able to get there in part because no one’s calling out their insanity during their rise to power.
Which is a long way of saying Mark Robinson, a relative nobody who became the Lt. Governor of North Carolina last year after winning the GOP primary as an outspoken Black conservative (then winning a close race in the general election), has ambitions beyond that. He may well run for governor.
All the more reason we should be talking about how he’s spent the past several months claiming forced religion in public schools could prevent mass shootings, that “transgenderism” and “homosexuality” amount to “filth,” and that the trans movement is “demonic” and full of “Antichrist spirit.”
What is Mike Pence up to?… is a question you haven’t been asking. But just FYI, he spoke at a conservative Christian school this week and spread right-wing propaganda about how teaching kids about racism would scar them for life.
How many days of paternity leave should a new father have? If you listen to Christian pseudo-historian Tim Barton (son of David), the answer is a “couple days” tops — because in fundamentalist Christian circles, it’s not like a new dad is expected to help out. (Who needs to bond with a kid, anyway, amirite?)
Texans is about to vote on Proposition 3 (among other things), which would ban the government from shutting down churches in the event of a future pandemic. It’s just wildly irresponsible… but this is Texas. So it could happen. I made a video explaining the problem:
It’s bad enough when conservative parents sue a school district over mask mandates. It’s even worse when one of those parents insists the school is only making kids wear masks as part of some “satanic ritual.” I swear this is an actual screenshot from the lawsuit filed in Philadelphia:
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Randall Balmer, the author of Bad Faith: Race and the Rise of the Religious Right. His book goes into the history of how the Religious Right didn’t actually form in retaliation to Roe v. Wade, as many people might suspect, but as a way to perpetuate segregation. It’s only when being openly racist became untenable that they switched to abortion as their driving cause.
Check out the full interview here!
Someone not named Gene Kim is also preaching with a whiteboard and I, for one, do not like how this is becoming a thing.
In case you’re feeling deprived, though, here’s your Kim fix:
A Christian pastor recently found out that Hillsboro High School in Ohio was going to put on the play “She Kills Monsters,” all about a young woman whose family dies in an accident. As she goes through her sister’s belonging, the main character learns that her sister struggled with her sexuality and was the victim of bullying.
It’s an emotionally gripping play that taps into a lot of fears and concerns of young adults… which is why Jeff Lyle of Good News Gathering church called for the play to be canceled.
Unfortunately, the school agreed. But there’s a silver lining: A fundraiser to help the students perform the play over the summer in a larger venue has become wildly successful. Moral of the story: God may fail you, but the Streisand Effect never will.
Creationist and domestic abuser Kent Hovind must know I watch his videos. That’s the only possible explanation for this.
Proving once against that conservatives don’t have a sense of humor, Republican candidate for U.S. House, Mark Burns, spoke at a church service and laughed uproariously when the congregation broke into a chant of “Let’s go, Brandon” (a euphemism for “Fuck Joe Biden”).
Just like Jesus, these people…
When was the last time Liberty University was in the news for something good? I can’t remember. It doesn’t help that a new report shows how little they cared about reports of sexual assault on campus, basically responding to complaints with the question, “Well, what was she wearing?”
On top of that, a recently fired administrator, Scott Lamb, who’s suing the school, revealed that Liberty’s right-wing “think tank,” the Falkirk Center, was really just a guise to help Republicans get elected. Which, honestly, shouldn’t surprise anyone given how little thinking occurs on campus.
Several members of the Congressional Freethought Caucus called on the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection "to take necessary steps to protect consumers from the dangers presented by Health Care Sharing Ministries." It’s an attempt to rein in pseudo-insurance companies that take advantage of gullible religious people.
Looking for a place to publish your writing? This may apply to you!
It’s almost Halloween, so here’s a scary thought: Josh Mandel, the former Ohio lawmaker and State Treasurer, may soon become a U.S. senator… and he said during a panel with other GOP candidates that “there’s no such thing as separation of church and state.” No coded language. Just saying the quiet part out loud because he knows his base doesn’t give a damn what the Constitution says.
We’ve known for a while that church attendance is on the decline, but even I was surprised to see that’s also true on military bases.
Listen: If you refer to yourself as a “Christocrat,” nothing good will come of it. In the case of Vision America founder and pastor Rick Scarborough, he says he’s raising millions of dollars to make sure right-wing extremists win school board races in a few districts in Houston — and then throughout Texas.
Back in 2015, Presbyterian minister John Shuck wrote a guest post for me in which he talked about why he doesn't believe in God. He used God as a symbol. It was "shorthand for all the things for which I long: beauty, truth, healing, and justice."
It turns out he's spent the past several years dabbling in conspiracies. He was a 9/11 "Truther" and climate denier. He rejected the pandemic, saying vaccinated people were part of some "Covidian Cult." Last week, he died of COVID.
Watch out for rabbit holes, everyone.
In a widely discussed New York Times guest essay, Ryan Burge writes that the percentage of white evangelicals in America has gone up even as other religious labels have declined in popularity… but it’s not because people are more drawn to Jesus. He says it’s because “evangelical” has really become shorthand for a Trump-loving MAGA supporter. (I’ll be making a video about this soon!)
Do you see anything wrong with this ad for a mattress company?
Of course you don’t. Because you’re normal and you know the ad is fine. But Monica Cole, the one mom at One Million Moms, is throwing a hissy fit because the company is “attempting to normalize sin by featuring same sex couples in bed together.”
I have no clue why openly gay people would want to work for the Catholic Church, especially when they have plans to get married (and presumably not remain celibate)… but this music teacher seems shocked that he was fired after the Church discovered he was in a same-sex marriage. He makes it sounds like the fact that he was a really good teacher ought to give him some job security.
My dude: You’re working for the Catholic Church, not an institution known for basic human decency. What did you think was going to happen?
This is what the dress code in Pennsylvania’s Rose Tree Media School District looks like:
“Satanic in nature”? Was this written in the 1980s? It was vague and troublesome enough that Joseph Rose, the founder of a local group called Satanic Delco, shared his concerns with the administration. It worked. The district has since removed that line from all updated versions of the student handbook.
A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that most Americans support church/state separation… but a hell of a lot of them have no clue what that actually looks like in practice.
I’ll just leave this here for your amusement.
Look! Good news! Five Sikh men were on a hiking trail in Vancouver when they saw two hikers in a precarious position, to the point where the water could’ve swept them up. Despite a religious requirement not to take off their turbans in public, they did it anyway, and rescued the men.
One of the Sikh men later said, “We can tie [the turban] again as many times as we want, but that life, we can’t bring it back.” It’s good to see decency outweigh dogma.
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