Discover more from Friendly Atheist
This Religious Leader Wears a Crown of Bullets
And that's not even the scariest thing about him.
Thank you for checking out this newsletter! Please consider becoming a full subscriber.
For the past few weeks, Right Wing Watch has been looking into the speeches of North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson after he appeared at a Christian Nationalist rally. Because he’s a relatively unknown political figure (despite his position!), these sermons don’t always get a lot of media attention… but when there’s a hint of bigotry in his public appearances, you can always predict something even worse at the private ones.
Most damning so far are the comments he made saying children in public schools shouldn’t be taught anything LGBTQ-related because those topics were inherently sexual and anti-Christian. He specifically said schools shouldn’t tell children “about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth.” So much for loving the sinner… that’s not calling out an action (which would be bad enough). That’s calling out the people.North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson says Christians must take control of public schools because children are being abused by being taught "filth": "There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth."
No wonder Democrats in the state called for his resignation. No wonder Robinson doubled down on his comments thanks to his newfound status as a culture warrior. And no wonder evangelist Franklin Graham praised him for “having the guts to stand up and tell the truth.”
Creationist Kent Hovind is scheduled to begin a month-long jail sentence on Monday after his act of domestic violence. His appeal failed. He’s spending his last free days with his Mini Me.
Listen: If you already have eight drunk driving convictions to your record, don’t go drinking and driving. But if you do that anyway, maybe try not to drive straight into the cops trying to keep the rest of the public safe.
Pastor David Jones of Hilton Oaks Baptist Church in Ferndale, Michigan didn’t get the memo.
Our favorite Bible teachers are really into it this week:
It didn’t get any better in their other segment:
Remember last week when a commission found that, since 1950, France’s Catholic Church has been responsible for harming 333,000 sexual abuse victims and employing roughly 3,200 abusers?
There’s one simple change that could help prevent at least some of these abuses in the future: Allow priests to inform law enforcement if someone confesses to them that they committed an act of sexual abuse. (That’s already what teachers and other public officials have to do!)
But the nation’s top Catholic leader insists that is out of the question, saying, “The secrecy of confession is a requirement and will remain a requirement.” Which means the Catholic Church cares more about providing a safe space for alleged child molesters than doing what’s necessary to protect victims.
If I tell you I have a story about a Christian home for troubled teens, you know it’s not going to end with the kids leaving and telling the world what a wonderful experience they had.
Thanks to the New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv, we now have an inside look at Teen Challenge, a group that received federal funding for years… only to traumatize many of the children whose lives they took over. There are cases of solitary confinement, a restriction on touching or talking to other people, and anti-LGBTQ bigotry.
Even if you don’t have time to watch this entire John Oliver segment about how misinformation spreads, take a minute to watch this part (at 13:13) about how easy it is to manipulate Indian parents in particular…
I usually think of the Universal Life Church as the place that ordains random people so they can perform a friend’s wedding ceremony in places where a religious officiant is required. In Ohio, however, parent Kristen Grant got her ULC ordination, then used it to sign off on over 150 “religious exemption” forms so public school students wouldn’t have to comply with a local mask mandate.
The ULC hasn’t said it would revoke her ordination, but I’m more shocked that the school district hasn’t done away with the religious exemption loophole. The virus doesn’t care what religion you are; if people stop wearing masks, the virus will spread. It’s just that simple.
I should really break up this newsletter with some good news. In California, an atheist group was the top fundraiser for a local Walk to End Alzheimer’s. It’s not too late to donate to the organization through the atheist group. (I gave already.)
Monica Cole, the one mom at One Million Moms, is now going after Credit Karma for using an ad in which two dads talk about their credit score… because, of course, it features two dads and that WAS A CHOICE. She says the ad helps “normalize sin” by “pushing the LGBTQ agenda.”
Here’s the ad. You tell me if it’s traumatizing.
Last year, Pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch asked the government for nearly $4.5 million in PPP loans due to COVID. None of the cash went into Osteen’s pocket, but it was still noteworthy that one of the largest churches in the nation supposedly needed a government handout to stay afloat.
Now, the church says it’s paying back the money. We don’t know how much they’ve paid back or if they intend to return all of it, but the Houston Chronicle says they’ve seen statements verifying money is being sent back to the government.
The nice thing about discovering the personal hobbies and interests of your kids’ teachers is that you find out they’re normal people. They’re human!
The down side is that parents might call for your firing because you posted pictures of yourself with Iron Maiden paraphernalia.
One presumably Christian mother said that image and another of Sharon Burns, the principal of Eden High School in St. Catharines, Ontario, verifies “her allegiance to Satanic practices.” (It does not.)
Thankfully it looks like the community is overwhelmingly on Burns’ side here.
Guess what? Being “vaccinated in Christ” means you might still catch COVID and die. That’s what happened to Pete Coulson, an Idaho conservative who had recently worked to weed out “left-leaning curricula in Idaho’s K-12 public schools.”
Problem solved. Conservative Christians can move on now.
This is the sequel I didn’t know I wanted:
The Archbishop of Toledo would like you to know he made a very big oopsie when he allowed two pop stars to record a video in the Toledo Cathedral, one of the most famous buildings in Spain. The video is really a love song about an atheist who starts believing in God because an angel is standing in front of him (*gag*), but the message isn’t as important to the Archbishop as the suggestive dancing.
If your job is the chief of police in Tallahassee, Florida, don’t go to a Christian conference and encourage fellow cops to convert their colleagues. Lawrence Revell did that earlier this month, but it’s likely he won’t face any consequences.
Just gonna leave this here:
Okay, one more, why not.
And I have to throw in your Weekly Moment of Gene Kim:
And maybe someone who works at a church could explain to me the thought process that goes from sermon idea to execution:
According to Christian pseudo-historian David Barton, all those slaveowners in the South before the Civil War weren’t as Christian as the people in the North. Sure, they had Bibles, but they didn’t “read it much,” he said. Which just makes me wonder: What the hell else were they doing with their time, David?!
A gun-obsessed religious cult that’s a spinoff from the Moonies — and run by a man who wears a crown of bullets — just purchased a giant piece of property in Tennessee on which they plan to build a training center and schools for kids… and that’s the scariest sentence I’ve seen all week.
Have I mentioned the crown of bullets?
I know there are a bunch of stories about the origins of Halloween, but I assure you that everything hate-preacher Greg Locke says here is just flat-out wrong.
Pope John Paul I, who died suddenly after a brief month-long stint as pope in 1978, has been beatified by the Catholic Church. And if that sounds totally normal to you, it’s because you don’t know how ridiculous the whole concept of beatification is.
Is this real? I don’t know. But I’m totally amused by it:
Here’s some good news: When pastors bring up vaccines in church, they overwhelmingly encourage people to get their shots!
The bad news? Most pastors don’t talk about vaccines at all… and the ones who oppose them get 99.99999% of the media attention.
If you’re looking for some good reading material this weekend, check out this new law journal article (I promise it’s easy to read) from Caroline Mala Corbin about why the Pledge of Allegiance laws in Texas and Florida are unconstitutional. As it stands, students in those states have to say the Pledge unless they have their parents’ permission.
Donald Trump said earlier this month, "Nobody has done more for Christianity or for evangelicals or for religion itself than I have.” Lucky for us, NBC’s Amber Ruffin compiled several things Trump did for Christianity. (Hey, he didn’t say he did good things.)