WEEK IN REVIEW: Christians "vandalized" their own billboards
Banning the Bible, a proselytizing football coach, a new last name for me, and more!
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This week, the Supreme Court heard a case of a football coach who cried “persecution” after he was told he couldn’t hold a prayer spectacle at midfield after football games. Sure, he could pray on his own in private, but Joe Kennedy seemed to insist that prayers only count if everyone sees you do it on a football field while students are in the area, just like Jesus commanded.
There’s almost no doubt the conservative Court will rule in his favor. The only question is how much damage they’ll cause by allowing Christian proselytizing to go unchecked even at a public school.
Meanwhile, if you listened to “The Daily,” the popular podcast from the New York Times, you would come away from the case thinking Kennedy was fired (no), that no students were coerced into praying (no), and that he still lived in Bremerton (no). If the Times can’t get these details right, how can anyone expect the Supreme Court to give this case a fair hearing?
If Florida’s Republican leaders want to ban books that are inappropriate for children, then atheist Chaz Stevens says the Bible needs to be removed, too. He sent a letter explaining his reasoning to several large school districts in the state. No one has responded yet, but the suggestion alone should remind everyone that appropriateness is always in the eye of the beholder.
By the way, when FOX News requested an interview with him, here’s how he responded:
A truly disturbing video was circulating online this week showing an eight-year-old girl from India having her hair ripped off, clump by clump, strand by strand, as a way to prove she’s indifferent to pain. It’s part of a Jain religious ritual that marks her entry into the priesthood.
Besides the pointless cruelty of this ritual at any age, or the fact that a child is committing herself to becoming a nun before she’s even reached the age of reason, it’s scary how many media outlets reported on this story only because of the hair thing. Her family supporting the abuse and her entry into the religious “elite” doesn’t seem to be problematic for anyone.
Speaking of child abuse, a 26-year-old former youth pastor allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl from his church after her family and church elders blessed their eventual marriage, and WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WRITE.
In any case, the victim is now 40 and she recently told law enforcement what happened to her all those years ago. The ex-pastor, who now lives in Australia, has been hit with multiple charges including sexual assault. But there’s an open question about whether he’ll be extradited from Queensland.
Aww… I got a shout-out from hate-preacher Greg Locke. Or at least someone with the last name Matata did.
When fundamentalist preachers say insane things, it’s usually enough to just compile the tweets like I do in this newsletter. But Jason Graber of Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Spokane, Washington went so much further than usual when he called for the execution of public school teachers who allegedly “groomed” children… on live television.
Did you know that a group of Christian nationalists gathered at Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma recently, alongside several elected Republican politicians, to promote the Big Lie that Donald Trump didn’t lose the 2020 election? Because it definitely happened. The fact that it’s not a national scandal suggests the media has become numb to this kind of right-wing extremism, but if we don’t highlight how absurd this gathering was for anyone willing to listen, what hope is there of fixing the problem?
Do pastors even read their tweets before sending them out?
I do not understand how a mother who enrolls her child in a Catholic school can be shocked when that school promotes anti-abortion propaganda to kids. But this is in Ontario, Canada, where Catholic schools receive public funding, so Rachelle Lynn Dixon thought there would be more safeguards in place. (Spoiler: The Catholic Church doesn’t do safeguards.)
This may be my favorite dumb controversy of the week. The team behind the Christian TV show “The Chosen” put up billboards in the hopes of generating interest. None of that was weird… until the billboards all appeared to be vandalized, with messages urging people not to watch the show. Turns out it was part of the same marketing campaign.
Christian persecution is such a myth that the people behind a Christian show had to fake their own victimhood because no one cared about their show enough to vandalize their ads.
An Alabama couple wants to adopt a child, and they look amazing on paper, but they don’t appear to have any path forward because they were told by one of the few non-faith-based agencies that birth mothers never want to place their kids in the homes of people without religious faith.
I would argue, however, that birth mothers may not realize what they’re missing. If they knew people like Alaina Browning, who’s not religious, then their original religious desires might fall by the wayside. If the goal is to place kids in loving homes, then religious shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for anyone.
For some reason (attention), disgraced former American Atheists president Dave Silverman decided to chastise the head of Black Nonbelievers for educating a mostly white audience about racism at the recent AA convention… when, in his mind, she should only be recruiting Black people at “non-friendly” events.Mandisa Thomas () of has spent years making atheist communities more welcoming to people of color. Dave Silverman, the disgraced former head of American Atheists, measures her success by only one (very bad) metric, then offers some (very bad) advice.Once again, Dave Silverman, the disgraced former head of American Atheists, has advice for Mandisa Thomas () of on how to more effectively "recruit" Black people to atheist events. As you'd expect, the "advice" is... bad. Very bad.
It raises some very interesting questions: Did Silverman ever have reason-based principles? What broke his brain? Is he so desperate for validation that winning over conservative bigots strikes him as victory?
Who knows. But while he’s ranting about the supposed lack of progress in the movement, American Atheists just announced that two women are now helping lead their organization into the future as Chair and Treasurer:
This is pretty exciting: A new podcast is launching soon, featuring four women lawyers talking about church/state separation: Liz Cavell (FFRF), Rebecca Markert (FFRF), Alison Gill (American Atheists), and Monica Miller (American Humanist Association). The podcast is called We Dissent. A promo is up and the monthly show will premiere soon.
Turns out Jerry Falwell Jr.’s wife isn’t a very good liar. So at least she and Jerry have that in common.
Leave it to conservative Christians to respond to a crisis they made up (liberals indoctrinating kids) by saying they’re going to indoctrinate them in the other direction. The end result, unless someone steps in, is a shift to the right. That’s always the goal of these smear campaigns against the left; unless people fight back, the Overton window keeps moving in the wrong direction.
Stop calling it a tithe. It’s an investment in the Bank of Heaven, says preacher Hank Kunneman.
Republicans want their brand of conservative Christianity forced upon all public school students. And no one should let them get away with saying otherwise.
Republican conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Greene says God should’ve destroyed us by now. So I guess we do agree on something…
Here. Let us all suffer together:
DarkMatter2525 has a great look at Christian hypocrisy when it comes to “grooming” children via indoctrination:
Leave it to Franklin Graham to say bigotry is wholesome while Disney is sinful. It’s a perfect encapsulation of modern evangelical Christianity.
Let’s peek into the world of preacher Gene Kim:
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, had a slew of horrible tweets:I've heard plenty of arguments in favor of homeschooling. "Boys are dumb and can't handle chairs" is a new one.
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Tommy McMurtry claims that if kids are never told anything about homosexuality, then nature will "run its course" and they will be "repulsed by anything homosexual-related."Christian hate-preacher Jason Graber, who believes the right-wing "groomer" lies, says such teachers should be shot in the head or beheaded on live TV. He's not joking. More here: onlysky.media/hemant-mehta/p…Christian hate-preacher Jason Graber says women shouldn't be judges, including Amy Coney Barrett, whose name he can't remember. "I have two problems with her: For one, she's Catholic... second of all, you're a woman, so you're not qualified to be a judge."
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 26. God's teaching us about obedience and disobedience. (Which is weird because I thought that's what this whole book was about.)
Finally, enjoy 40 minutes of stand-up comedy about religion, via Netflix:
That’s it for this week! Stay safe. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Please become a full subscriber or share this with someone who may enjoy it. It would mean a lot to me :)