WEEK IN REVIEW: Greg Locke's political risk
Goodbye to Madison Cawthorn, an open door for Satan in Haven (Kansas), a hateful letter to a gay "friend," and more!
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Every now and then, something I post goes viral, but rarely do they get as much traction as this clip of Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke telling his circus tent congregation that “You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat.”Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke told the people in his Tennessee tent church today, "You cannot be a Christian and vote Democrat in this nation!" He later threatened Democrats watching him, "You ain't seen [an] insurrection yet."
Does that violate the Johnson Amendment? Hell yes. Which is why Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent a letter to the IRS’ “Exempt Organizations Examinations” division asking them to look into this “likely violation of the federal law barring tax-exempt nonprofit entities from intervening in partisan elections.”
Will the IRS actually investigate this? Who knows. Should they investigate this? Absolutely.
I was genuinely surprised by this story and dropped everything I was doing to get it out as soon as I could: An open atheist (!) in Idaho (!!) won a four-way primary election (!!!) as a Republican (!!!!). With no challengers in November, he has a clear path to the state legislature.
Geoff Schroeder made it clear to me he didn’t support the extremism in the party and he’s hoping to be a voice of reason from the inside. Still, he’s going to face plenty of “culture war” votes in the near future, so we’ll see if he’s true to his word or if he joins the GOP in throwing marginalized people under the bus.
Jacky Eubanks, a Michigan Republican running for State House, is a devout Catholic who wants to push her religious extremism on the entire state. She said in a recent interview that, if elected, she would vote to ban birth control because that’s what the Church teaches.Trump-endorsed state rep. candidate Jacky Eubanks says that if it came to a vote in the MI legislature, she would vote to make birth control illegal. “Sex ought to be between one man and one woman in the confines of marriage…and open to life. Absolutely.”
If only we had a word for a government run by a religion… Hell, Eubanks could think of the word herself if a Muslim candidate ever tried what she just did.)
How many private planes does it take before a wealthy Christian is persecuted? The answer is somewhere between 1 and a giant fleet.
A couple of weeks after Haven, Kansas voted to remove “In God We Trust” decals from police vehicles, they reversed course after a lot of public pressure. But here’s the interesting thing: The three city council members who chose to do that only agreed on the condition that other religious or non-religious decals be allowed on the vehicles, too.
Within 24 hours, the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists pledged to send “E Pluribus Unum” decals to Haven. And The Satanic Temple already designed special decals just for this occasion:
Haven officials have no clue what they’ve unleashed…
Want to get a top grade at the Christian Academy of Louisville (in Kentucky)? All you have to do is write a letter to an imaginary gay friend telling him to renounce his homosexuality.Modern day education assignment at Christian Academy of Louisville. Middle school. Write a letter to your homosexual friend explaining why it’s wrong. Shameful.
The assignment was part of an elective “Christian Worldview” class for middle school students, and school officials defended it because something something Jesus.
Needless to say, gay people can’t turn straight. In Christian environments like these, gay people often end up suppressing their desires and pretending they’re straight in order to live up to the homophobic expectations of the church. It’s a horrible assignment delivered by horrible adults hoping to indoctrinate students into becoming as horrible as they are.
For decades, the Mercer County Schools in West Virginia offered “elective” Bible courses that were really Christian indoctrination lessons in disguise. They taught the Bible as if it were objectively true. In 2017, mother Elizabeth Deal and her daughter sued the district with the help of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. This week, years after the course was eliminated entirely, the case was finally settled. The district will pay out $225,000 (via their insurance) for their illegal actions.
In a different part of WV, the Parkersburg City Council had been saying the Lord’s Prayer at every meeting… before a lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of that. It took several years, but a judge ruled this week that the Christian prayers had to stop.
The Louisiana Supreme Court delivered an unfortunate victory to Pastor Tony Spell, the head of Life Tabernacle Church, who defied statewide COVID restrictions early during the pandemic in order to hold massive, maskless, in-person church services. Spell was ultimately charged on six criminal counts and faced a possible jail sentence.
Instead, he gets to be a Christian martyr. The state’s Supreme Court said officials had no right to treat a church any differently from a grocery store, even though the two are substantively different places. (At one, you gather and talk; at the other, you stick to yourself and get out quickly.)
In Colorado Springs, a woman who was elected to the District 49 school board won her race after espousing a series of anti-LGBTQ, anti-social justice hate speech. So a student wrote a heartfelt letter to that board member, Jamilynn D’Avola, urging her to think of the students she’s hurting.
D’Avola responded to that student with a sermon downplaying mental illness, dismissing the existence of trans people, and telling the student to convert to Christianity.
That led the student’s mother, Lacy Carroll, to call out that board member at a recent board meeting. Her speech was incredible. It made me wish they could swap positions because the wrong person is on the school board right now.Tiktok failed to load.
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You may have seen the headlines about a little girl who was killed in an “exorcism.” The actual story is so much worse than that, though. It involved multiple family members essentially torturing the child in the name of Jesus, always putting their religious delusions in front of common sense safety.
While the mother was arrested earlier this year, the two other men involved in the attack were arrested this week. May they spend decades behind bars.
This is a start. It better not be the end.
The Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania is Doug Mastriano, a Christian Nationalist who has no business anywhere near the levers of power. Check out Andrew Seidel’s thread about the guy and consider yourself warned:
You may have heard that immature insurrectionist and alleged sex predator Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his primary. His seat will likely go to a different conservative Christian, so it’s a wash as far as the country is concerned. But what you may not have seen is how freakin’ awesome the Democrat opponent in the race is. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara will almost certainly lose the race given the district’s demographics, but it’s good to see someone fighting this battle.In the same district where Madison Cawthorn just lost his Republican primary, Democrats tonight nominated Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, a "proud gay woman" and Christian minister. She helped organize in Mississippi during the fight for gay marriage and adoption rights. (Photo by me) https://t.co/W7Hu7IO7gMBreaking: Madison Cawthorn has LOST his bid for re-electionKim Mangone @KimMangone
Somehow, Christian Nationalist candidate for California Secretary of State Rachel Hamm made up a whole scenario that lets her take credit when no election fraud is discovered… by perpetuating the myth of election fraud.
Say it louder for those in the back:
Creationist Ken Ham is putting saddles on dinosaurs so kids can ride them, because that’s a thing these people actually believe happened.
If you’re curious how Ark Encounter attendance is going, you can check out my monthly update (for paid subscribers only).
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, had a slew of horrible tweets:Besides the fact that plenty of college educated women also know how to sew, cook, and garden... I'm trying to wrap my head around this Christian Utopia in which the economy is dead, all college degrees become worthless, and expertise in "canning" saves us all.
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley finally delivered a sermon on the love of Christ. I'm just kidding. He broke his own record of saying "the F-word."Christian hate-preacher Aaron Thompson once again called for the government to execute gay people. He's also very upset that I keep bringing this to your attention.Christian hate-preacher Joe Jones blames MAGA Republicans for not demanding their elected officials pass laws to execute gay people.On Sunday, Christian nationalist preacher John Hagee told his congregation a lie about the Bible being banned in school before adding: "It's time for 65 million people to take our Bible-based convictions and drive this godless Socialist administration out of office. Do it now."
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 2. We've already counted all the people. How much more exciting can this get? Well, God didn't tell us where all the tribes have to go…
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, this is a horrible response no matter how you slice it:
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 :)