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WEEK IN REVIEW: It Wasn't "Adultery." It Was Abuse.
A "bonkers" sermon from Greg Locke, the Southern Baptist abuse report, the anti-atheist excuses for a massacre, and more!
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This week, a clip I posted of hate-preacher Greg Locke was used to anchor a segment on MSNBC about the threat of Christian Nationalism in the country. Mehdi Hasan called the clip “one of the most bonkers, most disturbing, most extreme things I have seen in recent years.”If a Muslim imam in a mosque looked into the camera and said, "You ain't seen an insurrection yet and we'll take it by force, that's what the Quran says," what do you think would happen to that imam? I think we all know. -
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And now, onto the news…
After years in front of our TVs, Josh Duggar will spend more than 12 years behind bars after being sentenced for possession of images of child sex abuse.
The conservative Christian activist and former Family Research Council staffer has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for years now, but this may be the first time he actually faces consequences that even Jesus can’t help him escape.
Why blame a school shooting on guns when you can blame it on “Human Secularism” and evolution? Arizona State Sen. Rick Gray pulled those excuses and plenty more out of his ass during a floor speech this week.During a floor speech, Arizona State Sen. Rick Gray blamed atheism and the teaching of evolution for the Uvalde shooting. I wrote about it here: onlysky.media/hemant-mehta/a…
People like him are missing the point.
They ignore the decades-long gap between the removal of mandatory Bible readings in public school (1963) and the beginning of the school shooting era (late 1990s).
They ignore how other countries in the world that have very little religion (and fully educate students about evolution) don’t have to deal with our levels of gun violence because their politicians don’t fetishize murder weapons the way our conservatives do. (Those countries are also happier, healthier, and safer.)
They ignore how shooters don’t scream “Charles Darwin” while running into a school, or are found carrying The God Delusion after the fact, or target Christians specifically.
They ignore how churches often perpetuate harm despite the belief in God. (Look no further than the Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Church, and other predatory religious organizations.)
They even ignore how Texas requires all schools to put up “In God We Trust” signs. (It didn’t help. Shocking.)
It’s not like he’s the only person blaming a lack of forced Christianity in school, either. Christian COVID denier Sean Feucht did the same thing:Figured it was only a matter of time and Sean went and got the trifecta: 1) hypocritical “dont politicize” tweet. 2) Thoughts & prayers. 3) Solution is to get God back in schools.
Even TX Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed Jesus would solve the mass shooting crisis. The people who share his Christian extremist views are largely why we can’t pass gun safety measures.
In a truly disturbing video from Indiana’s New Life Christian Church, Pastor John B. Lowe confessed an old sin to his congregation: 20 years ago, he committed adultery. He asked for forgiveness.
But after he was finished, a woman came up on stage and told the crowd the truth: It wasn’t adultery. It was sexual assault. It wasn’t 20 years ago. It was 27. She knew all that because she was the victim, and, oh, by the way, the assaults began when she was only 16.
The other church leaders have since said they knew nothing about this, local police say they’re conducting an investigation, and Lowe already said he was stepping down. But will he be convicted of any crime? We don’t know.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, publicly released a massive internal investigation into the sex abuse crisis that’s embroiled so many of their churches. The 288-page report showed a pattern of covering up or downplaying abuse and creating an environment where victims couldn’t get justice.
We learned there was a secret list of predatory pastors even though the SBC leaders said they couldn’t compile one. We learned that one recent SBC president sexually assaulted a woman after he stepped down from the job. And we learned SBC leaders put the fear of litigation over the safety of members. They mishandled abuse allegations, mistreated victims, intimidated victims or their advocates, and resisted attempts at reform. One SBC leader even said the focus on sexual abuse was “a satanic scheme to completely distract us from evangelism.”
And yet the report missed the most important area in need of reform: Southern Baptist theology.
The way Southern Baptists push “Purity Culture” leads to victim-blaming and sex-shaming. The way women are excluded from positions of leadership creates a lack of trusted role models for girls, and the women who use their voices anyway are routinely shut down or condemned. The way women are told to submit to male leadership breaks down when those same men are either abusers or accomplices. The way pastors talk about LGBTQ people leads to sexual repression and silence if abuse occurs by someone of the same sex.
How can the SBC’s sex abuse problems be solved when the root causes remain unaddressed?
It’s one thing for a Democrat to tell voters why they shouldn’t vote for a Republican running for Congress. It’s a much bigger deal when the criticism is coming from the Republican’s own daughter.
But Hannah Stargel doesn’t want Florida voters support her anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion mother State Sen. Kelli Stargel, who’s currently on pace to head to the U.S. House.Tiktok failed to load.
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A week after Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke told his congregation that Christians couldn’t vote for Democrats, leading to formal and informal calls for the IRS to revoke his church’s tax exemption, Locke himself said he told his lawyer to have it rescinded. (Big “You can’t fire me! I quit!” vibes.)Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke said this morning that he "dissolved" his church's 501(c)(3) status. (This has not been verified.)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." https://t.co/UDlqYVAEDFHemant Mehta @hemantmehta
Just one major problem with that. I can’t find any evidence his church was a non-profit. There doesn’t appear to be any paperwork on record registering as such. Which raises an interesting question: What exactly is he asking the IRS to do…? (Spoiler: It’s probably all bluster and lies.)
Speaking of bluster, this was seen on stage during his Wednesday sermon:At Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke's church tonight, a singer on stage wore a shirt saying "pro-gun" because of course he did.
Additionally, Locke claims he was banned from TikTok. *Single tear*
Greg Lopez, a Colorado politician hoping to become the state’s next governor, said in a debate this week that he would have a No Jews, No Muslims, No Atheists policy in place when choosing a lieutenant governor. Specifically, he said being a Christian like him would be a requirement for the job.Torcaso v. Watkins (1961): No religious tests for state office-holders Colorado GOP Governor candidate : My Lieutenant Governor must be a Christian
Some people have said that’s illegal, violating the whole “no religious test for public office” rule… but I don’t buy that argument. It’s legal. It’s just wildly unethical. And if Lopez were any non-Christian religion and said something similar, maybe more people would realize how awful his statement was.
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone announced that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would be ineligible for communion because she supports abortion rights. But as I explain in this video (and this article), it’s just a completely hypocritical move. (Exhibit A? Former Attorney General Bill Barr reinstated the death penalty and suffered no similar consequences from the Catholic Church.)
Two years ago, Arkansas State Senator (and Christian nationalist) Jason Rapert threatened me after I asked him a simple question. Then, in this week’s primary, he couldn’t even make it to the runoff for Lt. Governor.
I’m going to forever assume those two things are directly connected.
Speaking of losing candidates…
This didn’t help her candidacy, I’m sure, because no, no, and hell no.
The right-wing atheist group advised by the rejects from all the other groups doesn’t want anyone to know it’s right-wing.If you just don't tell people you're a right-wing atheist group, then there's no possible way they'll ever find out, right?
That change seems to have occurred after someone pointed out the group was absolutely partisan, contrary to the claims of supporter Michael Shermer:
Speaking of failed atheist groups, Atheist Alliance International basically imploded again this week after its Latin American affiliates cried foul at the behavior of its leaders.
Also, while I always appreciate news tips, I will also gladly accept screenshots of the internal communications of your atheist group.
This is infurating. The Hanover County Public Schools in Virginia worked with the bigoted Christian Right group Alliance Defending Freedom to craft policy affecting LGBTQ students.
Read this if you have some time: It’s a horrifying story by reporter Sarah Posner about how faith-based bigotry affects LGBTQ students on Christian campuses, and how those schools *still* get the benefit of taxpayer dollars.
Big yikes to everything in this thread.
Self-described Christian “prophet” Johnny Enlow, who routinely claims the final scores of football games have spiritual significance, says God doesn’t tell him (or anyone) the results in advance because it would be bad for gamblers.
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, had a slew of horrible tweets:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley spoke at today's Arlington (TX) City Council meeting against an acknowledgment of Pride Month. He insisted gay people deserved to be executed. His supported (who filmed the exchange) applauded him, but many others openly jeered.Christian hate-preacher Cameron Hall says abortion should be banned with no exceptions, and doctors who provide abortions should be murdered, and women who have abortions should also be murdered. Doctors, specifically, "need to die hundreds or thousands of times over."Christian hate-preacher Aaron Thompson insists he's not calling for the execution of gay people. He just wants gay people to be executed.Christian hate-preacher Jason Graber says Robin Williams "got what was comin' to him" when he died because he played Mrs. Doubtfire.Someone asked Christian "prophetess" Kat Kerr what happens to babies who die. Do they meet Jesus in Heaven? Instead of admitting the truth, she went with this wild answer.
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 3: It's time to learn more about the Levites, since they're clearly the troublemakers in the group.
I was a guest on “The GD Show” with Dave Warnock and guest host Cynthia McDonald. (As you can see, I had to hide in a secret room so I wouldn’t be interrupted.)
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, you know you live in a broken society when…
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 :)