WEEK IN REVIEW: Jerry Falwell, Jr. says he's not a "religious person"
Christian Nationalist mayors, an abortion "stunt," Jerry Falwell, Jr. (for some reason), and more!
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I posted last week about how Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma had apologized after smearing three huge wads of spit all over his younger brother’s face. Turns out he did THE SAME THING two years ago!
This never came up in his apology for some reason… even though he had to know this video would be found.
Satanist Jex Blackmore appeared on a local newscast in Detroit to defend abortion rights — and used the opportunity to pop an abortion pill (the first of two, I should say) on live TV just to show how simple and easy it was.
The (over)reactions from everyone else, including the host, proved her point about the stigma attached to the method — and abortions in general.
Outside of a series of legal filings involving breaches of contract and alleged defamation, Jerry Falwell, Jr., the former president of Liberty University, hasn’t said much about the myriad scandals that finally brought him down.
That finally changed this week when Vanity Fair‘s Gabriel Sherman published a lengthy profile of Falwell after eight months’ worth of interviews. It covered all kinds of ground—far beyond the salacious sex stories and hypocritical behavior. But perhaps the biggest takeaway was the admission that Falwell really isn’t into religion. He believes in Jesus, but that’s about the extent of it. Everything else is just window dressing.
He said, “Because of my last name, people think I’m a religious person. But I’m not.” Even Becki Falwell realized she wasn’t interested in fundamentalist Christianity. When she came into the public eye as the “First Lady” of Liberty, she craved the attention that came with it, saying of the guys at Liberty, “They would give me attention that I’d never gotten before.”
None of that should absolve them of their hypocrisy and hate-spreading. It turns out the critics were always right about them. They were never interested in Jesus except as a weapon to build their empire. It was their own hubris that undermined them, not their ideological opponents.
Ridgeland, Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee is withholding $110,000 from the local libraries unless they purge their shelves of “homosexual materials.” (Ironically, that would include the Bible.)
Is it illegal for the mayor to unilaterally refuse to send that check? Arguably, yes. Thankfully, McGee appears to have no defenders in the local government because library officials are asking the Board of Alderman (who passed the budget) to make sure they get their funding, and everyone seems to be on the library’s side. But if there are any obstacles, you can bet the mayor will be taken to court.
When Mario Avery was sworn in as mayor of Fairburn, Georgia this month, this first act was to ask everyone to join him in taking Christian communion — the wafer, the wine, everything.
Quite a move for a guy who campaigned as a unifier… Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation is calling on Avery to assure everyone he won’t use his position as mayor to promote Christianity.
This is incredible: In 1949, post-war Germany decided to mandate religious education in public schools. That only changed in the 1970s when a number of West Germany states started giving students the option of taking a secular ethics class instead.
What happened as a result? Did kids become less ethical later in life?
Researchers have now published a working paper arguing that the move had no significant effect on ethics. Removing God from the curriculum didn’t make kids behave any less morally, however you want to define that.
Imagine thinking what the Supreme Court needs right now is more religion.This queer atheist is pretty comfortable with the 33 Episcopalians, 18 Presbyterians, nine Unitarians, five Methodists, three Baptists, two Disciples of Christ, two Lutherans, one Quaker, and 15 other nondenominational Protestants who've already served, thank you very much.It’s long past time to put a Protestant on the Supreme Court.Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias
A former bishop with the AME Zion Church was arrested this week on charges that he defrauded several congregations by illegally taking control of their buildings, then using that property to obtain $14 million in loans for his personal needs. If he’s found guilty, the 62-year-old Staccato Powell could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
When it comes to voting patterns, it’s not news that college-educated voters tend to lean Democratic. But the less religious you are, the more dramatic that shift becomes.
Woo! I just won Fundamentalist Christian Bingo with a single tweet.Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, being interviewed alongside Kirk Cameron at the March For Life, tells One America News that "the greatest dream of any woman is motherhood."
Besides the wording there, Greene’s comment is a slap in the face to women who don’t want kids and can’t have kids — including plenty of Christians. Not that she cares. She’s a professional troll who is constantly cheered on by conservative men who refuse to ask her tough questions.
Did you know that it’s impossible for a Christian to die from an accident involving a drunk driver? According to conspiracy theorist and Demon Semen lady Stella Immanuel, anyone “connected to God” will avoid such tragedies… which will come as a shock to the very devout families who have lost loved ones in those horrific accidents.
Never trust a pastor who tells you a miracle happened without providing any details or evidence. They’re always lying. Their stories never stand up to scrutiny. If they were so damn confident, they would be spilling details like crazy.
Now this is how you respond to a publicist who wants you to review a Richard Dawkins book these days:
Speaking of which, the circle-jerk between one-time prominent skeptics who keep promoting the dumbest right-wing ideas is still in full swing:Richard Dawkins is promoting a misleading blog post by Jerry Coyne, who's promoting a misleading article by Lawrence Krauss, published in the op-ed pages of the right-wing Wall Street Journal, about an internal business decision that has nothing to do with your Google searches.Laugh until you realise it’s not from The Onion. Then weep. Google's forbidden words, in the interests of “inclusive language”:- Smartphone (offends dumb phones?) Dummy variable Crippled (software, by a bug) Senior citizen Blacklist Whitelist https://t.co/bTAnLdX74uRichard Dawkins @RichardDawkins
If public schools make your kids "hate everything" you've taught them, it's probably because your own values are bankrupt.
Remember when scamvangelist Kenneth Copeland once spit in the face of COVID and destroyed it? Apparently he’s finally admitting it’s real… but still downplaying its seriousness. Which means this clip may absolutely come back to haunt him one day… or else he’s already vaccinated but not telling his audience.
A pastor whose church members caught him at home wearing only his boxers, while a female church employee was only in her towel, insists there’s nothing scandalous happening. They were just cooking. (Oh, and by the way, just ignore the video of the two of them making out in a coffee shop in a nearby city.)"Pastor Tavner Smith was alone with a female church employee—she in a towel, he in his boxers. The charismatic 41-year-old hurriedly explained that the two of them had been making chili and hot dogs and gotten food on their clothes."Pastor Tavner Smith has not publicly admitted to an affair, but his ex-wife cited “adultery” in divorce papers. https://t.co/w1cZLcC2SgThe Daily Beast @thedailybeast
You’ll be happy to know that the Creationists at the “Institute for Creation Research” have fixed their logo (without alerting anyone about it).Without any acknowledgment of it, the "Institute for Creation Research" has altered its logo to show a more accurate (right-handed) DNA spiral.The "Institute for Creation Research" just unveiled a new logo to show their commitment to "cutting-edge science" and "rigorous scientific research." The helix in the logo uses a left-handed spiral. Normal DNA, however, has a right-handed spiral. https://t.co/KRBHsp280i https://t.co/loYCdMvdWbHemant Mehta @hemantmehta
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to make the “Holy Bible” the official state book. This is not a done deal yet, though, partly because there’s been opposition to similar bills in other equally red states — and not because Republicans cared about separating church and state.
Has God’s Not Dead actor Kevin Sorbo ever been in the news for reasons that aren’t totally embarrassing?
Herschel Walker, the Trump-endorsed MAGA candidate for Senate from Georgia, says he’s running because God wants warriors. Strangely enough, that didn’t lead him to become a pastor or missionary…
I appeared on The Thinking Atheist podcast with several of my OnlySky colleagues to talk about the new website and what contributors are bringing to the table for the ever-growing population of “Nones” in the country:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke said this morning that children with autism actually suffer from demon possession. "Your kid could be demonized and attacked, but your doctor calls it autism." He added: "Ain't no such diagnosis in the Bible."Greg Locke is VERY ANGRY that everyone's criticizing him over his autism comments. Last night, he assured his congregation that his critics are just possessed by demons.Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke said this morning that children with autism actually suffer from demon possession. "Your kid could be demonized and attacked, but your doctor calls it autism." He added: "Ain't no such diagnosis in the Bible." https://t.co/Q44WmGKCd7Hemant Mehta @hemantmehtaFundamentalist Baptist preacher Steven Anderson said in a sermon this weekend that all Muslims are burning in Hell and they're furious about it. (The video is way worse than that description.)Christian preacher Grayson Fritts blames the lack of Christian power (?!) on... people like Christian rapper .There's distorting and manipulating statistics... And then there's taking any damn thing you find on the internet and passing it off as fact. Pastor Grayson Fritts went with the second option.Fundamentalist Baptist preacher Jonathan Shelley says Hollywood is ungodly because... well, take a guess.Pastor Joe Jones of Shield of Faith Baptist Church in Boise, Idaho says Joe Biden sends taco truck-like abortion-mobiles to "pro-life" states, and that's why Biden will "roast in Hell for all eternity."I had no idea atheists had a special walk. But fundamentalist preacher Joe Jones knows all about it.Preacher Joe Jones was giving a sermon about the love of Christ... then segued into how gay people are "incapable of love." Just like serial killers.Preacher Ben Naim is spreading anti-LGBTQ propaganda under the guise of spreading the Gospel. I bleeped some things out, but this is just vile.Preacher Ben Naim, presumably quoting Jesus, says men are utter cowards unless they're willing to do this one thing...Preacher Ben Naim tried arguing that Jesus wasn't liberal... before going on a petty tangent against Beto O'Rourke. This is what church is like in the world of New Independent Fundamentalist Baptists.Okay, okay, last clip of preacher Ben Naim. Imagine running a church so anti-intellectual that MEMBERS QUIT because the pastor admits the Earth isn't flat.
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 13, a very long chapter about leprosy.
This week’s podcast covered many of the stories in this newsletter:
That sound you hear is a mic dropping:
Finally, this is the story of the Tower of Babel that you’ll never hear in Sunday School:
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 :)