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WEEK IN REVIEW: Montana vs. Scientific Theories
A virtual Satanic abortion clinic, banning Bible camps to make a point, the pope's digital dilemma, and more!
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What can you do when you’re a progressive legislator surrounded by conservatives? You may not be able to pass the bills you want, but you can throw everything against the wall to slow down the bad ones and make symbolic moves.
That’s what Nebraska’s Sen. Megan Hunt (below) did this week. Her colleagues pushed forward a bigoted bill to criminalize any group that allows children to attend drag shows. (Technically, that would include theater companies putting on old-school all-male Shakespeare plays.)
Hunt responded with an amendment that would rewrite the bill to ban children from attending vacation Bible study or any similar “religious indoctrination” camps… since that’s where they’re truly in danger.
Brilliant trolling? Yes.
But even Hunt admitted she wouldn’t have taken that step if she thought the amendment would pass. She did it to make a point. And given the reaction my story about her amendment has received so far, looks like that point is being made.
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to pursue these efforts while working on articles and other projects.
This story is troubling, frustrating, and the sort of news that makes you rethink who you admire. Andrew Torrez, an attorney who was a fixture on a couple of very popular atheist podcasts, used his position to pursue fans even after they declined his sexual advances. The Religion News Service article doesn’t mention that one of the victims said there were rejected physical advances as well.
Torrez has resigned from the board of American Atheists, though he says he did that because he couldn’t devote enough time to the position. One podcast has already severed its ties with him.
In addition to the RNS piece, I would urge you to read this post from one of the women he pursued.
And one related update to the recent drama:
Oklahoma State Sen. David Bullard wants to force public schools to teach "... America’s Christian heritage including the influence of the Ten Commandments and the Bible on America’s founding documents."
I asked Constitutional scholar and attorney Andrew Seidel what he made of this proposal and his response was blunt: “Conservative white Christian privilege is the true goal of bills like this.“
Can you imagine a state senator with virtually no online profile? That’s what I came across this week when looking into Montana Republican Daniel Emrich, a first-term lawmaker who drafted a bill to ban everything but “scientific fact” from public school classrooms. (The “theory” of evolution would presumably be censored.)
There’s plenty to say about his ignorance in writing that bill. But I was shocked by how little information there was about someone who defeated an incumbent and routinely promotes insane conspiracy theories. He appears to have won his seat on the basis of the (R) next to his name and nothing else. His social media pages are empty (even since his victory) and there’s no semblance of a campaign website anywhere. There aren’t even many newspaper articles about his campaign or win.
For someone with the power to cause this much harm to the people of Montana, it’s scary to think about how little we know about this guy. And the little we know is very, very bad.
I briefly mentioned this last week, but it’s wild that Christian hate-group leader Mat Staver wants Christian schools to ban children with gay parents… so that their well-adjusted and decent kids don’t fool other kids into thinking same-sex families are decent.
We need more legislators who think like this about religion:
We need more mothers who think like this about astrology:
It takes a special kind of Christian evil to come up with this:
In a bit of superb trolling that also helps people who don’t want to be pregnant, The Satanic Temple is about to launch “The Samuel Alito’s Mom’s Satanic Abortion Clinic," named in honor of someone whose lack of options in 1950 forced the rest of us to pay the price.
This isn’t just for the headlines, though. Unlike most other clinics, this one is founded on a basis of religious belief. If this virtual clinic succeeds, then The Satanic Temple hopes to replicate it in other states that are not as welcoming of abortion by taking advantage of laws permitting religious exemptions.
In one of the more disturbing sermons I’ve heard in a while from a Christian hate-preacher, Jason Graber claimed gay men were “AIDS dispensers” and that “no f****t should be able to breathe air.”
He did this in the name of Jesus, naturally.
You may have heard that the National Prayer Breakfast—a conservative Christian event that routinely draws members of Congress and the president—is no longer connected to “The Family,” the shadowy group made famous by journalist Jeff Sharlet and a Netflix series. But that’s a cosmetic change at best, says Chrissy Stroop:
Media outlet TYT (which has broken much of the news about the National Prayer Breakfast in recent years) reported last week that the Fellowship Foundation will no longer run the event.
Instead, it will be organised by the National Prayer Breakfast Foundation, a legally distinct entity (though it has been reported that all its board members have close ties to the Family)…
We're safer with drag queens running this place than with people like him.
Remember, kids: Whenever you give the middle finger to the Catholic Church, you’re just sending a message that honesty matters. (The tweet was quickly deleted.)
I can’t tell if I’m more offended by this clip as an atheist or a vegetarian:
This week in red-pilled atheists:
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, told a story that seems too perfect to be true… while trashing women who haven’t made the same choices as her:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity and right-wing preaching:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Deuteronomy 3: Moses is still recounting the Israelites' journey, but just to spice things up, he's now going to remind everyone of the time they killed a giant.
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, who are the gay couples who invite Christians like Mark Driscoll to their weddings…?
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