WEEK IN REVIEW: The Pandemic Ruined Church Attendance
The Christian “Eye of the Tiger,” shocking revelations from the Catholic Church in Kansas, a reversal of Trump-era faith-based bigotry, and more!
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Sometimes, you see a video online and you’re just dying to know the backstory. That’s how I felt after watching this Christian rendition of “Eye of the Tiger”:
It wasn’t too hard to track down the married couple featured in that video, and over the course of an hour-long private conversation, they shared with me why they wrote that song, their reaction to going viral, and what they thought about all the comments calling the video “cringe-worthy.” (Give the two devout Christians credit for opening up to an atheist.)
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to work on articles like these.
Look! Some good news! Nine federal agencies have proposed restoring religious liberty protections that were rescinded during the Trump administration, according to a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s a long-awaited step in the right direction from the Biden administration and corrects a host of unnecessary and cruel restrictions that allowed groups to get away with religious discrimination.
Victor Gonzalez, the former head of Imperial Valley Ministries, a non-denominational church in El Centro, California, was sentenced last Friday to six months in jail plus six more months of home confinement. His wife was also given a time-served sentence.
Those sentences are nothing-burgers when you find out what they did.
The short version? A dozen IVM leaders including Gonzalez subjected homeless people to “forced labor, coercing them to surrender welfare benefits and compelling them to panhandle up to nine hours a day, six days a week, for the financial benefit of the church leaders.” They basically trafficked people with nowhere else to go, all to make some cash.
A four-year investigation into Kansas’ Catholic churches found 188 alleged predators suspected of committing “aggravated criminal sodomy, rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sexual battery.”
The report also says there were 400 victims of sexual abuse in the Kansas archdioceses since 1950, but in most of those cases, either the clergy member has died or the statute of limitations has long expired.
It’s a predictable yet troubling account of what we’ve seen in state after state ever since attorneys general began taking these matters seriously.
The legislature of New Brunswick, in Canada, rejected an invocation request from a Hindu activist because lawmakers insisted the prayer could only come from a fellow Christian.
It’s a startling admission of how legislators supposedly committed to religious neutrality have no problem letting Christianity be the default religion of the government.
In the years since the pandemic began, church attendance among young people has suffered a major decline, hastening a problem for religious leaders that was already bleak to begin with.
It’s not surprising that liberals, singles, and young people shifted away from going to a religious service (since that trend has been occurring for a while). What’s shocking is the speed of desertion and that fact that every single demographic is less likely to attend church now than before.
According to a new study, 92% of Catholics have used a condom during sex, 68% of Catholics have used a birth control pill, 62% of Catholics have used the “pull-out” method, and 23% of Catholics have used Plan B.
All of those things are prohibited by the Church. What does that tell us about the state of Catholicism?
43% of people under 30 never attend church… and I just want to pledge to all of you that I WILL NOT REST until we get that number to at least 50%.
Just another story of atheists being evil:
Political coups and Christian extremism go hand-in-hand these days:
Speaking of coups, there’s never a bad time to share this:
If this was said inside a mosque, you know exactly how conservatives would react:
"When it comes to mounting defenses against accusations of queerness, conservative evangelicals have been extraordinarily successful in deploying their wives as effective shields."
Here’s a fascinating and insightful article about bad preachers’ wives from Suzanna Krivulskaya at Religion & Politics.
Just gonna leave this here:
Remember when Dennis Prager whined about how liberals aren't inviting their MAGA parents over for the holidays?
I made a video all about why that's entirely justified.
An update to a story I wrote a few weeks ago…
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, has returned to mocking a version of feminism that never existed:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity and right-wing preaching:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 36: It's time to check back with the daughters of Zelophehad, who want their share of the inheritance.
And with that, we are DONE with Numbers!
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, this is what happens when your church tells you to repress all sexual thoughts until marriage:
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