WEEK IN REVIEW: The word “Creator” is not in the U.S. Constitution
Reduced prison sentences, accusations of human sacrifice, Ken Ham's weird flags, and more!
Thank you for checking out this newsletter! Thank you even more if you become a full subscriber! Consider giving someone a gift subscription! Think of your friends! (Or your enemies.)
I should start with some good news, right? (Just this once.)
In the appropriations bill passed by Congress this week, there was “language, drafted by staff at the American Humanist Association, that supports the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world.” The AHA says that the language would offer funding to nations to help train government officials, religious leaders, media members, judges, etc. on how to handle the new landscape after blasphemy laws are rescinded. More than 80 countries currently have blasphemy laws on the books.
We celebrated a dubious milestone this week: It was the 100th anniversary of the first anti-evolution bill getting defeated by lawmakers (in Kentucky). Which is great news!… except for the fact that such bills are still being proposed today.
A woman was sentenced to four years in prison after crashing into and killing three siblings at a school bus stop. But she just got released six months earlier than expected... because she took a Bible study class in jail.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is already demanding answers from the Indiana Department of Correction.
A Missouri lawmaker, Mary Elizabeth Coleman, wants to make it a crime to help women travel to neighboring Illinois to have an abortion. She’s taking a page from the Texas Abortion Bounty Law by going after anyone who helps women travel across state lines.
It’s yet another sign that anti-abortion activists are more interested in punishing women and their allies instead of pushing for policy changes that we know would decrease the number of abortions because they would reduce unwanted pregnancies altogether —policies like expanding affordable health care, having stronger sex education in the classroom, offering universal pre-K, etc.
In case you’re wondering where lawmakers like this even come from, Coleman’s other job happens to be serving as an attorney for the Thomas More Society, a conservative Catholic legal group. Her proposal, then, isn’t just bad policy; it’s an attempt to force others to follow the rules of her religion.
This week, self-described Satanist Rowan Astra went to the Idaho Capitol to speak out against an anti-abortion bill. After the remarks, two GOP lawmakers responded by asking Astra about murder and "human sacrifice." They treated Satanism as some kind of carnival sideshow instead of addressing the points Astra raised. When told to keep his questions tied to the bill, one of them even laughed and said, "... Can’t do that."
Dave Silverman, the former American Atheists leader who's now advising a right-wing atheist group, is going after a new audience... on InfoWars. (As someone who gets interview requests, let me just say it’s perfectly fine to just say no to certain outlets.)
This comes a week after the same group tried recruiting members at CPAC.
As I wrote in the article, none of this surprises me that much. It’s simply the natural progression for a group that still hasn’t found reception, much less respect, from pro-science, pro-church/state separation, pro-democracy groups.
While we’re talking about Silverman…
Oklahoma's Secretary of Education is a Christian Nationalist who doesn't understand history (despite being a former history teacher). I’ll write more about this over the weekend, but you have to see this awful video in which Ryan Walters displays American arrogance while revealing his ignorance of history.
Christian hate preacher Joshua Feuerstein has been out of the limelight for a while. (He’s best known for whining about red Starbucks cups during the holiday season.) But he’s now offering marriage advice on YouTube… and it’s just plain creepy. Unless you enjoy hearing about his favorite bedroom activities…I see you did not enjoy the previous clip I posted of preacher Joshua Feuerstein. Your punishment is this clip. Bonus points if you make it to the end.
And it got worse! Later in the week, he and his wife were talking about how to keep a relationship strong. Their solutions? Avoid retail store catalogs and never joke about “celebrity hall passes.”
I know it might seem futile to grade the predictions of psychics, but this extensive attempt to do so by the Australian Skeptics makes for a fascinating read.
Over the weekend, at a Republican campaign rally, former National Security Advisor and convicted felon Michael Flynn said the word “Creator” appears four times in the U.S. Constitution.
A Christian hate group found a way to blame "wokeism" and Black Lives Matter for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking of which, why *is* Russia invading Ukraine? According to Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church and a Putin ally, it’s because some nations like to hold gay pride parades.
After falsely telling his church last week that he was "99% sure Russia is not invading Ukraine" (yes they were), a Christian pastor has walked back his remarks without actually apologizing.UPDATE: On Sunday told he “said something he didn’t mean” the previous wk & needed to “clarify” Watch his video remarks at article end: julieroys.com/texas-pastor-c… “What I meant to say is that my hope & prayer is that Russia is not invading Ukraine...”
Two decades ago, a woman separated from her husband over alleged physical abuse. He's now serving 21 years to life in prison… which is to say her allegations and reasons for separation were absolutely valid! But when the couple’s church learned about the separation, Pastor John MacArthur publicly shamed the woman from the pulpit.
Reporter Julie Roys even has audio of the incident, which took place decades ago, but had never been heard by a wider audience until now.
This week, Florida lawmakers (all Republican) passed the "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would curtail any discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in the state’s primary schools. Because I was curious, I wanted to know the religious affiliations of the politicians who passed this.
No surprise here: Other than one Jewish conservative and one who doesn’t list his religious affiliation, everyone was some kind of Christian. (To be sure, many Christian Democrats voted against the bill, too. But this bill is the logical consequence of the Christian nationalist agenda.)
Journalists don’t have to print everything that comes across the table…
There are so many incredible nuggets of wisdom in this fantastic interview with writer and Christian Nationalism expert Katherine Stewart, conducted by Rebekah Kohlhepp. This one stands out:
“In a country where 40 to 50 percent of people don’t vote, and an additional number have their votes essentially taken from them because of voter suppression and gerrymandering, you don’t need a majority to win elections. All you need is an organized and committed minority. ”
It turns out atheists who are women, Southern, or Republicans are more likely to hide their beliefs. That’s not entirely surprising, but a new paper has the data to back it up. The upshot here is that groups working to destigmatize atheism are doing a huge service. So while you may still be in a minority as a Republican atheist, attempts to normalize atheism have made it a lot easier for the rest of us in other social circles to be open about it.
With the U.S. approaching nearly one million COVID-related deaths, Dr. Ben Carson wants you to know God is finally getting around to taking care of it.
I am constantly amazed by the number of preachers who talk about the U.S. Constitution who have have never heard of “amendments.”
This sermon “fact” from Pastor Kent Christmas isn’t “historically correct.” Or any kind of “correct.” It’s just a lie propagated by Christian nationalists.
It’s even more troubling because he seems to be celebrating the idea that our country would ever punish someone for criticizing his religion.
I can’t believe I missed this when it happened in February, but this secular invocation delivered in the Iowa State Senate was fantastic —and delivered by a state senator, no less!
Creationist Ken Ham uses one particular slide in most of his presentation depicting all the societal ills that Christians need to fight against. A new version of the slide includes other “moral” concerns like… “Woke,” “Mandates,” and “Inclusion.”
How many atheists are in the federal prison system? The answer may surprise you! But also, it may not matter! I explain all this in full detail here:
Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley got evicted last week after calling for the execution of gay people, thereby breaking his lease, and it’s been the focus of most sermons from the persecution-loving New IFB preachers:In his final act at his evicted church, Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley did... something... with his shoes.The eviction of Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley has led his colleagues to double down on their anti-gay rhetoric over the past week. Here's a condensed version of an hour-long sermon from Dillon Awes. It's vile stuff that makes Westboro look tame.Christian hate-preacher Steven Anderson (the ringleader of the New Independent Fundamentalist Baptists) is having a hard time accepting the eviction of his colleague Jonathan Shelley. "It's not like we're Muslim or something."Christian hate-preacher Brandon Darnell defended his now-evicted colleague Jonathan Shelley in a recent sermon. He said people falsely claimed Shelley wanted to execute gay people. That's not true, said Darnell, clarifying that Shelley wants the *government* to do the job.In case you were wondering if Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley would tone down his rhetoric with all those kids in the front row... the answer is no.
And now for your weekly dose of (non-eviction-related) fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Brandon Darnell has a lot of thoughts about credit card debt and Hollywood. A lot of very antisemitic thoughts.Christian hate-preacher Joe Jones says it's okay to mistreat LGBTQ people because the Bible justifies it.In an insane rant earlier today, self-described Christian "prophet" Robin Bullock said, "If George Soros starts saying that Putin is evil... something's terribly wrong." The sermon just got worse from there. Here's an unedited two-minute clip.Preacher Hank Kunneman spread Russian propaganda this week during a livestream, claiming the Ukrainian government held him at gunpoint for spreading his religious beliefs. But don't worry. Miracles happened and "tumors literally were falling off of people."Christian preacher Jonathan Shelley, evicted this week for spreading hate speech, used his final sermon at that location to defend his desire for the government to execute gay people.Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley also used his final pre-eviction sermon to go off on a progressive church whose Facebook page had a banner reading "Trans lives matter." He added, "You might be safer on Epstein's island than in that church."Finally, Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley said Old Testament laws should still be in effect (despite Jesus) and came SO CLOSE to recognizing the problem with the death penalty.
This high school in West Virginia just promotes Christianity right above the front door.Remove an unconstitutional godly gigantic message from a high school building, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking a West Virginia school district. ffrf.org/news/news-rele…
I’m just saying: It would be a shame if the letter “B” was covered up as part of a senior prank…
Here’s something you don’t see every day. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee devoted a segment to the Duggars, Bill Gothard, and the Institute in Basic Life Principles, arguing that the promotion of this brand of Christian fundamentalism as a cutesy way to raise a family was harmful: "It is downright dangerous to keep putting families like these on TV without also providing context for their extremist beliefs."
Atheist Matt Dillahunty recently underwent open heart surgery. He's doing much better now, thankfully, and he sat down with Seth Andrews to discuss grafts, grifts, and magic. They also discussed the religious reaction to what he went through.
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 19, a chapter that gives us God’s sloppy seconds.
On this week’s podcast, we discussed some of the bigger stories that appear in this newsletter!
Just gonna leave this here:
Finally, in honor of International Women’s Day, here’s an uplifting sermon.
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 :)