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WEEK IN REVIEW: Will Smith's faith-based defense of The Slap made things worse
A successful Pledge protest, Charles Darwin’s sugar daddy, the failure of “religious objections," and more!
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The last thing you need from me is a hot take on Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. So instead, I’ll give you a hot take on Will Smith’s acceptance speech for Best Actor… which kind of doubled as an “apology” for the slap (even though it absolutely was not an apology).
When you listen to what he said, it was clear Smith was defending his actions as justified due to his beliefs about what God wanted him to do.
He wasn’t assaulting someone. He was protecting someone.
He wasn’t acting out of hate. He was acting out of love.
He wasn’t slapping Rock for selfish reasons. He was doing it because God called on him for that moment.
If he really wanted to follow God’s example, he could easily have turned the other cheek, but that never seems to be in the toolbox for thin-skinned believers, does it?
The people who genuinely believe they are a “vessel” of God are always the ones you have to watch out for. They always cause the most damage.
Here’s some exciting news several years in the making: In 2017, a high school student in Texas was punished for not standing during the Pledge of Allegiance. One teacher in particular made her life a living hell and spread right-wing propaganda in the classroom. A lawsuit was eventually filed against the school district, and this week, FINALLY, there was a resolution.
Rather than have this case go to trial, which would likely be a disaster for the Klein Independent School District, the Texas Association of School Boards agreed to settle the case for $90,000. That’s effectively a victory for the student — and a well-deserved one at that.
Most Americans (67% of them!) believe “religious objections” to the COVID vaccines are lies people use to avoid the shots, according to a new Pew Research survey. However only 32% of Americans believe those lies should come with consequences; they think religious objections should be acceptable excuses to escape vaccine mandates.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Decatur, Illinois desperately needed a science teacher this year, and Sue Fustin eagerly stepped in. She was a former science teacher and longtime principal who had just retired. But she thought this would be an enjoyable gig, so she offered to fill the role. She asked the principal if her marriage to another woman would be an issue and was told, “I don’t care. I need a teacher.”
Turns out they do care. After the priest who runs the school discovered she was a lesbian, she was quickly fired. Fustin is frustrated and said she’s considering a lawsuit, but there’s no real reason to think she’d win that case. Catholic schools are allowed to enforce their bigoted rules and anyone who’s willing to work for them needs to know that. The best way to stop this bigotry is for parents to remove their kids from these hotbeds of hate.
In a legal battle that’s been brewing since 2015, a U.S. district judge said that a Christian high school cannot hijack the public address system before a state-sponsored playoff game in order to spread Christian propaganda via a pre-game prayer because that could easily be construed as an endorsement of religion. This ruling should’ve been obvious from the moment the lawsuit was filed, but then a conservative legal group that thrives on false claims of persecution got involved…
Robert Foster, a former Mississippi lawmaker, is saying out loud what so many Republicans know to keep to themselves: He hates trans people so badly, he wants their allies to be executed by firing squad.
While some conservatives distanced themselves from Foster’s rhetoric, they didn’t do much of anything to dismiss the underlying basis of his tweet. That’s because they largely agree with trashing trans people as a political strategy. It’s hard to denounce hate speech against trans people (and their allies) when others in the party are actively spreading their own lies about trans people with no pushback whatsoever.
And now after a week of pushback, Foster says he’s leaving social media for good. (Success!)UPDATE: Robert Foster says he is leaving all social media for a while due to backlash. "I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about this lately and from this post on I will be taking a hiatus from all social media for a while." Says the "Communists can't be reasoned with."NEW: Robert Foster, a Mississippi Republican businessman who ran for governor in 2019, says he wants supporters of transgender rights "to be lined up against (a) wall before a firing squad to be sent to an early judgment." https://t.co/kti0kanf0jAshton Pittman 🌻🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ @ashtonpittman
Never get marriage advice from a fundamentalist Christian:
Lara Logan was once a correspondent for 60 Minutes, one of the most prestigious news programs in television history. She’s now a correspondent for whatever right-wing crazytown podcasts will have her.
During a recent appearance on one of those shows, she suggested Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was questionable because he was bankrolled by “the Rothschilds.” He wasn’t. But that was a blatantly antisemitic smear against an idea that has withstood more than 150 years of scientific challenges.
The “New Atheists” and many of their acolytes are not the rational thinking heroes you’re looking for:
Christian hate-group leader Tony Perkins spread a tweet in which a Disney executive allegedly said the company wanted “a minimum of 50 percent of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities” in future projects.
Perkins called it “immoral” and “anti-biblical.” Was he referring to the existence of LGBTQIA people? The existence of racial minorities? Either way, give Perkins credit for revealing his entire ass on Twitter.
It’s nice to have a congressman who isn’t afraid to call out Christian bigotry:
Rep. Jared Huffman didn’t stop there, though. He gave a speech on the House floor calling out White Christian nationalism by name. Let’s hope more of his colleagues have the courage to do the same in the future.
Meanwhile, some preachers are just spreading election lies on behalf of the Republican Party without consequence:
Speaking of people who are embarrassing, atheist James Lindsay claims Disney is worse than Ark Encounter because… oh, who knows. Whatever lie Republicans tell each other about LGBTQ people.
The embarrassments didn’t stop there! Here’s longtime atheist author Robert M. Price baring his entire ass during an interview (conducted by someone who barely pushed back on the nonsense because he seemed to agree with the substance of it):
There are Christian lies. And then there’s whatever the hell self-proclaimed “prophetess” Kat Kerr makes up on any given day:According to Christian "prophetess" Kat Kerr, everyone in Heaven can fly... but only after they've taken classes at the local flying school "near the amusement park." Wings are optional.
If I said I hoped that more Christians would suffer from the virus, it’d be considered hate speech. When she says it, it’s pandering to her Christian base.
How’s preacher Gene Kim doing these days, you ask? The same. Always the same.
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Ben Naim delivered a diatribe calling for the government-sanctioned execution of gay people. It somehow got worse from there.Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley has advice for "soul-winners" knocking door-to-door: Don't tell potential converts their church's views on homosexuality. "There's a time and place to scream that... Probably not soul-winning."Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley has some very specific rules about how long everyone's hair should be. "A woman having short hair is blaspheming God every single day because she's basically mocking what God looks like."Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley says atheists can't name a single contradiction in the KJV Bible.Christian hate-preacher Aaron Thompson is very disappointed that gay people aren't afraid of coming out anymore.Christian hate-preacher Jason Graber of Sure Foundation Baptist Church in Spokane says that conservative Dave Rubin is a "flaming sodomite," and that he and his partner should be "immediately executed."Christian hate-preacher Joe Jones told his congregation that the "end goal" of LGBTQ+ activism is a day when "a sodomite knocks on your door and says, 'Give me your child, now,' and you can't say no."
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 22, a chapter where death can go on vacation for a bit because we need to get more rules for priests..
Finally, the advocates of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill have no problem discussing sexuality with their own kids.
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