The Pope doesn't know anything about economics, argues a Fox News columnist, so Pope Francis really should shut his mouth about youth unemployment or income inequality. Currently digging through the columnist's archives to see if he objected to the previous pope commenting on abortion, birth control, adoption, and gay sex—also not areas of expertise for elderly celibates.
Christian Nightmares posted this disturbing video of politicians using the Bible to argue against climate change.
Raw Story's Travis Gettys says that prominent Virginia teabagger Jonathon Moseley took issue with Pope Francis's claims that unfettered capitalism is hurting the world. Moseley wrote an essay titled "Jesus Christ is a capitalist" that tries to take the Pope on using scripture.
Moseley, a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney, supports his claim with a verse from the Book of Luke in which Jesus declines to act as arbitrator when someone asks him to compel a brother to divide their family inheritance.
“In just one verse, we see that God rejects the left-wing ‘Jesus Christ supported socialism’ heresy,” Moseley writes. “When Jesus was asked to support redistribution of wealth — to tell one brother to share the family inheritance with the other — Jesus refused...Jesus Christ is weeping in heaven hearing Christians espouse a socialist philosophy that has created suffering and poverty around the world,” Moseley writes. “It is impossible to love one’s neighbor as yourself without fighting against socialism, meaning government meddling in private lives.”
As an atheist, I don't usually play this scripture game. But this is too easy:
...we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.
I could go on. Meanwhile, other Republicans are arguing against Francis's comments by saying that unfettered capitalism doesn't exist. I don't know which argument is more divorced from reality.
A case that is "currently before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky":
On December 12, 2012, American Atheists and two co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky demanding that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stop giving preferential treatment to churches and religious organizations via the process of receiving non-profit tax-exempt status under the Internal Revue Code (IRC) procedures and definitions.IRS
Groups like American Atheists receive tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) but, because the organization is not classified as religious, it costs American Atheists and other secular non-profits significantly more money each year to maintain that status. In this lawsuit, American atheists and the other plaintiffs are demanding that all tax-exempt organizations, including those characterized as religious by the IRS, have the same requirements to achieve and maintain tax-exempt status.
Christians, before you moan and groan about the war on this and that, recall the words of your very own master: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.” And what does God want? Nothing that's under the sun.
Really bad news, guys! HEAVEN IS FOR REAL! Or at least this incredibly terrible/awesome trailer for the upcoming Easter movie Heaven is for Real says it is! Poor Greg Kinnear plays the dad, and someone who looks exactly like that gal from Little House on the Prairie plays the mom, and they have a son who almost died! And naturally, when you're an adorable tow-headed boy who almost dies, you get to temporarily visit heaven and then return to FREAK THE FUCK out of everyone around you.
I think this is supposed to be inspirational? But actually it just plays like some of M. Night Shyamalan's best work. WATCH IT (and reevaluate everything you thought to be bullshit)!
Here's the note that a pair of pious bigots left in place of a tip for their twenty-year-old waiter:
"Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. Fags do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your fag choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD's love, but none shall be spared for faggotry. May GOD have mercy on you."
Other local Christians are going to the Overland Park, Kansas, restaurant, requesting the kid's section, and overtipping him to demonstrate that—what's that phrase again? Oh, right: They're not all like that. (Via JoeMyGod.)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) says that the end is nigh!
“This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history," Bachmann told Jan Markell, radio host of "Understanding the Times," on Saturday.
“Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand,” Bachmann added later.
Yes, Bachmann is referring to our policy in Syria, but don't think her End Times theology doesn't inform the rest of her politics (to the extent that it is informed by anything). And the same can be said of much of the rest of the Tea Party right.
Yeah, sure, some of them just don't understand how money works, and thus have no idea what sort of economic disaster they are courting. But some of them do, and just don't care. Because the end is nigh! So who cares about destroying the full faith and credit of the United States government within the context of an impending divine apocalypse?
Really. There's an unmistakable millennialist spirit to the Tea Party movement, even when it's expressed in a purely secular form. These are people who are courting some sort of apocalyptic confrontation—who almost seem to welcome it and the purifying suffering it would bring. Individual teabaggers may not even be aware of their End Times inspiration—in the same way that you don't need to be a Protestant to be an unknowing adherent to the so-called "Protestant ethic"—but the End Times inspiration is clearly there.
So don't underestimate the willingness of these people to destroy an economy they believe is already destined to be destroyed.
A devout Christian woman who's paid tithes all her life is now facing mounting medical bills. She should maybe use her would-be tithe funds to pay her medical bills? Guess what the zillionaire televangelist tells her.
Thank you, forever, Right Wing Watch.
Lookee here, Hollywood: Rick Santorum has become CEO of a Christian film production company called EchoLight. And according to The Dissolve's Vadim Rizov, Santorum's got some big plans:
“I’d like to see Dallas and Fort Worth be to faith and family entertainment what Nashville is to music,” Santorum told [The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Cary] Darling. “It’s an alternative to the coasts.”
Here's EchoLight's first film product, a movie called The Christmas Candle, which is perhaps only noteworthy due to the Santorum connection and the fact that it represents the film debut of Susan Boyle:
Yep. That movie looks like it's awash in Santorum, all right.
1. As a rebuttal to all the hoopla over Pope Francis's suggestion that the Catholic Church should spend a little less time obsessing over gays and abortion last week, Tim Stanley at the Telegraph points out the case of a former priest from Melbourne named Greg Reynolds who "appears to have been both defrocked and excommunicated because of his radical views on women clergy and gay marriage." I'm not denying the fact that Francis is better than Pope Benedict, but it's also important to always remember that the Pope still represents a ridiculously regressive system. We should praise his steps to the good, but we should also continually remind him how far he has to go.
2. But if anyone wanted a reminder of how awful Pope Francis's predecessor was, this account of a new letter from Joseph Ratzinger just popped up on TIME's website:
Benedict directly addressed the sexual abuse crisis that has plagued the Catholic church for much of the last decade. It is believed to be the first time he addressed the crisis in the first person. “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation. But I never tried to cover up these things,” he wrote. ”It’s also not a motive for comfort to know that, according to sociological research, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is no higher than in other comparable professional categories…In any event, one must not stubbornly present this deviance as if it were a nastiness specific to Catholicism.”
This is a man who has learned absolutely no lessons.
It takes this crazy Catholic blogger thousands and thousands of words to say, essentially, "edumacation fer girls gets in the way of the whole barefoot-and-pregnant thing." Because, you see, a college-educated woman is going to get a job of her own and a woman with her own job is less dependent on her man and that's why educating girls goes against
Sharia Law Catholic teaching.
But advocating against sending women to college isn't about oppressing women. No, no:
My personal impression is that the day-to-day grind of a job is below the dignity of women. In a way, it is like being a hired hand, as result of the fall and the penalty for original sin. Of course the Lord and the Popes have raised the dignity of work as a way of husbands living out their vocation and duty. But the penalty for the woman as a result of the fall was pain in childbirth (which requires having babies), not to work. Sending our wives out to work should be a very last resort, a misfortune, so it shouldn’t be part of a plan for young ladies before they even get a start at family life.
Yes, yes: sending your wives to work is a tragedy because that leaves your wife with less time to suffer horrible pain during childbirth. Um... gee. I can't wait to see the post this guy writes when he finds out about epidurals.
To get people to check out their new "Ideal Org"/L. Ron Hubbard's Ghost Office, the Church of Scientology's put some sweet new ads up around town! This one's at SW 2nd and Oak. THERE IS NOTHING CREEPY ABOUT THEM AT ALL.
But I do not like your old bishops. Your old bishops are so unlike your new pope.
Fornicators beware: sodomy, condoms and pornography are the work of the devil. That's the message of a speech posted online last week by the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Niendstedt. A controversial religious leader with a stridently anti-gay stance, Niendstedt originally made the comments while speaking to the conservative Napa Institute Conference on August 2. The speech detailed the importance of family, as well as the devil's multiple attempts to weaken the institution of heterosexual marriage.
"Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life," Niendstedt said. "Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth."
Niendstedt is full of shit—and so is his holy water.
I make no apologies for disliking church. I was forced to go for the first 15 years of my life, and I figure I've done my time. HOWEVER! I'm seriously reconsidering my stance after seeing this kickass gospel choir performing a hilariously level-headed song called, "Keep Your Business off Facebook." If preachers continue handing out good advice about not oversharing on social media sites? I might pop by some Sunday for a sermon or two.
Hayes Brown at ThinkProgress reports on something that Mike Huckabee just said:
“I know we’re not supposed to say anything unkind about Islam,” the former Arkansas governor said. “I mean, it’s politically incorrect. I get that. But can someone explain to me why it is that we tiptoe around a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet in their so-called ‘holiest days'...You know, if you’ve kept up with the Middle East, you know that the most likely time to have an uprising of rock throwing and rioting comes on the day of prayer on Friday. So the Muslims will go to the mosque, and they will have their day of prayer, and they come out of there like uncorked animals — throwing rocks and burning cars..."
Huckabee, of course, is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. And what he just said is so typical of Christians. On Sundays in their churches, Christians are always like, "Jesus Christ, tra la la, he's so special, everyone should be nice to everybody," but then you put them on the radio or cable news and they're all stereotyping 1.6 billion people and calling everybody who practices another religion less than human. I get so sick of these fucking stupid Christians, spouting stupid shit about people they don't know. What kind of a fucking asshole would stereotype 1.6 billion people based on a few seconds of out-of-context footage of a couple idiots they saw on the internet? A Christian, that's who.
Sometimes, the best part of my morning inbox is an outraged e-mail from evangelical Christian fucknuts One Million Moms. I like those e-mails because they promote useless boycotts against TV shows and they frequently include lists like this one about a recent episode of NBC's Camp:
Unacceptable content in the program included:
"This is a p*rn desert."
"Fifty Shades of Little Otter" (Little Otter is the name of camp)
Mom (camp director and owner) walks in on son m*sturbating
P-word used and one camper has g*nital h*rpes
Politically Correct situations with a h*mosexual couple
Which "P-word," I wonder? Are they talking about a p*nis or a p*ssy? I wish they would be clearer.
On his television show, a viewer asked Pat Robertson how he should treat two men in his workplace who "have decided that they are females." You'll want to start this video at 2:28, or if you can't handle Pat Robertson's smug, quavering voice, I've transcribed his response:
I think there are men who are in a woman's body. It's very rare but it's true—or women that are in men's bodies—and they want a sex change and that is a very permanent thing. Believe me, when you have certain body parts amputated and you have shot up with various kinds of hormones, it's a radical procedure. I don't think there's any sin associated with that. I don't condemn somebody for doing that. But somebody who just says "I'm really a woman," I question the validity of that statement. They say that they're counted as female—you don't count somebody as female unless they really are, or male unless they really are...It's not for you to decide or to judge.
This isn't a victory for transgender rights. Robertson's answer is still wrong and weirdly genital-focused. Your genitals are nobody's business, and people should respect your gender identification without your having to prove anything. But this answer is still a subtle shift that wouldn't have happened twenty years ago, and so it's worth noting. Also worth noting: If Robertson actually followed his own directive at the end of that transcript—"It's not for you to decide or to judge"—the world would be a better place.
I'm not sure why y'all voted to send me to the Oregon Christian Home Education Conference instead of making me watch a nightmare stand-up set by Pauly Shore at Harvey's. You do realize the conference's registration fee—60 smackeroos!—is now sitting in the khaki pockets of right-wing folks who hate the women, the gays, and the Obamas, right? Meanwhile $60 would probably keep Pauly Shore afloat for three months, weezing the juice in straight-up style. But... shrug... you guys are the bosses—to a bland, fluorescent-soaked home-schooling convention I went. Maybe you got sucked in by the lecture description, in which it was implied there might be some God-mocking, or at least some strident denial of the mockability of their favorite imaginary friend:
"Be not deceived. God is not mocked...” (Gal. 6:7) God is not mocked! If we believe the heresy that comes from the White House, or the lies that are spewed from the liberal media, we may try to “give in” just to “get along.” Don’t!"
Oh, but God was sorely mocked... in my brain... during the sadly under-attended keynote lecture by Dick Karman. (For mocking reference: This is what I think God looks like.) Bonus mock: Ronald Reagan!
Hit the jump for my musings on fake husbands, children as chattel, dinosaurs, and Christian cosplay.
Featuring Rachel Maddow, George Takei, Alan Cumming, and Dan Savage.
This is glorious:
Semi-related: Am I crazy, or is John Oliver a really good Daily Show host?
In a surprising move, Christian conservative and Republican leader Mike Huckabee is encouraging churches to give up their tax exempt status. Huckabee issued the following call for churches to unilaterally give up their tax-exempt status via Twitter on June 11:
"It's time for churches to reject tax exempt status completely; freedom is more important than government financial favors," tweeted Huckabee.
Mark this day on your calendar, people: Mike Huckabee is right.
...are biblically illiterate.
The debate about marriage equality often centers, however discretely, on an appeal to the Bible. Unfortunately, such appeals often reflect a lack of biblical literacy on the part of those who use that complex collection of texts as an authority to enact modern social policy. As academic biblical scholars, we wish to clarify that the biblical texts do not support the frequent claim that marriage between one man and one woman is the only type of marriage deemed acceptable by the Bible’s authors....
In fact, there were a variety of unions and family configurations that were permissible in the cultures that produced the Bible, and these ranged from monogamy (Titus 1:6) to those where rape victims were forced to marry their rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29) and to those Levirate marriage commands obligating a man to marry his brother’s widow regardless of the living brother’s marital status (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Genesis 38; Ruth 2-4). Others insisted that celibacy was the preferred option (1 Corinthians 7:8; 28).
Although some may view Jesus’ interpretation of Genesis 2:24 in Matthew 19:3-10 as an endorsement of monogamy, Jesus and other Jewish interpreters conceded that there were also non-monogamous understandings of this passage in ancient Judaism, including those allowing divorce and remarriage.
In fact, during a discussion of marriage in Matthew 19:12, Jesus even encourages those who can to castrate themselves “for the kingdom” and live a life of celibacy.
The authors of the piece—which appeared in today's Des Moines Register—go on to point out that the bible forbids interracial marriage (Ezra 10:2-11), that Jesus encouraged his followers to castrate themselves (!) and live a life of celibacy (Matthew 19:12), and that Martin Luther (heretic!) could find nothing about men being limited to "one woman" in the Bible (“I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not oppose the Holy Scriptures”).
Right Wing Watch has posted video of noted fuckstick Christian "historian" David Barton blabbing about Starbucks.
Uh-huh. By extension, you can't use Microsoft or Google or Apple products and be Biblically right, either. Good luck only using Seekfind on your off-brand laptops, idiots.
Wednesday, Dan showed you the awkward footage that ensued when CNN news-idiot Wolf Blitzer accidentally asked an atheist if she thanked the Lord for delivering her from the tornado.
Today, Christian Nightmares notices that Glenn Beck thinks the whole scenario smacks of a conspiracy. He begins, "I really like Wolf Blitzer, and I think he's a good man," but "that questioning was peculiar, even for Wolf, who I think is a religious man." Beck concludes that Blitzer was set up by a producer who is "sympathetic to the atheist plight" or "just doesn't like Christians." That producer knew the woman was an atheist but hid the information and told Blitzer to ask the question about God in order to raise awareness of atheism. "That was there for a reason," Beck says, knowingly.
If you haven't noticed, the Scientologists have a brand new storefront in downtown Portland and it's awesome. If you'd like to watch promotional DVDs while feeling like the men in suits who watch your every move might murder you, then this is definitely the place for you.
The Portland branch of the Church of Scientology—from the Greek words logia (the study of) and sciento (getting money from celebrities)—opened the new space in traditional North Korean fashion on May 11th. I was so intrigued to learn what these people Photoshopped into the publicity photo were celebrating, I thought I'd stop by with my trusty camera phone and give you a virtual tour of their new digs.
The most important thing when you judge a museum/church's believability is the controls on the video players. These are top notch and prove that God lives in space.
The Sciency Totologists have lots of information to get across. For example, did you know L. Ron Hubbard looked pretty rugged? He did! The church's founder looked like he was getting a senior portrait all the time.
For newcomers, they explained the basic tenets of their religion/business plan including their 21 Commandments.
These are fascinating.
#8 Do not murder. That's FIVE BELOW "do not be promiscuous." Saved the best for 8th, I guess.
#9 Do not do anything illegal. Seriously. Murder is a double no-no because it breaks two different rules.
#21 Flourish and Prosper. Very different from the Christian "it's easier for a camel to fit through than the eye of the needle than for a rich person to get into heaven." It almost makes you think they want your money.
#22 (implied) Round numbers are stupid.
The Scenic Toiletists have lots of different programs to help you, your business, and your community. In case you're easily confused, they kindly gave each program a super obvious acronym.
It's like each of their programs got its name by writing a letter to Dear Abby.
Stay tuned after the jump for by far the best discovery I made.
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