WEEK IN REVIEW: A Christian Hate-Preacher Can’t Get a Lease
Controversy involving a prominent Black atheist leader, Christian schools lose their anonymity, a MAGA Catholic priest just got the boot, 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.)
It’s frustrating and difficult to write about someone who’s a longtime acquaintance in the world of atheism. Still, that’s what I did for the past two weeks regarding the head of Black Nonbelievers, Mandisa Thomas, who recently took a “leave of absence” from the board of the American Humanist Association over allegations of ethical concerns involving a mixing of her personal and professional lives.
I wrote a summary of the situation here, but the article is purposely vague because the allegations that have been made public are also vague. No one is suggesting criminal wrongdoing or that funding was mishandled. This isn’t Silverman 2.0. Still, the allegations are concerning, especially in the eyes of several BN affiliate leaders who felt they were put in a tough position. It’ll be up to other leaders of BN, as well as the AHA and American Atheists (where Thomas serves as a board member), to decide where to go from here.
It’s important to recognize, though, that this isn’t being ignored. It would be easy to wipe concerns under the rug, but everyone involved wants to handle this respectfully and professionally. They all want Black Nonbelievers to succeed. That mentality isn’t always present, especially in the kinds of religious organizations I often write about.
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to pursue these efforts while working on other articles and projects.
You can also support OnlySky through my affiliate link here.
***I’ll be taking next week off because of the holidays but this newsletter will return after that!***
After the Supreme Court decided that a Christian football coach could pray at midfield after games, even though it was coercive and performative, Ethan Gabel, a math teacher at Kirksville High School in Missouri and the head coach of their Boys and Girls Cross Country teams, figured he could highlight the hypocrisy on Twitter.
Imagine what people would say, he thought, if he wanted to promote Satanism upon his athletes the same way as Joe Kennedy was doing with Christianity.
No one could take the joke. Those tweets led to Christian outrage, which subsequently led to his school board removing him as a coach. It’s an outrageous story that supports the theory that conservative Christians can’t handle people treating them the way they treat others.
A few years ago, when Michael Capps was a Kansas lawmaker, he sponsored a bill to put the words “In God We Trust” in every federal building because he believed morality and religion were intertwined.
Capps has now been found guilty of committing COVID relief fraud and money laundering.
He should be excited. His possible jail sentence should give him plenty of time to read the Bible over and over and learn all about morality.
Enjoy Christmas morning church service, everyone:
What does it take to get a Nativity scene removed from public property? Simple. Just ask the town to put up an atheist display in the same areas.
That’s what Tom Waddell, the leader of the Maine chapter of FFRF, did, and the town of Bucksport, Maine couldn’t handle it. They were more willing to take down the Christian display than treat non-Christian groups equally.
After complaints, however, they resurrected the Nativity display… while putting the FFRF poster at another public location. Waddell told me that was a “stop-gap measure.” But until this is all settled, Bucksport would be better off getting out of the religion game altogether.
For years now, members of “The Church at Planned Parenthood” (TCAPP) protested outside Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. While protests are legal, this one was intended to block people from using the clinic’s services through intimidation. They used speakers to loudly denounce abortion even though state law prohibits excessive noise and intrusion at health care facilities. They got right up outside the doors of the clinic.
Last Friday, however, a judge in Spokane County, Washington ruled that TCAPP violated the law when it blocked patient care outside a clinic, and the Christian group will now have to pay $110,000 in damages to the abortion providers.
So that plan backfired on the right-wing extremists…
Save some thought and prayers for Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley, who said in a video on Sunday that he has to find a new home for Stedfast Baptist Church because “nobody really wants to lease to us.”
Frank Pavone, a Catholic priest who became known for his anti-abortion extremism and MAGA cultism far more than anything Jesus-related, was (finally) removed from the priesthood by the Vatican. It sure took long enough.
In 2016, Pavone urged Catholics to vote for Donald Trump in a (now-deleted) video in which he used an actual dead fetus as a political prop. That didn’t get him kicked out.
Do you know how awful you have to be for the Catholic Church to say you’ve gone too far?
"Churches are just sports teams but with mascots who can fly." That’s just one line in this extended clip about confirmation bias from Tim Minchin’s latest show:
Amy Grant was recently awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, an award give for “lifetime artistic achievements,” making her the first contemporary Christian singer to receive it. You would think other Christian leaders would celebrate this acknowledgment from a mainstream organization…
But after Grant told a reporter that she was hosting her niece’s same-sex wedding at her family farm, the bigots were quick to condemn her.
Between 2015 and 2017, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights catered to the bigoted whims of faith-based schools. Tour guides, some of whom were LGBTQ themselves, were told not to show certain students any content that might offend their religious sensibilities, including a section on same-sex marriage. It put those staffers in the awkward position of having to shield students from an important part of Canadian history because their bosses wanted admission fees more than they wanted to educate students.
When the CBC was reporting on the censorship, they issued a public records request to find out which Christian schools had requested the Don’t-Show-Us-Gay-Stuff tour. The schools in question went to court to prevent the museum from releasing that information.
This week, those two Christian schools lost a lawsuit to keep their names out of the news. Which means students at Sterling North Stonewall (in Stonewall, Manitoba) and Sterling West Pembina (in St. Vincent, Minnesota) will be getting lessons in the Streisand effect.
Kate Cohen, writing for the Washington Post (gift article), took a controversial “Festival of Yule” I recently wrote about and combined it with Impossible sausage and Disney's new Ariel for an article. It’s the Christmas mashup you’ve been waiting for.
Apparently organizing a union violates Christian principles:
Congressman Sean Casten of Illinois, a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, has thoughts about this guy’s Christianity:
I get that Richard Dawkins wants to promote science over feelings, and in certain contexts, he’s absolutely right… but the flippant way he discredits lived experiences (as if they’re always secondary to whatever the numbers say) and suggests science can’t contribute to oppression (no mention of Tuskegee?) is just wildly ignorant.
As I’ve said before, Dawkins is both the finest long-form science writer and the worst short-form science writer.
The Leopards Eating People's Faces Party has struck again:
Anyone want to help me buy a church?
Tell me again who’s a threat to children…? Better yet, let Mrs. Betty Bowers tell you:
It’s truly incredible that the 845-page Jan. 6 Committee Report doesn't mention "Christian Nationalism" even once. (There’s one mention of “Christian Nationalist” but it’s descriptive, not a focus.)
One of the Christian hate-preachers name-checked Satanist Rowan Astra in a recent sermon. Here’s Rowan’s response:
Looks like Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke’s attempt to interrupt a drag queen event failed after facing pushback from the LGBTQ community and allies:
On a similar note, Locke seems to think he’s not beholden to either political party, which should come as news to all the Republicans he hangs out with.
His pro-Putin tweets aren’t that subtle either.
Remember the Christian missionary who died after trying to evangelize to people living on an isolated island?
Here's the backstory to that place. Fascinating details (and footage!) from Real Life Lore...
i had a blast chatting with Sydney Davis Jr. Jr. about religion, the problems with atheism, and our *favorite* subreddit. (Minus my glasses because there was a glare.)
Since you're about to watch 19831213 holiday movies in the coming weeks, I made a video about why Candace Cameron Bure's pledge to only feature "traditional marriage" in her new gig is bound to fail.
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, believes you either want to be just like her… or you hate Jesus:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity and right-wing preaching:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 33: Before we learn how to conquer Canaan, we're gonna read off the itinerary for the Israelites' journey.
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, we have a brand new alert system!
Please become a full subscriber or share this with someone who may enjoy it. It would mean a lot to me :)