WEEK IN REVIEW: A Cop's baptized a woman against her will... then things got worse
Kenneth Copeland’s COVID lies, a new Congressional Freethought Caucus member, a Christian official bragging about breaking the law, and more!
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For anyone in the Orlando, Florida area, I’ll be giving a LIVE IN-PERSON talk on Sunday, April 24 about why I’m (seriously!) optimistic about the future of atheism in America.
The event is sponsored by the Central Florida Freethought Community, it will be free to attend, and you can find all the details here!
One more personal note. Are you someone who does the New York Times crossword puzzle? Then, um, be sure to check out the Saturday puzzle which goes live Friday night at 10:00p (ET)... Hope you enjoy :)
For two years now, Christian scamvangelist Kenneth Copeland has been spreading lies about COVID to his gullible followers, putting them in serious danger. He claimed to “destroy” the virus at the beginning. But even today, with nearly a million COVID-related deaths in the United States, Copeland is still pretending the virus and its variants aren’t that serious.
Yet another member of Congress, Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) announced this week that she’s joining the Congressional Freethought Caucus, raising the number of caucus members to 17 people openly protecting church/state separation and defending atheists on Capitol Hill. (Brownley is an Episcopalian.)
Maybe the most shocking thing about it? Based on the total lack of media interest, no one seems to care… which is to say, no one, not even right-wing media, thinks it’s a big deal for a sitting House member to align with a group for atheists.
Joanna DeFoe, a justice of the peace for the Fulton County Quorum Court in Arkansas, bragged about breaking the law by injecting Christian prayers at their meetings, saying on Facebook, “I now brought prayer back into our Quorum Court this past year, course I have to say the prayer, but guess the Lord wanted me to do so!”
This is Christian privilege in action. She’s openly boasting about breaking the law by pushing her faith on the community as an elected official, something she can get away with only because she’s in the religious majority. No one else would ever get away with it. And if church/state separation groups take action, she won’t get away with it either.
A dying Catholic church in Newfoundland and Labrador may soon become a community recreation center. If that happens, victims of sexual abuse may not get all the money they're owed. It’s a complicated situation, but I tried to make sense of it here.
In 2019, a Tennessee cop named Daniel Wilkey allegedly baptized a woman against her will after pulling her over. She said she felt she had no choice but to comply because she didn’t want to go to jail. She later sued that cop, and a judge this week gave a green light for the lawsuit to proceed.
But on Wednesday night, the woman at the center of the lawsuit, Shandle Marie Riley, was found dead. The cause of death is not clear, nor is there some obvious connection to the lawsuit. It’s hard not to jump to conclusions, though.
There are a lot of troubling details about Arise, New Zealand’s largest megachurch, in this multi-part investigation by David Farrier.
Note to Tennessee Republicans: You do not, under any circumstances, need to use Hitler as an example of a guy who achieved success.
Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke allegedly gave $100,000 to a “Patriot Church” in his home state of Tennessee. I’m both surprised that he has that kind of money to throw around and troubled by the thought of what he’s hoping to get in return. Because I don’t trust him to just be generous.
Kandiss Taylor wants to be the Republican who runs for governor of Georgia against (presumably) Stacey Abrams. She began her primary campaign by listing her three priorities: Jesus, guns, babies. And during a recent speech to GOP members, she argued that church/state separation had no place in politics either:Georgia Republican candidate Kandiss Taylor goes full theocracy explaining her “Jesus, guns, and babies” slogan: “Don't talk to me about separation of church and state.” “We are the church and we run the state.” “[Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists] don't get to silence us.”
For someone whose party treats the Constitution like it’s the second most perfect document ever written, Taylor doesn’t understand a damn thing about it. No wonder Republicans haven’t run her out of the party. She’s one of them. She’s a Christian extremist who represents the GOP mainstream.
Christian pseudo-historian David Barton is spreading new lies about U.S. history, hoping to dupe the gullible evangelicals and conservative politicians who take him seriously. He says the Constitution is a “Christian nation” (my words) because it was ratified in churches… even though churches were often the only buildings in town that could host all the witnesses needed. (It was a practical consideration, not a religious one.)
He also said 44 delegates were “were ministers of the gospel. So again, preachers were highly, highly involved”… without mentioning that there were over 1,750 delegates. Under 3% is somehow “highly, highly involved.”
This is exciting: My friend Sarah Henry is running for the state legislature in Florida. She's exactly the kind of progressive, thoughtful person you would want in office. Especially in Florida. I donated as fast as I could. I hope you will too.
Ark Encounter's attendance in March was slightly higher than this time a year ago... but not even close to pre-pandemic attendance. So why is Creationist Ken Ham bragging about "record numbers"? I give details in this post (for my paid Substack subscribers only!)
At the same time, Ham issued a press release bragging about his ministry’s 10,000,000th visitor. (How many of them were atheists doing it for debunking purposes, I wonder…)
These self-described Christian prophets declared an end to the war in Ukraine… on April 4. (Who wants to tell them?)
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, won’t stop blaming feminists for damn near everything.Oh, you got married because you thought it would make you happy? Nope. Sorry. You're doing it wrong. Sincerely, Jesus, I guess.They're being taught math, science, literature, music, foreign languages, how to interact with other people, etc. It's all very frightening to people who live in bubbles.
Just so we’re all clear, Christian nationalist candidates want to criminalize birth control. Not just abortion. Birth control.
Speaking of Christian nationalism, this is what it looks like in action. Guys like Senate candidate Jackson Lahmeyer (misspelled in the tweet below) constantly say things they would loudly condemn if any non-Christian even suggested it.
We live in the dumbest timeline:
I mentioned last week that Congress was ready to rename a federal courthouse after Joseph Woodrow Hatchett, the Florida Supreme Court’s first Black justice... until Republicans found one of his school prayer rulings from 1999. This video explains how bonkers this whole thing is.
I've spent years following Kent Hovind's Creationist ministry. But this two-hour documentary by McKinnon Mitchell surprised even me at times. It’s disturbing at times, because Hovind has been accused of domestic abuse and there’s audio to go with it. But if you’re not familiar with his troubling history, this is an introduction you won’t find anywhere else.
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley longs for the old days when there were serious consequences for being gay... like execution. See if you can guess where he goes next.During an anti-Disney rant, Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley went on a tangent to trash a recent Oreo commercial about a gay kid coming out. (You can see that ad here: )Coming out doesn’t happen just once. It’s a journey that needs love and courage every step of the way. Share our new film 👇 and let someone know you’re their #LifelongAlly. https://t.co/S5ipPxZRONOREO Cookie @OreoChristian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley is very upset that women in the U.S. can get elected to office. And run businesses. And become military leaders. "Our country is a joke!"Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke spent today offering made-up medical advice and telling people how to cure insomnia. He blamed curses, Ouija boards, "steamy romance novels," yoga, and not getting delivered by Christ.Christian hate-preacher Roger Jimenez says men should never hit women. It's "never acceptable." Unless...During a sermon denouncing feminism, Christian hate-preacher Corbin Ressl brought out an assistant to help his words go down more smoothly. Wait for it.
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 24. We're back to biblical violence! But first we get a brief detour involving oil.
Finally, if you hate Christian movies, or love to hate Christian movies, you’ll enjoy this interview between Seth Andrews and Noah Lugeons:
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 :)
It's amazing to me that there are enough people who follow and donate money to charlatans like Kenneth Copeland, Greg Locke, Kat Kerr or Paula White to make them millionaires several times over. I just read that Locke's net worth is a whopping $129 million! Jesus must be rolling over in his tomb!
What Dumb Idiot Ham brags about is no different than the time he brags about his website getting his one billionth visitor to his site while being oblivious to the possibility of having his site getting visited by fake bots by the billions - exactly what TFG had on his Twitter account before he got permanently suspended from Twitter!
About Ozzie and the unnamed Nigerian King - I will bet that Dumb Idiot Ham made the whole thing up about these two and other celebrities visiting his junkyard park and museum just to get unwanted attention he and his rundowns don't deserve.
BTW, DIH's bragging about the king sounds like Ham's falling for the infamous Nigerian prince scam emails, don't you think?