WEEK IN REVIEW: Florida's blueprint for spreading Christian Nationalism
Praying with SCOTUS, a “faith-healing” death, a horrible attempt to “protect” kids, and more!
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Over the weekend, a full-page ad appeared in the Chicago Tribune reminding people that atheists vote, too. This one featured me, but others around the country featured other local atheists.
I also was mentioned in a newspaper article about the impact of the Supreme Court’s Kennedy decision, permitting Christian prayers by public school coaches.
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to participate in efforts like this campaign while working on articles and other projects.
Florida public school teachers are being indoctrinated into Christian Nationalism. The state is hosting a series of paid training sessions for civics teachers. That’s not at all unusual, but reports from the first session show how the “Christian nation” myth is seeping into the curriculum, boosted by Republican lawmakers like Gov. Ron DeSantis and written by Christian fundamentalists at Michigan’s Hillside College. Here are just a couple of the slides teachers saw recently:
It’s one thing if teachers recognize the manipulation in play here. A lot of veteran educators will no doubt be able to sniff out the bullshit. But many newer, younger teachers who don’t pay attention to the culture war battles over history may have no clue they’re being lied to by Christian Nationalists who have every incentive to spread lies about history to make their conservative vision of America look far better than it actually is.
This is all about indoctrinating the next generation of teachers, so they can inadvertently indoctrinate the next generation of students.
A dozen Christians, part of a religious cult in Australia, were arrested following the “faith-healing” death of an 8-year-old girl. All she needed was insulin to take care of her Type 1 diabetes, but her parents and their Christian allies refused to give her any for nearly a week… choosing instead to pray for God to intervene. She didn’t make it. Her parents were arrested earlier this year; now another 12 people face murder charges.
I must have looked at this tweet several times before sharing it and it’s still mind-blowing. A lady says her Christian son tried sharing the Gospel with a practicing Catholic girl… on their first date… and she wasn’t having any of it.
The lady has since made her entire profile private. I guess she doesn’t want to hear from all those Catholics who insist Catholicism is also Christian.
A record-low 20% of Americans believe the Bible is literally true, according to a Gallup poll, down from a record-high of 40% in 1984. That may sound like excellent news… but remember that all of those literalists are in elected office. I assume.
What would you think if someone whose cases were in front of the Supreme Court told you he had dinner and drinks with some of the justices right before the oral arguments took place? You would think that’s highly unethical!
And yet a Christian activist named Peggy Nienaber made a similar admission on a hot mic shortly after the decision to overturn Roe, bragging out loud that she prays (present tense) with Supreme Court justices (plural), even though the group she works with, Liberty Counsel, has cases in front of the Court and even wrote an amicus brief urging them to restrict abortion rights.
Somehow, that’s not even the only story involving judges and prayer! Christian Nationalists are now broadcasting the fact that secular laws no longer apply if their version of God disagrees.The hearing over Mississippi's abortion trigger ban began today with a prayer for the presence of “the Holy Spirit" and that the court would "seek (God)'s truth, not our own." Rev. Calvin Cosnahan delivered the prayer at Judge Debbra K. Halford's request.mississippifreepress.orgJudge Lets Near-Total Abortion Ban Take Effect; Pink House Must Close ThursdayWednesday will be the last day the Jackson Women’s Health Organization can provide abortions after a state court declined to block a near-total abortion ban from going into effect in two days.
We don’t live in a theocracy… but if we did, it’d look a hell of a lot like this:
Pope Francis said that women, for the first time, would have a say in which bishops get appointed… and this response may be my favorite:EXCLUSIVE - Wolf to let chickens have a say in appointment of which wolves will eat them. https://t.co/VKj7AHikDyEXCLUSIVE - POPE TO LET WOMEN HAVE SAY IN APPOINTMENT OF BISHOPS - Pope discloses in interview with Reuters that for the first time he will appoint women to the Vatican committee that helps him choose bishops. Story will be posted here shortly. https://t.co/8rXQijjXOOPhilip Pullella @PhilipPullella
Summerside Community Church in Prince Edward Island is getting rightly criticized after advertising a webinar with a “former” lesbian designed to help parents “protect their children from what’s happening during pride month.”
Protect them from WHAT exactly? The church won’t say. It just insinuates all kinds of evil. (It shouldn’t escape anyone’s attention that the flyer said “Be Better.” The church isn’t taking its own advice.)
Remember how a bunch of religious conservatives refused to get vaccinated because they claimed the COVID shots involved the destruction of fetuses? Well, you would think they’d jump on a vaccine that wasn’t made with those stem cells, right? Of course not.
This is one of the weirder stories this week: The Georgia Guidestones, which some Christian nationalists deemed Satanic, were destroyed for unknown reasons. It’s not clear who did it or why. But destroying the monument was a high-priority agenda item for a group of vocal fundamentalists.
If you’re wondering what the hell everyone’s so worked up about, I urge you to watch this online-only segment from Last Week Tonight that aired in May. (Excellent timing!)
I mentioned last week that the latest Australian census found a dramatic decline in Christianity and a rise of the non-religious, but these charts show those results in really interesting ways:
After a lengthy drought, there was finally some much-needed rain in Utah. Why did that happen? If you ask the Republicans in charge, the answer is… prayer. Seriously. They think their prayers urged God to make it rain.During our state’s historic drought, we are grateful for a Governor @SpencerJCox who has called upon all of us to exercise faith and ask that the heavens be opened up. This is a much welcomed and needed storm. Stay Safe Utah! #KeepingUtahSafe @UtahDPS
I guess it never crossed their minds that the same God, in their minds, would have caused the drought too.
Earlier this year, I wrote about a Jewish couple in Tennessee that sued after a taxpayer-funded Christian adoption agency refused to work with them. Now, sadly, a panel of judges has dismissed their case.
It’s even worse in Michigan, where the Republican nominee for Secretary of State admitted to believing in “demonic possession,” which she says can be transferred through “intimate relationships.”
Not all politicians are the same, though, and openly humanist Rep. Jared Huffman is a reminder of that:Helpful reminder that while the unaccountable SCOTUS pushes us toward theocracy, politicians should not overlook the fastest growing religious demographic in America: "nones."Cheryl Kolbe in front of FFRF's "I'm an Atheist and I Vote" billboard in Portland, Ore., put up in time to celebrate the original American principle of separation between state and church. https://t.co/TWNJ70dawxFFRF @FFRF
We also have a supporter in AOC:
It’s bad enough that MAGA-loving Pastor Robert Jeffress delivered a sermon on Christian Nationalism over the weekend. I expect that from him. But it was still appalling to see this image on the video:
Psalm 33:12 actually reads “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.” There’s no mention of America because OF COURSE THERE ISN’T. But when you can just rewrite the Bible to suit your needs, why let facts get in the way of your preferred narrative?
It's easy to spread lies when you just speak with confidence, kids.
Some good news: A handful of atheist podcasters raised over $160,000 for abortion providers in the wake of Roe being overturned. Kudos to Cognitive Dissonance, the Scathing Atheist, Opening Arguments, Knowledge Fight, and Puzzle in a Thunderstorm for doing this:
They’re not the only atheists contributing to an important cause — you can help, too:
Want more good charity news?Whoa: @ToddStiefel and the Stiefel Freethought Foundation has given a $300,000 grant (over three years) to @RNS to report on the "origins and aims of the white Christian nationalist movement and the dangers it poses to democracy."religionnews.comReligion News Service awarded grant from Stiefel Freethought FoundationStiefel Freethought Foundation
I have no clue who’s advising Richard Dawkins these days, but either he’s surrounded by a bunch of fools or he made another awful decision on his own, joining the advisory board for the right-wing grievance-obsessed, unaccredited, literally unreal “University of Austin,” a pseudo-school for conservatives who pretend they’re liberal.
A New York Times article quoted an anti-abortion activist without mentioning his long history of anti-LGBTQ bigotry, as if those two things aren’t explicitly linked together.How do you quote Roger Severino without highlighting the hypocrisy?!Pressed by Supreme Court decisions diminishing rights that liberals hold dear and expanding those cherished by conservatives, the U.S. appears to be drifting apart into separate nations. Call these the Disunited States. https://t.co/nPk3WGnPMtThe New York Times @nytimes
We all make mistakes. But at least you would never waste $2,000,000 like this.
Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke made a series of unverifiable, wildly irresponsible accusations during a sermon on Wednesday… sandwiched between a rant about The Exorcist, and a reminder that he’s always right even when he’s wrong.Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke spent tonight renouncing the Catholic Church and Pazuzu, a fictional demon from The Exorcist.Earlier tonight, Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke claimed Kenneth Copeland is a "sex trafficking rapist," Joel Osteen abuses boys, and Tom Hanks and Oprah are pedophiles. What if they sue/kill him? No worries. He has a "dead man's switch" and "it'll ALL go on the internet."
How’s preacher Gene Kim doing these days, you ask? The same. Always the same.
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, longs for the days when kids were purposely hurt during the school day:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley says feminism, or "trying to get them to have rights or whatever," is wicked. "I'm not saying that all roads lead to feminism, but I'm saying all feminism roads lead to Satan."Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley needed to tell his congregation that "the Jews are the good guys" in this Bible story because "that might be really hard for you" to accept.Christian hate-preacher Bruce Mejia is very excited that the Obergefell and Lawrence cases, involving marriage equality and sodomy laws, could be overturned by the Supreme Court because it would "impede the judgment of God" for a bit.Christian hate-preacher Corbin Ressl says men don't want to "get with" pro-choice women, before insisting they're all ugly anyway.
I mentioned last week that right-wing media outlets had fallen for a GOP ruse that the Biden administration was helping “promote atheism worldwide.” The reality is that the State Department offers grant money to groups helping victims of religious discrimination, and one of those options helps atheists specifically. I explained more in this video.
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 9: We're finally returning to the storyline we abruptly veered from back in Exodus, following the Israelites as they head toward the Promised Land!
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, a helpful reminder:
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 :)
White Christian nationalism remains the biggest threat to our democracy and every GOP in office and trying to get in office is behind this-- and they need to be removed ASAP! Vote blue!