WEEK IN REVIEW: Greg Locke's Next Book Burning
An atheist politician making news for unexpected reasons, the worst Mormon dad ever, the Clergy Project play, and more!
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One of the first stories I ever wrote about when I began blogging was about a young atheist who recorded his high school history teacher, David Paszkiewicz, preaching in the classroom. Paszkiewicz urged students to convert to Christianity, denied the reality of evolution, and claimed dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark.
The district eventually settled the case by promising to have all staffers go through church/state separation training.
Paszkiewicz remained in the classroom, though. He also continued promoting his brand of right-wing bigotry as a pastor, including one time last year when he compared LGBTQ people to rapists and pedophiles.
Now Paszkiewicz is running for Town Council. He must be hoping that his history of hate and Christian supremacy aren’t at the forefront of voters’ minds. The least I can do is remind people of his beliefs and hope voters in Kearny, NJ don’t let him get anywhere close to a position of leadership.
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to pursue these efforts while working on articles and other projects.
For anyone interested, I will be speaking at the following places in the coming weeks. Tickets for the events are still available!
October 30: Houston Oasis (Houston, Texas)
What do you do if you’re an independent candidate for Congress in a non-competitive, Democratic-leaning district? If you’re Mike Itkis, whose open atheism is apparently one of the least interesting things about him, you announce a sex tape you made with an adult film star in order to show your “commitment” to your sex positive platform.
I won’t link to “Bucket List Bonanza,” but here’s a (safe for work) video I made about the whole situation:
If you’re trying to prove to the world that you’re a loving parent, you might want to avoid bragging about how you’d forbid your child from living with you in the future if he or she commits some unforgivable “sin”… like being gay and not ashamed of it.
That’s what Mormon parent, blogger, and podcaster Matthew Watkins did on Friday, trashing his hypothetical gay daughter.
It only got worse from there when he tried to clarify his comments, only to double down on the worst of it. Watkins locked his Twitter account on Sunday night after receiving (fair) condemnation from even fellow Mormons.
This week marks the preview opening of a new off-Broadway play called “The Unbelieving,” all about the secret lives of practicing clergy members who no longer believe in God.
It’s based on actual testimonies from closeted pastors and priests that were first made public in 2010, when philosopher Daniel Dennett and researcher Linda LaScola released a groundbreaking study of clergy members who no longer believed in God yet were still in the pulpit. That study soon led to the formation of The Clergy Project, a private forum for closeted clergy members, as well as the book Caught in The Pulpit: Leaving Belief Behind (affiliate link).
A harmless mural painted over the summer at the Child and Adolescent Health Center at Grant Middle School in Michigan is under attack by Christian parents who claim it’s “Satanic.”
They point specifically to the kids wearing LGBTQ flag colors, a demon face (that’s actually a character from a video game), and a “Hamsa hand” symbol that is said to provide good luck in some cultures.
It’s all predictable overreaction to Christian ignorance. The district caved to their complaints by promising to have the symbols removed, but the kids and their shirts can stay.
Christian hate-preacher Greg Locke, of Global Vision Bible Church in Tennessee, plans to hold his second book burning spectacle on Halloween, proving once again that spreading the Gospel is a much lower priority than literally fanning the flames of a culture war.
Maybe the most eye-popping detail in his announcement is that he’s going after more than just so-called “demonic” items like Ouija boards. He’s targeting “board games, Catholic statues, rosary beads, tarot cards and demonic games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pokémon.” Catholic symbols! Because anyone who’s not his brand of Christian is automatically a heretic.
Ark Encounter is still struggling to make up for pandemic-era attendance drops. Whatever short-term gains they have still don’t reach their levels from 2019.
All the details are in this (subscriber-only) post!
During a recent episode of the Catholic Conversations podcast, host Adrian Fonseca said women should stay in abusive relationships in order to save their husbands’ souls. Fonseca urged them to emulate female saints who “stayed and endured the abuse.”
Just completely broken brain Catholic logic for you.
This is horrifying. After an Afghan infant survived a U.S. military raid, the baby's living relatives were found and planned to take care of the child. They now say a U.S. soldier and his wife (both Liberty U. grads) have abducted the child.
The case is now playing out in court, effectively pitting the Christian kidnappers against the child’s familial ties.
Christian Nationalists are going to destroy all of us.
And before you say Lauren Boebert is an anomaly, her far-right colleagues are openly embracing that mix of theocracy and Christian Nationalism:
Conservatives just call anything and everything they don’t like “Satanic” to the point where it loses all meaning:
The MAGA people know exactly what their movement is about. Christian supremacy and white nationalism go hand in hand.
Speaking of MAGA Christians, their definition of “Christian” is one who worships Trump.
How do I request that the Christian moms who find Satan in everything become recurring characters? (Bonus points for the hilarious exorcism.)
This will blow your mind:
Best part about this NBA on TNT promotional ad? Conspiracy theorist Kyrie Irving (in the second row from the front) reading a book that suggests a Flat Earth.
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, would like women to stop voting:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity and right-wing preaching:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 24: Balak wants to destroy the Israelites. But Balaam, who has a direct connection to God, isn't letting it happen. So Balak is now asking for a third opinion. Drama!
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, stand strong:
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