WEEK IN REVIEW: How many atheists are in prison?
God's candidate lost in Texas, Atheist Street Pirates, Pat Robertson's prediction about Ukraine, and more!
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By all progressive measures, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson appears to be a solid choice for the Supreme Court. While her judgments so far have not involved any serious church/state cases, there’s no reason to think she won’t strongly support a wall of separation between the two sides. And yet when she was formally introduced as President Joe Biden’s nominee, one of the first things she said was, “My life has been blessed beyond measure, and I do know that one can only come this far by faith.”
There’s nothing wrong with a religious person offering that sentiment. It’s just frustrating when someone with stellar credentials, who worked her ass off to achieve the success she’s earned, gives credit to the one person that doesn’t need it. It’s like a patient who gets through hours of surgery by a team of trained doctors… and then thanks God for making it through. Understandable, but unnecessary.
How many atheists are in the federal prison system? If you listen to Christian apologists who claim religion and morality go hand in hand, you might come away thinking we’re disproportionately represented behind bars. But according to a Freedom of Information Act request I received, that’s not the case at all.
In fact, in 2021, self-described atheists made up a mere 0.1% of the federal prison population. And self-described “Humanists” were an even smaller group.
I went through the data — and the many reasons I’m hesitant to use it as a sign that atheists are moral — right here.
Atheist podcaster and YouTuber Seth Andrews recently shared a video clip of a Christian hate-preacher saying vile things about LGBTQ people… in order to condemn him for it. But Facebook’s bots, unable to recognize hate speech from criticism of that same hate speech, banned Andrews from accessing and posting on his page for 30 days.
It’s hardly the first time this has happened, but as I explained, Facebook’s algorithm is giving a leg up to religious hate speech by stifling criticism of it, whether or not that’s intentional.
Former Trump-nominated Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and one-time neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson gave a keynote address at Air Force Academy’s National Character and Leadership Symposium. That alone is cause for alarm. But at the very end of his hour-long speech, when answering a question about how God helped him through his most difficult moments, Carson said supporting church/state separation was a form of “schizophrenia.”
That statement would’ve been bad enough said by anyone, but for a former Cabinet member to say it is beyond the pale. But I doubt anything will come from it because Carson is the beneficiary of a culture that never punishes conservative Christian politicians for lying to the public.
Activists in Los Angeles are removing religious signs that are attached to utility poles, bridge overpasses, and other city-owned spaces. They call themselves the "Atheist Street Pirates," and they may be expanding to a city near you.
This is a perfect example of how Christian ministries infiltrate public schools under the radar: The Pennridge School District in Pennsylvania has a section on its website where outside groups can request to have their “flyers” posted. One came from a group offering free tutoring.
But when one mother called seeking biology help for her daughter, who missed a unit on evolution, she learned that the tutors would help her daughter “understand evolution through a ‘biblical worldview… meaning that we believe that God created the world in six literal days.’”
To put it another way, the district was advertising a Christian ministry that intended to confuse students by injecting mythology into their science lessons, leaving kids worse off as they prepare for advanced placement exams that could earn them college credit.
Beginning a couple of years ago, a teenager at Immanuel Reformed Presbyterian Church in West Lafayette, Indiana abused a number of children in the church. A responsible pastor would’ve banned that teenager from attending the church and working with kids.
Instead, Pastor Jared Olivetti downplayed the seriousness of the allegations… because he was apparently related to the teenager in question. He helped cover everything up. And because of that, more children were abused.
Now Olivetti and his leadership team have resigned and many church members are left wondering how many more kids were molested and how their trust was shattered. Just an awful story that still doesn’t have an ending.
Texas State Senate candidate Bianca Gracia insisted she had already won as soon as she announced her campaign. Later, she said if Christians voted for her, she would win. Later, she said if Christians didn’t vote for her, God’s wrath would come down upon them.
Looks like God was voting for someone else. Gracia lost her Republican primary on Tuesday.
I cannot believe this is one of the wealthiest televangelists in the world:
I’m with Nick here: Everyone need to stop using “ungodly” as a synonym for awfulness, as Senator Chris Murphy did when describing atrocities in Ukraine at the hands of the Russian government.
If you have some time, I urge you to scroll through this thread asking people to describe the last straw before they finally walked away from organized religion for good.
Believe it or not, most Americans have doubts about God's existence. I made a video explaining what's happening and why atheists shouldn't break out the party hats just yet.
Public defender Don Zeko recently got married with the help of a friend who got ordained from the Universal Life Church (which allows anyone to become a “priest” for a small fee). But because of the pro-religion laws in North Carolina, there was reason to think his marriage wasn’t legally binding… which result in him having to get his marriage annulled… then go through everything again.
Remember the Mississippi mayor who tried to withhold $110,000 from the local library system unless all LGBTQ+ books were purged from the shelves?
That plan may have backfired after the library system received about half the money from donations around the world, with more coming in, but that’s still a short-term solution. Unless the local government gets them the funding they need, the public library’s future remains in jeopardy.
I didn’t know there was an “atheist media,” but the Christian conspiracist from Georgia desperately wants to live in a theocracy.
Remember last month when staffers at a Christian school in TX were arrested for not reporting a known case of sexual abuse? Last week, staffers at ANOTHER Christian school in the SAME CITY were arrested for the SAME THING.
Christian “prophets” hate it when you watch their old clips.
The ghost of Pat Robertson came back to The 700 Club to claim Putin was “compelled by God” to invade Ukraine because… Israel. It’s always about Israel. And the End Times. And the Apocalypse.
Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee cares about Ukrainians. But just some of them.
Pastor John Hagee, whose obsession with Israel has gotten him into plenty of hot water in the past, says he wants to raise $20 million right away to help transport 8,000 Jewish Ukrainians to Israel. I’m all in favor of helping Ukrainians, but the track record for transparency and accountability is not very good with televangelists…
The Jerry Falwell, Jr. scandal is about to become a limited series on television. Which means Jerry Falwell, Jr. will soon get to watch Jerry Falwell, Jr. watching Jerry Falwell, Jr.'s wife get it on with the pool boy.
Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley is not taking his church’s eviction well. But he’ll just find a new strip mall space to rent and continue his vile sermons trashing everyone who doesn’t line up with his version of Christianity.Soon-to-be-evicted Christian hate-preacher Jonathan Shelley spent yesterday spreading nasty lies about gay people. The sermon included a brief discussion about what he does in the bathroom.
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:After whining about how his buddy's hate speech led to the eviction of his church, and after comparing gay people to serial killers, Christian preacher Tanner Furrh said (about gay people) "I wish they all would put a bullet in their head and do us all a favor."During a sermon about Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill on Sunday, Christian preacher Nick Gomez spread nasty lies about LGBTQ people... before saying, "I hope that Joe Biden kills himself. And I hope all these f****ts just die."Women love to be housewives, according to "every single study in the last century," says Christian preacher Paul Hanson, who just made all of that up.Christian preacher David Berzins, who can't seem to stop thinking about gay people, wants you to know the "natural" reaction to gay people.Hate-preacher Greg Locke is very upset with the backlash to his "witch hunt" because it's threatening his visits to Dunkin'.A church brought in Dr. Avery Jackson, who's under investigation in Michigan for issuing mask waivers in exchange for good Google reviews, to speak to the congregation. He compared face masks to slavery. deadlinedetroit.com/articles/29484…
And, of course, you can’t call it a real week without a snapshot of Gene Kim’s sermon board:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Leviticus 18, a chapter that underlies purity culture, abstinence-only sex education, and all those awful Girl Defined videos.
By the way, that video was demonetized by YouTube for its sexual content. Even though I’m just READING THE BIBLE. (I appealed, but alas, a human reviewer still said it was Too Hot for YouTube.)
On this week’s podcast, we discussed some of the bigger stories that appear in this newsletter!
What did I just watch?
I’m just gonna leave this here…
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