WEEK IN REVIEW: Southern Baptist cruelty spotlighted on "60 Minutes"
Why Catholic hospitals are dangerous, hot youth pastors, Bart Barber’s troubling interview, 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.)
If you’re a youth pastor at a church, and you’ve seen all the articles about youth pastors getting arrested or being sentenced to jail for sexually abusing kids, how on earth could you think it’s a good idea to hand out a sticker to children in your church saying “I ❤️ hot youth pastors”?
That’s what Cory Wall did recently at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer, South Carolina.
After a picture of the sticker circulated online, the church issued a blanket statement downplaying the situation but adding that they were looking into the matter.
Shortly after my first article about the matter went up, the church announced Wall had been placed on temporary leave. (My second article about the situation topped the NotTheOnion subreddit.)
Want to protect your children? Get them out of churches like these and let them visit a library where drag queens read stories to kids. The people you should be concerned about are in the churches.
As always, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to spend far too much time pursuing stories like these.
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)
On Sunday night, 60 Minutes aired an interview with Bart Barber, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention. While many within the SBC praised him for the segment, especially his compassion regarding victims of child sexual abuse within the denomination, they glossed over the more damning moments of the interview.
Like when Barber said he would force children to have their rapists’ babies.
And when he said people in same-sex marriages couldn’t be good Christians.
And when he said he opposed Donald Trump in 2016 because of things he said about women and immigrants… only to admit supporting Trump in 2020 (because those issues no longer mattered to him, apparently).
These weren’t verbal gaffes. They were honest responses that revealed just how morally bankrupt the SBC is. If the head of the organization—a supposed moderate—is this heartless and thoughtless, what hope is there for the faith?
The Northern York County School District in Pennsylvania has rejected a $578 no-strings-attached donation for school supplies… all because the money is coming from The Satanic Temple.
Making matters worse? The superintendent urged the Satanists to donate the money to a Christian charity instead.
All of this comes months after the same district rejected a request to form an After School Satan Club even though the club met all the criteria for extracurricular groups. It’s all a lawsuit just waiting to happen… all because they think money from Satanists is inherently evil.
On September 30, about a day after Hurricane Ian hit the coast of Florida, Christian evangelists (and right-wing activists) Mario Murillo and Lance Wallnau announced that their “Fire and Glory Tour” would still take place October 24-25 at Hertz Arena in Estero, Florida, just outside of Fort Myers.
“We are not canceling,” they said. “It is crystal clear that we are in God’s perfect timing.”
Guess what? They’re canceling.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience this will cause. But we have no choice…”
There’s nothing wrong with rescheduling the event, obviously. The issue is that this was completely predictable. But instead of acknowledging the error on their end, and instead of admitting that God’s “perfect plan” wasn’t so perfect after all, and instead of apologizing for saying the event would not be cancelled, the two evangelists are just moving forward as if they never made the earlier announcement.
Among the many, many consequences of the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade is the spotlight it has placed on Catholic hospitals across the country with regards to reproductive health care.
In states where abortion rights are severely restricted—especially in those states—it’s more important than ever that women have access to healthcare when their lives are in danger. That is not the priority in Catholic hospitals. And yet, as the Washington Post explained this week, with Catholic hospitals rapidly swallowing up public facilities, the two sides are on a collision course.
I dove into the problems with Catholic hospitals in a lengthy piece.
The one mom at Christian hate group One Million Moms says she prematurely celebrated the cancellation of the cartoon Little Demon… because (oops!) it wasn’t cancelled after all.
So where did she get this bad information from? We know the answer because she bragged about it last week: A right-wing website known for spreading conspiracy theories and misinformation. But in that statement above, she made no mention of why she fell for the lie.
Because conspiracy nuts rarely criticize other conspiracy nuts.
By the way, not long after that mea culpa, the same group announced a Christian-wide boycott of the new Scooby-Doo movie… because Velma is depicted as lesbian.
This is what they’re outraged about these days because when you’re a Christian zealot, you stop caring about actual problems.
Earlier this year, attorney Richard Trahant discovered that a chaplain at (private Catholic) Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana had previously been accused of sexual misconduct.
Trahant contacted the school and informed them of what he had just learned. Within days, that chaplain, Paul Hart, announced his “retirement.”
That lawyer has now been fined $400,000 for warning people about the predator priest.
I repeat: THE LAWYER IS THE ONE IN TROUBLE.
For much of the past century, Ireland was practically synonymous with the Catholic Church. The Church was arguably the most powerful institution for generations of Irish people. But all that began to change in recent years and it’s happened faster than anyone could have anticipated. “Holy Catholic Ireland” is quickly turning unholy.
Ireland is now a place where the fastest growing “religious” demographic is people with no religious affiliation. The government is secularizing the default-Catholic school system to the point where they’re phasing out Christianity as the default option in many secondary schools. Abortion has been legalized. Same-sex marriage has been legalized. The blasphemy law has been repealed.
Maybe the biggest change, though, has been the reputation of the Catholic Church itself. It’s no longer seen as an influential, relevant institution. You’re far more likely to hear it referred to as the problem rather than the solution.
Dr. Hugh Turpin’s new book, Unholy Catholic Ireland: Religious Hypocrisy, Secular Morality, and Irish Irreligion, is a culmination of his research on this issue, looking closely at the causes and effects of a post-Catholic Ireland. I posted an excerpt from the book on the site.
Weeks after the New York Times exposed the utter lack of education that Hasidic schools were providing students, state officials “have determined that a large boys’ school in Brooklyn is violating state law by failing to provide a basic education.”
Whether this leads to sanctions for that school or others like it remains to be seen, but it’s an important step in the right direction.
We haven't heard enough about the fundamentalist Christian school founded by Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey. So I made a video talking about what they teach and why it shows Bailey isn't fit to lead the state.
Say it again for the people in the back:
Singer M.I.A. has taken a bizarre right-wing shift that involves Jesus and other conspiracy theories.
Have you been hoping for another series looking into the Jerry Falwell, Jr. saga? Your atheist prayers have been answered:
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, is very upset that women don’t want to be harassed.
And you know I had to make a video about her list from last week:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity and right-wing preaching:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 23: Balak wants Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites, but God doesn't want that... which leads to some bizarre double-crossing secret agent cosplay.
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, hats off to Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales, for refusing to put up with right-wing Christian bigotry:
Please become a full subscriber or share this with someone who may enjoy it. It would mean a lot to me :)
Any comment on Bill Maher having a friendly interview with Netanyahu yesterday, who promised to put religious nationalists and Haredi theocrats in his government after Israeli elections next month? Or are we supposed to continue to ignore how horrible Maher is?
If they're not stopped ASAP, these fools (white Christian Nationalists) are out to get enough states to join a constitutional convention to drastically change our constitution to a "God" based law in every area.
This is not a joke my friends and even though they're NOT perfect, the Democrats are our best bet to stop the USA from becoming what was done in Iran when we gave the Shah the power to invoke Muslim sharia law. So, now we can see what the women and non-believers in that country are facing now. Death for breaking simple Muslim laws like what they are allowed to wear and what to think. Freethinkers and humanists are in danger every day.