WEEK IN REVIEW: This Arabic "In God We Trust" sign is messing with Texas
A Texas-sized loophole in a Christian law, a Big Bang fallacy, Purity Culture’s take on self-pleasure, and more!
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Sometimes, an article I wrote weeks ago pops up again unexpectedly. Like this commentary about conservative Christians furries (building off of reporting from Religion News Service).
Screenshots of the headline and image began circulating on Twitter and Reddit this week…
… and it even came up at the beginning of this week’s Savage Lovecast (with Dan Savage):
This newsletter helps steer the conversation toward Christian furries… as I always say.
Anyway, I appreciate your support through Patreon and Substack, which allows me to write about the topics I choose to pursue :) I’m writing this on Thursday night and there’s a *wild* piece going up Friday morning. Much more serious. Check out OnlySky in the morning for details.
For anyone interested, I will be speaking at the following places in the coming weeks. Tickets for the conferences are still available!
August 26-28: BAHACon (Sarnia, Ontario)
September 3: Kentucky Freethought Convention (Louisville, KY). Use promo code “FRIENDLY” for a discount!
September 24-25: 3rd International Humanism Conference on Social Justice (Toronto, Ontario)
October 30: Houston Oasis (Houston, Texas)
Last year, Texas passed a law requiring public schools to display “In God We Trust” posters under very strict conditions. They had to be donated or paid for by outside groups. They also had to include the national motto, the U.S. flag (underneath and centered), and the Texas flag, and literally nothing else.
The expectation, as the bill’s sponsor Sen. Bryan Hughes could tell you, was posters that looked like this:
But atheist activist Chaz Stevens realized that the bill never said the posters had to be in English. So he created one that included the motto… in Arabic.
He plans to send those posters to schools across the state. Will it work? The truth is schools don’t have a choice in the matter. If the posters are donated and meet the legal specifications, and the schools don’t already have a poster up, they must go up. The schools would be violating the law by rejecting his offer.
Kudos to Stevens for messing with Texas and reminding Christian Nationalists that their best laid plans can still backfire.
Remember how that Christian church in Texas did its own Jesus-y version of “Hamilton”? The Door McAllen church has finally apologized.
The biggest line is the last one: “We will pay damages for our actions.” As I write in my analysis, though, who they pay and how much they pay matters. Meanwhile, the rest of the statement still has some glaring omissions.
You gotta watch this fantastic speech by Adrienne Martin to her book-banning school board, reminding them that their personal religious beliefs shouldn’t be dictating her kid’s education.
When the IRS won’t enforce the Johnson Amendment, we shouldn’t be surprised when pastors openly endorse right-wing extremists for public office during a Sunday morning sermon.
That’s what Pastor Greg Peters of Parkview Church in Palm Coast, Florida did recently when he brought three conservative Christians on stage and told his congregation to vote for them in order to radicalize the local public school board.
Ultimately, the gambit had mixed results:
While we’re on election news, one disappointing result. As a result of New York’s botched redistricting, two prominent House Democrats faced each other in a primary, and Rep. Carolyn Maloney became the first member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus to lose her seat. At least it’s not for that reason.
Sahil Kapur @sahilkapur.@RepJerryNadler wins the Democratic primary for the 12th congressional district, @NBCNews projects. He defeats @RepMaloney after the two were drawn into the same district.
Tucked into page 443 of the South Carolina 2022-2023 budget is a $1,500,000 taxpayer-funded gift to the Christian Learning Centers of Greenville County, an organization that openly brags about its mission to indoctrinate children.
Given the state’s history with church/state separation cases, there’s good reason to believe this would be declared illegal if a lawsuit was filed over it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is only condemning the earmark for now… but I suspect there’s more coming down the pipeline.
In 2013, Oklahoma man Scott Esk said in a Facebook comment thread that sexually active gay people deserved to be executed by the government because the Bible commanded it.
That became a problem when Esk ran for office in 2014. Thankfully, he lost. Badly.
This week, Esk was on the ballot once again, in a GOP primary runoff for a seat in the State House, and the comments resurfaced. Esk has released video after video attempting to explain himself, but none of those videos include an apology. At best, Esk says the entire debate (as if this is a legitimate debate) is “moot” because there’s no reason to think such legislation will be brought to the table, much less passed. But when guys like him have power, we know there’s nothing stopping them from doing exactly that.
The good news is that Esk lost on Tuesday night. It wasn’t close, but it wasn’t a blowout either.
More Christian extremists are closer to power than ever before. Let’s not pretend they wouldn’t steer us toward a right-wing theocracy if they ever got that opportunity.
If Mark Robinson, the current Lt. Gov. of North Carolina, runs for governor in 2024, as many suspect he will, be frightened. Be very frightened.
In his new memoir, the Christian Nationalist politician says he would love to eliminate non-Math, non-Reading classes from elementary school, including history, science, and social studies.
The idea that reading, writing, and math are more important than all other subjects, or indeed the only subjects that matter, isn’t just short-sighted and idiotic. It takes away the beauty of public schools, which is receiving a strong education about a variety of subjects before, eventually, specializing in certain ones (if that’s what you choose).
Real knowledge involves knowing what you don’t know. Robinson wants his ignorance to become the basic curriculum for North Carolina.
Recently, a scientist said the James Webb Space Telescope pictures have made her rethink aspects of astronomy. Not the fact of the Big Bang Theory, but some of the various details that astrophysicists believed were true but lacked evidence to back up. It’s one of those things that happens in the world of science all the time whenever new information is discovered.
But after one poorly written article claimed scientists are now doubting the Big Bang entirely, the Creationists at Answers in Genesis ran with it, telling their followers that even scientists now say the Big Bang is a hoax. (That’s not what anyone is saying.)
Not only did AiG spread that lie on their bi-weekly “news” show, Ken Ham was extremely blunt (and extremely wrong) in a blog post that referenced “one physicist (who does not believe the big bang happened).” Again, that’s not true.
If you’re looking for honesty or accuracy, you won’t find it among Creationists.
It’s not just Creationists who are prone to bad-faith attacks. An article in Science recently connected a non-binary gender identity with a thirst for curiosity. That’s a really interesting way to draw more people into the field, especially those who are traditionally left out or excluded! And yet one professional science communicator dismissed the entire concept as “embarrassing," as if a personal reflection about science from LGBTQ people has no place in Public Discourse.
I debated writing more about this but chose not to because religion isn’t really at the heart of the issue. Still, it’s messed up and it’ll take you down a worthwhile rabbit hole.
Is this good or bad news? Mentions of “Christian Nationalism” are spiking:
How could it not when Republican lawmakers are making their Christianity the primary selling point for voters?
PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 @patriottakesDuring rally for JD Vance, Ron DeSantis quoted a Bible verse about putting on the full armor of God, but replaced “evil one” / devil with “left.” https://t.co/5KiWAw2SVy
Modern American politics in a nutshell:
No thank you.
Also, no thank you to this anti-masturbation Purity Culture mindset. (Watch the face she makes in the final two seconds…)
Even anti-abortion zealots like Ken Peters understand that you’re not supposed to brag about how your beliefs will kill women.
Fundamentalist Christian grandmother Lori Alexander, a.k.a. The Transformed Wife, continued proving why you should avoid her religion:
I don’t know if this will lead anywhere… but I can’t wait to find out.
Keep in mind that non-profits aren’t supposed to be able to shield their donors anyway, but Liberty Counsel’s decision to call itself a church allows it to hide important information from the public.
The Democrats have been on a hot streak lately, but here’s one amazing thing the Biden administration did that you may have missed:
And now for your weekly dose of fundie insanity:
This week in Atheist Bible Study? Numbers 16: We have a rebellion, murder, near murder, complaints about murder, more murder, and then CRAZY AMOUNTS of MURDER. All courtesy of the people who claim moral superiority over you.
I spoke with my co-host Jessica Greiff about many of the stories in this newsletter during this week’s podcast:
Finally, this sign has a point:
That’s it for this week! Please become a full subscriber or share this with someone who may enjoy it. It would mean a lot to me :)