Pregnant? Don’t Go to a Catholic Hospital Unless You Enjoy Risking Your Life for Other People’s Religious Beliefs

Imagine going to a hospital, and being told that although they could fix the problem that brought you there quite easily, they won’t do anything for you until you’re dying. Imagine lying in a bed, in pain, terrified, begging to be treated, and being told no. Not until your condition has progressed to the point where you’re gravely ill and at risk of losing your life. Then you can have the simple procedure that could have prevented all your suffering and ensured your survival. Maybe. If the doctor isn’t so terrified of losing their job that they wait until it’s too late, and you die before they get round to treating you. In which case, if you haven’t had the proper magic water sprinkled over you, you’re assumed to be burning in hell for eternity for the crime of having a medical emergency.

This is basically the situation when someone having a miscarriage goes to a Catholic hospital for treatment. Let me tell you what one of my abiding fears is: it’s that I’ll have a crisis in my ladyparts, and the only hospital within a hundred miles is Catholic. Allow me to show you why.

Content Note: description of medical crises and interventions, pointless suffering, medical torture, treating a doomed fetus as more important than a born human being. [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XX: Wherein Creationists Misrepresent Secular Scientists for Jesus!

Oh, joy! After a fallacy-filled introduction featuring a two-faced jackass, Earth Science 4th Edition is gonna teach us all “geology.” After they’re done with us, we’ll be able to “explain the dangers of viewing the history of the earth as very old and as the product of natural processes.” We’ll also be equipped to “exercise dominion on God’s specially created earth.” And wow, look at this… interesting… history of geology right here:

People have been studying the earth for a long time, probably since right after the Creation and Fall (see Gen. 4:22).

O-kaaaay… so do tell us how a verse about a woman having a son who was good at making metal stuff proves people studied the earth in a systematic fashion.

After the Genesis Flood, people needed geology to identify new sources of metals and building materials.

Oh, yes. Creation myths are great science texts. Such proof. Much evidence.

They also seem to think there was no geology in Medieval Europe, as Renaissance folks had to discover that science from other people’s writings. So I guess that means they didn’t need any building materials, then?

Image shows facade of St. Giles' Cathedral, a large, gray-brown stone cathedral with many spires, arches, and buttresses.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, built in the late 14th century – positively medieval! Image courtesy Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oh, my.

Well, but surely nobody in the Middle Ages was in the market for metal. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 16!


The Infamous Golden Calf Episode

(Exodus 32)

Meanwhile, back at the camp…

The people get sick and tired of waiting for Moses to come back down that bloody mountain. He’d left them over a month ago without even a guesstimate as to when he’d return. God’s been so busy waxing enthusiastic over his preferences in furniture, curtains, clothes, barbecue, and petty reasons to murder people that he’s completely neglected them. They’ve been left homeless in the wilderness with no one to lead them to safety. They’re at their wit’s end, fearful and alone. So they ask Aaron to make them some more helpful gods who actually give a shit about them. (Ex. 32:1)

Bear in mind: these are people who’ve been enslaved for generations. They just experienced this bully of a god swanning in with a dude wanted for murder, and proceeding to terrorize the shit out of the countryside, along with pretty much everything in it. This god even hardened their captor’s heart every time he was about to release them, all so it had an excuse to commit more terrorist acts. They were forced to flee into the desert with inadequate food and water, and when they cried out in their suffering, this god who claims to care about them killed a bunch of them for asking to have their basic survival needs met. Now they’ve been abandoned in the desert, surrounded by hostile tribes, for five weeks. Of course they’re going to start looking elsewhere for comfort and protection.

And Aaron, God’s very own intended high priest and Moses’s accomplice/brother, doesn’t hesitate. [Read more…]

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part Two!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)


First half of Chapter 15 is here.


Having gotten the furniture out of the way, God starts in on curtains. He wants ten of ’em, done up in the finest linen with the most costly blue, purple, and scarlet dyes – remember, kids, those colors were hella expensive to achieve back then. He wants each curtain to have cherubim embroidered on it. And he doesn’t want a few simple drapes, no. He’s asking for enormous, heavy panels that are 28 cubits (about 42 feet) long and 4 cubits (about 6 feet) wide. Then the curtains must be joined in two sets of 5, and 50 blue loops put on the edge of each outer curtain; God’s really particular about that. Then you’ve gotta have 50 solid-gold clasps to put through the loops. (Ex. 26:1-6)

If you want to get an idea of how fun this stuff was to shlep around the desert, go to a fabric store, find the biggest bolt of upholstery fabric you can, and carry it around the store for eight hours. Then, as you lay dying, ponder the fact that you had the benefit of air conditioning, and the Sinai did not.

And that’s not all! God also wants 11 goat-hair curtains, 30×4 cubits (45×6 feet), with 100 loops and 50 brass clasps, for an outer covering for this tabernacle of his. And then, God wants another covering of fine red rams’ skins, and yet another cover of finest leather, which the King James people apparently thought came from badgers. In addition, of course, this tabernacle tent required a frame, so God asks for one made of shittim wood, with silver sockets. I’m shocked he finally remembered he asked for offerings of silver as well as gold: I thought he’d never use it. But of course, God wants the frames, bars, and rings to be overlaid with and made from solid gold. (Ex. 26:7-30)

Not satisfied with the curtains he’s already got, God requests another set. His garish color preferences once again assert themselves, as he wants this inner “vail” to be blue, purple, and scarlet linen – with cherubim, of course. And, obviously, he wants its frame to be made from gold-covered shittim, with solid gold fasteners and silver sockets. And he wants a screen made from the same colors, five gold-slathered shittim pillars, and of course solid gold hooks, but this time, he’ll accept brass sockets. Everything – furniture and hangings – should be arranged just so, including specific cardinal directions for each bit of furniture. God apparently likes a bit of the old feng shui for his desert digs. (Ex. 26:31-37)

Having minutely detailed the tabernacle and its furniture, God goes on to specify what kind of barbecue grill he wants built. It must be square, made of shittim, with horns, and everything covered with brass. He tells Moses he wants all sorts of fancy barbecue tools, including ash pans and meat forks, which are all crucial to ensuring properly burnt offerings and a tidy clean-up afterward. He wants a brass net, and of course the whole thing has to be portable, so the nomads will have to schlep this 7.5′ x 7.5′ x 4.5′ hunk of wood and metal around on poles. Happily, God decrees it can be hollow. That must’ve been a relief. (Ex. 27:1-8)

God’s curtain obsession returns in full force. He asks for the whole area to be enveloped in curtains 7.5 feet tall and 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, with a 22.5 x 7.5 foot high entrance, and a 30 foot screen. The curtains he wants done in fine linen, but plain: it’s the screen he wants embroidered in his three favorite colors. No wonder the Israelites were in the desert so long: do you have any idea how much time it takes to hand-embroider that much fabric? And carrying it had to be an unbelievable pain in the arse: just the outer cloth walls and screen come to 525 feet of fabric! Not to mention all the brass pillars with their silver bands and hooks. God also wants all the pegs for hanging utensils to be brass. That’s pretty brassy. (Ex. 27:9-19)

God then advises that everyone should tithe pure beaten olive oil to keep the enormous lamp burning. He wants the lamp placed just outside the vail, and tended from evening to morning by Aaron and his sons, forever. (Ex. 27:20-21)

It’s about at this point that one wonders why Moses didn’t discreetly clear his throat somewhere in all that soul-crushing detail and say, “I’d just like to remind the LORD that we, not you, are going to be carrying all this shi- stuff, around a desert. And, not only does it weigh a ton, it’s going to take at least half the day to strike, and another half to erect.”

But then, he probably didn’t want to see the LORD’s eye twinkle sadistically as he answered, “Exactly. Mwah-ha-ha!”

The LORD will be discussing proper priestly attire and issuing death threats next. I’m shocked he went such a long stretch without!


Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Coming Soon!

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. I: Genesis is now available at Amazon! Worldwide, even! Pick up your copy today.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 15, Part One!


God’s Extensive, Expensive Interior Décor Requirements for Homeless Refugees

(Exodus 25-27)



The next time someone who considers Exodus to be holy writ snarks at me about gay guys being into interior decorating, I shall have to request they turn to chapters 25 thru 27 in their Holy Bible. God has really put some serious thought into how he wants his living space set up and decorated. I mean, it’s verging on the pathological. It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect the creator of the universe to get hung up on. You’d expect him to DIY if he’s that bloody picky. And even if he chooses to delegate, you’d hope he’d hire an established firm, rather than a ragtag band of freed slaves lost in the desert. But no. He’s got some really detailed requirements, and he expects the Israelites to fulfill them.

He starts by demanding people bring him stuff. See, the all-powerful, all-knowing creator of the universe doesn’t know if you really really truly love him enough unless you give him lots of expensive gifts. But, y’know, only if you really want to. Not like he’d withhold his favor from you if you didn’t, or anything like that.

Oh, wait. Yes he would.

Anyway, God wants stuff for the tabernacle he’s been dreaming of. Sure, he could create it himself. Don’t be ridiculous! Of course he could! He’s absolutely not imaginary at all, and he totally did make the earth, heavens, and everything else in existence in six days. This tabernacle project would take him maybe a few minutes in the morning, tops. But then it wouldn’t be special. (Ex. 25:1-2)

So he tells Moses to ask the people for their (completely voluntary!) offerings of:

  • Gold, silver, and brass.*
  • Blue, purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine linen.
  • Goats’ hair.
  • Tanned rams’ skins (dyed red) and badgers’ skins
  • Shittim wood.
  • Lamp oil, spices for said lamp oil, and sweet incense.
  • Onyx and gemstones for the priest’s fancy breastplate and the ephod. (Ex. 25:3-7)

Next, God says what they should do with all these (completely voluntary!) expensive offerings: the all-powerful creator of the universe needs a bunch of nomads to make him a very heavy large box to live in, plus a bunch of ornate furniture, all of which they’re going to have to pack up and carry all over the desert. (Ex. 25:8)

God’s obviously put a lot of thought into his dream mobile home. He wants it to be built from fancy wood, and plastered with gold inside and out. Also, he wants a gold cover on it. He wants the hardware, like the rings for the carrying poles, to be made of gold, too, which is shiny but hardly practical. The carrying poles must also be gilded, because why be practical when you can be ostentatious? And, just to give you an idea of how micro-managey God is, he makes it clear that the poles are never to be removed from the rings. Why? Because God says so, that’s why. (Ex. 25:9-17)

After giving minute instructions about the beaten-gold cherubim he wants places on the Ark, as if it wasn’t going to be hard enough to carry around already, God then tells Moses he wants a table. Not like a Shaker table or a modern, simple Swedish design or anything nice like that. No, he wants a baroque dining table made of some of the most expensive wood available, acquired from a tree covered in thorns. Then he wants it slathered in gold. And he wants solid gold plates, cups, and bowls for it. Apparently, it’s supposed to always be set, because God wants the shewbread (bread of the Presence) to always be on the table. This will make carrying it around with its gilded poles tricky. (Ex. 25:18-30)

In addition to all that other opulent stuff, God wants a pure gold lamp stand. He’s really put a lot of thought into this thing. He insists it be made of one piece of hammered gold, and it’s got to have six branches with eighteen almond-blossom shaped cups, plus four more cups for the center stem, and he wants an almond bud underneath each pair of branches where they meet the stand. There has to be seven lamps made for this thing, plus solid gold lamp trays and snuffers. The whole shebang is supposed to weigh around 75-110 pounds. Imagine having to carry a 110lb lamp stand around the desert for 40 years. (Ex. 25:30-40)

All the Israelites must have “borrowed” a heck of a lot of jewelry from their Egyptian neighbors before running off, is all I’m saying.

To be continued…

Image is the cover for Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus. The painting is Charles Sprague Pearce's Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt, showing an Egyptian man and woman weeping over the coffin of their infant.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Coming Soon!

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. I: Genesis is now available at Amazon! Worldwide, even! Pick up your copy today.



*Bronze according to the New Revised Standard Version. But I’m pretty sure God wouldn’t go with anything quite so elegant.

Fine leather. Hopefully, God didn’t mean actual badgers, as there weren’t any in Egypt or the Sinai.

Acacia. But feel free to shout “Shittim!” in church. It’s biblical!

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part Two!


How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

(In our last edition, God gave the rules for owning slaves. In the conclusion of this chapter, we will learn how to beat them – among other things.)

But first, God would like to discuss penalties for violence. [Read more…]

Halo or No Halo, That is the Question

So, based on feedback, I’m coming out with a clean version of Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 1: Genesis. It’ll have all the naughty words replaced with ones suitable for delicate ears, so that it can be safely recommended to anti-cursing fundie types. I’ve whipped up a new cover for it, and would like to get your impressions, my darlings.

What do you think, halo?

Image shows the cover of RTBS vol. 1: Genesis (Clean Version). The background is a pale creme yellow. The painting is Francis Denaby's The Deluge, which shows a lot of people trying to swim and crawl onto a high black rock in a dark blue tumultuous flood. Lettering is in gold and red. There is a halo over the C in Clean Version.

Avec halo

Or no halo?

Image is same as previous, with the halo removed.

Sans halo

Hope you like one or both!

And no, I probably didn’t need to change the cover illustration, but I stumbled across this Francis Denaby painting when I was looking for something else, and fell in love. I had to have it! So I changed everything up.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go back to watching Steven Universe while I put fig leaves on all the naughty bits in the interior illustrations.

Really Terrible Bible Stories vol. 2: Exodus Excerpt – Chapter 13, Part One!


How to Buy Slaves (and Other Tips for Godly Living)

(Exodus 21)

Having given Moses the rough draft of the Ten Commandments, God proceeds to lay down the moral law.

Now, Christians tell me a lot about how perfect God is. Even the ones who aren’t Real True Christians™, and believe in hippie socialist Jesus rather than Legalistic Uptight Asshole Jesus, wax lyrical about how good God is. Many Christians tell me that the Bible is God’s timeless Word, which established a perfect moral law, even though some of the bits were just for those uncouth tribal dudes and needn’t trouble us today. None of them seem to agree on which of those laws God tossed, as God never specified in the text (although quite a few seem to just adore those bits of Leviticus that bash gay people).

When it’s pointed out that the Good Book contains some really bad laws, Christians get kind of blustery and stammery and insist that those laws were the best God could do at the time. The people were rebellious, they say, and primitive, and prone to sin: they would’ve refused to follow laws that were too advanced*.

To which I call: shenanigans.

If God is as powerful and wise as claimed, he should have had no problem laying down superb, compassionate, and flawless moral laws, and enforcing them. If god was trying to ease people in, he could have said right then (cuz he knows the future), “These are the laws for now. I’ll have better ones once you lot are more civilized.”

I want you to pay close attention to this chapter, dear Christians, and tell me how these laws are perfect, or where in this chapter God said they were temporary and would not be applicable to future generations.

God jumps right into the deep and stinky, starting off with slavery. He’s completely for it. He just wants to establish a few regulations:

  1. You can have a Hebrew as a slave for up to six full years. But you’ve gotta set him loose, debt-free, in the seventh year.
  2. Return your slave to freedom in the same marital condition in which you found him. If he was single, he goes alone. If he had a wife, she goes with him, free of charge.
  3. God, as we know, is all for strong nuclear families. But not for slaves! No, if you, kind master, gave your slave a wife, and he sexed her up, and they had sweet children together, your male slave gets his ass set free alone in Year 7. Wifey and the children extra slaves they made are yours to keep.
  4. If the slave you just so generously (were ordered to) set free is all like, “But I love my wife and kids! I can’t leave ’em!” then congratulations! You may now take him to your doorpost, drill a hole in his ear, and keep his ass enslaved forever. (Ex. 21:1-6)

There is not one sentence in these verses that says, “But verily I say unto you, slavery is horrible, and you’d better enjoy it while it lasts, cuz I’m gonna abolish and forbid it in a few generations when y’all are more enlightened.” God speaks not one word against the practice.

Image is a woodcut showing an Egyptian overseer menacing a brick-laden Hebrew with a stick. A woman clutches her head in the background. There is a slumped man to the right, a woman carrying a water jar on her head in the middle background, and an Egyptian taking a baby from a woman in the background.

The Egyptians Afflicted the Israelites (illustration from the 1897 Bible Pictures and What They Teach Us by Charles Foster). Public domain image and caption via Wikimedia Commons.

Maybe he’ll get to it whilst he’s giving instructions to Moses regarding women and slavery:

  1. If a man sells his daughter, she gets to remain a slave indefinitely – unlike the male slaves, she doesn’t get freed.
  2. But if the dude she’s sold to doesn’t like her, he’s not allowed to sell her to any durned foreigners. He has to allow her daddy to buy her back.
  3. If he bought her for his son to sex up, he has to treat her as a daughter.
  4. If he takes her as his wife for his own self, and later takes an additional wife, he’s got to keep providing his first wife the same level of food, clothing, and sexy fun times as before.
  5. If he can’t do those things for her, then he’s gotta set her free, without debt. (Ex. 21:7-11)

Nowhere does God ever say: “Dads – don’t sell your daughters as sex slaves. That’s disgusting.” He doesn’t say, “Dudes, don’t buy women as sex slaves – that’s an asshole thing to do, and also really skeevy.” In not one single place does God say, “You know what, guys? Don’t buy and sell women at all. Just don’t. I’m gonna call that an abomination unto me right there.” Don’t get so starry-eyed over God giving a few paltry rights to these poor girls people are selling. Don’t get so over-awed by the fact it’s God talking that you forget these girls were slaves whose destiny was to be repeatedly raped. God is regulating the sex slave trade. That is in no way moral.

And if you’ve ever condemned sex trafficking, you’ve got to face the fact that your God was completely down with it.

Just wait ’til we get to the rules on how to beat your slaves!


*Some Christians, horrifyingly, insist God is perfect and those horrific laws are still right and just today, but they’re a definite minority.

Exceptions apply.

“Demolished by Sadness” – Escape Chapter 10: Cathleen and Tammy Marry Merril

It’s December, and Carolyn is back at Merril’s house after completing her fall semester at college. Merril, Barbara, and Ruth took off for Salt Lake City shortly after she arrived, leaving her virtually alone with the 14 kids still at home. Faunita, the only other adult, doesn’t leave her room very often. So Carolyn is free to do chores on her own. There are so many clothes to wash that, although they have to be rinsed by hand and hung to dry, it’s faster to do laundry in the old industrial-sized washer than try to use the more modern automatic washer and dryer. I can’t even bloody imagine the drudgery.

The FLDS has a new prophet, Rulon Jeffs, who took over after Uncle Roy died a few weeks before. While Carolyn cleans and looks forward to cooking for her gaggle of stepkids, Jeffs is busy arranging a wedding for Merril, who’s marrying Cathleen, a young widow of the former prophet. Merril lies to Carolyn and tells her Jeffs had just sprung this match on him with no warning. [Read more…]

One of the Most Important Articles on Abortion You’ll Ever Read

Here are stories from abortion doctors who have been doing abortions since before they were legal. They’ve seen what society is like with and without access to safe, legal abortion. They’ve seen how bad things were, how good they got, and how we’re backsliding toward a time when desperate women were willing to risk death to terminate their pregnancies. These are stories all of us need to listen to. Especially those who are uncomfortable with or opposed to abortion. Make sure you send this to every friend, acquaintance, and relation who is anti-abortion or who thinks that abortion is a necessary evil rather than a medical right. Send it to everyone who thinks abortion should be legal, but tightly restricted. Force them to confront this reality.

Make them deal with statistics like this: [Read more…]