What the hell is wrong with these people?

Although I did not pay much attention to them, I had of course heard of the Duggar family, stars of a reality show called 19 Kids and Counting, referring to the number of children that the parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. You could not avoid reading about them. From the little bits of news that crossed my path, they seemed like a bunch of insufferable Christians who looked down on everyone who did not follow in their religious, home-schooled, sex-puritan ways. But they were feted by right wing Christian types, including politicians, as upholding true Christian values.
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Ireland holds referendum on same-sex marriage on Friday

If there is one country in Europe that is seen as being quintessentially Catholic, it is Ireland. That country has for a long time long had it policies determined largely by church doctrine and also had its government cover up the horrendous abuses of the church. It is really quite remarkable how recently they have moved to give people even minimal sexual freedoms.
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Sharp rise in religiously unaffiliated in the US

The Pew Research Center’s forum on Religion and Life today released its latest survey on the religious landscape in the US and they find that there are currently about 56 million religiously unaffiliated people in the US and they are the most rapidly growing group, jumping from 16.1% in 2007 to 22.8% in 2014. That is a huge increase. Non-Christian faiths showed a smaller increase over that same time period, from 4.7% to 5.9%. The big losers were Catholics (23.9% to 20.8%) and mainline Protestants (18.1% to 14.7%). Evangelicals have also dropped by about one percent.
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Satan is on a roll

A money-grubbing preacher of a megachurch (is that redundant?) called the World Changers Church International with the highly appropriate name of Creflo Dollar beseeched his congregation to donate generously so that he could purchase a new luxury private jet that costs $65 million to replace the one he already has. The new plane is a Gulfstream G650, a model that has billionaires waiting in line to purchase, and no self-respecting man of god would be seen dead without one.
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Religious (and general) support for same-sex marriage grows rapidly

While opposition to same-sex marriage is based entirely on religious reasons (although some opponents might try to disguise that fact by finding seemingly secular reasons), it is interesting that a new survey released yesterday by the Public Religion Research Institute finds that the majority of many mainline religious groups support it.
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Who’s Who in Hell

Thanks to reader Norm, I received a copy of the above book and it is incredible. It is a compilation of all the people in the world who are known to be atheists or skeptics of some sort, along with biographical sketches as to their beliefs. The book is by Warren Allen Smith and it is clearly a massive labor of love, clocking in at 1,237 large 8½ x 11 inch pages in two column format, on good quality paper with clear font and not a single typo, at least in the entries that I have read.
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The consequences of the Greece v. Galloway prayer case

The US Supreme Court, in a very confused ruling, decided in the case Greece v Galloway that ceremonial opening prayers were acceptable at the beginning of government sessions provided the prayers were not sectarian in their delivery or in the selection of prayer givers. Even some of the so-called liberal members of the court like Elena Kagan, while dissenting from the verdict approving the Greece prayers, said that “such a forum need not become a religion-free zone.”
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