How does Christian math work?

I don’t know how this adds up. So this Minnesota church is struggling with declining membership — only about 25 people show up each week, and most of them are elderly — so what they’ve decided to do is tell all those old people to stay home or go to a different church so … they … can … increase the numbers of … young people?

Grove United Methodist Church in the St. Paul suburb of Cottage Grove is closing in June, with plans to relaunch in November. The present members, most of them over 60 years old, will be invited to worship elsewhere, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. The church is asking that they stay away for two years, then consult the pastor about reapplying.

There’s some funky logic going on here. They must have additional plans to reinvigorate the church, other than telling the old folks to stay away, unless they think somehow that older people actively repel the youth. But if they’ve got some dynamic plan to draw in more, younger members, why do they need to kick out the loyal congregation? And do they seriously think the ejected members will want to come back in two years?

They’ve got some new guy coming in as pastor, and I’d really like to know what magic he plans to work to get new people to join the church that just kicked out Grandma and Grandpa. Other Methodist churches are undergoing this peculiar division of their congregations, and it’s associated with deep splits over the inclusion of LGBTQ members. I wonder if that’s the unstated and unreported rationale for showing the membership the door.

What if a priest is invited to my family gatherings?

Cardinal Raymond Burke was asked about what to do if a family member brings their gay partner to an event which, I guess, we can use as a guideline to answering the question in my title.

This is a very delicate question, and it’s made even more delicate by the aggressiveness of the homosexual agenda. But one has to approach this in a very calm, serene, reasonable and faith-filled manner. If homosexual relations are intrinsically disordered, which indeed they are — reason teaches us that and also our faith — then, what would it mean to grandchildren to have present at a family gathering a family member who is living [in] a disordered relationship with another person? We wouldn’t, if it were another kind of relationship — something that was profoundly disordered and harmful — we wouldn’t expose our children to that relationship, to the direct experience of it. And neither should we do it in the context of a family member who not only suffers from same-sex attraction, but who has chosen to live out that attraction, to act upon it, committing acts which are always and everywhere wrong, evil.

And so, families have to find a way to stay close to a child in this situation — to a son or grandson, or whatever it may be — in order to try to draw the person away from a relationship which is disordered.

And we know that with time, these relationships leave the person profoundly unhappy. And so it’s important to stay [as] close as one can. But, that particular form of relationship should not be imposed upon family members, and especially upon impressionable children. And I urge parents or grandparents — whoever it may be — to be very, very prudent in this matter and not to scandalize their children or grandchildren.

Well. I certainly do regard the priesthood as a festering tradition of ignorance and evil, and I am concerned about not doing harm to my children and grandchildren, but I’m not going to accept the recommendations of an evil person. We should do the opposite. If a priest shows up at your garden party, don’t shun them, or call the police, or throw them out — treat them with sympathy and understanding. Explain to your kids that sometimes people fall into a bad crowd and make poor life decisions, but we still have to treat them with the dignity and respect owed to all human beings, no matter how flawed. Don’t try to convert them, no matter how obvious their suffering, because we don’t know what led them to this disgraceful state, and disrupting their life may cause even greater misery.

Let the kids learn from this person’s example…but by no means allow your children to be alone in a room with a Catholic priest.

A Christian Conservative Liberty Loving Republican

Am I the only person who remembers the movie Nothing But Trouble, with Dan Akroyd as Judge Alvin Valkenheiser, the presiding tyrant of a small town? For some reason, that was the first thing that I thought of when I saw this photo of this Texan Republican.

Give him a few years, that’s him. Jonathan Stickland has been ranting about vaccines. He told a professor of medicine at Baylor University to Make the case for your sorcery to consumers on your own dime, and that Parental rights mean more to us than your self enriching ‘science.’.

Sounds like another Tex-ass pustule has popped.

The second letter: our Christmas dystopia

This letter wasn’t sent to me, but was so horrifying I had to include it. How do you feel about the Christmas police?

Someone in Haddonfield, NJ has appointed themselves the keeper of Christmas traditions, which consist entirely of flashy, elaborate displays of Christmas lights around your home. I don’t know what an “S & V panel” is, but it sounds like a vigilante HOA roaming about a neighborhood deciding whose exhibition of forced jollity is adequate.

I knew a bit about Haddonfield from years gone by. Aren’t there Jewish families living there? And atheists? And Christians who don’t go for the showy stuff but, like Linus, are sure they know the True Meaning of Christmas?

I give fair warning to any Christmas evangelists roaming around Minnesota: I had no Christmas displays up, and if you come around with a letter like that, I’m putting up my spider-based Halloween decorations instead.

Why does God need a hundred thousand dollars?

A little two year old girl died suddenly. Her parents are grief-stricken. But then tragedy takes a strange turn.

The parents are Christian “influencers” (I am hating that word), and they put out a call, asking for a resurrection.

We’re asking for prayer. We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power. We need it for our little Olive Alayne, who stopped breathing yesterday and has been pronounced dead by doctors. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life.

OK, they’re delusional in their loss, and they’re going to be heartbroken again in the end. They have my pity. Except…

A fundraiser set up for the child’s rebirth with a target of $100,000 has raised more than $33,000 in two days. Bethel Church in Redding, California, where Kelley is a singer, is one of the organizers of the fundraiser.

Now I’m confused. Does God charge for resurrections? Would my insurance cover that?

Apparently, she’s a member of a real cult that believes miracles, even raising the dead, are possible. There is a Dead Raising Team that claims to have brought about 15 resurrections already. They even have a dead raising team here in Minnesota, just in case you need their services. Unfortunately, they seem to have failed in this case.

It is all bizarrely interesting and very sad, but doesn’t answer the question. What is God going to do with $100,000?

That’s how the right-wing mind works

In Ohio, the Republicans tried to get that impractical and impossible “let’s just reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus!” ideas enshrined in a law. The problem with that plan is that implantation is a complex biological process that entangles delicate maternal capillaries with equally delicate capillaries in the embryonic placenta — it’s like proposing to stitch two sponges together in perfect alignment. This isn’t a plumbing problem, where you couple a few pipes together and voila, the flow is restored, and further, interruption of the exchange of nutrients between mother and embryo is fatal to the embryo.

Awareness of the scope of the problem isn’t a concern for Republicans, though. Let’s see how the sausage is made.

An Ohio lawmaker who proposed legislation extending insurance coverage to a procedure considered medically impossible as a way of fighting abortion worked closely on the bill with a conservative lobbyist, according to newly released emails.

State Rep. John Becker, a southwestern Ohio Republican, got help from Barry Sheets, a lobbyist for the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, as he crafted a measure that’s since drawn international scrutiny for its questionable medical grounding, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Wednesday.

The bill prohibits insurers from covering abortion services, but provides an exception for a procedure “intended to reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy in a woman’s uterus.

Becker told the newspaper he never researched whether re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into a woman’s uterus was a viable medical procedure before including it in the bill. Sheets declined comment.

“I heard about it over the years,” Becker said. “I never questioned it or gave it a lot of thought.”

First step: partner up with a fanatical anti-abortion zealot who writes the bill for you.

Second step: Don’t question what they say. You don’t need to understand what the lobbyist wants, and thinking about it is just awkward.

Presto! You have a law legislating the impossible! It sure makes your ignorant electorate happy, though.

I wish I could say we should require better education in biology, and science in general, before lawmakers are allowed to write laws dictating how reproductive biology works, except that there sure seem to be a lot of anti-choice doctors who run for Republican positions. They ought to know better, but they don’t.

It’s a what called what, founded by who?

I see what you did there.

A new center at Liberty University is opening to combat the idea that, among other things, Jesus was a socialist.

The think tank, called the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, was announced Saturday by its founders Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, and Charlie Kirk, founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA.

The funniest thing about it isn’t the name, or that they are combating the ahistorical notion that Jesus was a socialist (really, they just hate charity and humanity), but that anything founded by the dim loon Kirk and venal pervert Falwell could be called a “think tank”. Unfortunately, that phrase is well on it’s way to evolving to mean “right-wing propaganda institute”, so maybe it’s OK.

What is 2 + 2?

Here’s an amusing video about what happens when we stop caring about giving a fact-based education to kids.

Laugh away. The schools aren’t teaching that “22” is an acceptable answer to the problem of “2+2”, yet. We’ve still got people insisting that evolution is false, though, and trying to expunge it from the curriculum…as they’re succeeding in doing in Turkey.

When children in Turkey head back to school this fall, something will be missing from their textbooks: any mention of evolution.

The Turkish government is phasing in what it calls a values-based curriculum. Critics accuse Turkey’s president of pushing a more conservative, religious ideology — at the expense of young people’s education.

It’s just the start.

“Among scientists, of course, we feel very sorry and very, very worried for the country,” says Ali Alpar, an astrophysicist and president of Turkey’s Science Academy, an independent group that opposes the new curriculum. A Turkish association of biologists and teachers’ unions have also expressed concern about the new textbooks.

“It is not only evolution. Evolution is a test case. It is about rationality — about whether the curriculum should be built on whatever the government chooses to be the proper values,” Alpar says. He also objects to how the government has converted many secular public schools into religious ones — Turkey’s publicly funded Imam Hatip schools — in recent years.

Ha ha. It’s just Turkey, going backwards, right? The levels of creationist ignorance in the US are competitive with those of Turkey, you know, and we have government officials supporting this one ignorant person, Ken Ham, and his flock.

He goes on to say

The fake news is this article stating, “Babylonian tablet that describes the story of Noah and the Ark, widely believed to be the inspiration for the Biblical story.” The real event of the actual global Flood that did occur about 4300 years…ago as totally accurately recorded in the infallible Word of God in Genesis was the inspiration for the perverted (fake news) version now found in Babylonian (and other) records from cultures around the world.

That’s just as bad as trying to tell kids that “2+2=22”.

Religion is a blight on the world

Aren’t you reassured that Rick Perry is writing up one-page rationalizations comparing Trump to Old Testament kings? That he, and many others, are willing to proclaim Trump to be the Chosen One of God, and that the fools of Fox News will sit around agreeing with him?

Apparently, you can be a corrupt, incompetent, narcissistic lecher, and all you have to do is spread the word that an invisible, inaudible god says he likes you, and people will fall in line.

Or look at this woman who declared that Matt Bevin had won the election for Kentucky governor just because she’d prayed on it and wanted it to be true.

It was becoming clearer as the night wore on, that Bevin would be unable to make up the margin of defeat in those areas.

“I ran into other people involved in the campaign process and they had similar things they were saying, trying to talk you into that he lost,” McDowell said.

Amid all these messages that she did not want to hear, McDowell turned to her frequent tool: prayer.

“I’m a praying woman. I just go into prayer. That’s what I do,” she said. “I took it to a spiritual level.”

She also took it to Facebook Live, a feature on the social media platform’s mobile app that allows users to broadcast in real time to their followers. She saw comments from followers supportive of a Bevin comeback.

“I just felt like it was a spiritual thing. It just seemed so strange. Everyone was acting really weird,” she said. “And so that’s why I prayed.”

Her thoughts drifted to “voter fraud”. “I felt it in my spirit. There was some kind of thing undermining the Bevin win,” McDowell said. “I just felt like that the entire time. It was such a dark feeling.”

Substitute “self-delusion” for “prayer”. It’s more accurate.

She basically worked herself up into a frenzy of belief that Jesus wouldn’t let Matt Bevin fail, and ran up on stage and lied to the crowd. She still thinks that was OK, because her faith justifies it.

As seen in a viral video distributed by Lexington TV station WLEX, which now has nearly 400,000 views, McDowell is seen coming on an empty stage with a mobile phone at her ear, trotting towards the open podium.

“Hey, we just got word,” she shouted into the mic. “Matt Bevin has won!”

The crowd, which had much to celebrate as the Republicans easily swept all the other statewide offices but were down at the prospect of Bevin’s pending loss, went from somber to jubilant in an instant.

The scary part is at the end of the article.

And she is OK, she said, and even plans to run for office again. “I will probably do it perpetually,” she said.

“I always pray about it. And Lord, if you want me to do something, I’ll get an idea to do it,” she said. “I’m wide open to politics. I’m pretty much always going to be involved at some level.”

And as she reflected on her viral moment from the GOP event in Louisville, she turned upward again.

“I did it for you, Lord.”

Goddamn. Ignorance is such a good motivator for political involvement.