I swear to…who?

I am so glad that I don’t watch Fox News, but that other people suffer through it to let me know what they think is the latest threat to the Republic. It seems the newest change that has Republicans foaming at the mouth is a new oath.

The House Committee on Natural Resources has in the past used a witness oath that reads, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

The proposed new version will say, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of law, that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

If it helps them make up their minds, as a devious atheist with a scheming mind I could regard that “so help you God” clause as a loophole — God doesn’t help me, so the oath doesn’t apply. Also, you’ve just made me affirm a religious oath that I do not believe in, so by saying “yes”, I’ve already said a lie. A few more won’t hurt, then. And if my punishment for lying is hellfire, which I don’t believe in, then there is no compulsion here.

As Rob Boston points out,

The gang at Fox News might want to ponder the following statement: “A magistrate ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man … and cause him to take the name of God in vain.”

What left-wing Marxist said that? Actually, it was colonial-era religious freedom pioneer Roger Williams. Williams was a far-sighted man and a devout Christian to boot. Fox News could learn a thing or two from him.

Exactly. The Republicans already would consider me an unregenerate man, so why should I find that oath binding? It does have the benefit of giving us unregenerates an opportunity to spit in the face of their imaginary god, but otherwise, it doesn’t have much going for it.

Help #ExposeChristianSchools

There’s a new hashtag floating around Twitter, #ExposeChristianSchools, prompted in part I think because Mike Pence’s wife just landed a job at one of those disgracefully bigoted schools. It’s full of short stories about how these evangelical indoctrination centers teach ignorance, like this one:

How about #CloseChristianSchools?

I was spared, so I don’t have any tales to contribute. I had a relative who started his very own private “school” dedicated to vile regressive nonsense inspired by the John Birch Society, and with his own religious bent, and it always struck us as more an attempt to isolate his daughters from liberals and brown-skinned people. My family wouldn’t have even considered for a second the idea of sending their kids to such a hellhole.

So that’s what they learn in private Catholic schools

I’ve always wondered what Catholic values were, and now I know. Covington Catholic school exemplifies them all: Disrespect. Contempt. Dogma. Oppression. Hatred. The students of that school made a spectacle of themselves demonstrating those values in Washington DC.

There was a lot going on in the Capitol recently. There was a “pro-life” demonstration going on; Covington Catholic, an all-boys private school, sent a mob of their students there, which is a problem in itself. Why are boys trying to dictate what women are allowed to do with their bodies? Next problem: they all seem to be wearing MAGA hats, which tells me where their wealthy parents are coming from, and what kind of indoctrination they received. And then there seems to be a definite lack of adult supervision for these kids.

The Catholic rabble then ran into another demonstration, the Indigenous People’s March. The Native Americans didn’t have a problem, they carried on with dignity…but the dreadful little Catholic children were something else again.

The elder is Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder who is also a Vietnam Veteran and former director of the Native Youth Alliance. He is also a keeper of a sacred pipe and holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans in the Arlington National Cemetery.

Jesus. I work at a university that was built on the site of a Catholic boarding school for Indians, where children were ripped from their families to learn white man’s ways and follow the Pope, and this is a history we earnestly feel here — we have reminders all over the school of that legacy. Seeing little Catholic assholes shitting all over other people fills me with anger.

And despair. Look at those faces. Someday you’ll see them again in Congress, and on the Supreme Court, and maybe even the presidency. Because that’s where they’re confident they deserve to go.

Milo Yiannopoulos meets the Church Militant, and a love-in follows

It’s the damnedest thing. Yiannopoulos gets invited on to Michael Voris’s reactionary Catholic show, and he accepted. I guess that tells you how desperate for attention he has become.

I tangled with Voris a few times 8 or 9 years ago — he had a YouTube channel called The Vortex (it’s now been shuffled around to the “ChurchMilitant Archives”) in which he railed against atheists, Catholics who weren’t Catholic enough, and gays, and demanded that America become a Catholic monarchy…so kind of a squirrely Bill Donohue on meth. The pairing of Voris and Yiannopoulos was unexpected, but they really hit it off and had a little lovefest online. It’s a bit like those old commercials for Reese’s — “You got peanut butter on my chocolate! No, you got chocolate on my peanut butter! Yum, it’s delicious” — only substitute shit and snot for peanut butter and chocolate, and no, I’m not going to try it to see if the combination suddenly acquires a delightful flavor.

Here, you can suffer as I did.

It begins with Yiannopoulos whining about his ‘tragic’ fall from grace. His explanation is that he got too big and too powerful, so a leftist conspiracy was mobilized to tear him down with lies.

But who cares about Milo Yiannopoulos, anyway? The bulk of the conversation — if we can call it that, Voris only gets an occasional word in edgewise — is Milo rambling on and on about how he despises Pope Francis, but reveres the institution of the papacy, which is where he and Voris are clearly copacetic. Both think the the church is full of deviants and perverts, and that the way to fix the Catholic church is to clear out all the gay priests, although, Milo is quick to add, Leftists make way too much noise about priestly rapists, it wasn’t that bad, he got over it, the real problem is social justice warriors getting all up in arms about it. Blah blah blah. Talking fast to bury all the lies and inconsistencies.

He also comes down strongly on the nature vs nurture debate (I say there is no debate, it’s both, and you can’t untangle all the influences.) Milo strangely argues that it’s all nurture, that you can shape a child any ol’ way you want, making him the only blank-slater I’ve ever heard from.

There’s also a prolonged eruption of misogyny. Did you know that lesbians ruined everything, that they’re all bitter divorcees and spinsters, and that If you take god away from a woman and she’s 35 and doesn’t have a man by her side, bad things happen, and that he’s certain that Generation Z will change everything back. He wants to see women burning their briefcases and marching in defense of motherhood, which roused Voris to interject that that is authentic feminism, as represented by the Blessed Mother.

The last bit of the video is the two of them going back and forth, piously declaring that they’ll pray for each other, and Milo suggesting that he might come back to the way of purity and light and Catholicism, but he needs 5 or 10 years more to have fun indulging in his degeneracy. Voris is cool with that.

Only watch on an empty stomach. Anthony Barcellos, you are a wicked man for sending me that — I’m pretty sure it was a mortal sin.

And the award for Slimiest Cult goes to…Scientology!

I’d forgotten who Danny Masterson was, so I had to look him up. He played Steven on That 70’s Show, a character I disliked, and he went on to play in some movies I’ve never seen and a Netflix Original that I never watched. So kind of a C-level semi-celebrity.

But now I’ve learned that he’s accused of being a rather nasty rapist, one that the LA police department has been dragging its heels over bringing to justice. Oh. And one other thing: he’s a Scientologist, and Leah Remini is going to expose him next month (warning: that link contains explicit descriptions of multiple cases of rape), possibly to shame the LAPD into getting off their collective butts. It seems the police are afraid of the Church of Scientology.

Leah’s second season began airing in August 2017, but in November 2017 we revealed that the DA’s office had asked her not to broadcast the Masterson episode while they were still considering whether to charge the actor. Now, more than a year since then, A&E has decided that DA Jackie Lacey has had enough time to make up her mind about charges, and will air the episode.

And what is taking Lacey so long to decide? One of Masterson’s accusers tells us that a member of the DA’s office admitted to her several months ago that Scientology’s involvement in the matter was the reason for the delay. “When I asked him what was taking so long, he said, ‘Scientology. Without going into it, that’s the only way to summarize it.’”

Scientology, for example, discouraged at least two of the women from reporting their allegations to the police. It put one of them through bizarre therapy costing about $15,000 so she could discover what nefarious acts she had committed in past lives to deserve being victimized in this one. And it coordinated an effort to sabotage the case of the one woman who did report her rape to the police initially, in 2004, a case that the LAPD mysteriously later misplaced.

Yuck. That’s a cult with no redeeming qualities at all.

How about if we never elect death-cultists, or people who appoint death-cultists, to office ever again

Mike Pompeo promising never-ending struggle until the Rapture:

We are plagued with an ominous number of these evangelical fanatics who are focused on the “End Times”, believe in prophecy, and bend all their effort to making prophecies of doom and death come true. Could we please stop putting them in office where their effectiveness in killing the world is amplified?

Jeremy Morris is one reason we have a War on Christmas

This story is infuriating. Jeremy Morris is a Christian fanatic and zealous Republican — he named his dog Ronald Reagan — who claims to love Christmas. When you read the story, though, it’s clear that he’s far more interested in bullying and antagonizing his neighbors with an overwrought Christmas display, and throwing his weight around, than he is in actually practicing Christian charity. He is “owning the libs” personified. So he puts on an extravagant Christmas display involving hundreds of thousands of lights, paid actors, and a camel, and basically dares his neighbors to complain. And when they do, he declares that they must be anti-Christian.

Be prepared. There are no good guys in this story. He gets into a legal battle with his Home Owners Association, and HOAs are intrinsically evil — they accuse him of attracting riff-raff from a nearby Walmart to their pristine real estate. The Three Percenters offered to help Morris out. Everyone is claiming the precious sanctity of their religion, and when he goes to court, he wins, with a jury of North Idahoan Christians all agreeing that forcing a rich lawyer to tone down his kitschy display of blaring Christmas carols and blinking lights and prancing Santa Clauses is discriminating against Christianity.

Lovely country out there in North Idaho. It’s too bad it’s full of assholes.

Charleston sees the light…or the oncoming legal sledgehammer

I mentioned that it was odd that the Charleston, Illinois Parks & Rec department was sponsoring all these evangelical Christian events, including a trip to the Ark Park. Well, they aren’t anymore: The FFRF slammed them for unconstitutional religious advocacy, and they canceled.

When it comes to the secular U.S. government, the City of Charleston has acted in an unconstitutional manner to endorse any religious mission facilitated by such attractions. The government cannot organize, fund, or sponsor any trip to either the Creation Museum or to Ark Encounter. Ryan Jayne, the FFRF staff attorney, sent a letter to Rachael Cunningham, the City Attorney, stating the government is actively doing an unconstitutional action by advertising and organizing any trip to religious attractions like a Christian museum and a Christian theme park. Funding such activities also go against the United States government ethos. The letter continued saying although it is a laudatory aim to encourage citizens to attend a recreational event, pushing a religious attraction alienates those who are not Christians and belong to any other faith or to no faith. “Surely there are appropriate secular activities, in addition to the planned trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, that would not attempt to convert attendees to a particular religion.”

I imagine some people in Charleston are seething right now. Good.

Something is supposed to happen today?

I haven’t been paying any attention at all to QAnon. Apparently Something Big was predicted for today, 5 December, and Colin McRoberts Jennifer Raff is confident it won’t happen, because Q is a fraud.

This time, if you weren’t already aware, Q and his most dedicated followers have been predicting Big Things for December 5. Exactly what Big Things depends on what and how much you read between the lines of his choppy little nuggets; Q mostly stopped making specific predictions after a series of embarrassing failures. He learned the lesson of horoscope writers and started making vague, open-ended predictions, so that no matter what happens he can always go back and claim to have predicted it. But people wouldn’t pay attention to Q if he didn’t promise apocalyptic drama, so whatever you think he’s predicting, it’s supposed to be a big deal.

Ah, but what does he know? The Q insiders are well aware that the prediction is actually about the size of the President’s bowel movement, and everyone will be dazzled with the insight when he tweets, “Made a big poopy. The biggest!” later today.

Read the rest of his post for the well-known information about the mechanics of conspiracy theories and prophecies, and how to recover from the delusions. Also, that is the most awesome photoshopped illustration of how right-wing conspiracy mongers think of themselves and their enemies.

What kind of weird hell is Charleston, Illinois?

Anyone live there? Or near there? I was just pointed at their Parks & Recreation department, which has been busy promoting a very Christian life, despite being listed as a “government organization”. Like this:

I guess it is the Charleston Parks & Rec department’s job to take people out of Charleston and drive them all the way across Indiana to a Christian religious indoctrination camp. It just seems way out of bounds for a city government.

Then I noticed other events that they’ve sponsored.

Really? Daddy-daughter dances and Mom-son dates? Could all of you creepy Christians learn that there are healthy parent-child relationships, and they don’t try to mimic courtship rituals?

Charleston has a large regional university, Eastern Illinois, but even that doesn’t offset my impression of the town as a bizarre little theocracy full of glassy-eyed Christian zealots who wouldn’t think of complaining about how the city government has been hijacked by fundies. Maybe there are some residents of the region who can correct me, unless the kinds of people who would read freethoughtblogs have all been incinerated in a wicker man over the years.