Do you feel the fear of Christ yet?

The Legion of St Ambrose looks like a gang of video game cosplayers. They threaten to dab you.

They also have some kind of manifesto online. It’s the usual theocratic noise: church schooling, patriarchy, mandatory Christianity, anti-“bankers” (we all know what they mean by that) and of course, white nationalism.

An interesting twist: they’re “environmental”, meaning they want to ban pesticides, GMOs, and factory farming. They also think healthcare should be a right, but they also want to emphasize “natural” medicines. No more private prisons, either, but also no abortions, ever.

It’s a novel evolution of Christian conservatism. The funny costumes make it hard to take them seriously, though.

Steven Anderson now has something else in common with snakes

He has been driven out of Ireland.

Pastor Steven L Anderson, who founded the Faithful Word Baptist Church in 2005, in Arizona, USA, was set to deliver a sermon in Dublin on May 26 as part of a short tour of Europe.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has signed an exclusion order ‘with immediate effect under Section 4 of the Immigration Act 1999 in respect of Mr Steven Anderson, aka Pastor Steven L Anderson’.

(Note: this is cruelly unfair to snakes, who are much nicer than Anderson. Also, it’s a myth that snakes were driven out of Ireland, they never took up residence there in the first place.)

Project Blitz: another assault on our freedoms

This isn’t new — Christians have been demanding the right to invade public schools for years — but now there’s a new coordinated effort to push the Bible into classrooms called Project Blitz.

Activists on the religious right, through their legislative effort Project Blitz, drafted a law that encourages Bible classes in public schools and persuaded at least 10 state legislatures to introduce versions of it this year. Georgia and Arkansas recently passed bills that are awaiting their governors’ signatures.

Among the powerful fans of these public-school Bible classes: President Trump.

“Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible,” Trump tweeted in January. “Starting to make a turn back? Great!”

You want to teach the Bible as a historical document? Fine. I have no problem with that. But that’s not what they want, because teaching it as one would, say, the Iliad, means contrasting it with the archaeological evidence, discussing its role, good and bad, in society, and examining its values critically. Achilles was a petulant, selfish killer…and so were those Hebrew warriors who committed genocide to secure their conquered territory. It would have to be taught as a piece of human literature, not some divine and infallible word of a god, and the theocrats who are pushing these laws are not intending that at all.

There is no critical thinking anywhere in their agenda. Take, for example, this teacher who eagerly leapt for a Bible class, because it was “easy”.

Maggie Dowdy said she picked this course because she thought it would be easy. After all, she already knew the Bible from church.

When the class started with the very first Bible story — the story of creation — she was glad she had chosen it. Here at last was the story of human origins that she believed in — not the facts of evolution that she had been taught in her high school science class.

“When I started learning about [evolution], I thought: ‘That’s not true. Here’s what I believe,’ ” Dowdy said. “I just kind of push it aside now. I know what I believe in. It’s just something the teachers have to teach us, but, no, I believe in creation.”

Other students echoed her. “We’ve always in science learned that perspective, evolution and the big bang,” Morgan Guess said. “This is the class that allows us the other perspective.”

That’s familiar: that’s Ken Ham’s relativism. If you’re ignorant of the evidence and don’t care about weighing the facts, you can just say that every interpretation is mere opinion, and that believing the earth is 6000 years old is just as valid as recognizing the evidence that it is 4.5 billion years old. But that’s not any kind of education or science! It’s saying that “I have a prior belief, I choose to only look at the assertions that reassure me it’s true.” It’s not “another perspective”, it’s willful ignorance, and it’s the antithesis of teaching and learning.

Americans United has a campaign to monitor and stop Project Blitz. There’s also a coalition of secular groups called Blitzwatch working to oppose it.

One danger is that even critical articles, like that one from the Washington Post, always portray the people implementing these religious practices as nice, normal, well-meaning people, the pastor next door type, who just wants their students to know how lovely the Beatitudes are. That’s the mask. It’s how they build popular support. But at some point the mask will slip — gosh, isn’t it a shame that gay people don’t obey the loving word of God? Then it falls off — the gay kids at this school are wicked and need to be expelled. Next thing you know a pious electorate is passing referendums to punish anyone who doesn’t heed their interpretation of dogma.

Stop them now, before it’s too late.

The first and only reasonable defense of prayer I’ve ever read

Really, if religious people made this kind of argument more often, I’d regard them far more charitably.

OK, but personally I regard Mr Rogers as a nice guy and all, but not someone who reflects my attitudes very well. I think I’d have to pray to an unfeeling void, or possibly an arbitrary lethal force that might kill me or allow me to live with no reason necessary.

It’s a valid choice. 🤷‍♂️

There’s obviously an alien inside that twitchy skin bag

Back in the early 1990s, I lived in King of Prussia and worked in North Philadelphia, at Temple University. It was a hellishly bad decision to live there, but we had had to find an apartment from a long distance away, and all the information we had to go on was that King of Prussia had excellent schools for our kids, and so we ended up living next door to the biggest mall in the country. That was bad enough, but the killer was the commute. I’d have to get up at 5am, very quietly so as not to disturb the kids, have a light breakfast, and then go catch a bus for my voyage down the River Styx Schuylkill Expressway.

There’d often be some downtime — gosh, I’m ready, but I’ve got 20 minutes to catch the bus. It’s not as if I could get any work done. My eyes would be glazed, I’d be sucking down coffee with trembling hands, I’d sit as one lost in the desolation of hell. So I’d flip on the TV, with the volume down low. There was nothing on at that hour but cheesy infomercials and one thing: Kenneth Copeland, or as I liked to think of it, the Creepy Puppet hour.

It was perfect for my state of mind. I was too tired to manage any kind of coherent thought, but Kenneth didn’t provide any. What he did do, with his beady little eyes and leather skin, was provide a mesmerizing exhibition of weird random facial expressions: smiling by making a huge toothy grimace, glowering by scowling and lowering his eyebrows that his eyes almost disappeared, and changing his expression at a manic pace with almost no association with the point he was making. I thought of him as a creepy puppet because when you’ve watched him a while, you begin to realize that there’s no one there, that there’s an alien persona or personas inside his head trying to mimic human responses, and thinking they’ll be more convincing the more extreme they are.

Years later, I’d get the same impression from Andy Serkis’s performance as Gollum. This is what a psychopath looks like, trying to pass as normal in public.

Now you can watch the same alien in action. A reporter from Inside Edition caught him between flights on his expensive private jet and asked him some questions about his lavish lifestyle. It’s horrific watching the animatronics struggling with limited, but exaggerated, expressions and phrases to talk with a human.

I never watch Kenneth Copeland’s gospel show anymore. I no longer need to get in the right frame of mind for a commute on the Schuylkill. Praise the Lord!

The last thing an ark-builder would think about is rain damage

Hah. Answers in Genesis is pissed off because their insurance didn’t cover rain damage.

Ark Encounter, which unveiled the 510-foot-long model in 2016, says that heavy rains in 2017 and 2018 caused a landslide on its access road, and its five insurance carriers refused to cover nearly $1 million in damages.

In a 77-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Ark Encounter asks for compensatory and punitive damages.

A million dollars in damages…I think maybe God was sending them a warning.

There goes the neighborhood — the FLDS is trying to move in

The Jeffs family is moving into Minnesota. Warren Jeffs is still in prison, but his brother is buying land up in the northern part of the state, an hour’s drive from Canada.

A leader of a notorious religious group that preaches polygamy and marriages involving children has relocated to Minnesota and is buying land.

Records obtained by KARE 11 show that a company in which Seth S. Jeffs is a “Managing Member” recently purchased 40 acres in a remote area near the Superior National Forest west of Grand Marais.

“If past behavior is indicative of future behavior, they would bring people to start a religious colony,” said Alan Mortensen, a Utah attorney who thinks Jeffs may have moved to Minnesota to avoid a lawsuit alleging that he allowed and witnessed the ritualistic rape of a young girl.

Mortensen has filed a civil lawsuit in Utah accusing Seth Jeffs and other leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) of participating in “religious sexual rituals with underage girls” involving Seth’s brother Warren Jeffs, the group’s so-called Prophet.

Jeffs also has a house in Bloomington. Let’s hope the lawsuit that has been served on him convinces him that he can’t hide out here.

Rural billboards are the worst

I had to make a couple of road trips across the state this past weekend, and while I’m used to those awful Pro-Life Across America and Jesus billboards everywhere, I noticed that some of the Christians were stepping up their game. The fervent fanatics have popped up new billboards all along my route to Minneapolis, and a lot of them are from They’re insipid and stupid, like this one that’s anti-evolution.

Right. Drawing a big red X on an evolution illustration is convincing evidence. There’s also this common claim:

Babies and DNA! They must have been created. Except…every baby I’ve seen, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how they were made, and it didn’t require spontaneous generation or a magic zap.

This one is my favorite.

I am so tired of religious conservatives calling atheists immoral

Here’s Stephen Moore, a rather prominent conservative chosen by Trump to serve on the Federal Reserve board, a fellow who has strong opinions on the importance of traditional marriage, husband as the breadwinner, wife as the mother and homemaker.

Moore has lamented the steady decline in US marriage numbers, asserting in an October 2014 article that “intact families” were important for the economy and criticising “those who cheer divorce as a form of women’s liberation”.

Concluding the article, he called for a “personal and national commitment to sturdy families” and strong parenting as part of a “culture of virtue” aimed at saving the American economy from what he called a path of decline.

Moore’s 2018 book Trumponomics, co-authored with the veteran economist Arthur Laffer, said many Americans felt “a sense of not being loved (tied to divorce and family breakup)” and argued this was one reason people should be required to work to receive money from government assistance programs.

He has frequently derided the views of the American left on cultural issues, claiming in a 2015 article published by the Christian Broadcasting Network that to liberals “if you support traditional marriage, you are a fascist”.

You would think a guy like that would be a dedicated husband and father, wouldn’t you? Setting an example and all that.


The 2010 divorce filing from Moore’s wife said he had destroyed their marriage through adultery, after creating two accounts on the dating website and beginning an affair with a woman early in 2010.

Moore is said to have discussed the affair “openly and tastelessly” with his then wife, and to have said at one point: “I have two women, and what’s really bad is when they fight over you.” He also left evidence of the relationship around the home, the filing said.

Allison Moore said in the filing she had been a “good and dutiful wife” and quit her job to raise the couple’s three children, only to suffer infidelity and poor treatment from her husband.

There’s more. He has remarkable history of bad ideas.

“The women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work,” Moore wrote. He went on to claim that the real “injustice” was that female pros were paid, while men playing college tennis who could “beat them handily” were not.

“I’m a radical on this; I’d get rid of a lot of these child labor laws. I want people starting to work at 11, 12,” he said during the debate.

“The biggest problem I see in the economy over the last 25 years is what has happened to male earnings — for black males and white males, as well. They’ve been declining, and that is, I think, a big problem,” he said in a CNBC interview.

“I want everybody’s wages to rise, of course, but you know, people are talking about women’s earnings — they’ve risen,” Moore continued. “The problem, actually, has been the steady decline in male earnings, and I think we should pay attention to that, because I think that has very negative consequences for the economy and for society.”

“Colleges are places for rabble-rousing. For men to lose their boyhood innocence. To do stupid things. To stay out way too late drinking. To chase skirts. (At the University of Illinois, we used to say that the best thing about Sunday nights was sleeping alone.),” Moore wrote. “It’s all a time-tested rite of passage into adulthood. And the women seemed to survive just fine. If they were so oppressed and offended by drunken, lustful frat boys, why is it that on Friday nights they showed up in droves in tight skirts to the keg parties?”

“The NCAA has been touting this as example of how progressive they are. I see it as an obscenity,” Moore wrote. “Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What’s next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they’ve done that already.)”

Moore’s solution? “No more women refs, no more women announcers, no more women beer venders, no women anything.” He did offer one caveat: “Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like (sportscaster) Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.”

I think it’s kind of obvious that he has a deep contempt for women, and that his ideal of traditional roles for women is simply chattel slavery.

Why is Ross Douthat still privileged with a column in the NY Times?

Didn’t I just say one of our priorities has to be burying the Republican party? Case in point of how contemptible conservatives have become, Ross Douthat, who has a counter-proposal to Elizabeth Warren’s idea of free college and debt forgiveness:

I guess the only favored people in Douthat’s America are the Quiverfull and their priests. May your loins be bountiful and your church be wealthy.