The double reversals of Jane Roe

The landmark US Supreme Court decision that in 1973 legalized abortion in the US is Roe v. Wade where ‘Jane Roe’ was the pseudonym given to the woman who brought the case who feared using her real name given the highly charged nature of the case and the violence that was, and still is, directed against women who seek abortions, abortion providers, and supporters by anti-choice zealots. Over time, Roe’s name was revealed to be Norma McCorvey and she later created a sensation said in the mid-1990s when she said that she had become a born-again Christian and an anti-gay, anti-abortion activist. (She had been a lesbian for almost all her life.) This was treated as a tremendous coup by the Christian right who would parade her before any media microphone and indeed anyone who would listen.

But in a new documentary AKA Jane Roe made by the TV channel FX that is due to be released tomorrow, in interviews just before she died in 2017, McCorvey confesses that her religious conversion and change in attitudes was all a sham. She said that she was broke and homeless and that she was given a lot of money by the religious right to entice her to do what she did.
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The miraculous oil producing Bible

I came across this intriguing story by Ruth Graham bout a Bible that seemed to be producing prodigious amounts of oil. This miracle so captivated believers that they believed the oil had healing powers and so purchased vials of it in large quantities.

The story begins by describing what happened at the end of a small informal prayer meeting held by a small group in the town of Dalton, Tennessee.

Johnny [Taylor]’s girlfriend, Leslie, was there, along with her father, John Barker, and their friend Jerry Pearce and his wife, Joyce. They usually broke up by 8:30, but on this night they kept praying until after midnight. At one point, Jerry fell down on the floor for 45 minutes in a kind of catatonic state that he describes as being “out in the Spirit.” Within a few days, he told me, he opened his Bible to Psalm 39—an uneasy poem of both praise and gloom that includes the words “every man at his best state is but vapor”—and noticed a small spot of oil. Joyce assured him the grandkids hadn’t been near the book. It could only have come from God.
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Falling collections by religious institutions

I wrote earlier that the heads of some evangelical churches are urging their worshippers to attend church services even at the risk of spreading the virus among their parishioners, giving the spurious argument that their god would stop the disease from affecting the faithful. I said that I suspected that part of the reason may be that they are feeling the loss of revenue that is collected by passing the plate during the services.
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Televangelist has request for people attending his video services

According to the satirical website The Onion, there are apparently problems with speaking in tongues during teleconference church services.

In an effort to reduce disruptions during a prayer meeting held by teleconference Tuesday, Pastor Terry McEvers of the First Pentecostal Church of God reportedly asked that any congregants presently speaking in tongues place themselves on mute for the duration of the service.

“If we all fall to the floor and unleash our miraculous gift of tongues at the same time, then everyone will just be shouting their divinely inspired strings of syllables over everyone else, and no one will understand what’s going on. A big garbled mess like that won’t do anybody any good.” According to sources, the pastor went on to request that members enable video on their devices if they intended to take up serpents, because that’s something no one ever gets tired of watching.

TV mini-series review: Unorthodox (2020)

Netflix has just released this four-part mini-series based on a memoir by Deborah Feldman about how and why she left the world of Hasidic Orthodox Judaism, though as is usually the case with film adaptations, the story has been changed in several ways. The film is about a very young woman Esther (known as Esty), who is a member of the Yiddish-speaking Satmar community that lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. As is the custom in the ultra-Orthodox community, she has an arranged marriage to a very young man. The expectation in such marriages is that the woman will start having babies immediately, as many as she can.
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Why not ask his why his god did not save them?

[Sorry for the glitch! I have corrected it. -MS]

We have heard about some church preachers demanding that their churches be allowed to have in-person services and violate the social distancing guidelines. Some may be doing it because of their belief that the god demands the actual physical presence of people close together while others may be doing it for ideological reasons such as that no government can tell them when and where they should go. They use the spurious argument that their god will protect the truly faithful.
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There is no vaccine or cure for willful ignorance and stupidity

The New York Times has published a map based on cell phone tracking data that shows how different regions compare in terms of the daily distance traveled during this period of people being asked to stay at home as much as possible. The overall average has dropped from five miles per day to less than a mile a day, which is a huge drop. But the drop has not been uniform. At a casual glance it looks like the southern regions have people traveling more.
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Just what we need, religious crackpots influencing coronavirus policy

The presence and influence of religious nutcases at the highest levels of government is reaching alarming levels. Lee Fang writes about a minister who has the ear of top government officials.

RALPH DROLLINGER, a minister who leads a weekly Bible study group for President Donald Trump’s cabinet, released a new interpretation of the coronavirus pandemic this week, arguing that the crisis represents an act of God’s judgment.

The Drollinger-led Bible study meets every Wednesday morning with members of Trump’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Health Secretary Alex Azar. Carson and Azar, notably, are members of the coronavirus task force guiding the federal government response to the pandemic.

At least 52 GOP lawmakers also participate in a Capitol Hill version of Drollinger’s Bible study, which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Sponsors of the event include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the second-ranking GOP lawmaker in the Senate.

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Idiot preacher arrested and charged for violating distancing guidelines

A Florida evangelical church leader who still held services in his church despite being told not to has been arrested.

A Florida pastor who refused to stop holding crowded church services was arrested after officials said he flouted emergency orders against public gatherings to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Florida officials said they had repeatedly reached out to Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne and staff at the River at Tampa Bay Church, asking them not to hold in-person services for fear it could expose parishioners to the virus. But the pastor continued to hold services Sunday.

“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk, and thousands of residents who interact with them this week in danger,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a press conference.
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