Blankets: New edition of Craig Thompson's graphic masterpiece

Craig Thompson's second graphic novel, the 582-page mammoth Blankets, swept the field's awards, taking three Harveys, two Eisners, and two Ignatzes. More than a decade later, and buoyed by his later successes (such as 2011's seminal Habibi), Drawn and Quarterly has produced a beautiful new edition.

Former Westboro hate mouthpiece on leaving the church


Be sure to read Adrian Chen's gripping profile of former Westboro Baptist Church twitterer Megan Phelps-Roper, who left the church after coming to realize the futility of its hate gospel.

Megan Phelps-Roper, picketing with Westboro when she was still an active member of the family hate cult.

On December 20, 2009, Phelps-Roper was in the basement of her house, for a church function, when she checked Twitter on her phone and saw that Brittany Murphy, the thirty-two-year-old actress, had died. When she read the tweet aloud, other church members reacted with glee, celebrating another righteous judgment from God… But Phelps-Roper had loved Murphy in “Clueless,” and she felt an unexpected pang—not quite sadness, but something close—over her death. As she continued scrolling through Twitter, she saw that it was full of people mourning Murphy. The contrast between the grief on Twitter and the buoyant mood in the basement unsettled her. She couldn’t bring herself to post a tweet thanking God for Murphy’s death.

If you're been wondering why Westboro's been kind of boring lately, it turns out that there was a coup of sorts within the church: day-to-day troll in chief Shirley Phelps-Roper (Megan's mother) was denounced, and a bunch of stodgy old men took over. Since then, women have been marginalized within the church and it has lost much of its media savvy.

Read Adrian's piece to the last sentence: there is an absolutely amazing ending to the life and mind of the church's founder, Fred Phelps.

[Image, top: Megan Phelps-Roper. Read the rest

LISTEN: William "Accidental Terrorist" Shunn on Mormonism and science fiction


The latest installment of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast (MP3) interviews science fiction author William Shunn, author of the The Accidental Terrorist, a memoir that explains the bizarre circumstances in which Shunn, as a teenaged Mormon missionary stationed in Calgary, Alberta, was arrested and deported for terrorism. Read the rest

Kentucky's Noah's Ark religious attraction to open next summer

Christian ministry Answers In Genesis report that their massive Noah's Ark attraction will open next July in Williamstown, Kentucky. This is the same organization behind the infamous Creation Museum where cavemen frolic with dinosaurs. The 510-foot-long, $90 million wooden Ark will be the centerpiece of a Christian theme park. The state of Kentucky had originally given Answers In Genesis an $18 million tax break on the project but changed their mind "over concerns of 'religious indoctrination,'" according to the Associated Press. Answers In Genesis has filed a federal lawsuit to try to get the tax incentive reinstated.

I just hope the ark has room for the dragons and unicorns.

(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!) Read the rest

The Four Horsemen of Gentrification: Brine, Snark, Brunch, Whole Foods

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Zain Khalid pens the perfect McSweeney's humor-short: self-reflexive (snark, indeed!), demographically loaded, and ha-ha-only-serious. Read the rest

Religious children more punitive, less likely to display altruism


In The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World published this week in Current Biology, academic researchers from the US, Canada, Qatar, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and China report on a study of about 1,200 children from around the world in which a "robust" correlation between religious upbringing in either Christianity or Islam and a lack of altruism was demonstrated. Read the rest

Awesome dance track made of clips of scamming televangelist who is also famous for his farts


You know, I thought it wasn't possible to create anything funnier than “Farting Priest,” a now classic viral video in which scamming televangelist Robert Tilton is revealed as the gassy fartbag he truly is. Read the rest

Christians ‘serious about their faith’ should get a handgun carry permit, says TN politician

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R)

Just days after yet another mass shooting in America, Tennessee's Lieutenant Governor says Christians who are ‘serious about their faith’ should consider buying guns. The unbelievably idiotic decree to God-fearing citizens by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) was delivered via Facebook, where indeed, so many idiotic decrees are delivered.

Read the rest

The world will end on Wednesday. With fire. By God.


The leader of the Christian organization eBible Fellowship warns that October 7 "will be the day that God has spoken of: in which, the world will pass away. It’ll be gone forever. Annihilated.

"There’s a strong likelihood that this will happen. Which means there’s an unlikely possibility that it will not," says eBible Fellowship founder Chris McCann.

From The Guardian:

The expectation of the world ending this fall stems from an earlier prediction by Harold Camping, a Christian radio host who was based in California. In 2011 Camping used his radio station, Family Radio, to notify people that the world would end on 21 May of that year. When that turned out to be incorrect, Camping revised his prediction to October 2011. That also turned out to be incorrect, and Camping retired from public life soon after. He died in 2013, at age 93.

McCann believes that Camping’s 21 May 2011 prediction did have some truth, however. That day was declared to be “judgment day” because it was actually the day God stopped the process of selecting which churchgoers will survive Wednesday’s massacre, McCann said.

Following 21 May 2011, God turned his attention to deciding which non-churchgoers to save, according to McCann. The eBible Fellowship believes that God said he would devote 1,600 days to this task – bringing us to 7 October 2015.

"Christian group predicts the world will be 'annihilated' on Wednesday" (The Guardian) Read the rest

Listen: a sexy hymn to Ishtar, in the original Babylonian


Doris Prechel reads Ammi-ditāna's incredibly hot hymn to Ištar in Babylonian (MP3) as transcribed by D. O. Edzard. Read the rest

Trump's Prosperity Gospel backers say Jesus makes you rich, cures Ebola, resurrects chickens


That weird meeting between presidential candidate Donald Trump and a number of so-called Prosperity Gospel evangelists sounds weirder the more we learn about who was there, and what they actually say they believe. Read the rest

Pope: I don't support homophobic civic layabout Kim Davis

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Kim Davis, the bigot who won't issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said she had a 15-minute audience with the Pope, who told her to stay strong. Read the rest

Nuanced profile of the Oklahoma County where "no one believes in climate change"


Oklahoma native John Sutter visited Woodward County, Oklahoma. At first, he could find no one who'd admit to believing in anthropogenic climate change, not even the headmaster of the local academy, who paid out of his own money to erect a statue of a little girl on a stegosaurus' back with a plaque that read, “A dinosaur like this roamed the Earth 5,000 years ago.” Read the rest

Megachurch televangelists lay hands on Donald Trump, ask Jesus to vote for him


GOP presidential candidate and noted scumbag Donald Trump met with a bunch of televangelists, Tea Party “teavangelicals,” and preacher profiteers at his Trump Tower office Monday afternoon.

The elite group, which included some megachurch chiefs who have previously been investigated by the federal government for misuse of donations, prayed while performing the “laying on of hands” to infuse him with the Holy Spirit. The goal: Jesus, get our man elected. Read the rest

Papal threat display


Author Jim C Hines is in fine form. Read the rest

GOP Vice Chair of House Energy committee is a climate denier and creationist


Marsha Blackburn has represented Tennessee's 7th district for more than a decade, on behalf of the Republican party, whose caucus has elevated her to the vice-chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Read the rest

Sheer variety of Oreos sells Pope Francis on capitalism


The Onion proves that it's still got it (and that you can distill the entire joke to a single headline if you have the right shooping skills): Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos.

Read the rest

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