Florida atheists pair public nativity scene with a combustible Trump-themed Distrestivus pole

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Every year, the Religious Liberty Project puts Festivus poles on the lawns of public buildings that sport Christian religious holiday symbols; this year, RLP's Chaz Stevens put a "Distrestivus" pole adjacent to a nativity scene on Deerfield Beach, Florida public land. Read the rest

Pacifist sect controls a Mayan-inspired pyramid in North Dakota

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Fusion looks at the tensions between a pacifist religious sect and local North Dakota officials over an abandoned Cold War anti-missile complex that looks like something out of Illuminati conspiracies. The Hutterites won the auction for the giant pyramid on the prairie to the chagrin of local officials, who unsuccessfully tried to buy the decomissioned military facility. Read the rest

Atheist shoes experience a miraculous transformation

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Atheist Shoes (previously), the stylish German shoes whose souls soles bear atheist messages ("Ich Bin Atheist") are getting ready to relaunch with a tweaked new design called DAS SNEAKER, which sports more cushioning and thinner soles for greater flexibility, as well as a retro turn-up toe. Read the rest

Pastor sprays insecticide on believers to "heal them"

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Lethebo Rabalago, pastor of the Mount Zion General Assembly (MZGA), in Limpopo, South Africa, sprays his congregants with Doom Super Multi Insect Killer to heal them of various ailments. From CNN:

A post from Saturday (on Rabalago's Facebook page) was captioned as if quoting a congregant, saying: "I came here with a pain on my back and stomach. Now, after the prophet sprayed me with Doom I am healed. My nose was blocked since last week, but after the prophet sprayed me with Doom I feel coming out of my nose. I thank God for healing me."

When reached by phone, Rabalago declined to answer CNN's questions about his use of bug spray and hung up. MZGA could not be reached for comment, but in an interview with South African TV channel eNCA Rabalago said that God had told him to use Doom, and that he had healed countless people using it.

Tiger Brands, makers of Doom, issued a statement that the practice is "extremely concerning" and "that it is unsafe to spray Doom Super Multi Insect killer or any other aerosol spray for that matter, into people's faces." Read the rest

Was Jesus an extraterrestrial?

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In 1954, a London taxi driver named George King received an extraterrestrial mental telegram informing him that he's been deemed the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament. Motivated by his new cosmic position, he launched the Aetherius Society to spread the spiritual teachings of extraterrestrial gurus like Buddha, Sri Krishna, Confucius, and Jesus. Sure, why not. King died in 1997 but the Aetherius Society lives on. MEL Magazine's Jonathan Parks-Ramage paid them a visit:

“The biggest reason why the Aetherius Society is here, why the Cosmic Masters came to earth, is because the Mother Earth has to change,” Keneipp says. “She’d held herself back for hundreds of thousands of years because she’s providing mankind a home to evolve. She’s been told by the karmic lords that she can no longer hold herself back. And so the big push by the Cosmic Masters is to raise as many people up so that they will be able to get to a point where they will enter a new age here on earth.”

Essentially, the Society’s goal is to lift Mother Earth’s burden with love and prayer, a task helped by descended Cosmic Masters like Jesus and Buddha.

Inspired by his new religion, Keneipp soon abandoned the pre-med program at SIU, deciding instead to moved to Los Angeles in 1978. Keneipp devoted his life to the church, working directly with George King as he expanded his religion. I ask Keneipp what it was like to work for King during those formative years.

His response surprises me.

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Ten Commandments tablet up for auction

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Tomorrow, you can bid to own the earliest known stone tablet carved with the Ten Commandments. The two-foot-square, 115 pound marble stone was discovered in 1913 near Yavneh, Israel. The inscription is dated circa 300-830 CE and the tablet is in one piece, so unfortunately it's probably not the original Ten Commandments delivered by God on Mount Sinai and promptly smashed by Charleston Heston. Opening bid is $220,000. From Heritage Auctions:

The details of the Yavneh Stone's discovery are related in an article by Y. Kaplan and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi in the 1947 Journal of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society. According to Mr. Kaplan's account, this extraordinary artifact was rediscovered in 1913, during the excavation of a railroad line along the southern coastal plain of Palestine. The discovery was made near Yavneh, an historic city called Jabneel in the Hebrew Bible. The workmen who found it did not recognize its importance and either sold or gave it to a local Arab man of some means, who set the stone into the threshold of a room leading to his inner courtyard, with the inscription facing up. Due to foot traffic, several words on the center left side of the tablet were blurred over time.

In 1943, thirty years after his father acquired it, the man's son sold the stone to Mr. Kaplan, who immediately recognized its importance as an extremely rare "Samaritan Decalogue," one of five such extant stone inscriptions dating to before the Muslim invasion of the seventh century CE...

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) granted export approval for this piece in perpetuity to the Living Torah Museum in a letter dated 20 March, 2005.

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Philippines president Duterte says God threatened to crash his plane if he didn't stop swearing

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Duterte has vowed to stop using "epithets" (for example, he called Pope Francis a "son of a bitch" and told Obama to "go to hell") because God threatened to crash the airplane he was flying home from Japan in if he didn't cut it out. Read the rest

Memes officially bigger than Jesus

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According to Google Trends, the search term "memes" is now more popular than the search term "Jesus," a fact noticed by Dominik Vincent Salonen, @Kuwaddo on Twitter.

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Pussy Riot's "Straight Outta Vagina": sacrelicious Russian feminist pop anthem

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Pussy Riot's video for "Straight Outta Vagina" frames the poppy, danceable song with visuals calculated to enrage the Kremlin, with LA's Ace Hotel standing in for church where various genderbent dancers receive communion while singing the praises of vaginas. Given that the last iteration of this theme landed the musicians in a hard labor gulag where they were subjected to routine sexual assaults, it's a pretty big fuck you to the Russian establishment. (via Bruce Sterling) Read the rest

"Somebody Goofed," an animated Jack Chick tract

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In acknowledgement of evangelical comic artist Jack Chick's death yesterday, please enjoy this classic animation of the Chick tract "Somebody Goofed," created in 1998 by longtime Boing Boing pals Syd Garon and Rodney Ascher.

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RIP Jack Chick, father of the Satanic Panic

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Things Jack Chick hated (a partial list): Dungeons and Dragons, Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, Jews and Satan. Read the rest

Hilarious 1994 "Guardian Angel" phone hotline infomercial

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Hilarious infomercial from 1994 for a guardian angel phone hotline.

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Islamophobic terrorist cell planned a "bloodbath" in Kansas, wanted to kill Muslim babies

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The Department of Justice has announced that it has arrested three Kansas men who called themselves "Crusaders" and planned "a bloodbath" in an apartment complex where many Somali people lived, which was to including bombings followed by house-to-house shootings sparing no one, "not even babies." Read the rest

Poland's insane abortion law is back

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Last month, Poland's ultra-right government collaborated with the Catholic Church to progress an extreme abortion law that would have sent doctors who performed operations to save fetuses (or their mothers) to prison. Read the rest

Poland abandons total abortion ban: "a lesson in humility" -UPDATED

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Mass protests in Poland and across the world have led Poland's far-right government to drop its Vatican-pleasing total ban on abortion, which was so sloppily overbroad that it potentially criminalized miscarriage and surgeries to save foetuses' lives. Read the rest

US religion is worth $1.2T/year, more than America's 10 biggest tech companies, combined

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The largely tax-free religion industry is one of the biggest in America, worth $1.2 trillion/year, a number that includes religious "healthcare facilities, schools, daycare and charities; media; businesses with faith backgrounds; the kosher and halal food markets; social and philanthropic programmes; and staff and overheads for congregations." Read the rest

Encyclopedia of Hell – "Written by and for demons, instructing them on how to destroy mankind"

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Encyclopedia of Hell: An Invasion Manual for Demons Concerning the Planet Earth and the Human Race Which Infests It by Martin Olson (author), Tony Millionaire (illustrator) and Mahendra Singh (illustrator) Feral House 2011, 240 pages, 7 x 10 x 0.8 inches (softcover) $14 Buy a copy on Amazon

In 1911 journalist Ambrose Bierce published a scathingly satirical book called The Devil's Dictionary, which contained truer-than-true definitions of everyday words. (Example — Bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.) Exactly 100 years later came Martin Olson’s Encyclopaedia of Hell, "a book that was 'written by and for demons, instructing them on how to destroy mankind.'" This encyclopedia is a blisteringly subversive book filled with illustrated definitions in the vein of Ambrose Bierce. Written as if Satan himself was the author, the definitions reveal a dim view of humanity. (Justice: Superstition of humans oppressed by the billionaires who own them. Robot: From the corporate viewpoint, the ideal human being. Soldier: A target made of flesh.) The book is lushly designed by Sean Tejaratchi, publisher of the late, great Crap Hound zine.

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