Exorcist training and conference next month in Chicago

Next month in Chicago, the Pope Leo XIII Institute will hold its annual exorcism conference for clergy. While not directly associated with or funded by the Catholic Church, the Institute was "established for the total education & training of priests in the holy ministry of exorcism and deliverance." According to the conference site, you'll learn the following:

- If the devil can read your mind or knows the future.

-How to distinguish between divinely inspired visions and those inspired by the devil.

-Common pitfalls for beginners in the spiritual life - as well as those of the most advanced.

-How the devil adapts his strategy according to where you are in the spiritual life: purgative, illuminative, and unitive stages.

-How to grow in prayer.

-What are the most effective weapons in combatting the devil - as well as those the devil uses against you to halt your progress.

From Mysterious Universe:

The independent, non-profit was founded to serve and educate Catholic bishops, priests, exorcists, deacons, and laity and offered its first conference in 2005 in response to Pope John Paul’s recommendation that every diocese appoint an exorcist.

This year’s exorcist conference will focus on the teachings of Father Cliff Ermatinger and his book The Devil’s Role in the Spiritual Life. Past conference themes have included the exploration of the Virgin Mary’s role in defeating Satan and the in-depth examination of the motives of rebellious angels. The keynote speaker of the 2016 conference was Father Gary Thomas, the real-life priest on whose experiences the 2009 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist was based, as well as the 2011 film The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins.

Read the rest

David Byrne's Luaka Bop label is releasing a compilation of "secular gospel" from the 1970s, with liner notes by Jonathan Lethem

Since its inception in 1988, David Byrne's Luaka Bop label has been a sure-fire source of some of the best music I've ever heard, from its compilations of Brazilian and Cuban music to bands like Cornershop, Os Mutantes, and Tom Ze. Though Byrne is no longer running the label, it continues to blaze a remarkable musical trail: its next album will be The Time For Peace Is Now, a collection of "secular gospel" rarities from the 1970s, "focusing not on Jesus or God, but instead on ourselves, and how we exist with each other." Read the rest

After Propublica expose, the "nonprofit," "Christian" Memphis University Hospital suspends practice of suing the shit out of poor people

Memphis University Hospital is a tax-exempt nonprofit whose CEO, Dr. Michael Ugwueke, took home $1.6m last year; the hospital itself makes an operating surplus of $80m/year -- and it also sues the shit out of its patients, running its own in-house collection agency and filing more garnishment claims than any other hospital in the state. Read the rest

Catholic bishop plans to dump holy water from plane to exorcise city's demons

Holy chemtrails! Monsignor Rubén Darío Jaramillo Montoya, Catholic bishop of Buenaventura, Colombia, plans to drop holy water across the city to exorcise its demons. Apparently there have been 51 murders in just five months and the bishop wants to help the best way he knows how. From a Google-translated RCN Radio article:

"It will be a great public demonstration of the entire community, where we will pour holy water to see if so many bad things end and the devil comes out of here," the priest said...

For the moment, Bishop Jaramillo is coordinating the work with the National Navy and the mayor in order to have an aircraft for July 13 or 14 , when the Fiesta de San Buenaventura, the city's patron saint, is celebrated.

More at Mysterious Universe.

image: Contrails (NOAA) Read the rest

Meatless burgers are Satan's work

Rick Wiles, host of the racist and anti-semitic "Christian" media outlet TruNews, reveals that meatless burgers are “plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products, is part of a satanic plot to alter human DNA so that people can no longer worship God.” Listen up:

When you go to your favorite fast food restaurant, you are going to be eating a fake hamburger. You’re going to go to the grocery store and buy a pound of fake hamburger or a fake steak, and you won’t know that it was grown in some big corporation’s laboratory. This is the nightmare world that they are taking us into. They’re changing God’s creation. Why? Because they want to be God....

God is an environmentalist. He takes this very seriously. He created this planet, he created the universe and he’s watching these Luciferians destroy this planet, destroy the animal kingdom, destroy the plant kingdom, change human DNA. Why? They want to change human DNA so that you can’t be born again. That’s where they’re going with this, to change the DNA of humans so it will be impossible for a human to be born again. They want to create a race of soulless creatures on this planet.

(Patheos via Daily Grail)

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The Church of the Subgenius's Salvation Pack is the best $35 I ever spent

Update: I goofed! The book is sold separately!

A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear Subgenius founder, the Reverend Ivan Stang, interviewed on the Comedy on Vinyl podcast (previously) and to discover that the Church of the Subgenius was selling a $35 Salvation/Membership/Ordainment kit that was chock full of goodies. Read the rest

Televangelist explains why his private jet is "biblical"

You can't get close to God on commercial.

Prosperity gospel preacher and measles aficionado Kenneth Copeland is closing in on his first billion dollars made.

“If I flew commercial, I’d have to stop 65 percent of what I’m doing, that’s the main reason,” he said.

Copeland said he was a “very wealthy man” and acknowledged using the private jets to travel to his vacation homes. Guerrero asked how he would respond to those who say preachers shouldn’t live so luxuriously.

“They’re wrong,” he replied “It’s a misunderstanding of the Bible that … if you go into the old covenant, do you think the Jewish people believe you should be broke?”

Guerrero follows up: “Are you saying that Jewish people appreciate money more?”

“They believe in wealth,” Copeland said.

A wealthy televangelist explains his fleet of private jets: ‘It’s a biblical thing’ [WaPo] Read the rest

Rare footage of the "uncontacted" tribe that killed the missionary who illegally went to their island to preach

The Sentinelese are one of the world's last "uncontacted" indigenous peoples, a hunter-gatherer tribe who live on the remote North Sentinel Island in India's Andaman Islands chain. You may recall that last November, a missionary named John Allen Chau, 27, obsessed with trying to convert the tribe to Christianity, paid local fishermen to help him get near the island. As soon as he illegally landed his canoe on the shore and started preaching, the Sentinelese fired arrows. He escaped with injuries but returned twice later and was eventually killed.

This footage above of the Sentinelese from 1991 was taken by anthropologist T N Pandit of India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs who attempted to visit them for several decades. Usually, the Sentinelese hid or fired arrows, but in 1991 they waded into the ocean to meet Pandit and his team peacefully.

"We were puzzled why they allowed us," he told the BBC last year. "It was their decision to meet us and the meeting took place on their terms."

"We jumped out of the boat and stood in neck-deep water, distributing coconuts and other gifts. But we were not allowed to step onto their island."

According to the BBC, "Mr Pandit says he does favour the re-establishment of friendly gift-dropping missions with the tribe, but says they should not be disturbed. 'We should respect their wish to be left alone, he said.'"

Well, duh. Read the rest

How the "prosperity gospel" convinces poor people to give everything to grifty millionaire preachers

The "prosperity gospel" (previously) is a religious doctrine that encourages poor people to send specific amounts of cash (usually in the hundreds of dollars) to charismatic preachers, an act the preachers characterizes as "seed giving" -- and the preachers promise that God will reward these gifts by making the givers rich. Read the rest

Noah's Ark owners sue over water damage

The owners of the Williamstown, Kentucky creationist theme park Ark Encounter, home to a 510 foot long model of the biblical Noah's Ark, are suing their insurance carriers for not covering $1 million in damages caused by heavy rain. From Lex18:

According to the suit, heavy rains caused a landslide and some structural support damage near the Ark exhibit.

“Subsequent to heavy rains, a significant landslide occurred along portions of the slope, which eliminated the structural support for the roadway, caused significant damage to the road surface itself and the incorporated improvements, and rendered portions of the road unsafe and unfit for use,” reads the suit...

Initially, the suit alleges, the defendants cited faulty craftsmanship as the reason for the property damage and stated they were not liable. After an appeal, they conceded that only a small amount was covered by the policy.

"Ark Encounter LLC Files Lawsuit After Heavy Rains Damage Property" (Lex18)

Previously: "Help protest a taxpayer-funded Creationist theme park in Kentucky"

image: OlinEJ (CC0) Read the rest

Watch Christian TV news show 700 Club's report on Burning Man (1996)

I've never been to Burning Man but this 700 Club report from 1996 really sells that year's festival theme of "The Inferno!" From the blog of Oliver Bonin, director of the Burning Man documentary Dust & Illusions:

In 1996 a group under the name “The Sentinel Group” goes to Burning Man, right during the year themed as “HELL” [sic]. After gathering hours of footage during the event, they went to the TV show “The 700 Club” hosted by the wealthy, supposedly christian, Pat Robertson, one of those extremists that you can find only in America, preaching the bible and making millions at the same time.

I found this incredible excerpt of the 700 Club during my search for archival footage about Burning Man.

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Texas Republican says vaccines are "sorcery"

Consider the place of knowledge and ideology in politics, how the open discussion of facts and ideas might throw light on complicated and difficult matters of policy and principle. Read the rest

Pope urges barbers and hair stylists not to gossip

More than 200 Italian barbers and hair stylists visited the Vatican yesterday where they received a a solemn word of warning from Pope Francis:

"Avoid falling into the temptation of gossip that is easily associated with your work," he said, and do your job "with Christian style, treating clients with gentleness and courtesy, offering them always a good word and encouragement."

Francis also introduced the hairdressers to their patron saint St. Martin de Porres (d. 1639) who according to Catholic.org is the "patron of Mixed Race, Barbers, Public Health Workers, (and) Innkeepers."

(Reuters) Read the rest

A new edition of Octavia Butler's classic postapocalyptic Afrofuturist novel "Parable of the Sower," with an introduction by Hugo winner NK Jemisin

Macarthur "genius prize" recipient Octavia Butler (previously) is one of science fiction's most important figures, an author who wrote cracking, crackling, accessible and fast-moving adventure stories shot through with trenchant and smart allegories about race, gender and power (I like to think of her as "woke Heinlein"). Read the rest

HPV immunization has "wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer" in Scotland

In the UK, the routine vaccination of young girls has virtually eradicated new cases of cervical cancer associated with human papilomavirus.

Researchers said the vaccine has nearly wiped out cases of cervical pre-cancer in young women since an immunisation programme was introduced 10 years ago. They found the vaccine had led to a 90% cut in pre-cancerous cells. And they said the effects of the programme had "exceeded expectations". Over the last decade, schoolgirls across the UK have routinely received the HPV vaccine when they are 12 or 13.

Boys are now vaccinated too.

HPV vaccination is very controversial in America and only a few states require it. Studies show that getting the vaccine doesn't increase risky sexual behavior among teens, but to be discussing it that way in the first place accepts a frame of reference that can never allow progress. Loudly, the arguments are about whether "risky sex" is worse than cancer. Quietly, the arguments are about God punishing those who have sex before marriage. To participate in debates like this is to instantly lose them. Read the rest

Megachurch preachers and their expensive sneakers: @preachersnsneakers IG

The preachersnsneakers Instagram is 🔥🔥🔥. Read the rest

Megachurch Pastor Hope Carpenter: 'I cut people. I got a knife right in that pocketbook.'

“I cut people. I got a knife right in that pocketbook,” Carpenter said, gesturing toward her seat.

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