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

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.

Read the rest

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.

Brexit Crisis: Church of England to host Emergency Tea Parties

With the Prime Minister's Brexit deal failing for the third time to receive Parliament's blessing and the looming possibility of crashing out the EU without a deal, or a snap general election, or a second referendum, or another series of Parliamentary votes, or a general-purpose popular uprising, or alien intervention, the Church of England has a plan: tea parties.

Churches are being encouraged to host “informal café-style meetings” over the weekend of 30 March “to bring together people of all standpoints and encourage open discussion.” The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, Justin Welby and John Sentamu, have today backed newly-commissioned resources to invite people to “get together and chat over a cup of tea and pray for our country and our future”.

Under the slogan “Together”, the packs include specially-chosen Bible passages, prayers and questions designed to prompt conversations. The introductory notes urge participants to have “respect for the integrity of differently held positions, encouraging communities which feel the same about the issues to use their imagination to consider the viewpoints of those who feel differently.”

Photo: AS Food studio / Shutterstock Read the rest

British schoolchildren receive chemical burns from "toxic ash" on Ash Wednesday

Between 73 and 100 students (as well as at least 17 teachers and administrators) from St Augustine’s Catholic High School in Redditch, England received chemical burns to their foreheads from "toxic ash" used to mark them as part of a Catholic ritual on Ash Wednesday. Read the rest

Prince's shoe-maker used to supply 30-40 pairs of high-heeled boots/month, totaling 3,000 pairs

Prince was self-conscious about his height -- 5'3" -- and wore high-heeled boots (either 4" or 3 1/3") whenever he went out in public, and moreover, he did not like to be seen wearing the same pair of boots at two different appearances on the same day. Read the rest

Former Archbishop of Canterbury cheers on students who are walking out to demand action on climate change

Months of student strikes have roiled the UK as pupils across the country have refused to go to class while demanding action on climate change, inspired by Swedish student Greta Thunberg's one-person strike at the Swedish Parliament. Read the rest

University dean resigns after school denies Chick-fil-A a location on campus

Cynthia Newman, dean of the college of business administration at Rider University in New Jersey, has resigned from that position after her school denied Chick-fil-A a campus location "based on the company's record widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community." (Newman will continue as a tenured professor though.) According to the university administrators, Chick-fil-A's "corporate values have not sufficiently progressed enough to align with those of Rider."

I first suspected Newman stepped down because she loves Chick-fil-A's waffle fries so much, but she says she actually has "a problem with University leadership passing judgement on Chick-fil-A’s values which are reflective with the values of the Christian as well as other faiths.”

“I endeavor every day to do exactly what Chick-fil-A puts forward as its overarching corporate value: to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to me and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with me," Newman said in her resignation speech.

From CNN:

Newman wrote that she asked administrators to apologize for offending Christians, but ultimately decided to step down after the university stuck to its original stance.

"While we respect Dr. Newman's personal decision, we maintain that the decision about choosing an on-campus restaurant franchise was in no way a judgment on religious values," Kristine Brown, a spokeswoman for Rider University, said in a statement to CNN.

"Rather, our intention was to foster a sense of respect and belonging of all members of the campus community, including those who identify as LGBTQ+."

More in the Rider University newspaper: "Dean steps down from position due to religious beliefs" (The Rider News) Read the rest

More posts