Listen to the Christmas Eve message from the first humans orbiting another world (1968)

On Christmas Eve, 1968, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, the first humans to orbit another world, delivered a Christmas Eve message from above the lunar surface. From NASA:

"We were told that on Christmas Eve we would have the largest audience that had ever listened to a human voice," recalled Borman during 40th anniversary celebrations in 2008. "And the only instructions that we got from NASA was to do something appropriate." "The firs

t ten verses of Genesis is the foundation of many of the world's religions, not just the Christian religion," added Lovell. "There are more people in other religions than the Christian religion around the world, and so this would be appropriate to that and so that's how it came to pass."

The mission was also famous for the iconic "Earthrise" image, snapped by Anders, which would give humankind a new perspective on their home planet. Anders has said that despite all the training and preparation for an exploration of the moon, the astronauts ended up discovering Earth.

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Catholic church dumped holy water from airplane onto the town below

A Roman Catholic church in the rural community of Cow Island, Louisiana dumped 100 gallons of holy water from a crop duster airplane onto the people and their land below. From NPR:

"I've blessed some buckets for people and such, but never that much water," (Rev. Matthew Barzare of St. Anne Church) said.

The pilot had instructions to drizzle certain parts of the community, including churches, schools, grocery stores and other community gathering places...

The idea was first proposed by a parishioner who is studying to become a missionary who was looking for a way to spread both community togetherness and holy water across Cow Island.

And the more Barzare considered it, the more it made sense.

"Most parishes have a central location, but my area that I have to cover is a good 30 minutes to the next church, and so by plane, we realized, it might be the easiest way to sprinkle people's fields, rather than me going in a car to different locations," he said.

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Christianity Today: Trump should be impeached and removed, 'morally lost and confused'

Yep.

Sounds about right. Read the rest

Congregants allegedly pressured to to sell their own blood and donate the funds to their church

For all the good that many organized religions try to do in the world (albeit, often with ulterior motives,) there's no end to the amount of greasy shit that individual preachers and congregations get up too. Every creed has its assholes. Many are worse than others. If the allegations against SPAC Nation—a UK-based Christian organization, praised for working with young men and women in London to reduce the amount of knife violence that the city has been plagued by of late—are true, they'll have positioned themselves pretty high up there in the scummy religious ranks.

From The Telegram:

A scandal-hit church is being investigated by the charity watchdog over claims that pastors pressured young congregants into selling their blood for money to donate to the church.

The Charity Commission today announced that it had opened an inquiry into SPAC Nation, based in London, to probe financial and safeguarding concerns.

The commission, which describes the church as a charity set up to "advance Christianity" and that works particularly with young people, has ordered it to bank all cash while the investigation takes place.

The announcement comes after HuffPost UK reported allegations that some members of the church had been taking teenagers to donate blood for medical trials in a practice known as "bleeding for seed".

The publication reported that that some members go to donate blood and are paid up to £100 by medical trial companies. This money is then handed by the young people over to the church’s pastors.

I mean, is it on the same level as torturing and robbing native children of their cultural heritage in a residential school, marginalizing the rights of women or sexually abusing defenseless congregants? Read the rest

Church elder tried to pay for Grindr sex with Arby's card, say police

“Sir? This is an Arby's card.”

Church nativity scene puts the holy family in cages, because that's how America deals with asylum-seekers like Christ

Jesus and his fam were refugees, so it's only fitting that the folks at Claremont United Methodist Church decided to put its nativity figures in cages behind razorwire. Read the rest

Pennsylvania to Ohio: we see your terrible life-threatening anti-abortion bill and raise you with funerals for unimplanted, fertilized eggs

Pennsylvania has one-upped Ohio's lethal anti-abortion bill (which requires OB/GYNs to perform a non-existent operation to implant fertilized eggs from ectopic pregnancies in women's uteruses, on penalty of prison time), with anti-choice lawmakers introducing House Bill 1890, the Pennsylvania Final Disposition of Fetal Remains, which provides for prison sentences and fines for anyone disposing of a fertilized human egg without obtaining a death certificate and then holding a funeral for it. Read the rest

Christian TV pastor Rick Wiles: Impeachment is a "Jew coup"

It's kind of fun to say: Jew coup, Jew coup, Jew coup. Read the rest

Kentucky atheist can get ‘IM GOD’ license plate, US court rules

A federal court ruled today that an atheist gentleman from Kentucky should be permitted to get a personalized license plate from the state with the phrase “IM GOD” on it. The man is committed to his cause -- this only took three years of legal fighting. Read the rest

Federal Court: Kentucky discriminated by disallowing "IM GOD" license plate

In 2016, Bennie L. Hart applied for a vanity license plate emblazoned with "IM GOD." The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet refused to issue the plate, apparently because it was related to religion. With the support of the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Hart took the matter to court. And finally, U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove ruled that the First Amendment limits the state's power to put the kibosh on the plate. From WDRB:

(The judge wrote) that courts have ruled that such plates convey a “personalized message with intrinsic meaning … specific to the owner.” Even the state’s own statute establishing the program describes such plates as consisting of “personal letters or numbers significant to the applicant,” the judge wrote.

Further, the judge wrote, if the cabinet’s permission to use a vanity plate constituted a “stamp of approval” from the state, the government would be “babbling prodigiously” and “saying many unseemly things...."

“If the Transportation Cabinet genuinely wants to avoid controversy on Kentucky’s highways by preventing ‘promotion of any specific faith, religion, or anti-religion’ from appearing on vanity plates,” the judge wrote, “then it should have denied 'IM4GOD', 'ASKGOD', 'GR8GOD', 'LUVGOD'. But it did not," (Van Tatenhove wrote.)

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High school will require mandatory drug tests for students

Badin High School, a private Catholic school in Cincinnati, Ohio, announced that starting next year, all students will undergo mandatory drug tests at least annually. According to the school's new policy, "If a student refuses to test when required to do so, the test will be treated as a positive test." The policy does not list what drugs will be screened for by the test and whether faculty and staff will also be tested. From WLWT:

Positive drug tests will result in confidential counseling.

"This is in the best interests of the students," Pendergest said. "The impact of drug use on young students and their families is staggering, and our community is not immune to this issue. Being proactive on drug testing is the appropriate action on our part..."

"We're talking about a health and wellness issue, not a punitive issue," (principal Brian) Pendergest added. "For their own wellbeing, students should not be doing drugs. We want to help them to make the right choices."

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God of Death deployed to enforce railway laws in India

In Mumbai, India, the Western Railway deployed a police officer dressed as Yamarāja, a Hindu god of death, to educate commuters about railway safety and enforce the laws. From Zee News:

Railway Ministry's handle warned the people in Hindi, "Do not cross the track in an unauthorised manner, it can be fatal."

"If you cross the track in an unauthorized way, then Yamraj will be standing in front of you," Railway Ministry added.

In 2018, as many as seven people on an average lost their lives on a daily basis due to carelessness in crossing railway tracks illegitimately. At least 1,476 people had lost their lives while crossing the railway tracks while over 650 people died after falling off the trains.

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"Christian" hospital charges its own nurse $900,000 for her premature baby

Lauren Bard works as a nurse at Dignity Health, a "Christian hospital" (motto: Hello humankindness). In 2018, Bard went to UC Irvine hospital to deliver her very premature (21 week) baby. Read the rest

Televangelist and 'prosperity gospel' pastor Paula White joins Trump administration

This is scary, but has nothing to do with Halloween, despite the date. Read the rest

Warrior nuns and body horror in the trailer for the BBC's "reinvention" of Dracula

The upcoming Dracula miniseries is written by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and sounds like it'll have us rooting for the sexy villain:

They’ve made him the hero of the show, the protagonist – though still just as nasty. He has no moral dilemmas, he just wants to eat people. A creature who has seen empires rise and fall, who has seen it all before and who likes humanity – they are his food source after all. And by now he’s become quite a connoisseur of humanity.

Here's the first trailer:

Dracula will premiere on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland. "Episodes will be directed by Jonny Campbell, Damon Thomas and Paul McGuigan, whose impressive list of credits include Westworld, Killing Eve and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, respectively." Read the rest

A visual history of Soviet anti-religious artwork

Inspired by Marx's aphorism that "Religion is the opium of the people," the USSR commissioned a wealth of anti-religious artwork, much of it very clever and striking. A new book called Godless Utopia: Soviet Anti-Religious Propaganda, edited by Roland Elliott Brown, Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell collects the most striking examples of the form. The Guardian has a tremendous gallery of excerpts from the book. Read the rest

"Jesus Shoes" are Nikes laced with holy water

MSCHF told CBS that it customized a pair of Nike Air Max 97 sneakers by attaching a crucifix as a shoelace charm, and adding to the soles "holy water from the River Jordan, which was blessed by a priest in Brooklyn."  The resulting "Jesus Shoes" are available for purchase at shoe speculating site StockX for $4000:

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