A Petty Clique

November 29, 2018

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Neil DeGrasse Tyson takes over Stephen Colbert’s show to interview Colbert himself, and they get into stuff like philosophy, Hobbits, Catholicism, and the fear that A.I. won’t take over.

The Catholic Church in Pennsylvania is just getting started with its troubles: A former priest and bishops from the Scranton Diocese are being sued over sexual abuse, and (this is really, really bad) the Philadelphia Archdiocese is being sued over the sexual abuse of three toddlers at a church preschool.

Also, the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston have their offices searched by police as they investigate child sexual assault charges against Rev. Manuel La Rosa-Lopez.

Tibetan Buddhist monks are convening to debate whether the Dalai Lama should reincarnate. Yes, that is a thing that grownup humans get together to argue about. But the real question is political: If he “decides” to reincarnate, there could be competing claims from Tibet and China as to who he next “becomes,” and it may be easier to turn the whole Dalai Lama thing into an appointed “office” rather than a supernatural event.

There’s a real problem in Uganda, where Christian preachers say things like this (emphasis mine):

It’s time that we should believe in the power of God. How can you take medicines when you are born again? That’s a lack of faith and you can even end up dying. Jesus healed people only through prayers.

Snopes clarifies the position of Acting AG Matthew Whitaker on whether non-Christians can be judges, concluding that he never explicitly said they shouldn’t, but he sure did imply it.

Dennis Prager, on his adorable little YouTube “university,” says this whole saying “Merry Christmas” thing is really, really important, and that we seculars are looking to have Christmas removed from the calendar altogether. If that’s true, don’t tell my kids.

At HuffPost, Elizabeth Baker writes about the “crippling anxiety and spiritual trauma” she suffered growing up evangelical, and how the 2016 election “was like a floodlight on the underbelly of the evangelical church, and this is when the church started gaslighting me.”

Mark Silk notes that it seems that evangelicals are ever-so-slowly coming around to accepting the reality of global warming, and that might just be enough to serve as a “thin edge of the wedge” to make change.

A public school first grade teacher in Smithville, Texas posts video of her class’s daily Bible readings (yes, that’s right), and, goodness gracious, can you believe that some parents weren’t happy about it? Well, forget those buzzkills, because her supporters planned a big rally to back her up. Which they cancelled.

Self-identified humanist Deni Clark writes to the Washington Post that the Bladensburg cross does not offend her. Which of course is not the point. She adds:

If I, as a humanist, wanted to raise an issue with the Supreme Court, it would be the issue of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. That is an arrow to this humanist’s heart.

Again, your personal level offense is not the point, but whatever, let’s move on.

Madeleine Kearns at the National Review writes that the problem with atheism…wait, I mean, the problem with liberals…uh…wait. Okay, it’s not clear who she has a problem with (also mentions Wiccans and the Jonesville cult), other than anyone who isn’t a Christian.

Theresa May is confronted about asylum requests for Asia Bibi, and responds, “We are working with other countries to make sure, as I say, that our prime aim, which is the safety and security of Asia Bibi and her family, are what is provided for.”

California’s state appeals court un-strikes the state’s physician-assisted suicide law, which had been deemed unconstitutional by a lower court.

The voters of Taiwan reject the legalization of same-sex marriage, despite the country’s high court ruling against a ban.

Here’s the trailer for the documentary based on Maajid Nawaz and Sam Harris’s book Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue.

Quote of the Day

James Haught is unimpressed by the uptick in religiously unaffiliated participation in the 2018 midterms:

I think it’s a shame that ‘nones’ mostly shrug while white evangelicals throw themselves into elections. …

I wish that the booming secular movement could find ways to motivate nonreligious voters, to offset such born-again blitzes.

Until that happens, I simply hope that the steady retreat of religion in America will reduce white evangelicals to an ever-smaller fringe, a petty clique unable to sway elections.

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Linking to a story or webpage does not imply endorsement by Paul or CFI. Not every use of quotation marks is ironic or sarcastic, but it often is.

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