Alexa Zombies

August 30, 2019

Arch-Patriarch Mike Pence is super-mad that anyone would want to keep V.A. hospitals from displaying Bibles. The Union Leader reports:

“You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a V.A. hospital in New Hampshire,” Pence told the veterans gathered in Indianapolis. “Let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.”

“We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith,” said Pence, an evangelical Christian. “And my message to the New Hampshire V.A. hospital is: The Bible stays.”

This comes after V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie accused church-state advocates of being “bullies” for insisting the Bibles, you know, not stay. We responded with a message from our own Jason Lemieux, a Marine Corps vet, and the Union Leader includes it in its coverage:

Lemieux, a Marine Corps combat veteran who served three tours in Iraq, said more than 30 percent of military members are religiously unaffiliated. And he said, “These men and women have every right to a Department of Veterans Affairs that equally affirms and respects their service to their country.”

The U.S. Constitution “enshrines the government’s neutrality between religion and nonreligion,” Lemieux said.

Jason also has a blog post up about how he’s gearing up to lobby for secular, evidence-based addiction recovery programs:

While I believe that all lawmakers should support [Medication-Assisted Treatment] in principle, I also know well enough to address the concerns of my audience. So, to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle: help save lives by strengthening secular, science-based addiction recovery support! It will uphold the separation of church and state, improve public health, and save money.

Michael Gerson says evangelicals are worried about all the wrong things:

[T]he largest problem evangelicals face [is] the massive sell-off of evangelicalism among the young. About 26 percent of Americans 65 and older identify as white evangelical Protestants. Among those ages 18 to 29, the figure is 8 percent. Why this demographic abyss does not cause greater panic — panic concerning the existence of evangelicalism as a major force in the United States — is a mystery and a scandal. With their focus on repeal of the Johnson Amendment and the right to say “Merry Christmas,” some evangelical leaders are tidying up the kitchen while the house burns down around them. …

… Older evangelicals — the very people who should be maintaining and modeling moral standards — have ignored and compromised those standards for political reasons in plain view of their own children.


The Washington Times posts an op-ed by Cheryl Chumley cheering on the recent court ruling the okays the barring of atheists from legislative invocations, and tastelessly runs it with a big picture of FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor and the headline that starts, “Atheists slapped.” Real subtle.

Meanwhile, the Carroll County, Maryland Board of Commissioners votes to stop holding prayers at meetings.

Mayor Pete talks to RNS’s Jack Jenkins about God-talk on the campaign trail:

You should be able to offer (messages) that anyone — of all religions or of no religion — should find meaningful. Sometimes we’ve been afraid to use this language because we think it means not honoring the separation of church and state. For me, it means we need to honor the separation and also speak to those who are guided (by faith.)

The Times of India runs a deeply irresponsible piece by a homeopath claiming that homeopathy “works wonders” in the treatment of malaria. MALARIA. Which kills, just as an example, one child every two minutes. More than 700 every day.

Martin Gelin at The New Republic looks at how the anger at Greta Thunberg is an example of the overlap of climate deniers and misogynists:

The connection has to do with a sense of group identity under threat, Hultman told me—an identity they perceive to be under threat from all sides. Besieged, as they see it, both by developing gender equality—Hultman pointed specifically to the shock some men felt at the #MeToo movement—and now climate activism’s challenge to their way of life, male reactionaries motivated by right-wing nationalism, anti-feminism, and climate denialism increasingly overlap, the three reactions feeding off of one another.

Nye County in Nevada declares a preemptive state of emergency. Not because of an incoming natural disaster or attack, but because of Storm Area 51. LEAVE THESE PEOPLE ALONE.

The U.S. Space Command is now a thing, I guess.

According to an online poll run by College Pulse, 45 percent of college students think “In God We Trust” should be taken off U.S. currency. 53 percent say it should stay. The joke’s on both sides because after the collapse we’ll be bartering for crops and raw materials.

Soon we’ll be talking to dead people, in the sense that some advanced algorithm will take all our data in life and turn us into something like Alexa zombies. (Or, worse yet, Bixby zombies.)

Infowars was back on YouTube for a few hours, and then it wasn’t again.

Netflix has a new original movie, The Two Popes, with Anthony Hopkins as Ratzinger and Jonathan-Freaking-Pryce as his fluffiness himself, Pope Francis. There could be no more perfect casting. I cannot WAIT to see this.

“Dinner church.” Why didn’t I think of that? (Maybe it reminds me too much of dinner theatre?)

Quote of the Day

Bryan Walsh, author of the new book End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World, tells the Washington Post that we’re in more existential peril than ever before. When asked about Trump, he says:

I see Donald Trump as an existential risk all his own. Climate most obviously — he’s taking us backward at the moment we need to go forward — but in nuclear policy as well, even in the way his administration has stripped expertise and funding from infectious disease programs, especially abroad. Most of all though, he is an unstable pair of hands. What makes a catastrophe existential isn’t just what happens in the moment, but how we respond. We would need reliable leadership and international cooperation to keep the worst from being even worse. Trump provides neither of those, and he is actively degrading public trust in the government, which is vital when you’re responding to something like this.

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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.