Given the news I comb through for each day’s Morning Heresy, I see a lot of little pieces about how [religious figure] has said [outrageously offensive thing] OR [stupendously ridiculous thing], and lately, I more or less ignore it because, well, it’s very dog-bites-man at this point. I come across a headline that’s all, “Famous Pastor Says Gays Use Chemtrails to Invalidate Applecare Claims,” and I’m all, meh.
This is likely why a recent instance failed to register with me, when it actually warrants a bit more attention. See, it comes from the president’s “spiritual advisor” and now a part of the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, Paula White. She said to her faithful followers, in public:
Come on, I need you guys to pray. We cancel every surprise from the witchcraft in the make-believe kingdom. Any hex, any spell, any witchcraft, any spirit of control, any Jezebel, anything that the enemy desires through spells, through witchcraft, through any way that is manipulation — demonic manipulation — we curse that. We break it according to the word of God in the name of Jesus.
It gets weirder!
We come against the marine kingdom, we come against the animal kingdom [ … ] we break their power in the name of Jesus and we declare that any strange winds — any strange winds that have been sent to hurt the church, sent against this nation, sent against our president, sent against myself, sent against others, we break it by the superior blood of Jesus right now.
Whoa, we’re against animals now? And, um, the marine kingdom? Like Prince Namor? He will not like that, as he is very, very tetchy.
It gets worse!
In the name of Jesus, we arrest every infirmity, affliction, fatigue, weariness, weakness, fear, sickness, any self-righteousness, any self-serving action God, let prides fall, let prides fall, let prides fall. In the name of Jesus, we command all satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now. We declare that anything that’s been conceived in Satanic wombs, that they will miscarry, they will not be able to carry forth any plan of destruction, any plan of harm.
It’s that last part that’s gotten folks all riled up and upset. (Maybe not as riled up as she was when she said it.) Not the part about hating on animals and Atlantis, not the stuff about spells and witchcraft and I guess probably mudbloods too. Those all seem to be red flags all by themselves. But what got folks’ attention for this just stellar plasma-vent of bat-poopery was the stuff about satanic pregnancies and miscarriages.
Now, you know what she said in response, right? It’s what they always say. She was taken “out of context for political gain.” The context, to me, seemed to be a hate-filled shamanic tantrum meant to rile up Trump supporters for his, you know, political gain. I’m not sure what other context there could possibly be. Unless she was LARPing or something.
Rick Snedeker at Godzooks reflects on the wisdom of Ann Druyan, who spoke at the opening of the Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan Theater at the new CFI West last year. I like this bit in particular:
“Astrology is another form of prejudice,” Druyan said with disappointment that it is becoming culturally more accepted in the U.S. “It judges a person on some things that are completely meaningless.”
In Bolivia, the new interim president, Jeanine Añez, said
we come against the marine kingdom, we come against the animal kingdom she was restoring Christianity to the government. The AP reports:
“The Bible has returned to the palace,” bellowed Jeanine Añez as she walked amid a horde of allies and news media cameras into the presidential palace where [ousted president Evo] Morales had jettisoned the Bible from official government ceremonies and replaced it with acts honoring the Andean earth deity called the Pachamama.
The conservative evangelical senator, from a region where people often scoff at Pachamama beliefs, thrust the Bible above her head and flashed a beaming smile.
While Bolivians are deeply divided on Morales’ legacy, his replacement, a lawyer and opposition leader who wants to make the Bible front and center in public life, is reigniting deep-rooted class and racial divisions at a time of great uncertainty in the Andean nation…
A venue in Liverpool, UK tells Franklin Graham to go scratch:
Over the past few days we have been made aware of a number of statements which we consider to be incompatible with our values.
In light of this we can no longer reconcile the balance between freedom of speech and the divisive impact this event is having in our city. We have informed the organisers of the event that the booking will no longer be fulfilled.
I dunno, sounds like some witchcraft in the make-believe kingdom. Strange winds, etcetera.
New on the Freethought Trail is the first-ever historical marker for a freethinkers’ meeting site:
Working with Town of Huron Historian Rosa Fox, in 2019 the Pomeroy Foundation delivered a marker for the James Madison Cosad farmstead, the site of an August 1877 “Grove Meeting” that attracted some 2,000 persons. So far as is known, this is the only site of a freethought event acknowledged as such with an official marker anywhere in the United States.
Facebook, Google, and Twitter are apparently trying to contain the spread of misinformation about the Wuhan coronavirus on their platforms. They’ve done such a bang-up job so far with misinformation about vaccines, climate change, false-flag claims about mass shootings, gay conversion therapy, psychics, mass voter fraud by illegal immigrants, space aliens, child sex rings in pizza parlor basements, and Martian slave colonies, so I’m sure this will all work out.
Jorge L. Ortiz at USA Today reports on the rise in anti-Semitic attacks:
In its latest audit, the Anti-Defamation League reported 1,879 acts against Jews in the U.S. in 2018, the third highest number in 40 years. The organization also cited New York Police Department figures that said there had been more anti-Jewish incidents in the city in 2019 than all other crimes added together. …
… “Whenever things get tough, whenever there’s polarization, whenever there’s political or religious extremism, you need a scapegoat, and the Jews are the prototypical scapegoat because they have been the outsiders now for thousands of years,’’ said Stephen D. Smith, executive director of the Shoah Foundation. “The persecution or the attacks on Jews are an indication of the health and well-being of a society itself. If Jews are coming under attack, it means others probably are coming under attack too, and if not now, they will be.’’
Harriet Hall tells of a new manifesto by an organization in Spain, whose name translates to the Association to Protect the Sick from Pseudoscientific Therapies:
The organization has three main goals: to make sure no sick person is dissuaded from curative treatments based on science; to discover the difference between science and pseudoscience and make clear the true meanings of words like treatment, therapy, and medicine and prevent their misuse in pseudoscientific propaganda; and to make it a crime to claim that a treatment is effective or curative if it has not been scientifically studied. As an analogy, it is illegal for used car salesmen to tell lies about their cars. Surely, health is at least as important as cars.
One would think. Here’s the manifesto in question, which begins like this:
Let’s be clear: pseudoscience kills. And they are being used with total impunity thanks to European laws that protect them.
Hall also has a piece at Skeptical Inquirer in which she decides to ease off the negativity toward people having fun with the idea of Bigfoot:
I have reconsidered the Bigfoot tours as pure play and a chance to get out in the woods and experience the pleasures of nature. I don’t think they are hurting anyone. They only offer the same kind of anecdotal “evidence” that humans naturally rely on. It’s not their job to teach critical thinking. Even people well-trained in critical thinking can enjoy pretending Bigfoot exists, although their logical mind knows it’s not true. … Bigfoot tours are in a very different category from fake cancer cures. Both involve play, imagination, and false beliefs, but belief in Bigfoot doesn’t kill people.
Clint Worthington at Vulture boils down what audiences ought to expect from Paltrow’s Goop Lab:
… in mixing the almost proven with the downright absurd, they create a false equivalence that might prove dangerously appealing to the overly credulous.
Speaking of which, tech site CNet gives way, way too much benefit of the doubt to a Goop Lab episode on how—guess what guys!—we all have some psychic powers. “Are we all really intuit?” the piece asks. “Yes and no,” it answers. Fail.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, some psychics predicted that a missing person would be found the next day and they totally were!!! Not featured in the article, psychics who may have predicted the missing person would remain missing. We’ll never know.
MSNBC host Nicole Wallace, a former White House communications official for George W. Bush, responds to Chris Wallace’s attempts to talk sense into a guest incapable of acknowledging reality. Forget for a moment that this is about politics and impeachment and see if this feeling she expresses rings a bell:
I’ve known Chris Wallace my entire career in politics. This is an unflappable man. I called it the Flat Earth Society. The Republicans cling to the argument that the Earth is flat. Chris Wallace — they are obviously trying to cover the same event we are, saying, ‘No! We have a firsthand witness who saw the Earth is round!’ and he’s just trying to tell the senators before they render a judgment that the facts reveal the Earth is indeed round.
Strange winds, y’all.
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.