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June 3, 2019

This is a little annoying. Last weekend, the New York Times put out their article on how the Navy is setting up a way for pilots to report UFO sightings. Now, let’s remember that UFO stands for unidentified flying object. Was that a fruit fly that just passed by my face? Or is it a mosquito? Or some dust? I don’t know, it’s a flying object that I have yet to identify. You see? UFO does not stand for “universe-faring organism.” Anyway, despite the fact that there is nothing here about actual extraterrestrial beings, I start working on the Heresy this Monday morning to find piles of pieces more or less choking on shards of clickbait as they shout “OMG ALIENS.”

Vice reports on how the NYT piece got the OMG ALIENS crowd all excited:

“The community has always strived for legitimacy, but at the end of the day, they didn’t care what people thought about them or their theories, no matter how outlandish or ridiculous,” [“Ufologist” Ryan] Sprague told Motherboard. “And now, just like any revolution, UFOs have earned the spotlight after being ridiculed for so long. UFOs exist. Our government and military have admitted it. Now we take that next step and ask the hard questions.”

And the piece then goes off the rails at the end saying, “While the source of these strange objects is still up for debate, we are undoubtedly on the edge of something very new, incredibly cool, and very much in the hands of a brand new generation.” No we’re not. Just stop. I’m so annoyed.

The great Alexandra Petri asks the aliens to come back later when we have a chance to tidy up our civilization a bit more.

The Washington Post points out the obvious in an editorial, that the “Bible literacy” classes that the religious right is pushing in Project Blitz are unconstitutional:

What’s new is how Bible instruction is being pushed to help advance an agenda of fundamentalist Christian tenets, and that it is being egged on by the president. … The United States is a wonderfully diverse country, and its founders were wise in deciding against a government-approved religion. That’s what should be learned in the classroom — and also, apparently, at the White House.

Google says that popular anti-vaxx videos by a Montreal naturopath don’t violate their medical misinformation policies. But but but…

Brittany Auerbach — aka “Montreal Healthy Girl” — incorrectly claims that “viruses” in vaccines inflame brain tissue, that babies under one year of age can’t create antibodies in response to vaccines and that children with autism can have parasites “longer than their bodies” that are expelled when they do cleanses.

Apart from vaccines, a mother can harm her unborn child’s nervous system in several ways, Auerbach falsely claims, including if the mother herself has been vaccinated, if she eats a lot of processed or genetically-modified foods, takes prenatal supplements prescribed by her doctor, drinks fluoridated water or keeps air fresheners in the house.

You wanna maybe reconsider, Google?

Jeneen Interlandi at NYT profiles Dr. Peter Hotez, a prominent vaccine advocate who endures harassment and threats from the anti-vaxx crowd:

“I haven’t even paid off my mortgage,” Dr. Hotez says. “They keep saying that I’m making all this money off my work, and my wife keeps saying, ‘If only!’”

In England and Wales, humanist weddings have risen by a whopping 266 percent over the last 15 years.

Hey Walmart and CVS, look at this: Quebec pharmacies are now posting warnings about homeopathic products about how they are “generally not supported by scientific evidence.”

Hey everybody, turns out gay-conversion therapy is totally real, because the totally-not-crazy Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte says he used to be gay and now he’s not. Sorry, he was only “a bit gay.”

Phil Williams at News Channel 5 in Nashville reports that an aide to the speaker of the Tennessee House gets paid $53,000 a year to offer this kind of insight:

Scott Alan Buss thinks public education is a satanic plot, that the Pope and Donald Trump are both anti-Christs and that concerns over the spread of measles is nothing but government propaganda. … Public school parents are exposing their kids to evil, he claims, and feeding them “to the big gay beast.” Buss also says there is a “homo-jihad” to get to children. … Buss argues that health officials’ concerns over measles shows they’re living in “Pansyland.”

This will be tough to read. Amber Scorah writes in the New York Times about the death of her infant son after she had already lost her faith:

What I had not anticipated about the cost of losing my faith was that it would no longer be possible to deceive myself. I could no longer make a pact with any higher being. No hours of service could convince a God that I deserved to have this child again. Whatever I had done to deserve him once, I was not worthy of him twice.

I am not saying there is no God, but I am saying no God would do this to someone.

Franklin Graham holds his big pray-for-Trump event and tells the 250 pastors and other religious figures:

Every night all we heard for two years was collusion, collusion, collusion. When the Mueller report came out, instead of moving on to something else, they’re continuing to attack the president. I’m just burdened for him and his family that God would somehow protect him and get him through this.

Aw, poor Frank.

Aliide Naylor at RNS reports how pagan religions are making a comeback in the Baltic states:

Under the Soviet Union, which occupied the Baltics after World War II until 1991, the native religions were suppressed along with nationalist sentiment.

Still, these religions lingered partly because fostering a connection to the land, old languages, old gods and tradition was a way of preserving a form of national identity and local memory in the face of an occupying power.

Quote of the Day

The Sentinel Echo of London, Kentucky talks to locals about their thoughts on politics, and if you have any hope for the nation, abandon it now. First we have a guy who wears a Trump hat, sleeveless Trump t-shirt, and one pant leg rolled up for some reason. He says:

I know nothing bad about the man.

Let that sit for a moment. He goes on:

He’s not a saint, but I don’t know anyone up there that is. But the Vice President, I think Pence is a good Christian guy. … I think they ought to take them Democrats out and try them for treason. … I’m sick, I’m tired of the government doing all they can to destroy this country,

Then there’s another guy who doesn’t like Trump:

Our former government and constitution made a point that religion should have no bearing on the government at all. If you want to worship your big toe, that should be between you and your big toe. It should have nothing to do with government.

U-S-A! U-S-A!

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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.