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Peanut Oil Pooling in Your Brain

September 13, 2019

Socioanalitica Research surveys nonreligious Americans on their political preferences, showing that a mere 13 percent support Trump, but the rest are all split up among a generic Democratic candidate, a third party candidate, and “unsure.”

Linda Greenhouse at the New York Times says the conservatives that dominate the Supreme Court are in an “unusual dialogue” with the religious right, and the message seems to be, “Bring us a case, the right case.”

Josh Wood at The Guardian looks at the Project Blitz through the lens of the Kentucky “In God We Trust” law, explaining why Kentucky was a good testing ground for the religious right:

For Christian nationalists, Kentucky is an attractive beachhead, a place where powerful politicians are allies and where the population can be sympathetic. This is a state where it is not uncommon for prayers to be read at high school graduations. It is a state whose Republican governor, Matt Bevin, has encouraged “each and every” student in the state to participate in a “Bring Your Bible To School Day”. It is the same Kentucky where the county clerk Kim Davis became a cause celebre for the Christian right after she refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2015.

Sue Kern, president of the Brainerd School Board in Minnesota, said, “Darwin’s theory was done in the mid-1800s and it’s never been proven. So I’m wondering why we’re still teaching it,” and then the world exploded and the stars wept and the galaxies threw themselves into black holes and the universe died.

What’s this now? Ted Cruz is going to oppose one of Trump’s judicial nominees?? Is this courage??? Nope. Turns out that Judge Halil Suleyman “Sul” Ozerden isn’t sufficiently far-right. Politico reports:

“For a lifetime appointment on the court of appeals, I believe we should be looking for someone with a strong, demonstrated record as a constitutionalist. I have significant concerns that Judge Ozerden’s judicial record does not indicate that he meets that standard. For that reason, I do not believe he should be on the court of appeals, and I will oppose his nomination,” Cruz said in a statement for this story. …

… As a district judge, Ozerden approved the Obama administration’s dismissal of a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, deeming the challenge premature. Senate Republicans have expressed concern about Ozerden’s decision in 2012.

Liberty University students are going to stage a protest of Jerry Falwell Jr. today. Said one student to RNS, “Jerry doesn’t have our best interests at heart. He doesn’t share Liberty’s mission statement to train champions for Christ.” Can’t really argue with that.

History professor Ali A Olomi wants you to know that religion is not synonymous with evangelical Christianity:

The behavior of white evangelicals and powerful religious leaders is not the sum of all religion in this country. Religion can also be found in the daily resistance and courage of ordinary people, in the communities of color who lead moral marches, among LGBTQ faithful who create safe spaces, with young Jews taking a stand against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and with the numerous religious communities building solidarity across the nation.

Yonat Shimron reports on how Christian gay-conversion advocates are getting all hip and with-it with a hashtag: #oncegay. That should do it.

BBC News looks at the market for “red mercury,” a substance that is supposed to have all sorts of magical powers, and you can buy online for thousands of dollars, but doesn’t actually exist.

Katy Ward at The Overtake gets a “psychic” to give her the lowdown on how she tricks people into thinking she has paranormal powers:

Sandra gets down to business. She asks if I’d lost a parent at a young age and whether this coincided with a “major event” in my life.

This cuts. My dad did indeed die when I was 18, with this funeral three days before my Oxbridge interview.

Was this a message from the spirit world? “Look, I’m not saying I don’t get a sense about people and there’s definitely a sadness about you, but there are ways to help things along.”

All she’d needed to do to find this information was enter my name into Google and voila, she came across an article I’d written on this very subject.

“You’re an open book. I could find your age, profession and personality within five minutes. There’s always one. That person who can’t help revealing everything on Twitter.”

Two Dutch vloggers try to storm Area 51 themselves, and end up in jail for trespassing. Trieste schuiftrompet.

An artist in Thailand made a painting of Bhudda in the style of the Japanese superhero Ultraman, and now religious hardliners want her arrested and prosecuted for insulting religion. Aside from the obvious aburdity of the whole idea of blasphemy as a crime, why would you find it insulting to be made into the likeness of a superhero??? If someone were to Captain-America-ify me, you best believe I’d be honored.

A Superior Court judge in Quebec strikes down parts of the physician-assisted suicide laws in both the province and in Canada as a whole, though not because there’s a problem with the spirit of the law, but because it’s too restrictive. CTV reports:

Justice Christine Baudouin found in favour of two Quebecers struck by incurable degenerative diseases who’d argued they were denied a medically assisted death under laws that are discriminatory.

Baudouin ruled invalid the Criminal Code requirement that a natural death be “reasonably foreseeable” before someone can be eligible for assisted death. The condition has prevented some people from accessing the end-of-life procedure. She also invalidated a section of the Quebec law that says people must “be at the end of life.”

First sentence of a story at The Daily Dot:

Not drinking your own urine seems like common sense, outside of a survival situation.

Well you know where this is going…

Sadly, just like many other unscientific beliefs, the internet has allowed the practice of urine therapy to flourish and there are growing numbers of adherents all around the world. As with the anti-vax movement, Facebook is one of the culprits behind the spread, with dozens of groups, pages, and videos dedicated to the practice. The nature of Facebook groups has allowed for considerable cross-pollination with anti-vaxxers, the detox and parasite obsessed, and other “alternative” beliefs, creating hybrid practices…

Auuugh why.

Relatedly, apparently a QAnon conspiracy theorist at a rally encouraged people to drink turpentine to cure intestinal parasites. Cool.

For Friday the Thirteenth, Kylie Sturgess reminds us that having a superstition about a lucky charm can be a setup for disaster, but you can indulge in having a “lucky charm” that’s all in your mind:

Plastic dinosaurs can be misplaced, a lucky coin could get stolen. Find a comfort zone that you can replicate without too much trouble. Try to get the situation into perspective, or perhaps use rituals that can be done anywhere or have items that cheer you up but can be replaced.

Quote of the Day

Christopher Hooks at Texas Monthly reports from the Faith, Family & Freedom Forum to explain why Chik-fil-A is the key to Western Civilization:

A few years back it was the defense of Duck Dynasty, and now Chick-fil-A is the cause célèbre. It’s about defending the hermetic seal around this community from external threats and intrusions.

Inside the bubble, kids don’t have premarital sex, boys who like boys can be convinced otherwise, and a Golden Retriever named Daisy saved almost a thousand lives on 9/11. When a sex education teacher or the San Antonio City Council tries to reach inside it, the community slaps back.

Belief is a comfort, and I believe it’s time for dinner. After the closing prayer at the forum, I head back to the Chick-fil-A down the street for a twelve-count nugget box. I had intended to get a fruit cup, but the peanut oil is pooling in my brain. This is what freedom tastes like.

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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.