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The Hook Sinks Deeper

October 10, 2019

Trump is apparently obssessed with administering polygraph tests to White House staffers in order to root out those who would dare betray him to the Deep State. Like many things this president obsesses over, polygraphs are junk science.

Why are Republicans, who are happy to let Trump do and say whatever he wants, no matter how bananapants, suddenly upset about taking troops out of Syria? Ed Kilgore writes:

Why all the angst from this particular corner of MAGA-land? Well, as Trump should have well known, conservative Evangelicals are very concerned about the rapidly shrinking Christian minority in Syria and throughout the Middle East, and view the Kurds as their protectors and the Turks as their executioners.

Joe Nickell recounts his adventures investigating the “weeping icon” from a Toronto Greek Orthodox Church. Here’s a sample of the funny business he found:

As it happened, the priest, Rev. Ieronimos Katseas, had previously been involved with a weeping icon in Queens, New York , that—decorated with gems and golden jewelry—was stolen at gunpoint and remained controversial. Moreover, he had been defrocked in 1993 when it was learned he had previously worked in a brothel in Athens!

The top four-most-haunted states in America (according to something called Brandwatch) are North Dakota, Ohio, Nevada, and Nebraska, none of which are much of a surprise. The fifth-most-haunted is New York, which I have to think it all because of Joe Nickell’s office at CFI HQ. The least-haunted state is Mississippi, which just goes to show how popular that state is, that the ghosts are even like, nah.

If you’re worried about this kind of thing when you buy a new home, online realtor Bungalo will happily waste time and resources on ghost hunters to check out a property’s haunting situation.

Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari claims that Pope Francis told him he does not believe that Jesus Christ was actually God. Via the National Catholic Register:

Scalfari mentioned examples in Scripture in which Christ prayed, among them his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, to support his thesis that Jesus Christ was not divine.

He wrote that when he raised those points to Pope Francis, the Pope told him: “They are the definite proof that Jesus of Nazareth, once he became a man, even if he was a man of exceptional virtue, was not a God.”

The Vatican responded by saying that Scalfari’s quotes from the Pope are not actual verbatim, which is not the full-throated denial one might expect in this circumstance.

Reps. Andy Levin and Jamie Raskin are taking Betsy DeVos to task for allowing Liberty University to enact “extreme restrictions on student free speech,” which the White House pretends to care about.

The Chicago Tribune reports on what sort of reads like barely-avoided fisticuffs between a Republican county commissioner in Porter County, Illinois and an representatives from an atheist group over the use of the courthouse grounds.

Friendly Atheist features a guest post from Malkie Schwartz about a conference called “When Rights and Religions Collide”:

The conference will examine this tension between the rights of an individual and the protection of religious freedoms. In particular, we will highlight the voices of individuals from insular religious backgrounds who have personally grappled with this tension. We will feature speakers who can offer insight into how we can make individual rights and freedoms more accessible for those who share our backgrounds.

If you live in Tennessee, today you’re in for “a day of prayer, humility, and fasting,” according to your governor. Have fun with that.

On Sunday, however, other Christians are encouraged to take part in a “National Day of Prayer” in support of the impeachment inquiry into the president. I swear I cannot for the LIFE of me tell which side God is on anymore.

Dark energy and exoplanets are the focus of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics.

It looks like wooly mammoths may have been around much more recently than previously believed, with new evidence that they were still lumbering about 4000 years ago.

Aliens are now eating torpedoes under water. Or something.

Quote of the Day

At Skeptical Inquirer, Susan Gerbic, scourge of fake psychics, considers things from the point of view of those who get sucked in:

We can get all high and mighty and say that they should educate themselves and not allow themselves to be taken advantage of. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t raised to be a critical thinker. I was raised to believe in life-after-death, and it’s only a tiny step to think that it is possible to communicate with the dead when you believe in angels. We are all on this journey to learn as much about ourselves and the world as possible. Not all are concerned with the things we think they should be concerned about. Grief vampires interact with people at all stages of life, but the hook sinks deeper when the sitter is in a fragile time of life, when things are overwhelming and they just want a bit of peace and comfort.

Let’s hold off judging the sitter who has just been preyed on.

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.