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Three Hours of Shoe Shopping

September 17, 2020

FiveThirtyEight looks at the lack of Democratic outreach to nonreligious voters. Political science professor David Campbell says, “Until parties and politicians start talking to secular voters as a bloc, voters won’t see themselves that way either.”

Ronald F. Inglehart writes at Foreign Affairs about a huge global decline in religion since 2007. “As unexpected as it may seem, countries that are less religious actually tend to be less corrupt and have lower murder rates than more religious ones.” That is not unexpected.

CDC director Robert Redfield: “Normal” isn’t coming back anytime soon, and masks are the best defense. Trump: Redfield is mistaken and confused.

Dr. Asha Shajahan: Get a flu shot in order to stave off a “twindemic” of simultaneous flu and COVID outbreaks.

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone complains in the Post about pandemic restrictions on worship services. He notes that one of his flock asked him, “Why can I spend three hours indoors shopping for shoes at Nordstrom’s but can’t go to Mass?” To which I would ask, “Are you singing or taking communion in Nordstrom’s? And why is it taking you three hours to pick out shoes???”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who seemed to be a rare voice of sanity early in the COVID crisis, has signed into law a bill that prohibits the closure of places of worship during pandemics.

We’re keeping track of COVID-19 pseudoscience, snake oil, fake cures, and more at CFI’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Separate fact from fiction and inoculate yourself from misinformation at

Sarah Posner: QAnon beliefs are deeply intertwined with evangelical Christianity, and some pastors are pushing back.

Chrissy Stroop: Watch out for the rhetorical trick used by the Christian right to proclaim their positions to be “above politics.”

Some Southern Baptists looking to drop the “Southern” part of their name are warming to the term “Great Commission Baptists.” Not catchy.

Meanwhile, the group Evangelicals for Social Action is changing its name to Christians for Social Action because of the E-word’s association with right-wingers.

Washington Post: Just before the Bible-holding photo op in front of a church in June, officials looked to stockpile ammo and get ahold of a “heat ray” device that would make protesters feel like their skin was on fire. This is the darkest timeline.

USA Today debunks a claim that the USPS didn’t get any funding from the CARES Act (it did), while “churches” got $7.7 billion: “Religious entities — not churches — received $7.3 billion in loans.” We should still not happy about those entities, though.

UNICEF is now on the case of the 13-year-old boy in Nigeria sentenced to 10 years in prison for blasphemy.

At Skeptical Inquirer, Harriet Hall wonders at a new contraceptive gel product that simply makes no sense: It costs $22 per use and fails at least 27.6 percent of the time.

BREAKING: The Goodyear Blimp is not an alien spaceship.

Steven Novella on using artificial intelligence for peer review: “I would argue that AI is a powerful tool that can be used to improve many systems and institutions that run our increasingly complex civilization.” I for one also welcome our robot-peer overlords.

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