Trouble, Trebled

September 21, 2020

You already know. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday night. We’ll have more to say later today, but it’s a punch to the gut. No, it’s a battering ram to the gut.

Let’s meet the person who seems to be at the top of the list to replace Ginsburg, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. RNS says “she is known for stirring up religious controversy,” and that’s putting it lightly. Oh, and this:

Barrett is said to be a member of People of Praise, a group that emerged out of the Charismatic Catholic movement whose members allegedly swear a lifelong oath of loyalty to one another, and are reportedly held accountable by an advisor — a “head” for men and a “handmaid” for women.


Okay here’s some really good news, which we badly need: You can now sign up to watch Richard Dawkins in conversation with 2020 Richard Dawkins Award winner Javed Akhtar in a live online event, October 24. It’s just $5 to register, and you don’t have to leave your house!


Trump says if Biden wins, “There will be no God.” Is Biden actually Lyra from His Dark Materials?

Charlie Kirk says if Biden wins, “they’re going to come after the churches … They will come for your children. They will come for your schools. … They’re going to come with bloodthirsty revenge.” I think everyone’s going to be too tired to do any of that.

Secretary of State (not, in fact, Archbishop of America) Mike Pompeo delivered an address to the Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas, where he said:

Faith strengthens American diplomacy. It doesn’t diminish it.

More good news. I’m not the only one at the State Department that believes this. Recently a group of light-shiners who work at the State Department started the first ever faith-based employee affinity group at the State Department. One of the faith group’s leaders came to me and she said, “Mike, before you arrived, we did not think it wise to gather around our belief in Jesus. Now, because of you, we know we must show the value added by people of all faiths to the State Department mission.” What a glorious thing.

“Light-shiners.”

In a new study, religious scholars say liberal churches are more politically active than, you know, the other ones. Consider this in the context of Trump’s promise to end the Johnson Amendment which keeps churches from endorsing candidates: “The irony is that the Trump administration was thinking they’d release all these politically active evangelicals, but in fact it would be more liberal churches that (would) more likely go that route.”


The Guardian: Engagement with antivaxxer posts on Facebook has tripled over the past month in the UK. Because it’s the UK, though, so they say “trebled.” Which is not, as it were, all about that bass.

32 people were arrested in an anti-vaxxer protest in London on Saturday due to “hostility and violence.”

The COVID-denying #LetUsWorship concert series came to Cleveland where many folks were baptised at Edgewater Park, where there was a recent flood of raw sewage.

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar has really had it with Fox News’s COVID misinformation. “If mask usage increased from 60 up to 95 percent … we would save 120,000 of those lives, but Dr. Don’t Wear a Mask, oh, please go on.”

Experts on extremist groups are warning about angry, COVID-denying, conspiracy-believing Québécois turning violent.

A chiropractic clinic in Washington state is responsible for hundreds of COVID-19 infections.

UK Health Minister Robert Swann says Van Morrison’s new anti-masker songs are dangerous, and he’d rather Morrison debate him with scientific facts.

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 centerforinquiry.org/coronavirus.


The history of the American embrace of conspiracy theories is chronicled by Nathan Allebach, who you might know better as the guy who runs the Steak-umm Twitter account.

The far-right American Center for Law and Justice, run by one of the president’s lawyers Jay Sekulow, is putting out a series of videos for kids, Bald Beagle: “In the video, the younger Sekulow warns about political leaders and others who ‘want to abolish history classes.'”

Psychologist Holly Bowen on the use of hypnosis in criminal justice: It’s crap. “There is plenty of scientific evidence that false memories can be easily created when one is in a vulnerable and suggestive state, like under hypnosis, or when motivated by seeking closure or justice, or trying help solve a crime.”

NYT profiles Tavares Strachan, an artist whose work is inspired by science and “a brave curiosity.”


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.



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