Another day, another Catholic school teacher fired for being gay. Says the teacher who was fired...
Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality. After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words. If you'd like to share your words with my principal or headmaster, please do. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys.
Remember the Christian radio host who accused Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism?
The Christian Post has a story on the fallout from the accusations, the centerpiece of which is a blog post from a recently departed producer on the accusation-making radio show (bolds mine):
All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.....Those who have the temerity to call out a celebrity have tremendous courage. The easiest thing in the world is to do fluffy interviews with fluffy guests on fluffy books. So hats off to those like Janet who have the courage to ask at all. And my own opinion on Mr. Driscoll is that despite the bravado, despite the near silence of his Reformed peers and enablers, his brand is damaged, and damaged by his own hand.
Read the whole thing here.
(Speaking of Mark Driscoll, have you read Lindy West's exhaustive roundup of his awfulness? You must!)
Here's a compelling—and depressing—longread for your Saturday morning: young homeschooled adults are fleeing their fundamentalist and, all too often, abusive families. They're also confronting "Christian" activists and legal organizations whose efforts have made it easier for homeschooling parents to isolate, terrorize, miseducate, and abuse their children.
Jennifer’s rescue coincided with the emergence of a coalition of young former fundamentalists who are coming out publicly, telling their stories, and challenging the Christian homeschooling movement. The website that linked to Jennifer’s story was Homeschoolers Anonymous, launched in March by two homeschool graduates, Ryan Stollar and Nicholas Ducote. Their goal was to show what goes on behind closed doors in some Christian homeschooling families—to share, as one blogger puts it, “the stories we were never allowed to talk about as children.”
As of October, Homeschoolers Anonymous had published nearly 200 personal accounts and attracted more than 600,000 page views. For those outside the homeschooling movement, and for many inside it, the stories are revelatory and often shocking. The milder ones detail the haphazard education received from parents who, with little state oversight, prioritize obedience and religious training over learning. Some focus on women living under strict patriarchal regimes. Others chronicle appalling abuse that lasted for years.
Growing up in California and Oregon, Stollar wasn’t abused, but he met many other homeschoolers who were. His parents led state homeschooling associations and started a debate club in San Jose. The emphasis on debate in fundamentalist homeschooling was the brainchild of Michael Farris, the founder of Patrick Henry College, and his daughter Christy Shipe. Farris believed debate competitions would create a new generation of culture warriors with the skills to “engage the culture for Christ.” “You teach the kids what to think, you keep them isolated from everyone else, you give them the right answers, and you keep them pure,” Stollar explains. “And now you train them how to argue and speak publicly, so they can go out to do what they’re supposed to do”—spread the faith and promote God’s patriarchy.
As a teenager, Stollar toured the national homeschool debate circuit with a group called Communicators for Christ, sharpening his rhetorical skills and giving speech tutorials. Along the way, he found himself increasingly disturbed by what he saw. He met families that follow the concept of “Quiverfull,” wherein women are submissive to men and forgo contraception to have as many children as God gives them. He encountered entire communities where women wore only denim jumpers for modesty’s sake, where parents burned their daughters’ birth certificates to keep them at home, where teenagers practiced “betrothal,” a kind of arranged marriage. He met homeschooling kids who dealt with the stress by cutting themselves, drinking, or developing eating disorders—the very terrors their parents had fled the public schools to avoid. “Even as a conservative Christian homeschooler,” Stollar says, “I was constantly experiencing culture shock.”
A decade later, Stollar, who lives in Los Angeles, was still hearing the stories from his peers. The ex-debaters and homeschoolers were now grappling with the fallout from their childhoods: depression, mental illness, substance abuse. “I was starting to see these patterns emerging,” he says, “and we all felt that they came from the same places.”
The Pope doesn't know anything about economics, argues a Fox News columnist, so Pope Francis really should shut his mouth about youth unemployment or income inequality. Currently digging through the columnist's archives to see if he objected to the previous pope commenting on abortion, birth control, adoption, and gay sex—also not areas of expertise for elderly celibates.
Christian Nightmares posted this disturbing video of politicians using the Bible to argue against climate change.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha. (Sob!)
Raw Story's Travis Gettys says that prominent Virginia teabagger Jonathon Moseley took issue with Pope Francis's claims that unfettered capitalism is hurting the world. Moseley wrote an essay titled "Jesus Christ is a capitalist" that tries to take the Pope on using scripture.
Moseley, a Virginia business and criminal defense attorney, supports his claim with a verse from the Book of Luke in which Jesus declines to act as arbitrator when someone asks him to compel a brother to divide their family inheritance.
“In just one verse, we see that God rejects the left-wing ‘Jesus Christ supported socialism’ heresy,” Moseley writes. “When Jesus was asked to support redistribution of wealth — to tell one brother to share the family inheritance with the other — Jesus refused...Jesus Christ is weeping in heaven hearing Christians espouse a socialist philosophy that has created suffering and poverty around the world,” Moseley writes. “It is impossible to love one’s neighbor as yourself without fighting against socialism, meaning government meddling in private lives.”
As an atheist, I don't usually play this scripture game. But this is too easy:
...we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.
I could go on. Meanwhile, other Republicans are arguing against Francis's comments by saying that unfettered capitalism doesn't exist. I don't know which argument is more divorced from reality.
...therefore no gay couples should be allowed to marry because monogamy is a defining characteristic of marriage and if some of you people aren't monogamous then none of you people should be allowed to marry.
That's one of the religious right's chief arguments—one of it's chief failing, flailing arguments—against marriage equality. Never mind that lesbian couples are better at monogamy than male couples and opposite-sex couples. (Or maybe they're worse at non-monogamy?) Lots of gay couples aren't monogamous so gay people shouldn't be able to marry. Period. The End. Bless your heart!
So, yeah, somehow I missed this story about a website for Christian swingers published earlier this year at the Christian Post:
A new dating website called CHRISTIANSwingers is sending ripples throughout the Christian community for offering "faithful couples" the opportunity to "hookup" with each other. One mental health professional warns the practice will lead to nothing but "pain." The oxymoronic website brazenly declares that it was "designed to cater to the needs of those like you: devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!"
My first reaction: a site for Christian swingers really ought to be called "Christian Swingle." My second reaction: What a one-sided hit piece! Christian swingers are outside what passes for the conservative Christian "mainstream," of course, and I wouldn't expect the Christian Post to enthuse about the site or Christian swingers. But the author of the piece didn't bother to get a quote from anyone at the CHRISTIANSwingers and only negative comments left on the site's Facebook page were used in the story. And what else was missing? Any suggestion that Christian swingers aren't really married or that all Christians everywhere should be prevented from marrying because some Christians somewhere aren't monogamous. That logic only applies to same-sex couples.
And, hey, good to know that only open relationships end in "pain." Monogamy is apparently the morphine drip of relationship models—no pain ever!
1 Kings 1:1-4
King David was now an old man, and he always felt cold, even under a lot of blankets. His officials said, “Your Majesty, we will look for a young woman to take care of you. She can lie down beside you and keep you warm.” They looked everywhere in Israel until they found a very beautiful young woman named Abishag, who lived in the town of Shunem. They brought her to David, and she took care of him.
"Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, told NBC News that the church has been 'out-marketed' on [gay rights] by an array of people."
I'm sure the Pope is going to be losing sleep over this.
During the course of the interview, I questioned Pastor Driscoll about two sections of his book, “A Call to Resurgence,” which neglected to contain any quotes, detailed footnotes or attribution for his reproduction of another scholar’s thoughts and insights. The passages in question are on pages 38-47 and pages 185-189 of Pastor Driscoll’s book. Those pages of material all borrow from the original material of Dr. Peter Jones, cited here in his books, “Gospel Truth and Pagan Lies” and “One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference.”
The interview is a highly uncomfortable one. Driscoll accuses Mefferd of "being accusatory and unkind," telling her "I thought we'd have a better interview than this," but "it seems like you're having a grumpy day." After Mefferd pushes Driscoll on the issue, he assents, slightly: "maybe I made a mistake. Maybe I did. To be honest, I'm sitting here with a head cold and a flu trying to do you a favor and I don't remember a footnote on page 183." Driscoll said the point of A Call to Resurgence is that "tribes tend to fight over secondary issue and miss primary issues and the result is infighting," which he says Meffert is doing to him on her show. Driscoll defends himself by saying there's a "difference between making a mistake and committing a sin," but he concludes with a weird series of disclaimers in which he talks about himself in the third person: "Mark Driscoll loves Jesus, Mark Driscoll loves you. Mark Driscoll's in one of the least-churched cities in America preaching Jesus for 17 years."
In the days since the first interview, Mefferd has uncovered more cases that she calls plagiarism. She says Driscoll appears to have...
...lifted material from another source — word for word — in another of his books, “Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1&2 Peter.” This was a book published in 2009 by Mars Hill Church. On pages 7 and 8, Driscoll lifts and publishes, under his own name, an entire section from “1 Peter,” New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Ed. D. A. Carson, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), p. 1370.
Here's audio of that show. She's posted some PDF files of the relevant cases online, and she's discussing new instances of what she calls Driscoll's plagiarism on today's show, which you can listen to on her website. Religion News reporter Jonathan Merritt, who resembles nothing so much as a highly clean-cut Joel McHale, reached out to religious publisher Tyndale House, and they responded with this statement:
Tyndale House Publishers was provided a recording of the show by representatives of Pastor Driscoll. A number of people at Tyndale reviewed the tape and were stunned, not only by the accusations, but by the belligerent tone of Ms. Mefferd’s questioning. When Ms. Mefferd asked Pastor Driscoll her first question to accuse him of plagiarism, she did not invoke Peter Jones’s name. The first person that Pastor Driscoll credited in his response was Mr. Jones. Pastor Driscoll also credits Mr. Jones in the section that Janet refers to in Mark’s book, A Call to Resurgence.
Tyndale has taken immediate steps as in the process of reviewing the section of Pastor Driscoll’s book that has been called into question. Pastor Driscoll has also reached out to Mr. Jones and we expect to be able to release some information on his reaction to the interview very soon.
This story is still unfolding. I'll keep you posted.
(Thanks to Shawna for the Slog tip.)
Last month, religious chain store Hobby Lobby released this video explaining their belief that they should not be forced to supply health care that gives employees access to the morning after pill:
Today, the case was picked up by the Supreme Court, according to CNN:
The justices agreed on Tuesday to review provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring employers of a certain size to offer insurance coverage for birth control and other reproductive health services without a co-pay.
At issue is whether private companies can refuse to do so on the claim it violates their religious beliefs.
Oral arguments will likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.
Hobby Lobby is one of the loudest Christian companies in the nation. Back in October, they were under fire when a Hobby Lobby employee reportedly told a Jewish customer looking for Hanukkah merchandise that "we don't cater to you people." And in the not-really-related-but-Anna-Minard-thinks-it's-hilarious file, there's this.
On Friday afternoon, the Texas Board of Education bested an attempt to include creationism and climate change denial in textbooks:
Despite last-minute efforts by some board members and political activists to derail the adoption of two textbooks, the State Board of Education today voted to adopt all of the proposed instructional materials up for adoption for high school biology and environmental science. Throughout the adoption process, publishers refused to make concessions that would have compromised science instruction on evolution and climate change in their textbooks, said Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller.
If you don't know why you should care about what textbooks in Texas say, this New York Review of Books piece by Gail Collins explains:
When it comes to meddling with school textbooks, Texas is both similar to other states and totally different. It’s hardly the only one that likes to fiddle around with the material its kids study in class. The difference is due to size—4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011—and the peculiarities of its system of government, in which the State Board of Education is selected in elections that are practically devoid of voters, and wealthy donors can chip in unlimited amounts of money to help their favorites win.
(Via Little Green Footballs.)
Was I supposed to praise them?
Once again the Lord spoke to me. And this time he said, “Hosea, fall in love with an unfaithful woman who has a lover. Do this to show that I love the people of Israel, even though they worship idols and enjoy the offering cakes made with fruit.”
So I paid fifteen pieces of silver and about ten bushels of grain for such a woman. Then I said, “Now you are mine! You will have to remain faithful to me, though it will be a long time before we sleep together.”
If the bill became a law, Springfield Bishop Thomas John Paprocki promised to exorcise gay marriage right out of Illinois. According to the Chicago Sun-Times's Dave McKinney, Paprocki tried his damndest to follow through with his threat last night:
“The church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion,” he said.
After that introduction, Paprocki read the rite of exorcism in Latin as his voice echoed through the cavernous and ornate Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception church a few blocks from the state Capitol, where the legislation passed earlier this month.
“I exorcise you, every unclean spirit, every power of darkness, every incursion of the infernal enemy, every diabolical legion, cohort, and faction, in the name and power of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Paprocki said. “Be uprooted and put to flight from the Church of God from souls created in the image of God and redeemed by the precious blood of the divine lamb.
“Dare no more, oh cunning serpent, to deceive the human race, to persecute the church of God, to shake the chosen of God and sift them like wheat,” he continued.
Despite Paprocki's exorcism, gay marriage is still the law of the land in Illinois. That means the three likeliest options are: God doesn't exist, God doesn't think gay marriage is an exorciseable offense, or Paprocki is a terrible bishop.
A case that is "currently before the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky":
On December 12, 2012, American Atheists and two co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Kentucky demanding that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stop giving preferential treatment to churches and religious organizations via the process of receiving non-profit tax-exempt status under the Internal Revue Code (IRC) procedures and definitions.IRS
Groups like American Atheists receive tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) but, because the organization is not classified as religious, it costs American Atheists and other secular non-profits significantly more money each year to maintain that status. In this lawsuit, American atheists and the other plaintiffs are demanding that all tax-exempt organizations, including those characterized as religious by the IRS, have the same requirements to achieve and maintain tax-exempt status.
A Simi Valley, California pastor was doing the Lord's work—i.e. shopping at Costco—recently, when he noticed that all the Bibles were listed as "fiction." Shocking! Todd Starnes at Fox Nation is on the case:
I called Costco headquarters in Issaquah, Wash. hoping to get answers. The nice lady who answered the phone told me she was aware of the issue and chalked it up to a “human error at a warehouse.”
“It’s all fixed,” she said.
But actually, it’s not fixed – because there’s a boatload of Bibles in the Simi Valley store still marked as fiction.
At that point, the nice lady on the phone became not-so-nice and promptly informed me that Costco doesn’t talk to the press.
“Nothing to report,” she said curtly.
With all due respect, perhaps they should leave the reporting to the professionals and we’ll leave the bulk purchases of toilet paper to Costco.
Ha ha ha ha "professionals." Starnes then launched into activist journalism, telling his readers to contact Costco to let them know that this outrage—clearly the act of some warehouse worker somewhere having a little bit of fun—will not stand. Based on the comments, even the Fox Nation-reading mouth-breathers can't be bothered to whip up a tiny bit of frenzy about this. But surely in Heaven, God's face is streaked with red-hot tears of rage. When the floods begin, remember this moment. It's all Costco's fault.
Glenn Beck's The Blaze reports on a Christmas festival that was nearly shut down by eeeeevil atheists. Until one day, when Christmas on the Canal founder and organizer Elaine Spaziano was roused by God to save the festival:
After canceling the event, she spent time one night walking around Spencerport, praying and saying her goodbyes to the celebration she had put on for nearly two decades when something unexpected happened.
“I was walking back to my car and all of the sudden I heard church bells ringing. I listened closely and as I got closer — it was dark there wasn’t a soul around. There were no lights on in the church and the song that was ending was ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee,’” she said. “I just stood there and the next song that came was ‘O Beautiful for Spacious Skies.’”
Spaziano believes that these songs were encouragement directly from God — and confirmation that “Christmas on the Canal” must go on. Others on the planning committee, she said, had similar experiences. So, with public support and a last-minute rallying cry, they decided that the show would go on after all.
Pretty sure that Spaziano is referring to "America the Beautiful" as the second song that God played on the church bells, but, you know, good for her. I wish I could walk around everywhere getting encouragement from God all the time to put on festivals. I hear that's how the Van's Warped Tour started, too. Blaze commenters are following God's lead by advocating for Christmas, which is apparently disappearing all over America:
you better fight for your right to have christmas or you will lose it soon
Christians will always find a way to celebrate Christmas…you can’t stop us, hell, you can’t even hope to contain us!
Move to Cuba you filthy leftist scum!
The only thing the anti-Christian left would support is public crucifixions of Christians.
This time, the War on Christmas is personal.
I, the Lord, now promise to destroy everything on this earth.
The bishop of Springfield, Illinois issued a statement:
Scheduled for approximately the same time that Gov. Pat Quinn signs into Illinois law the redefinition of civil marriage, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will offer “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-Sex Marriage” at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sixth and Lawrence streets in Springfield, on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 4 to 5 p.m. Clergy, religious and laity are invited to attend.
“It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” he said. “All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.”
Though I now occasionally will say nice things about Pope Francis, it's important to note that the Catholic Church continues to just absolutely suck.
UPDATE: Slog tipper Corinne points out that the end of this article about the same story includes this terrifying paragraph:
Exorcism is experiencing something of a renaissance in the United States, with the Catholic bishops recruiting dozens of priests to perform the ancient rite. Paprocki is among the bishops leading the recruiting drive.
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has said Pope Francis has “taken her aback” with his liberal interpretation of Christianity and has expressed fears he may be being influenced by the mainstream media...She told interviewer Jake Tapper: “He's had some statements that to me sound kind of liberal, has taken me aback, has kind of surprised me. There again, unless I really dig deep into what his messaging is, and do my own homework, I’m not going to just trust what I hear in the media.”
She continued: "I'm kinda trying to follow what his agenda is. You know he came out with a couple of things in the media but again I'm not one to trust the media's interpretation of somebody's message but having read through media outlets," the former Governor of Alaska said.
My favorite response to Palin is quoted elsewhere in the article: “If Sarah Palin's this shocked by Pope Francis, she'll be catatonic when she finally gets round to reading about Jesus in the New Testament.” I have to admit: I was skeptical about Pope Francis, but the news that Palin and other conservatives dislike him, combined with the images of him stopping a procession to comfort a disfigured man, have convinced me that he's a positive force in the world, even if the organization he's running is regressive and harmful. He's leading by example, and he's bringing up serious issues that make conservative Christians very uncomfortable. I think you can tentatively count this atheist and self-excommunicated Catholic as a Pope Francis fan.
@marv_nelson I go on Twitter to be antagonized & hated in front of a mob. It helps balance out life's teeter-totter.— Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) November 12, 2013
Yesterday, I told you that Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll was going to be answering questions on Twitter this morning. It turned out to be quite a spectacle. Driscoll answered a few sincere questions from his flock, even though his answers weren't always coherent:
@travisman1994 If it involves a single woman and your hands the answer is no— Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) November 12, 2013
Very good Twitter user Jake Dockter kept a tally of all of Driscoll's responses based on the gender of the questioner and the subject of the question. The results are just about what you figure they'd be: biased way toward men and focusing especially on "quirky" questions about pop culture or financial success. Driscoll, after all, made his fame as the hip preacher who lured people in with rock music and the glamour of prosperity before dropping the boom with his hateful homophobia and his creepy need to see women subjugated and silenced.
The best questions, though, are the ones that Pastor Mark completely ignored. After the jump, you'll find a sampling.
Mars Hill Church's Pastor Mark Driscoll will be doing a live Q&A on Twitter tomorrow morning. Here's his announcement:
I'll be doing live Q&A on Twitter tomorrow at 9:15am PST. Tag your ?'s with #AskPM & I'll get to as many as I can in 30 min & 140 characters— Mark Driscoll (@PastorMark) November 11, 2013
Some things you might want to ask Pastor Mark about:
Is masturbation really "bordering on homosexuality?"
Does God really want you to have that property in Bellevue, or is God just very, very anti-public transit?
Is mixed martial arts too gay, or just gay enough?
What do you think about this article by Brendan Kiley?
Do you really think President Obama isn't a Christian?
Do you still think that Twilight is pagan propaganda?
How much do you hate women? A lot? A whole lot? A whole heck of a lot? More?
Hopefully we'll get some #realtalk on the hashtag #AskPM tomorrow morning.
The leech has two daughters.
‘Give! Give!’ they cry.
Next week, former President George W. Bush is scheduled to keynote a fundraiser in Irving, Texas, for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute, a group that trains people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah. The organization's goal: to "restore" Israel and the Jews and bring about about the second coming of Christ.
George W. Bush's post-presidency is just as terrible as his presidency was. Everything he does makes me hate him a little more. He's just the worst thing to happen to America. Check that. He's just the worst, period.
(Via Christian Nightmares.)
Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.