11-Story Mississippi Cross Nixed By Local Planning Board; Pastor and Flock Are in High Dudgeon

Is a church allowed to put religious symbols on its own property?

No problem, have at it.

But what if it’s 11 stories tall — as in a 110-foot-high, 18-ton cross? So massive that the Federal Aviation Administration has to sign off on it?

The planning commission of Brandon, Mississippi decided to oppose erecting such a cross in the town, for two reasons: the highest edifice in Brandon is just two stories tall, plus local zoning laws stipulate that “auxiliary structures,” such as the planned cross, may be no taller than 20 feet.

Case closed? Not according to an outraged pastor Scott Thomas of Brandon’s First Baptist Church, who took his case to the media, including FOX News.

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National Day of Prayer Leader in South Mississippi Charged with Fraud, Extortion, Embezzlement, Perjury, and More

Here’s Jackson County (Mississippi) Sheriff Mike Byrd on April 29 of this year, helping lead a local National Day of Prayer event:

The [National Day of Prayer] observance for Jackson County-Pascagoula is set for 11:30 a.m. at the Jackson County Courthouse in Pascagoula. Praise and worship music begins at 11:30 a.m., and the prayer ceremony begins at noon. The program should run approximately 50-minutes.

Praise and worship will be provided by Scott Capers and Church At The Square praise team. Guest soloists include Charlotte Watts, vocalist and music director at Central Elementary School, Rev. John White, music minister at First Baptist Church Pascagoula and Sheriff Mike Byrd.

And here’s Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd as of late last week:

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These Republicans Are Sticking to Their God and Their Guns

This is an actual ad for an upcoming event for the Caldwell County Republican Party in Texas:

Yes… clinging to their God and Guns (a reference to an awkwardly-worded statement made in 2008 by then-candidate Barack Obama).

The best part may be the photo they used: A cowboy of sorts with a gun in one holster and a Bible in the other.

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In Hobby Lobby We Don’t Trust: Why Their Independence Day Ad is Full of Distortions and Lies

Since 2008, the Christian-owned chain Hobby Lobby has run full-page ads in newspapers across the country on Independence Day. The ad features quotations from our Founding Fathers and others discussing our country’s “Christian heritage”… and, as you might expect, it takes all sorts of liberties in the process:

Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Andrew Seidel and Chuck Roslof have done what Hobby Lobby refuses to do: Tell the truth about what all those people actually meant and, in some cases, said.

The quotes are meant to give the false impression that the U.S. is a Christian nation and that our nation “trusts in God.” But, just like Hobby Lobby’s god, the quotes aren’t very trustworthy. They are wildly inaccurate in some cases.

They have created a beautiful website that picks apart all of the quotations used in the Hobby Lobby ad — they explain how distorted or irrelevant the statements are, what the actual quotations were (in context), and offer links so you can check it all out for yourself.

For example, Hobby Lobby quoted the French observer Achille Murat in 2009 this way:

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Even Seculars Pine for Messiahs

There’s little doubt that human beings seem to like the idea of messiahs, deus ex machinas that will save us in our darkest hours. Obviously, even we seculars find something appealing about it, or else we’d be rolling our eyes, or else outright rejecting, stories that are messiah-tastic, such as Harry Potter, Dune (Paul Atreides), and even Lord of the Rings (Frodo and Aragorn are both “foretold”).

At The American ScholarWilliam Deresiewicz sees a pining for messiahs throughout more than our fiction, but in our very response to word events and technology. He cites our collective awe over the Web, and its liberating potential, as well as “politics,” in the sense of either elected leaders (Obama in ’08) or revolutions (the Arab Spring and Occupy) who will magically “change everything.” And he thinks he spots where this inclination has gotten us into serious, serious trouble: Climate change. [Click the headline for more…] [Read more…]