The scene is at 3:40:
For 42 years, there was a Nativity scene placed in a local park in Bellevue, Kentucky. But in order to prevent any potential church/state separation lawsuits, the display was moved to St. John United Church of Christ. Which is exactly what they should’ve done a long time ago, though it’s really wonderful that the city did the right thing without an atheist group having to force their hand.
There’s also another tradition in Bellevue. Local churches gather around the Nativity scene every year and have a procession with Bible readings and a candlelight vigil. On Friday night, that procession was scheduled to be held at St. John UCC — instead of the park where it had taken place in the past — but the four other churches in the area all declined the invitation.
What was the problem?
It turns out the UCC church is just too damn inclusive. They have a gay pastor. They welcome LGBT church members. And the other churches want nothing to do with that pesky idea of “tolerance”:
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni did a facepalm when he saw Senator Mark Pryor‘s preening I-love-the-Bible commercial, and was inspired to write in opposition:
“So help me God.” “Under God.” “In God We Trust.” Perhaps we’re meant to register these ubiquitous phrases as unspecific inspirations, vague recognitions of an undefined higher power, general appeals to generous living. But they’re rooted in a given religious tradition and are arguably the gateways to the Arkansas ridiculousness and to the overwrought accusations of a “war on Christmas” that herald the holiday season as surely as Frosty the Snowman and Black Friday do.
Overall, the Census figures continue a trend for people turning away from religion, with all major churches shedding followers.
The number of people who said they have no religion increased 26 per cent to 1.6 million.
Want more precise numbers? The number of people who categorized themselves under “No Religion” was 1,635,348. Given that the total number of people surveyed was 4,242,048, that puts the Kiwi Nones at a staggering 39% of the population. (It’s 42% if you only count those who gave answers to the “religion” question.)
The veneration of the folk saint Santa Muerte, while nominally a Catholic phenomenon, is causing more and more problems for the Catholic Church in Mexico. Santa Muerta is believed to have some eight million followers in Mexico alone, from average poor folks to drug-trafficking criminals to, oddly enough, LGBT people.
Reports BBC News:
“[She] has also been adopted by the drug traffickers who ask her for help to avoid arrest and to make money,” [Francisco] Bautista [an exorcist] says. “In exchange they offer human sacrifices. And this has increased the violence in Mexico.” …
Mexico’s exorcists say there is unprecedented demand for their services. Some are even not taking new cases, as they are having to exorcise demons almost every day.
The way Bautista sees it, the cult around Santa Muerte is only one of two reasons why [cough] demonic possessions are spreading in Mexico.
Can you guess the other one? It’s a doozy.