Dennis Markuze, Who Threatened Atheists Online for Years, Pleads Guilty for the Second Time

In 2011, the notorious death-threat-spewing, non-sensical-phrasing, email/Twitter spammer Dennis Markuze (a.k.a. David Mabus) was finally arrested. (Skeptic Tim Farley brilliantly documented all the drama.)

Markuze pled guilty to making the threats, spent months in drug/alcohol rehab, and received a suspended sentence of 18 months, during which he had to refrain from “participating in a social network, blog and discussion forum.”

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Catholic Women Get Excommunicated After Ordination Attempt (but Pedophile Priests Remain in the Church)

A band of women have made the news recently for being ordained… and for being kicked out of the Catholic Church in the bargain.

While many Christian denominations wouldn’t bat an eye at women in ministry, the Catholic Church still treats the priesthood as a boys’ club: only men are allowed. Even Pope Francis, lauded as God’s gift to liberal theology, considers that rule entirely unalterable. Though Francis wants to see women playing a greater role in Catholicism, he speaks about that role in very traditional terms — “the presence of women in a domestic setting” and “transmission to future generations of solid moral principles.” He’s not talking like someone who expects or supports women’s ordination. Benedict was even more direct about the chances of seeing women one day follow in his papal Prada footsteps.

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Better Than I Deserve? Dave Ramsey’s Debt-Free Kingdom of Power

I really don’t like Dave Ramsey, but I’ve never had much to point to in order to back up my general discomfort with the man, besides his brash conservative persona and his bad theology.

But thanks to Matthew Paul Turner‘s article that ran on The Daily Beast yesterday, I’m able to connect some of the dots a little better.

Ramsey runs a (Christian) financial advice business that’s worth something like $55,000,000. His basic premise makes some sense, if you’re a middle class white guy with a steady-salaried job and health benefits. Stay out of debt, pay off your debt, trick yourself into spending less by using cash, pay off your small loans first so you feel like you’ve accomplished things, etc.

But the instant you step out of that bracket, it stops making sense and (to use one of his catchphrases) becomes “just stoopid.”

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Court-Appointed Marriage Commissioner Refuses to Perform Civil Ceremony for Non-Religious Couple

Tamar Courtney and Morgan Strong have been together for six years and will be getting married this summer in Virginia. They wanted a friend to officiate the ceremony but after facing some difficulties in obtaining his license, they figured they would just go to the county courthouse and take care of the legal paperwork. The formal ceremony with family and friends would just have to come at a later date.

For weeks, they tried contacting the Roanoke County Courthouse for information… to no avail. So they went to neighboring Franklin County instead. A judge there referred them to two court-appointed individuals, either of whom could perform a civil ceremony.

They contacted the first officiant, Bud Roth, and he told them he couldn’t perform the ceremony on courthouse grounds (for unknown reasons) but he could do it at his church.

Even though Tamar’s an Agnostic and Morgan’s an atheist, they just wanted to get the legal part of the ceremony over with, so they accepted his offer. After working out the cost, location, date, and time, Roth asked Tamar about the couple’s religious denomination.

She told him the truth: they weren’t religious. And that’s when Roth backed away.

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Inspired by Abraham-and-Isaac Bible Story, Woman Murders Two-Year-Old Girl in Religious Test; ‘God Didn’t Stop Me’

One of the Bible’s most troubling passages is the one in which God asks Abraham to kill Isaac, his son. It went down something like this: It’s best to make fun of the Almighty’s sick challenge to Abraham, a test that, in addition to being immoral, makes no logical sense. After all, God is supposed [Read More...]