In praise of “tough nuts.” Plus: the Pledge of Allegiance is idolatrous (and really creepy); “blood moon” lunacy isn’t just a fringe thing; a data point in support of Randall Balmer; and a new reason for (some) politicians and TV preachers to be anxious. [Read more...]

Culture warriors vs. the common good


“I would hate for people to vote no for bad reasons, for sort of bigoted reasons, for nasty reasons, for bullying reasons,” Donal McKeown, the bishop of Derry, said before the Irish referendum. A culture-warrior could never say that. For a culture-warrior, a vote for your side is simply a vote for your side — no matter what the motive. If the bigots and nasty bullies can help your side win, then you need their votes. [Read more...]

Sunday WTF?

“Then Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines.’ He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life.” [Read more...]

Ireland: ‘We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes’


“Ireland has voted by a huge majority to legalise same-sex marriage, becoming the first country in the world to do so by popular vote in a move hailed as a social revolution and welcomed around the world. Some 62 percent of the Irish Republic’s electorate voted in favour of gay marriage. The result means that a republic once dominated by the Catholic church ignored the instructions of its cardinals and bishops.” [Read more...]

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 34: ‘Dr. Dives is bored’


The authors, like all of their characters, seem to have forgotten entirely about the scene of tragedy and suffering they have just left behind them. It’s out of sight and out of mind. For LaHaye and Jenkins — as for Rayford, Buck and the doctor — those other people and their suffering and need simply do not exist. Lazarus is invisible. Lazarus does not exist. [Read more...]



I don’t think Walmart’s lawyers can argue that Walmart.sheep is anti-Walmart. But I think we can argue that Walmart’s business practices are anti-sheep. Also: “Religious liberty” cheerleaders not lining up behind Christian minister who was fined and arrested over a sacrament; End Times predictions (and death-bets) from Little Hagee and Franklin’s sister; and a Kiwi Sikh lives out a Gospel story. [Read more...]



As far as I know, Walmart has not yet launched its army of lawyers to seize the domain name Walmart.cow. Also: Naloxone is saving lives here in Chester County; Pelagian virginity; the Witch House is not the Mystery House; and a promise not to redirect you to the Go Garden Club (at least not on purpose). [Read more...]

First contact and ‘the great disillusionment’

My God ... it's full of stars.

We humans from earth have been looking up at the stars and thinking about the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life for a very long time. The best of this speculation — whether in stories or in more scholarly non-fiction — builds on this long tradition. Thus when Carl Sagan had Ellie Arroway and her father say, “If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space,” he was borrowing from the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1541-1601) who argued, in Burton’s paraphrase, “that he will never believe those great and huge bodies were made to no other use than this that we perceive, to illuminate the earth, a point insensible in respect of the whole.” [Read more...]