‘Granting an exemption … operates to impose the employer’s religious faith on the employees’

If Hobby Lobby wins its case for a religious exemption, could Bob Jones be headed back to the Supreme Court?

Reading this older Ian Millhiser column at ThinkProgress, I'm struck by how pertinent the 1982 Supreme Court ruling in United States vs. Lee seems to be to the current Hobby Lobby hubbub. It seems to me that ruling in favor of the billionaire owners of Hobby Lobby would require the justices to overturn Lee. Here's Millhiser: One year before Bob Jones, the Court decided a case called United States v. Lee, which involved an Amish employer’s objection to paying Social Security taxes on … [Read more...]

Inside this chest beats a plastic heart

Those were the days.

• Sound advice: "Do Not Call 9-1-1 When Subway Puts the Wrong Sauce on Your Flatizza." Also via The Consumerist's Subway beat: "Police are looking for a man who removed a toilet from a West Seattle Subway restaurant Sunday night. ..." Yep, he made like Hemingway at Sloppy Joe's and stole the toilet. Stifling urge to make a Taco Bell joke here. • Fox News fabulist Todd Starnes doesn't have his own direct-mail fundraising organization, so he has to monetize the scary stories he invents the … [Read more...]

Tribal gatekeepers officially enshrine Phelpsian bigotry as ‘evangelical’ and ‘Too Christian’

The gospel according to Flip Benham -- and officially endorsed as "evangelical" by Christianity Today.

So, a Republican lobbyist has announced that "Christians Will Boycott Any NFL Team That Drafts Michael Sam." Memo to Jack Burkman: No. No, we won't. Memo No. 2: Being a Republican lobbyist doesn't automatically make you a spokesperson for all Christians. Or for any Christians. Side-bet No. 1: Whether Michael Sam is drafted, or signed as a free agent after the draft, I'll wager that his jersey outsells the jersey from any of the Top 10 picks. Care to take that bet, Burkman? Of … [Read more...]

For George Washington, #BringBackOurGirls meant something very different


Yesterday, on the 225th anniversary of the inauguration of President George Washington, politicians and prominent fundraisers of the religious right gathered in the U.S. Capitol for a civil-religious political rally called "Washington: A Man of Prayer." Hosted by Mike Huckabee, the two hour event featured a variety of elected leaders, such as Rep. Tim Huelskamp and Rep. Steve King, who spoke together from the podium. Huelskamp asserted that God is at the heart of America because there is a … [Read more...]

Smart people saying smart things


Rachel Held Evans, "Should Jesus inform our Christianity? (A response to Sarah Palin, Al Mohler, & Me)" It is ironic that [Al] Mohler, who has been a tireless advocate for young earth creationism on the basis that “the straightforward and direct reading of [Genesis] describes seven 24-hour days,” does not seem to think that a straightforward and direct reading of Jesus’ teachings regarding violence is necessary. ... Funny how it’s easy to favor a “straightforward reading” … [Read more...]

My expectancies become my fantasies


• The teen abortion rate in America was higher before Roe v. Wade than it is today. • The False Teachers: Tim Challies' series, by that name, reads like a poe or a parody written by someone like me in an attempt to mock the arrogance and epistemic closure of the self-appointed professional gatekeepers of white evangelicalism. Challies, of course, does not appear to everyone to be a self-aggrandizing, self-important buffoon. Other self-aggrandizing, self-important buffoons consider him a … [Read more...]

The establishment gets religion: It’s the National Day of Prayer


Today is the National Day of Prayer, here's a refresher: In 1952, Congress passed a law establishing the National Day of Prayer as an annual religious observance. Quick: give me another sentence that uses the words "Congress," "law," "establish" and "religion." Yes, I'm thinking of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." So today is either a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, or else it's a meaningless ceremony void of any specific religious … [Read more...]

We won’t come back from Dead Man’s Curve

President Richard Nixon on "Laugh In."

• Idea for writing contest: "The 700 Club." Participants would have to write a 700-word short story based on the outlandish alternative universe premise that the things Pat Robertson says are actually true. So, for example, this week Robertson gave us this to work with: "Televangelist Pat Robertson warned a viewer on Tuesday that watching horror entertainment shows like The Walking Dead or pornography could allow 'demons' to wreck her car." • "How much the dignity of the office … [Read more...]