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Snake handlers! Satanic football! Feminist dispatches from Kolob!

Jun

01

by

God watches over Moe.

A lot of religious claims and justifications that persist down through the generations do so because they’ve managed to escape empirical testing. So if you ask most religious people if they believe in the power of demonic possession in the straightforward literal sense embraced by the faithful in past centuries, most of them will probably say they don’t. We’ve found better explanations for floods and droughts and other things that used to be blamed on demons. The superstitions that haven’t been filtered out of religion with scientific rigor just becomes what we call religion today.

But even still, lots of superstitions remain intact despite them being proven demonstrably wrong. So for example we have this, from Luke 10:19

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Some Christians reinforce this passage with one from the Book of Roadhouse, wherein Patrick Swayze sayeth unto us, “Pain don’t hurt.”

But anyway, some Pentecostal Christians take this passage literally and play with deadly snakes to demonstrate their faith. And because Yahweh loves faith for some unexplained reason, he rewards them by making sure the snakes don’t bite them.

Except that last bit isn’t true. West Virginia preacher Mack Wolford died of a rattlesnake bite last Sunday, just a few months after being featured in the Washington Post for his snake handling.

But it’s not like he could have known this would have been dangerous since as the Book of Luke clearly tells us that nothing shall by any means hurt him. The only way he could have guessed that maybe playing with rattlesnakes is a bad idea would be from the fact that his father also died from rattlesnake bites. Also, he had been bitten four times previously. Also, the guy who started all this snake handling stuff died of a snake bite.

Some parents let their children do things that they know will hurt them to teach them a lesson. If you tell a kid not to touch a boiling pot of water, they might listen or they might not. If they don’t, they’ll know not to touch put their hands anywhere near a boiling pot of water soon enough just from hurting themselves. But these people have a block against this kind of learning. They’re the children who keep playing with fire over and over for a hundred years and manage to never learn that it’s hot.

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Mormons, seen here, not fucking children for once.

The Mormons are big on revelations. They think God is still revealing things to people and it does this through the church leadership. God forgot a few things and changed its mind about a few other things, like polygamy and racism. It used to be God thought that stuff was awesome but recently had a change of heart. These changes of heart always seem to coincide with the times in which government and social pressures threatened the popularity of the church, but that’s probably just a coincidence.

It turns out the Mormon offshoots operate in pretty much the same way. In the case of the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints Warren Jeffs, these revelations came just a little bit too late. In yet another dick move from God, he forgot to tell Jeffs that abusing women is wrong until after he was sentenced to life in prison for raping young girls. Notice I didn’t necessarily say teenagers – that’s because one of the girls was 12.

It’s been amusing to see the Google alerts pop up for Jeffs every once in a while. He’s been entertaining us from within the system for a while now. First we had his bizarre legal defense where he threatened the court one minute and went comatose the next, then he started jacking off 15 times a day while in custody, then his hunger strike – because he’s the Gandhi of raping children, apparently. And now this: A half-assed desperate plea for acceptance back into society based on fake remorse and appeal to superstition. It’s entertaining enough to make me almost wish he wasn’t killed by his fellow inmates with the leg of a chair in the prison cafeteria for about five minutes once.

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Hail Satan and go Longhorns!

There are lots of good reasons to hate Nike. They’ve been pushing the limits of the glorification of sports and the mindless consumption that goes along with it. They’ve helped expand the concept of corporate personhood to the point where corporations have rights regular people lack. And of course their child labor record has been well documented.

But that’s all too mundane for Charles Hubbard, founder of Christians Against Nike. To him, the main problem with Nike is that they named themselves after the Greek goddess of victory instead of Jesus. And naming themselves after Nike isn’t just a decision made after corporate brainstorming and focus group-testing sessions; it’s all a plot by Satan, who wants people to worship ancient Greek goddesses for some reason.

This is the kind of thing that makes me feel sorry for the pagan deities. They always get the short shift from fundies like Hubbard who just lazily lump them all together with Satan. But then again they’re not real either, so they don’t have any feelings.

It gets even better too because Hubbard then uses a McCarthyite smear by association tactic to condemn every athlete linked to Nike. That means Tim Tebow is a tool of Satan since he’s been “endorsed” by Nike, whatever that means.

It would be great if Charles Hubbard were trolling to try to get Christians to either distance themselves from him by making some arbitrary distinction between his weird beliefs and their’s or trick others into joining him on his crusade. That could very well be the case judging from the hokey website design with its huge walls of text in alternating colors and highlights. And the Christians Against Nike page labeled “Support” is still under construction. Leaving that undone doesn’t seem consistent with the wingnut persona Hubbard’s portraying here.

Or maybe he’s just really more concerned with lowering Nike’s stock and giving the finger to Satan and the Greek Pantheon than he is with begging for donations. Stranger things have happened. That’s part of what makes Poe’s law so frustrating at times. A really good parody will be indistinguishable from the real thing.

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  • Louis Falbo

    I live in West Virginia, and that guy isn’t even the craziest religious freak around here I’ve heard about – he’s just one of the more famous ones. We’ve got some people that put Warren Jeffs to shame, they just live in the parts of the state where no one cares if a whole family disappears in a meth explosion.

  • A.C. Sativa

    “That means Tim Tebow is a tool of Satan since he’s been “endorsed” by Nike”

    No, I’m pretty sure that Satan would throw his support behind someone who is actually good at football. Besides, everyone knows that Satan is a Miami Heat fan.

  • sister harry legs

    where is the nun drama coverage?

    I heard that the bishops are going to commit domestic violence against Nuns in the name of God. they feel that God isn’t doing enough to keep his many wives in line; they have been working outside the home before “the feminist mystique”; and the pope is mad that they started a trend of not caring what men on earth think. They don’t let men think for them and encourage women in domestic violence situation to get away from their husband.

    so it is up to the bishops to put these broads in their place! they need to do God’s work and keep their mouths shut. those darn make up less; hairy legs and armpits; plain clothed feminist think that they can help anybody they damn well please.

  • sister harry legs

    comment back that says God doesn’t exsists doesn’t get the point that this is an example of the church forcing a patriarchal agenda. regardless of gods exisistence; nuns are some of the hardest workers and free thinking members of the church. lLay catholic women are more conservate thank most nuns ive met. don’t get me wrong nuns are usually wacky about God; but they think God is their husband so what do you expect.

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