Top 3 Weekly Weird Religious News Items

As I do this each week it becomes rather apparent that quite often the same individuals pop up on a regular basis, for example Ken Ham or Jim Bakker. Last week none of them did, it was all new weirdness. “Hey, have the regulars decided to be reasonable?” you might wonder, “Have they pondered over the crazy things they have said in the past and reformed?”, you might ponder.

Er … no.

Item 1 – Ken Ham explains what Science is

Last weekend we had the wonderful March For Science in many different location all around the planet. Always eager to comment via twitter on the events of the day Mr Ham can’t resist the urge to correct a little misunderstanding on what science should actually be.

This really is his twitter account, it is not a parody, and yes he tweets like this all the time, he was not having an odd day. Baton down the hatches on your irony meter, it is about to endure a considerable degree of stress.

So there you go then. If you were sciencing correctly you would of course come to the “correct” conclusion that not just planet earth, but the entire universe with all 2 trillion galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars, in just 6,000 years old. (Yes, he really does assert that to be a fact, I’m not making it up, his AIG organisation has a page that explains all this in detail).

The “evidence” on that page, least you wonder is “the bible says it”, and so clearly you have indeed been doing your sciencing all wrong if you think differently.

Item 2 – Jim Bakker: Radical Muslims Are Taking Over America (So Buy My Giant Buckets of Food)

Jim Bakker, the guy who spent time in jail for running a religious con, has been back in the religious con game for some time now. His jail time taught him a valuable lesson – specifically, how you to run a religious con successfully and not go to jail.

His shtick these days is to basically drum up fear that the end-times are upon us, hence you better stock up on giant buckets of food so that when society collapses you will not starve.

I’m not kidding about the giant buckets of food, and check out the price tag on the bottom left …

So this week’s fear mongering was as follows …

After Bakker called such atrocities the beginning of the Last Days “Tribulation,” Shorey declared that “the Muslims in the Middle East want to kill every Christian in those countries, and the day is coming when they’ll want to do it in this country.”

According to Shorey, “in Europe, where the Muslims are taking over the nations, the average birth rate is 8 kids per family. They’re literally [being] taken over by native-born Muslims because that’s their strategy.” (This is not close to being true).

Bakker warned that the world is “coming apart” and that in America, “our enemies” may soon “take over our country” and have already positioned themselves in important “areas of government.” People must prepare by purchasing food buckets, he said, otherwise they may wind up starving like Christians in the Middle East.

Incidentally, NPR gave his food bucket a go and broadcast the results …

We couldn’t agree on which was worse — the thick potato soup that felt like eating wet cement, the strong chemical overtones in the chocolate pudding or the disturbing radioactive orange of the macaroni and cheese.

… They taste, he says, like, “paper-mache,” “a bathroom at a bar at the end of the night in a college town,” and, simply, “one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

Item 3 – San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor: Poverty is caused by not believing in God

A few weeks ago, during a Q&A, the mayor of San Antonio was asked to comment on the “deepest systemic cause of generational poverty.”. Her answer was quite frankly bizarre …

To me, it’s broken people. People not being in a relationship with their Creator, and therefore, not being in good relationship with their families and their communities, and not being productive members of society. I think that’s the ultimate answer. That’s not something that I work on from my position as Mayor of the community…

You can find the complete version of her Q&A here (the bit of specific interest is at this 1:07:44 mark)

As you might anticipate, it went viral and caused a huge backlash. Damage control kicks in and so a statement was issued in which she apologised for suggesting that poverty is caused by a lack of a specific religious belief … oh wait, that’s not quite what the statement did at all.

The video clip that surfaced on social media this weekend is a dishonest, politically motivated misrepresentation of my record on combatting poverty. It was intentionally edited to mislead viewers.

Er … no, that’s not what happened. She quite literally said “it’s broken people. People not being in a relationship with their Creator”.

For the record, the evidence that the root cause of generational poverty is a lack of a religious belief is exactly zero, but I suspect I don’t need to tell you that.

Things that do play a roll includes a lack of access to a decent education, and a lack of opportunity to fully utilise skills. Sometimes mental illness for some plays a role. Gutting social welfare programs and denying teens access to decent reproductive healthcare also plays a role within a US context.

If you don’t understand the problem, then you simply will not be able to address it in a meaningful effective manner.

To be wholly accurate here, she does in practise have a decent track record for taking on teen pregnancy and the high-school dropout rates. She also advocates job-training for young people who aren’t college-bound, and does strive to fight crime. So while I am critical of this one daft statement, if I lived in San Antonio, I would still vote for her.

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