Religion & Politics

MAGA-loving 'Church of the AR-15' purchasing massive Tennessee retreat for 'training center': report

According to a report from Vice, a pro-Donald Trump religious sect has purchased 130 acres on a mountaintop in Tennessee which they intend to turn into a "training center."

MAGA-loving 'Church of the AR-15' purchasing massive Tennessee retreat for 'training center'

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'Try being a Christian!': Marjorie Taylor Greene lashes out at Democratic lawmakers during press event

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) crashed the "Build Back Better for Women" event on Friday when she became embroiled in a heated shouting match with Democratic members of Congress.

Footage of the intense exchange is now circulating on Twitter. Although the event was held to commemorate the advancement of women's rights, Greene criticized the effort and denounced abortion.

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Far-right 'Moms for Liberty' group demands schools stop exposing kids to 'sexy' pictures of seahorses

On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that a far-right group in Williamson County, Tennessee, is demanding schools censor a number of books and subjects — including an unusual demand regarding pictures of marine life.

"Registering its website in late 2020, the group 'Moms For Liberty' is one of a series of conservative education groups to spring up in the wake of 2020's racial justice protests," reported Kelly Weill. "The group is currently involved in battles against in-school mask mandates, as well as a particularly heated fight over school books in Tennessee's Williamson County."

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A popular app for churches has become an 'anti-vaxx' hotbed: report

An app used by more than 14,000 religious congregations has been turned into a place where anti-vaxxers can spread their conspiracy theories online, Mother Jones reports today.

Subsplash, a tech company founded in 2005 "to glorify God and proclaim Jesus is Lord" by helping churches communicate information online, has now become a major source of vaccine disinformation, the magazine reports.

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Evangelical theology is what made the Texas abortion outrage possible

During my undergrad years at U Mass Dartmouth I had the great privilege of being mentored by Dr Juli Parker, who was director of the Women's center, now called the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality. It was there, more than 20 years ago, that I was shown a small piece of what so many women face in this country. As the only football player volunteer at the center, I observed two very different worlds. The football locker room, with men saying some pretty awful things, and Dr Parker explaining the truth around sexual assault, abortion rights and the regular fight for equality that women face every day.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Christian nationalists behind drive to replace California's Newsom and install Larry Elder: report

According to a report from Right Wing Watch, leaders of the Christian nationalist movement in California are engaged in a full-court press to get evangelical voters to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and replace him with far-right radio host Larry Elder who has been courting them for their support.

With election day fast approaching and millions of California voters already shipping back their mail-in ballots, Right Wing Watch reports "Christian nationalist and dominionist pastors in California have declared their intention in recent years to transform the state by turning out enough conservative evangelical voters," and see Elders as their ticket to the governor's office in the heavily Democratic state.

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Evangelicals, science and the vaccine: Refusal is built on deep-seated fear

When my daughters were coming of age I never prevented any book from being on our shelves. Any book or any topic they wanted to read about or discuss, I made sure I provided for them. I don't believe in editing information from my daughters, from the churches where I served as an evangelical pastor, from my students or from my family and friends. I never understood when people were unwilling to engage with material that threatened their own point of view. Unfortunately for my fellow Christians, this is a major part of church history and the current Christian culture. This close-minded approach has been on full display during this pandemic of the unvaccinated.

This article first appeared on Salon.

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New poll finds that the most devout Christians are more likely to fall for QAnon

Although QAnon isn't a religious movement per se, the far-right conspiracy theorists have enjoyed some of their strongest support from White evangelicals — who share their adoration of former President Donald Trump. And polling research from The Economist and YouGov shows that among those who are religious, White evangelicals are the most QAnon-friendly.

The Economist explains, "One prominent theory is that Americans who have no religious affiliation find themselves attracted to other causes, such as the Q craze. Another, posited by Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska, is that modern strains of Christian evangelicalism which 'run on dopey apocalypse-mongering' do not entirely satisfy all worshippers — and so, they go on to find community and salvation in other groups, such as QAnon. Using The Economist's polling with YouGov, an online pollster, we can test both of these theories."

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The Christian nationalist assault on democracy goes stealth — but the pushback is working

In April 2018, researcher Frederick Clarkson exposed the existence of Project Blitz, a secretive Christian nationalist "bill mill" operating below the radar to shape and enact legislation in dozens of states, using a network of state "prayer caucuses," many of which had unsuspecting Democratic members. Its plan was to start with innocent-seeming bills, such as requiring public schools to display the national motto, "In God We Trust," and to culminate with laying the foundations for a "Handmaid's Tale"-style theocracy, enshrining bigotry in law under the guise of "religious freedom."

This article first appeared on Salon.

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These 10 thought processes trip up former Bible believers

Perhaps it's been years or even decades since you left biblical Christianity behind. You may have noticed long ago that there are human handprints all over the Good Book. It may have dawned on you that popular Christian versions of heaven would actually be hellish. You may have figured out that prayer works, if at all, at the margins of statistical significance—that Believers don't avoid illness or live longer than people who pray to other gods or none at all. You may have clued in that Christian morality isn't so hot and that other people have moral values too. (Shocking!) You may have decided that the God of the Bible is a jerk—or worse.

But some habits of thought are hard to break. It is a lot easier to shed the contents of Christian fundamentalism than its psychological structure.

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Texas pastor tells congregation: Critical race theory is 'against the word of God'

Pastor Dr. Byron McWilliams explained to his congregation on Sunday that God condemns critical race theory -- an academic movement that seeks to provide a greater understanding of racial justice.

In his sermon at First Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas, McWilliams reported on his attendance at the recent Southern Baptist Convention.

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The real reason why Juneteenth is a point of contention for the GOP

While many are celebrating the long-overdue acknowledgment of Juneteenth, some Republican lawmakers have completely opposed the federal holiday and the educational value behind it. Although Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans, and it should be a day of celebration, there are a few reasons why the symbol of freedom ruffles the feathers of some.

Axios highlights that Juneteenth is an "annual reminder" of how Black Americans were denied opportunities to create generational wealth. The publication describes that denial, which remains an issue for an overwhelming number of Black families today, as the "economic security that many white families take for granted."

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Why the Southern Baptist Convention finally rejected Trumpism

On Tuesday, June 15, some supporters of former President Donald Trump were bitterly disappointed when the Southern Baptist Convention chose the Rev. Ed Litton, an Alabama pastor, as its president and rejected some of the more extreme Trumpians who were competing for the position — including the Rev. Mike Stone, who was supported by the far-right Conservative Baptist Network. Journalist Molly Olmstead analyzes this development in an article published by Slate on June 17. As Olmstead sees it, Litton's narrow victory shows a move away from Trumpism among Baptists.

"The SBC has been going through something like an identity crisis this year," Olmsted explains. "Southern Baptists, like most White evangelicals, voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, but in the run-up to the 2020 election, critics began to chafe at the frequently conspiracy theory-laden partisan politics within their churches. After last summer's racial unrest, many of the denomination's Black pastors — actively courted by a Convention uncomfortably aware of its overwhelming whiteness and deeply racist history — began to protest the SBC's unwillingness to recognize the extent of modern-day racism. At the same time, an organized group of Southern Baptists has pushed for a second conservative resurgence to correct what it sees as a loosening of the core Southern Baptist identity."

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