Street Preacher Responds to UH Students Who Compare His Church to Westboro Baptist

Categories: Religion

It's about free speech, ya'll.
If you're an abortion advocating-atheist-transgender person, David Stokes probably hates you. Actually, to be more accurate, Stokes probably wants to save you. He'll gladly share this with you on a sign that might say you're going to hell, too.

The self-proclaimed street preacher took it to the University of Houston in a letter to the editor published yesterday on, after a student journalist compared his Bulldog Ministries with Westboro Baptist Church. In case you missed it, the head of that church, the hate spewing anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps Sr. died last month.

The Daily Cougar had the March 24 article headlined "Phelps' death calls for reflection on local campus bigots." Big points for localizing a national story. Bulldog Ministries has been a presence on campus for at least a couple of years, angering some student organizations, particularly the campus' LGBT group. But, according to Stokes' letter, his is another variety of anti-gay religious rhetoric.

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Accused Killers Giving Satan Worship a Bad Name

Categories: Crime, Religion

Photo by Steve Snodgrass

God is good, and for some Satan is too.

Satanists don't deserve the bad rap they're getting after the recent news linking accused killers to the Prince of Darkness. The words "satanic ritual murder" or "occult killing" set off alarms in God-fearing people, and that's probably why prosecutors and the media run with it.

This hit home when two Harris County teens were charged with capital murder last week in what the Chronicle referred to as an "occult killing". Other news outlets headlined it "deal with the devil" or "ritual murder".

John Jordan of the Harris County DA's office is working the case and says that Jose E. Reyes, 17, allegedly talked a 16-year-old into joining him in killing schoolmate Corriann Cervantes. The younger kid wanted to join Reyes in a deal with the devil. Cervantes,15, was mutilated, strangled and raped. Authorities said there was an upside-down cross carved on her belly.

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Gunning for Theocratic Vote, Dan Patrick Bent on Forcing Christ Back into Texas Politics

Theocracy is a good look on you, senator.
There's a saying, often attributed to novelist Sinclair Lewis, that can sum certain strains on the American right: "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and waving a cross." And while the phrase always comes across as a bit screechy -- we've spent 237 years swearing in on a Bible, with little fascism to show for it -- there's no secret that the recent surge of both the Tea Party and the congressional and statewide GOP numbers has coincided with a lurch toward supporting purportedly Biblical ideals. Wherever Jesus, that Middle Eastern socialist, may be, it seems many within the right-wing resurgence believe his time is best spent bandying bills and filibusters with the rest of us.

While Gov. Rick Perry generally draws the most national attention for his insistence on conflating religion and state -- only so many states can pray for rain with a straight face -- there's one official in Texas who has been more effusive with his desire to graft his Bible-thumpin' into our state Legislature. And after throwing his hat into the lieutenant governor's race, it seems state Sen. Dan Patrick is seeking to take his theocratic ways to higher office.

A new post from Patrick last week only helped solidify him as the theocratic choice and pushed him that much closer to Sinclair's thoughts on flags and fascism:

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I.V. Hilliard: Pastor Asks Congregation to Finance New Helicopter Blades

Categories: Religion

What would Jesus fly? Airwolf. He'd fly motherfucking Airwolf.
Just imagine how many more souls Jesus Christ could have saved if he had a helicopter. That would've cut the commute from Tiberias to Jericho by at least a fortnight. So there's no reason that, in 2013, a preacher of the gospel shouldn't be able to spread the word as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Enter Bishop I.V. Hilliard of Houston's New Light Christian Center, who's asking his flock to kick in $52 a piece to help pay for new helicopter blades. Strangely enough, the recommendation for a blade "upgrade" did not come from On High, but from the church's "Aviation Department," which we assume is adjacent to the "Bling Unit."

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Governor Perry Signs Bill Allowing Teachers and Students to Say "Merry Christmas"

Categories: Courts, Religion

Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor
Last December, Houston Representative Dwayne Bohac picked up his son from first grade and asked what he'd done in class. His son answered that they'd decorated their "holiday tree" with "holiday ornaments."

This concerned Bohac. "Why do we call it a holiday tree at school, but a Christmas tree at home?" Bohac said.

When he expressed his sentiments to the school district office, he was told the school didn't use terms such as "Christmas" because they were fearful of litigation.

This inspired Bohac to draft House Bill 308, legislation that allows students and teachers to wish each other a "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah" or (the pretty secular) "Happy Holidays" and to provide teachers the opportunity to educate students on the history of traditional winter holidays.

Governor Rick Perry signed what has become known as the "Merry Christmas bill" last week. In addition to permitting holiday greetings, the legislation also says that schools are allowed to display scenes or symbols associated with winter holidays on school property, such as a Christmas tree or a menorah, as long as there is at least one other religious or secular symbol present as well.

The fact that no one -- no child, no teen, no grown-up -- has ever been sued in Texas for saying "Merry Christmas" apparently didn't lessen any of the glow of this special moment or the driving force behind this bill.

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Update: Are Southern Baptists in Town to Break up with the Boy Scouts?

Categories: Religion, Texas


The Boy Scouts of America responded to our request for a comment with a written explanation on their stance on the issue from Deron Smith, public relations director for Boy Scouts of America:

"We respect the deeply held religious beliefs of all of our members. We're finding that when people read the new policy they see it is reflective of the beliefs of most of Scouting's major religious chartered organizations. This policy reaffirms that doing ones 'duty to God' is absolutely explicit and one of the fundamental principles of Scouting and states that sexual conduct by any Scout, heterosexual or homosexual, is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. Further, it states that while no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of stating their sexual orientation alone, Scouting expects appropriate behavior from all members. We are unaware of any that believe a youth member simply stating he or she is attracted to the same sex, but not engaging in sexual activity, should make him or her unwelcome in their congregation. While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting."

To sum it up, none of the scouts should be having sex, no matter their sexual orientation, and those in the organization believe that being a scout is good for all kids, again, no matter their sexual orientation, according to Smith. So that's why they changed the policy.

Still haven't heard back from the Southern Baptist Convention, but hopefully we'll hear from them soon, fingers crossed.
Original Entry:

Breaking up is hard to do. There are all kinds of songs about it. But sometimes it's got to be done, and it looks like the Boy Scouts of America and the Southern Baptists may have to admit to each other that their relationship just isn't working.

A couple of weeks ago, the Boy Scouts of America decided to allow openly gay boys to join the ranks of the Boy Scouts' troops. Adult gay scout leaders are still banned, but boys who want to learn the ways of the Scouts would finally be able to be members of troops, no matter their sexual orientation.

In the wake of the Boy Scouts of America vote, it was predicted that churches would split from the organization quicker than Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor after their second marriage (or that Kardashian chick and the giant basketball player she married for like two seconds, if you're hungry for a more current reference). Well, a few churches have announced an end to their association with the Scouts -- officials of conservative churches in Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia have said that they won't allow the Boy Scouts to use their facilities for meetings anymore -- but everyone is waiting to see what the big guys are going to do. Yep, we're talking about the Southern Baptists of America, the Associated Press reports.

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(Updated) Jesus FTW: God-Lovin' Kountze Cheerleaders Trounce Heathens in Court Battle

Categories: Courts, Religion

The power of Christ compels you....
Updated with statements from Governor Rick Perry and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

In a high-profile battle based on small-town football, the cheerleaders in the little East Texas burg of Kuntze have won a court battle to praise Jesus during football games.

The Kountze case drew national attention as media-savvy groups for both sides took control of the lawsuit, which involved banners carrying such messages as "If God is for us, who can be against us" (Maybe the Hull-Daisetta Bobcats?) and "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." (Replace "Christ" with "PEDs" if you're moving on to some college football teams --cough, cough SEC cough.)

The Freedom From Religion Foundation of (The People's Republic of) Madison, Wisconsin, went to court with an amicus brief to stop the displaying of the banners, arguing the signs were an intrusion of religion into public schools.

The Liberty Institute of (God's Country) Plano fought on behalf of the school district.

Today Hardin County District Court Judge Steven Thomas issued a summary judgment saying the cheerleaders' signs were constitutionally permissible.

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God Hates Idiots: Westboro Baptist May Protest the Rockets/Thunder Game Wednesday Night

In yet another startling display of idiocy from Fred Phelps and the members of the Westboro Baptist "church," they have threatened to protest game five of the first round series between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night because Jason Collins came out as gay this week and Thunder forward Kevin Durant -- among MANY other NBA players -- voiced his support for Collins.

The geniuses behind Westboro have protested everything from the funeral of soldiers and children to concerts and parades. It is honestly hard to imagine just what the hell they are protesting for. It seems to be something about hating homosexuals and thinking the world is ending, but who knows with these morons.

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No, Joel Osteen Is Not Resigning; World Reels at Thought That Internet Might Be Wrong Sometimes

Not real.
Someone with a lot of time on their hands and a burning desire to -- what? embarrass Joel Osteen? -- has put together several Web sites advancing the idea that the rich megachurch preacher is quitting.

The hoax includes Web pages, fake news stories, a YouTube video and a Twitter account.

To a tweeter who actually doubted @PastorJoelOsteen, he (or she) replied: "Nothing fake here. The church controls almost all the accts in my name. They've cut off and seized my accts. Theyre panicking".

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Pope Francis I: Who Could the Name Really Be Honoring? Five Possibilities

Categories: Religion

Pope Francis I: Who's the "Francis" for?
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio surprised a lot of people yesterday when he chose the name he'd be using as leader of the Catholic Church: Pope Francis I.

As the "I" indicates, he's the first to ever use Francis, and there have been a hell of a lot of popes before him who could have done so. About (the actual count is slippery) 266 popes have had the chance to call themselves "Francis I," and none did. (Technically, he won't get the "I" attached until he dies.)

The new pope says he's honoring Francis of Assisi, but come on -- there's no way today's Church would hold up a stone-cold radical like Frankie Assisi as a model. Someone who actually gave up a luxurious, sex-laden lifestyle to live with and help the poor?

Not likely. So who is Francis I named after? Five guesses:

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