In Lansing, Michigan, pearls were clutched and couches were fainted upon when the First Amendment performance artists at the Satanic Temple announced they'd be setting up a holiday display at the Capitol building. As usual, the Satanic Temple folks submitted their application for a display after another group announced plans for a nativity scene. But the first group's nativity plans fell through, which would have left only the Satanic Temple's display, an offense against everything that America stands for, according to state Sen. Rick Jones, who took to Facebook to announce that this Satanic Non-Christmas will not stand, man. In a message that has now been replaced by an update, Jones christsplained:

A group wanted to put up a Christian Nativity scene at the Capitol. But the rules are that it must be put up in the morning and taken down at night. No one volunteered ... I cannot stand by and allow Satan to win this one. I have volunteered to put up and take down the Christian Nativity scene everyday.

He has had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking capitol lawn! Needless to say, Jones is being hailed as a hero, and has taken to posting updates in which he uses the Power of Typography to defeat the Satanic foe, vowing in another message,

I will not allow this Satanic group to hijack the CHRISTmas season for their message. The "Snaketivity" display represents darkness while we celebrate the light. Have a very Merry Christmas!

The Satanic Temple folks, as always, points out that there's a far simpler way to save government buildings from the threat of faux-satanic imagery: Keep government secular and leave the promotion of religion to churches, which are not exactly bereft of support. Jex "Almost certainly her real name" Blackmore, a member of the Detroit branch of Satanic Temple, issued a statement saying

Where there is obstinate refusal to keep religious iconography off of public spaces, the least we can do is ensure that the Government is remaining neutral, respecting a diversity of religious views, with preference for, and exclusion of, none

On the floor of the state Senate, Sen. Tupac Hunter denounced the Satanic Temple display and solemnly noted that Jesus called Satan "a liar and the father of lies":

"This is an effort to mock the concept of religious freedom" and "an attempt to scorn Christianity," Hunter said.

Hunter's speech elicited a chorus of "amens" as Republicans in the GOP-dominated Senate went on record in support of the minority floor leader's comments.

Ms. Blackmore responded to the legislators' critique with some perfectly reasonable trolling:

"If our Legislature finds it morally incomprehensible to respect the diversity of differences among Michigan citizens, then perhaps they are much better served as members of the clergy rather than representatives of the people."

Happily, now there will be a plastic Jewish family on the Capitol lawn to counteract the scary snake display that would never have been there in the first place were it not for a planned nativity scene, and so it appears that the survival of our Christian Republic is assured for another Christmas season. And now Rick Jones and all his supporters can get back to their important mission of screaming "Merry CHRISTmas!" at any poor cashier who wishes them "Happy Holidays."

[Detroit News / Fox 17 News / HuffPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Well, goddamn it, a wonderful person we'd never heard of until last night is dead. Lyra McKee was 29, an investigative journalist who specialized in looking at the legacy of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. She was murdered by someone shooting at police during rioting in Derry, or perhaps Londonderry, depending on who you want to piss off by using either name for the city. The rioting broke out after police "started carrying out searches in the area because of concerns that militant republicans were storing firearms and explosives" in advance of attacks planned to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Police are blaming the violence and McKee's death on the "New Irish Republican Army," a radical republican group formed a few years ago from several smaller groups. Despite the name, the group has no ties to the old Provisional Irish Republican Army, which renounced violence and disarmed in 2005 following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which was supposed to have brought peace to Northern Ireland, and kind of did, at least much of the time.

McKee is being remembered by colleagues and readers as a promising journalist who was expected to go far. A year ago, McKee signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber; the first of the books, The Lost Boys, an investigation of eight young men who disappeared in Belfast during the Troubles in the '60s and '70s, will be published next year. A 2016 Forbes profile said "McKee's passion is to dig into topics that others don't care about." For instance, CNN reports, McKee spent five years investigating a story about the only rape crisis center in Northern Ireland and its long struggle to regain funding after the government eliminated it.

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