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Religion

United Methodist Church Divorces Itself Over Same-Sex Marriage

Irreconcilable differences, as they say.

For years, the United Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in America and the third largest in the world, has been arguing about the role of LGBT people in its church. This week, that argument has been settled as they have officially decide to split the church into two separate denominations: One that accepts gay people, performs same-sex weddings, and permits LGBT clergy, and another, for the homophobes.

Last year, they held a conference to decide what to do about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. Should they allow them? Should they let individual churches decide which way they they wanted to go? They had a vote, and to the surprise of many, the plan that eventually won out was one that would not only ban both same-sex marriage and LGBT ordination, but also would institute harsh penalties on churches and clergy that refused to go along and be bigots with them. While the "traditionalists" in the church were very happy about this, many others were not. And who can blame them?

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Culture Wars

Dennis Prager Will Not Be Bullied By Anne Frank

People aren't 'basically good' and teenagers are stupid.

Rightwing intellectual Dennis Prager, the Family Values guy who explained child hunger is OK because free school breakfasts "weaken the parent-child bond," recently took on another pernicious corrupter of the world's morals: Anne Frank. The teen diarist, who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, was absolutely wrong when she wrote "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." Oh yeah? Dennis Prager, like any good Puritan, knows that human nature is essentially corrupt and sinful, which is why the Nazis persecuted Anne Frank and her family in the first place. And to rein in sinful human nature, we need strong authority figures who'll enforce God's laws and preserve us from chaos.

Prager summarized that a bit more succinctly, though, explaining Anne Frank didn't understand basic morality because she was a "secular Jew," and besides, "I don't get my wisdom from teenagers."

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Right Wing Extremism

New York Times: Domestic Rightwing Terrorists Now 'Alt-Gov'

'Kill all males' could mean anything.

Last week, a report commissioned by the Washington state House of Representatives detailed the ties between Rep. Matt Shea and the armed "patriot" movement, including his participation in three armed standoffs against federal law enforcement. The report said Shea had helped plan the 2016 Bundy Dildo Militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, saying his participation amounted to engaging in "an act of domestic terrorism against the United States." On Monday, the New York Times published a detailed story on the report and on Shea's vision for how he and his wingnut buddies could seize power in the Pacific Northwest and establish a theocracy, once America finally gets the blessed second Civil War that Barack Obama was so intent on bringing. It's some pretty good journamalism, all in all! Bummer it was graced with one of those indelibly bland New York Times headlines that bends over backward to downplay Shea's rightwing radicalism:


Congratulations to the New York Times for the most dishonest use of "alternative" since Kellyanne Conway! Reminds us of other great headlines:

  • Titanic Takes Alternative Route
  • Jeffrey Dahmer Pursued Alternative Diet
  • Japanese Navy offers Alternative to Hawaii's Sunday Routine
  • Jack Ruby Had Visions of an Alternative Justice System
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Culture

A Christmas Miracle!

See you Thursday, bitchez!

All over the internet, in the year of our baby savior 2019, our sister and brother progressive websites have been shutting their asses down. But thanks to you, Wonkette is growing instead, like ... the oil? Or water to wine? I don't know, I'm very confused. Regardless, starting in just a week, we'll be joined full-time by Robyn and SER, so I -- you -- can pay them an actual living wage plus healthcare instead of freelance bullshit.

My heart, she sings! Mele Kelikimaka, or maybe War Pigs.

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Hot Mess

Jewdy Jewliani, Better Jew Than You!

Would have said 'better Jew than JEW' like my dad imitating Billy Crystal, but you might not have gotten it.

First, my darlings, a disclaimer: I was converted to Judaism as a baby so I could have the benefit of both my parents' faiths. My mom stopped taking me to Hebrew school around 1983, which is, MATH, at least 15 years ago now, when all the little children gathered around the warm black and white glow of the TV, playing Pong. Last night, lighting the candles on the first menorah I have ever owned because my husband bought me one at Target three days ago, I made it *just about all the way through* the prayer over the wine instead of the candles, because the wine one is the one I almost all the way know.

And I am a waaaaay better Jew than Rudy Giuliani. Or Meghan McCain. Or Donald Trump Junior or Senior. Or Mike Huckabee. Or any of the delightful people in the world who have thoughts on JEWS: Holy Seat-Fillers Until Jesus Gets Back From The Bathroom.

So, what did Rudy Giuliani do now? Well, it's pathetic.

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Culture Wars

Pastor Will Love Trump Even If He Dog-Fights On Princess Diana's Grave While Boning Non-Melanias, KNOW WHY? HERE'S WHY

Yes, please tell us, pastor!

At last, a dissenting opinion to counter the lib lies coming out of Christianity Today!

Right-wing batshit Christian people are so mad about the Drag Queen Story Hour, where the fun and funny drag queens dress up and read to children at the library, we have never seen anything like it, except for all the other times right-wing batshit Christians have been mad about a random thing.

Thanks to Right Wing Watch, which pays attention to alllllll these crazy fuckers, we can share you a message of Christmas cheer, in the form of a pastor named Jonathan Shuttlesworth, who wants us all to know that Donald Trump can do nothing to lose his undying support, because at least Trump doesn't like the Drag Queen Story Hour. Can he shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue? PFFFFT OBVIOUSLY, be more creative, everyone!

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Religion

'Christianity Today' Still Won't Accept Trump As Personal Lord And Savior, How Is That Even Christ-Like?

This is how you say 'SUCK IT' in the evangelical language.

Can we just take a moment to notice that, aside from whatever else they're saying right now, Christianity Today has super-talented writers?

Jesus said we should give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. With profound love and respect, we ask our brothers and sisters in Christ to consider whether they have given to Caesar what belongs only to God: their unconditional loyalty.

Good question, and well-asked!

That's from the response from CT president Timothy Dalrymple to the backlash that started when outgoing CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli published a stirring editorial last week calling for the removal of Donald Trump from the presidency, whether by the Senate or by voters in November.

Looking at this response from an outraged reader tweeted out by CT editorial director Ted Olsen, we can see where that Caesar question came from:

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Culture Wars

Good Trump Christians Know Hanukkah And Christmas Are About Nuclear War

Merry Fuckin' Christmas!

It's been a great year for Christian Christmas, what with the restoration of Americans' ability to say "Merry Christmas," which had literally disappeared from our vocabulary before Donald Trump's "presidency." Wingnuts everywhere have decided that the best way to trigger the libs is to say "Merry Christmas," because those are Republican Worship Words now. Here's rightwing media dipwad Dan Bongino explaining last week how best to celebrate the nativity of the Prince of Peace:

Now don't you go rolling your eyes and saying that's the dumbest thing ever, and that the words "Merry Christmas" don't bother you in the least. Admit it: You don't like it when someone's yelling "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" in your face, because you hate America.

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Right Wing Extremism

Washington State Rep Just An America-Loving Domestic Terrorist, Report Finds

Amazing reading. I'll be in my bunker.

An independent report commissioned by Washington's state House of Representatives finds that Rep. Matt Shea, who likes playing Jesus Warrior with militia types, helped to plan the 2016 Bundy Slob Militia takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, as well as another, less-publicized armed confrontation between militia goobers and federal agents in Idaho in 2015. Like many crazies in the so-called "Patriot" antigovernment movement, Shea was in part radicalized by traveling to Nevada in 2014 to help Cliven Bundy declare war on federal agents.

In addition to those three armed standoffs, the report says Shea

took part in a group chat in 2017 where he "condoned violence and intimidation" of his political opponents, and offered to conduct background checks on them.

The report also details how, from 2014 to 2019, Shea routinely used online forums to encourage his supporters to harass and intimidate "activists, government officials, Muslims, and others who speak or act in opposition to his personal beliefs and political agenda." As one does.

He seems nice!

The consequences were pretty darn quick, as reported by Crosscut, a nonprofit news consortium that covers the Northwest (it's a pretty cool outfit!). After the report was released yesterday, Washington state's House Republican Caucus suspended Shea, cutting off his access to shared House legislative staff and barring him from all Republican internal meetings and reindeer games. Shea has also been booted from membership on two House committees, as well as from his ranking position on the House Energy and Environment Committee.

As you might expect, Shea took to Facebook to whine he's being WITCH HUNTED!

The poor persecuted dear.

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Religion

Jesus Hates Trump This I Know, For 'Christianity Today' Tells Me So

Just fooling! Jesus doesn't hate anybody! Even Donald Trump! Allegedly!

Hello, Donald, what are we upset about today?

Ohhhhhhhh. That's rough. And also full of lies, of course.

We speak fluent evangelical -- we have been saved more times than your mom's favorite peach cobbler recipes on Pinterest -- so let's tick off the lies.

  • Christianity Today is anything but "far-left" or "progressive." It is also not "far-right." It's extremely mainstream for evangelicals. It's also huge. CT editor-in-chief Mark Galli addressed this on CNN this morning, just after Dipshit hit "send" on that tweet.
  • Considering that CT is staffed by people presumably more literate than the president, we imagine they are perfectly equipped to read a "perfect transcript" and identify the impeachable crimes Trump committed against Ukraine.
  • Trump says he will not be reading ... "ET" ... again. OK sure fine maybe, but that would suggest he was "reading" it before, which would suggest he "reads things," and we all know that's not true. LOL, like Trump goes to bed each night and grabs his secret copy of Christianity Today from underneath his book of Hitler speeches and devours it until he falls into the Lord's slumber. HE READS IT FOR THE ARTICLES, DAMMIT!

So yeah, Christianity Today, one of the most widely read evangelical magazines in the world, which doesn't really talk about politics that much, did an editorial on how Donald Trump should absolutely be removed from office, whether by a trial in the Senate or by the voters. It broke the internet last night. And Trump is MAD.

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Impeachment

Some Dick Won't Be Terrible Partisan Democrat No More, Will Be Terrible Partisan Republican Instead

Good luck not being in Congress, Jeff Van Drew!

Anti-impeachment Democrat Jeff Van Drew is leaving the party and joining the United Federation of Republicans or whatever it is Donald Trump's calling the GOP these days. The good news is this reduces the number of possible Democratic defections when the House votes on impeachment this week. The bad news is this reduces the number of Democratic House members.

Last year, Van Drew replaced retiring Republican incumbent Frank LoBiondo as representative for New Jersey's second congressional district. Van Drew's opponent in the race was Seth Grossman. Grossman dismissed diversity as "crap," called Islam a "cancer," and insisted that reports of racial oppression were greatly "exaggerated." He's not a pleasant man. The national GOP went so far as to withdraw its support for Grossman, whom Van Drew creamed in November.

LoBiondo was a reliable vote for Trump in a district that the president won by five percent. Van Drew, however, has voted in line with Trump just seven percent of the time. To put this in perspective, Ayanna Pressley's "Trump score" is seven percent, Rashida Tlaib's is 8.8 percent, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's is 14 percent. Van Drew is practically a member of The Squad. He's voted against Trump on health care, WALL, Syria, climate change, and gun safety. He'd bring the Rockefeller back to the Republican Party.

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Science

NJ Anti-Vaxxers Somehow Protesting Traffic Problems In Fort Lee

They're not about to let Big Room Scheduling push them around.

At the New Jersey statehouse Thursday, hundreds of angry anti-vaxxers packed into a hearing room to demand their voices be heard. It was the wrong hearing room, but they demanded to be heard anyway, because this is America.

The crowd wanted to express their opposition to a bill that would eliminate the state's religious exemption for vaccine requirements, but they somehow ended up in a room where a completely unrelated hearing for New Jersey Transit was scheduled. And no, they weren't going anywhere -- just like ambulances in Fort Lee.

Gosh, you mean to say that even when they were informed of the facts and advised that if they wanted to achieve their aims, they should literally change where they stood, they refused to listen? Seems like that's very on-brand. Good for them, refusing to be told how to live their lives by a bunch of so-called "experts" and "authorities."

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Religion

Donald Trump And Two Bigot Pastors Wish You All A Merry Jewish Christmas

Happy Hanukkah! You're all going to Hell!

Donald Trump held a White House reception to mark Hanukkah 11 days early yesterday, complete with a couple of popular rightwing Christian pastors, a signing ceremony for his great big I Heart The Jews executive order, and Jared Kushner closing out the event by lighting a menorah, and everyone chanting the traditional Hanukkah greeting, "Four more years!" We always thought it was "Next year in Jerusalem," and on a whole 'nother holiday, but what do we know? We leave a place at the table for Elijah Cummings.

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Culture Wars

Donald Trump Knows Where His Jews Are

This attempt to 'fight anti-Semitism' couldn't backfire, could it?

Donald Trump is reportedly all set to sign an executive order that's ostensibly aimed at cracking down on anti-Semitism on college campuses, or at least allowing the Education Department to punish schools that take part in or tolerate boycotts of Israel. But the particular mechanism Trump's using to shoehorn protections against anti-Semitism into civil-rights laws has plenty of people on the internets worried, because what the fuck is this fuckery?

The New York Times 'splainers the order's ostensible rationale:

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the department can withhold funding from any college or educational program that discriminates "on the ground of race, color, or national origin." Religion was not included among the protected categories, so Mr. Trump's order will have the effect of embracing an argument that Jews are a people or a race with a collective national origin in the Middle East, like Italian Americans or Polish Americans.

Well isn't that nice? Nothing bad could possibly come of an official declaration that American Jews are a whole 'nother nationality, could it? Sure, maybe Donald Trump already talks about Jews as if they're not really Americans, but there's no way this could have any untoward implications, apart from perhaps inflaming that old anti-Semitic slander that Jews are always a people apart, foreigners in their own land. Gosh, wonder if anyone's ever written a book on the matter?

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Courts

Who's Ugly Crying Now? Us, After Reading About Trump's Newest Judge

Sarah Pitlyk just won a lifetime appointment to make sure we all stop sinning, by law.

Another day, another terrible new federal judge.

Last week, the Senate confirmed eight more Trump judges to lifetime appointments, including Sarah Pitlyk, a woman whose entire legal career has been dedicated to fighting against reproductive rights.

We're not just using "reproductive rights" as a euphemism for abortion here. Pitlyk does, of course, think the government should control uteruses, but her hatred of reproductive freedom goes much, much further than that.

Fertility treatments, birth control, and surrogacy? The work of the devil.

Pitlyk has called contraception "evil," a "seriously wrongful" act, and "a grave moral wrong." And she wrote that fertility treatments and surrogacy have

grave effects on society, including diminished respect for motherhood and the unique mother-child bond; exploitation of women; commodification of gestation and of children themselves; and weakening of appropriate social mores against eugenic abortion.

When did she write that, you ask?

2017.

Pitlyk has never argued a motion or taken a deposition, much less tried a case. She was unanimously declared "Not Qualified" by the ABA. And now, she has a lifetime appointment to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Bloody hell.

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Feminininism

Having Your Kid's Hymen Inspected Should Definitely Be Illegal

New York lawmakers agree!

Last month, rapper T.I. went on a podcast and told a tale about how he takes his daughter, who is now 18 years old, for annual hymen inspections to ensure she is still a virgin, and we all, collectively, screamed in horror. Well, except for a few terrible people on social media who had to come out and defend him, saying he had a right to "protect his investment" or that he was just from "a different time." T.I., for the record, is 39 years old, and let me assure you, the 1990s were not really "a different time" in that way. Never once did anyone say, "Oh, let's go out and buy some flannels at Contempo Casuals, drink some Orbitz, and then my dad is gonna take me to the gyno to make sure my hymen is still intact!"

In case you need a refresher:

T.I. offered this information after being asked whether or not he's had the sex talk with his daughters, and then shared a story about how on her 16th birthday, he "let her" have fun and celebrate and enjoy the day, and then the day after the party, "she's enjoying her gifts" but he went and "put a sticky note on the door: 'Gyno. Tomorrow. 9:30.'"

He then went on to explain that although the doctor explained to him that the presence of a hymen or lack of one did not necessarily mean anything, and that a hymen could also break from regular activities like riding a bike or a horse, he had responded:

"So I say, 'Look, Doc, she don't ride no horses, she don't ride no bike, she don't play no sports. Just check the hymen, please, and give me back my results expeditiously.'"

Has there ever, in the world, been a more repulsive sentence? Probably, but I sure as hell can't think of one right now.

Now, state lawmakers in New York are looking to pass a bill to make such inspections illegal, ban doctors from performing them and deem any so-called "virginity inspection" done outside a medical office as a sexual assault. Which, you know, it is.

So far, the bill, introduced by Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, has three co-sponsors in the Assembly, and Senator Roxanne J. Persaud has introduced another bill in the state Senate. Via the New York Times:

"It made me angry and I was just very upset," said Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, a Democrat who introduced a bill last week to prohibit the practice. "To use your platform to say that you did this is just misogynistic and it sets the women's movement back."[...]

"The invasive procedure of a virginity examination violates the sanctity and purity of a female," Ms. Persaud said of the exams, commonly known as purity tests or virginity tests. "Whether a child or adult, this breaches not only moral grounds, but also the privacy entitled to a female and their doctor."

The World Health Organization, last year, also recommended that the procedure be banned:

"Virginity testing" is a violation of the human rights of girls and women, and can be detrimental to women's and girls' physical, psychological and social well-being. "Virginity testing" reinforces stereotyped notions of female sexuality and gender inequality. The examination can be painful, humiliating and traumatic. Given that these procedures are unnecessary and potentially harmful, it is unethical for doctors or other health providers to undertake them. Such procedures must never be carried out.

Of course, one expert cited by the New York Times suggested that making "virginity tests" illegal could pose a problem, given the fact that there is no actual way to tell whether or not someone is a virgin.

"I saw it and am appalled and disappointed," said Dr. Maura Quinlan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University. "You can't tell if someone is a virgin, so how can you ban something that is not possible?"

I get it, but if anything, this seems like a problem with working out the phrasing so that it doesn't appear to legitimize the procedure as something it's even medically possible to do. Maybe call them "hymen inspections" or refer to it as any "inspection of female genitalia designed to determine whether a woman or girl has had vaginal intercourse," as the WHO does.

The fact that it's not a real medical thing doesn't mean that it's not happening — and it's the fact that it is happening at all that is the problem, not that T.I. or whoever may not get an accurate result. We know that "conversion therapy" isn't "real" either, but that doesn't mean that attempting it isn't harmful. A doctor literally cannot re-implant an ectopic pregnancy into the uterus, but that doesn't mean that the Ohio law requiring them to "attempt" it is not a very bad law.

However they decide to put it, let's hope that other states soon follow suit.

[New York Times]

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