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coronavirus

Faith Healing Getting Real Awkward In The Time Of Coronavirus

A major faith-healing church in California is scaling back its activities.

Bethel Church, a prominent faith-healing megachurch in Northern California, has ceased its hospital visits in order to protect said faith-healers from the coronavirus. They are also canceling missionary trips and advising members of their church — a church where the primary belief is that they can heal people — to wash their hands and stay at home if they feel sick, instead of coming in to the church to be healed.

In fact, they're going so far as to cancel services in Redding that normally attract upwards of 6,300 people who believe that all kinds of illnesses and injuries can be healed by prayer and "laying hands" on people.

Via The Sacramento Bee:

"Through email communications, signage, and church announcements, we are actively encouraging health practices and precautions to our whole community," Aaron Tesauro, a church spokesman, said in an email. "We believe that wisdom, modern medicine, and faith are meant to work together, and express the value for each in the pursuit of continued health and healing." [...]

"Though we believe in a God who actively heals today, students are not being encouraged to visit healthcare settings at this time, and moreover, are taught that even under normal circumstances, they must receive permission from both the facility and the individual before engaging in prayer," Tesauro said in the email.

That seems reasonable! But prior to the church making this announcement, students of Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry (which I think we can safely assume is exactly like Hogwarts but with more Jesus) were freaking people out and touching five-year-olds without the permission of their parents at emergency rooms in the area:

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coronavirus

Mean FDA Won't Let Jim Bakker Say His Magic Silver Solution Cures Coronavirus, Just Because It Doesn't

Six other companies have also been warned.

If there is one thing that Jim Bakker loves, it is bilking people out of lots and lots of money. In fact, he loves it so much that he even got sent to prison for doing it in the late '80s, information which came out after he paid off his former secretary Jessica Hahn with $279,000 out of the church coffers so that she wouldn't tell anyone that he, and another minister named John Wesley Fletcher, had (allegedly) drugged and raped her.

These days, while he doesn't have any fraudulent lifetime passes to a Jesus theme park to sell, Bakker still manages to get people to give him lots of money for stupid reasons. Sometimes it's to prove they love God, sometimes it's to sell food buckets, and sometimes it is to sell them his magical Silver Solution. These last two have become especially popular in the last month, owing to fears about the coronavirus. Preppers are buying up all the food buckets they can, and Bakker is selling his colloidal silver product "Silver Solution" as a cure. Which, you know, it's not. Unless your problem is having skin that is not blue enough.

On Monday, the FDA announced that they sent Bakker, along with six other companies, a letter of warning to stop selling obviously fake coronavirus cures.

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Crime

Man Who Threatened Ilhan Omar's Life Sentenced To Prison — But Here's What She Wanted Instead

A quick primer on restorative justice.

In March of 2019, Patrick W. Carlineo Jr. of Rochester, New York, called up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's office and, speaking to an aide, threatened to "put a bullet" in Omar's skull.

"Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she's a [expletive] terrorist. Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull. Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her [expletive]. ... I'll put a bullet in her [expletive] skull."

On Friday, Carlineo was sentenced to 366 days in prison, for the crimes of threatening to kill a United States official and being a felon in possession of a gun, with a chance to get out in 10 months on good behavior.

Now, if you were to hear that this was not exactly the outcome Omar had hoped for, you might assume that it would be because Carlineo's sentence — on the low end of the federally recommended 12-18 month sentencing for such a crime — was not harsh enough. In fact, it was the opposite. When Carlineo pleaded guilty in November of 2019, Omar sent a letter to Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. saying that she wished for him to show compassion and not harshly sentence or fine Carlineo, because she did not think that would help anything.

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Gay Stuff

You Forgot Something, Aaron Schock

Congrats on all the peen tugs, Aaron. Any interest in saying you're sorry?

To the surprise of absolutely everyone, former GOP congressman Aaron Schock has officially come out of the closet. No, he wasn't out out yet, he had just been photographed tuggin' peen at Coachella and was always at West Hollywood gay bars and there was that damn "Downton Abbey" office when he was a congressman and there was that belt and those pants and that hot personal photographer Jonathon with an "O" and all the other gay stuff he seemed to be using campaign cash to pay for, but he was NOT OUT.

Now he is.

Schock made the announcement on Instagram, in a NINE-SLIDE EPISTLE about his story that you do not want to read under any circumstances. Therefore we will summarize it for you now in a couple or three run-on sentences, with all the charitable feelings we are able to muster:

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Religion

Maybe Roger Stone Just High On CHRIST, You Dicks

That is probably what it is.

Have you met Roger Stone's personal friend Jesus Christ? He already loves you, even if you don't know it. He wants to meet you. In fact, if you have some time later and don't mind Roger maybe threatening to kill your dog at some point in the conversation if you don't lie to Congress for him in order to protect Donald Trump, Roger might introduce you to his friend, who is Christ.

Stone explained his new convenient friendship saving faith in Jesus on the Axios HBO program, which exists:

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coronavirus

Mike Pence Is Your New Czar Of Finding Out If Coronavirus Is Gay, Praying It Away

Or maybe he will just do for coronavirus what he did for HIV in Indiana. Either way, God help us.

There were two big takeaways from Donald Trump's big coronavirus presser last night. One that the scientists know what they're doing, and they're concerned, but Donald Trump wants you to look on the bright side and share his assumption that everything's gonna be just fine. The other is that Trump has handed the job of coordinating the government's response to Vice President Mike Pence -- apparently without informing HHS Secretary Alex Azar beforehand! -- and that should really make all of us worry more than a little bit, given Pence's shitty record on public health.

We refer in particular to Pence's mishandling of an HIV outbreak when he was governor of Indiana. At least there will be plenty of Thoughts and Prayers to keep the virus at bay. Unfortunately, several top posts at the Centers for Disease Control are held by women, so it's unclear at this point how long containing coronavirus may be delayed by having to work with Karen Pence's schedule to make sure Mother can attend all meetings between the VP and those temptresses.

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Culture Wars

Coronavirus Causing Right-Wing PanDUMBic Of Epidemic Proportions, GET IT? GET IT? GET IT?

You probably don't get it, it's a very subtle joke.

As the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak continues to spread around the world, public health experts are doing all they can to research and track the disease, inform people what they can do to reduce their risk of exposure, and to keep people from unduly panicking. But undue panic is also a very profitable business model, so yeah, we're getting a great big honkin' dose of that, too! Fortunately, panic never causes people to do stupid things, as we know from all the times no one has ever shot a family member they thought was a burglar.

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Crime

Doomsday Cult Mom Arrested!

Still no word on where her damn kids are!

Lori Vallow, (allegedly) a reincarnated god sent to lead us all when Jesus comes back in July of this year, as well as mother to two children — Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua Vallow, 7 — who have been mysteriously missing since September of last year, has finally been arrested on the island of Kaua'i in Hawaii. Vallow was supposed to show up in court in Idaho on January 30 to explain where her kids are, but decided to stay in Hawaii instead.

According to a statement from the Kaua'i Police Department, Vallow is being charged with "two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children. She was also charged with arrests and seizures – resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court – willful disobedience of court process or order."

The maximum sentence on each count of child desertion in Idaho is 14 years.

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Religion

Orlando Jesusland Layoffs Mean No More Daily Scourgings, Crucifixions

Not even Jeb! Bush's tax exemption helped :(

The Holy Land Experience, a Jesus-oriented theme park that won a place on weird tourist attraction listicles for its daily reenactments of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus the Christ, announced this week it's laying off most of its employees. That means no more Passion Plays, no more spectacles depicting Peter bringing the Gospel to Rome, and no more educational Roman Soldier Training Camp for the kids. Romanes Eunt Domus, indeed! We aren't sure whether the big diorama of Jerusalem in Jesus Times will stay open, but maybe? The park's management says it plans to return to its original mission as a church and museum, and a diorama doesn't have a lot of moving parts.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the park is laying off darn near everyone.

On Friday, the theme park filed a layoff notice with city and state officials that it plans to eliminate 118 jobs, representing most of its employees, as of April 18. Those losing their jobs include 43 actors and musicians, plus dancers, media specialists, prop handlers, food service workers and support staff.

The layoffs didn't come as too big a surprise, since the park, owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, announced in January it would be ending all its theatrical productions and later said it was definitely staying open but also maybe looking for a buyer.

We bet that somewhere in heaven, TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch are looking down from their $100,000 motorhome for dogs or their $50 million jet (it's there with them — you've heard of the spiritual plane, haven't you?) and crying at what's become of their beautiful ministry. Guess the audiences that made The Passion of the Christ a hit weren't willing to travel to see some bloody Jesus-whipping.

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Religion

One Million Moms (One Mom) Poutraged Over 'Demonic' Disney Show

Man, that mom is always SO MAD.

The One Million Moms, who are actually just one mom who works for the American Family Association and is named Monica Cole, are very upset about a thing. Again. And surprise, that thing is stupid! Just like their other recent freakouts about Burger King's Impossible Whopper, Hallmark showing a commercial with two women getting married, a Hotels.com commercial that used the word condom, Toy Story 4, a Cottonelle flushable wipe commercial featuring a gay couple, and Highlights Magazine.

This time "they" are mad about a Disney show called "The Owl House," which they say is demonic, because of how they think demons are real. Also because it is simultaneously too "secular." Which is not allowed in America, as we all know.

Via One Million Moms:

In The Owl House, Disney introduces kids to a world of demons, witches, and sorcery while inundating their young minds with secular worldviews that reflect the current culture.

Disney describes the storyline as follows: "Luz, a self-assured teenage human girl, stumbles upon a portal to a magical new world where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and an adorably tiny warrior, King." After meeting Eda, Luz decides to skip summer camp, where her mother had sent her for a dose of reality, and pursue her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda's apprentice.

The show makes light of hell and the dangers of the demonic realm. Even the previews and commercials include such content that makes it difficult for families who watch Disney Channel to avoid the evil content completely.

"Evil content."

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Class War

Why Does This Jesus Man Want Restaurants To Fail?

Yet another explanation for why you're not rich, you loser.

Twitter is a wonderful place where you can find cute animal videos and also complete idiots, like this thought from a guy called "Dave Ramsey," a bestselling writer of books on financial success. According to the wiki, Mr. Ramsey's books and radio show advocate "a fiscally disciplined approach to personal and household finances, including the strict management of debt, and often feature a Christian perspective."

We'd never heard of him before today, but here he is, explaining how to get out of debt:

If you're working on paying off debt, the only time you should see the inside of a restaurant is if you're working there.

Like a lot of common sense financial advice, it sounds very sensible and straightforward. And for most people, about as useful as the rightwing geniuses who explain that nobody would ever go bankrupt from medical bills if only they didn't waste their money on iPhones instead.

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Religion

Trump's Jesus Lady, Paula White, Wants Your Electric Bill Money

Okay, NOW WE'RE MAD.

Paula White, Trump's personal Bible lady, wants your money. Not just some of your money, all of it. Every last dime. And if you don't give it to her, that will mean that you don't even like God at all and instead want to worship your utility provider.

This is a no-brainer for those of us who do not believe in God, or those who do not believe in Paula White, but a whole lot of people out there actually do.

In an in-depth Mother Jones profile on White, Stephanie Mencimer highlighted the conflict between White's position in the White House and her personal ministry and televangelism career, and the way that is complicated by the fact that churches that endorse political candidates can get into trouble with the IRS. It's even further complicated by the fact that White's gimmick is Prosperity Gospel, a flavor of evangelicalism in which preachers ask congregants to give them lots and lots of money in order to win "favors" from God and become rich themselves. It's quite the scam!

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Religion

Go To Jail, James Bakker. Again.

Bakker wants you to die of coronavirus, for Jesus.

Jim Bakker, that old I Need Your Money For Jesus huckster who did a five-year stint in the federal slammer for fleecing his flock faithful, has been back on low-budget cable for a few years now, mostly selling nigh-inedible survival meal buckets to get you through the End Times and explaining that Planned Parenthood performs Satanic rites, free with every abortion. Ever the kind of fellow to hop on the latest trend, Bakker is now hawking a "silver solution" that just might cure the COVID-19 coronavirus, which now has an official name. Here's the spiel, as captured by the nice folks at Right Wing Watch.

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Feminininism

Are You A 'Republican Goddess?' If So, We Have Found Your Future Husband.

Surely there are many 'Republican Goddesses' who read Wonkette

Finding true love is never easy. Or maybe sometimes it is, I don't know your lives. But clearly, it hasn't been easy for the Reverend William. Who is the Reverend William, you say? I'm not actually sure. Mostly he is a guy who seems like he'd be a vaguely spooky non-main character in a Stephen King movie — and he is going ALL OUT to find the "Republican Goddess" of his dreams. And by "all out," I mean handing out business cards and creating a janky looking website with 85,000 pictures of himself looking increasingly unhinged.

I came across this self-described "awesome gentleman" through a tweet from Vice's Anna Merlan, and boy — if there has been any time in my life where I have regretted being a Republican, this was not it.

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Religion

Trump Vows At Prayer Breakfast To Hunt Down Jesus's Real Killers, The Democrats Who Impeached Him

How evangelical!

Donald Trump showed his ass this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast. This'll come as quite the shock to Susan Collins, who believed the president would find God, repent, and change into a better man. The Senate only acquitted Trump. It didn't curse him with a human soul.

Trump was as petty and vindictive as ever. He didn't temper his remarks or behavior for the moment or the setting. He waved around newspaper front pages with "TRUMP ACQUITTED" headlines. Trump is very proud of his "good enough" presidential diploma. Nancy Pelosi, Trump's arch-nemesis, was present and likely deeply offended, as she is an actual religious person who can touch a Bible without bursting into flame. The prayer breakfast is supposed to be a non-partisan event, but there was no possibility of these two hugging it out. Trump could barely stay awake during Pelosi's own speech -- though in fairness she droned on about "the poor and persecuted." Trump did snap back to consciousness when he heard "persecuted" because that's what President Job considers himself.

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Crime

Mormon Doomsday Novelist Claims Ghost Of Dead Wife Hooked Him Up With Mom Of Missing Kids

This just keeps getting weirder.

Lori Vallow — aka the Mormon Doomsday Cult Mom — was ordered to show up to court in Idaho on Thursday with her children, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow, who haven't been seen since this fall. Shockingly enough, she did not make it. It is not known whether she returned to Idaho or if she has remained in Hawaii where she has been living with her new husband, Mormon doomsday novelist Chad Daybell, since November.

It's... a lot of a lot.

There's also a new development, of sorts, in the case, and somehow it is no less bizarre than everything else going on with these people.

Kauai landlord Jeani Martin says that on November 7, the couple showed up unannounced at her house about renting her master bedroom, claiming that God had led them there. You know, because God is a big HGTV fan and has very strong opinions on real estate. Does not miss an episode of "Property Brothers," that guy.

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