Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry was the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a now-dormant site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He was the Editor-in-Chief of two Manhattan-based magazines until he decided to give up commercial publishing for professional photography... with a lot of blogging on the side. These days, he lives in an old seaside farmhouse in Maine with his wife, three kids, and two big dogs.
This kid, Ali Ahmed, is amazing. He speaks with poise and clarity and reason, and his arguments really do seem to come from deep within, rather than being a collection of learned-by-rote platitudes. The Arab world does not have to devolve into a pit of fundie misery. If it doesn’t, this young man — and other brave, brainy whippersnappers like him — will be the reason why. Read more
50% Jack Schaap, 50% P.T. Barnum, 100% monster: Larry Durant, 58, is charged with the sexual assault of three female church members. The minister at Word International Ministries in South Carolina has a criminal record, and many now wonder how Durant was allowed to hold a position of power. Durant allegedly used his position to get close to his victims, two of whom are between the ages of 11 and 14. He told the victims that the sexual acts were part of the “healing process” and “private prayer,” detectives told WLTX News. Court documents added that Durant said he was preventing them from “contracting sexual diseases or becoming pregnant early.” The pastor’s rap sheet lists convictions for selling pot, selling alcohol to a minor, burglary, and grand larceny. In a completely unrelated story, in South Carolina, churches are not required to perform background checks on candidates for clergy positions. [Click headline for more…] Read more
Pornography is the new bubonic plague. That’s according to Jay Dennis, pastor of the Church of the Mall in Lakeland, Florida. We’ll have to assume that Dennis is engaging in a little over-the-top hyperbole, because bubonic plague has a mortality rate of up to 75%; if a proportional impact was seen among Americans who like to look at pictures of other people getting it on, no doubt we’d see more than a hundred million corpses rotting in our streets and homes. Yes, porn is popular and plentiful, and these days it’s mostly free. This is a big problem for nannies, who simply cannot brook the thought of other people having fun, especially if there are various stages of undress involved. Dennis is issuing a call for one million Christian men to live porn-free. They must promise God, their pastors, and their wives/girlfriends that they’ll go cold turkey. Why has Dennis turned into a smutfighter? When you visit his site, you learn that porn “leads to broken marriages, child abuse, and physical harm”; that it is a “cancer,” a “war,” and a “deadly lure”; as well as “an addiction as powerful as crack” that is spread by “Satan.” [Click headline for more…] Read more
Pope Francis has decided that two of his predecessors were honest-to-God saints. What is the evidence that they were? Posthumous miracles. You see, Popes die, but their work is never done. While Jesus is busy helping millionaires score touchdowns, or dealing with the anger from other millionaires who blame the Son of God for making them drop touchdowns, dead Popes pick up the slack. Enter Sister Marie Simon-Pierre, a French nun whose Parkinson’s-like neurological order reportedly vanished overnight after she wrote Pope John Paul II’s name on a piece of paper, months after he died. [Click headline for more…] Read more
A few days ago, the Senate in North Carolina tinkered with a bill called the Family, Faith, and Freedom Protection Act of 2013. It had been referred to as the anti-Sharia bill, but that was before the lawmakers pulled a creative switcheroo (or maybe adderoo). The Atlantic explains: The North Carolina Senate is not only considering an anti-Sharia (or Islamic law) bill passed in the state’s House earlier this year, they’ve tricked it out with a whole new issue. House Bill 695, which began as a cookie-cutter ban on the use of foreign law in family law and custody cases, now would implement several restrictions on abortion services in the state. [Click headline for more…] Read more