The Most Absurd Religious Right Headlines of the Week (and One Hopeful Humanist One)
A remarkable week in religious news got off to a roaring start when it was revealed that former mega-church pastor Mark Driscoll once likened women to “penis homes” in a pseudonymous blog post he wrote 13 years ago. Driscoll who recently stepped down from the pulpit at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington over allegations of plagiarism and abuse of power, has now hastened the closing of church branches since his blog post (which he wrote under the name William Wallace II) was revealed.
In response to the question of why God created women, Driscoll wrote: “Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife and when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home.”
Since the post was unearthed by the feminist blogger Libby Ann, Driscoll has refrained from further comments.
Meanwhile, on a more secular front, a poll regarding the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance revealed that a third of Americans supports re-wording the nationalistic covenant to be more inclusive. This has inspired the American Humanist Association to launch a controversial campaign asking people, religious or not, to stop saying the pledge. The association’s goal is to restore the version of the pledge to its pre-1954 form before “under God” was added during McCarthyism as a way to differentiate the U.S. from the concept of perceived communist atheism. Pre-1954 versions did not include the phrase “under God,” but read:
I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
“We want everyone to know that the current wording of the pledge discriminates against atheists and others who are good without a god, and we want them to stand up for fairness by sitting down until the pledge is restored to its original, unifying form,” the association’s executive director Roy Speckhardt told the Washington Times.
But as secularists are trying to remove religion from the nation’s pledge, one former Republican senator suggests that the government label secularism a religion so it could be banned in schools. Rick Santorum told conservative radio host Bryan Fischer “the idea that, if you take religion out of the public square, if you take the Bible out of the classroom, that that’s neutral, well, no it’s not neutral! It’s a different worldview! I think we should start calling secularism a religion, because if we did, then we could ban that, too.”
In the past, Santorum has led the charge to put Christian values into the public sector, especially in schools where he believes the atheist worldview is being pushed on students.
To top off this eventful week in religion, a rarely used Pennsylvania law came into play that protects religious objects from desecration, even if they haven’t been physically manipulated or harmed. As part of a prank, a 14-year-old boy posted photographs of himself thrusting his crotch into the face of a kneeling Jesus statue. Under the 42-year-old law, he’s been charged with desecrating a sacred object after he posted the photographs to his Facebook page. The photos do not show the boy violating any indecency laws (he was wearing pants). The ministry where the statue is located did not press charges, but the state police are pursuing charges nonetheless.