Overheard (April 2021)

No more hopes and prayers, thoughts and prayers. A vote is what we need, a vote, not thoughts and prayers.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, vowing that the Senate would vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which passed the House March 17 in a 227-203 vote.

Fox News, 3-17-21

I am being made a criminal for posting a f****ing photograph on Instagram. . . . We are going backwards in time, more backward thinking. It is a violation of the most basic human laws. . . . I don’t think the public know the details of the level of harassment I have been through. It is getting monstrous, and it is a growing tide of censorship and harassment.

Polish heavy-metal singer Adam “Nergal” Graski, after appealing a sentence for blasphemy after stepping on a photo of the Virgin Mary in an Instagram post.

The Irish Times, 2-24-21

It was not surprising that the majority of Pakistan chose to hail my father’s killer as a hero, as they are brainwashed into believing that blasphemy laws are essential to their existence.

Mashal Naseem, daughter of Tahir Naseem, the U.S. citizen who was murdered in Pakistan over blasphemy allegations.

Vice.com, 2-23-21

You used God to enslave my foreparents. You used God to segregate me in school. You used God to put me in the back of the bus. Have you no shame? . . . This is not about God. It’s about men who choose to discriminate against other people because they have the power to do so.

Rep. Al Green of New York, just prior to the U.S. House passing the Equality Act, in a speech targeted to Republicans who have claimed their religion led them to oppose civil rights protections for LGBTQ persons.

The Friendly Atheist, 2-27-21

The truth is, many conservative Christians embraced Rush Limbaugh because they had already embraced a faith that championed an us-vs.-them militancy, the denigration of liberals and feminists, the sexual objectification of women, an appreciation for coarse language and even violence when directed at the right targets, and a thinly veiled misogyny that kept women in their (God-given) place. . . . Crassness, callousness, righteous violence, and even sexual aggression are signs of God-given, testosterone-driven masculinity.

Kristin Kobes du Mez, in her article “No, Rush Limbaugh did not hack your parents’ Christianity.”

Religion Dispatches, 2-22-21

The case against “education savings accounts,” as those attempting to make vouchers seem more appealing call them, is not complicated. There is the issue of separation of church and state when sending taxpayer money to religious institutions. Private and charter schools don’t have to follow the same regulations that public schools do, leaving kids at risk.

Amy Moore, in an op-ed, “Iowa should renew its public schools, not abandon them.

Des Moines Register, 2-20-21

The Supreme Court has increasingly exempted religious believers from government regulations, and it is clear by their statements that individual justices on the right think religion is under siege in America.

Joan Biskupic, in the article, “Right-wing justices think religion is under siege. Will the full Supreme Court follow?”

CNN, 2-17-21

I’m actually not surprised that evangelicals are more likely to believe those kinds of things. Evangelicals are not socially isolated, but they are informationally isolated.

Samuel Perry, a professor of sociology at the University of Oklahoma, about how the QAnon conspiracy theory takes hold among evangelicals more than others.

FiveThirtyEight.com, 3-4-21

Atheists, in general, are understudied. And when they are studied, they are not studied well.

David Speed, professor of psychology at the University of New Brunswick in St. John, Canada.

Religion News Service, 3-4-21