While the existence of religious fanatics are, without a doubt, the biggest and most direct cause to many of the world's problems, it's impossible for me to say that life would really be better without them. For one extremely immediate thing, I wouldn't have this column for VICE, and I enjoy money. But a more universal reason is that, damn, they make life a hell of a lot of fun. As George Carlin put it, “When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front-row seat.” And these religious folks are the bearded ladies, gentlemen geeks, conjoined twins, fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, lobster boys, and elephant men, all rolled into one.
For example, without insane religious folks, we'd never have the occasion to celebrate JesusWeen.
Yes, this is a real thing.
JesusWeen is an effort put on by Christians to take over the pagan celebration of Halloween by hitting the streets and handing out Bibles, religious tracts, and other “Christian gifts” to friends and strangers, all to spread the word that Jesus Christ is blah-blah-blah-and-so-on. Putting the inherent hilarity aside for a moment, what this most-pressingly means is that there are certain to be some very awkward trick-or-treat exchanges this year. Kids with close-cropped hair and conservative clothes coming to the door, the homeowners offering candy, and the children pushing that aside and instead offering up a stack of Bibles.
Which means, of course, if you're still trying to find that perfect Halloween costume, well, you just did.
Onto the roundup!
- Republican US Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said, “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that's something God intended to happen.”
- The Church of the Valley in Leakey, Texas put up a sign stating, “Vote for the Mormon, not the Muslim! The Capitalist, not the Communist!” Because, yes, it's clear if you read the Bible that Jesus would have been all about the free market.
- Two members of the band Pussy Riot started serving their jail sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after being sent to reportedly brutal women's prison camps far from their Moscow homes.
- The face of Jesus was spotted in mold behind some dude's fridge in the UK. However, since he was an atheist, he simply took a photo and wiped it off. “It might look like Jesus but I've got three kids and can't be dealing with mold in my house.”
- Have you yet seen a Christian pastor perform an exorcism to rid a parishioner of the “gay sex demon” that makes him do dirty, filthy things with other gents? No? Not yet? Well, time to check that off your to-do list for the day.
- Not only do those constantly threatened by unmanned drones have to worry about being killed by missiles, but apparently the drones themselves have been known to malfunction and more-than-occasionally just crash into the ground. Also, there's shit like this going on: “In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed.” This is how Skynet started.
- Speaking of drones, a Pakistani man whose father was killed in a drone strike filed a lawsuit in the UK to attempt to classify the strikes as war crimes, forcing the UK to stop sharing locational intelligence with the US, and making the whole drone thing that much harder.
- Outside an Oregon Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion protestor Christopher Tolhurst stabbed a dude seven times in the abdomen and neck. The whole thing's already thick with irony, but what's even better is that this specific Planned Parenthood doesn't even perform abortions, it just provides health services.
- A Palestinian man was killed in the latest Palestinian/Israel bombing back-and-forth. Egypt, meanwhile, has apparently been upping their anti-Semitic rhetoric. For example, the Egyptian president mouthed the word “Amen” after an influential Iman's prayer called for Israel's destruction—which means everyone's going to continue to sleep uneasy in that region.
- At least nine people were killed in a series of car bombs and mortar attacks that took place in the Shia districts of Baghdad.
- Ahmed Farah Ilyas, a Somali journalist, was assassinated in his home, the 16th journalist to be killed in the country this year. Before his death, Ilyas was writing a story about a land-mine explosion that was most likely the work of Islamist militants.
- A suicide bombing at a mosque in Afghanistan killed at least 41 people. According to eyewitnesses the attacker was wearing a police uniform, which is why he wasn't searched.
- A judge said a group of Texas public high school cheerleaders can continue writing Bible verses on their rah-rah banners in order to, I guess, get their team pumped up to crush some skulls for the Lord? No doubt this case is not yet over.
- After the release of the pro-Obama ad in which Lena Dunham reminisces about her “first time” voting for him—using, mind you, all sorts of sexually-suggestive language and what-not, which is the joke—conservatives proved their lack of humor-understanding-capabilities by claiming that Dunham's being advised by Satan.
- And Our Person of the Week: A bit late, but an award has to go to CNN's Carol Costello, who brought on Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association to provide a reason why the group wants to bring an end to the anti-bullying “Mix It Up At Lunch” Day campaign. (Their idiotic reason: It's a “thinly-veiled attempt to push the normalization of homosexual behavior in public schools.”) When the interview devolved into a spouting of nonsensical “facts” and simple hate-speech, she just cut him off and ended the interview. That kind of thing should be done more often. You don't need to give equal time to idiotic assholes. On the same topic, a bonus Person(s) of the Week are these two lovely ladies who made out in public to the gasps-of-horror by old French ladies protesting the passage of a pro-same-sex marriage bill. Well done, ladies!