First up from the God Machine this week is the curious religio-political criticism directed at the fiscal agreement approved by policymakers in Washington this week. It didn't really occur to me that there might be a theological angle to the story, but I underestimated Bryan Fischer.
For those who can't watch clips online, my friend Kyle Mantyla reported:
Bryan Fischer is not at all pleased with the legislation passed last night by the House of Representatives in an effort to avoid the "fiscal cliff," declaring that it is a violation of the Ten Commandments' prohibition on covetousness, meaning that the Democratic Party is driven by a "Satanic" ideology and the resulting legislation is "demonic."
There was no word from Fischer as to why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would help craft a "demonic" fiscal agreement -- or for that matter, why 125 congressional Republicans voted for it.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* When there's a natural disaster, and affected areas are eligible for FEMA grants, funding damaged or destroyed houses of worship can raise difficult questions, most notably constitutional concerns related to public funding of religious institutions.
* I suspect many congressional Republicans won't care for the pope's New Year's message: "Pope Benedict said in his New Year's message on Tuesday he hoped 2013 would be a year of peace and that the world was under threat from unbridled capitalism, terrorism and criminality" (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* In Jacksonville, N.C., this week, members of the Baysden Chapel Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church trooped down to the Onslow County School Board building to demand that public school students be allowed to pray voluntarily. When officials explained that students already have that right, the church members said there'd been a "misunderstanding" and quickly ended their protest.
* Pathetic: "In Italy, a Catholic priest has stirred widespread outrage after he blamed incidents of domestic violence on the way women dress. Father Piero Corsi's remarks were in a Christmas message he put on a church bulletin board; photos of the note soon went viral.... The title of message was 'Women and Femicide, How often do they provoke?'"