First up from the God Machine this week are startling remarks from a religious right leader about women in society, just as women voters become the central focus of both presidential campaigns.
As my friend Kyle Mantyla reported at Right Wing Watch, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer used his radio show earlier in the week to argue against women serving in leadership positions anywhere in society.
According to Fischer, "masculine leadership in society over the nation" is "God's basic plan for today," and "political leadership ought to be ... reserved for the hands of males." Anticipating criticism, the religious right leader added that those who believe in gender equality won't offer a "reasoned" response to his shameless misogyny.
Yes, this guy considers himself a credible arbiter of what is and isn't "reasoned" discourse.
It's almost as if Fischer, a Mitt Romney supporter, is trying to give the left a little additional motivation to turn out on Election Day.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* In Kountze, Texas: "A judge on Thursday gave a group of cheerleaders here a temporary victory in their fight to display Bible verses on banners at public school football games, allowing them to continue to use the signs for the rest of the season."
* Less than a year after prominent Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress condemned Romney's faith -- he said the candidate is "a member of a cult" -- Jeffress now says he's "made peace" with Romney's Mormonism because he opposes President Obama more.
* On a related note, a reference to Mormonism as a cult was scrubbed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association after Graham met privately with Romney.
* Another church-based sex scandal, this time involving Sovereign Grace Ministries: "Three female plaintiffs claim an evangelical church group covered up allegations of sexual abuse against children, failed to report accusations to the police and discouraged its members from cooperating with law enforcement, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday" (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* And a week after Dinesh D'Souza accused President Obama of "attacking the traditional values agenda" and "traditional morality," the conservative pseudo-intellectual activist reportedly shared a hotel room with a woman who was not his wife at a religious conference. On Thursday, he resigned as president of an evangelical Christian college in New York.