...Robertson offered gruesome details about how an atheist father would react to watching intruders behead his wife and rape and kill his two daughters while they also cut off his penis .... which would supposedly somehow prove a point about following God's laws. "I'll make a bet with you," Robertson said. "Two guys break into an atheist's home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, 'Isn't it great that I don't have to worry about being judged? Isn't it great that there's nothing wrong with this? There's no right or wrong, now is it dude?'" Robertson kept going: "Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, 'Wouldn't it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you're the one who says there is no God, there's no right, there's no wrong, so we're just having fun. We're sick in the head, have a nice day.'"
First up from the God Machine this week are some striking comments from a reality television star, kicking up an unexpected dust storm.
Back in December 2013, Phil Robertson, one of the stars of a show called "Duck Dynasty," touched off a culture-war fight with controversial comments about minority groups. A&E, which airs the reality show, suspended him, causing an uproar on the far-right.
Robertson has remained a notable figure in conservative circles -- his recent CPAC appearance raised eyebrows, and just this week he received continued support from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) -- but it was the reality star's remarks at a Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast that put Robertson back in the national spotlight.
At the same event, Robertson went on to say that American liberals follow Satan and are worse than Stalin and the Nazis.
Remember, all of this was at a prayer breakfast.
Ed Kilgore added, "[T]his guy is just an actor, right? Maybe so, but he was also a featured speaker at this year's CPAC event, and has been hailed as a great and wise American by more Republican pols than you can count. Hell, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal may ultimately come to blows over their competing claims to be the dude's best friend."
And now Phil Robertson is apparently sharing the details of a twisted theological wisdom -- and offering a peek into a specific religious perspective -- which by any fair measure is pretty disgusting.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* In light of Indiana's new right-to-discriminate law, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), headquartered in Indianapolis for nearly a century, is considering relocating.
* A bold statement from an Episcopalian leader: "Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church and one of the most powerful women in Christianity, said that climate change was a moral imperative akin to that of the civil rights movement. She said it was already a threat to the livelihoods and survival of people in the developing world."
* In light of the above report, we should probably keep this news from Phil Robertson: "Portland, Ore., is No. 1 on the list of metropolitan areas with the most religiously unaffiliated residents (42%), according to the nonpartisan and nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute's American Values Atlas, a survey of 50,000 people. Seattle and San Francisco were tied at second place."
* And TV preacher Pat Robertson told his viewers in reference to the 2016 presidential race, "I wish Reagan would rise from the dead and come back." It's not at all clear whether Zombie Reagan would be constitutionally eligible.