First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the reactions from the religious right movement to this week's Supreme Court ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. As one might imagine, the movement's leaders were less than pleased.
TV preacher Pat Robertson, for example, said on his nationally televised program that he wonders whether Justice Anthony Kennedy has "some clerks who happen to be gays." In Robertson's mind, this is a sensible question -- since it's not possible that Kennedy, who wrote the DOMA ruling, based his decision on equal protection and due process, there just has to be something else. And blaming some rascally gay clerk, who may or may not exist, for somehow influencing the justice, makes more sense than the alternatives.
Also note in the clip that Robertson asks right-wing lawyer Jay Sekulow, who heads Robertson's legal group, about the sexual orientation of federal district court Judge Vaughn Walker, who first ruled on the constitutionality of Prop. 8, as if Walker's personal life is relevant (it's not).
Robertson's conspiracy theory, of course, was really just the tip of an unhinged iceberg, Right Wing Watch rounded up all kinds of religious right reactions to developments at the Supreme Court -- some of which were almost amusing in their over-the-top vitriol. My personal favorite was the obscure far-right group that compared the ruling to Pearl Harbor.
Salon's Alex Halperin also had a good collection of reactions from social conservatives, including an inconsolable Mike Huckabee.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* The Roman Catholic Church ran into a different kind of controversy this week, with these unexpected developments at the Holy See: "A Vatican official already under investigation for money laundering was arrested after police say they caught him and two other men plotting a scheme that would bring in 20 million euros (about $26 million) in cash into Italy from Switzerland on a jet" (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* The British government this week banned anti-Islam activist Pam Geller from attending a right-wing rally in the U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May personally decided to exclude Geller under the country's "Unacceptable Behavior policy."
* And Time magazine's Joe Klein published a piece this week on military veterans using public service to reduce the effects of posttraumatic stress, but in the article, the political columnist took a gratuitous shot at secularists: "[F]unny how you don't see organized groups of secular humanists giving out hot meals." When evidence to the contrary proved overwhelming, Klein published a follow-up piece, but did not apologize or correct his factual error.