First up from the God Machine this week is a look at TV preacher -- and prominent GOP activist -- Pat Robertson, who assured his followers that Republicans would win the White House and Congress in 2012. Robertson knew this with certainty, he said, because God himself told the televangelist what would happen.
This week, Robertson suggested there may have been a divine miscommunication.
For those who can't watch clips online, Robertson conceded, "So many of us miss God. I won't get into great detail about elections but I sure did miss it. I thought I heard from God; I thought I had heard clearly from God. What happened? "You ask God, 'How did I miss it?' Well, we all do and I've had a lot of practice."
The next time Robertson claims to speak for God, and to receive special messages about the future directly from Heaven, the televangelist's followers may want to keep this incident in mind.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* A federal judge reached a tentative ruling this week, blocking officials in Santa Monica, California, from incorporating Nativity scenes in state-sponsored holiday displays this winter. Nativity scenes will, of course, remain legal on private property.
* It took longer than expected, but in Tennessee, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro opened its doors last weekend. Local anti-Muslim activists had gone to court in the hopes of blocking its construction.
* With Thanksgiving having come and gone, it's time once again for conservatives to complain incessantly about a "war on Christmas."
* Leaders of the Church of England this week rejected an effort to allow women bishops, despite the fact that women already represent a third of the church's clergy, and hold senior positions within the church, including canon and archdeacon.
* And a Florida woman was caught this week going 100 mph in a 30-mph zone, but the motorist defended herself saying she was speeding "because I was letting the Lord spirit guide me." For some reason, that didn't prove persuasive and she was arrested anyway (thanks to R.P for the tip).