First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the controversy that erupted after North Carolina pastor Charles Worley's anti-gay screed at his Providence Road Baptist Church.
For those who can't watch clips online, Worley's Mother's Day sermon included these comments:
"I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers but I couldn't get it pass the Congress: build a great big large fence, 50 or 100 mile long. Put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can't get out. And you know what? In a few years they will die out. You know why? They can't reproduce. [...]
"I tell ya right now, somebody said, 'Who you gonna vote for?' I ain't gonna vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover! You said, 'Did you mean to say that?' You better believe I did!"
As news outlets picked up on Worley's hateful harangue, his critics organized a protest march in the community, scheduled for tomorrow. As many as 2,000 people are expected to participate. What's more, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has been quick to note that neither Worley nor his congregation is affiliated with the convention, and the leadership of the Baptist State Convention "does not support or agree with his (Worley's) comments."
Also from the God Machine this week:
* Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed an anti-Shariah bill into law yesterday, prohibiting state courts from using Islamic laws in their rulings. Were state courts using Islamic laws before? Well, no, but the unnecessary law makes Kansas Republicans feel better anyway.
* In Kentucky, Pastor Ronnie Spriggs urged his congregation to vote against President Obama, which generated an IRS complaint from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Soon after, a video of the sermon that had been posted on church's website disappeared.
* Speaking of church politicking, several churches in Maine will be raising money this weekend to combat marriage equality. Because it's an issue campaign, not affiliated with a specific candidate or party, such efforts are legal.
* And Alternet's Greta Christina had an interesting piece the other day piece on the growing political and fundraising clout of atheist groups (thanks to R.P. for the tip).