Heathens serving in the American military can now sport beards as part of their faith.

Soldiers that consider themselves part of the many religious traditions that make up what we call modern Heathenry have had the option since 2013 to have their military tombstone marked with a Hammer of Thor, instead of the traditional Christian crosses and Stars of David that most often adorn the stone markers. Read the rest

Quakers release podcast of silent meeting

A young Quakers group in Nottingham, England released this 30-minute podcast of a silent meeting, complete with the ambient room sounds. John Cage would be proud. Read the rest

Mom rouses sleeping son on Easter morning by tazing him: "Get up! It's Jesus' day!"

Phoenix-area mom Sharron Dobbins felt like her her teenaged son wasn't getting up quickly enough on Easter Sunday, so she tazed him in the leg while shouting "Get up! Read the rest

Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer

Ototo's Flying Spaghetti Monster pasta strainer is a houseware, a religious artefact and a novelty item, all rolled into one $17 package! (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

People pissed at parish for drone delivery of eucharist

The congregation of Brazil's São Geraldo Magela church seemed delighted as a drone outfitted with a monstrance containing the eucharist floats up the aisle to their priest at the altar. Read the rest

Parkland student activists drive American right berzerk, supercharge attack on public education

While people around the world were inspired by the resilience, fearlessness and savvy of the students who created a national gun-control movement in the wake of the Parkland shooting, American right-wing leaders looked at these kids and saw evidence of the urgency to destroy public education and replace it with religious private schools and charter schools. Read the rest

Vatican: More trained exorcists needed to fight the demonic

According to the Vatican, demonic possessions are on the uptick. In order to meet the rising demand for assistance by those assailed by the demonic, the Vatican-backed International Association of Exorcists will be holding a training course for Priests interested in fighting the demonic. Read the rest

Afterparty: neuro-technothriller

Afterparty is a new, excellent science fiction novel by Daryl Gregory, about drugs, God, sanity, morals, and organized crime. Its protagonist, Lyda Rose is a disgraced neuroscientist who once helped develop a drug that rewired its users' brains so that they continuously hallucinated the presence of living, embodied Godhead. Read the rest

Hobby Lobby, IUDs, and the facts

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this year whether a corporation can have religious beliefs. Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the science of birth control, and how it might inform the debate.

White, right-wing terrorist busted...and hardly a peep

Last week, the FBI arrested Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, of Katy, Texas. Talbot was the self-styled head of the American Insurgent Movement, which openly plotted to massacre Moslems at mosques and kill them with automatic weapons, sought to rob armored cars, and recruited followers to sow more mayhem. Read the rest

House Science Committee: a parliament of Creationists, Climate Deniers (and dunces)

Writing in Scientific American, Ashutosh Jogalekar bemoans the famously terrible state of the House Committee on Science, a farcical body stuffed with climate deniers and young Earth creationists. Read the rest

Man swept to sea in beach baptism

The search for a 43-year old man, swept out to sea during a baptism on a south California beach, was called off this weekend: "A wave pulled three people into the ocean about 10 a.m. Read the rest

Expiration Day: YA coming of age novel about robots and the end of the human race

Expiration Day is William Campbell Powell's debut YA novel, and it's an exciting start. The novel is set in a world in which human fertility has collapsed, taking the birth-rate virtually to zero, sparking riots and even a limited nuclear war as the human race realizes that it may be in its last days. Read the rest

Oh No Ross and Carrie: podcasting investigative journalists join cults, try woo, and get prodded -- for science!

I've just finished listening to the entire, three-year run of Oh No Ross and Carrie, a podcast hosted by two former Evangelical Christians turned skeptics, who join cults and fringe religions, visit psychics and healers of varying degrees of woo-ness, and partake of quack remedies and other newage rituals. Read the rest

Trailer for a fan-supported film based on Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons" tract

Dark Dungeons is a notorious 1984 Jack Chick tract that warns the readers about the danger of being embroiled in soul-destroying Satanic cults through playing Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs. Read the rest

Child's illustrated garden of Satanic ritual abuse

In 1990, in the middle of the moral panic over Satanic ritual abuse (an almost entirely imaginary phenomenon), Doris Sanford published "Don't Make Me Go Back, Mommy," which was "based on months of intensive research into the nature and practice of satanic ritual abuse." Sanford claimed that "Any child who has been ritually abused will recognize the validity of this story."

The story is a lurid, freakish illustrated tale ripped from tabloids and sensationalist memoirs, which was supposed to help parents, teachers and social workers help kids who'd been victims of this nonexistent epidemic. Read the rest

Devotees froze dead guru

After Indian guru Ashutosh Maharaj of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) died in January of a suspected heart attack, his followers let his body sit a week before finally putting him in a freezer. Read the rest

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