First up from the God Machine this week is a look at some remarkable comments from a religious right activist named Gary Cass, a former Republican Party official in San Diego who now heads a group called the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.
In this clip, Cass shares his vision at a Texas conference called "Deliver Us From Evil" where he was a featured speaker.
My friend Kyle Mantyla summarized:
Cass, who normally spends most of his time attacking President Obama, Muslims,gays, and Mormons, spent an hour and a half blasting America for having a "broken moral compass" for electing politicians who support things like reproductive choice and marriage equality. Cass went on to declare that the nation's colleges and universities have "now become perverted factories of unfaithfulness," especially Harvard which is now "animated by the spirit of Antichrist," before attacking "progressive Christians" as ones who "have murdered their own souls, destroyed their own churches, and have undermined our nation."
Finally, Cass explained to the audience that "you can't be a Christian if you don't own a gun."
For the record, that last part wasn't a joke. Cass' read on the New Testament leads him to believe Christianity and firearm ownership are inextricably linked.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* As if Florida voters didn't have enough important races to consider, there will also be an initiative on the ballot on whether to change the state constitution to allow public funding of religious ministries. The right considers this critically important to the larger goal of privatizing public education.
* Evangelical author Rachel Held Evans' new book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, is due to reach shelves this week, detailing her year-long experience trying to closely follow the Bible's rules for women. She's having trouble with some Christian bookstores, however, who refuse to sell a book that includes the word "vagina" (thanks to reader R.P. for the tip).
* The Public Religion Research Institute published an interesting report this week on the religious coalitions supporting President Obama and Mitt Romney.
* Following up on an item we recently discussed, Mormon blogger David Twede has resigned his membership in his faith, rather than wait for possible excommunication. Twede was accused of apostasy for writing critical online essays about LDS traditions.
* And the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami was hit this week with a new round of sexual-abuse allegations including Father Rolando Garcia, who was the target of related charges from other alleged victims in 2009.