Snakehandler Update


Not only was Ted Haggard a busier perv than we thought, he’s not the only perv at his “church”. Signorile:

A Colorado Springs bail bondsman and sometime bounty hunter who has been investigating New Life Church and Ted Haggard for several years appeared on my show late on Friday and told me that he now has information on ten more cases of sexual misconduct on the part of Ted Haggard and that three of these involve minors. He also said that New Life Church had suppressed from the media an earlier case of a pastor at the church (which has many pastors under the senior pastor) who was convicted of sexual assault against a child under the age of 15 and got off easy with help from the church, only to later have his probation revoked. The convicted pastor then illegally left the country, he said, and he speculates that New Life Church may have helped him do so.

Is there something in the fucking water?

Bobby Brown, reading from what he said was a detective’s affidavit, told me that the pastor, Stephen Evans, was convicted in 1999 of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy and admitted to sexual contact with his own 14-year-old son and his own 15-year-old daughter, in a case that Brown says was somehow kept out of the media and has not been reported until now. Brown says that with the help and backing of New Life Church, Evans served no jail time at all, cutting a plea deal in which he’d agree to a “restoration” at the church — yes, just like the one that Ted Haggard went through to supposedly make him straight! — while serving five years on probation. It is likely that Ted Haggard, as senior pastor at the time, oversaw Evans’ restoration.

Wonder if Ted helped de-gay him.

So what do the fundies do when they’re not touching kids? They try to keep the truth from coming out:

You can’t see Russia from Texas.

But that’s where some of the money that helped an effort aiming to kill a probe investigating whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin acted inappropriately in firing the state’s public safety chief came from.

Gift records show that an evangelical group and two law firms working with it shelled out $185,000 to represent six Alaska legislators in an unsuccessful bid to quash the state legislature’s investigation into “troopergate.”

The evangelical group — Liberty Legal Institute — is affiliated with Focus on the Family’s James Dobson. Liberty is the legal arm of the Free Market Foundation, which “lists its guiding principles as limited government and promotion of Judeo-Christian values,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Judeo-Christian values like quashing investigations in potential illegal activity?

The lawyer who defended the Legislative Council against that lawsuit and two others seeking to stop the “troopergate” investigation was shocked when called by the Anchorage Daily News.

“Wow,” he said.

Shocked I am to find fundies and snakehandlers fucking around in politics. Shocked.


Makes wingnuts whining about organizing poor people via ACORN seem puny.

Shocked I am to find fundies and snakehandlers fucking around in politics. Shocked.
“Your winnings, Sir.”

the church (which has many pastors under the senior pastor)
I’ll just bet they do. Watch out Catholics–the fundies are catching up in the kid-touching sex scandal competition. This is no time to rest on your laurels.

I just went to that CCN.TV site. One of the featured vids is this one:David Staal: “Where Do I Start Sharing the Gospel with My Kids?”


Actually, there is something in the water down in Colorado Springs — reminds me why I hated going there. Nothing like a town based solely off the fundies, the Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

@Mistress Cynica: Exactly what I was thinking – they will give kid-touching priests a run for their money. And these fucks are like cockroaches. For every one you see there are, what? A hundred others?

If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.– First Timothy, 3:6


Well, I’m embarrassed by these people. I guess I’m kinda coming out of the closet here a bit to admit that I am, in my heart-of-hearts, actually a Christian. I know that isn’t really popular here among you FSMites, but there it is. The difference here- besides the fact that I sleep with adults instead of children, is that I never try to use my belief as a club, or a step-ladder. It’s just what I believe. And while I’m not defending these loathsome idiots, I feel like I need to defend my faith a bit.

Look, Religion of any kind is like music- like Mozart, say. And as with any piece of music, religion depends on the person interpreting it to show the beauty and majesty of it. A six-year-old playing Mozart is not going to sound like a maestro playing Mozart. But that isn’t Mozart’s fault, right?

These people are six-year-olds playing Mozart. They may be Christians (that isn’t really a determination I am given to make), but they have no understanding, no compassion, and no decency. So when you read stories like this, remember that for every kid-touching Minister there are thousands of people like me: Playing our music for ourselves, and doing the best we can.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again:
I was once a Christian, too. Many many many moon ago.

I have no problem with the true principles of Christianity (love thy neighbor, etc) and their supporters. My scorn for Christianity is focused on the whackadoo fundies, their supporters and their desire to make life as miserable as they want it to be.

In other news, not only is “Obama bumps his head” one of the featured headlines on, but the linked story has over five hundred comments.

I have the flue. That or the galloping death. I woke up, walked to the bathroom, and was poleaxed by a wave of nausea and cold sweats, dizzy.

I am too weak to sit up. I just ate a frozen fruit smoothie, I hope tha stays down. Yucckkk.

ManchuCandidate: Srsly. Vitter’s floor amendment in re ACORN on Friday night (I watched live — C-SPAN2 + whiskey = sweet, beautiful slumber) was pure comedy. I mean: you tried it during the election and it failed miserably. And you try it again, in an attempt to embarass people with a fact that really isn’t embarrassing, and which nobody really cares about anymore. Idiot.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: There is a key, important, worlds-defining value in your comment. And that is: we’re only now finding out that you’re a Christian. I don’t think anyone here actually has a problem with Christianity as Jesus Christ professed that it should be: love and giggles and rainbows (more or less).

The problem is when people take Christianity (or Islam, or Free Market Hand or whatever) and use it as a tool to spread their own special hatreds. The people who you can’t know for 5 minutes before you’re painfully aware that they’re Christian, and that You’re A Sinner In The Eyes Of The Lord! People, in short, for whom their religion is a divisive thing.

I’m not religious. I tried. Never took. However, I’m also not militant about it. Maybe you didn’t know for sure until now that I’m not religious (I can’t recall if I’ve mentioned it before). I hope it never comes up as a point for serious discussion, because it’s just not that important to me.

I guess what I’m saying is that you shouldn’t feel strange in this group of FSMers and whatever Chainsaw is, to be who you are. You don’t beat us over the head with it, so it’s fine with me. Go in peace with the Lord, if that’s your thing. ;)

@Tommmcatt Yet Again

Thoughtful and eloquent words on a difficult subject.

If Christianity and Christians focused more on Christ’s words regarding poverty and forgiveness (mentioned hundreds of times) instead of getting their knickers in a twist over homosexuality (mentioned twice, in the Old Testament), it would be a lot easier to take their moral hectoring. Thankfully, there are many Christians like yourself who quietly use their faith to try and better themselves and the world we live in. Too bad it’s the idiots like Dobbs, Palin, Bush, et al. who loudly use their faith as a club and a weapon that get most of the press on the subject.

Via Con Dios,


@Tommmcatt Yet Again: First Timothy

Or, in the full version:

“The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy”

It always comes back to Paul, who never met Jesus personally, but had a hot flash on his horse. Fucking Pharisees.

@nojo: “Paul the Apostle who had an Epiphany penned an Epistle to Timothy”

I think I just found a great tool for improving my kids’ diction, such as.


In Hartford, Heresford, and Hampshire,
Hamsters hardly whore

@nojo: (tries to dredge up wife’s native and vowel-free tongue twisters, and fails. Advantage Nojo.)

@nabisco: With an assist to Lerner & Loewe

The Fundamental Laws of the Navajo Nation are also quite beautiful and aspirational in speaking of beauty, harmony and justice, but I can tell you from experience that there are a significant number of people who, like Christians, don’t follow the Word. Too bad. I’ll see if I can post a link to it sometime. it’s actually be been codified by the Navajo Nation Council.

@redmanlaw: I would definitely enjoy reading that.

All religions have that problem. Buddhists aren’t immune from it either.

The Buddhists of Korea once were so powerful that they drained the state treasury of any ability to do anything including defend the kingdom from Japanese raiders. It wasn’t till a dynasty destroying coup d’etat happened and the monks were tossed out on their asses and their temples/fortunes confiscated.

The bail bondsman is funny. The story is code for: I see 7 or 8 figures show up in my checking account, maybe I get bored with chasing Pederasts-R-Us.


It DOES all go back to Paul, nee Saul of Tarsus, who before his conversion was a Pharisee- a member of an extremely legalistic Jewish sect ( if you recall, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees at one point in Matthew 23:27 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”) His ministry established many of the basic tenants of Christianity (particularly the idea that the death of Jesus was an act of substitutionary atonement, and that adherence to the Torah was not necessary for salvation), but the legalism of the Pharisees was written in to the early church at this time as well. Most of the inflexible, strictly intrepreted doctrine of, say, the Southern Baptist Church or any of the “independent” Protestant Fundamentalist churches (like the New Life Church) comes from Paul’s rather circumspect and legal tone. Additionally, Paul had an absolute horror of sexuality (he used to speak of a “thorn in his side”, which most scholars interpret as the “sin” of lust) which makes him more than a bit of a crazy on the subject. He was after all, the “better to marry than to burn” guy. Christianity can attribute more than a bit of its’ prudishness to Paul as well…


I wish you would post it, sometime…as you can see, faith of any kind fascinates me…


Just out of curiosity (and trust me, I will NOT try and convert you or anybody here…this is just honest curiosity, pure and simple), do you have a set of beliefs that defines your spirituality (as distinct from religion), or is it just not something that enters your consciousness at all?

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: You provide a lot more detail than I can muster, but yes, that’s my take on Paul: God’s Bureaucrat, the Lord’s Interloper.

It still amazes me that as the story is told, Paul never met Jesus. He has a guilt-trip hallucination on the road, and the other guys take him at his word.

Then again, I’m with Kierkegaard: If you’re gonna have faith, you have to swallow it whole.

I have no problem with religions or religious people per se. One of the greatest principles of our nation is freedom of (and freedom from) religion, which has helped keep the peace here. Live and let live, all that shit.

However! I do have major problems with hypocrisy, which seems to be our country’s defining characteristic, and with those who attack me and mine. I mean, if 85% of this nation believes in “Christian” values–those esposed by pinko, commie, hippie Jew, Jeebus H Cristo, Himself (and not the psychopathic WASPy charlatans, frauds and hucksters that actually dominate Big Religion in America)–then why are we not living in a progressive utopian paradise? Why is our society so relentlessly cruel and stupid? How can people like the neo-fascist Southern Baptists profess their love of Jeebus when in real life they would kick him in the face? Isn’t the Golden Rule the fundamental basis for all modern religions including Christianity?

Obvs, there are some larger psychological and sociological phenomenon at work here, but the fundamental willful failure of most religious peoples’ ability to live up their own ideals, at least on a macro level, is what’s most infuriating and disappointing.

And then there’s Lewis Black’s line about why Christians get the Old Testament wrong:

“It’s not your book.”

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: I was raised Catholic. What means this word “Christian”? Does it have anything to do with the Queen of Heaven, She of the Immaculate Heart? She who rose bodily into Heaven, there to sit with the Father and the Son (whatever his name was)? She who is the Great Intercessor for us sinners on Earth?
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I gots nuthin against Christian belief. I’ve often wondered what would my world look like if I could believe.
I’d feel better about this if there were more like Dr. Gene Scott and fewer like John Hagee.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again, Ian J: Here’s a link the the entire Navajo nation Code, which is 6.03 MB. The sections I refer to are at Title 1, Chapter 2 (pp 12-21 in the file).

@nojo: And Denis Leary’s question to Sister Mary Margaret after she whacked him on the head with a bible for missing three of the ten commandments: “Is one of them Thou shall not hit boys on the head with the Bible?

I recommend the audiobook version of Leary’s “Why We Suck”. Da bomb.

And further: Jeebus blabbed a whole lot about the poor (social welfare), the sick (healthcare) and God’s creation (the environment), and yet I’m hard pressed to think of another developed country that treats its poor, sick and environment with more callousness and contempt. Why aren’t more Christian “leaders” forced to address these issues? And no I’m not talking about Pastor Double-Wide and his $ales-driven-life propaganda machine.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: My basic info section on Facebook looks like this:

Political Views: Liberal (this is not a dirty word)
Religious Views: Christian (neither is this)

@redmanlaw: Let’s not get ahead of my Tuesday morning post…

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: When (not if) you come out to visit the Chicago Stinquers, you’ll have to come over a Sunday so I can drag you to my super-cool little Methodist church. It’s all hip and social justice-y, and it’s an understatement to say it’s gay-friendly. I love it.

Heh. I just noticed that Chuck Colson is from the “Prison Fellowship.”

I’ll bet his ministry is booming!

@flippin eck:

It’s a date!

Actually, I spent some time in a Chicago Train Station over Christmas…is it Grand Central there too, I think? It was a very New York Sounding name anyway. The Mr. and I got stuck trying to fly into Rochester, NY…so we ended up taking a train from Chicago. It was 4 hours late, and it took us 23 hours to actually get there, but we made it….

@flippin eck, tommmcatt: I’m actually glad to see our Christian brothers and sisters coming out of the woodwork. Too many libs/progressives look at the faithful and equate them with ignorant racist Red State hillbillies or fascists while the Gospel provides a roadmap for a life of love and justice. Good for you! (I’m not Christian myself, but I’ve studied it on my own and go to Mass almost every Sunday with Mrs RML, her mom and Son of RML.)

Some of us don’t believe, and that’s fine too. Non-belief actually makes some of those who adhere to a religion actually examine their own beliefs. As I told Mrs RML yesterday, it’s called “faith” because we can’t understand it or prove it. My own beliefs would also be subject to derision as being some sort of fantastic myth that must one day fall to rationality, but the world will be poorer for it. Those who do believe include everyone in their prayers, however, at least that’s true for me when I think of the world and its people. (So I guess I do love my enemies at some level, then. Hmm.)

It’s fun to poke fun at our modern-day Pharisee and false prophets, but I also recognize and respect the force for social justice, and stewardship of the Earth for that matter, that true Christians represent. It’s not nearly the same thing, but gun owners and hunters also feel some prejudice in being characterized as being deranged, uncivilized and barley comfortable in polite company when they feel the call of the wild. While all that is true, at least you all can take some comfort in that I’m on the Stinquers’ side when the shit hits the fan.

/TJ May I tell you I had the day from hell? I need to vent about it, so I’ll write my rant in the private sandbox. Meet me there if you’d like to commiserate or hear me whine.

@JNOV: We do have a Moibus strip of communication channels, don’t we?

/snake bites tail

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: As regards my spirituality:

I don’t have any particular spiritual beliefs. I think that when we die, we turn off, go into a hole in the ground, and provide nutrients for the next generation. I’d like to think that there’s something beyond that, but I haven’t ever successfully believed it.

I have a friend who died a few years ago in a drunk driving accident (the drunk lived, of course), and I like to think that she lives on, but I also understand that she lives on because I remember her, not because there’s any supernatural connection or presence.

I definitely have a moral code, which (as far as I can tell) is much more strictly adhered to than a lot of the loudmouth Christians I’ve known about. Anyone would recognize it, it’s basically all the golden-rule type stuff that every religion spouts and then seems to ignore. This explains why I’m vegetarian, why I ride a bicycle, why I conserve electricity and water, etc. It also explains why cheating on a relationship is abhorrent to me, why I don’t like competition, and so on.

It really gets on my nerves when people make the claim that agnosticism or atheism is equivalent to having no morals, which is why that came up so quickly.

But no, spiritualism doesn’t really enter my life. Ask me again after I’ve spent some time in a foxhole. ;) (Although that said, I’ve never been in a situation bad enough to make me pray to any sky-dudes or believe in any power greater than myself or my fellow humans to help me out.)

Atheists do appear in foxholes. I’ve known one or two atheist veterans and read up on a few more.

Agreed on the agitation caused by many religious folks who assume a lack of belief is also a lack of morals.

Similar moral belief structure minus the vegetarianism and the bike though.

@ManchuCandidate: To be fair, I don’t 100% exclusively ride a bicycle. I also have a motorcycle which has served me well after my ice-related bicycle crash a few weeks ago. Much pain, but motorcycle riding has been fine. But it’s a little motorcycle, a Ninja 250, the Geo Metro of motorcycles.

Interesting. I’m also a vegetarian and follow a Golden Rule-style moral code, focusing on trying to be a good person and treating others well.

Several years ago, two medical doctors, a radiologist and a psychiatrist, published a book called Why God Won’t Go Away that focused on the physiological basis of spirtual belief.

As I recall, they hooked these Franciscan nuns up to a functional MRI and observed parts of their brains lighting up like Christmas trees when they prayed, lending factual, scientific support to the idea that religious beliefs and feelings of spiritual ecstasy are housed in a specific brain structure (in the pre-frontal cortex?) that may be less developed in some people than others.

Likewise, agnostics and atheists showed no comparable brain activity when asked to pray, which suggests that it’s not that we choose not to feel a spiritual connection with a higher power–it’s that we can’t. There’s been a lot of work done in this area, and there’s even a name for it: Neurotheology. It does go a long way towards explaining why humans across income, education and cultural groups have a tendency to believe in various religions, esp ones with strong commonality in their central themes.

@Tommmcatt Yet Again: That would be Union Station. You and the Mr. could’ve used your spare time there to reenact the baby carriage shootout scene from The Untouchables.

@redmanlaw: Indeed. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but if you cut a Mobius Strip in half lengthwise, you get two Mobius Strips. If you then cut those strips in half lengthwise, you get two (or actually four if you cut both halves in turn) interlocking strips. I think that’s how it works.

I believe in God and Prayer when I am deathly ill, or at least feel like it. I have the Martian Death Flue, as described years ago by Dave Barry. I just attempted my first solid food of the day. And I am sitting upright, also a first. That way I may be able to aim the vomit so as to minimize damage, when it comes.

My belief system pretty much begins and ends with the Golden Rule, and I am completely obsessed with ethics, integrity, and honor (I even wrote a book on ethics). Like Ian and OA have mentioned, I just can’t feel anything “spiritual.” Weirdly, I kind of like the idea of just ceasing to exist at death. It sounds so stress-free. I like to attend high church Episcopal services, because I adore ritual, pomp, and circumstance, and I have a very soft spot for the BVM, because a compassionate divine mother makes so much more sense to me than an angry divine father.

Some of us can Believe and find comfort throughout their lives and at their deaths.
Others waver between Belief and Non-belief until the moment that Death is looking directly in one’s face, whereupon some fear, pray and Believe, and some decide that there is nothing there to fear, and that Belief is irrelevant.
Death’s face did not scare me.
Who knows for certain? Certainly not me.
Belief has generated some of the highest forms of art and expression that humans have ever created. The beauty and passion of these works define what is best about humans. I can’t knock that.

@Ewalda: Agreed. I was pulling out of a bad spot in my life one time and popped Gabrieli’s Music for Brass into the truck’s CD player. It was like the sun came out in my soul.

The closest I think I ever came to death was a moment some 10 years ago.

I was driving to work and took a turn faster than I should. Normally that doesn’t cause any problems, but hitting an oil patch did. I lost control of my car as it headed towards a bridge spanning a creek. In about a split second I had the “choice” of hitting the bridge or flying into a 30 foot depression. I somehow managed to “steer” my car to hit the bridge. At no moment did I pray or plea to a higher power.

Belief led western civilization to the renaissance. It also led to the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades and the 100 year war.

@redmanlaw: Yup.
No one can listen to the Sacred Cantatas of Bach, for example, and not think that maybe, just maybe, these humans are worth something.

Ah, but that was when you still had it within your power to alter events. When that power is taken from you, that’s when it becomes a whole new game.

But what of the Lost Moon of Poosh?

@Promnight: You sure it’s not food poisoning, pumpkin?

As Pope says:

“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas’ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus’d;
Still by himself, abus’d or disabus’d;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl’d;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world”

And so, sped by Sweet Nepenthe, I retire to my slumbers.

‘Night, all!

@Original Andrew: That’s interesting, re: the brain scans. I went to Catholic school as a small child for a few years, and even then, I’d sit there and look at my classmates and other praying, and say to myself, “Do they really think they’re talking to G-d?” I never understood how people could believe in religion. Obviously that part of my brain wasn’t/isn’t firing. I like the concept of religions and the Golden Rule in the abstract, at least when the followers aren’t hypocrites, but on the other hand, as an agnostic, I am offended when I am accused of having no morals or ethics because I don’t adhere to a doctrine. My doctrine of life is to spend every day trying to make things less shitty than they were in the morning when I found them, which I guess is a crude variation of the Golden Rule.

And I have faced death on several times, and I still never felt like my life was in the hands of a higher power. That’s why I mock people who think Jeebus gives a shit about the outcome of their football game. Please.

When you die, you die. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The people who remember you are the ones who keep your spirit going.

@SanFranLefty: You gotta hear a jeebusoid pray for a parking spot to realize how batshit petty the whole scene can become. Though it is not unique. Once heard a bass player on a cruise ship who claimed he was a buddist admit he was chanting for pussy.

Parking spots are the least of it. I remind you that I grew up in south Texas. Apparently Baby Jeebus gives a shit as to who wins the Regional 5A-level football playoffs, not to mention the numerous district-wide girls’ soccer games, before which I always refused to pray (and ergo was a bench warmer because I was punished because I didn’t have the “team spirit” to pray before our games). If Baby Jeebus wanted Lee High School to beat us, who was I to argue with Yahwhey?

@SanFranLefty: You should have had fun with it, thrown your hands over your head and howled, “Jesus, death to our enemies! Plagues upon their lands! We will offer unto you their bloody hearts and rendered limbs and eat their flesh in the name of you our loving lord and savior! Praise!”

@FlyingChainSaw: The joke fight song at my alma mater was, “Fight, fight, inner light, kill, Quakers, kill!” Most folks didn’t take it too seriously, but some people got really riled up by it.

@mellbell: Wow, great school. Where did you go? Did you follow up with a rousing cheer of “Kick ’em! Bite ’em! Step on his face! I say: Kick ’em! Bite ’em! Step on his face!” ?

@FlyingChainSaw: Not the one that comes up when you google that fight song. Apparently even a Friends school isn’t above ripping off their rivals.

@tommmcatt, Ian J: Here’s a much better link for a web page with the Fundamental Law of the Navajo Nation that is not a 6.0 MB document.

Yes, I am working at midnight local time. I like the quiet and lack of distractions.

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