• Chris Hedges, the left-wing firebrand who really, really despises New Atheists, is apparently a serial plagiarist, according to a lengthy and damning article this week in the New Republic.
• In the why-all-atheists-are-Hitler department: Part of the SS oath in Nazi Germany was to swear their allegiance to God and say that atheists are “not one of us”.
• I wrote in 2007 about José Luis de Jesus Miranda, a kook and would-be cult leader who claimed to be Jesus reincarnated. I didn’t realize until recently that he died last year, tragically without bringing about the Second Coming.
• I’m not a professional activist, but when you have to trick people into coming to your anti-gay-marriage protest, it might be a sign that your cause is in trouble.
• From the WTF department: Christianity Today published a column, written by a youth pastor who’s in prison for statutory rape of one of his students, that blamed the victim and minimized his crime as a mere “extramarital affair”. This week, after ferocious criticism, they finally did the right thing and took it down.
• The Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis, Robert J. Carlson, claims in a deposition that he didn’t know rape of a child by an adult was a crime in 1984. Since he wrote documents that year discussing child abusers in the context of the statute of limitations and whether the parents might go to the police, this is an obvious and self-serving lie.
• On that note, a lawyer for the Diocese of Trenton argued in court last week that the church isn’t responsible for a predator priest because he was “off duty” while he was molesting children. I didn’t know priests had time cards. Do their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience not apply while they’re not on the clock?
• And lastly, in the science-is-amazing department: A hospital in Pittsburgh is about to begin human trials of an experimental therapy that puts trauma patients into suspended animation, giving doctors more time to save their lives.
The treatment entails replacing a critically injured person’s blood with cold saltwater, lowering their body temperature to 50 degrees. For up to an hour, they’ll be clinically dead – no breathing, no heartbeat, no brain activity – while surgeons repair the injury. Animal trials suggest that their blood can be replaced and their body warmed up, bringing them back to life with no permanent damage.