THIS WEEK IN GOD…. First up from the God Machine this week is Halloween-related news from TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network. In a truly bizarre piece, CBN published fears from Kimberly Daniels about Halloween, which, I assure you, was not a parody.

During Halloween, time-released curses are always loosed. A time-released curse is a period that has been set aside to release demonic activity and to ensnare souls in great measure … During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.

I do not buy candy during the Halloween season. Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door to door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.

The CBN piece, which was eventually removed from the site out of embarrassment, went on to say, “While the lukewarm and ignorant think of these customs as ‘just harmless fun,’ the vortexes of hell are releasing new assignments against souls. Witches take pride in laughing at the ignorance of natural men (those who ignore the spirit realm)…. The danger of Halloween is not in the scary things we see but in the secret, wicked, cruel activities that go on behind the scenes.” These “scary things” include, according to the article, “orgies between animals and humans,” “animal and human sacrifices,” and “sacrificing babies to shed innocent blood.”

My friend the Rev. Barry W. Lynn noted, “I’ve heard of the devil being in the details, but to think he’s lurking inside a Snickers bar is a little too much. Pat Robertson has always peddled some scary stuff, but this is over the top.”

Also from the God Machine this week:

* Christopher Beam ponders the question of how governments decide what constitutes a legitimate religious tradition: “A French court fined the Church of Scientology $888,000 on Tuesday after a couple claimed they’d been manipulated into buying between $30,000 and $73,000 worth of church products. The verdict is ‘a historical turning point for the fight against cult abuses,’ said the leader of France’s ‘government cult-fighting unit.’ How does this special cult-busting unit distinguish between cults and bona fide religions? Vaguely.”

* The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue finds something new to get excited about: “On Sunday’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ Larry David was taking a ‘new pill’ that caused him to urinate with excessive force. This caused a lot of splash back, some of which ended up on a Jesus painting hanging on the bathroom wall of his pious assistant, who later sees Jesus ‘crying’ and assumes a miracle has taken place.” Donohue is not pleased.

* And in North Carolina, a Baptist church has organized a book burning for this evening, focused largely on torching Bibles that are not the King James version. “We are burning books that we believe to be Satanic,” Pastor Marc Grizzard said. If you happen to live near the Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., you probably shouldn’t make plans to stop by tonight’s event — it’s by invitation only.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.