This Week in God

First up from the God Machine this week is a look at the national controversy surrounding advertising on a reality-show.

As you’ve very likely heard by now, TLC’s “All-American Muslim” is a show documenting the fairly-mundane lives of some Muslim-American families in Dearborn, Mich. A fringe, Christian fundamentalist activist in Florida, David Caton, put his Florida Family Association list to work, attacking the show and its advertisers. Lowe’s, the home-improvement giant, quickly dropped its sponsorship, hoping to avoid being caught up in a culture-war fight.

Ironically, this put Lowe’s in the center of a culture-war fight.

It’s worth emphasizing that Caton is not a powerhouse activist; he’s just some random guy who created a right-wing organization. (Caton is the sole employee of his Florida Family Association.) As Wajahat Ali explained this week, “It’s literally one dude with a poorly made web site, one fringe individual with an e-mail list.”

There’s been plenty of worthwhile coverage of this story — I especially liked Alyssa Rosenberg’s work — but for This Week in God, I thought I’d highlight this speech Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) delivered on the House floor the other day, explaining to Lowe’s “You’re better than this.”

Also from the God Machine this week:

* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said this week that her “biblical view of law” molded her view that America needs to strip the federal judiciary of much of its existing power.

* The Roman Catholic Church’s international sex scandal involving the widespread abuse of children managed to get even worse this week. An independent investigation in the Netherlands found that tens of thousands of children suffered sexual abuse in Dutch Catholic institutions. (thanks to R.P. for the tip)

* The governing board of the Texas DMV has given its approval of a new license plate with three crosses and the words “One State Under God.” Seriously.

* And in Saudi Arabia, a woman was beheaded this week after being convicted of “practicing witchcraft and sorcery.” (thanks to C.W. for the tip)