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News AAND Notes: Yin Yang Edition

Satanists in Arkansas; Coors Light Saves a Life; Christians Practice What They Preach; Democrat Candidate (Maybe) Has a Shot in Mississippi

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SATANIST FREEDOM RIDERS

The Satanic Temple was perturbed by Arkansas placing a monument of the Christian 10 Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol. In protest, which it views as endorsing a religion, and in support of religious plurality as well as the First Amendment, the Satanists placed a statue, 8-1/2 inches tall, of Baphomet on the grounds from 1-3 p.m. on Aug. 16, reports Arkansas Times. Several Arkansas Christians spoke in support of the Satanists at the event.

Not to be outdone, the 10 Commandments monument backer, state Sen. Jason Rapert, released a statement slamming the heathens. “[O]ur state is being visited today by outsiders who clearly choose to travel around the nation uplifting the profane and proclaiming extremely unorthodox views,” Rapert wrote, after noting that the Constitution allows all to express their views. He also promises that “[i]t will be a very cold day in hell before an offensive statue will be forced upon us to be permanently erected on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol.”

At the allotted time, a few heeded the call of Bro. Rapert and showed up to protest the Baphomet statue; AT reports they were white supremacists. A lawsuit is pending to force removal of the 10 Commandments statue.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH ON LIFE

Confession: At first we assumed that the cool cats of City Pages in the Twin Cities were taking the piss when we read this headline, “St. Paul Beer Heroes Save Suicidal Man’s Life with Offer of Coors Light.” The delightful, and delightfully true, story is even better. Apparently, two delivery guys driving a truck full of Coors Light spotted a suicidal man on an overpass, so they pulled over and asked him if he was OK. The man responded that he wanted to die, so the drivers, Jason Gaebel and Kwame Anderson kept him talking. Eventually Anderson offered to have a drink with him and talk. “I have a pack of Coors Light for you. Follow me,” he reportedly said. It worked! The man came away from the ledge.

“Beer has been bringing people together for a long, long time,” St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster told PiPress, “Today, it brought people together in a life-saving way.” We’ll drink to that.

THE CHRISTIAN THING TO DO

Creative Loafing Charlotte reports that congregants from MyersPark Baptist Church traveled to Stewart Detention Center, operated by Immigrations & Customs Enforcement in Lumpkin, Georgia. The facility houses immigrants awaiting deportation. There they formed a prayer chain outside to show their support for detainees.

The pilgrimage of sorts is part of an annual program the church began last year, CLC notes, in which they study social justice issues, and conclude with a trip. Last year, they studied race relations; this year, immigration. The program was inspired by the deportation of a Congolese member of Pastor Ben Boswell’s former church, who had lived and worked in the U.S. for 10 years prior to his January detainment during a routine check up at an ICE office. The man reportedly had witnessed a murder in Congo and feared for his life.

“When we saw his path and the inhumanity of the path that he experienced and the secrecy of it and how quiet it was and how nobody could get to him ... we knew that there was something secretive and inhumane and immoral about what’s going on that we need to shed light on, that we need to bear witness to as people of faith and to tell the truth to the world about what’s happening in our own community,” Boswell said.

 THE MISSISSIPPI BLUES

Jaws dropped all around the Magnolia State last week when a leaked GOP poll showed a dead heat between Republican U.S. Sen. Cyndi Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy, who are vying for the seat vacated by Thad Cochran, Jackson Free Press reports. The mere fact that a Democrat could ride to victory in a state as historically deep red as Mississippi is rather stunning.Other polls have not been quite so optimistic, and there have been criticisms of the poll’s methodology. Nevertheless, the Espy campaign is celebrating the news as a confirmation that they have a “path to victory,” JFP adds.

Espy and Hyde-Smith, along with Republican Chris McDaniel, face off in a jungle-primary-style election on Nov. 6. If none captures 50 percent of the vote, the whole thing goes to a runoff.

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