Were you there?

If you haven’t seen the debate between Bill Nye (the Science Guy) and Ken Ham (the Answers in Genesis guy), you can watch it here. There isn’t a whole lot new here, if you’re at all familiar with the subjects of evolution and creationism, but I think it’s worth watching just as a template for an actual, reasonable debate.

Short summary: Bill Nye believes that the scientific method is the best way of gaining knowledge about our world, and thus believes in evolution, while Ken Ham believes that the Bible is the best means of gaining knowledge about our world, and thus believes in creationism.

One of the tactics Ham used to try and discredit evolution is the (made up) distinction between “observational” and “historical” science. Ham contends that it’s fine to draw conclusions about something you can actually observe, like the changes in Darwin’s finches’ beaks, but its impossible to draw accurate conclusions about things you did not personally witness. Ham uses this trick to dismiss literally every piece of evidence in favor of evolution and an old earth, simply by asking “were you there?

“Were you there?” is Ham’s trump card. He states that because no scientist witnessed the Big Bang, we have no evidence for the Big Bang, and because we didn’t witness descent from a common ancestor, there is no valid evidence for the most fundamental premise in biology. Instead, we should trust the Bible, written by God, who did the creating, and Adam and Eve, who did the … being created, because they are first hand accounts.

I’m going to ignore the idea that something must be directly observed in order to draw a conclusion about it. Enough people watch CSI to know that’s bullshit. Instead, I’m going to ask Ken Ham one simple question: “were you there?”

Because Ham is claiming to know that Adam and Eve witnessed the events in Genesis. But was Ham there to verify Adam and Eve were around? And Ham claims that God inspired the Prophets to write the Bible, but was Ham there to see that moment of inspiration? Can Ham personally verify that God spoke to the Prophets, or that the Prophets correctly transcribed the conversation?

Because if not, everything in Ham’s creation museum is just “historical” science, and by Ham’s own claims needs to be dismissed outright.


The Originals – S01E13 – Crescent City

Is Seattle Grunge a thing again? I feel like this show is trying to make Seattle Grunge a thing again.

So I have an issue. A few episodes ago, Rebekah and Elijah faced down an entire clan of werewolves. It wasn’t even a contest. They just said “hi, we’re Originals,” and the werewolves tucked their metaphorical tails and ran like hell.

This week, Rebekah faced down five werewolves, and got her ass royally kicked. Granted, these wolves were shifted, and the ones from a few weeks ago weren’t, but come on. Rebekah is an Original. She is one of the most physically powerful creatures in this show’s mythology. At the very least, she could have outrun the werewolves. And in all likelihood, as soon as they attacked, the werewolves would have been reduced to a pile of furry limbs.

Even if you grant that Rebekah is the weakest of the Originals (let’s say it’s because she’s spent so much time daggered, and not because she has a vagina), she should still be an absolutely terrifying opponent. I am really, really tired of seeing her reduced to the damsel in distress. It took ~*~magic witch powers~*~ to take down Klaus. Rebekah should at least be given that much consideration.

But that’s what happens when you base your show on a group that is literally unkillable, and nigh invincible. You have to start retconning, just to generate drama. It’s unfortunate that they seem to be going down the “Rebekah’s lady bits make her weak” route.

On the other hand, I am really excited to see Elijah “searching” for his siblings. When a good man goes to war, you know shit is about to get real. And while calling Elijah “good” would be a stretch, he is generally restrained. That’s about to change, and Elijah with the gloves off is one of my very favorite things.

Celeste honestly has a point; his vow of “always and forever” has lead to Elijah making some terrible choices, and doing some terrible things. It was interesting to see him choose Hayley over his brother, and it would be very interesting to see that brotherly alienation grow. Elijah needs to become his own man.

I find Hayley and Seattle Grunge Wolf completely not compelling. Sorry, but I care about arranged marriages almost as little as I care about magic werepire quarter witch devil spawn hybrid babies. It was cute that they tried to make his near death by smoke inhalation all sad and dramatic. I don’t even know the guy’s name.

When Angel spun off from Buffy, it had a distinctly different feel. Joss Whedon said that Buffy was about the pain of adolescence, and Angel was about the pain of adulthood. You would expect the same to be true of TVD and The Originals; Klaus and family have left the teenagers behind, and are off to recreate their kingdom.

Which is why the intense focus on the youngest cast members here is interesting. Davina was the most powerful thing walking for a while, and now the newly resurrected Harvest witch is gouging out eyes with her brain. I don’t have any problems with this, but it is an interesting choice.


The Vampire Diaries – S05E11 – The Devil Inside

All hail the queen.

Katherine has long been the best character on this show, and it’s fantastic to watch her steal Elena’s life.

She’s one of the few characters who isn’t critically blind to the weak spots in her plans. Matt is a former Traveler-host, and knows about body jumping? Bang, he’s compelled. Elena is fighting for control of her own body? Boom, Kat imported an actually competent witch to shut that whole thing down.

Watching Katherine destroy Damon was beautiful. It’s no secret that I love Damon, but as I’ve said time and time again, drama comes from making the characters you love miserable. And that was proven true when Damon left the party and went right back to his old, murderous ways. This is the Damon I want to watch, the fun-loving bastard who’ll kill you as soon as talk to you. He’s been neutered for at least a season now, and its great to see him back in form.

To all those who’ve asked, no, Bonnie hasn’t mentioned that Katherine didn’t pass through her, but I am 100% certain that she will bust out that information at a plot-appropriate time. Another thing to note; Elena hasn’t passed through Bonnie yet, either, so she’s still in play. Sadly.

Because Elena really is too dumb to live. Huh, I just woke up in the Magic Tomb of Not Leaving, staring at Katherine’s corpse, while her daughter looks on and a Traveler mutters Romanian death curses over me? Well, they’re probably not trying to steal my body from me, so I’d better let them all live!

Seriously, Elena has killed plenty of times in the past, and she knows how dangerous Katherine and Nadia are. There is absolutely no reason for her not to off everyone in that room and then burn Kat’s body. Except for the fact that that would be the end of the best character on the show.

I’m curious to see if and how Katherine let’s Stefan know that it’s really her in Elena’s body … and if Stefan will fight to keep Katherine around rather than Elena. Katherine is his One True Love. Even fate wants them together. It’d be a shame to pass up that opportunity.
It was also fun to watch Katherine wreck the S.S. Cyler. Okay, sure, Klaus murdered Tyler’s mother, but Tyler seems to have forgotten that time he let Oliver Queen lock her in a cage and torture her.

That’s the thing about this show: there is absolutely no room for anyone to take the moral high ground, because all of them have done terrible things. And that’s part of why I love this show.


The Originals – S01E12 – Dance Back from the Grave

This episode was basically perfect. The only thing I didn’t like about it was using the quarter-witch werepire hybrid hellspawn bastard child’s blood to break the circle trapping Rebeka, because Hayley is still not pregnant and the quarter-witch werepire hybrid hellspawn bastard child is not a thing and I can’t hear you la la la la la la.


Papa Tunde was goddam awesome He is exactly what this show’s been needing: a charismatic, powerful villain that is a genuine threat, even to the Originals. Even moreso than Davina, because 1. he was able to come back from the grave, and she’s still toes up in a box somewhere, and 2. he isn’t just angry, he’s methodical.

Davina was a threat because she wielded the power of teenage angst (and occult forces). She packed a hell of a punch into a small package. Papa Tunde probably isn’t as raw powerful as Davina, but he knows what he’s doing. He can make the most use of the power he does have.

His plan was brilliant. How do you take on a creature that simply can’t be killed? Steal its power, of course. And its sibling’s power. And its friends. And …

In addition to power and a plan, Papa Tunde had style. Maybe it’s just me and my abiding love for Predator II, but I really enjoyed the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. He basically embodied my feelings about what a genre show set in New Orleans could be.

This show has definitely picked up its pace, too. Super!Davina and Papa Tunde were both Big-Bad level threats, and either of them could have carried an entire season on their own. Instead, they were both one-shots, setting up an even bigger bad.

I’m going to miss Papa Tunde. Let’s hope Celest can hop over the bar that’s been set for her, because it’s very high.

Personally, I would have prefered Elijah to fall to Papa’s blade, and Bex and Hayley to do the rescuing, but that’s mostly because I’m really enjoying Rebekah’s take-charge attitude, and don’t really like it when she’s relegated to a damsel in distress. Other than that, great, great episode.

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Vampire Diaries – S05E11 – 500 Years of Solitude

I said god damn.

That felt like a mid-season finale, not the first episode off of a hiatus. It was without question the best episode of the season, and for one single reason:

Katherine Fucking Pierce, ladies and gentlemen.

The latest TVD drinking game, “take a shot when Katherine Pierce was awesome,” is a microcosm of what makes this show awesome. On the one hand, we have a vulnerable girl being comforted by her rejected and reconciled lover, and in the living room … everyone is talking shit about her.

“Katherine pretended to be stuck in a tomb!” “Katherine murdered my sister!” “Katherine murdered me! But I Guess it kind of worked out.” And you know what? They’re right. Katherine is a terrible person. She’s a bitch, a backstabber, a schemer, and a murderer.

And that’s why we love her.

Let me tell you a little secret, friends. TVD isn’t about heros. It’s about bad guys that makes us love them anyway.

Damon is the first person to admit that he’s evil. He’s a goddamn serial killer! And his sometimes girlfriend jokes about it! And Saint Stefan, he of the Hero Hair and Martyr Misery? He’s killed so many people other vampires think he’s off the rails!

The vampire legends have always been about forbidden desires and shameful indulgences, and that’s what TVD gives us. But unlike a lot of past vampire tales, TVD doesn’t stop with dirty, dirty sex.

Anyone who’s ever stood in line behind someone that can’t figure out how to work the goddamn self-checkout has wanted to snap a neck or two. Who hasn’t wanted to tell their boss, or the cops, or anyone in authority, to fuck off? Who wouldn’t want a pair of hot [insert your preferred gender here] fighting over you?

TVD lets us indulge all of those fantasies. Our “heros” can skip class, do all of the sex, and murder their way through college, and they never face any consequences.

Damon used to be the epitome of this self-indulgent fantasy, but that crown now firmly belongs to Katherine Pierce. This episode was a celebration of that fact, and it was entirely appropriate for the rest of the cast to reminisce over how she’s done that wrong.

And it was entirely appropriate for Katherine to once again fuck over Elena Gilbert.

This is what TVD was meant to be. Who cares if Klaus should have been in New Orleans and Stefan should have broken every Traveler neck in the old Witch House. It didn’t make sense, but it was fun.


The Originals – S01E11 – Après Moi, Le Déluge

First, the good:

Marcel’s interactions with Davina, especially near the end of the episode, were perfect. Watching them, you genuinely believed that Marcel loves her, in a chaste, fatherly or brotherly way, and that Davina feels just as strongly for him. This is refreshing in a show birthed out of a show about which vampire is banging the hot teenager this week.

And when Marcel realized that the spell had failed, that Davina wasn’t coming back, his rage was also palpable. I would have liked to see him be a bit more destructive, crashing through walls and shattering stone pillars, but that’s probably a budget limitation more than anything.

I love that Bex is still scheming behind the boys’ backs, and I especially love that she’s started using reverse psychology against them. “Elijah! Giving absolute power to this witch I’ve been hanging out with, who’s totally not on my secret team, is stupid! You don’t want to do that, do you?” To which Klaus, of course, quickly replies “fuck you I’m giving that witch all the power she ever wanted and then some and you can’t stop me so there!”

The show’s pace is starting to pick up, which is nice. The fact that Davina went from “all powerful ass kicker” to “don’t blink, you’re a corpse” in a single episode is reminiscent of the pace TVD usd to keep back when it was blowing our minds week after week. I’m a big believer in not outstaying your welcome, and I’d rather see them let awesome plot points go early than beat them into the ground.

Things I’m not yet sold on:

Hayley’s not-apology to Elijah, and the fact that he bought it. I know that “gullible bordering on mentally addled” is kind of Elijah’s defining characteristic, but it still doesn’t seem like “hey, I’m sorry you were offended that I went through your shit and helped one of your mortal enemies desecrate your one true love’s body” earned her a smoldering almost-kiss. But god damn that almost-kiss was hot.

Celest. It was pretty obvious that she was going to come back, but I’m not wild about the way she did it. I think I’d have preferred her to possess Sabine, or had Sabine working to restore her powers, something. I do like that Elijah’s lover is the new Big Bad.

“You got Hayley pregnant on a Tuesday so if we hurry down to the tax assessor’s and file a deed in his mother’s name and then bury our mother in a specially consecrated plot before the third full moon of the ninth month we can channel the power of our family into that chick with the tattoo!” – Elijah Mikaelson, Vampire Property Lawyer.

Things that were just plain bad:

Klaus’ disaster relief efforts. Klaus is a bad guy. He’s a complete dick to his friends and family. The idea that he has some sort of loyalty to his great-great-great-great … great werewolf descendents doesn’t seem in character. And the fact that Klaus’ taking care of them is enough to stop Hayley from worrying about her family doesn’t make any sense.

The fact that Elijah and/or Marcel didn’t instantly murder the ever loving shit out of Sophi and Sabine as soon as their little mass murder party turned out to, surprise surprise, be a bad idea.


The Originals – S01E10 – The Casket Girls

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

The Originals is back, and over the break they fixed a lot of the issues I have with the series so far.

Klaus finally has a valid threat

Surprise, bitch! Davina is no longer taking your shit, and you are no longer the king of your particular mountain.

The witches in TVD/TO have always had a weird relationship with the vampires. They should be uber-powerful, the biggest contenders on the field, yet they always seem to play a subservient role to our fanged friends.

TVD has never really explained that. TO finally offered an explanation, but one that only works in New Orleans: the most powerful witch in town has a crush on Marcel, and is willing to be his enforcer as long as he keeps her stocked in sketch paper and violinists.

But guess what, kids? Davina isn’t shipping Marcel anymore, and we finally got the chance to see what happens when a witch cuts loose.

She can’t kill Klaus (or Elijah, or Rebekah). And that’s true for power-level reasons and plot reasons. But Davina showed us something even more important: the ability to make Klaus her bitch. She can hurt him, incapacitate him, even force him to turn into a wolf. He might survive an encounter with Davina, but he won’t come out on top.

Suddenly, the invincible, undefeatable Klaus is very, very vulnerable, and it’s completely believable that he doesn’t just godmode his way to victory.

Even better, Davina is still facing off against the other witches … and perfectly capable of kicking their ass. The four-for-the-price-of-one neck snap was perfect, and the kind of moment we haven’t seen enough of lately.


Is finally done with Klaus’ act. He’s still his brother, and he’ll still protect him, but honestly? An unkillable murder machine doesn’t need a whole lot of protection, and he does need to get smacked on the nose with a newspaper every now and then. Elijah is one of the very few characters on this show that can do that and get away with it, and it’s wonderful to see him starting to scheme behind Klaus’ back.

Also, he is absolutely going to hit Hayley, over and over again, like the fist of an angry god.

And when he finds out that Hayley is helping Sophie resurrect his long-dead lover? It’ll be vampire hate sex.


This was the second best part of last week’s episode. Out of everyone, Rebekah has lost the most to Klaus’ murderous temper tantrums. And it’s fantastic to see her both realize that, and take control over it.

It would be very easy for Rebekah to fall into a damsel-in-distress role, to wait for Marcel to sweepin and save her from her big, mean brother. And it’s fantastic that Rebekah instead decided to tell them both to fuck off. There’s about to be a new king in New Orleans, and you can call her Queen.

I am officially on Team Ravina.

There were still a few minor issues with this episode (exposition in the dialog, and the “lol she’s not dead just sleeping” spell wasn’t set up as well as I would have liked), but all in all, this was a very strong episode, and a very encouraging sign for the rest of the series. Well done, Originals, well done.

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The Godless Saint – Looking for Beta Readers

Caden Lyndsey was a man of God, glimpsing vision of the future and calling down fire from heaven.

He lost his faith, but not his power.

In the small town of Mirrormont, a crazed cult attempts to raise their ancient deity from the dead. If Caden can’t stop them, hundreds will die … including a very special woman named Mirand DuBois.

It’s done.


I’ve been sitting on The Wild Hunt, the first Godless Saint novel, for almost a year. I’ve been working on other books — St. Troy, The Janus Project, and a few others — and giving TWH time to settle.

I did my final read through last night, and I think it’s ready for the world to see.

At least, some of the world. I’m ready to give TWH to my beta readers, and unlike previous books, I’m not going to ask you to send me an email to get a copy. I’m just going to put it up on my web site, tweet the link, and hope for the best.

In particular, I’m hoping that you’ll read The Wild Hunt, and that you’ll love it. But whether you love it or hate it, I would love to hear your thoughts. You can reach me through the contact page, or by sending me an email at betareaders@thomas-galvin.com.

Without further ado, Download The Wild Hunt right here:


Fixing The Originals

The Mikaelsons are some of the best characters to come out of The Vampire Diaries.

Klaus is a formidable, virtually undefeatable villain, scheming and crafty, charismatic and chaotic. He can go from loveable rogue to bloody psychopath in the blink of an eye. Elijah is noble and tortured, reserved but powerful. And he looks damn good in a suit. Rebekah, well, she finally banged Matt.

The Originals are fantastic characters, so it’s kind of disappointing that their own series is kind of lackluster. I had fully intended to recap the series, but when I sat down to watch it, I just couldn’t find that spark that carried me through the first four seasons of TVD.

I’ve spent some time pondering this, and here are the things I think The Originals needs to improve:

Klaus has absolutely no valid threats

This is the big one. Klaus is the series’ main character, and in any drama, you have to put the main character through hell. You have to throw threat after threat at them, complication after setback, until they’re at their wit’s end, until everything seems lost… and then, when the hero pulls out a victory despite all the odds, the viewer celebrates.

You can’t do that with Klaus, because he is literally immortal, and pretty close to the most powerful creature in his universe. Look at some of the “threats” he’s faced this season:

Marcel is supposed to be the main antagonist, but he’s Klaus’ scion (or whatever term TVD uses). He would be weaker than Klaus even if Klaus was a normal vampire. Katherine, before she was defanged, was always able to toss around the Salvatore brothers, because she was that much older. Klaus has somewhere around eight hundred years on Marcel. It’s no contest.

And his minions fare no better. “No Originals at this party” Marcel ordered, and when the Originals decided to crash, Marcel and his followers… looked the other way, because there is no way for them to enforce Marcel’s ban. And when Marcel’s minions tried to gang bang Klaus into submission, well, that was just more cannon fodder from the Klaus meat grinder. It was a fantastic scene … or it would have been, if there had been any kind of doubt as to the outcome.

Tyler. The original Hybrid Henchman came to New Orleans, and the commercials touted the epic battle that would break out in the bayou. But when Klaus and Tyler actually went at it, Klaus whipped his ass handily. It was even more unbalanced that Klaus v. Marcel. The only reason Tyler is still alive is that Klaus wants to play around with him. Klaus doesn’t see Tyler as a threat, he sees him as a toy. And he’s absolutely right.

The Witches. The group with the most potential to harm Klaus. Marcel directed Davina to figure out a way to kill an Original, which had the potential for dramatic conflict, but that storyline seems to have been dropped. And aside from Davina, the rest of the witches are either powerless or brainless. And they’ll all be powerless in a few episodes, unless someone ganks Davina and satisfies whatever blood god or angry ancestor grants them their magic. Klaus has nothing to worry about.

The Humans

LOLOLOLOL. It took Klaus roughly ten seconds to murder the fuck out of everyone that thought they had the right to an opinion. Klaus built New Orleans, Mister Mayor. Sit your ass down and shut up.

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The 5 stupidest reactions to Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson

Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine… Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men…

It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, “I tell you what: These doggone white people” — not a word!”

-Phil Robertson, noted duck seducer

Phil? You’re fired.

-A&E (paraphrased)

So a horrible old bigot said something horrible and bigoted. Shocking, right? Except this time the horrible old bigot was also the star of the most popular TV show in the universe, A&E’s Duck Dynasty. And A&E, in an attempt to salvage the coveted gay-supporting, redneck-watching 18-45 demographic, fired him. Sorry, placed him on “indefinite suspension.”

Conservative media, of course, launched into an epic shit fit. And their arguments are, predictably, as ill-informed as their policies.

A&E is violating Phil Robertson’s First Amendment rights!

No, they aren’t. Because they can’t. The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Conservative pundits cry foul on two counts: that A&E are taking away Phil’s right to free speech, and his right to exercise his religion.

Here’s the thing: you see that first word there. “Congress?” A&E isn’t congress. They aren’t the federal government. They aren’t a state government. They aren’t even a town board. The constitution protects us from the government, not from … from whatever the fuck A&E shows. I sure as fuck don’t know.

But that brings us to the second argument:

You shouldn’t be fired for your opinions!

I agree. Completely. Your beliefs, and your religious practices, are your own, and shouldn’t affect your employment.

I’m a fairly liberal Democrat. A majority of the people I work with, including some of the people I supervise, are staunch, conservative Republicans. I give zero shits about this, because their belief in a 6,000 year old Earth or the therapeutic value of lax gun laws doesn’t do a goddamn thing to their job performance. Similarly, my contention that Marco Rubio is a semi-sentient cancer stuffed into a too-small business suit has no impact on my ability to deliver on a contract.

But I would have an issue if, during a meeting with our customers, one of them stood on table and started screaming about how the darkies are going to rape all our wimmens. And they would have a problem if I pulled a customer aside and started rubbing my groin while talking about Elizabeth Warren’s Presidential prospects.

And that’s what this is about. A&E didn’t take action on Phil’s beliefs or religion, they took action on his behavior in front of the customer. Sorry, Phil, but you’re a public figure, and when you make shit-headed statements, it reflects poorly on your employer.

Of course, our conservative friends counter with:

You can’t put a redneck on TV and get upset when he says redneck things!

First, these guys are about as rednecked as I am:

Duck Dynasty cast in polo shirts

I hate to break it to you friends, but Duck Dynasty contains about as much reality as a Time Warner Cable ad.

But that’s okay, because the audience doesn’t really want to watch real rednecks. They want to watch a loveable, mockable caricature of rednecks. Duck Dynasty is a cartoon with surprisingly realistic graphics. It’s a chance for people who spend eight hours a day selling goddamn sweaters to horrible mall trolls to laugh at the crazy guys with the squirrels in their beards, and for stock brokers to pat themselves on the back for not being born in Louisiana.

People watch Duck Dynasty to have a good time, not to be confronted with real, good-old-boy bigotry.

Of course, being offended at someone’s stone-age philosophy is outrageous, because:

You have to tolerate my intolerance!

Fuck you.

No, really. Fuck you. And you know what? Fuck tolerance, too.

“Tolerance” implies that you’re giving someone permission. That you have some sort of power. Asking homophobes and racists to tolerate gay people and minorities amounts to saying “You’re right! Those gays sure are disgusting, and wow are those Mexicans lazy! But hey, can you just cut them some slack? Just tolerte them?”

Horse shit. The mere existence of gay people isn’t infringing anybody’s rights. The existence of black people doesn’t make it any less awesome to be white. These privileged, powerful, protect-the-white-man’s-world-at-all-cost assholes don’t have the right to oppress the people they hate, and asking them to tolerate their victims is fucking ridiculous.

Phil Robertson has the right to hate gays, but he doesn’t have the authority to tolerate them.

And finally, the poor, oppressed conservatives crow:

He’s not hurting anybody!

Really? How many states allow gay marriage? How many states protect you from being fired for your sexual identity?

Until the answer is “all of them,” gay people are suffering very real harm, and that’s happening because of people like Phil Robertson. And in places like Uganda, where “aggravated homosexuality” can earn you life in prison, where American evangelicals are pushing for the mother fucking death penalty for homosexuals, it’s even worse.

Phil Robertson, and people like him, are causing real harm to real people. And so is anyone who gives him a pulpit to preach from. A&E did the right thing by saying he doesn’t represent their views.