I found Sasurau randomly surfing photography links today. He is a Japanese photographer who uses an iPhone to take pictures of street life in Japan. His work is good. Enjoy.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It is a familiar story. A Baptist youth pastor is arrested for allegedly molesting a child. Once the story breaks, the press looks into his background and finds that he is a convicted child molester. To avoid embarrassment and accountability, the church spins the story.
Youth pastor Michael Joy was arrested for one count of aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. Joy has a history. He served more than 8 years for indecent liberties with a child. Pastor Thomas R. Hamilton starts the spin with conflicting statements, but he is in over his head.
Hamilton, who joined the congregation as pastor in 2005, said Joy asked to meet with him in 2005 and tearfully told him he had been convicted of having sex with a teenage girl when he was 18 and that he had spent time in prison for that offense.
After that meeting, Hamilton conducted a Web-based sex offender search and found nothing matching Joy’s name or address.
“He was invisible,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton was aware that Joy had a history in 2005. He conducted his own search and found nothing. The reported asked about criminal background checks, Hamilton admitted not knowing what they are.
In another report Hamilton changes the story.
Hamilton said they did a background check on Joy when he started working with the children and his name did not appear on the sexual offender list. Church officials have since learned that Joy's earlier offense would not appear on the list because it happened in 1991 and the list did not begin until 1994.
Joy started working with children at the church while he was on parole in 2001. Hamilton admitted not knowing about background checks. I wonder if Hamilton meant that he spent some time surfing the web after Joy admitted molesting a teen, found nothing and forgot about it?
It is clear Hamilton wants to spin the story towards Joy’s deceptions and away from his own responsibility to protect his congregants from pedophiles. Yet by his own words his ignorance allowed a convicted pedophile to continue working with children. All Hamilton had to do was type How to conduct a criminal background check into Google. That and $50 would have stopped this before it started.
I call on pastor Hamilton to resign. You do not deserve a position of trust.
Religious organizations can sometimes confuse me. I read the press release from the American Muslim Taskforce (AMT) this morning and scratched my head. The press release has two conflicting messages. The AMT wants the press to stop linking the FBI shooting of Lugman Ameen Abdullah to Islam in any way. On the other hand, they want a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of Imam Lugman Ameen Abdullah because he was a Muslim. Read it for yourself.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of major national Islamic organizations, is calling for an independent investigation into the death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by the FBI on Wednesday in Detroit during raids in which a number of individuals were arrested on charges unrelated to terrorism.
AMT is also calling on the FBI not to link the raids or the allegations against the suspects to the Islamic faith.
In a statement, the Muslim coalition said:
"It is imperative that an independent investigation of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death make public the exact circumstances in which he died. And unless the FBI has evidence linking the criminal allegations to the religious affiliation of the suspects, we ask that federal authorities stop injecting religion into this case. The unjustified linkage of this case to the faith Islam will only serve to promote an increase in existing anti-Muslim stereotyping and bias in our society."
AMT is also urging the Congressional Tri-Caucus (Black, Latino, and Asian) to call for a judicial inquiry.
In keeping with its charter, AMT works for civil rights of all Americans and plans to hold a series of meetings across the United States, culminating in a civil rights summit in Washington, D.C., to address growing civil and human rights concerns of seven to eight million American Muslims.
AMT is an umbrella organization that includes American Muslim Alliance (AMA), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), MAS-Freedom, Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N), Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and United Muslims of America (UMA). Its observer organizations include American Muslims for Civic Engagement (AMCE), Islamic Educational Council of Orange County (IECOC), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Source: American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections
CONTACT: AMT Chair Dr. Agha Saeed, +1-510-299-9313,
The press and the FBI have been falling all over themselves in their misguided attempts to separate Lugman Ameen Abdullah from “authentic Islam”. The message is pretty clear. These men are not real Muslims, they are American bred criminals using Islam as a front for their criminal activities. If anything, this alone helps the cause of Islam. Except… we know the truth. Abdullah was an Imam who lead prayers in a mosque. He was as real as it gets.
- Slain mosque leader's followers deny FBI claims (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Police arrest son of cleric killed in shootout (thestar.com)
- Slain Detroit imam: It's OK to steal (msnbc.msn.com)
- Is it religion or a gang? (mojoey.blogspot.com)
- Muslim leaders gather for Detroit imam's funeral (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
I have a problem writing about this type of arrest:
Reuben Lydell Mitchell of the Koinenia Christ Community Church was arrested Sept. 22 after a woman on Aug. 30 called police to report alleged abuse that took place years back.
I’m not saying the case is weak or the victim is a liar, but what I’ve found in other cases like this is that when the abuse happened a few years ago, there is usually much more to the story. I prefer to wait for the story to develop. It did.
A second news report shows another woman came forward.
He faces one count of committing lewd acts on child under 14, and a second count with the same girl when she was a couple of years older.
Mitchell is also faces two counts of molesting a second girl under 14 years old. The pastor if convicted could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison…
We still don’t know if there is enough evidence for a trial. His followers think otherwise. Their words ring false.
Posted by roselilydasiy
It is very sad that the young ladies only want to hurt this man who was only a father to them. they don't know how they are hurting his children who they say that they love so loved so much. I pray they speak the true when time comes. God knows everything. I think they have forgotten this while they were in church. I think thay have forgotten what real Love is, maybe they never knew Love or God?????? I love them anyway and pray they realize what they are doing.
Posted by anonymous
I cannot wait to see you loose this battle Courtney you are a cold piece of work and a cheap piece of ass. The people will see that you are a liar and a manipulator and all you seek is negative attention. Shame on you but you will answer to God one day, you should back down before it's too late. For the record I am not a girlfriend or wife I am someone who simply goes to that church and loves Reuben and his wife.
Posted by Kathymadrigalfilled@yahoo
Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. All of your negative comments will have absolutely no affect on this case. There are too many people praying for Reuben, there are too many people that love him and above all, God is on his side. God has all authority and all power. You don't have the guts to use your own name with your negative comments, as if someone will come to get you, why wait until now to come out with all your junk, if you knew all this about him, why not confront him about this long ago, don't be a coward. Heed my warning, God says "touch not my anointed" and "do my prophet no harm". It is better for you to have a milstone tied around your neck and be cast into the deepest sea than it is for you to touch the least of my little ones, thus saith the Lord God, the only one with authority and the only one who knows all and sees all, and guess what, he IS an Anointed One and a Man of God. And all things work together for the good of those who love God, those who are called by God for His purpose. You people, whether you believe it or not, every man shall answer to God and it is He alone who is the great judge. Your words mean NOTHING, however, my words are of God, so they mean everything. This is to all the negative comments. When it's most devastating to man, it's most glorious to God. This ain't nothing!!!
I lose my patience with things after the holy speakers start posting. As soon as I see that the pastor can do no wrong, or that we dare not try to hold God’s anointed holy men accountable, then I know it is time to post. I’ll have to follow this case to see what happens.
Pastor Mitchell works for the Koinenia Christ Community Church in Tracy. The Church website is down.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I read the Halloween warning published by the ever so helpful Pat Roberson. Being an atheist and all, I found it hard to believe that demons and witches were involved in the production of my Halloween candy. But if Pat Roberson makes a claim, no matter how outlandish and unfounded, it must be true, because he is a Christian and would never ever lie, at least that what my mom tells me. He would never just pull something out of his ass, right? I mean, he must have some kind of poof for his outrageous claims, right?
"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 was concerned enough to go check on my candy stash. We have a family of Wiccan’s living across the street. They are all fat too. Perhaps they like candy? Perhaps they like my candy? The pressure was too much. I had to make sure my candy was safe.
I opened the refrigerator and found surprise. A demon working his magic on my Kit Kats. I managed to take a quick picture. It’s blurry, but you can tell that little green guy is a demon, right? The funny thing is, after I wrestled the candy from his grubby little claws. I felt compelled to eat it. Man… demon candy is the best! The kids are going to love it.
Derwin Pasley is a football coach in a youth league in Olympia, Washington. He was arrested Monday night on one count of child molestation, attempted rape, and unlawful Imprisonment. He allegedly tried to rape a 14-year-0ld boy.
Investigators said Pasley stopped his car in the Olympia apartment complex where the player lives and then allegedly fondled the player.
Detectives said the coach then exposed his own genitals, locked the car doors and tried to force the boy to perform a sex act.
Pasley is not the type of person I track. In his role as a football coach he has no overt ties to religion, so I would not normally write about him. However, the Pasley case illustrates one of the reasons why I post on clergy sexual abuse. My posts create a searchable record. In the near future, if you type Derwin Pasley in Google, eventually a link to this post will appear in the result. If you want to know something about his background that does not appear in a criminal background check, this post will always be there. It is for this reason that I never remove a post. If Pasley is found innocent and I hear about it, I will update the post. But the post stay up, guilty or innocent.
Why? Well for starters Derwin Pasley was accused of child molestation while working as a youth pastor in Florida. He would have been 17 at the time.
According to court records, Pasley was arrested on suspicion of a felony sex offense against a child in Miami-Dade County, Fla., in 1994. He subsequently was acquitted of the two counts of sexual battery of a minor, Olympia Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said.
I would have noticed. I would have posted. And perhaps Pasley would not have been able to find a job around kids.
He’s had other problems too.
In 2002, the Olympia Police Department conducted a criminal investigation into whether Pasley committed a sex offense against a child, but the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office decided not to file charges based on a lack of evidence, Bjornstad said.
My guess is Pasley is headed to prison for a long time. When he gets out, Google will still show this article.
Derwin Pasely was credentialed as a pastor by the Assemblies of God of the Northwest in 2008 (see page 8). So I guess he qualifies after all… I wonder what he will tell his wife and children about his latest arrest? I wonder how long it will take until another child comes forward? Oh wait, that happened a few minutes ago.
The charge involves a 13-year-old he allegedly molested and is separate from an alleged incident involving a 14-year-old boy. In that case, he was arrested on suspicion of attempted third-degree child rape, third-degree child molestation and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation.
Things are not looking too good for Dewrin Pasley.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I had a perfect day. I don’t get many. I visited my son and new daughter-in-law up in Alameda over the weekend. Bruce, the cat pictured above, ignored me as usual. I managed to have a good time anyway. We had a picnic in a park on a perfect Saturday afternoon.
I played Frisbee with my sons, ate a great turkey sandwich, and soaked up the rays for three glorious and peaceful hours. It’s been years since I last enjoyed this level of peace and tranquility. The experience was like visiting a serene Buddhist temple like Horuy-ji in Nara. Of course, the company one keeps makes the day special too.
What I found hard to understand is how we found a park with almost no people around, sitting on the San Francisco bay with a view of the city on a cloudless, fogless, and windless day. And all this on a warm fall day too. It really was a perfect day. I need more like it.
One thing that made it all work was my son and his iPhone. He was able to stream music. We listened to Steely Dan while watching a more ambitious father shoot off model rockets for a pack of nine-year-old boys. The over excited boys would signal us each time a new rocket was about to reach for the sky. We were the cheering section.
I work hard for days like this. I want more.
I’ve read a few comments about the shooting death of Detroit Imam Lugman Ameen Abdullah (a.k.a. Christopher Tomas) that suggest he was not really a Muslim. I don’t agree.
The FBI tried to arrest him today. Abdullah resisted violently. The FBI shot and killed him. Abdullah was a thug despite what Dawud Walid of the Michigan Council on American-Islamic Relations said.
I know him as respected imam in the Muslim community.
Besides Walid, I don’t really see anybody singing the praises of Abdullah. He was a thug. a a gangster, and a violent anti-American Muslim. I’m not letting him off the hook because he was a violent felon who converted in prison. He was still a Muslim. This is no movie of the week in his so called redemption.
Abdullah believed he and his followers were soldiers at war against the government and non-Muslims.
"Abdullah told his followers it is their duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die," FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit unsealed today. "He also told the group that they need to plan to do something."
And for those of you saying Abdullah was not a true Muslim, I can only assert that you don’t get to pick who is and who is not a Muslim based on what they do, or what they are killed for. They come in all shapes, sized, and creeds. Some are violent, some are peaceful, some live in peace with others, some blow up helpless woman for political causes. The Muslims who do not fit the ideal mold of a Muslim are still Muslims. This same logic applies to Christians. If you molest a child before preaching a sermon, you are still a Christian.
I will grant that Abdullah ran the equivalent of a cult. I'll also grant that he was a crook, and that his group is dangerous. But religion still played a major role in Abdullah’s life. In this case it appears to function more as a organizing tool for criminal activity than as a way to worship an imaginary and allegedly peaceful god.
Speaking of worshiping an imaginary sky god, I found this Christians versus Muslims YouTube video. It seems Dearborn is a tough place to be a Christian. Don’t touch my video camera bro…
Wayne Bent is on a hunger strike. I say let him die. Take the feeding tube out. Let him die! The world is a better place without this convicted pedophile cult leader in it. At least we know he will remain in prison for his crimes. To bad his victims are still locked away in his cult.
New Mexico's highest court has denied sect leader Wayne Bent's petition to be released on bond from prison while he appeals his convictions for sexual misconduct with teenage female followers.
Bent is the cult leader of the Lord Our Righteousness Church (Strong City). I’m happy this nutter is in prison. There are more like him, many more.
If you can take it, Strong City put out this creepy piece of cult propaganda. Check out of the smiling rape victims.The holiness oozes out of Bent, oh wait... is that holiness?
Gregory Smith, the praying robber, has been all over the news lately. He robbed a check cashing store in Indianapolis last week. In the process he broke down and prayed with his victim. Both Smith and the victim, Angela Montez, have been spewing God talk all over the airwaves. I would have ignored it, but people started sending me emails claiming divine intervention. Fortunately, I don’t drink cool aid.
I felt a warmness even though there was a scare," said Angela Montez.
When the 23-year-old came over the partition with his finger on the trigger Monday, she wept, fearing she would never see her children again.
A video of the robbery shows Smith losing his nerve when confronted by the woman he was terrorizing. Who knows, maybe Smith is a decent guy stuck in a bad spot. If you play your hand wrong, you lose. He still stuck a loaded gun in a woman’s face. He still robbed her at gunpoint. That should count for something, right?
What I saw in the video was a man lose his nerve. In the end he still stole twenty bucks. Now the loser is all over the airwaves talking about God and people are calling for leniency. He robbed one other store too. My guess is he’s going away for armed robbery. Will he get 10 to 20 years in prison of a free pass because of all the God talk? What do you think?
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Ever since I was a young man I’ve asked myself the same question when I encountered something I did not understand. How do they do that? It’s lead me down an odd career path. Even today, when I encounter something new, I ask the same question.
I recently attended a church service where the multimedia was over the top. I’m a student of Edward Tufte, so I admire the simple and elegant in presentations. What I saw while visiting the church was something out of a carnival. In the back of my mind I knew PowerPoint could not do what I was seeing. I was right. Churches have software developed and marketed directly to them just to manage presentations. MediaShout is a one of the leaders in this field. Check out their video for an overview.
I attend an occasional Atheist meetup group. We don’t even bring computers. I can remember one PowerPoint in the last year. It sucked pretty hard. I’m sure we won’t see anybody developing software for us.
I almost always have my camera with me. When I see something like Steve Gascon's meat, I snap away. Who buys aged meat these days? Really, I want to know because we need to be friends. I eat a good steak once or twice a year. I’m looking to increase it to three times a year. Steve, if you read this, I’m up that way four of five times a year.
This was shot in Alameda at Baron’s Meat & Poultry.
Another pedophile pastor is off the streets. Joshua Spires pleaded guilty to sex with a 15-year-old girl and will spend at least 8 and a half years in prison.
Court records show he molested the girl every Sunday at the Church about an hour before services began.
Can you imagine? How did the sermon go. Good morning everyone. It’s a beautiful day, right? Well… I just fucked one of your teenaged daughters on the desk in my office before I walked out here, so I’m ready to preach. Now, let’s talk about Jesus. Please turn to Mathew 5:28.
Does the phrase, “I hope you rot in prison” apply here?
This kind of story make me so mad I could just spit. A pastor who molested his goddaughter when she was just 15 and who ultimately impregnated her, was sentenced to just two years house arrest for his crimes.
She pulled away when he led her into the bathroom, she testified, but ultimately "just went along with it."
Subsequent trysts took place in an alley behind a muffler shop and in an empty house up for sale, she said.
When Lewis learned she was pregnant, she said, he encouraged her to get an abortion. Instead, she dropped out of school and has since struggled to raise their son, Cory Jr., now 2.
So here we have a pastor with no real job skills besides being a pastor. He has admitted to raping a 15-year-old girl several times. He encouraged her to abort the fetus. He has 6 young daughters in his house. Yet the rapist is given a second chance because he is a “good man” who needs to support his children. How is his justice?
Odd to this the fact that Cory requested prison in an attempt to escape his responsibilities as a father. He is a true man of God. I would follow him. Seriously…
Yikes… It looks like the authorities caught a very bad pastor. Ralph Lee Aaron, the pastor for Grace Christian Fellowship in Andalusia, was arrested last week for on several counts of child sexual abuse. This week we find additional charges filed linked to producing child porn.
Monday, a Grace Christian Fellowship church member said Aaron was immediately fired from his position following his arrest, and members have been removing his name from any church property, including the sign in front of the building.
I would hate to be a member of that church right now. They must be going through hell. Can you imagine what it would be like to have your pastor allegedly rape your children and film it too?Hell, he might have even shared it with others.
This case is huge:
Covington County Chief Deputy David Anderson says it is by far the biggest sex abuse case he's ever worked after 30 years in law enforcement in Covington County.
There will be more to report on this case. I have a feeling it will get ugly.
I need a picture to go along with the name Ralph Lee Aaron. Does anyone have one they can send my way?
Raymond Jessop is about to face justice as jury selection has started in Texas. Jessop is a leading member in Warren Jeffs’ Mormon offshoot cult known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jessop’s crime appears common in this polygamous cult, he married an underage girl.
The children were soon restored to the sect but authorities vowed to pursue the men who married underage girls and engaged in sex with them. Documents seized during the initial raid indicated that one of Jessop's wives, a 16-year-old girl, endured three days of difficult labour but was not taken for medical treatment because Jeffs feared her age would be discovered and the sect prosecuted.
Jeffs, Jessop and the whole lot of them deserve no special protection because of their religions beliefs. It’s time to send these men to jail.
Monday, October 26, 2009
By now I've learned this lesson several times. When inspiration goes, do something else for awhile. In my case I take pictures or read. I’ve been doing a lot of both these past few days, and almost no blogging at all. The reason is simple. I started a new project at work and unfortunately it is in China. My thoughts are tied up on logistics and planning with very little mental energy left over for religious nutballs. I find it hard to do anything. I take pictures instead. Like this one of the Virgin Mary praying over a battleship with her pal Santa. I found it in a thrift shop in Alameda over the weekend. The place was full of secondhand religious icons, and a smattering of everything else under the sun. I wanted to buy so many things, but instead I took pictures.
Inspiration is tricky. Sometimes I can pump out content. At other times I don’t even like to sit in front of a computer. My camera offers an easy alternative. I can still satisfy my need to create without sitting in from of a computer. It depends on how much mental energy I have left after a day of hard work. Lately is has been almost nothing.
I started blogging as stress relief and as a way to improve my writing. I remind myself of this when things go crazy in my professional life where my where I am known as Joe Project Manager. It’s crazy right now, real crazy. My personal niche is installing ERP software for manufacturing facilities. It complex at a level that is hard to describe. Add in a foreign country and a language I don’t speak and… well I don’t have much time for anything other then sleep.
I’ll do my best in the months ahead. More pictures will come of this, I’m sure of that. I will need to do something to relieve the stress. Hopefully, this will translate to more posts as well. We shall see.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Startled Disbelief comes to us from up in the cold white north of Canada. Winter is coming (I’m listening to George R.R. Martin, get it?), so I expect Canadian bloggers to start pumping out posts. What else can they do?
In the author’s own words:
I am a Canadian software developer with an irreligiously skeptical bent and a somewhat novel family life. My father is a former practitioner of homeopathy, therapeutic touch, and neuro-linguistic programming, my brother is an often-homeless hippie, and my step-mother is a massage therapist who dabbles in cranio-sacral and aromatherapy, and who employs an acupuncturist at her clinic. When I have my family over for dinner, the first words out of my step-mother's mouth (note that I'm not joking, here) are most frequently directed to my cat: "Come here, Spot, and let me spin your chakras!"
Two introductions to the Atheist Blogroll in one day! How cool is that?
Our newsiest Atheist Blogroll member joins us from Adelaide in South Australia. The author is kind enough to offer an introduction.
In the author’s own words:
Skepticus Maximus is not a blog for the faint hearted. I do swear a fair bit and I don't pull any punches. I started my blog with intentions of being a civilized, erudite gentleman, but I found I had little to say in that mode. Meanwhile I found myself getting int all manner of heavy debates on other places of the internet, particularly on YouTube. I kept feeling disappointed that with every debate my carefully contemplated polemic efforts were squandered. Maybe my opponent got the point (but even if they did would they admit it?), but meanwhile the same old hoary old straw men kept cropping up on their tired old war horses. How many more times must we debate 'well if you're (or more likely 'your') an atheist where do you get your morals from'? In any case such place as the YouTube comments areas are so transient.
So with my blog languishing and my concern for the transient nature of those internet debates I had already delt with (and certainly from my point of view won), I decided to use these debates as fodder (or copy pasta) for my blog. Some I have added little to no extra commentary and a couple of others I have embellished as the debate is just the starting point that inspires a more detailed monologue. In fact that is the style I am aiming at now, as I have come to realize that it is futile to waste a lot of time debating with idiots on neutral transient turf. Instead I aim to have a few exchanges, tease out of them the fundamentals of their claims, then go to town on that in Skepticus Maximus. Nevertheless, I reserve the right to step into the contemplative mode and write even without the precedent of a some debate I had with a theist elsewhere on the net. I may start doing this I warn you now, incase you get too attached to my debates.
Please join me in welcoming our newiest member.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Image via Wikipedia
The cake is a lie, a quote from the game Portal, is a perfect metaphor for religion, particularly the Catholic faith. Nearly everything promised you in this life is the result of corrupt men who use the cake as a means to control your life. I see the corrupt part of religion every day as I read stories of hypocrisy large and small. For Catholics, the cake is supported by a global business as cutthroat as any other business fighting for survival in a competitive global economy. When a risk is identified, they move to protect the business and screw the cake eaters. Their motto is protect the cake. Take the case of Father Henry Willenborg who betrayed his own vows to father a child with a woman seeking his guidance.
Ms. Bond separated from her husband, and for the next five years she and the priest, the Rev. Henry Willenborg, carried on an intimate relationship, according to interviews and court documents. In public, they were both leaders in their Catholic community in Quincy, Ill. In private they functioned like a married couple, sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children.
The Catholic church hid the relationship for over 20 years. They allowed Willenborg to function as a priest without telling the cake eaters that his cakes were fake. The denied the child a father and protected the priest from living up to his responsibilities. When the child became sick they fought to keep the case from the press and to deny the son the care he desirved. Of course, all of this changed once the NY Times ran the story. As soon as the cake eaters read about the cake makers, they suspended the baker for the good of the cake. What assholes.
The bishop said he had been warned by Father Willenborg’s superiors that The Times would report that Father Willenborg had fathered a son. But he said he decided to suspend the priest after reading accusations in the article that the priest encouraged the woman to have an abortion the first time she became pregnant by him, and had sex with another woman who was young enough to be in high school.
Listen cake eaters, home made pie is better.
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You’ve got to love my son. His favorite part of Stephen King’s movie The Mist is when the nutball Christian lady gets shot for her hateful misdeeds. I told my son that monsters like her are a thing of the past. Apparently, I was not thinking about Christians in Africa at the time. They still try to kill witches.
His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him – Mount Zion Lighthouse.
The things people do in the name of Jesus Christ are so hateful. Be it denying gays the right to marry in the U.S.A. or killing witches in Africa, Christianity is all about power and control. Where is the love?
We’ve had nine new blogs joins the Atheist Blogroll. Please drop in to welcome them to our team.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Pastor Tomas Gonzalez confessed to his crimes back in June. Gonzales molested young girls over several years with some girls as young as five years old.
Two indictments, 18 counts, but in the agreement it was a total sentence of 15 years, is running concurrent with each other, in other words it's only one sentence, is not one sentence on top of another sentence, it's all going to run together," Salinas said.
Gonzalez, was the pastor of Templo Nueva Vida in the Weslaco area when he was arrested by Mercedes Police back in June.
One more pedophile pastor is off the streets. I wonder how many more there are?
Carva Lee White, the music director at Sunflower Missionary Baptist Church in Leavenworth, stands accused of trying to burn his church down and profit from the repairs.
White is accused of setting fire to the church twice, on Oct. 30 and Oct. 31 last year. He had planned to persuade the pastor to file an insurance claim, collect the money, help inflate the repair bill and then embezzle the money, according to the indictment.
Later on Oct. 31, the church’s pastor left a phone message at the Church Mutual Insurance Co. in Merrill, Wis., in order to make a claim. The insurance company paid out about $109,000, according to the indictment.
Carva White has a history of exploiting his position as a pastor. He’s a scammer of the worst sort.
Carva Lee White used to preach at a church at 1300 Bennington. But the church was not touched by fire. White's ministry was interrupted instead by his prison sentence on a bank-fraud charge.
And then there was his other church that burned.
In 2005, White relocated to Aurora, Missouri. His church convened in a barn, which was destroyed in a fire while White and his followers ate dinner at a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
White had this to say at the time.
White suspects arson. "I was a black man in a white town, bottom line," he says.
Christians are a strange breed. Who would follow this man?
The real test of a man’s charters is what he does when under stress. Pastor Leon Mark of Mark Christian Ministries was accused by a parishioner of assault during a church services. Pastor Mark failed the test and he has a horrible fashion sense.
Pastor Mark allegedly assaulted Carl Eugene Anderson during an exorcism.
When Anderson refused, he claims the pastor put his hands on Anderson's head and began shoving him and calling him a devil.
Pastor Mark responded to the accusation by outing Anderson as a sex offender.
Mr. Anderson is a convicted sex offender who became a member of our church. We've been counseling him and helping him restore his life to get it back on track.
What a jackass. Did I mention that Leon Mark is Carl Anderson’s brother-in-law? Can’t you feel the Christian love?
Is there anything special about the King James version of the bible? For that matter, is there anything special about any version of the bible? My guess is that the answer is no. Then why would a pastor burn bibles? It must be about ego and publicity.
Pastor Marc Grizzard told Asheville TV station WLOS that the King James version of the Bible is the only one his small western North Carolina church follows. He says all other versions, such as the Living Bible, are “satanic” and “perversions” of God’s word.
And he knows this how? Did God tell him? No… I’m pretty sure he made it all up himself.
Come to our Halloween book burning. We are burning Satan's bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect.
These are perversions of God's Word, the King James Bible.We will also be burning Satan's music such as country , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, oldies but goldies, etc.
We will also be burning Satan's popular books written by heretics like Westcott & Hort, Bruce Metzger, Billy Graham Rick Warren Bill Hybels , John McArthur, James Dobson, Charles Swindoll John Piper, Chuck Colson, Tony Evans, Oral Roberts, Jimmy Swagart, Mark Driskol, Franklin Graham , Bill Bright, Tim Lahaye, Paula White, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller, Mother Teresa, The Pope, Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Donald Miller, Shane Claiborne, Brennan Manning, William Young, etc.
Hello. My name is Marc Gizzard and I am a hater.
- A New Kind of Christian Book Burning (friendlyatheist.com)
- Publicity-Hungry Minister Lures Reporters to Church with Flickering Lights* (mediabistro.com)
Friday, October 16, 2009
If only former youth pastor Norman Pugh had been convicted in his first trial. We let him walk in 2006.
A jury took just an hour-and-a-half to acquit a former youth minister charged with child molestation in Oglethorpe County.
Norman Pugh, 40, broke down in tears Wednesday as the verdict was read.
The 16-year-old girl who testified that Mr. Pugh had fondled her 18 months ago also wept at the verdict.
His church rallied around him. He had lots of support. The accuser was a lying slut.... You get the picture. Speed forward three years and former youth pastor turned truck driver Norman Pugh stands charged with molesting a teenaged girl. Nobody stands in his corner.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and Oglethorpe County sheriff's deputies arrested Norman Anthony Pugh, 43, on charges of aggravated child molestation, sexual exploitation of a child, electronically furnishing obscene material to a minor and making obscene telephone calls to a child involving a different victim.
At least he was not currently working as a youth pastor.
I need a picture of Norman Pugh. Does anybody have one they could send me?
Few things bring out racial accusations faster than a fire at a Baptist church. And when racists actually burn down a church, we react with the horror the act deserves. But when a pastor stands accused of burning his own church, which is common these days, we collectively groan in embarrassment. Our outrage saved for another day. Not me. I’m outraged for another reason. The bastard was playing on racial fears to enrich himself. How is that even remotely Christ like?
45 year old Reverend Joseph Howard is charged with hiring someone to set fire to his church so he could collect insurance money.
The church was about to be auctioned off when it burned. Is Howard that dumb? He must be. I’m sure jail awaits him after an embarrassing trial. But no worries, he’s still the pastor and all. God’s got his back.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I was talking to a co-worker yesterday when she mentioned that “All sin is the same to God.” I flinched, she had picked a pet peeve of mine. The argument that God sees all sin the same, be it a white lie or cold blooded murder, always seemed wrong to me, even as a child. What kind of a God would send a man to hell for complementing an ugly haircut and forgive a murder? And how could this same God accept a simple prayer as proof of repentance? It all seemed so silly then, but nobody thought my questions funny at the time. They accepted God’s cruel and arbitrary rule with a simple faith that I did not possess. It was one of the first things I can remember that set me apart from the believers. There would be many more to follow. I wanted God to be fair, and he was anything but.
I asked my co-worked about a social lie. I describe a social lie I had told a few minutes before when I visited another co-worker at her cubicle. I complemented her haircut. It was a lie. The haircut made her look fat and butch. I don’t think it was style she was shooting for. But who am I to tell her otherwise? I smiled and gave her a complement. I asked my Christian friend, did my lie place my eternal soul in jeopardy? She repeated her simple statement, “All sin is the same to God, unless you repent you will go to hell.”
I told her that if a parent imitates God in their relationships with their children, they children were likely to run away. Anybody with common sense sees the injustice of the relationship.
She replied with, “I have faith”. I smiled at that. I knew she had faith. But I also know her to be a self-righteous office busybody who sins with the best of us. She is your typical sin/repent/sin again Christian. The world is full of them.
I told her that I think of myself as someone who tries to be good, but that when I fail, the only person I owe an apology to is the one I hurt. When I tell a social lie, nobody is hurt. She replied with, “You hurt God.” And then she told me I was going to hell. Um… I’m already there, mind if I have a pretzel?
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My wife and I caught G. Love and Special Sauce at the Hollywood bowl last night. They played a 5 or 6 song set between the opening act Brett Dennen and the headliner Jason Mraz. It was a weird night. G. Love is a blues influenced band who has been around since the early 90s. This was my first time seeing them perform live. I enjoyed their performance. You see them for yourself onYouTube with their songs, Cold Beverage, Baby’s Got Sauce, or Hot Cookin’. I plan to catch them again the next time they come to town.
Brett Dennen’s set was odd. He is awkward on stage. He’s a tall lanky ginger kid who moves stiffly and is a bit out of sync with his music, plus he’s a tad on the androgynous side. Put that together with a voice like Carol Channing and you soon start asking yourself, when will this set end? Don’t get me wrong. I like Dennen. I have all of his work. But I’ve always listened to him one or two songs at a time. I love his powerful song Ain’t No Reason, but of course he did not sing it at the concert, instead he opted for She’s Mine and Make You Crazy. I will not pay to see him perform again.
Jason Mraz, well I knew I was in trouble before we climbed the hill to the Hollywood bowl. The crowd looked odd. And by odd I mean the crowd was mostly white or Asian women between the ages of 14 to 30 accompanied by slim men with odd little hats. By the time his set started, every seat in the house was full. When I’m Yours played, ten thousand voices sang along. It was a spiritual experience for most of the audience.
I don’t get Mraz. His music runs counter to my desire for funky rifts with an edge un-blunted by an enthusiastically optimistic outlook. I felt like one of the only people in attendance who did not drink the cool aid. But by odd coincidence, a coworker sat in the row ahead of me. He looked miserable too.
My wife told me this morning that if we ever get married again, Lucky will be our official song. I don’t think I’m going to be able to avoid Mraz much longer. If the wife likes him, I’m doomed.
At times Jason Mraz reminded me of the great Bob Marley. I think it was a combination of his Reggae influenced sound, and his desire to spread love via his lyrics. It was a disturbing thought for me as I wanted to dislike Mraz, but I found by the end that I could not.
When sitting in the Hollywood Bowl the audience cannot help but see a large well lit Christian Cross atop the Cahuenga Pass behind the venue. The only way to avoid the thing is to sit in the box seats so that the dome will hid it. The rest of the audience is forced to see a cross hovering over the stage the whole night. It pissed me off.
The cross is a historical Landmark originally erected in 1924 to honor actress Christine Wetherill Stevenson. A religious woman who help found the Hollywood Bowl. I’m all for tearing it down.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Bruce Lee Goss must have seen his conviction coming. He was caught in the back of a car with a half nude 13-year-old girl. How do you explain that away? The self proclaimed pastor insisted on a jury trial. Deliberations took 30 minutes. Guilty!
When I read these stories I ask myself why they bother. The plea deal, however unappealing, will be better than a trial conviction. This dumb pedophile could go away for a long time. He deserves it too.
Goss was in the news before. Back in the mid-90s. His church was burned down in a wave of arson attacks against black churches. It was a national epidemic at the time. The funny thing is… Goss had recently bought the property and then purchased a $40K insurance policy on it. A few days after buy insurance his derelict church was burnt to the ground by “racist” arsonist. It made the national news. I’m thinking there may be another motive.
I saw this balloon in the gutter outside my house early yesterday and was immediately taken back to my childhood. The movie The Red Balloon was a standard of 1960’s era primary school time fillers. I've seen it at least a dozen times. It won the Palme d’Or for short films back in 1956 so by the time I was in grade school it was how teachers exposed young minds to art. I think it worked. I’ve dreamed about red balloons my whole life.
Friday, October 09, 2009
I make choices each day which dictate if I will post on my blog or not. The last week has been hard. I’ve started to have nightmares related to my hypocrisy watch posts again, so I backed off for a few days. I was also hit with a complex project at work, so all my mental energy was stolen away. 10 hours of hard work and my brain does not like the idea of sitting in front of a computer. I have trouble enough just unwinding once I get home. At least I have my camera. It’s weird, but I always take pictures when I’m under stress. I think the creative act is what I need to turn my mind off. It takes the edge off. I shot this picture one day this week on my ride home. Urban ugly… I like these shots the most.
A Lutheran Pastor made a bad choice. He was busted for possession of child pornography. The dumb bastard. I hope they send him away for a few years.
Andrew John Spallek was senior pastor of Salem Lutheran Church until Sept. 23, when he resigned citing “personal reasons,” according to Sunday’s church bulletin…
…The indictment, sealed until last week, accuses Spallek of possessing 13 images of child pornography on two computers. Some were pictures of children having sex with adults, the document says.
I’m sure he was just doing research to protect children from exploitation. Or… maybe not.
Nightmares be damned. These hypocrites demand attention.
I had lunch with an evangelical Christian who knows I am an atheist blogger. He reads my blog. He also reads links from the Atheist blogroll at random. He was curious about the blogroll. He question seem centered around why would a nice guy associate himself with some many bad people. I had to laugh. He misinterpreted what I do, and why I do it.
He observed the following:
1 -You don’t write about atheism
2 - Some bloggers are full of hate.
3 - You seem like a nice guy
4 - You have a problem with pastors
He got most of it right and most of it wrong too. It is true that I don’t write about atheism. I don’t believe in atheism like Christians believe in Christ. Atheism is just a word that describes my lack of believe. It’s not a religion. I prefer to write about when believers try to force their moral agenda on me. I don’t care what other people believe and by now I’ve learned there is no changing another person mind on the issue. I don’t believe in the metaphysical, you do… ok, what next?
The statement that some of the bloggers are full of hate seems over the top. I think he means some of the bloggers write about religion or atheism and are passionate about it. I think it makes him uncomfortable. I think it makes a lot of Christians uncomfortable. It does not translate to hate. It translate for a lack of sympathy for the beliefs of the faithful. They are no longer considered special. It might hurt, but it’s not hate.
I am a nice guy. I spent a great deal of time talking about the concept that what we do is more important than we are what we think. We went down an existential rabbit hole for awhile, but in the end he understood that I’m reality based when it comes to morality. He actually agreed with me in the end. What you do is more important than what you say or by extension, what you believe.
Now pastors… It’s not that I don’t like them. I think that because they claim moral authority, they should be held accountable when they fall. In addition, I grow weary of Christians telling me I am amoral by virtue of my atheism. My blog’s endless parade of hypocrites simply says that if I am amoral, then so are you.
I also described a hug from Jim Jones in vivid detail. But that is a disturbing story for another day.
I shot a few pictures this week. The one at the top I caught as I was driving home. Photography is such good stress relief.
Sunday, October 04, 2009
We have a 11 new members of the Atheist Blogroll. Please click on the links and pay them a visit.
- Konstantine's Nook of the Web
- Reading and Critically Reviewing the Bible in 365 Days
- Humanistische denktank
- I Like Portello
- Infidel Bob
- The Door in the Wall
- Dwasifar's daily gripe
- Stig Martyr
- Struck by Enlightning
- Iced Borscht & Other Delights
Blogrolling.com has a policy which limits the display length of a blogroll to 999 members. Since we have 1045 members, 46 blogs from the bottom of the list no longer display. I changed the full member list to 999 members using the rolling method. This means the most recently updated blogs will be at the top of the list. An unanticipated side effect is that blogs that are no longer active will filter down to the bottom of the list and are much easier to find and remove.
I’ll post the full list as a unique post month-by-month on the resource site for the Atheist Blogroll.
Part of the pain of managed the Atheist Blogroll is the occasional Christian (and Islamic) blogger who tries to sneak on. To combat this, I read several posts from each blog. I find one or two stealth Christian blogs each month. I don’t know why they want on, but they sure are persistent.
I’ve let one agnostic on the blogroll who built a good case for his position. He believes there may be a god, but he is not religious and is firmly agnostic. We talked for a few weeks before I let him on. I read his blog weekly. I think I made the right choice.
I received an email from Jonathan Weyer of The Thomas Society requesting membership.
I would like my blog, The Thomas Society (www.thomas2026.wordpress.com) to join the atheist blog roll. But, before I get too far into it, I should tell you that I'm a Christian minister at Ohio State. However, our blog has Christian and atheist posters on it. So, I know we don't strictly meet the qualifications in this regard, but we have a high degree of credibility in the atheist community, including myself being on the Secular Student Alliance's speaker's bureau.
Here are some links to prove that:
http://www.secularstudents.org/ (look up the speaker's bureau section)
If we don't meet the qualifications, I completely understand.
I said no to the request, but thought I would run it by the larger community. I’m curious, what do you think?
New Atheist Blogroll member Humanistische denktank has an interesting section called Quilt of Offensive Arts (NSFW). You’ll need to translate the captions, but it is worth the effort. It’s funny though, the one piece that is sure to get you fired in the USA is hanging on the wall of the Musée d’Orse. I’ve seen it myself.
If you enter the museum for Offensive Art, you are at risk of being offended. Nobody compels you to enter...