Monday, August 31, 2009

The Art of Photography show

Woman sitting from behind

My friend Imogen turned me on to a NRP article about a San Diego photography exhibit called The Art of Photography Show. It opened at the Lyceum Theatre Gallery in San Diego on August 29, 2009. A nude man in a chair took first place. I love the shot.  You can see it at either link.

"It is a remarkable photograph in its piercing representation of an acute and specific human state," explains the show's sole judge, Charlotte Cotton, the head of the photography department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The website for the show has a great slide show of  images. Some are quite good. Unfortunately, I was not able to enter because I habitually find out about contests and shows the day after they open. My picture in the upper left was not good enough anyway. I needed something artsy, so I went with it.

Thanks Imogen!

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Pastor arrested in Las Vegas

Pastor Ladislao Moralas of the Las Vegas storefront church, Centro Evangelistico Alfa y Omega, was arrested on multiple counts of lewdness with a child under 14 years of age. The young girl was abused over serveral years, starting when she was 10.

According to an arrest report, Morales kissed, massaged and was massaged by a girl from the time she was 10 until she was 14 years old. Detectives learned that Morales would pick up the girl and take her to do paperwork for the church. Then he would touch her or have her touch him at several locations around town.

He even offered her money to keep it quite.

A police report also details an incident where Morales allegedly forced the girl to hug him. She said he touched her inappropriately and when she said no he offered her $20 not to tell anyone.

Moralas is a jerk, but there is culpability here on the part of the victims parents. Why would they allow a man to spend time alone thier10-year-old daughter? An why did the parents not report the abuse to the police when it was discovered? They've neglected their parental responsibility. I hope the state holds them accountable too.

The typical, “He’s not a real Christian” was posted in the comments so we all know the truth. Real Christians don’t abuse kids, fake Christians abuse kids. Um… does anyone have a guide?

Comment by Forthissake

I post this comment for the public to have a real concensus of opinion. Firstly, I'd like to submit that I personally know who this man is and by absolutely no means is he or was he ever a REAL minister of GOD. This man and his entire following (consisting of a whopping 25 people) are very ignorant and basically worthless to the gospel. More harm than good was done to the Name of Christ by having this guy "ordained". So before anyone else posts something about "these" people or make a general stereotype of christians, please believe me. This guy never knew Jesus. I don't doubt that there can be restoration and salvation for this man. But as far as calling him a Pastor, I think "the Sun's" editor should be corrected of his/her inaccuracy in this article.

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Another priest accused of child molestation

This time the priest is from Watertown, MA. Rev. Frederick Barr stands accused of sexual abusing a child two decades ago. Barr is currently pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown.  Signs of denial are already surfacing. This was one covered all the basis. From BiiKist:

Why wouldn't he abuse a child. He is a priest. He has no wife. He has hormones. In order to be a priest he refuted normal sexual relations with a female. In my book that screams out homosexual. So it would follow by some peoples thinking he is also a child abuser. Homosexual=child abuser right? No I do not believe any of that claptrap. However many do. The catholic church seems to have bottomless coffers and some people simply wish to get a share of it...so claim the priest abused you...get a payoff to shutup and all is well. I was an altar boy...I wore those dresses and did all that catholic altar stuff.....wasn't for me....men don't wear dresses I don't care what name you give them.Kilt or cassock or robe..they are dresses and real men do not wear them. Funny I never heard of a sacrement of pennance.....must be one of those remove my guilt things.

I think BillKist likes to wear dresses… Well, that is my read anyway.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I met an Atheist today

Crystal CathedrialI was walking near the bar at my hotel this morning when a man stopped me to ask directions to the Crystal Cathedral. He spoke English with a heavy but unfamiliar accent.  From the cut of his clothing, new orange pants with a thin yellow shirt, I placed him as European, possibly German. I don’t even think they sell orange pants here in the states.

I was nice to him because he was nice to me. But he was persistent and followed me out past the pool to my truck. He explained that he wanted to see the Crystal Cathedral because he heard it was the equivalent of Norte Dame Cathedral but in Anaheim. I told him that I had been to both and there is no comparison. It’s just a big ugly glass tower. I was afraid he would be disappointed. He persisted, he even asked me to drive him to the church after finding out  it was a few miles away. I told him to tip the shuttle bus driver instead.

I found his parting question hilarious. He asked me how much money he should give when they pass the collection plate. It seems he wanted to sit through a church service. I told him they did not need his money as they were a very rich church. He smiled at that and then asked if $20 would be ok. Giving up, I nodded yes.

He tried one last time to get me to take him, even asking if I would like to attend with him. I told him that I was an atheist and did not go to church. He smiled while tapping his chest and said, “I also.”

I asked why he wanted to go to church, he responded with, “I want to see a protestant worship spectacle.”

I smiled as I walked back to my room. My faith restored…

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A little smoke

Smoke from the Station Fire I snapped a quick picture of the what the news is calling the Station Fire, yesterday at Sunset.

This was shot from near Disneyland, so I am at least 40 miles away from the smoke. To give you an idea of scale, the clouds are in front and above our local mountains, which top out at about 5,000 feet. The smoke extends at least another 5,000 feet. I’ve even heard it described on the local news as 15,000 feet high and three to four miles wide. After seeing the smoke at various times this weekend, I’m inclined to think they are underselling the size.

We’ve had 5 days of 100 degree low humidity days. It really is a wonder the whole state is not burning. It certainly feels like we are living in a blast furnace.

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Persistence

I returned home briefly this morning to feed the dog. My wife and I are celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary by treating ourselves to a mini getaway at a nearby boutique hotel. It’s good to get out of the heat and feel pampered now and then. But I still have to return home to feed the dog. Thor gets cranky without his kibble.

As I got out of my car, a neighbor family drove by on their way to church, they said hi and asked me to join them at their new church. They know I’m an atheist, but every few months they ask anyway. Actually, it’s every few months over the last 15 years. They keep asking, I keep saying, “No thanks.” Their persistence is more than matched by my own. Their offers occasionally extend to my son, I always decline on his behalf. I explain that he can make his own mind up once he’s off to college. They think that is a bad idea…. That’s why he does not get to go to church with them.

It’s a delicate balance, and a lopsided one too. I am the only atheist on the block. That’s 15 to 1. On average, I am invited to church once ever 5 weeks. I don’t think the Christians will ever give up or go away will ever give up. It reinforces the fact that I am alone in this struggle, except for my imaginary internet atheist friends… I don’t think it was be as easy with them.

Well… he’s to 29 years of marriage and 30 years as an atheist!

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

A pastor with an upskirt fetish

Pastor (and registered sex offender) John Albert Kleinpeter was arrested for surreptitiously shooting photos up women’s skirts in Lake Elsinore area Target stores. Apparently he preferred the women in Target over those in Wal-Mart.

John Albert Kleinpeter, also known as John Andrews, is pastor of Generations Community Church in Lake Elsinore , California.  The church website was pulled offline after this story hit the news. The Google cache is still up. If this follows the normal pattern, the church is busy rewriting history to remove Kleinpeter from the website.

Kleinpeter was caught in the act by investigator responding to complaints.

Kleinpeter stood behind the woman and held his cell phone under a piece of paper to conceal it. When she bent down he put the camera between her legs and snapped photos, documents show.

According the California Sex offenders website, Kleinpeter was previously convicted of  assault with intent to commit rape, sodomy, or oral copulation. Did I mention he was a pastor?

I sure hope Generations Community Church did a background check on this freak. I’m betting no. I know people who attend this church. I’ll have to give them a call while figuring out how to keep my atheist superhero identity a secret.

Youth Pastor John Picard guilty

Youth Pastor John Picard, a true rat bastard, is going to die in prison. It’s ok to say this now, right? He was found guilty Friday.  There is no more doubt. That bastard molested at least six women and young girls. I can call him a rate bastard with no guilt, right?

Since the jury got the case the same day, my guess is that the evidence was overwhelming.

The state called its final three witnesses, including Mansfield police Lt. Allen Vandayburg. He and Detective Jeff Shook went to Springboro, where Picard had moved, to interview him in July 2008. Police had taped a phone conversation between Picard and one of his alleged victims. In the conversation, Picard encouraged the woman to keep their relationship a secret.

Read more…

Picard was found guilty on 42 counts of sexual battery. He could receive up to 110 years in prison. Picard was a youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church on Marion Avenue in Mansfield, Ohio.

There is one thing I want to know. How does a youth pastor abuse woman for years without Church leadership knowing? I do not believe it is possible. 

Prison, Chess & Photography

One of my secret pleasures is discovering the talent and vision of other photographers and artists via the internet. My latest find is photographer Oliver Fluck  who followed me on Twitter this morning. While checking him out, I found a post about his Prison Chess portraits at Prison Photography.  His portraits are interesting. I like his work.

Fluck’s blog makes an interesting read and I enjoyed his HDR work on Flickr too. Enjoy.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Director of Christian education free on bond

Care to guess why? Let me help. Steven Joplin was accused of aggravated sexual battery for allegedly molesting a 10-year-old girl while at church. Um… move victims to follow.

The Staunton Police Department said additional charges against Joplin are expected, and said there’s the possibility that more victims could be uncovered during its investigation.

I’ve had a few complaints recently. Christians do no like it when I name their institutions on this blog. Deep Thoughts is so well indexed at Google that a single blog post is likely to return a top five result. They complain about he exposure, and in some causes ask formally to have the post removed. My policy is what I write stands. I fix errors (lots and lots of errors), but I do not remove posts, and all comments remain unless they are spam or the author requests a take down.

To be clear, I post these stories with the intention of creating a long term record that people can find if they desire information about a church or school. That makes sense, right?

In this case, Steve Joplin was the director of Christian education at Christ United Methodist Church in Staunton, Virginia. The Rev. Robert Edwards is pastor.

Baptist Music Pastor gets 10 years

Ten years in state prison for a 56 year old man is a long time. David Pierce will live to regret his repeated violation of the children from his youth choir. My guess is Pierce will regret it nightly.

I love this quote from the article

“ ... Even though the number of Southern Baptist ministers who are sexual predators may seem to be relatively small, we must be on watch and take immediate action against those who prey on the most innocent among us,” Chapman said. “One sexual predator in our midst is one too many.”

Morris H. Chapman is president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He knows better than anyone that clergy sexual abuse is an epidemic just as large as the one in the Catholic Church. Why would he spin it like this unless he’s trying to protect the franchise?

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Faith healing kills another boy

Allowing your son to die when a simple visit to the doctor would save his life is at least negligent homicide. Praying over a boy suffering for vomiting and diarrhea is an ineffective treatment and irresponsible, I don’t care what your faith dictates. Greg and JaLea Swezey killed their son Zachery Swezey. They should be held accountable.

When he fell ill March 15, the 17-year-old Carlton boy's parents, Greg and JaLea Swezey, thought he had food poisoning. But over the next three days, they realized it was something else, perhaps the flu. He'd had a fever, and was vomiting with severe diarrhea.

Read more….

They prayed while he died. What the hell? How do you live with yourself after letting your son die an agonizing death from a ruptured appendix?

The Swezey’s are members of the Mormon cult, Church of the First Born.

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Put your faith in the church, or not

Pastor run all kinds of scams, but stealing funds from the homeless is pretty low. Or in this case an upgrade from a small FEMA trailer to a full sized model.

In the last two years, more than a 175 people paid Reverend Martin Denesse, of Grace Harbor Ministries, $2,200. They were told it was for insurance to receive a free full size FEMA trailer. The residents felt it was a safe request because Denesse was the parish’s designated trailer liaison.

Trust in the church and you trust in men. Men of the cloth lie, steal, cheat and whore around just like the rest of us. Pastor Martin Denesse disserves to be tarred and feathered. How to you rationalize stealing from those in need?  His actions are disgusting.

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We need more of this

A model was arrested for posing nude at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Yesterday afternoon, Hyman, who has shot nudes in Times Square, in the subway, in a church and other public spaces without complaint, entered the museum with Neill and his support team. At what Hyman thought was the appropriate moment, Neill shed her dress and the photographer got to work. Seconds later Neill donned her clothes and Hyman handed the film to an aide.

I like Zach Hyman’s work. Oh to be young with nude models…

We need more art and less pettiness.  A nude body should not be a cause for alarm unless it’s mine.

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Catholic Church protects a pedophile

The stories that come to light via the various clergy sexual abuse lawsuits are scary. They show how the Catholic Church actively protected priests that they knew to be pedophiles.

Mark McAllister says he was abused by Fr. Gerald James Howard when he was 13. When Howard came to Missouri he already had a criminal conviction for molesting children in New Jersey.

But, he changed his name when he came to Missouri.

"No one was informed by church officials that his identity was changed ...to shelter the Newark and Jefferson City Diocese from the scrutiny of protecting a criminal of the worst possible kind," McAllister accuses.

The Catholic Church cannot be trusted. They've done this kind of thing too often to warrant the trust.

A crisp new dollar

I loaned a neighbor $26 a few weeks ago. I never expected to see it returned. The man lives in a garage across the street and down a few houses. He walks his dog, drinks a lot of beer, and in general, does as little as possible. I like him. He’s friendly, and will go out of his way to help others if he sees the opportunity. He is an alcoholic, and as far as I can tell, unrepentant about it.

When he knocked on my door to ask for a loan, he said  he needed cash to get across town to visit a free clinic. I gave him everything in my wallet after initially saying no. He pleaded with me, which was out of character. He was having trouble with his eyes, it was important that he see a doctor. $26 did not seem like a lot of money to me, but it meant a lot to him. He promised to repay me despite my assurance there was no need. I did not expect to see the money. I was surprised by what happened next.

About a week after the loan he flagged me down as I returned from work. He put three crisp new dollar bills in my hand and said there was more to come. He repeated this every time he saw me over the next few weeks. Sometimes it was a single dollar, at other times two or three. The dollars bills were always crisp and new.

Yesterday he stopped me in my driveway. He put new six one dollar bills in my hand as a final payment. I thanked him and told him if he ever needed help again, that he should ask. He said something then that made me smile. I’m going to paraphrase it here. I can’t actually write the way the guy talks.

I was praying for the money. You helped me see a doctor and he gave me glasses so I can read the bible again. I was praying and reading and trying to find a way to put together the money to pay you back when I read a passage about tithing. So I tried to set aside 10% of everything I earned for you. Since I don’t have a job, doing that was hard, so it occurred to me that I should find some work instead of just praying for money.  I’ve been doing day labor for cash. I trim bushes (he points to a bush).

I’ve never actually seen this guy do anything before. Day or night, he’s in front of his house with a beer in his hand. Apparently, his desire to repay a loan overcame his desire to drink. I was touched and reminded that good people come in all shapes and sizes and can even be alcoholic bums. My natural skepticism keeps me from trusting the motives of people on first blush. Occasionally people do things that just blow me away and make me feel good about being part of the human race.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pastor's wife admits to 3-way

Talk about freak of the week, the strange case of John Picard just gets stranger by the day. This pastor is alleged to have engaged in biblically justified 3-way sexual orgies with his wife and underage victims. His wife admits to it.

Like the alleged victims who have testified, Sherri Picard claims her husband used the Bible to justify their behavior.

"There's a passage that talks about Jonathan and David embracing and kissing because they had to separate from one another," Sherri Picard said.   "And that was the specific passage that was referenced."

I’m betting the jury deliberations will be quick and followed by a plea to implement the death penalty.

Pedophile pastor to serve only 4 years

Charles Carfrey worked out a plea deal that will put him back on the streets in just four short years. His victims are pissed.

In interviews with The Republic, many of the women who came forward against Carfrey decried the plea deal. It lets him off too easily for all the damage he has caused them, they say, and makes it possible for him to find another group to prey on when he is released.

"It's sickening that a person can sexually molest, assault and abuse an entire church full of women and get away with such little time in prison," said Tara Silva, 22. "He's completely ruined my life. I can't sleep at night. I have panic attacks now. I have nightmares all the time."

After reading through the case history, I think its time to vote in new leadership at the DA’s office.

Carfrey is a serial abuser. It is feared he will just pick up where he left off. What’s to stop him?

"Think about this: He did this in another state, moved to the state of Arizona, did it again to more women, and more teenage girls, and he's getting four years? No, it's just not going to fly with me," she said. "As soon as he gets out of prison, he's going to move to another state and do the same (expletive) all over again."

How can anyone trust the clergy?

Priest, stockbroker and thief?

And he’s married twice, with kids, and delinquent on child care payments… Would you buy stocks from this priest? From any priest for that matter? Not me…

Last week, securities regulators suspended Warnky's registration as a broker, citing his failure to comply with an order to repay $50,000 to a former client, D.R. Marshall, who alleged the priest defrauded him.

Diocesan officials inhibited Warnky after learning from an investigative reporter that Warnky failed to disclose a 2006 court sentence of ten years' probation for a $50,000 delinquency in child support payments to his second wife, according to Lambert.

So… it’s OK to be a convicted criminal and a still be priest? How does that work?

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Priest gets probation

I’m pretty sure that if I stole $40k from my employer that would lock me away from ten years. So why the double standard if the accused (and convicted) thief is a priest?

A former Chicago parish priest has been sentenced to four years probation for stealing $40,000 from the church.

Cook County prosecutors accused the Rev. Steve Patte of issuing checks and wiring money to his personal accounts as reimbursement for expenditures that never occurred.

Authorities accused Patte of using the money to pay for vacations in California, computers, massages and other personal expenses. The money was stolen between July 2001 to August 2005, when he was removed from St. Ita's Church on Chicago's North Side.

Double standards… is it because priests are supposed to be better then the rest of us?

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Pastor has sex with teen

JoshuaSpires If I get this story straight, Pastor Joshua Spires had “consensual” sex with a 15-year-old girl before church services each Sunday. Spires faces up to 200 years in prison. Since he’s confessed, I’m sure they will knock it down to 100.

Spires met with Jay authorities on Tuesday and was taken into custody. He confessed he had an "inappropriate, unlawful sexual relationship" with the victim while he was married and senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Jay, the affidavit states.

In Baptist churches, the practice of raping a young girl before services  is known as a “The pastors special warm up.” It helps get the up for a fiery service.

Oh… I’m back. To my new crop of Christian stalkers I can only say, hold on to your seats, it’s going to be a rough ride.

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The assault of prayer

I don’t care if Christians pray. I don’t care if they think prayer can solve world hunger, end wars, or heal the sick. I don’t care if they pray together or pray alone. I do not care about prayer in the same way that I do care about masturbation. Prayer, like masturbation, is a personal thing. Where I start to care, no wait, where I violently appose prayer, is when Christians ask to pray with me. I view it in the same way I would if somebody asked me to watch them jack off. Um, no thanks.

Take lunch yesterday. I have a spot that I enjoy once or twice a week. I’m such a regular that the owner will boot people from my table if I walk in to find it occupied. This happened yesterday with a 80-year-old man. I vetoed the owner asking him to move, but my kindness was repaid with the insult and assault of prayer. He came over to my table when my delicious campechana arrived and offered to pray over my meal with me. I stood up, looked him in the eye and said, “That’s not going to happen. Mind you damn business.”

I cannot figure out what possess complete strangers to offer prayer like this. I eat at this restaurant because I can sit at my table and eat in glorious peace and quiet. I don’t even have to talk. Unless I say something, my normal meal appears like magic. The disruption of a shared prayer is the exact opposite social experience I’m looking for. Christians of the world, just stop this nonsense.

How do you handle these unwanted prayer assaults?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Off to see Green Day

Yes… this old fart is taking his 14-year-old son to see Green Day at the Forum in Inglewood tonight. If they does not lift my funk, nothing will.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

19 with a Nemo tat

tattoo of Nemo
When I was 19 and in the service, I remember standing in a tattoo parlor in Chanute, Illinois, with $50 in my hand. My long forgotten friends were taking turns under the needle. Each had selected the U.S. Air Force emblem to adorn their biceps.  When it came time for my turn, I balked. I kept thinking about the future and it did not add up. No tattoo for me then, and none for me now.

This 19-year-old friend of my niece is proud of her Nemo tattoo. She has another tattoo on her bicep (second view here). I am of two minds on tattoos. While I will never get one myself, I enjoy tattoos on other people. I think it has something to do with the colors. It reminds me of human graffiti. When I see one I like, I walk right up and ask, “Do you mind if I shoot your tat?”. They always says yes. Of course I am a bit of a hypocrite, today I gave my niece some cash for her birthday while taking the opportunity to admonishing her to “not spend it on tattoos”. I’m still her uncle after all.

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The great gray funk

I don’t like to think of myself as moody, but sometimes I can’t get out of that funk that kills my creative energy. All I want to do is sleep, or blow kids up on TF2. It’s been a solid week this time. I still have no mental energy. I’m in a funk for sure. I think I need a change of scenery.

I know my job has something to do with it. I sit and think all day. My mind is focused on one tough nut after another. At times, it sucks me dry.  My job is not the reason. I like my job. It’s what I write about on my blog. I can only take so much. These people are horrible. There soul crushing acts of violence are too much for me at times. I cannot open my email for fear of reading about another childhood lost.

July was the worst month in my experience writing about clergy sexual abuse. I started to dream about the cases in early August. I could not get them off my mind. But what really pushed it over the edge was the hate mail. It has reached a new level of viciousness now that I’ve started to include Catholics and Mormons in my posts.

I will not stop, but I will take breaks instead. I’m back now, but still a little gun shy. While I’ve been gone, the clergy has been busy. I have some catching up to do.

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Thoughts on the Blasphemy Challenge

While doing the weekly adds and deletes for the Atheist Blogroll this morning, I read a post about the Blasphemy Challenge on the new blog Atheist Reform. In the YouTube video referenced in the post, Sam denies the holy spirit, and goes on to say she hopes to see the end of religion in her lifetime. I’ve always thought that these video takes guts, but they are not my style. I’ve watched a few hundred, they give me hope.

The Blasphemy Challenge reminds me of a winter day in 1983. I was driving to work on the 405 fwy in the South Bay while thinking about sin and the absolute nature of the unpardonable sin. It seemed inconsistent with the message of Christianity to me even then. I shook my fist at the sky and did denied the holy sprit, God, and Jesus too. It felt pretty good then and the fact that I can remember doing it all these years later means it was important to me.

The post at Atheist Reform ended with the author calling young Sam a hypocrite. I don’t follow his logic. Perhaps you do?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Atheist dies twice, does not see the light

Atheist blogroll member and fellow good natured blogger Crispysea had a heart attack on August 12. He died twice. He tells his story in hilarious detail in a post titled The Great British National Health Service Saved My Life. It pains me to say it, but the same treatment here in the US would have cost at least $50K.

Drop in and wish him good health.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Golden Hour

The golden hour In photography, the golden hour is the first and last hour of sunlight each day. The warm colors are amazing.  I shot with a light green filter to capture skin tones. I like the result.

I rarely give to the street corner homeless. Part of me believes it is a scam. Especially when I’ve seen the same guy in the same spot for well over a year. I even witness his attempt to run off another person trying to work the same corner. He was a very angry man. What do you think? Is it a scam?

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Youth Pastor John Picard goes to trial

I first posted on youth pastor John Picard back in July of 2008. At the 10 there were 10 sex related felonies pending against him. As he goes to trail, there are now 42 counts of sexual battery pending against him. He faces a possible sentence of 210 years. His trial starts Monday.

I’ve corresponded with several people involved in the case. If even a small portion of the story I’ve been told makes the press, Picard will go down as one of the worst serial offenders in recent memory.

Pedophile cult leader dies in prison

Arvin Shreeve (video) died of natural causes in prison. He was 79. Shreeve was a bad man, evil is a better word to describe him. We are better off for his passing.

Shreeve was arrested in 1991 after investigators raided his multihouse compound in the Northwood subdivision on Ogden's north side.

Officers were investigating charges that Shreeve and others practiced a communal lifestyle, lesbianism, a form of polygamy and child sexual abuse.

Shreeve was accused of illegal sexual contact with four girls under the age of 14 who were members of families belonging to his so-called "Sister Program."

I remember the case. I have friends in Ogden who knew the man and his followers. They kept sending me press clipping from the trial. The testimony was horrific. This man was a stain.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Peeping tom pastor convicted

OK… he started off as a pastor and then things went down hill. Peeping tom and child porn, I think it is best if we keep this one off the streets.

Christopher Krpata, 36, a former youth pastor who lived in Myerstown, is in Lebanon County prison after being charged Dec. 4 with possession of child pornography on a laptop computer he used at work at the Cocoa Flats Hotel in Hummelstown, according to court records…

…In the latest incident, according to the criminal complaint, Krpata admitted in April 2007 to his probation officer that he downloaded "hundreds" of pornographic photos of girls who may have been as young as 10 or 12 onto a laptop computer where he worked from January 2005 through January 2007

Creep.

Jack, stay away from the kids

It is a simple concept. When a youth pastor is charged with a crime against a child, especially a sex crime, they should be removed from duty. Let’s see what happens in the Jack Ryan Duffer case.

JackDufferYork-Poquoson Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Dennis Ivey told WVEC.com he knows the girl, who is over age 13, through Seaford Baptist Church, where he is the youth pastor.

He’s being held without bond on one count each of taking indecent liberties with a minor child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

He’s a Baptist, now there is a surprise. But how did Seaford Baptist Church do?

“We are saddened and disappointed by the recent arrest of our youth pastor,” said Pastor Gene Corett in a prepared statement.  “As soon as we heard that he was under investigation, he was immediately suspended as pastor and has been told that he is prohibited from having any further contact with our youth…

There you go, a good move by a Baptist church. It can happen.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Texas pastor charged with cyber-stalking

Apparently one cannot send anonymous e-mails to women commenting on their large breasts. What the hell? I had no idea this was illegal.

A pastor active in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has resigned from his church amid allegations that he sent inappropriate e-mails to a woman who once attended the congregation.

The Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office in Shreveport, La., issued a press release Aug. 11 reporting that Matthew Darren Wood, 38, of Marshall, Texas, turned himself in after being issued a misdemeanor summons for cyber-stalking. He is accused of sending several anonymous e-mails of a sexual nature to a 21-year-old Shreveport woman one day this past March.

Pastor Matthew Darren Wood sounds like an insecure Baptist asshole. I wonder where his next church will be? Waco?

Youth Pastor now a pedophile

A youth pastor from Malaga, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to possession of child porn. Robert Kevin Carlino was youth pastor the Malaga Assembly of God Church until the time of his arrest.

At his plea hearing, Carlino stated that on Mar. 17, 2009, law enforcement officers searched his home and seized two computers which belonged to him and which contained images of child pornography. Carlino admitted that he downloaded these images from e-mails sent to him by others and from various internet sites.

The images were of people under 18 years of age engaged in sexually explicit conduct, Carlino admitted.

And this where it gets all too real…

According to the Complaint, all 134 of the images involve the same prepubescent female, who is a known victim (that is, a real child who has been identified by law enforcement officers and entered into the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children "NCMEC" database), and who was known to be approximately 9 years old at the time the images were taken.

10 years in Prison seems like a small price to pay. It really does.

Did I mention he was a youth pastor?

Youth pastor Christopher Decaire on trial

Youth pastor Christopher Decaire finally had a chance to face his accuser in court. The 15-year-0ld girl, 13 at the time of the alleged crime, gave graphic testimony.

"He put my shirt down, unzipped his pants. And then what happened? He touched my stomach with his penis."

She says other incidents took place in his office.

"He put his penis in my mouth."

It’s the tape recording that will seal the deal…

In the taped recording, Decaire says, "You can't tell you, can't say anything, you can't, I don't care what she knows, you can't say anything. Oh God."

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by saying Pastor Decaire days of freedom and joy pursing his life’s work as a Baptist youth pastor are over. Prison will follow. I wonder how that will look on his resume?

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Molley is the dumbest America teen alive

The whole Africa/Asia discussion just blew me away. It went downhill from there.

Divorce for a hater

Doug Manchester helped fund  California’s Proposition 8. At the time he claimed it was his Catholic faith that motivated him. Now it seems as if his faith is selective as he is divorcing his wife of 43 years. Pious Catholics are not supposed to do divorces if they are true believers.

Essentially, the divorce paints Doug Manchester as a hypocrite and hater. He targeted gay marriage out of his own personal bias. It had nothing to do with religion. I find it ironic that the $125,000 he donated to help gather signatures is less then his wife’s monthly living expenses. Not only is he a hater, but he pissed all over that happiness of thousands with what amounts to pocket change.

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It is all about trust and deception

Church goers are lulled into a false sense of trust. They think the values of Christianity are shared by all who attend. Yet there are those who walk among them who disregard the supposedly indelible stamp of Christian morality. Be it priest or pastor, music director or deacon, the myth of a true moral path evaporates behind a web of deception once base human desires come into play. Take the case of a church volunteer in Florida, he was just trying help, by tying to infect a young boy with HIV.

Jere Michael Temple began spending time with the victim about six months ago after meeting him at the Rainbow Promise Community Church in Auburndale. Rev. Karen Ducham said Temple attended services and was a volunteer.

According to the Lakeland Police Department, Temple spent weekends with the teen and acted as a mentor. The victim told a detective the 58-year-old man had unprotected sex with him on multiple occasions.

Because at Rainbow Promise we trust in Christ so much that we don’t even screen those who volunteer to help. No, we don’t even provide adequate supervision. Why should we, we are all Christians after all. And no true Christian would rape a young boy….

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is Focus on the Family going broke?

I sure hope so. Their Love Won Out campaign is in trouble. If you don’t follow these religious zealots, Love Won Out focuses on helping people deal with the “Homosexual Lifestyle.” Few things pisses me off more than this wrong headed ministry.

The "Love Won Out" conferences were staged all over the country and claimed to assist individuals in leaving the 'homosexual lifestyle.' The events promised to "help men and women dissatisfied with living homosexually understand that same-sex attractions can be overcome." The conference program has been ceded to Exodus International, a Florida-based evangelical ministry with the core message "Freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." A spokesperson for Focus on the Family said, "Financial realities played a role in the decision. That said, Exodus is really the one who should be running 'Love Won Out' anyway. It makes sense independent of economic realities." In addition to discontinuing the conference program under its own auspices, the organization will eliminate one staff position and is considering additional financial cuts. Last year, Focus on the Family had to eliminate 200 staff positions because of another budget shortfall.

I know it is too much to hope for, but I will hope for it none the less.

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Youth Pastor indicted for Manslaughter

This is a tragic story of irresponsibility. It does not matter if he was a youth pastor or not. Ronald Coulter is alleged to have killed a boy through his own negligence.

A Nelson County grand jury has indicted a youth minister with manslaughter, wanton endangerment, and unlawful transaction with a minor. The charges against Ronald Derek Coulter come in the death of 13-year-old James Mitchell.

Coulter allowed a 13-year-old to drive an SUV. Coulter’s character is in question here. When the death was originally reported, Coulter lied. Too bad there is not crime called conduct unbecoming a youth pastor. But then, the courts are clogged as it is. Coulter changed his story after another teen told the truth. He is the very model of a Christian youth pastor.

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The Rapture is not an exit strategy

Rapture

I saw this on Reddit yesterday and liked it so much I though I would share it. I love the message, although I fear Christians will view it as an atheist’s hate filled rant.

I remember learning about the Rapture as a teen. I kept thinking that it seemed appealing but unlikely. My doubts were met with piles of books by the likes of Hal Lindsey. The books made my list of questions grow. Because even as a teen I understood that Lindsey was making it up as he went along. All to sell lots of books.

Many of the questions I have now are the same questions I had then. Like, what about all the Hindus, or Muslims? Or… how about the millions of people who have never heard the Good News? But the one that made me laugh the most was the theory that all current and former Christians were going off to live in fantasy land with Jesus after the Rapture. I’ve always need to know how things work. I kept asking, well how will that work?  If 1 billion people go off to live with Jesus, what would they do? Would they need to work? What about sewage treatment? I would get blank looks then, just like I do know. “Have faith” was the only answer they could come up with. It was not good enough.

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He is just an average Joe youth pastor

If you believe the allegations, this average Joe of a youth pastor liked to line his pockets with with church funds.

Charles Lohn, the former youth minister at Shelbyville Mills Baptist Church, was brought in for questioning "concerning his involvement in the embezzlement of approximately $73,000 from the church," Detective Sgt. Brian Crews said.

The crime is alleged to have occurred over a three-year period. The church discovered it while looking for missing funds.

As usual, the real story is in the comments.

Posted by lendonsmommy

nah, i dont think he was being greedy..i think he was going through hard times. i dont think he even knew what he was doing. no one knows why he did this but it had to be something he was going through. i dont think he would steal money for the heck of it. pretty much other than this, he was a pretty good guy. thats why no one saw this coming. i kind of feel bad about the comment i posted before. calling him out like that for what he did to me. and it wont let me delete it so i want to post another one. brother charles IS a good guy. he's just going through some stuff i suppose. and shelbyville mills is an amazing church. with great people. unfortunately this story is posted everywhere. i just saw it on the news and my heart just broke for him and his family. we all make mistakes. i for one wouldnt want my mistakes posted all over the news.

No, people steal money because the think they can get away with it. It does not matter if you are a good guy. But what should matter is that he was a pastor. Right?

Posted by doe-c-doe

I agree that this man and his family need prayer. But what about the other hundreds of people that we see in the news. People in Bedford county are so quick to judge, posting nasty comments about people that they really dont know anything about. Maybe we all should pray for the people that write such nasty things about others! It is sad that people are picked apart like they are. EVERYONE needs to be prayed for. Some more than others. No man is better than another. My thoughts are with this family as well as others going through hard times. Shame on you Bedford County!

I honestly don’t understand the “pray for you” mentality. The man commits a crime against the church and your solution is to pray for him? What good does that do? Put him in jail for a few years.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Catholic priest suspended for sexual assault

This story is interesting. Rev. Bradley Barber was removed from pastoral duties for allegedly sexually assaulting a young man. His victim, a 24-year-old man, alleged a sexual act took place, yet the police refused to file charges. So… Barber was removed for some other reason, right? Like being gay?

Pastor busted for trafficking in ancient artifacts

I had to look up ancient to see if retired pastor John Sheild’s crimes were indeed has heinous and heartless as they seemed. He stands accused of pilfering ancient artifacts.

Ancient: Old; that happened or existed in former times, usually at a great distance of time; belonging to times long past; specifically applied to the times before the fall of the Roman empire

Civil War era memorabilia does not qualify as ancient artifacts. I think his real crime is collecting from public lands. The United States Government is a jealous mistress. Still, it is a crime. Shield should know better.

I wonder what type metal detector he has? The Minelab Exterra 505 maybe? Is my bias showing?

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Introducing Bruce Llama

Bruce Llama joined the Atheist Blogroll recently and has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

In the author’s own words:

There is no god, and that's the message in the blog.  I don't just write about religion, I enjoy writing about a wide range of subjects, however I can't help myself at times and have big long rants on the Catholics.  It's true that religion poisons everything.

I'm off beat, full of contradictions, understand I don't know everything, able to change my mind from one blog to the next and often get confused about whether I'm a llama or a person, or perhaps I've managed to be both at the same time.  I mean really, if Jesus can do it, why can't I?

Hi, you can find me at www.brucellama.com and also out in the paddocks eating the grass.

Are you Interested in joining the Atheist Blogroll? Click here. Are you a photographer? The 2009 Atheist Blogroll photography contest is accepting entries.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Pastor indicted for allegedly defrauding HUD

I liked the title of this story so much so much, I use it. Pastor Henry M. Humphrey of Shiloh Baptist Church was indicted by a federal grand jury on 11-counts of conspiring to defraud the federal government. Humphrey was supposed to use $1.5 million in our tax dollars to renovate a blighted school building. As far as I can tell, the construction never happened.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-3rd District last year asked the Department for Housing and Urban Development to audit the project's spending, including four including four congressional earmarks totaling $1.2 million that were secured by Yarmuth's predecessor, Republican Anne Northup. Yarmuth said the money was wasted because the school was still boarded up.

I bet Humphrey drives a nice car though.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hopeless

Homeless smoker

I  faced a bit of hopelessness today. It broke my heart. I saw women in distress on the side of the road. She looked ill. It was in a bad part of town. I stopped anyway. She was incoherent and not able to stand. I called for help. When the police arrived, the officer said one word. Drugs. He made the hypodermic motion with his fingers. I figured it was heroin. The sick lady looked bad close up. Like she had fallen hard. It actually hurt to look at her, and I felt odd because once I found out she was an addict, my compassion faded away.

I shot this homeless man over the weekend. There was no move on my part to help. His condition looked self-inflected. Maybe that is it?

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They steal too you know

Churches make easy marks. They often have lax financial oversight and operate in a way where too much trust is granted to people in positions of power. It’s only when thing go bad that people start to ask questions. Like in the case of First United Methodist Church Business Manager Sonay Jo Ensey. She stands accused of embezzling $140K and using it for her personal expenses.

"While she was gone, one of the banks notified them that they had an account overdrawn, so they kind of started looking into that. Found that they were missing several thousands of dollars. It turned out to be larger than that," said Moore Police Officer Jeremy Lewis.

Oops, busted because of some slopping business practices. I real pro would have hid the theft much deeper. She must not be a real pro, or a real Christian either…

Small victories

I’ve been following anti-abortion activist Pastor Walter Hoye since his arrest and conviction for violating an Oakland order prohibiting his antics within eight feet of a woman entering or leaving the clinic. He’s been on a crusade to have the ordinance overturned as unconstitutional. A federal judge did not agree.

U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco found the law both neutral in its content and appropriately applied by police who arrested Hoye last year in front of Family Planning Specialists Medical Group, an abortion clinic near Jack London Square.

I’ve walked by the clinic myself. I’ve seen Hoye’s minions in action. I am so pleased that the ordnance was upheld. At first blush I was horrified that his free speech could be so limited. Then I did the math. Eight feet is not very big. It’s just big enough to allow a person to walk on a sidewalk without being crowed by fanatical Christian protesters. The call it a protective bubble. That sounds about right.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Pay the man

Pay the man $2,423K in restitution. That’s some big fine, no?

The former pastor of Shiloh Ministries in Hagerstown will spend the next three years behind bars and he has some major bills to pay back.

Otis Ray Hope was convicted of tax evasion and conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

I don’t even know the man and I don’t like him.

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Catholic Grady pleads not guilty

I always hope that when a pastor is confronted with his crimes, they see the light and confess, especially the pedophiles. It happens, but so rarely. I had hoped that Rev. James P. Grady would be a stand up guy, but no. After being caught trying to buy an $80 blowjob from an agent posing as a underage girl, he still thinks he has a shot at going free. Of course, with the mountain of evidence they have on him, the only question Grady needs to worry about is, “Bitch or Bull?”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Marcus filed notice Monday that evidence includes e-mails and phone conversations allegedly exchanged between Grady and an undercover officer, as well as the things he said after his arrest and a video of his visit to a house where the 16-year-old was supposedly located.

The video will be fun to watch. I wonder how long we will have to wait?

If a pastor says it, then I believe it

Well call me a cynic… Rev. Erik Swanson think a member of his congregation is innocent of the charge of molesting an 11-year-old child.  Swanson said that Thomas Anderson is a “beloved member of our church”. By know, we all know that being a member of a church,  or calling oneself a Christian, are not good indicators of future behavior. And, Anderson was witnessed doing something hinky….

According to the district attorney's office, two witnesses reported seeing Anderson acting inappropriately with a child while serving as a volunteer security guard at a Gold Pride professional women's soccer game July 19 at Santa Clara University's Buck Shaw Stadium.

I really hope this is all a mistake, because if not, the authorities need to look deeper. Anderson has been working around children for a long time.

Anderson, elected to the California Youth Soccer Association's Hall of Fame in 1987, founded the West Valley Youth Soccer League and led West Valley United, a team for boys 12 and under, to the state and regional championships in 1981.

And note to the press, interviewing a pastor is not news. They can only say one thing. Don’t you understand that? How about interviewing somebody who can shed light on the crime? Would that be too hard?

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Guest Post – An Agnostic’s Testimonial

I made up the title. John, the man who submitted this testimonial did not give me one. Instead, he offered his experience with Christians and their moral superiority as a way of responding to my post, Do Christians have any other argument? He touches on the true love of Christ as interpreted my mean spirited Christians.

John – thanks for sharing.

I grew up in the Church of God headquartered in Anderson, Indiana. And here's a funny side note to that: When I was in business in Hattiesburg, MS in the 80s there was a chap that came in for one of my clients to order window screens for the rental units my client owned. He informed me that he was Church of God too and while I hadn't been for some time I told him that that was nice. And then he informed me that the difference between me and him though was that the church he belonged to didn't have it's headquarters in Indiana. No indeed, his Church of God had it's headquarters in Heaven. And then he stated further that I couldn't possibly know the joy that he had in his heart. When I asked him if he didn't think I had joy in my heart his reply was that while I might have SOME joy in my heart I couldn't possibly have the kind of joy that he had because I didn't belong to his Church of God. I even managed to keep a straight face through all of that.

Anyway, In 1956 I came down to the states from Toronto and went to work at The Gospel Trumpet Co. . . . the publishing house for the Church of God in Anderson. There was a beautiful German girl working there that in her job moved around through the various departments and when she walked in to where I worked it was like a ray of sunshine had just come into the room. That girl, Katie was her name if memory serves, was so full of joy it was contagious. Everybody responded to her with delight she shone that bright. And then one day, the light went out. This girl had made a terrible mistake . . . she'd fallen in love with a CATHOLIC . . . . OMG!!!!!! And her good, German, Christian, Church of God father had tossed her out of the house. He told her that his daughter had died . . . that she was no longer alive to him. And her light was snuffed. I moved on from there shortly thereafter so I don't know the final outcome of that story but . . . that was one of the biggest eye-openers' in my life on how people do terrible things to others, even their families, in the name of Jesus and his love.

And on another occasion, several years later, I witnessed another sad commentary on the same theme. I was living in San Jose, CA and was the shipping supervisor for The Warner press . . . the publishing arm of The Gospel Trumpet Company. (The Gospel Trumpet was the church magazine for many years. Last I heard it was called Vital Christianity) We attended the Church of God in San Jose and there was a beautiful, senior, black gentleman that attended that church who reminded me a lot of the German girl back in Anderson . . . he absolutely shone. He always had a brilliant smile and a 'So Happy to See You' joy about him that one couldn't help but respond in kind. Except that there was a family that had moved to CA from Georgia (remember that this was the early 60s) and when this beautiful person greeted them on the steps of the church and proffered his hand in fellowship, this hate filled (but good Christian) white man just glared at him and I watched the light go out to be replaced by unbearable pain.

Having lived, briefly, in MS ( 58 - 61 ) I knew what prejudice looked like and I knew that some Christians justified their less than loving views of African Americans from/by the Bible but I had never seen such hateful behavior demonstrated so dramatically as in that moment. Christians are supposed to be family, right? ? ? ? are supposed to be brothers and sisters to one another? Forget it . . that's true only if you look like, act like, talk like and think like one another. If by birth or choice or happenstance you appear to be different . . . it ain't gonna happen. I know, I know, one can't make generalizations like that but after viewing any number of instances of this kind of cruel and unseemly behavior I decided that I could be an even better person if I just stepped away from all of that. So I divorced the church. I can be more loving (or hateful as the case may be) on my own. I think that's a choice we can all make without any help from organized religion.

My life is full of these type of stories too. I bit my lip the other day as a friend told me he would only let his daughter date boys from their church because nobody else had the proper moral grounding. Geesh.

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Introducing AnyEveryNot

AnyEveryNot joined the Atheist Blogroll recently and has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

In the author’s own words:

Hey, it's Tim, creator, co-writer, and maintainer of AnyEveryNot (or AEN).

AEN is primarily a blog about religion and political philosophy, but it goes beyond that.

We aim to be more than an atheist or anarchist blog. Being that both the writers are atheists and anarchists, though, there will always be a slant, but we are open to everyone, non-theists and theists alike. We aim to conduce debate and provoke thought. We're also open to bringing on more writers. We're small now, but as our community grows, we plan to frequently post submissions from readers.

As you might imagine, blog comments aren't always the best place to hold a debate. We hope to grow the AEN Forums as a philosophical study and debate site, and be a sister to the main blog.

So, if you're looking for atheist news or writing, or maybe just another place to practice your debating skills, AEN is the place for you!

Are you Interested in joining the Atheist Blogroll? Click here. Are you a photographer? The 2009 Atheist Blogroll photography contest is accepting entries.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Who The Hell Is Eddie Bauer

Who the hell

What I love about American car culture is that people write all kinds of whacky stuff on their cars and trucks and then leave it there for years. I’m sure this 25+ year old truck’s owner had a good reason to paint this on his truck, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what it was. Anybody?

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The Catholic Church has a problem down under

Did the Catholic Church allow a convicted pedophile priest to work in the ministry after his conviction? That is the the charge leveled by a victim’s rights group in Newcastle, Australia.

One of Denham's victims says that even though the priest was handed a suspended sentence, the church allowed him back.

Victims' rights groups say that until a couple of years ago Denham was on a reserve list for priests and on at least one occasion was allowed to deliver a sermon.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. While Rev. John Sidney Denham is waiting to hear how many years he will spend in prison after a conviction on 29 counts of child molestation, the press will push this issue. At least I hope they will push the issue.

It seems pretty clear from the facts in the story that a known pedophile with a conviction for assault was allowed to work in the church as a priest, but in other areas of Australia. Does that seem ethical to anyone? No? I did not think so. I wonder how the Catholics will spin this story?

Hang Loose

3790437853_5a108feb63_m I had lunch today with three friends. After talking business, we digressed to sports and culture. I don’t recall how the subject of hand gestures came up, but before long we were flashing hand gestures at each other then explaining the meaning. We were stuck on Mexican hand gestures for a long time when I jumped in with the Hawaiian and Southern California surf culture standard of shaka or hang loose. Blank looks followed. I explained the various meanings, but said it essentially meant, “Hello.” More blank looks followed, and then the question, “Why would you shake your hand like that to say hello, why not just wave?”. It was then I realized that none of my friends were actually born in America. One immigrated from Mexico, one immigrated from Hong Kong, and one immigrated from Africa by way of France. Yet they were all American to the core and were eager to absorb this latest bit of American trivia. I don’t think of them as foreigners or even immigrants. They are Americans just like me. I rarely find this open mix of people and culture. It does not matter where you come from, once you are in, you are in.

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Do Christians have any other argument?

I’m so tired of hearing that atheism is the downfall of “insert your cause here.” Like this crap.

But to accept atheism and all its implications thoroughly is also to devalue your own life; it is to render values meaningless and life without meaning. It is to unmoor man completely from morality, so that only might can make right. All you can then do is hope that you are the mightiest — or, at least, not too inconvenient.

Geez, atheism does all that?

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Atheist testimonials

I read this today in the Detroit Free Press. I thought I would share. I’m and atheist, so what? By Peter Jurich.

I was at work when someone brought up that I am an atheist.

A nearby coworker nearly had a heart-attack.

"You are?" she asked. "But ... you're such a ... good person!"

In the words of Oneita: Oh, my.

I'd like to set the record straight on atheism. Being an atheist opens up my world to the different possibilities I may have otherwise missed. It makes me an accepting individual because it is an exercise in questioning that allows me to explore any and all walks of life.

Atheism breaks down the barriers put up by racism, sexism, xenophobia, and other discrimination because I have an understanding that there is nothing more important (i.e. an invitation into heaven) than the feelings I share with others.

Read More…

I love these little atheist testimonials. I look forward to reading them everyday. Some are better then others, but that's ok. They all tend to inspire. I did not realize I had a new habit until a few days ago when I sat down to read my e-mail. I jumped to the Google filter for this type of message first, just like every other day for a week.

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What do you call a devout Mormon?

What word should I use to describe a devout Mormon who swims across a lake to warn Aung San Suu Kyi about a possible assassination attempt? Nutball maybe… Yes, that sounds right.

Well now this John Yettaw is sicker than when he committed his first crime. If he’s was on a mission from God, why is he suffering from diabetes, heart problems, and epilepsy. If you work for God, don’t you get some kind of break?

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