Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have doubts Backyard Skeptics

Skeptics

I’m not one to self-edit simply because what I will say may offend people. I know that this post will piss off a few people. So be it.

I’m a big fan of effective communications. Atheists bus ads, billboards, and even some of the online campaigns, they are all good; until they are not. The ad shown above is ineffective and misleading. It’s a design issue. The ad is white on black. With this color combination, the protective glass acts like a mirror, which obscures the image. You cannot see the add unless you are standing in front of it, and drivers have no hope because it faces the wrong way. With this design and placement, the target audience is small. I would guess that it is limited to bus riders and pedestrians.

havedoubtsMy wife asked me why there was yellow pudding on the book. She was in our truck 40 feet away and could not see that the ad depicted a bible, nor could she tell that the yellow pudding was flowers. When I mentioned that it was flowers, she asked why anyone would put flowers on the bible. She wanted to know what it meant. I had to agree. Were the designers looking for a splash of color?

It turns out I was wrong about the flowers. It’s a cross with evanfinalsome kind of lacy thing. Standing 15 feet away from the poster, it looks like flowers. Oh well…

The ad looks like it was designed by an amateur. If the intent of the ad was to have people see it and think about the message, then the ad fails miserably. It’s visual crap and pretty much useless. But it gest worse, the other add is horrible.  A orange gradient? What were they thinking?

The add was provided by Backyard Skeptics, which is a local Orange County Atheist organization run out of the home of Bruce Gleason. His organization claims 400 members, which is impressive. Yet every time I’ve met the man I’ve come away feeling like I’ve met an evangelical pastor. He’s a true believer. I find that troubling because true believers are the people in this world who really scare me.

They often hold positions that are inconsistent.Take the message, “Have doubts? So do we.” I think it’s reasonable to let others know that there are options. The ad will offend people, but that’s ok if the intent is consistent with the message. The offense is slight, and the message may actually reach the target audience. Where it falls off the rails is when Bruce Gleason talks about his motivation. He think religion is evil and his unstated mission it to convert believers.

"If we put one up that said something about Muslims or Mormons, they would be offended, too," Gleason said. "We are against any supernatural belief that harms the world. And that's what we believe religion does."

Source: Atheist bus-shelter ads in O.C. question God. By Eric Carpenter

I realize that some atheist hold this position. I don’t. I think it’s harmful (and hateful). Plus, it’s inconsistent with a message based on love. What Gleason is saying is that we don’t have doubts all. He believes that what theists believe is harmful and he wants them to come to his vision of reality. He’s using bus ads to proselytize for atheism. Is that desirable? I don’t think so.

Lets discuss Evan. His message is confusing, “I read the Bible. Now I’m a proud atheist.” Bruce Gleason claims the bus ads are focused on showing Christians that we can be good without God. How does this message accomplish that?

Bruce Gleason, director of Backyard Skeptics and a Villa Park resident, said the campaign is meant to "let other nonbelievers know there is a community of non-theists who share the idea that we can be good without God."

Source: Atheist bus-shelter ads in O.C. question God. By Eric Carpenter

Let’s test his statement. He says, …”let other nonbelievers”. Yet the ads are focused on believers. How does that work? He goes on to say… “there is a community of non-theists who share the idea that we can be good without God." The ads don’t talk about being good without God. They don’t mention being good at all. Instead, they are focused on poking the bear and getting a reaction. It’s dishonest and unethical.

The last straw is the link to Backyard Skeptics. If the stated intent was to show that atheists are good without God, then their website should be consistent with the message in the ads. Yet we find a website that is self-aggrandizing and focused on telling others that what they believe is bunk. It’s an obvious bate and switch scam. The focus of the ads is actually to swell the ranks of Backyard Skeptics and to poke the bear of Christianity. How does this help the cause?

I added more photos to the Atheist Blogroll Flickr pool.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

iPhone photo - Evil eye

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I shot this with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic photography app. I used the Lucifer VI lens with BlackKeys B+W film. I use this combination of lens of and film frequently as I like the photos it produces. The results in this case are exactly what I saw in my mind’s eye.  Hipstamatic keeps getting better as an app, but it’s photography crack. I buy each new lens pack without thinking. They have a very good marketing model. It’s got me hooked.

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Pastor Isaac Aryee convicted

This is man is horrible.

IsaacAryee Pastor Isaac K. Aryee raped a 14-year-old girl and produced a child. When called to account for his crime he claimed she was not a child.

During the trial, Aryee testified and denied the allegations. His attorney argued that the victim was not a child, based on the fact that a birth certificate was never issued in Sierra Leone as it was in the middle of a civil war at the time.

Source: Pastor convicted of sexually assaulting 14-year-old member of congregation

The jury deliberated for an hour before returning a guilty verdict. He was convicted of, “sexual assault on a child using force, sexual assault on a child, pattern of abuse and three counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.”

Aryee could spend the rest of his miserable life in prison.

How could a Christian defend himself in court using a defense that claims a child is not a child? For that matter, how could a Christian go to court to defend his innocence after fathering a child through the rape of a child? If he is a Christian, and if he is a pastor, his moral obligation is to accept responsibility for his actions. Yet we see the opposite. He raped a child. He produced a child. He ran away from taking responsibility. How can anything that this man ever said be trusted? How is any member of his church sure they are actually Christians and not Aryeeans? How would they know real Christianity if taught by a man who rapes children? 

Introducing Sober Atheist

Please join me in welcoming one of the newest members of the Atheist Blogroll, Sober Atheist.

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The SoberAtheist is written by and for atheists who are working a traditional twelve step program of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. The blog offers advice on how to work the steps as a non-theist and how to maintain one's sanity while attending meetings with believers. It also addresses current events of interest to addicts, alcoholics, and atheists.

We do it sober, and we do it without god(s)!

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll for more information. or visit the the full Atheist Blogroll membership list.

Technorati Tags: Atheism,The Atheist Blogroll

Friday, July 29, 2011

Youth pastor Dirk Jackson pleaded guilty

Youth pastor Dirk Jackson took a plea deal after being accused of molesting a young girl back in 2003 and 2004 when she was 12. The victim came forward when she realized Jackson was a youth pastor at a local church with access to children. No one had believed her when she reported the abuse as a child.

Now a woman, the victim said no one believed her back then. But when she recently saw Jackson at a different church, she feared he had access to other young potential victims and reported her allegations to the sheriff's office.

"As soon as I found out he was a youth pastor and found out what church he was going to, I decided it was time for me to say something, because I couldn't let that happen to somebody else," she said.

Jackson maintained his innocence until just recently. He has a wife and two young children. Now he will spend 2 to 3 years in prison, and he will never be able to work around kids again. It’s a win for everyone except his family.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Introducing Effectual Agents

Please join me in welcoming one of the newest members of the Atheist Blogroll, Effectual Agents.

Hello everyone,

Just a quick word of introduction about my recently started secular humanist blog, Effectual Agents.  The name, as many of you will no doubt recognize, is derived from an observation by Thomas Jefferson: "Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error."  I'm interested in the usual grab bag of related issues that most of us are: science, skepticism, critical thinking, art, ethics, civil rights, atheism, logical fallacies, pseudoscience, and the separation of church and state.

I teach English and Critical Thinking at New York University and at The City University of New York, where I also serve as faculty advisor to the Bronx Community College Secular Humanist Club.  The experience of talking and working with (mostly African-American and Latino) freethinking young people has contributed greatly to my own perspective on atheism, humanism, and skepticism, and has increased my appreciation for the value of outreach, mentoring, and support in the reality-based community, particularly for its newer and younger members.

I'm also very interested in working with other bloggers on mutual projects, inviting guest writers to contribute material, and otherwise fostering greater communication and sharing of resources.  As this blogroll indicates, there's a tremendous wealth of ideas and information available to us all, and I would consider it a genuine privilege to occupy a few moments of your time each week.

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll for more information. or visit the the full Atheist Blogroll membership list.

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Pastor Donald Lockhart arrested

What kind of scam is pastor Donald Lockhart running? I came to this story because of an allegation of rape. I stayed with it because of its wacky back story.Lockhart allegedly raped a 30-year-old woman on the grounds of his “church”.  He counter claims that the city of Fresno is retaliating against him for trying to build a homeless shelter and that the rape charges are fabricated.

The charges are significant. The authorities are worried about other victims among the homeless population Lockhart is purported to serve.

…Lockhart was arrested Wednesday at a house in the 200 block of South Barton Avenue on suspicion of rape, false imprisonment, forced oral copulation and attempted rape.

Read more: Fresno pastor accused of sex crimes

Lockhart claims the charges are trumped up. We will have to wait for the results of the rape kit to peel back the onion on this case. I’m not worried though. I think we will find an exactly what we expect to find. Rape.

The picture is murky. A Lockhart took a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2004, and then he failed to build a habitable building. From the looks of his effort, he has a shell of a house and nothing more. I wonder what happen to the cash? He does not seem to have a source of income beyond his church/business. I’m guessing he ran out of cash and was not able to complete the project. When he asked for donations, people saw him for what he was and said no. He started to sue in an attempt to hide from responsibility for his mistakes. Then he shot at a tenant… but that’s a different story.

Why do pastors try to make a living from their church?  It’s a built-in conflict of interest. The more they reach for the cash, the more they resemble the legalistic Pharisees from the bible. To serve in the roll of a pastor has fallen from the pinnacle excellence that once was its hallmark, to pigs feeding from a trough. Anyone can be a pastor. Anyone can run a church business. Anyone can rape the people they are trying to serve. It’s a complete corruption of the message. We see it best in people like Lockhart, but others are tainted as well. Any pastor who earns her living by standing in front of her flock is suspect. I’d rather listen to a pastor who takes care of her family via a regular job, and then leads her church on Sunday. Oh, and it would help if she were formally educated in a damn good University too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Introducing Pragmatic Atheism

Please join me in welcoming one of the newest members of the Atheist Blogroll, Pragmatic Atheism.

I welcome all to examine my blog that is dedicated to what I have chosen to call 'Pragmatic Atheism'. I consider this a third option about belief in God as distinct from the standard two options of 'scientific atheism' and 'religious theism'. Pragmatic Atheism is a lack of belief in God, or divine/supernatural concepts of any kind, based on regular everyday reasoning that is available to anyone and everyone, not just those familiar with the institution of science. Reason is much bigger than just 'scientific reason', which is actually a very specific kind of reasoning, and not even the most common. Advances in science have indeed done much to conquer the hold of theism onto global culture for centuries. We as modern atheists must recognize the contributions of science for our 'cause'. However, science is not really the only game in town in terms of critical thinking and open minded questioning and skepticism. Further, since science is very much an institution and a set of specialized professions, it is unclear that it is even the best approach as a basis for a more general atheism in modern culture. Science can only do or say so much about the issue of the existence of God. For what it can do, we should appeal to it, but the limits must be recognized and overcome for reason to win. Pragmatic Atheism seeks to do just that, go beyond the limits of science's input into the God debate, and build a broader and more far reaching basis for atheistic/rational thought.

Note that I do not use the phrase 'pragmatic atheism' in the standard sense as being synonymous with 'apatheism'. Suffice it to say for now, I am not an apatheist at all! For a full discussion of this difference in usage, see the 'about' page of my blog.

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll for more information. or visit the the full Atheist Blogroll membership list.

Technorati Tags: Atheism,The Atheist Blogroll

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pastor Morris Eubanks convicted

MorrisEubanksOh sweet justice. I love the feel of the word. Justice. It makes me proud to be an American. Especially when the likes of a no-good scumbag pastor like Morris Eubanks finally find out that their life scamming as a man of god is over. There will be no more respect. No more love offerings. And more importantly, no more forced sex with 11-year-old girls. Pastor Morris Eubanks will serve 18 years for his crime. At 59, he is unlike to pose a further threat to the innocence of any young girl.

Morris Eubanks, 59, of Waukegan, was convicted of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse during his trial in April. He could have faced up to 60 years in prison for the predatory charge and up to seven years for the aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge for what Associate Judge Theodore Potkonjak Called “very serious charges.”

“He did not take responsibility for what he has done. He blamed (others) and he expressed no empathy for (the victim),” said Assistant State’s Attorney Ari Fisz.

The man is delusional.

“I want this court to know when I am out, I will go back to trying to help people turn their life around,” Eubanks said. “I want this court to know that whatever time is given to me, I will walk it upstandingly. I will walk it as God would have me walk it.”

Eubanks can no longer walk with god. He’s a child molester. A rapist. A pedophile. A complete and total hypocrite. Nothing in his life even remotely looks like Christianity and nobody should encourage him to return to the ministry. He’s evil. Don’t give him a second chance. Not even in prison.

Eubanks preached at North Chicago and Zion Churches.

HDR - Color blind moss

HDR moss on a redwood

I’m colorblind. It sucks. I want to see what other people see when they look at this photo. I can’t. It’s hopeless.

I shot this in California’s Redwood State Park. It’s a handheld 3 frame HDR shot with a 1 f-stop bracket. I was struck by the texture. I wanted to shoot it as black and white, but my family insisted the color patterns were more compelling. I don’t get it.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No parole for a prison pastor

John Brown murdered David “Stringbean” Akeman and his wife in 1973. He was convicted and sentenced to 198 years for the crime. Brown has served 37 years in prison now and want a parole. The state is having none of it. They laughed off his good behavior, which partially consisted of service as a prison pastor. I’m happy with the parole board's decision. Brown should die in prison without spending a single day free.

The case brings up a topic which has bothered me for a long time. How can a murder serve as a pastor? We know that the bible says a leader should be above reproach. That should be reason enough to question his pointless service, right? There is more though. It has to do with the difference between a pastor focusing on reality (behaviors) and a pastor focused on the spirit. What can a murder teach others about the behaviors needed to be a truly good person? Sure, the pastor could focus on on the spiritual side of things. Like, Jesus loves you, redemption for the most heinous of crimes (except some thought crimes), and the promise of eternal life in heaven with God. These is a disconnect though. The men Brown preach to are hardened criminals. They need behavioral tutoring more than anything else. They need to be taught how to be good (if that is even possible). Brown is incapable of teaching on the subject and is unqualified. His effort is simply be a jailhouse scorecard to count baptisms for Jesus. What it the point? Becoming a Christian does not make you good. Being good makes you good.

Which brings me to another point. If Brown were a true Christian he would realize that his crime demands a heavy penalty. One which he should pay willingly as atonement to his victims and society. Brown sees being a pastor as another check mark in the process of securing his release. It can be no other way. HIs focus is on getting out of prison. He’s not acting like a Christian should act. He’s acting like a selfish self-absorbed murder.

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Pastor Keith Pitts convicted

Pastor Keith Devon Pitts was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl. He faces 20 to 24.5 years in prison. Pitts did not have a chance. The jury saw right through his story. I don’t know why he did not try to cut a deal. He raped and impregnated the victim. There was little chance the jury would let him off for his crimes.

The conviction followed a five-day trial that ran throughout last week. Jurors deliberated for three hours Friday afternoon, recessed for the weekend, then reconvened Monday morning and reached the verdict before lunch.

Source: Lowell pastor convicted of sexually abusing young girl

Pitts was a North Carolina church New Life Christian Center.

Summer projects for teens

My teen son is home this summer. He best friend (from Texas) is staying with us until he returns to the Lone Star State for school in the fall. The boys are up to no good. It’s my job as a parent to fix the problem. I’ve challenged them to complete a few seemingly mundane tasks. I’m looking for more ideas.

Task list

  1. Write a blog post each day on their hip Gamming blog, Gamerz in the lobby. I claim blade579 as my own.
  2. Produce a catalog of the plant life in our backyard. The list should include each tree, bush, plant and flower. They are to produce a journal with a leaf and description of the plant. A drawing is required if identification is difficult.
  3. Use public transit to get to the beach and back.
  4. Do 100 consecutive pushups each and earn a $100 prize. (I think the prize is safe).

Can you guess the motivation behind each task? I think its obvious, but the boys are a little dense. I think it’s all the hormones.

I need more ideas. Please leave a comment if you can.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

iPhone Photo – Valet keys

IMG_0729

I shot this with my iPhone while waiting for my car at The Precinct last week in Cincinnati. I had a great meal with my good friend Rich. The meal was fantastic but the service was unprofessional. I prefer the European standard for dinning. The waiters don’t bother you, nor do they try to turn your table. I felt rushed and constantly interrupted by an annoying woman who wanted to check on how much I enjoyed my very expensive steak.

I remember several things about Ohio. I got to catch up with a good friend. The weather was hotter than hell (and hotter than Waco too). I think I arrived on a record setting day as it was over 110 with the heat index. I saw a groundhog! Deer appear to be plentiful. I saw half a dozen in one day.

I shot this using Hipstamatic.

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Youth pastor Daniel Mooneyham arrested

Many years ago I did an experiment on the internet where I establish accounts as a 15-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl. I can’t remember the service I used. It might have been Yahoo. I did nothing with the accounts other than setting up a basic profile. I was testing to see if it was safe to allow my young son to have an account of his own. The experiment failed horribly

I let the accounts sit for a few weeks before I returned to check them. Each account was full of solicitations from older men. They were disturbing. The female account was horrifying. Men actually sent graphic photos. I closed the accounts quickly and told my son his account would have to wait. I’m sure he thought I was being over protective, but I don’t think I was. There are men like former youth pastor Daniel Mooneyham out there, and they want our children.

A former church youth minister is accused of posing as an 18-year-old woman on facebook to entice boys into sending naked pictures of themselves.   32-year-old Daniel Mooneyham of Oklahoma City has been charged in federal court with sexual exploitation of children.   Mooneyham's wife discovered the deception and contacted the FBI in January.  Mooneyham was a youth minister at a Lexington church until he was charged in Garvin County in 2007 with embezzlement.

Mooneyham’s scam was simple. It relied on the assumption that teen boys will do just about anything to see a naked woman.

He posed on the popular social networking site Facebook as “Terri Smith,” the FBI reported.

He would send photos of a topless woman to boys in exchange for nude photos of themselves, an agent reported in a court affidavit.

Read more: FBI says Oklahoma City man posed as woman in Facebook to get nude photos of boys

Mooneyham’s wife did the right thing.

The wife told the FBI she recognized many of “Terri Smith's” Facebook friends as individuals from the church she and her husband attend.

She said she recognized others as individuals from summer church youth camps they had attended.

Mooneyham is no longer a youth pastor, however his embezzlement conviction did not stop his church from using him at summer camp and as a Sunday School teacher. Mooneyham sounds creepy. I hope he did not get his hands on any children.

Note: Daniel Leslie Mooneyham was the youth pastor at the Corbett Baptist Church outside Lexington.

HDR photo - A walk in the redwoods

HDR - A path in the Redwoods

I shot this HDR photo handheld in California’s Redwood State Park. I like the shot, but I’m afraid my whole HDR adventure was pretty much a bust. HDR is low light is way harder than HDR in good light. It’s also very hard in the fog. My results were poor in most cases. This shot has a bright spot in the lower left third with almost no detail. I tried everything I could think of to compensate for it, but in the end, there was nothing I could do.

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Pastor Clinton Feemster found not guilty

It happened folks. A pastor accused of a morals crime was found not guilty by a judge. He was a accused of soliciting gay sex from an undercover police officer.

“Today and yesterday were a great day,” said Lamont Littlejohn, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church. “We are just happy and excited and elated… we have always known he was innocent because of his character.”

Feemster, who was at a Charlotte-Douglas International Airport overlook when arrested, was found not guilty by a judge Thursday afternoon.

Read more: Pastor accused of sex solicitation now trying to repair reputation

I have a standing offer to any pastor who is found not guilty. I offer them a guest post. They can write about whatever they like, I’ll publish it here. In this case I would like to hear his side of the story. What was he doing at the airport overlook?

Related posts:

Small beer and tipsters

Newspapers do not cover every instance of clergy sexual abuse so it is a bad assumption that my list of abusive pastors in comprehensive. A case in point is a civil case filed against former pastor Martin Briviesca Leon and the Chatsworth Four Square Church. Leon pleaded no contest to one count of child abuse in 2010. According to a press report, a previous Leon had assaulted a different child a in 2008, but the abuse was not reported to authorities.

Approximately one year prior, the defendant allegedly assaulted another child and that child complained of the abuse to different pastor at the church, according to the complaint filed by the victim’s attorney.

Instead of immediately reporting the abuse to police, as is required by the California law, the pastor is accused of utilizing his position of influence over the girl by discouraging her from taking any further action, according to the complaint.

Neither that pastor, the Chatsworth Four Square Church, nor any other of the defendants took any action to investigate, discipline or more closely supervise Leon's conduct with children, according to the complaint.

Source: Here's a Roundup of Chatsworth Court Cases

This is exactly the type of case I track. A pastor abused at least two children. His behavior was protected by an inattentive church and now they are being held accountable. It’s a perfect story. Martin Briviesca Leo should never step foot in a pulpit again. If you type his name in Google tomorrow, you’ll find a link to this article. It’s the least I can do.

I need your help. If you hear of a case please report it to me. You tip will result in a post that could help keep these monsters away from our children. These cases may seem like small beer to newspapers, but they matter nonetheless.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A call for atheist essays

Books1Pete Darwin of The Caudal Lure is seeking essays for a planned book on the younger generations’ rise to atheism.

The idea for this book was brought about when I decided I wanted to tell my story about how I became an atheist, as well as share a bit about my personal life with religion and numerous fundi family members. It’s been a bumpy and interesting ride to say the least. However, while reflecting on my own history with religion and atheism I knew there must be numerous other interesting, amazing, scary, and even heartbreaking stories out there that should also be told.

This sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, I no longer qualify as young anymore so I will content myself be reading the book instead of contributing to it.

If you would like to participate, visit Atheism Without the Gray Hairs for more information.

Cross posted at The Atheist Blogroll.

Oprah as the antichrist

I’m not a fan of Oprah Winfrey. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t buy into her whole new age woo point of view. I don’t go after her on my blog because she is essentially a good person who tries to do good things. She has a long history of philanthropy, and she helps people and organizations all over the world. In my book, that means her propensity to believe in odd things without proof is a quirk I can overlook. However, you won’t find me watching her shows or spending much time thinking about who she is or what she does. Is she evil? Is she the antichrist? Um… I’d say no.

IHOP (International House of Prayer) calls her the antichrist, but they do so because she does good deeds for the wrong reasons.

The Harlot Babylon is preparing the nations to receive the Antichrist. The Harlot Babylon will be a religion of affirmation, toleration, no absolutes, a counterfeit justice movement. They will feed the poor, have humanitarian projects, inspire acts of compassion for all the wrong reasons. They won’t know it, beloved they will be sincere, many of them, but their sincerity will not in any way lessen the impact of their deception. The fact that they are sincere does not make their deception less damaging.

Can you do good things for the wrong reasons? Can you do good things in the service of evil? I don’t think so. Oprah has a good heart. She’s not evil. The real message is this, IHOP cannot compete with the good things Oprah does, so they brand her evil. Their followers lap it up as if it makes sense, but we all know it does not. By IHOP’s definition every secular charity is evil, and that’s just crazy.

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pastor Dennis Brown arrested

Most of these stories are simple man-screws-child affars. There is a clear victim and a clear perpetrator. It’s predictable to a point were I can say with about 80% certainty DennisBrownthat pastor Dennis Lee Brown will take a plea and spend some time in prison. There is a clear victim; a 15-year-old from another city. There is a clear perpetrator; a pastor who used the internet to find his young victim. There is circumstantial evidence and evidence that ties Brown directly to the crime. Brown is going down.

Brown is charged with sexual abuse in the third degree, a Class C felony, which, upon conviction is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

In a criminal complaint filed in Bremer County, police charge that Brown, a pastor at Ivester Church of the Brethren in rural Grundy Center, met a victim over the Internet and then traveled to Waverly in May to engage in a sexual act.

Why would a long-time pastor engaging in high risk and illegal sexual activity? How do his actions match up to the message of Christ? Not well I think. But then, these case always mystify me. If one is to serve Jesus, then one must put aside the base desires of a criminal and be good. How hard is it for a pastor to be good? It blows my mind that this type of crime happens at all, let alone so frequently.

Brown was pastor at Ivester Church of the Brethren. The website has no information on Brown or his arrest. This is typical for a church is this situation. Their rationale will be something like,  “The abuse did not take place on church property so…” Why is it that they cannot see that when their leader falls it brings into question his work and those who followed him? There are questions that need to be asked. What did Brown teach? Was he preaching from a place of love or deceit? Was he authentic or simply flawed beyond reason? Ask the questions people. It will help you heal.

Christian tat guy

 

ChristianTat

I stood next to this guy during a race on the 4th of July. I was truly impressed with the Christian facial tattoo. I kept thinking, WTF? He wore the brand proudly but his walk was corrupt. It showed in almost every action. The kicker was denying an old lady a chance to sit down.

Why is it important to show you are a Christian with a pseudo prison tattoo? Why broadcast your faith to the world when you are judged by what you actually do? This guy was a posturing ass. He did nothing to promote his faith. If anything, he sent the opposite message.

I spoke a few words with him. He asked about my cameras (I was loaded for bear). He closed by asking where I went to church. I don’t think he liked it when I told him to mind his own business.

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Youth pastor Enrique Alcaraz arrested

Former this and former that… I read these words and instantly know I’ve got another pedopastor on my hands. The press are always careful to explain the current state of the accused’s employment. It does not matter if the accused was a youth pastor the day before the story broke. If they were fired or resigned, they are classified as a “former this and former that.” It breaks my heart. The real story is that the accused was dealing with children up until the time of his arrest. Why don’t they write about that?

Take youth pastor EnriqueAlcarazEnrique Alcaraz. When the police came for him on child pornography charges, was he working as a youth pastor? If I read this article, we only know he was a youth minister at an Ovid-area church. This article shows me his photo and tells me Alcaraz was 45 at the time of his arrest. This articles adds info about his church and service on a local school board.

Alcaraz, known by some neighbors as "Rick", was elected to the Ovid-Elsie School Board last year and was a youth minister for the Church of the Living Word in Ovid. He resigned both positions in March. Neighbors also told WILX that Alcaraz appeared to be a foster parent.

Piecing the story together requires a lot of reading. I never get the whole story and I rarely get the story right. For example, police did not arrest Alcaraz, he turned himself in. I would have missed that important piece of information in half the articles I read.

What did Alcaraz do?

…Alcaraz sent nude photographs to one child and received nude photographs from another child. …Alcaraz used fake names on Facebook and Yahoo to contact minors, including Matt James, Mary Parker and Brad Merritt.

Prosecutors filed heavy charges.

…the Clinton County Prosecutor charged him with child sexually abusive activity, distributing or promoting child sexually abusive material and possession of child sexually abusive material, according to a state police news release.

Church of the Living Word is a biker friendly church. I guess that makes them hip and relevant. Bikers do that. The church website has nothing posted on the case.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

HDR of a Banana Slug

banana Slug

Banana Slugs are the perfect subject for HDR photos of wildlife. They don’t really move much. This one was stuck on the fountain in from of our rental house in Trinidad, Ca. It stayed there all morning.

I learned a valuable lesson. Banana Slugs are slimy. The slime does not wash off easily either. I picked a small one up to show my mom (she does not get around very well). It took my five minutes of hand washing and some vigorous toweling to rid myself of the small amount of slime on my fingers. I’ll never touch one again.

This HDR photo was a three shot sequence hand held with a 1 f-stop auto bracket. 

I’m back… but I’m off again on a business trip. It will be a few days until I can start posting again. I’ll put some photos up when I can.

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Saturday, July 02, 2011

I’m off for a week

It’s time for my annual vacation. I’ll take a million photos and play a lot of disc golf, but I’m afraid that I will not be doing much blogging. See you all in a week.

Here is a photo I shot while on the 5 freeway in LA. It’s been on the side of a building for at least 25 years. I’m not sure what the artist had in mind.

Screwed

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