Friday, December 30, 2011

Is Bachmann lying?

Michele Bachmann made a statement to the press where she accused her Iowa campaign director of jumping to Ron Paul’s team because of a Ron Paul paid bribe.

“Kent Sorenson personally told me he was offered a large sum of money to go to work for the Paul campaign. Kent campaigned with us earlier this afternoon and went immediately afterward to a Ron Paul event and announced he is changing teams. Kent said to me yesterday that ‘everyone sells out in Iowa, why shouldn’t I,’ then he told me he would stay with our campaign. The Ron Paul campaign has to answer for its actions,” Bachmann said in a statement.

Source: Michele Bachmann’s Iowa Chair Defects to Ron Paul

Kent Sorenson denies the charge. He claims his reason for leaving is to defeat Mitt Romney. Sorenson’s reason sounds plausible, especially since  Bachmann is on her way to a last place finish. The time is right for a  political operative to jump ship and join a campaign that will further his political world view.

Bachmann’s narrative, an unsupported bribery charge, doe not ring true. One need only consider that her campaign leading he charge to the bottom to see how pathetic her story seems. It gets worse. Bachmann’s political director Wes Enos denied that Sorenson accepted a bribe of any kind.

“I can say unequivocally that Kent Sorenson’s decision was, in no way financially motivated,” Enos said in a statement. “While I personally disagree with Kent’s decision, and plan to stay with Michele Bachmann because I truly believe in her, I cannot watch a good man like Kent Sorenson be attacked as a ‘sell-out.’”

Source: Michele Bachmann stands by bribery allegations against Ron Paul

Enos lost his job for speaking up. It looks like Sorenson committed the unpardonable crime of publically jumping ship. Bachmann is simply trying to save face and ruin a former employee’s reputation. I hope he sues.

My real concern here is why would an overt Christian like Bachmann resorts to gossip and lies? The moral voice in her head should warn her that character assassination without proof is unchristian. Why would she do this? Unless… she is not a real Christian,

Hat tip: The Immoral Minority

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Atheist Blogroll - noobs for December

We’ve had a fine new crop of blog join the Atheist Blogroll (And yes, I still maintain a list of atheist blogs).  Enjoy!

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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More charges for pastor Hernandez

FranciscoHernanedezPastor Francisco Antonio Hernandez, profiled here, is facing more charges for crimes allegedly committed 20 years ago. The mother of his latest victim made a terrible mistake in judgment.

The mother of the the latest victim to come forward filed a sworn outcry statement with APD on Sept. 15. She told police that she went out of town for a family emergency one weekend all those years ago, and the child stayed with the pastor and his wife during the weekend when the sexual abuse allegedly occurred.

Source: More sex charges filed against 'pastor'

How does the mother live with the guilt? I hope convicting this guy brings some measure of closure to his many victims.

All in the Christian family

RubenMatukA pastor’s son is in a lot of trouble. Ruben J. Matuk, just 28, stands charged with molesting a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old girl. The alleged molestations took place on the grounds of the Apostolic Full Gospel Church of Christ, in Hollister, California.

Authorities believe the misdeeds started in September 2003 when they suspect Matuk committed lewd and lascivious acts with a girl who had been 12 years old, Casada said.

Regarding the second suspected victim, prosecutors charged Matuk on suspicion of attempted lewd and lascivious acts in June 2008, along with indecent exposure and sexual battery on Sept. 1 of this year, according to court records. Those dates mean the alleging victim would have been about 15 years old at the time.

Two of the charges are felonies. A conviction for lewd and lascivious acts would carry a maximum penalty of eight years in prison, while attempted lewd and lascivious acts has a maximum penalty of three years in prison, according to the penal code. If convicted, Matuk also would have to register as a sex offender.

Source: Pastor's son accused of lewd acts

I write these posts because five years ago a Christian friend insisted that I could not possibly be a moral person because I was not a Christian. He also insisted that I did not have the moral grounding afforded to those who know the bible, so I was hopelessly resigned to a life of evil. We have a case here that refutes the argument beautifully. A pastor’s son, a man who should know better, allegedly molested two young girls. If a man is raised as a Christian, yet still manages to commit the most heinous of crimes, what benefit comes from being a Christian? How does reading the bible and being a Christian make us moral again? If 28 years of exposure to Christianity, the bible, and weekly sermons does not do the job, what will?

Introducing Always Question Authority

We’ve had a new blog join the Atheist Blogroll: Always Question Authority.

Welcome to the Always Question Authority blog, established on 07.11.2011.

“Call me Madison.” I am an unapologetic non-accommodationist atheist. The intent of this blog is to inform readers of the vast negative social and political implications to humanity caused by the poison of specifically religious, and generally political, reactionary right-wing dogmatism.
This blog is for the well-informed, and well-read with an independence of mind that place a high value on reason, critical thought, and general intellectualism.

The Always Question Authority blog consists mostly of articles, videos, etc. that I have read, or watched, and choose to share with my readers. Posts penned by me will explicitly read “By Madison S. Hughes (mm.dd.yyyy).” All aphorisms are written by me, and labeled as such. I will re-post Aphorisms when updated. I will also re-post any article, video, etc., that I deem worthy of repetition. All other posts are linked to the source from which they were accessed, or, if able, the root source of their origin. I claim no credit for posts, that do not bear “By Madison S. Hughes (mm.dd.yyyy).” Additionally, epigraphical comments written by me will be indicated by ending with “[MSH].”

Although most of the material contained within will have social and political implications, some art, poetry, and music selections will be posted for aesthetic purposes only.

It is my sincere hope that you find the posts on this blog informative, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding. If you have any suggestions that you feel would make your visits even more profitable, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

In Reason,


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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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Introducing Be the Cog

We’ve had a new blog join the Atheist blogroll. Be the Cog.

What is a better study subject than myself? I write on my blog thoughts and experiences that relate directly to the individual journey in the context of a larger world. I cover subjects like atheism, goal setting, death, morality and do a little bit of self improvement. This blog is always a work in progress and I am continually looking for new content to cover and interesting things to talk about. I'm not right about everything, but I argue always to the best of my ability.

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

Notes from the culture war

I spoke with a family member on Christmas about how pervasive Christian culture is in Southern California. He too is an atheist, but not out like me. I told him that I keep track of my contacts, be they in person or via the computer. It’s a hobby of sorts. This post is for him. It’s a list of my interactions from today.

I have breakfast with a co-worker at a nearby greasy spoon (a damn good one too). Korean Christians give me a pamphlet in the parking lot. It shows all the churches in the area I can attend to be saved. The local Catholic church is missing.

Still at breakfast – I’m handed a Watchtower while eating.

Still at breakfast – I tip large, the lady cleaning my table tells me God must have guided me to sit in her section. I tell her no – I sat in the the only available seat large enough for me at the time I ordered breakfast.God had nothing to do with it. She seems miffed but takes the tip anyway.

At the auto garage – manager asks me if I managed to go to church on Christmas. I said no. He’s a Korean – you don’t get invited to their churches, but they will always point you to a church they think you will fell comfortable in. He tells me about a church that meet just a few hundred yards away. I decline and then stick my headphone in my ears and walk outside to wait.

I play nine holes of disc golf at La Mirada – It’s near Biola University. The park is crawling with Christian types. You can tell Christians from the normal disc golfers as they will not offer to smoke a joint with you at the 4th hole. As I warm up, two different groups walk up. One prays before starting their game. They ask me to join them in prayer and then in their game. I pass.

Still at disc golf – the second group asks me if I’m a Christian. It’s the first words out of their mouths. I tell them to fuck off. I play alone, and really slow. When I get to my truck there is a bible track in my window.

I have lunch with the wife. It’s wonderful. We do not talk about anything remotely religious. My faith in humanity is restored.

I stop by Del Taco to get my son some chili fires (I can’t eat this stuff any more). The lady behind the window tells me to have a blessed day.

I figure today is not going to get any better, so I fire up TF2 and start practicing on a sniper server. After 10 minutes, somebody asks me if I am Mojoey the atheist. I say yes. The abuse starts… Only, I am able to retaliate by hunting him for the next half hour. Any time he showed his nose, I shoot him. He finally gives up and rage quits.

I check email. There is no new hate-mail (I get it everyday). But there is a heartfelt letter from some Christian youth telling me that I can be saved and that God loves me. Oh… and do I want to debate the existence of God. Um… No. I mark the sender as spam and move on.

It’s only 4:00 PM as I write this. There are still many hours to go and Twitter is beckoning.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Ripping on Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow is an active Christian who uses his position in the public-eye to further his religious agenda. As such, he deserves all the sarcasm the media can heap upon him. He is not off limits because he is a Christian quarterback any more than President Obama is off limits for… well, being insufficiently Christian.

I laughed my ass off to Saturday Night Live’s Tebow skit.

Of course, others were offended. Pat Robertson’s crazy response is far worse than the skit.

“If this had been a Muslim country and they had done that and had Muhammad doing that stuff, you would have found bombs being thrown off and bodies on the street,” he said.

It think it reasonable to expect that some Christian nutball will interpret Robertson’s comments the wrong way. Don’t you?

Bill Maher, a man I sometimes struggle to find funny, tweeted his sarcasm.

"Wow, Tebow just f---d #TimTebow bad. And on Xmas Eve! Somewhere in hell Satan is tebowing, saying to Hitler ‘Hey, Buffalo's killing them.’ "

The response was predictable.

"Bill Maher is disgusting vile trash," Fox News host Eric Bolling tweeted. "I can't even repeat what he just tweeted about Tebow … on Christmas Eve. #straighttohellBill."

As long as Tebow paints bible verses on his face and inspires Christian's to engage in tebowing, then we get to slap back with our own wit, sarcasm, and humor. Tebow made himself fair game in the culture war on his own. It’s only fair that we take advantage of the situation. Right?

More charges for youth pastor Chad Foster

ChadFosterBaptist youth pastor Chad Foster, profiled here, was charged with online solicitation of a minor, earlier this month. Foster already faces charges that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl while he was a youth pastor at Community of Faith Church. He’s latest victim is girl who was 14-years-old at the time of the alleged crime. He knew her from his days at a youth pastor at The Second Baptist Church of Houston.

According to a complaint against Foster filed by the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the girl said she and Foster exchanged phone numbers and began to send text messages. Their communication extended to Facebook, according to the DA's office.

After the girl got a laptop computer in December 2010, she and Foster began to communicate via Skype, the complaint says. She told investigators Foster exposed himself to her on the video service more than a dozen times between January and May.

An investigator with the High Tech Crimes Unit of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's office said Foster's cell phone records show more than 15,000 text messages between Foster's cell phone and the girl's between Jan. 1 and Nov. 2, according to the complaint.

Source: 15,000 sexts evidence against youth pastor, authorities say by Carol Christian of the Houston Chronicle

There may be more victims. No… I’m pretty sure there will be more victims.

A worthy cause

Help support the LGBT community in Chicago by signing a petition calling for the resignation of Catholic Archbishop Francis George.

Truth Wins Out launched a petition today calling on Chicago Archbishop Cardinal Francis George to resign after he incomprehensibly compared the LGBT community to the Ku Klux Klan. George's over-the-top remarks were so extreme that they shredded his credibility and permanently damaged his ability to serve as a respected voice of reason. Link to the petition

Source: Petition Drive Calls on Chicago's Archbishop Francis George to Resign For Comparing LGBT Community to Ku Klux Klan

Here is the Archbishop’s quote that got so many people upset. It was delivered on Fox News. "You know, you don't want the Gay Liberation Movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism."

The Archbishop dug in with this comment:

When the FOX News host tried to give Cardinal George a way out of the statements, he dug in saying “It is, but you take a look at the rhetoric. The rhetoric of the Klu Klux Klan, the rhetoric of some of the gay liberation people. Who is the enemy? Who is the enemy? The Catholic Church.”

Source: Calls Begin For Cardinal Francis George To Resign Over KKK Comment

Now that is hateful comments have hit the press in the worst possible way, the hatemonger is backtracking.

“Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan,” he told ABC 7. “But if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshiping God, well then that’s the comparison. But it’s not with people and people – it’s parade-parade.”

Source: Cardinal George backtracks on KKK comments

Of course, ABC 7 is a regional outlet, while Fox News is a national outlet, so his backpedaling may not reach down to Podunk, Texas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Youth pastor Daniel Robida sentenced

DanielRobidaYouth pastor Daniel Richard Robida, profiled here, was sentenced to 17-years and 10 months in prison. He was convicted of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. His 17 year-old-victim will have a long time to live in peace without the fear that this sex offender will ever bother her again.

Just in case you are wondering, he knew what he was doing.
According to police reports, the victim said she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Robida, who was 33 at the time and a youth pastor at Harvest Community Church in Summerfield. It was not clear if the victim was a member of the church, according to the report.
Robida later told authorities he performed various sexual acts on the girl, but did not have intercourse with her. He said he was aware she girl was 17.
Source: Former youth pastor sentenced to prison
This case brought the age of concept into focus. It also highlighted Christian moral blindness. Many of the comments and most of the emails I received on my original post painted the victim as a willing participant. A few painted her as a Jezebel keen on ruining a pastor’s life or at least separating him from his family for her own purposes. The real issue are the actions of the pastor. He is a man who should know better (as all men do), and he has the supposed moral training that comes from being a God fearing Christian. He chose to act on his impulses. He alone is responsible. I’m happy to see our legal system recognized this.

*edited 12/29/11 to correct error

Friday, December 23, 2011

Republican Amy Koch’s epic moral failure

AmyKochWhen you put yourself forward as the representative of Christian moral standards, the fall from the dizzying heights of moral perfection can be lethal. Well… lethal to your career anyway.

Amy Koch was the Minnesota state Senate Majority Leader up until yesterday, when she resigned her leadership position after news of her extramarital affair surfaced among her peers. Koch was a sanctity of marriage campaigner and strong opponent of gay marriage. Of course, when she broke the news of her resignation, she lied.

In a previous explanation for her sudden and unexpected resignation, Koch claimed it was because she had decided not to seek re-election next year and that the MNGOP "cannot afford a lame duck leader in negotiations next session, which is why I am resigning my position as majority leader."

Source: Amy Koch Affair. Sex, lies, and Michael Brodkorb by Gregory Pratt

Amy Koch’s hypocrisy is stunningly brazen. While sleeping with her own employee, she was working against gay rights by co-authoring a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage (S.F. No. 1975). The bill reads in part, “A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in Minnesota.”

Governor Mark Dayton called for the Republican controlled-legislature to kill the proposed ban in light of their obvious hypocrisy. I think it’s the right thing to do. After all, if the Republican leadership cannot live up to their own standards, what right do they have to enforce it on others?

My favorite response to Koch’s hypocrisy was issued by the gay and lesbian community of Minnesota. They apologized for ruining the institution of marriage by causing Koch to stray from her marriage.

"On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community's successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage," reads the letter from John Medeiros. "We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry."

Source: Gay community apologizes to Amy Koch for ruining her marriage by Kevin Hoffman

Republicans. It’s only wrong if other people are doing it.

Pastor Wilbert Brassfield arrested

This one is a double whammy. Wilbert Davis Brassfield was a pastor and a police officer. Both positions are supposed to represent the highest standard of trust and authority. In this case, Brassfiled represents neither.

He is accused of withdrawing more than $10,000 from the Courts of Praise Christian Fellowship Church's bank account without the knowledge or approval of church leaders.

Davis served as pastor of the Fluvanna County church from its inception in 2006 until 2010.

Source: Charlottesville police officer accused of embezzling from church where he formerly was pastor

Embezzlement does not rise to the level of a sex crime, but if we consider this offence in terms of the Christian moral standard of the bible, it is equivalent to murder. All sins are equal, which, of course, is utter hogwash. Stealing $10K is lower on the scale of moral failings than child molestation, which itself is lower on the scale than murder. All sins are not equal. And, do not get me started on the concept of sin.

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Pastor Phillip Joubert sentenced

Pastor Phillip Joubert, profiled here, was sentenced to five years in prison for molesting his 13-year-old daughter. His daughter even testified against her pervert of a father in open court. Joubert is scum, yet his church thinks he is a saint.

There are several problems with this case. The most troubling is that Joubert admitted to touching his daughters breasts and vagina, but he says he did not have sex with her. After an admission like this, who could stand by him? How does this Christian morality thing work then? If a pastor molesting his daughter is not ‘bad’, then what is? How will Joubert be able to preach on the subject of good and evil if he does not know what it is himself?

His church plans to hire an interim pastor so that Joubert can resume his leadership of the church once he serves his sentence. This is completely insane. If you call yourself a Christian, please make an attempt to play by your own rule book. The bible clearly states that men like Joubert should never be allowed to lead a church. Why allow it? Joubert will be a convicted pedophile and registered sex offender. Will you put that on the marque in front of your church?

Stay away from this man and his church. He will offend again. Just wait.

Joubert is the pastor at New Light Missionary Baptist Church.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More on pastor Arnold Mathis

Associate pastor Arnold Maurice Mathis, profiled here, should never have been allowed to work as a pastor. Since there are no standards for this profession, anyone can lead a church. One must only profess faith. Every crime or defect is forgiven or overlooked. Arnold Mathis is a registered sex offender. Yet, he was somehow allowed to lead a church. He allegedly used his position to gain the trust of a young girl, and then rape her. He’s a real model of Christian morality.

According to the PCSO, Mathis first met the victim at a local basketball game and offered to "help" the victim financially. Sheriff Judd says, "He approached this young man at a concession stand at a basketball game."

He also offered to buy the victim new shoes. The victim, who had no father figure in his life at the time, believed Mathis was trying to mentor him.

Source: Associate pastor arrested on child sexual battery charges

Mathis allegedly bought the troubled youth with shoes and kindness. Are pastor’s taught this technique in school? It seems pretty damn common.

Mathis is the assistant pastor of. I’m betting they did not do a background check.

More time for pastor Robert Meredith

Pastor Robert Meredith, was already convicted of molesting a child under the age of 12, and sentenced to eight years in prison. Now he has been sentenced to an additional four years in prison on three additional charges.

Robert Meredith, 50,  pleaded guilty to one-count of first-degree sexual abuse during arraignment on new charges in Calloway Circuit Court. Accepting a plea offer from Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Blankenship, sexual abuse charges two and three were combined with the first and Meredith pleaded guilty to one-count, first-degree sexual abuse; a Class D felony.

Under terms of the agreement, Meredith was sentenced to another four years in prison; bringing the total to 12 years. He was previously sentenced to eight years. However he will serve the terms consecutively; meaning he will serve his eight year sentence before he begins the additional four years.

Source: Meredith arraigned on new charges

The crimes occurred in Kentucky, so the victim could be his wife…

Meredith was the pastor at Green Plain Church Of Christ.

Youth pastor Jeremy Fulton sentenced

Pastor Jeremy Fulton, profiled here, was sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing 5 young girls from his church. Some of the victims were 10-years-old at the time of the abuse.

Fulton declined to speak at his sentencing Tuesday. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a statement that Fulton "used his position of authority and respect as a member of the clergy to win the trust of parents and gain access to children for the purpose of sexually abusing these girls," who were 10 to 16 when abused.

Source: Ex-NYC youth minister gets 22 years in prison for sexually abusing girls

Fulton was the youth pastor at Mariners’ Temple Baptist Church. They’ve moved on. There is nothing linking Fulton to the church on the website. Move along sheple. There is nothing to see here.

Charges dropped against Rev. David Szatkowski

Rev. David Szatkowski was originally charged with sexual assault for allegedly groping a 15-year-old girl. This was a he said, she said case, so I did not post on this crime when it originally hit the press. The DA decided to drop the charges after further investigation and consultation with the alleged victim.

The victim alleged that the catholic priest grabbed her breast. Szatkowski denied the claim. the whole story seemed pretty thin at the time. I hope this is the end of it.

Pastor Matthias Anderson denied bail

Oceanside youth pastor Matthias Anderson, profiled here, was denied bail by Riverside County Superior Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson. Anderson is facing a 50 year sentence on 34 criminal sex charges. Judge Dickerson thought the Anderson was a flight risk since he’s facing a life sentence.

Libertarianism attracts nutballs like Jules Manson

jules-manson-wanna-be-teaster-killerJules Manson is a nutball. He threatened President Obama with an unbelievable comment on his Facebook page. The comments were racist, hateful, and violent.

Manson's comment that Obama and his "monkey children" should be killed had been removed from Facebook, officials said. But another Web site, Your Black Politics, posted a screenshot.

Read more: Facebook post threatens Obama

Manson backed away from his comments by claiming they were careless and emotionally driven. What? He just outed himself as racist nutball, and he uses he equivalent of a bad hair day as an of excuse. His excuse does not feel authentic, and I’m pretty sure the reason is that it is not authentic.

Manson claims to be a Libertarian. He was the last place finisher in a run for a Carson, California City council seat. City council races are non-partisan, so I am not sure why it was important that he proclaimed himself a Libertarian, unless it was to attach himself to a cause that will drive away voters. I can say this Proofmuch. He stood out as odd duck during his campaign. I know because I work in Carson and follow the politics there. I even know Jim Dear, the current mayor. The Manson campaign was a joke.

What I find troubling is how often embarrassing political troublemakers are Libertarians. We’ve had too many cases to enumerate, although my personal favorite is the spiting candidate Gary Copeland, a druid, who ran for governor with the backing of the state party. Manson is just the latest in a long line of fringe nutballs to rise from the ranks of registered Libertarians and self-destruct on the national stage.

Unfortunately, the Libertarian Party of California has no effective way of vetting political candidates. In fact, they beg anybody to register to run in any race, be it local, state, or even at the federal level. All one need do is pay the dues and sign the pledge. Say yes to their request, and they will help put anyone on the ballot. They pushed me hard to run in a national election a few years back, and I’m unelectable.

There is no evidence that Manson is endorsed by the Libertarian party. Nor is there evidence that he participated in the Libertarian political process, although, I’m betting that evidence will surface soon. He appears to be a self-proclaimed libertarian, except for the fact that he is registered as a Libertarian under the name Julio Manson.

I call on the Libertarian Party of California to expel member Julio 'Jules" Manson from the state party. I also ask that they issue a statement clearly stating that they do not support Manson’s position. It is the right. In fact, I’m mystified why the Kevin Takenaga has not done so already. Furthermore, I call on the Libertarian Party of California to fix their friggen website. It’s embarrassing.

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For the love of a dog

I got sick this week. A stomach virus put me down on Monday and Tuesday. My dog, a minpin named Thor, slept near my feet the whole time. When I was at my worst, on Tuesday at about noon, my dog nuzzled my beard and tried to comfort me. I woke up to his barking soon after. He wanted me to open the door so that he could exit out to the backyard. I let him out, but the barking did not stop. He kept coming back to the door and barking, and then he would walk into the yard and bark some more. Frustrated now, I moved to the door to see what small animal was annoying my dog. Thor was laying in a patch of sunlight in the grass. He was pawing at the turf and barking at me. He wanted me to come join him in the warmth of the sun. He was trying to take care of me. I love that dog.

The next day I noticed that Thor was sick. He was lethargic and did not respond to my voice. Plus, he had lost control of his bladder and had vomited in all manner of places. My dog was sick. My wife stayed home with him and took him to the vet on Wednesday. My son spend the night wrapped around a dog who just wanted to be warm. I’m continuing the job this morning. Thor is sleeping on my feet right now. I love that dog.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The creeping Christian right

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Monday, December 19, 2011

The sad state of Christianity in Florida

I am a big fan of judging people by what they do. The same holds true for organizations, movements, and religions. Judge this: In the past week, four Florida pastors were arrested for sexually abusing minors. I can’t help but come to the conclusion that something is wrong down in Florida. Is this what Christian morality has come to? The wide scale abuse of children by the very men charged with teaching the faith?

The accused:

It is discussing. I’m waiting for national religious leaders to comment on the story. So far it has been silence.

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We are what we do

Our acts define us. That is one reason hypocrites piss me off so much. Take conservative Republican Gary Davis. He was a family-values politician until he was outed by his own stupidity. He spent taxpayer money at a gay sex shop. He is no different from the priests and pastors who abuse their power and occupy so much of my attention. Anyone who spends his professional life hurting the gay community through politics, is no different from a pastor who hurts his flock through infidelity, or worse. Wrapping yourself in the conservative movement comes with the whole Christian values mindset attached. Davis fought his own essence. He does not deserve to keep his job as mayor. He does not deserve our trust. What he does next will tell us much more about his character. If he is a principled man, he will resign and devote his life to the service of those he hurt. I’m betting he stays with the paycheck.

Dutch victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse

I think we will find this pattern repeated in every country that has a Catholic presence.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pastor David Nelson arrested

DavidNelsonPastor David Nelson was recorded admitting to playing strip poker with a 14-year-old boy, 30 years ago while working as a Jehovah’s Witness pastor at the Madison Park Congregation Church in Phoenix. James King does a good job describing the crime. Give it a read.

According to the report, in September of 1980, when he was 33-years-old, Nelson had the 14-year-old victim -- described as "a close family friend" -- over to his house on at least two occasions to play cards. Nelson's rules are different than, say, Vegas' -- the loser in his game is required to pull out his junk and show it to the winner.

I don’t often get reports of a Jehovah’s Witness pastor committing a sex crime. I consider it a special case whenever it occurs. The church will try to spin this, just watch the comments.

Youth pastor Jasmine Brown arrested

It’s ok… the 12-year-old boy wanted to be molested. Move along…

jasminebrownYouth pastor Jasmine Brown admitted to molesting a 12-yea-old boy. Brown is employed by the Family of God Christian Fellowship, where it is apparently ok to molest children if they ask for it…. Ok. maybe I’m exaggerating here, but seriously. What kind of adult thinks its ok to molest a child? What kind of youth pastor thinks It’s ok to molest a child? As a youth pastor Brown was supposed to protect his charges and teach them the moral code found in the bible. Did he ever read the bible? Oh wait, I should not go there as there is some crazy stuff in the Old Testament.

Brown is an amoral Christian hypocrite. But the church should shoulder part of the blame.

Brown doesn't deny the incidents occurred. When interviewed by police, Brown told detectives that the boy is the one who initiated the gropings by rubbing his butt against Brown's penis. Brown acknowledges he responded to the alleged advances by rubbing his penis against the boy's butt.

Then he masturbated and went to sleep, he tells cops.

Source: Jasmine Brown, Youth Minister, Admits to Molesting 12-Year-Old Boy at Church Camp

Apparently Brown and the child shared a bed on several nights while at summer camp. That fact that this can happen indicts the church and the summer camp. Parents beware, if the church allows some this egregious, I can only imagine what else can happen. With any luck, the stupidity of the people running the church and youth camp will result in a settlement the puts this church out of business. I hope co-pastor Mike Scott and Rick Furmanek are ready to find a new line of work, one that involves the responsible management of a business and the protection of its employees and customers.

There is no mention of the incident on the church website.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

On the death of Christopher Hitchens

I never met Christopher Hitchens, yet I took his death personally. I’ve read all his books and most of his recently published articles. He’s been a intellectual partner for the last 15 years, although, the partnership was all one way. I respected him. He challenged my thinking, and through that pushed me to become a better person. Few other people have influenced me in this way; my wife, a mentor, a few friends, my grandfather, and the author Harlan Ellison, make the short list.

Hitchens fills my library. His words will continue to influence me until I join him in death. I will pass along what I’ve learned to my sons (and soon a grandson), friends, and readers. His ideas and influence will live on through thousands of other people just like me. What I will miss is his intellect, his wit, and his wisdom.

I had lunch with two Christians yesterday. Hitchens’ death came up. Their utter lack of compassion left me feeling empty. I realized later that the emptiness was already in my heart. RIP Christopher Hitchens.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pastor Tedd Butler pleaded guilty

TeddButlerPastor Tedd Butler, profiled here, pleaded guilty to charges that he molested a boy who was under the age of 13. He faces a light sentence on a conviction on a charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Butler told the court in Grand Rapids he touched the buttocks of a boy younger than 13 who had been attending Sunday school.

Touch a butt, go to prison.

Butler was the pastor at Gospel Light Baptist Church in Walker, which is near Grand Rapids.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Would an atheist teacher steal the cash?

A recent poll asked the following three questions in response to this scenario. …if a fictional driver damaged a parked car and left the scene, then found a wallet and took the money, was the driver more likely…
  • a teacher
  • an atheist teacher
  • a rapist teacher
The results showed a predictable response. The atheist did it.
“People find atheists very suspect,” Shariff said. “They don’t fear God so we should distrust them; they do not have the same moral obligations of others. This is a common refrain against atheists. People fear them as a group.”
I’m not surprised, although I am disappointed in the possible answers. I would have gone with an obvious comparison.
  • a Christian
  • an atheists
  • A pastor convicted of child rape
I’m betting that atheists would still come in as the people most likely to commit the crime. The reason is simple. We are part of a different tribe. If you asked 100 atheists the same questions, the Christian would lose. Substitute Christian for Muslim and and atheist for Jew and a new class of people will be on the outs. You can’t win if you are not part of the tribe. We are the other team.
We already know that the morality question is baseless. Christians are as amoral as anyone else, and just as likely to commit petty little crimes. The only way I can see to address the situation is to dilute the importance of the Christian population. The more secular we become, the more this question becomes irrelevant. We fight back by spreading the truth.
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Why do people listen to Ann Coulter?

Ann Coulter’s latest rant is pure nutball craziness. When scientist discover the gay gene, liberals will abort gay babies.

In her upcoming appearance on Logo's "A List: Dallas," the conservative pundit told gay Republican cast member Taylor Garrett that it was in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community's best interests to be pro-life as "liberal yuppies" will start aborting their unborn gay children once scientists discover a gene for homosexuality.

Why do people listen to her screed? It’s pure crap. And when you think about it, Coulter has the story wrong. If we are ever able to determine a baby’s sexual orientation through a genetic test, it won’t be liberals lining up at abortion clinics. That much seems obvious, right?

We get dumber by degrees

Michele Bachmann weighed in recently on the important subject of high school proms. Specifically, she talked about girls asking boys to the prom. And her answer was… Bachmann won’t allow her girls to ask boys. I think I’m justified I’m calling Bachmann anti-feminist… and dumb.

Bachmann believes only boys can ask girls to the prom, which could raise questions in some voters' minds about various diplomatic dances every president is expected to perform.

Source: Bachmann: Girls Don't Ask Boys to Prom

Oh, and nobody asker her to the prom.

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Steve Rosch and the Atheist Examiner

An Atheist friend recently asked who I read in the atheist blogsphere. I had to admit that the list is small. One writer that I hit every weekend is Steve Rosch who writes a column for the Atheist Examiner. He gives me good ideas. His latest post covers a review of Jill McDevitt new book, Fighting the Crusade Against Sex: Being Sex-Positive in a Sex Negative World.

Jill McDevitt recounts her struggles against the Catholic Church, a conservative politician, and the pervasive taboos against sexuality in our society.

The book is in part a documentation of her fight and in part a memoir of her life leading up to that fight. The chapters alternate between McDevitt’s efforts and obstacles in opening up her store, Feminique Boutique, and her early years of love and lost love which compelled her toward that end.

Sounds fascinating, right? I find that Steve brings these types of stories to his readers on a regular basis. Plus he gives me gift ideas…

Network for Church Monitoring

I’ve become a big fan of the Network for Church Monitoring. If you have not seen their work, I encourage you to visit their website or Facebook page.

Network for Church Monitoring is a progressive non-profit organization that seeks to bring together individuals from across the globe to call for improvements in scientific understanding, support of scientific inquiry and the use of empirical, scientifically supported evidence to shape policies and institutions.

I read it every day. Enjoy.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Don’t let your spare change support hate

People look at me odd when I rail against the Salvation Army, but I know them to be anti-gay rights campaigners of a vein similar to the Catholic Church. They do not deserve our spare change. What we give may help feed the poor with one situation, but in another it may be put to work to deny basic human rights to gays and lesbians around the world. Screw the Salvation Army. There are better ways to help the needy.

Read this: The Salvation Army: Ringing anti-gay bells this holiday season by Jamie McGonnigal.

The article chronicles some of the Salvation Army’s overt anti-gay misdeeds. The Salvation Army does not deserve secular support. Do not give to the local storefront Santas. Give elsewhere, like Kiva, Goodwill, Doctors Without Borders, or better yet, donate to a local HIV/AIDS charity, like the Long Beach AIDS Foundation or C.A.R.E. Help people without hatred and bias. Put your spare change to work helping all people in need. Do not support hate. It’s bad for your nonexistent karma.

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Know your enemy

I’m sure you all heard about the Baptist church in Kentucky that barred interracial couples from membership. I was too busy to post when the story broke, but it festered in my head for days. Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church is a stain upon our nation and does not deserve continued patronage. They actually voted to bar interracial couples from becoming members of their church and participating in church services.The city should send a message. Revoke it’s tax exempt status. Re-zone the church out of business. Bulldoze the building and burn the remains. Forever bar the nine members who voted in favor of this travesty from becoming members of any other church. In fact, boycott their businesses, boycott the businesses of the people who employ them. Do whatever it takes to show these hypocrites that their intolerance is unacceptable, and do whatever it takes to make this right. The people are our enemies. Their prejudice is a disgrace to our nation, and their actions are inconsistent with Baptist theology and Christianity. They are frauds and deserve no respect, no consideration, and most importantly, no quarter. Jesus was a black man (or at least brown)… Remember?

Former pastor Melvin Thompson was the instigator. He won’t fess up to his own racism and hypocrisy.

"I am not racist. I will tell you that. I am not prejudiced against any race of people, have never in my lifetime spoke evil" about a race, Thompson said earlier this week in a brief interview. "That's what this is being portrayed as, but it is not."

Source: Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church In Kentucky Revisits Interracial Couple Ban After Uproar

No, pastor Melvin Thompson is no racist. He just introduced a measure that bars interracial couples from joining the church and participating in church services. I don’t see the problem here… Is it still legal to tar and feather liars?

Rage Against the Machine says it best:

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