Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bubba on Dobson

A new blog (to me anyway), Bubba Sounds Off, takes a long hard look a Dobson's Eleven Arguments Against Same Sex Marriage in his post Deflating Dobson's Rhetoric. I found it delightfully snarky.

Dr. Dobson, it looks like you’ve got some rather shaky standards for what constitutes “evidence”. If you’re using the expression “the real McCoy” to refer to traditional, heterosexual marriages, have all such marriages been eliminated in those countries? In fact, can you identify even one marriage that’s been destroyed by the presence of a “de-facto homosexual marriage”? And for those who prefer the option of traditional marriage, is it any less available to them than it used to be? If not, then I guess your use of the word “destroys” is a bit over the top, huh? Hyperbole is certainly a hallmark of opponents of same sex marriage. It will be interesting to see how heavily your own commentary will rely on it.


Thanks Bubba!

Promoting Atheism in Oregon

Via vjack at Atheist Revolution: Promoting Atheism in Oregon.

There is an outstanding letter about atheism in the Oregon Daily Emerald. Here are some highlights:

Recently the Democratic presidential front-runners participated in a "Faith and Politics" forum on CNN to prove their religiosity to the voters. Why is this attack on the separation of church and state so easily accepted? Why is this blatant bigotry not only tolerated, but also encouraged? Don't we deserve to be judged by the content of our character, not by our willingness to embrace superstition? Do we really want to continue to keep some of the brightest and most educated people out of public office?

Read More

Atheist Revolution always has it going on. I read vjack almost every day. This little post is a home run in my book. Why are Presidential candidates so quick to show they embrace superstition? What happened to reason and logic?

Would you stand by a friend?

Rudy Giuliani's loyalty to an accused pedophile priest threatens to derail his political aspirations. After all, who wants to vote for a man who spends a great deal of time with a person accused of a heinous crime? Alex Koppelman and Joe Strupp dissect Giuliani's Loyalty to an accused priest in Salon.

Monsignor Alan Placa was accused by a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury of sexually abusing children. No charges were ever filed - because of the statute of limitations.

Giuliani employs his childhood friend Monsignor Alan Placa as a consultant at Giuliani Partners despite a 2003 Suffolk County, N.Y., grand jury report that accuses Placa of sexually abusing children, as well as helping cover up the sexual abuse of children by other priests. Placa, who was part of a three-person team that handled allegations of abuse by clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, is referred to as Priest F in the grand jury report. The report summarizes the testimony of multiple alleged victims of Priest F, and then notes, "Ironically, Priest F would later become instrumental in the development of Diocesan policy in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests."

In my heart of hearts, what would I do? I would stand by my friend until such time that I find out personally he is guilty of his alleged crime, and I would keep him away from my kids until the issue is resolved. That is what friends do - however, there are limits to friendship, as there should be. The grand jury report raises sufficient questions to warrant a much closer look at Giuliani's relationship with Placa. Why Giuliani silent?

Giuliani's situation is different. Given his role and power in New York, it is reasonable to assume that Rudi is protecting his life long friend. His actions leave to perception of unclean business. How can that help him secure election?

What would you do in this situation? What should Giuliani do?

I know what George Bush would do. Alan Placa would be nominated to head the Department of Educations because of his experience working with kids.

Youth Pastor charged with molestation

This story hit my local news this morning. I heard about it while driving past a beautiful green park on the way to my favorite breakfast spot. My initial reaction was anger. I have a 13 year old niece, the thought of any pastoral freak harming my innocent young niece just pisses me off. What drives people to do this?

Mark Holland McDowell, the youth pastor of Camarillo Church of Christ is accused of molesting three young girls, ages 13 and 14.

Detectives learned of the alleged assaults in July 2006.

Detectives "were able to gather sufficient evidence to arrest McDowell on Thursday at his home," Hernandez said.

McDowell was taken to Ventura County Jail. He was later released after posting $50,000 bail.

Hernandez said detectives are looking for other possible victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact sheriff investigators at 654-9511 or 477-7000.

Well, I have another name for my rouges gallery. I seem to add two or three pastors a week. I am no longer simply content to mention the men in these stories, I follow them until they are cleared or sent to jail. I had no idea there were so many.

Truth Bender & False Witness

Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report writes about how James Dobson likes to manipiulate facts in the Washington Monthly article False Witness. I call James Dobson a truth bender becuase he is the master of spinning a truth that contridicts his postions into truthiness that supports his positions.

False Witness: James Dobson's Focus on the Family issued an alert to its membership yesterday bragging about the latest New York Times poll, which, the group said, showed that "America's young people continue to track conservative" on social issues. It took some breathtaking spin to reach this conclusion.

The survey collected opinions of 17- to 29-year-olds. Sixty-two percent said abortion should be outlawed or restricted. Danielle Huntley, a student at Boston College Law School and president of Students for Life of America, said she's proud her peers are not buying into liberal rhetoric.

"It illustrates that my generation realizes that they are survivors of Roe," she said. "Each of us born after 1973 could have been legally aborted by our parents."

Tom Robins of the College Republican National Committee told Family News in Focus the opposition to abortion can be attributed to young people's level of understanding. "Our generation has seen the effects of that," he said. "They understand that abortion on demand is not a healthy choice for America."

Fifty-four percent of young adults expressed opposition to same-sex marriage. Ron Luce with Teen Mania said the challenge is to make sure their opinions are founded in biblical truth.

OK, now let's look at what the poll actually said:

* On abortion: A combined 75% of voters under 30 want abortion rights to be legal.

* On gay rights: 44% said they believe that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married, and an additional 24% support civil unions, for a combined 68% who support some legal recognition of gay relationships.

* On ideology: 28% of young voters describe themselves as liberal (compared with 20% of the nation at large), while 27% call themselves conservative (compared with 32% of the general public).

If this is what it takes for a young generation to "track conservative" in Dobson's book, I couldn't be more pleased.

Just say no to James Dobson. It would make me feel a whole lot better.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Blogging About Atheism

Austin Cline has a helpful post on How to Blog More Effectively About Atheism, Philosophy.

Should You Write Anonymously?:

Anonymous blogging is an especially serious question for atheists because of how much prejudice and discrimination there is against atheism. If you sign your real name to what you write about atheism and religion, assume that your parents, coworkers, and neighbors will find it. Assume that future dates will also find it. Assume that people where you apply for your next job will find it. If you don’t want them reading it, blog anonymously.

I write as Mojoey for a reason. It has little to do with friends and family finding out that I am an Atheist. Heck, even the people I work with know I am an Atheist. I write anonymously because I work in IT. Over the years I've acquired a lot of different skills. IT Security being one of them. When I started blogging, I did so to vent while in graduate school. I had no concept of audience, or even that I would eventually focus on Atheism. I did understand that my name would follow everything I posted. I knew that unscrupulous people would use my name and information from my blog to make my life hell. Identify theft, phishing, social engineering, all of these things are very real possibilities. So, I stick with Mojoey on the blog. For email communications with blogroll members, I choose to use my real name.

I am happy with using Mojoey for another reason. With over three years of heavy blogging behind me, I have collected several dozen death threats. I would rather they kill Mojoey, I hear he lives down the street.

The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, has a post on this subject. He prefers using his name. It is a mixed bag in the comment thread.

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Blog Against Theocracy

I plan on participating this time. If you are interested, visit Blog Against Theocracy for details on joining the blogswarm.

I missed this the last time around. It turned out to be some of the best blogging I've seen in a very long time.

The cause is just, theocracy is the enemy of freedom. Do your part to read, post, and share knowledge.

Shoot a cat, get probation

OK, in this case it is shoot a cat, get probation.  I wrote about pastor Jonathan Hubert Powell in "and now for some dumb pastor news". Powell received a two-year suspended sentence for decapitating a family can named Garcia.

And now an admission: Several friends have called me to account for my reporting on this issue. Yes, it is true. I hate cats. Although I have never blown the head off one like Pastor Powell, I have taken a perverse joy in keeping the two dozen or so feral cats in my area, off my property. Pellet Guns, paint balls, sling shots, blow guns, cat traps - I've used them all. All I need to do is open my back door and the cats scatter in all directions.

I hate feral cats - so sue me. Besides, I must protect my Minpin Thor from the vicious beasts.

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The value of a handshake

In my first real job, way back in the early 80s, my mentor taught me how to shake hands. I was a causal and undisciplined person in those days. I thought learning the art of the handshake absurd. 25 years later, it remains a valuable life lesson. My mentor was a wise man. he knew that the handshake was an important first step in developing business and personal relationships.

As I traveled abroad, I have learned the customers of other cultures. Many cultures use the western style handshake as a courtesy when doing business with Americans. I have grown used to the "dead fish" handshake of my Asian friends. I no longer offer my usual bone crusher.

A few years ago when I was working in France. I met a Muslim man from North Africa. We became friends. When I was invited to his home, I met his wife. As I extended my hand in greeting, he stepped between us while politely saying it was improper for a man to touch a woman in his culture. I remember thinking it odd that I was in the cradle of western culture, yet some ancient religious ownership game was taking precedent over a simple gesture of kindness. I thought it absurd then, and even more so now.

Mohammad Khatami, an Iranian Cleric and former president of Iran, was filmed shaking hands with uncovered women in Italy. The uproar and subsequent machinations are astounding. Iranians think the whole thing is a CIA plot.

The Iranian hardline daily “Kayhan”, run by Mr. Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer specializing in the interrogation of political and intellectual dissidents who is a senior advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the Islamic Republic, suggested Khatami, had allowed himself to fall prey of a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) trap.

Say what? Khatami was simply pressing flesh and kissing babies, just like any other political figure in the western world. CIA? how absurd! My guess is that his sin was calculated to send a message inside Iran.

Laws against touching women, even if only forbidding the shaking of hands, exist  to suppress and marginalize women. When women are kept veiled behind the doors of their homes, they loose their voice in society. Theocracy is to blame. Iran is an Islamic Theocracy. Laws requiring the wearing of the veil and forbidding the touching of women trump human rights, especially when all a cleric need do is thump his Koran to get his way. It is a sad state of affairs made all the more absurd by Iranian conspiracy theories.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It is only a crime when you get caught

Pastor Ricardo Sampson found this out the hard way when one of this three wives showed up at his new home to call him out as a bigamist. What the hell was this guy thinking? It is not like your wife forgets she is married to you when you walk out the door for a new city and a new job. Christ man - have you ever heard of Google? You should at least change your name.

Court records obtained by the NBC 10 investigators revealed Ricardo Sampson married Robin on December 5, 1992, Donna on July 18, 1997 and Jackie on May 20, 2006.

Did I mention he was a pastor, or self-appointed Reverend, or a Sunday preacher, and a weekday knockabout? I'll settle for calling him a hypocritical con man and soon to be former pastor.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

octo meme

So, OK, I've been tagged by The Exterminator. The following rules should explain the new blog meme.

  • We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don't forget to leave them each a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Eight habits or facts, I would rather it were eight habits or lies...

1. Fact - I don't like memes. I don't know what it is exactly, maybe because it breaks me out of my rut, but I really find these things a great big pain in the ass. And who ever heard of eight people on a meme - oh wait, I can choose victims from the noobs on the Atheist blogroll.

2. Fact - I became an atheist at age 18 after a being born again Christian for a number of years. I do not actually remember becoming an Atheist. I was a doubting Christian since the beginning. Late in my 18th year, I was critically injured in a work related accident. The brain injury and subsequent recovery left a small hole in my memory. Everything from about six months before the accident to waking up in the hospital is jumbled. I mark the day of my accident as my great awaking, although I know it to be several months earlier.

3. Habit - I like to eat outside. A burger on a bench under a tree on a sunny day is my idea of paradise. I manage four such days each week. If I'm lucky, I  enjoy a good cigar too. Friends are always welcome. I seldom eat alone.

4. Habit - I like to read. My favorite authors are Harlan Ellison, Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I have a complete Raymond Chandler collection, a nearly complete Harlan Ellison collection, and most of Philip K. Dicks stories.  Burroughs has a special place in my heart. I learned to read on the Tarzan stories. I still dream about them sometimes.

5. Fact - I voted for Bush. Oh my god what was I thinking? I am more ashamed of this fact than just about anything else. I am a libertarian - I should have wasted by vote on whatever high druid was heading the party ticket. To the world - I am so sorry.

6. Fact: I have a geeky job. Most people think that I fix PC's because work in IT. No such luck. I design, implement, and maintain manufacturing software. I also do large scale project management for technology projects. Trust me, you do not want me to fix your PC.

7. Fact & Habit. I do not like TV. I blog instead of watching the boob toob. Of course, I can only do this because of Tivo.  The programs I want to watch get recorded for viewing when my brain is in the partial off position.

8. Fact - I play disc golf avidly. I've played on and off since the 70s. I originally got into the sport because our church's youth pastor played. Over time it became something I could do alone, any time I felt like it. Now I play about twice a week, like the match yesterday, 10 over at Eldo in Long Beach. I won, but played poorly.

If you ever see a tall red-haired fat dude in a silly hat, throwing discs in your local park, it might be me.

And now the tag... the last eight joiners

The Rational Nontheist

Tarpan's blog

Writer Philosopher Culture Warrior

Inkblot Icon

Bob Kowalski

The Allen Zone

The Eternal Gaijin

The underground Unbeliever


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and now for some dumb pastor news

I don't know what to say... Pastor Shoots off cat's head.

Virginia - A volunteer firefighter who leads weekly religious services at a homeless shelter received a suspended sentence for shooting the head off a neighbour's cat.

Jonathan Hubert Powell, 39, said he decapitated the cat, named Garcia, because it was scratching his car, according to his testimony.

But on Monday, Powell said he shot at what he thought was a raccoon or possum.

He was convicted of animal cruelty in the April 2006 shooting and received the two-year suspended sentence.

After his sentencing, Powell said he learned some "very valuable lessons" that he hopes to share in his ministry.

"I'm sorry that an animal had to die," he said. "I will admit I made a very poor decision."

I don't have anything snaky to say. I must not be feeling well.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pedophile pastor in Winston-Salem

Another alleged pedophile pastor has been arrested. This time the Reverend Rodney Keith Boothe was arrested for a having sexual relationships with two teenaged boys. The charges are intense:

Boothe was charged with six counts of sexual offense by someone in a parental role, 12 counts of statutory rape, four counts of indecent liberties with a child, one count of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted first-degree sexual offense.

What bothers me about these situations is the ease with which one becomes a pastor or reverend. It seems like one only need appear on the steps of a church requesting a job.

Booth was a pastor at the Greater Church of Deliverance. It is not clear if he abused his pastoral privilege while employed at the church. In this case, his Church is rapidly distancing itself from any association with him. Alvin Marshall, the COO, had these comments.

“He was at one time, a period of time ago,” Marshall said. “Those allegations and accusations - none of it occurred at our church. While he was a part of our church, it did not occur.”

Deconstructing this bit of misinformation - the specific acts of abuse did not occur on church property. I may be cynical, but this seems... somehow wrong.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A man of god he called himself

Reverend Raymond Clayton of the Grace Fellowship Church near Mount Carmel stole $28K from 82-year-old Pat Tomedi. Clayton stole her identity, used it to get credit cards, and then go on a spending spree. I guess he thought she would die before the bills came through.

"I was shocked, I was shocked, I was shocked. Oh and I was very terribly hurt that he could do that," Tomedi said in May. "And I didn't want to believe it. Maybe that's what my problem was, I didn't want to believe it. A man of god he called himself."

I would say he used to be a man of god, now we will just call him inmate number 237445.

Clayton was not a smart criminal. He put his own name on the stolen credit cards.

According to court papers similar calls continued to come in. After a Staples bill for close to $3,400, US Bank called asking about a credit card maxed out at $25,000.

There were two names on that card. Tomedi, who was the treasurer at Grace Fellowship for 18 years, and her pastor, Reverend Raymond Clayton, Senior.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I represent the other side

I am a libertarian and an atheist. At parties, I often find myself on the other side of discussions. People want more nanny state protections, I want less. People want more theocracy, I want less. People want to stamp out prostitution or smoking, I say people should have a right to do what they want with their own bodies, even if that means selling their services or smoking a cigar.

I've learned a few things over the years. like, real libertarians are crazy. Every time I get involved with my local libertarian organization, I run away screaming. the current batch are "pro-war libertarians". I am not even sure how that is possible. The local libertarian leadership is more concerned with petty power struggles than with addressing real issues. On occasion, they rise above their own struggles to call for the scrapping of the public school system or some such nonsense. It really is pathetic.

I cannot play with the "real" libertarians, I have little tolerance for stupidity. I address my libertarian concerns by weaving the issues into my posts... and, I talk to people. Lately I've been talking about gay rights. I cannot understand why people are so concerned about what other people do and how they live their private lives. What bothers me most is that it seems like the people who should be the most tolerant are actually the least tolerant.

Take the case of the recent gay pride march in Jerusalem. Instead of understanding the struggle of an oppressed people, some nutball religious bomber tried to blow them up with and IED while thousands of his peers protested.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted repeatedly in the past week, burning tires, assaulting policemen and damaging police cars. A 32-year-old ultra-Orthodox man was arrested Thursday morning carrying a homemade explosive device. Under questioning, the man said he wanted to plant the explosive along the parade route, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

Black Churches are another example.

“In most black churches, parishioners experienced sermons identifying homosexuality not only as a sin, but with a rage that placed it as an even greater sin, as a monstrosity, a part of a wicked spirit,” writes Rev. Horace L. Griffin in his new book, "Their Own Receive Them Not: African-American Lesbians and Gays in Black Churches."

Both groups have a long history of oppression and discrimination. Both groups fight gay rights as if the future of the world depended on it. What they share in common is intolerant religion and a myopic sense of history. I rail against the injustice and theocracy as an Atheist and as a libertarian. How people choose to live their lives is their own business.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

I do not need protection

One of the reasons I rail against Christians is that they love to legislate morality. Their efforts never cease. Baptists are legendary for the effort they put into making alcohol hard to buy, not to mention the work that goes into other "vices". I drink, I smoke (cigars mom, I swear), I gamble, I would smoke weed if it were legal, I just don't see the harm. To some Christians, my pleasure is their pain and they are starting to piss me off.

I first became annoyed while traveling in Utah. After a long day, I settled in for the night on in Brigham City. The hotel had a bar, only the bar would not serve me unless I joined their private club. It cost me 14 bucks to have a beer. I kept my membership card.

In Texas,, I actually had to walk past religious protestors at one of the only liquor stores in town. I was buying wine to drink at a restaurant. The restaurant could did not have a liquor license because of some local religious objection. The restaurant's owner  allowed you to bring your own bottle and would even put it on ice for you. I had to poor it myself. It seemed stupid.

While traveling on the East Coast, I kept running into dry counties. One time I walked into a supermarket (like I do here in LA) to buy a bottle of scotch as a gift for a friend. When I asked the clerk were the alcohol was located, she rolled her eyes and said "about 60 miles north".

A few year ago, I tried to buy a case of beer a 7/11 here in LA. It was Sunday morning at 5 AM. They would not sell it to me because of some stupid blue law.

The Christians are at it again. This time they are working to outlaw alcohol inhalers. These machines allow you to inhale an alcohol mist instead of drinking from a glass. The process enables the same drinking buzz, without a hangover. It is kind of like hitting from a bong, only with alcohol instead of Mary Jane.

The Christians moralists don't like it. They are working tirelessly to ban it. Jack Sullum wrote a post about the The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina. It seems the Creech was behind the recent ban of these devices in North Carolina.

“More than a third of young people begin drinking by eighth grade and 5 million U.S. high school students binge drink at least once a month,” Creech said. “With these kinds of alcohol abuse statistics staring us in the face, imagine what would happen if users could fast track the mind-altering effects of alcohol and, at the same time, sidestep the hangover…. That’s exactly the appeal of AWOL.

“It is not complimentary of the great State of North Carolina that this new scourge for alcohol abuse is being marketed from within our own borders.”

More moral bullshit. I am an American and a libertarian. If I want to inhale my alcohol, I should be allowed to with out the interference of the morality police. I don't drink much anymore. This kind of thing still pisses me off.

Target Practice

If the United States ever goes to war with Iran, one thing is absolutely certain. Nobody gets close to U.S. Naval Battle Group. The Iranians are planning to defend the Straits of Hormuz with 1,000 heavily armed speedboats.

IRGC swarming tactics envision a group of more than 100 speedboats attacking a target, such as a Western naval vessel or a commercial oil tanker. They said 20 or more speedboats would strike from each direction, making defense extremely difficult.

If the Iranian's were not such a nasty Islamic fundamentalist bunch, I would be more inclined to warn them off this utterly stupid strategy. Instead, I'll just add that the Navy already has a name for your strategy - Target Practice.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

How dumb is that?

The Vatican has nothing better to do than post road rules for catholic drivers? Hello... AIDS, Hunger, Genocide. No, the Vatican instead develops a ten commandments for drivers in a 35 page documents destined for endless Saturday Night Live spoofs.

The Ten Commandments for Motorists

  1. You shall not kill,
  2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
  3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
  4. Be charitable and help your neighbour in need, especially victims of accidents.
  5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin.
  6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
  7. Support the families of accident victims.
  8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
  9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
  10. Feel responsible toward others.
  11. Do not eat tacos while driving.

OK, I added number 11, but it should be on the list. So should "Do not talk on your cell phone." They did not mention "you shall not make babies in the back seat", which strikes me as odd because it was the only thing I wanted to do with my first car.

This is absurd. Would would Jesus do? He would donate his car to feed the poor and then walk. duh... oh wait - I forgot to mention that Jesus would fire the Pope for wasting our time with this trivial crap.

Celebrating Dominionist heroes

I read the The Greenbelt. I return to it week after week. Today I found this gem -Christian terrorism - alive and well and celebrated in Milwaukee. It opened up a whole new line of thinking for me. What kinds of Christian celebrates murders and assassins? What type of person teaches their children these men are heroes? The obvious answer is the bad kind of Christian. But I think it goes deeper, these people need to be confronted.

Go to archy, read the posts (Jesus wept,I get letters..., the killer of James Barrett, and Paul Hill Days update) and then do something - write your paper, nag your pastor (if you have one), go to Milwaukee if you live near there...

Don't let these people celebrate assassins and call it "American"

And if you're a Christian, do you want this to be the face of your faith? If not, then doubly do something!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I've thought about this one all day

Evangelicals have a problem with porn. Who knew?

A new survey shows that five of ten Christian men in the U.S. -- and two of ten Christian women -- are addicted to pornography.

It is all starting to make sense.

Bill Cooper, president of, says there is an escalation in Internet pornography addiction among evangelicals. The survey found that 50 percent of men who regularly attend church are addicted to pornography, and 20 percent of female churchgoers are also addicted. The Internet has made it easier for people to get trapped in pornography's grip, Cooper explains.

Evangelicals watch just a much porn as everyone else, get divorced just as often,  beat their spouses, sell drugs... the list is long. The real difference between an evangelical and a normal everyday American is that evangelicals want to mandate how we live without living up to the standards themselves.

Also, I love reading the comments...

Also, I guess it depends on what the poll definition of Christian is. Christians like Hillary? Christians like Rick Warren?

Did you forget "Christian like James Dobson"?

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Pastor, pusher, hypocrite

I have not used the word Pusher in years. It fits in this case. 72-year-old pastor Frank Leach may have found the collection plate too thin to pay for his soup. He started selling Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety medication, from inside his small community Church. He was selling the pills for eight dollars each. At the time of his arrest, he had a bankroll of$5,000 in cash, a 22 revolver, and a police scanner.

Beware: Snarky sarcastic comments below

OK - now what the hell? Who would by Xanax from a pastor? I don't know if I am more upset by the fact that a old codger and "man of the cloth" is peddling tranquilizers to whoever has a sawbuck, or the fact that his neighbors were so stunned that their fine upstanding pastor is a drug dealer.

"It's hard to believe. It caught me by surprise,” said a neighbor of Leach. “You know, I'm surprised that something like this would happen."

That man has lived across the street from Leach for years. He says the 72-year-old lives in the building next to the church and often hosts garage sales. He says he knows Leach as the kind of person who did what he could for people in need.

It sounds more like Leach is an amoral pastor and hypocrite, or an opportunist who likes to play the ponies. Either way, a fall from grace hurts. Especially after you piss away a life's work for a few bucks.

Opening closed societies

A French bishop, Monsignor Pierre Pican, was convicted for failing to tell police of pedophile. He was given a suspended sentence. It is the first time a senior French clergyman has been convicted of a crime since the Revolution.

Monsignor Pierre Pican, the Bishop of Bayeux, was tried in June for failing to tell the police authorities that one of his priests had admitted sexually abusing boys in his care. The prosecution was the first of its kind in France and forced the French Catholic Church to revise publicly its advice to prelates on how to deal with paedophile priests.

I am going to file this one under "any progress is good progress". Simply bringing charges against a bishop is a step in the right direction. Now that Monsignor Pican has been convicted for his role in hiding a pedophile priest from justice. Perhaps he will not be so recalcitrant the next time.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Update: Pastor Herman Lewis to stand trial

Pastor Herman "double life" Lewis, a marquee player here on Hypocrisy Watch has been found competent to stand trail.

A Spokane pastor suspected of attempted rape and kidnapping has been declared competent to stand trial.

Herman Lewis' defense attorney claimed his client was too mentally ill to be held responsible for his actions. However Lewis was evaluated during a stay at Eastern State Hospital and doctors there determined he had no major psychological issues.

On Friday Lewis pled not guilty to the charges he’s facing. He remains free on bond.

In other news, Lewis has agreed to step down from his Church. It seems some of his congregation has a problem with his attempted rape, kidnapping, and the bitch slapping an old man.

Church board members met Monday night and voted to recommend Lewis resign as pastor. Lewis agreed to resign over the phone this morning.

When a church asks you to resign, that's like being fired... Right?

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Behold the Creation Museum

I found this on digg. Two young Atheist visit the Creation Museum and document it in pictures posted in a photogroup on Flickr. It is worth a few minutes of your time to watch the slide show. I've got to get his T-shirt.

The Hobby Shop

Hobby Shop

My local hobby shop, every visit takes an hour. I picked up a hands free magnifying glass today. I've wanted one for years and years.

Feed the muse: A Place in the Sun

Fellow Los Angeles Photographer John Humble has an exhibit at the Getty

Since the mid-1970s American photographer John Humble has documented greater Los Angeles, creating images that explore the postmodern qualities of America's second largest city. This exhibition focuses on two distinct bodies of work from Humble's lengthy career: the urban landscape and the Los Angeles River. Both are journeys through the built environment and diverse neighborhoods that make up the city.

I am conflicted. I plan to see his exhibit, but do not want to really go. Humble is a photographer for whom I have little respect. When I see his images, I instantly think that I could do better. Heck, I have done better. We tend to photography the same types of images. Everything seems so familiar. It is a strange feeling, almost like someone is looking over my shoulder.

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Fake Pastors

When I drive through South Central Los Angeles (flickr), I cannot help but notice the profusion of storefront churches. Most fit into a 500 square foot office space. In some areas, there are six or seven clustered around a single corner. My assumption has always been they were legitimate. I have come to realize, many are not.

Take Pastor David John Gripka of Pensacola. The 67 year old Pastor was arrested for a drive-by shooting. Pastor Gripka was upset about his auto repair bill. He fired a few shots randomly into the occupied house of the manager of C&M Motors. Gripka then drove across town and shot up the exterior of C&M Motors. Besides being a menace to society, Gripka also appears to be a fraud, a pastor in name only.

Since there are no standards for establishing a church, anyone can start one. And once you start a church, the tax benefits are tangible. It is not surprising that men like Pastor Gripka are not real pastors, but petty con men abusing the special privileges our government affords the clergy.

Storefront churches are tax exempt and enjoy a lack of transparency. Why do we afford the clergy special privileges? Is there a legitimate reason?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another reason James Dobson is a nutball

James Dobson thinks America deserves the destruction of a major U.S. city

DOBSON: Some of our listeners are not going to agree with what he [MacArthur] has to say, but it's going to make you think, and it's also going to be somewhat disturbing. And I happen to agree with what John MacArthur was saying on this day, and I want to thank him and his team and Woodman Valley Chapel for allowing us to share this message. It needs to be heard, especially at this time in our nation.

What did John MacArthur say?

We haven't had a massive calamity such as the destruction of an entire city. We certainly don't want that to happen -- pray that does not happen -- but it could happen. And God would be just in any calamity that he brought upon us.

When the dirty bomb hits L.A., MacArthur thinks it will be because of Lesbians (I'm not kidding), and so does James Dobson.

You know a society has been abandoned by God when it celebrates lesbian sex.

It is faulty logic like this which leads to honor killings, morality police, and berkas. MacArthur's reasoning goes something like this: We must prevent God from allowing a terrorist to destroy a city by passing laws that forbid lesbian behavior. If necessary, we lock up lesbians, even executing their leaders if necessary. Then God will be happy and we can move on to boys who wear  long hair and girls who wear skirts... and Atheists.

These guys are crazy and dangerous.

First the pastor steals

...and then the pastor abuses children. Stephen Shorey first stole $5,000 using the identity of his church treasurer. Shorey, now the former pastor of Kiefer Assembly of God Church, will now have to answer to additional charges of child sexual abuse. Shorey sounds like a wonderful person and a pastor too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

7 of 100

As I near my 2000th post, I wondered, what is my most popular post? To my surprise, it is a June 24th, 2006 post titled James Dobson on interracial marriage. Visitors use the search terms "interracial problems" or "Interracial marriage" in Google or Yahoo to find the post. Fully 7 out of every 100 hits comes from this post. I'm not kidding - day in day out - 7 of 100 every day. It is matched only by a Barry Bonds post which can generate a thousand hits in a single day depending on Bonds's behavior.

I wrote the Interracial marriage post because Dobson's position offends me. Nothing has changed. I am still offended. His remarks remind me too much of my grandparents asking me if I were sure I wanted to marry a colored girl. They were concerned about what our children would look like (they are beautiful btw). My grandparents are long dead - and I've been married to my lovely Filipino wife for 27 years. Our early years did not face the same problems as black/white couples. However, we encountered our own flavor of bigotry and racism. We still do today, although it is rare.

My wife warmed my heart with a e-mail link to NPR's Loving Decision: 40 years of Legal Interracial Unions on Monday.

This week marks the 40th anniversary of a seminal moment in the civil rights movement: the legalization of interracial marriage. But the couple at the heart of the landmark Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia never intended to be in the spotlight.

We've come a long way in 40 years. Thank you Richard and Mildred Loving. My family deeply appreciates your sacrifice.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Nutball alert: a broken fish

I happened upon a fundie blog today. He (or she) was bemoaning the vandalism of their sacred Christian fish symbol. Somebody broke a fin off his little plastic symbol of oppression. I almost passed on reading this entry. It seemed so trivial.

We have had this Christian fish symbol on the back of our car for a couple of years.  Recently, when our car was in a shopping center parking lot, someone broke off a part of the symbol.   You might think that this small act of vandalism is meaningless;  I don’t.

Of course, the obvious answer is that no crime was committed. It seems reasonable that the fin could have broken off for natural reasons. In fact, it seemed like  a metaphor for belief in god. Some unseen hand had touched the ichthus symbol, breaking off a fin. The driver "knew" it was the hand of a Atheist, or maybe it was a noodly appendage?

The author plunges on with a bizarre justification for the decline of America. His lack of critical thinking should have warned me off. I read on on. I'm a sucker for nutballs. I loved this gem:

Additional dozens of lawsuits have removed any symbols of the Christian faith from the public square.  Revisionist history in every school textbook in America disguises the fact that nearly all the framers of the Constitution were evangelical Christians. 

Yep - good old Tomas Jefferson was an evangelical. You heard it hear first. If any of you feel inclined, please pay our poor fundie a visit. He needs so help with his history.

Deacon Murders Pastor

Before I get started, I first have to ask, where the hell is Great Barrington? After a little digging around I figured out it was in Massachusetts. I have never heard of it before. No have I heard of Becket, Cheshire, Lanesborough, or even Southern Berkshire for that matter. Mount Washington gave it away. I figured it was a long shot that England would have a Mount Washington. (It's the little things which make blogging fun.)

The Pastor of the AME Zion Church was allegedly murdered by a Deacon of the AME Zion Church, who then tried unsuccessfully tired to kill himself. The victim, Pastor Esther Dozier, was stabbed in the chest by her husband, Henry Dozier.

I have two scenarios running around in my head tonight. A classic small church power struggle, or a less sexy but just as likely, he just grew tired of her snoring. Either way, I am sure Henry Dozier was in some way inspired by the light sentence given to Mary Winkler.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

an oil change and a prayer

I took my truck in for an oil change today. While I sat outside the Jiffy-Lube enjoying a book, the man sitting next to me started to pray loud enough for me to hear.

"Please Lord, bless the technician working on my car. Guide his hand while repairing my care. I need this fuel system cleaning to work so that we can take or trip to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe."

He added a few other odd bits before finishing. I did not say a word, but my brain backfired. Why would a seemly normal man pray for God to guide the hand of a nameless mechanic? It seems so trivial. I would think God has weightier things on his mind.

His car worked. He drove away happy. I bet he thought it was a miracle.

As I sat reading, my mind wondered off the book to its internal dialog. My mind filled with unspoken words and images, please don't try to upsell me today. I'm not in the mood. Who was I talking to? Myself of course. It was just the internal dialog which runs every moment of every day and is hard to tune out. If I were to utter these thoughts out loud, people would think me crazy. On the other hand, if I were to vocalize the thoughts and direct them to God, people would think me normal. It seems odd.

Why do people pray for little things? For that matter, why do people pray at all? God would know if you need something because he's omnipresent. Does it help if you ask? Does in help more if more people ask?

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Can you sue for being crazy?

A former British teaching assitant thinks so. Sariya Allen is suing for $100,000 in damages after being dismissed for refusing to allow a seven year old girl to read a Harry Potter book.

"I admit I said to the child that I don't do witchcraft in any form," she said. "I was put in the position that listening to the child reading this book would compromise my religious beliefs."

I did not know the U.K. had nutball fundies. Are fundies spreading?

The Atheist Register

The Atheist Register: We should all register, that way they will know where to find us. 17 atheists have posted already. What were they thinking?

- I'm all for being outspoken about my atheism... but why register to say so, what's the goal here?

Quite simply the goal is to achieve that of which Dawkins and many other note Atheists ask, that we be counted that we come out from behind the shadow and the shame that is cast upon us as Atheists. It has been mentioned that Atheists now, are viewed upon much like the gay community was viewed 40+ years ago. Why should we be ashamed of what we believe, why should we be ashamed of wanting to find the answers instead of assuming them. The only way to achieve this change, to be noticed and to be viewed without the prejudice we are viewed upon with is to do so in numbers, to be proud and to join together in that.

Shame? What the hell is he talking about? Shame? The last time I felt ashamed was when I was a Christian.

I will not be signing... Mojoey passes (or more accurately, rejects the whole fucking idea of a register.)

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A hero falls

I type this with a heavy heart. Pastor James Luther Bevel, a hero of the civil rights movement, has been arrested and charged with incest. Bevel was a key player in Dr. Martin Luther King's organization. Bevel was one of Kings "Field Generals" responsible for organization and logistics. He was one of the men behind the civil rights movement who make it all work. A true hero of the civil rights movement, now forever shamed.

...Authorities said 70-year-old Reverend James L- Bevel was arrested late last month in Eutaw, Alabama, after being indicted by a Loudoun County, Virginia grand jury on one count of unlawfully committing fornication.

Apparently Bevel, who is a Baptist pastor, is alleged to have committed his crimes on child as young as 13 old.  A child in his own family. Bevel would have been in his 50's at the time.

I did not report this when he was originally arrested. I let it go, thinking maybe it had been a mistake. It seems I was wrong. A hero has fallen, and it looks to be a hard fall.

Blogroll Update: 300 members

I should say we've hit around 300 members. Our current count is 301. I've been pruning the blogroll of inactive blogs over the last month. We've lost over a dozen so far, while at the same time, we have gained nearly twice a many new members. I think it is a good trend.

I have explored nudity in several of my posts this month. I have been researching nudity in art with an eye towards America's Puritan tenancies. Our 300th member, a French blog named le tiers Monde,  has already posted on this subject, so I'm going steal part of it.

to those ignorant puritans, this painting by jules-claude ziegler is disgusting. they fail to see, as they fail to see many many many things, the beauty of the human form especially that of an adult female. seeing thru the eyes of their forebears, whose religion they have innocently accepted growing up, as they have been taught nudity as being repulsive, only then to be appreciated but never acknowledged, in the hidden chambers of their theology infested minds.


le tiers Monde points to a link for Femme Femme Femme (woman, woman, woman). It is a blog dedicated to the female form in art. It covers a wide range of artists and styles.

Photographies, dessins, images, caricatures, illustrations, pin-ups, sculptures et peintures dont le thème principal est la femme, sous toutes ses formes, autour des différents proverbes et citations de la vie quotidienne.

My French is a little rusty - suffice it to say, this blog covers photography, painting, drawings, sculpture  - all with an emphasis on the female form.

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Pastor to serve 20 years in prison

Pastor Gregory Michael Butler of Emmanuel Apostolic Church in Winston-Salem was convicted two counts of statutory rape and three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. Butler will serve 20 years.

Butler abused his pastor relationship with the 14-year-old daughter of a woman he was romantically involved with. What started as counseling ended as rape - in his Cadillac, in a hotel, and in his church.

The girl was a survivor of molestation at age 7. Pastor Butler filled a father figure role in this young girls life. She needed help, Butler was supposed to fill this role. Unfortunately, he abused his relationship. The girl is now receiving professional counseling. my guess is she will be in counseling for a long time.

Of course, Butler's church supported him.

After the sentencing, about 30 supporters of Butler walked out the courtroom, many away wiping tears. Some supporters were members of Butler’s church, which is on Vargrave Street, and has about 35 members.

I'm starting to sense a pattern: My advice - do not ever send your children to one-on-one counseling. Insist on parental oversight.

This link has some video footage of Butler.

Baptist confront sex offenders in Texas

We have two stories out of Texas this morning regarding the Baptist Church confronting wayward pastors. Both stories are encouraging steps in the right direction.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) has launched a program to crack down on clergy sex abuse. The BGCT launched a website that names known sex offenders who have worked in Texas Baptist Churches. They have also made it easier to report offenders.

"The BGCT is concerned about the problem of clergy sexual misconduct, and we care deeply about its victims," said Emily Prevost, a staff member who has helped implement the changes.

The website is focused and informative. If you are a registered sex offender who has worked at a BGCT-affiliated church, then your name appears on the list.

  • Andrew Argent – Currently serving sentence for indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child.
  • Joshua Ross Hyles – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 05941153
  • Michael Lee Jones – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 06217201
  • Joel Dean Joslin – Texas DPS sex offender database SID# 07106980
  • John O. McKay, Jr. – Currently serving sentence for sexual assault.
  • Larry Nuell Neathery – Convicted of sexual assault and indecency with a child.
  • Morris David Roberts – Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 07151613
  • Frank William Sizemore - Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 02014333
  • Kenneth Eugene Ward – Texas DPS sexual offender database SID# 06191027

I applauded the BGCT. This is exactly the right thing to do.

The second story comes care of the Zen Curmudgeon. The BGCT's effort to rehabilitate clergy who have committed misconduct or abuse is refreshing and another step in the right direction.

“In the event a minister has committed sexual abuse, he should not be restored to service in ministry in any position in which others look up to him as a spiritual leader,” Brown said. “The weapons used by clergy sex abusers are the faith and trust of others and the mantle of authority that the church and denomination puts on their shoulders. These weapons must be taken away and cannot safely be put into their hands again.”

I agree with their approach. There is a difference between people who have committed misconduct, and people who have committed abuse. Drawing a line between the two is important. Making sure abusers never get a second chance is the goal. Misconduct... well, people need a second chance. A two year program seems to address the problem.

The two-year program began with six months of career assessment, intense personal counseling and prohibition on any ministry-related involvement. During the second six months, the minister was allowed limited volunteer involvement in ministry and was required to participate in monthly counseling sessions. In the next six months, the minister was permitted to do vocational Christian work under close supervision. The last six months was spent preparing for re-entry into full-time vocational ministry.

I have hope. Texas might be on the right track.

Friday, June 08, 2007

So what does Mojoey like?

WARNING: Most links in this post are not safe for work

I wrote about Leonard Nimoy's photography in my last post. A few people posted comments, more sent e-mails. Most of the e-mails wanted to know which nude photographers I prefer. Nude and erotic photography is not high my list of art preferences. There are a few artists which I follow. Most are dead.

Robert Mapplethorpe - A truly amazing photographer. I love his male and female nude studies. His still life's are among the best ever taken. I'm not a big fan of his homoerotic images, but I've seen them all and like some.

Nobuyoshi Araki - Talk about "get your freak on". Araki takes some of the most breathtaking erotica, as well as amazing pictures of the minutia of everyday life. I've wanted to buy his books for years. I will someday, just as soon as junior departs for university.

Imogen Cunningham - I would like to say she was my first, but the next photographer holds that honor. Most people know Cunningham because of her still life's. I love her nude studies. Her pictures of Alta on the Beach from the 1920s were some of the first pictures from the genre I had ever seen.

Anne Brigman - The first non-pornographic nude photo I remember seeing was The Source. A simple photo of a woman pouring water into a stream. My art instructor compared it to a famous painting (lost to me now). I am sure he would be fired if he did the same thing today.

Man Ray - a surrealist artist who used photography and nudes to explore new spaces. I go out of my way to view his photographs. Coat-Stand is a good example of his work. Man Ray inspires me. I've studied his work for years.

Lee Miller - Miller is another great surrealist artist from a few decades ago. Miller had style. She also had a feel for the female form I find completely mesmerizing. Her work is not as well known as some of the others on this list. However, she is worth a look.

Well, this is the list. There are others, but these are the major players in my nude photography world. With the exception of Araki, all are long dead.

Anther e-mailer asked me what type of nude I would shoot if given the opportunity. To be honest, I've never really thought about it. I prefer other subjects. If I were to shoot nudes, it would involve tattoos. There is something about the violation of skin with ink that I find fascinating.

Pass along any photographers who you might think are interesting.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Spock gets his freak on

WARNING: Most links in this post are not safe for work

Leonard Nimoy is an accomplished photographer. I am not a fan. His previous work, mostly nude studies, appear a little off to me. They are too tame, too timid, too... like something I've seen may other photographers attempt to do before. I found his Shekhina Project shallow and banal despite it deep pretense. I almost bought a copy of his book for my collection, and then I browsed it in a bookstore. No thanks. I prefer Mapplethorpe to Nimoy.

A co-worker pointed me to Nimoy's latest effort,The Full Body Project. Nimoy is in the midst of photographing obese women. Apparently, it is a labor of love. My co-worker (a male) asked me if I would make an effort to see Nimoy's work. I responded that I would. He was incredulous. Why would I bother to look at fat women? Why would I waste my time on tasteless porn? Why would I support such trash?

It is at times like this I realize how different I am from most of the people I know. I give art a chance. Fat or thin (ugly or beautiful) - a talented photographer can make inspiring art from the human body. I will at least open my mind and examine the work. Even if I don't like the artist or subject.

I do not waste my time with pornography, and yes, I know it when I see it. Nimoy's work is far from pornography. I may not like Nimoy's work, but I would not call it porn?  Would you?

I am curious. How did Nimoy pull this kind of project off without offending the world? If he actually pulled it off, did he do the subject justice? I'll give him a fair shake before I make up my mind. However, Initial results are not encouraging.

I tried to explain all this to my co-worker friend -  He did not understand. He associates nudes with porn and art with finger painting. I tried to tell him about an influential visit to the Musee d'Orsay I experienced a few years ago. I saw Gustave Courbet's The Origin of the World - it was amazing. When America was tearing itself apart in the Civil War, Courbet was exploring the human body like never before - in paint. My co-worker friend could not understand why any museum would display it. I shook my head - this well was dry.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Pastor Charged With Bomb Threat

Pastor Daniel Wood has some explaining to do. Like - what the hell where he thinking?

Wood, the pastor of the Fourth Congregational Church of Chicago on North Talman, aided in Colom’s campaign against incumbent Ald. Rey Colon (35th), a source said. Colom is the former alderman of the ward but was unseated by Colon in 2003. In their rematch this year, Colom lost in the April runoff.

According to law enforcement sources, a few weeks before that runoff, Wood dined with Colom and two others at a Mexican restaurant on Lincoln Avenue. At one point during the meal, Wood allegedly called Colom’s cell phone from his cell phone and told her a bomb had been planted at her Diversey Avenue campaign headquarters

If you need any further proof that mixing politics and religion is evil, look no further than Daniel Wood. He was willing to commit an act of terrorism just to help an Alderman get elected. How stupid is that?

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