Friday, August 31, 2007

Get a job Ted

Ted Haggard's plan to move his family into the Phoenix area Dream Center has been officially thwarted. The clergy who run the center have categorically stated that Haggard will not be counseling anybody, nor will he and his family be moving into the Dream Center. Spokesman Mike Ware made it all very clear for Ted.

He will not be doing any ministry," Ware stated. "He will be seeking secular employment to support himself and his family.

That's right Ted, get a job. I hear Walmart needs a greeter.

Haggard was also slammed for soliciting donations to support him while he counseled people. Haggard earned $338K since 2006, begging for handouts while earning more than most people in the country (and while he still owns a monster house in Denver), is pathetic. When you add in the whole lying about his situation and including a known sex offender in his plans, Haggard exhibits all the "broken Christian" characteristics we have come to know and love.

I will be running a hypocrite of the year contest this December. Haggard is trying hard to land at the number 1 spot.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I seldom report the good news

At least that is what I am told by a few dozen people who do not like that I post on the moral depravity typified by those involved in clergy sexual abuse. Today I will post some good news. It may seem like bad news, but it is good news.

William Hsing was murdered by a man with a machete on March 12, 2005. I will not give a name to the man who killed Hsing. he will rot in prison without even a nod from me. William gave his life to protect an innocent women and her daughter. This was not a wrong place at the wrong time type of incident. William knew intervening could cost him his life, yet he did it anyway. William Hsing was a pastor and a father of four. As I read his son's quote, I appreciated the genuine nature of William's sacrifice. William Hsing lived his convictions. And that is good news.

"With his dying action, he successfully saved a woman and her daughter from a violent husband and father, and I think that sums up his life's work," said Shane Huang, the victim's son.

I don't have anything against pastors or even Christians for that matter. I rail against hypocrites like Senator Larry Craig who live a life of piety while feasting in the gutter.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Haggard sinks lower

Ted Haggard hit rock bottom a few months ago; at least I thought he had. Now it looks like he's been caught in another lie. Oh, did I mention he asked people to send money to a twice convicted sex offender?

According to Slate, Haggard asked his former flock to send contributions through an organization called Families With a Mission. Paul Huberty, a registered sex offender, has the same address as Families With a Mission, and was the registered agent of the now defunct charity.

We may never know why Haggard asked his former followers to send money to a sex offender. But just the thought makes my skin crawl. Has he no shame?

Ted Haggard and his wife are attending the University of Phoenix. They need financial support during his two hear course of study because Haggard $138K severance package is about to run out. It sounds like a legitimate request, only the UOP is an adult school. Students attend at night or online. I know. I attended the UOP at night for almost four years. I also managed to work a full time job. I wonder why Haggard is not looking for a job rather than begging for a handout? Maybe it's because he's going to grad school? Wait, I went to grad school too. At Pepperdine no less. I worked my ass off and managed to hold down a full time job during a ball busting two years. I have no sympathy for this man. Get a job... and while you are at it, perhaps you should stop suggesting people give their hard earned money to a convicted sex offender.

I read a quote from the Pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God, Leo Godzich where Haggard and his family attend Church. He has withdrawn his offer for Haggard to live at the "Dream Center". It turns out Haggard is still broken and needs the help offered at the Dream Center. Haggard may have been confused.

Just for the record... Haggard should be kept away from addicts, parolees, and people living on the edge. It would be like turning a child loose in a candy store.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Christians lose faith

I would prefer it if Christians became Atheists through a process of reflection involving logic, reason and deep thinking. It pains me to hear of Christian women who have lost their faith because their pastor is alleged to have sexually abused them.

Pastor John Olivares stands accused of five counts of sexual battery.Two women and one teen from The Cathedral of Faith have come forward with complaints of inappropriate touching and fondling. Of course, Olivares professes his innocence.

Olivares said he never did anything more than gently hug church members - nothing sexual.

"As God is my witness I have never done that," Olivares said.

Fortunately for all concerned, God will not be called to the witness stand in his trail. His five victims should be sufficient to assure a conviction.

I have a problem with part of the story. I women named Cleava Dicky apparently enabled Olivares actions by not reporting when he had touched her. She reached her limit only after her daughter reported the same abuse.

Dickey said Olivares fondled her but she chose not to report it until she said things got worse.

"I found out it went from me to my daughter," Dickey said. "She was in the living room and she said, ‘Mama, I need to talk to you. Brother John is touching us.' They were devastated."

I do not understand what motivates a woman to tolerate abuse from the likes of a pastor. Maybe it's just my maleness, but a single incident would be enough to for me to confront the issue directly, especially if an authority figure were involved.

Pastor convicted of molesting teen boy

Former Pastor Frederick Dew was found guilty of four counts of child molestation, including forced oral copulation. Drew faces 12 years, plus the 15 to life. It turns out that Dew has a history of sexual misconduct.

Lana Wyant, spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office, said prosecutors have learned that Dew has a history of sexual misconduct, specifically three other incidents in southern California from 1994 to 2000. She said Dew's past is expected to be raised at his sentencing.

And so his story ends... I sure hope Dew likes prison. His rehabilitation is going to be painful.

Related Post: It was some other pastor, I swear!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I see dumb people

It's a curse. I see dumb people. Like Jim Naugle, the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale. Besides his asinine attempt to ruin the tourism industry of his city, his fundamentalist views cloud every issue he touches.  His attempt to stop the move of the prestigious Stonewall Library is a case in point. Naugle plays up the issue as exposing children who would use the public to gay pornography. Nothing he says could be farther from the truth. The Stonewall is a research library and although it might contain some erotica, its main focus is social in nature.

Our archives, which currently contain more than 5,000 items, document a century of GLBT cultural and social history with an emphasis on the southeastern United States. The collection has been professionally catalogued and is maintained According to strict conservation standards. It is used by community leaders, writers, scholars, researchers, historians, and members of the general public. Among the many treasures in the archives are our extensive pulp fiction collection; organizational records of local, national and regional LGBT organizations; our large serials collection; personal records of local and national personalities; the Joel Starkey Collection; gay erotica –pictorial works; and LGBT ephemera, film, audio and oral histories.

The Getty has a research library, one needs an appointment and a researchers card to access the materials. My local library has a local history research library, they control access too. The Stonewall is no different. Children will never be able to causally browse library stacks full of gay porn. Children cannot even access the library, one must be 18 to enter. Suggesting that children are at risk is irresponsible. Deliberately misrepresenting facts is lying. Using children as an excuse to hide one's hatred and fear of homosexuals is cowardice. Yet this is exactly what Jim Naugle did -  on Bill O'Reilly no less.

I've posted on Jim Naugle - he's already a nutball.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Keepon dancing to "don't you evah"

I'm grooving to Spoon lately. My buddy Richard turned me on to this wonderful video. I must share.

Former Texas youth pastor arrested in Great Falls

My theory is that Pastor Kevin Laferney realized Texas is one of the few states which believes in punishment. So he faked his death, jumped bail, and tried to create a new life as a painter in Great Falls. Idiot.

Laferney was arrested about a year ago in August of 2006. His alleged crimes focus on young girls.
Kevin Laferney has been charged with Sexual Assault of a 13-year-old girl for an incident back in June and Indecency with a Child in relation to a 10-year-old girl that happened earlier this month.
This pastor's luck has run out. His new church will be in a Texas prison.

Baptist pastor arrested for cruising

Don Corley, 70, a pastor at Bible Baptist Shepherd Church in Farmington, New Mexico, was arrested after soliciting a male police officer in a public park. Corley's life in is a shambles. I guess it is unacceptable for a pastor, father and grandfather to come out is such a public way.
"We acknowledge that our father and grandfather lived a double life. He has accepted the responsibility for his actions and has confessed his sin to God and his family. In light of the severity of his actions, he has resigned from his responsibilities at Bible Baptist Shepherd," the statement read.

Well... another pastor bites the dust, or in this case kneels in the dust.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Evil Lurks in Lubbock

Another pedophile Lubbock pastor is on his way to prison for molesting a 6 year old boy who attended Light of the World Christian Center. Royce Jimenez was found guilty on August 15th.
Jimenez claimed he never did anything inappropriate. The jury disagreed.
In Lubbock, police reports it says the boy told his parents the pastor had taken him to a VA clinic, where they shared a bathroom stall and exchanged in inappropriate touching.

In court, Jimenez testified he used the urinal, while the boy went in a separate stall. Jimenez says the boy came over to him and said his genitals looked like his fathers. Jimenez says he told the boy that it was inappropriate to look at him.
Lubbock is a hotbed of pastoral abuse. I've posted on the several stories from this location already: James Clark - Here & Blaine Miller - here and here.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Abuse of the faithful

zI keep waiting for the pious to wake up and realize the have been had. Bill Moyers sums up my thinking in his essay "My Fellow Texan".

Like the proverbial hedgehog, Karl Rove knew one big thing: how to win elections as if they were divine interventions.

You may think God summoned Billy Graham to Florida on the eve of the 2000 election to endorse George W. Bush just in the nick of time, but if it did happen that way, the Good Lord was speaking in a Texas accent.


I keep thinking about how long it will take to repair the damage done by Bush, Rove, and the evangelicals. Knowing that the democrats may take the helm does not fill me with confidence. A solid secular republican would be nice, but there are none. My guess is three or four political cycles are required to right Bush's wrongs. I'll be just about ready to retire by then.

God wanted me to have a pony

Roddy Clyde stands accused of embezzling a half million dollars from his  Church. He used gods money to buy horses and horse property.  Clyde has admitted his crime to police and wants to make things "right".

Former Round Rock Pastor Roddy Clyde had total access to his church's bank account and credit card, according to court documents made public Thursday. Horses were bought, according to investigators, with money from The Fellowship at Forest Creek Church. When church leaders say they found out money was missing, they called police.

Clyde was the pastor at The Fellowship at Forest Creek Church. His former church is taking aggressive steps to confront Clyde's crimes and heal itself. You will find no words of support for their former pastor, only a resolve to make sure it does not happen again.

Did I mention this took place in Texas? I think I said something about the water in my last post.

Pastor charged with soliciting minor

In the land of the insincerely pious, another pastor stands accused of attempting to solicit a 15-year-old girl for sex. Oh, and he is alleged to have used his web cam to expose himself.

Leroy Ruedas Cruz, 50, was in the Denton jail Friday in lieu of $20,000 bail on charges of online solicitation of a minor with intent for sexual contact and online solicitation of a minor with a sexually explicit image sent with the intent to arouse.

Police documents show he is the pastor of the Grace Fellowship Church in Arlington. He could not be reached for comment.

Denton Detective Sgt. Scott Jenkins said a detective on Thursday entered a chat room posing as a girl and waited to be contacted by someone. Almost immediately, the officer received an instant message from Mr. Cruz asking for age, sex and marital status information, said Sgt. Jenkins, who oversees detectives who investigate crimes against children.

There must be something in the water in Texas.

Jesus Action Figure

Jesus Action Figure

I saw Jesus in a toy store at the South Coast Plaza yesterday. At $22 dollars I resisted the urge to splurge.

You can move is arms into the position of prayer.  I should have bought one. He could bless my frog collection. I think I will wait until I can find the deluxe set. It comes with "five loaves of bread, two fish and a jug for turning water into wine (not guaranteed to work for real)"

Accoutrements also sells a line of Jesus Adhesive Bandages.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

8 dollars a trick

Context is important. In the United States, I support legalizing prostitution. If a citizen wants to sell their body for money, it should be their right to do so.  As a libertarian, I've spoken these same words many times. The context feels right. In a country free  of the religions morality police, the ideal of legalized prostitution is an ideal end state.

On the other hand, forcing women to resort to prostitution because our nation has completely ruined the economic and societal underpinnings of one of the oldest cultures on earth is a national shame. My heart broke when I read a story about Iraqi mothers resorting to prostitution to feed their children.  In this context, prostitution is simply evil.

The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces or have their real names used. They have been driven to sell their bodies to put food on the table for their children -- for as little as $8 a day.

"People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them," says 37-year-old Suha as she adjusts the light colored scarf she wears these days to avoid extremists who insist women cover themselves. "They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path."

I shudder. My heart beats faster in my chest. I realize that I am angry. I think about my wife and children. What would I do to keep them fed and safe? I have only love and compassion for these poor women. How did we allow Bush to bring this pain down on the heads of innocents?

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Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

My friend Richard turned me on to Spoon a couple of years ago with the song "They Never Got you". It's been in high rotation on my iPod ever since. I picked up Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga last night. I'm in love.

I've played the album a few time since I picked it up (like now). I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it might be the best CD I've purchased in the last two years. its that good. The song "Don't you Evah" is stuck in my head - and I don't want it to leave.

Never be down
I said don't ever
Because it's gonna keep 'em hanging around

Did I mention the bonus disc? No? Well that's because I did not notice it until I was writing this post. Short break is in order...

OK - I'm a happy happy man. I feel like I found a $20 on the street. The Bonus Disc "Get Nice" is full of fun little songs. The track "Dracula's Cigarette" is going on my instrumental play list.

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Jehovah's Witness Pedophilia cover-up

Via Black Sun Journal:

Atheist Blogroll member BlackSun of Black Sun Journal has an outstanding post on a collection of documents pointing to the Jehovah's Witnesses cover-up of pedophilia within its ranks.

A new compact disc containing over 5,000 pages of damning court documents about suppression of accusations child abuse within the Watchtower Society has been made available for sale by researcher Barbara Anderson:

Read More....

I will buy a copy. It looks like good reading.

A new personal best

365-8 a spike in the hole I have been focused on weight loss for a few months now. Besides a modified diet, exercise is playing a key role in shedding the pounds. I try to play Disc Golf as often as I can. A full game is about 2 hours of gentle but consistent movement. A few months ago, a single game would take me to the edge of my endurance and require at least two days to recover. I was in bad shape. I played this morning. I've played five time this week. Today's game left me slightly winded, but ready for another round. Tomorrow I'll try for 27 holes.

Beside feeling better when I play, my score is improving. I birdied four holes today to finish with a +2 - my personal best. I also reached a weight loss milestone this morning. I've lost 37 pounds I have not seen my current weight in 15 years.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mass murder in the name of God

I do not spend enough time exploring the murders carried out by thuggish theocratic Iran.  Islam is the catalyst for violence in Iran. Islam and absolute power with no accountability. Iran's Islamic revolution maintains its dominance through a stead diet of its own citizens blood. Its religion gone mad.

My latest read hammers home the hopelessness of the situation.

After its almost 28 years campaign the regime has no qualms about executions. Today it performs many in public. It has no problem with forcing confessions from Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and her likes, it has extracted amazing information from many on the television. If we look a little back to another campaign of fear in the late nineties, there were a series of serial murders across Iran that were eventually linked and proved to be the works of the Islamic government and masterminded by the super powerful clergy: Hojatoleslam Ali Fallahian.

I fear for their future. Iranian citizens are the helpless victims of their own government, yet the future holds only the possibly of war and more death. Bush seems hell bent on bringing the war on terror to their doorsteps.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How is this different from Jihad?

A Baptist pastor name Wiley Drake has issued a call for Christians to use Imprecatory Prayer against Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In light of the recent attack from the enemies of God I ask the children of God to go into action with Imprecatory Prayer. Especially against Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I made an attempt to go to them via Matt 18:15 but they refused to talk to me. Specifically target Joe Conn or Jeremy Learing. They are those who lead the attack

Imprecatory Prayer is a seldom used curse which asks God to intervene by killing the subject with a natural clammily. Normal Christians have never even heard the word Imprecatory before, let alone utter a prayer asking for the death of another human being. Pastor Drake is a prominent national recognized Baptist leader. His call for action leaves little doubt as to the action he wants visited upon his enemies. Now all that is required are a few Christians who feel called to do the their lords violent work. Soon people will start getting hurt. Do we really need pompous Christian wannabe Imams calling for divine retribution any time they are caught breaking the law?

Yesterday, Americans United asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., for a potential violation of federal tax law barring electioneering by non-profit groups. Dr. Wiley S. Drake, pastor of the church, issued a press release on church letterhead endorsing Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and subsequently offered the endorsement on a church-affiliated radio show.

Pastor Drake's church is just down the road from my home here in Buena Park. I can only say he gives me the creeps.

Note to Pastor Drake: I'm a member - your prayers do not scare me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Background checks might be a good idea

Let's say you are running a sleep away camp for young Christian boys. If the camp does background checks on all personnel, including those volunteering from the local churches sending boys to camp, then costs go up and you run the risk of turning away volunteers. Without volunteers, the camp cannot function. Without a functioning camp, no new Christian children God will be mad. No good Christian businessman wants to piss off God. It's best to trust the churches to do the background checks. After all, you must break a few eggs to make an omelette.

Scioto Youth Camp has walked in to the fire of hell with their eyes wide open.

A background check on Keil was done at the church he belonged to, said Pastor Tom Alexander of the Fairfield Christian Church. But the check done on June 27 for Keil did not turn up any prior criminal record during the past year. However, Keil was convicted of corruption of minor in Pennsylvania in 1990. He received four years probation, according to Perry County Sheriff's Lt. Paul Drake.

Are these guys crazy? They let Timmy Keil, a convicted child molester, have free access to young boys simply because of a concern over loosing volunteers. They might as well have molested the children themselves.

Atheist Rule #1 for sleep away camps. Trust but verify.

Blogroll Update: Cogita Tute - Think For Yourself

Cogita Tute - Think For Yourself, has joined the Atheist Blogroll.

the silly and the serious - the rational versus the irrational - religion versus science - Creationism and intelligent design in the UK"

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365 - Photo a day

Dan Gray I am finally starting my photo a day project. I've put it off for various reasons, most of reasons have something to do with being lazy. I will post to my flickr account under the 365 photo set.

This photo was shot yesterday and did not make the cut for my project. I attended the wedding of my niece in 100+ degree heat in Murrieta. The heat took a toll on many of us, my uncle included.

Pastor accused of dragging girl behind van

News like this can only come from the great state of Texas. Charles Flowers is alleged to have tied a rope to an 11-year-old girl, and then dragged her behind his van at his Christian Book Camp. What the hell is a Christian boot camp? Apparently it's where Christian parents send their children to get the snot beat out of them!

The camp was created to "reinstill the values that have been lost in our society for a couple of generations, values such as discipline, morality, unity and integrity."

Don't forget the value of a mouth full of dirt. Cause everyone knows that being dragged through the dirt instill the highest Christian moral values. 

What every happened to sitting around a camp fire singing kumbuya?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Blogroll Update: You Made Me Say It

I've started a new service aimed at supporting growth on the Atheist blogroll. New blogs are given a chance to introduce themselves here on Deep Thoughts. You Made Me Say It is our first introduction.

'You Made Me Say It" is mostly a reactionary blog to crap I can't stand but also salutes the good stuff as well. Although I'm passionate about things like politics and atheism, I also think there's way too much starch in the shorts of everyone involved in discussing such things (and apparently the Mormons' magical underpants are no protection from this starch either). Far from merely "freeballing", flashing for shock or drunkenly exposing the bald hoo-hah of my irreverence like Britney Spears in a miniskirt falling out of a car, You Made Me Say It critically examines and attacks crap that spouts from asses like right wing conservatives, theists, those committed to ignorance, the misguided, or anyone really. I won't hesitate to turn my guns on "my own" so to speak either, because there are plenty of either dumb people or dumb ideas coming from intelligent people from within spheres I myself belong. If it's worth commenting on, I'll comment on it, and although I might fail at times, I try to do it without excessive starch.

Welcome to the Atheist Blogroll!

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It was a loan, I swear

A South Korean pastor was convicted for helping illegally importing South Korean Christian guest workers for a fee. He claimed the fees were loans.

TACOMA, Wash. -- A pastor who fled to South Korea after he was convicted of helping Korean nationals file fraudulent visa applications has been sentenced to more than four years in prison.

Dong Wan Park, 53, who was pastor of the Hope Korean Church here, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 55 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $290,000 in restitution and a $250,000 fine.

Park was convicted in June 2006 of conspiracy to defraud the United States, visa fraud and obstruction of justice.

Prosecutors said Park advertised in Korean language newspapers that immigration visas were available through his church. He charged as much as $30,000 to provide people with visa applications claiming they were coming to the United States to serve as religious workers at his church.

None of the applicants was ever employed at the church, and none had any religious training.

During his trial, Park claimed the payments from visa applicants were either loans or donations to the church.

Park was released on bond, but fled to his native South Korea less than three weeks after the verdicts.

He had persuaded church elders to authorize the sale of the church, which netted him $350,000, and investigators said Park wired $290,000 to a bank in South Korea

South Korea deported him back to the United States in November.

He later pleaded guilty to additional charges of failure to appear in court and transporting stolen property.

Anything under the name of Christ and for the almighty dollar... I guess.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A little musical break

I've been listening to Neil Young this evening as I do research for a book I am trying to write. I thought I'd share. I saw Neil back when he was touring Rust Never Sleeps. I've never  forgotten the experience.

I realize he is an acquired taste.

The forces of theocracy never sleep

What the hell? Sonora votes for In God We Trust.

SONORA, Calif.—Local officials have agreed to display the motto "In God We Trust" on a wall at city hall.

Sonora's city council passed the measure unanimously Monday. Twenty-five other U.S. cities have similar displays.

Supporters say it does not violate the Constitution's ban on separation of Church and State. Although courts have allowed use of the motto at public buildings, critics say it favors Christianity over other religions and atheism.

"We're not going to try to interpret 'whose God,'" Mayor Hank Russell said.

We're not going to try to interpret "whose God" - Smells fishy to me. In God We Trust is an endorsement of the Christian God. What if you believe in many gods? What if you don't trust in God at all? How does this statement represent all people? 

Blogroll Update: Rule Change

I guess this should have been obvious. To be on the Atheist Blogroll, one must be an Atheist or an Agnostic. A loophole in the rules allowed freethinking deist Agradevaduta to join. The loophole is closed. The Atheist blogroll represents Atheist and Agnostic bloggers. Agradevaduta has been removed from the blogroll.

A few bloggers think I'm silencing a voice in some weird 1st Amendment killing, authoritative power play. I want to make it clear to everyone, I really don't give a fuck. I provide this service for the Atheist community because I believe in building our voice on the web. We face a 200 to 1 (at least)Christian to Atheist blog disadvantage. Building a community gives a voice to our issues. Having a deist in the mix dilutes the message. Please keep in mind that I am not shutting Archangel's blog down. He can write all he wants, only now he gets to generate traffic the old fashion way.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Only in Texas: Fundie running the Board of Education

Don McLeroy has been on my fundie watch list for a few years. His antics on the Texas State Board of Education would have lead to his ouster in almost any other state. Not so in Texas, he's been promoted chair the Board of Education. The National Center for Science Education is up in arms.

In a press release dated August 7, 2007, the Texas Freedom Network accused Don McLeroy, who recently was appointed as the new chair of the Texas state Board of Education, of harboring "a shocking hostility to both sound science education and religious tolerance." TFN's charge was based on the transcript of a 2005 talk McLeroy gave at Grace Bible Church in Bryan, Texas, on the debate over teaching evolution and "intelligent design." "This recording makes clear the very real danger that Texas schoolchildren may soon be learning more about the religious beliefs of politicians than about sound science in their biology classes," TFN President Kathy Miller said. "Even worse, it appears that Don McLeroy believes anyone who disagrees with him can't be a true Christian."

Read the transcript, McLeroy is a fundie loon hell bent on throwing out the teaching of evolution in the classroom. He will chair the Texas Board of Education until 2009. What the hell are they thinking?

I first heard of Don McLeroy while driving through the hill country of Texas. I passed a radar trap town's only church at a blinding 25 miles per hour. The sign out front read "Pray for Don McLeroy". I thought he had leukemia.

Public funding for Bob Jones University

Why is the State of South Carolina giving 2.5 million dollars of the public's money to help low-income students attend Bob Jones University (a.k.a Fundie U)?

Before the legislation was passed, Shannon said, private colleges had to be nonprofit organizations, have a major campus and headquarters in South Carolina and be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Under the new legislation, a private college can meet those criteria or it can simply be a bachelor's level institution chartered before 1962 with a major campus and headquarters in South Carolina, the latter of which allows Bob Jones to qualify.

Senators Michael Fair and Darrell Jackson sponsored the bill. Sounds like a little back channel fundie political pork to me.

Blogroll Update: Do we vote Agradevaduta off the island?

It has been requested that I remove Agradevaduta from the Atheist blogroll. I'm not a big fan of unilateral action when it comes to bloggers so I do not feel comfortable making the call myself. Agradevaduta is written by Archangel, his offense seems to be that he is a closet deist. As evidence I offer the closing paragraph from  his post, A Letter to an Atheist – PART II: Can We be Good without God?

If one is in agreement with my hypothesis, the question remains, does one human being have the right to enforce moral standards on another? Do all human beings have an inescapable obligation to propagate the species, and does that obligation justify adherence to some moral code of conduct? Unless, we derive our moral standards from a higher power to which all human beings are subject to, the idea that equals can enforce a standard which is arbitrary and essentially self-serving seems unjustifiable. Therefore, morality must necessarily be derived from some external source for it to be sufficiently compelling. It must precede human thought and existence in order to demand adherence. If not, one is forced to concede that the fabric of our civilization is merely based on a well-refined and cleverly disguised version of law of the jungle.

In his defense, Archangel never claimed to be an Atheist or Agnostic. He claimed the title "Free Thinker" in our email communications.

I must also admit that I do not read his blog, so I have no real stake in this other than trying to be fair.  

I need help. Please let me know if Agradevaduta should be removed from the Atheist Blogroll. Archangel, you are welcome to post your position in the comments.

Why would a priest jog naked?

The morning news delivered something odd.

A Catholic priest faces an indecent exposure charge after police said he went jogging in the nude about an hour before sunrise in Frederick, southeast of Longmont.

The Reverend Robert Whipkey told officers he had been running naked at a high school track, and didn't think anyone would be around at that time of day.

Whipkey told officers he sweats profusely if he wears clothing while jogging. A police report indicates Whipkey told police that he knew what he did was wrong.

Whipkey did not return phone messages. Attorney Doug Tisdale told the Daily Times-Call in Longmont that Whipkey had no comment.

Police arrested the 53-year-old Whipkey on June 22nd.

The Archdiocese of Denver says it takes the incident seriously, but is awaiting the outcome of the case.

Whipkey remains an active priest.

Prosecutors say he would have to register as a sex offender if convicted of indecent exposure.

Why would a priest jog naked? I don't know, why do fundies keep knocking on my door? these are the mysteries I cannot answer.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Naked Before God

There are a few things I am certain of in my life. One is, I will never be naked in a hot tub with a group of nude evangelizing Christians. Two thing come to mind. Me nude in a hot tube with other people is just wrong to begin with. And, me nude in hot tub with people who want to talk about the status of my nonexistent soul is totally wrong. Yet it happened to some poor bastard at a nudist camp in Tennessee. A nudist camp with Christians who endorse the naturist lifestyle as part of their religious philosophy.  

Elizabeth Ulrich of the Nashville Scene writes Naked Before God.  subtitled as Christian nudists hit the church—and the hot tub—for three days of wet and wild worship in the backwoods of Tennessee. For some reason, the story just sucked me right in.

Soon the sweaty DJ spins the “Electric Boogie” as a herd of middle-aged and elderly bodies, sagging in painful ways, begin to move mechanically to the electric slide on the dance floor. Some of the more practical women wear blouses and sweaters with no panties, others wear tube tops that they wriggle down and over their breasts, which sway freely to the beat. The men, some donning only cowboy hats and dingy pearl-snap shirts, terrycloth robes or nothing at all, rock their hips—and subsequently, their dangling genitals—with complete abandon. They all shimmy from side to side, tilting forward and snapping their fingers in the most bizarre display of jiggly, full-frontal nudity.

 It gets better...

The Christians have cornered an atheist in the Jacuzzi, and it’s time to get to work.

All this late-night drinking and dancing is not quite their scene, even though tonight’s party is devoid of the grinding and dry humping you’d see at most nightclubs. They came here to learn how to be better Christians, to discuss how Jesus jibes with nudism and to enjoy the hot tub jets without swim trunks. But they’ve got a higher purpose. They’re here to let the rest of the nudies know that Jesus loves them. And he doesn’t care what they’re wearing.

I'm speechless. It's all so wrong. It gets better...

One woman sits facing the congregation. She’s clothed only in a pair of thin cotton shorts with an elastic waistband hiked up almost to meet her large, heavy breasts. She takes hold of one breast, lifts it off her stomach and covers the flesh underneath with a thick swipe of deodorant. She moves slowly and deliberately. No one seems to notice.

I need a mind wipe. My mind is stuck in a horrifying loop of deodorant, breasts, jiggle bits, and bibles. I think 1-800-lobotomies will do the trick.

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pimping death

I do not normally write about the smaller crimes of our nation's Christian pastors. There are so many minor crimes reported that my blog would be bloated with mundane stories of common betrayal. I read every one though, culling the best.

Acen Phillips, pastor of New Birth Temple of Praise Community Baptist Church, was charged with seven counts of theft and five counts of forgery. Phillips is alleged to have defrauded AIG Life Insurance Co. of $575,000 by altering beneficiary claims when members of his church passed away.

Prosecutors allege that beneficiary documents were altered to the "substantial monetary benefit" to ACU, to New Birth church or to Mount Gilead Baptist Youth Job Mart. Prosecutors claim Phillips had access to the organizations' accounts and is the CEO of ACU.

According to an affidavit from an attorney general investigator, Phillips gave a eulogy at the funeral of the Rev. Kenneth Davis, who died in an auto accident in Oklahoma, and mentioned ACU and its benefits during the speech. The next day, Davis' widow said she had signed a document that said she would receive 80 percent of the payout but the form submitted to AIG said she would only get 40 percent with 40 percent going to New Birth church and 20 percent to ACU.

The violation of trust here is staggering. Phillips is alleged to have profited from the death of others through stealing money from widows and grief stricken parents. I am sure he acted in the name of Jeebus.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Evangelism in the Military

I am a veteran. I remember the subtle evangelism experienced during boot camp. If a recruit wanted to escape the tedium of cleaning the barracks, all that was required was a trip to the chapel on Sunday morning. Two hours of blissful escape was the reward. I never attended, but just about everyone else did. Conditions have deteriorated since my days in the service. Evangelism is sponsored by the highest ranking members of our military.

A report released publicly on Thursday by the Defense Departments (DOD) inspector general has found high-ranking Army and Air Force personnel violated long-standing military regulations when they participated in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization while in uniform and on active duty.

Bush has promoted military leaders based on their loyalty and religious affiliation. The purge of professional military leaders is sickening. It will take years for our military to recover. Until then, we have high ranking military officials appearing in Christian propaganda videos as if it were officially endorsed by the United States Government. Does anyone think these anti-American activists will be prosecuted for what is a clear violation of the Uniform code of Military justice? I'll hold my breath.

Only in Texas: A moment of silence and under God too

Two articles out of the fundie state of Texas caught my attention today. Both demonstrate how religion creeps into our secular schools and why it is important to speak up to protect our children from unwanted religious indoctrination.

In Carrollton, Texas, David Wallace Croft (Blog) is fighting to protect his children from religion at Rosemead Elementary school. He makes frequent visits and files complaints when needed to make sure his children receive a secular education.

He complained about Boy Scout rallies held during school, fliers sent home about Good News Bible Club meetings and the inclusion of "Silent Night" and a Hanukkah song in holiday concerts.

The rallies and fliers stopped, and in some cases the songs were removed or altered, angering other parents.

Mr. Croft, 39, often stopped by the campus looking for violations. He took photos as evidence of "In God We Trust" posters hanging on the wall and complained about a teacher wearing an Abilene Christian University shirt.

Wallace is an Atheist, an "optihumanist" (I don't have any idea what that is), and a fellow libertarian. His biggest issue is the moment of silence each child must observe after the pledge of allegiance to the US Flag, and the Texas State Flag. The moment of silence was added in 2003. Wallace faces an uphill battle, the law was carefully crafted to avoid being an endorsement of prayer.

I am sure Croft is aware of the latest fundie attack on our secular schools. The Texas State pledge of allegiance was modified to include the words "One state under God" by the state legislature.  State Rep. Debbie Riddle sponsored the bill.

"Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, 'You know what? We need to fix that,' " said Riddle, R-Tomball. "Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well."

Let's give this a little sniff test. First you say "under God" to the US Flag, and then you say "under God" to the state flag, and then you take a moment of silence to pray. It's  the triple whammy for Christians. Who do they think they are fooling?

Of course, Texas protects atheist children. All they need do is bring a note from home objecting to the pledge. They can opt out, which is the same as placing a big Atheist "A" on their foreheads. Nothing to fear here.

I like California much better thank you.

Black churches protect predators while neglecting victims

In a scenario I've seen demonstrated many times, the pastor of a black church is accused of some sexual crime. Instead of outrage and action, the church stands behind the while at the same time accusing the victim of making it all up... or worse.

Marian Hubbard Jefferson, an investigative reporter with The Dallas Examiner, offers an interesting article titled Black churches protect predators while neglecting victims.

And after the abuse, many victims become even more disillusioned at the response of the church as some churches place greater emphasis on blind forgiveness and restoration of the perpetrator, rather than the healing and support of the victim, as in the cases of Sherman Allen, Terry Hornbuckle and Ruben Thankful, ministers convicted of sexual assault against women in their congregations. Countless victims suffer silently in the pews of Black churches for years, with feelings of shame, guilt, fear of reprisal and disbelief from those meant to guide and protect them. Meanwhile the Black Church consistently fails to lift their voices with a collective moral outcry against this devastating act of betrayal


The story profiles three notorious sexual abuse cases, each an example of a type of thinking that makes the church a fort against the forces of evil represented by outside society. It is a sad commentary on Christian morality.

Note: Corrected source for story

Youth Minister Accused of Molesting Teen Boys

The weeks alleged pedophile pastor is a Philadelphia youth pastor named James Wilkerson. He is alleged to have molested five young boys in his care.

One of Wilkerson's alleged victims flagged down a bike cop Wednesday night to share anguished details of the assaults, prompting four other victims to come forward, police Sgt. Brian King, of the special victims unit said yesterday.

The alleged victims are all boys, ages 13 to 16. They told investigators that the assaults occurred inside the church, on Dauphin Street near Tulip, where Wilkerson sometimes taught a kung-fu class, and at his home a block away, King said.

Summerfield-Siloam United Methodist Church acted to protect their children by insuring Wilkerson no longer has access to children, and by confronting his crimes in an open meeting.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Pastor punches autistic child

Edward Uyesugi, a pastor in training,is alleged to have repeatedly punched a 14-year old autistic boy in the face while performing an exorcism.

According to court documents filed July 20, Uyesugi told the boy's mother he could cure her son's autism by "casting the demons out of him" and insisted the boy be brought home from the group home in which he was living so Uyesugi could perform the ritual. She was under the impression Cherry Hill Church knew about the "exorcism" and consented to it, the affidavit said.

Uyesugi's church, Cherry Hill Ministries, asked for his resignation and have publicly backed away from his "unauthorized" exorcism.

"We emphatically denounce the method, manner and mentality of this unauthorized and unsupervised exorcism attempted by this young man.

They denounce... yet they still perform exorcisms?

Note to the Paoli, Indiana police department: Arrest the mother too.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fundie "adopt-a-school" programs

Natalie Garcia of the Visalia Times-Delta asks the question, Do church-run "adopt-a-school" programs cross the line?

Five churches have informally "adopted" Visalia Unified School District elementary schools, donating time, money, energy — and Christian values.

Congregations help out by donating backpacks filled with school supplies, assisting at school carnivals, holding Character Counts! award breakfasts and offering free summer and after-school programs.

Some of these activities include Bible study.

I have a simple method to combat fundie attempts to ensnare my child. I screen his activities. No after school bible studies disguised as basketball camp for my boy. Nope, he gets to come home and play Crackdown on X-Box Live until his eyes bleed.

The issue here is not so much a Separation of Church and State matter as it is opportunistic evangelizing. Providing gifts with one hand and a Bible with the other is a sound strategy for injecting Christian moral values into our school systems. What they are doing is not against the law. They donate needed school supplies, they rent unused school property, and they provide needed supervised recreation to children. It comes with a price, but everyone understands that. And that is the problem...

Fundies are hunting for converts among innocent children. They happen to be the children of other religions. It is ironic - Mormons, Jews, Catholics, and Muslims - they are the ones who are pissed about this opportunistic bottom feeding. And they should be.

When in drought, pray for more rain

James L. Evans writes an interesting opinion piece on Alabama Gov. Bob Riley call to pray for rain.  

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have turned in prayer to God to humbly ask for his blessings and to hold us steady during times of difficulty," Riley said. "This drought is without question a time of great difficulty."

As an atheist, I know a call for pray is futile. The question is, am I offended by Evan's words? The answer - not really.

We hear calls for intercessory prayer any time there is a disaster, kidnapping or a prolonged drought. It is part of the American fabric. When I hear a call for prayer, my mind decodes it as "hope for the best". I don't have any problem processing a call for prayer because I am not told to "pray in Jesus name", I am instead just asked to pray. Evan's call to prayer can be interpreted by Native American's as a call for a rain dance, by Muslims as a prayer to Allah, by Catholics as a prayer to Agricola of Avignon, or for Atheists to hope for the best.

James Evans writes:

But Riley did what other leaders have done during times of crisis. For example, folks forget that our observance of Thanksgiving was a result of the Civil War. Lincoln called for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving as the conflict drew to a close. After 9/11, President Bush also called the nation to prayer.

Calling on the public to pray during times of distress or peril is perfectly understandable. That is, so long as the leader calling for prayer recognizes not everyone prays in the same way.

Not everyone prays in the same way - some do not pray at all, and I am ok with that. I like to hope. It makes me feel good.

No Porn Pledge

Feel like a laugh this Sunday morning. Visit the No Porn Pledge. I checked it out last last night and found dozens of joke pledges, they have since been removed.

The No Porn Pledge FAQ is hilarious:

What if I want to sign bu my current partner/spouse/lover is already a porn user?

Isn't if good enough that I'm antiporn? Why does my partner have to be also?

What if I sign the pledge, but change my mind later?

Since the No Porn Pledge does not define porn, how is it possible to know what one is supposed to avoid? Is porn pictures of people having sex or does it include nude modeling? Is it porn if certain body parts are shown and others are not? Do I hide my eyes if breast flash in a movie? This is just too much pressure. Mojoey opts out.

This is simply another faith based approach to a non-problem. I do not understand why people think this is effective.

Geez - can this stuff get any weirder? Where is the website for the No Masturbation pledge? I know of a few inmates in Florida who need to sign up.

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Permission to reincarnate please

You've got to love China, they think nothing of tells living Buddhas to obtain permission before they reincarnate. Have you ever heard anything so absurd?

My wife asked me "What's the purpose of that?" - I honestly did not know. This article gives some insight.

It is the latest in a series of measures by the Communist authorities to tighten their grip over Tibet. Reincarnate lamas, known as tulkus, often lead religious communities and oversee the training of monks, giving them enormous influence over religious life in the Himalayan region. Anyone outside China is banned from taking part in the process of seeking and recognising a living Buddha, effectively excluding the Dalai Lama, who traditionally can play an important role in giving recognition to candidate reincarnates.

China is seeking to  eliminate a religion through legislation. I cannot imagine a more bizarre approach to controlling what people believe. Maybe its my American sense of libertarian self determination, or maybe it is my strongly held believe that religion (or lack thereof) is a personal matter, but China is dead wrong here.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Faith based science fails again

It's official, George Bush's faith based abstanace program is a failure.

Researchers found none of the abstinence-only programmes had an impact on the age at which individuals lost their virginity, whether they had unprotected sex, the number of sexual partners, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases or the number of pregnancies.

As if anyone ever thought abstinence was an effective way to reduce AIDS infections, battle unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions, or even help make sure kids have safe sex. Abstinence does not work alone.  Only a fundie would think otherwise.

Pedophile Pastor to serve two years

Via Atheist Blogroll member Nicest Girl and Destroyer of planets, Loving Children for the Lord - Totally slacking.

The little photoshop thing that the news station used (up top there) is pretty lame so I thought I would include it for shits and giggles.  This pastor was arrested in September of last year but he was just convicted and sentenced in July of this year and ... well, let's just say he will be free to rape again very soon, for all of you out there who were worried about that.

Nicest Girl is complaining about the hypocrisy inherent in a Judges decision to sentence pedophile pastor Herbert "Herby" Powers to only two years of prison instead of the recommended 12. Powers was convicted of statutory rape of a 16-year-old boy in his congregation.

Before his conviction, Power was the pastor of Macedonia Free Will Baptist church, which makes him a card carrying member of the Baptist Pedophile club.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Hitchens vrs CAIR

Christopher Hitches takes on CAIR over the Pace Koran flushing incident. Kitchen hits the mark - Flushing a Koran is not a hate crime.

Via Hot Air

...arguably the world’s foremost atheist butting heads with CAIR tool extraordinaire Ibrahim Hooper over how, in a world where Ayaan Hirsi Ali needs 24/7 protection and American news bureaus censor their own coverage of the Danish cartoons for fear of stirring up jihad, Hooper can dare suggest that putting a Koran in a toilet is an “act of intimidation.” As you’ll see, his logic is nonsensical on its own terms: he hones in on the difference between destroying one’s own Koran and destroying someone else’s, but that has no bearing on the intimidation factor, particularly where, as here, the Korans in question didn’t belong to Muslims.

What is a "hate crime"?

In New York: "Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflect on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of free society".

Ibrahim Hooper makes an attempt to show how flushing a Koran is a hate crime, but his example fails miserably. There was no physical harm done, and who exactly suffered emotional harm? Flushing a Koran/bible or other holy book is an expression of  free speech. Hooper does not understand the concept.

Previous posts on the Koran flushing incident

and still they support him

Youth Pastor Troy Deal stands accused of some serious crimes.

Deal now faces 11 counts of using a computer to solicit a minor for sex and accosting a child for immoral purposes. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

In what I now recognize as a symptom of the problem, Deal's church is standing behind him when they should be skeptical.

"Through all of this, I hope everybody gets a chance to see the good Troy has done," said church member and friend Thomas Reed, 34, whose wife worked with Deal in the youth ministry. "My daughter attended a trip with him recently, and I'd let her do it again."

The normal presumption of innocence is expected in a criminal case. Troy Deal might be innocent. The government makes mistakes. I can all end as suddenly as it started - or not. Deal could spend 20 years of his life in prison. What should his church do? Why they should be skeptical of course. They should examine every aspect of their relationship with Deal to determine if the charges represent the Troy Deal they know. They should do the same with the evidence of his guilt. They may or may not come to a conclusion they like, but that is what being skeptical is all about. What they should not do is stand by their pastor with the assumption of his innocence. It smells like hypocrisy and minimized the serious nature of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.

I have a question. If a pastor like Troy Deal is charged with a crime against children and is found guilty, will his church think less of him for failing to admit his crime and accepting responsibility for his actions?

Previous posts: on Troy Deal

A quick poll

Tina, of misterjebsblog, asked me a question via email this morning. Apparently her local news paper asked this same question in a poll.

Would you be offended if a copy of the Holy Bible arrived at your door with your newspaper?

My opinion is remarkably similar to Tina's. If I want a bible, I will buy one. Ironically, I own several bibles already. My original New American Standard Bible with my chicken scratch from way back in the 70s. My family bible from when I was too dumb to say no to a traveling salesman in 1981. And, a bible with crucifix from my former secretary who gave it to me because she was a genuinely nice person who I cared for. Oh, and a Book of Mormon from the 1870's - it's kind of like a bible.

so... What do you think? Would you be offended if a copy of the Holy Bible arrived at your door with your newspaper? And, do you own any already?

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