Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Out of the mouth of a pre-teen

Sometimes my sons make me so proud I could burst. I have two sons. One is an adult and already making his way in the world. My other son is 12 and still very much the focus of my life. I know he will slip away once he hits his teens, so for now I savor every moment.

Last week my youngest son was working on a school project about the history of the Arabian Peninsula. This project was a big deal to him and would count for a large part of his grade in history. During the final assembly of the paper, he was stressing over including the required pictures. I asked him what the problem was, and he replied that he had forgotten to include some of the pictures, including one of Mohamed. I told him that Muslims would be offended a graphical depiction of Mohamed. My older son was standing next to me at the time, he echoed my concern. My younger son tossed me a "oh dad" look and replied "We'll, I'm not a Muslim so why should it matter?"

That's my boy!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Put the camera down Mr. Brown

Mr. Brown, that would be Pastor Richard Brown, stands accused of taking inappropriate photos of two minor brothers as well as abusing them in other unsavory ways.

Mr. Brown is charged with four counts of child endangering and two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. If convicted on all charges, Mr. Brown faces a maximum of 28 years in prison.

Source: -- Ex-pastor's trial slated in child-endangering case

Mr. Brown was also a Toledo Board of Education candidate. He withdrew his name after the scandal broke.

Brown was a Baptist youth pastor. I don't even want to know what he did to those poor brothers.

Pedophile pastor pleads guilty

Youth Pastor Paul D. Glover pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl, repeatedly, over a two-year period.  Glover found the girl in the youth group he managed as part of his responsibilities as youth pastor at the Church of Christ in Washington Township. Lack of oversight and accountability seems the watchword here.

It seems pastor Glover is on his way to about 5 years of ass rape. I don't know if the punishment fits the crime, but it is poetic justice. Just remember, big boys don't cry pastor Glover, they take their punishment like a man. After a while, I hear you'll start to like it. Ouch.

The wheels of justice turn slowly

Or in the case of youth pastor Clayton Pruett, the wheels do not turn at all. Pruett had his charges dismissed because an investigator failed to show up for a hearing. What was Pruett accused of?

Pruett was arrested Dec. 14 and accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.

Pruett had been placed on paid voluntary administrative leave by the church until the case was resolved. He also was suspended without pay by Bullitt County Public Schools, for which he had worked as an assistant wrestling coach and substitute teacher.

Source: Sex charges against Bullitt youth pastor dismissed

Clayton Pruett future is uncertain. His church has not made a decision about letting come back. My guess is they will wait until the Sheriff determines if it will pursue it's case. In the mean time, Pruett has busied  himself by suing his alleged victim's mother, accusing her of slander, libel and defamation.

Paw Paw out

Pentecostal pastor and convicted pedophile James Hatfield was sentenced to 10 years in prison.  He is 66 now. At his age he has a 25% chance of surviving his prison sentence as a convicted pedophile. Poor bastard. I bet he regrets sexually abusing that 14-year-old girl now.

Paw Paw, he was past of the Paw Paw church called Center of Life Church Pentecostal. I guess Paw Paw is a city.  Who knew?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Countdown to a new camera

50 mph

It has been almost four months since I have been able make photographs. I broke my Nikon D70 in early September for the second time. My last photos were of spiders and a few street signs. I was not satisfied with the results.

With an estimated repair bill of $850 dollars, I decided to wait until I could afford to upgrade to a new camera body. I'm moving up to the Nikon D300. I should have it in my hands in a few days.

Taking photo's is stress relief for me. I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken the words "I wish I had my camera" these past few weeks. I tend to look for the odd in people and in the world around me. I need to get back to making photos, there is much oddness these days.

I have a small camera that I carry around for work. When I use it for anything other than snapshots, the results are craptacular. A digital SLR gives me a much wider range of control. My first subject will be the City of Carson. It's painted over much of it's ugliness. It is time to expose more of this truly ugly city to my lens.

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Saying "bless you" instead of "thank you"

It is the little things that piss me off - like running into a fundie hell bent on injecting a little of his or her religion into my day.  My response when a clerk offers a "have a blessed day" is a scowl, and then I complain to the management.

A friend on the other team sent me this tidbit from a Christian Forum.

It seems that more and more cashiers and clerks are saying "have a blessed day" instead of "thank you" when you check out at a retail store.

I was wondering if this was a trend that some youth pastor had started as a program to get people to think about Jesus in their everyday life, and simple way to express faith without having some feel you are preaching to them.

I think most people without faith think when someone says "have a blessed day" that the person is just saying "have a nice day" in another way but they still stop and think about the reason the person choose to say "have a blessed day".

So, has anyone seen, be invovled [sic] or heard of a program like this? I was wondering so I could try to have some background info to talk to my ground about it such as what to say if someone reacts negatively.

Source: Saying "bless you" instead of "thank you" - Forums

Note to fundies: Saying "have a blessed day"  instead of "thank you" or "have a nice day" is offensive to me. In fact, I hate it. I'll do my best to be a good American by looking a clerk in the eye and say "have a good day". When a clerk fires a "have a blessed day", my response is often "keep your religion to yourself". I don't tell random people to "have a god free day", why should I listen to your blatant religions pandering.?

Now, if you are a hot Wiccan, preferably adorned with tattoos, I'll take a "Blessed be" with a smile.

little heroes

Everyday our fellow atheist write letters to newspapers defending our... well, our lack of belief. Atheism is really a simple concept. We do not believe in God. Yet others ascribe our lack of faith to the murderous socialist movements of the 20th century. So, today I salute the little heroes of atheism - and I resolve to become one myself. I will write a letter to my local newspaper the next time some fundie likens Atheism with mass murder.

My Hero: Ed Chew, Petaling Jaya (Malaysia)

I AM writing in response to TYS’s letter, Not by rational thought alone (Your Say, StarMag, Jan 20). To claim that atheism is responsible for the death of tens of millions in the 20th century, as the writer asserts, is unfounded and misleading.

Equating atheism with communism and holding atheists accountable for the crimes of the various communist dictatorships seems to be a common tactic used by critics of atheism.

The writer appears to have ignored the fact that the atrocities of Mao’s reign, Stalin’s rule and Pol Pot’s authoritarianism were not perpetrated in the name of atheism. Yes, they were atheist as were Mark Twain and Charlie Chaplin. So what?

Many people seem to have failed to see that the loss of the millions of lives at the zenith of the so-called “atheism’s epoch” were the by-products of the failure of socialist statism and it has nothing to do with atheism.

Atheism is neither an ideology nor a political system; it is simply an absence of belief in a supreme being. I do not know whether the word “atheist” is an appropriate term to describe a godless person, or such a term is necessary in the first place.

Let us take a moment to ponder this; if you are a non-believer of geomancy, do you ever tagged yourselves as a “non-geomancer” to express your disapproval or scepticism towards geomancy? I believe you don’t because it is simply not necessary. Likewise, atheism.

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Book Review: Boiling the IT Frog

I work as an IT professional. I read a lot in the course of my job. Be it technical manuals, project management tools, or software manuals, I read books constantly. Most are forgettable, in fact, most necessary only in the context of solving a specific problem. Boiling the IT Frog is different. This commonsense managerial guide is a page-turner. At 183 pages, the book only takes about four hours to read. However, it manages to impart a great deal of wisdom in a short time. I said “Wow, that makes sense” at least once a chapter.

I was assigned the book as part of required reading for an Information Services conference I hosted last week. I read it once before the conference and once again after the conference. This book has earned a spot on my top ten work-related books list, right next to number 1 - Getting Things Done.

Here are the specifics of this self-published jewel.

Title: Boiling the IT Frog

Subtitled: How to Make Your Business Information Technology Wildly Successful Without Having to Learn Anything Technical

by Harwell Thrasher

ISBN: 978-1-4196-6415-1

Price: 19.95

Buy it here.

Since this book does not fit the core theme of my blog very well, I will only spend a few words on its content.

Chapter 9: Can Nine Women Have a Baby in a Month? This chapter deals with project restraints, a subject of grave importance to those of us who try to manage complex IT projects. The non-linearity of most IT projects is legendary. Developing the ability to describe this concept to your customers is worth the price of the book alone. A common refrain I hear from my users is "put more people on it". Basically, the more resources I add, the less time the project will take, however adding more resources will decrease the quality of the project while increasing the cost. In other words, adding another woman to a pregnancy does not decrease the length of the pregnancy, nor deliver a better baby. This chapter dissects this common misconception while suggesting common sense approaches to dealing with the issue. I've read this chapter four of five time already. I do not normally do this with a book, I normally read a book and then move on. This book  will set in the reference section of my office bookshelf. It already has lots of little sticky notes popping out it and is full of my own handwritten comments.

Managing complexity is hard. This book focuses on a common sense approach to managing complexity within context of IT. I found it a little hard to read, mainly because I wanted to jump out and start fixing my problems. For those of you who work in the IT field, I recommend this book. For those of you who use IT services, this book will give you a unique look into the minds behind your IT team.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A rape and a shave in Ghana

I do not report on the crimes of Christian pastors who live abroad very often. Perhaps I should include more coverage. The stories are almost always more outlandish and unbelievable. Like this one.

THE MADINA Police have arrested a 27-year-old pastor, Bright Addo for allegedly defiling a 13-year-old Junior High School student at his Ritz Junction Area residence at Madina, a suburb of Accra.

Pastor Addo was said to have taken advantage of the girl’s weakness after the sex act and shaved off her pubic hair as she lay on the bed.


There is something tragic about the convergence of Christianity and traditional religions. Pastor Bright Addo used a special bath to cleanse his young victim of evil spirits prior to raping her. It is easy to see the connection between superstition and Christianity. It's almost as if Christianity provides the control mechanism while traditional religions provide the magic which allows con men like Addo to work his nefarious crimes.

Will the hate mail stop now?

I highlighted Misael Blanco Sarsoza, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor accused of molesting a child, almost a year ago here on Deep Thoughts. I received hundreds of emails telling me just how wrong I was. The messages were always the same, "Sarsoza was innocent", he was a "real man of god", he was incapable of this level of depravity. And, let's not forget the obligatory death threat. Dozens came my way from this case. The Sarsoza case is not my worst experience with pedophile pastors, but it is in the top five.

Sarsoza pleaded no contest to a charge he "annoyed a child". He received three years probation and must register as a sex offender for life. Oh, and he had to pay a $100 fine. I'm sure the fine will serve as a deterrent to future depraved behavior.

Will the hate mail stop now? No, I don't think so.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Former pastor charged with sexual crime

I love headlines like this. The slant almost makes one think that subject of the article was a former pastor when he allegedly committed his crime. This is not the case. The United Methodist Church withdrew his ministerial credentials when a second child sex charge was placed against him. Brian Riley was an active pastor up until the day of his arrest in December for sexual exploitation of a minor.

The second charge involves his use of the Internet.

...TBI investigators found “sexually explicit images which depicted minors engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity” on three computers seized from Riley’s home and church.

Of course the comment thread show the usual Christian idiocy.

Prentice Durwood said:

Why was the 15 year old foreign exchange student still in the preacher's home after a previous charge?  Where is she from?  Could it be that she is from a foreign county where the sex trade is an open market and she was sent here for this very purpose?  I understand that many of the church members have keys to that parsonage and have been known to invade it and go through the preacher's belongings when he and his family were away.  Could it be that some low life got it in for him and planted that trash to ruin him?  Either way his life is ruined.  He may be guilty, but we should not rush to judgement.

Durwood's logic is screwed up. She blames the 15-year-old exchange student for instigating the crime while at the same time accusing her of being a sex trade worker. Then, she goes on to blame other church members for planting the 800 plus images found on Riley's three different computers. She closes by advising us to "not to rush to judgement". Is this how Christians think?

A 15-year-old girl alleges the following:

According to court documents, the 15-year-old told police Riley rubbed baby oil on her legs, stomach and buttocks numerous times. She says it happened while Riley's wife took his daughter to dance class and they were home alone.

She says she told him 'No,' but he said 'It was okay.' She also says the preacher put his hand down her pants and fondled her on top of her clothes.

And Riley was such a good Pastor. He was building up the church and everything.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Two nights, two good meals

I've been working hard these last couple of days. That and a bad head cold have kept me away from my computer, email, and blogging. I feel like a normal person. 

I'm hosting a conference. A few of my peers from around the country get together every few months to discuss strategy. We eat together in the evenings. This time, we choose two restaurants that blew us away. Frenchy's Bistro and 555 East. Both locations are in Long Beach California.

At Frenchy's Bistro, I started with an appetizer of truffled foie gras which set the mood for the outstanding braised lamb shank which followed. Desert was an amazing Grand Marnier Souffle. I'm planning a date night with the wife for next week, it really is that good. (yelp)

555 East was accommodating and professional. The wind and rain this evening made our reservation for the patio out of the question (sorry you East Cost bloggers, it was in the 50s). They moved us into the wine cellar. The experience was exceptional. I enjoyed my New York strip steak. It melted like butter on my tongue. (yelp)

I try to gauge my meals against my all time beast meal of the same type. For Frenchy's Bistro my bench mark meal is from Le Grand Vefour in the jardin du palais royal in Paris. With Le Grand Vefour as a 10, Frenchy's comes in at a 7. Which for a restaurant in the United States is epically good eats.

My bench mark steak is from Hugo's Cellar in Las Vegas. I eat at this wonderful old restaurant every chance I get. With Hugo's New York strip as a 10, 555 East comes in at strong 8. I'm going back every chance I get.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Under the weather

I've been a little under the weather for a few days so my posting has been light. I'll get back to it in a day or two. Until then, I'll try to keep up with the 1000 plus posts generated by the members of the atheist blogroll each day.

Or... maybe I'll take another Nap.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pastor Pritchett goes to jail

Do you remember pastor Pritchett from my May 97 post? He was a pastor who liked to steal using his storefront church as a cover for his illicit activities. Prichett was found guilty and is now on his way to eight years in prison.

I have no sympathy for the likes of con men like Pritchett. They see religion for what it is, a way to prey on shepal. Their deeds are despicable. Pritchett was so bad he even tried to scam his fellow inmates.

Special prosecutor Simon Whang said Pritchett has 44 civil judgments against him dating back 17 years and owes several hundred thousand dollars. Whang told the judge that Pritchett continued scheming even when in jail by offering to rent or sell inmates homes when they were released.

Source: Scams put Gresham pastor behind bars for eight years

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Pastor convicted of sexual assault

Paul Tuck was found guilty of sexual assault. His trial took place in Canada so I don't think the phrase "by a jury of his peers" applies. I think it should read "by a jury of his friends" or something. Canadian law is a little different.

A former pastor and teacher at the Mississauga Christian Academy was convicted today of sexual assault in connection with a 13-year-old female student.

Paul Tuck, 44, will be sentenced April 18 in a Brampton courtroom.

Court heard today how the offence, which occurred at the private religious school, involved the touching of the upper bare thigh of a student while holding her hand as well as brushing against the young girl's breasts with his elbow on more than one occasion.

He also had kissed her on the cheek.

Although a charge of internet luring was dismissed as well as a charge of sexual interference, Justice James Blacklock told the court that based on numerous online chats, many sexually explicit, between Tuck and his victim, that it was clear the accused was "deluding" himself in denying the conversations had sexual overtones.

Source: Ex-pastor convicted of sexual assault

I had an exchange of emails about this case with an interested party. He suggested that an accidental brush of an elbow against a young girls chest is hardly grounds for sexual assault.  I told the man my position. I always assume the young victim is my daughter or son. What would I do if he had ... brushed against the young girl's breasts with his elbow on more than one occasion? Well, I would beat the man senseless, and then I would turn him over to the authorities (ok, maybe I would just call the authorities). Teachers and pastors don't get to touch our kids.

Paul Tuck  is a freak - may he rot in prison.

Retired pastor busted

I'll give you three guesses what this retired pastor is accused of doing.

  1. Volunteering at the local homeless shelter... NO
  2. Reading to the blind... NO
  3. Molesting a nine year old girl... YES.

A 67-year-old retired reverend is being accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old in his Delaware home, police said.

Paul Hayes, of the 100 block of Fantasia Drive in Newark, was charged with three felony counts of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree.

Detectives arrested Hayes Monday evening after completing a sexual abuse investigation that was reported about two weeks ago. The victim was transported to the A.I. Hospital for Children on Dec. 29 after she disclosed Hayes sexually abused her, police said.

She was abused while at Hayes' home, according to a police news release.

Police are withholding other case details in an effort to protect the victim's identity.

Hayes has been arraigned and released after posting $1,500 secured bail. He was ordered to have no contact with the victim and no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Source: Retired Reverend Charged With Sexually Assaulting Child

2008 is off to a roaring start.

Blogroll Update: The Daily Cat Chase

I must admit I've had a secret blog crush on, The Daily Cat Chase for a couple of months now. I think it's a combination Montana, cats, and good content that keeps pulling me back in. The Daily Cat Chase has moved to a new url. The Atheist blogroll has been updated. If you are a fan like me, enjoy!

Special Victims Unit nabs another pastor

Wow - it's just like watching TV. There really is a Special Victims Unit.

A former Clarkson pastor has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy back in 1982.

Officers from the Peel Regional Police Special Victims Unit charged the 48-year-old Acton man on Jan. 11.

Police say the accused was a youth counselor and youth pastor at St. Brides Anglican Church in Clarkson and an "out-trip" director at the Ontario Pioneer Camp in Port Sydney, Ontario during the time of the alleged assault.

Garth Stanwyn Bent has been charged with indecent assault.

Source: Former Clarkson pastor facing sex charges - The Mississauga News -

I wonder if we will see this story as a ripped-from-the-headlines special?

Youth pastor re-sentenced

"Pastor" Paul Gagnon, a pedophile convicted of 38 charges related to the production of child porn, was re-sentenced to 93 months to 20 years in prison. His original sentence was 13-to-20 years.

A Flint man and self-described youth pastor who preyed on children was re-sentenced after a judge exceeded his guidelines at an earlier sentence.

Genesee Circuit Judge Archie L. Hayman told Paul L. Gagnon he wished he could sentence Gagnon to life in prison.

"I can't even give you the amount of time I think you deserve," he told Gagnon, citing state-mandated guidelines.

Gagnon was known as "Pastor Paul" to the scores of children.

In May, Hayman sentenced Gagnon, 52, of Flint, to 13-20 years in prison on 38 counts related to manufacture and possession of child porn.

But because of sentencing guidelines, Hayman re-sentenced Gagnon to 93 months to 20 years on those charges.

Source: Sentence reduced for 'vile' youth pastor - News Now - The Flint Journal -

This is one sick man. It is too bad he did not qualify for a "die in prison" re-sentencing. And to be fair, Gagnon is a self described youth pastor.

Allen Kauffman tries to make it go away

Pastor Allen Kauffman, who also happens to be the mayor of Collins, Missouri, tried to make his case go away by using his power and influence to persuade a police officer to lose evidence. I am sure Kauffman has some important work to do for Jesus... in prison.

A mayor and pastor from a small Missouri town — who's facing charges of enticing a child over the Internet — is accused of trying to make the case go away.

Police say he placed a phone call to the investigating detective at home, and asked him to stop the case. The detective, Jim Murray, taped the call.

On the tape, Allen Kauffman is heard asking for mercy, and asking if the detective could "just take" the hard drive that was seized from Kauffman's home computer, and not do anything with the evidence.

Kauffman confirms that he made the phone call, but says he wasn't asking the detective to destroy evidence.

Kauffman was arrested Friday on four counts of felony enticement of a child. It was the result of a sting orchestrated by Murray, who was posing online as a teenager. Prosecutors say Kauffman believed he was communicating with a 13-year-old girl, and that he asked the girl for sex and for nude pictures.

Source: - Pastor Caught in Child Sex Sting Accused of Asking Cops to Ditch Evidence

This case will be fun to watch. I predict Christian hypocrisy at its best.

I have another post on Kauffman here.

Tucson Youth Pastor Accused Of Sex Crimes

Christopher Decaire stands accused of a heinous crime; molesting a 13-year-old girl under his care. Decaire has been a youth pastor at the East Tucson Baptist Church for the last two years.

Decaire is charged with two counts molestation of a child, four counts sexual conduct of a minor, two counts sexual abuse and one count sexual abuse of a child because police say the abuse may have gone on for a year. 

Source: Tucson Youth Pastor Accused Of Sex Crimes

I found this story care of Youth Pastor Watch and God Mocker. Youth Pastor Watch had an odd comment.

Well, old men in the bible married 13 year old girls all the time. What is the problem? Jesus says it is a-okay. At least it was not an adult guy he was fucking around with. We'd have to stone him then.

I recognize sarcasm when I see it, but this poster has a point. Marring 13-year-old girls was ok in the Old Testament. Maybe there is a causal link between bible believing church goers and child molestation?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some might find that statement very troubling

A fundie quote from Mike Huckabee on Monday in Michigan:

"I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution," Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. "But I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.

Source: The Raw Story | Huckabee: Amend Constitution to be in 'God's standards

Note to Willie Geist, the reporter who was interviewing Huckabee at the time of this statement The correct response to this un-American dominionist turd of an idea is "Are you out of your fucking mind?"

Blogroll Update: The Humanist Life

I'm happy to introduce a new voice to the Atheist blogosphere, The Humanist Life, written by the cryptic anexa85, who could be an 85-year-old blogger named Anexa, (or maybe a 20 something blogger with a first name starting with A and a last name of Nexa). I don't know if the author is male or female, nor do I know his or her nationality, sexuality, ethnic origins, food preferences, or the type of car (or maybe bike), he or she drives. But what the hell, he or she is an Atheist, so that is good enough for me.

In his or her own words:

This site was created to inspire individuals who have have chosen not to take up a religious position to feel safe and comfortable with that decision. The term Humanist is used throughout this site in order to stop advocating the idea that we must label ourselves in opposition to another set of beliefs or ideas. There are no A-racists as Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, so eloquently puts it, so why A-theists? It is time that we created a name under which people who want to see the betterment of mankind, but without the supernatural meddling, can come together to bring a sense of understanding and acceptance of this viewpoint to the world we live in today. I don't personally have a problem with the term Atheist but that only tells me who you're not, I'm more interested in who you are.

Note from Mojoey on the name Atheist self styled replacement name "Bright"... dumb as hell. I despise the Christian name for us, Darwinists. Yuck! Something more eloquent would be nice, but I don't really care enough about the issue to invest any gray matter. I will tell you this, if you must describe me try atheist, naturalist, libertarian, skeptic, socially liberal, tolerant, and don't forget snarky bastard. 

And yes, I am in a very weird mood this evening. I think I need to fire up Team Fortress and kill a few heavies.

Let's play pass the pedophile

That's right! Pass the pedophile is an exciting new game where a pastor is passed from church-to-church whenever there are allegations of sexual misconduct. The pastor is never held accountable... because his is a man of god (of course). This time it is a Baptist pastor.

Pastor Darrell Gilyard watched his congregation at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church grow by the thousands since he first took the pulpit in 1993.

But after one of those members accused him of sending obscene sexual texts to her teenage daughter last month, he resigned.

Pastor Gilyard was arrested Monday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on lewd and lascivious charges.

It isn't Gilyard's first time to meet with such accusations.
According to church leaders in Texas, Pastor Gilyard was forced to leave four churches in the eighties and nineties after women complained of sexual abuse.

Source: Local Pastor Arrested; National Religious Leader Accused of Turning a Blind Eye. By Lindy Thackston

Or course, Darrell Gilyard has never been convicted of a crime and at the moment, his arrest is for the alleged crime of lewd and lascivious behavior, but you get my point.

Was he really passed from church-to-church after women made complaints of sexual misconduct? I think there is strong evidence to suggest this report is accurate. This guy was a sexual assault waiting to happen. Why did they let him back in the pulpit? Let the lawsuits begin.

You can catch a video of his act here.

Why is this man a pastor?

...and who is their right mind would go to his church?

A pastor has been convicted of sexually assaulting a parishioner to whom he gave healing baths and naked rubdowns to rid her of evil spirits.

Source: | GTA | Pastor guilty of sexual assault

Pastor Frank Seeko Lawrence was supported by a dozen or so of his parishioners when the verdict was read. Lawrence ran the Toronto based Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostle from the basement of his home. It appears to have been a 30 year scam. He also admitted to fathering nine other children by four women, not counting the two children from the women from this case. Who in their right mind would go to his church? I mean, come on. this is just stupid.

Lawrence would charge money to give a healing bath, then rub his victims bodies with oil, and then rape them. Apparently, he has a long history of this behavior. Yet, people keep attending his church and giving them their money. Even some of the victims. I don't get it.

I learned something new from this case. In Canada, having sex with a person who one has a position of trust, power, or authority over is against the law. If a Pastor has sex with one of his flock, it's illegal. I do not think this law covers farm animals.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A new year, a new logo

Q from Let There Be Light was kind enough to volunteer his artistic services to the Atheist Blogroll. He's made three new logo's. My question for the group, which one shall it be? Or, should we use all of them? Q is a talented graphic designer, he's even open to suggestions.

Version #1

Version #2

Version #3

Pedophile pastor Alan Curtis goes to prison

Oh it hurts - 18 months in prison for having sexual contact with a fifteen year old girl. It's not Alan Curtis's first time with young girls, he father a child with a 17-year-old some years back. Of course, the courtroom was overflowing with people supporting pastor Curtis. According to reports, the overflowed into the hallway.

A crowd of Curtis' friends, family and parishioners cried and bowed their head in prayer.

Source: Pastor's emotional plea doesn't halt prison time

This whole stand-by-your-pastor thing is a sick trend. Let's hope Christians get the message. Pastors who abuse their privileges have no right running churches or keeping their fans. And when they commit crimes, they go to jail just like the rest of us.

Pastors with fans, what a joke.

The fundie back rub, Washington style

We all know how politics work. You rub my back and I'll rub yours is simply the way business gets done. President George W. Bush has carried on the tradition, only his emphasis has been on helping spread Christianity as well as enriching his posse.  It all started with the war in Iraq and some large contracts going to organizations with connections to Bush or Cheney. In this case, large contracts were award to Blackwater who is owned by fundie and Bush political crony Eric Prince. Somehow Prince found a way to funnel more than million dollars to fundie organizations run by James Dobson, who in turn used his influence to guide the malleable minions of Christ towards a demonist paradise. It is enough to make one distrust the government; perhaps even enough to vote for a democrat.

I have a prediction. Once Bush is gone, I think Congress will be consumed rooting out these scandals. Indictments will follow.

Read all about Blackwaters' charitable giving here.

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Collins mayor arrested in Internet sting

The Internet is the worst thing to happen to the impulse control challenged sex addict. Take pastor Allen Kauffman, Mayor of Collins, Missouri, pastor of Temple Lot Church, and now accused Internet predator and pedophile.

On Nov. 15, Allen D. Kauffman, 62, approached a 13-year-old female decoy during an on-line training session for a Jasper County sheriffs detective, said Brumfield.

Kauffman told the decoy that he did not show a photograph of himself on his Yahoo profile so no one can trace me down, Brumfield said in an e-mail received Friday evening by the Neosho Daily News. However, he later turned on his webcam and numerous screen shots were taken of his face and other body parts.

Source: Collins mayor arrested in Internet sting - Neosho, MO - Neosho Daily News

"and other body parts"... yuck.

Kauffman may have flushed it all away simply because of the ease and accessibility of the Internet. I wonder how somebody in Kauffman situation would have satisfied his cravings before the Internet, adult bookstores maybe?

Kauffman is a Christian pastor and civic leader who allegedly likes 13-year-old girls. Where is the much flaunted Christian morality in this story?

Pictures of Pennies

Does anyone want to guess what I'm going to be doing with the rest of my Sunday? Stacking  Pennies!

Sorting pennies is one of my favorite stress reduction exercises. Stacking pennies offers so much more. What was I thinking?

More on Hugh King

I realize Pensacola is a long way from Los Angeles, but the painful downfall of disgraced Pastor Hugh King is too fascinating to let go.  Since he announced his plans to plead plea no contest to a cocaine-possession charge. Now King faces political retribution in the form of removal  from the park's Board of Trustees.

"My view is that we are really considering a disposition here as to whether he should continue to serve ... and for the purposes of that, (a no contest plea) is considered the same as a guilty plea," Collier said.

Source: Park board could oust King -

King refused to admit his guilt, pleading no contest is simply the next phase of his efforts to escape direct responsibility. This time it could cost him.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Increasing blog traffic

Vjack at Atheist Revolution offers up some sound blogging advice with Maximizing Reciprocity in the Atheist Blogosphere. Invest a few minutes of your time, it will be pay off in more traffic.

One of the great things about the way the World Wide Web works is that those of us who link to one another are interconnected. This means that what benefits one of us is likely to benefit all of us. Think about it - if a blog links to you, then helping that blog attract more visitors means that more people are likely to find you as well. This should give all of us a powerful incentive to promote other blogs. I'm going to give you some easy ways to do this, some of which might not have occurred to you.

I am going to take vjack's advice. My recommended blogs will magically appear on my sidebar in a few short minutes (or hours).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The First Lechon of 2008

There are few things I enjoy eating more than the crispy skin of a freshly roasted pig.  Have you tried it?Lechon

The occasion was a family baptism. My new niece Lianna was baptized into the Catholic church in a ceremony which included about 20 of her Godparents. What followed was a 10 hour banquet featuring some of the best foods imaginable. I love being part of a Filipino family.

Pastor Arrested On Gun Charges

A Baptist pastor was allegedly ready to kill a man over a spot in line at a car wash. I think he's missed the core message of Christianity.
A local pastor was arrested Christmas Eve on gun charges. Johnny Coleman of Alexandria is charged with two counts of carrying a concealed weapon.The incident started with a dispute at the Mister Spotless Car Wash in Cold Spring, when Coleman says he was cut off by another driver. That driver claims he saw Coleman loading a handgun, saying someone could get shot over the situation.

Police found two guns in Coleman's briefcase when he was arrested. Coleman works for Christ Baptist Church in Cold Spring. It was started by former members of First Baptist Church of Cold Spring after suspicions arose that former pastor Larry Davis was improperly using church money.

Coleman was released on his own recognizance.

Source: Local Pastor Arrested On Gun Charges

I can sympathize. I once lost it at a car wash in France when a rude driver cut in line ahead of me. Did I resort to a handgun? No, I used bad french to cuss out a Frenchman who used bad English to respond in kind. I don't remember who won. However, I am sure nobody was killed or arrested.

Blogroll Update: I traded my soul for happiness

It's raining here in Southern California. Rain is a good thing I guess. Only, I wish it did not rain on my weekends. No disc golf makes Mojoey a sad man.

Since I'm stuck inside, I figured it was time to update the blogroll. I added another five blogs today, including a new blog called I traded my soul for happiness. The author has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

In her own words:

The goal of my blog is to map my trip from theism to rational thought. I want to be a number, in that I want to add to the number of atheists coming out and telling their story. I hope to  change the way theists think about us, especially regarding morals. The more they hear that atheists aren't eating babies, the better. Ultimately I want to speak to myself at the age of seventeen. I want to speak to that brainwashed teenager that's trolling the atheists blogs looking for answers while putting up a fight at the same time. I was looking for atheists to learn about them when I was young, and never found that strong atheist community with the answers I was looking for. I plan to do my best to be that example I was so desperately searching for.

Drop in and say hi.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Youth Pastor was his day job

Falcon Davis used his job as a Youth Pastor to pursue his real passion, 14-year old girls.

Augusta, Ga. -- A youth pastor is arrested on child molestation charges.

Authorities say 36-year-old Falcon Davis, of North Augusta, admitted to having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl.

Detectives tell WJBF-TV News Channel 6 the alleged victim is a church member and part of a youth group at Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Apostolic

Source: Augusta Church's Youth Pastor Arrested - News - Augusta, GA

The interesting aspect of this case was no background check, no oversight, and no accountability. In fact, "Bishop" Sylvester Norwood does not see his friends arrest as a problem.

Bishop Sylvester Norwood, Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ Apostolic, “In my mind they're allegations. Whether they're true or not, I don't know.”

Bishop Sylvester Norwood says the arrest of his personal friend, and youth Pastor, Falcon Davis is just that, and nothing more.

Bishop Norwood, "Personally, I don't take them very seriously."

Renita Crawford, "You don't take them seriously?"

Bishop Norwood, "Not at this point, because they're allegations. Until the investigation is over we won't know the whole story.”

Except for the whole "Falcon Davis admitted to the relationship" thing. That would make it a little more serious than an allegation. There is something about an admission of guilt that makes it much more serious.

pastor busted in craigslist prostitution sting

It is the little things that make me smile. Like a lawyer, politico and a pastor busted for using craigslist to score prostitutes.

Three prominent men caught up in an online prostitution sting in St. Paul have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.

Timothy Droogsma, a former spokesman for Gov. Arne Carlson and U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, pleaded guilty Thursday to engaging in prostitution.

Mark Kevin Johnson, a pastor at the time of his arrest, and Robert Daniel Rasmus, an attorney and former Hennepin County prosecutor, pleaded guilty last year to engaging in prostitution and offering to hire a prostitute, respectively.

When St. Paul police started getting complaints about ads on craigslist, the vice unit began sting operations. Police arrested about 50 people - both prostitutes and johns - between May and the fall.

All three men received similar sentences - fines, community service, an order to go to "John school" - and the charges will be dismissed after one year if they follow the judge's orders and don't get in trouble for similar offenses.

Source: - Politico, pastor and lawyer plead guilty in craigslist prostitution sting

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Another step backwards

The Pope dismantles the Vatican Observatory. Read it and weep.

Science is to make way for diplomacy at the Pope's summer residence, with the dismantling of the astronomical observatory that has been part of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, for more than 75 years. The Pope needs more room to receive diplomats so the telescopes have to go.

The eviction of the astronomers and their instruments, reported by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, and their removal to a disused convent a mile away, marks the end of a period of intimacy between popes and priest-astronomers that has lasted well over a century.


This is a bad sign.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Nutball Alert: But Santa is secular

An Atheist named Christopher Nolan is suing Wal-Mart. The suit alleges Nolan was fired for refusing to dress as Santa. Nolan was asked to wear the Santa suit to fill in for another employee. He refused, saying he did not believe in Christmas. I do not normally go after Atheists in my nutball posts, but come on! Christmas is real. It happens every year. You cannot "not believe in Christmas". The same goes for Santa, he represents the secular side of of a Christian holiday. I like Santa because he is not Jesus. Santa helps take the religion out of Christmas. That's a good thing.

I would understand Nolan's lawsuit if Wal-Mart had asked that he play the baby Jesus in its nativity display. But playing Santa, it makes no sense.

In his complaint, Nolan said he thought it was a joke when he was asked Dec. 8 to fill in as the store Santa Claus at the Main Street Wal-Mart. He said his co-workers were laughing.

Nolan, who described himself as an atheist who doesn't believe in Christmas, said he laughed as well and then declined. "I said, 'Uh, no way,' " he said in an interview last month.

Nolan said he was surprised when his supervisor called him later to say that Nolan had an hour to change his mind. When Nolan again refused to don the Santa suit, he said, his boss brought him into his office and told him he was fired.

Source: Suit alleges man fired for refusing to dress as Santa

Sorry Christopher, I would have fired you too. Your boss asked you to take one for the team during a peak shopping period. You refused and used some flawed logic in the process to create a frivolous discrimination claim. That makes you a nutball.

I must ask. when working for Wal-Mart, does it really matter if you  assemble bikes, ride the cash register, or wear a Santa suit?

The Friendly Atheist has a similar post up.

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Sunday School Teacher admits to oral sex with child

My Sunday school teacher was like 80 years old and whacked us with a ruler if we did not read our bible stories. Terry Greenwood on the other hand, he just demands oral sex. What a freak.

Members of Chandler's oldest church are leaning on each other for support after a Sunday-school teacher was arrested on suspicion of molesting a 5-year-old girl at the church.

Police say Terry Greenwood, 62, a Chandler United Methodist Church Sunday-school teacher, molested the same girl on two Sundays at the church.

He was indicted Monday, Dec. 31by a grand jury on counts of child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor and indecent exposure.

Source: Abuse allegation stuns church members

I'm spreading my net to catch a wider range of Christian hypocrisy in 2008. Terry Greenwood is the first of the new year. Somehow I think he will not be the last.

Pastor accused of domestic violence

I don't know what to say. What kind of jerk hits his wife? Do they teach this as a disciplinary method at seminary?

A Daphne pastor was arrested Wednesday after a quarrel at his home, police said.

The Rev. David C. Harrison faces a third-degree domestic violence charge, according to Daphne Police Capt. Daniel Bell.

The 45-year-old pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church on Main Street was arrested about 7:45 a.m. Wednesday after his wife suffered an injury to her hand and called police, Bell said.

Source: Pastor accused of domestic violence-

Repeat after me, innocent until proven guilty, innocent until proven guilty...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Another brick in the wall

I silently rejoice each time I read of a new scientific discovery which adds to our knowledge of evolution. In cases like this, where we find missing links which bolster the Theory of Evolution, well... I feel like shouting the news to a few of my less than enlightened friends. Scientists, and in this case science students, find evidence to support evolution in a continual learning process which cannot be held back by the insipid hovindian masses.

The crystal structure of a molecule from a primitive fungus has served as a time machine to show researchers more about the evolution of life from the simple to the complex.

By studying the three-dimensional version of the fungus protein bound to an RNA molecule, scientists from Purdue University and the University of Texas at Austin have been able to visualize how life progressed from an early self-replicating molecule that also performed chemical reactions to one in which proteins assumed some of the work.

Source: Scientists find missing evolutionary link using tiny fungus crystal

Take that Kent Hovind!

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Man says he hit sister to free her demons

Hell, I don't see the problem here. I hit my sister in the head just because she was my sister.

A Florida man says he hit his sister in the head with an iron so he could release the demons that he said were inside of her.

When Oswald Varemond's 80-year-old mother intervened and tried to stop him, he allegedly bit off her fingertip and started pulling his own teeth out, a police report said.

Source: Man says he hit sister to free her demons -

I normally pick on nutballs here at Deep Thoughts. But it is 2008 now so I thought I would start off with a little humor. Poor Oswald may be suffering from religious delusions, however my money is on mental illness.

Book Review: The New American Judaism

I count people of many faiths as my friends. Yet, I find that I know no Jews. I don't know why that is. Perhaps it is because there are so few. Then again, it might be because I simply don't know the faiths of all my friends. I started wondering about this after reading The New American Judaism by Rabbi Arthur Blecher. Reading this book resulted in a long list of questions for further study. Perhaps it is time I make a few new friends?

The New American Judaism
The Way Forward on Challenging Issues from Intermarriage to Jewish Identity

By Rabbi Arhur Blecher
Published October 2007
ISBN: 1402977461

Buy it here

The good people at Palgrave Macmillian sent me a copy for review. It took me longer than I expected to warm up to the subject. I know little of Judaism besides how the media portrays it. I read it once two months ago and then set it aside to think about it. I read it again a few days ago, this time with an eye towards a review.

When it comes to reading non-fiction I look for one thing - illumination. I read non-fiction to learn. And that is essentially it for me when it comes to reading non-fiction - do I learn anything? If I learn little of value, the book goes in the dustbin. If I learn something new, I include it the religious studies section of my personal library.

The author, Rabbi Athur Blecher, is known as "The Unorthodox Rabbi". He is a traditionally trained Rabbi who left his calling to become a therapist. His critical analysis of American Judaism runs against the grain of traditionalist. I am sure if ruffled a few feathers.

One misconception I have long held was shattered by this book. I thought of rabbis as akin to pastors. In a historical context, I projected this image back to when most Jews lived in Europe prior to the 20th century. Rabbi Bleacher asserts that the power of the rabbi as a central figure in life-cycle ceremonies arouse after the Jews migrated to the Americas. Historically, heads of households filled this role, not rabbis.

Another misconception dealt with the permanence and historical anchoring of Judaism. Of course, as a young Christian in the 70s my understanding of Jewish history was shaped by the biblical interpretation my pastors. I learned about the gradual change from private worship to state sponsored worship lead by an elite priesthood in the first temple era. with the fall of the temple, the practice worship moved back towards private rituals that could be performed in the home.

The New American Judaism is written from the view point of a conservative Rabbi who has left the fold in order to speak from a position that is contrary to most of his contemporaries. American Judaism is ascending rather than on the decline. And, American Judaism is a modern creation with few links back to the long history of biblical Judaism.

Rabbi Blecher's writing are meant for two audiences. There is the obvious secular audience and then the not so obvious religious seeker, or person looking to learn more of their heritage. I fall into the secular audience, but never felt over my head. Rabbi Blecher took amble care to write his book with an understanding that some readers may not understand his faith.

Chapter 7 - Rabbis, Knowledge and Self-Reliance provides a glimpse at the transformation of Judaism from a monarchy and a religion of priests, to a religion of the mind and the People of the Book. Further, this chapter describes how rabbis adapted when they migrated to America in the 1900s. Where they once held absolute power over matters of Jewish law, in America they shifted to leading ceremonies, like weddings and funerals, while at the same time moving to become the governing body of Judaism in America. The motivation for this transformation was the fear that Judaism would fade to obscurity. What follows is the development of a modern Jewish identity and practice similar in many respects to American Protestants.

I read Chapter 8 with interest. Community, Intermarriage and Optimism is where Rabbi Bleacher shines as the Unorthodox voice of Judaism. He challenges the mainstream positions of his peers. Are Jews on the road to extinction? No - year after year the Jewish presence in America grows. What about intermarriage?

The Jewish community has come to believe that intermarriage violates ancient Jewish tradition, that it weakens Judaism today and that it threatens the future of the Jewish people. None of these beliefs has any basis either in present-day or in Jewish history, yet now is questioned. instead, American Jewish leaders view the current high rate of Jewish-gentile marriage in America as a kind of systemic disorder- and a potentially fatal one at that.

Suffice it to say that Rabbi Blecher supplies evidence to support his position that intermarriage healthy. For example, Blecher explains that intermarriage became a problem during the rabbinic period when marriages where seen as legal contracts. Since gentiles were not subject to Jewish law, intermarriage became forbidden. Over the centuries, this law became part cultural identity and part legend (at least in the eyes of popular media).

I recommend this book to readers interested in learning about other cultures (and religions). I found it easy to read and insightful. Plus it satisfied more core requirement of teaching me something new about a culture I know little about. Thank you Rabbi Blecher, you wrote a fine book.

Islam, I spit in your general direction

The UN General Assembly of the United Nations approved a resolution called "Combating Defamation of Religions" shortly before the end of the 2007. The resolution was backed by most Islamic nations. The only religion named in the resolution is Islam.

It expresses alarm about "discrimination" and "laws that stigmatize groups of people belonging to certain religions and faiths under a variety of pretexts relating to security and illegal immigration."

Muslim minorities are subjected to "ethnic and religious profiling ... in the aftermath of the tragic events of 11 September 2001," it says.

The resolution decries "the negative projection of Islam in the media" and voices "deep concern that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

I am thankful that the UN has no power to enforce this nonsense. However it does set the dangerous precedent of limiting freedom of speech.

Damian Thompson of the Telegraph points out the obvious in Don't criticise Islam, says UN.

Wrongly associated? As of today, terrorists have carried out 10,277 separate attacks since September 11, 2001. They all belong to the same religion, and it ain’t Methodism.

Follow the 10,277 link. It is a running list of Islamic terrorism.

I have no doubt there are other religions who engage in Terrorism. The Army of God is a good example. But the scale tips in the direction of Islam. The UN resolution is a farce.

I miss Pope John Paul II

I have a new years tradition of reading the Pope's New Years prayer. I started doing so in 1984. I always felt John Paul was a man of tolerance and peace. I found his New Years prayers to give hope. Pope Benedicts follows a different path. His 2008 New Years prayer equated gay marriage with war.

He said the traditional family led by a husband and wife instilled values that promote peace, and added it was an "irreplaceable" institution.

"Those who are hostile, even unknowingly, to the institution of the family ... make peace fragile for the entire national and international community," the Pope told crowds gathered in a sunny St. Peter's Square.

Source: Pope says family key to peace | Reuters

Following his logic, gay marriage leads to violence and war. What kind of screwed up logic is this? Note to Pope Benedict - Intolerance is the road to war. Pope John Paul II knew this, how is it that you have forgotten?

Blogroll Update: 550 blogs

Happy New Year to my fellow Atheists, Agnostics and Free Thinkers. I am proud to report that the Atheist Blogroll has Grown to 550 blogs. Our latest inductee is a new blog named Beyond Belief.

In his own words:

I'm an atheist, but I blog about other things as well, like philosophy, my own life experiences, and music for example. I usually make several blog entries per month, and I try to make them as interesting as I can. Usually when I do blog about other things, I try to relate them to my atheist worldview, so that any readers who are curious can learn a little bit more about what atheists are like.

Welcome to the team Beyond Belief.