Thursday, July 31, 2008

Told you so

In a post titled "Of course they support the pastor", about disgraced Baptist Pastor James Robinson, I predicted hate mail. I got it. I predicted his church would support him, they did.

Anonymous said... do you really believe everything you read in a newspaper. . .talk about ignorant. You dont even know the whole story. There are two sides to every story.

Anonymous said... How do u [sic] know he isn't the victim....
Anonymous said... I've known Jay since he was in Jr high. i dont [sic] know the whole story but i dont [sic]think i'd [sic] call him a predator. a good man once said there is no sin so great that given the right circumstances any of us wouldn't commit.
Anonymous said... The last comment made said that he commited [sic] a crime, which isn't true, only him, the victim, and God know if he has commited [sic] a crime.
Anonymous said... Ok I have been going to Southwood Baptist Church since i was six years old and i know for a fact that if there was a slight chance Jay was a "predator" Pastor Lloyd Taylor would have never let him stay. Like I said Ive [sic] been going awhile so i know both people well and if you dont [sic] know both sides of this story you should shut your face and stop beleiving [sic] everything you read in the star telegram!! And if this was true (its not) does forgiveness stop at the pulpit?

It is with great pleasure that I announce the hypocrite Baptist pastor James "Jay" Virtue Robinson resigned from his church.  All you idiots who supported this monster can now kiss my ass.

In the video, labeled as taken July 20 during morning services, interim pastor Lee Ingram can be seen reading a statement to church members announcing the forthcoming resignation of James Virtue Robinson IV, pastor of the church since October 2006.

Ingram told the congregation that the resignation came as an agreement between Robinson’s criminal defense attorney and the church’s attorney. He said he and the church council had already begun contacting candidates for the pastor position.

My guess is that a plea deal comes next.

You can see a video story about James Robinson here.  

A little help please!!! I need a picture of James Robinson. If anyone has a picture, please send it to me at my email account.

The worst of the worst

AnthonyHopkins Pastor Anthony Hopkins of the Inspirational Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Jackson, Alabama, has achieved a level of debauchery rarely equaled by his fellow pastors.  Let's go down the list. He stands accused of raping at least one of his daughter over many years. The other charges include sodomy, sexual abuse, and incest. Oh, and he was also charge with the murder of his wife. She walked in on him while abusing his daughter, he is alleged to have killed his wife to hide the crime. He had his daughter, the same one he raped, help hide his wife's body in a freezer.

They arrested him after he delivered a sermon.

Police allowed Hopkins to finish his sermon before arresting him, Jackson said. She said she asked police why they were arresting him and was told, "he murdered his wife."

Source: Preacher killed wife, stuffed body in freezer, police say -

Why did they wait to arrest him? Out of respect for his job? The man murdered his wife and raped his daughter. What could the congregants possibly gain from listening to this loon?

His eight children were homeschooled. He earned enough as preacher while using his children as backup singers to keep his family away from prying eyes. It was only after his daughter endured eight years of sexual abuse that his crimes came to light. Pastor Anthony Hopkins is a Christian hypocrite of the highest order. And if the charges are true, he's evil too.

Watch a Nancy Grace segment here.

Hat Tip: Black Sun Journal 

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Markus McDowell pleaded guilty


It is with great pleasure that I make this post. Youth pastor Markus McDowell took responsibility for the heinous act of molesting young girls under his care.

A former Camarillo youth minister, Markus "Mark" Holland McDowell, will be sentenced on Oct. 14 after he pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of molesting a minor victim and two counts of digital penetration, said prosecutor Gilbert Romero.

McDowell, 48, could get as many as four years behind bars when he is sentenced, Romero said.

"I was looking forward to trying the case, but I think Mr. McDowell decided to take responsibility," Romero said.

Source: Man pleads guilty to molestation : Local News : Ventura County Star

I've posted on McDowell twice:

I've met the man. Plus, since his arrest, I've corresponded with several of his victims, a couple of professors who worked with him, and others who had interacted with him at various times in his life. I'm personally involved in this case. My bias is showing. I was planning to attend his trial. But I am happy the bastard took a plea.

McDowell has brought shame to my alma mater, Pepperdine University. Worse yet, he damaged a couple of nice young women in ways that will take years to heal. He is the very definition of Christian Hypocrisy. Four years in prison is not fare punishment for the crimes he has committed. Unless they put him in with the general population.

5.4 is nothing

We had an earthquake here in Los Angeles yesterday. I ended up under a table. Here is my story.

I was meeting with three executives and a few other people in a conference room in Carson. We were about 25 miles from the epicenter. I felt the first of the gentle p-waves and said aloud "Earthquake". Everyone looks at me, and then rests their hands on the table as if to feel the movement with their hands. A few seconds later the first real jolt hit. One of the executives yells "Earthquake, get under the table". As one we pushed back our chairs and dove under the conference room table. I did not need to be told to get under the table. The moment the real jolt hit I was diving for cover. The same executive who ordered us under the table continued our meeting by saying "I did not catch who had the action item on that last point". We all laughed. Our laughter ended when the big jolt hit a few seconds later. We knew then that this quake was big enough to cause damage. Some guessed 7 on Richter Scale, I guessed a 6. Preliminary measurements put it at 5.8. I was later downgraded to a 5.4.

When the quake ended I jumped up and activated our Disaster Recover Plan. We checked the generators, pulled the backup tapes, and got our DR kits ready to travel to our secret DR site. There was no need. The power stayed on, communications held, and there was little risk to our operations. It pays to be ready, but it is much better when we don't need to use it at all.

I went through the motions with my personal DR plan too. I made contact with family and friends. Located out of town relatives, and arranged to check on houses. My son was home alone during the quake. At 13 it was quite an ordeal. We live 13 miles for the epicenter. My house took a beating but suffered no damage. Except for my son, who went through is first real quake alone, like I did at his age.

I've been in a lot of earthquakes. I know what to do. Anyone who lives in Los Angeles knows what to do. It does not stop you from being afraid. I was afraid. I am always afraid during earthquakes. My first experience was with the Sylmar (7.2) earthquake of 1971. I was ten at the time. My dog, a St. Bernard named Penny, had jumped into my bed at 5:55 AM. She pulled on my pajamas with her teeth in an attempt to drag me out of bed. I figured she need to pee, so I got up and took her into the back yard. At 6:01 the earthquake started. The earth moved so violently that I fell down. The water in our swimming pool sloshed out into our backyard. The dirt undulated like it was the surface of the ocean. Sparks flew from transformers as they exploded overhead. It seemed like the earth was coming to an end. I was scared. I stayed that way for a very long time. My dog stood over me during the quake. It was like she was protecting me from harm. She was a good dog.

I checked on my current dog, a Minipin named Thor, when I stopped to check in on my son. Thor was hiding under a bed. He had pooped in the hallway (a very rare thing), and would not come out from under the bed until I give him a little love. Thor is no Penny.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Discovery Institute and Great Apes


The Dallas News published an excerpt from the Wesley J. Smith's Weekly Standard article, Granting apes rights will only devalue human life. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. 

I read the article was some interest. I do no know much about the effort to grant great apes human rights. The concept seems silly on the surface. I need more information before I form an opinion. Yet when the Discovery Institute spouts its pseudo-scientific screed on the subject, I know that I will end up taking the other side.

I read the excerpt. It is a classic slippery slope argument. If we grant great apes human rights, it will result in the destruction of Western civilization as we know it.

Why break the species barrier? To destroy the unique status of man and thus initiate a wholesale transformation of Western civilization.

Just in case people think the Discovery Institute has something to do with Science....

Specifically, by including animals in the "community of equals" and in effect declaring apes to be persons, the Great Ape Project would break the spine of Judeo-Christian moral philosophy, which holds that humans enjoy equal and incalculable moral worth, regardless of our respective capacities, age and state of health.

It's all about religion.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oopsbama and the Joshua Generation Project

barack-obama-bw Barack Obama should do his homework before committing to a major new effort to attract young evangelical voters. His Joshua Generation Project ran afoul of fundie copyright infringement. Generation Joshua already represents a bunch of home schooled politically active fundies.

The campaign for Sen. Barack Obama in June revealed plans to launch a major new program to woo younger evangelicals and Catholics voters. The effort went by the name "Joshua Generation Project" and involved reaching out to young faith voters on issues such as poverty, Darfur, climate change and the Iraq war, Christian Broadcasting Network’s The Brody File had reported.

But upon learning of the project, lawyers with the Home School Legal Defense Association – an advocate group for home schooling rights – sent a letter asking the Obama campaign to stop usage of the name. The 83,000-strong organization pointed out that it owns trademark rights to both "Generation Joshua" and "Generation Joshua & Design."

Source: Obama's Joshua Generation Project Hits Legal Rift with Homeschoolers|

The Obama campaign needs a new name for its program. How about the Pandering to Fundies Project? I'll let you have it for free.

Do we need Atheist Chaplains in the military?

Do we need Atheist Chaplain's in the military? My answer is no. Greg Epstein, the Humanist chaplain at Harvard University, has a more well developed answer.

Military chaplains exist because military life, by its nature, involves dealing with death. When people are about to die, in danger of dying, or even when they are merely contemplating death as we all do from time to time, they ask questions. Who am I? Where did I come from? What is the meaning of my life? What do I value most deeply and what will become of it—and of me—when I am gone?

Non-coincidentally, the world’s religions are built around providing systematic answers to such questions. Religions may not always be the best answers. But our society is founded upon the principle that people can decide that for themselves, and many, including many soldiers, decide to be religious. So we provide chaplains to help recruits, who must cope on a daily basis with a huge range of incredibly painful scenarios, make sense of them all.

Source: Greg M. Epstein: Military Needs Chaplains for Humanists, Atheists - On Faith at

Epstein answers the question with a "maybe yes". What do you think?

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Death penalty for bloggers in Iran

Remind me not to travel to Iran.

A few weeks ago, the Islamic Parliament in Iran approved a draft law which shocked the country and is at the center of current debate.

The draft law is asking for expanded sentencing for those who publish atheistic articles and pornographic materials, or articles about rap, sex slave exports, banditry, prostitution, depravity, and kidnapping.

According to this draft, which was approved for faster review by the majority of Majlis [Iranian members of Parliament], the death sentence could be used against bloggers, journalists, artists, and intellectuals who can be easily falsely accused and convicted by intelligence services or the judiciary branch for publishing "articles against Islam."

Source: Death penalty for bloggers in Iran - The Seminal :: Independent Media and Politics

Iran intends to execute Atheist bloggers? I read things like this and scratch my head. Here in America this is not possible. Can it be so bad elsewhere? It is so easy to forget that the freedoms we enjoy are not shared by the rest of the world. Iran needs a revolution. One the overthrows its archaic theocracy.

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Lord - Protect my family and me

barack-obama-bw Barack Obama inserted a prayer into the Western Wall in Jerusalem. A few minutes later somebody stole it.

Lord – Protect my family and me, Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

Source: Barack Obama private prayer at Jerusalem Western Wall subject of publication row - Telegraph

The cynical little voice inside my head immediately asked if Obama had a prayer writer on staff.  Did Obama arrange to have his prayer stolen? Was this political stagecraft in action? I am too used to the way GW runs thing I guess. This incident seems too well orchestrated. All the Christians back home in America are going to say gee whiz, Obama prays to the same God we do. He must be OK.

But then I realized that what Obama wrote seems about right. Protect me. Forgive me. Help me. It seems right to me. Like something a normal Joe would do. So I shouted down the little voice in my head. Maybe Obama is the real thing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Got one in Hawaii

Pastor Manuel Guillermo Taboada was arrested yesterday. He stands accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl.

You may have seen him on an Olelo channel preaching messages of salvation.

As of Wednesday night, pastor Manuel Guillermo Taboada is inside the Oahu Community Correctional Center.

An Oahu grand jury indicted him on charges he sexually molested a young member of his church. The deputy prosecutor on the case said he separated her from her family and then allegedly molested her over an eight year period.

Source: Pastor Accused of Molesting Young Church Member | KGMB9 News Hawaii

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Loving my D300


I bought a Nikon D300 a few months ago. It's only now that I'm learning to use it. I carry it with me everyplace I go. I shoot everything. My friend John here has been a subject for me many times. By now he is used to me asking if I can take his picture. The D300 allows me to shoot in black and white. The tone is amazing.

I'm learning to control the focal point. today I chose his left eye. I like the results.

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Riding a Wave with Dustin Humphrey

Shoot The Blog has an interesting series of photos (NSFW) containing images of waves, surfers, and underwater scenes. I'm still trying to figure out how they were put together.

"Insight has launched an impressive art installation series entitled Dopamine, from setting up underwater art installations with surf actions shots in Bali and having re-created famous skate spots in the middle of the Balinese jungle.

The surf installation was inspired by Beatnick;, Steve Gorrow embarked on a journey beneath the sea to explore the depths of the mind and creativity. Along with the help of his brother, Steve shipped out to Bali to take on the massive feat of building above and beneath the sea to give birth to the latest Insight surf spectacle, and that is Dopamine...

Read More... Riding a Wave with Dustin Humphrey (NSFW)

Some of my very first experiments with photography involved surfing and surf photography. Out of thousands of photos I took, only one was good enough to use in my high school yearbook. By today's standards it's weak.

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Bill Maher and "Religulous"

The Huffington Post has exclusive video of Bill Maher new documentary Religulous. Drop in and watch the videos. They are so funny.

It has been my pleasure over the last decade and a half to make organized religion one of my favorite targets. I often explained to people, "I don't need to make fun of religion, it makes fun of itself." And, then I go ahead and make fun of it too, just for laughs.


Maher created the website to promote the film. I ordered the Pope Soap on a Rope while I was there.

Wiccan stab thyself

I do not make this stuff up.

So these Wiccans snuck into the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon around midnight to perform some kind of  luck ceremony. While performing this nonsensical ceremony, Katherine Gunther stabbed herself in the foot with a sword.

Ha ha...

Oak Hills is home to a historically famous murder victim, Sylvia Likens.

This cemetery holds the remains of Sylvia Likens, a sixteen year old girl who was slowly tortured and beaten to death over a period of months in 1965. Sylvia and her younger sister had been staying at the home of Gertrude Baniszewski at the time of her death. Left in the care of Gertrude by her carnie father, Sylvia became the victim of gradually worsening abuse by Gertrude, her children and other children from the neighborhood who were encouraged to harm her.

I wonder if there is a connection?

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A bed to sleep in

Rev. Carl Morello want to do the "Christian thing" by serving the needed. His solution is simple; convert an unused gymnasium to a homeless shelter one night per week. That's it. Morello suggested that just one night a week his church give homeless people a safe place to sleep. He wanted to become part of the admirable secular charity known PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter). PADS and Rev. Morello are the very essence of public service. It is ideas like this one that I like to celebrate. Rev. Carl Morello is trying to help. I can support that. But then again, I am not a parishioner in his 10,000-member Park Ridge congregation. The parishioners have other ideas and so do the locals townies.

What do the "real Christians" of Park Ridge do?

  • Threaten to take their kids out of the Church's elementary school.
  • Deny the problem (there are no homeless in Park Ridge).
  • Vilify the homeless (all are violent drug users).
  • Deny being cold can hurt or even kill (in Chicago no less).

Denying the homeless a safe bed in the middle of January out of fears for your property value is hypocrisy or worse, just plain evil. Parishioners at St. Mary's Episcopal Church should hang their head in shame.

Never fear.... St. Mary's came to the rescue.

Pastor takes plea deal

Fundie snake handling pastor Gregory Coots gets a slap on the wrist. At least he is now a convicted criminal. I hold little hope that his followers will somehow come to their senses now.

Gregory Coots entered a guilty plea in a Bell County courtroom Tuesday morning to seven counts of buying, selling or transporting protected wildlife .. as well as another count of holding protected wildlife. He will have to pay $6,400 in fines and will be on probation for 2 years.

Oh well, better luck next time.

Related Post:

Foodgasm: Back Home in Lahaina


Sometimes it is the food. Sometimes it is the ambiance. And sometimes it is the need for a nap after a stomach packing bowl of Saimin.

Hawaiian style ramen noodles topped with char siu chicken, kamaboko, egg slivers, and green onions. Served with a side of fried wontons. $7.29.

Back Home in Lahaina (yelp) in Carson rocks. And the natives are friendly. Stop in and say hi. Avoid the lunch rush by eating early.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blogroll Update: Up to 766

We shrink:

We change:

  • No changes this week.

We grow:


I produced a Blogger help file in response my most frequently asked question, "How do I add the blogroll doohickey?" I plan to produce more help files in the future. This little help file saves me 15 minutes a week. I could use some help in this area. If anyone has a help file they would like to contribute, please send it my way.

Hat tip:

God is Pretend for reporting dead links.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's only 10 sex-related felonies

Only 10 so far! There will be many more to come.

John Picard, 40, of Springboro, has been charged with 10 counts of sexual battery, all third-degree felonies. He is accused of having sexual relations with a girl starting in 1992 when she was 13 and continuing until she reached adulthood. Picard was a youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church on Marion Avenue at the time

Source: Former Mansfield youth pastor faces 10 sex-related felonies involving girl

Now seriously, would you let this man anywhere near your teenaged daughter?


It sounds like John Picard is a real peach. He must of been a pastor for some satanic church, right? No. Try Grace Brethren Church in beautiful Mansfield, Ohio.

"That's preliminary charges until we sift through other information," Shook said. "We know of several victims. Their identities will be as protected as we can protect them."

Vandayburg said Picard might have a hold on some of the reported victims.

"He still keeps up with some of these girls as adults. They're still followers," the lieutenant said. "That's how much he's brainwashed them."

This case will be interesting.

If an attacker tries to grab your boob...

I can see it now. Andre Allen, the 23-year pastor of a historic all-black Baptist church in Wheaton, Illinois, saunters AndreAllenup to the ladies in the local health club and offers to teach self-defense. He passes himself off as a heath club employee, his zest for life wins them over. In the process of teaching self-defense Allen cops a feel and does the bump and grind while pinning them to the floor. At his trial he pleads guilty to a lesser charge. It's obvious to everyone that Allen has a problem with the ladies. The man should not be leading a church. Church leadership rightfully calls for his resignation. He refuses. All I can say is, this man is a complete dick.

Two weeks ago, the church cabinet voted 16-3 to request his resignation, but Allen refused.

"This is not the type of activity you would expect from a minister," said Deacon Frank Jarrett. "I mean, that's the obvious. And as a congregation, we just need to address this."

Reached by phone at home Friday, Allen, 54, declined to discuss the case.

Source: Daily Herald | New allegations arise against Wheaton pastor

Every action has it consequences. Allen refused to resign and now another woman has come forward with allegation that Allen inappropriately touched her.

After learning about the pastor's recent troubles, a 44-year-old Carol Stream woman said she felt compelled to come forward with allegations Allen inappropriately touched her in 2001 at his church office. She filed a police report Friday, which was confirmed by Wheaton police.

The married mother of three said the two met by chance while both were waiting in line at a Downers Grove restaurant. Allen told her he was a motivational speaker, she said. The woman said she initiated a business relationship with him in hope of recruiting him for her company. She said they met six to 10 times in his church office during a six-month period. The final time they met, she said he repeatedly grabbed her against her objection under the guise it was to teach her self defense.

Source: New allegations arise against Wheaton pastor

Somehow I think Andre Allen's troubles are just starting.

And this is not the first time around for Allen.

More than 10 years ago, Allen was arrested on similar misdemeanor charges after two women accused him of touching them in a provoking or insulting manner as they worked out at a Holiday Inn in Lisle. Allen was placed on court supervision after being found guilty of one of the misdemeanors. He later had it expunged from his criminal record, but three law enforcement officials involved in the case confirmed the details. A woman at Wheaton Sports Center also complained about two years ago about Allen, but she declined to pursue charges, police said.

How many more victims are there Andre Allen?

The congregation gets a chance to vote him off the island tonight. I'll post the results later.

*** Update ***

Justice is served: Wheaton's Second Baptist Church votes to oust Rev. Allen

And so I wait

The trial of accused murder and former youth pastor Joshua Rosa is in the hands of the jury. Deliberation will resume on Monday. I've been following the trial, but have not made a post on it yet. The whole sordid story made me sick.

Rosa is alleged to have stalked his 13-year-old victim Stephen Tomlinson before strangling him in a local park. Tomlinson's body was found bloody and with his pants down below his knees. The victims blood was found on Rosa's clothing, gloves, and on his hand.

We may never know the motive.

A motive was unclear, but Pruner said there was testimony that Rosa was looking for Stephen throughout that day.

"There is one person covered in the victim's DNA who had gloves that night in the park ... who had a flashlight and who lost his keys under the victim's body," Pruner said, his voice getting louder and louder.

I've been on the fence about blogging this story. Rosa is billed as being a youth minister. In reality he was an older teen working with younger teens. It was a part time job. The only qualifications were a believe in God and willingness to serve. Rosa is hardly my typical hypocrite.

It is when I look into the face of Stephen Tomlinson that I get angry. Rosa worked in his capacity as a youth minister under the direction of his pastor. There should have been some oversight. There should have been some training standards. There should have been some understanding that a 19-year-old youth pastor might not be mature enough to handle his responsibility. We may never know the reason why Stephen Tomlinson was murdered. I'm betting it had everything to do with sex and a lack of impulse control.

We will know if Joshua Rosen is guilty or innocent Monday. I've voting guilty.


Joshua Rosa is guilty! He will serve life in Prison.

Blogroll Update: The Daily Taylor

We are one blog away from breaking the 760 mark. It seems like every day bring us new blogs. Like the Daily Taylor.

The Daily Taylor is a progressive, atheistic blog devoted primarily to discussion of political and social issues. Especially here in the United States, religion and its doctrines often become intertwined with political topics in our public discourse. I delight in pointing out the absurdities that this tendency generally results in, as well as the broader absurdities of religion in general. Stop by and have a look!

Blogroll Update: DisComforting Ignorance

Our atheist blogging community keeps growing. One of our newest blogs is Discomforting Ignorance. Its author has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

Have you ever visited your favorite forum and seen a chimp with a mustache discussing how a banana proves God? Have you ever been flipping through the channels and seen the very same man alongside Kirk Cameron disproving evolution by demonstrating that an orangutan could not get a plane ticket? How about being sent a tract from Living Waters which shows that since evolution doesn't work for a Coke can, it can't work for biological organisms?

The man who intelligently designed the banana argument, orangutan skit, and evolution-debunking-Coke can tract is none other than Ray Comfort. He maintains a blog, recently retitled "Atheist Central," wherein he posts on various scientific issues, such as light being invisible or evolution creating gravity, and on various historical issues, such as the Bible providing an account of dinosaurs.

Hi, I'm Jonathan (JT to most on the Internet) and I am an atheist irritated by such irrationality. My blog is DisComforting Ignorance. It is a responsive blog to specifically Ray Comfort and more generally The Way of the Master; however, other ludicrous religious asininity is covered from time-to-time.
I try to keep things refreshing by breaking up the responses to Ray's posts. There is a
seven-part debunk of Ray's Atheist Test (wherein I disproved sexual reproduction using Pepsi cans), a weekly segment Rational Sabbath (with article, blog, and book recommendations), and most recently a death match between a pineapple and a coconut to determine which is the theist's worst nightmare (in response to the banana argument).

Please drop in and welcome our new member.

Blogroll Update: Homologous Legs

Homologous Legs, a blog from Australia, has joined the Atheist Blogroll. The author has been kind enough to provide an introduction.

"Homologous Legs (The evidence for a common ancestor between tables and chairs) is a blog run by Naon Tiotami (aka. Jack), an Australian high school student with a passion for evolutionary biology, philosophy and trumpet playing. Many people would expect a 16 year-old male to be obsessed with fast cars and attractive women, but he feels that the steady infiltration of creationism and unscientific, faith-based thinking into people's daily lives is more important than the possibility of a road-related death or an STD. This blog regularly dismantles articles written by creationists, defuses common creationist claims, and sometimes (if you're lucky) discusses atheism openly. So, what are you waiting for? Apprehensive about his writing skill? It's fine, I promise. Come on, visit Homologous Legs: if I could, I'd make it a logical fallacy not to."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ex-pastor pleads guilty to sex assault

Larry Jackson was a pastor in Gladewater, Texas. Life was simple for Larry. The work was good and he had ample unsupervised access to young girls. I mean, good old Larry was pastor of the 45 member, Gladewater Church of Christ. Everyone knows a pastor is a man of God. Everyone knows that a man of God would not rape young girls. Right?

Testimony in the sentencing trial of Larry Jackson, 55, of Kilgore will continue today in a Gregg County court. He could be sentenced up to life for each charge.

....The oldest sister, who was 9 years old at the time of the abuse, said the girls would stay at Jackson's home while their mother was working, and they would occasionally stay overnight. She said Jackson twice removed her from her sofa bed in the living room, placed her on the floor and attempted to penetrate her.

She said he stopped when she began to cry.

The younger sister, who was 7 years old at the time of the abuse, said Jackson performed oral sex on her three times and tried penetrating her once.

Source: Ex-pastor pleads guilty to sex assault

Yep. A man of God.

No word yet if the mother will be prosecuted for placing her daughters in harms way.

I've been labeled

It is not that I hate graffiti. I'm a fan. But not on my firehydrant!

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Blogroll Update: Living the Scientific Life

GrrlScientist was kind enough to write an introduction to her outstanding science blog. She also provided an outstanding introductory announcement on her blog. Please join me in welcoming Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) to the Atheist Blogroll.

Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) is written by GrrlScientist, an evolutionary biologist, ornithologist, aviculturist, and writer. She is a native of the Pacific Northwest but relocated with her parrots from Seattle to NYC after earning her PhD in Zoology/Ornithology. GrrlScientist worked as a postdoctoral fellow for two years in NYC, reconstructing a molecular phylogeny of the parrots endemic to the islands in the south Pacific Ocean. On her blog, GrrlScientist typically writes about evolution (especially at the molecular level), behavioral ecology, the environment, parrots and other birds, horses, bipolar disorder, politics, atheism and life in NYC. She also is an avid photographer and has a lot of friends who are, too, as you will realize when reading her graphics-rich blog. The fourth "blogiversary" of Living the Scientific Life is 4 August, which is just a few weeks away, so plan to pop in soon to wish her blog a happy birthday.

The photography on her blog is outstanding. She has a picture of a Numenius americanus that I want for my wall.

Drop in and say hi.

Two Pedophile pastors sent to jail

These are old cases. I'm sure knowing these horrible men are in jail give some comfort to their victims.

Angel Toro was a pastor in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. His victim waited 21 years for justice. Toro will serve 18 months.

According to the criminal complaint, in 1987 Toro, a pastor at First United Methodist Church in Rice Lake recruited 17-year-old Doug Guillen to help him fix a fence. That's when Guillen says Toro sexually assaulted him.


Dale Soppe was a catholic seminarian. He abused Richard Hinde when he was 13 in 1969. Hinde's abuse lasted a year. Soppe will serve 60 days plus two years probation.

In an interesting twist, both man were sent to prison because of a loophole in the Wisconsin statute of limitations law.

...the only reason Soppe and Angel Toro were sent to jail Tuesday is because they both left Wisconsin. He says that stopped the six year statute of limitation on their crimes. He says a new bill in Wisconsin could eliminate that time limit.

Source: Two Sex Offenders in Jail Thanks to Loophole in Law

That's two more Hypocrites off the streets. It should be a cause for celebration.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Change of venue argued for in former pastor's trial

Come August 18 Pastor Louis Lamonica will find out he has no friends. His only hope is that the jury will see video taped interviews from his young victims and not send him to jail for the rest of his life. He does not need to worry about fair. He's going to jail. He needs to worry about for how long.
The attorney for former Hosanna Church Pastor Louis Lamonica argued in court Monday that his client can’t receive a fair trial in Tangipahoa Parish.

Lamonica is charged with four counts of aggravated rape of a juvenile.

Attorney Michael Thiel made several references to a story on Eyewitness News, which aired in February and featured an extensive interview with Nicole Bernard, the former wife of a man already convicted of three counts of rape of a juvenile in connection with Hosanna Church. Trey Bernard is currently serving three life sentences in Angola.

Change of venue argued for in former pastor's trial
I need to do some research on this one. I do not know the case well enough to make my normal snarky comments.

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Solar System Simulator

I've been trying to find out how long it would take a asteroid to travel from the main asteroid belt to earth. Call it a useless fun intellectual exercise. In the process I found the Solar System Simulator
Is this cool or what?

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John School

Well here is something I've never heard of before. If you get busted for trying to buy sex from an undercover male police office, you can go to "john school" to learn of the dangers of prostitution. D.C. Baptist Pastor and District Heights Mayor James L. Walls Jr. is a graduate of this distinguish program.

District Heights Mayor James L. Walls Jr. told a D.C. Superior Court judge yesterday that he completed the court's "john school," in which speakers warn about the risks of prostitution. In return, prosecutors agreed not to pursue a solicitation charge, and Judge Rafael Diaz dismissed the case.

Walls, 30, was arrested April 24 at Sixth and F streets NW after allegedly offering an undercover male police officer $40 for a sexual act. Walls, who is also an ordained minister, declined to comment after yesterday's court hearing.


Move along people. There's nothing to see here.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Blogroll Update: Blogger help file

This help file will walk you through how to add the Atheist Blogroll to your sidebar on Blogger. 

Use this script. Choose to download the file. It is a  text file (.txt)  Open it using Notepad. The java script you need is the text contained  in the .txt file. Select the text and choose copy from the edit menu.

This script needs to be inserted into the sidebar of your blog. On Blogger, this procedure is easy:

Log into blogger. Choose the Settings option from the dashboard. Select  the Layout tab, and then select the Page Elements sub tab. Choose  Add Page Element from the template above the sidebar. Choose HTML/JavaScript from the list of possible options. Once the window opens, paste the java scrip into the space provided.  Give the entry a title - like "The Atheist Blogroll", and the press the Save option.

Of course, on the sidebar you will need to move the newly added blogroll down on the menu by dragging it downward. Otherwise, the blogroll will appear at the top of your sidebar.

You are not finished yet! Press the Orange save button at the top of the form to finalize the procedure.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marines push Christianity in Fallujah

And so the Crusades continue...


At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.

Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. "Where will you spend eternity?" it asked.

He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16."

Source: Iraqis claim Marines are pushing Christianity in Fallujah

How is this even possible? How utterly stupid are the people running the war? We don't win the hearts and minds of a nation by trying to convert its people. We make them enemies instead. What's next? Convert or Die?

Proselytizing like this should be an illegal act. Marines are agent of the state. Their actions spread religion in the name of the United States of America. It would be like getting a visit from the FBI while they carried a bibles. It's not supposed to happen like this. Our government is secular. Our armed services should be neutral on the subject. And when we invade and occupy a nation, our armed services should be not be allowed to proselytize, even when off duty. This is a human rights issue. It's coercive conversion with an implied threat of violence. A Marine holds a gun with one hand and gives you John 3:16 with the other...  Convert of die Muslim scum. What have we become?

Geez - this is just dumb. Please tell me this is a hoax.

How long until Obama is president?

Atheist Revolution: Public Prayer

vjack has a nice post up on the unbiblical habit some Christians have of praying in public. It makes me wonder if they read their bibles or just use them to beat others into submission.

Christians may squabble endlessly over what it means to be a Christian, and many are fond of claiming that only those who believe exactly as they do deserve to be called "real Christians." However, it seems fairly obvious to this author that there must be some common doctrine shared by all Christian. One of these is the belief that the Christian bible is central to the religion. Granted, fundamentalists are going to take their bible far more seriously than so-called liberal or moderate Christians, but all must agree that the Christian bible provides an important source of guidance. So why is it that so many self-identified Christians ignore what their bible says about prayer?

I think he's right on the mark with this one.

I like symmetry

I can already hear it. I like big butts and I cannot lie... It's not about the butts, it's about symmetry. I cannot pass up a shot like this. Two woman reading in the park on a sunny day with their asses pointing toward the passing crowd. Both posed together at the same angle. It's beautiful in some strange way that I cannot explain.

Take this photo (NSFW) of a disgraced Columbian congresswoman Yidis Medina. She posed nude in a cheesy men's magazine for reasons all her own. Most of the blogs posting on this subject focus on her being fat, ugly, or fat + ugly (fugly). When I look at her picture (this one only mind you, I've yet to see the others), I see beautiful symmetry.

Monthly men’s magazine SoHo showed a curvaceous Medina posing nude while in jail, her hands covering her breasts in one shot as she looks peacefully into the distance. The 12-page photo spread is titled “Body of Crime”

Source: Yidis Medina poses nude in magazine

There are more photo's. I'm betting some are not so artistic. Is the photo of Yidis Medina art or pornography? I say art. You?

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Book Review: When You Are Engulfed in Flames

EngulfedSedaris A few posts back I mentioned reading When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I finished reading it last night. It was worth my time. You see, Sedaris is a wickedly funny man. Reading his stories makes me laugh at myself as-well-as the absurd things that rattle around in his head. I tend to read him slowly, a story at a time. I tote his books around to parties, restaurants, and the park. I read a few paragraphs and laugh, read a few more paragraphs and chuckle. Unlike other books I read, I don't want to finish this one. For me, this is the mark of a good read and a good writer.


By David Sedaris.

323 pp. Little, Brown & Company. $25.99.

This collection of stories is different. Sedaris seems older and a tad slower. He writes of his fascination with death and the macabre with the same verve and sickly sweet humor as before, only something is different. Sedaris seems to be coming to terms with middle age. It's a painfully funny process. Take Memento Mori - Where Sedaris tells the story of buying a human skeleton for his boyfriend Hugh.

..."you are going to die"

I'd always thought that I understood this, but lately I realize that what I call "understanding" is basically just fantasizing. I think about death all the time, but only in a romatic, self'-serving way, beginning, most often, with my tragic illness and ending with my funeral. I see my brother squatting beside my grave, so racked by guilt that he's unable to stand. "If only I'd paid him back the twenty-five thousand dollars I borrowed," he says. I see Hugh, drying his eyes on the sleeve of his suit jacket, then crying even harder when he remembers I bought if for him. What I didn't see were all the people who might celebrate my death, but tht's all changed with the skeleton, who assumes features at will.

He goes on to describe how the skeleton morphs into the everyday people in his life. How each person reminds him of his own mortality, and his own shortcomings. I laugh. I cry. I say, "how true," to passing strangers.

I'll pass along this excellent read to my wife. Knowing her, she will read it in one sitting. When she's done, I'll add it to my library where it will sit next to Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, another outstanding book.

Vanessa Grigoriadis wrote a nice book review for the NY Times. Her commentary on the chapter "Smoking Section" is perfect.

With Sedaris in this state of mind, the centerpiece of the book should have been an obvious gimme: a diary of his quest to quit smoking. Even in a more frivolous mood, Sedaris on kicking the habit — he smoked Kool Milds for about 30 years, and his mother died of lung cancer — should be pretty much the best thing ever, like Evelyn Waugh returning to tell us his thoughts on MySpace. Sixteen of the 22 stories in this volume were previously published in The New Yorker, which doesn’t detract from the overall experience since Sedaris is better on a second reading. But in the case of “The Smoking Section,” the deft abridgment in the magazine last month was almost more satisfying than the original. Here the 83-page story is cut into three parts — before, during and after — and while the first section zooms off the page, once Sedaris stops smoking it’s as if he has lost his muse. He travels to Tokyo for a couple of months, for reasons that are murky, and the alienating setting isn’t right for the narrative. Virtue proves less interesting than vice, as he casts around for a sustainable joke — signing up for another language class, reading labels at the supermarket and, naturally, having a random encounter with feces.

The funny thing is that I don't normally agree with NY Times book reviews. I read them after I've read the book so as not to pollute my opinion. In this case "The Smoking Section" was excruciating. It started well, but ended in a tedious and seemingly endless series of small stories, none of which were particularly interesting. I put the book down and said, "Dang. I'm glad that is over". It was only later that I realized that his story painful and lengthy story was brilliant. It captured how it feels to quit smoking perfectly. Quitting takes months. It's boring and life looses its meaning during the process.

For a taste of this book, read the first chapter, It's Catching, at the NY Times. Or, you can listen to David Sedaris read Cry Baby at Authors on Tour.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

insufficient assimilation

France has denied citizenship to muslim woman.

A French court has denied citizenship to a Muslim woman from Morocco, ruling that her practice of "radical" Islam is not compatible with French values.

The 32-year-old woman, known as Faiza M, has lived in France since 2000 with her husband - a French national - and their three French-born children.
Interesting. So failure to assimilate is grounds for denial of citizenship. It is not really a religious issue. Right? No wait. This is totally a religious issue. A burka wearing islamic fundamentalist has no place in a secular republic. That message is clear. I wonder if French Muslims hear it?

It looks like Faiza M is heading back to Morocco. That's not so bad. Is it?

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The Atheism Tapes

Alive Mind was kind enough to send me a copy of The Atheism Tapes to review a few weeks ago. I gave them a plug to help sales, but I was unable to do a review. My work schedule has been too busy to dive into 180 minutes of content in one go. Fortunately, I'm on vacation this week. Finding a few hours to sit in front of my Mac is easier when my mind is uncluttered by work.

I had prejudged The Atheism Tapes as a tedious exploration of atheism through informal interviews with the luminaries of the atheist community. As with most things, what I thought I was getting into was far from reality. Take the initial interview with Colin McGinn (blog) Besides not knowing who he was, besides not understanding the significance of his work, I managed to hang on his every word. The host, Jonathan Miller, elicited deeply meaningful responses from a cooperative McGinn. I was captivated by a brilliant man and his ideas. I watched the interview twice while taking notes. it was a pattern i would repeat for each interview.

My only complaint is that the interviews are dated. Richard Dawkins in 2003 is a much different man than he is in 2008. His fame and many years of controversy are in his future. What we have is an early look at a major player. You can see some of his ideas starting to form, but any connection to current events is limited to the start of the Iraq war (which is now in the ancient past). This pattern holds true for each interview. It is a mild annoyance, but an annoyance none the less.

I also want to comment on the photography. I did not realize The Atheism Tapes was a BBC production. The photography is superior. I found myself looking for imperfections, like Arthur Miller with a spot on his right shoulder. The photography is second only to the sound quality. It too is amazing. The video is well made and could pass as a best of breed documentary. Of course, that is precisely what this video is.

In another segment, Jonathan Miller interviews Arthur Miller. Again, I watched the segment twice, book marking segments as I took notes (like - read a Miller biography). At one point Miller says "The immortality notion is simply past my capacity to really believe in". A simple statement delivered by a brilliant man just a few short years before his death. His wife of 40 years had just died about a year earlier. He talked about how she was dead but her soul lingers on in his memory because it is hard for him to believe consciousness is gone.. He lived surrounded by her belongings. She survives by what she leaves behind, her art, works, and perhaps her children.

Author Miller was old enough to compare and contrast how atheism, religion and anti-semitism has changed over the last 50 years. His insightful understanding of history highlights the lethal hypocrisy of religious nationalist and the dangers of mixing religion with politics. He states clearly, "you cannot be both a Catholic and a Protestant". Meaning that the religion that is in power does not tolerate competitors. It becomes reasonable to wage war for your religion. In our case in the name of nationalism and the Iraq War.

The Atheism Tapes provided this introduction in the press kit:

In these off-the-record interviews, neurologist turned playwright, filmmaker, and self-described atheist Jonathan Miller filmed conversations with six of today's leading men of letters and science: the New York Times best-selling author Richard Dawkins, philosophers Daniel Dennett and Colin McGinn, distinguished playwright Arthur Miller, theologian Denys Turner, and Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg, who discuss their personal intellectual journeys and offer illuminating analysis of non theism from a wide range of perspectives.

Theologian Denys Turner is offered as a theist counterpoint to the atheists. Turners assertions are interesting. However he seems stuck on how the universe is something rather than nothing. I enjoyed the segment, but went brain dead on several of his complex leaps of faith.

You can buy The Atheism Tapes here.

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Ex-pastor pleads to 9 counts of voyeurism

Matthew C. Porter is headed to prison.

A former youth pastor accused of secretly taping Bible study students changing clothes in his Ellenton home has pleaded no contest to nine counts of voyeurism.

He faces up to nine years in prison if sentenced consecutively on the charges, Assistant State Attorney Erica Arend said Friday. The maximum sentence for misdemeanor voyeurism is one year in jail.

Porter resigned from Bethel Baptist Church after admitting he secretly videotaped his students ages 12-16, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Source: Ex-pastor pleads to 9 counts of voyeurism

Just the thought of a creepy pastor with a video camera makes my skin crawl. He taped 12 to 16 year old girls. What a freak.

I am not sure if his crime will label him a sex offender. It is a shame. He should be classified as a sex offender. After all, the Baptists will not police themselves, so we need some way to track them.

I have a special request. If anyone has a photograph of Matthew Porter, can you send it to me please? I want to put a face with the name and his crimes.

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Pastor Joe Barron is on the move


Pastor Joe Barron posted bond and was transferred to Louisiana to face additional charges for tying to seduce children into having sex with him via the Internet.

A former Plano minister accused of trying to solicit sex from what he thought was a 13 year-old girl has bonded out of the Brazos County jail, and has been transferred to Louisiana.

Joe Barron, 52, was jailed for a second time in Brazos County last month after he was named in four new complaints charging online solicitation of a minor.

Source: Pastor Bonds Out Of Central Texas Jail, Transferred To Louisiana Custody

Barron was a pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church, a Dallas area megachurch located in Plano, Texas. Watch your daughters. Barron bonded out of Caddo Parish jail last Thursday.

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My next pet

I saw this little fellow at the San Diego Zoo. I'm not sure what kind of lizard it is. I'll have to make another trip to find out. It is big. the body is a foot long. The tail is another 8 or 10 inches in length. It's wonderful.  Now... how do I tell the wife?

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Give the pastor his snake

Natural selection should not be messed with. If a pastor wants to kiss a cobra during a church service, then let him. If he dies from snake bite, it is his own damn fault and the gene pool is better off without him. In the case of Gregory Coots, i just shake my head in wonder at the sheer stupidity of his actions.
Most [snakes] were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.

Handling snakes is practiced in a handful of fundamentalist churches across Appalachia, based on the interpretation of Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The practice is illegal in most states, including Kentucky.
Marrying your cousin is illegal in Kentucky too, but that does not stop them from getting hitched. If these nutballs what to kiss snakes to prove their devotion to god, then let them. They will die off eventually.

On the other hand, selling cobras for $450 on the internet is just dumb. It's also another example of religious hypocrisy. Pastor Coots sees these dangerous reptiles as a way to make a buck without regard for the social impact of his actions. He cares only for his own pocketbook. When a cobra escapes and bites little Johnny, Pastor Coots is culpable, not to mention dangerously irresponsible. Coots can claim his work with snakes is a religious obligation. If he does, we should call a spade a spade. His church is a cult and deserves no protection under the law.

Pet snake escapes are a problem. They happen all the time. I own non-venomnous snakes. Even though I am careful, my California Kingsnake manages an escape once each year. He also manages to bite me whenever he can. it is simply irresponsible to house poisonous reptiles in an urban setting. What a dumbass.

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