Friday, April 30, 2010

When Jesus appears, the children suffer

Jesus appeared to Baptist pastor Bawa Madaki and told him to go kidnap kids from neighboring cities and put them to work funding his ministry. Jesus also gave him the power to cure witchcraft attacks. Of course, the children are the witches and their parents the victims. Once pastor Madaki “cures” the parents, the children are declared witches and given to the pastor. Nice scam. It’s God’s work.
"I did not steal them for trafficking or any child labour, I was only doing the work God called me to do", he added.
No, when God asks you to do something, child labor is A-OK.
Speaking on the arrest, the NAPTIP boss, Mr. Simon Egede called on Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to develop a mechanism of monitoring their members whom he said in the guise of spiritual welfare of faithful engage in other criminal activities.
I’m sure self-monitoring will help. Baptists, police yourself! It works so well here in the states, just as Christa Brown.
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I love bad propaganda

Especially when it comes from an inept propagandist. Atheists Want Leadership Positions in Christian Organizations. Do we? Do I? No! I don’t want to lead any kind of Christian organization. However, I am concerned about the rights of Atheists in the workplace and public sector. Should I lose my job because I’m an Atheist, should I be excluded from activities based on my lack of faith? I don’t think so.

The U.S. Supreme Court is confronted with atheists that want to have "equal opportunity" in Christian organizations. The apparent reason that atheists want to be a part of such religious establishments is so they can control them. Christians are countering the atheists and want the freedom to choose their own leaders on religious grounds. What will the Supreme Court decide?

What will the Supreme Court decide?  That will depend on facts rather than hyperbole. The facts… Atheists have nothing to do with this. The case stems from a UC Hastings College of the Law rule stating that organizations charted by the school must be open to all students to receive school funding. The Christian Legal Society wants to exclude homosexuals. How does this translate to Atheists running ministries?

NPR did a story on April 19, 2010. Court Weighs Rights of Campus Religious Groups.

In 2004, the Christian Legal Society chapter on campus changed its bylaws to exclude gays and lesbians from membership. That meant the group was no longer entitled to a subsidy and preferred use of campus facilities. The group went to court claiming that the school's rule violated its constitutional right to freedom of association and speech.

Another case of Christian hate. It gets old…

Virgin Mary in a pot

This story was all over the news in LA today. Oxnard woman discovers possible Virgin Mary Image.

Maria Froilana Esquivel of Oxnard was emptying a large silver pot filled with corn that she had prepared for her family last week when she noticed a bronze-colored image.

Family and friends were quick to weigh in, saying the mark resembled iconic depictions of the Virgin Mary with sloped shoulders, tilted head and draped clothing. They declared it a holy image.

Translation: Maria tempered part of a pot while cooking corn causing it to discolor. Her overactive imagination and religious predisposition to accept the incredible as plausible lead her to imagine a resemblance to the Virgin Mary. See for yourself.

Good grief, she built a friggen shrine to it. What idiots.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bruges – truffles, beer, and pedophiles

I remember Bruges. I visited once for three days about 10-year ago. I drank my weight in good beer, tried to work through the hangovers by eating truffles… and stayed away from the local Catholic church. It seems my beer addled brain’s craving for more beer (and sausages!) steered me to a tavern instead of the cathedral tour. Later that night I dimly remember carrying a female friend back to the hotel while holding her boy friend steady with my free hand, and this after pulling him out of the bushes near the same church. Oh… and the nice police man who helped me find my hotel. Ah Bruges… good times, except for the whole pedophile priest thing.

The longest-serving Roman Catholic bishop in Belgium has resigned after admitting sexually abusing a boy for years. Roger Vangheluwe, 73, said that he was “enormously sorry” for molesting the boy from before he was made Bishop of Bruges in 1985.

The Vatican accepted his resignation only a day after a lawsuit was filed in the US against Pope Benedict XVI over sex abuse committed by an American priest.

One other thing about Bruges… I was living in France at the time and Jonesing for a real steak. I found a dinner-plate-sized steak called the Big Nebraskan next to a pub (everything is next to a pub). Bruges delivered!

Priest’s molestation of boy caught on video

The Catholic child molestation stories keep getting worse and worse. Now from Brazil comes the story of Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa’s alleged sexual abuse of young boys. The worst part… street vendors are selling video of one boy’s molestation.

For $5 to $10, vendors here will sell you the video, downloading it directly into your cellphone via Bluetooth. The price depends on the quality and length of the footage. According to one street vendor, the most popular download is the “complete” version. Buyers, he says, are “almost everybody—not just the curious.”

Read more at the Daily Beast.

I’ll pass on watching the evidence. I suppose here in the states it could land you in prison for child porn.

Youth director Julian Heyman guilty

Catholic youth director and school teacher Julian Heyman pleaded guilty to child molestation charges.

Julian S. Heyman III struggled to hold back tears as he was led from court after being sentenced to 20 years on three counts of child molestation as part of his negotiated guilty plea.

Judge John R. Turner sentenced Heyman to serve 10 years in prison and 10 years on probation and said he would receive credit for time served. Heyman has been incarcerated in the Effingham County jail since his arrest Nov. 30.

The poor guy was crying. That will play well in prison.

Heyman was a Catholic youth leader. I’m sure in the eyes of Catholic apologist Bill Donahue, Heyman’s not a pedophile because the girls were… no wait, the girls were under 10. Sorry Bill, he’s a catholic pedophile. How does that fit into your asinine theories?

Youth pastor Jeff Waisner convicted

JeffWaisnerYouth pastor Jeffery Allen Waisner is now a convicted sex offender. He raped a 14-year-old girl who still thinks they are in love.

Jeffery Allen Waisner, 33, of Lincoln, was handed a three-year prison term for a charge of lewd and lascivious acts with a child stemming from an estimated six-month relationship with a female youth.

The then-14-year-old Rocklin victim and Waisner met at a youth group he led as part of the Crossroads Community Church in Rocklin.

We put an extraordinary amount of trust in the position of youth pastor. I think we need less trust and more vigilance.

I love this part… pastor Allen must pay $200 in restitution. That’s pretty cool. His victim can buy a pretty new dress or something.

Youth Pastor Michael Anthony arrested

Another youth pastor has been arrested for sex with an underage girl. Youth Pastor Michael Louis Anthony turned himself in Friday.

Michael Louis Anthony was booked into the Cowlitz County Jail Friday for investigation of child molestation, child rape and sexual misconduct with a minor.

The Daily News of Longview reports Anthony told police he and the girl, now 17, had consensual sex too many times to count - in churches, a park and his home.

Pastor Anthony was caught in the act.

Anthony was caught at Gerhart Gardens Park in Longview when a police officer walked up on him and the victim in a parked car. She was partially unclothed and Anthony had no shirt on.

One of the place pastor Anthony allegedly like to rape his 15-year-old victim was the chapel at Calvary Chapel. He apparently took his faith and duties very seriously.

Calvary Chapel fired pastor Anthony back in September so he could work on his marriage. Does that sound suspicious to anyone else?

Introducing the Secular Writings of David G. McAfee

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, the Secular Writings of David G. McAfee.

Hello everyone! And welcome to the Secular Writings of David G. McAfee-

My name is David G. McAfee and I am an atheistic author, journalist, and student of Religious Studies in Santa Barbara, California. On my blog, I post weekly stories, articles, and ideas relating to atheism, science, and general skepticism- along with the occasional interview with a relevant author in the field. Hundreds of fellow non-theists have subscribed and leave comments, but is not without an outlet for the opposition; I also have a “Mail from Religious People” section on the site which includes hate (and pity) mail from various religious people responding to my essays.

I spend my time studying Holy Scriptures of many religious traditions and I felt like this website would be the best way to help share this knowledge with other atheists- because, in a debate, it always helps to know more about the topic than your opponent. I will continue posting weekly in anticipation of my first book, which will be featured on the site and should release this summer- So be sure to subscribe!

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll resource blog for more information.

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Introducing The TOTAL Book

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, The TOTAL Book.

Imagine a world where the words Christian or Muslim are as much relics of history as Docetic or Montanism. Imagine a world awash with enlightenment.

The calendar on the wall looks radically different, and there are three times more parks in the city that there are high-rise buildings, none of which is a cathedral or a minaret. Imagine a world in which we can bend space-time to fetch the neural information of our forefathers.

Imagine that at weddings and funerals, this book - one that began as a humble attempt to overhaul this superstitious age - is the book the minister quotes from, not as some sort of inspired or heaven-sent treaties but as a guidebook tested and retested over many a lifetime for its clarity and insight. What would we tell their generation?

How do we lay out the path that we ourselves will begin to tread today as a lifestyle that many others after us can be inspired to follow?

Be one of the millions who it is hoped will help craft this book into a repository document worthy of a future rational age.

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll resource blog for more information.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

No seriously, get out of my face

It started with the church lady trying to get my attention in the driver’s side mirror. She was bobbing back and forth, hopping from foot-to-foot. It reminded me of my dog. I ignored her.

My boss asked another question, I could barely hear his voice. I replied while cupping my ear. It was hard to hear. My connection was bad.

I was concentrating intently, the call was important. I sensed movement to my left. I looked up and saw the church lady smiling outside my driver’s widow. She was all of a foot away. I mouthed the words “Piss off.” She stayed. I ignored her.

My call ended 3-minutes later. She was still there. I removed my ear buds and started the truck. She knocked on the window….

I must admit counting to ten crossed my mind. It was 8:45 am and I was already 6 calls into my day. I was sitting in the parking lot of a 7/11 after driving 2 hours across LA for a 9:00 am meeting. My coffee was cold, I was hungry, and I wanted nothing more than to turn on the tunes and get my head together before my first meeting of the day started. But no.. She knocked on my window again.

I rolled down my window. She immediately asked if I was OK. She was concerned. she said I looked like I was in pain, or in trouble, or in need of somebody to talk to. I asked, “What do you want?”

I want to share to love of Jesus with you. With Jesus, all your pain will be…” I stopped her. “Unless he can make a crapload of work go away, I’m not interested.”

She tried to hand me a pamphlet.  I stopped her again. She started talking again, this time more urgently, “Sir, you need to hear this. It could change your life!” My response was terse, “No Seriously, get out of my face.”

I backed out of the parking stall. She walked along beside me while trying to hand me a bible tract. I rolled up my window before she could drop it on me. As I pull away, I see her approach another loner in the parking lot. I watch as she starts to hop from foot-to-foot, her dance of seduction rebooting for another try. I sigh.

This was my second run-in with a proselytizing Christian in 24-hours. The day before a man had tried to tell me God had arranged for him to talk to me because I was obviously in pain. I’m not even going into that one. It was insane.

I’m sick of this shit.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Let’s end the day with a flower


Today was bad, to much bureaucracy, to much work, to much gloom, to tedious, to blue, to much religion talk too. Dinner with the extended family helped, so did young Liana, but I want this day to end.

It’s time for a flower and maybe a little Bob Marley and the Skatalites to lighten my mood… Thanks Imogen!

Deep inside
When i hear music
Life comes running after me
Music is the only reason
Why i can stand on earth

Naani Aslam

Photography, music, poetry and dinner with the family. That’s the way to shake off a bad day.

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At the end of the day, God will get us out

I don’t think so. No, in fact I think these two loose screws are going spend some time in prison.

Self-appointed Baptist pastor Colin Haag Jr. along with his wife were arrested for kidnapping. It’s a long complicated story clouded by idiocy.

Amanda Haag’s two daughters, ages 7 and 12, were found on April 18 by themselves in a room at the Eagle’s Lodge motel in Ellsworth after Colin Haag’s father, Colin Haag Sr., told police that he had been held a virtual prisoner in the family’s cellar and that Amanda Haag was hiding her two daughters from her ex-partner, who police said had legal custody.

After the Haags were arrested, the girls were reunited with their biological father who has returned with them to Florida, according to police. The man had been searching for his daughters for more than two years.

“I’m sitting here, facing 30 years in jail, for something I didn’t do,” Haag Jr. said Monday, tears springing to his eyes.

Here is what you need to know. Pastor Haag never finished high school, could not get into the Marines, got ordained as a minister from the Universal Life Church of Modesto and found a job as a pastor via… without any qualifications. I mean, what the hell?  Oh wait, he was fired after two months for allegedly stealing from the Church. Of course, now that he has experience, he just started his own church.

Why do people trust these people?

Pastor resigns after police search

Pastor David Love resigned as pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. I guess the pressure of a murder investigation was too much for him.

Police searched the church in connection with the March 31 killing of insurance agent Randy Stone, 42, in his office at 13912 E. Noland Court. He had been an active member of the church, at one time operating one of its Sunday school bus routes. He left a wife and two children.

Let’s see how this one works out. It’s kind of creepy.

Monday, April 26, 2010

8: The Mormon Proposition opens in June

8: The Mormon Proposition is an important documentary about California’s Proposition 8 and the LDS hate machine that funded the it.

The Mormon Proposition exposes the Mormon Church's historic involvement in the promotion and passage of California's Proposition 8 and the religion's secretive, decades—long campaign against gay rights. The film takes place in California and Utah as Mormons, following their prophet’s call to action, wage spiritual warfare with money and misinformation against gay citizens, doing everything they can to deny them of marriage and the rights that come with it. 8: The Mormon Proposition opens in theaters on June 18th, 2010, two years after the first gay marriages took place in California (June 17th, 2008).

I plan on going out of my way to see this even if I must stand in line at a art house movie theater to watch it.

Introducing Henlee W. Blog

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Henlee W. Blog.

The Henlee W. Blog is an open invitation to honest and intellectual discussions about all relevant matter affecting our lives - and this no doubt includes religion. I'm particularly interested in why people have faith, and if they fully understand what their faith means and constitutes, and how these beliefs dictate their lives, and indeed the lives of all people. I seek to introduce topics, drawn from both current and general issues, discussing said topics, and hopefully discovering something about these topics - so that we may understand both sides of the argument better.

It is my opinion that to discuss issues even as personal, deep, and controversial as religion requires no animosity, ridicule, or abrasion. That is not to say we should not continue challenging not just religion, but bad ideas everywhere. We can do so by simply asking critical questions - as we are apt to do when something doesn't make sense. And if someone should say you can't inquire or ask questions to further understand a particular subject (especially about faith and religion), ask why.

Many more questions at my blog. Jump in on the discussions. I've also set up a section where you can tell the world how you were once religious or believed in God, and now don't. Please share your Unbelievable  story.

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll resource blog for more information.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bee on a wildflower


The wind scatters some leaves upon the ground.
While others the burgeoning
Woods brings forth – and the season of spring comes on.

Homer. The Iliad.

My wife an I visited Descanso Gardens for the first time today. The place is amazing. I'm a Los Angeles native and I must admit, I had no idea this place was so magically beautiful. I'm constantly amazed at what this city has to offer.

I was shooting flowers with my 105mm Nikkor macro lens when I saw what my wife called “weeds” running alone the side a path in the upper reaches of the California Garden. They were in flower and alive with bees. I focused on the flower and was surprised to find a bee in my viewfinder. This is my favorite picture out of the 250 or so I took today.

Special treatment for pastor Justice


Last week pastor Shawn Anthony Justice voluntarily returned to Alaska from Georgia to face charges he raped a 15-year-old girl. He faces 12 counts of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. He could face 10 years in prison if convicted.

Pastor Justice pleaded not guilty. Superior Court Judge Michael McConahy disregarded the advice of Prosecutor Gayle Garrigues, who asserted that pastor justice is a flight risk because of his past behavior and therefore requires a bond. The judge released pastor Justice without bond to a retired nurse named Evelyn Gibson with the stipulation that he not use the internet or a cell phone.  Yeah, that will work.

I like to think that I am evidence based in my thinking. The evidence in this case show that pastor Justice fled Alaska when investigators started looking into his case. He came back only after an arrest warrant was issued. He stands accused of a serious felony involving sexual misconduct with a child. Accused rapists are not normally allowed to walk away without posting a bond. I assert that pastor Justice was given preferential treatment because of his religious profession. Shame on you Judge McConahy.

Pastor Justice was terminated by the Corinthian Baptist Church prior to the alleged crimes. He met the girl at the church.

Fairbanks police believe Justice met the 15-year-old victim while he was pastor. Detective Peyton Merideth said Justice initially engaged in suspicious activity with the girl, including sending inappropriate text messages at church functions.

My prediction… another Baptist pastor is on his way to experiencing life as a prison bitch. Check him out in action and see if you agree with me.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Introducing NonProphet Status

Please join me in welcoming  newest member of the Atheist Blogroll, NonProphet Status.

Hey folks! My name is Chris Stedman. I am a Secular Humanist and I manage the blog NonProphet Status, a forum for secular stories that deconstruct common stereotypes about non-religiosity. NPS is a blog for non-religious news that is not rooted in anti-religious sentiment and that advocates for the mutual respect of religious and non-religious individuals. It is the host of the Share Your Secular Story contest, closing May 15, which is a call for stories about secular identity. Winners are eligible for publication in the Washington Post, Killing the Buddha and more, and will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges including the last Director of Amnesty International USA, 2002 Humanist of the Year Dr. William Schulz. Please drop by and check it out!

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll resource blog for more information.

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Introducing Billybee

Please join me in welcoming  newest member of the Atheist Blogroll, billybee.

Heathens Greetings !

18 years ago I began to emerge from the fog of Christian Fundamentalism. It was at that point that I finally began to really see life in a brand new way.

I am now an atheist who contributes often to my local Newspaper's Op-ed page as well as I have helped organize an Atheist Meet Up Group here in my local area.

I'm a native Idahoan. Born in Lewiston, raised in Twin Falls and currently live in Caldwell. I'm from a musical family. My dad was a professional musician and I have two older brothers that are musicians and two older sister who are smarter than their brothers... Also four of my nephews play and work in bands down in Austin. My saintly wife, Elly, and I have two awesome daughters and we live in Caldwell. I also have a son. Elly is a yard sale junkie and homemaker and I fix up old houses when I'm not playing music.

Are you interested in becoming a member? Visit the Atheist Blogroll resource blog for more information.

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You need Jesus

It’s the little encounters with the overtly faithful that amuse me the most. Take this morning. I was driving along the route to my parents house while listening to Sublime’s acoustic version of Pool Shark. The song starts slow but at 1:22 amps up to pure ska punk madness. I love it. My windows were down. The bass was pumping, and the volume was pegged as high as I could stand it. I was alone, happy, and in my own world. It was Saturday morning bliss.

now i got the needle
and i can shake but i can't breath
i take it away
but i want more, and more
one day i'm gonna lose the war.

Lyrics from Pool Shark - Sublime

I was waiting at a traffic light when Pool Shark hit the 1:22 mark. The car next to me honked its horn several times. I heard a lady shout, “You need Jesus!” from the car to my left. She was waving a bible in my direction while giving me the stink eye. My response… “I know, I love Sublime.”  She was not amused.

Watch it yourself…


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Friday, April 23, 2010

Bodybuilding pastor assaults child

jared_rost The pastor behind a bodybuilding ministry known as Power for Life ministries beat the crap out of a 13-year-old child.

Witnesses say Jared Rost pinned 13-year-old T.J. Flores on the ground and smacked him with his elbows and with a stick.

Pastor Jared Rost is a 250 pound man. T.J. is a 13-year-old child. Pastor Rost uses his elbows to break bricks… and the face of a young boy.

Pastor Rost has not been charged. It sounds like a case of roid rage to me. Check him out in action and tell me if you agree. He’s the one with thinning hair at the start of the video. And presumably, small nuts.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Who knew Charles Manson made an album?

I was working my way through a massive 80,00 song music library when I heard the song, “I once knew a man” by Charles Manson, the real Charles Manson. I mean, wtf?

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Love those flowers


This is another shot from my recent trip the the LA Arboretum. I’m actually considering buying a light box to help work on my technique. Of course, growing these beautify orchids is beyond my gardening skill level, so I need to find a good supplier.

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I witnessed an assault today

I was in Simi Valley today and happened to witness an assault on a young girl. I was taking two of my project leads out to lunch at Macaroni Grill. I pulled into a stall in the parking lot and heard a girl screaming and a man yelling as I exited my truck. My colleague stepped out of the passenger door and saw an older man punch a young girl in the face. By the time I cleared the back of my truck, the girl was on the ground and the assailant was walking away. A went to her aid, my colleague followed the assailant. We both called 911.

The girls was shaken up but not hurt too badly. She was an older teen, and weighted all of 90 pounds. Her assailant was an adult male weighing about 230. He was upset because she was placing a flier on his new Lexus. When he demanded it be removed, he became angry at how she removed the flier. They argued. He grabbed her and pinned her to the car. She struggled. He hit her. There were two witnesses who were able to tell the police the whole story.

I realized a few things after thinking about the incident. I was more concerned about the girl’s health than I was about paying attention to details. When the 911 operator asked for a description, all I was able to say was he was an older man, possibly 60. I missed other things too. Like the fact that there were two men involved in the assault. I completely missed it. One guy just stood by and watched, they both walked away.

The assailant eventually came back. My colleague had followed him to the threshold of a store and guilted him into coming back. He took pictures too, and made an outline of his notes while it was fresh his mind. When the assailant returned, I position myself in between him and the girl until the police arrived. I put on my best badass facial expression and tried to act tough, but I was shaking inside.

I was happy to see the police arrive. The incident took place all of 500 yards from the police station, so the response was fast. The police eventually arrested the bully. We all gave statements or our contact info. An hour after it all started, we were working of the adrenalin rush over a nice lunch.

I don’t make this stuff up. It happens to me all the time.

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Take the deal

MelvinSilas Pastor Melvin Lynn Silas of the Church of the Great I Am, pleaded no contest to felony bigamy charges. His punishment is a slap on the wrist but funny at the same time. 180-day jail sentence and three years of probation. The funny part… he is to serve his 180 days on weekends. I guess the Church of the Great I Am will need to get along without him.

After Silas and his wife separated in August 2007 he asked her not to seek a divorce and she granted his request, the woman told San Bernardino County sheriff's investigators.

In April 2008, while still legally wed, the pastor of Church of the Great I Am married another woman in Las Vegas, according to investigators.

Related Post:

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If Javon is resurrected…

If Javon is resurrected, the plea will be withdrawn. This must be the most bizarre statement to be included in a criminal plea agreement ever. It’s an odd ending to  a horrible case of child abuse.

ria-ramkissoon Christian cultists Ria Ramkissoon starved her son to death on the orders of cult leader Queen Antoinette. Javon, a 16-month-old boy, never had a chance. His mother watched him die. Ramkissoon was given a lenient sentence.

Ramkissoon, who has been in jail since her 2008 arrest, was given five years probation on Wednesday and must complete the program at a residential treatment facility. It is Christian-based and out-of-state.

Of course, all bets are off if little Javon is resurrected.

The plea agreement contained an extraordinary provision asked for by Ramkissoon: If Javon is resurrected, the plea will be withdrawn.

Remember, Ramkisson was the victim here. She was mislead and deceived by her pastor. Let’s send her to another pastor… Yeah… that will work.

Related Posts:

Introducing Idaho’s Non-Religious Blog

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Idaho's Non-Religious blog.

Hello! I created a blog for Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers in Idaho or surrounding areas. I am interested in the thoughts and ideas of other people trying to spur Atheist movements in small towns. Half of my content is just Atheistic in General but I also like to post on the local Atheist people and events in the Boise area.

I started this blog to give recognition to those courageous individuals willing to declare their Atheistic pride in a state full of religious fundamentalists. It isn't easy to do this in Idaho. We struggle. I'm sure there are other people in other parts of the world who share our pain. Please drop by and say hello.

Find out more information, visit the Atheist Blogroll.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I finally shot a humming bird


After several years of trying, I finally shot a hummingbird in flight. Like most of my shots it was a happy accident. I was shooting the flowering tree when the bird flew into the frame. My only regret is that I was shooting too slow to freeze the wings.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Post: A victim’s story

I write about clergy sexual abuse. When I started this quest, I had no emotional attachment to the subject. Over time this changed. I’m emotionally invested now, and it’s because of people like the anonymous author of this guest post. I end up talking to tvictims in about 50% of my clergy sexual abuse posts. I hear things that make my blood boil. Few are willing to let me tell their stories. It’s a shame, but I understand their reasons.

I’ve written 2 posts about Fr. Kevin Hederman: Clergy sexual abuse and missionary work (May 27, 2009), and A victim’s Statement (May 28, 2009). Together the posts have generated nearly 100 comments and over 100 emails. Three emails were from other people who claimed abuse. One agreed to tell their story. People are free to voice their opinions or tell their stories. I think it’s healthy. I accept quest posts from both sides. So far I’ve had no takers from the clergy.

This guest post is written by the sister of an abuse victim. She posts as The-Truth-Hurts in the comment threads of the articles linked above.

Please note that the copyright for this article is CC BY-NO-NO.

A Victim’s Story
By The Truth Hurts

If a stranger approached me and said, “Your cousin is a child molester.” I would not believe it for an instant. There is just absolutely no way. My cousin wanted to be a Catholic priest before he met a woman he fell in love with, married and had two children. He is a deep believer in God and his religion. He loves his children. How could he be a child molester? Why would someone make such vile accusations that I know are not true? There is no way.

When someone you know and respect is accused of such atrocious acts I can completely understand how one would not believe the allegations to be true. No one wants to think they are friends with someone who could and would engage in sexual abuse, especially against children. It’s a hard, bitter pill to swallow. And yet, you see news stories all the time with friends and family pleading that their loved one is innocent only to be found guilty. They never knew.

I am not judging those that have had positive dealings with Fr. Kevin and are adamantly sticking up for him because all they know is his glowing public persona, but they are wrong. I am also not judging those they want to hang him up by his testicles just because an allegation has been laid against him, but they are wrong too.

This is my personal story, or rather the story of my brother and my family, about how we ended up in our own personal Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal.

Recent allegations have come to light about John Doe 115 charging Fr Kevin Hederman of sexual abuse. I am not related in any way to JD115 and anything I write here is in no way speaking on behalf of or for him. I have no knowledge of whether or not his allegations against Fr Kevin are true. I tend to believe him though since the same priest raped my brother. Our lawsuit was brought against Fr. Kevin over ten years ago without any press or news. Yet here is another person all these years later saying the same man abused him. He named the same priest. That would be a pretty big coincidence. We have been waiting all this time for another victim to step forward. We know there are more out there.

First, let me address the anonymous issue. I will remain anonymous for this post. I will protect the identity of my brother. Let me be clear, my first and main concern is the welfare of my brother. If in trying to get this story out to others means I have to leave important details out then so be it.

Is it fair for a victim to anonymously call out, by name, the accused? I see both sides of the issue. If the accused is innocent and their name gets attached to such a horrible claim they can be forever stigmatized as an abuser, even if their name is later cleared. This is not right. I believe that if a person knowingly and falsely accuses someone of rape then they should be the one to have jail time instead. Now on the flip side, if a victim has to declare themselves by name will that hinder their decision to come out or press charges? Yes. Not always, but it will happen. It’s hard enough to publicly admit you were sexually abused or raped. Now add to that you have to put your name out there so it will be forever known you were a victim can be a daunting thought. Victims do not want to be defined by this. They want to heal and move on.

Like I said, I see both sides of the issue. I do not have a solution. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 isn’t it? You want victims to feel safe enough to prosecute their attackers yet is it fair if the attackers are innocent? I know that my brother does not want people to look at him and think to themselves, “Hey, that’s the guy that got raped by a priest. That’s the guy who had a priest’s penis up his butt.” Was that too harsh of a way to put it? Too graphic? Too disgusting? Unnecessary? So is rape. It’s humiliating is what it is. It’s dehumanizing. Of course people may not want their name attached. Everybody handles rape differently but it most assuredly affects all victims. It’s easy to say what you would do if it happened to you but you don’t know what you would do – do you? How do you know for sure whether or not you would fight or if your flight instinct would kick in instead? We all would like to think we know exactly how we would react and respond but when it comes down to it, maybe we don’t know until we experience it firsthand. How do you know with it being just a hypothetical?

Imagine that you have a loved one that was raped. Imagine that person has not handled it well at all. You, not having to actually experience the rape, think that person should go public and press charges. It’s the right thing to do. Now what happens if that person were to say, “I just can’t. I would rather kill myself than have people know this was done to me.” Now what do you think? If your loved one was affected so emotionally and mentally that they couldn’t handle the public attention that they would rather die, would you think badly of them for not stepping forward publicly? Would you judge them? Would you rather your loved one dead or mentally broken down as a consequence of “doing the right thing”?

Between the humiliation and the fact that it was a priest can account for why some victims take so long to come forward. You’re ashamed. You question yourself and the event. Yes, it’s easy to say that it wasn’t your fault, you should not feel guilty and you should not question what happened but that’s not how it works when you’re the one that has been abused. People normally are initially in shock when the abuse first happens and it can take a while to process. By the time they realize what happened was wrong and decide to take action all forensic evidence may be gone, if there was any to begin with. Then it’s your word against a priest. Keep in mind that it has only been very recent that DNA evidence has even been possible. Sometimes there isn’t DNA evidence to begin with; abuse can happen without it and in other forms. The burden of proof is on the victim and these can be hard allegations to prove. You’re left with your word against an automatic respected persona, image, and person.

Imagine someone coming forward about being raped by a cop. The phrase that comes to my mind is, “Good luck with that.” Imagine the run around the victim would get trying to report the crime and the disbelief. The cop’s colleagues might verbally attack the victim and possible harassment would follow (much like what we have seen through the comments on this site and various others). It is more than an uphill battle. The victim is not just fighting one person, one cop, but an establishment. Now imagine that victim is a male accusing another believed-to-be heterosexual male cop of rape. I guarantee the uproar and incredulity would be nothing short of a violent sandstorm locked in a small compartment with the victim trapped in the middle being lashed at from every direction. This is what it is like for victims of sexual abuse by a priest. This is why the victims are terrified to come forward. This is why they wait. This is why they want their name protected.

Abuse victims don’t ever forget what has happened to them but there is a certain denial that goes with it. You do your best to box it up and stick it in the darkest locked closet in your mind. Sometimes you run and run and run and run from it. Sometimes you are so tired of running that you unlock that door, get down that box, open it up and confront the horrible memories and the crime. You come forward and let it be known something horrible happened and you are now willing to speak about it. You stop hiding.

I will only touch briefly on the actual events of what happened to my brother by Fr Kevin Hederman. He was a teenager away on a retreat. Father Kevin singled him out. He offered my brother something to drink but he declined. Fr. Kevin needled him about it until my brother finally accepted. The drink was drugged. I will skip the gruesome details of what occurred and they were undeniably gruesome. He suppressed the memories and no one had any idea something horrible had happened to my brother.

When the memories finally reappeared my brother was not able to handle it well. It was a horrible time. We knew something was wrong and only that it had to do with Fr. Kevin. Our initial guesses were that Fr. Kevin had a conversation with my brother that did not go well. That he said something to upset my brother. Perhaps he didn’t agree with a career choice or something along those lines. No one imagined or would have even guessed the magnitude and horror of what had actually occurred.

My parents are Catholic. Their parents were Catholic. My entire extended family, I and my siblings were all raised Catholic. We are taught to trust in priests. We confess to them. They have a direct line to God. What do you do when you’re in trouble or have a problem? You take it to an elder or someone in authority. We are taught not to question that authority. They know more than we do. We hold priests in high regards. While they are still human beings, we are led to believe they are more enlightened and will help us. Rape victims usually end up questioning themselves to begin with. Did I do something wrong? Am I in any way to blame? Now add to that that it was done by someone whom you were raised to believe to trust and that they are righteous, then a person will really start to question themselves. When you first start to hear of all these abuse stories about the priests you think, “But they’re a priest!” The concept is hard to grasp that these Men of God would go against their own teachings.

When my brother finally decided to file a lawsuit the police brought Fr. Kevin in for questioning. He miserably failed his lie detector test. I know that doesn’t mean much and wouldn’t even be admissible in court. He gave an official statement and it was disturbing. He never admitted to any guilt. He did however make inappropriate comments about my brother’s attractiveness. He also admitted to walking my brother back to his room, hugging him and at that point he “lost his seed.” That’s in quotation marks because that was Fr. Kevin’s exact words. He “lost his seed” when giving my brother a hug. What grown man ejaculates while hugging a teenage boy? Perhaps those that know Fr. Kevin well might have heard this term of phrase from him before. It’s a bit of an odd one yes? Not one that many people say. I wonder what would happen if someone did a test on this? If someone were able to somehow bring up in conversation with him another way to phrase ejaculation would he suggest “lose your seed”? Then again, maybe he is scouring the internet for his name and will come across this post so the test would be moot. If he is reading this, he knows who my family is. He knows I am no longer remaining silent. I was just a kid myself when all this happened. I’m an adult now and my own person. I am not bound by a gag order from the Archdiocese. My restrained comments are only done out of respect for my brother. Make note though, I am commenting and I am talking.

A civil suit was filed. There simply was not enough proof to pursue a criminal trial. Too much time had gone by and it was Fr. Kevin’s word against my brother’s. No witnesses. The point of the civil suit was to have something done about Fr. Kevin. This was the only way to get the Archdiocese to take us seriously at all because up to that point they were not. They didn’t care. This was not about money.

Why is it that when most rape victims take their attackers to court people don’t shout at them that they’re money grubbing piranhas? What is it about accusing priests that people automatically think the victim is after something devious or anything other than justice? Is it that so much time has gone by before they step forward? What if it was a kid that was molested time and time again by a relative? Do we blame them for not coming forward more quickly? Or do we see how they are apprehensive about pointing their finger at someone close to them? Do we understand that it’s hard to come out against someone that others know, love and trust? We get it how many others won’t believe them and that it’s hard to take a stand? We’re more willing to accept that they questioned what was happening or that they were too humiliated to let the world know? Why is it that when other rape victims stand up to be accounted for they are strong and brave yet people like my brother or JD115 are made out to be the bad guys? Why don’t priest victims get the same understanding and sympathy? Why are they judged more quickly and harshly? A question: If someone came forward saying they were abused by Fr. Kevin, without the lawsuit and without the possibility of receiving monetary compensation, does that mean the priest is now indeed guilty? To all those that stand up Fr. Kevin, if some one was to come forward and just simply state this man hurt and abused me are they to then be believed? Or is it just easier to cry foul and point the blame at the money that to step back and believe in the possibility the allegations are true?

The case never went to trial. Simply and honestly put, my brother was not stable enough to handle a trial and being questioned by the opposition. Lawyers are hired to win for their clients and that is what they do. I don’t have a problem with that. The Church’s lawyers would have come after my brother hard and ruthless. He was already deeply clinically depressed. Getting out of bed or taking a shower seems monumental when you have a deep depression. Now imagine trying to face a panel of lawyers accusing you of lying or worse, wanting the attentions of Fr. Kevin. Lawyers will try any tactic to try and trip the victim up, make them seem irrational, confused, liars and whatever else it takes for their client to be found innocent. Sometimes it’s not just about the facts but what you can sell to the judge and jury. What perception and reality you can create. Due to the time lapse and the drugging of my brother by Fr. Kevin the memories were not always the exact and the most clear. Something the lawyers would have had a field day with. Fr. Kevin had learned his trade well. My brother was also suffering with PTSD. He had to drop out of college. He was angry. He didn’t know what to do with himself. He didn’t know what was right or what was wrong. He didn’t know how to love and be loved anymore. He didn’t know how to deal with what happened to him.

So what options were left to my family? They wanted some type of justice but none would be forthcoming in jail time or a guilty verdict. That’s when the money came into play. The Archdiocese didn’t even offer counseling of any sort because that would make it plausible Fr. Kevin was guilty. My parents wanted assurances that Fr. Kevin would not be allowed around children ever again but that too would be an admittance of sorts. You want to be taken seriously and sometimes the only way to do that is to hit them in the pocketbook. They won’t listen any other way. My brother was mentally and emotionally unwell now. We wanted money to get my brother help. So we either walked away worse off than when we first began or walked away with the hope we could get my brother professional help. Lawyers and therapy cost money. Our lawyer said we would not win the case and the best thing to do was settle. So we did.

As part of the settlement a gag order was issued for my parents and my brother. Yes, they were paid to remain silent. My brother couldn’t face coming out publicly and we were not going to force him. I don’t judge him for his decision. He made the best fight he could and unfortunately it did not end up with Fr. Kevin’s name in the press, behind bars and away from children.

Let’s tally things up shall we? The Archdiocese paid my brother a sum of money in exchange for my brother: being raped, not being able to talk about the rape, dropping out of school, becoming clinically depressed, PTSD and more, not being able to ever have a normal relationship again, being angry, being paranoid, being confused, doubting himself, hating himself, not being able to keep a job, not being able to live on his own, revolving visits to behavioral clinics, a lifetime of multiple daily medications, not knowing how to communicate and not being able to have a normal life. I dream of winning the lottery and not worrying about paying bills. My brother dreams about having a normal life where he gets to worry about paying bills. I think it’s fair to say that while he is still living, Father Kevin Hederman stole his life and the Archdiocese paid a paltry sum for my brother’s soul. Meanwhile, Fr. Kevin was free to go about his business, his life and set up shop elsewhere.

And while we are at it let’s throw in a few more things. Not only has my brother’s life been irreparably been changed but so has the lives of my family. The abuse of one person has many ripple effects. Not only do my parents take care of my brother but they have to watch him suffer on a daily basis of him struggling to get by week by week. My parents never experienced the “empty nest syndrome.” My siblings and I have experience our own issues surrounding this new family dynamic as well. This has been going on for years. My brother is very much loved and we do what we can to help him. We will always be there for him and glad to do so. These years have been frustrating for all of us but we remain a loving family and committed to working through this lifetime sentence. My brother is no longer the person he once was. Sometimes though, sometimes, when he is having a good cycle you see glimpses of the old person he used to be: funny, smart and carefree. When this happens it makes me smile and cry all at the same time. It’s wonderful to see and remember how great my brother really is and can be. It is heart wrenching to know this aspect of him is more like spotting a rainbow, but less often, and a reminder of what was taken from him.

For any of those that say my family took hush money and that’s all they wanted or contributed to others being abused because we didn’t stop it I will chalk your comments up to appalling ignorance. Try looking at things from the victim’s point of view as a victim, not an outsider. The money was spent long ago on medical care and now he gets by on government disability. Think about that. Your tax dollars are paying for the victim of sexual abuse by a priest.

People have said, “If there was a lawsuit then where is it?!?” Well, it’s on file but it doesn’t matter. Fr. Kevin was not specifically named as a defendant on the lawsuit, which in hindsight was a mistake. I am not sure as to what the reasoning was behind that decision but I can only assume it was based off the recommendation of our lawyer. We also naively thought that the Archdiocese would want to remedy this situation by appropriately dealing with Fr. Kevin and his assigned duties and responsibilities. The case has been sealed so no details are available as to what it contains. All you will see is that there was a case filed, settled and sealed with no mention of Fr. Kevin by name that is public information. So you want hard proof? I have none. As of now.

Now the high school that was involved in this incident assured us that Fr. Kevin would no longer have any dealings with their school. From my knowledge they kept their word. The Archdiocese was of no help. Based off the police report alone it was clear Fr. Kevin should have been kept away from children. So instead of acknowledging the severity of the situation and the potential damage to future victims they did nothing. Or did they? Not too long after the lawsuit was settled Fr. Kevin moved to Belize. Interesting isn’t it?

I know Fr. Kevin’s family was asked by a respected reporter about my brother’s case. There were no details mentioned, just the fact that the reporter had heard there was another case from the 90’s brought against Fr. Kevin. They vigorously denied that fact. Maybe they didn’t know about the case because Fr. Kevin was easily able to hide it since it never made the press. Maybe Fr. Kevin lied about wanting to go to Belize for the same reason? Maybe it wasn’t even his choice to leave the country. Maybe he has been lying this whole time about why he is there. He didn’t have to offer up the truth nor would he as it would tarnish his name and reputation. Lies are easily accepted by those that love someone, trust them, believe in them and have no reason to think otherwise. I get that.

I’d like to urge other victims of sexual abuse to step forward. I’ll be honest, it isn’t pretty and it sure in the hell isn’t easy. It is also very scary. But as JD115 has done, you too can make an anonymous claim. The Archdiocese did nothing when my brother came forward years ago but today’s climates regarding these cases are different. Another voice, two, three, twenty can make a big difference. JD115’s case is non-existent in the media. If enough people stand up and speak out the public will take notice and that will force the Church to take notice. Perhaps we can get this man, and any others, away from children for good. Perhaps he will finally be held accountable.

I would also like to extend my personal thanks to John Doe 115 whoever and wherever you are. I know coming forward is a hard thing to do. The fact that you are doing so now after all this time leads me to believe that this has been weighing on your mind for years. I hope, no matter the outcome of your case, that you find peace with the past, present and future. I hope that your case (either directly or indirectly) finds a way to ban Fr. Kevin Hederman from being around children; something my family could not accomplish. I hope that you have scared Fr. Kevin badly enough to stop acting on his sick desires from fear of getting caught. I hope that you remain strong and know how strong you are to begin with. I hope you realize that your actions of speaking out was like a gift to my family; priceless. I hope you know that there are people that believe you. And while I have all these hopes, I know there is a place for you in Heaven.

The point of me writing this wasn’t so much to try and make people believe that Fr. Kevin raped my brother or to make you believe JD115’s claims. I know people are going to say you have no proof so you must be lying. Or I won’t believe you until you show proof. That’s fine. Go ahead and accuse me of lying or having ulterior motives. I’m not sure what those motives would be though. I mostly wanted to address the reasoning behind stepping forward anonymously, years later and settling a lawsuit for money. People seem to want to jump on these things like it is proof that the victims are liars or the bad ones in this situation.

Let me tell you, there are no winners in these situations.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Port of Long Beach

I took about 600 pictures on my recent vacation. I liked this one the best. The reason may not be what you think. I’ve had this picture in my head for about 8 years. I was on a small boat once without a camera and saw something similar. I’ve thought about it on an off for years.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A story of abuse from Canada

Clergy sexual abuse happens in churches all over the world, even in the great white north. Chad Blaine Mossing was a church volunteer working with youth at several churches. He was convicted of 11 counts of sexual assault.

Fifteen of the offences occurred in Mission, with others in Merritt and Oliver, B.C. from around 1998 until August 2007. The investigation was conducted by the Kelowna and Mission RCMP detachments.

All of the victims, except one, were boys.

Two of the abused children reported abuse…

Court documents show that the first two victims reported the incidents to other adults but the behaviour was brushed aside and was not reported to police at that time.

One girl took it to her pastor…

In 2002, Mossing sexually touched a girl, then 13 or 14, when she was part of a group he took on a trip. The following day, the girl confronted Mossing and a pastor, but she was made to feel as if she had over-reacted.

Does this sound familiar? It happens in so many of these cases. Unsupervised access to children in the name of spiritual development is an open door to pedophiles. Add a church culture that blindly trusts Christians as incapable of committing these acts and its the perfect storm for abuse. When Church officials protect adults over children, it’s time to find another church.

At least Mossing will spend a few years in prison.

Godless girl nails a perv

Godless girl has a post up called Game Show Host Kisses Young Girls. It’s friggen creepy and well worth a visit for a quick read. Make sure to watch the embedded video.

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NPR – Psychologist for Priests

I listened to a disturbing story about a Psychologist who worked with over 300 pedophile catholic priests. The full title is Psychologist For Priests: I Saw Abusers Reinstated. It aired on April 15, 2010.  Dr. Leslie Lothstein recalls how priests who had molested children were returned to their jobs rather than moved out for treatment or monitoring.

"My experience was that if it was said to one of the clergy who was in charge ... that this person needs to have much more supervision, they would say, 'Oh yes, yes, it'll be there, they'll have supervision,' " Lothstein tells NPR's Michele Norris. "But then what happened was they went back to their normal, everyday work. And in going back to it, we learned much later that they didn't have the supervision."…

…"In my experience, there were some people who were sent right back to working in youth ministries, and they often offended," he says. "There was also a subgroup of people that I saw in my private practice where they were sent back by their religious order to a foreign country, and within that country continued to molest children. And it was just horrible."

This is a first hand account of a mindboggling breach of trust. How do Catholics put up with it?

Pastor Jason Smoker guilty

If I ever meet this guy, I will have to work hard not to punch him in the nose. Former Baptist Pastor Jason Smoker was convicted of neglect of an at-risk person. That means the good pastor took advantage of a person who is not capable of taking care of himself. Does that sound like something a Christian would do?

Do you remember the case? Pastor Jason Smoker dumped garbage on a developmentally disabled boy as punishment for not cleaning a bus properly.

According to the affidavit, Smoker then "placed an item around his (victim's) head, covering his eyes, that was described as possibly a -shirt that was tied in a knot to keep it on ... (the victim's) head. Pastor Smoker had (the victim) lay down on the ground near the bus and dumped trash on top of him that was apparently taken from the bus trash cans.(The victim) said the trash didn't hurt him physically but did emotionally."

The bully was convicted.

Former assistant pastor Jason Smoker, 37, will be sentenced on May 27 after he was convicted Wednesday of dumping trash on a developmentally disabled person as punishment.

Pastor Jason Smoker was fired from his job at Red Rocks Baptist Church in Morrison. No worries though. He’s a Baptist so he could pop up in a church near you. Be sure to keep your special needs children away from him.

Christian Terrorist who were ready to kill

The Hutaree are nutters. Their leader, David Stone, is a nutter. His followers are all nutters too. Or as I like to call them, Nutballs. They planned to kill anybody who stumbled upon their training sessions.

The leader of a Christian militia planned an elaborate, two-part training session for this month and told members it was OK to kill "anyone who might stumble upon the operation," federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing Friday.

David Stone is serious.

"If you're made, somebody comes tripping along, they just happen to see you, we're gonna handle it as a hostile situation," Stone said. "That means you put them on the ground."

All because they wanted to fight the anti-Christ. I don’t think they are mentally ill. No, I think they are Christians who took their delusion to a level few are willing to adopt. They are no different that fringe religious groups who adopt violence as part of their belief structure. Nutballs sure, but cultivated in the anti-intellectual desert known as conservative Christianity.

Cruising with the authentic cross

Dolphin I’ve spent the last week on the Carnival Paradise sailing out of the port of Long Beach in California. I sailed with 20 members of my extended family. It was a blast. I was able to unplug from my busy professional life and simply relax. Of course it was spring break for the 750 or so kids on board, so rest was defined as finding a quiet place out of the range of the partying hordes. I managed just fine. It is amazing what a Kindle and an IPod can do for your peace of mind.

I noticed a large number of men wearing silver-dollar-sized wooden crosses hanging on leather straps around their necks. They were all between 25 and 35, white, and well groomed. Each sported hipster hair styles. It was almost like watching my teen son with his friends. They all had a look.

I found myself at a bar with two men who were wearing the cross so I asked what the deal was, “Why are there so many of you wearing the same wooden cross?” They responded by telling me they were members of an authentic Christian church on a cruise retreat together. They wore the cross to stand strong in a world where Christianity was oppressed by the secular masses and other mislead churches.

DSC_5967 I smiled. I recognized the warning signs of a cult behavior when I see it. They viewed themselves as special and fighting against the rest of world to keep their authentic message pure. I run into true believers like these two men all the time.

They asked if I was a Christian. My alcohol influenced, “Fuck no” may have tipped my hand. They gave me a little grief over my choice of language. I can’t remember exactly what they said, but it was your typical morality based rebuke. It pissed me off. I decided to press their buttons. I asked if getting drunk on a cruise ship in front of a couple of hundred children was a good way to spread their authentic message. I suggested that perhaps they should hide their crosses the same way they hide their wedding rings (I could see the tan lines). They exploded into a profanity laced tirade. It was epic. They were drunk and pissed and all the more enraged because I was laughing at them. My final comment… “Now that’s authentic.

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Introducing ContraRarian

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, ContraRarian.

I a ContraRarian. I am an atheist because the notion that any universe-encompassing entity could only be described by one particular human religion out of hundreds is absurd. No-one knows what caused the Universe or what happens after we die. No-one. Not me, not you, not the Pope, no-one. I used to write convoluted blog posts under other names. Now is the time for short quotes and fun pictures. I wish loving kindness and compassion on all beings. Even Christian apologists, who wind me up no end. Please visit my blog and say hello.

Find out more information, visit the Atheist Blogroll.

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Introducing Agnostic Thinking

Please join me in welcoming our newest Atheist Blogroll member, Agnostic Thinking.

My name is Eddie O'Reilly and my blog is called  Agnostic Thinking...  A place where I write about "Atheists, Agnostics and Queers Oh My!" - Well something like that anyway. I actually write about Religion (or my lack of it), Agnostic/Atheism, Rational Thinking, Gay Subculture And Related Topics.

I consider myself to be a Rationalist.  "It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."  - Carl Sagan

Since I can find no way to rationally justify a belief in a personal god, I guess that also makes me an Agnostic and or Atheist.  "I expect death to be nothingness, and for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism"  - Isaac Asimov

I have taken great comfort in discovering the online Agnostic/Atheist community. As both a "Doubter" and a "Homosexual" I've often felt both isolated and alone.  Kind of like  a fish out of water  in most social settings.

You might think that  "Nonbelievers"  would be readily embraced by the gay community.  But that's not true at all.  You'd be surprised at how many religious gays there really are.  Even though homosexuality has been almost universally condemned by mainstream religions; Gays still seem to find a way to believe.  Indoctrination is a powerful tool.

I was raised Roman Catholic, parochial school and all and believe me that wasn't always easy. From the earliest of ages, I was always getting in trouble during Catechism Class for asking what I thought were reasonable and rational questions. The Priests, Nuns and Brothers of course, just viewed me as being insolent.

To this day, I'm not really sure which was more difficult. "Coming Out" as a Gay Man or as an Atheist. I'm happy to say that in the Agnostic/Atheist community, I seem to have found acceptance as both. When people are freed from religious dogma and superstitious beliefs they tend to be a lot more open-minded and less judgmental.

I hope you'll enjoy reading my blog and please feel free to comment. Thanks for Reading!

Find out more information, visit the Atheist Blogroll.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

It’s time for a break

I’m on vacation for a week. No posts (or even thinking about posts) until next weekend.

I’ve been working on my photography blog. I would appreciate some comments on the design. My Blind Eye.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Top 10 photography blogs

The reason I like blogging is simple. I learn things. Be it pastor Geoffrey Whitt who likes to masturbate in public, or the tendency of religious folks to use religion as a weapon in divorce. Religion, and the odd people who stray from the path, fascinates me. Each odd story is a unique lesson in human failure. I learn from each one. But if left to my own devices, I read photography blogs.

When it comes to “this or that”, this post is about that… photography. This is my top 10 list of photography blogs. Enjoy.

Top 10 photography blog

  1. Satan’s Laundromat – I’ve been a fan for years.
  2. Joe’s NYC – I would kill for this guys eye. He’s amazing.
  3. Jalbum – Architecture – I love the urban landscapes.
  4. Garden Porn – It’s not what you think.
  5. Pixpopuli – A clean site with interesting photo and good writing.
  6. Chicago Uncommon – Another great photographer with a good eye for the odd and interesting.
  7. Daily dose of imagery – One amazing photo after another.
  8. San Francisco daily photography – I get jealous at times…
  9. Still Life With – It’s all about the food.
  10. Photowalking – A hobby of mine.

From with the Atheist Blogroll

Do not miss Toomanytribbles and wanderinweeta.

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