Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Catholic cover-ups

Hat tip Atheist Media Blog.

We all know this is what really happens. The Catholic church is only concerned about protecting and perpetuating the Catholic church. If you are a victim once and trust them to do the right thing, you will be a victim again.

30 years on and Las Vegas

DSC_7931 When we were young, my girlfriend and I eloped to Las Vegas and were married in the Candlelight Wedding Chapel. 30 years later my wife and I returned to celebrate our anniversary. We found that our wedding chapel had closed and was transformed into a museum complete with life-sized dummies reenacting a wedding. Its former owner saved it the building from destruction and gave it to the people of Nevada. It was moved from its previous location in front of the Riviera and Circus Circus Hotels to the grounds of the Clark County Museum.

In its day it was the place to get married in Vegas.

Originally Little Church of the West Algiers and then All Religions Wedding Chapel, it was the first chapel with an 800 number and limo service. It married so many couples daily that a side door was installed to usher out fresh newlyweds so they wouldn’t bump into wedding parties making their formal procession down the aisle.

We entered through the front doors on August 30, 1980, and a little after 2 in afternoon, exited through the side door. Since we were too young to gamble, we played pinball at Circus Circus instead. Good times.

My wife and I plan to donate some of our memorabilia to the museum’s display. They are collecting pictures, marriage certificates, receipts and anything else related to the chapel. I’ll post our wedding picture to Facebook. Don’t laugh. I wore flip-flops.

It's a calling

One thing I’ve discovered when writing about clergy sexual abuse is that many Baptist pastors come to their jobs because they claim to be “called” by God to do so. Once called, they start on the path to preaching and one day to running their own church, all without the benefit of a mandated formal education. These callings are a part of church culture and are treated as if they are divine. Church culture values the calling, over all else.

Many of the Baptist pastors I report on are uneducated. They were called to preach, but not called to learn or called to earn an education. They don’t know what they don’t know, yet the are leaders of people and help guild the lives of those who freely listen to them as if they are somehow made wise by the process.

When I confront these pastors for the heinous crimes of pedantry, rape, or abuse of power, I am often told of their calling as a justification for their innocence. The logic goes something like this; God called the pastor to preach the word and God would not call somebody who would commit a crime like this, so the pastor is innocent.

This “calling” is a fraud committed by men in pursuit of their new profession. It’s also their meal ticket, claim to power and authority over others. It enables leadership based on charisma an superstition instead of leadership based on character and learning. It creates a fertile bead where moral turpitude can take root, and worst, as a handy excuse for private time with children, woman, and people at risk. Claiming God called them is an invitation to the smorgasbord, and pastors like to eat their fill.

A better approach is education and increasing levels of responsibility built on demonstrated performance. It does not make one immune to the temptations of the flesh, but it offers a better chance at weeding out those without the character or morality for the job. Education and accomplishments are hard work. It is much easier to stand in front of the pulpit and preach. All one need do is wake up one day with a calling and a new career awaits. Each time it happens, the bar is lowered until the position is meaningless. Why is it the faithful cannot see this?

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Pastor Laneer Fisher arrested

Rev. Dr. Laneer Fisher was arrested for allegedly molesting two boys from his church. The molestations took place a few years ago.

A criminal complaint filed by Aliquippa police said officers were contacted in June by a couple and their son, now 17, who said the incidents with Fisher began two years ago.

The teen accused Fisher of touching his arms and neck, caressing his chest, kissing him and having him sit on his lap, the complaint states.

The other young man, now in his 20s, filed a complaint with Beaver Falls police about incidents that he said occurred eight to 10 years ago at the Aliquippa church, Goodwald said.

Fisher is the pastor at Miracle Church of God in Christ. I sent an email asking for Pastor Fisher’s side of the story. I hope he provides a press release or comments.

Charges dropped against Rev. Poandi

Rev. Robert F. Poandi’s sex abuse charges were dismissed with with prejudice.

The charges of first-degree sexual assault, first-degree sexual abuse and sexual abuse by a custodian were dismissed because prosecutors had failed to comply with a court order to produce medical records, according to Anita Ashley, one of Poandl's lawyers.

The charges were filed after a 28-year-old Cincinnati man told police Poandl, who is associated with the Cincinnati-based religious organization Glenmary Home Missioners, had molested him during a visit to Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Spencer in 1991. At the time of the alleged incident, the victim was 10 years old.

My offer stands: Rev Poandi is entitled to a guest post on my blog on a topic of his choosing.

Previous posts

Technorati Tags: Clergy Sexual Abuse,Catholics

Mormon Bishop murdered

Kenneth James Ward, murdered the LDS bishop in charge of his former church. Ward did not know the victim.

…he drove 140 miles south to his childhood town of Visalia, walked into his former church and opened fire on Clay Sannar, 40, a lay bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints....

Ward blamed the Mormon church for his troubles.

"When my brother had one of his episodes, he conjured up in his mind that he thought that the Mormons were sending him to hell. He would tell me that," Mike Ward, 44, said in a phone interview from his home in Bakersfield.

Clay Sannar was a father of six children.  How horrible. I offer my condolences to the family.

It is odd that Ward would travel down to his old church to murder a man he did not know. It speaks of deeper issues. He was trying to settle the score on something from his past, some injury amplified by his mental issues into something that could only be addressed at its root. He could have walked into any Mormon church and opened fire, they are a ubiquities feature of most towns. There are plenty to choose from.

Religious violence intrigues me. I often wonder about the link between dogma and violence. Ward’s fixation on being cast into hell has its roots in something he experienced as a Mormon. Perhaps his atypical ranting could have been used as a reason to get him help? But what would we say? “My brother thinks he’s going to hell?”

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

An Atheist runs for congress

From Staks Rosch at the Philadelphia Atheism Examiner

Democratic challenger Dr. Wynne LeGrow has issued the following statement:

"Article VI of the Constitution states that 'No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.' My name is Wynne LeGrow. I am the Democratic nominee for US House of Representatives in Virginia's fourth congressional district. And I am a non-believer.”

It is a rare thing to see an Atheist run for office. I don’t know his politics, but I plan to remedy that soon. His political website has more information.  And, he is on twitter.

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Pastor Darryl Todd arrested

DarrylTodd Baptist pastor Darryl Todd was arrested for statutory rape. He is the senior pastor of Spring Branch Missionary Baptist Church. His alleged victim is a 14-year-old girl. Todd was a family man. Which means somebody will post on this article saying the whole thing was the victims fault.

He was formerly the pastor of Saint John Missionary Baptist Church of the Freeman Community of Riegelwood, N.C., the Middle District Baptist Association Director of Youth Affairs, a member of the Evangelism Ministry, a lecturer of the Congress of Christian Education and past Chairman of Youth Evangelism.

Todd is the president and founder of St. John Community Development Corporation. He is married with two children.

Read more: Wagram pastor charged with statutory rape

One of the things that bothers me about Baptists is their apparent lack of standards. How is Darryl Todd qualified to run a church of any size. He does not even have a formal education.

 He is a graduate of Topsail High School, and Louisburg College.  He furthered his education at Ferrum College, and University of North Carolina of Wilmington. Currently, he is a Seminary Student at the Faith Evangelical Seminary Based in Tacoma, WA completing his Bachelor of Art in Religion.

If he’s finishing his BA in Religion from a school in Tacoma that means he’s doing a correspondence course or online program. In the real world one gets his degree, then take on a career. In the religious world, its perfectly acceptable to neglect your education lead a church? Who follows? Is it because being a pastor is a no skill or low skill position?

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Death by PowerPoint Afghani style

I can relate to Col Lawrence Sellin, who was fired for venting his opinions about the use of PowerPoint and the inefficiency of command at the coalition's joint command in Afghanistan.

He went on to paint a picture of a bloated organisation, swollen by the vanity of commanders, where endless slide show presentations are given to brief "cognitively challenged" generals.

I’m a devotee of Tufte myself. I loath PowerPoint. I’ve  been on a campaign of aggressive passive resistance for years. I say silent because I don’t want to self-destruct like Sellin. Working is good, not working is bad.

However he reserved his deepest criticism for the daily slide show presentations junior officers must give to keep top brass updated.

"For headquarters staff, war consists largely of the endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information," he wrote.

Giving good presentations had become an end in itself, he said, suggesting "random motion, ad hoc processes and an in-depth knowledge of Army minutia and acronyms are also key characteristics of a successful staff officer."

It made me laugh though.

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Rev. Randolph Gurley arrested again

Randolph Gurley Rev. Randolph Gurley, the current mayor pro tem of the beautiful city of Dillon, was arrested for attempted murder. He’s accused of trying to run down a pedestrian with his Cadillac Escalade. Did I mention he’s accused of  trying to sell weed too?

The victim claims he bested Gurley in an argument, and that triggered the attack. Not that I’m skeptical or anything but…

“The only thing I said was, he’s a city councilman and a parish reverend, he should be cleaning up ... not dirtying the scene up,” Leonard said.

Leonard said he felt he “bested” Gurley in the conversation and Gurley became increasingly hostile toward him.

Um, right. Something sounds fishy here.

Gurley was arrested for domestic violence in June.

Maggie Gurley told police June 29 her husband put a hawk-bladed knife to her throat and threatened to burn down their home with her inside.

They later changed their story to say they were having a heated discussion about the bible. What happened to the knife again?

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Priest fathers child, now on video

Clergy Sexual Abuse is an endless parade of bad decision. Take the case of Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito. He’s accused of fathering a child with a girl half his age. He’s also accused of having sex with the then 18-year-old in the basement of her parents home. The parents caught the act on video.

In a shocking case, a couple secretly recorded a video of a Roman Catholic priest having sex with their 18-year old daughter in the basement of their home. They have now sued the priest for getting her pregnant.

The lawsuit was filed this Tuesday and alleges that Rev Luis A. Bonilla Margarito continued with a sexual relationship with the teenager while he was the chaplain of Reading Central Catholic High School and she was a senior there.

If the abuse took place while the girl was in high school, the parents would have been better served by going to the police. It looks like they went to the church instead. Now the have a grandchild fathered by an alleged pedophile.

Why I like Science

Why do I like science? My reason is simple, if you make stuff up, some other smart scientist will eventually figure it out. Your ideas, your methodology, you conclusions, all of it must stand up to outside scrutiny. It keeps people honest in a way that religion can never hope to approach. Harvard researcher Marc Hauser found this out recently. He’s been accused of fabricating data.

“Given the published design of the experiment, my conclusion is that the control condition was fabricated,” said Gerry Altmann, the editor of the journal Cognition, in which the experiment was published.

Dr. Hauser said he expected to have a statement about the Cognition paper available soon. He issued a statement last week saying he was “deeply sorry” and acknowledged having made “significant mistakes” but did not admit to any scientific misconduct.

In science and academia, it’s not oops, my bad. It’s oops, there goes my career. If this allegation is true, Hauser is finished and so are his theories. Show me the equivalent in religion? It does not exist.

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Switching teams – Ken Mehlman is gay?

Ken Mehlman, for George W. Bush campaign manager and RNC chair came out of the closet this week. From what I can tell, nobody in the Republican camp really cared. The feeling is a little different in the gay community.

Unsurprisingly, for many gay and liberal bloggers, that’s far too little far too late. “While it’s nice that Ken has finally come out of the closet as an advocate, it’s really hard to forgive him for the damage he did to the community by working actively against it for pay for years,” writes Pam Spaulding of Pam’s House Blend. “That he can coast on the gains for our community by supporting AFER’s stellar work on Prop 8 on the backs of many during his tenure at the RNC who bore the brunt of homophobia, those who died as a result of hate crimes, the activists who were assailed professionally is unbelievable. Yet here we are in 2010 watching it unfold. As a human being Mehlman owes the community a serious apology for fomenting homophobia for political gain.”

What I appreciate about the discussion is that Mehlman is not automatically forgiven because of his announcement. Unlike the born again mindset of Christians, Mehlman has some explaining to do. It’s is a principle I hold dear; judge a person by what they do, not by what they say. Mehlman fought against gay rights for years. He can make up for his mistakes by fighting for those same rights. Who knows, after a few years and some significant achievements, he might redeem himself.

I like HufPo less and less

I never noticed the link baiting. I don’t actually go to the Huffington Post’s website looking for articles. I find them individually via search engines. I went back for a look after watching this. The linkbaiting is obvious but not as pervasive as I was lead to believe in the video rant. When you add in their anti-atheist bias, I can’t help but think something is terribly wrong with HufPo.
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Photo a day – photodriving


Photodriving is a term I coined after participating in a photowalk. I like photowalks fine, except for the herd of photographers. I prefer to grab my camera and go for a drive. I shoot while driving, but mostly I shoot while stopped in traffic or at a traffic light. My wife hates it and complains each time I do it. She was in the car with me yesterday when I took this shot. She offered to drive, but I declined. It’s not photodriving if you are the passenger, it is?

This shot is of the construction zone near the 5 freeway and Artesia blvd in Buena Park. It’s been a construction zone for 5 years. I bet it will be for five more.

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Nutball Alert: Dennis Hobbs

I don’t even know Dennis Hobbs’ religion. The dennis-hobbspress reports that he is a deeply religious man. Is it his religion that drove him to stalk his own daughter? Is it his religion that made him a controlling father? Or is he just a garden variety nutball?

The driver of the car wore black face paint and a black long-sleeve shirt, police said. Inside the car, police said they found a wig, a video camera, a loaded gun and a notebook detailing a young woman's whereabouts. An officer stopped the car after he saw it traveling suspiciously around a women's shelter.

Let’s see now, black face paint, notebook, gun, stalking, private detectives, dead bolts, controlling behavior, death threats and religion. It has all the making of an honor killing or a family tragedy. I wonder what religion he is?

I found this nutball via True Crime Report, which is a great source for news from the world of crime.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Theft from the dead

I love that title – Theft from the dead. What can you steal from a the dead?

The revelation came as a shock to the community, Katwick said. The funds were for the perpetual care of grave sites and the association has had a difficult time maintaining the grounds at the cemetery on Applebee Road.

As president of the association, Katwick issued an apology to the community for being unable to maintain the cemetery. He said he has friends and family buried there and as a retired 67-year-old has volunteered time and money for upkeep.

I get it, Pastor David Maleham took money meant for the upkeep of a cemetery. He allegedly stole over $11K. He was able to steal because he was a pastor and the board figured it did not need to check up on his financial record keeping. Why trust somebody when a simple yearly audit will spot theft? The board should be held accountable for their poor decisions.

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Photography – on not being creepy

DSC_7561 I found a great set of photography tips meant for the aspiring street photography. Well, one tip in particular, disregard what other people think of you. I learned this young and it has served me well. I still have problems with the creep factor though. I don’t like taking pictures of kids because of the reaction I’ve had from parents, so unless it’s something like this photo, I shoot adults.

One of the things that people are worried about when starting street photography is worrying about being judged by other people as being a “creeper” or just being plain weird. Disregard these thoughts. When you are shooting on the streets, you will most likely be alone. That means that anyone who may be “judging” you is people that you do not know and will most likely never see again in your life. So why let them get in your way?

Read More: 1o Tips for the Aspiring Street Photographer

I try not act like an overt street photographer these days. The headaches associated with a shoot gone wrong are just not worth it to me. The police are so unfriendly. And when you are an imposing big guy like me, the police are very unfriendly.

I had my son with me when I shot this photo. He suggested I use a camera without a mechanical shutter. I laughed, now that would be creepy.

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How do you define the word approach?

Anti-Abortion activist pastor Walter Hoye had his conviction overturned on a technicality. The appeals court thought the judge’s instructions concerning the term “approach” were vague.

In a ruling Wednesday, a three-judge Superior Court panel said trial Judge Stuart Hing had failed to tell jurors what they had to conclude before convicting Hoye.

When jurors asked Hing during deliberations to define the "approach" that the ordinance prohibited, the judge told them to use the everyday meaning of the word.

But the panel said the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a similar case from Colorado in 2000 that an abortion protester who stands still, and speaks or hands leaflets to patients who walk by, cannot be convicted of knowingly approaching the patient.

Read more: Anti-Abortion pastor's convictions overturned

I can see where it might be a problem. It’s hard to understand a word with so many different uses. Common sense would be in short supply, no wait. It seems pretty clear to me. Approach, the act of drawing spatially closer to something. What were these judges thinking?

Previous posts on Walter Hoye

A second dead priest accused in Lansing

Rev. John Slowey died in 1968. That did not stop the Catholic church from settling a $250K claim that he molested a 5-year-old boy back in 50s. They publically acknowledged the claim today.

David Mittleman, a lawyer for the victim, said his client says he was about 5 or 6 years old when he was molested by Slowey at the St. Vincent orphanage, where the man and his siblings were placed from June 1954 to March 1955. Slowey died in 1983 at age 68.

Read more: Another Lansing priest accused of molestation

Rev. John Martin was accused earlier in the week. If I were a man from Lansing and about 60years old, I would be reexamining my repressed memories. They could be profitable.

Pastor Clevon Ghent guilty

Clevon Ghent “Pastor” might be too strong of a term for this case. Clevon Ghent was a volunteer minister. That did not stop him from having sex with a 12-year-old girl.

Clevon Ghent, 36, met the girl while serving at Born Again Church of God and Christ.

Prosecutors say Ghent, who was also a friend of the girl's father, had sex with her last year when he was babysitting her.

The girl, now 13, testified earlier this week that she had sex with Ghent on three occasions: twice at his home and once in his Lincoln Navigator.

Wait a minute, volunteer pastor, Lincoln Navigator, what? Clevon must have another job. Perhaps it was babysitting.

Gent faces 90 years in prison. I hope his Lincoln Navigator can take 90 years of storage. Those things are status symbols. He’ll need something when he gets out (in 2100).

Atheist Blogroll Update

The Atheist Blogroll, now with 1,269 members and 23,737,601 page views.

New Blogs

Featured Blog: The Mind Virus

The Mind Virus joined the Atheist Blogroll in July of 2008. Author Craig A. James has been pumping out good content ever sense. The links below are his last three articles. Enjoy.

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

Technorati Tags: Atheism,The Atheist Blogroll

Pastor Travis Gandy to take plea

Travis Gandy Time is running out for accused pedopastor Travis Gandy. He’s about to enter a plea.

“We anticipate that this will be resolved without a trial,” Obear said during the hearing before Judge James Bolgert, though he added that the new evidence “may affect the global resolution” of the two cases.

Looks like the found something on his computer maybe?

Gandy is accused of performing oral sex on one boy, and sending pornography to a second boy. Gandy was the Pastor of Music at Praise Fellowship Church is Sheboygan.

A doctor's faith

When I choose a doctor, I look at their credentials, not their religious affiliations. I’ve never even considered the faith of my doctor. Nine years ago, I remember being asked by my primary care doctor if I wanted to talk to a priest, pastor, or a professional counselor. He had just delivered news that if true meant the end of my life. I remember appreciating that he gave me options. If I needed to talk to somebody, I had the information I needed to make the call. He’s a good doctor, and I’ve forgiven him for the whole misdiagnosis with leukemia episode in our relationship (I’m not kidding).

When my dad was near the end of his life in the hospital, I could sense that the doctors were trying too prolong his life as long as possible. We had to ask them to stop. They did. Religion did not enter the discussion, except when they advised us that the end was near. They too offered the help of a pastor or social worker.

These examples, and others from my life, lead me to think of doctors without their religion being a factor. Yet a new study shows that the devoutly religious may treat end of life decision different than the norm.
Read in isolation, the headline of the Guardian's report into newly published research on doctors' attitudes and behaviour ("Atheist doctors 'more likely to hasten death'") might lead you to think that there are a bunch of humanist physicians poised, with potassium chloride-filled syringes, over the bedside of sick patients. However, the article itself informed us that the problem did not appear to lie with the average atheist doctor but rather with the average very religious doctor.
I came away with the impression that that devoutly religious would act to preserve life in the face of certain death. Even if the decision were against the wishes of the patient or family. It’s a tortured by medicine approach that I find objectionable.

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Faith-based groups face end to public funding

A bill before congress would prohibit faith-based organization from receiving federal money if they discriminate in hiring based on the applicant’s faith.

“Those four lines in the legislation would be a seismic change in bedrock civil rights law for religious organizations,” said Steven McFarland, chief legal counsel at World Vision USA, a Christian aid organization that is leading the protest. “The impact would be huge and severely affect our ability to help children and others in need.”

I hope the provision stays as written. It’s time these groups were forced to play fair if they are operation with government funds.

While many of the groups signing the letter do not get money from the agency, they say the language of the provision is so broad it will affect other, unrelated sources of federal grants. World Vision, for example, received more than $300 million in cash, goods and services from federal sources last year, while the Salvation Army received almost $400 million from federal, state and local governments.

Give the $700 million to our public schools, or better yet, use it to pay off our national debt, well, a really small part of it any way.

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God told me to do it

I read about murders as part of my research into religion. I am interested in why religious people kill others. Most often its the same reasons we hear from the general community, with rage and jealously topping the list.. But sometimes these people claim God told them to kill. What bothers me is that the press reports it as normal activity instead of the action of an insane person.

TheresaRobbinsTheresa Robbins claims she “got signs from God” who told her to “distribute the world order information”. She’s obviously got a screw loose.

Theresa Gail Robbins, 48, was taken into custody without incident after pulling out a handgun and shooting Greg Brasch, of McKinney, once in the chest at Bizzy Bee pest control. Brasch was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to Carrollton police.

She killed her best friend because God told her to what?

When asked why she shot him, Robbins replied, "I was expecting someone else to come in" and that God told her to shoot.

At a minimum I would expect to hear she was scheduled for a psychological evaluation. All we get is a sentence referring to depression. But this story was reported in Texas, where God talks to people all the time.

Of course, it could have been the Devil.

Think she's getting "signs from God" mixed up with "signs from the Devil".

It is the act of an insane person to claim that God or the Devil talk to them. Right? Why can’t we just say that?

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Buddhist sexual misconduct

What happens when your spiritual leader also takes advantage of the women who come to him for enlightenment? What happens when tyour spiritual leader spends a lifetime collecting sexual conquests? What happens when the movement’s leadership finds out?

Mark Oppenheimer explores these questions in the New York Times article Sex Scandal Has U.S. Buddhists Looking Within.

The root of the problem, some experts say, is that the teacher/student relationship in Buddhism has no obvious Western analogy. Priests and rabbis know the boundaries, even if some do not always respect them. Doctors, too, have ethical canons they are supposed to honor. A spiritual figure like a priest, an authority figure like a teacher, a therapeutic figure like an analyst — the Buddhist teacher may be all of those, but is not really like any one of them. Even sanghas, or Buddhist communities, that discourage such relationships often have no process for enforcing a ban, and as one Zen society in New York is learning, that can lead to problems.

No process means somebody will figure out a way to exploit the system. In this case, somebody was the spiritual leader of the movement. Eido Shimano is the head spiritual teacher of the Zen Studies Society. His sexual conquests were documented in the personal papers of Robert Aitken. Mr. Shimano liked the ladies, a lot.

When confronted with Shimano’s transgression and breach of trust, the board of the Zen Studies Society opted to let him continue to teach as his transgressions were in the past. Of course, they soon discovered their faith was misplaced when word of another affair surfaced.

Why should Buddhism be any different? Give a man power with no accountability and you create the environment for abuse. How hard is that to understand?

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Art NOT Art

I came across the work of Lilly McElroy while surfing Reddit. I’m confused. Is this art? She has a photo series of her laying down in tmampublic places. It’s called Locations you can find it in her poorly designed website. I say poorly because navigation suck. Lilly if you read this, I know a guy who can help. 

She also has a series called, “I throw myself at men.”

So I ask, is this art? Or is this an art school like art project? Would you stand in line to see it? Does it make you feel anything?

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Photo a day – Summer


I walked out of the Borders in Cerritos and saw this view. The air was warm and still. Sounds carried from far away. The palm trees stood against a darkening sky. And I had spent the whole day hiding from the heat. That's summer in LA.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The gay agenda. I knew it!

Hat Tip Unreasonable Faith.

Visit the blog, Read the comments. Laugh with the rest of us.

Stab a cabbie

I read of the senseless stabbing of New York cabbie Ahmed H. Sharif with a sense of fear. Sharif was stabbed by a nutball named Michael Enright for being a Muslim. The crime was random and hateful. He was not targeted for who he was, but for what he believed.

Sharif was asked if he were a Muslim, then stabbed. I have the same fear whenever I’m asked about my faith. When I respond that I am Atheist (I always do), I’m usually on the defensive. I’ve had all manner of responses, but no violence. I’ve even had people yelling in my face. I would feel less fear if so many people in my past had not respond angrily. I do not believe that I can relax around the fervently faithful. Some of them really don’t like us.

Sharif’s stabbing was senseless. I hope he recovers and prospers. And hopefully, he will feel comfortable answering questions about his faith again. We both live in America. It should not matter, but it does.

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Photo a day – depth of field


I spent the entire day working on a photography depth of field/field of view problem at work. I need to produce an image where everything was in perfect focus from as close as possible for a subject the size of a Monopoly board game with all the hotels and houses in play. It was impossibly fun and a pleasant break from the routine of project management. I puzzled out the problem eventually. It’s back to the grind tomorrow.

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The victim asked for leniency

The victim asked for leniency. She was a 15-year-old girl when he rapes took place. Pastor Michael Louis Anthony had sex with her too many times to count. The judge said no to leniency and sentenced him to 5 years in prison. I think the judge nailed it.
"Certain relationships we, as a society, hold sacrosanct," Warning said. "At the top of the list is pastor and parishioner."
Abusing the relationship "cannot be tolerated in any shape or form," he said.
Anthony, 43, formerly was youth pastor at Calvary Chapel church and had a relationship with the girl over two years. He did not make a statement at his sentencing.
One of his supporters, a KLM, posted this comment on my original post.
He did not rape her it was consensual sex. Never did he force her to have sex with him, they BOTH knew what they were doing there fore she is NOT A VICTIM.

In my book when a man takes a child to bed, I see the child as the victim. I think that is the humane and just way to view the situation.

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Pedopastor's daughters arrested

The daughters of a pastor accused of rape were themselves arrested for intimidating witnesses.

Police said Linette Rosado, Lydia Rosado and Gamaliel Rosado Jr. followed one of the alleged victims, harassing and threatening her and her family. They said the trio hurled insults while stalking the girl and her siblings.

Their father is pastor Santos Rosado. He was charged with raping a young girl repeatedly from the age of 12 to 18. He’s also accused of the rape of another 14-year-old girl.

Well, all in the family I guess. When does the wife make an appearance?

Rosado was the pastor at Bethlehem Community Fellowship in Bethlehem, Pa.

Pastor William Cabe arrested

williamCabe August is the month that keeps on giving for allegations of clergy sexual abuse. Pastor Johnny William Cabe was arrested for an alleged inappropriate relationship with an 11-year-old boy. The allegation go back to December of 2008, which makes the victim very young indeed. Cabe says he was diagnosing a medial problem, except he’s not a doctor.

The unlawfully practicing medicine charge stems from allegations Cabe performed an examination of the child, diagnosed a physical ailment and prescribed a treatment, according to an arrest warrant. Baker declined to provide further details.


Cabe also gave the boy a cell phone and told him to keep it quiet.  That sounds like grooming behavior to me. I think we have another alleged pedopastor. Did I mention that he is a Baptist? No? Well he is a pastor at of Riverside Baptist Church in Rock Hill.

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Nutball Alert: Chris Young

Democratic candidate Chris Young (Facebook) sings about Jesus as part of his interview on a local news program in Providence, Rhode Island. Chris might just be a nutball. Love his pony tail too. Does it get you dates?

OK – it’s got to be fake, right?

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Preying on the sheeple

Two young men figured dating youth group girls was an easy way to get laid. Now they sit in jail on charges of statutory rape and child molestation. They are 19, their victims were 14.

teensDetectives said the men met their 14-year-old victims through a youth group at His Hands Church.

Police said the alleged rapes occurred Aug. 6 at the Skyridge Apartment complex off of Highway 92 in Woodstock. Investigators said both assaults happened at the same location, on the same evening.

What kind of a youth program lets adult males mingle with adolescent girls? I can’t wait to hear the explanation from “His Hands Church”. I think I’ll follow Hemant’s example and send them an email asking for an explanation.

Jonathan Marshall Carrier and Yancey Obrain Tanner may have raped more girls. I wonder if they used the same MO?


The church responded to my email inquiry.

The girls met the teens (19 year old boys) at our youth group.  One boy had only been to the group once, had lied about his age and had not been allowed to come back. The other had misrepresented being a high school student and he too was banned from the youth group. Both boys were banned from the youth group before the incident occurred. 

The incident itself did not happen at the church or at a church sponsored event.  It happened at a private party at one of the boy's apartments.  The boys are charged with statutory rape and a parent of one of the girls dropped them off at the apt. and picked them up the next day.

I thought there might be more to the story. It’s good to hear church took steps to protect its youth. In reading both the news story and the Churches response, I wonder why the news elected to portray this as a church/youth group issue at all?

Pastor Terry McDowell arrested

Big surprise here, he’s a Baptist. Alleged pedopastor Terry McDowell was arrested for inappropriately touching a child younger the 4 years of age.

McDowell, pastor of St. Louis' Gateway Southern Baptist Church, is accused of inappropriately touching the child while she was alone with him at his home in St. Louis County. A police press release described McDowell as "a trusted family friend" of the victim and said that he and his wife had been babysitting the child for the last two years.

I don’t have words. What possesses people to hurt children?

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Photography - Francine Orr

RiverPic I have a list of photographers I who I want to met. I keep in on a personal wiki. When I see something interesting, usually a photo essay, I add a name to my list. Francine Orr made my list for her outstanding work on Living under the 7th Street Bridge (Nov 2009). She an LA based photojournalist working for the LA Times.

She’s speaking at the Annenberg Space for Photography. I plan to catch it.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photo a day – My desk

Notice the Aleve. It tells a lot about my day. That’s a laptop to my left, a workstation to my right, and a Sekonic ambient light meter in front of me. I spent the day in photography and Photoshop hell. The only upside is that I picked up a nifty new lens (for work). The Nikkor AF-S 17:35 mm zoom f2.8. It’s a damn good lens. I’ll never be able to afford one for use at home. It’s a shame too. Now that I have one, I don’t know how I lived without it. It’s so fast.
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Why I am a redditor

I read more interesting things on reddit in 20 minutes of browsing than I do during the rest of my day. When I need a laugh, I read the comments because they are hilarious. The Atheism reddit is vibrant and full of good ideas, interesting content, and compelling stories. Like this one about a girl coming out of several closets.

My first post. TLDR- My uncle "Steve" molested me when I was young and is about to get out of prison. My evangelical parents want me to forgive him and attend a "welcome back home, welcome back to the lord" function at our church.

What more can you want?  Photos of course? They have photos, just don’t press the ones marked with NSFW.

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Smart non-Hindus

INDONESIA HINDU CEREMONY My wife saw this and though I would appreciate it. Non-Hindus gather beneath the lip of a crater to catch Hindus offerings of food, money, and even chickens. Is a non-Hindu a Muslim then, or are we talking those enterprising Muslims or Christians?

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Models of morality for all

A report hit the Italian press claiming that Vatican Priests lead a secret double life in Rome by hitting gay clubs at night.

On another note, a friend asked me if the Vatican is a country then what is their the birth rate? Priests, nuns, I’m thinking pretty high. Does anyone know?

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Confront your fears Joe

DSC_7642 I was afraid for a little while today. It was unsettling and left me feeling vulnerable. The young man on the left, complete with his ridiculous low hanging shorts, got together with a few of his friends and started eyeballing me from about 50 feet away.  I’m not sure what the issue was. I might have been at their table, or it may have been my camera. At any rate, I could see them pointing, and nodding in my direction. Their talk was furtive. They kept looking up, and looking around the park at the other people. Finally, one of them walked towards me. I realized too late that I was the target of their attention. It was scary. He approached to within 20 feet while checking me out. I saw him check the table and look at my camera. I thought, “Crap, he’s going to grab something and run”. But then he changed his mind and walked away.  I think the police cruiser had something to do with it.

It was a close call and I was mad at myself for not being more vigilant. Next time I’m heading for my truck no matter what; even if I have to pitch my expensive cigar.

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Better late than never

JohnMartin Not really. Nope, it’s better to have the perpetrator face some kind of justice before he dies. At least that’s my opinion.  I wonder what Rev. John Martin’s victims think? Oh wait, they can’t find them.

Lansing Catholic Bishop Earl Boyea took a rare step today to publicly identify a long-dead Catholic priest, the Rev. John Martin, as having abused six teenage boys in a parish where Martin served before his death in 1968.

Boyea said he first learned about the allegations against Martin, who pastored St. Isidore in Laingsburg from 1941-1966, in June. Two men told stories about the abuse to the current pastor of St. Isidore, who relayed the information to Boyea.


The abuse happened so long ago that the men involved would be grandfathers. I can’t see the sliver lining here.

Catholics, Clergy Sexual Abuse

Rev. William Casey pleaded not guilty

Rev. William Casey pleaded not guilty after pleading guilty to molesting Warren Tucker in a different jurisdiction. This time the prison time could be steep, so he’s opting to deny the charge – even though he acknowledges raping the Tucker in another case.

Father William "Bill" Casey, 76, is accused of forcible sodomy and indecent liberties with a minor for allegedly molesting Warren Tucker in 1978 at Natural Tunnel State Park. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted on both counts and has a Jan. 26 trial date, according to the Scott County, Va., Commonwealth Attorney's Office.

Case is alleged to have molested Tucker more than 50 times. Now, when faced with significant prison time, he chooses to fight the charge. It says something about his character. He must have done well in his defense against prosecution course at the seminary.

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