Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Pastor Mark Hooper pleads no contest

Pastor Mark Hooper and his wife Susan Hooper, entered pleas of no contest to charges that they deliberately underfed their adopted children. 

An initial state police investigation showed that the couple allegedly underfed and withheld meals from their children, ages 9 to 11, as punishment. Police said they started looking into the couple after their youngest child ran away from home in February and told a neighbor about the lack of food and the punishments.

McKean County District Attorney Ray Learn said the plea deal spares the children from testifying at trial. Attorneys for the Hooper’s said the plea deal is the best outcome for the couple.

Source: Elk Co. pastor and wife make plea in child endangerment case

Mark Hooper was the pastor at Cobb Street Baptist Church Johnsonburg, Elk County.

In case you think that this case is an overreach, please consider that the daughter weighted all of 32 pounds at the time she was rescued from this nutballs. She was nine. Said claimed food was withheld whenever she did poorly in math. 

One would think that school officials would have recognize the problem and report it, but the kids were homeschooled with no outside oversight. I have no problem with homeschooling children if the parents are qualified and if there is oversight. That’s not the case with these religious nutballs. They are free to do anything they wish and accountable to none.

Everything about this case is wrong. The Hoopers are horrible examples of humanity. I’m all for holding pastors to a higher level of scrutiny. if they fall like Hooper did, then public shaming and a long prison sentence is justified. The Hoopers must be held accountable. Letting them plead felonies down to misdomenors is the wrong approach. They should have stood trial and then they should have spent a few years in prison. All the prosecutor need do is show photos of the kids and the jury would put them away for 30 years. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

An outsider story about visiting a cult compound

I got this in my email this morning: It Happened to Me: I Had Dinner With a Cult (Uh, I think)

So, let me preface this: I’m not completely sold on the “cult” title. This is probably because the word “cult” sparks instantaneous imagery of hooded figures in white robes with bleary drug eyes, and of 50-day standoffs in the desert heat. And I couldn’t possibly have attended a potluck with a cult leader and his followers, right? I keep denying it out of residual shock and disbelief, but the older I get, the more convinced I feel. 

Let me back-track. Imagine a 17-year-old, comically cynical Gabi with frizzy, dyed red hair and a really tragic “thing” for dudes who played Pixies covers on their sick Fenders. Like, come on, Gabs. Have some self-worth! Don’t make out with a closeted Republican just because he can croon some dumb Jeff Buckley song, ya know?

Read more

I find these stories fascinating. I visited a cult compound as a teen and I’ve never forgotten the experience. It’s left a lingering taste for stories about other peoples’ experiences since mine was so odd. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Convicted pedophile pastor to file an appeal

Assistant pastor Malcolm Fraser violated a young girl in the most horrible way and was convicted for it. His sentence of 20 years in prison was harsh but well deserved. Now Frasher, 41, plans to appeal his conviction with the help of his church. He thinks that the jury should not have heard about his religion, which is odd since that was the whole reason he was in a position to molest his victim. 

But it has now been revealed that Fraser is to appeal against his conviction, claiming there were errors in his trial and that his religious beliefs should not have been disclosed to the jury.

His trial head how Fraser assaulted the girl over a period of more than a year while he and his wife, Julie, were living with her family in Enumclaw, Washington State, eight years ago.

Fraser and his wife had been placed with the family by the Sound Doctrine Church on the orders of its leader, Timothy Williams, to put the girl through a manners “boot camp.”

Source: Scottish preacher convicted of rape begins appeal by Frank Urquhart

The quote shows that Fraser was working in his role as a religious authority in a boot camp aimed at fixing a “disobedient" child. In his capacity as a pastor, he raped the girl. Now he objects to the jury hearing about his faith during the trial. I don’t get it, nor will the judges. 

Reading further into the article we see that the church treated the rape allegations as an attack against the church. Why would they do that? 

Church officials had condemned the allegations against Fraser throughout the court proceedings, claiming they amounted to a “hate crime against an entire church.”

Um… I smell a cult: I’m sure this has something to do with the appeal. Perhaps the jurors heard about how his odd beliefs and practices. The church involved is Sound Doctrine Church. If you visit their website you will see Legal Lynching, The Setup of Malcolm Fraser. Google the church and you will find a few folks complaining about what sounds like a cult. The deeper I dig, the weirder it gets. 

Photo: Oasis in a windowsill

A photo by Mojoey

Pastor Michael Bryant to plead guilty

Pastor Michael Bryant, arrested for the alleged molestation of his 16-year-old stepdaughter, will plead guilty to sexual battery by an authority figure. Bryant made the plea to get a shorter prison sentence. Part of the deal will include closing the Church of God in Christ in Memphis, which is no great loss.

The details of this case are disturbing. The victims mother is a deluded fool and should serve time in prison as well. 

After Bryant's stepdaughter informed her mother that the pastor had been inappropriately touching her, instead of reporting the incident to police, her parents had prayed that God would drive the thoughts out of Bryant's mind. But after he touched her earlier this month, the teen reportedly informed her aunt, who told authorities.

Source: Pastor Accused of Molesting Stepdaughter to Plead Guilty; Will Close Church by Morgan Lee

At least the victim is staying with her aunt. Her mother’s parental rights should be suspended. 

The church has all of 27 members, so I doubt there was much oversight. I’m sure the members will scramble to find another church. It’s not like there is a shortage of small churches run by lying pedophiles. It seems the lack of oversight extended to his family too. What a shame. Abuse like this is horrible and leaves wounds that do not heal.

I guess Bryant was not really a Christian (I am sure this will arrive in my inbox within a few days of posting this story). Here is how it works. If a pastor abuses a child, other Christians will rush to tell me that the pastor was not really a Christian, so the crime should not stain Christianity. This argument makes no sense, but when did logic ever factor into this argument?

Still others will insist that the abuse did not take place at the church, which I never understand. A church is a building and cannot be good or evil, nor is the the actions of it’s pedophile pastor a reflection on its people, unless the people are culpable in the abuse. Instead, the fact that the pastor is a hypocrite and that they sucked at his teat… that is the story. What does it mean if you base your faith of the words of your pastor only to find out he is molesting his stepdaughter. No amount of soap and hot water can remove that stain. Every word he spoke is corrupt. Every action you took on his advise must to be re-examplined. You were following the advice of a monster.  You cannot simply pray that away. 

Friday, December 27, 2013


A photo by Mojoey

#abstract #iphoneography

My favorite song of 2013 is Get Lucky by Daft Punk.

This pick is way out of charter for me, but I've loved this tune since my first listen, which was in my truck with wife and son after a visit to The Farmers Market in Los Angeles back in summer. Electronica is not my genre. I really don’t like it, but I'm hooked on this song and on the whole album. What can I say… people change. what was your favorite new song this year? - Mojoey reflecting on the 2013

Was Monsignor William Lynn a scapegoat?

Monsignor William Lynn, convicted of child endangerment, was released from prison because of a ruling by an appeals court which dismissed the charge. Most reports I've read indicate that the ruling is based on a technicality.

But Bergstrom says the law states a parent, guardian or other person supervising the child must knowingly endanger that child.

“There must be some direct control over that child, and in this case there wasn’t. I mean Monsignor Lynn never knew this child,” he said.

In the court paperwork, judges explained that Monsignor Lynn did not have control over reassigning priests, and this played a factor in their decision.

Source: Pa. Court Reverses Monsignor William Lynn's Conviction by Steve Tawa

Bergstrom in the quote above is Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's defense lawyer.

Was Monsignor William Lynn a scapegoat? I think so. My reading of the law is constant will the Pa. Court of Appeals. It appears that the prosecution reached for a conviction using a law that did not cover the Lynn's actions. I think the right course of action here is to change the law. Lynn and the Catholic church should be held accountable for their inaction, they should also be given credit for making structural changes in how they operate, so perhaps the penalty here should be assessed in a civil trial.

Let’s remember what Monsignor William Lynn did. He reassigned sexual predators from one parish to the next which resulted in the abuse of children. He is culpable. If not in a criminal sense due to poorly written statutes, the in a civil sense. His action would never survive a jury and the payout would counted in the millions of dollars. 

Former youth pastor David Webb released from prison

Former youth pastor David Webb, convicted in 2009 for transporting a 15-year-old girl across state lines for sex, was released from prison after serving his five year sentence.

Webb was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2009 to transporting a minor girl across state lines for sex. He served a five-year federal prison sentence and was released Dec. 23, according to the Bureau of Prisons database. Last year, a Jefferson County jury awarded a $1 million judgment against Webb because of his sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old girl in the congregation.

Source: Ex-youth pastor David Webb released from prison after serving 5 years for sex with minor by Greg Garrison

Webb was the youth pastor at Word of Life Christian Center. The church suffered after the conviction and was eventual renamed to The Life Church Birmingham.

David Webb has served his time and is a free man, but no church should hire convicted pedophile and registered sex offender to work as a pastor. If he still believes, there are plenty of other ways to serve. Contrition helps too. There was precious little of that in this case. Webb maintained his innocence until he admitted his guilt by taking a plea deal. At least he is a registered sex offender

I remember this case for two reasons. First, David Webb worked as a youth pastor in his father’s church. This implies that there were inadequate controls in place at the church since no background check or oversight were in place at a family church. The reality was that David Webb was a princeling operating as an owner and was untouchable in his little domain. And second, his wife is what I call “Christian Crazy”, meaning that she forgave her husband when he confessed and then forgave the victim too. There was way too much forgiveness and too little accountability. If there had been accountability, there would have been less abuse. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Fr. Harry Walsh did not make the credible sex abusers list

Father Harry Walsh retired two years ago. He's now teaching sex education to at risk minors. Noboday at his new job knows that the Catholic church paid out a settlement to an alleged sexual abuse victim and actively sought his removal from the clergy. He was also left off the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis list of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse

Walsh told MPR News on Wednesday that he never sexually abused children. "I'd have been shocked if I was on the list because there's nothing credible about it," he said. "If I were hiding that, you wouldn't be in my house right now; I would have been very careful."

Walsh said he left the priesthood voluntarily because he has a heart condition. "I gave almost 50 years of service," he said. "I felt that was a generous offering."

If Walsh did not abuse a child, then why did the church pay out a settlement on his behalf and seek his removal from the priesthood?

Nienstedt told the Vatican: "Father Walsh's scandalous living arrangements and his endorsement of 'optional celibacy' for clergy have continued unchecked for too long. Furthermore, the allegations regarding possible sexual abuse of minors necessitate that Father Walsh no longer hold a place of prestige and authority in any parish in the Archdiocese."

Nienstedt... that would be Archbishop John Nienstedt. He needs to find another job or go to prison with the other child-molesting priests because he's been accused too. In fact, the whole Archdiocese needs a do over.

Seven of the priests named were not previously known to the public as accused abusers. Five of those seven are still living. About one-third of the priests on the list are dead.

The accused priests have served at nearly half — 92, in total — of the 188 parishes in the archdiocese, according to an email sent to priests by vicar general Rev. Charles Lachowitzer, the archbishop's top deputy.

If you are a Catholic in Minnesota, it might be time to change churches.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

via Mojoey

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hate speech? Not so much.

A Christian activist group placed a banner over an atheist display at Chicago’s Daley Plaza proclaiming that “A is for Angels.”

The banner covers a sign set up earlier this month by the Freedom From Religion Foundation that explained that an 8.5-foot lighted “A” stood for “atheists” as part of a protest of Christmas-themed items on the public square.

Source: Christian activists show their love by covering Chicago atheist display and berating onlookers

Christians think the “A" in Atheist is hate speech. What the hell? I’ve had Christian friends tell me that even saying that I am an atheist is offensive and disrespectful. To this I say, Jehovah! Jehovah! Jehovah!

They want us to be more tolerant of Christian values? Us? Wow. This blows my mind.

Another small step in the right direction

What can I say? Change is good.

Hat tip: Addicting info

Atheist love from Texas

Well this is just wrong... Atheists as a punch line for a holiday message from Sid Miller, a Texas Republican running for Agriculture Commissioner. Hat tip: Friendly Atheist

Photo - Two Shadows

This is a abstract photo of two shadows that I took yesterday. I'm working on a goal for 2014 of a photo a day from my iPhone. It seems worthwhile.

A short note on Phil Robertson

Before Phil Robertson spoke his hate, I did not know who he was. I have never watched Duck Dynasty or bought a single product associated with the show. When friends suggested I watch the show, I politely rebuffed them. Now I know that I will never watch the show and will not buy the show’s branded products. Scripted reality does not hold my interest. Life is so short. Why waste time on something as banal as rednecked humor and reprobate Christianity? Life is too short.

We fight back against Phil Robertson's stupidity by not paying attention to him. We do not watch his show. We do not buy his products. We vote with our eyes and our wallets. When Phil opens his mouth, we fight back with better ideas. It's not hard.

I am proud of my fellow atheist bloggers. What I’ve read in the last week inspires me and I think our reasoned and nuanced positions are influencing thought and action across the country. I am answering the call to action in my own way. Here is what I plan to do.

  • Boycott Cracker Barrel - they were foolish to remove the Duck Dynasty products and then reverse position.
  • Boycott all Duck Dynasty products. (Seriously now, who needs Duck Dynasty bobble head dolls?)
  • Boycott Duck Dynasty (easy to do).
  • Talk to my liberal Christian friends about taking a public stand against Phil Robertson and the show.
  • Write A & E to express my concern over Phil Robertson’s hate, racism and bigotry.
  • Write the shows sponsors too!
  • Of course, I will continue to write about the situation as the story develops.

I am most disappointed in my Christian friends and not for what they’ve said, but for what they have not said. The silence is a tacit endorsement for the hate espoused by Robertson. It is time to take a stand. Speak out. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Turns out I might like Country Music after all

The Lone Bellow - You Never Need Nobody

I'm an incrementalist at heart

What Pope Francis is doing warms my cold heart. He's making small adjustments which nudge the Catholic Church in the right direction. His lasted move, ousting Cardinal Donald Wuerl from the Congregation for Bishops, moves away from conservatism towards... something less conservative. Every move in the right direction should be celebrated. Every move in the wrong direction should be criticized (I do that too). A few of my peers choose to criticize every move because they see the church as the enemy. I see the church as my enemy too, but even my enemy can do something right.

Small change is the right approach. Constant change is even better. I think Pope Francis is making a good go at reform, but I'm keeping my eye on the church. I know better then to let my guard down.

My memory is flawed

I’ve had a copy of Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, on my bookshelf since 1980. I know I read it. I could swear I read it. Yet, as I listed to it on Audible these past few days, I did not recognize a single line of the story. Nothing! I had a narrative in my head that did not match the book. How does that happen? I’ve referenced it dozens of times in conversation over the years. Heck, I even remember meeting Larry Niven back in the day. It's all gone. I remember nothing. The book is good though. I throughly enjoyed it. It's a great post apocalyptic read.

The Abortion War

This is a powerful documentary. It's called "The Abortion War": Fault lines by Al Jazeera Engilsh.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Pastor Jacob Kindred arrested for rape

Pastor Jacob Kindren of One Accord Ministries in Minnesota, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct after allegations that he raped two young girls. The rapes allegedly occurred when the girls were as young as six.

The girls, ages 14 and 16, both said the abuse started years earlier and included fondling, oral sex and penetration by Kindred.

When a nurse interviewed them at the Midwest Children's Resource Center, the younger girl said the abuse included molestation and penetration. It happened at a home where Kindred had lived in St. Paul, in a Target parking lot in St. Paul and at Kindred's Maplewood home, she said.

Source: Maplewood pastor charged in rapes of young girls

Kindred used to tell the girls that the “devil was inside them” before allegedly raping them.

Kindren sounds like a jerk too. He runs a one-man ministry, which is always a problem in these cases because of a lack of oversight, plus he acts like he being persecuted. 

When police interviewed Kindred in August he told them that he was a pastor with One Accord Ministries. Kindred denied the allegations.

“He then terminated the interview and stated, ‘And I’m gone,’ ” the complaint said. “He stated, ‘Get your warrants, do what you gotta do, no DNA, none of that.’ He then left the interview stating, ‘You weren’t there, nobody was there!’ ”

Source: Maplewood man, 61, is charged with raping two girls for years by Chao Xiong

Chao Xiong? Who did not emphasis that a pastor raped a child in the headline? 

Tea Party pervert Brian Schwanke

Brian Schwanke, Tea Party Patriot and devout Christian, was arrested for receiving and distributing child pornography. Schwanke makes the list because of his religiosity and because he liked to pretend that he was a pastor.

The 46-year-old Michigan resident was named today in a federal criminal complaint charging him with distributing and receiving child pornography. Schwanke, pictured above, allegedly used the e-mail account hornypastor@outlook.com to trade hundreds of revolting photos and videos.

Source: Tea Party Patriot, 46, Charged With Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography via the Smoking Gun.

Part of Schwanke's act was to portray himself as a pastor with access to children. It's kind of gross.

More info: Adrian Man faces federal child pornography charges

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

On being creative

I find it hard to explain how it feels to work hard all day but not be creative. I'm in the middle of an audit right now and feeling the exact opposite of creative. So, to help my mindset, I'm publishing a photo just because I can.

Plus... I want to figure out how to use Blogsy on my iPad. I had forgotten.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Youth pastor Jonathan Masteller arrested

Youth pastor Jonathan David Masteller, formerly of Gap Community Church, was arrested for the repeated sexual assault of a 13-year-old boy. Masteller was a youth pastor, classroom assistant and basketball coach. 

On Nov. 29, a church employee discovered images on a computer that the former employee used, allegedly showing Masteller and the teen engaging in sex acts, and reported them to the police.

In a Gap Community Church statement released to Fox43, the church staff said they were "shocked and saddened to learn of the charges filed against Jonathan Masteller," and reiterated that he no longer works at the church.

Source:Sexually Explicit Photos of Former Youth Pastor and 13-Year-Old Found, Leader Arrested for Alleged Sexual Assault by Morgan Lee. 

Apparently this dumbass took photos of his sex acts. I hope he likes prison. 

Pastor Ronald Rathburn Sr. arrested for child porn

East Anchorage pastor Ronald Paul Rathburn Sr., was arrested for the possession and distribution of child pornography. Rathburn is a pastor at Eternal Love Ministry.

The Alaska State Troopers' High Tech Crimes Unit, which is a part of the Alaska Internet Crimes Against Children task force, tracked images of child pornography to Anchorage and then turned the case over to local police, Estes said.
After investigating, Anchorage police allegedly found the illegal images coming from Rathbun's home on Island Drive, Estes said. A search warrant was issued and Rathbun was taken into custody and charged.
Source: Anchorage minister faces child pornography charges by Benjamin S. Brasch

Rathburn has traveled extensively, which included missionary trips to the Philippines and other poor countries. I’m learning that trips to the Philippines for pedophiles is like a visit to Candy Land for a diabetic and should be a red flag for churches. Why do Christians send missionaries to a country that is 82.9% Catholic and 99% religious? I’m betting it’s to poach converts. 

Human trafficking in the Philippines is so bad that is it is considered a crime against humanity. Pastor Ron has visited the Philippines nine times. He’s feeding children. When you do the math, the “ministry” sounds more like an opportunity. 

Christians send missionaries to the Philippines because it is a safe place to operate and the food-for-faith deal they offer is attractive to the poor and starving. Let’s see Eternal Love Ministry operate in Timor-Leste, Malawi, Somolia or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It’s easy to jump on a jet and land in one to the fastest growing economies in Asia. It’s easy to operate in a country that is friendly. One where Americans are welcome. Yet we send pastors to sow evil. It is cowardice and not our finest hour. 

My opinion on questions that divide atheists

My favorite blogger, Jack Vance of Atheist Revolution, is putting together a list of the big questions that divide the atheist movement. I thought I would attempt to answer them one at a time.

Here is the first question:

Should atheists work toward the total eradication of religious belief, or is it sufficient to stop those who would impose their religiously-based morality on the rest of us? Some anti-theistic atheists argue that we should stop at nothing short of ending religion and that it is a mistake to seek religious allies who may share our goal of secularism; other atheists believe that secularism should be our primary goal and are perfectly content to work alongside religious secularists when it may be beneficial to do so.

Part one: Should atheist work toward the total eradication of religious belief. To put it simply, my answer is no. The goal is unattainable, which makes it a fool’s quest, and I am no fool. Plus, what people believe is not the issue. How they act on those beliefs is the issue. I know plenty of good people who happen to be Christians and I know plenty of people who use religion as justification for horrible actions. We must fight those who act against us and whose ideas are in conflict with our rights. We must offer an alternative to religious morality that can compete for the hearts and minds of the public and we must offer ideas that can win. We must offer a viable alternative to religion and not crush religious belief. By offering an alternative, we dilute religion’s influence and we win. Life is about choices. Let’s offer good alternatives.

Part two: Is it sufficient to stop those who would impose their religiously-based morality on the rest of us? Yes. We must fight every instance of injustice. We must fight any attempt to legislate morality. We must carry to fight to the public via blogs, demonstrations, books, podcasts, lectures and any vector that works… even through simple conversations at the company water cooler. Our mission should be intelligent opposition to Iron Age ideas. 

Part three: Do we work alongside religious secularists or exclude them? Yes! We should work with those who share our values and those who could share our value, but more importantly, liberal Christians are a huge untapped resource. If we work with those Christians who oppose the oppressive morality of the conservative movement, we win. A few years ago I worked with a local pastor on his position towards marriage equity. He eventually abandoned his opposition to the issue and started preaching a message of support to his large flock. This is a win. It took a few beers and a lot my time, but the pastor and his church are now aligned behind a secular moral position. They continue to win others over to the cause. People who I would never be able to reach because I do not speak the language of the believer. If I had focused on the irrationality of his belief in God, our conversation would have lasted five minutes. I focus on moral issues and not on what diety people believein. It is more productive.

A message to Jack Vance - I’ll think about the list of questions. I’m hope to be able to contribute soon. 

More to follow…

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Victimizing the victim... it's a Christian thing

A fifth grade school teacher has been suspended by Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. Her crime? She was the victim of a crime. Her iPhone was stolen. It contained nude or seminude photos. These photos were published to a revenge porn website and... well she's been suspended.
"To confirm, we do have an employee who appears in some photos that have been compromised and made digitally available. This employee has been put on Administrative Leave while the matter is being investigated. While this investigation happens, it is our goal to have minimal disruption here at the school. Parents, Faculty and Staff have all been notified. Due to the sensitive nature of this investigation, and out of respect for this person's family, no additional details are available at this time."
My instincts are to protect the victims of a crime. It's the right thing to do. When you punish a victim instead of offering support, often in the name of some subjective moral standard, you punish the innocent. Is that right? I don’t think so. Parents be damned. Let’s what is right for the victim.

Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy can be contacted at (513) 247-0900 or by email at dawn.parker@chca-oh.org.

***Update 2/2/2014
A retraction of sorts: The victim, Jamie Climie, lied about the reason she took the selfie and the theft of her cell phone. She was having an affair with a married man and her phone was not stolen, she sent the photo herself. Related post: Damn Liars! Christians drive me nuts!

R.I.P. Poet Ahmed Fouad Negm

Egyptian Poet Ahmed Fouad Negm “el-Fagommi” has died (Obit) in Egypt at age 84. Negm was the “poet of the people” in Egypt. I found his work through an Egyptian friend just a few short years ago. I have a PDF copy of a few of his translated works. I’ve copied out an example below. He is amazing translated into English, but I wish I could read his works in Arabic. 

(Uyun il-kalam)

A Poem, a Manifesto 

If the sun were to drown
In the sea of sad clouds
If the earth were engulfed
by a wave of dark shrouds
And sight died away
From all eyes and all minds
And the pathway went missing
Amidst circles and lines
You might get around
(You think you’re so wise!)
Yet you haven’t a guide
But the words’ very eyes


R.I.P. Junior Murvin

Reggie artist Junior Murvin died in Jamaica at the age of 67. I loved "Police and Thieves," and played it often during Reggae Friday at work. R.I.P. Junior Murvin and thanks for the tunes.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Cardinal Rodger Mahony's hubris

They lied as bad as any thug or ex-con I've ever come across - Det. Gary Lyon

Rodger Mahony, the former Cardinal of the archdiocese of Los Angeles, now lives in the rectory of a parish in North Hollywood. He should be in prison. Mahony systematically designed victims of clergy sex abuse justice by deliberately hindering police investigations. He also protected priests that he knew were continuing to abuse children. Why? Because he was meant for bigger things. Because he was meant for an important biography. Because he was destined for greatness. 

That a priest could molest a child would no longer have surprised Mahony. Less than a month after he started work in L.A., the first letter regarding an abuser priest landed on his desk. Two days later, he was dealing with the case of a second molester priest.

Baker was the ninth.

For decades, such allegations had made their way to the archdiocese's headquarters. But for the most part, the men who wore the miter before Mahony did little in response. Letters from irate parents gathered dust in file cabinets. Priests were quietly transferred.

Mahony knew the larger church was just starting to confront clergy abuse. In 1985, after a molester priest caused a scandal in Louisiana, U.S. bishops held a closed-door session on abuse at their annual conference.

Read more: For Rodger Mahony, clergy abuse cases were a threat to agenda by Harriet Ryan, Ashley Power and Victoria Kim

The Los Angeles archdiocese is the largest in America. Mahony focused his energy on hiding abuses and defusing potential scandals. History will remember his as an enabler who protected pedophiles.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Folk art car

Folk art car, originally uploaded by mojoey.

Via Flickr:
I am always on the lookout for unusual folk art. This caught my eye while shopping at the my local Farmers Market in Cerritos. I met the artist a few minutes later.

Pastor James Guerrero convicted

Pastor James Ray Guerrero was convicted of sexually assaulting two young boys in his Westminster home-based church. He would molest the boys at his in-home bible studies.

A jury in Westminster today found self appointed pastor James Ray Guerrero guilty of sexually assaulting two young boy relatives at "church" meetings and Bible studies in his home.

That sets 54-year-old James Ray Guerrero of Westminster up for a possible maximum sentence of 123 years to life in state prison, according to prosecutors.

Source: "Pastor" James Ray Guerrero Guilty of Sex Acts with Boys at His In-Home Bible Studies by Matt Coker

Guerrero was a self-appointed pastor. As many as 40 adults attended his church. How does one follow an uneducated and unaccomplished pastor?

Youth pastor Jonathan Hall admits guilt

Youth pastor Jonathan David Hall pleaded guilty to 45 counts of sexting and possession and emailing child porn, but don't worry; it was all just a sexual fantasy. Of course, it was not a fantasy for his victim. She was 15.

The poor bastard is guilty of being a sexting pervert before widespread use of snapchat.
According to the affidavit, the texts between Hall and the Lexington girl came to light on March 24, when Lexington police took a report from a mother who said she had seen suspicious texts on her daughter's iPhone.
The texts were from a person saved as "Prince Charming" in the daughter's contacts. The contacts also listed Prince Charming as Zachary Blight Carter. Several texts asked the girl whether she was deleting the texts and photos the two were sending each other, the affidavit says.
New rule: Youth pastors shall not have snapchat installed on business or personal phones or tablets, nor shall they ever use the application or have an account.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Poetry: I watch for Demons by Sean Wright

This poem was written by atheist poet Sean Wright.

My eyes along the tree line fall,
It is no idle pastime though;
No pleasant thoughts do I recall.
I watch for demons dressed in green.

My children play, as children do,
With fingers pointed, thumbs cocked back.
I played this game till it came true;
I watched for demons dressed in green.

My wife against the rising light
Holds up a child. With thought I'm struck
Of ancient Abram's mournful plight.
I watch for demons dressed in green.

A call I answered long ago.
In foreign soils my blood is sown.
The price was paid (I thought it so).
I watched for demons dressed in green.

And Christ-like is the ledger square?
Or do my children fear me too
As shades of green, my actions bare?
I watch for demons dressed in green.

A sacrifice, I made for life
And though those men in green lie dead
And arguments my only strife,
I watch for demons dressed in green.

A silent cohort are we all
And only death will end our charge.
My eyes along the tree line fall.
I watch for demons dressed in green.

This poem is reprinted with the approval of the poet. If you would like to submit a poem for publication here, please see this link. - Mojoey

Pastor Andrea Lewis arrested

Pastor Andrea Lewis was indicted on federal charges that he allegedly took underage girls across state lines to engage in illegal sexual contact. He allegedly did this during choir trip. The guy sounds like a peach.
A Shreveport, Louisiana pastor was denied bond and indicted on federal charges for allegedly taking underage girls in his church’s choir across state lines in order to commit illegal sexual contact with them. 
KSLA-TV reported on Tuesday that 54-year-old Andrea Lewis is still listed as the pastor and choir director for Act of Faith Ministries. A Shreveport Police detective testified that a search of Lewis’ home produced a cell phone containing pictures of his activities. 
Read more: Louisiana pastor indicted for alleged sexual attacks against underage choir girls
Lewis is the pastor at Act of Faith Ministries in Shreveport. The victims were girls as young as eight-years-old.

Poetry: Art, as you by david m. myles

This poem was written by atheist poet david m. myles.

Art, as you

You start with clean canvas
and fresh palette primary
at first a cacophony
you learn line and form
time ads its own colors
or steals them
you concentrate
structures, perspectives
landscape, the surreal
shades of darkness
and light

If you would like to submit a poem, please see this link. - Mojoey

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Child dies because of Christian lunacy

"otherwise he would be denied the Kingdom of Heaven" - parents of child kill by their religious negligence

Russian religious zealots ensured that their child would die from a injury sustained in a car crash by driving to their church for an emergency baptism instead of seeking aid at a hospital.

“This is superstition, not religion,” an Orthodox Church spokesman told Fontanka.ru. “They should have gone to the hospital, it’s only human.”

“A psychiatric ward is the best temple for such people,” an unidentified Investigative Committee official was cited as saying.

You've got to love the approach the Orthodox spokesman used. It is perfect.

My first Christmas photo of 2013

My first Christmas photo of 2013, originally uploaded by mojoey.

And a story...

I stopped by a local Mcdonalds for some iced tea yesterday. I saw a Christmas Tree lot next door, so I jumped out of the car to shot a few quick photos. There was something about the photo above that caught my eye. I think it was the layers of Christmas and its overall tackiness. While I was shooting a woman yelled at me as she was walking into the restaurant. She called me a pervert. I was not surprised, nor did I respond. A moment later a Sheriff called to me as he walked out of the restaurant. He asked what I was doing and he did so nicely. I told him I was taking a few photos. He asked if I was shooting children. I said no and handed him my camera. He looked though a few shots and said, so really, what are you doing. I explained that I was an artist and that I liked the layered imagery of the tree lot. He smiled and said, “Can we keep this going another minute so that the crazy lady inside the restaurant thinks I've done my job? She thinks you are a pervert and is letting everyone inside the restaurant know about it.”

I glanced back towards the restaurant and saw a dozen people looking back at me. None of them looked amused. I’m suddenly pissed and disappointed at the same time. Friggen busybodies… 

I smiled a lot and nodded my head as we talked photography, beer and busybodies. He wagged a finger back at the restaurant and then handed me my camera. He also gave me his card and asked that I send him an email of the photo.

I don’t even like the photo, but I posted it here so I could tell the story. Good times.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mormon Women Bare: An interesting photo project

I love photography, and of course, religion is hot topic here on my blog. When the two mix, I usually like the results. I found Mormon Women Bare via Reddit while browsing this afternoon. It's a photo project dedicated to active Mormon women, which I was not expecting. Here is what the artist said:

A young girl is shamed by her friends for not dressing “modestly” enough. A BYU student is chastised via note from a male student for wearing leggings. A BYU-Idaho student is not allowed to take a test because her jeans are “form fitting”. After hearing these stories and others in 2012, I threw up my hands in exasperation. What on earth is going on in this culture? I don’t remember it being like this when I was a child and teen growing up in the church. Why has the modesty culture of the LDS church gotten so extreme and what can we do about it?

Women around the world deal with objectification, body shame, and the burden of the male gaze. Mormon women have an added layer of complexity and heavy expectations: while being warned against becoming “walking pornography,” we also face immense pressure to be attractive and fit. We must both attract and protect against male desire.

Read more (this link is safe)

The Mormon girls I knew from back in the day (the late 70s), were modest but not overly so. I was a bit taken aback after reading about the project. I had no idea that this had become an issue. 

Mormon Women Bare is a NSFW website, but it is not porn. The photos are tasteful and beautiful depictions of women with all body types. This is what photography is about to me. I found the artist authentic and thoughtful. Again… not what I excepted from a Reddit link. I read the Reddit comment thread and was disappointing because it did not address my question. Instead, it digressed into a discussion on the values of the faith. I want to know what Mormons think of project. I’ll have to ask a few of my Mormon friends. 

What I learned… people sag, just like me. 

Vanessa VanDyke and Christian fail

We measure others by what they do, and in this case it is clear that Christians have failed yet again. When young Vanessa VanDyke, a student at Faith Christian Academy, went to the school’s administration with concerns about bullying because of her naturally curly hair, the administration told her to tame it or find another school. They refused to deal with the actual problem. Instead of dealing with the bullies, they went after the victim. When the story broke the Internet, the school related,  allowing her to keep her hair and remain a student, but the school has still have not addressed the original problem. Go figure.

I wonder. If a little white girl with long blond hair had reported bullies pulling her pigtails, would the administration have told her to cut her hair? I don’t think so. 


Christian Failure Mode (CFM): Blaming the victim, coercion and racism, exacerbated by caving to external pressure. Plus, failure to address the actual problem.

“There have been bullies in the school,” said the girl’s mother, Sabrina Kent. “There have been people teasing her about her hair, and it seems to me that they’re blaming her.”

***update 11/30/2013

Oops. Let’s talk about atheist fail for a moment. I made a mistake a published a link to the wrong school I mentioned  Faith Christian Academy in Orange Park, Florida, and published contact information. I asked my readers to reach out and give them some love. I linked to the wrong school. They reached out to me and asked that I acknowledge the mistake and correct the error. I apologize to Faith Christian Academy for my actions and for any harm this has caused. My bad… I hope this helps. 

The correct link is Faith Christian Academy. Phone: (407) 275-8031. eMail: dance@fcalions.org

Venessa - your hair is beautiful. Don’t ever let them tell you otherwise. 

Nutball Alert: Gordon Klingenschmitt and transgender demons

Gordon Klingenschmitt is already on my nutballs list for his insane rant about Christian persecution. He’s made the list again with another absolutely crazy idea. Klingenschmitt thinks that a Demon of rape is sending transgender people to violate your daughters while they use the bathroom. I cannot find a sing case of a transgender person raping a girl in a bathroom, so I’m not sure where he gets his information. It must be God. In fact, all searches indicated that transgender people are often the victim of rape or violence, but who needs facts?

Victory Christian Center settles child rape case

Remember back in January when Victory Christian Center tried to argue that a 13-year-old rape victim was not entitled to monetary relief even though the rape occurred on church property and was committed by a church employee? Plus, head pastor Sharon Daugherty and her son and daughter-in-law John and Charica Daugherty, were convicted of failure to report a crime after waiting two weeks to report the rape. Well… Victory Christian Center settled.

An Oklahoma mother who sued a mega-church last year after her then-13-year-old daughter was raped on church property by the janitor has been awarded a settlement.

A Victory Christian Center spokesperson declined to share the details of the settlement, citing the confidentiality of the family.

This lawsuit's decision comes after the now-21-year-old former janitor Chris Denman pleaded guilty in 2012 to "first-degree rape, forcible oral sodomy, lewd molestation, making a lewd proposal to a child, and two counts of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime."

We may never know how many millions were doled out in payment, but the damn church is still in business so it was not enough. 

When an institution knows of abuse and does nothing

Mom, I thought he was my friend - the 11-year-old victim of pastor Ray Teets

The Kentucky baptist seminary Pastor Ray Scott Teets attended, knew that he had a prior conviction for child sexual abuse but did nothing. This led to Teets ordination as a pastor, which in turn led to his recent arrest for indecent contact with a minor. You can read the whole sordid story here.

"After the verdict I learned he was in a Baptist school studying to be a minister," Markey said. "I filed a garnishment of any pre-paid tuition that he may have had. I attached to [the request] a copy of the complaint and the verdict that showed he had been convicted of the rape. I did that solely to let them know that they are teaching a rapist –- that they are going to make a rapist a minister. I never heard back from them."

The school knew he was a child rapist and chose to turn a child rapist into a pastor, which is fucking evil. Teets was the pastor at Fallen Timbers Community Church in Springhill Township, Pa., at the time of his arrest. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Poetry: The Cost by Joe Hino

This is a guest post by atheist poet Joe Hinol. If you would like to submit a poem, please see this link. - Mojoey

The Cost

As I traversed the World Bazaar
I spied an apple from afar
It glistened in the sun with taste
I had to own this fruit, post haste.

But as I sauntered down the path
A question in my mind was asked
I felt compelled, but filled with fright
…Something with this fruit’s not right.

So as this question slowed my pace
I chanced upon a preachers face.
He told me he would count me wrong
If I refused this gift so strong.

He shouted out I must be dumb
And I’d forever be the one
That went against the people’s whim
If I refused to dine with him.

He said I’m privileged, all the more
Traditions knocking at the door
He told me it’s the cake to get
To quote Archduchess Antoinette

Turn off your brain, ignore your sight
Embrace our patriotic right
Taste the nectar on your breath
Escape the consequence of death

His words, more eloquent than mine
I bit this apple so sublime
And watched the twinkle in his eye
As I began to slowly die

My sight grew dim, my heart expired
I lost my soul, consumed with fire
Alas, such wisdom inspires the lost
To ask how much the apple – really - cost

The author, Joe Hino, grants permission to reprint this poem. If you do so, please credit the author. 

Why I passed on the gay waitress tipping story

I passed on a story. I regret it now. 

I was outraged by the thought of a Christian couple stiffing a gay waitress and leaving an obnoxious message instead of a tip. This type of insensitive bullying makes my blood boil. I hate it.

I wanted to post, but when the story broke, I thought about it and passed. My reasoning was simple, it was a one-sided story. I don’t like one-sided stories as they often bring me inbox grief, so I passed.

I’m mad at myself now, because I realize my dislike for one-sided stories can be a filter which prevents critical thinking. What I should have done was think. I should have demanded the other side of the story. I should have asked to see proof. I should have thought about how it would have been possible to validate the story. I should have asked why everyone jumped in and donated money before the facts were in. Everything about this story should have caused me to dig deeper, but my filter stopped me because… I did not want the grief. If I had posted the story, my inbox would have filled-up with people complaining that I was anti-gay or a hater because I had questioned the authenticity of Dayna Morales’ story.

People want to believe this kind of story. I want to believe this kind of story myself because it fits my view of how some Christians act and that is a shame. I should have made the damn post.

Ron Reagan's an atheist

Via The Friendly Atheist

President Ronald Reagan’s Son Tapes Radio Ad for Atheist Group: I’m ‘Not Afraid of Burning in Hell’

It’s well-known to many, though possibly shocking to some, that President Ronald Reagan‘s son, Ron Reagan, is a vocal atheist. He taped a radio ad currently airing on Randi Rhodes‘ show that proclaims his godlessness and advocates for the Freedom From Religion Foundation:

I’ve been meaning to join… I guess I better get on with it. 

Rape is a small matter when a Christian broadcast empire is at stake

TBN is a huge Christian organization ostensibly dedicated to spreading the Good Word, but actually focused on enriching its founders Paul and Jan Crouch. The Crouch's were so focused on the reputation of their broadcasting empire, that they failed to report an allegation of rape involving their granddaughter.

The Trinity Broadcasting Network has withstood a lot of blows over the years--in no small part because of its close ties to the religious right. However, a recently-filed lawsuit could potentially bring this evil empire down for good. Carra Crouch, the granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch, is suing her grandparents and TBN for sweeping a horrific allegation of child abuse under the rug.
Carra claims that back in 2006, when she was only 13 years old, she was raped by then-TBN employee Stephen L. Smith in an Atlanta hotel room. Carra was in town for TBN's spring telethon.
Read more

In my experience, writing about thousands of cases of clergy sexual abuse and Christian hypocrisy, I’ve found two distinct reasons why a Christian organization will not report an allegation of rape or abuse. The first is a desire to protect the church and its members from public ridicule. The second reason is financial. I call this the megachurch excuse, because we often see large Christian organizations tying to hide allegations of abuse in order to protect its membership and by extension, donations and membership tithes. 

I’ve recently found another example. When a church acts to protect its pastor because he is a man of God. This situation is common to independent Baptist churches and deeply troubling. Members do not care about the victim. In fact, they are often shunned, fired or bought off. In these cases the prevailing logic is that the pastor can do no wrong. This is not the case at TBN. It looks purely financial. 

If the allegations are true, the Crouches acted with a purely financial motive, which is not surprising. However, the approach they used to contain the matter with their own granddaughter looks like classic example of a type of bullying behavior called blaming the victim. 

Distraught over the incident, Carra Crouch was advised by her mother to inform Jan Crouch and Trinity attorney John Casoria, who also is an ordained minister and a nephew of Paul and Jan. 

A meeting took place at the Crouch family mansion in Newport Beach, where, according to the lawsuit, Jan "became furious and began screaming at Ms. Crouch," and began telling her "it is your fault." 

Carra Crouch alleges that after the screaming fit thrown by Jan, she approached Casoria, who allegedly became agitated with the 13-year-old, said he didn't believe her, and suggested that she was already sexually active "so it did not really matter," and she "may have propositioned him." 

Again, if this is true, the Crouch’s are horrible people, yet millions of Christians watch their insipid broadcast every day. It makes you wonder. What does it really mean to be a Christian? Does behavior matter? Or, it is simply a declaration of faith and subsequent forgiveness for all matter of transgressions?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Do atheists have the right to offend Muslims?

I don't remember how I landed on this article. It’s been an open tab on Chrome for a few days. It is something I do when I want to let a story percolate. It was written for The Muslim Times and titled, "Do Atheists have the right to offend Muslims?"

The article talks about atheists being asked to remove "Jesus and Mo" t-shirts depicting carton caricatures of Jesus and Muhammad sharing a beer together.


The image is satirical and funny too some. I am not offended. I could understand how Muslims would be offended, but I do not care. It’s humor and a fitting part of western culture. On the other hand, I am offend by the question implied by The Muslim Times’ headline, “Do Atheist have the right to offend Muslims?”

The headline and the article implies that our right to free expression is something that can be removed simply because what we might say, write or do, offends people. It implies that we should be silenced. The best way to fight back is to keep doing what we do best. I want to see more of this, lots more. 

Racism gave me belly laugh

I read the story of white supremacist and racist Craig Cobb this morning. It seems Cobb had his DNA tested for a segment on the Trisha Goaddard show. When the results showed Cobb's African roots, the audience cracked up and he went on the defense. Flash forward a few days and we find Cobbs in jail on charges that he brandished a shotgun. The backstory... his racist brothers turned on him, and I laughed and laughed.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christian ventriloquist Ronald William Brown sentenced

Christian ventriloquist Ronald William Brown (profiled here), who ministered to children via a bizarre anti-porn puppet show, was sentenced to 20-years-in prison for… well planing to eating kids and possessing child porn.

via Gawker

A Christian puppeteer who regularly used his long-running Christian Television Network show to warn children about the sin of pornography was sentenced this week to 20 years behind bars for possession of child pornography.

More troubling still is Largo, Florida resident Ronald William Brown's involvement in an alleged conspiracy to kidnap, cook, and eat a child whom he met through his affiliation with the Gulf Coast Church.

Source: Christian Children’s Entertainer Who Wanted to Eat Kids Gets 20 years

This story makes it to my top ten list of Christian nutballs. I’m happy to see he will be out of circulation for the next 20 years. 

The law of attraction is nuts

I learn something new every day. I was reading an article about Jim Carrey and his belief system called "the law of attraction." I'd never connected the term to an actual believe system, but I do now, and it freaked me out a little.

Jim Carrey selects his movie roles based on his belief system.

“I believe in manifestation,” Carrey says at one point in that clip. “I believe in putting a rocket of desire out into the universe. And you get it when you believe it.” (Video here)

Now I get it. Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey (video) and Steve Harvey (video)… they are all nutballs. Rich. Powerful. Nutballs.

Friday, November 22, 2013

What is it about Baptists and child porn?

Youth pastor Aaron Kenneth Hudgins (30) of Timberlea, which I think is in the Great White North, was charged with possessing and accessing child pornography. Hudgins is a Baptist. He worked for the Timberlea Baptist Church.

This morning we were made aware of the charges against Aaron Hudgins. We are deeply shocked and saddened by this news, and its impact on this community," the church wrote. 

Immediate action was taken, and Aaron has resigned from his position at Timberlea Baptist Church.  Please be in prayer for the church, and his family.

Source: Youth pastor resigns after child pornography charges

Hudgins was allowed to resign? What was the immediate action? Did they have a church meeting to draft a press release?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More on Rev. Bill Wininger

Parents of children who attended Kings Way Baptist Church held a closed meeting recently to address allegations of sexual abuse linked to Rev. Bill Wininger. I wonder why it was closed?

A former church member and sexual abuse counselor told Tom Regan that she wished to attend the meeting but was told only parents and grandparents of school children were invited.

"I decided to come down here, because I've known about this problem with Brother Wininger and know that it has been severe, and I'm hoping in some way that I can have an influence tonight," said former church member Mary Ellen Cowling.

Source: Sex abuse allegations against former pastor prompts church school meeting by Tom Regan

Did any of my readers attend the meeting? Your observations are welcome. Please post them in the comments. 

Justice in the John Freshwater case

Ohio teacher John Freshwater, profiled here, had his day in Ohio Supreme Court and lost. He was fired for preaching his religious beliefs in class. He also branded kids with a small cross.

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Mount Vernon city schools’ firing of an eighth-grade science teacher who was accused of advancing religion and the Christian theory of creationism in his classroom.

But the court held that the district’s orders that he put away the personal Bible he kept on his desk violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and therefore would not have been sufficient cause to fire him.

Source: Supreme Court rules firing justified for teacher accused of advancing religion in classroom

Loons like John Freshwater are why we fight the good fight. He thinks my kids are fair game for conversion to his religion. I’ll never understand the motivation of these people. It is unethical.  

Youth pastor Morgan Frawley arrested

Youth pastor Morgan Frawley of The Congregational Church of New Canaan, was arrested and charged with risk of injury to a minor. It's not what you think. He allegedly had a cell phone full of sexual images.

Morgan Frawley, of Soundview Avenue, was a part-time youth group advisor at The Congegational (sic) Church of New Canaan for less than two years, according to current minister, Anne Coffman. In April of 2013, parents of a 15-year-old boy told ministers at the church that they had found disturbing sexual images on his cellphone. Harald Masback, minister at that time, immediately gave the information to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) as all clergy are obliged to do, said Coffman. The DCF, in turn, gave the information to New Canaan police.

Source: Substitute teacher, youth minister, arrested

It is Canada after all, so I guess the risk of injury was exposure to pornography. I bet that's punishable by what... three weeks in jail? Oh Canada...

Monday, November 18, 2013

He went to church and everything

Okay, so Brian Gore is not a pastor, but he went to church so that makes him a Christian of sorts. Brian and Shannon Gore were arrested for child abuse, attempted murder and murder, after authorities found a caged 6-year-old girl in the Gore’s doublewide and the body of another child buried near a shed. The young girl was in horrible condition and attempting to eat herself. 

A young girl was found caged and attempting to eat herself in a mobile home in Virginia, and cops say her parents are responsible.

The malnourished girl, believed to be either 5 or 6, was discovered in a crib that was converted into a makeshift cage after police arrived at the home in Gloucester County to investigate a burglary last week.

The girl's parents, Brian and Shannon Gore, were arrested and charged with felony child abuse. The mother was also charged with attempted capital murder.

However, the gruesome twosome now faces first-degree murder charges after the remains of what authorities believe to be another child were found buried outside their mobile home.

"I've done this for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this in my life," Gloucester Sheriff's Maj. Darrell Warren said.

Source: Virginia girl found eating herself in cage in mobile home; parents Brian and Shannon Gore charged

I’d say that the fact that Gore went to church had nothing to do his alleged behavior if I had not reported on a thousand other cases of abuse, but I have…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pastor Alex E. Thompson arrested

Pastor Alex E. Thompson of Harvest Vineyard Ministries in Crestview was arrested and charged with child neglect without great bodily harm. Apparently, he housed children in a group home with convicted child molesters and did report a missing child.

Harvest Vineyard, which is on North Main Street, is a group home for more than 80 members. Some residents are convicted felons and sex offenders and lived in the facility with the children, the news release reported.

Thompson was charged due to “a multitude of neglect issues pertaining to his responsibilities,” including failing to report that a child under the ministry’s care was missing to law enforcement or the parents, said police spokesman Lt. Andrew Schneider.

Source: Head pastor of Harvest Vineyard Ministries arrested

From the comments:

Jan Zizka - Does this mean no more sex offenders washing cars **40 feet** from a school?

Kellie Diaz - You know you belong to the “Fake Christian Club” when you operate under “ mouth dropping" violations. Karen Spencer, you are right, totally unacceptable!

Patricia Morris-Clifton There is more to the story that will come out. This man is pure evil and using his power to manipulate and benefit from those who are struggling and are desperate for help. For people to make comments on how law enforcement could allow this to happen have no idea how the law works. People of the community probably have known that there were things going on that weren't right and they should have spoke up.

I know this type of operation; a Christian ministry dedicated to feeding the homeless and thumbing its’ nose at the local community. There is one down the street. A homeless camp full of ex-cons. I’ve never seen a child around the place, and the church does a marginally adequate job policing its members, so an uneasy peace exists between the Baptist church and its neighbors, despite complaints. It sounds like that is not the case with Thompson and Harvest Vineyard Ministries. Too bad… it seems the children suffer. 

Pastor Jonathan H. Smith charged with child sexual assaut

Another case, this time a long-time Presbyterian pastor.

Jonathan H. Smith, 58, who recently resigned after spending nearly a decade as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Salem, was arrested Thursday, according to Salem City Police Chief John A. Pelura III.

The Market Street resident was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault on a minor and endangering the welfare of a child, according to records.

Further details of the case were not released by police. Smith was lodged in the Salem County Correctional Facility, in Mannington, in lieu of $150,000 bail. The investigation is being handled by the Salem City Police Department and the Salem County Prosecutor's Office.

Source:Former Salem City pastor Jonathan H. Smith charged with child sexual assault

He looks soft. Prison will be a bitch. 

Pastor Jeremiah Quintero arrested

I only have a snub article to post:

An area pastor allegedly used Scripture to “lure” a teenage boy into submitting to sexual touching, an arrest affidavit states.

Jeremiah Quintero, 42, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and held on a $60,000 bond. Formal charges have not been filed.

Quintero, identified in the affidavit as a pastor at Glenwood Apostolic Church, as well as a pastor in Delta and Grand Junction, repeatedly denied having subjected the 14-year-old to sexual contact. The affidavit notes that Quintero’s interview was not recorded, because of an equipment failure.

Source: Area pastor arrested for alleged sexual assault

Another small-town crime with small-town coverage, I miss a lot of these stories.

If you have any additional information or press sources, please post a link.

That pastor is a pusher

Do people still use the term pusher? if so, Pastor Scott Gillum is a pusher. He was arrested on a federal indictment for drug trafficking.

A Carter County clergyman has been arrested for allegedly being one of the biggest pill traffickers in the state.

FADE Task Force detectives and officers with the Drug Enforcement Adminsitration arrested Scott Gillum, 42, of Olive Hill, on Friday. Gillum is reportedly the pastor of the Holiness Tabernacle Church off Perry Tabernacle Road...

...Gillum and Logan both have been indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute by a federal grand jury and are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Ashland.

Read More: Olive hill pastor arrested on federal indictment

Pastoring must not have paid well.

When a pastor runs for a political office

I have a problem with pastor who run for office. It is simple really, a pastor is charged with leading a flock. That should be his or her job and primary focus. It's a calling. So when I see a pastor running for political office, it leads me to think that will be neglecting his flock. I think it is unbiblical and irresponsible, but I'm just an atheist so what do I know?

A Leavenworth minister has announced he's running for the Kansas House of Representatives.

Tony Barton, 52, is running for the 41st District, which is made up of portions of the city of Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth.

Barton, pastor of the New Life Fellowship Church in Leavenworth, is the second Republican to announce he's running in the 41st District.

Source: Pastor runs for Statehouse

I'm ok with a former pastor running for office.

Another factor... A pastor who runs uses his church as an election machine, which is a perversion of its intent. Is it ethical for a pastor to use his church this way? No! 

Is it ethical?

I have a test for the stories I post about clergy behaving badly. I ask my, "Is it ethical?"

It is a simple test, but I think it leads me in the right direction. For example, I did not post on a recent high-profile suicide because I felt the pastor’s actions were his own business and the situation way too personal, painful and complex for me to discuss with any meaning or insight. I’m troubled by the case, but that is because it is hard to understand suicide. Another case, where a pastor accepted a $120k check from a 99-year-old man with dementia, fails my test. Of course it is unethical to accept money from anyone under custodial care and suffering from dementia. 

The case:

A Catholic priest named Rev. Rodger Bauman of the Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Oakdale, Minn., received a $120k check from an elderly dementia patient. Bauman cashed the check and then dispersed part of the funds to family members and friends. He had no intention of returning the check and in fact, viewed the check as a gift. When confronted by Lou Dziengel’s caregiver and the local police, Bauman eventually returned the funds. 

Bauman still serves as pastor of Guardian Angels parish in Oakdale, and declined to be interviewed for this story. The day he received it, Bauman wrote his former parishioner and Dziengel's longtime girlfriend a note saying he was "truly moved" by the gesture.

But to Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell, accepting the money was inexcusable.

"The conduct and the behavior itself is concerning and disturbing. We have a vulnerable adult, we have a person who [is] in a position of authority, certainly a person of significant influence in another person's life," Schnell said. "And to be given $120,000 and not to have some gut check about that? It just seems unusual."

Source: Pastor of Oakdale Catholic church accepted $120,000 check from elderly parishioner

Do you see the point where Bauman failed? It is pretty obvious to most of us. Why did a priest miss it? Why does he still have a job if he does not understand the basics of his job? It’s his job after all. 


Thoughts on prayer

I don't have any... It's useless.

The Friendly Atheist does though: This is How You Pray Harder, While Accomplishing Nothing

My favorite, "Pick a small but regular sacrifice (no sugar in your coffee, no condiments, no added salt). Thank Jesus for his sacrifice every time you make yours." Seriously? Thank you Jesus for no sugar in my tea. What the hell does that accomplish?

Do something. Act. Give. Move a little dirt in the garden of your life.

Nine pastors and priests arrested in massive international child porn bust

This story is unbelievable. 348 adults were arrested in an international child pornography bust centered in Canada. Among those arrested were nine pastors and priests. Nearly 400 children were rescued. Authorities caught some very bad pedophiles, including this retired Canadian school teacher:

Citing a particularly egregious example, she said police found over 350,000 images and over 9,000 videos of child sexual abuse in the home of a retired Canadian school teacher. Some of the images were of children known to the man and he was also charged with sexually abusing a child relative.

The inspector said an indispensable aspect to the success of the operation and the rescue of 386 children from child exploitation was the expansive cooperation between Toronto police and organizations worldwide.

Source: Nearly 400 children rescued and 348 adults arrested in Canadian child pornography bust

I don't know what to say. In my world, this kind of crime is unthinkable. I am thankful that other people investigate this type of crime. I would do little investigating and lots of beating. The ringleader appears to be Brian Way, who instructed people around the world to create videos of children

Way was charged with 24 offences, including child pornography. He is in jail. Police also designated Azov Films as a criminal organization, charging Way with giving directions on behalf of a gang. Beaven-Desjardins said this is the first time in Canada that anyone has been charged with being a part of a criminal organization in regards to child pornography.

Source: Canada: 386 kids rescued in child porn bust

Of course, it is Canada, so Way is will only spend a few years in prison. 

Examples of those busted include: 

Also under arrest was a Georgia school employee who received child pornography and admitted to placing a hidden video camera in students´ restrooms in an effort to film their genitals.

A preschool teacher who produced child pornography while he was employed in Japan and a Texas police sergeant who produced video of a child involved in sexually explicit conduct, were also among those arrested.

Source: Canada child porn probe led to hundreds of arrests: Police

I’ve looked hard for the list of pastors and priests associated with this bust, but so far I have not found anything. If any of my readers come across the list, please pass it along to me. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Not one of mine

Catholic school teach John Fischler was awarded over $360k in compensatory damages. Two girls branded the teacher a "perf" and "creepy", plus alleged that he had touched them inappropriately.

The unusual case began in 2011 when administrators at Holy Spirit school in Almaden Valley were told that teacher John Fischler had inappropriately touched their 10- and 11-year-old girls and peeked in a girls' bathroom. School officials and police cleared Fischler of sexual misconduct.

But the teacher, claiming the ordeal had indelibly stained his reputation and ruined his teaching career, declined to return to what he called a poisonous atmosphere at work and filed a lawsuit seeking nearly $1 million in damages.

The lawsuit contended he was the victim of a "conspiracy" by "classic parent bullies" and their daughters, including a popular girl he described as having a "gang-leader-like personality," to get him fired from the private Catholic school where he was an at-will employee.

I did not report on the case when it hit the press. I don’t remember why and my notes don’t give me a clear indication, but I can speculate that without physical evidence, I found it hard to believe a simple witness statement.

What is your impression of Mother Teresa?

It seems like a simple question. I ask, “What is your impression of Mother Teresa?”, when speaking to my Christian and non-Christian friends. I usually frame the discussion that follows around the concept of Christian charity and the nature of suffering. I want to know if suffering is thought of as a Christian concept, especially when viewed through the lens of the good works associated with Christian charity. My benchmark is the internationally recognized secular organization Doctors without Borders, so I often compare the Sisters of Mercy with the former. Doctors without Borders provides medical care for the needy wherever it is needed and often at great personal risk. The Sisters of Mercy provided no medical care, not even simple pain killers. 

When I introduce the concept of suffering as espoused by Mother Teresa, the result is complete and total disbelieve. Few people understand that she believed suffering brought the poor closer to Christ. She actually wanted poor people to experience the pain of death. The popular narrative about Mother Teresa is one of caregiving and love, not suffering and death. The disconnect is almost insurmountable, but I feel an ethical responsibility to chip away at her fictional narrative. What Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy did was closer to a systematic human rights violation than an act of love and charity. Mother Teresa allowed people to die in horrible conditions without medial aid or even adequate food despite having the means to provide both. She operated a house of death, or I should say, Mother Teresa and the Sisters of Mercy operated houses of death. Tens of thousands of poor people died unnecessarily horrible deaths for no reason.

I have a hard time getting people to read Christopher Hitchens work on Mother Teresa, The Missionary Position. Christians associate Hitchens with atheism and reject the book outright as anti-Christian propaganda, but there are other sources of information, and at least one credible academic source. I’m tired of sounding like an angry Atheist on this subject, but I will continue to chip away at the big lie. 

Harvest Baptist Church Fort Dodge Iowa Marvin Smith Rick Durbin Coverup

Via: Blog on the way Nobody can hide these days.

I knew Ken Starr was questionable

I met Ken Starr back in 2006 when he gave a speech at Pepperdine University, where I was a graduate student. I took notes at the time and when I dug them up for this post, It was clear I thought he was a smart true-believer who was also motived by politics and self-interest. In other words, I did not like him because he was an active political Christian. I like him less now.

Via Gawker: Kenn Starr Wrote Letters in Support of a Child Molester

Tucked away in a Washington Post story about a Potomac high school teacher accused of molesting female students over a thirty-year period is the fact that more than 90 people — including former ABC World News anchor Charlie Gibson and former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr — wrote letters on his behalf.

It’s worth a read. Christopher Kloman was sentenced to 43 years in prison for molesting five girls at McLean’s elite Potomac School back in the 60 and 70s. Starr’s daughter attended the school. Why would Starr do this? It really is a mystery, unless you take into account the whole Christian club thing. 

Lord hear our prayers, or not

Youth pastor Daniel Diaz was murdered in a drive-by shooting in the California city of Pomona. He had spent time that day at a prayer rally against gun violence. Did God hear his prayers? Perhaps...

33 year-old youth pastor Daniel Diaz, was driving home from a church party with friends in Pomona, California, just hours after community leaders held a prayer rally calling for an end to gun violence in the city.

Eddie Reyes, who was in the car with Diaz said, “I heard loud bangs and the broken glass and at that point I realized we’re getting shot at.” Diaz was the only passenger struck by gunfire.

God either listened or he did not. The evidence suggests he did not, or perhaps God wanted Diaz to die to bring attention to the problem. What kind of God would do that?

Diaz, who seems like a well-loved community pastor, was the 24th murder victim in Pomona this year. Yikes! I’m not visiting Pomona any time soon because I do not think anyone is listening and few people are acting to prevent gun violence. Nothing magical happens through prayer. It is only though the efforts of people like Daniel Diaz that the community and government start to pay attention to the problem. They apply pressure which raises public awareness. People will act and that will result in change. Let’s hope that happens. Nobody should die like this. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

More Baptist hypocrisy

I tend to focus on pastors who abuse their flocks, but there are larger cases. I'd like to comment on these cases too, but I seldom have the time. The Friendly Atheist has a story up about systemic hypocrisy at Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania.

What officials of the influential Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania did to contractor Walter Logan was more longterm and insidious. The gist of it, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, is this:

The church’s lawyers accused Logan of a crime they knew he didn’t commit. Then, well-connected church members used their power and political pull to see to it that Logan got arrested, cuffed, and perp-walked, destroying his reputation and his business. They carried out this dishonesty and venality in an effort to gain the legal upper hand in a contractual dispute between Logan and Salem Baptist.

Source: To Shirk its Financial Obligations, a Powerful Pennsylvania Church Railroaded a Contractor with False Charges by Terry Firma. 

What I find most interesting is the level of cognitive dissonance involved. How does a church hold the message of Christ and screw over a contractor without outright lies and the deliberate infliction of harm? 

I have a theory. Let’s call it tribalism. These churches behave as if they are an individual and the position they take is often at odds with what we think a church should be. I hold no such illusions these days. I’ve talked to too many pastors to believe that the status quo is anything other than deceit and self-interest. 

Youth pastor Josh Wheeless faces new charges

Youth pastor Josh Wheeless stands accused of trading sexually explicit images with minor girls via text message. When additional charges came to light, he was arrested again.

A former youth pastor from Cary faced new child sex charges Monday after apparently being caught off-guard by his arrest over the weekend.

Josh Wheeless appeared bewildered by the additional charges, and told that to a judge Monday afternoon at the Wake County Justice Center.

"I'm, I'm just kind of confused about this whole thing ... I bonded out on one of these charges less than three weeks ago, so I'm kind of confused like where my attorney is," said Wheeless.

Source: Cary youth pastor faces new child sex charges

He was originally arrested in July when a father checking his 16-year-old daughters’s cellphone found nude photos. The girl had been sexting with 28-year-old Josh Wheeless, who sent nude photos of himself to the girl. 

Wheeless was once a youth pastor at Landmark Freewill Baptist Church in Cary. He graduated from Southeastern Free Will Baptist College. He is married with three children, all girls.