Come on, readers. Give her an amen. She sleeps with the guy so that you don’t have to. And take the weekend off.
The world of Christian Science is rich to mine when I’m assembling stories of people killed by faith. Here is one more:
Elizabeth King, a 12-year-old in Phoenix, developed a tumor near her knee in the fall of 1987. Her parents called in a Christian Science practitioner. By the time the local authorities learned of the girl’s condition, the tumor had ballooned; one nurse compared it in size to two watermelons. She died four weeks later. Her parents pleaded no contest to a charge of reckless endangerment.
Think about this whenever you ponder the story of Abraham being commanded by God to murder his son. There really are people like that.
Christian Science, a Christian sect established by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879. The term is an oxymoron, since the words “Christian” and “science” would not normally appear in the same sentence. “Death by oxymoron” is not something you should want on your gravestone:
BREWSTER Nancy Anne Brewster, 7, died September 29, 1963 at her home in El Paso, Texas, after a 2-1/2 year battle with “Malignant tumor right side of neck”, “probably malignant lymphoma”, “(microscopic pending)” (quotes from Certificate of Death). Nancy never had an obituary in El Paso and there was never any service to honor Nancy when she died. This is her first obituary. Nancy was my little sister by 13 months. My mom used to dress us like twins. Nancy went to Putnam Elementary School like I did, but after the first grade she was too sick to go to school anymore. The first time Nancy and I went horseback riding she rode a little white horse named Frosty and I rode a great big one named Redwood. We went to Disneyland, Western Playland, the zoo, and played Pik-Up Sticks and dolls together. Nancy liked swimming, playing tag and kickball before she got sick. Nancy also enjoyed climbing trees with me and reading books. She loved tacos, ice cream and bananas. Her favorite book was The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson by Dare Wright. She got it for Christmas from my father’s parents in 1962. I still have the book, along with Nancy’s other personal possessions that my mother gave me. Her Easter muff, her locket, a tiny ring, a little bracelet, and letters and cards Nancy wrote to me and our parents are a few of those treasured possessions. Nancy was very brave and strong when she got sick, and she gave new meaning to the word courage. Her valiant struggle with her illness remains an inspiration to me today. She endured a 2-1/2 year battle with the cancer that finally took her life without so much as an aspirin, a comforting hand or soothing words, a cold rag on her forehead when she was vomiting, which she did frequently.
There is additional detail on another site:
El Paso, Texas
Died (untreated cancer)
September 29, 1963
She got a lump on her neck at 5 and soon was too sick to go to school. A Christian Science practitioner prayed for her and said the illness was an illusion. When she died there was no funeral and the family never spoke of her again.
Not so much as an aspirin.
In February 1984 4-year-old Shauntay Walker developed flu-like symptoms and then a stiff neck. Her mother, Laurie Walker — a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist — had the child treated with prayer rather than medical care. (To Christian Scientists, disease is a result of errors of the mind, and medicine only perpetuates those errors.)
The course of treatment involved a Christian Science prayer practitioner and a Christian Science nurse. Shauntay Walker died on March 9, 1984, of acute purulent meningitis. During her 17-day illness she received no medical treatment at all.
Death by ignorance may be one of death’s cruelest forms.
Some things leave me breathless. Where do we get these people? Wait. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Here’s Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, possibly the largest such congregation in the nation. Read:
@realDonaldTrump just delivered the strongest speech to the United Nations of any president in history—Democrat or Republican. His bold and courageous address is another reminder of why he was elected president—and others weren’t. #UNGA
There may have been a time when Christian morality stood for something, but that thing is becoming hard to find. You won’t find it in the mouthings of Pastor Jeffress. From all appearances the shadow of Christian morality has been traded for crass political power. Robert Jeffress agrees to pass over Donald Trumps lack of morality in exchange for the administration’s support of his own political aims. The race to the bottom may have been won. Goal Pastor Jeffress!
Yeah, we get a lot of that. It comes from all directions. Here is Islamic nut case Zekir Naik:
The Moon Reflects sunlight, its a miracle
He continues on the theme of modern science in the Quran, and strives to be even sillier. He next claims humans only discovered that the moon reflected sunlight 100-200 years ago. Er no, that has been known for thousands of years prior to the existence of the Quran. The Greek philosopher Thales wrote about the moon reflecting the sun in 585 BC.
There’s more. It’s proof that American evangelical Christians don’t hold a lock on stupid.
An all to often gift of unreason is early death. The Friends of the Truth Church in Japan provides a tragic reminder:
We could consider these people were mentally ill, but then the same would have to be said of the billions who daily invoke unseen and unheard beings to direct their lives.
I keep seeing stuff like this show up on my Facebook feed. Every now and then I figure i need to check one of them out. Here’s a recent one:
Mark Taylor: ‘Satan’s Frequency’ Is Making People Unable To See How God Is Using Trump To Save America
Last week, we highlighted “firefighter prophet” and right-wing conspiracy theorist Mark Taylor’s belief that the Illuminati and the Freemasons are using a special frequency to change people’s DNA in order to make them oppose President Trump.
On Friday, Taylor appeared on “The Sharpening Report” where he expanded on this theory, explaining that people who have had their bloodlines corrupted by sins committed by their ancestors are now being targeted by Satan via a frequency that is making them unable to see how God is using Trump to save America.
“People are picking up on the frequency of Satan right now,” he stated. “The goal of the Freemasons, the goal of the Illuminati, the goal of the globalists is to change your DNA. They want to change your DNA, they want you to hear what they want you to hear, see what they want you to see and speak what they want you to speak, act like they want you to act. They’re wanting to totally control you and the only way they can do that is through the bombardment of these frequencies.”
My first reaction was, “No way! Nobody is that stupid.” Of course I’ve been wrong before. From YouTube:
movies the news media you know they’re04:17throughout 440 Hertz versus 444 Hertz04:20which was God’s created over God’s04:22created frequency basically and that’s04:24what’s causing the agitation that’s04:26what’s causing health issues is causing04:28paranoia is causing fear04:52unemployment and the the economy worsens04:56he could have undermined the messaging04:58so much that he can actually control05:01exactly what people think you know the05:07instruments in our churches right now05:08are tunes that been detuned to 440 Hertz05:11and this all originated back in World05:13War one
Belief is strong, and people sometimes follow it all the way to the grave. For example:
On Sunday morning, 11 members of a family were found dead under mysterious circumstances at their residence in Burari area of North Delhi. Hours after the bodies were discovered, police found two notebooks in the house with details on how to “end life in order to attain moksha (salvation)”. “It contains a step-by-step account of how to surrender life; how the human body is temporary, but the soul continues to live on; how to cope with fear and pain by covering the mouth and eyes with tape or cloth, and tying hands… The last entry on June 25 refers to one of the dead, Lalit, and how everyone must jump off the stools they would stand on at his signal,” said a police source to The Indian Express. The discovery of the two notebooks has led to the suspicion that the deaths are associated with some form of occult practice.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the most horrific mass suicide of modern history. Keep reading. There will be more.
We all know that Jesus saves. However, when things don’t work out, there can be deadly consequences:
At least 924 members of a doomsday religious sect in Uganda have died. The number of bodies increases daily and is expected to exceed 1,000 after the last compound belonging to the destructive cult is examined:
- About 530 in an intentionally-set fire that gutted their church in Kanungu, Uganda on Friday, 2000-MAR-17. Police have counted 330 skulls in the church; however, some bodies had been converted to ash. Almost all were burned beyond recognition. The dead included at least 78 children. The precise number of the dead will never be known.
- In the days following the tragedy, police discovered five pit latrines covered in fresh cement. One was opened. Public health officer Richard Opira said: “we found five bodies on the surface and when we shone a torch there were more underneath…They haven’t been wounded so we think they were strangled or maybe poisoned.” By MAR-21, six bodies had been removed: three had had their stomachs slit open; one had a crushed skull. Dr. Sam Birungi explained: “Some were beaten, some were burned, some were chemically poisoned then their bodies were dumped down in the pit.”
- 153 bodies were discovered in another compound belonging to the religious group in nearby Buhunga.
- 155 bodies were unearthed in a mass grave in a sugarcane field in Fr. Dominic Kataribabo’s estate at Rugazi. Some of the latter had been stabbed; others had pieces of cloth wrapped tightly around their throats. They appeared to have been dead for at least a month.
- Another 81 bodies, including 44 children were discovered on the farm of lay leader Joseph Nymurinda.
- A fifth compounds belonging to the religious group has not been investigated. As of 2000-APR-3, the police are waiting until they had collected proper equipment. They are asking for international aid in the form of expert forensic pathologists.
It was a good time to be a sinner.
Lest people, in relation to “Dumbshitia,” conjure up visions of people purchasing insurance coverage from door-to-door salesmen, I hasten to ensure there is a deeper definition reserved. “Dumbshitia” is a special place set aside for those who think, speak, even act, in the face of all that is contrary. Such people would include creationists.
Apologists might insist that creationists have an out. Their insistence that everything was created by a higher intelligence—and that much of basic science contradicting creationism is false, even malicious—is an example of unloading blame from one false premise onto another, and I denounce this argument. Creationists are compellingly dumb, and there is ample evidence. For example…
Two years ago I posted an item titled “44 Reasons Why Evolution Is Just A Fairy Tale For Adults.” The wording is not mine. It’s the title of an item posted by a creationist, the link to which showed up on my Facebook feed. I responded by authoring a lengthy piece to address each of the deadly 44, beginning with:
This is amazing. I picked this link off my Facebook feed Friday and took a quick read. I am pasting it here:
The theory of evolution is false. It is simply not true. Actually, it is just a fairy tale for adults based on ancient pagan religious philosophy that hundreds of millions of people around the world choose to believe with blind faith. When asked to produce evidence for the theory of evolution, most adults in the western world come up totally blank. When pressed, most people will mumble something about how “most scientists believe it” and how that is good enough for them. This kind of anti-intellectualism even runs rampant on our college campuses. If you doubt this, just go to a college campus some time and start asking students why they believe in evolution. Very few of them will actually be able to give you any real reasons why they believe it. Most of them just have blind faith in the priest class in our society (“the scientists”). But is what our priest class telling us actually true? When Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution, he didn’t actually have any evidence that it was true. And since then the missing evidence has still not materialized. Most Americans would be absolutely shocked to learn that most of what is taught as “truth” about evolution is actually the product of the overactive imaginations of members of the scientific community. They so badly want to believe that it is true that they will go to extraordinary lengths to defend their fairy tale. They keep insisting that the theory of evolution has been “proven” and that it is beyond debate. Meanwhile, most average people are intimidated into accepting the “truth” about evolution because they don’t want to appear to be “stupid” to everyone else.
In this day and age, it is imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves. Don’t let me tell you what to think, and don’t let anyone else tell you what to think either. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. The following are 44 reasons why evolution is just a fairy tale for adults…
All right. That’s the lead-off. Following are the famous 44. I’m not going to put the pasted text in quotes, but I will insert my response to each in bold to set it off from the original.
And there it sat, since July two years ago. And some have submitted comments. WordPress, which hosts this site, reports that ten have commented. And some have been positive. Others less so, with a vengeance. What prompts me to bring this up today is a comment, from last week. Read it in its entirety:
Put aside the failures of language, they are all too familiar and expected in responses from creationists. Note the absence of substance in Cyp’s argument, and note the vitriol in his(?) language. Finally note his central reliance on God to drive home his point. The baseless pulled in to shore up the baseless.
Don’t think I am piling on Cyp. His is the most recent of several:
I support the notion that the shortcomings of your antagonists cannot be used to support your own position. That said, there is great comfort in knowing these may be the best your opponent has to put forward. They are the quintessence of Dumbshitia.
Here are a few words from that paragon of Christian morality, Franklin Graham:
Everyone in the media is talking about the just-released tape & what the President said or didn’t say, what he meant or didn’t mean. It is a good moment to point out that everyone should realize that every word that is spoken or thought is recorded by God. 1/3
Here’s a sober warning from God’s Word, “What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, & what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3). 2/3
The Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die & then the judgment. We won’t be judged by media spin masters or forensic audio analysts, but you will be judged by truth & righteousness—by God Himself. Have you ever thought about what His verdict will be on your words? 3/3
We can all enjoy the language invoking “media spin masters or forensic audio analysts.” That’s powerful use of the English language. What is more powerful are the bare facts.
These are screen shots from ABC news streaming on Hulu. There are more.
At what point do I need to stop posting these because the Reverend Graham has become too embarrassed. Apparently at no point. What is apparent for all to see is the moral bankruptcy of self-appointed moral leadership. It is a leadership that is running on empty.
Just a friendly reminder: don’t believe all that stuff you read in the Bible. That is, unless you are looking for an early exit:
Watch: Rattlesnake attacks Christian conservative pastor who thought Jesus would ‘save him’
In Middlesboro, Kentucky, a pastor was seen collapsing to the ground after he was bitten by a rattlesnake in front of his congregation.
Back in 2014, the pastor’s father had also died within seven minutes after being bitten by a rattlesnake at the same church.
The church is inspired by Mark 16:18 that reads, “They will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.”
Listen to Jesus if you want, but there is no getting around hard chemical and biological reality.
The Beginning of a New Series
If you want to find God you need go no further than 1707 San Jacinto Street in Dallas, Texas. That’s where you will find that bastion of Christianity presided over by Dr. Robert Jeffress—the First Baptist Church of Dallas. And what a monument to higher power it is. Founded 30 July 1868, its membership reported two years ago is approximately 12,000. I lived in Dallas many years and always knew this church as the go-to place for the city’s movers and shakers. Sunday attendance is massive, and what a congregation it is. From the church Web site:
There can be little doubt this institution embodies all we come to think of regarding morality, faith, wealth, and power. Except for the part about morality. The back story shows that “morality” is difficult to pin down.
W. A. Criswell, in a discussion of racial integration, stated that he expressed astonishment at the cowardice of ministers “whose forebears [sic] and predecessors were martyrs and were burned at the stake”, but who themselves refuse to speak up about “this thing of integration”. True ministers, he argued, must passionately resist government mandated desegregation because it is “a denial of all that we believe in”.
Current pastor Jeffress has spoken out in the past against Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Mormons and homosexuals, claiming that Islam “promoted pedophilia“. In 2008, Jeffress, in his sermon “Gay Is Not OK”, stated that “What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease.” In September 2010, Pastor Jeffress branded Islam as an “evil, evil religion”. And in December 2010, Jeffress established a “Naughty and Nice List” where businesses are identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas, saying “I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday.” Also in 2010, he referred to Roman Catholicism as a “Satanic” result of “Babylonian mystery religion”. In October 2011 at the Values Voter Summit, Jeffress branded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as “a cult”. He received widespread criticism for his statement, but has not retracted it despite then U.S. presidential candidate and LDS church member Mitt Romney‘s request for him to do so.
Yeah, not a train load of brotherly love going to waste here. I recall those years when W. A. Criswell was the man. He is credited with building the church to its current greatness and apparently with setting its current tone. What an honor it was to view this spectacle from a distance. Now it’s time to take a long view.
Since I retired it became my job to sign up for email from the likes of Pastor Robert Jeffress, and there has been no shortage of fascinating stuff landing in my in-box. A recurring theme is selling salvation.
So, enough of that. I know that a church, any church, cannot live off of air. There has got to be a source of income. With a reported net worth of $15 million, Pastor Jeffress far outstrips my personal fortune (shared with Barbara Jean), and we all know God does not pay his shepherds out of pocket. But God is for sale. That given, what follows?
How about concern for basic humanity? Not so much, as evidenced by the company he keeps. In this analysis we should distinguish Pastor Jeffress from his predecessor, W.A. Criswell:
Criswell did not mince words. He railed against both the National Council of Churches and the NAACP as those “two-by scathing, good-for-nothing fellows who are trying to upset all of the things that we love as good old Southern people and as good old Southern Baptists.”
He even used racist humor to make his points: “Why the NAACP has got those East Texans on the run so much that they dare not pronounce the word chigger any longer. It has to be cheegro.”
Criswell saw integration an attack on both state rights and democracy by carpetbaggers. Even more so, it was a blow to Southern Baptist religious liberty: Churches had the right and the responsibility to keep their congregations segregated.
To his credit, Pastor Jeffress adopts a more civilized tone. I do not, however, see him seeking the company of moral icons. See the following images from my in-box.
Yeah, Pastor Jeffress is a great fan of Fox News and President Donald Trump. The allegiance is reciprocated. An important note from the the above is worth digesting: “Donald Trump may be the most faith-friendly president in history…” The note also mentions Jeffress’ role in the Trump inauguration. When your definition of faith falls to this level the evidence accumulates rapidly:
Pastor Jeffress’ definition of morality is one I never encountered in my growing up. From where I view his claims of morality, Pastor Jeffress is running on empty.
The DVD has been on my shelf for several weeks, and today I got around to watching. Worth the investment—this is a compelling story. Screen shots are from the DVD. Details and quotes are from Wikipedia.
Spotlight was (is?) the name of an investigative team at The Boston Globe. The 2015 movie is about their investigation into corruption in the local diocese of the Catholic Church. Priests were sexually molesting (raping) children, boys and girls, and the Church was covering it up. The relevance of this film has gained monumental strength with additional revelations earlier this month.
The movie opens with a scene in a Boston precinct station, where a priest, Father John Geoghan, is the subject of an investigation. A young policeman converses with the desk sergeant about the matter, and he is assured that the matter is going to be handled in the usual way. It’s 1976.
A young prosecuting assistant district attorney exits the interview and tells the sergeant to keep the matter quiet. The priest is hustled out of the station and driven away.
In 2001 The Boston Globe hires a new editor. He is Marty Baron , played by Liev Schreiber. He is a Jew. The previous editor was Catholic, as are about half the population of Boston. This is significant, because the previous editor was reluctant to publicize Catholic Church misdeeds. Here Baron discusses strategy with “Walter “Robby” Robinson, the editor of the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team,” played by Michael Keaton.
The Globe was acquired by The New York Times in 1993, losing some of its independence. Also, the newly surging Internet is draining readership from print media. The newspaper has to win back readership by providing insight not available to thinly sourced Internet sites. Baron tasks the Spotlight team with investigating and reporting on Church corruption. Here Robby strategizes with the team.
Reporter Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) holds a conference over lunch with Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), a lawyer for several victims of Church abuse. Garabedian tells him there are documents under seal that can be made public. Abuse by diocese priests has been ongoing for decades and Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) has been covering it up. Priests have been shuffled from place to place as they continue to molest children. We learn from psychotherapist Richard Sipe (Richard Jenkins) that 6% of Catholic priests are guilty of child molestation. With 1000 priests, that means approximately 60 Boston priests are involved.
The newspaper has in its library records of Boston priests—their tenure in the diocese, reasons for leaving.
Rather than search for victims, the reporters decide to identify guilty priests. Many have been reassigned for other than legitimate reasons.
“Unassigned.” “Sick Leave.”
Sacha tracks down priests they have identified and interviews one at his house. As described by Sipe, this one has the maturity of a child and fails to recognize he did anything wrong. His sister interrupts the interview and orders Sacha to leave.
Disaster! As Garabedian prepares to file the motion that will unseal the critical documents, the terror attacks of 11 September disrupt air travel and all news reporting. The documents remain public for weeks before Rezendes can get access to them and bribe a clerk to make copies. There is much resistance all along to allowing the documents into the open.
The air clears, the paper waits until after the Christmas holidays to print the lead story, and the presses roll. All great newspaper-themed dramas have these scenes. Miles of newsprint churning through the presses and the folding machines.
Bundled by automatic machinery.
Loaded onto trucks and driven into the streets for delivery.
A reporter places a copy on a critical doorstep.
The reporters go into work the following day, their day off. The news story carried the phone number (and URL) for the Spotlight hotline. The phones ring continuously as victims and others contact the paper.
The closing credits tell the horrific details that came to light as a consequence of The Globe‘s revelations.
That was 17 years ago. Earlier this month it became apparent that the Boston episode had no impact on the Church’s corrupt practices.
Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says
Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.
The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.
It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.
The sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church for more than 15 years, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002. But even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks. The Pennsylvania report comes soon after the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.
There is much more I could mention here, but it has become no longer necessary. The implications and the remedy must by now be manifest to all—all but a few in a small enclave in Rome.
Is there an echo in here. It seems we have heard this before. “An untimely death is not certain when Jesus is involved, but having Jesus on your side can move things along.” For example:
Officials identify toddler stabbed to death at Lewisville apartments
LEWISVILLE — A man is accused of fatally stabbing and beating his 16-month-old son before a neighbor at his Lewisville apartment complex attempted to stop the attack by shooting him in the leg, police said Sunday.
Witnesses reported that a man was stabbing or beating a child about 12:40 p.m. in a courtyard at the Oak Forest Apartments on South State Highway 121 Business near Bellaire Boulevard.
A neighbor heard screaming, grabbed a gun and fired three shots, striking the father once in the leg and “effectively ending the assault on the child,” police Captain Jesse Hunter said.
The Tarrant County medical examiner identified the child Monday as 1-year-old Ashton Ness. A few hours later, the child’s name was removed from the medical examiner’s website.
During the attack, the father was yelling “Jesus is coming,” a witness told police.
The toddler had severe injuries, including stab wounds, and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
And my Jesus have mercy on my soul.
The answer to the gun death crisis is not fewer guns but putting God back into our lives. How’s that working out?
1 dead, suspect in custody after shooting at Mormon church in Nevada
Last Updated Jul 22, 2018 11:34 PM EDT
Authorities are investigating a shooting that took place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, Nevada. At least one person was killed and one person was injured Sunday afternoon, according to CBS affiliate KTVN-TV. The station writes that the suspect, John K. O’Connor, 48, is in custody but has not been charged yet.
KTVN-TV reports there were about 50 witnesses when the incident unfolded inside the church. Police say the suspect went home after opening fire and police followed him there where a hostage negotiator was able to get him to surrender.
I’m glad we finally got that matter settled.
Did I say it’s necessary to believe in Jesus in order for you to die before your time? If I ever said that, then I need to apologize. It is not necessary to believe in Jesus for you to die needlessly. But it helps:
In October 1994, Tony Dutoit’s infant son (Emmanuel Dutoit), aged three months, was killed at the group’s centre in Morin-Heights, Quebec. The baby had been stabbed repeatedly with a wooden stake. It is believed that Di Mambro ordered the murder, because he identified the baby as the Antichrist described in the Bible. He believed that the Antichrist was born into the order to prevent Di Mambro from succeeding in his spiritual aim.
That’s the Order of the Solar Temple, and it should not be considered representative of all Jesus-based cults. But let’s work on the premise that OST is representative, and let’s all enjoy a safer existence.