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Peter LaBarbera Saw Two Gay Men Kissing and He Liked It

porno-pete

Last week, the National Football League (NFL) held its annual scouting combine. Eli Apple, an Ohio State standout, attended the event, which is meant to showcase the talents of NFL hopefuls. During one of the interview sessions, Atlanta Falcons secondary coach Marquand Manuel asked Apple, “Do you like men?” Manuel’s question caused quite an uproar, resulting in the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff being required to take an NFL-approved social training class. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said Manuel received additional training. Most people think that a player’s sexuality is irrelevant. All that should matter is what players do while on the playing field.

Peter LaBarbera, chief homophobe for Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, wants to know who is doing the counseling. One News Now reports LaBarbera saying:

“First of all, who are the counselors? Are they bringing in people from groups like GLAAD, which is a homosexual activist group — which is bigoted against Christians? Are they bringing in anti-Christian homosexual activists to be their so-called advisors?”

First, why would it matter whether a counselor holds a negative view of   Christianity (actually Evangelical Christianity)? Isn’t the ONLY issue the fact that a person’s sexual identity and preferences are out of bounds and have no bearing on whether a player is NFL material? LaBarbera needs to understand that people of his ilk are no longer in control of our culture’s understanding of human sexuality. Most Americans now know at least one person who is gay. They are no longer willing to damn to hell friends, family, and work colleagues who just so happen to be gay. As with many former homophobes, my view of homosexuality changed once I met and befriended someone who batted from the wrong side of the plate.

Second, I am convinced that those who scream the loudest about the sin of homosexuality often are closeted gays themselves. In the same One News Now article, LaBarbera stated:

“I saw — I think it was a hockey game — where they had the kissing cam, and it was two guys kissing. And our kids are there. Do we want our sons and daughters to think it’s okay for two people of the same sex to kiss? It’s not okay! It’s immoral! It’s wrong!”

I wonder, is LaBarbera really “offended” by two men kissing, or does their kiss cause some sort of sexual stirring — one that must be suppressed lest the true Peter LaBarbera be forced out of the closet? My money is on the latter. Every time I see a picture of LaBarbera I think, this guy is a closeted gay.

peter labarbera

Here’s to hoping that contumacious LaBarbera will have a Ted Haggard moment. The Evangelical closet is chock-full of gays — male and female. Those who take the high moral road often drive off a cliff, crashing and bursting into flames, exposing for all to see their lies and hypocrisy. When these crashes happen, the world rightly laughs and ridicules the fallen saints—not because of their religion, but because they dared to think that they were morally superior to the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

For readers who might not be familiar with LaBarbera, here is a partial list of things he has said about gays:

“Only a decaying society pretends that homosexual relationships are morally equivalent to normal, male-female couples.”

“God detests homosexual practice and so we should expect that, since this is a sin movement, we should expect that they lie and are often nasty.”

It’s almost as if homosexual sodomy was created to spread disease.”

“My test is [to] substitute another sexual sin and see if it makes sense. Would we be talking about a survey of porn-using Christians or incestuous Christians? That sounds stark, but that’s, I believe, the appropriate biblical analogy.”

“I think there are Christians who struggle with the sin of homosexuality — but proud homosexual Christians? That’s an oxymoron to me in the same way as I would say proud adulterous Christians,” he adds. “And so, I think we have to be very careful because I see the tactic of the Emergent Church and the Christian left is to start talking more and more about ‘gay Christians,’ and what they end up doing is demonizing the so-called ‘Religious Right’ and saying that the Religious Right is all wrong in the way it has talked about homosexuality.”

“And have you considered the likelihood that some of the homosexuals will request sex-change procedures? I know for a fact that a significant percentage of my Law School class was undergoing sex-change therapy or surgery.”

“During my enlisted service, homosexuals seemed to be a clumsy lot. They had a tendency to repeatedly fall headfirst down an engineroom ladder. Some were even known to trip on deck and “fall” overboard.”

“If we get to pick and choose which laws we uphold, which laws are next on the line to ignore? Carnal Knowledge? I would think a service man or woman who has sex with a minor (Carnal Knowledge) could perform military duties as well, if not better, than a homosexual.”

“This is what’s going to happen all across the country the more homosexuality is promoted by the armed services. I would venture to say that someday, we’ll see servicemen marching in uniform in a sexual sin parade like what we saw here in San Diego. So the fact is homosexuality, in other words sin, does not stay in its closet; it always wants to boast and be prideful.”

Let me conclude this post with a video of Dan Savage’s masterful four minute take down of LaBarbera —  also known as Porno Pete.

Video Link

 

 

Breaking News: IFB Preacher Bob Gray, Sr. Admits to Driving Church Members

bob gray driving sheep
IFB sheepdog Bob Gray, Sr. driving church members (sheep) to give, give, give and win souls, win souls, win souls.

It is not often that an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist preacher of the stature of Dr. not-a-real-Dr. Bob Gray, Sr., exposes for all to see the way he really does the work of the ministry. While I appreciate Gray’s “honesty,” something tells me that he won’t appreciate this blog post.

There was a day when the job description for Evangelical pastors included things such as preaching, teaching, visiting the sick and the elderly, marrying the young and burying the old. These days, Evangelicals pastors, especially those who pastor megachurches, inspire and encourage church members. Every Sunday, church members file into the sanctuary hoping to get their weekly fix of Jesus. Pastors, knowing they must rev up congregants to keep them happy and tithing, resort to all sorts of tricks to make sure felt needs are met and every person leaves the sanctuary all jacked up on Mountain Dew, I mean Jesus.  This type of ministry has turned church members into spectators.

Down in Longview, Texas, things are different at the Longview Baptist Temple — a sin-hating, devil-fighting, King-James-Only Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church. The Gray clan — Bob Gray, Sr., and Bob Gray II — have little interest in inspiring, motivating or encouraging church members. Death is certain, hell is real, and Jesus is coming soon, preach the Grays, and they have no time to coddle church members. According to Gray, Sr.’s recent blog post, God-called preachers should drive their church members to do what they want them to do. Gray wrote:

The more I think about the subject of driving people the more I realize how we badly have missed the boat regarding this. In every other area of life we taut [sic] and praise the people who are driven and do drive others for a cause.

We celebrate a coach who drives his team to victory, but criticize the pastor who drives his church to reach their city for Christ. We praise the teacher who drives her students to study harder to get good grades, yet slander the pastor who drives his people to fulfill the great commission as they are commanded to do. We rejoice over the parent who drives their child to practice their musical instruments so that they can become accomplished musicians, but we demonize the pastor who drives his people to give more to God.

Let me ask you a question. Is winning the lost less important than winning the national championship? Tell me why Nick Saban can drive his Alabama football team to win and we love it, but we criticize the preacher for driving his people.

It seems that Gray, now 70 years old, has failed to learn that rarely does driving people result in long-term success. When people feel they are constantly being pushed to do, do, do, and do some more, they will, over time, tire of it and seek rest and relaxation somewhere beyond the incessant pushing of their drug-dealer pastor. I wonder if Gray, Sr. has ever thought about the thousands of church members he has driven right off a cliff? Tens of thousands of people have been won to Jesus through the soul-winning efforts of sheepdog Gray and Longview Baptist Temple (LBT) sheep. Shouldn’t the auditorium of LBT be teeming with members by now? Surely, 30 plus years of driving congregants to give, give, give and win souls, win souls, win souls, should result in overflow attendance on Sunday; yet attendance at LBT is a smidgen of what it once was. Longview Baptist Temple used to regularly publish its attendance numbers, bus rider numbers, and number of souls saved. Today? These numbers are no longer shared with the public. If continually driving church members is the way to do the work of the ministry, why does attendance at LBT continue to decline?

Where did preachers such as Bob Gray, Sr. get the notion that church members must be driven to accomplish great things for God? For many years, Jack Hyles — pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana — held an annual Pastor’s School. Thousands of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers and church members flocked to Hammond to sit at the feet of Hyles. First Baptist — at the time, the largest church in the world — was the crown jewel of the IFB church movement. Numerous preachers — Bob Gray, Sr. included — took to heart Hyles’ preaching and returned home to drive their churches to give, give, give, and win souls, win souls, win souls. The result? In the 1970s and early 1980s most of the Top One Hundred churches in attendance were IFB churches. Today? Only a handful of IFB churches are on the list. None is anywhere near the top of the list, having been displaced by friendlier, generic Evangelical churches.

The blame for the decline of the IFB church movement rests at the feet of Jack Hyles and those who followed in his steps. Hyles taught these so-called men of God to verbally, emotionally, and mentally abuse church members. As one aged IFB preacher said years ago, We hit our people over the head with the sin stick so often that they duck when we begin to preach. For years, Sunday after Sunday, IFB church members filed into churches such as Longview Baptist to hear preachers tell them that they were never doing enough. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry. We never will give in while souls are lost in sin. Souls for Jesus is our battle cry, sang the Midwestern Baptist College student body when I attended there in the 1970s. Today, the school has a handful of students, and the church which students were required to attend — Emmanuel Baptist Church — is no longer in existence; a church, by the way, that once exceeded 5,000 in attendance.

Thousands of souls were saved through the work of Midwestern college students. Required (driven) to evangelize, students fanned out across the Pontiac and Detroit area, knocking on doors and offering the one-two-three- repeat-after-me IFB gospel to those who dared to answer their knock. Freshmen students, filled with zeal and unaware as to how the soul-winning game was played, were those most likely to devote themselves to saving the lost. By the end of their first year, students who had been repeatedly berated at church, college chapel, and Saturday bus meetings over their poor souls-saved numbers, learned how to lie about their soul-winning conquests. Students were required to report each week how much time they spent evangelizing the lost and how many people were saved. Midwestern even held soul winning contests. Won souls were carefully tabulated and the best soul-winners had their names affixed to a chart.

Many IFB churches have moved on from their hyper-soul-winning days. As members began to burn out, attendance numbers declined. These IFB preachers — considered compromisers by men such as Gray — say they are now focused on quality and not quantity. Other IFB preachers, refusing to admit that they have burned through several generations of church members, continue to drive their churches — demanding more and more from fewer people. The numbers are against them, and in time churches built on the Hyles model of sheep-driving will collapse, and the remaining sheep will scatter, finding pastors and churches who treat them like people instead of a commodity. Whatever my feelings are concerning religion, I consider that those who choose to believe should be treated with respect. After all, they are the ones doing the work and paying the freight. Without them, preachers would be forced to sell vacuum cleaners and hamburgers to make ends meet.

Note

Gray, Sr. recently took to his blog to whine about people saying he drives church members. Gray wrote:

Recently it has been brought to my attention that someone who once worked side-by-side with me in my ministry has criticized me to several men for having “driven” my people rather than leading them. Now, normally I would actually consider that to be a compliment. However, it was obvious that it was not said as a compliment but as a criticism.

It is interesting that someone who would claim to be a friend would say what my enemies also have said about me. This is not something new. Nor is it something that concerns me other than for the fact that it came from a source I would have trusted. Plus it confuses people as to what good leadership is.

People who are told they are “hurting” after being so-called “driven” never knew it until they were told so. We are basically lazy by nature and anyone who will feed that will have to be critical of prior leaders who were driven because of a cause. It is an insult to those who gave their lives to a cause to say they were “driven” without a choice in the matter.

….

So, I say to those who accuse me of driving my people, you are right, I did drive my people. I drove them to do what’s right. I drove them to obey the Great Commission. I drove them to sacrifice for the cause of Christ. I drove them to put the Kingdom of God above themselves. I drove them to be the Christians they should be.

 

Songs of Sacrilege: God, Paper, Scissors by Paul Cusick

This is the eighty-fourth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is God, Paper, Scissors by Paul Cusick.

Video Link

Lyrics Link

Dear god I hope you’ve got your ears on,
I wanna tell you something that you
wouldn’t believe.
There’s children dying in the gutters.
Tell me why you hide your heart up your sleeve?

You never come down here.
You never show yourself, is it fear?
You never prove yourself.
When you’re needed you disappear.

Who sins?
Who chooses?
Who wins?
Who loses?

My god – is bigger than your god.
Your god – is better than my god.
My god – thinks he is your god.
But is god – but is god better than me?

My god – does no more than your god.
Your god – does no less than my god.
My god – thinks he’s the one god.
But is god – but is god better?
We’ll see…,

And they say – that my god forgives more
than your god, forgives more than me.
And they say – that my god accepts more
than your god, accepts more than me.

You never come down here.
You never show yourself, is it fear?
You never prove yourself.
When you’re needed you disappear.

Who sins?
Who chooses?
Who wins?
Who loses?

Your god is kinder. My god is finer.
Your god is wiser, but my god’s older.
Your god is smarter. My god is sharper.
Your god is better, but my god’s greater

My god, your god, my god, but is god?

Godly Gertrude and the Harding University Dress Code

Godly Gertrude

This graphic perfectly illustrates the puritanical culture found in many Evangelical churches. Women are considered lust magnets, sure to attract weak, pathetic Christian men who have little control over their sexual desires. Starting with primary school age, females are taught to never, ever expose any of the sexual parts of their bodies–breasts, cleavage, bare shoulders, legs, and ass. In other words, girls and women are expected to dress similar to burka-wearing Muslims. The only difference is the head covering.

This kind of thinking robs Evangelical girls and women of any sense of self-worth. Like pornographers, modesty Nazis reduce females to commodities that must be protected and hidden until it is time to put them on the (marriage) market.

The most astounding fact about this picture is that it comes from Harding University — a Churches of Christ-affiliated institution. It is hard to imagine — in the twenty-first century — grown women willingly submitting themselves to this kind of male-driven body control. Yet countless young women attend Evangelical colleges and universities that have rules which govern virtually every aspect of their lives. Such control would be impossible without women being indoctrinated as young children and teenagers by pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and parents.

Just remember girls. Regardless of what you think, IT’S THE RULES.

Notes

Harding University Dress Code 2015-2016

harding university dress code 2003-2004
Harding University Dress Code 2003-2004
Uplift Camp Dress Code — Summer Youth Camp held (and sponsored) at Harding University (Note that the majority of the rules apply only to women.)

Youth ministers and sponsors are responsible for their group (adults included) complying with the dress code for Uplift.  You should have a meeting with all participants and make sure they understand the dress code BEFORE they pack for Uplift. The dress code will be enforced. If you have students or adults who are out of dress code, we will come to you or a sponsor to address the issue. If there are offenses while at Uplift, it will be your responsibility to see that all in your group meet dress code. You may need to take your campers to Walmart, Goodwill, etc. to find suitable clothing.

  • All clothing must have sleeves (guys and girls). Sleeveless clothing is not allowed under any circumstances, even recreation time. This includes sundresses, tank tops, sleeveless blouses, athletic shirts, and cut-off T-shirts.
  • No visible midriffs. Clothing that exposes any part of the mid-section when standing, sitting or bending over is not allowed. All tops should be long enough to be tucked in.
  • Shorts must be fingertip length at least when standing straight, arms to the side. This is measured from the shortest part of the shorts. Nike-style running shorts are not allowed, even if they are long enough.
  • Skirts and dresses must come down to the top of the knee.
  • Skin-tight or otherwise revealing clothing is not allowed. Low-cut shirts, spandex, tight jeans, halter tops, etc. are not acceptable. Leggings do not count as pants. If your outfit is against dress code without leggings, it is against dress code with them.

Shocker!! Harding University has students who are gay. Students operate a site called  HU Queer Press: The State of the Gay — “a self-published zine that aims to give voice to the experiences of gay and lesbian students at Harding.”

 

Bruce, What if You Are Wrong — Again?

afraid of hell

For many people, being RIGHT is crucial. Evangelicals place a premium on being RIGHT. After all, THE Bible says, Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life.  Evangelicals, hanging their entire existence on a definite article, spend inordinate amounts of time making sure that their eternal destiny is settled. Life is viewed as little more than preparation for the life to come. No matter what happens, Evangelicals know that God will grant them a divine payoff the moment they die. Heaven is their goal, and reaching God’s Trump Hotel requires Evangelicals to believe the right doctrines.  Right beliefs lead to heaven, wrong beliefs lead to hell.

No Bruce, Evangelicals say, we believe that salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and eternal life are gained through the merit and atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. It is through JESUS, not right beliefs that sinners are saved.  While Evangelicals love to preach up salvation by grace, underneath all their talk about the freeness of salvation lies a rigid set of beliefs.

Evangelicals love to quote John 3:16:

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

However, what Evangelicals really mean when they quote this verse is this:

 For God so loved the world, that he gave sinners the right beliefs, that whosoever believeth the right doctrines should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Ask former Evangelicals if being right was of any importance to them and the churches they attended. Ask them if significant time was spent making sure church members believed the right doctrines. If their experiences were anything like mine, they will say that there were certain doctrines which were considered essential to Christianity— inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement of Christ, bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation through Jesus alone, heaven, hell, physical return of Jesus to earth, to name a few. Believe, and thou shalt be saved. Don’t believe, and thou shalt be considered heterodox, heretical, or unsaved.

Recently, an Evangelical sent me an email that contained one sentence: Bruce, what if you are wrong — again?  The author assumes that atheism is my destination, that I have intellectually arrived and no further inquiry is required. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When I walked out of the doors of church seven years ago, I left behind being right on the church’s altar. From that day forward, my life has been one of seeking and exploration. My goal is not to be right as much as it is to drink deeply at the well of human existence.

Now, this does not mean that I don’t value truth. I do, but my search for it is no longer has as its goal some sort of metaphysical payoff. As an Evangelical, I diligently read and studied the Bible. The Apostle Paul spoke of KNOWING whom I have believed, and that is exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to intimately know the King of Kings and Lord of Lords — Jesus Christ. I spent thousands of hours immersed in the Bible and prayer. Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you, the Bible said, and I wanted to be a spiritual seeker and door knocker. These days, I still do a fair bit of reading and study — as my health allows — but I no longer feel pressed to make sure I am right. I want to be right, but I know that — unlike the Bible — the pool of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding is so great that I will likely leave most of it untouched by the time I die.

I spent 50 years in the Christian church. While I am sure there are things that I do not know about this or that branch of Christianity, when it comes to Evangelicalism I have exhausted the subject matter. It has been years since Evangelicals have used original arguments in their attempts to woo me back into the fold. Most public Evangelicals-turned-atheists will say the same. Instead, Evangelicals trot out well-worn, easily refuted arguments, thinking that they have won the day. Sorry Evangelicals, until you come up with something new, I am content to ignore you and move on to new and exciting ideas.

While I have shut the book on Evangelicalism and Christianity, this doesn’t mean that I have all the answers. While I am certain that the Gods created by humans are no Gods at all, there could come a day when I am presented with new data concerning the existence of a God or Gods. Who knows, right? I doubt it, but I it certainly is “possible” that our alien overlords could make themselves known some day and I will have to admit that I was wrong — again. Until then, I plan to keep walking on the path of reason, science, and skepticism. And if I find out I am wrong? I will likely write a blog post detailing the data that turned my beliefs on their head.

How about you, Evangelicals? Are you willing to openly engage the vast bookstore of literature that challenges the truthfulness and veracity of Christianity? Are you willing to follow the path wherever it leads? Are you willing to call into question those beliefs you hold dear? Are you willing, if the path leads to such a conclusion, to abandon Christianity? Are you really a seeker of truth, or are you just looking for data that reinforces your beliefs? Are you willing to lose your salvation for the sake of intellectual honesty? Or does the comfort that comes from certainty trump intellectual pursuit?

If you answer NO to these questions, I understand. That said, don’t tell me that you are a seeker of truth. A truth-seeker is one who is willing to follow the path wherever it leads. You are not willing to do this. Until you are willing consider the possibility of being wrong, you will remain safely lodged in the Evangelical castle of certainty. Millions will join you in its safe confines, but I hope, some day, that you will venture outside of the castle’s secure walls, and enter the wild, woolly, and wonderful world of reason.

[signoff]

Songs of Sacrilege: God Said by Anthony David

This is the eighty-third installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is God Said by Anthony David.

Video Link

Lyrics

You know Christie
Something happened a long time ago in Haiti
And the people don’t wanna talk about it
They were under the heel of the French
And they got together and they swore a pact to the devil
They said we’ll serve you
If you’ll get us free from the French
True story
And so the devil said okay it’s a deal
And ever since then they have been cursed

Shake the hand of my imaginary friend
See the trouble he gets in
Can’t be traced back to me
He can’t pretend at the slightest of his when
He has the power to suspend our rules of morality
And when he gets angry he can make the lion cry
He can help me win the fight with his power
Yes he speaks to me and it’s always positive
Cause I can just ask for forgiveness and it’s over

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

So you’re praying for the death of the president of the united states
Do you think it’s appropriate to say something like that or…
I’m not saying anything what I’m doing is repeating what God is saying
In the name of the one who made us all
I will hide behind these walls from my enemy
By the power bestowed from up above
I will conquer you because it is my destiny
And with the righteous hand
I will bring you to your knees
I will strip you of your freedom without mercy
And when the earth quakes and the blood runs in the sand
There will be no final stand for the unworthy

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
Don’t you put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said

I stand on a mountain top on a solid rock
I stand on abundance truth and I won’t be moved
And when I come to claim my victory
I’ll repeat what was told to me

[Chorus:]
So you can’t put the blame on me I’m doing what God said
What God said, what God said
And he speaks to only me I know what God said
What God said, what God said

Songs of Sacrilege: Get Down on Your Knees Dear Father by Rabbie 1121

This is the eighty-second installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Get Down on Your Knees Dear Father by Rabbie 1121.

Video Link

Songs of Sacrilege: No Laughing in Heaven by Ian Gillan

This is the eighty-first installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is No Laughing in Heaven by Ian Gillan.

Video Link

Lyrics

I used to be a sinner, used to have my cake and eat it
They warned me of my fate, but I was quite prepared to meet it
You’ll go to Hell they smiled at me
And told me of the roaring fires
But I was happy living wild
And fueling my own desires
I was a wild man
Drinking, smoking and messing around with women
Lots of women
No, not swimming, women

I wanna go to Heaven
The place to be is right up there
I wanna go to Heaven
It’s gonna be good so I won’t despair

I decided to reform and pray
Beg mercy for my soul
I prayed in church
Threw away my bad habits
Prayed out of church
Adopted an entirely different role
I gave my money to the poor until I was poor
But at least I ensured that I would go up there
Instead of down below to the Inferno
Where the evil flames of desire
Burned higher and higher and higher

I’m gonna go to Heaven
Paid my dues so I’m getting in
I’m gonna go to Heaven
It’s looking good if I abstain from sin

I knocked on the pearly gates
Neatly side-stepping the long queue
Waved hi to St. Peter
Who checked my card and let me through
I smiled, threw my hands in the air
Laughed and got arrested
They said hey man, you’re in the wrong place
Your behaviour is a disgrace
Here we pray every hour, on the hour
Read extracts from the Bible and look solemn’
What, says I, no party?
No party?
Let me out

Let me out of Heaven
I got it wrong, no I can’t stay here
No laughing in Heaven
Let me out, I just can’t stay here

Well I ran around in the state of shock and panic
This wan’t what I expected
Here was what looked like a bunch of manic depressives
Can I get a transfer, I screamed
But no, once you’re in Heaven, you’re here for good
The good of your soul, but that’s no good for me
If you want to go to Hell you’ve really got to be bad
Okay, okay, I’ll be bad
Too late
What do you mean too late
Too late
No
In the meantime

Let me out of Heaven
I’ve got it wrong, no I can’t stay here
No laughing in Heaven
Oh God, it’s awful here
Going crazy in Heaven
Take me out and let me go to hell
No laughing in Heaven
Don’t laugh, this place is Hell

Evangelical Missionary Matthew Durham Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Molesting Children

matthew durham

Evangelical missionary Matthew Durham was sentenced Monday to 40 years in prison for sexually molesting children while working at Upendo Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Durham, 21, “engaged in sexual acts with multiple children, male and female, aged between 4 and 10 years.” Casi Marlowe, a writer for Dead State, reports:

A U.S. federal court passed a 40 year prison sentence on a former missionary from Oklahoma for molesting children at a Kenyan orphanage. Twenty-one-year-old, Matthew Lane Durham, was accused of molesting eight children at the Upendo Children’s Home in  Nairobi, Kenya in 2014.

Although Durham claimed he did not molest the children, prosecutors revealed he told staff members at the children’s home that he had been possessed by an “evil spirit.” He also claims he doesn’t remember the crimes.

During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors revealed that a live-in caretaker at the orphanage said the children reported that Durham either touched them sexually or encouraged them to touch themselves while he watched. According to a criminal affidavit, Durham was confronted by the founder of Upendo along with several church members, where he allegedly confessed to his crimes.

Despite pleading not guilty to 17 charges last June, a federal judge found Durham  guilty on seven counts, including engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. However he was acquitted on three of the counts by US  District Judge David Russell in January because the judge felt prosecutors failed to establish enough evidence that Durham had engaged in sexual acts with with (sic) one of the victims.

Prosecutors argued Durham used his position as a missionary to win the trust of the children in order to prey on them. But Durham’s attorney claimed his handwritten and taped confessions were coerced.  Officials at the children’s home only reported Durham to the authorities after sending him home to the United States.

….

In 2014 Durham told friends that he was possessed by a demon. Here are several screenshots of text messages Durham sent to his friends prior to his return home from Kenya.

durham text 1

durham text 2

durham text 3

Link to PDF of messages

Here is several screenshots of part of the July 18, 2014 amended Federal criminal complaint against Durham:

durham statement 1

durham statement 2

Full text of amended criminal complaint

Readers might remember my posts on Durham after he was arrested in 2014. Durham will be an old man before he is released from prison. I hope his story will serve as a warning to Evangelicals who use their position of authority to abuse, sexually assault, molest, and rape those who trust them to do no harm.

Notes

Durham attended and graduated from Crossings Christian School , an Evangelical institution located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. His mother is a fourth grade teacher at Crossings.

2014 Heavy story on Durham

2014 Christian Post story on Durham

Another 2014 Christian Post story on Durham

2015 KFOR.com report on Durham’s trial

Another 2015 KFOR.com report on Durham’s trial

2016 PDF file of judge’s decision to dismiss three of the charges against Durham

Video of Durham’s confession to children’s home director

Video Link

 

Arizona Republican House Legislators Offended over Juan Mendez’s Secular Prayer

juan mendez
Arizona House Democrat Juan Mendez.  Representative Mendez is an atheist.

What follows is a video of Arizona House Democrat Representative Juan Mendez offering a secular prayer at the start of the legislative session. The video also shows the reaction of Christian Republican legislators to Representative Mendez’s prayer. Only one legislator defended Mendez’s prayer — assistant Democratic leader Representative Bruce Wheeler. I was astounded to hear Wheeler — a Roman Catholic — state that Catholic legislators are not permitted to attend the weekly Arizona House Bible study. Let this video be a reminder of what happens when Evangelicals ignore the law and carve out special rights for their religion.

Video Link

Thanks to my heathen buddy Jim Schoch — a resident of Arizona — for making me aware of this video.

Here is what Arizona Capital Time writer Howard Fischer had to say about the matter:

A top House leader slapped down a Democratic lawmaker today for using the time set aside for prayer to instead give thanks for diverse beliefs — including the belief there is no higher power.

Majority Leader Steve Montenegro declared that Rep. Juan Mendez, D-Tempe, had violated House rules that require that each day’s session begin with a “prayer.” That’s because Mendez, an atheist, used the time to talk about the “pluralistic society.”

And he made a point of saying that, from his perspective seeking divine intervention or hoping for a place in the afterlife is unnecessary.

“We need not tomorrow’s promise of reward to do good deeds today,” Mendez said. “For some may seek the assistance of a higher power with hands in their air, there are those of us that are prepared to assist directly, with our hands to the earth.”

That invocation, Montenegro complained, left the House without the required prayer. So House Speaker David Gowan, who clearly was prepared for the dust-up, called the Rev. Mark Mucklow — who conveniently was on the House floor — to fulfill the obligation.

Mucklow obliged, with a lengthy prayer asking God to direct and lead lawmakers. And to put a point on what was missing before, he asked that “at least one voice today say, ‘Thank you, God bless you and bless your families.’ “

Then other lawmakers began piling on Mendez.

Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, said the time at the beginning of the session is set aside for prayer. He said lawmakers have a right to say anything else they want — but only after the prayer.

“I’m saddened and offended that a member of this body would knowingly disregard our call for prayer and our House rules,” he said. Finchem said there needs to be a time for prayer, “lifting this body up to the God that we speak of when we say our Pledge of Allegiance.”

“We are ‘One nation under God,’ “ Finchem said. “This republican form of government came out of the Book of Exodus,” he continued, saying “it is a matter of fact.”

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, said she believes the First Amendment is important.

“Not everybody in this room is Christian or Mormon or Jewish,” she continued. “I think it’s important we respect each other.”

But she said Mendez was wrong in using the time for the prayer for his invocation.

“It’s not time to be proselytizing even if you’re proselytizing something that’s not a religion,” Townsend said.

“I personally took offense at some of the words that were said,” she continued.

Rep. Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa, said he was upset about Mendez saying that while some look to a higher power that others help directly. He said Mendez was “impugning not me, but in a small way millions of people, women and men that are part of our pluralistic society that use their faith and their belief in a God … they allow to guide them in serving directly, every day and all day.”

Rep. Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson, said he doesn’t personally believe as does Mendez.

“But he has every right to say and voice what he said on the floor today,” he said.

Montenegro pointed out that he put out a memo earlier in the session spelling out what is acceptable as a prayer under House rules. And he said what Mendez said does not comply.

“Prayer, as commonly understood and in the long-honored tradition of the Arizona House of Representatives, is a solemn request for guidance and help from God,” Montenegro wrote in that memo. He said anything else — including a moment of silence — does not meet that requirement.

Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said he doesn’t need a memo to know that what Mendez said is not a prayer.

“We know what it looks like, we know what it is,” he said.

“We also know what it looks like when someone is desecrating or mocking someone else’s beliefs,” Petersen said. And he said those who want to do that using his or her freedom of speech, they can — but not during the time reserve for prayer.
….

 

Bruce Gerencser