Friday, February 23, 2018

U.K. High Court rejects parents' wishes, orders toddler's life support ended

More evidence that Western society isn't progressing, but regressing into ancient paganism--in the case of medicine, going back to the days before Hippocrates, when physicians were as likely to kill their patients as heal them. As reported by Catholic News Agency, February 22, 2018 (links in original):

LIVERPOOL, England – A British court ruled Tuesday that physicians can stop providing life support, against his parents' wishes, to Alfie Evans, a 21-month old boy who has an unknown neurological degenerative condition.

Evans is in a “semi-vegetative state” and on life support at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where doctors have said further efforts are futile and went to court to argue that continuing treatment, as his parents wish, is not in Evans' best interest.

Justice Anthony Hayden of the High Court ruled Feb. 20 that “Alfie's need now is for good quality palliative care … He requires peace, quiet, and stability, so that he may conclude his life as he has lived it.”

“I am satisfied that continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s interests. This decision I appreciate will be devastating news to Alfie’s parents. I hope they will take time to read this judgement again.”

Alder Hey Children's Hospital has said it always tries to agree with patients on plans for care: “Our aim is always to try and reach an agreement with parents about the most appropriate care plan for their child. Unfortunately there are sometimes rare situations such as this where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child's best interests.”

The hospital may withdraw Evans' ventilation on Friday.

Alfie's parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, are considering appealing the decision.

His doctors have described his condition as untreatable, but his parents are requesting their son’s transfer to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome for further diagnosis and possible treatment.

Evans' case echoes that of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill English infant who died in July 2017 after being taken off life support against his parents' wishes. Gard was 11 months old, and had been at the center of a months-long legal debate regarding parental rights and human life.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital treating Gard also went to court to take him off of life support, saying his parent's decision to maintain treatment was not in his interest.

Though Gard's parents raised more than $1.6 million for his treatment and had offers from hospitals in Europe and the US to give him experimental treatments, a High Court judge ordered that he be taken off life support.

Discussing Gard's situation with CNA in June 2017, Dr. Melissa Moschella, a Catholic University of America philosophy professor, said: “It seems to me completely wrongheaded that the state should be stepping in here when the decision that the parents are making is really aimed at the best interests of the child.”

“It’s not crazy, it’s not abusive, it’s not neglectful. It’s the decision of parents who want to, however they can, to give their very sick child a chance for life.”

She said such a decision “should be completely within the prerogative of the parent,” citing the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to Moschella, that declaration “clearly indicates that the parents, not the state will have primarily responsibility.”
The reader may note the arrogance of a judge and doctors who presume to know more than parents about what's in the child's best interests; and also that it's doctors who are petitioning the court to be permitted to end a patient's life.

Fundamentalist Mormon sect leader pleads guilty to sexually abusing his 8-year-old "bride"

An egregious example of bad theology leading to bad morality, as reported by Bree Burkitt of the St. George, Utah Spectrum, February 21, 2018 (bold, links in original):

The former self-proclaimed prophet of the Knights of the Crystal Blade pleaded guilty to marrying and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl in Southern Utah.

Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, was charged with first-degree felony rape of a child and one second-degree felony count of child abuse. His plea acknowledges he had engaged in a sexual act with the underage daughter of a fellow member of the Iron County-based religious sect.

The first-degree felony alone carries a sentence of 25 years to life in the Utah State Prison, while the child-abuse charges carries an addition one to 15 years. The judge can choose to order the sentences to be served consecutively or concurrently.

The plea deal was vital to prevent the child victims from having to testify, Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett explained.

"We're ecstatic about this plea, not only to hold him accountable with a 25 to life sentence, but also to protect the child from being revictimized."

Shaffer's public defender, Troy Sundquist, said his client wasn't necessarily pleased with the outcome, but he ultimately took the plea deal to protect his children.

"Almost from the beginning that was his main concern — not putting the children through that," he explained. "It was about what was in the best interest for them and for himself, obviously."

Deputy Iron County Attorney Mike Edwards said Shaffer could face additional charges if child pornography is found on a computer currently being searched by law enforcement.

A pre-sentence investigation report will be completed prior to his sentencing April 10.

Child brides
The Beryl man told an Iron County sheriff's investigator he had married John Alvin Coltharp’s underage daughter, according to a search warrant. Coltharp, a fellow sect member, had also allegedly married Shaffer’s 7-year-old daughter. Court documents state Shaffer had physically inspected the girl's genitals to determine if she was a virgin.

Shaffer was the original prophet of the small fundamentalist Mormon religious group. He told investigators in December that he had passed the prophecy on to Coltharp, who is currently being held in Sanpete County on charges of kidnapping and sodomy of a child.

He outlined his beliefs in writings, podcasts and videos hosted on a website titled “The Kingdom of God or Nothing.” Shaffer asserted that his beliefs, including supporting plural marriage and child unions, were handed down to him by God directly on June 22, 2015.

New search warrants recently unsealed in 6th District Court revealed police had expected to find a notebook detailing their plans to kidnap even more children as they prepared for the impending end of the world.

"John and Sam both believed that the end of the world was near," according to the warrant. "Also expected in the recorded notes or revelations is the plan by John and Sam to abduct more family children about the time of the anticipated Muslim invasion of the United States, which was imminent."

Shaffer is still facing two counts of first-degree felony sodomy of a child in Sanpete County. He's also charged with one count of obstructing justice in addition to child bigamy, both second-degree felonies.

Coltharp was arrested at his home by Spring City police Dec. 1 after they said he failed to turn over his four children to his ex-wife, who had been awarded full custody of their two daughters and two sons in November. He told investigators the children were in the care of Shaffer, but refused to revealed where they were.

The search for missing girls
Shaffer's father, James Shaffer, was recently charged with obstructing justice after being accused of lying to police about having Coltharp's children hidden in his Spring City home. Charging documents indicate the son later picked-up the children and transported them to the compound.

A statewide Amber Alert was issued Dec. 4 after the Iron County Sheriff's Office raided a compound belonging to Coltharp approximately one mile west of Lund. The grandparents of Coltharp’s children and the two boys were found living in a makeshift residence composed of storage containers on the compound. They told authorities the girls had spent the night with Samuel Shaffer in a tent on the property. He had last been seen leaving the area on foot the day before.

A witness later spotted Shaffer walking alone on a dirt road several miles west of the compound. He was taken into custody without incident shortly after before telling law enforcement where Coltharp’s two daughter and his own biological daughters were hidden. Two of the children were found hiding in a blue plastic 50-gallon water barrel. Shaffer told investigators he had placed the children in the water barrel an estimated 24 hours earlier to hide them from searching law enforcement, the probable cause statement said.

The other two girls were hidden separately in an abandoned single-wide mobile home in “deplorable conditions” approximately five miles away from the property, the report detailed. The mobile home appeared to be primarily used for storage and was not equipped for living.

All four girls were transported by helicopter to Cedar City Hospital after the rescue. One of Shaffer’s daughters was flown by Life Flight helicopter to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake.
I find it puzzling that Mr. Shaffer seems alarmed about an Islamic invasion of the United States; given that Muhammad had a child bride, this should be an area of common interest.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Prominent Canadian rabbi accuses Israel's Chief Rabbinate of desecrating the name of God for compiling a blacklist of overseas rabbis

Neither shall ye profane my holy name; Leviticus 22:32a

According to Infogalactic:

Chillul haShem (Hebrew: חילול השם‎ "desecration of the Name"), meaning desecration of the name of God, is a term used in Judaism for any act or behavior that casts shame or brings disrepute to belief in God, any aspect of the Torah's teachings, Jewish law, or the Jewish community.

More fun and games in the world of Orthodox Judaism, as reported by Kobi Nachshoni of Ynet News, February 19, 2018 (bold in original):

Rabbi Adam Scheier, leader of the world's largest Orthodox community—Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Montréal, Canada—appeared in a hearing of the Knesset's Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, and accused the Chief Rabbinate of causing Chillul Hashem.

Rabbi Scheier, known to be close to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the personal rabbi of late crooner Leonard Cohen, came to Israel especially to attend the committee's hearing.

His community, founded in 1846, is markedly Orthodox and comprises some 1,400 families. In 2016, one of its members arrived to Israel with confirmation that he was both Jewish and single in order to marry through the country's rabbinate—but was turned away.

Rabbi Scheier's name and number appeared on the documents, but it appeared no one in Israel bothered to contact him to inquire as to the man's status.

Yael Aloni was also not recognized as being Jewish, despite testimony from her rabbi in Michigan's Chabad house, and the fact that her sister married as a Jewish woman. Aloni wanted to assist her own daughter in marrying in Israel, but was afraid to do so in case the Chief Rabbinate questioned her own status, which would endanger her ability to receive a Jewish burial in the future.

Both Aloni and Rabbi Scheier appeared before the committee and shared their stories. The committee convened at the behest of MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid), following the rabbinate's failure to push forward with its plan to put together clear criteria for recognizing rabbis abroad.

A special team of experts was put together 18 months ago by the Chief Rabbinate to do just that, but to date it has convened only once.

'Israeli Chief Rabbinate causes Chillul Hashem'
Rabbi Scheier spoke of his deep ties to Israel on the one hand and his disappointment with the country on the other. He said, "We conclude the closing Yom Kippur prayer by singing HaTikva. When members of our congregation wish to marry in Israel, I tell them there's no better place in the world to do so.

"But when I'm asked to marry someone in Israel, I warn I may not be able to do so since I don't have the rabbinate's authorization. It pains me to say this, but the Israeli Chief Rabbinate causes Chillul Hashem."

On his own personal wounds, the rabbi said, "No one ever told me why I was rejected, they only sent me a letter saying I may not be approved… Anyone can find my email or social media accounts in a second with Google, and anyone who wishes to find me can easily do so.

"I'm a true rabbi and my certification is legitimate. I was personally offended by the rabbinate's rejection of me and my certification. It harms my ability to serve the Jewish people."

The Canadian rabbi added the existing situation engendered mistrust between him, as the leader of a large community, and members of his congregation—who were afraid to make Aliyah and get married in Israel out of the fear they will not be recognized as Jews.

This hurt his standing and reputation to such a degree, he said, that other rabbis recommended to couples to ask him to hold their wedding ceremony.

Scheier then directly addressed the Chief Rabbinate's Director Moshe Dagan, who was present in the hearing, and exclaimed, "Next time before you rule me out, I invite you to visit my synagogue. It will certainly be an educational experience."

'I felt humiliated'
Yael Aloni said that her daughter and her fiancé contacted the Jerusalem Rabbinate several months ago in order to open a marriage file, and were told their Judaism needed to be ascertained.

Since both the bride's mother and grandmother did not marry in a Jewish ceremony, the couple presented a letter from a Chabad rabbi in Michigan that attested to the mother's Judaism, but were told that "it could have been created using Photoshop." The couple's claim that the mother's sister married in a Jewish ceremony was to no avail either.

"My daughter ended up getting married, Thank God," Yael said. "But the process was long and exhausting. I felt humiliated. I thought I'd have to go to Poland, where my grandmother's entire family perished in the Holocaust, to get the papers to prove my Judaism. I was afraid to even approach it, (because I feared) they would rule I myself wasn't Jewish and prevent me from being buried in a Jewish cemetery."

Chief Rabbinate Director Dagan rejected the claims that the rabbinate held a "black list" of overseas rabbis who were personally targeted, and claimed, "This demagogy that a black list was allegedly created is a lie."

He further claimed that both the rabbinate and Jewish courts approved Rabbi Scheier, but were obliged to ascertain the authenticity of the documents presented on his behalf.

Addressing the claim that the Montréal rabbi was never contacted, he explained that the rabbinate was overworked, and said, "The Matrimony and Proselytization Department receives 3,000 approvals a year, and only one employee and two students handle all of the requests."

Dagan added that despite the fact that no such black list existed, he regretted the fact that the rabbis felt slighted. He also noted that the draft list of criteria for overseas rabbis was already put together, and sent out to rabbi organizations worldwide. After they send back their comments, he assured, they will be discussed by the Chief Rabbinate Council and then approved.

'Ivanka's rabbi was also disqualified'
Head of the "ITIM: Resources and Advocacy for Jewish Life" organization Rabbi Dr. Seth Farber, who has been spearheading the public and legal battle on the issue, divulged during the hearing that according to the rabbinate's own information, nearly a quarter of all requests to approve personal status in 2016 were rejected—627 of a total of 2,823.

"Not all of them belonged to overseas residents," Farber stressed. "Most of them made Aliyah and then their Judaism was questioned. This is a split. It isn't just a Diaspora problem, but an Israeli problem as well."

Efrat Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who also attended the hearing, said, "I want the Chief Rabbinate to be respected abroad, for Israel to be respected broad, for Halakha to be respected abroad—and everything is being done here to prevent that from happening. Even the rabbi who converted Ivanka Trump to Judaism was disqualified."

Rabbi Riskin then went on to note prominent modern Orthodox rabbis were disqualified by the rabbinate and quipped, "I felt bad for not appearing on the black list."

On a more serious note, he said, "I would like to see the Chief Rabbinate's criteria. I'm not sure I could meet them."

New Jersey rabbi--a registered sex offender--is arrested on teen prostitution charge

As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 20, 2018 (links in original):

A New Jersey rabbi registered as a sex offender was among three people arrested in connection with the human trafficking and prostitution of a 17-year old girl.

Rabbi Aryeh Goodman, 35, of East Brunswick, has been charged with engaging in prostitution with a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He runs a religious learning center out of his home.

Gabriella Colon, 18, and Richard Ortiz, 23, both of the Bronx, New York, have been charged with 11 criminal counts including human trafficking and promoting the prostitution of a child. According to a statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, they sold the sexual services of the teen, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to approximately 30 men from Jan. 1 to Feb. 2.

Goodman met the teen at the hotel on Feb. 1 and paid to have sex with her, according to the statement. He turned himself in nearly a week later to the East Brunswick Police Department while accompanied by his attorney.

Goodman is registered as a Tier 3, or high risk sex offender, according to Meyer Seewald, founding director of Jewish Community Watch, an organization dedicated to combating child sexual abuse in the Jewish community.

In a statement sent to JTA, Seewald said that Goodman molested a youth while serving as a camp counselor in 2001. Jewish Community Watch helped Goodman’s victim file a report against the rabbi in 2013. Goodman accepted a plea deal and served prison time. Seewald said he had been sentenced to up to 23 months in jail.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

21st-century Iceland combines a rejection of biblical truth; an Islamic invasion; a return to ancient paganism; and discrimination against Judiasm

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Proverbs 26:11

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

Iceland provides an excellent example of how Western society in the early part of the 21st century, with its increasing rejection of Christianity, isn't progressing, but is instead regressing into ancient paganism. First, this item, as reported by Iceland Magazine, January 14, 2016 (bold, links in original:

Iceland seems to be on its way to becoming an even more secular nation, according to a new poll. Less than half of Icelanders claim they are religious and more than 40% of young Icelanders identify as atheist. Remarkably the poll failed to find young Icelanders who accept the creation story of the Bible. 93.9% of Icelanders younger than 25 believed the world was created in the big bang, 6.1% either had no opinion or thought it had come into existence through some other means and 0.0% believed it had been created by God.

The poll, which was conducted by the polling firm Maskína on behalf of Siðmennt, The Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, an association of Icelandic atheists, found that 46.4% of Icelanders identify as religious, which is the lowest figure to date.

Younger people and inhabitants of Reykjavík are least religious
Older people are far more likely to profess religious beliefs and to identify as Christian than those who are younger. 80.6% of those older than 55 identified as Christian and only 11.8% said they were atheists. At the same time 40.5% of people who were 25 years or younger said they were atheists, and only 42% said they were Christian. Traditional Christian beliefs also seem more common outside of Reykjavík, where 77-90% of people identified as Christian and 7.1-18 were atheists, compared to 56.2% of people in Reykjavík who identified as Christian and 31.4% as atheist.

0.0% of people younger than 25 believe God created the world
The poll found an even more dramatic difference between different generations when it probed how people believed the world had been created. Of those younger than 25 93.9% said the world had been created in the big bang and 0.0% believed God had created the world. 77.7% of those between 25 and 44 years old believed the world had been created in the big bang and 10.1% believed God had created the world. In all but the oldest age category a majority accepted the big-bang theory. Only 46.1% of those older than 55 believed in the big bang, and nearly a fourth, 24.5% believed God had created the world.

People in the oldest category were also most unsure about the origins of existence, as 16.6% of those older than 55 saying they either didn’t know or had no opinion on the origin of the world.

Growing support for separation of Church and State
The poll also found a growing percentage of Icelanders support the full separation of church and state. Out of those who expressed an opinion on the subject 72% supported the full separation of church and state and 28% oppose the separation of church and state. Currently the Icelandic constitution stipulates that the state church of Iceland is the Icelandic Evangelical Lutheran Church.
As reported by Ashley Cowburn in the U.K. newspaper The Independent, January 16, 2016:
...One Reddit user, however, criticised the poll as misleading. They said: “The question in the asked in the poll was confusing. It was ‘how do you think the universe came to be?’ and the answers were ‘the universe came to be in the big bang’ and ‘God created the universe’ or ‘Don’t know’ and ‘other’…"

The user added: “Many people believe that God is the root cause of the big bang, and the comments in the ‘Other’ section of the poll (page 14) are overwhelmingly about something to that effect, e.g. ‘God created the world in the big bang’ .

Other users pointed to the fact that the Big Bang theory was originally hypothesised by the Catholic priest and physicist Georges Lemaître.

In October 2014 Pope Francis said the theories of evolution and the Big Bang were real and God is not a "magician with a magic wand". Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Francis explained that both scientific theories were not incompatible with the existence of a creator – arguing instead that they “require it”.
It should be kept in mind, of course, that the poll mentioned above was commissioned by the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association, who aren't exactly unbiased in either the question asked or the answers hoped for. The result may be in no small part the result of apostasy in what passes for Christianity in Iceland, as exemplified by this item, reported by Iceland Magazine, October 30, 2015 (bold, link in original):

The congress of the Lutheran State Church, which was held this week, resolved that the church would wholeheartedly support same-sex marriage. The Bishop of Iceland, Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV that same-sex marriage was no longer a controversial topic within the church and that she and other priests respect both the law and human rights.

Priests’ religious liberties vs human rights and the law
While same-sex marriages have been legal since 2010 many in the Lutheran State Church has remained somewhat ambivalent about marrying two individuals of the same sex. Several priests have talked about the importance of respecting their religious or moral freedom, stressing individual priests within the church should have the right to refuse to perform marriage ceremonies if they were opposed to same-sex marriage.

The bishop had previously stated that she supported the idea of priests having a religious or moral right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. The Minister of the Interior, Ólöf Nordal, had also stated publicly she supported priests’ “moral freedom” to refuse to perform same-sex marriages. Both women have now reversed their positions, it seems, as Ólöf recently stated she believed priests in the state Lutheran Church could not refuse to perform legal marriage ceremonies.

Christian love wins out
Recently the bishop wrote a letter to the Ministry of the Interior, stressing that she would never support rules that violated basic human rights. Asked about her change of heart, Agnes tells RÚV she simply respects the law: “I just respect the law, and this is what the law says”, adding that she does not believe this is an issue within the church anymore. “What matters in this case, is that we follow Christ’s gospel of kindness and love.”
The reader will note that the Lutheran State Church has female bishops, which is evidence that the church's apostasy predates the issue of sodomite/lesbian "marriage." And of course, the pseudo-bishop uses the term "Christ's gospel of kindness and love" to describe a rejection of His word and authority.

With "Christianity" in Iceland falling into apostasy, Islam is ready to fill the spiritual vacuum, which has alarmed even the country's President, as reported by Magnus Sveinn Helgason in Iceland Magazine, November 24, 2015 (bold, links in original):

The president of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, fears that Saudi Arabian financing of a Reykjavík mosque will fuel radical Islam in Iceland. The president told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service that he was shocked to the point of paralysis when he learned last March, in a meeting with Saudi Arabian Ambassador, that the government of Saudi Arabia had decided to interfere in Icelandic religious life by donating one million US Dollars to the planned mosque. The president did not speak up about these concerns until after the terrorists attacks in Paris.

Controversial statements about radical Islam and Saudi Arabia
The president claimed Saudi Arabia has not only fostered religious extremism but also forces which have attacked the West and western values.

In a second interview with the local radio station Bylgjan, following the Paris terrorist attacks, the president had warned that Iceland could no longer act as if violent religious extremism did not concern Iceland and that we should not let "childish naiveté" delude us to think these problems could be solved simply with tolerance and social reforms.

These statements, especially the statement about “childish naiveté”, has caused some controversy in Iceland, as some feel the president has been stoking the fires of islamophobia. Others have raised questions as to why the president did not make his concerns over the planned Saudi Arabian funding of the Reykjavík mosque known immediately.

Many on Icelandic social media have also speculated whether the announcements are being made in preparation for a re-election bid by Ólafur Ragnar, whose fifth term as president comes to an end in 2016. The president, who is the second longest sitting president in Europe, has not yet announced whether he is seeking a re-election.

Forces which have attacked Western Civilization threaten Iceland
In an interview on the local radio station Bylgjan last week, following the Paris terrorist attacks Ólafur Ragnar said Icelanders could no longer act as if the rise of radical Islam was a problem which did not concern Iceland, or that Iceland was an island in the world. He pointed to the attempts by a foreign nation which has “fostered radical Islam and the forces which have attacked western civilization” as proof that Icelanders had to begin a new conversation, and not let “childish naiveté” delude people into thinking tolerance and social reforms can deal with the challenges:

“But we must come to terms with, in a realistic way, that we are not an island in the world. And when we learn, as I did while meeting the representatives of a foreign state some while back, that a state which has fostered radical Islam and the forces which have attacked Western Civilization, has decided to interfere in the religious life of Iceland, it is of course a sign that we are not an island in the word. And there are many examples which show us we cannot discuss this issue as if it was a problem of somebody else. This decision by a foreign state to begin to interfere in Icelandic religious life in the same way as it has done around the world, financing schools where radical Islam is cultivated, and young men trained in those views, it is a reminder to us Icelanders we must begin a new discussion. At the same time we must not condemn refugees and run away from a society of multiculturalism and tolerance we should not live in childish naiveté that we can deal with this problem with some actions of tolerance and social reform.”

Meeting with Ambassador of Saudi Arabia leaves president shocked
Ólafur Ragnar has since clarified that he was referring to a meeting with the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Iceland, Ibrahim S.I. Alibrahim who met with the president on March 5. According to the diary of the President on the president's official web page the Ambassador told Ólafur Ragnar at the meeting that Saudi Arabia would donate one million US dollars toward the building of a mosque in Iceland and that he had visited and inspected the location of the planned mosque.

In an interview on Sunday for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service Ólafur Ragnar said he had been shocked by the announcement. Asked whether he had protested the planned gift at the meeting in March the president explained he had not because the news had taken him by complete surprise. In fact, he been virtually paralyzed by surprise and shock:

“I didn’t [register objections] at that meeting, because this took me completely by surprise, and I was, at the end of the meeting, I simply didn’t know how to react. So, I was really just so surprised, and so paralyzed, by this announcement, that I just accepted it, and then sat down and thought it over, and decided I should make it public, as I did.”

At the time the president did make the announcement known on his web page. He has not explained why he chose to stay quiet about his concerns for more than eight months.
Three days after that item was published, the design for the planned mosque in Reykjavik was unveiled, as reported by Iceland Magazine, November 27, 2015 (link in original):

The design for the planned Reykjavík mosque ere unveiled yesterday, the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reports. The designs were made by the architects Gunnlaugur Stefán Baldursson and Pia Backmann. In all 63 proposals were submitted for the mosque.

The building will include an 18.5 metre (60 feet) tall tower and a grass covered roof. The building itself will be two stories and 640 square metres (6,890 square feet). According to the architects the aim of the design is to merge Icelandic and Muslim building traditions.

The Reykjavík city council agreed to give the Icelandic Muslim Association land to build the mosque in September 2013. The decision was criticized by many who feared that a mosque would be a breeding ground for radical Islam, and would irreparably change the face of Reykjavík and Icelandic society. Recently the president of Iceland has revealed that he was deeply shocked when he learned earlier this year that the government of Saudi Arabia had decided to donate 1 million US Dollars to the construction of the mosque.
Several days later, it was reported that the ancient Sumerian religion of Zuism was Iceland's fastest-growing religion, but this may have been just a manifestation of protest against public funding of recognized religious groups. As reported by Iceland Magazine, December 3, 2015 (bold, links in original):

Zuism, an ancient Sumerian religion has added thousands of members in a few days [to] become the fastest growing religious group in Iceland. The group now has significantly more members than the Muslim Association and the pagan Ásatrúarfélag. The growth of the religious group has caught the attention of foreign media, including the BBC. However, questions have been raised whether Zuism should be recognized as a proper religion or an organized protest movement.

A religion or a protest movement?
The primary reason for people registering People have been registering their religious affiliation as Zuism is to protest current law and state funding of religious groups. The website of the group promises to re-fund people the parish fees people are charged as part of their income taxes. This state funding of officially recognized religious groups through parish fees has been criticized in recent years by those who demand a full separation of state and church.

The group's website states in blunt terms that the primary goal is to affect political change:

Zuists fully support freedom of religion, and from religion, for everyone. The organization’s primary objective is that the government repeal any law that grants religious organizations privilege, financial or otherwise, above other organizations. Furthermore Zuists demand that the government’s registry of its citizens’ religion will be abolished.
The organization redistributes the government’s annual financial support equally to all members of the congregation.

The local news site Hringbraut.is reports that among the members of the group is Birgitta Jónsdóttir, one of the founders of the Pirate Party. Other Pirate party members, including Halldór Auðar Svansson, a Reykjavík city councilman for the party, have expressed support for the religion, saying it is an example of “hacking the system.”

Founders under investigation for fraud
The local news site visir.is reports that the number of people who have registered as Zuists has now topped three thousand. According to figures from Þjóðskrá Íslands the congregation has grown rapidly in the last few days. Ísak Andri Ólafsson, the “Head priest” of Zuism in Iceland and the chairman of the new religious organization tells the local news site visir.is that he is both surprised and humbled by the reception the religion has received.

The rapid growth of the Zuist congregation has come despite significant negative media coverage. On Tuesday the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service reported that the religious organization has been registered with the authorities by brothers Ágúst Arnar Ágústsson and Einar Ágústsson. The two are suspected of having defrauded investors through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter where the solicited funding fo rthe manufacturing of multi-use data caples and portable windmills.

Ísak Andri tells visir.is that the two are no longer on the board of the Zuist organization and that the new board is working with lawyers to ensure all accounts of the organization are open and transparent, ensuring members can be confident the parish fees will be returned to them in full.

Parish fees to be returned to members
The primary promise of Zuism is to refund all members the parish fees, paid by the state to all officially recognized religions based on their membership. This fee is not collected as a poll tax, or directly from the taxpayer, but is considered to be collected through the income tax and then distributed to recognized religious organization based on their membership. According to the 2016 budget the state will pay all recognized religious group 898 ISK each month for each registered member, or 10,776 over the year (81 USD/77 EUR). According to the local newspaper Morgunblaðið this means that the Zuist congregation will receive 33,728,880 ISK (254 USD/241 EUR) in government funding in 2016.

Ísak Andri tells visir.is that each member will receive the total amount, after any administrative costs have been deducted.
Evidence of Iceland's actual return to the practice of ancient paganism is provided by the news that the country's first pagan temple in 1,000 years is being constructed. As reported by Christopher Klein of History.com, February 18, 2015:

When the Vikings first settled in Iceland in the 9th century, they brought with them a deep devotion to a pantheon on Norse gods. Wooden carvings of deities such as Odin, Thor, Freyr and Frigg adorned their temples, and Viking warriors charged into battle confident that their faith would reward them with a trip to Valhalla if they were felled on the battlefield.

Paganism thrived in Iceland until around A.D. 1000 when lawmakers agreed to make Christianity the country’s official religion. While the polytheistic religion of the Vikings was driven underground, it was never totally extinguished thanks in large part to 13th-century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson, who recorded the ancient Nordic mythology in the “Prose Edda.” Even among Christians, Nordic beliefs in elves, trolls and nature spirits were handed down from generation to generation.

Around the time of the return of medieval Icelandic saga manuscripts from Denmark in 1971, interest in Old Norse mythology in Iceland began to grow. In 1972, a small group of believers seeking a faith rooted in the nature of Iceland and their Viking ancestors formed the Asatru Association in a Reykjavik café. The following year, the association received recognition from the Icelandic government as an official religious organization, which allowed it to conduct legal marriages, burials and other ceremonies as well as receive a share of the country’s tax money earmarked for official religions.

Although nearly 80 percent of Iceland’s population belongs to the Lutheran Church, the Asatru Association has become one of the country’s fastest-growing religions. According to Statistics Iceland, membership in the neo-pagan religion has grown nearly eightfold in the last 15 years, from just over 300 people in 1999 to nearly 2,400 last year. In a country of approximately 325,000 people, the Asatru Association claims more followers than the Mormon, Buddhist, Islamic and Russian Orthodox faiths combined.

With its ranks growing exponentially along with its share of Iceland’s religious taxes, the Asatru Association has announced plans to begin construction next month on the country’s first temple to the ancient Norse gods in more than 1,000 years. The oval-shaped shrine, designed by Asatru member Magnus Jensson, will be built into a wooded hillside near Reykjavik’s domestic airport. The Iceland Review reports that the capital city donated the land for the temple, which will cost nearly $1 million to build. Following the tenets of the religion, the 4,000-square-foot temple will coexist in harmony with nature. The natural rock of the hillside will form one of the walls while light will pour in through a south-facing glass wall and a skylight atop the dome ceiling.

Inside the 250-seat temple—or “hof”—the group’s four priestesses and five priests will preside over followers’ marriages, funerals, name-giving ceremonies and other rites...

...Asatru high priest Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, a film composer and musician who has collaborated with Icelandic superstar Bjork among others, is quick to point out that the group’s religious practices are different from those of the ancient Vikings. They do not read the medieval texts literally and eschew a strict interpretation of Norse mythology for its more spiritual qualities. Unlike the Vikings, Asatru members do not worship the deities of Asgard such as Odin, the god of gods who sacrificed an eye to gaze into the well of knowledge and rode on an eight-legged steed. “I don’t believe anyone believes in a one-eyed man who is riding about on a horse with eight feet,” Hilmarsson told Reuters. “We see the stories as poetic metaphors and a manifestation of the forces of nature and human psychology.”
As reported by Iceland Monitor, December 2, 2017 (link in original):
The Ásatrú temple in Öskjuhlíð in Reykjavik will be ready in the latter part of next year. There's been a break in construction of the temple but construction will begin again in January.

The building was supposed to be ready by next summer but construction had proved more complicated than previously thought. This was confirmed by head chieftain Hilmar Örn Himarsson of the Ásatrú society of Iceland to Morgunblaðið.

The Ásatrú society recently asked the public for suggestions for a name for the building and a name will be decided next year. Construction is entirely paid for by the society who have been raising funds for years.

The building is located on the Öskjuhlið hill in the middle of the woodland and close to The Pearl. It's designed by architect Magnús Jensson.


Although the temple's construction hasn't been completed, winter solstice ceremonies have already taken place, as reported by Iceland Monitor, December 23, 2017:

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year and in Iceland the sun was only in the sky for four hours and seven minutes. The sun rose in Iceland at 11:22 AM and set again at 15:29.

Members of the Ásatrú religion celebrated Winter Solstice with a blót (sacrificial) ceremony at Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavik, which is also the site for the new Ásatrú temple set to rise next summer.

High chieftain Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson says that there are plenty of sources that speak of the celebration of Winter Solstice before Iceland converted to Christianity in the year 1000. One such source is the ancient poem of Harald, Haraldskvæði „Úti vill jól drekka (...)

ok Freys leik heyja.“ ( Outside jól will drink and perform the games of Freyr). Jól is the Icelandic word for Christmas, a word related to the English Yule. "The word jól is taken from the name Jólnir. Jólnir was one of the names for the highest god, Óðinn. This proves the heathen origin of the festival. " Hilmarsson also points out the traditions of ancient Rome, as well as in Peru, China and other places which show that celebrating the rising sun at Winter Solstice is a tradition that goes way further back than the first Icelandic settlers or for that matter, Christianity.

The Pagan ceremony last night was continued by the Ásatrú society with a dinner at Nauthóll restaurant. "We're celebrating the rebirth of the sun. Our ceremony is a small, beautiful one where we recite poetry, including from Skírnismál. There are plenty of children carrying candles, lots of people and even lots of people that are not part of our society but feel that this is a part of their Christmas tradition."

As to the sacrifice, there's no blood spilled at the ceremony. "No, no, this is very child friendly. The only thing we sacrificed were clementines."
And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
Genesis 17:9-13

Just a little over a month after the winter solstice observance, a bill to ban non-medical circumcision was introduced into the Icelandic parliament. As reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 1, 2018 (link in original):

Lawmakers from four political parties in Iceland introduced a bill in parliament that would ban the nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 and impose imprisonment of up to six years on offenders.

Members of the ruling Left Green Movement, the Progressive Party, People’s Party and the Pirate Party submitted the bill to the Albingi on Tuesday, the RUV news site reported. Together, the parties account for 46 percent of the parliament’s 63 seats.

The measure cites the prohibition of female genital mutilation in 2005, arguing a similar prohibition is necessary for males. The report did not say when the bill would come to a vote.

Advocates of male circumcision, which many physicians believe reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and genital infections, have long objected to the comparison of the practice with female genital mutilation, a custom with no medical benefits that is universally viewed as detrimental to the ability to derive pleasure from intercourse.

The bill calls the circumcision of boys younger than 18 a violation of the human rights, according to the news site, and says it places them at an elevated risk of infection and causes “severe pain.”

Throughout Scandinavia, the nonmedical circumcision of boys under 18 is the subject of a debate on children’s rights and religious freedoms. The children’s ombudsmen of all Nordic countries — Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway — released a joint declaration in 2013 proposing a ban, though none of these countries has enacted one.

In the debate, circumcision is under attack from right-wing politicians who view it as a foreign import whose proliferation is often associated mostly with Muslim immigration. And it is also opposed by left-wing liberals and atheists who denounce it as a primitive form of child abuse.

In 2012, a German court in Cologne ruled that ritual circumcision of minors amounted to a criminal act. The ruling was overturned but triggered temporary bans in Austria and Switzerland.

A similar debate is taking place across Western Europe about the ritual slaughter of animals, which is illegal in several European Union member states.

Iceland, which is not a member of that bloc, has a population of approximately 300,000, including several dozen Jews and a few hundred Muslims.
Scandinavian Jewish leaders have taken notice of this development, and are raising an alarm, as reported by Jewish Telegraphic Agency, February 14, 2018 (links in original):

The leaders of the Jewish communities of four Nordic countries said that a bill proposing to ban nonmedical circumcision in Iceland “will guarantee” that no Jewish community is established there.

The presidents of the umbrella groups of Jewish communities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland issued the unusual warning Tuesday in an open letter to all Icelandic lawmakers in reaction to the submission last month of a bill proposing to ban all nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 in Iceland, a Scandinavian island nation of some 300,000 people with a few hundred Jews and Muslims.

Lawmakers from four parties with 46 percent of the seats in parliament, including the ruling party, co-authored the bill.

If passed, “Iceland would be the only country to ban one of the most central, if not the most central rite in the Jewish tradition in modern times,” wrote Aron Verständig, Dan Rosenberg-Asmussen, Ervin Kohn and Yaron Nadbornik in the letter.

Referencing the Nazi prohibition on brit milah, Jewish ritual circumcision, they noted: “It would not be the first time in the long tradition of the Jewish people. Throughout history, more than one oppressive regime has tried to suppress our people and eradicate Judaism by prohibiting our religious practices.”

Iceland, they added, does not have an organized Jewish community today.

“Banning Brit Milah will be an effective deterrent and will guarantee that no Jewish community will be established,” they wrote.

Iceland is slated this year to receive its first resident rabbi in decades.

The open letter might be perceived as meddling in Iceland’s internal affairs, the co-authors conceded.

“And why should we care? The reason is that you are about to attack Judaism in a way that concerns Jews all over the world,” they wrote.

The Nordic Jewish community leaders urged the Icelandic lawmakers to follow Norway’s 2015 legislation on nonmedical circumcision, which introduced regulation while ensuring the custom’s legality under certain terms.

In Europe, circumcision is under attack from right-wing politicians who view it as a foreign import whose proliferation is often associated mostly with Muslim immigration. And it is also opposed by left-wing liberals and atheists who denounce it as a primitive form of child abuse.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

90 years ago: Nebraska Man suddenly disappears from the list of modern man's alleged ancestors

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:22

Nebraska Man (Hesperopithecus haroldcookii) is this blogger's favourite of the various hominids alleged to be ancestors of modern man. His status as such was based solely on the "million-dollar tooth," which was found in an ancient river bed in Nebraska in 1917 by rancher and geologist Harold Cook and put forward by scientists such as American Museum of Natural History President Dr. Henry Fairfield Osborn as proof that a forerunner of modern man lived in America millions of years ago. However, on February 18, 1928, the tooth was revealed to be the tooth of an extinct peccary.

At the Scopes trial in 1925, Nebraska Man was cited as proof of evolution, and William Jennings Bryan was ridiculed when he protested the scanty evidence. Unfortunately, Mr. Bryan didn't live to see his views vindicated. Nebraska Man is just one of a number of man's alleged ancestors that hasn't stood the test of time, or close examination of the evidence. Other examples include Java Man, Peking Man, and Piltdown Man. "Science" marches on.

For further reading on the subject of modern man's alleged ancestors, see Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils by Marvin L. Lubenow (1992).

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Bermudian Parliament reverses court approval of sodomite/lesbian "marriage"

At last, an item of good news, as reported by Jonathan Bell of the Hamilton Royal Gazette, February 8, 2018:

Same-sex marriage in Bermuda was outlawed yesterday after the Governor gave Royal Assent to an Act designed to replace it with civil partnerships.

John Rankin signed the legislation 61 days after it was backed in the House of Assembly and 56 days in the wake of its approval by Senate.

Mr Rankin said the Domestic Partnership Act was signed into law “after careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the Constitution”.

The move ended weeks of speculation over whether Britain would allow the legislation, and dashed the hopes of activists in Bermuda and overseas who had asked Mr Rankin to reject the new law.

Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, speaking from London last night said that he was pleased the green light had been given to domestic partnerships, which will be available to both gay and heterosexual couples.

He added: “The Act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female, while recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.”

Mr Brown said that same-sex couples already married under Bermuda law will continue to be recognised as married.

He added that “any overseas same-sex marriages taking place before and during the transitional period will also be capable of recognition as marriages in Bermuda”.

The island came under the international spotlight over the controversy and it was branded the first country to outlaw same-sex marriage after it was backed by the courts.

But Mr Brown said the introduction of the legislation made Bermuda, an associate member of the Caribbean organisation Caricom, “among the first English-speaking Caribbean islands to introduce and pass a law that provides legal recognition to same-sex couples”.

He added the partnerships will give same-sex couples rights “equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples — rights that were not guaranteed before the passage of this Act”.

Mr Brown said guaranteed rights include “the right to inherit in the case of no will, the right to a partner’s pensions, access to property rights, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner and the right to live and work in Bermuda as the domestic partner of a Bermudian”.

Bermuda’s same-sex marriage row went as far as the UK House of Commons.

Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, said during a debate on the subject last month that Britain was “disappointed” by Bermuda’s decision to reverse marriage equality.

The controversial legislation was introduced in November 2017 by Mr Brown in the wake of a bitter national debate over allowing same-sex couples to wed.

It followed a landmark decision by the Supreme Court in May 2017, when Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the island’s Registrar-General could not reject a gay couple’s application to marry in Bermuda.

The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage on the island and the first gay couple exchanged vows at the Registrar-General’s office less than a month later.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said the Act gives rights and benefits to domestic partnerships that were “almost exactly the same as the rights and benefits of marriage”.

She said: “Clause 50 states that where the words specified in the table, which include marriage, spouse, husband, wife, widow and widower, are mentioned throughout Bermuda legislation, these are to be read in the case of a person in a domestic partnership as the corresponding word specified, that is domestic partnership, domestic partner or surviving domestic partner.

“Clause 50 also provides that references to next of kin and relative include a domestic partner.”

Same-sex marriage and civil unions were voted on in a non-binding referendum in June 2016.

The referendum failed to attract the 50 per cent minimum of registered voters needed to rule that questions were “answered”.

But those who did vote rejected both same-sex marriage and civil unions by a margin of more than two to one.

Mr Brown said last night the referendum showed that the majority of Bermudians did not support same-sex marriage.

He added it was the Government’s belief that “this Act addresses this position while also complying with the European courts by ensuring that recognition and protection for same-sex couples are put in place”.

He added: “Bermuda will continue to live up to its well-earned reputation as a friendly and welcoming place, where all visitors, including LGBT visitors, will continue to enjoy our beauty, our warm hospitality and inclusive culture.”
The battle isn't over of course, as alphabet pervert activists will continue to push until they get what they want--and if and when they do, they will promptly declare the issue settled, and no more debate will be permitted. Let us pray that Bermudians who are standing firmly for righteousness will continue to do so. They're certainly showing more backbone than the "Conservative" Party of Canada, which officially made support for sodomite/lesbian "marriage" a party policy in 2016.

This blogger can't help but notice that the flag of Bermuda bears a striking resemblance to the flag of the country into which this blogger was born, and which is unfortunately, no longer recognizable as a nation. I don't think it's a coincidence that Bermuda retains a traditional flag and at least on one issue upholds biblical standards, while Canada became more ungodly after abandoning the Red Ensign.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Melkite Patriarch Joseph Absi formalizes full communion with Roman Catholic Church by celebrating mass with Pope Francis

As reported by Catholic News Service, February 13, 2018 (link in original):

VATICAN – Formalizing their unity in the intimate setting of the chapel of the papal residence, Pope Francis and Melkite Patriarch Joseph Absi concelebrated Mass together in the presence of members of the Melkite synod of bishops.

Instead of giving a homily at the early morning Mass Feb. 13, Pope Francis explained the special nature of Patriarch Absi's visit.

"He is the father of a church, a very ancient church, and he comes to embrace Peter, to say, 'I'm in communion with Peter,'" Pope Francis said during the Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Melkite church, one of the many Eastern churches in full union with Rome, "has its own theology within Catholic theology, it has a marvelous liturgy and a people of its own."

"At this time, a large portion of that people is being crucified like Jesus," the Pope said, referring especially to Melkites who, like Patriarch Absi, are from Syria. "We offer this Mass for the people, for the people who suffer, for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East."

The 71-year-old patriarch, who was elected in June, told Pope Francis, "I cannot describe how beautiful this moment is," but he said he was "very moved by your fraternal charity, by the gestures of fraternity and solidarity you have shown our church."

At the end of the Mass, Pope Francis asked the patriarch to join him in giving the final blessing to the few dozen people invited to the morning Mass.

The Pope, patriarch and bishops also had met Feb. 12 in the papal library.

"At this difficult time, many Christian communities in the Middle East are called to live their faith in the Lord Jesus in the midst of many trials," the Pope told them. He prayed that the patriarch, bishops and priests of the Melkite church would live in a way that would encourage all the faithful "to remain in the land where divine providence wanted them to be."

Pope Francis urged them to be "pastors – like the Lord with his disciples – who reanimate the hearts of the faithful by staying close to them, consoling them, reaching down to them and their needs; pastors who, at the same time, accompany them up, to seek what is above, where there is Christ, and not the things of earth."

While Pope Francis had called Catholics to join a day of prayer and fasting Feb. 23 specifically for peace in Congo and South Sudan, he told the Melkites, "I will not fail to remember, in a special way, Syria, which has been struck by indescribable suffering these past few years."

Backlog: Pentecostal pastor in Nigeria receives a dose of local justice after sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matthew 18:6 (also Mark 9:42, Luke 17:2)

It's unfortunate for this "apostle" that he was in Nigeria and received the humiliating treatment described in the article below; if he were in Australia and molested children, he could get away with it and be hailed as the founder of a megachurch. As for "Pastor" Akileye's current whereabouts--we're not sure.

As reported by Rita Okoye of the Lagos Daily Post, November 12, 2012:

The Good Book summed it up when it says “wonders will take over the world when the end times are near”. These are obvious end times as the Armageddon is already here with us. Men of God are beginning to see themselves as demi-gods, and can do anything to get the mouth ajar. They continue to desecrate the church of God without any explanations to their congregation. This is the case with pastor, George Akinleye, a shepherd in charge of one of the branches of a leading Pentecostal church located in the Ejigbo area of Lagos who was beaten and paraded round the area for having carnal knowledge of an eight-year-old girl.

The Ogun State-born ‘cleric’ was almost served with jungle justice for committing such an atrocious crime.

According to the victim’s father, known as Baba Akeem: “About a month ago, we were shocked when our daughter, Elizabeth complained of virginal pains, saying that she was sexually abused by ‘Baba’, the name she calls Akinleye the neighbourhood pastor. Her descriptions of what transpired between her and Akinleye showed that she was actually raped.

Speaking further, the enraged and shocked father said: “Angrily, I confronted the man. He accepted getting close to my daughter, but denied raping her; I knew he was lying. I almost got the Police involved, if not for the advice from neighbours to allow the sleeping dog lie. Surprisingly, barely a month later, I came back home from work, only for my daughter to start demanding for the type of drug I gave her in the past when ‘Baba’ abused her. I asked her why she needs it, but to my shock, she said ‘Baba’ abused her again. That was how I raised the alarm and took my daughter to the nearest hospital, for medical examination and possible treatment. This was after the hospital confirmed the abuse”, he claimed.

While he was being paraded naked round the neighborhood, his penis swung as passersby wonder on what manner of crime the man of God had committed to deserve such a Calvary treatment.

With scars of injuries and tears all over him, the ‘Apostle of the Most High’ defended himself thus: “We both live in the same environment, and the father is so close to me that sometimes I ask him for help which he always rendered. I’m innocent of this particular accusation-the recent one. The first time I was accused of raping her, I had gone to their house where I met the little girl working on her school assignment. I offered to help her with the assignment which she gave me and I later returned it to her. I don’t know why nobody believed me, I didn’t have sex with that girl”, he exonerated himself.

“This time around, she is saying that I ‘double crossed’ her at Somonu Animashaun Street and had sex with her again. How could I have done that? I wasn’t even at that area at the said time of the rape. Before God and man, I didn’t do anything to her this second time that I’m being accused.

The preacher eventually admitted committing the ‘Unholy Sex’ with the infant girl once after he was being threatened severally.

The resident doctor of the hospital who confirmed that the victim was raped disclosed that. “She was brought here by her father and I can confirm she is okay now. I’m just appalled by how the accused man was treated. If care was not taken, he could have been lynched. I’m against jungle justice no matter the level of crime committed”, the doctor stated.

Another nurse at the hospital further revealed that ‘not less than two fingers had entered the little girl’s private part’, an indication that she could have been raped or ‘fingered’.

However, few hours after the man of God admitted his heinous and shameful act, angry mobs were about lynching him before some policemen attached to the Ejigbo Police station came to his rescue.

It was gathered that the police later released him on the ground of his infectious ailment. “He suffers from Diabetic Ulcer, a reason the police could not detain him at the station”, the doctor said.

The 47-year-old Akinleye whose early morning preaching was an anthem on the streets is said to have been excommunicated from the church. “He is not the presiding pastor of the church, but lives inside the church and was always in the habit of singing and preaching every morning within the area. Though, he is not married and has no child, but whether he truly raped the girl remains a riddle we are all trying to solve”, Tope, the rape victim’s neighbor affirmed.

Backlog: Former Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops communications director receives prison sentence for production and distribution of child pornography

As reported by Alan Hustak of the Canadian publication Catholic Register, March 24, 2015:

MONTREAL - A Catholic deacon who was arrested with more than 100,000 pornographic pictures of children was sentenced Mar. 24 to two years less a day in prison.

William Kokesch, a former communications director for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, will also serve two concurrent sentences — 14 months for the publication of child pornography, and 12 months for distribution. He will be eligible for parole in four months, after serving one-sixth of his sentence.

Before he was sentenced, Kokesch, a former deacon at St. Edmund of Canterbury church in the suburb of Beaconsfield, said his belief in God has become stronger because of the ordeal.

He apologized to the court for all the damage he has caused, saying that since being arrested in December 2012 he has had time, “to recognize the source of character flaws that played a role in what I did. Through the help and support of an extraordinaroly loving wife, some close friends and neighbours, my family, self-help groups, and the professional and spiritual counselling I am undergoing, I have grown greatly as a person, rebuilding my life into one that is wholesome and good.”

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro said he believes Kokesch has come a long way during more than two years of therapy, and suggested “there are many other people, many more than we know, that have the same problem.”

Kokesch had been undergoing a period of psycho-sexual treatment before he was sentenced. He was relieved of all pastoral duties the day after his arrest. But the damage to the parish was widespread. The church has lost parishioners as a result.

Kokesch studied at Concordia University in Montreal, worked for The Gazette and for CTV, and in 1981 was ordained a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. The married father of five adult children became the spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on a number of burning issues in the early 2000s.

He was widely quoted in the media during coverage of sexual abuse allegations in 2002. His message was that reconciliation and healing take time. He also boasted that the Canadian bishops adopted a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse 10 years before their U.S. counterparts.

Kokesch organized the Canadian delegation to World Youth Day celebrations in Germany in 2005, and was quoted in the Globe and Mail about the importance of harnessing youthful energy in the wake of the 2002 event in Toronto.

“Spirituality is more important than the physical act of going to church. The most important thing is how you live your life, our prime goal is to get people to do things that are Christian, to care for others, for the poor and for the sick," he was quoted in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

After he has served his sentence, Kokesch will be on probation for three years, and has been prohibited from using the internet and being near children under the age of 16 for 10 years.
When he was arrested, the following was reported by Giuseppe Valiante of QMI Agency, December 22, 2012:

MONTREAL - A well-known Montreal-area Deacon who once spoke on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has been charged with production and distribution of child pornography.

William Kokesch, 65, appeared in a Montreal courtroom Saturday afternoon via videoconference. The day prior, based on a tip from the public, Montreal police searched two locations in the city’s west end, including Kokesch’s home, and allegedly found more than 2,000 child porn images.

Montreal police spokesperson Dany Richer wouldn’t give details about Kokesch’s alleged victims. Nor would he say if any of the children in the images seized from Kokesch’s home were members the church.

Before his arrest, Kokesch was Deacon at St. Edmund of Canterbury, a Catholic church in the town of Beaconsfield, which is on the island of Montreal. Kokesch used to work as spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and was involved in the World Youth Day celebrations in the cities of Cologne, Toronto, Paris and Rome.

The Archdiocese of Montreal announced Saturday afternoon in a news release that it “removed (Kokesch) from all ministry and pastoral activity.”

“Having just learned of the charges against Mr. Kokesch, the diocese is profoundly upset,” reads part of the statement. “Child pornography is an affront to human dignity, and our first concern rests with those who are its victims.”

Kokesch also used to work as a journalist for several Montreal-area media organizations.

Bob Benedetti, Beaconsfield resident and the town’s former mayor, worked with Kokesch in a Montreal newsroom in the early '80s.

Benedetti said he was “completely shocked” at the news that his former colleague was charged with production of child pornography.

He said Kokesch was well known in the Beaconsfield community.

“I knew him as a good guy,” Benedetti said. “He was a straight arrow — if you’d ask me who was the least likely person to be involved with (child pornography), I would have said Bill Kokesch.”

Members of the St. Edmund’s parish who were reached by QMI Agency on Saturday also expressed shock at the news.

“You’ve got to be kidding, I don’t believe that at all,” said Dianna Poisson, president of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, a St. Edmund church group.

Kokesch will remain in jail until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for Monday.

Calls placed to Kokesch’s home were not answered.
As reported by Mr. Valiante on December 23, 2012:

MONTREAL - Churchgoers at Montreal's St. Edmund parish on Sunday largely refused to comment publicly on the child pornography charges against their former Deacon, William Kokesch.

"You can't ask me anything and I really don't think the media should be here," said a female parishioner as she exited the church, in the city's west end.

QMI Agency approached more than 30 people outside the church after Sunday mass and almost all refused to talk.

St. Edmund's head priest, Rev. Joseph Sullivan, also refused to be interviewed. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Montreal stood close to Sullivan after mass and didn't let QMI Agency anywhere near the priest.

Montreal police said that on Friday, they found more than 2,000 child pornographic images after searching Kokesch's home and another location. Kokesch appeared in court Saturday to face charges of production and distribution of child pornography.

Eric Durocher, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Montreal, told QMI Agency that "as far as we know, (Kokesch) was never alone with children; there was always another adult present."

Kokesch was the co-ordinator of the church's altar service and he worked closely with Rev. Sullivan, Durocher said.

The few parishioners who agreed to speak to QMI Agency on Sunday withheld their names.

"I am disappointed," said one mother, on her way out of church. She said she didn't think Kokesch harmed any of the children in the church community.

"I don't think he did - I hope he did not."

A father walking with his kids outside the church told QMI Agency that he too didn't think Kokesch harmed any children.

"I think it's mainly Internet stuff," he said. "I'm not worried he victimized people here."

Kokesch is currently detained by police. His next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Kokesch was involved in the World Youth Day celebrations in the cities of Cologne, Toronto, Paris and Rome.

And as a spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, he gave media interviews regarding sex abuse scandals in the church.

He reportedly told the Globe and Mail in 2002 that the process for choosing people to study for the priesthood was being reformed in order prevent predators from becoming priests.

The Archdiocese of Montreal announced Saturday afternoon in a news release that it "removed (Kokesch) from all ministry and pastoral activity.


Given his conviction, it seems that Mr. Kokesch wasn't the "straight arrow" that he appeared to be. If he hasn't reoffended, he's now free, with his probation due to expire this year.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Backlog: Pastor with criminal past murders his fiancee's daughter

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23

As reported by Associated Press, November 4, 2012:

BROOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.-- As police frantically worked to figure out how his fiancee's 24-year-old daughter had vanished, a Michigan pastor who had turned to God to shed his violent past went to his flock with a request: pray for her.

But all along, authorities say, he knew the sordid truth about where the young mother was.

The pastor, ex-convict John D. White, later confessed to killing Rebekah Gay to fulfill a fantasy of necrophilia, police said Friday. White drank four or five beers before going to the woman's mobile home and repeatedly striking her head with a mallet and strangling her with a zip tie, according to court documents.

Police said White stripped her dead body but does not remember if he carried out his sexual fantasy. After dumping the body early Wednesday, he returned to Gay's home and dressed her 3-year-old son in his Halloween costume, then later dropped him off with the boy's father.

"He kept saying he's a bad person, he's a pastor, he felt bad for the people in his church. ... I don't recall him bring real remorseful at all with regard to the victim or anything else," Isabella County Sheriff Leo Mioduszewski said. "He just basically said he was attracted to her, thought she was a very cute girl. It's a crazy, tragic situation."

The case shocked the pastor's roughly 14-member congregation and raised questions about how a man who had found religion after a criminal past could return to his dark past.

White was in jail without bond Friday, a day after he was charged with first-degree murder in Gay's death in a rural area in Isabella County, 85 miles northwest of Lansing. The 55-year-old has asked for a court-appointed attorney.

White was engaged to Gay's mother and regularly watched her young son while she worked, said Donna Houghton, a church elder who had a role in hiring White three years ago to be pastor at Christ Community Fellowship. Church members, she said, were "absolutely floored" by the allegations.

"I protested his innocence until I had the absolute news that he confessed. Then he had no leg to stand on," she said.

Before his arrest Thursday, White called Houghton to ask that she contact other church members and start a prayer chain for Gay, who still was missing at the time.

"He was pretty shook up. He said the police were giving him a hard time," Houghton said.

White confessed that day after being told the woman's body was likely to deteriorate in the cold, wet weather, Mioduszewski said. He said his fantasy had been fueled by pornographic videos.

Houghton said the congregation was aware of White's criminal past when he joined the church. He was released from prison in 2007, after serving nearly 12 years for manslaughter in the death of a 26-year-old woman in Kalamazoo County, according to the Michigan Corrections Department.

He had previously been sentenced to probation for choking and stabbing a 17-year-old Battle Creek girl in 1981.

"He was absolutely contrite," said Houghton, 76. "All kinds of people turn around and meet the Lord and they are a different person. He was doing a lot of good in the community. ... He was doing a lot of good and Satan did not want him doing good and Satan got to him."

She said White got on her roof and cleaned her neglected gutters last week, a chore that inspired his Sunday talk. She recalled him saying during that sermon that "we need to check closely the seeds we sprout in ourselves. Nothing can be hidden from God."

At the trailer park on Friday, pictures of pumpkins and other Halloween decorations were still on Gay's home. Park resident Matt Brown said White regularly cut through his yard to visit Gay's trailer that was one street away.

Brown, 21, said White seemed to have scratches on his face when he told residents Wednesday that Gay was missing and that her car had been found outside a bar.

"It looked like he was in a struggle," Brown recalled.

Charles Kenworthy, another resident of the park about 11 miles west of Mount Pleasant, said the killing so close was "just scary."

"I would think they'd want to look into different people and their background before they let somebody live here," he said.
In January 2013 Mr. White was declared competent to stand trial. On April 18 he was sentenced to a minimum of 56 years in prison for the murder of Rebekah Gay, and presumably remains behind bars.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Retired Roman Catholic priest in Boise to be evicted from his diocese-owned home after being charged with possession of illegal drugs and child pornography

Yet another one, as reported by Michael Katz, Ruth Brown, and Katy Moeller of the Boise Idaho Statesman, February 8, 2018 (updated February 9, 2018) (links in original):

Feb. 9, 2018 update: Church spokesman Gene Fadness says Rev. W. Thomas Faucher will be served an eviction notice Friday afternoon. A certified letter regarding the eviction will also be sent to Faucher.

Faucher pays to rent his home from the Diocese of Boise. Fadness earlier this week told the Statesman that Faucher’s lease agreement prevented the church from evicting Faucher following recent charges of child porn and drug possession.

Friday, Fadness said the church does have options regarding the lease that he was previously unaware of. Friday’s action by the church would start the process laid out in Idaho law for an eviction.

Reached Friday afternoon, Faucher’s attorney Mark Manweiler said he was not aware of the eviction and had no immediate comment as a result.

Earlier reporting continues below:

A street normally bustling with children has been abnormally quiet the past few days. For the families who live near W. Thomas Faucher’s residence, a feeling of shock, anger and fear has dampened what is usually a lively block.

Faucher, 72, a retired priest at Saint Mary’s Church in Boise, was arrested Friday on 12 charges related to having or distributing child pornography, and two counts of drug possession. All but the drug charges are felonies. Prosecutors claimed Monday that investigators found hundreds of images of child pornography, online chats where Faucher spoke of “desires to rape and kill children,” and drugs including marijuana, ecstasy and LSD.

Prosecutors told the Statesman on Thursday that they have no reason to believe the children in the images are from the Boise area, though they have not verified who they all are yet.

Faucher, in jail over the weekend, was released Tuesday night after posting $250,000 bond. A judge forbade him from having any contact with children and from using the internet while his case progresses. His next court date is set for Feb. 15.

Faucher lives off of Hill Road, a block away from Cynthia Mann Elementary School in Boise’s Collister neighborhood. His arrest and subsequent release on bail have shaken his neighbors. The streets nearby are home to several families with young children who eagerly run to each other’s homes after school.

“No kids have been walking around, and it’s 60-something degrees,” said neighbor Tina Johnson, who was baptized by Faucher but said she has no relationship with him now.

The ordeal has been so jarring that Johnson’s son, 12-year-old Jack Wermerskirchen, who used to set up lemonade stands near Faucher’s house, said he “slept with my airsoft gun last night.”

Johnson said Faucher’s release put her and others on edge.

“When I found out he was back in the neighborhood, I’ve just been outraged. And I think mostly that’s fear-driven,” Johnson said.

Neighbors said they seldom saw Faucher, as he mainly kept to himself.

“He was not really a presence in the neighborhood other than that we knew that he lived there,” neighbor Jerrod Wong said.

Faucher declined comment Wednesday when two Statesman reporters visited his home, saying his attorney had asked him not to speak while the case was pending.

That attorney, Mark Manweiler, argued that his client was not a risk during an arraignment hearing Monday. Manweiler pointed to Faucher’s lack of criminal record and “impeccable reputation.” He said the priest answered five hours’ worth of questions from police, and said there has never been a claim of abuse or impropriety aimed at Faucher despite the “tens of thousands” of children his client has been around.

Manweiler also argued then against the no-contact order. He said Faucher was expected to have many community members visit after leaving jail, and he did not want his client to unintentionally violate the order if visitors brought a child with them.

“(Faucher) is well-liked and well-known,” Manweiler said. “He counts among his good friends people at the highest level of both branches, both of state government and our local government and some judicial officials here in Ada County.”

Faucher’s home is owned by Saint Mary’s Church. Some neighbors want the church to evict him.

Elizabeth Herseth’s son and grandchildren live a few houses away. Herseth lives in Seattle but visits her son four times a year for a week at a time. On this occasion, Herseth arrived the night Faucher was arrested.

Since Faucher’s release, Herseth has written letters to Saint Mary’s, the diocese and the Ada prosecutor, asking for his eviction.

“I thought, I have to make some phone calls, and I have to write some letters, because I just can’t live with this,” she said. “I’m appalled. It almost brings me to tears.”

A provision in Idaho law says that if a landlord has “reasonable grounds to believe that any person is, or has been, engaged in the unlawful delivery, production or use of a controlled substance,” a complaint for eviction can be made.

Gene Fadness, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise, said he could not comment on details of Faucher’s lease agreement. Previously, he said the agreement prevented the church from evicting Faucher immediately once he was released from jail.

“The concerns of the nearby neighbors are paramount to us,” Fadness said Thursday. “However, until new developments take place in the case, we have no further comment.”

Until some action is taken, some neighbors say they feel trapped.

“It’s going to affect our lives, and it’s going to affect the way we function,” Johnson said. “Jack’s not going to have a lemonade stand on the corner this summer. It’s almost like we’re prisoners in our own home because he’s here, and that’s not OK.”

CORRECTION: Both drug charges in this case are misdemeanors. Online court records originally indicated otherwise.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Backlog: Dominionists pray for Toledo

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Matthew 6:5

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. John 18:36

Another old item that I should have posted a couple of years ago. The reader will notice the unbiblical position of leadership occupied by a female "pastor;" the misuse of scripture in the service of a dominionist agenda; the openness to working with non-Christian religions; and the seven mountains of dominion. I don't know what's happened to the spiritual climate of Toledo in the last two years, but I doubt that it's improved. As reported by T.K. Barger of the Toledo Blade, January 2, 2016:

Thursday will be the 179th anniversary of Toledo’s incorporation, and one group will be focusing on the city’s motto, Laborare est Orare, which means “to work is to pray.”

The group members pray in their work, and for the Thursday event they are inviting Toledoans to join them.

At 7 p.m. Thursday at the Parkway Place Banquet Hall, 2592 Parkway Plaza, Maumee, “Toledo Prays,” which emerged from a network of about 40 pastors called Merge, will involve more than a dozen pastors and other leaders of faith who will offer prayers for Toledo.

To get tickets for the free event, go to pray.500k.org.

“The focus on the prayer is faith-in-Christ motivated,” said the

Rev. George Williams of Toledo’s CityLight Church, one of the event organizers. “We’re not necessarily praying for prosperity of our city, although we’re praying for peace and safety, but we’re really praying for people to encounter Christ.

” The Merge network has a vision called 500K, a movement “birthed out of a corporate prayer movement here in Toledo to see every lost soul in Greater Toledo saved,” the pray.500k.org page notes. For Toledo Prays, “We will be praying for the government, families, media, entertainment, and religion,” said the Rev. Barb Herzog. “We’re going to be praying over the seers of influence in our city.”

Pastors Herzog and Williams were asked about the inclusiveness of the prayer time. People of other faiths who want to stand with them are welcome, “but at this point it’s not an interfaith event,” Pastor Herzog said.

Toledo-area Muslims have held peace rallies and common prayer services open to all in response to hateful rhetoric directed against all Islamic people and the Islamist terrorist attacks that they denounce. Members of the United Muslim Association of Toledo recently stood together with Christian pastors from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Toledo and Vicinity, Jewish students from University of Toledo Hillel, and other faith-oriented people to emphasize common bonds.

“Orare” in Toledo has not been limited recently by religion.

Pastors Williams and Herzog said all are welcome at Toledo Prays but, as Pastor Williams put it, “I don’t know if it would be relevant to someone who doesn’t have Christ on the same level.” It will be prayer in Jesus’ name, with their 500,000-souls objective, and Pastor Williams said for Muslims, “Jesus is represented in their scriptures, but not necessarily in the same capacity that the Christian faith does.”

Even so, standing in solidarity with prayers for the city has been and will continue to be a multifaith practice.

Pastor Williams shared another aim for the event, one on an earthly, not heavenly, level: to inspire other communities to have similar prayer meetings and have an impact on the region. “I’d like to see an event like this duplicated on a smaller level, like Sylvania, in a sense of saying as the church community gathered together, let’s pray for the people of Sylvania,” he said.

Prayer maps have been printed by 500K, covering the greater Toledo region from “Bowling Green to Lambertville and Bedford,” Pastor Williams said. Prayer points are marked, and there are prayer spots to fill in, he said.

Besides Toledo Prays, Merge is encouraging participation in a fast that began Friday and will extend to Jan. 21. A fast-ending “Pastor’s Prayer Summit” is planned Jan. 21 and 22 at the Faholo Conference Center in Grass Lake, Mich. See merge.500k.org for details.
The website for the event doesn't seem to exist anymore, but this is what was there in 2016 (bold in original):

Toledo Prays - citywide prayer event

Parkway Place Event Venue, Toledo, OH

Event Description

The motto of Toledo is, "Laborare est Orare.” It is our city seal, but very few know what it means because it is written in Latin. It is an old Benedictine saying, "To work is to pray.” Prayer is at the very core of our city’s foundation. In this hour there is a call going out like never before...A call to pray like its our job. A call to pray as we work. January 7th marks the 179th birthday of Toledo. As we collectively step into a new year, we are calling out to the Body of Christ in this city to join together and pray and to join in unity, as one voice declaring "Toledo is the Lords!"

God's desire is that all would pray and that all would be saved.

Toledo Prays is an event inspired by 1 Timothy 2:1-4:

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."

As we join together in this New Year, we will be praying for His will be done into the seven spheres of society over Toledo:

Family
Business
Government
Religion
Media
Arts and Entertainment
Education

Please consider making a donation while registering for this event. Doors will open at 6:30p.m.

When
Thursday, January 7, 2016 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EST) - Add to Calendar

Where
Parkway Place Event Venue - 2594 Parkway Plaza Toledo, OH 43537
I recommend the following posts at Herescope on the subject of dominionism:

Where Rick Warren's Disciples Are (November 21, 2006)

The "7-M Mandate" (June 15, 2007)

Seven Apostolic Spheres (June 25, 2007)

Neo-Kuyperian Spheres (June 28, 2007)

"The 'Secret' Mission" (July 18, 2007)

The "Cultural Mandate" (July 23, 2007)

Creating Heaven on Earth (February 14, 2008)

"Reclaiming the Dominion Mandate" (May 7, 2010)

Mainstreaming Dominionism (May 18, 2010)

The Controlling Mythology Underlying the Dominion Mandate (May 21, 2010)

Seven Mountains (June 24, 2010)

The Next Great Awakening. . .
. . . or Great Deadening?
(September 20, 2010)

Denying Dominionism (August 26, 2011)

Documenting Dominionism (September 3, 2011)

Who Invented Dominionism? (September 9, 2011)

Ecumenical Quest (January 19, 2016)

I especially recommend the following article, which contains links to numerous other articles on dominionism:

7 Mountain Politics and Theology (February 24, 2016)