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Monday, July 21, 2014

Mark Driscoll Addresses Recent Criticisms of Mars Hill Church

Posted by on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Things must be terrible for Mars Hill Church right now. First, Pastor Mark Driscoll urged his flock to stay off the internet so they would avoid negative news about Mars Hill. Then they laid off staff, possibly due to fundraising difficulties.

And now it's gotten so bad that Mark Driscoll released a half-hour-long video on the Mars Hill website addressing this time as a "learning season" that he's calling an "overwhelming and a bit confusing" time in his church's life.

Warren Throckmorton summarizes the video at Patheos:

Pastor Mark Driscoll
  • Mars Hill Church
  • Pastor Mark Driscoll
Driscoll referred to the times of organizational change during 2006-2007 and 2011-2012. He said those changes were made in response to church growth but added that he now believes that he could have handled those changes in a more “sympathetic” manner. He said the changes had some “adverse personal implications for the people and the leaders who were involved.” Some people “were hurt,” Driscoll said...Driscoll said that in the future the church would be using Bible based covenants with pastors and staff rather non-compete and non-disclosure agreements. While this sounds like a departure or improvement, without being able to see what is in the “covenants” it is hard to evaluate whether or not this is a sign of change.

Although Mars Hill has moved to remove fair use of their video materials from You Tube, Driscoll indicated that he was glad we live in a nation with freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Ha ha ha ha. Generally, whenever someone has to say they're glad they live in a nation with freedom of speech, they're so deep in an avalanche of shit that they need a snorkel. You should watch the video; this is the closest to "humbled" I've ever seen Driscoll. And you should read Throckmorton's account of the video, too, because he explains all the topics that Driscoll purposefully avoids. This video isn't going to resolve any of Mars Hill's problems, but it is at least an admission that they have a problem, which definitely counts as progress. Two years ago, Mark Driscoll wouldn't have publicly admitted that ice cream melts in his mouth; now he's forced to talk about some of his many failings in public. This must be torture for him.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Child Rape, Inc.—Still Open For Business!

Posted by on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Catholic priests are still raping kids, Catholic bishops are still covering for the rapists and lying to authorities—the news out of the Archdiocese of Minnesota is absolutely appalling and there's no reason to believe that this is only going on there. The safer assumption: that's just the only diocese with a whistle blower willing to go to the press and the authorities. And now they're not just raping kids and protecting rapists, they're ignoring "new rules" requiring swift action that were put in place in response to the clerical sex abuse scandals. So, yeah, once again, and for the millionth time...

If kids got raped at Denny's as often as they get raped in churches, it would be illegal to take your kids to Denny's.

Also, too, I'm thinking the pope is underestimating here. And he would, wouldn't he?

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Church of England Approves Female Bishops

Posted by on Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 12:58 PM

HuffPo:

The General Synod of the Church of England voted today that women can be consecrated as bishops, two years after a similar measure was controversially voted down.

The vote required passage by a two-thirds majority in the synod's three houses of bishops, clergy and laity.

Way to finally catch up with the times, Church of England! Here's the point where everyone stares awkwardly at the Catholic Church for a very long time. (Confidential to Pope Francis: If you bring on more female priests, you'd probably see a decline in that one-in-50-priests-are-pedophiles number you were quoted on over the weekend.)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

For Your Consideration: Fred Durst's New Short Film, The Truth

Posted by on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Look, you probably owned a Limp Bizkit CD. Maybe you were thirteen and your ears were blinded by hormones and angst; or maybe your little brother's friend left a copy in the backseat of your Corolla, so you just held on to it in case he wanted it back, but then you accidentally listened to it a thousand times and bought a red Yankees hat. Or maybe—actually those are the only two possibilities, but it's okay! Just put it behind you. Accept your Limp Bizkit-pocked past and instead focus your energy on better, more wholesome things… like this short film that Fred Durst just released. It's pretty fantastic. In it, Bizkit's enduring, trend-blending, 43-year-old rap-rock Mount Rushmore-ian Durst plays an evangelical preacher (ingeniously named Evan Jealous), who hits people with chairs in order to show them The Truth. In addition, Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland plays an excellent romance-novel fan named Kevin. You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pastor, Church Members Get Three Years, Will Likely Serve Just One, For Torturing a 13-Year-Old Boy

Posted by on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 11:58 AM

You know...

If three sadistic gay men took pliers to a 13-year-old boy's nipples for sick and twisted kicks, if they tied that boy to a chair and maced him, if they forced that boy to dig his own grave and then put him in it and threw dirt on him, if they put that boy in a shower stall and subjected him to such gruesome torture that the boy's blood could be seen "all over the shower the next day," those sick and twisted gay men would (and should) go to prison for the rest of their sick and twisted lives. But the three men who tortured a 13-year-old boy in California—Pastor Lonny Lee Remmers, Nicholas James Craig, and Darryll Duane Jeter Jr.—are only going to prison for at most a year because they didn't torture a 13-year-old boy for sick and twisted kicks. They tortured him for Jesus. So they meant well, religious freedom, etc., and in twelve months Pastor Remmers will be back in the pulpit.

Praise the lord, pass the barf bag.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Colorado Political Candidate Says the Cure for Atheism Is an Exorcism

Posted by on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Republican Gordon Klingenschmitt, who's running for a state house seat in Colorado, had this to say about atheists:

If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a jackass evangelical, every nonbeliever needs "to be filled with the holy spirit of God."

(Via Right Wing Watch.)

Pope Francis Begs Forgiveness for the Catholic Church's History of Sexual Abuse

Posted by on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Claudio Lavanga and Cassandra Vinograd report for NBC News:

Pope Francis begged forgiveness for the Church on Monday and cited the need for "reparation" as he met with victims who had suffered at the hands of Roman Catholic priests.

The pontiff invited six victims of abuse from Ireland, Germany and Britain to attend an early-morning private Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the residence next to St. Peter’s Basilica where he lives.

Francis called the abuse a “grave sin” decrying how it was hidden for “so much time” and “camouflaged with a complicity that cannot be explained.”

This news comes from Slog tipper Greg, who rightly points out that it comes after "a short 16 month delay [since Francis was made Pope] and mere decades (centuries) of abuse." I can't even begin to imagine what reparations for that kind of atrocity would look like.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Layoffs at Mars Hill Church as a Former Associate of Mark Driscoll Apologizes for the "Wrong We Did"

Posted by on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Warren Throckmorton reports:

In the face of financial concerns, Seattle mega church Mars Hill Church has laid off staff and stepped up efforts to collect donations as the end of the fiscal year passed yesterday. According to ex-staff and sources inside Mars Hill church, on June 20, nine staff were let go amid concern about a sudden “budget crunch” from the church’s executive elders.

The church seems to be suffering from serious money troubles; Throckmorton's ongoing coverage indicates that donations from church members appear to be way down and church elders are scrambling to make up the difference. Part of the reason that donations are allegedly down? Stories like this one, from a former "Director of the Resurgence" at Mars Hill named Mike Anderson:

I left because the mission had died. Mark’s desire for control had pushed Acts 29 away and turned the Resurgence into a giant advertisement. I no longer recognized the old movement of former days. I also was sick to my stomach after reading and empathizing with a quote from Hitler... I want to apologize to my neighbors and the people of Seattle who have felt the myriad of hurts and pains and accusations that have come from this organization that I was a part of.

I want to apologize to women everywhere for being part of a culture that didn’t value you as equal to men.

I want to apologize to the people of different sexual orientation who have felt the weight of judgement.

You should most definitely go read the whole thing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fundraising Message Allegedly Written By Mars Hill's Executive Pastor Says This Is "One of the Most Trying Times for our Church"

Posted by on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Mars Hill Church watchdog blog Wenatchee the Hatchet recently obtained a screenshot of what appears to be a post on the internal Mars Hill message boards written by the church's Executive Elder and Executive Pastor, Sutton Turner. The message begins, emphasis mine:

Mars Hill Family,

We are ending our fiscal year at one of the most trying times for our church in recent memory. We know that God calls us to pursue humility and faithfulness during all seasons, and also to look to Jesus for continued growth as leaders and as the body of Christ.

This is just a quick reminder that gifts made by midnight on June 30th help us end our current fiscal year strong.

Go read the rest at Wenatchee the Hatchet. If this message is real—I sent an e-mail to Mars Hill asking about it and will update this post if they get back to me—it's a big deal. The message doesn't describe any of the potential causes of why this is a trying time for the church, but if Turner is acknowledging this to Mars Hill churchgoers, it probably means two things:

1. People who attend Mars Hills are talking about the various controversies surrounding Pastor Mark Driscoll.

and

2. Mars Hill donations are down, presumably in response to those controversies.

It's very rare for an organization like this to discuss the cracks in its foundation. This could suggest that things are getting pretty bad over at Mars Hill Church.

The Mormon Church Flexes Its Culty Muscles

Posted by on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 10:13 AM

Sashay away.

As I wrote about semi-extensively in A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem*, six years ago I married into a historically Mormon family, which continues to get less and less Mormon, thanks to reprehensible LDS actions that have driven over half the family from the church.

The Mormon Church's role in passing California's anti-gay Proposition 8 was the final straw for a number of my in-laws. Besides my husband Jake, the family has a second gay son, my brother-in-law Tom, and Prop 8's direct attack on a major faction of the family was enough to push a few family members out of the church for good. Those family members who remain in the church do so out of deep love and commitment, and the hope that, through this love and commitment, they might help their beloved church improve.

It's a noble quest, but one that's hard to view as anything but fantasy after this week's excommunication of Kate Kelly, the Mormon woman who founded the LDS feminist group Ordain Women, and was booted from the church for apostasy. Along with showcasing the Mormon Church's cultiest tendencies, the excommunication of Kelly sent a clear message to my relatives hoping to change the church from within: Try it and you're out.

I know numerous people who left the Mormon church once they realized that raising a gay child in the church is straight-up abuse. I know of at least one Mormon father who left the church after he realized he could not, in good conscience, raise a daughter in the church. And now I know one or two devout Mormons considering defection to Unitarianism, because this shit's just getting gross.

To paraphrase what I wrote in last week's Last Days, I appreciate believers' attempts to instigate change from within. But there comes a time to stop negotiating with your abusive boyfriend and get the hell out.

*—I'll be doing a one-night-only remount of this show with Intiman this August. Full info here.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Former Mars Hill Member Writes About Pastor Mark Driscoll's "Demon Trials"

Posted by on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Yes, Mars Hill Church conducts demon trials.
  • Exorcism/Shutterstock
  • Yes, Mars Hill Church conducts "demon trials."

Over at the We Love Mars Hill Tumblog, Darlene Lopez writes about her experience at Mars Hill's Albuquerque satellite campus, which took over a pre-existing church that Lopez belonged to.

Week after week we watched all our friends become members and we were subjected to Pastor Mark’s heavy sermons that now looking back were very abusive in tone on how those who weren’t members were “in sin”. I remember week after week feeling like the scum of the earth for not becoming a member; I wondered why it was essential to join. He made it sound like it was essential to our salvation. I remember one time in his sermon he had all the members in the church stand up and he told all the non-members to look at them and thank them for picking up our slack and for doing our work because well since we weren’t members those who were members were doing more serving, more giving, and more committed than those who weren’t members. Gosh, I felt so ashamed that we weren’t members.

Lopez eventually became a member of Mars Hill, but she pushed back on several occasions when she felt the church was wrong. Eventually, her best friend, who was also a member of Mars Hill, stopped talking to her.

A couple months passed and then she of the blue said, “I don’t want to be your friend. I went to a demon trial”. Apparently, the elders were doing demon trials on members or anyone who had oppression in their life. Mark Driscoll wrote this whole procedure on how to summon, and then put on trial the demons that are oppressing the believer. It all sounded strange to us. I asked her why she couldn’t be my friend and she said my name was brought up in a demon trial. I asked her what that meant, and she didn’t answer any more questions other than “talk to your elder about it, but that she would no longer ask me for prayer, talk to me about spiritual things, etc. without giving any other reasons.

Eventually, Lopez and her husband stopped going to Mars Hill. Church Elders allegedly sent an e-mail asking members to pressure Lopez and her husband into talking to the church about their problems, but when they finally sent a formal letter to the elders complaining about what they perceived as the church's abuses, she says the elders left them alone.

If you want to learn more about Mars Hill's demon trials, they published a post titled "Spiritual Warfare" on their website explaining the process. The procedure, as published by Mark Driscoll on August 26, 2008, reads like a cross between an exorcism, a half-assed therapy session, and a Scientology auditing session. Driscoll lists any of the following as potential reasons for demonic possession:

...bestiality, habitual lying, physically unhealthy, masturbation, lying, pornography, ongoing depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol abuse, drug use, anger, blasphemy, violence, self-inflicted injury, rape, incest, eating disorders, mental illness, pedophilia, and anything else that comes to mind.

It's frightening to think that people with real problems like depression might be going through "demon trials," rather than getting the psychiatric help they really need. And it's incredibly troubling for Driscoll to consider rape and incest as a sign of demonic possession; this could be interpreted as the worst kind of victim-blaming. Over at Patheos, Warren Throckmorton walks you through the entire demon trial process, but I also urge you to go take a look at the process on Mars Hill's own site.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Creepy Religious Text Messages Urge Me to "Reep" What I Sow

Posted by on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

I woke up and noticed that I'd received two text messages, at 5:20 and 5:34 this morning. Since none of my friends wake up before 10, I was concerned. On closer inspection, the phone number that sent the messages was not at all familiar to me. These were the texts:

creepyreligioustextmessage.png

Creepy! I checked the number online and it originated out of Kansas City, Missouri. I don't know anyone in the area who'd send texts like that as a joke. My first, paranoid thought was that it was someone who looked me up online and decided to try to save my soul. But on second thought, the message looks way too generic. Is this some sort of new spamming technique? I haven't written back in case this is a phishing scam. Has anyone else gotten texts that look like these? Or is God communicating via semi-literate text messages these days?

Whenever Anyone Says They're Not Comparing Gay Marriage to Slavery...

Posted by on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 12:23 PM

...they almost always are comparing gay marriage to slavery:

Social conservative activist Ralph Reed drew an interesting parallel over the weekend while encouraging same-sex marriage opponents: Gay marriage has largely been imposed by the courts over the past year, much like the Dred Scott decision, he said. Abolitionists didn't give up then, he argued, and we can't now.... "Anybody heard lately that we’re losing the marriage issue? Anybody heard that argument? You notice some similarities?" he continued. "I’m not comparing slavery to same-sex marriage, OK? I’m just pointing out that when you have these fights, what’s interesting is that if you look at same-sex marriage, it’s now legal in 17 states. Only six of them, six out of those 17, six out of 50 states, had done it by referendum or by state legislature. In every other case, it was imposed by courts. Just like the courts had to impose Dred Scott. Because they couldn’t do it on the country because the country didn’t agree with it. The country, by the way, doesn’t agree with same-sex marriage," Reed concluded.

I'm not so sure "the country" didn't agree with the Dred Scott decision. I'm also not aware of any polling on the 1857 decision... but I'm guessing a majority of Americans would've agreed with the court when it ruled "that African Americans, whether slave or free, could not be American citizens and therefore had no standing to sue in federal court." Reed's suggestion here—that Dred Scott ruling was "imposed" on the country by unaccountable judges or whatever—is historical whitewashing at its most literal.

The much more salient case is Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that "imposed" interracial marriage on twelve states. Polling data on interracial marriage does exist from 1967 and at that time more than 70% of Americans opposed it. If they put interracial marriage on the ballot in 1967, Americans would've voted against it. They would've crushed it. So if Reed thinks it's wrong for the courts to "impose" same-sex marriage on the country because the "country doesn't agree with it"—if Reed thinks its wrong for justices to conclude that the LGBT people are covered by, say, the equal protections clause, just as all other citizens are—then Reed must believe that Loving was wrongly decided as well.

Point this out to bigots like Reed and they slap this Get Out of Logical Consistency Free Card on the table: Loving is totally different because that case was about opposite-sex couples and opposite-sexers can make babies and same-sexers can't and the lack of popular support—which is all we need to know about same-sex marriage—is completely irrelevant in the case of interracial marriages BECAUSE BAYBEEZ.

Reed shouldn't be allowed to get away with this slight of hand/insult to your intelligence. He also shouldn't be allowed to get away with claiming that the country "doesn't agree" with same-sex marriage. (It's not 2004 anymore, Ralph.) A large and growing majority of Americans does agree with same-sex marriage and, more troubling for Reed, a majority of those who disagree with same-sex marriage aren't willing to do anything to stop it. Read the polls, Ralph. It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal.

Christian Radio "Personality" Arrested

Posted by on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 6:19 AM

And you'll never guess what for:

A second man was arrested Friday as part of a Battle Creek investigation into manufacturing child pornography and having sex with minors. John Balyo, 35, of Caledonia was arrested in Gaylord as part of a joint investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Battle Creek Police Department and Michigan State Police. Balyo, an on-air personality at WCSG-FM, a Christian radio station associated with Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, was arrested on a state charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Balyo was taken into custody at a Christian music festival. And he isn't accused of "just" viewing or distributing child porn. He was allegedly raping kids:

Walls said Friday investigators are alleging that Balyo had sexual encounters with minors in Battle Creek. ICE said in a statement that Balyo paid a Battle Creek man, Ronald Moser, 42, to arrange sexual encounters with underage children.

I've never heard of this guy, his radio station, or his "Family Friendly Morning Radio Show." But I have heard of Cornerstone University, which requires students to sign a "Lifestyle Statement" that forbids “every form of immorality, including immoral sexual behavior, homosexuality, lying, stealing and cheating.” So odds are good that Balyo's schtick as a Christian radio show host included condemning the "gay lifestyle" and painting LGBT people and families as a threat to children.

Cornerstone, which expels gay students, has placed Baylo on paid administrative leave.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Catholic Archbishop Asks Holy Spirit to Cure Gay People

Posted by on Sun, Jun 22, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Pink News:

The Archbishop of Singapore has called upon the Holy Spirit to “restore” gay people to a life of “wholeness” in an open letter.

That would be the same Holy Spirit that couldn't be bothered to cure all those pedophile priests. (Confidential to the Holy Spirit: Before you swing by my place—or wing by my place—to put a stop to all that consensual gay sex, you might want to CURE THE RAPISTS. Go do your holy spiriting to the rapists in Roman collars first, gay people in consensual relationships second.)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Anti-Gay Superstar Bryan Fischer Says Something New, Subtext Remains the Same

Posted by on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 1:47 PM

Transcript excerpt from Right Wing Watch:

"Discrimination, when it comes to sexual behavior is not bad, it is good, and it is necessary," Fischer proclaimed [on his radio show today],"The alternative is utter social chaos. So [it's] time, ladies and gentlemen, to reclaim the discrimination word when it comes to sexual matters. It's not bad; it's good. It's a virtue and it's necessary."

Translation, as always:


Falling Out of Love With New Pope

Posted by on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 7:24 AM

Last week New Pope invited the head of Manif Pour Tous, France's violent anti-gay group (endorsed by neo-Nazis and NOM), to a private mass at Vatican City. This week New Pope came out against legalizing pot and other recreational drugs:

Francis told delegates to a drug-enforcement conference in Rome that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs "are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects.... Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!"

If the drug you're using failed to produce the desired effects... maybe you're using the wrong drug? Or not enough? Or too much? And most of the "problem[s] of drug use"—black markets, gang violence, mass (and racist) incarceration, adulterated drugs—stem from drug prohibition, not drug use. Solve the problem of prohibition and you'll solve most of the problems of drug use.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Rape and Abuse Victims at Fundamentalist Bob Jones University Say School Counselors Told Them to Acknowledge Their Own Sin, Forgive Their Rapists, Get Over It

Posted by on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 4:56 PM

OH HI THERE, WERE YOU IN THE MOOD TO BE REALLY UPSET RIGHT NOW? ME, TOO, LET'S GO:

Raised in a conservative Mennonite home in rural Ohio, Katie Landry was a sheltered kid. She hadn’t even held hands with a boy when, at age 19, she says her supervisor at her summer job raped her. Two years later, and desperate for help, she reported the abuse to the dean of students at her college.

“He goes, ‘Well, there’s always a sin under other sin. There’s a root sin,’” Landry remembers. “And he said, ‘We have to find the sin in your life that caused your rape.’ And I just ran."

Landry ended up dropping out of college, and didn’t tell anyone else for five years.

Her college was Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., the flagship campus of American fundamentalism, which teaches a literal interpretation of the Bible and separation from the world.

That is from a long, great Al Jazeera piece on BJU's history of responding to sexual abuse and sexual assault allegations from students. It is a painful read, but if you can do it, go check it out. It is absolutely nonstop infuriating, especially when it covers a certain mode of religious thought that cannot possibly be healthy and helpful to humans:

Landry didn’t know the word rape; she only knew adultery, and liked the man’s wife, she said.

According to emails, Berg also advised Sarah to call her rapist and ask for forgiveness. Sarah said Berg told her that if she didn’t forgive, God wouldn’t be able to “use her."

Berg said her eating disorder was “a lifestyle of sin,” and Julia graduated believing “God has spit me out,” she said. Seven months later, she says a co-worker and Bob Jones ministry student raped her. She thought of him as “the tool that God used to punish me.”

Thankfully, the one good thing is that this piece comes in the wake of BJU itself addressing the problem, by asking an outside Christian nonprofit to come investigate and analyze their past history and figure out how they can do better, which is an important step. But still, whoa that is a hard read.

Dear The World: This shit is not okay. Thanks, Everyone.

Via Christian Nightmares

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Behold, I Have Set Before Thee an Open Door, and No Man Can Shut It"

Posted by on Tue, Jun 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Unless thou promoteth same-sex marriage, in which case the door shall be locked to thine protestations, for I am the bigot of bigots.

Monday, June 16, 2014

An Embattled Mark Driscoll Urges Mars Hill Churchgoers to "Stay Off the Internet" Because "It’s All Shenanigans"

Posted by on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Pastor Mark Driscoll
  • Mars Hill Church
  • Pastor Mark Driscoll: "Love Jesus, read your Bible, stay off the Internet."

Mars Hill Church is trying to scrub six minutes of video from a Mark Driscoll sermon about mistakes from the internet. They recently had the video pulled from YouTube, but Friday the video was published in a LiveLeak embed at Opposing Views. (If you don't have video on your computer, you can read a transcript of the six minutes over at Warren Throckmorton's blog at Patheos. It frankly seems fairly innocuous to me, but the fact that Mars Hill doesn't want me to watch this video really makes me want to watch it.) Mars Hill and Driscoll have been under fire lately, and Driscoll has kept a fairly low profile since his plagiarism scandal erupted earlier this year.

But today Throckmorton reports on a small but important piece of a Driscoll sermon from June 8, in which he advises Mars Hill churchgoers to "love Jesus, read your Bible, stay off the Internet. It’s all shenanigans anyways." If you take this comment on its own, it sounds like an arrogant man trying to diminish his online critics. But Throckmorton points out that this little digression in a sermon may be indicative of a larger push within Mars Hill Church:

Over the weekend, and then again today, I have heard from sources near Mars Hill that some in the congregation are being warned to avoid blogs and media that have carried articles deemed to be critical of Mars Hill. One source told me that the accuracy of information is being questioned and false information is being told about me and others.

One hallmark of a controlling organization is the attempt to construct social reality for members. If these sources are accurate, such an effort is troubling.

Throckmorton in particular has taken the brunt of Mars Hill's ire. One of his recent requests for comment garnered the following response from the church: "We have received your requests, and will not be responding with any comments now or in the future." Hmmm. Sounds like Throckmorton's really onto something, doesn't it?

Youth Pastor Watch

Posted by on Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

TEXAS: "A former youth minister plead guilty today to six counts of sexual assault of a child. Joshua Luke McDonald, 36, of Bridge City, pleaded guilty after being accused of having sexual relations with two victims under teh age of 17 over a two-year period. He remains in jail on a $10,000 bond for each charge. In an interview with 12News HD in February, one of his victims said she first met McDonald at First Baptist Church in Bridge City where he was a youth minister. She said the abuse began in January 2011 when she was 15-years-old."

OHIO: "Kevin William Reed, 35, of Eaton has been indicted in the Preble County Common Pleas Court on one count of sexual battery of a minor for actions which took place in part at the Higher Heights Church in Camden, according to a Camden police report.... At the time of the alleged offense, Reed was working as a youth minister with the Higher Heights Church of God in Camden. The victim, at the time of the alleged offense, was 17 years old and regularly attended youth ministry meetings at the church where she met Reed, according to Preble County court documents."

RAWSTORY: "An online journal for Christian pastors published a lengthy account this week of one man’s “easy trip from youth minister to felon” that critics say makes apologies for rape.... The writer, who pleaded guilty to two felony charges and is currently serving a prison term, does not use the word “rape” once in the piece.... Instead, he describes the sexual relationship he engaged in with the minor girl as an extramarital affair that he blames, at least in part, on his wife." [The post has been taken down and the editors have apologized. There's a great piece at TIME tearing the writers and editors apart.]

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mormon Church Stops Pretending It Gives Two Shits

Posted by on Thu, Jun 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

NYT:

Two Mormons who have gained national attention for pushing their church to ordain women to the priesthood and to accept openly gay members have been notified this week that they face excommunication for apostasy. The two are Kate Kelly, a human rights lawyer who founded the Ordain Women movement, and John P. Dehlin, the creator of a popular online forum for Mormons and a doctoral candidate in psychology who has published his research into the problems faced by gay church members.... The move is a sudden change of course for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which had been working to project an image of greater diversity and openness. The church’s “I’m a Mormon” advertising campaign featured an ethnic rainbow of faces and some members who proudly identified as feminist, gay or liberal. And in the last year, the church has been trying to comfort members with doubts by posting essays on its website addressing delicate historical and theological issues, such as polygamy and why blacks were mostly excluded from the priesthood until 1978.

So... that "I'm a Mormon" campaign was bunch of bullshit designed to help get Mitt Romney elected president? You don't say. It seems to me that any Mormon who isn't being threatened with excommunication has some soul searching to do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Poor American Middle Class

Posted by on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 2:47 PM

The US's middle class is one of the poorest in the advanced capitalist economies of the world. And, as is shown by the CNNMoney graph, which compares average net worth and median net worth, most of that class's wealth is concentrated at its top...



At least we have our guns...
Cops identified 15-year-old Jared Michael Padgett as the heavily armed gunman who shot and killed a 14-year-old student inside an Oregon high school Tuesday before killing himself.

The shooting took place Tuesday morning at Reynolds High School in the Portland suburb of Troutdale, marking the 74th school shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary School slayings in 2012.


...and our Bibles:

More than four in 10 Americans continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades. Half of Americans believe humans evolved, with the majority of these saying God guided the evolutionary process. However, the percentage who say God was not involved is rising.

Anti-Defamation League Slaps Down Towering Douchebag and Christian Persecution Fantasist Tony Perkins

Posted by on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Media Matters:

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization dedicated to combatting anti-Semitism, condemned Family Research Council (FRC) president and regular Fox News and CNN guest Tony Perkins for his "deeply offensive" comments comparing LGBT non-discrimination protections with the Holocaust. On June 6, Perkins blasted a Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruling finding that a baker had violated the state's anti-discrimination law by refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple, asking on his radio program Washington Watch, "I'm beginning to think, are re-education camps next? When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?" Perkins' remarks echoed his statement in April that the LGBT movement "reminds me of Nazi Germany."

From ADL President Abraham Foxman's statement:

Tony Perkins' invocation of the Holocaust in his statement referring to a judge's finding that a baker unlawfully discriminated against gay customers is offensive and inappropriate. There is no comparison between contemporary American political issues and the actions of Hitler's regime during the Holocaust. Such inappropriate analogies only serve to trivialize the Holocaust and are deeply offensive to Jews and other survivors, as well as those Americans who fought valiantly against the Nazis in World War II. We urge Perkins to apologize and to refrain from using Holocaust imagery to make his point.

I believe fantasies are there to be fulfilled, as anyone who reads "Savage Love" knows, so maybe someone should send a boxcar to FRC HQ to pick up Tony. Just Tony, no one else, and only to "haul" Tony around the block a couple of times while he jacks himself off. And maybe if Tony was required to go for a boxcar ride and have a wank before going on TV he would be able to focus on the issues at hand and not the persecution fantasies that get him so hard—and that might help Tony refrain from using Holocaust imagery to make his lying, hateful "point."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Is Raping Children a Crime?

Posted by on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM

"You knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?"

I knew the answer to that question in 1984. I mean, it's not exactly a trick question, is it? But look who didn't know for sure in 1984 that raping kids is a crime: The Catholic Archbishop of Minnesota:

During the deposition taken last month, attorney Jeff Anderson asked Carlson whether he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child. “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson replied. “I understand today it’s a crime.” Anderson went on to ask Carlson whether he knew in 1984, when he was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, that it was crime for a priest to engage in sex with a child. “I’m not sure if I did or didn’t,” Carlson said.

Give it up for the Catholic Church, ladies and gentleman, they'll be here all millennium, tell your friends. And watch the video. Watch it twice. And for the millionth time: If kids got raped at Denny's as often as they get raped at church, it would be illegal to take your kids to Denny's. (Via Joe My God.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Youth Pastor Watch

Posted by on Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 7:55 AM

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VIRGINIA: "A youth pastor from North Chesterfield was arrested and charged with several online sex crimes against children. Deric Wallace Peacock, 30, is charged with sexual solicitation of a minor by electronic means; requesting a minor to fondle her own sexual or genital parts; and three counts of exposing his sexual or genital parts to a minor... The website indicated Peacock began working at Church of God South Hopewell in January 2013. He and his wife have been foster parents since 2008, according to the website. “Church Council hired Deric as a Youth Pastor and he’s been super, he’s been one great man for our youth,” said Noel Bruce, Church Member."

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KENTUCKY: "A former Henderson youth pastor is convicted of 16 sexual abuse related charges in Colorado while still facing similar charges in the tristate. 44 year-old John Brothers is a former youth minister at Hyland Baptist Church. He could face life in prison. Now this is just the beginning of Brothers' days in a courtroom.He is still awaiting trial in Henderson. Brothers was first arrested in 2011 for the alleged sexual-abuse of two members of Hyland Baptist's Youth Group."

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OHIO: "The father and son leaders of a Westlake, Ohio church were arrested less than a week apart on sex abuse charges. Church on the Rise youth pastor Jordan Endrei was arrested Wednesday on one count of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, and his father, senior pastor Paul Endrei, was arrested May 29 on two counts of sexual battery and four counts of gross sexual imposition. The accuser is one of Paul Endrei's adopted children who is under age 16."

TEXAS: "Federal prosecutors say a former youth pastor in East Texas has pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge. Authorities say that when Trevion Lechay Ethridge was a youth pastor at a Newtown County church, he persuaded a minor to video record and photograph pornographic images and then send them to Ethridge by cellphone from November 2012 to March 2013."

INDIANA: "A Christian youth group that is part of Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Ind., recently produced a bizarre video that portrays a woman getting beaten. Youth pastor Nate Utley and members of his Youth E.D.G.E Indy group were creating what they thought was a humorous video (below) for 7th graders about people who break the rules and the consequences. According to AddictingInfo.org, in the video, Utley pretends to beat a woman with a baseball bat because she says, "shut up," and beats another girl over a pizza box."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

This Week in Poor Choices: Alabama Youth Ministry Quotes Hitler on Billboard, Admits "Herbert Hoover Would Have Been a Far Better One to Quote"

Posted by on Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Well, gee whiz, I wonder why this blew up in their face?

A billboard at the Village Mall in Auburn, Ala., features five smiling kids beneath a quote from Adolf Hitler: "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."

According to Lamar Advertising's Montgomery office, the billboard was rented out by Life Savers Ministries, based in Opelika, Ala.

Hitler's quote traces back to his speeches of the '30s, and has historically been tied to the Nazi youth programs.

Click for a picture of the billboard!

Life Savers Ministries has said in a statement that they "certainly never intended to cause confusion," and that they're pulling the billboard down. The ministry's founder, James Anderegg, is quoted thusly: "Herbert Hoover would have been a far better one to quote when he said, 'Children are our most valuable resource.'"

Yeah, dude. Pretty sure ANYONE BUT HITLER would've been a better quote. Maybe you should put a reminder to yourself on a Post-It?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Matthew Vines Makes a Biblical Case for Same-Sex Relationships

Posted by on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 10:17 AM

We shouldn't have to win a theological argument to secure our civil rights—including the right to civil marriage. But by engaging with religious conservatives on their own terms, by fighting them verse for verse, Matthew is changing minds. His efforts to reason with religious bigots will doubtless result in fewer queer kids being rejected by their families—and that's a good thing. A not so good a thing (and a pet peeve): Matthew conflates "committed" with "monogamous." You can be committed without being monogamous and you can be monogamous without being committed. Serial monogamy, which is the most common form of monogamy, is monogamy minus commitment. There are plenty of examples out there—particularly among gay men—of commitment minus monogamy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

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Youth Pastor Watch

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