DC Rabbi Accused of Spying on Naked Faithful via a Hidden Camera in Temple’s Showers

You know what might tip a reasonable person off to something untoward going on in the mikvah, the ritual bath that orthodox Jewish women (and men) take to purify themselves? I dunno, maybe something like this:

Emma Shulevitz remembers seeing a clock radio in the mikvah. The rabbi told her not to put clothes in front of it.

For some reason, Shulevitz thought nothing of it at the time. But the rabbi, Barry Freundel of Washington D.C., was arrested this week when it was finally discovered that the clock radio — reported to be, appropriately, a Sony “Dream Machine” — contains a small camera. The pervy cleric had been digitally ogling unsuspecting women for years.

A rabbi at a prominent Washington, D.C., synagogue faces voyeurism charges following accusations he secretly recorded women in the changing and shower area there.

Dr. Barry Freundel was released on his own recognizance Wednesday under the conditions he stay away from the victims, the temple and the mikvah where, according to the police report, at least six women were photographed. …

Detectives [said] there could be more than 200 victims, some as far away as Israel.

Freundel’s lawyer, Jeffrey Harris, offered this statement:

“As you might expect, he’s in a lot of pain.”

So the rabbi is feeling deep shame and overwhelming remorse?

It’s not that, Harris clarified:

He has a back ailment, and I really don’t have much more to say than that.”

Watch this report from NBC’s News Channel 4:

ISIS Beheadings Are Repugnant — As Are Those Carried Out By Our Pious Saudi “Friends”

Newsweek asks a good question: Why, if Americans are so horrified by the ISIS beheadings, do we collectively shrug about the beheadings carried out by Saudi Arabia, our so-called ally?

Since the beginning of the year, 59 people have had their heads chopped off in the Islamic paradise, in cases that wouldn’t pass judicial muster in a halfway enlightened nation.

The Saudi legal system is based on Islam’s Sharia law. Some countries that use Sharia possess a penal code, but Saudi Arabia does not.

This is what awaits the condemned.

If you are a prisoner in Riyadh, the capital, you might be taken to the ocher-colored Deera Square, which has acquired a macabre sobriquet: Chop Chop Square. Before you arrive, police and security forces will have prepared the area. It may have been cordoned off to keep curious spectators at a distance, but they will congregate nonetheless.

You will be led to the center of the square, on the bare earth. According to one of Saudi Arabia’s state executioners, Mohammed Saad al-Beshi, who was interviewed in the Saudi newspaper Arab News in June 2003, your energy is likely to fade at this point, from sheer exhaustion and fear. You will not fight for your life, nor protest against your restraints.

Also because usually there’s Valium or another sedative coursing through your system – a pill that the regime touts as a kind offering to calm the convict’s nerves, but which is also to the executioner’s benefit: less chance of fear, panic, and writhing.

 

The Saudi flag and the national Saudi coat of arms. Note that they both feature swords. Rest assured, however, that that iconography is entirely incidental to the Saudis’ peaceful faith.

 

The executioner — always a man — is not allowed to talk to his victim. He reads your charge and some verses from the Quran. You are blindfolded, which is extremely important, and not for humanitarian reasons. If, when the sword is coming down, you turn in fearful anticipation, things could get messy. The blade might not sever with a single chop, or the executioner could miss his mark. The blood won’t be neatly caught by the plastic bags, and the head might not be so easy to scoop up…

Even in death, you are not liberated. Your murder is meant to be a sign to the people in the crowd that Saudi Arabia does not tolerate dissent. A loudspeaker announces your crime. Your body may be taken away to be buried immediately. But if you were accused of banditry or drug smuggling, like seven Yemenis who were beheaded last year, your corpse will also be crucified.

Mohammed Saad al-Beshi’s most productive day so far was when he beheaded seven prisoners. He told Arab News, “It doesn’t matter to me: Two, four, 10 – as long as I’m doing God’s will, it doesn’t matter how many people I execute.”

Al-Beshi started his trade in Jeddah in 1988, but many of the beheaders [there is currently a shortage of them] come from a long line of executioners, an occupation passed from generation to generation, like a cherished heirloom.

They’re nothing if not versatile.

In Saudi Arabia, at least, the executioner isn’t limited to separating bodies from heads. He also cuts off other body parts — hands, legs — depending on the crime.

Newsweek notes that the most recent beheading victim was convicted of — no joke — sorcery. Some Saudi prisoners are put to death for political dissent.

Also, last year a Saudi defendant who’d caused another man to become paralyzed was ordered to undergo the same fate, reportedly by having the executioner sever his spinal cord.

Through it all, the silence from the West is deafening.

George W. Bush, for one, made it clear that he would rather hold hands with the Saudi King — and repeatedly kiss him, see the video below — than ask the despot to stop the head-chopping barbarity. That attitude continues: Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to Saudi Arabia to strategize about ways to stop the human-rights violations perpetrated by ISIS. As expected, Kerry gave the Saudi executions a free pass, never raising the subject.

In New York, Man From Ivory Coast Allegedly Sodomized His Wife, Then Cut Her Genitals

A bizarre and disturbing story, via Opposing Views:

Moussa Diarra, 48, an African native, wanted to have anal intercourse with his 24-year-old wife. When she refused, he forcibly sodomized her before attempting to circumcise the woman around 9 p.m. Sept. 14 at his Manhattan apartment, the New York Post reports.

The victim called police about a week after the assault. Diarra, who is a native of the Ivory Coast, where male and female circumcision is widespread, was arrested on Sept. 23, according to court records.

There are African countries, such as Nigeria, whose Christian populations engage in female genital mutilation (FGM) on a scale equal to or greater than Muslims perform FGM in their families and communities. That’s not the case in Ivory Coast, where, a U.S. State Department report says,

The practice is prevalent among Muslim women, and is also deeply rooted in traditional Animist initiation rites in western, central and northern Cote d’Ivoire.

The practice on village women is strongly linked to the survival of local secret societies and mask-cults at the heart of village spiritual life. The clitoris is thought to possess power and its removal during initiation gives that power to the village spirits and traditional spiritual leaders or masks, without which the spirits/masks and the entire village would die.

Attempts to eradicate the practice, or even to transform it from a physical to a symbolic act, are perceived as threatening to “assassinate the people” of the village.

More about what exactly took place in the Diarra household, and why, should come out at trial. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on October 27. He faces charges of forcible sex act, aggravated sexual assault by compulsion, attempted assault with intent to disfigure or dismember, and assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon.

He maintains that the allegations are false, and says he doesn’t know who cut his wife.

Egged On By Ex-Pastor Husband, Mom Attempts To Murder Daughters … to Bring Them To Jesus

Jesus is a great pal, now and forever. Wouldn’t you like to meet him?

Police say that was the basic motivation behind the crime committed the other day by Pamela Christensen, an Illinois mother with end-times delusions who confessed that she had attempted to murder her three daughters.

After 911 dispatchers received two hang-up calls from the Christensens’ Montgomery home, officers went there and found the girls upstairs. Two of them had been stabbed in the chest by their God-besotted mom.

[P]olice said Christensen told officers that she was sending the girls home to “meet Jesus Christ.” The three girls, ages 12, 16 and 19, told police that their mother held a knife to them and asked them if they accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Two of the girls were stabbed. Police recovered a poisonous liquid in the home’s kitchen, which Christensen said she had concocted out of dishwashing detergent in an attempt to subdue her children. She told police she had hoped they would fall asleep so she could stab them. Police said the children refused to ingest the poison…

The woman told officers that her husband, Vaughn Christensen, had left messages on the phone telling his wife that the world was ending, and that she needed to prepare the family to meet Jesus. Vaughn Christensen is a former pastor at a Sugar Grove church.

The three girls, who have non-life-threatening injuries, were released from a local hospital and are now reportedly staying with a grandparent.

Their parents had been going through a contentious divorce, during which Pamela Christensen accused her husband of having become increasingly “violent” and “erratic” toward her and their daughters.

Sounds like she wasn’t entirely free of violent and erratic behavior herself.

Ms. Christensen, who is being held on bail of one million dollars, is due in court on Friday.

(Image via Montgomery Police Department)

The 9 Commandments? Priests at Two Churches Are Accused of Theft…and They’re Brothers!

What do you call your brother if he’s a priest? Father?

I suppose that mystery was amplified in the Belczak family. Many years ago, Michigan brothers Edward Belczak (below, left) and Thomas Belczak decided that they loved the Catholic Church so much, they wanted to become its professional holy message-spreaders. After a while, they figured that they were entitled to quite a bit more than what the Lord, in His wisdom, had been giving them – and they took it.

Father Thomas Belczak has been required to step aside as pastor of St. Kenneth Parish, Plymouth, pending further steps by Church officials. Law enforcement officials are investigating allegations that he has misused parish funds. During this time, Belczak will not be permitted to be present at St. Kenneth; he will not be working or serving there in any capacity. …

These charges come just months after Belczak’s brother, Father Edward Belczak and his church administrator were indicted for stealing about $700,000 from St. Thomas More Church in Troy over eight years.

It’s unclear to law enforcement officials if the investigation of Thomas Belczak is connected to the investigations of his brother in Troy.

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The money pilfered by Father Edward

… allegedly included most of a $350,000 gift to the church from the family of a dead parishioner and cash donated by churchgoers during special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day collections, prosecutors said. The priest spent some of the money on a condominium in Palm Beach, Fla., according to the indictment.

I’m sure it’s all a giant misunderstanding… or perhaps the godly brothers have a version of the Ten Commandments that somehow excludes the one about stealing.

Alabama Pastor Has Sex With Church Members … and Knowingly Exposes Them to AIDS

It’s not unusual for a sermon to draw boredom and stifled yawns. But pastor Juan Demetrius McFarland of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama found a very special way to make congregants hang on his every word these past few Sundays.

Last month, he began admitting, right from the pulpit, that he’d done some bad things. And bit by bit, over several weeks, it all came out: how he’d been using drugs, and how he’d “mishandled” church money.

But those revelations were nothing compared to this bombshell confession: McFarland not only said that he’d been having sex with women in his flock — in the church building, no less — but also that he’d wittingly exposed his sexual partners to the HIV virus.

For the last six years, he said, he’d known that he has full-blown AIDS.

Church deacon Nathan Williams Jr. told Channel 12, the local NBC TV news affiliate:

“He concealed from the church that he had knowingly engaged in adultery in the church building with female members of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church while knowingly having AIDS.”

Five days ago, the church decided to oust McFarland.

You’d think that prosecutors are by now throwing the book at him, intent on trying him for (let’s say) reckless endangerment or attempted manslaughter. But to avoid further scandal, and to safeguard the identity of of the pastor’s victims, the church may not press charges.

Also, Channel 12 learned that McFarland holds a leadership position with the Alabama Middle District Baptist Association, a group that has 34 member churches all over the state. It seems he’s still got his job there.

Calls to association leaders indicate that at this time there are no discussions to remove McFarland from his position.

It’s a timely story in a way. Just two days ago, I wrote about uber-Christian investment scammer Ephren Taylor, and about the victims who didn’t come forward because they thought it would reflect badly on their congregation if the truth was publicized. That same evening, I happened to drive past a church close to where I live, and I was struck by the message on its sign. So I took a picture:

Love is… deafness when scandal flows.

Well, there’s your problem.

Freedom From Atheism Foundation Trolls Atheists By Falsely Accusing Them of Trolling

Lying for Jesus, anyone?

Here‘s a roundup of two studies about Internet trolling, courtesy of Live Science:

“Trolls” — people who intentionally incite discord in online communities — may have a lot in common with real-life sadists, new research suggests. In two studies conducted online, researchers examined personality traits and the online commenting styles of 1,215 people. The investigators found that Internet trolls tended to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism – a term used by psychologists to describe a person’s tendency to deceive and manipulate others for personal gain. The link between trolling and sadism was the strongest out of all three traits, the researchers said.

So what could explain the links between trolling and sadism? Simply put, some people seem to enjoy being argumentative and purposefully disruptive, according to the researchers. “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” the researchers, from the University of Manitoba in Canada, wrote in the study. “Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground.”

There are no apparent data that show that the ultra-religious do more trolling than the moderately religious, or vice versa — or that the non-religious like trolling better than believers. Neither atheism nor theism/deism are mentioned at all in the piece, because religious feeling, or the absence of it, wasn’t a focus of the studies.

But here‘s how the Freedom From Atheism Foundation spun the Live Science article.

Atheists who spend their time trolling religious facebook pages, comments sections, etc. were found to have personality traits related to sadism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism. Perhaps its time for these atheists to realize that they have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Note that the FFAF even changed the headline (“Atheist Behind the Screen: the ‘Internet Troll’ Personality”) — maliciously replacing the word ‘Sadist’ with ‘Atheist’ and passing that new title off as the Live Science original.

If that isn’t trolling (and bearing false witness to boot), I don’t know what is.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

P.S. A little potpourri of the responses:

(Top image via Shutterstock)

Muslims and Hindus Riot in India Over a Jokey Facebook Picture

As they’ve often done since at least the eighth century, Mo fans and Shiva supporters have been violently clashing in India:

The police have made hundreds of arrests in the past several days in an attempt to stop religious riots in the Indian city of Vadodara, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. So far, the violence has been confined to stabbings and the torching of around a dozen vehicles, D.J. Patel, a senior police official in Vadodara, said on Monday.

“We have deployed a large enough number of police to control any situation,” he said. He said none of the injuries were serious. The clashes began last week, after a Hindu man posted an image to his Facebook account showing the face of a Hindu goddess superimposed on a stone venerated by Muslims, Mr. Patel said.

Maybe there are two religions of peace? God help us.

(Image via Shutterstock)

Oklahoma Muslim Tries to Convert Co-Workers, Gets Fired; Then It’s Time For a Beheading

Alton Nolen, the Muslim ex-con accused of an ex-colleague’s brutal beheading in Moore, Oklahoma on Thursday, identified strongly with the violent ways of his extremist foreign brethren.

In March, Nolen took to his Facebook page, where he calls himself Jah’Keem Yisrael, and posted an image of a beheading by Islamic fundies, captioned with a verse from the Qur’an:

I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off of them.

 

That same day, he added a photo of a protest sign reading

Islam will Dominate the World: Freedom can go to hell.

Another public missive of Nolen’s featured a picture of the burning World Trade Center in New York City, along with the observation that

Everything God says don’t do Amerika does.

By that, Nolen clarified, he meant the consumption of alcohol and bacon, the legalization of same-sex-marriage, and the availability of sex toys — among multiple other complaints.

Nolen/Yisrael made a habit of signing all his status updates with “****InfoFromAMuslim****.” Over the last half a year, he sometimes posted photos of himself in prayer, frequenting the Oklahoma City mosque.

This past Tuesday, two days before went on his rampage, he wrote what appears to be a religious tirade against masturbation:

SHALOM ALHAKEIUM (O YE MUSLIMS) ALLAH (sWT) SAYS IN THE LAST DAYS “PEOPLE WILL BE LOVERS OF THEMSELVES, PROUD AND UNHOLY”. SO TO ALL OF U THAT’S MASTURBATING WHICH I THINK IS 80% OF THE WORLD AND FOR WHATEVER THE DESIRE IT IS IN YOUR HEART THAT U DOING IT FOR-U CAN GET! (WARNING) THIS IS THE LAST DAYS….2ND TIMOTHY 3:2

Nolen had recently been fired from the Vaughan Foods plant in Oklahoma where he met his two female victims, including Colleen Hufford, whose head he severed. His former co-workers said that during his employment, he’d been trying to convert everyone to Islam, but it’s unclear if that was the reason for his dismissal.

His second victim, Traci Johnson, whom he was stabbing and slashing when he was shot by the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Vaughan, is said to be in stable condition and is expected to survive. The same is true for the beheader himself.

Christian Radio Host Excited About Ebola Virus Killing Atheists, Sluts, Gays

Atheists and people in same-sex relationships could use a little “attitude adjustment,” believes Christian end-times evangelist Rick Wiles — and Ebola might just the ticket.

With thanks to Right Wing Watch, here’s what Wiles had to say recently:

This Ebola epidemic can become a global pandemic and that’s another name for plague. It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming.

Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion.

Can you feel the Jesusy love?

Sufi Holy Man Arrested For Killing Volunteer He Failed to Bring Back to Life During ‘Miracle’

Pakistan’s Express Tribune reports that in Mubarakabad, Punjab, a pir (Sufi master) named Muhammad Sabir was so convinced he could perform miracles, he asked for a volunteer he could murder. Not to worry, Sabir told his followers: after killing his victim, he would reanimate the dead man and make him as good as new.

He announced that he could breathe life back into a dead man. The pir gave the condition that the victim must be married and have children.

I mean, who doesn’t like a high-stakes bet, amirite?

When told of this amazing opportunity, 40-year-old Muhammad Niaz, described as “a daily wage worker and father of six children,” decided to give it a go.

On Wednesday, Niaz was placed on a table in a square and his hands and legs were bound. [A] police spokesman said Sabir then sliced his throat as people looked on. Meanwhile, an anonymous caller informed the police about ‘the miracle.’ By the time police reached [the scene], Niaz had died. Witnesses said Sabir uttered some words to bring him back to life. They said when he realized his ‘miracle’ had not worked, he tried to flee. He was detained by the villagers and handed over to the police.

Detained? Arrested? But, but… freedom of religion! Sanctity and inviolability of deeply-held beliefs!

The villagers may have found sufficient reason to nab the Sufi superman, but the victim’s sister seems to think that the mystic is one misunderstood genius, writes the Express Tribune.

Samina, sister of the victim, [said] that her brother had sacrificed himself for the spiritual leader. “Why should I mourn when I know that my brother is in heaven?” she said. “He will be rewarded for his services for the spiritual leader in [the] afterlife.” She said her brother had volunteered for the miracle and that the pir should not have been arrested.

It’s worth remembering that Sufism is purportedly the inward-looking, mystical, non-violent version of Islam, described here as a journey “towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion… towards the perfection which all are truly seeking.”

I guess we can quibble about the exact definitions of love, truth, and especially perfection.

August Was a Great Month For God and His Son Appearing in Clouds … and on a Moth

A little roundup:

God’s face appeared in a cloud over a soon-to-be-demolished drive-in movie theater that was showing (this gives me chills, people!) God’s Not Dead. He’s perched over the girl’s left shoulder, looking like the product of a supernatural tryst between a drunk Dionysus and Charles Darwin.

Fiona Finn, writing for the Huffington Post in one of its finest pieces of journalism to date, believes the following picture — supposedly, that’s the Almighty and an archangel in clouds over Cape Coral, Florida — is “proof that God is speaking to all of us.”

Inexplicably, God has an amputated hand in that image, but relief set in when an English believer found the missing body part protruding from the heavens over Kent:

(Is this the hand of God? asked the Express. To which Argentinian soccer fans can confidently say, No, but this is.)

Finally, the Carpenter’s Son Himself showed up on the wings of a moth, at least according to Yvonne Esquilin, a Jesus fan in Texas.

To the untrained eye, the pattern might look like a youthful Gandalf or Merlin (with a yarmulke, no less), but Esquilin believes that the appearance of the “Jesus moth” is too uncanny to be coincidental, as

… she had recently been asking God to help her find a way to continue assisting her daughter with her schooling.

So God sent a moth rather than, say, a tutor. Or a few thousand bucks.

Mysterious ways indeed.