Bad Baba

Last year, Hindu holy man Baba Shailender Puri, whose real name is Sanjay Kherwar, kidnapped and raped an underage girl who visited his house of worship in Barara, India. A local court just convicted him to 10 years in jail.


It wasn’t the first time the Baba (Father) was ordered behind bars. He’d already been sentenced to a life term in a murder case in Kanpur, but escaped from police custody and started a new life under an assumed name.

Kherwar used to organize religious functions at Shiv Mandir, a Hindu temple in Barara.

[image via Act for America]

Being Gay, Killing People — Same Difference

As Hittman, my fellow Moral Compasser, pointed out in this blog post about Senator Portman’s gay son last Saturday, Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty equated being gay with driving drunk.

Not to be outdone, Bryan Fisher, a policy warrior for the American Family Association, corrected Lafferty and wrote that being gay is really more akin to robbing banks.

Today we find that that still wasn’t le mot juste for WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, whose standout contribution to the debate is that actually, being gay is just like being a serial killer.

Lafferty, Fisher, and Farah: Spreading God's love

Lafferty, Fisher, and Farah: Spreading God’s love

Tune back in tomorrow, when I suspect we’ll hear that Harvey Milk was a homegrown Stalin, and Matthew Shepard a wannabe Pol Pot.

[images, from left, via Fortress of Faith, 10thousandcouples, and Media Matters]

New Visitor Record Yesterday: Thank You!

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We’re really happy that our page views and unique-visitor numbers keep rising; in fact, yesterday, we more than tripled our previous peak number of ten days ago.

I know there’s something unseemly about getting all self-congratulatory, so we won’t bother you again until … we get into the five figures. We’re looking forward to that milestone. Thank you for putting Moral Compass on your radar screen!

Pastoral Care — In a Teenager’s Panties

The youth pastor of a suburban Chicago church had his bond set at $300,000 today. Darin Evans is accused of sexually grooming a teenage girl under his pastoral care, ultimately committing sex acts with her in

…his vehicle, in parks, cemeteries and men’s restrooms, and during a religious retreat in Wisconsin.


Evans is charged with 11 counts of criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault. He is married and the father of three children.

[Image via Huffington Post]

Sex Offender Inherits Dad’s Job; Now a Rabbi

From rapist to rabbi in one easy step.

Ex-convicts are usually sent to post-imprisonment rehabilitation programs, but in Israel such a person has immediately attained a high position. Yaakov Yitzhak Rata, who was convicted of [child] rape and sentenced to 16 years at the Maasiyahu Prison’s religious wing, was released from jail last week only to become a rebbe – a position he inherited from his father, who died during [the son’s] imprisonment. …


Haredi website Kikar Hashabat reported about “great joy in the Hasidic movement” when “the righteous rabbi, Yaakov Yitzhak Rata, was released from a 16-year imprisonment.”

What gives this story a special flavor, however, is that the people with the clearest sense of how positively dippy Rata’s appointment is turn out to be the assorted criminals who were his prison homies.

Ex-convicts who served with Rata in prison were surprised to learn about the position waiting for him outside. “How can it be that a person who served a prison sentence for sex offenses is now appointed as a rebbe?” one of them wondered. “It’s amazing to discover how cheap this job can be.”

When the sense of propriety of robbers and rapists is head and shoulders above that of pious believers, I’d say the latter have a little re-evaluating to do.

[image via Failed Messiah]

Well, If You Put It Like That…


Pope_fashion[image via Photobucket]

Bill O’Reilly Unweds Wife, Douches Up the Divorce

Fox motormouth Bill O’Reilly is a devout Catholic and a fairly generous contributor to the Church (at least $65,000 in 2011 alone). His views regarding marriage couldn’t be more public. O’Reilly has blustered on TV that the institution of holy matrimony will be harmed, and families destabilized, if gay people gain the same rights as straight people. He equates same-sex relationships with beastiality and frequently mocks European countries where marriage equality is seen as perfectly normal, claiming falsely that in the Netherlands, “You’re allowed to marry a duck.

But the talkshow host’s own marriage, to the equally hardcore Catholic Maureen McPhilmy (photo), has been on the skids for at least a couple of years. Now, courtesy of Gawker, there’s confirmation that the two got a divorce — a no-no according to the Pope — and that O’Reilly subjected their kids to a nasty custody dispute.

Entertainment Weekly 8th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party

The first public evidence of strains on the marriage came in 2003, when Falafel-gate broke out. Andrea Mackris, a member of O’Reilly’s production staff at Fox, claimed that her boss had subjected her to a sustained barrage of sexual innuendo. She said he frequently referred to threesomes and the size of his manhood; talked of vibrators he wanted her to buy; invited her to phone sex with him (she declined); and initiated business calls during which he appeared to be masturbating. According to Mackris’ 23-page complaint, O’Reilly also informed her that he’d love to take her on a Caribbean vacation, where he would massage her “spectacular boobs,” and do exciting things involving a “falafel” and her “pussy.”

O’Reilly and his lawyers decided to pay off Mackris — that is, they persuaded her to take a settlement, reportedly in excess of two million dollars — a move that  allowed the Fox celebrity to deny any wrongdoing.

Presumably, through it all, O’Reilly’s wife (who in 2003 was pregnant with the couple’s youngest child) was not amused.

When she and O’Reilly finally split up for good, they worked out a shared-custody arrangement for Spencer, then about 8, and Madeline, then about 13. A family therapist, they agreed, would “act as a neutral mediator to help them resolve any parenting disputes.” Gawker now reveals that O’Reilly immediately set to rigging the deal: Unbeknownst to McPhilmy, he offered the therapist they picked, Lynne Kulakowski, a six-figure salary to work long hours in his home, with his kids — and incredibly, Kulakowski accepted. Naturally, this made a mockery of the therapist’s so-called “neutral” status.

O’Reilly now has his icy heart set on erasing his entire marriage — not just from his memory, but from the Catholic books, Gawker says:

He is … seeking an annulment of his 15-year marriage, which produced two children. Null and void. Invalid in the eyes of God. Never happened. This despite his manifest belief in the “stability” that straight marriage brings.

The Catholic Church can choose to nullify if an ecclesiastical tribunal determines that the sacrament of marriage was invalidly contracted, which would make the marriage retroactively invalid from its very first day. The standards for such a decision are strict and relatively precise, however. To a layman like me, O’Reilly doesn’t seem to qualify.

Then again, there’s no telling what another sizable donation may do to induce a little extra flexibility in Catholic church authorities.

If the annulment comes through, there’s every chance that O’Reilly will see it as further proof of God’s existence. Marriage comes, marriage goes; you can’t explain that.

[image via The Hollywood Gossip]

The World’s Tallest JPEG?

And to think, it could easily have been a thousand times taller. Still, pretty impressive (enlarge the picture by clicking on it after it loads).

Faith’s Epic Fails, Now on Video

If you prefer sitting back and watching the (ahem) less successful societal contributions by people of faith, get some popcorn and prepare to be dazzled by the YouTube channel of Conversation With A. Every month or so, the people behind Conversation With A upload an eye-opening new video that’s very much along the lines of Moral Compass — a collection of news stories about, as we say, “faith’s epic fails.”

Here’s their latest. Enjoy!

[Hat tip: Hemant Mehta]

Seduced By Not-So-Holy Men

The author and history professor Garry Willis is both a practicing Catholic and one of Catholicism’s most ardent critics. To his great credit, Willis has been at the forefront of the movement to finally shine a spotlight on child abuse by clergy.

After I read about the exploits of Baptist preacher Jack Schaap, who had sex with a troubled teenager entrusted to his pastoral care and then told her that their extramarital affair was blessed by Jesus, I went looking for something Willis wrote eleven years ago. This is the passage. Emphasis mine.


Priestly pedophilia is … set apart from other varieties by the fact that the seduction technique employs religion. Almost always some form of prayer has been used as foreplay. The very places where the molestation occurs are redolent of religion — the sacristy, the confessional, the rectory, Catholic schools and clubs with sacred pictures on the walls. One of the victims of Father Paul Shanley, of the Boston archdiocese, says that his ordeal began in the confessional, when he confessed the “sin” of masturbation. The priest told him that masturbation could be a “lesser evil” and that he would help him work out his problem. He did this by taking him to a cabin he kept in the woods, where the priest taught the boy how they could masturbate each other.

This pattern occurs over and over — a conjunction of the overstrict sexual instruction of the Church (e.g., on the mortal sinfulness of masturbation, even one occurrence of which can, if not confessed, send one to hell) and a guide who can free one of inexplicably dark teaching by inexplicably sacred exceptions. The victim is disarmed by sophistication and the predator has a special arsenal of stun devices. He uses religion to sanction what he is up to, even calling sex part of his priestly ministry.

Schaap is a Baptist, not a Catholic — but we see the exact same scenario play out, full of faux-holy lecherousness and the kind of betrayal that makes Judas look like a saint. These are kids, for fuck’s sake: many times more vulnerable — and infinitely more susceptible to claims of authority — than those of us who have safely crossed into adulthood.

Willis lays out the ink-black perfidy of this behavior just about as well as anyone could. And for that, regardless of our own God-belief or non-belief, we all ought to thank him.

[image via Catholic Crime]

All Fired Up: Saudis Have a Machine Gun Party

Cool shindig, I’m sure. Except maybe for the part where they’re indiscriminately spraying thousands of lethal bullets into the air.

We all know — I think — that what goes up must come down. People are frequently killed by so-called celebratory gunfire.

Not that these guys care. Some kid accidentally getting shot in the head — clearly not their problem. In fact, they’d surely never even question God’s will. Allahu akbar!

Think of them next time you fill up your tank.

Invasion of the Penis Snatchers

On second thought, we’ll call this one “Dickless in Gaza.” Or maybe “Acockalypse Now.” Heh.

Academics observing reports of penis snatching on the [African] continent have previously deemed it an urban phenomenon — a manifestation of the anxieties that arise when a village becomes a city and rural people find themselves living among crowds of unfamiliar people. So a U.S. anthropologist was ‘intrigued’ when she arrived in the tiny hamlet of Tiringoulou in the Central African Republic, to find two villagers claiming to have been the victims of genital theft. Previous instances have been reported in crowded centers like Lagos, Nigeria, or Douala, in Cameroon.

Louisa Lombard, a postdoctoral fellow in geography at the University of California, Berkeley, said villagers in Tiringoulou told her of a traveller [who], upon arriving on a Sudanese merchant truck, removed two men’s penises with a handshake. The academic was told the stranger had targeted a tea seller in the market and a second man. … “After handing over his money, he [the stranger] clasped the vendor’s hand. The tea seller felt an electric tingling course through his body and immediately sensed that his penis had shrunk to a size smaller than that of a baby’s. His yells quickly drew a crowd. Somehow in the fray a second man fell victim as well.”


Several eyewitnesses assured her the “appendages did indeed shrink dramatically.”

Ms Lombard described victims “on both sides” of the phenomenon, which she [said] was linked to a “general resurgence of witchcraft” in Africa. Having visited one of the so-called victims and finding that he “clearly seemed to be suffering” as he lay listless in the shade at his home, the academic was later told that the alleged penis snatcher had been executed by gunshot by members of the armed rebel group that governs Tiringoulou.

The locals claim that Western medicine can offer no remedy to victims of this terrifying magic. The best solution is (but of course!) to kill the alleged penis snatchers. Mobs in Africa frequently do exactly that.

[image via The Punch]