4/14 Christians: ‘Grab ’em While They’re Young’

Today is Global 4/14 Day, a Christian, non-denominational initiative to push children as young as four years to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior. The group’s slogan is “One million Christians praying for two billion children.”

The official 4/14 website has a helpful FAQ:

What is the 4/14 Window?

The 4/14 Window refers to all children between the ages of 4 to 14. During this decade or “window,” most children in this demographic develop their moral and spiritual foundations.

Why do mission strategists consider this age group so important?

There are 2.3 billion children on earth under age 15 and they represent the largest unreached people group in the world. Boys and girls in the 4/14 Window are given priority because they are more open and receptive to the gospel than older youth and adults. [emphasis added] Nearly 85% of people who make a decision for Christ, do so between the ages of 4 to 14!

In other words, when they’re young and impressionable, they’ll swallow a helluva lot more than after they begin to think for themselves. At least the spiritual child-grabbers are honest about it.

Though I’m the dad of two rather bright girls, I don’t think that four- or five-year-olds can make significant decisions beyond Curious George or Goodnight Moon, or beyond, say, Cheerios or Frosted Flakes.


But of course I would never begrudge kids who aren’t yet old enough to tie their own shoes the chance to become this:

Previous Moral Compass article on religious child indoctrination here.

[Cartoon by Matthew Inman via The Oatmeal]

Justin Bieber Woos Dead Jewish Girl

We were told earlier this week that Justin Bieber’s “spiritual roots go deep.” The Canadian teen idol was praised extensively by his pastor, Judah Smith, who called him “a spectacular young man.” Smith, who’s been peddling a new book called Jesus Is that, coincidentally, was endorsed by Bieber, says that the two “bond over the Bible” and “share Scriptures on a regular basis.”

That’s sweet.

Bieber’s spirituality was on full display yesterday, when he visited Amsterdam’s Anne Frank House and summed up his reverent thoughts in the guestbook — as follows:

Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.

German fans are awaiting Bieber’s arrival for a concert in Berlin, where he is expected to re-enact John F. Kennedy’s famous speech, “Ich bin ein Belieber.”


Oh, also:

Indonesian Sharia Cops Harass Motorbike Harlots

For as long as women have mounted saddles, men have worried about the morality of it.

It started with horseback riding.

Riding astride anything had always been problematic — girls sitting astride while playing with toys such as a hobby horse was frowned upon, and it was partly because of sexual concerns that women rode side-saddle on horses.

Bicycles were no different. Victorian-era physicians warned that

the bicycle inevitably promoted immodesty in women, and could potentially harm their reproductive systems. Other critics argued that women bicyclists favored shorter skirts, thus “inviting” insults and advances. Moreover, by tilting the bicycle seat, they could “beget or foster the habit of masturbation.”

Ah, the good old pre-vibrator days.

You might think you’d have a hard time finding anyone today who still has such concerns, but that just means you’ve never heard of Suaidi Yahya, a Muslim in Aceh, Indonesia. Mr. Yahya was so bothered by the immoral spectacle of women sitting astride scooters and motorbikes, that, as the mayor of Lhokseumawe, he decreed this was against Islam.

In January, it became the law: no woman in Yahya’s city may ride a motorcycle, not even as a passenger, unless she rides side-saddle (both legs on one side) and wears something other than pants, and that garment doesn’t reveal the shape of her legs or buttocks.


No matter that riding side-saddle makes it more difficult to keep your balance; and no matter that loose, flowing clothes may get caught in whirring spokes. What’s a bunch of injured or dead females when you’ve got Allah to please?

Mr. Yahya, never one to let lawlessness fester, asked the Sharia police to enforce the ban (Aceh is currently the only Indonesian problem where Sharia is the law). And so, two days ago,

Thirty-five women in Lhokseumawe have been let off with a warning after the Sharia police caught them straddling a motorcycle and not wearing appropriate Islamic dress.

The Sharia police were conducting a raid on the main roads of Lhokseumawe on Friday, to monitor the administration’s bylaw that prohibits female passengers from straddling motorcycles. … While the women were not arrested, they were warned to not straddle a motorcycle again and to not wear tight outfits.

Lhokseumawe mayor Suaidi Yahya explained that the bylaw was expected to discourage women from wearing pants in public. He said that the bylaw was needed because he had seen people’s behavior and morals straying too far from Aceh’s Islamic cultural values. “We wish to honor women with this ban,” he said, “because they are delicate creatures.”

It could be worse, and in the Gaza Strip, it is. There, Hamas rulers decided in 2009 to ban women from scooters and motorbikes altogether. At the time,

Spokesman Ehab Al-Ghsain said [that] “men carrying women behind them on motorcycles caused accidents and did not match our social traditions. The image looked odd.”

[images via saltyscooterstories]

Irish Catholic Madrassas Skimp on Science and PE

The curriculum in Irish schools suggests that educators and the government agree on at least one thing: “Science bad, religion good.”

Elementary-school teachers in Ireland spend double the time on religious instruction that is the global average. (That comparison presumably includes hardcore Islamic madrassas in places like Somalia and Pakistan).

Amazingly enough, that’s mostly the result of Department of Education guidelines that say children must receive 30 minutes of religious instruction a day — two and a half hours a week. Then add church and Sunday school on the weekends, natch.

Even so, more than two-thirds of Irish teachers apparently don’t find that nearly enough, and spend additional minutes or hours on religion, at the expense of science and physical education.


Now, one saner mind is questioning the imbalance.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has questioned the amount of time spent teaching children religion in primary schools at the expense of science and physical education (PE). Department of Education rules require primary schools to devote 30 minutes a day – two-and- a-half-hours a week – to religion, compared with 60 minutes a week for science and PE. A recent Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) survey found over 70 percent of teachers were spending more than the required time on religion. The extra time usually goes on preparing children for sacraments such as First Communion and Confirmation.

Irish primary pupils spend 4 percent of their time on science – half the international average – and 10 percent on religion, more than double the global norm.

[image via coastreflect]

Happy Birthday Christopher Hitchens

He would have turned 64 today. I miss him.



Sister Agnes of Vienna Orgasmed While Dining on the Savior’s Foreskin; a Saint to Many

[Corrected  below]

I hope that some Vatican committee is planning to commemorate, preferably in grand fashion, the upcoming septuacentennial of Saint Agnes Blannbekin’s death.

Frankly, it’s not her death that was exceptional; she died of old age in her convent in Vienna, at 71.

However, her life as a thirteenth-century Bride of Christ — a nun — was nothing short of spectacular. You see, for decades, Agnes had lively hallucinations of being visited by Jesus or another member of the Holy Trinity. Any of these cherished guests inflamed her womanly passions in the most delightful way.

Luckily for us, Agnes’ visions were enthusiastically transcribed by her confessor, the Franciscan monk Ermenrich, and it is from his notes that we can see why Catholics became so smitten with her. Talk about loving Jesus!

In one recurring vision, Agnes felt the foreskin of the Savior in her mouth.


Crying and with compassion, she began to think about the foreskin of Christ, where it may be located [after the Resurrection]. And behold, soon she felt with the greatest sweetness on her tongue a little piece of skin alike the skin in an egg, which she swallowed. After she had swallowed it, she again felt the little skin on her tongue with sweetness as before, and again she swallowed it. And this happened to her about a hundred times. And when she felt it so frequently, she was tempted to touch it with her finger. And when she wanted to do so, that little skin went down her throat on its own. And it was told to her that the foreskin was resurrected with the Lord on the day of resurrection. And so great was the sweetness of tasting that little skin that she felt in all [her] limbs and parts of the limbs a sweet transformation.

If Sister Agnes got thirsty, a “refreshing spiritual drink” from the spear wound of Jesus was just a vision away. Many of her hallucinations involved her delicate sense of touch; other than feeling the Holy Prepuce on her tongue, she also claimed she could sometimes sense being kissed on the cheeks by the Lamb of God.

But nothing beat the visitations from the Lord (or the Lord Jesus). Ermenrich must have been fanning himself when he scribbled what the nun told him:

Agnes was filled with an excitement in her chest every time that God visited her that was so intense that it went through her body and that it burned as a result, not in a painful but in a most pleasurable manner.

Hawt, right?

Now, I know the Catholic Church has a reputation as an irredeemably misogynistic institution, but that could change if the padres play their cards right. What they ought to do is market the hell out of the Saint Agnes septuacentennial, such that, with any luck, spinsters and dissatisfied housewives all over the world will want to join the faith, sighing, “I’ll have what she’s having.”


CORRECTION: The original headline on this post stated that Sister Agnes had been canonized (made a saint) by the Church. Although there are many online and printed references to her as “Saint Agnes,” it’s been brought to my attention that throngs of believers have often proclaimed their own Saints (who could become very popular) without the Vatican’s sign-off.  This was most likely the case with Agnes Blannekin.

As is pointed out on the “Holy Prepuce” Wikipedia page I linked to right after the first quote, the Roman Catholic Church got so sick of (and embarrassed by) all the theological snipping sniping over which of Christ’s many foreskins was the genuine article, that it ruled in 1900 that

anyone thenceforward writing or speaking of the Holy Prepuce would be excommunicated. In 1954, after much debate, the punishment was changed to the harsher degree of excommunication, vitandi (shunned).

I have to concede — with apologies for my earlier error — that it seems unlikely that the Catholic Church will commemorate the Viennese foreskin-muncher any time soon. A terrible pity, that.

[illustration by Milo Manara via the Holy Prepuce]

Rabbi Creates Fake Elder to Boost His Career

On the day that the plagiarism and lies of French top rabbi Gilles Bernheim led to his resignation, a highly-placed American colleague of his had to face his own lies and fabulations. Here’s the story.

An elderly Jewish scholar and rabbinical authority by the name of Herschel Goldwasser frequently cited the work of Michael Broyde.

Michael Broyde was a student of mine many years ago

Goldwasser wrote at one point

and he was a one-in-million [sic] high school student back then. He was diligent and smart and he tried harder than anyone I have ever met.


That must have been nice for Broyde to hear. Broyde is a judge on the largest rabbinical court in the United States; he’s also a law professor at Emory University, where he is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion. He was recently a frontrunner for the Chief Rabbi job in England.

Over the course of almost 20 years, Broyde received many public plaudits from Goldwasser. Goldwasser quoted appreciatively from Broyde’s work countless times, in Jewish journals and online forums, and no one seemed to notice (or mind) Goldwasser’s hermit-like qualities. No one knew what he looked like. No one even remembered meeting him.

Now, thanks to the sleuthing of a journalism website called the Jewish Channel, it’s clear why:

Rabbi Michael Broyde, a leading Modern Orthodox figure, confessed to using a fake persona to infiltrate a rival rabbinic organization and herald his own work in scholarly journals.

lengthy exposé on The Jewish Channel on Friday detailed how Broyde, a member of the Rabbinical Council of America who once was said to be on the short list of candidates to become the next chief rabbi of the United Kingdon, used the fake persona “Rabbi Herschel Goldwasser.” As Goldwasser, Broyde joined the International Rabbinic Fellowship, a rival to the RCA, heralded his own scholarship and corresponded with other rabbis.

Broyde at first denied the allegations, but then confessed on Friday shortly after The Jewish Channel piece was published.

Any Music You Want, As Long As It’s Organ Music

Elderly people with end-stage liver cancer have few things to look forward to. However, Heidemarie G., who is planning her own memorial service in Germany, would love it if, during the remembrance, the church played the song “Aber die Liebe bleibt” (But Love Remains) by popular balladeer Nana Mouskouri.


Pastor Stephan Thieme-Benox has denied the dying woman’s wish, because he has a rule: recorded music is not allowed in his church. He did magnanimously offer to have the song played on the church organ.

Heidemarie G. is “disappointed and angry,” reports the Bild newspaper (link in German).

[image via wikimedia]

Man With Axe Targets Indy Planned Parenthood

Christian terrorist vandal apprehended.

A man told police his religious beliefs led him to break into and damage a Planned Parenthood facility in Monroe County [Indiana] using an axe early Thursday morning, officials said. Bloomington police arrested Benjamin Curell, 27, of Ellettsville, on felony charges of burglary and criminal mischief.


Police were called to a report of a man trying to break into the building at 421 S. College Ave. just before 4 a.m. When officers arrived, they said they found Curell in the building carrying an axe and that “extensive damage had been done to the building and office equipment with the axe,” Bloomington police Capt. Joe Qualters said.

Red paint had also been splashed onto the building, police said.

Planned Parenthood is frequently the target of threats and violence.

• Last year, a Wisconsin branch was bombed.
• In 2011, a molotov cocktail ignited a fire at a Planned Parenthood in Texas.
• In 2010, a Planned Parenthood was firebombed in Madera, California.
• Also in 2010, a self-described “extremist, radical” and “Christian counterpart of Osama bin Laden” planned the bombing of an abortion clinic in North Carolina. The FBI arrested and charged him.

And that’s just a smattering of cases. Here’s a more complete list of violent Christian crimes against providers of legal reproductive services including abortion. It’s as long as my arm.

Michael Jackson to Erect 60-Foot Cross

No, sadly, not that Michael Jackson:

A Janesville [Wisconsin] church plans to erect a 60-foot lighted steel cross where it will be visible from the freeway, a decision in which the city has little input. The New Life Assembly of God Church plans to begin construction on the $60,000 cross by the end of the month, said the Rev. Michael Jackson, pastor at New Life. “We want New Life to be known as the ‘Church of the Cross,'” he told The Janesville Gazette. …

Church members considered erecting a 100-foot cross but decided that would be too ostentatious, Jackson said.

The million-dollar cross in Effingham, IL

The million-dollar cross in Effingham, IL

He added that he expects “a certain element in the community” to ask why the church doesn’t just use the money to feed the poor. We’re happy to step up to the plate:

“Reverend Jackson, why doesn’t the church use the money to feed the poor?”

New Life already gives “tens of thousands of dollars” to a food pantry and other charitable efforts, Jackson said.

Ah. But Reverend, let’s say that the Messiah directed you to spend a small fortune in furtherance of the values that he is said to have espoused and practiced. Which do you think is more likely: that he would want you to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, per Matthew 25:37-40; or that he would prefer a giant illuminated replica of the torture instrument upon which he was nailed to death?

We’re not god experts by any stretch, so we thought we’d ask.


Gentle reader: If you’re chagrined that Reverend Jackson and his congregation didn’t pick the “ostentatious” 100-feet-tall version of the cross, don’t despair. Just drive south a ways until you hit Effingham, Illinois; and there, towering over everything, is a 197-feet-tall cross [see photo] that cost over one million dollars to build.

197 feet still too puny for you? The Branson Cross in Missouri, currently under construction, is going to be three feet taller, but at a price: five million dollars.

To honor the man who reminded his followers about the poor his whole life, that’s literally a steal.

Lisa Biron: 3 Times the Judas That Judas Was

Can’t wait. Just ten more days, and we get to find out what the judge has in store for Lisa Biron. Hers is a case so infamous it already has its own Wikipedia entry. In a nutshell:

Lisa Biron, a New Hampshire lawyer who worked with an anti-gay Christian-right organization, has been found guilty of child pornography after she videotaped her own daughter having sex with two men on several occasions.


Biron, 43, is facing a minimum sentence of 25 years after she was convicted by a jury on Thursday. It took the jury less than an hour to deliberate.

In November, Biron was arrested by the FBI and accused of eight felony counts after she videotaped a 14-year-old girl having sex with men. Later, the girl was identified as Biron’s daughter. Biron also videotaped herself having sex with her daughter.

On Biron’s Facebook page, she claims the Bible is her favorite book, and that she worked for Alliance Defending Freedom. Alliance Defending Freedom is a “servant ministry” seeking to transform the legal system “for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”

The groups’ president and senior director claim in a book that pedophilia on college campuses is a result of homosexuality, and that homosexuality and pedophilia are linked. The organization quickly washed its hand of Biron when the scandal broke, and has been furiously scrubbing its online records to expunge her name. 

We’ll note here that Biron is that rarest of breeds: a triple traitor. She betrayed her daughter; she betrayed the justice system that, as a member of the bar, she was expected to abide by; and she betrayed the Bible-inspired family values that she claimed to stand for.

What do you do with a woman that vile? We’ll know on April 22, the day of her sentencing.

Pedos For God

It’s a sad state of affairs when you run a site like this one, and have to decide you’re just going to pretty much stop covering child abuse by clergy … because there’s too much of it. No joke: every day I see news articles about yet another child-molesting pastor or priest. Not one case per day, or two, but half a dozen or more.

And those are just the ones that

• involve a victim (or others familiar with the abuse) who went to the police; and
• involve an arrest and a charge, and
• get reported in the press, and
• somehow make it into my news stream.

No one knows how many holy-men childfuckers have never been found out. It must be a staggering number.

I feel a bit sick, and a bit guilty, just realizing that the volume of new sex-abuse offenses by clergy is such that I worry about Moral Compass getting depressing and repetitive if I try to chronicle it all. No child deserves to be willfully confused, spiritually deceived, and sexually accosted by pedos. Extra scorn and disgust is due those who do this while brandishing the title of priest of pastor or imam or rabbi, and thus claiming to be authorities on what god wants.

If you only see sporadic stories on Moral Compass about these hypocrites, please know it’s not because they’re few and far between. It’s because there are too many for me to write about without it destroying the variety of the blog, as well as my belief in the goodness of others.

I sincerely hope that you, and the nameless children whose tormentors won’t be called out on this site, will forgive me.