Friday Religion Roundup

• Pastor slips 14-year-old girl a mickey, rapes her while she’s unconscious.

• Dying priest accused of sexual abuse evades court, looks forward to his rightful spot in heaven.

• Anglican archbishop who chides others for not loving the poor enough lives in splendor — in an honest-to-god palace (pictured).


• Four men claim to have been groped by Rabbi Yona Metzger in cases stretching back to the ’80s.

• Pastor accused of planting video cameras inside a women’s restroom at church will face child exploitation charges.

• Church member accused of building a radiation machine to kill Muslims.

• Priest fled scene of accident he caused; two people dead.

School Sends Kids Home With Anti-Abortion Flyers; Strangely Enough, Parents Are Upset

“Mommy, what’s an abortion?”

That was the question of a five-year-old who’d been given a leaflet at school with the invitation to attend a pro-life political rally. The mother, understandably, was not amused, and neither were lots of other parents whose children had received the flyer.

The incident occurred two weeks ago in an Irish elementary school whose administrators saw nothing wrong with indiscriminately tucking the anti-abortion material into kids’ bags. Chiefly responsible for the odd initiative is the Catholic chairman of the school’s management board, Eddie Shaw (pictured, in file photo), a former spokesman for the Archbishop of Dublin.


At a raucous school gathering last Thursday — demanded by parents who wanted to find out why their kids had been subjected to age-inappropriate propaganda — Shaw did little to soothe hurt feelings.

The Irish Times quoted minutes from the meeting:

“On Friday the 7th of June, a notice for a pro-life vigil was put in the bags of three classes. The leaflets were intended for every bag in the school but some teachers either chose not to put them in and others forgot.

“The leaflet highlighted a vigil taking place last weekend for the Pro-Life Campaign against the upcoming legislation on abortion. The parent body were outraged that the children were being used as vehicle to promote a controversial campaign.”

Although Shaw apologized to the parents, he only made matters worse when he appeared to misconstrue rather spectacularly why they were upset. Said one irate father:

“Mr. Shaw told the meeting he should have put the leaflets in an envelope, which is to miss the point entirely.”

He deemed Shaw’s apology inadequate.

Another parent agreed, dismissing as “preposterous” Shaw’s assertion that the distribution of the leaflets “wasn’t political.”

Yesterday, looking to end the controversy, Eddie Shaw resigned from the school.

I can’t help but think that he could have benefited from some great PR advice. For instance, one of the most prominent corporate communications firms in Ireland is Carr Communications, whose staff are self-described experts at spinning public faux pas, and at “handling media crises.” Maybe Eddie Shaw could have retained Carr’s services as soon as the protests started, and taken professional pointers from Carr’s head of public relations, one Eddie Shaw.

Yeah. Same guy.

(photo via The Journal)

Dispatches From the Wacky World of Religion

A dozen links for your entertainment:

1. A Grand Rapids pastor who was involved in a 2010 car loan scam now faces federal charges for allegedly tricking a bank into giving him a $150,000 loan.

2. A Houston pastor asked his congregation to tithe $50,000 so that he can purchase replacement blades for the church’s helicopter. He promised the Lord’s blessings in return, including “a car of your choice.”

3. The Church of Scientology allegedly secretly recorded, with a hidden video camera and microphones, “audits” (akin to confessions) of celebrity member Tom Cruise.

4. Christian columnist: “Blessed are you when you get persecuted and stoned to death, because you know Jesus (and the truth).” She’s also not too worried about people who are starving: “Even if they starve to death … they’re blessed because they’ll be with Jesus and never hunger again in the next life.”


5. Nanny alert: Owners of a Princeton, NJ wine and liquor store say they are being forced out of business after 16 years because their landlord, a local church, doesn’t want a liquor business in its building.

6. Thanks for nothing: Catholic bishop says a lesbian woman may get married to a gay man.

7. Jake Alexander Garcia, a church youth leader who solicited sexually explicit photos from a 12-year-old in his group, was sentenced to just six months in jail.

8. An anti-discrimination bill protecting transgendered people makes pastor Mike Fox mad. He thinks it’s a sex-perversion scheme concocted by transsexuals to gain access to all locker rooms.

9. By getting on their knees, one million Christian women seek to help a million men shed their porn addiction.

10. Pastor Brian Williams admitted to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old victim during counseling sessions at his church. He’s behind bars for nine years, and the church has to pay $3.6 million for not adequately supervising him.

11. Over a four-year span, a pastor and semi-famous gospel singer, who’s also a father of four, sexually assaulted three schoolgirls when he stayed overnight at their homes. The reverend Paul Gardner raped the girls when they were 7, 9, and 14.

12. The imams of Sacramento’s two biggest mosques have declared that music is not permissible in Islam. “It’s a chain reaction – when people listen to music, they ask for alcohol, which will lead to adultery,” explained imam Mahmoud Abdel.

[image via freethoughtpedia]

Christianity News Roundup

• Catholic Church leaders are sparing no expense to try to stop legislation that would make it easier for victims of sexual abuse to seek damages in court.

• Faith-healing couple that let second kid die is ordered to stand trial: “They did nothing to help that child,” prosecutor Joanne Pescatore said at the court hearing. “That’s why it’s murder.”


• Superstition in action: Wilmington church holds blessing of motorcycles. Next up: blessing of skateboards, blessing of Segways, blessing of kids’ tricycles?

• Kansas pastor admits to ripping off several landlords with worthless checks.

• Well-regarded community and education leader of First Presbyterian Church in Lake Wales, FL, solicits sex from cop posing as a 14-year-old girl.

• Church gives child-raping, serial-adulterer pastor a generous severance package.

Orthodox Priest Has Unorthodox Sexual Tastes

In Winnipeg, Canada,

A second man testified Tuesday that he was sexually abused as an altar boy three decades ago by a priest who would become the top Canadian cleric in the Orthodox Church in America.

“I listened to everything he said,” the 39-year-old man testified at Seraphim Storheim’s trial. “My mother clearly mentioned ‘Listen to everything he says.'”

Storheim has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the man and the man’s brother. Neither complainant can be identified under a publication ban.


Both men have told the trial they were sent by their single mother at different times in 1985 to live and work with Storheim at a church in Winnipeg. They were both pre-teens at the time.

The man who testified Tuesday said Storheim would routinely walk naked around the small house attached to the church and would sometimes lie on the floor naked and touch himself.

“While I was in the kitchen having breakfast … he was lying down naked and his hand was on his penis.”

The trial continues.

Catholic Religious-Education Teacher Who Was Fired For Child Porn Is Allowed to Return

Would you place your child in this man‘s care? Thought not.

A religious education teacher sacked for possessing indecent images of children should be allowed to return to work in schools, a panel has ruled.

Geoffrey Bettley, 36, was suspended from a West Yorkshire school [St. Mary’s Catholic Comprehensive School] in December 2010 after police found nearly 200 child-abuse images on his computer.

He accepted a police caution and was dismissed by the school. A professional conduct panel has now ruled the teacher does not “represent a risk to children or young people”.

Did This Priest Get Away With Murder?

A cold case heats up.

All evidence pointed police to one conclusion: A priest had killed a beautiful 25-year-old schoolteacher.

[In 1960,] searchers had found the lifeless body of former Miss South Texas, Irene Garza, face down in a canal in her hometown of McAllen. She’d disappeared on the day before Easter after going to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for confession.


An autopsy determined Garza had been raped while in a coma, and then had died from suffocation. Near Garza’s body investigators found items that belonged to the church, including a candelabra.

One item, a metallic Kodak slide photo viewer, belonged to a 27-year-old priest who was assigned to the church: the Rev. John Feit.

When John Feit was a 27-year-old Roman Catholic priest, he was questioned in Garza\'s killing.

Feit failed lie detector tests. Adding to the suspicion was that just 24 days before Garza’s murder, Feit had been arrested for attacking a young woman at a church in a town about 10 miles from McAllen.

[In that case,] Feit pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated assault. A judge found him guilty and fined him $500 with no prison time.

To this day, police officers and law enforcement agencies that have dealt with the case say they believe Feit killed her.

So why was he never put on trial?

It was unthinkable that a Catholic priest would commit such a crime. That’s the way Garza’s cousins remember it.

“We were accusing a priest — in those days, priests were infallible, ” said Lynda De La Vina, who was 9 years old at the time.

Another cousin, Noemi Sigler, was only 10 when Garza was killed. “It was impossible for a priest to do such a deed. I mean, if you thought of it, that would be sacrilegious.”

Some 42 years after the murder of Irene Garza,

Two surprise witnesses independently came forward — each separately claiming that they heard Feit confess.

One of them was Dale Tacheny, who was Feit’s spiritual counselor at the Missouri monastery where Feit had been sent a few years after the murder. Guilt compelled Tacheny to finally come forward.

But the county district attorney, not believing the case for the prosecution strong enough, declined to plow ahead.

To this day, John Feit, now in his eighties, says he didn’t kill Irene Garza. He remains a free man.

[photos via CNN]

Catholic Website Caught Lying About Atheist Lit

I thought one of the Ten Commandments was to not bear false witness. ‘Do not steal” is also in there somewhere, if I remember correctly. It’s outstanding advice (I mean that sincerely) that ought to be heeded by the good people over at Catholic Online. Read here how they lied. As a bonus, they even issued some thinly-veiled encouragement to steal atheist literature. I wonder what God thinks about all that.

Priests, the Other White Collar Criminals?

This is a screenshot of a section of my customized Google News homepage right now. The section filter is priest. Not pedophile priest or priest abuse or anything along those lines. Just priest.

Click to enlarge.


See also here.

Father Knows Best: Priest Who Fathered a Son Was Allowed to Stay and Preach Church Doctrine

A Catholic priest who says one thing and does another. Now I’ve heard everything.

A prominent American priest of the Legion of Christ religious order has decided to leave the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child years ago.


The Legion said Saturday the Rev. Thomas Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and television personality, had asked Pope Francis to be relieved of his celibacy and other priestly obligations. A friend, the Rev. John Connor, wrote in a Legion blog that Williams wanted to care for his son and the mother.

After Williams’ admission, the Legion’s then-superior acknowledged he had known for years about the child, yet allowed Williams to continue teaching and preaching morality.

He could be having kids for religious reasons, of course — perhaps answering the call from a European colleague who says more Catholic babies will stave off the demographic offensive of fast-breeding Muslims.

[image via the New York Daily News]

It’s Fish Friday in Utah!

Catholics continue their covert conversion of Mormons:

About 75,000 pounds of frozen crab meat — more than 37 tons — spilled out of a truck leaving Salt Lake City.


The trailer toppled over near dawn Friday, spilling most boxes of crab and some of the meat onto I-15 near Spanish Fork.

Utah Highway Patrol Cpl. Todd Johnson says a similar spill happened about 15 years ago when a smaller truck hauling seafood dumped its contents onto a Utah road.

[image via NPR]

When Catholics Attack Catholics (Over Condoms)

In Kenya,  Episcopal head honcho John Cardinal Njue is incensed over ads and billboards that proclaim ‘Catholics for Choice: Good Catholics use condoms.’

A group of U.S. Catholics is thought to be behind the campaign. Njue, rather than telling his flock to ignore the ads, wants them withdrawn and banned.


“Catholics for Choice are not Catholics in the sense of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We want those adverts pulled out,” said Cardinal Njue in a statement.

He added that the campaign “deliberately ridicules the church teachings of responsible sexual behavior.”

A colleague of Njue’s, Kenyan Archbishop Zaccheus Okoth, agreed, urging the faithful to give birth instead of using “ungodly means” to control reproduction.


P.S. For a little perspective, I’ll add this. Northern Kenya, especially, suffers from the twin scourge of poverty and over-population. Currently, the country has about 41 million citizens, a number expected to almost double by 2040.

It is estimated that a total of 1.2 million Kenyan children are orphaned by the prevalence of HIV/AIDS; about 80,000 Kenyans a year die from the disease.