Vatican Gags African Whistleblower Priest

From the L.A. Times:

He is a celebrity across eastern and central Africa, a gospel music star known to many as the “Dancing Priest.” But for years he also was a keeper of painful secrets — his own and many others’.

In going public, Anthony Musaala [photo] has forced the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda to confront a problem it had insisted didn’t exist. And he may stir a debate far beyond Africa’s most Catholic of countries.


The Ugandan priest has been suspended indefinitely by the archbishop of Kampala for exposing what he calls an open secret: Sex abuse in the Catholic Church is a problem in Africa as well as in Western Europe and North America.

The African Catholic Church is fast-growing, pious and traditional. As the church elsewhere forks out billions of dollars to compensate the child sex abuse victims of priests, few African Catholics have questioned the assumption, voiced recently by Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, that the African church is purer than its counterpart in the West, which is regarded as secular and permissive.

It’s not more pure, says Musaala. He says he has the evidence to prove it.

“The Vatican turns a blind eye because it doesn’t want to be embarrassed about this blooming church. But I think it’s time we had the truth,” Musaala says.

In March, he wrote to the archbishop of Kampala, Cyprian Lwanga, about priests who fathered children, kept secret wives or abused girls or boys, and called for a debate on marriage for priests.

One of the cases of abuse he cited involved himself. He was one of numerous boys sexually abused at 16, he says, by Catholic brothers at one of Uganda’s best boarding schools. He also alleged several other cases of child sex abuse in his letter.

“Wherever you go, people know about this. It’s like an open secret. People know. Nothing is ever done,” said Musaala in an interview.

[image via The Notice]

Offense? Nun Taken.

John Waters recalls the nuns who set him on his path to film-making glory.

‘The first thing I can remember rebelling about really, was when I was about 8-years-old and every Sunday we’d go to church. Once a year they’d read us this pledge that we had to take for the Legion of Decency, which was the Catholic Church rating the movies — what you could see and what you couldn’t — and the condemned ones were the ones they’d tell us you’d go to Hell if you saw these movies.


Well, I remember refusing to do this pledge and my mother was kind of shocked, but I was just a child, and she didn’t make a big deal out of it. And on Sundays, the nuns would read us this list, with this voice like the Devil, and you know, seeing this nun stand there saying, “Love Is My ProfessionMom and DadThe Naked Night.” I thought “What are these movies?” I’d never heard of them — they didn’t play at my neighborhood, believe me — but I would go and see them, or read about them, and clip the little list and keep a record of all these condemned movies.  The Mom and Dad poster is hanging right in my hall — it’s still that much of an influence. But it made me want to see these movies I’d never, ever heard of. So, in fact they encouraged me, [the nuns] encouraged my interest, without ever knowing it completely.’

It’s a variation on what would come to be known as the Streisand effect, I suppose, and it delights me.

[hat tip to — and image via — Dangerous Minds]

And the Word Became Flesh

Leviticus 19:28:

“Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.”

"WTF did I tell you?!"

Leviticus 19:28 and a half: “WTF did I just tell you?!”

Via Buzzfeed.

Friday Funny

Click to embiggen.

bibleright[cartoon by Saji, via Twitter]

Three Pastors Bilk Churchgoers out of $8 Million

A Canadian husband-and-wife team swindled 8.6 million dollars out of church members before getting caught.

Marlon Gary Hibbert, 49, and his wife Verna (a.k.a. Shelley), 48, served as co-pastors at several Toronto-area churches, where they managed to convince their brethren that they were highly-skilled foreign-currency traders on the side. Potential investors were told they’d double or triple their money. Dozens took the bait; more victims are expected to come forward.

The Hibberts had a website that explained their mission, promising to turn “ghettos into gardens” and “injustice into justice”:


According to the Globe and Mail,

police allege [Hibbert] made no money on the trading scheme, and instead used funds from later investors to pay investment “returns” to earlier investors.

The couple kept the Ponzi scheme alive Bernie Madoff-style — by frequently sending fake financial statements purporting to show that the value of the investments was skyrocketing.

An audit estimates the fraud at $8.6 million, of which $4 million remains outstanding. So far, police have identified 38 victims, bilked out of a total of $2.1 million.

Many of the investors have lost homes and retirement funds to the fraud.

Although only 38 victims are known by name so far, forensic audits show that around 200 people were defrauded.

A police investigator told reporters that some of the investors are now in bad shape financially and mentally.

“They are distraught, they still can’t believe someone like him could have done this to them…some of them, it’s their life savings that they’ve taken out of the bank through their RRSP [Registered Retirement Savings Plan].” …

One of the victims … was a stay-at-home mother with two blind children, who said she and her husband lost $60,000 that they had received from her mother-in-law’s estate. At the hearing, the unidentified woman was asked about the impact on her family and replied, “This is where I cry.”

The Hibberts are alleged to have burned through millions of dollars to fund their high-rolling lifestyle, complete with luxury cars and big homes.

Police believe the fraud was run between 2005 and 2010 while the Hibberts were pastors at the Masonic Church of God with locations on Queen St. East and on Midland Ave. in Scarborough. The Hibberts are now co-pastors at Life Centre Word of Faith Ministries.

Police also charged a third pastor with fraud, alleging that Lorraine Bahlmann, 47, mailed inaccurate account statements to victims.

A Toronto PD detective said that further arrests and charges are anticipated.

For more 2013 cases of clergy members shaking down their congregations and committing large-scale investment fraud, see here, here, and here.

My Husband the Biblical King

Good judgment and intelligence took a 10-year leave of absence:

Tracey Sharp was induced to live for more than a decade in a menage of seven ‘wives’ who shared a single ‘husband’. Moreover, she was persuaded to believe the absurd fiction that Philip Sharp, once a Messianic Jewish rabbi, was a Biblical king who had been instructed by God to have multiple wives and a brood of children.

‘I do question how I got involved,’ says Tracey, 46, who has two daughters, Naomi, nine, and Mischa, three, by the self-styled king. She left his Sussex harem in November after their relationship disintegrated into a succession of blazing rows.


Why did all these women fall under a deluded man’s spell? All it took was Philip Sharp invoking the will of god.

“He said he’d had a visitation from God and was about to be a king, and I think he genuinely felt God had decreed he should take many wives and that what he was doing was right. … I was in love with the man and he is very powerful and persuasive. He assured us everything was sanctioned by God and he quoted passages from the Bible to back this up. He could have told me the sky was luminous orange and I would have believed him.”

The women were instructed to keep their heads covered — Sharp wanted to be the only one to see their hair — and were called to prayer at 6:30am every day. Says his estranged wife,

‘The hardest thing was recognizing that he wasn’t a king. He wasn’t called by God. He was just a man with a giant ego.

No shit hon. They all are.


P.S. Think seven wives is impressive? At last count, this Islamic faith healer had 86.

[image via Daily Mail]

Christ Is Coming, Screw Global Warming

Nothing matters when Christ comes back:

The United States has failed to take action to mitigate climate change thanks in part to the large number of religious Americans who believe the world has a set expiration date.

Research by David C. Barker of the University of Pittsburgh and David H. Bearce of the University of Colorado uncovered that belief in the biblical end-times was a motivating factor behind resistance to curbing climate change.

“[T]he fact that such an overwhelming percentage of Republican citizens profess a belief in the Second Coming (76 percent in 2006, according to our sample) suggests that governmental attempts to curb greenhouse emissions would encounter stiff resistance even if every Democrat in the country wanted to curb them,” Barker and Bearce wrote in their study, which will be published in the June issue of Political Science Quarterly.


The study, based on data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, uncovered that belief in the “Second Coming” of Jesus reduced the probability of strongly supporting government action on climate change by 12 percent.

For this blog, I digest reams of religious news and information every day. It seems incontrovertible to me that much of the “Second-Coming” crowd, despite the naysaying they hear on Fox News, wants global warming to be true, and doesn’t mind bringing it about — by doing nothing.

That’s because climate change provides “evidence” of Biblical prophecies. In other words, if conservative-evangelical Christians can’t have another world-wide flood or an epic plague of locusts, they’ll take major droughts and record-breaking typhoons — celestial indicators that Jesus will return.

Any day now.

[image via Youth Voices]

Church Teacher Kills Man in Road Rage Assault

Librado Cena [photo] told police he was mad that another driver honked at him one afternoon in Northern Virginia last month. Naturally, he followed the man’s car into the parking lot of a mall, cornered him, and hit him in the head, according to court papers.


That night, the victim, 63-year-old William Hays O’Brien, slipped into a coma; and a week and a half later, he died of his injuries.

Now, guess where Librado Cena works? At St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, in Fairfax, VA (remember folks, Virginia is for lovers). His title: Director of religious education.

I’ll bet he’s been teaching people that stuff about turning the other cheek.

What Does My Name Mean? Librado, The Meaning Of Names

After the blow, O’Brien had a facial discoloration but initially didn’t seem seriously harmed. He returned home but called 911 hours later, telling the emergency dispatcher he had “a headache that’s about to make my head blow off.”

An ambulance was sent to O’Brien’s home. Paramedics forced their way inside and found O’Brien unconscious and unresponsive on the dining room floor, according to the search warrant. O’Brien was transported to a local hospital, where doctors determined he was suffering from a traumatic brain injury, court papers say. He was listed in critical condition and later died as a result of his injury.

Though Cena was the one who attacked O’Brien — the altercation was caught on a surveillance camera, and O’Brien was seen defending himself — the church man told cops “I think it was an even exchange,” adding “I would say he instigated it.”

Cena is currently charged with “aggravated malicious wounding.” Fairfax County prosecutors don’t rule out that he’ll face additional charges.

[screen shot via themeaningofnames; mugshot via onenewspage]

Father Perry on Katy: ‘My Daughter is a Devil Child.’ Weeps and Weeps Because Her Fans ‘Love and Worship the Wrong Thing.’

“Stop being judgmental and critical. Do not close the doors to your loved ones, especially your children,” Keith Perry said in remarks to his church last year. Pastor Perry is the father of international pop star Katy Perry, whose repertoire includes the hit song I Kissed a Girl.

Today, however, pops sings a different tune.

Katy Perry’s father Keith recently referred to his daughter as a “devil child” and called for “prayers” for the singer who he claims “needs healing.”

The outspoken pastor is currently touring American churches with his pastor wife Mary Hudson. He expressed concerns for Perry, 28, during a sermon in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., revealing that he believes it is “wrong” for fans to worship the singer instead of God.


“I was at a concert of Katy’s where there were 20,000. I’m watching this generation and they were going at it. It almost looked like church,” Keith told congregants. “I stood there and wept and kept on weeping and weeping. They’re loving and worshipping the wrong thing.”

Keith Perry acknowledges that his daughter’s act often raises questions about his own teachings.

“They ask how can I preach if I produce a girl who sang about kissing another girl?” he said.

I’d call that a fair question. Too bad Perry père doesn’t seem to have come up with an answer yet.

[image via fanpop]

Anne Frank’s Pussy Riot

Gail Horalek has been getting all hot and bothered over Anne Frank’s vagina. The Michigan mom was horrified to discover that the Diary of Anne Frank contains a passage in which the lonely teenager, while hiding from the Nazis, discovers that she has inner labia. Horalek wants the passage censored or the book removed from the reading list at her daughter’s school.

[News item starts at 0:20:]
Justin Bieber also commented on the controversy over the young author’s vagina, saying that if Anne Frank was going to “rub her girl parts,” he hoped she’d moan his name.

Naked Display

A Hall of Shame for hypocritical douchenozzles like Pastor Jeffrey Dale Williams would probably require the footprint of a sports stadium. Maybe two.

A pastor in Corinth, TX, was arrested at his home Wednesday on charges of attempted sexual performance of a child.

Pastor Jeffrey Dale Williams of The Church of Corinth is accused of attempting to persuade a child under the age of 18 to remove clothing and show herself completely naked, according to Corinth police.


But surely this can’t be true! He’s a clergyman! He loves God!

Sound familiar?

Church members were shocked to hear the news of the arrest. Tina Martin attends the Church of Corinth. She’s known Williams for more than four years, and she can’t believe the allegations against him. “From what I know about Pastor Jeff Williams is that he is a God-fearing man who does everything to teach his congregation, his town and his people everything about God,” Martin said.

Corinth police believe that more victims could come forward.

[image via]

A Last Supper Indeed: Throwing a Donner Party at Jamestown, or, Who Would Jesus Eat?

Scholars Find Cannibalism at Jamestown Settlement, from ABC News.


The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and archaeologists from Jamestown are announcing the discovery of the bones of a 14-year-old girl that show clear signs that she was cannibalized. Evidence indicates clumsy chops to the body and head, and it appears the girl was already dead at the time.

This tracks with written reports of Jamestown cannibalism that say the population was reduced to eating people when a historic drought decimated the food supply. The teenager’s skeletal remains are the first physical corroboration of those accounts.

Early Jamestown colony leader George Percy wrote of a “world of miseries,” that included digging up corpses from their graves to eat when there was nothing else. “Nothing was spared to maintain life,” he wrote.

In one case, a man killed, “salted,” and began eating his pregnant wife. Both Percy and Capt. John Smith, the colony’s most famous leader, documented the account in their writings. The man was later executed.

“One amongst the rest did kill his wife, powdered her, and had eaten part of her before it was known, for which he was executed, as he well deserved,” Smith wrote. “Now whether she was better roasted, boiled or carbonado’d (barbecued), I know not, but of such a dish as powdered wife I never heard of.”

It’s not clear who the recently-discovered 14-year-old was, only that

Her remains were found in a cellar at the site that had been filled with trash, including bones of animals that had been consumed, according to archaeologists.

But she may soon come back to life, in a way:

At the Smithsonian, curators will display a digital reconstruction of the girl’s face.

[‘Zombie Last Supper’ via cantspeakenglish]