My Inner 12-Year-Old Tittered

I came across this news report involving an awards event in Butts County, Georgia. The charitable all-male church group bestowing the annual awards calls itself “Butts Men of Action.”

Its president is Curtis Gaye. Its latest Minister of the Year is Pastor Head. The speaker at the awards banquet is Hank Johnson.

I’m was kinda hoping there’s a town called Seymour where they get together, but that would be asking too much.

Tenn. Pastor Accused of Plot To Poison Wife

There are so many things that thou shalt not … for some people, like pastor Ed Mallonee, it’s hard to keep track.

A pastor and another woman face charges after investigators say the two plotted to kill the pastor’s wife.

An Obion County Grand Jury indicted Edward Paul Mallonee of Union City, Tennessee and Shelly Shannon Moran of Franklin, Tennessee on conspiracy to commit 1st-degree murder and attempt to commit 1st-degree murder charges.

Pastor, woman indicted in murder plot to kill pastor_s wife

The grand jury also indicted Mallonee on facilitation to commit 1st-degree murder and reckless-endangerment charges. Moran also faces two other counts of attempt to commit 1st-degree murder.

After investigating for several months, Union City Police say Mallonee and Moran plotted to murder Mallonee’s wife, Cathy. The plot spanned 2011 and 2012. Investigators say the two conspired to poison Mrs. Mallonee in hopes that she would die.

Pro-Gay-Marriage Church Egged and Vandalized

Hate the sinner, hate the sin, hate the fellow Christians who love the (ostensible) sinner. Also, fuck with their property. That’s what Jesus taught, isn’t it?

A progressive, pro-gay marriage church in the greater Minneapolis area was vandalized over the weekend.

Vandals threw eggs at the windows of the Pilgrims United Church of Christ in Maple Grove and scribbled “church of Sodom and Gomorrah” on the building’s exterior walls.

The church had been targeted before, when pro-gay signs were stolen, and when someone wrote hateful graffiti on the walls.

Videos: Monks and Priests Frequently Erupt in Fisticuffs at Christianity’s Two Holiest Sites

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on Golgotha, the hill where Jesus is said to have been crucified, and where he was buried, and where he allegedly rose. How do clergy behave when entrusted with he holiest site in all of Christendom? Not very godly at all, Slate explained in a piece yesterday:

Under an 1852 mandate, the care of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is shared by no fewer than six Christian denominations: the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syriac Orthodox churches. The Holy Sepulchre’s edifice is carefully divided into sections, with some commonly shared, while others belong strictly to a particular sect. A set of complicated rules governs the transit rights of the other groups through each section on any given day, and some of the sections of the church remain hotly disputed. Arguments and fistfights over territory and boundaries are not uncommon.

fight

One such area is a small section of the roof which is disputed between the Copts and Ethiopians. At least one Coptic monk at any given time sits there on a chair placed on a particular spot to express this claim. On a stifling summer day in 2002, a monk moved his chair eight inches to find shade. This was interpreted as a hostile act and violation of boundaries, and 11 were hospitalized after the fight that ensued.

In fact, there are frequent fights between the warring factions of priests and monks who claim to be the caretakers of Christianity’s most venerated sites.

Here’s a 2008 battle from the Holy Sepulchre that went on for ten minutes despite police with batons trying to restore order. At the 50-second mark, watch as a brawler brings down what appears to be a fairly massive pole, perhaps a stand of some kind, with such force that it could have shattered someone’s skull.

Another round of violence occurred at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem in late 2011. This video, despite the absence of the Benny Hill soundtrack, is actually somewhat more comical, as the weapons of choice are brooms, a fact that holds somewhat less potential for blood and broken bones.  The reporter reminds us that “there have been similar scuffles in the past.” Watch the holy men bristle as they sweep through the birthplace of their Savior:

Remember folks, per Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

[image via lawyersusaonline.com]

Ohio May Offer Young Students Credit For Religious Lessons Taught Away From School

My thoughts on the matter are here, in a post at the Friendly Atheist.

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[image via cincinnati.com]

Monday Religious News Roundup

• Peter Sprigg and Chris Hill of Charisma News are upset that the Boy Scouts are probably going from bad to worse: once you let in the gays, can the wretched atheists be far behind?

• Prayerful mother kills four: “Hours before she killed her two sons, her ex-husband, and her stepmother, and tried to frame one of the slain children for the other three murders, Susan Hendricks gathered her family together to pray.”

• In Scotland, a Muslim father was spared a prison sentence even though he had produced a knife and threatened to kill his daughter after he deemed that her sexual conduct had brought shame on him. Magistrate Valerie Johnston said her “instinct” had been to send the perp to prison, but added her hands were tied in how long she could jail him. The nutcase father told the court that he keeps the knife handy to ward off “demons,” and is awaiting someone from Egypt to cast them out. This should end well.

• In an ongoing dispute over who may pray, and how, at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the rabbi in charge of the site has received threatening letters from fellow Jews. One letter included a picture of a gun. Police are investigating.

• A pastor in Thane, India, spiked a girl’s drink to knock her unconscious so he could have sex with her. He then promised to marry her, but went back on his word after she became pregnant. After forcing her to have an abortion, he threatened to release obscene photos of her on social-media sites if she told anyone. The man has been charged with rape.

• In 2005, priest Marek Maczynski was booted from the Orlando diocese after he stole $10,000 from church coffers. Now Maczynski is back in the news because he runs a passport company in Boca that has inspired almost two hundred customers to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Some of them are calling the firm, U.S. Passport Services, “a scam.”

• A Muslim suicide bomber in Sulawesi, Indonesia, intended to murder local cops, but managed to blow up only himself.

• Call of Taburteka is a new Facebook game based on the May 17 attack by a mob of priests and their followers on about 50 pro-gay-rights demonstrators in Georgia (the country). In the game you play a Georgian Orthodox priest who has to defend himself against an army of homos waving rainbow flags.

• We’ll end with a bit of good news: A federal jury decided today that the Archdiocese of Cincinnati must pay Christa Dias $171,000 because it improperly fired the unmarried teacher after she became pregnant through artificial insemination.

Sunday Reading

Need some Sunday divertissement? Check out my recent articles on the Friendly Atheist website:

Megan Doesn’t Want Your Public Prayers. Thanks Anyway.
Disabled young woman frequently gets approached in public by self-styled faith healers hellbent on touching her — and praying over her.

Father Gabriele Amorth Says He Has 160,000 Exorcisms to His Name
Catholic demonslayer with awesome name is clamoring for more priests to do exorcisms, lamenting that “one of the main causes of today’s atheism is that people don’t believe in the devil anymore.

Her Eye Doctor Wanted Her to See Jesus
Examples of medical professionals proselytizing to their vulnerable patients.

Enjoy!

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.

Garza

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]

Thanks For Asking, Blitzer

Via The Friendly Atheist.

Da8XJHs

Boston Church Official, Former ‘Legbreaker,’ Accused of Looting Church, Bribery, Extortion

Such a nice wise guy.

A Boston church official who claimed in an autobiography that he was a leg-breaker for reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger has pleaded not guilty to charges that he looted the church’s assets.

Edward MacKenzie Jr. is the former director of operations at the Boston Society of the New Jerusalem Church, whose members belong to the Swedenborgian denomination.

MacKenzie was arrested last week after a grand jury indicted him on charges including racketeering and extortion.

Edward-MacKenzie-Jr.

The Patriot Ledger reported on Wednesday that

Federal authorities say MacKenzie worked with others to obtain a $200,000-a-year job at the church and then used the church’s money to give cash awards to his family members, cover a $50,000 loan for his legal expenses and buy cars for himself, a relative and another church member, according to the 44-page indictment.

He is also charged with taking bribes and kickbacks from vendors to do work at the Beacon Hill church, according to the indictment. One of those vendors allegedly installed a high-end aquarium at MacKenzie’s home and was paid with the church’s money.

Florida Pastor Arrested for Kidnapping, Assault

Must be nice to transition so seamlessly from criminal to pastor and back again. But why would the faithful take your godly mission seriously when you have rap sheet as serious as the reverend Tommy Baxter?

A Pottawatomie County pastor was awaiting extradition to Florida after being arrested on several outstanding warrants, the sheriff’s department said Thursday.

Thomas Hughie Baxter Jr., 35, spent 10 years in a Florida prison and was released in May 2010, according to the Florida Department of Corrections website. He was incarcerated on charges including kidnapping, weapon and assault violations, and impersonating a law enforcement officer, records show.

Published reports say Baxter is the pastor of the Cornerstone of Jesus Christ Church in Shawnee.

Pastor Priester Pulls Unlicensed Gun on Repo Man

I wish all criminal clergymen had such names.

[Pastor] Terence Priester, 48, of Claymont, DE, faces felony charges of aggravated assault and possession of an unlicensed firearm, in addition to multiple misdemeanors stemming from the incident.

At 12:45 p.m. Sunday, police responded to Saint John’s Episcopal Church, located at 404 E. Levering Mill Road in Bala Cynwyd [Pennsylvania], for a report of a man with a gun.

Once officers were on the scene, police said, they were met by the victim, a repo man. The man told police that he was at the church to repossess a Lexus that belonged to Priester and, in accordance with company policy, had called the owner to tell him the car was being taken.

gun_bible

Police said that as the repo man was positioning the tow truck, Priester walked out of the church with a handgun and pointed it at the victim. The repo man told police that the pastor “challenged him” with the handgun, then got into his Lexus and drove away.

After they arrived, police called Priester, and he returned to the scene. Police said he was unarmed at this time and was driven by a third party in a separate vehicle. He was arrested and charged.

The Rev. Priester is a pastor at Light of the World Ministries International.