What Do These Christian Kids Think They’re Doing? What About Their Parents?

Sometimes I’m dumbstruck when I see how people practice their religion. These folks, below, are anything but. They can’t shut up — and the mystery is, no one has a clue what they’re saying. Not even they do.

I’d wager that glossolalia (speaking in tongues, as this preacher does at 5m34s and at various other points in the video) is, for the most part, learned behavior. And the learning, evidently, starts young.

When adults perform this insanity, and they claim it brings them closer to their chosen deity, I reckon there’s no harm in it (other than that it helps destroy rational people’s faith in humankind, of course).

I’m not so sure about their offspring. Should kids be encouraged to carry on this way? Or is this a form of indoctrination bordering on child abuse?

It does remind me an awful lot of this pro-teeth-brushing scene from a Barney show, but less funny.

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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.

‘I’ll Pray For Your Kin, For a Fee. Or They’ll All Die.’

Nigerian clergyman David Sunday told a teenage girl that her family was in grave danger, and offered to pray for their wellbeing. Not for free, however.

He convinced the lady to first give him whatever money she had, “So she went to the bank and withdrew GH¢130 [about $65] for them,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Stephen Kofi Ahiataku.

After the prayers, the pastor ordered her to go home and bring some more money and all the jewelleries in the house since they had been contaminated by bad spirits “and that she was not to mention it to anybody or risk losing her life instantly”.

According to [Ahiataku], the lady obliged and returned with an amount of GH¢2,600 [$1,300] which belonged to her parents, and all the family jewellery including gold ornaments which she handed over to the pastor in a hotel.

The pastor asked the teenager to wait for him in the room whilst he went to a different room to pray over the items and the money.

He never returned, but police now have the man in custody.

Of note: The African news site that published this story is not an atheist operation. It publishes general news with a focus on Ghana and neighboring states. Nonetheless, the list of headlines of “related stories” at the bottom of the piece is worth taking in:

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Those servants of God are keeping busy!

The Pastor and the Prostitute — A Morality Play

Shortly before last Christmas, when youth minister Chris Allen Phillips of Virginia’s Mechanicsville Advent Christian Church was in the mood for some extra-marital pleasure, he went soliciting online, and soon found himself in flagrante delicto with Tonya Farnsworth, a lady of the night.

Not long after the steamy encounter, Ms. Farnsworth informed her holy-man client that she had incriminating photos of him, and inquired if he would please be so kind as to make a series of payments to her. Mr. Phillips, deciding that he had no choice, acquiesced to the extortion, dropping off payment after payment, sometimes almost daily. In total, he is thought to have supplied his terrible temptress with the princely sum of about 100,000 dollars.

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It seems that $20,000 of that amount might have been drawn from Mr. Phillips’ own funds. With his personal well now arid, who better to pay the price for his commercial philandering than the church that employed him? And so he took from it what he needed, secure in the knowledge that the Lord will provide.

However, after having illicitly gathered $80,000 from the church coffers to satisfy (strictly monetarily now, mind) the greed-filled Jezebel, the pastor was queried by some local constables who’d gotten wind of his thievery; and for his crime, they did arrest him and threaten him with jail.

The broken man of God will make his appearance before an earthly judge in a week or two. It is conjectured that he has already been forgiven by the Celestial Magistrate, whose spiritual largesse includes absolution for both thieves and indiscriminate fornicators as long as they profess belief in His son. Membership, as the slogan goes, has its privileges.

[image via NBC New York]

Texas Pastor Swindles Divorcée Out of $650K

When a new divorcée looked to Texas pastor Samuel Ray Palasota for spiritual guidance and emotional support, the pastor was mostly interested in her one-million-dollar divorce settlement.

Federal prosecutors say he swindled her out of two-thirds of that sum. Rather than investing it in real estate, as he’d said he would, Palasota blew the money on personal expenses and cars.

A self-styled pastor and real-estate investor surrendered to federal authorities on charges that he conned $650,000 from a woman, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Samuel Ray Palasota, 52, of Houston, turned himself in following the return of a 24-count indictment, including 21 counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud.

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The indictment indicates he provided the woman with an investment schedule that claimed the minimum rate of return would increase by five percent for every additional $100,000 she invested, up to a maximum of $650,000.

The woman subsequently invested the maximum $650,000 in Palasota’s scheme, according to allegations. Palasota then allegedly used those funds for his personal benefit, including paying his personal expenses and purchasing automobiles.

If convicted, Palasota faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the 24 counts against him.

[image via churchmarketingonline]

Evangelist Keen To Raise Murdered Boys From the Dead, Offers His Services to Grieving Mother

The Dutch were gripped by a double-murder tragedy recently. Two brothers, just 7 and 9 year old, went missing for almost two weeks, a day or so before their father committed suicide. Their bodies were eventually found in a ditch, flushed from a large sewage pipe. Police say the father killed his sons. He and his ex-wife had had joint custody of the boys. The parents had been feuding for years.

Like virtually everyone else in the Netherlands, Dutch evangelist Ronald Plat (photo) was saddened by the news — but not too much. Ever the optimist, Platt believes he can work miracles through Jesus, and he’s graciously decided he’s going to try to bring the boys back to life.

Ronald-Plat

Apparently, such a feat cannot be achieved long distance. Plat and his prayer team need access. Desperate to get in touch with the mother, he took to social media the other day to offer his resurrectional services. He could just picture “turning the whole country on its head” with all the “media attention” that would be sure to follow, he wrote with apparent enthusiasm.

Plat says he was disappointed the week before, after the parents of a Dutch suicide victim inexplicably turned down his proposal to bring their daughter back to life through the power of prayer.

He is currently angling for any bereaved family to let him come over and resurrect their loved one, pointing out that

“…death is an enemy of Daddy God.”

(Yes, he really uses that term — in Dutch: Pappa God — instead of ‘the Heavenly Father’ or what have you; it’s possibly the first time in history that the phrase is uttered by someone without the intention to pooh-pooh religion. Anyway:)

“God is ‘life and abundance,’ and wants to give all people that life. Should someone in your family have passed away and you want that person returned to you, and you don’t accept that their death is final, please get in touch.”

So far, no takers that we know of.

[Thanks to Bert van Manen for the tip.]

Pastor Sold Meth and Heroin — For Jesus!

Have you heard the story of the meth-dealing man of god?

If you were thinking of Father Kevin Wallin, the Connecticut priest who has been featured on Moral Compass a couple of times — no, it’s not him.

This time it’s a Protestant pastor from Arizona, Mark Derksen, who endeavored to bring drug users “closer to God.”

It’s nice to see the different strands of Christianity come together in ecumenical harmony.

Must-Watch: BBC Film on Present-Day Christians Treating ‘Witches.’ Many Victims Are Children.

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire

Previous Moral Compass piece on modern-day witch-killing for fun and profit here.

Amy and Samy Bouzaglo Have a Criminal Record: “We Have Done Our Time. God Is With Us.”

Remember Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, the God-besotted Scottsdale restaurateurs who lied to their customers, screamed at critics, and screwed their waitstaff out of tips — on national TV? If not, here’s last week’s Moral Compass post on the gruesome twosome.

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Well, the couple just can’t stay out of the (bad) news. Minutes ago, we learned that Samy Bouzaglo, an Israeli citizen who was born in Morocco, faces deportation from the United States for failure to disclose his past on his immigration application.

This TV news broadcast, at the 1:45 mark, says that Bouzaglo, who has the made-guy look pioneered on TV by Paulie Walnuts, is banned from France and Germany, presumably in connection with a criminal past that includes drug distribution, threats, and extortion.

AZCentral.com reports that both Samy and Amy have done prison time.

On Tuesday, Samy and Amy talked about their past records and indicated Samy had served time in prison before immigrating to the United States 13 years ago. Reached by phone as they drove to their restaurant Tuesday morning, Amy and Samy each tried to talk over the other — interrupting, yelling and even cursing one another as the conversation continued.

“We both made mistakes in the past. We have done our time,” Amy said. “We can’t comment.”

Except on the support of one VIP ally:

“We know God is with us.”

In that case, the Almighty hangs out with some pretty shady characters.

Records show Amy has served time in federal prison and has a history of liens and judgments. In 2003, [she] pleaded guilty to misuse of a Social Security number when she applied for a $15,000 bank loan. At the time, her name was Amanda Bossingham. She spent about a year in prison beginning in 2008. Records show that prior to her conviction, Amy faced four judgments in Colorado in 1998 and 1999 totaling about $14,000.

 [photo via radar online]

Stampede For Holy Water Kills Four

Deaths of the deluded:

Police say they were overwhelmed by the large crowd when a stampede killed four people at a church in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Sunday. Thousands of people flocked to the evangelical church for “holy water”, which they believed had healing powers, leading to the crush. “All of us were caught by surprise. No-one knew the crowd will be so huge,” said police spokesman Freeman Tetteh.

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The church is run by prominent Nigerian preacher TB Joshua. He is one of the wealthiest and most popular evangelical clerics in Africa and his Synagogue Church of All Nations claims it can perform miracles, such as curing blindness.

[image via zimdiaspora.com]

Peace & Quiet in Church? That’ll be $8.4M, Please

¡*!*¡*! UPDATE: There’s an error in this piece. Please see the comments. ¡*!*¡*!

A single church in Adelaide, Australia applied for and received $8.4 million ($8.2 million U.S.) from the federal government for noise abatement.

Here’s a picture of the church:

st-nicholas

Smell a rat? You’re not alone. For almost eight and a half million bucks, you should be able to build five or more of these, and soundproof the hell out of each and every one.

Besides, the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church had already gotten $3.4 million for a noise insulation project that was completed last year. Now that church authorities have secured another grant for the exact same type of work, this time with a $5 million price tag, people are beginning to ask questions — especially because the typical Australian grant for noise insulation is about $100,000 per building.

An Adelaide Greek Orthodox Church faces another investigation after it received $5m from the Federal Government for noise insulation from the neighbouring airport. The investigation launched is due to the excessive amount of funds received by St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church…

[S]enator Simon Birmingham has queried the amount of money received by the church and has written to Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese seeking the costs of the project.

St. Nicholas Church is no stranger to controversy. In a long string of irregularities, the church priest, Father Prokopios Kanavas,

• has been investigated for allegedly supplying a forged character reference;
• received multiple warnings from his higher-ups, including one that came after explicit images were found on a church computer;
• was defrocked in 2008 over what the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem obliquely called “unacceptable behavior” and “questionable and suspicious activities.”

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Somehow, Father Kavanas was again ordained and returned to Adelaide in 2010 a better man.

Just kidding:

• In 2011, he was fired as South Australia’s police chaplain when his law-enforcement bosses found information that affected his “suitability” for that role;
• Last year, he courted more trouble when, on his Facebook page, he made false claims about his accomplishments, such as academic degrees he didn’t possess.

Securing two government noise-abatement grants worth several times the going rate for soundproofing large buildings (and eighty-four times the cost of the average building) is another headline-making feat for Adelaide’s Greek Orthodox community. Can’t wait to hear what the investigators find.

[photo of Kavanas by Bianca De Marchi, via news.com.au

Pastor Defrauds Church Day Care Center

A former pastor in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is accused of misusing money from the church daycare center, forcing it to close. Ronald W. Lukat, 65, turned himself in after learning of the charges against him.

Lukat was the pastor of Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church from early 2011 until last December, when church members said they became aware of irregularities in the account used by their Child Care Center. They said Lukat volunteered to oversee the center’s finances when the center’s treasurer stepped down, not long after the pastor’s arrival. That left Lukat in possession of a credit card used to purchase supplies for the center, as well as overseeing its fiances.

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It appears that Lukat used the credit card for the purchase of about $3,600 worth of personal items.

The newspaper report mentions that the pastor’s Gatlinburg address is on “Money Maker Circle.” That must be across from “Den of Thieves Way” and just a block from “Temple Cleansing Avenue.”

[image via source]